greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The more I listen to Brown Bird, the more they amaze me.

Two Worlds and In Between, deluxe and trade editions, is now officially sold out.

And tomorrow is the day. But if you get your hopes up so much you think I've been crowned Grand Xena She-Ra, Wonder Woman, Queen of the Known Universe the First, you have only yourself to blame for the inevitable disappointment.

Today, I take...more. And we see if things get better. If I can remain functional. Because, apparently, it's one thing to have irrational fears of How Bad Things Are, and another thing entirely to have rational fears of How Bad Things Are. It's the same shit, either way. The meds just make me care a whole lot less. Well, and it's nice not having the seizures. Also, it's cool knowing that if someone were to try and drink my blood, they would die a horrible death.

"She came by her insanity honestly."

The first half of yesterday was a mad whirlwind of this, that, and the other, attending to various questions and details for various projects until, by, 3 p.m., I was exhausted and still hadn't written a single word. So, it being Samhain, and Hallowe'en, I took the afternoon off. Which was stupid, as I have too much work to be doing that. But I did. Spooky went to the market, and I wasted about a half hour of my life playing RIFT, and...well, that was a dumb idea. Not working, I mean. I took a hot bath before dinner. Spooky brought me a Black Forest cake (my favorite). We carved jack-o'lanterns. There were trick-or-treaters. We watched Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966), and the two new episodes of Beavis and Butthead.

The former was bittersweet and nostalgic, a gentle amusement from an age when lies were better at hiding the ugliness of the world from children (and parents tried a lot harder). The latter was funny as hell, and, as I said last night on Twitter, television has crawled so far up its own (porn, porn, porn, porn, porn) asshole that Beavis and Butthead (porn, porn, porn, porn, porn) actually come off as rather smart kids (porn, porn, porn, porn, porn). Beavis and Butthead on Jersey Shore and LMFAO's "Champagne Showers"? It's pretty incisive commentary on this dear sweet filthy world, kittens.

And we watched John Fawcett's Ginger Snaps (2000). It has aged very, very well. Sure, the final creature effects suffer from budget constraint (though the makeup up until then is brilliant), but it remains one of the very few genuinely good werewolf films. It's perfectly, morbidly, hilariously, grimly, gleefully horrific, and, in the end, an impressive examination of teenage alienation. Of finding oneself in that darkest of dark places, and at that moment you've spent a short life fearing above all others. If you've never seen this film, what the fuck's wrong with you? Oh, you were only ten when it was released....

Yes, if I had a daughter, I truly would name her Ampersand. Well, on the birth certificate it would be listed as & Rose Kiernan, but we'd call her Amp.

Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark. Thank you, The National. You guys rock.

Also, you might be a loony Xtian whackjob, but you go, Anne Rice (at least she wrote three good novels):

Lestat and Louie feel sorry for vampires that sparkle in the sun. They would never hurt immortals who choose to spend eternity going to high school over and over again in a small town — anymore than they would hurt the physically disabled or the mentally challenged. My vampires possess gravitas. They can afford to be merciful...The idea that if you are immortal you would go to high school instead of Katmandu or Paris or Venice, it’s the vampire dumbed down for kids. But it’s worked. It’s successful. It makes kids really happy. And here we are, back at Beavis and Butthead.

It's nice to see Anne Rice fucking grow a pair for an hour. And if you think I just made a sexist comment, grow a pair, please. After all, do you know I didn't mean ovaries? But, wait...wouldn't that also be sexist. Maybe I meant ears.

Oh, there are pumpkin photos from last night (mine was stolen, just like last year):

Jack! )
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A blessed Samhain, and a Happy Hallowe'en.

Comments! Please.

This morning, I fully understand what it means to "wake up on the wrong side of the bed." Not my usual state of affairs. In some ways, this is worse than the dreamsickness. I woke about 10:30 ayem, after getting to sleep about 4:30 ayem. My throat was so dry I couldn't swallow and could hardly breathe, so I went to the kitchen to swallow something wet and rehydrate the raisin that slumber had made of my esophagus. And there in the fridge was a baking dish covered in aluminum foil (I always want to type "tin foil"). I stood there, trying to figure out what was hiding under the foil – without actually having to look. And then I realized it was the remaining two turkey drumsticks (id est, tibiotarsi) from the four Spooky baked on Wednesday evening. In the chaos of the weekend and the freak nor'easter, they'd been forgotten. At least one (and maybe two) turkey's had sacrificed their legs, and we couldn't even be bothered to have the decency not to waste them. I stared a moment, went back to bed, laid there a short while, unable to stop thinking about the wasted turkey legs, hungry people, murdered turkeys, and got up again. See, thing is, we don't waste food. Anyway, that seems to have set the tone for the day.

I was thinking a thought, but now I can't recall what it might have been. Thank you, meds. Really, I could stop taking this toxic shit. But then Spooky would murder me. Thank you, dear sweet filthy world.

---

And, I REPEAT: Okay, here's some news, so perk up those ears. I've been sitting on a secret for many, many months, and many of you know this. On November 2nd, there will be some manner of revelation, and on November 9th, all will be revealed. That's Wednesday, and then the next Wednesday. The NSA has agreed to declassify the files, and the MiBs will go public. The gag order will be rescinded. Some of you will not hear the news here first. Machineries are in motion that are far greater than am I. But...I believe there will be a lot of happy campers among you, and I think the wait will have been worth it. It's worn me ragged, keeping this secret. Feel free, today, to speculate!

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,288 words on "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W." I thought I'd finish it yesterday, but there's more to come. Also, sadly, I'm no nearer to a seeing a human body with lines of latitude and longitude. But...there went my train of thought again. Choo choo. Um. Oh, yeah. Sirenia Digest subscribers will be getting something very strange and special this month. Well, unless you hated Silk, in which case you'll just be getting something...very strange.

By the way, I would so totally fuck Tom Waits. True fact.

Meanwhile, it's not too early to preorder The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. On the other hand, it might very soon be too late order a copy of Two Worlds and In Between. Snoozers are frequently losers. Or they pay too much on eBay. Or settle for crappy Kindle editions.

A great line from The Log of the Sea of Cortez: "An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep." Oh, to ever write a single sentence that sublime.

Also, if you cross the path of Rose Tyler today, do not fucking mistake her for Britney Spears or Christine Aguilera, or lasers will shoot forth from my bloodshot eyes, and those lasers will find you, no matter where you might be hiding. Respect the Companions, or die.

And Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Oh, and here are photos from early, early, early on Sunday, as the nor'easter struck our street (struck, street – cute), and one from the next day (for some reason):

30 October 2011 )


Irascible,
Aunt fucking Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, kittens, it's going to snow 1-3 inches here in Providence tonight, and we're the lucky part of New England. Apparently, Autumn took the year off; I don't blame it. I hear it's snowing in Manhattan right now.

Still, I wish I were at the sea today. I want to watch a heavy snow fall on the olive-green waves.

