greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
January is almost over, and we've had one snow. It only lasted a day before the melting began. I only have four data points from which to work, so my results are suspect, but based on those four, it's been an unusual winter here in Providence. Sunny today, and presently 39˚F.

I haven't seen the sea since sometime in mid December.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,249 words and finished "Camuffare." It's an unexpectedly gentle story. And, despite being very, very strange, it's certainly one of the most straightforwardly sexual (as opposed to more broadly erotic) I've written for the Digest. Quiet. I'm very pleased with it. Today, I begin a second piece for #74, for which I presently have no title.

I fear, these last few days, I may have been backsliding on the diet.

Last night, determined to stay off SW:toR (and we did!), we binged on whatever you call it when you stream video through a laptop. We watched last week's episode of Fringe – superb – then moved along to two films. SPOILERS The first, The Vicious Brothers' Grave Encounters (2011) came recommended by a friend who's taste is often in sync with our own. And...Grave Encounters is almost a very creepy film done very well. Almost. It has moments of brilliance. But, in the end, there are too many examples of the creators' never having learned that, more often than not, when tugging at the strings that control dread and outright fear, less is much more. We do not need hackneyed images cadged from hundreds of Japanese horror films and the like, not when the filmmakers have actually plugged into what makes Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves such a wondrous thing (stretches of this movie are close to straightforward adaptations of the novel). There's imagery and circumstance within Grave Encounters so effective that we don't need actual ghosts and monsters popping out of the walls. Whenever the ghoulies appear, the atmosphere and tension are shattered, and the whole thing threatens to careen into camp. You ought to see the film for those parts that work (none of which I will here spoil), but you also ought to know that, in the end, the film falls apart, and the conclusion, which literally opens a door into a blackness so profound it might have been genius, is squandered on cheesy images of pretend occultism and mad scientists. Okay, that's a spoiler. Sorry. But someone needs to take the "Vicious Brothers" (guys, get actual names...really, please) aside and show them how they almost made a truly impressive film. SPOILER ALERT ENDS

Afterwards, we watched Ole Bornedal's Nightwatch (1997; based on Bornedal's Nattevagten, 1994). Nice cast, including Ewan McGregor, Patricia Arquette, Nick Nolte, and Brad Dourif, plus an utterly inspired bit performance by Lonny Chapman. It's not a great film. It's a nice thriller with a decent amount of tension. If you're the sort who watches a "whodunit," and actually expects to have a hard time figuring out "whodunit," you'll be disappointed. I'm not that sort of person. And Ewan McGregor rocks. Even in bad Star Wars films. And Brad fucking Dourif. So, there you go. I enjoyed it.

Also, I began reading The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling, a biography of Mary Anning.

Now...I should go make words.

Trust Me,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Comment today, kittens. It'll help.

Three years ago, on December 24th, I wrote these lines:

"Last night, as I tried to find sleep, Spooky and I talked about having a farm. I would give up writing, I said, except for those things I wanted passionately to write, and we would have goats and chickens and an old horse and sheep and bees and rabbits. Orchards of apples and blueberry bushes behind fieldstone walls. We would have an enormous garden. It would be hard, hard work, but we would be as self sufficient as anyone can hope to be in this odd millennium. We'd only need to buy grain and sugar and coffee and such. We'd have a windmill for electricity, and a well. It was a pretty dream, no matter how impossible, to have before sleep and the inevitable nightmares, a dream of dirty hands and sweat and not sitting in this chair every goddamn day, worrying about sales figures."

Three years later, I still resurrect the daydream, now and again. Or Kathryn will. It's not dead.

---

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] mizliz (in response to my second entry yesterday), expressed her confusion over the meaning (to use the word loosely) of Z'omglol. Not wanting to dig too deeply into the politics and semantics of the more asinine denizens of MMORPGs – which would be, depending on the game, 75%-90% of the players – I'll toss out the quick answer, cribbed from that most tiresome of sources, the "Urban Dictionary." To wit:

zOMG is a varient of the all-too-popular acronym 'OMG,' meaning 'Oh My God'. The 'z' was originally a mistake while attempting to hit the shift key with the left hand, and type 'OMG.' Also used in all-caps, 'ZOMG' is generally used in a sarcastic manner, more often than not a humiliating fasion [sic]. It is also used as a device for stating the obvious.

Which is to say, in gaming, it shows up in the "too cool for school" crowd, the faux rebels who believe themselves so above it all (especially the concept of RP) that they choose these ironic names. Even though, for the most part, they couldn't define irony if their weaselly little existences depended on it. Because, you know. When there's no room in hell the dead will walk the earth. You're welcome, kittens.

---

Yesterday, though. I am neglecting yesterday. We'd planned to watch the original Star Wars trilogy, but got started too late and only made it through Star Wars (that would be – ahem – "Episode IV: A New Hope") before dinner (leftover meatloaf with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, Precious). I saw Star Wars when it was first released in theatres back in 1977, thirty-four years ago. I was in eighth grade. And I thought Star Wars was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Until The Empire Strikes Back came along in 1980, a film I loved so much I saw it twenty times in theatres that summer. Looking back at Star Wars (1977) yesterday, it seemed astoundingly quaint. I know that there was an intentional innocence that Lucas was trying to capture, but the quaintness goes far beyond that. And, too, the acting is often terribly wooden, a fact I blame on Lucas, who simply is incapable of good direction. One reason that The Empire Strikes Back is so much better than its predecessor is that the directing reins were passed to Irvin Kershner. Anyway...playing the SW:otR MMORPG, I wanted to revisit. And it was...odd.

I can also say that I have settled on a title for the second "best of" volume (which will not be out until 2014, so please don't ask ridiculous questions about pre-orders). I'm liking Weave a Circle Round Her Thrice: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 2).

Also, I read Wilum Pugmire's rather enchanting "The Fungal Stain." And then, having managed to get into bed before two-thirty a.m. (!), I proceeded to watch an amazingly creepy film, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton's Yellowbrickroad (2010). I know that critics pretty much brushed this one aside, but by the time it ended (about four-thirty a.m.) I was so disturbed I had to switch the light on to get to sleep. I find no shame in admitting such a thing. Yellowbrickroad is clearly very heavily influenced by both House of Leaves and The Blair Witch Project (and were I not writing this, I'd say The Red Tree). It is one of those stories about a Wrong Place. Or...well...the less said the better. It's a slow burn, quiet with sudden moments of horror, whispered impossibilities, and a marvelously surreal ending. The ending (and pacing) are likely why so much of the slasher crowd couldn't wrap their brains around this film. Anyway, this is my recommendation. See it (it's streaming free from Netflix).

And I should go. Because, even though this is my vacation, I have work to do. January is beginning to look like the worst train wreck in history.

Quasi-Vacating,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Aeryn and Pilot)
00. I'm not feeling very bow tie this afternoon. Comments would be nice.

01. Yesterday there was email, and Subterranean Press needed some stuff from me for The Yellow Book, which, you may recall, is the FREE hardcover chapbook that accompanies the limited edition (but not the trade) of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Little odds and ends, nothing major. And I was still waiting to hear from an editor, so I proposed to Spooky that we proceed with a long, long delayed office renovation. We spent about an hour moving a shelf and books and stuff, then spent two hours realizing that the table we wanted to put in my office would never fit (this involved Spooky calling her Mom in South County to remeasure Spooky's sister Steph's old table out in the barn). Nope. No dice. So, I have resigned myself to being stuck in an office even smaller than my last (Mansfield Avenue, Atlanta, GA), which was, at best, a third as large as my office before that (Kirkwood Lofts, Atlanta, GA). A few years from now, at this rate, they'll have me writing in a restroom stall. Ah, well. At least then I'll never have an excuse to stand up. Anyway, in the end (no pun intended), yesterday was mostly a sadly and exhausting wasted day. Though, I did leave the house for the first time in five or six days.

