greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
I know it's gonna be a goddamn weird day when the first thing I read after crawling (moaning) from bed is an article in The Economist. But, really South Carolina people. Newt Gingrich? Newt fucking Gingrich? That crackpot from the radio? A paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze who's clearly proud of being a paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze. Is anyone actually believing this shit about "open" marriages that he's spouting? But, back to the aforementioned article, I have to quote this bit:

As nuts as it may seem to those of us who belong to smaller, more vulnerable segments of the population, conservatives feel backed into a corner by the broader culture, and they detect in Mr Gingrich's pharisaic diatribes the hopeful will to fight, the promise of punching their way back to uncontested supremacy. That Mr Gingrich is a cartoon of a corrupt demagogue doesn't seem much to matter. Not only do conservatives believe Mr Gingrich feels their pain, they believe he seeks their revenge.

I'm imagining redneck Tea-Partygoers googling pharisaic, because that's a damn fine cup of irony (sorry, Mr. Lynch).

---

Yesterday was pretty much a bust. I wrote a measly 491 words on "The Diamond Friendly," and I think I'm about to shelve it a second time. I could try to explain what's gone wrong, but it would probably amount to a treatise. Having lately read so much dull, flavorless sf, I'd really like to write a bit of sf that, at the very least, can be called neither flavorless nor dull. Thing is, so much of that bad sf I've been reading is bad not because, I suspect, the writers in question are necessarily bad writers. I know that some of them aren't. It's because good sf – especially that of the futuristic variety – requires the author to have a firm grasp of sociology, psychology, linguistics, pop culture, economics, history, politics, and never mind the fields of science and technology relevant to the story at hand (besides sociology and psychology, I mean). You have to know, or at least be able to lay your hands on, all these disparate sources of data if you are to imbue your story with the least jot of authenticity, and then you have to start juggling them, and keep it all in the air while you write (I suppose this is done with the toes, since the hands are occupied), snatching the information you need as you need it. Mixing and matching, splicing and melding.

And here I am, in a crush of deadlines, setting out to write what would be an approximately ten thousand word hardcore "biopunk" (can we please, please, please stop punking?) story, spoken by its interauthor in a quasi-fictional argot I'm devising from a hundred sources for use in the mid 2050s...and...yesterday, I realized I had to step back. I started the story last month, then set it aside. I am going to write this dark, dark story about what [livejournal.com profile] corucia has deftly termed "somajakking." But I don't think I can write it now. Maybe I'm wrong, and by the end of the day I'll have figured it out, how to do this and everything else and not break my brain. I just don't know. A writer knows her life has grown peculiar when she begins to feel guilty about taking the time and energy to, you know, write a short story.

---

I don't like to talk about my infirmities in the blog. I just don't. I think, mostly, because I dislike the inevitable commiseration. "I know just how you feel." That sort of thing. I understand how many human beings find comfort in commiseration, but I don't. Anyway, I'm drifting. Point is, I've had this fucking migraine for eight days, as of today, which beats my old record by three days...and I've been trying to persevere. But I'm starting to slip. The formulation of coherent – never mind artistic – thoughts while this railroad spike is being removed and reinserted into random parts of my skull...I think the appropriate word is maddening. There must be a word for people who can remain articulate while in excruciating fucking pain, but, if so, it escapes me. Or I never learned it. Anyway, please do not commiserate. Mostly, I just wanted this down for the record, so I can remember, some day hence, that I once had an eight-day (or longer) headache.

---

I was going to write about playing too much SW:toR. I was going to write about reading The Dragon Seekers, and how it pains me to revisit the life of Gideon Mantell – the man who, among many other amazing achievements, named the second dinosaur* ever described, Iguanodon (1825) – but died poverty ridden in 1852, as do many paleontologists today. Mantell also discovered and described Hylaeosaurus (1833), the third dinosaur to be described. Instead, I wrote about all that other stuff. And now I have to go try to write that which I am paid to write.

When Evening Calls So Hard,
Aunt Beast

* The term dinosaur was coined in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Sick as a dog. As a sick dog, I mean. I've never understood the whole "sick as a dog" thing, as though the normative canine state is sick. I've also never much understood football, but mostly, these days, I keep my mouth shut about it. Lots of people who get wet over touchdowns can't begin to appreciate the importance of a warlock's staff having +200 to shadow damage or why cool downs are such a bummer. So, live and let live. However, I wake up— not to news that the Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 (I actually had to google that) —but to a slew of articles analyzing and rating the goddamn commercials. And what's more baffling still, a whole bunch of Sturm und Drang about Christina Aguilera screwing up "The Star-Spangled Banner." Are you really surprised? She's Christina Aguilera. You let her sing a song with actual words, bad shit will ensue.

Anyway.

Yeah, sick. Bad night. Worse dreams. Feverish. Achy. Mucus in places mucus ought never be (a few sex-with-aliens scenarios aside).