Okay, here's some news, so perk up those ears. I've been sitting on a secret for many, many months, and many of you know this. On November 2nd, there will be some manner of revelation, and on November 9th, all will be revealed. That's Wednesday, and then the next Wednesday. The NSA has agreed to declassify the files, and the MiBs will go public. The gag order will be rescinded. Some of you will not hear the news here first. Machineries are in motion that are far greater than am I. But...I believe there will be a lot of happy campers among you, and I think the wait will have been worth it. It's worn me ragged, keeping this secret.

And that's what I worked on yesterday, this secret thing. Meanwhile, Spooky attended to line edits on Blood Oranges, using the old iBook (Victoria; the old girl's got a lot of life left in her).

---

Yesterday evening, as the sun was setting, we arrived at the Steel Yard, for the 6th Annual Iron Pour. A most appropriate post-industrial celebration of Samhain (though, of course, Samhain proper isn't until Monday). Five-thousand pounds of molten steel poured from a blast furnace, molten metal to fill jack-o'-lanterns, a great skull-shaped mold (the skull, weighing hundreds of pounds lifted, glowing, by block and tackle). Hundreds of voices screaming, "Fire." Enormous effigies to be devoured by fire: demons, witches, the head of a goat. A woman with the head and wings of a bat, dressed all in black and on stilts. A chainsaw that belches flames. The burning effigies are revealed to have wrought-iron skeletons. Deliriously eldritch and aharmonic anti-melodies played on violins, saxophones, and coronets. Volcanic showers and liquid iron of sparks filling the air, and raining down almost atop our heads. That's the Iron Pour in Providence. There are pictures behind the cut, below (though, batteries were low, we forgot to change them, and the camera, therefore, acted up).

Do people know about the not-so-secret pagan rites in Providence? Well, more than know about the Big Chair Rites of Moosup Valley.

---

After my post yesterday, and my mention of seeing The Rapture (1991) again, an analogy occurred to me. It's one thing to call the Judeo-Christian god petty and sadistic. It's another to explain what you mean. So, here's one of a...well, of countless...examples: That whole Garden of Eden thing, Adam and Eve and the serpent. That chestnut. Here's the same story - the very same story – recast in less fantastic language. An unnamed adult (ADULT) places two three year olds, a boy and a girl, in a large room filled with every manner of toy they might ever desire, every sweet confection, a computer with the best games, every imaginable three-year-old delight, and the children are told, "You may play with all these things, and eat whatever you wish, and as much as you wish. But...you see that jar of Watermelon-flavored Jelly-Belly jelly beans over there? You do? Okay, now...that's the one thing you must not eat from. Now, I'm going to leave you to your own devices. Be good, kiddos." (No explanation is offered as to why the beans must be left alone.) And the adult goes away. And the two children have a blast, for days and days and days.

But, eventually, a loudspeaker mounted in one corner begins to whisper sibilantly about those Watermelon-flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans. It whispers, and most persistently, and, kids will be kids, and...when the unnamed adult returns to find the forbidden beans of jelly have been tasted, the two children are shamed with the harshest possible language, then tossed from the paradise of that room. They're thrown out into the cold winter streets, and guards are placed at the doors, that they can never again enter the marvelous room. Because they ate jelly beans that were placed there so that they would be tempted to eat the jelly beans. And there was that voice planted there to help them along, right? Don't think for a moment the adult didn't put that speaker there (whether or not the voice was his or hers, that's another matter). But it gets better, which is to say it gets worse. For having tasted the Watermelon Jelly Bellies, no child may ever again enter the room, and all the descendents of these two children will suffer unspeakable agonies and trials, and die, and face an eternity of torment unless they love the sadistic adult (ADULT) in question, despite this dirty, little trick with the jelly beans and the whispers...and, well, you know the story. And no, this is no more simplistic a parable than the original. Just a tiny bit more honest. And don't give me that "freewill" bullshit. ADULT knew better. He/she knew the nature of the children, she/he made them. The whole thing was rigged. For the Bible tells us so.

---

Spooky's Hallowe'en Sale isn't quite over, so have a look.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, and then a tiny dash of RIFT. Then we watched last week's episode of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story, and...it was...surprisingly better. It was actually...haunting. A tremendous number of story threads and themes were skillfully tossed about and interwoven and, hell, it would have made a fine last episode. Still that Dark Shadows camp, but elevated just a bit. Moments of genuine chill. I think it's possibly more interested in the problem of hauntings than in ghosts, and that would be a good thing. Oh, and now Zachary Quinto, also known as Spock #2 and My Second Husband (you get to guess who's my First and Third husbands are), has joined the cast...so I have to keep watching.

Later, I read Steinbeck's The Log of the Sea of Cortez until I could get to sleep, about four-thirty ayem.

And now, I hear those black panel vans...You know, Tom Waits* needs to write a song entitled "Black Panel Vans."

Clandestine,
Aunt Beast

28 October 2011 )


* "Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts."
greygirlbeast: (starbuck5)
One of the things about being a freelancer – and here I mean the sort with nothing resembling a regular gig, the sort who lives hand to mouth, short story to novel to short story and so forth – is that there's a lot of waking-up time. You might have to worry about paying the bills, but you can take three hours to chase the sleep away. But now, because of The Secret, I'm another sort of writer, and I'm having to get used to rolling out of bed and hitting the floor running, frosty, eyes wide, bright and shiny, Cap'n. I'm getting very good at faking awake and articulate.

I actually slept eight and a half hours last night.

Yesterday, I worked. A lot.

I just got word of the Decemberists EP that comes out on November 1, and there's the new Tom Waits next week. Music madness!

This morning, Spooky kindly made me eggs and bacon for breakfast. These days, left to my own devices, my usual breakfast is a can of Campbell's vegetarian vegetable soup. And now I have my sugar-free Red Bull, so all is right and Ceiling Cat is in his clouds, rubbing shoulders with the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I wish I had a good Hallowe'en party to attend this year, But, likely I shall not. Likely, we shall attend the Molten Masquerade, the annual iron pour at The Steel Yard, where over 500 pounds of liquid steel will flow beneath the night skies of Providence. It's hard to think of a better way to welcome Samhain. I mean, hard to think of a better way to welcome Samhain that doesn't involve nudity. And a sacrificial Scientologist.

A favor, please. If you've received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One), please leave a comment to that effect (and your location, if you don't mind). I just like watching my new books spread, like a pandemic.

Last night, after work, after Spooky went to the farmer's market, after meatloaf, we played RIFT for...a while. And then we read more of Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis' Wildwood. While Spooky read aloud, I used astronomy "apps" on Kermit to explore Mars and then the Moon. Ah, and yesterday I also managed to read four (!!!!) papers in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "A new Barremian (Early Cretaceous) ichthyosaur from western Russia," "A Carboniferous emblomere tail with supraneural radials," "The first temnospondyl amphibian from Japan," and "New evidence of large Permo-Triassic dicynodonts (Synapsida) from Australia."