02. In list of weird books to give the weird people in your lives for the holidays (that would be Solstice and/or Cephalopodmas), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, over at the Weird Fiction Review website (virtual sister of the Centipede Press print digest of the same name), in their listing Two Worlds and In Between, write:

Standing as one member of the Triad of Infernal Weird – the three who clearly have signed pacts with demons to keep the quality of their story forever elevated – that also includes Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco, Kiernan has emerged since the 1990s as a master of the weird tale.

Clearly, we haven't been keeping those meetings secret enough. Regardless, the VanderMeers strongly recommend the book ("This collection from Subterranean only confirms her brilliance."), along with several other very wonderfully weird titles (kittens, the word horror, when used to denote a literary genre, is so very not bow tie; parentheses are, though – trust me).

03. Today will be spent writing a very whimsical piece for Sirenia Digest #73, "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea." Think Victorian flower language (id est, floriography) and you're halfway there. I intend to enjoy writing this.

04. A point of etiquette (unless you happen to wish to seem a douchebag):

a) When a kerfuffle is made over a company publicly insulting transgender persons, and there is outrage, and said company wisely apologizes (though, note, I don't consider an apology an exoneration), and a somewhat prominent transgender author notes that at least this is evidence that change is coming, even if it's coming very, very slowly, do not

b) post in that authors' Facebook that, while you sympathize, you also find the insult funny, and then

c) when said author explains why it's not fucking funny do not

d) dig in your heels and go on about how some people take themselves too seriously, or

e) you will find yourself banned from that author's Facebook, Matthew Baker. Because admitting that you find a joke at the expense of transgender people funny, but also understanding it hurts them, but you still find it funny, makes you a hateful and transphobic (here's that word again) douchebag. I'll not dwell on the coincidences that you are also male, white, and cisgender. Also, definitely do NOT begin emailing the author afterwards to call them names, because then you'll have graduated from douchebag to troll.

05. Last night, after sandwiches from the Eastside Market deli, we watched Scott Crocker's documentary on the mistaken resurrection of the (almost certainly) extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Ghost Bird, with music by the amazing Zoë Keating. Ghost Bird is an exquisite film, not only because it documents this episode in the history of humanity's thoughtless elimination of other species, but because it serves as a case study of how science works: the theory, the methodology, responsibility, the politics, publishing, personal conflicts, and the perils of wishful thinking. See it; for the moment it can be streamed from Netflix.

After the film, there was Rift (which is to say, my social life), and Indus reached Level 40 (only ten to go). Then I read a rather good story by Ramsay Campbell, "Getting It Wrong," who needs no one to tell him how the Plight of Family X can, and usually does, make for a truly dull story. By the way, one day soon, I'll explain why several books, including Danielewski's House of Leaves, Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door, my own The Red Tree, and a few others, emphatically do not fall into the dreaded subgenre trap of "Family X Move Into the Bad House and Have Their Normative Domestic Bliss Wrecked by an Inconvenient Intrusion from Outside." The answer is surprisingly simple, though extraordinarily complex.

And now, the words.

Simply Complex and Complexly Simple,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:34 p.m.): Word from my editor at Penguin that the final and corrected cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I'm haunted,
By the hallways in this tiny room,
The echos there of me and you,
The voices that are carrying this tune,
Ba da pa pa...


Yesterday is what happens when chaos and the best of intentions square off and have a good ol' Godzilla versus Gamera boxing match. We're having a couple of moderately warm days here....

WAIT

Yes, in a few more hours, Dark Horse will spill the beans, and the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. Soon. We're almost there. On the cusp, as it were.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Warm weather. High sixties. So, I'd planned to play hookey yesterday, and slip away to Beavertail, even though I sure as hell haven't the time for such luxuries. I ought to be doing nothing but working on "Ex Libris." But then there was the long conversation with my editor at Dark Horse early in the day, and, afterwards, I realized I needed to have a long conversation with my lit agent (on entirely unrelated matters). But she was at a lunch meeting, and it would be about 45 minutes before she got back into the office. There was no way there'd be enough time to make it to Conanicut Island. So...not wanting to see the day become a total loss (I was far too higgledy-piggledy to get any writing done). So, bored and without especial focus, yet possessed of some odd motivation, I proposed we begin "remodeling" my office, which we've only been meaning to do for about...two years.

(Why does Microsoft Word discourage the use of contractions?)

One shelf and a shelf's worth of books went to the middle parlour, where, I must admit, they look quite handsome. I'd had my doubts.

Merrilee called and we talked, and talked, and talked. Fine things. Over time, I will tell you of these fine things.

There's enough to look forward to on this day. I'll make another post in a few hours. Patience, kittens. OH! Look! I just got a royalty check for $10.36 for the German edition of Threshold (id est, Fossil). Wow. Party time. Yes, the writing will make you rich, Bill Murray!

Anticipatory,
Aunt Beast

UPDATE (1:44 p.m.): Just got word the announcement from Dark Horse should come about noon PST, three EST, 4 CaST. Fuck it, Dude. I'm going to get nachos.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'm glad Lindsay Lohan's community service gig at the LA County Morgue is working out so well, because it doesn't seem like jail's willing to keep her even five hours. But, really, here's my thing: who gives a shit? Everywhere I go on the goddamn internet this morning, there's Lindsay Lohan skulking about, and it's not like I felt so fucking great when I woke up. I have to get Lindsay "I don't want to classify myself" Lohan, too?

Hell in a handbasket.

Yesterday, I sat here and tried to think of an idea for a 10k-plus word short story/novelette/novella sort of a thing (requests welcome), and....nothing. People think writers are bottomless wells of Ideas. And maybe some writers are. But speaking as an insanely productive author, occasionally you go to the well and there's nothing down there but dust and old spiderwebs. So, I sat and I stared at the screen, and I typed in a title, stolen from Milton, that I almost certainly won't use. It just sounded good. And there is not a single spare day this month (those so-called weekends) included for me to be not writing. Today, though it's in the list of the Last Ten Things I Want To Be Doing, I'll sit here and stare at this fucking screen again. How hard can it be? It's not like real work, right?

Speaking of which, I finally gave up about 5:30 p.m. (CaST) and loaded the van with about a hundred pounds (no, really; I checked) of books, mostly my comp copies of Two Worlds and In Between and carted them away to Pawtucket, to our second, and supposedly temporary, storage unit. The place was like a fucking icebox.

Please, I know it's hard to believe...

And I'm not even going to get started on how I couldn't get my fountain pen to work.

Last night, we read more of House of Leaves, to that wonderful line where Karen Navidson screams. I read more of The Log From the Sea of Cortez. I might have slept, because I might have dreamt. And fuck you, LJ, for not knowing how to spell dreamt.

Also, please, if you pre-ordered your copy of Two Worlds and In Between and you've not yet received your book, understand that telling me won't help. The book will come. I can't speak for Amazon.com, a company that's making a mint ripping people off (authors included), but I can speak for Subterranean Press. You will get your book. Be patient. Pre-ordering doesn't mean you get a book early, or at the same time as everyone (or anyone) else; it means you'll get a book.