Yesterday, I wrote 2,155 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The book grows ever more peculiar. And today, I've set for myself a challenge. Even though I'm sick as a sick dog. Today I mean to write 3,000 words, which is a thing I've never done. Not in one day. My personal best is 2,800+, but never 3,000. I'll probably fail, but I'm going to try. That way, if I'm too sick tomorrow to sit up straight, I won't have to feel guilty about not sitting up straight. I can lie in bed and moan and make Spooky's life miserable with a minimum of guilt.

Last night, Spooky made quadrupedal chicken stew. I don't know where she finds these four- and five-legged chickens, and I don't ask. We watched Fringe and the satisfying pornographic spectacle that is Spartacus. Then I logged into Insilico and spent three hours as a hopelessly broken droid caught between the godlike AI that created her and a human sadist into who's hands she's been delivered. Way more fun than football.

We went to bed and Spooky read to me from Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps. Which was a bad idea, what with being sick and the inevitable nightmares. My bad dreams are bad enough without fucking junkie hobo vampires coming along for the ride.

Time to make the doughnuts. Or dissolve in a puddle of my own phlegm. We'll see. But comment. Cheer me on. Jeer. Whichever.

In Misery and Chagrin,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (blindchi)
Nothing like a very, very long dream in which I watch, among other things, Manhattan consumed in a roiling thermonuclear fireball to get me ready for the day ahead. Nothing in the whole wide world like waking up from apocalypse.

Yeah, well. Anyway...

Yesterday was sort of a mess. I did the Blog/LJ entry, then sat here, and sat here, and sat here, staring at the screen and the window and the books on the shelves, trying to find whatever it is that I'm going to write next. The next vignette for Sirenia Digest or the short story I hope to have time to write during the second half of June, before the arrival of the Daughter of Hounds CEM. At 3:00, I was still sitting here, still staring, and not one word had been written. So I wandered over to Wikipedia and spent the next four hours writing an article on the new dwarf macronarian sauropod, Europasaurus holgeri. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] corucia, I had the article from Nature, so I could at least do a thorough job of it. But...

Well, it wasn't work. Never mind that distilling a three-page technical paper is considerably more difficult than my usual sort of writing, and never mind that I was at it nonstop until after seven. Because no one's paying me to write Wikipedia articles on dinosaurs. And if no one's paying me, I just can't seem to convince myself that it's work. And if it's not work, then, my conscience reminds me, it's really just goofing off. I believe in Wikipedia. I truly do. If I do say so myself, you will find no news article online annoucing the discovery of Europasaurus which is even half so informative and accurate as the piece I wrote yesterday. Once upon a time, layreaders and even avocational paleontologists and science nerds might have had to wait weeks or months to get detailed information on new taxa. Wikipedia is one of those things that redeems the white-noise chaos of the internet. It's a good thing to devote one's time to. It has the potential to make this ignorant world a little less so. But it's still not work. I find no end of irony in the fact that I would now feel far less guilty about not having written salable prose yesterday had I wasted the whole afternoon sitting here staring at the screen of my iBook and the tree outside my window and the books on the shelves instead of doing the useful and worthwhile thing which I did instead. Because one thing is "work" and one thing isn't.

Tiddley frelling pom.

Spooky made delicious vegetarian Indian food for dinner, and then we managed to get in a decent walk at twilight. No bats, and not many lightning bugs. And then we read and read and read, because I needed to fill my head with words. And then I did some editing on the aforementioned Europasaurus article and added two images. By then it was long after midnight, and I lay on the sofa and watched the middle part of Jackson's King Kong, all the Skull Island stuff, because having filled my head with words, I needed to fill my eyes with something lush, and that primordial "green hell" was just exactly what I craved. Kong and giant insects and all those marvelous neverwere dinosaurs, Vastatosaurus and Ferrucutus and Venatosaurus and those grand retro sauropods — "Brontosaurus," he calls them. Oh, and also Foetodon and the skin-birds. But I digress. I'm very, very good at digressing, especially when I'm only half awake and the nightmares still seem more real that the daylight on the floorboards.

Roger Ebert loved The Proposition as much as I did. He seems hit or miss to me these days, but this time I think he's spot on. I would have said a lot of what he said, if I were any good at writing movie reviews. And here's the official website for the film again.

By the way, Spooky has a birthday coming up on the 24th, two weeks from tomorrow, and she also has a wishlist. You know, for kids.

I suppose I'm duty bound to mention that the Senate killed President Asshole's latest attempt to write bigotry into the Constitution. I mean, since I brought it up the other day. I love this quote from Senator Sam Brownback, regarding the GOP's intention to keep pushing for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage — "We're making progress, and we're not going to stop until marriage between a man and a woman is protected...protected in the courts, protected in the Constitution, but most of all, protected for the people and for the future of our children in this society." Er...excuse me, but protected from what? No, really. Do these hysterical bigots actually believe, in their heart of hearts, that gays and lesbians could somehow make a bigger farce of the "sacred instuition" of marriage than heterosexuals have already managed to do? Do they think, perhaps, that legal marriages between gays will so repulse poor, unprotected heterosexual couples that they all decide to live in sin, rather than risk being mistaken for queers by getting married? I just can't figure it out.

And right now, I'd rather not try. Coffee, please and thank you...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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