And that was the best of yesterday. And now I will leave you with five more randomly chosen "behind the scenes" photos taken by Ryan Anas during last weekend's shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir trailer. However, these are so random, I think I'll add captions:

Ryan's Behind the Scenes, Part Two )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
See, it's not insomnia when you just stay up too late reading. No. It's not. That's called stupid. And so now I'm not awake, and I'm having to augment my sugar-free Red Bull by listening to Hubero going on about Sméagol freaking him out with carrot cards and a squeegee board. Funny cats are no fit substitute for sleep.

Currently, I'm being horrified by a new "texting" acronym: LMBO. Which is apparently what the Jesus has instructed good Xtians, fans of the Jonas Brothers, and devotees of Stephenie Meyer to use instead of LMAO. Because it's more wholesome to say "butt" than to say "ass." Really, people. What the fuck was wrong with "haha"? It's just as easy to "text" as LMAO. Four letters. Actually, it's easier to type than LMAO, because of the QWERTY keyboard layout. Also, it's logical. "Haha" isn't an acronym. It's an example of onomatopoeic language. Do not badly reinvent the wheel, people. That's why we have the Microsoft Corporation.

Yesterday was a symphony of...well, not dull. Actually, anything but dull. Exhausting, though, and vexing. I am now working on so many different projects at once, switching gears throws out my back about once a day. Or throws out my brain. Or whatever. Yesterday, after the blog entry, and after I brushed my teeth, and answered email, after all that, I had to send electronic files of the Authors Note and Author's Biography from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir to Penguin, because...let's not go there. I think people are forgetting how to retype. It all began with James Watt in 1779, unless it began with Johannes Gutenberg's printing press in 1436, unless it actually began with Bi Sheng in China in 1040, ol' Bi Sheng and his porcelain movable type. Wow. There's nine hundred and seventy-one years of laziness. And a huge digression.

I was saying, yesterday, after the files were sent to my editor at Penguin, I got back to my work on XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (guys, the TRUTH is out there, and it will be revealed in late November or early December, I am told, and we all have to sit tight until then). After that I was greeted by a mammoth email from my editor at Penguin, who needed clarification of several illegible comments I'd written on the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, illegible because the Lamictal (which I take for the seizures) makes my hands shake so badly. And that meant comparing my photostat (back to xeros + graphus) with her notes and...it took awhile, and a lot of patience on the part of the vocally reluctant (but ever helpful) Spooky. Then we had spaghetti. Then we proofread "John Four" for the first time since September 24, 2010 (I finished writing it on September 22, 2010), which is being reprinted in S. T. Joshi's A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, to be released in limited and trade editions in 2012 by Centipede Press (and maybe I wasn't suppose to announce that yet, but there you go). That was work yesterday, leaving out a few victuals and bits of flayed skin.

"John Four" is one of my best and strangest Lovecraftian stories, and I'm pleased to see it will be reprinted in such a good home.

Oh, and my comp copies of Stephen Jones The Book of Horror arrived, which reprints my story, "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint."

Last night, some very good RP in Insilico, and two episodes of Mad Men, and then, even though I was in bed by two-thirty ayem, I was awake until three forty-five, reading this, that, and the other. Included were two more stories from the Halloween anthology, Sarah Langan's "The Great Pumpkin Arrives at Last" and "The Sticks" by Charlee Jacob. The former is, at best, so-so. It relies too heavily on a somewhat unconvincing "twist ending." The latter, though, was quite effective, a story reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," though only in its most basic premise. I will admit, I'm uncomfortable talking about other authors' stories here, but there's a long tradition of authors commentating on authors, and if I'm going to read the damned things, I can at least be honest.

Spooky's no-longer-premature Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only one necklace and a bracelet left (plus paintings and other cool stuff), and who knows when she'll have time to make more. When making a purchase, IF YOU WANT THE SALE PRICE, you need to, at checkout, use the sale code SPOOK.

By the way, this is the one year anniversary of our return to Providence from Portland, Oregon. One year ago last night, we spent the whole night awake in the almost entirely deserted Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. Then...well, hell ensued. Anyway, here is a token from that night, which I may auction someday on eBay. It's companion, the shortest novel I ever wrote on a napkin, was auctioned last autumn.

The Napkin of Caribou )
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
I didn't work again yesterday. Somehow, taking one day off made me so tired that I needed two off. Which is odd, as I left the house on neither day. I think this is one reason I so rarely bother to take days off. Not only do I not have time, and not only do days off make me twitchy (no matter how much I need them), they also seems to make me tireder.

On this day a year ago—right about now—we were flying out of Portland, vaulting eastward, homeward, over a range of towering, snow-capped volcanic peaks, and little did we suspect the hell of air travel snafus and "we don't give a fucks" awaiting us in Minneapolis and beyond. Still, even for that, it was great trip. But I'll never fly again, unless I can't avoid it, or it means I get to cross the Atlantic.

---

Words I find I live by more and more:

Business as usual is unacceptable. If this is the best you can do, do better. Or do something else. Do not expect me to slow down so you can catch up. No one cares, and no one is coming for you. Desire does not equate to talent, and there is too much neglected talent for anyone to have to endure mediocrity born of even the most passionate, talentless desire. Yes, it's true that honey catches more flies than does vinegar, but fly paper catches far more than either. You're dying, already. Do not ask my opinion, unless you're willing to take a chance that I might disembowel your dreams, and no, it's not worth taking the chance.

I know how it looks. Or sounds. But all we have left to us is the truth. Lies are for the World At Large, for The Machine, for Them, the Faceless Corporate Rapists of the World. And the men and women who serve them, the men and women so filled with fear and self-loathing they only know how to believe and consume and hate. The willfully ignorant. If the truth is Hell, and Heaven a lie, give me Hell. That's the only sane choice (sane being an admittedly subjective term) .

This is what happens when I don't work. I bleed thoughts. Ugly thoughts. Like, "When did America cease producing adult human beings?"

---

I have received word from Subterranean Press that Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be arriving in the subpress warehouses today, BUT, Bill Scahfer says they "have a number of titles slated to hit the door before its turn, and half my shipping department is out sick. I don't think we'll be shipping for 1-2 weeks. " So, be patient, kittens. It's coming. It will be my Samhain gift to thee.

---

Nothing much happened yesterday. I took a long hot bath. There was washing-machine drama in Pickman's Basement. The new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived. I received a biography of Arthur Machen (coincidence?) I've not read as a gift from [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme in far-away England. Small thank yous are often the nicest. Not always, but frequently. I've been playing a lot of Rift again. Not RPIng, just playing. The guild is actually still alive, which sort of amazes (put pleases) me. Selwynn abandoned Meridian, sick of watching the Guardians and Defiant squabble over science and religion while Regulus destroys the world; she now slays demons on her own terms. There were sandwiches for dinner. We read, and then I read to myself, K. W. Jeter's (the man who invented the term "steampunk," April 1987) "Riding Bitch," from the Halloween anthology. Not bad, really. But I stayed up too late reading.

Spooky's Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only two necklaces and a bracelet left, and who knows when she'll have time to make more. You snooze, someone else wins.