Not Daring To Hope For a Better Day,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence it's a balmy 53˚Fahrenheit, bright and sunny.

And today, as the world "falls back," I remain upright, and Caitlín Standard Time begins for the eighth year. All this actually means is that I prefer Daylight Savings Time and so remain on it all year round. I'm not a morning person, and this way I keep more sunlight in the evening during the loathsome winters. CST has become even more important since the move north. By the way, if you hate DST, and find CaST bizarre, I truly do not care, so there's no need to say so here.

Yesterday was an eight-hour workday, almost all of it spent answering email and getting Sirenia Digest #71 ready to be PDFed, and then I sent it off to Gordon ([livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest) for the actual PDFing. And I also did an interview regarding the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE. The interview will appear online Wednesday, same day as Dark Horse spills more specifics. I'll keep you posted. There are many interviews in my immediate future. Anyway, yes, very busy Saturday (weekends, what are those?). Alas, oftentimes, the first PDF of a Sirenia Digest has errors, and a second is necessary. But, still, I should think the digest will likely go out this evening. Not too late to subscribe and get in on #71! It's cheap!

Today, I need to begin the long short story, or the novelette, or short novella, or what-the-hell-ever that I'm doing for the chapbook that will accompany the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. By the way, that chapbook will include not only this new, long story, but "The Yellow Alphabet." No release date yet. I'm guessing Summer 2012.

Speaking of subpress, I'm getting a lot of reports from people who ordered Two Worlds and In Between from Amazon.com, who are now receiving emails stating "Due to a lack of availability from our suppliers, we will not be able to obtain the following item(s) from your order..." That sort of shit. I have no idea why this is happening, but I do know it's happened before with Amazon and subpress editions, which is why I never link to the Amazon pages for those books, but directly to the subpress pages. I've said before, to be sure you get the book, always order these volumes directly from Subterranean Press. All I can do is notify subpress that it's happened...again. Which, of course, solves no one's problem, now that the book is completely sold out. I can apologize (not that it's my fault), and I do, but I know that doesn't get anyone the book they pre-ordered, expecting that pre-order to be filled. Honestly, the situation pisses me off, but there's nothing I can do. When subpress begins taking orders for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, ignore Amazon. Order directly from the publisher.

Now, if you did order directly from subpress, and your order hasn't arrived yet, be patient. It will. All the copies are not sent out at once. Subpress handles too many titles to do that. Pre-ordering doesn't mean you get your book early; it means you get your book. I am the author, and all but two of my comp copies only arrived day before yesterday.
---

Last night, we streamed last week's episode of American Horror Story from Hulu (Zachary "Husband #1" Quinto!), then finished Season Four of Californication. For my part, as much as I adore this series, I'd have been happy with it ending at the ending with Hank driving, literally, off into the sunset in that last episode of Season Four. The story may not have been finished (no story ever is), but it was a good place to stop telling it. However...seems like there will be fifth and sixth seasons, though, at least, the story will skip ahead two years. Then we read the prologue and first chapter of House of Leaves (because it's November), then I read some more, and was unable to sleep until almost 4 ayem (perhaps your 3 ayem), only to wake at ten ayem (possibly your 9 ayem). So, I'm not at my best today. Of course, I probably will never be at my best again. My best probably ended in 1995. Those people who tell you that "40 is the new 30" are either a) seriously deluded, b) have amazingly good health care, or both.

We just realized we missed the Rasputina in Boston on October 28th, because we were at the Iron Pour. At least we did something. However, I will make the VNV Nation in Boston on December 4th. Stalk me there and die.

And now...the words.

Next,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (stab)
There are days that are bad. There are days that manage to be worse than bad. And then there was yesterday. And all I will further deign to say on the subject (as discretion may not be the better part of valor, but it can sometimes be the author's best friend) is that there are times when the legal departments of major publishers are capable of demonstrating a degree of bone-headedness rarely exhibited outside the pachycephalosaurid dinosaurs. My great thanks to Merrilee and Anne for getting me through the day, and apologies to Kathryn, who had to endure the full brunt of my righteous indignation at Ground Zero. What the hell am I on about? When a band and a band's manager and a band's legal representation says, in writing, "Caitlín R. Kiernan has permission to quote our song in her forthcoming novel The Drowning Girl," odds are pretty goddamn good that said band and manager and legal representation have the authority to grant said permission. But, all's well that ends well, right? Okay, well my damaged schedule and colon might disagree, and it's not usual that I'm drinking in the afternoon, or that I have more than a single cigarette in a day. But...it was that sort of a day, and then some.

Please, today, comment, kittens. Just be kindly.

I'm lost, and the shadows keep on changing.

Here's a very fine and thoughtful review of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One), and it might surprise you how much I agree with it. Well, except the reviewer's feelings about narrative structure and the conventional endings of stories. But, yes, good review. Also, I think I shall be canonized as "Aunt Beast," which suits me fine. At least, this month it does.

So, yesterday was devoured by nonsensical bullshit. I've established that, yes. When it began, Kathryn and I were making another effort to complete the line edits to Blood Oranges. We will finish that today, or all the world be damned. There's only 20 pages remaining, for fuck's sake, maybe half an hour of work. And I will not be dissuaded by clueless lawyers!

Not sucky things about yesterday! They deserve mention. I received a copy of Michael Zulli's on beyond sublime book The Fracture of the Universal Boy (six years in the writing and drawing, and another Kickstarter success story!). You must own this beautiful book. What else didn't suck? Well, Vince Locke's illustration for "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W." (Sirenia Digest #71). Yesterday, I discovered Unwoman, and that totally didn't suck. Last night, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark came over, and that didn't suck at all. Our conversation about "sport fucking," that totally fucking rocked, and might be the seed for my next SF story. And my HUGE box of comp copies of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) arrived via UPS.

Oh, and you need to see Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, in director Mike Newell's forthcoming adaptation of Great Expectations. Beautimous.

Anyway, I'm running dreadfully late today, thanks to yesterday, and the fact that I had a very early and long talk with my Dark Horse editor this ayem, and still have a modest hillock of email to answer beore Spooky and I can be done with Blood Oranges and get it off to my agent before day's end. But! I will leave you with two more astounding stills courtesy [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, from the October shoot for The Drowning Girl. These are especially excellent, and, I daresay, they almost show too much of what's to come:

Imp, Eva, and Abalyn )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
The way I feel this morning, well, this is what three days of heftier-than-usual-Valium doses and pretty much no sleep does to a body. Or to mine. Maybe you could sail through it without batting an eye. Me, I feel like a bus hit me. Twice.

So, I just have to stay awake until two ayem or so. I think it's time to reset my clock again. Staying up far, far too late. The meds, they can't do overly much about that.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I have the new Decemberists EP, Long Live the King (plus accompanying awesome T-shirt), and great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for sending it our way. Right now, "E. Watson" is my hands-down favorite track (in two days, I've listened to it 42 times, according to iTunes).

Hallways, always.

Following the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE, which I linked to in yesterday's entry...well, following that was quite a lot of distraction and chaos (many, many thanks, kittens, for all the comments). No surprise. Wonder what's going to happen next Wednesday? Anyway, there was also a very long call from my agent, with some very, very good news (though I can't share any of that at this time). Many subjects were discussed. But, what with this and that, Spooky and I didn't finish with the line edits to Blood Oranges; that's what we'll do today, then send the manuscript to Merrilee (my agent).