Now, back to the donut mines...

For the Moment, Guileless,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Comment!

Spooky just quoted the Agricultural Commissioner of the state of Florida to me. "This snail is one bad dude," she said. Well, she said, he said. These are our mornings.

Yesterday, I didn't work. My body isn't exhausted. I've actually been getting more sleep than I did for a long time (finally having discovered the effective anti-insomnia cocktail...for me), but I've been working so much. For a long time, I was truly too ill to take on more than...this gets sort of funny. Even when I was very ill, I was working a lot. I'm making a living as a freelance, and so there's no choice but to work. Health is not relevant, not really. Regardless, about a year and a half ago, I began getting better, and taking on more work, and conceiving new ideas, and, at this point, I go to sleep working out problems in my fiction and wake up doing the same thing. Okay, more the former than the latter. But it's catching up with me, and my mind and nerves are tired. All thus fucking work. So, I didn't work yesterday.

I suppose autumn is here. I haven't spent much time outside, but it must be here. I feel it. It isn't looking in. Why would it bother? But I feel its dry brown eyes upon me, if only because I'm in the way. Not that I believe the autumn is something that can literally have eyes. And speaking of the autumn, and Hallowe'en, Spooky is having a Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. 20% off on everything! And if you don't buy something, she'll get sad, and when she gets sad.... Well, trust me. You don't want her sad. So, please...buy something. The necklaces are truly amazing.

Actually, I hate that word. Sad*, I mean. It's a child's word. There at least twenty synonyms in the English language that are far more suitable to mature vocabularies. Of course, if you are a child, by all means, good word. Use it till the wheels fall off.*

I'm having a great deal of frustration as regards futurism at the moment. I don't mean the artistic movement that arose in Italy about 1910 (including Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Antonio Sant'Elia, Tullio Crali and Luigi Russolo, plus the Russians Natalia Goncharova, Velimir Khlebnikov, and Vladimir Mayakovsky). I mean futurism in the many senses that it is employed by those who wish to analyze trends and then forecast. But I don't mean those looking for better futures (there are none), and I don't mean those who believe the future can be accurately forecast (that's almost impossible; not quite, but almost). What I have in mind is far simpler: communicating to people that the future will be alien, just as the past is alien. That is, alien to us, from the Here and Now. And convincing people they do not currently live in some incarnation or portion of the future (excepting that this came after that; well, that's bloody obvious, and now you're even older). I mean, the future will be different, and the farther you move into the future, the stranger (less like now) it becomes. That everything evolves, and not just technology, but culture. SF writers have an especial problem with evolving culture, economics, biology, medicine, politics, and especially with evolving language. But...I'm not actually concerned here with writers. Even the worst SF writer is ahead of the curve in this regard. I'm talking about...oh, never mind. You can lead a horse to a fine Bordeaux, but it's just gonna want the oogy, muddy, stinking water in the drinking through, where all the rodents poop. Some will know of what I speak; others will not.

Did I mention that Spooky is having a Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. I did? Just checking.

Last night, we happened to see a rather good movie, Christian Alvart's Case 39 (2009), with Renée Zellweger, Ian McShane, and Jodelle Ferland. I went in not expecting much, and was pleasantly surprised. You could call this a "horror movie," and maybe it is. But I find it more interesting to think of as a film about terror and horror (and those aren't the same emotions, you know, regardless of how linked they may be). Also, while this film clearly comes from the demonic child/possession tradition, it immediately struck me as a story about a fairie changeling, and (though the word demon is tossed about a couple of times, and we see a crucifix and a Bible, the Xtianity thing is almost absent). So, it may be Alvart had something far less concrete than a "demon" (sensu Xtianity) in mind. It may only be that he understands the American mind, needing something familiar, would fix on "demon." Anyway, Case 39 is not a particularly original movie, so if you're that sort (and I hope you're not), don't waste your time with it. It plays old tropes, but it plays them well. It's not brilliant, but it is good, and it's stuck with me. There are elements it borrows from better films, but it borrows them well. And, even in an ending that might seem hopeful, step back, and you'll see the overwhelming bleakness and horror still in play. It's streaming free on Netflix.

Later, I read a truly awful story in the Halloween anthology, Lyllian Huntley Harris' "The Vow on Halloween." Never heard of Lyllian Huntley Harris? Well, neither had I, and with good reason. The anthology's editor (who freely admits this tale is "pure pulp and quaintly romantic") notes that the story was, in a 1985 anthology, mistakenly attributed to the Irish novelist Dorothy Macardle. Turns out, though, it was published in Weird Tales in 1924, by a Georgian woman (that is, Georgia, USA), and her name was Lyllian Huntley Harris, and she couldn't write for shit. Virtually nothing else is known about her. She died in 1939.

Oh, we saw the first episode of Season Four of Fringe, and...wow. More, please. I am impressed and pleased. There are points I could get picky about, but I'm not going to, because the show is just too much fun.

Also, here's an interesting bit of trivia. My first rejection slip ever came from the late, lamented Twlight Zone magazine in 1982 (at least, I think it was '82). The story was a stinker, and it deserved the rejection, believe me. Anyway, at the time, the editor was T. E. D. Klein, who wrote the excellent and surprisingly (to me) successful Machenesque novel The Ceremonies (1984) and the shorty-story collection Dark Gods (1985), and, sadly, very little else. But, yeah, my first rejection slip came from T. E. D. Klein, who, turns out, wrote the introduction of the forthcoming Hippocampus Press collection of Arthur Machen stories, which will feature the afterword I wrote in 2008 for a different collection of Machen stories. It's an odd little twist of fate.

Um...well...I have gone on haven't I?

Inveterate,
Aunt Beast

* Then again, there's really nothing wrong with the word sad. Not intrinsically. The problem is people who use it childishly, habitually, with marked naïveté. Usually, these are people with a stunted world view.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
And here it is the second of Hallowe'en, and on this day one year ago I was in Portland, Oregon, Guest of Honoring for the Lovecraft Film Festival. In fact, on this night a year ago I gave the speech that was recently published in the fifth issue of The Lovecraft Annual. I'm having one of those "How can a year have already come and gone?" days. Then again, since this day two years ago, I've written two novels and...well, a metric-asston of stuff has happened.

Yesterday, I pulled together everything for Sirenia Digest #70. Great cover this month. So, as soon as I have Vince Locke's illustration, it goes out to subscribers (if you are a subscriber). But, yeah, that was work yesterday.

And a there was an email from Gary K. Wolfe that actually managed to make me happy. Kind of scary when that happens. My moments of the happy, I mean. More on this very soon.

It's Sunday, and Sunday is a very good day to order your copy of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) (sorry, the super-snazzy limited sold out long ago, but there's still a few copies of the snazzy trade edition).

And before anyone asks (as if anyone need ask), yes, I support OccupyWallStreet one-hundred percent, and I only hope we see more protests of this magnitude in more cities across the country. "We are unions, students, teachers, veterans, first responders, families, the unemployed and underemployed. We are all races, sexes and creeds. We are the majority. We are the 99 percent. And we will no longer be silent." I wouldn't hasten to add, we are artists.

Last night, we drove up to a four-band show in Pawtucket, at the Met Cafe in the Hope Artiste Village. Well, mostly, we went to see Brown Bird (click for the HEARING OF THE MUSIC), who played second. We are Brown Bird addicts, because they rock. Yes, they do, so don't make that face, you sluggard! But the first band was a group from Chicago, Pillars and Tongues (their Band Camp site), and they, too, were truly amazing. Spooky described them as the lovechild of David Sylvian, Brenden Perry, and Sixteen Horsepower. And Mark Trecka plays the harmonium! Wonderful. Then Brown Bird came on, and I was very confused, until I figured out that strange woman wandering around on stage was, in fact, Morganeve, who's cut all her hair off. Others were also confused. We left after Brown Bird, even though we wanted to see Dark Dark Dark play. But the third band was...bad. And painful. As in, a trumpet (or coronet?) splitting our skulls apart. And the bad clothes. Like, a thousand hipsters dumped into a blender and out popped this bad. Oh, and banana shoes. Let us not forget the hallowed banana shoes. We did discover that by the time we'd left the building, and walked around front and across the street to the parking lot, by then they sounded okay. But, yes, Pillars and Tongues and Brown Bird. If they play near you, SEE THESE BANDS. There are three photos behind the cut:

1 October 2010 )


Back home...we watched Mad Men (in Season Three, now), and I read to Spooky from Halloween. Yeah, I'm having another go at reading through an anthology that's reprinted one of my stories, since it's been going fairly well, this odd new habit. Oh, and I've never before been in an anthology that also includes Sir Walter Scott. Anyway, I read her "Ulalume: A Ballad" (including the last stanza, which is usually missing) and Lovecraft's "Hallowe'en in a Suburb," which led to a rather amusing conversation about lemurs, Lemuria, Goethe, and the lemures of Roman mythology. Then she went to sleep, and I read, to myself, Joe Lansdale's extremely effective "On a Dark October."

And that, Kätzchen, was yesterday, give or take.

Car Lagged,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
No, I'm awake. I promise. I can even see. Almost. I have even managed to survive the severe upbraiding I have received from Spooky for having awakened her at dawn-thirty because I was awakened by Hubero at dawn-thirty. I don't know why I did it! He does crazy shit, okay?! Crazy-ass cat shit, and usually she knows how to scare him in to calming the hell down. Instead, no, I'm in trouble for waking her up – me, the victim.

But that's cool. No more saving her from sasquatches.

And here it is the First of Hallowe'en, which would be fine, if I hadn't lost the first third of summer to rain, and the second third to...a bunch of dumb shit.

Yesterday I wrote a mere 454 words on "Daughter Dear Desmodus." Then I realized, This isn't a vignette. Or even a "sudden" fiction, or a short short, or whatever the beatniks are saying these days. It's not a short story, and I think it's more than a novelette. Or even a novella. Gods fuck me sideways, I think it's the first few pages of a novel about a "bat girl" in a carnival sideshow and how she grows up to unwittingly become the center of a doomsday cult, and fall in love. You know, like Water for Elephants on LSD.* And that's when I typed, THE END, because if I stopped at the conclusion of the paragraph I was writing, the story would have a happy ending. Okay, not happy. But what Spooky pronounced "sweet." Look, I don't know if it's the pills they give me so I don't flop around on the floor and choke on my own spittle to die the ignominious death of Tchaikovsky, or if I'm just getting old...but I find myself, now and again, wanting to let a character with whom I have fallen in love off the hook just a little. IS THAT SO BAD? Anyway, this is the story Vince will be illustrating, instead of the other story.

Spooky's muttering about washing her hair.

Yesterday, the mail (which only works about half the time) brought me my comp copies of Paula Guran's Halloween (Prime Books), a volume with many fine authors (Ray Bradbury, Thomas Ligotti, Lovecraft, Peter Straub, me, and etcetera) that reprints my piece, "On the Reef" (I found two minor typos; my fault). Oddly, I appear only ever to have written two "Hallowe'en stories": "At the Reef" and "A Redress for Andromeda." More proof I'm not a "horror" writer. You know, people still get hung up on that shit, me refusing to be called a "horror" writer. They take it personally. Seriously. For my part, I look at writers I admire, who had a great influence on me growing up. Ray Bradbury (again), for example. Sure, he writes science fiction, and fantasy (sensu stricto and sensu lato), and scary stories, and non-fantastic lit. Italo Calvino? Ambrose Bierce? Or Harlan Ellison, for example. You could not find an author more impossible to categorize (okay, well maybe you could, but that's not the point). He writes...what he wants to write. Same with Shirley Jackson: ghost stories, insightful stories about insanity and the labyrinth of the American family, and she also wrote some very funny shit. And Lovecraft? You really think "The Colour Out of Space" and "At the Mountains of Madness" are "horror" stories? But...William Gibson's "Hinterlands," that's sceince fiction? Pffffft.

You know, there are an awful lot of quotation marks in the last paragraph.

Today I work on pulling Sirenia Digest #70 together, so that I can send it to be PDF'd as soon as I have Vince's illustration, then Spooky can send it out to all the subscribers (and if you are not one of those, it's NEVER too late...unless you die first).

Some really fine RP in Insilico last night. Thank you, Joah. You've helped to complete the building of the perfect beast. And I read Algernon Blackwood's sublime "The Wendigo" for the umpteenth time, but every time it amazes me all the more.

Anyway...you know what? I consider myself a connoisseur of fetishes. There are few of them with which I am not acquainted. And there are still fewer that don't get me off. Wait...never mind. This isn't about non-Euclidian geometry and larger and smaller infinities, Georg Cantor and his cardinalities, integers vs. whole numbers. Not that math can't be a fetish. It can. But...what was I saying? Oh! Yes! Every now and then I watch the creation of a new fetish right before my very eyes and I know - with perfect clarity - it was created just for me. To whit, Christina Hendricks and her red accordion. I would show you the clip, but YouTube has disabled embedding by request. You'll have to settle for a link to Christina Hendricks playing her red accordion. And really, it's all I need. I could just...sit...and watch...her and...that red accordion...for hours. Without breathing.

Stopping Before Someone Gets Hurt,
Aunt Beast

*A novel I might be able to write by 2014.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I begin to have doubts about my home state when I consider that when, in 1954, either the ruby-throated hummingbird or osprey could have been chosen as the State Bird, voters picked, instead, a chicken.

Um...this is Thursday, right? I thought so. It's actually raining. Started last night, but it's going to be sunny and warm again tomorrow.

Yesterday, I wrote only 953 words, because that's all that was required to reach THE END of "Evensong." It came out not so much a vignette as a very short short story. I think. Why the fuck do we have to categorize, anyway? It's fiction. Leave it at that. Regardless, subscribe! Today, I begin the second new piece for Sirenia Digest #70.