This morning, I received Vince's pencils for the illustration to accompany "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W" in Sirenia Digest. It's gonna be a great illustration; I need to get some notes back to him on it. Also, I owe a long email to The Drowning Girl cinematographer, Brian Siano, and...well, other emails. I've also got to begin talking promotion with the PR guy that Dark Horse has assigned to the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE. So, I'm pretty spoken for today. Yep. Oh! And, yesterday, I got my comp copies for The Crimson Alphabet chapbook, and they are gorgeous!

Wow. I'd be in a good mood if this "I feel like I'm dying and back again" thing would stop. Oh, and Spooky's reading the Wikipedia article on Christina Hendricks, because she's a letch. Spooky, I mean. I have no intel as to whether or not Christina Hendricks is a letch. I'd like to think she is.

Last night, a lot of RIFT (I think its growing on me again), and I wound the day down by watching "Our Mrs. Reynolds" (Firefly) and "Not Fade Away" (Angel), as Netflix is late with the new episodes of Californication (wait, just arrived!). But now, work! Get a wiggle on, platypus!

A Tenth Free of Secrets,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
After much ado, follow this link. There will be much more news next Wednesday (the 9th of October), but I think the discerning reader of my work can gather quite a lot from this Dark Horse teaser. And, though I dislike speaking of the tips of icebergs, well...such things are. I hope you're as excited by this as I've spent the last year being (as yes, I've been sitting on this secret, in one form or another since Oregon and my GoH stint at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, when the mega-cool editor Rachel Edidin of DH asked for a meeting with me. So, make of all this what you will.

Props of [livejournal.com profile] corucia for guessing halfway right, and to [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh for making the most utterly fucking absurd guess: "I'm hoping the news is that science (Science!) has figured out how to download Harlan Ellison's mind into yours for safe keeping."

And now...other things, but comment, kittens, as I wish to revel in your excitement (and further speculations).

Today, between a zillion other distractions, Spooky and I are making the final edits to Blood Oranges before it goes to my agent and editor. Just piddly stuff, really. Mostly continuity.

Here in November, in this House of Leaves we pray.

Yesterday, I finished writing the new story for Sirenia Digest #71, "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W," which required of me 1,187 words. Written yesterday, I mean to say. And don't forget, really cool NEVER BEFORE RELEASED Silk archival material, available only to subscribers! Means, kittens, this is a good damn time to subscribe!

And I suppose, since I allowed Anne Rice to speak yesterday, Miss Stephenie Fucking Meyer deserves equal time, so I'll quote the article from The Atlantic Wire, for all the precious and celibate teen members of Team Edward out there (by the way, note that Miss Meyer fired the first shot in this little skirmish). Thus, I quote:

"But I can't read other people's vampires. If it's too close [to my writing], I get upset; if it's too far away, I get upset. It just makes me very neurotic." And Interview with the Vampire presumably gets her on the upset--the "too far away" kind of upset. "I've seen little pieces of Interview with a Vampire when it was on TV, but I kind of always go YUCK! I don't watch R-rated movies, so that really cuts down on a lot of the horror."

Yes, she really did say "yuck."

Last night, we played RIFT, and I got enough magma opals my fucking Ash Strider mount! Booya! And we finished Season Four of Mad Men, which would make me really sad, having to wait for Season Five, except we have the two-discs that collect Season Four of Californication incoming from Netflix tonight; I love me some Hank Moody. I think I got to sleep about 4:45 ayem. There was a dream this morning of apocalypse, but it's been forgotten (thank you, poisonous meds).

Did I mention this link?

I leave you with another beautiful photograph from The Drowning Girl shoot, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy:



The genuinely intrepid Sara Murphy as Eva Canning, in the Providence Athenaeum.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Overcast and chilly again here in Providence. 56F, and we might see 68F.

Spooky's birthday is June 24th, and anyone out there who wants to send her a pleasantry is directed to her Amazon wishlist. I would be grateful for any little kindness sent her way. Also, don't forget the Big Damn eBay Auction, now in progress. Note that the auction for the Black Ships Ate the Sky study ends this evening.

Normally, I do not plot a novel. Not in any conventional sense. I might think a little ahead. But I don't usually sit down and map it out. I prefer to allow a novel to unfold in what I think of as a more organic process. Though it may sound precious, I think of this as allowing the novel (or short story) to unfold "on its own." I don't mean that literally, of course, as the only will a story may possess is the will of the author. It's a game I play with myself, all about cause and effect, all about putting any given character in situation after situation and discovering how he or she will react. Anyway...yesterday was rather the opposite, as the nature of Blood Oranges demands that I work out an awful lot of the storyline in advance. It's working with many conventions of film noir (including so-called "Neo-noir") and Hitchcockian tropes such as "McGuffins" and the "wrong man." All the while, of course, deconstructing – or simply tearing apart and restoring – the mess that has been made of urban fantasy due to its having been co-opted by "romantic urban fantasy," "paranormal romance," PR, or whatever you want to call that printed offal. So, as was the case with "The Maltese Unicorn" this time last year, I'm having to do a lot more plotting than normal.

I spent about an hour and a half yesterday talking through everything to Spooky, setting forth whys and hows and elaborate switchbacks and feats of legerdemain...because, in part, these are things I needed to know before writing a riddle asked by a bridge troll. Oh, here's the riddle, by the way. Thought it might be fun to see if anyone can solve it. The riddle is a response to the question, "Is there any way to control lycanthropy?"

A child of woman newly forged,
The pump what drives the rosies.
Round about, round about,
So Bloody Breast flies home again.
Soldiers come in single file,
Aphrodite’s child tills loam.


Good luck. At any rate, in part the problems were solved. Enough that I could proceed. I wrote 1,043 words on Chapter Three yesterday. I've got to get that daily word count up higher again.

[livejournal.com profile] readingthedark arrived about 6:30 p.m. or so. He brought me a truly marvelous belated birthday gift, a copy of House of Leaves (full-color, remastered edition), personalized to me by Danielewski. We talked a bit, then got calzones for dinner, then talked much more...including a good deal more Blood Oranges plotting, solving a problem I'd been unable to solve earlier in the day. So many crosses and double crosses, hidden agendas, unseen perils, and misdirection. That is, among the novels character's, not between me and potential readers. Later, I wanted him to see Malcolm Venville's 44-Inch Chest (2009), so we watched. He left about 3:15 ayem, I think. I'd already taken my evening meds, and was a little loopy by that time. I know that I'd begun to making bold and sweeping declarations, like "There are no literary conventions!"

And that was yesterday. Oh, except I read "Selenemys lusitanica, gen. et sp. nov., a new pleurosternid turtle (Testudines; Paracryptodira) from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal" in JVP.

Many odd and unwelcome dreams last night, this morning. Most of them I've let slip away, glad to see them go. Only the substance of one remains. By broad daylight, I enter a rather unremarkable building. It looks rather like an Eisenhower-Era bank or federal building. But once inside, I am greeted by a cool darkness through which prowls all manner of jungle beasts – specifically, I recall tigers and pythons – stalking before a painted rainforest backdrop. I turn to the left and follow a grassy ramp up to the second floor of the building, where I'm greeted with a long counter, along which bank tellers are spaced at regular intervals. I speak to one, and she takes out an enormous ledger (no computers are in evidence). She's trying to record my name with a fountain pen, but keeps having to start over because she's having trouble hearing me. Because I'm hardly speaking above a whisper. And then, finally, someone – a manager, I don't know – comes over and explains to her who I am. She records my name, and I'm given a small brass key. And there was more afterwards, but it's been forgotten.