Spooky's having a Premature Halloween Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. Good and spooky stuff. Also, for those who contributed to the Tale of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter, the paintings are almost finished (you now can see these in the project's blog, if you were a backer). I haven't begun on the text yet, but after the LONG delay, the project is chugging towards completion! The Goat Girls live, booya!

Yesterday was dull as the Rhode Island state bird. And that's sort of a good thing. I needed a genuinely dull day. No alarms and no surprises, please. I think the worst of it was the big Rift 1.5 patch. But, hey...those of us who've been there since the start got cool new stuff. And soon we Defiant can buy yarnosaurs! That is, those of us who've been there since the beginning. The rest of you are out of luck. For dinner, we ate the Rhode Island state bird (roasted), then ate Hallowe'en candy, and watched the end of Season Two of Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit. The show seems to finally be wandering farther afield from the rape/child abuse case of the week formula. Someone must have finally realized there are bolder sex crimes afoot. Either that, or the ratings dropped. We read more of The Sundial.

If you ordered Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me: Volume One, it ought to be arriving any day, if it hasn't already. I'm eagerly awaiting my own copies. Also, I have received word that the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has reached my editor at Penguin. The postal goblins didn't eat it.

Excuse me. I'm going to ask the state bird why it crossed the road.

Curiouser and Curiouser,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Fuck, I feel like doing something depraved. Something truly, truly unregenerate. With pony girls and glass dildos. Instead, I'll spend the day writing.

Fuck.

Um...where was I?

Yesterday, I did a LOT of work, but I can't tell you on what, or the men in black Cadillacs and black suits will come and take me away. But it was a lot of work, and it will continue today...and for quite some time. Someday, I will be able to end this silence.

Any comments on Sirenia Digest #69? All will be entertained. Most will be answered. Pipe up, kittens.

Also, we have only 70 hours remaining the Kickstarter for mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. We're well-funded at this point, but it seems to a shame to miss the $3,000 mark by a mere $107. So...here's the deal. This is off the official rewards books, but anyone who donates $50 over the next 70 hours will receive a signed page, hand-corrected, from the actual "first draft" of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir manuscript. No fooling. Have at it, please. Just email me your names and addresses (greygirlbeast[at]gmail[dot]com) and you will be rewarded. This would be in addition to the 8x12 or 4x6 prints you'd receive anyway, and yes, if you've already donated $50, you'll also get this reward.

Last night, Spooky went to Target and got me wicked cool Día de los Muertos pajama pants, black with brightly colored sugar skulls, and they are pleasing me no end. I think I may not take them off for days. And yet...Target did not have the Hallowe'en candy out, thwarting my sweet tooth and in all defiance of the laws of unreasonably early holiday marketing strategies. BUT! They did have the Hallowe'en pet costumes out. Damn you, Target, you frakking perverts!

We almost finished reading The Stand last night. Also, I read another story from The Book of Cthulhu. It's a very mixed bag, this book. Some classics that deserve to be classics, some wonderful surprises, and a few stories I would gladly be fucked up the ass with a red-hot poker before reading (Brian Lumley, anyone?). Anyway, last night I read a piece called "Jeroboam Henley's Debt" by Charles R. Saunders, which at first seemed to have promise. For one, it's extremely rare to encounter a "mythos"/Lovecraftian story involving primarily African American characters. Moreover, Saunders is a black man, who has written essays on why blacks don't (but should) read science fiction. And the writing was passable, so I had some hope. But, about three quarters of the way through, the tale lapsed into clichéd voodoo histrionics and plot twists that almost broke my neck. So, yeah. It had potential, but fizzled. The story was originally published in 1982.

And now, now I must get back to my work on phased arrays of 7-hertz infrasonic weapons for the Department of...um, I mean, um, get back to work on that. That thing. Yeah. I will say that this work – thought I love it – is stressful enough I started smoking again yesterday (American Spirit, perique blend). Hopefully, that won't last long.

In Hiding,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather has finally turned genuinely cold here in Providence.

I suppose I can write the entry I meant to write yesterday, given I have not yet today been jabbed in the eye with the pointy stick of a homophobic "review." Maybe that happens later, late this afternoon, or tonight.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which include Study #2 for Yellow. [This entry was just interrupted by the discovery of a mouse in Spooky's workroom...time for humane traps, as the mice are bold and apparently the cats can't be bothered].

Two good nights sleep in a row, so I suppose only getting four hours last night was to be expected.

Yesterday, I wrote an impressive 1,664 words on Chapter One of The Drowning Girl. This is the first time I've had the nerve to go back to work on the novel since August 4th. I scrapped everything I wrote this summer and started over again. But, I think I have finally found the voice of this novel. It's a new voice, another first-person narrative, but quite distinct from Sarah Crowe (though India Phelps is another goddamn lesbian, so buyer beware). Anyway, here's hoping the third or fourth time's the charm, because I've gotten the third extension of this novel's deadline, and I need to have something coherent for my publisher come March. I have set a goal of writing at least 1,500 words a day, every day, at least for the next month, a thing I've not attempted since early 2007, and which I swore I'd never inflict upon myself again.

Sirenia Digest #59 went out to subscribers last night. Two new stories, which I hope readers will enjoy.



---

A fine Halloween this year. I worked on the digest, but afterwards I read the first volume of Kirkman and Moore's The Walking Dead ("Days Gone Bye"). I followed that with Thomas Ligotti's "The Medusa." As we'd declared Sunday night a Kid Night, we had hot dogs and candy (too much candy) and watched "scary" movies (I use the quotations because I rarely find "scary" movies scary, which is okay, because I enjoy them on many other levels). In fact, we made is a quadruple feature! We began with Jon Harris' The Descent: Part 2 (2009), which wasn't as good as the first film (not as atmospheric, and we see the monsters far too clearly this time), but was still a decent sequel. There are some interesting parallels between The Descent/The Descent: Part 2 and Alien/Aliens. Next up, we watched Jim Mickle's Mulberry Street (2006), a surprisingly effective low-budget affair which did a much better job of portraying NYC than most big budget films set in NYC manage. We followed that with Mark A. Lewis' The Thaw (2009), which was better than it should have been, given how much it borrows from Carpenter's The Thing and a particular episode of The X-Files ("Ice," Season 1, Episode 8). Finally, we finished up with the astoundingly ridiculous Vampires: Los Muertos, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (2002). John Bon Jovi is a freelance vampire hunter with a surf board; the only thing this film really had going for it was Arly Jover's performance as a blue-eyed, sexy vampire (Jover also played a vampire in 1998's Blade). So, yeah. A pretty damn good Halloween.

---

Last night, we saw the first episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, adapted from the aforementioned graphic novel of the same name. I was impressed. Not only was the first episode extremely faithful to the source material, it brought a new depth to the story. And it's pretty cool seeing a post-apocalyptic Atlanta. However, I will say that I'm dangerously near total burnout on zombie films, good or bad or otherwise. I think we've reach that point with zombies that we reached with vampires in the early '90s. I fear it's time to step away from the zombies for a while (though, of course, the cultural fascination at work here is rife with potential insight).

---

After The Walking Dead, I played CoX, and got Erzsébetta from Level 29 to Level 38. Plus, there was some good rp.

Okay. Time to write.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A blessed Samhain, and a Happy Halloween.

As it happens, I only got half of what I should have gotten done yesterday done. I made the line edits to "And the Cloud That Took the Form" and "At the Reef." I nailed down the cover image. But then it was late and I had to start getting ready for the Brown reading. So, expect Sirenia Digest #59 tomorrow. It can be the Día de los Muertos issue.

The reading went well last night (photos below). We scored rock-star parking directly across the street from the bookstore. I read "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4)" and "In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection." My thanks to Bob Geake and Barry DeJesu for setting up the reading, and to everyone who came out. It was good to see [livejournal.com profile] catconley again, and to meet Brian Hauser, winner of the Deep One Award for Best Screenplay, for his Cult Flick, at the HPLFF (he also attended my reading in Portland).

On the way home, we got burgers and Quebec fries from Stanley's. I spent the evening playing City of Heroes and Villains, while Spooky played Lord of the Rings Online. I was in bed a little after two, and Spooky read Kelly Link's superb "Monster" to me. I slept, finally, a good seven and a half hours, the best I've managed for some time. Maybe Quebec fries are a good sleep aid. Or maybe it's Kelly Link.

We did not try to attend the annual Iron Pour at the Steel Yard, not after the mess that last year was. I'm just glad we got to attend in '08, before it became The Hip Hipster Thing To Do. Tonight, we'll stay in and have a misplaced Kid Night, with zombie movies, candy, and a fort built of chairs and blankets.

My thanks to the people who commented (and bid) on the painting yesterday. I'll likely start Black Ships Ate the Sky tomorrow, but it won't be auctioned. It will be for me.

We've been enjoying reading banners and signs from yesterday's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in D.C." I am deeply envious of [livejournal.com profile] sovay, who actually got to attend. I'm hoping the numbers in attendance, far oustripping Glenn Beck's turnout, will be reflected at the polls.

Okay. Gotta work, to earn this Kid Night. Here are the photos from last night:

Pumpkins and Tentacles )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Four very cool things:

1) My latest "yellow house" story, "The Belated Burial," is now online at Subterranean Magazine.

2) My interview with WoW.com is also now online. I'm very pleased with the screencaps. It's official. I am an uber-nerd.

3) On Monday, Amazon.com published their Top Ten List of F&SF Books from 2009. Cat Valente's Palimpsest took the number one slot, but I was very, very happy with landing the second place slot with The Red Tree. Also, two anthologies that made the list include my fiction, Peter Straub's American Fantastic Tales ("The Long Hall on the Top Floor"), at fourth place, and Jonathan Stathan's Eclipse Three ("Galápagos"), at eighth place. An excellent list.

4. I have accepted an invitation to appear as Guest of Honor at Arcana 39 in St. Paul, Minnesota, October 15-17th, 2010. I will be doing a signing at DreamHaven Books on October 14th.

A long time since I had that many announcements to make in one entry.

---

Yesterday was sunny and almost warm here in Providence, and I was lured Outside. We left the house with no particular destination in mind, but as Spooky was pulling out of the drive, I spotted our jack-o'-lantern, still on the stoop. My plan had been to carry it to the park and leave to rot beneath a tree. But suddenly I had a better plan, one that would save it from the possibility of being smashed by a passing somebody. "I want to drop it in the river," I said, though at first I was unsure which river. We decided on the Saugatucket, where it winds through Wakefield, just west of the abandoned railroad/bike path. So...we drove south to Wakefield. I carried my first New England jack-o'-lantern out onto the bridge, held it over the abyss, and dropped it into the tea-colored, tannin-stained water ten or so feet below. It hit with a terrific splash and very briefly submerged. I'd expected it to simply sink. Instead, it was buoyed back to the surface by the air trapped inside. It rolled over once, so it was upside down, and proceeded to float. Though the river flows west, the dam keeps the current to a minimum here, and the wind began moving it eastward, against the current. We watched for twenty minutes or so, until it snagged in some low branches near the shore. All in all, it seemed a very fitting way to dispose of a pumpkin. There are photos behind the cut:

3 November 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
I have often said that I write too much. Of course, what I really mean is that I have to write too much, in order to be paid enough for everything I write in order to keep the bills paid. But, in some sense, the why of it is irrelevant. Drop the explanation and stick to the fact: I write too much. And sometimes I am made acutely aware of how much too much I write.

Yesterday, for example, [livejournal.com profile] smallpinkfish asked about the provenance of the following passage, which comes from The Dry Salvages, which I wrote in 2003, and which was published in 2004:

"’And still’” she said, “’we do not see that we are not gods, The holy fathers and holy mothers and demons of our lost antiquities, Adoro te devote, latens Deitas, quae sub his figuris vere latitas. We do not comprehend our insignificance at the feet of eternity.’

“’ We have not the time to learn. We have not the courage to admit. We have not the strength to accept, and, accepting, move beyond this grinding infancy. Instead, we bring snow and ice to birthday parties in Hell and congratulate our ignorance.’”


To start with, I couldn't remember it having been part of The Dry Salvages (the question did not originally state the source or context of the quote). When I was asked about the passage, I just assumed that I'd not written it, that I was quoting someone else, and set about trying to track down the author. I searched books, and I searched the internet. And this morning I realized that I wrote it. Well, not the Latin bit. That was borrowed from the Prayer of St. Thomas (ca. 1260).

One should not cease to recognize the face of one's own creations. Or, at least it seems that way to me.

---

Sirenia Digest #47 went out to subscribers late last night, so if you're a subscriber, you should have it by now. I do hope that you enjoy "The Dissevered Heart."

This latest round of eBay auctions ends today, in just a bit. Please have a look.

And I have a few photographs, as promised, of this year's jack-o'-lantern, which is, by the way, the first I ever carved in New England (though, Spooky did the mouth, as I was impatient):

31 October-1 November 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
And here it is November, again.

Much to my surprise, Narragansett Beer has acknowledged The Red Tree. It's a weird, weird world. But weird is my friend.

A quick note to Sirenia Digest subscribers. #47 should be going out to subscribers this evening, only a day late. So, watch your inboxes. And the skies. Always keep watching the skies.

A strange weekend, and the strangeness really had nothing to do with Samhain or Halloween. I was so under the weather all week, and as Friday evening rolled around, I was feeling a bit better. Dusk found us at the Steel Yard, for the annual Iron Pour. But there were far more people than last year, and just as things were getting started, I could no longer tolerate all those bodies and faces and voices. It was impossible to see much of anything, anyway. So we left, got some Chinese takeout, and headed back home. We watched M. Night Shyamalan's Signs (2002) again. This made my third time, and I still think it's a brilliant film (and, indeed, am of the opinion that Shyamalan has made only one less-than-brilliant film, The Happening, and if you should disagree, please do not do so here).