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts.

From the Forests of the Night,
Aunt Beast

Almost forget. Here are three somewhat random photos taken back on the 6th, while I was making line edits to Two Worlds and In Between. Hubero was helping (we may eventually auction the ARC in the photos, by the way):

6 June 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (starbuck1)
My favourite song du jour. Two official videos. I love that the first strays towards House of Leaves:




...and the second version, which puts me in mind of Watership Down and the Black Rabbit of Inlé:



In darkness and light,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
I look into the mirror, usually by accident, and see the face of someone who hasn't slept well in many years.

Very, very cold Outside (20F, feels like 8F), but warm enough in the House.

Still and all and yet, I wrote 2,014 words on The Drowning Girl yesterday. I passed manuscript page 100. And to the title page I added a subtitle, so that it's now The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I did this for a reason (which is usually, but not always, why I do things). The reason goes back to the problem of the interauthor, which I discussed at length in the entries of August 7th, August 8th, and August 9th. A quote from the August 7th entry, wherein I introduce the (pretty obvious) concept of the interauthor:

Conventions in first-person narratives. Such as, how so few readers pause to consider the existence and motivations of the "interauthor." When you're reading a first-person narration, you're reading a story that's being told by a fictional author, and that fictional author— or interauthor —is, essentially, the central character. Their motivations are extremely important to the story. The simple fact that they are telling the story, in some fictional universe, raises questions that I believe have to be addressed by first-person narratives. Why is the interauthor writing all this down? How long is it taking her or him? Do they intend it to be read by others? Is it a confessional? Reflection? A warning? Also (and this is a BIG one), what happens to the interauthor while the story is being written, especially if it's a novel-length work of fiction?

A first-person narrative occurs in a minimum of two time frames: the present (when the story is being written down) and the past (when the story occurred).

And it baffles me that so few readers or writers pause to consider these facts, and that so few authors address these problems in the text. A first-person narrative is, by definition, an
artifact, and should be treated as such. Rarely do I use the word "should" when discussing fiction writing.

If the subject interests you, I recommend going back and reading the three posts I linked to above, and especially the many comments to them. But getting back to yesterday, and how The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is shaping up, the book it's becoming....

What is most important here is that the reader absolutely must accept that this story is most emphatically not being written for anyone except the interauthor, in this case India Morgan Phelps (a.k.a. Imp). If the reader is unable to accept this conceit, or unaware of it, the book cannot hope to succeed on the level that I mean it to succeed (let's call me the extra-author, existing as I do beyond the narrative). Literally, you'll not be reading the book I am writing, if you fail to grasp this point. Imp is not sane, and Imp has no concern for the needs of readers she isn't writing for. Her thoughts are sometimes a jumble, as her thoughts would be. None of it's being filtered to make it any easier for others to read. Not you, or you, or you. Not my editor and not my agent and not reviewers.

To quote Mark Z. Danielewski's opening warning from House of Leaves, "This is not for you." It truly isn't. But happenstance (by the agent of me, the extra-author) will allow you the opportunity to read the manuscript, even though it was not written for you, or for anyone else but Imp. And yeah, by now I know enough to know how this is going to piss off a lot of readers. But that's not my problem, even if it actually is my problem. If the reader wants to read this particular story, hesheit must meet me more than halfway. This is not for you.

Another thing that I've realized is that Imp is an even less reliable narrator than Sarah Crowe. In The Red Tree there was at least a voice of authority— Sarah's editor, Sharon D. Halperin —even if we might doubt whether or not the editor is being entirely truthful. In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir there is nowhere a voice of authority. There is only Imp's voice. Hence, the factualness of the manuscript cannot be determined (though it's truthfulness is another matter).

By the way, I have made at least one concession to expectation and convention, in that I don't think we will ever know how the manuscript Imp is writing has reached you, the reader. Recall that in some of my works that employ first-person narratives, such as The Dry Salvages and The Red Tree, I made a point of working that bit out. Anyway, it can't help but worry me, how the book will be received by my audience. But I also have to write it the way it should be written, which means the authenticity of the artifact, the product of the interauthor, is more important than the likes and dislikes of the novel's potential readership.

And if you're the sort who's bought into all that "reader-response" hogwash, well...what can I say? If you think the act of reading shapes the true meaning of a book and that the author's intentions are irrelevant, all I can say is this is not for you. In fact, none of my fiction is, if you're that sort of reader. Or if you're simply the sort who expects to be pandered to, the lazy sort who only wants bedtime and fireside tales.

And now, time to make the doughnuts.

4:03 ayem

Nov. 11th, 2010 04:11 am
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, Spooky was reading me Kelly Link, and I could hardly stay awake while she was reading, because Hubero was purring on my head. But as soon as she stopped I woke up, and started straight away thinking about Mars, far, far, far in the future, and towering sand dunes with the skeletons of enormous genetically engineered (but now extinct) animals weathering from them, and pilgrimages to temples...and I'm awake and making notes.

Oh, and Spooky says buy our stuff on eBay so maybe we won't starve, but I will admit, she was being ever so slightly melodramatic, as we still have eggs, grape jam, and Ramen (and fuck you, Mr. Monster).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Hard rain last night, rainy today.

Yesterday is the day I've feared. After three fantastic writing days, yesterday The Drowning Girl sputtered and hit a speed bump. I did only 595 words. Even emptying the Word Bank, I was still 234 words short for yesterday. Today, I have to do much better and get back on track. I'm giving myself until the 7th (instead of until the 6th) to finish Chapter One (which, in the book, is just 1).

Spooky had to go out to get her new glasses (which look great), and when she got back home I was pretty panicked and flustered. But there was much good mail, which rather helped my spirits. Best of the lot was a Lovecraft pin, sent to me by my editor, Anne Sowards. The administrators of the World Fantasy Awards present each nominee with one of these pins, which are miniatures of the actual award (designed by Gahan Wilson). It made me very happy, and helps me feel better about The Red Tree, and now I shall always wear it on my lapel, whenever I have a lapel on which to wear it. There's is a photo behind the cut (yeah, my nail polish is looking rough):

Because I Done Good )


My thanks to everyone who bid on Study #2 for Yelllow, and to the winner of the auction. Likely, as mentioned already, it'll be at least a couple of months before I offer another painting. There's a large canvas I want to do next, and I don't intend to sell it.

Other good mail yesterday included my Shaharrazad mousepad. I've used the same mousepad since...forever. It's an Emily Strange mousepad I got when I was still living in Athens, round about 1996 or '97. And finally it had worn smooth and needed replacing. But getting thirteen or fourteen years out of a mousepad is surely to be counted as a good deal. Also, thanks to Steven Lubold, who sent us a copy of Current 93's Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain, which I'm listening to at this very minute. The mail also included my contributor's copy of Steampunk Reloaded (edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer), which reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)."

Last night, after dinner, we began the annual November reading of House of Leaves. This will be reading #5 or #6, I suppose. We also read Kelly Link's hilarious and charming "The Fairy Handbag" and her absolutely brilliant "Pretty Monsters." I cannot stress how much I adore "Pretty Monsters." The structure of the narrative is a trick I wish I'd thought of first, and the characters are so perfectly executed (make of that verb, executed, what you will). And these lines, from near the end, are wonderful:

Except you can't judge a book by its cover. Whether or not this story has a happy ending depends, of course, on who is reading it. Whether you are a wolf or a girl. A girl or a monster or both. Not everyone in a story gets a happy ending. Not everyone who reads a story feels the same way about how it ends. And if you go back to the beginning and read it again, you may discover it isn't the same story you thought you'd read. Stories shift their shape.