Saturday was the first day in about a week that I really felt like working. That is, that I felt well enough to work. I wrote a rather longish prolegomena for Sirenia Digest #47. Why the hell doesn't LJ know how to spell prolegomena? Godsdamned illiterate program. Anyway, while I was writing, Spooky went to the market. She came home and announced that it was beautiful outside (72F, with 10-20 mph winds), and that I should get out of the House. And, really, it was the first day since last weekend that I'd genuinely felt up to the daunting perils of Outside. So I got dressed, and we drove through downtown Providence to Benefit Street. We walked. We watched RISD students (some in costume, some not) and great swirls of leaves buoyed by the wind. We spent a little time in the Athenaeum (another word LJ can't spell). Oh it can't spell Samhain, either. Anyway...Benefit Street was made for Bradbury Weather.

Back home, we carved a pumpkin, and I made a very simple, but very yummy, beef stew. We also had Dogfish Head "Midas Touch" ale. It's cool stuff actually. Barley, honey, white muscat grapes, and saffron, brewed from a recipe rediscovered by a molecular archeologist who analyzed residue from 2,700-year-old Iron Age drinking vessels discovered in central Turkey. Delicious. We lit candles on the altar, and that was our Samhain feast. Later, we lit the jack-o'-lantern and gave out candy to trick-or-treaters. There are a few photos from the weekend behind the cut (below).

And now it's November, again. And I'm back on Caitlín Standard Time (CST; originally, Caitlín Stabilizing Time), which is to say, for the fifth consecutive year, we're ignoring the end of Daylight Savings Time. I know it's traditional to hate Daylight Savings Time, but I don't. I much prefer it. So, we've lived on it since 2004.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, if you've not already. Bid if you are able and so disposed. I will mention that we likely won't be offering The Black Alphabet again for quite some time. This round of auctions ends tomorrow.

And now, some photos, and I must take platypus in hand and get to work:

30 October-31 October 2009 )


Damn, I just realized I didn't upload photos of our jack-o'-lantern. Ah, well...tomorrow.
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
Last year, after we spent Halloween at the Steel Yard, I promised photographs, and for a solid year, they have been sitting on my iMac's desktop, unposted. Tonight, I chose eight and added them as a postscript to last year's November 1st entry.

By the way, tomorrow night is the annual Iron Pour, gates open at 6 p.m., performance from 7-8:30 p.m. I understand we are going to have bleachers this year.

And I'm feeling a little better. The weekend may not be a loss, after all.
greygirlbeast: (cleav1)
Not a very Samhain or Hallowe'en sort of sentiment, I know. But it's true, and it's the subject line that popped into my head. Hubero, brawny little fellow that he is, says Byron is his Daddy, so it's all okay.

Lots of chaos and fuss hereabouts, getting ready for our house guests, who will be arriving Thursday from Arkansas and Alabama, and also getting ready for the Trick-or-Treaters tonight. I was so, so brave yesterday. Not only did I go outside, I went to bloody, frelling Target. Because the little bratlings must have candy, though I rather like my idea of handing out tiny packets of salt and black pepper, ketchup and mustard and whatever else we could scarf up for free at fast-food places. I mean, condiments are sort of like candy. Sort of. Alas, Spooky said no, so we went to Target. And I did not scream, though the combo Pizza Hut/Starbuck's was almost more than my mind could endure. Oh, and we carved pumpkins yesterday. There are some photos (behind the cut) of this year's jack-o-lanterns. In the photo of the two together, I carved the uppermost one:

Pumpkolanternia )


Some good thoughts regarding Joey Lafaye yesterday, which is to say that I'm working on the novel, even if I'm not quite working on it at the keyboard yet...

Tonight, if you are so inclined, you are invited to join me in the Second Life steampunk milleau of New Babbage for a Samhain bonfire behind the Abney Park Laboratory. The Professor will be making a brief appearance, just long enough for the ceremony, as she has been busy elsewhere recently...on an extended cuttlefishing expedition. Well, that's the cover story, should anyone ask. I do not have a hard-and-fast time for the event, but the bonfire will be sometime between 9:30 and 10:30 EDT, probably. I may post an update later with a more precise time. As for how to find Abney Park, if you teleport into Babbage Square, the good Professor's laboratory is the first building east of the train depot. I'm trying to decide whether or not I can get away with doing it "virtually" skyclad. Sheesh, last year I celebrated Samhain in the woods around a real bonfire, getting real bug bites in unmentionable places because I was not merely virtually skyclad. The invitation came again this year (thank you, once more), but there was just too much going on to get away. Here's a quote regarding my experience last year which I came across this morning, a response to a question as to why I found working skyclad so liberating:

To put it as simply as I can, I suspect that the reason I found the experience so very positive arose mainly from the knowledge that I stood there before the whole universe, that vast and largely unfathomable cosmos, and nothing stood between me and it. No clothing, no walls, no rooftops. The star-dabbed wheel of the sky, the brilliant waxing quarter moon, our chants, the cold air, the crackle and smoky smell of the bonfire, the knowledge that I stood as all creatures throughout all galaxies have ever stood, naked in every sense, in every way, as perfectly devoid of barriers as I am presently able to be. There was a grand giddiness, an ecstasy. For me, ecstasy is at the heart of Neo-paganism. Ecstasy and celebration and communion, and Saturday night was my most...what word, what word...my most complete experience of all three to date.

Yep.

One of the weird emails from Monday morning was someone wanting me to grant them a "free option" to adapt "Bela's Plot" to the screen. I dutifully passed the request along to my lit agent, Merrilee, and my film agent, Julien, though I knew the default answer to all "free option" inquiries is a polite "no." Here's the deal: If you can scrape up the money to make a film, even an ultra low-budget one, you can also scrape up the cash to pay the author some pittance upfront for your use of the source material.

I'd still love to hear more thoughts on Sirenia Digest #23. My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] setsuled for this bit yesterday:

Both stories seem concerned with unspoken communion. I was reminded of the Japanese aesthetic concept of Yugen, the idea that certain concepts or emotions can only be transmitted without words. Obviously the "voiceless communion a hundred million years older even than the coming of mankind" in "The Bed of Appetite" would remind me of yugen, but it's also in the mysterious objects left by the ghosts in "The Madam of the Narrow Houses," and the peculiar explanation the ghost offers for the protagonist's state of health.

Both stories deal with characters unmoved or irritated by false affections; the character in the first story is contrasted with the people who don't really care for their own children, yet nonetheless wonder why she doesn't marry. A character is described in the second story as never casually handing out praise. Both characters seem to seek transcending the false world by strange avenues. That the second story is concerned with art is significant, as is the fact one character insists that he doesn't attempt to find a publisher for his writing because he writes for himself. One might say the purpose of art is to find means of expressing what's otherwise inexpressible.


Okay. The year is turning, and there's mischief to be made. Come on, platypus. Let's get to it...

Postscript (5:44 p.m. EST): My modest Second Life Samhain ceremony in New Babbage will begin at 10:30 p.m. EST (which is 7:30 SLT/PST). Hope to see you there.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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