I also got some very, very good rp in CoX (thank you Sekhmet and Enth'lye). I've just about decided to cut all the Lovecraftian out of Erzébetta's backstory, and just avoid bastardized HPL whenever it crops up in the game. This is not the sort of thing about which I can compromise. I'm not even willing to try. Do it right, or do not bother, because doing it wrong is an insult to the source material. Oh, also, [livejournal.com profile] darkarmadillo managed, in yesterday's comments, in only three words, to perfectly summarize the essence of Lovecraft's cosmicism:

Nobody saves nothing.

Damn straight.
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] anaisembraced reminded me of a quote from one of Anaïs Nin's published diaries (1931-1934). It manages to say much more eloquently what I was trying to say yesterday about my need for a public persona:

"There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest."

---

Yesterday was spent, work-wise, beginning the layout of Sirenia Digest #58. I have to set that aside today for the aforementioned Weird Tales interview, which I'm doing after all. Part of me is so done with giving interviews. Another part of me recognizes it's always going to be something I have to do.

If you want truly secure online passwords, create your own language. It works wonders.

The weather has turned warm again.

People have started asking me questions about the H. P. Lovcecraft Film Festival. What I will and won't be doing, my schedule, how many books will I sign, when's my reading, what will I be reading from, how long will I be in Oregon, am I going to Powell's, and so forth. I'm going to post my schedule for the festival and CthulhuCon here in the next day or so.

As for signing, I'm not going to have an actual signing session scheduled, I don't think, so you might want to plan on bringing stuff you want signed to my reading, or catching me before or after a panel, something like that. But not if I'm eating, or something like that. I'll sign as many books as you want signed. No limit. I'll personalize them. I won't write stupid shit like, "To my best friend" or "For a kindred spirit" or poetry or anything like that. I won't inscribe my books with passages from my books. I bring these things up because from time to time they've been an issue in my eBay sales. I'll sign books, and I'll sign books to you or to whomever you want them signed to, but that's about it. Sometimes, if the mood strikes me, I throw in a monster doodle, but the mood rarely strikes me.

Also, I am declaring this con "Be Nice to Spooky Weekend." Which means, well, be nice to Spooky, because if she weren't coming along, I wouldn't be able to be there. Please feel free to bring her doughnuts from Voodoo Donuts (I think she's especially interested in the bacon-maple bars, voodoo dolls, and apple fritters). Or a vial of Escential's "oak moss." These things will make her smile.

---

So far, I've completely avoided seeing clips and trailers from Matt Reeves Let Me In, which is a remake of Tomas Alfredson's superb and perfect Låt den rätte komma in (both based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, Låt den rätte komma in). I hate the things that Reeves has said, with a straight face, about making the story more accessible for Americans. I hate that he's gutting the novel and original film's gender issues by simply making Eli a genetic female. How can that not come across as pandering to homophobic and transphobic filmgoers? And this is all confusing, because I very much loved Reeves' Cloverfield, and want to see more from him. I'm not especially fond of American remakes of foreign language films, but I also don't hate them on principle, as some seem to do. Usually, I'll give them a chance. But this time, I don't see how I can.

Oh, and I'm very pleased to see that [livejournal.com profile] docbrite is finally reading House of Leaves.

---

Some smart, moving, exquisite rp in Insilico last night. Lately, my rp has involved very few people, which I have found, through trail and error, to be the best approach. Two people is ideal. Four is usually my limit for a scene. More than that, there's too much chaos. This story began back in January and February, with a long hiatus from April into July. At this point, it's mostly the story of two people, one of whom happens to be an android. It's like the middle of a good sf novel, one for which I know I'll never get to read the beginning or ending (which makes it rather like a dream). It demonstrates the marvel that Second Life can be, but almost never manages to be. Anyway, my thanks to Fifth and Molly.

Earlier, Spooky and I watched the latest Project Runway (good riddance, Ivy) and the first episode of Season Three of Fringe, which I though was an especially strong episode.

And now, there's the interview (though internet porn sounds like more fun)....
greygirlbeast: (starbuck2)
Yesterday, I finally gave up and shelved "The Wolves, The Witch, and the Weald," which is the short story that I've been trying to write since the end of October. I never even made it through the first paragraph. I have managed to write nothing of consequence since I finished "The Dissevered Heart" on October 23rd. That's 23 days, not counting today. Yes, I did write a proposal for the next novel, but synopses, proposals, and outlines do not count as actual writing. And I have no idea what's going on. I'm not even particularly exhausted. I've been productive when I was far more weary than I've been this month. But it has to end now. I spent all day yesterday, as I have spent most days this month, staring at the blank "page" in MS Word, trying to get started. There are deadlines, and there are editors, and there are publishers, and there are bills to be paid, and none of these things are interested in excuses, no matter how valid they may be.

I finally let myself step away from the iMac about 4 p.m., and read William Browning Spencer's "The Ocean and All It's Devices." I'd not encountered this short story since its original publication in Borderlands 4, way back in 1994. It's still one of my favorite "Lovecraftian" stories (not to be confused with "Mythos" tales), and was pleased to see it reprinted in the Subterranean Press collection of the same title.

Last night, after dinner, Spooky and I watched the second episode of the remake of V, which was, if anything, even duller and possessed of less promise than the premiere. I've been told that only three episodes have been filmed, which I suspect means that only three will be filmed. We also watched Caprica, which I liked, though I'd sort of expected not to (though I'm not sure why). The series begins January 22nd, and it will be interesting to see if it is as strong as the pilot.

It's been strangely warm here in Providence. Mid sixties yesterday.

Saturday night, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark dropped by, and we were up until after four a.m. talking about...well, lots of things. I feel as though I have been eerily social of late, but I think it's something I'm going to need, if I'm to make it through the coming winter.

Spooky has begun a series of Cthulhu-themed Cephalopodmas ornaments, and the first three went up yesterday on her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks. One has already sold.

Also, we have a single copy of the trade edition of The Dry Salvages, long sold out and out of print, now up on eBay.

Spooky and I are making our way through House of Leaves again (sixth time?), and late last night I noted this bit, from a Truant footnote on pg. 31 of the "Remastered Full-Color Edition":

The way I figure it, if there's something you find irksome—go ahead and skip it. I couldn't care less how you read any of this. His wandering passages are staying, along with all his oddly canted phrases and even some warped bits in the plot. There's just too much at stake. It may be the wrong decision, but fuck it, it's mine.

Now, I think I may have a short walk before I try, again, to write.
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
Just got word that the lost and ancient iPod has been found, and is waiting for me in Mystic, Connecticut. Spooky will be retrieving it this afternoon.

And, gods help me, I just started a Facebook account (as Caitlín Kiernan; don't forget the fada over the second "i" in "Caitlín").

And while I'm writing these very short paragraphs, I should mention the discovery of vast subsurface glaciers of water ice on Mars. Wow. Worlds unfolding before our eyes. And this reminds me, there's a superb piece on Mars in the new National Geographic, with text by John Updike.

I'm sitting here trying to wake up. And trying even harder not to be overwhelmed by all the work I have to get done between today and the end of November, when my "semi-vacation" begins. I have to finish "The Colliers' Venus." I have to write one or two new pieces for Sirenia Digest #36, and actually produce the issue, by the 30th. I have to finish the read-through on The Red Tree, and, probably, write its epilogue. I have 10 days to do all this. I'm thinking I'll be including the first section of the presently shelved The Dinosaurs of Mars as part of #36. And I have an idea for a vignette, but I think it's too bizarre to try to give a synopsis for. I'll just have to write it.

I think I'm still decompressing from the slingshot excursion to Manhattan on Wednesday. Everything seems sort of distorted, some sort of peculiar time dilation. Is this really Friday? Is that possible? Yesterday, no work, just recuperation. Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) had to head back to Boston about 4:50 p.m. (CaST). I sent her off with my copy of House of Leaves, and an order that she read it at least once before returning to Providence. The day went so quickly. It was afternoon before I'd quite grasped the fact of morning. It's hard to even recall what I did yesterday.

I know that, after Sonya left, I read "Cranial anatomy and taxonomy of Dolichorhynchops bonneri new combination, a polycotylid [Sauropterygia; Plesiosauria] from the Pierre Shale of Wyoming and South Dakota," in the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 1986, while in school in Colorado, I did prep work on a specimen of Dolichorhynchops from the Pierre Shale of Red Bird, WY, so it was like revisiting an old friend. My one-time mentor Bob Bakker used to refer to this taxon as the "double penguin," which is a pretty good description of what it might have looked like while alive and swimming.

As for last night, there was pizza. We watched three more episodes (4-6) of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and I'm still impressed. Afterwards, there was WoW. I finally got my guild off the ground, "Wrath of Elune." Yes, the moon is an angry goddess, and she's out for blood. I played Mithwen, my night elf, and got her to Lvl 34, mainly by fighting satyrs in Forest Song Wood. With Suraa's help, I must have slain a hundred satyrs. They had it coming (at least from Mithwen's perspective), having raped and murdered a dryad.

I'm still waiting to learn just how ill my stepfather —— Vann —— is, but we know, already, that it's very, very serious. Anyway, not really the sort of thing I feel comfortable talking about here.

And that's pretty much yesterday.

There are photos from the KGB reading behind the cut (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow), and you can see many more here:

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
So, yeah, I think my unwillingness to become too deeply mired in human politics has reached the point that I have become functionally apolitical. For example, my first thought upon hearing that McCain had chosen Palin as his running mate was, "What the fuck is Michael Palin doing hanging out with war-mongering Republican assholes like McCain?" So, learning the Palin in question was actually a homophobic, anti-choice former beauty queen from Alaska, and not a former member of Monty Python, came as a huge relief.

Er...anyway. Yesterday. Yesterday was not a writing day. It was, instead, a reading day. Looking at the beginning of Chapter Five, and being rather uncertain What Happens Next, I needed to think. And I tend to think best when reading or when watching movies. So, I reread (Is that actually a word? LJ seems to think so.) chapters 20 and 22 of Danielewski's House of Leaves (2000), section 6 of Chapter 4 of Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (1959), and Angela Carter's "The Tiger's Bride" (1979). Old favourites that I know so well reading them does not require too much of my attention, but which still manage to hit all the right buttons. And I found the idea I needed to begin Chapter 5 of The Red Tree today.

By the way, looking back over The Haunting of Hill House yesterday, I became angry all over again at the insistence of so many publishers, and the expectation by many readers, that novels must be great long things. The Haunting of Hill House is about 240 pages long, quite a bit shorter than, say, Daughter of Hounds (which is 431 pages long, in the tpb edition). Now, I do agree that a novel should be as long as a novel needs to be, but included within that maxim is the corollary that a novel should never be longer than it needs to be. Many novels today, especially bestsellers, are absurdly long (or at least the font size is increased to give that impression), and this follows largely from books being thought of as only another product marketed to consumers looking for their "best value." Longer books are better than shorter books, since a long hardback and a short hardback (or paperback) tend to cost about the same. Novels have been "supersized," as it were. Regardless, I suspect The Red Tree will be no more than 80,000 words at the most (Daughter of Hounds was, by comparison, 133,000+ words in length, but then, it needed to be). Books are not to be judged by page count any more than they are to be judged by their covers. And, as long as I'm titling at windmills and speaking of excessively thick books, if Laurell K. Hamilton is the idiot stepdaughter of Anne Rice, then Stephenie Meyer is, at best, Hamilton's parthenogenic hysterical pregnancy (and I think we've taken this metaphor as far as it can possibly go). Truly, it amazes me, some of the shit people send zipping to the top of the bestseller lists. Truly, crap floats.*

Oh, and I also read "A ceratosaurid [Dinosauria; Theropoda] from the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous of Uruguay" in JVP, but it really had no bearing on the novel.

As for last night, for dinner Spooky got pizza from Pizza Pie'er on Wickenden, because we had a Howards End build-team meeting at 7 pm. And afterwards, I had my first real rp in days, but, sadly, it was at Toxian City, where I'd sworn I'd never, ever go again. I really will be glad when the HE rp is up and running, and I can discover, once and for all, if I am capable of fixing all the things that are wrong with SL roleplay. Maybe I can't, but at least I can try. And if I can't, I can step away from the whole sorry mess knowing that I gave it my best.

A comment and question from a reader:

I liked The Five of Cups. You don't have any intention of re-releasing any other books (Murder of Angels, Threshold or The Dry Salvages) in hardback by any chance? or know where it might be possible to procure a copy of said magnificent books?

You have to forgive my disdain for The Five of Cups. I was 28 when I wrote it back in '92, and that was a long time and a lot of words ago, and neither the novel nor I have, in my estimation, aged well. All novelists are allowed to feel discomfort at their early efforts. It comes with the job. As for the other books, there has never been a hardback of Murder of Angels and probably never will be. There's not yet been a hb of Threshold, but there has been some talk of subpress doing a tenth-anniversary edition in 2011. And while The Dry Salvages is probably out of print for good, there will be a revised version released next year as a free ebook (to coincide with the release of A is for Alien).

* It occurs to me that i have to write a response to myself tomorrow, since the scatalogical generalization "crap floats" is obviously flawed.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
It's an odd way to start the day, reading Shirley Jackson, but that's how today has begun. I sat here and nibbled at my crumpets with blueberry preserves while Spooky read to me from Chapter 6 of The Haunting of Hill House. I'd awakened with that scene in my mind, frustrated at the similarity between that scene and the scene I have to write today for The Red Tree. So, I had to hear it, no matter how many times I've read The Haunting of Hill House, because I needed to know exactly what Jackson did and how she did it. Theodora and Eleanore getting lost where they shouldn't be able to get lost. And I know that Sarah Crowe, my own narrator, has surely read Shirley Jackson, and she will be reminded of the scene herself, and when writing about what's about to happen to her and Constance Hopkins, it would be unrealistic not to have her draw a comparison with that scene. Also, I'm once again baffled that Danielewski, in House of Leaves, never once references The Haunting of Hill House*, when he references almost everything else, and here the comparison is obvious (and, for that matter, so is Bilbo and Company wandering about in Mirkwood, and he never references that, either). But I digress.

Yesterday was a very good writing day. I did 1,244 words on Chapter Four. Also, I received the flap copy of The Red Tree from my editor at Penguin, and I have to write back to her about that before I begin work on the novel today. It's not bad flap copy, largely because I haven't deviated very far from the "proposal" I made back in April (it wasn't really any sort of formal proposal, just a paragraph or two). It makes me even more nervous seeing flap copy for an unfinished book than it does to think about seeing the cover of an unfinished book. The cart seems to get in front of the horse. But, like I said, it's pretty good flap copy, as flap copy goes. It's one of those necessary evils of publishing, because people insist on synopses, even when the matter in question cannot be accurately synopsized.

This morning, before Shirley Jackson, I got an email from Jennifer Escott at Writer's House in NYC, forwarding an email from Maja Nikolic in Munich (at the Thomas Schlück GmbH, the agency that handles my German rights), with the PR information from Rowohlt Taschenbuch's (my German publisher) catalog announcement of the forthcoming German-language edition of Threshold, which is titled Fossil (which is somewhat closer to the original English title, Trilobite). They even used an image of Dicranurus for the cover, and it always makes me happy when someone gets the trilobite right. I now know that my German translator's name is Alexandra Hinrichsen. Anyway, the German edition will be out in January.

Spooky has begun another round of eBay, so please have a look. Danke. Also, I will remind you again, again, again that you may now preorder both A is for Alien and the mass-market edition of Daughter of Hounds.

The rest of yesterday: Spooky spent a great deal of the day talking with our SL builders, beginning to realize the zillions of details that will have to be juggled to get Howards End (Linden Labs won't let us have an apostrophe) up and running. I finished the final chapter of Dawn of the Dinosaurs: Life in the Triassic, which deals mostly with the question of whether or not the mass extinction at the end of the Triassic was an actual mass extinction, and if so, what the agent responsible might have been. There are beautiful paintings by Douglas Henderson of asteroid impacts as seen from space. I'll probably make myself read the appendices before going on to the next book in the stack. Also, I read "A Positive Test of East Antarctica-Laurentia Juxtaposition Within the Rodinia Supercontinent" in Science (Vol. 321, 11 July 2008) and wished I were a paleogeographer. There was leftover spaghetti for dinner. We made a run out to our storage unit in Central Falls, and the Blackstone River (which runs down from Woonsocket) smelled clean, of algae and fish. The clouds were breaking apart, and I watched the night sky for Perseid meteors, but between the light of the moon (four nights from full) and the city light pollution, I saw no meteors. Quick stops at PetCo and Whole Foods, and back home about 9 p.m. After that, it was all Second Life, until...gods...4:30 ayem.

My thanks to Ieva Lutrova for a rather marvelous beginning to a scene, which might turn into a vignette for Sirenia Digest #33. An abandoned sector of some future city. An android who was somehow missed in the evacuation, and for fifteen years she has continued to dance to nonexistent patrons in an empty strip club. The wandering tech who strays across her. It has potential, and is a wonderful example of how I'm using SL to create fiction.

A few more thoughts on the Howards End sim before I wrap this up. [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus (and thanks for the email) posted some comments to my entry yesterday that made me realize that there is something I haven't clarified. Though I use the phrase "roleplay," because it is familiar and convenient, in no real way will we actually be "gaming." No dice. No stats. No experience points. None of the tedious stuff. This is to be something more akin to improv theatre, which is what I've always striven for in SL. Improv theatre, where the only audience is the players on the stage. So, truthfully, I'm even more interested in people with theatre background than hardcore gaming nerds. I will not tolerate arguments about what does and does not constitute fair or good or satisfying rp from people who have been into pen-and-pencil rping since Gary Gygax was in diapers. Nor is this rp in the sense that the videogame industry often uses the term. This is something new. This is something different. We have set up two groups so far, "Denizens of Howards End" and "Architects of Howards End," and if you express interest (here or by email or inworld via an IM) you will eventually receive an invitation to join the former (unless you are a builder). But please do note that entry into "Denizens of Howards End" does not automatically guarantee a slot in the story, as we'll need to talk to everyone to determine if they're really right, and if they'll actually enjoy the experience. What I am offering here is the opportunity to be part of an interactive, spontaneously generated novel, to walk and talk and change the course of events in the Providence of Daughter of Hounds. Only this is set before DoH, but after Low Red Moon, which puts it somewhere around 2005, I think. Also, if you'd like to donate towards the cost of this endeavor, just speak up. This whole thing is strictly non-profit, but we won't turn away additional donors.

Okay. Herr Platypus it pointing at the clock and preparing to kick my ass, so I'll wrap this up. Time to make the...well, you know.

* Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wolven for pointing out that The Haunting of Hill House is, in fact, mentioned by Danielewski in footnote #167.
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
How bad can a day possibly be, when it begins by finding a note you left to yourself five years ago, so that you would once again discover the mind-shredding joy that is the Spongmonkeys? And I love that the dorks over at the Modern Humorist deemed the Spongmonkeys "what you see before you die." Indeed. Yippie ki yay, motherfuckers.

Which is to say, yesterday — despite my great empty office — I did an exceptional 1,751 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree and found THE END of the chapter. I think I stopped writing about six pm, but then I went back a little after nine and worked on the chapter's seven footnotes until almost eleven. I think the footnotes work. Of course, what sucks walruses through drinking straws is that now that I am in that space the story occupies, now that I have found the character, I have to set it all aside until after I reach Providence a couple of weeks from now. I should be horsewhipped. But there you go. The packing must be done, and I'll just have to get back into The Red Tree ASAP once we've moved.

Not much to last night. A fairly bad seizure yesterday. More packing. More Millennium ("The Pest House," "Owls," and "Roosters."). Half the day, my stomach was a roiling cramp fest, thank you doxycycline, thank you Miss Tick. Really, I just don't handle antibiotics very well. My digestive system's enough of a mess to start with. And my frelling face still hurts, even though the dentist couldn't find anything (admittedly, she didn't actually open the Bad Tooth). But these are, of course, small, small pains. Did I mention the Spongmonkeys? Oh. Okay. Well, anyway, no Second Life last night. Nary a single moment spent in the metaverse. Late, after Millennium, Spooky read to me from House of Leaves — much of Chapter XVII, which not only deals with the three psychological models seeking to explain why Navidson returned to the house on Ash Tree Lane (the Kellog-Antwerk Claim, the Bister-Frieden Criteria, and the Haven-Slocum Theory), but also includes the letter he wrote to Karen prior to Exploration #5, so much of which goes into Poe's song, "Haunted."

Don't cry,
There's always a way,
Here in November in this house of leaves
We'll pray.
Please, I know it's hard to believe,
To see a perfect forest
Through so many splintered trees.
You and me,
And these shadows keep on changing


I think I'm trying very hard not to think about the impending move. I do not fear it, and I know we'll be ready, but the anticipation is getting to me. Counting today (midnight on the 19th to midnight on the 28th, which is in no way actually accurate), we have only ten days remaining, 240 hours, 14,400 minutes, or 864,000 (or so) seconds. Time approximate, at best. I do dread the long drive (well, I don't drive, so the long ride), with Hubero, who is most emphatically not fond of cars or trucks. I think Spooky is much more nervous than am I, and for her, this is simply going home.

I've not listed the books in print in a while, the ones I need to sell well (new copies, not the "used" copies Amazon gets kick-backs on), in order to remain a publishing author. So, here goes. Please, if you haven't, pick them up. Thank you.

Daughter of Hounds

Silk

Threshold

Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

Now, platypus. Where the frak's my coffee?

Profile

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

S M T W T F S
    1 234
56 7 891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated May. 23rd, 2017 05:10 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios