greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
1) Bright outside, a clear blue sky, but the temperature is only 44˚Fahrenheit, which drops to 37˚Fahrenheit when you factor in windchill. At the shore, I expect the windchill has it feeling a good ten degrees cooler than that. Last night, the sky spat rain and slushy snow.

2) Last night, Kathryn's grandmother died. I can't recall the precise time. It was after midnight (CaST). I feel I should say very little on this. Whatever is to be said, you can read at [ profile] humglum. But a lot of those posts will be friends locked, for obvious reasons.

3) For reasons that should be fairly obvious, editors should go to lengths to avoid taking liberties with an author's text, if an agreement has not been reached beforehand regarding edits, especially when reprints are involved.

4) There was no actual writing yesterday. The day was a tumult of phone calls, email, and mostly wrestling with the final stage of proofing the (mysteriously altered) galleys for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. These were the pages Spooky had questions about that I had to answer, and there were about fifty of these pages. It could have been worse, but it could have been much, much better. Today, they go to FedEx and back to Manhattan. Other than promotion, the book will be well and truly out of my hands, finally. One the one hand, this feels sad and strange. On the other hand, it's a huge relief. Vince's two illustrations look great in the novel.

There was also a somewhat complex call with my agent. Complex because we had to cover so many subjects (Dark Horse, Blood Oranges, audiobooks, film rights, checks, the mind-bending legal-speak of contracts, the problems raised by ebooks, and...I've lost track). There was the usual barrage of email. I had to get colorist notes for Alabaster #1 out to my editor at Dark Horse. So, yeah. I did not get back to "Sexing the Weird." I doubt that I will today.

5) I forgot to mention that when we went out on Wednesday, we checked the mail and the World Fantasy Award folks had sent me the little HPL pin that all nominees get. You can see the one I got last year here. I am very proud of it. Now I've earned HPL pins for both The Red Tree and The Ammonite Violin and Others.

6) Spooky just came up with the day's mail, which includes three copies of the ARCs (advance reading copies) of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And they look pretty damn good. A few blemishes here and there, and of course the weird changes are in there, and there wasn't time to get the NYT quote on the cover. But still, nice ARCs, including Vince's illustrations. So, bona fide reviewers should be receiving these soonish (or sooner). I have to get a list together for my publicist. Maybe I'll include a photo of one of the ARCs tomorrow.

7) There was a LOT of Rift last night, including some rp with [ profile] stsisyphus. A good and very open-ended scene. We've been talking about beginning rp with the guild again (Defiant side, "Watchers of the Unseen"), and if anyone's interested, just let me know, new members or old or prospective. Anyway, since the 1.6 update to the game, day before yesterday, which adds a new region – the Ember Isle, from which the Kelari originated – the idiots have returned to the game. The idiots only seem to show up when there's something new, and they play the new stuff as quickly as possible, then vanish again. The idiots are easy to spot, as most of them sport idiot "names." Last night, for example, the dozens of idiot "not-names" I spotted last night included Kowboy and Killswytch. I think what disturbs me the most is if there's a Kowboy, that means Cowboy was already taken.

Okay. So that's it for today. Play nice, kittens.

Hating My Way,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
In the comments yesterday, the matter of Panthalassa came up, the matter of the focus my paganism. And I feel like I ought to explain something – not because anyone offended me – but just to be clear. My relationship with Panthalassa does not involve faith. Indeed, I am entirely lacking (or unburdened by) both religious and "spiritual" faith. Panthalassa, she asks for nothing, and I know I have nothing to give her. What's more – beyond the fact that she is objectively the world ocean – Panthalassa as a godhead exists only as a metaphor, and as a focus for psychologically healthy ritual. Which, if you ask me, pretty much puts her way ahead of Xtianity (or most other patrifocal religions), with its demanding, selfish, judgmental Old Man in the Sky. Or the "son" he supposedly sacrificed for our "sins." What I do, it's not drawing those lines – faith or failure, belief or torment. My meetings with Panthalassa are not about faith. Devotion, yes. And reverence. But not faith. Nor are they about communing with a conscious "higher power," as Panthalassa is not conscious. I am an atheist, and a pagan, and I know that bends some people's brains, but it ought not. I simply stepped outside several paradigms, all at once. Also, I have renounced the mess that Wicca has become.


Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest 69 ready to go out to subscribers, and if you are a subscriber, you should have the issue by now. If you're not a subscriber, you should immediately follow the link above and rectify this lamentable situation. Thank you. I hope people are happy with the issue, and if they have had time to read it, will kindly comment upon 69 today.

Today I go back to work on The Secret. And I wait for the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I am not waiting with dread, only with mild and time-consuming annoyance. I know there will only be the annoying marks made by the copyeditor that, for the most part, I have to STET. The rest of September will truly be a crunch. I have The Secret, the aforementioned CEM, and we need to read through all of Blood Oranges (though that might have to wait until October).

Someone asked if there were plans for a Subterranean Press hardcover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. No, there are no such plans, but I will be speaking with other publishers, possibly, about this, and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.


Kathryn was at the market yesterday and heard a woman actually say "LOL," aloud. That is, "el-oh-el." After I tweeted her traumatic experience, I have discovered from others that this is not an unusual phenomenon, nor one confined to "kids these days." You shame yourselves yet again, Western Civilization. You poop in your own undies.


Speaking of poop, last night, for some reason beyond my comprehension, we watched John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (1987), a thing I swore I would never do. And, for fuck's sake, this is a bad movie. Even a weird little role (with no dialogue) by Alice Cooper doesn't help, not one itty-bitty bit.*** At the center of this mess is a pretty neat little idea – evil is a viral being from outer space that arrived upon the earth billions of years ago, and the purpose of the Catholic Church was to fool everyone with religion until science could become sophisticated enough to cope with the swirling green entity in the cylinder. Fine. Very Lovecraftian. But. Carpenter takes that scenario and turns it into a dull, over-lit mess, with no suspense whatsoever. This film is the very antithesis of suspense. It's where suspense goes to die of boredom. There's no acting in sight, except for Donald Pleasence's overacting. The film pauses, now and then, to ramble off a load of nonsensical exposition, which is at least a break from the slog of the story. What the fuck? Had Carpenter spent all his money on blow and whores and had nothing left over to spend on actors, a camera crew, writers, and SFX? In short, stay far, far away from this one. It's actually much worse than In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and that's saying something.

For my part, I say Carpenter had a good run from 1981 through 1986, and then violently bottomed out – with, as it happens, Prince of Darkness. His masterpiece remains, by far, The Thing (released in 1982), and I think that's mostly because he had a number of great things going for him – "Who Goes There," Howard Hawkes' The Thing from Another World (1951), Rob Bottin's brilliant SFX and art direction, Ennio Morricone's wonderfully minimalistic score, the intentional allusion to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and, lastly, a great location. John Carpenter may not be what made The Thing a great film.

But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance. Escape from New York (1981) is loads of fun, as is Big Trouble in Little China (and Kurt Russell is a significant part of what works with both those films). But yeah. 1981 through 1986, and then Carpenter takes a precipitous nose dive. Hell, I might even be generous, and include The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978) – though I don't really like either, they're gold compared with everything that came after 1986. And the plunge from Big Trouble in Little China to Prince of Darkness is almost inexplicable. So, yes. I say it was coke and whores.

Anyway, afterwards, we watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and read more of The Stand. I read two more stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Both were by authors with whom I'd had no previous experience. First, John Horner Jacobs' "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and then Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Flash Frame." Both were quite good, but I especially liked Jacobs' piece. All this helped get the taste of the awful movie out of my brain and eyeballs.

Tonight, maybe some Insilico RP.

Rain today. Chilly. Summer's passing away.

Oh! Photos from Sunday, as Irene was finishing up with Rhode Island (behind the cut). So, these photos were taken the day before the last set of photos I posted.

Aunt Beast

28 August 2011 )

***Spooky says, "The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I need to just stop making plans. I mean completely. I need to quit making plans altogether.

I should be in Boston right this very minute, with [ profile] kylecassidy and Co., but I'm not. I'm home. Sitting in my stupid chair at this stupid fucking desk, typing on this stupid fucking keyboard. Because the car's acting fucking sketchy again (bad crankshaft). Kyle just called. He'll be meeting up with our Eva Canning this afternoon (as played by Sara Murphy)*, scouting locations and getting test shots for our sort of Secret Drowning Girl project. Oh, and Neil even went to the trouble to get us on the guest list for Amanda's show at the Mill I'm. Sitting. Here. Maybe I'll go back to bed and be done with it.

Tiddly pom.

Oh, and, here in Rhode Island, we're still having a wonderful March.

Anyway...yesterday, we had a very fine birthday for Spooky. I even made her the World's Most Strawberry Cake Ever. Maybe too strawberry. But it was appreciated. By Spooky, I mean. She spent most of the day playing American McGee's Alice: The Madness Continues, I think. There are photos below, behind the cut.

All the work part of my day yesterday was taken up getting material to [ profile] jacobluest for the new Sirenia Digest website (which is looking amazing). I did that, but nothing much else. I did read a couple of stories in Supernatural Noir, Melanie Tem's "Little Shit" and Brian Evanson's "The Absent Eye." I played Rift. Selwyn made Level 50 and capped. Yes, this is the breathtaking excitement of my life. Maybe I just have everything backwards. Maybe it's a problem of perspective. In this Post-Modern Age, perhaps it is the digital experiences we ought to cheer as "genuine," and not those troublesome and inconvenient analog ones.

Looking at it all fucking backwards.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

24 June 201 )

And yeah, Peter Falk died. Which I think I'm just having trouble processing. Is that a computer analogy? Having trouble processing? If so, fuck it. Anyway, I grew up in the seventies, with Columbo, but I try not to think of Falk as that character, because too few people remember that he was a very good actor. For example, his role as "Der Filmstar" in Wim Wenders' Der Himmel über Berlin (1987). Here's a clip I love:

But on the brighter side, gay marriage is now legal in New York. So, we have New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. But I don't think it'll ever happen in Rhode Island. Too many goddamn Catholics.


Last night, we watched a genuinely exquisitely creepy film, Brad Anderson's The Vanishing on 7th Street (2010). Anderson also made such superb films as Session 9 (2001), The Machinist (2004), Transsiberian (2008), and also directed ten episodes of Fringe. Right now, The Vanishing on 7th Street is streamable from Netflix, and you really, really ought to see it. Cosmic horror wonderfully translated to film. Man's fear of the dark and the dissolution of self. An apocalypse of darkness and aloneness. Beautiful.

And now I should go. Sit in the chair. At this desk. Maybe I'll try to write the introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012), which will be called "Sexing the Weird." HPL and sex. My own refusal to be apologetic for the seemingly explicitly brutal nature of so much of my erotica, etc. One woman's pain is another's pleasures and affections.

* Turns out Sara hurt her arm at an audition at an audition, and I may have another chance to make it to Boston tomorrow. By the way, that came out wrong. Don't mean to imply I might benefit from Sara hurting her arm.
greygirlbeast: (Jupiter)
Yesterday was a thing I almost never have. Yesterday was a damn near perfect day. A day that sucked in no perceivable way, and was filled with things that were actually good.

I wrote 1,618 words and found THE END of "And the Cloud That Took the Form..." It's a really fine little vignette, which is to say I'm quite happy with it. Alien life in the tropopause of Jupiter and a Fortean occurrence on a back road in eastern Connecticut. Oh, and it quotes a Ben Bova novel, which is something I never thought I'd do. Today, I'll begin the second piece for Sirenia Digest #59. I know it's about masks, and probably about a mask maker. And I should thank [ profile] alvyarin for suggesting I do something with masks in #59.

And yesterday I was gifted with Sylvanas Windrunner by kindly readers, which, alone, probably would have been sufficient to make my day.

Here's the link to PodCastle's adaptation of "The Belated Burial," which went live yesterday. I'm considering doing a podcast of my own, once a month, one short piece of fiction a month, free to everyone. But, like most transgendered people, I loathe my voice, so that's something that's always held me back from doing podcasts. The gulf between the way I sound in my head and the way I sound. It's easy for other people to say they like my voice; it's impossible for me to agree. I may post a poll this evening, to gauge interest.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks!


Last night, we attended the reopening of the transit room at Ladd Observatory, now that the restoration project is complete. Ladd Observatory was opened in 1891, under the direction of Winslow Upton (1853-1914). To quote the Ladd website, "A regular program of transit observations and timekeeping was started in 1893. Prof. Charles Smiley, famous for his observations of solar eclipses, became director of Ladd Observatory in 1938."

Lovecraft aficionados will recall that, as a boy, HPL was given access to the instruments at the observatory (Upton was a family friend, and HPL was a precocious child). As S.T. Joshi records in Lovecraft: A Life (Necronomicon Press, 1996), HPL wrote, "The late Prof. Upton of Brown...gave me the freedom of the college observatory, & I came and went there at will on my bicycle" (this from an essay written in 1934). Between 1903 and 1907, HPL produced an amateur publication (printed on a hectograph), The Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy. This between the ages of 13 and 17; he ceased to visit the observatory shortly after he ceased printing this journal (and there's a long story there, which I'll not go into).

Anyway, last night we were not only able to see the restored transit room. Outside, on the upper observation deck (the roof, essentially), the night was cold and clear. Even through the glare of the waxing gibbous moon and Providence's light pollution, we were given an amazing view of Jupiter and the four Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. With my own eye, I saw Europa! There was a wonderful symmetry to viewing Jupiter only hours after finishing "And the Cloud That Took the Form..." Plus, I got to see it during one of those rare (and as yet mysterious) periods when the lower primary cloud band isn't visible.

Also, while on the roof, we glimpsed Uranus through a Newtonian reflector telescope. A speck of brilliant white* against the blackness, twenty times farther from Earth than the distance between the Earth and Sun (so, about two billion, nine hundred and ninety million kilometers). We also had an unbelievably sharp view of the moon through the huge 12" refracting telescope (with equatorial mounting and mechanical clock drive, made by George N. Saegmüller of Washington D.C). The towering ridges of impact craters glowed starkly against the lunar horizon, with the basalt plains of lunar maria stretching away in their lee. It was awesome, in the truest, original sense of the word.

There are some photographs, though, obviously, a dark observatory transit room isn't the best place to take digital photos without a flash or tripod:

19 October 2010 )

* Light that would have left Uranus two hours and forty-six minutes (give or take a pile of seconds) before I saw it.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was just shy of a total loss. I was hit hard by the chronic stomach ailment I've had most of my life. I tried to write anyway. I wrote 344 words for of my piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, before I was too sick to think straight enough to write anymore. Then I went back to bed. Later, I made it through dinner and two bottles of Gatorade and almost felt like I wasn't dead. It was a joyous day. And then, when I was trying to go to sleep, there was a small seizure (the first in three weeks), which left me jittery and awake until five ayem.

I strongly dislike writing about health problems in a public forum. I find the act distasteful. But it all has a direct bearing on the abysmal word counts of late. So, I figure it's part of the story. It's not whining, or a cry for pity. It's just exposition.

At least I have David Bowie. And coffee.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're hoping to have a little bit of spending money when we go to Oregon for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon at the end of the month. Thanks.

We've watched two movies over the last week. Between reading, Second Life, and WoW, I've not been watching many movies lately. Anyway, it gives me something to write about this ayem (which is actually early afternoon).

First, we saw Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo's After.Life (2009) on Thursday night. It wasn't a particularly good film, which was frustrating, because it could have been something just shy of great. Instead, it was weighed down by plot, and story, and subplot, and superfluous characters. The film has flashes of brilliance. Liam Neeson is surprisingly creepy as a mortician turned serial killer, and Christina Ricci was a perfect choice for a girl who is slowly being convinced that she is, in fact, a corpse. And that's the story, right there, all the story the movie needed. More than enough to deal with. But no, it kept dragging itself down into horror and slasher flick clichés, and made what might have been a powerful tale of psychological terror a lumpy, uneven mess. I can't even blame the director for fucking up someone else's screenplay, because it was her screenplay. I just wish someone could have told her to turn down the volume, lose the extra baggage, and tighten the focus. The film never should have left the one room in the mortuary.

Last night, we finally watched Louis Leterrier's remake of Clash of the Titans (2010). I saw the original in high school (1981, directed by Desmond Davis), and even at seventeen, I found the film tiresome and hokey. Even though I was a huge fan of Ray Harryhausen. So, what can I say about the remake? Well, it's still dumb as dirt. I'm still annoyed than the sea monster that comes for Andromeda is, inexplicably "the Kraken" (Norse), instead of Cetus. But, all in all, Leterrier's remake is less painful and not so dull. It has its moments (which the original entirely lacked, save moments of unintentional camp and irony). The whole thing was worth sitting through just for Perseus' battle against the gorgon Medusa (played by Natalia Vodianova, and never, ever has Medusa been so hot). The climactic showdown with "the Kraken" was at least a grand spectacle. So what if the monster design was pretty much lifted from Cloverfield. The 1981 Kraken just made me laugh. At least this one was a presence. The cast was unremarkable (more Liam Neeson, because Zeus = Aslan). I always enjoy watching Sam Worthington, though I'm not sure why. Ralph Fiennes made a fine enough Hades, because I could just pretend he was Voldemort. Alexa Davalos made for an entirely yawn-worthy Andromeda. I'm pretty sure Andromeda should inspire something more than a yawn. Who can blame Perseus for choosing Io?

Okay. Now, I see if this body is going to let me work today. Oh, wait. I have five cute photos of Sméagol:

11 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I think Spooky and I just unintentionally wrote a Muppet sex ed film. And I'm afraid those images will be with me forever.

Yesterday, well...yesterday was a very strange writing day. I sat down to get back to work on "The Maltese Unicorn." I read over what had been written so far, and suddenly the whole thing felt terribly off kilter. For starters, I was only a third of the way into the story, at best, and yet I was about halfway to the maximum word count. Truthfully, as the story was being written, the way I was writing it, it wanted to be a 30,000-word novella. It has to be, instead, a 10,000 word short story. The biggest problem was the frame, set at the Drancy Transit Camp outside of Paris in 1941, six years after the events of the story proper. When I began work on the story, I thought the frame was necessary. But suddenly it seemed utterly superfluous. Worse, the front end of the frame had already devoured almost 2,000 words, and there would still be the back end of the frame to cope with at the end of the story. I knew that would need, at minimum, another 500 words.

I spent about an hour talking to Spooky— well, it was more like ranting madly at Spooky —trying desperately to figure out how to "fix" the story as quickly and efficiently as possible. And, finally, I made the decision to, in essence, decapitate it. Lop off the frame, the first section, then surgically remove all references back to the frame. I have never really done anything of this sort, and it's an understatement to say I found it terrifying. This morning, it's still terrifying. Late yesterday, I shortened the story by about 2,500 words, and smoothed away most of the rough edges left by the edit. I read it through to Spooky again, and it seemed to work better— though the tone had been altered, and the story was suddenly not nearly so dark as it had been (not a good thing). Today, I'm going to sit down and expand the opening paragraphs, restoring some of the set up that was originally in the "frame" section, before proceeding with that part of the story (the middle and ending) that has yet to be written.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Last night, we watched the new episode of Glee. It's the first episode that really hasn't worked for me. Too many "what the fuck" moments, and it wasn't the good sort of "what the fuck." It was more the sort that left me wanting to wash my brain. Though, Brittany wearing her cheerleader uniform backwards, that almost made up for it. Oh, and Sue Sylvester. Later, I finished reading the graphic-novel adaptation of "The Call of Cthulhu," illustrated by Michael Zigerlig (with an introduction by H.R. Giger).
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I did 1,027 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." Precisely the same word count as on Sunday, which is odd, but there you go. It's beginning to seem unlikely that I'll have the story finished by tomorrow evening as I'd originally hoped. It's turning out longer than I'd "planned," which is, of course, its prerogative.

I suspect that thing has happened again, that thing that happens almost every December. So far as publishing is concerned, all NYC is on holiday, and I'm left waiting for three checks I'll likely not see until early January, though I needed them in late November.

Really not much else to say about yesterday. I got the page proofs for Black Wings, the anthology of Lovecraftian fiction edited by S.T. Joshi that's reprinting "Pickman's Other Model" (Sirenia Digest #28, March 2008). The anthology is due out from PS Publishing in March 2010, I think.

Last night, we almost went to the Avon on Thayer Street to see Werner Herzog's The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call — New Orleans. We got dressed and were about to leave the house, when I pointed out that it was a film that we'd likely enjoy just as much on DVD, and we've got three films coming up that we have to see in the theatre (Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus). The last few years, we've mostly reserved the theatre for films that need to be seen on a big screen, which is a somewhat shitty thing to have to do, but given the steep price of tickets it's also become necessary. See a film at the Avon for almost $20, or wait a few months and see it just shy of free via Netflix. So...we didn't go to the movie, but we did leave the apartment, which I'd not done since Tuesday of last week, though we only went to the market and to check the p.o. box.

Back home, we watched two fairly awful and all but incoherent episodes of Dollhouse. But at least Summer Glau was hot in sling and black glove. And then there was more WoW, mostly doing errands for the Taunka camp in the Grizzly Hills. We did get to see female Vrykul, and it's good to know they're out there (and just as hot as I thought they'd be). We fought Vrykul shield maidens at Skorn. I think Shaharrazad, weary from all her years away from Silvermoon City, is growing tired of the fight. I can imagine her never going back to the Eastern Kingdoms, deciding instead to remain at Vengeance Landing to continue her occult studies in seclusion and obscurity. Anyway, later still, I read more of Greer Gilman's superb Cloud and Ashes to Spooky, just before bed.

And there are two photos of Hubero on my desk, from yesterday:

14 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (earth)
So, first a reminder that today is World Biodiversity Day (also known as the International Day for Biological Diversity). This year, the spotlight is on invasive alien species, and, sadly, we're not talking Klingons. To quote the WBD website, "Since the 17th century, invasive alien species have contributed to nearly 40% of all animal extinctions for which the cause is known." And, of course, almost every single one of those invasive species were introduced by humans.


Wednesday, when I was done with the interview, we drove over to the East Side of Providence and spent the evening with Jonathan Thomas, his wife Angel Dean, and Sam Gafford. Johnathan, Sam, and I signed the signature sheets for the forthcoming Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror (edited by S.T. Joshi, PS Publishing). Then we just sat about and talked, which was nice, and bizarrely social for me. I had barleywine for the first time. In fact, I had just a little too much of it, but it was delicious. By the way, Jonathan has a collection of short fiction available from Hippocampus Press, Midnight Call and Other Stories, which I've yet to read, but am looking forward to getting into very soon.

And no, I'm most emphatically not happy at the news that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been canceled, while the sadly unwatchable Dollhouse has been given a second season (though with a smaller budget, I might note). I already knew that Terminator was getting the axe, so I couldn't imagine that Dollhouse wouldn't go bye-bye , as well. And, yeah, I keep hearing how the series has gotten much better than it was at the start, but I had such a strong aversion to the first three or four episodes (characters, concept, actors, etc.) that it'd pretty much have to have become an entirely new show to win me over. I suspect it survived only because its production costs are relatively low (though, again the budget cut), while the pricey sfx required for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles were the kiss of death. Anyway, please don't tell me I should give Dollhouse another chance. I might someday, once I stop being angry about the loss of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Maybe.


Yesterday, we caught a matinée of Terminator: Salvation. It wasn't quite as good as I'd expected, lacking something of the epic scope and feel I'd hoped for, but I did like it quite a lot. Also, the trailer for District 9 looks promising.


Turns out, I have a much better reason to hate Stephenie Meyer than her atrocious writing, which I always felt was sort of a poor excuse for loathing someone. Turns out, she's a frakking Mormon, and hands over a percentage of her income (10%, I believe) to the gay-bashing LDS Church. When one considers that in the first quarter of 2009 16% of all books sold in the U.S. (or one in every eight) were written by Meyer, that's a hefty tithe, especially when you factor in her split from the proceeds of the film and tie-in merchandise. So, I may now hate her for, among other LDS-related idiocies, being part of the driving force behind the passage of Prop 8 in California. That she's also a crappy writer can be secondary.


A quick reminder that the trade paperback of Alabaster is now available from subpress, for the very low price of $14.95 (plus s&h). Also, there's this nifty Alabaster wallpaper you can download FREE.


Okay. The platypus says it's time to get back to work on "Galápagos."
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Yesterday, I managed only 721 words on "Galápagos." After getting the thoughts of those I'd sent the story off to, there were things I needed to talk through. The sorts of things I generally let work themselves out with no particular forethought. And afterwards, I wrote. It's starting to look as if this will be a longer story than I'd first expected, not 6,500 words, but nearer 10,000. Fortunately, I have until May 31st to finish it. Of course, during that time, I also have to get Sirenia Digest #42 out to subscribers, and I have to get some things done for my publicist at Penguin, regarding The Red Tree.

Ironically —— or so it seems to me —— one of the aspects of my sf that I'm most insecure about, and "Galápagos" is no exception, is the actual science. When writing sf, I spend at least half the time fact checking and rechecking and re-rechecking. Though, I should think, if I may be so bold, that if you put any random 100 authors of sf into a room together, and I were one of the bunch, and then evaluate our knowledge of the scientific enterprise, and our general scientific literacy, I'd surely fall into the top tenth percentile. Maybe that's why I'm so insecure about it. Fuck if I know.

Anyway, I'm going to step away from "Galápagos" for a couple of days. I have an interview to do this afternoon, and a number of other things I've been putting off. This evening, Spooky and I will be going to visiting a local writer acquaintance on the East Side for a communal signature-sheet signing gathering sort of thing (the pages are for Joshi's forthcoming Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, which includes my story, "Pickman's Other Model"). And tomorrow's going to be a day off, because I've not had one since May 8th.

My comp copies of the new Alabaster trade paperback arrived yesterday. I think the book looks great. And you can score a copy for a mere $14.95 (plus s&h).

Last night, I was too tired for much of anything, so after BBQ from United BBQ, we watched the first seven episodes of The X-Files (eps six and seven, "Shadow" and "Ghost in the Machine," are dull as hell, by the way). I didn't get to sleep until a little after three, but then —— fuck you, Monsieur Insomnia —— I slept a full eight hours. Booya! Thank you, Mulder and Scully.

Gods, a mere six days remaining until birthday -5. How bloody weird is that?

Postscript (3:06 p.m.): I only just the minute learned that Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon. Suddenly, it all makes so much more sense.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
There is a phrase that is not uttered in this house. That phrase dreaded by all authors. Especially authors with non-negotiable and constant deadlines. Especially when not meeting those deadlines means not being able to pay the bills. In this house, we simply refer to it as the "w-word." Which is to say, I'm struggling with the language. Yesterday, I must have written five or six hundred words, and threw them all away. And these are the very worst sort of writing days. The breathing space I thought I'd have this month is gone, because of this, yesterday and the dry week preceding it. Here I am again, running out of time. And staring into the uncertainty of the day. Oh, I also got some work done on the Secret Project yesterday.

I tried to write on Thursday, but to no avail. Friday brought warmer weather, and so I decided that it might help to leave the house. I'd not been out of the apartment in a week. I'm not supposed to do that anymore. The temperatures were forecast for the high sixties, and we drove to Beavertail. Along the way, more signs of spring. A few splashes of green in the trees. Skunk cabbages and cattails in all the boggy spots. The dogwoods are in bloom. But when we reached Beavertail, we discovered there was a rough sea and a ferocious wind off the bay, and the wind chill must have had the temperature at the point, below the lighthouse, down in the forties or lower. We tried the shore half a mile farther north, on the eastern side of the island, but the wind was still too brisk for comfort. We sat among the rocks for a little while, listening to the sea and watching the gulls and cormorants. And then we headed back inland. Oh, I almost forgot. Before Beavertail, we went to Wickford, to the Herb Wyfe, because there were things we needed. Wickford was warm, and we sat a while and watched the boats in the cove. I think the high for the day was in the low seventies. Unless you were at Beavertail. Today, the high will only be in the fifties. But, slowly, this winter is ending.

Then, yesterday...well, I covered that already.

Some good WoW last night, thanks to an invitation to a huge raiding party. We swept through the Eastern Kingdoms, from Menethil Harbor through the Wetlands, then up into the mountains via Dun Algaz, and hit the dwarves in Loch Modan. From there, we continued south, across the Blasted Lands, the Searing Gorge, through the lava-illumined halls of Blackrock Mountain and out again onto the Burning Steppes. Over the Redridge Mountians by way of the Blackrock Pass. We slaughtered everything in Lakeshire, then continued south into Duskwood. Darkshire met the same fate as Lakeshire. In Duskwood, we realized we were being trailed by two or three Alliance scouts, and we met considerable resistance after we crossed the river into Westfal. There was a marvelous battle below Sentinel Hill, after which we headed east again, into the Elwyn Forest, and we made our last stand in Goldshire. Our raiding party repelled wave after wave of Alliance pouring out of Stormwind Keep, but was finally vanquished by a force three times our size. It was pretty damn cool. And Suraa and Shaharrazad both got the "Know Thy Enemy" achievement, which we hadn't expected to ever earn.

A lot of reading the last few days. I'm working my way back through Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark" and "The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath." On the one hand, I think I appreciate the latter story more than I have in the past, but, on the other, it's surely one of HPL's stranger (and longest), and I'm wondering if anyone's ever tried reading it as a sort of Gulliver's Travels political satire. And there's been more from the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, papers on the "rauisuchian" archosaur Batrachotomus kupferzellensis; the ontogeny of Stegosaurus; ontogenetic and taxonomic implications of pattern and transition of surficial bone texture of the centrosaurine frill; and Adeopapposaurus, a new prosauropod dinosaur from Argentina.

There are some photos from Friday, behind the cut. The platypus says it's time to..well, you know.

17 April 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Eocene)
Here I've made no entry since April 3rd, and I have to try to play catch up. Generally, it's a sign that a vacation is going well, if I can stay away from the blog.

Friday and Saturday are a bit of a smudge. I did little but read on either day. Read and sleep. Lots of naps the last few days, which are helping enormously in this bid to restore me. But, anyway...reading. On Friday, I picked up Burleson's Lovecraft: Disturbing the Universe, only to be disappointed to learn that it's primarily a dry attempt to subject HPL's work to the rusty razors of deconstruction and post-structuralist literary theory. I made it through "Pre-lude: The Manner of Reading" before the yawning was getting the better of me. I don't think anyone can fairly accuse me of being anti-intellectual, but I can live without Jacques Derrida, thank you very much. Joshi is quoted as saying that this text is "The most challenging book ever written on Lovecraft." It's certainly the most tedious. So, anyway, I tossed Burleson aside, and picked up Goldner and Turner's The Making of King Kong. Much better. I read about half the book on Friday, and finished it late yesterday. Also, on Saturday, at the suggestion of a reader, I went back to The Children of Cthulhu and read the three stories that had been suggested: Tim Lebbon's "The Stuff of Stars, Leaking," Alan Dean Foster's "A Fatal Exception has Occurred at...," and Brian Hodge's "The Firebrand Symphony." The first wasn't bad, a little skimpy, but not bad. I thought it worked primarily as a mood piece, but didn't quite live up to the images evoked by its title. The second, the Foster story, was both dull and ridiculous. And someone should have told the author that earthquakes are not at all unusual in Denver, since he made such a big point of them never occurring there. But I rather liked the Brian Hodge story.

There's also been an awful lot of "television." I use the quotation marks because, these days, we pretty much stick to DVDs and what we can stream from Hulu or Netflix, and watch it all on Spooky's laptop. Lots more of Season Four of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. And someone somewhere was saying all of us who'd abandoned Dollhouse early on should give the latest episode a try, since it felt much more like Joss Whedon. They did caution that it wasn't any good, just that it at least felt much more like Joss Whedon. I would amend that to say that the latest episode of Dollhouse felt like a parody of Joss Whedon, made by someone looking for the "secret formula." Eliza Dushku simply can't act (and here, the main problem is that she has no range, in a role demanding great range), and the show's about as interesting as...well, actually, it's not interesting at all. I did rather like the most recent episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, though. One of the best of the series so far. Also, we've started watching Season Two of Heroes. It's about what I recall from Season One. Bland, frequently silly, but oddly watchable.

Yesterday, we'd planned to drive up to Boston and spend the day at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. But the weather was so sunny and warm (high about 60F, though with winds gusting to 24 mph), after three or four consecutive days of rain and cold, that we decided, instead, to head out to Conanicut Island. The sky was a brilliant blue, and there were more glimpses of spring in the woods, along the streams and in the bogs. The fields are all brilliant green, and the trees have gone red with a wash of buds. We reached Beavertail, meaning to explore a favorite cove on the western side of the point (about .15 miles northwest of the lighthouse), but the wind was a bit harsh. Also, we kept stumbling upon clusters of small jellyfish (so far unidentified) washed up on the rocks. So, after just a little while, we crossed over to the more sheltered eastern shore. I found a comfortable spot (about .44 miles northeast of the lighthouse) among the tilted beds of Cambrian-aged phyllite and slate, and I just lay there in the sun, listening to the sea and watching the birds. It was marvelous. There were some unfamiliar birds floating on the water, birds that were neither cormorants nor gulls. They might have been either murres or eider ducks; we didn't have the binoculars, so we're not sure. Might have been a few of both, or none of either. I think I dozed a little, right at the edge of the surf, as the tide roared in.

Later, we made it over to Fort Weatherill, south of Jamestown (still on Conanicut Island, but about 2.82 miles, as the gull flies, northeast of Beavertail Lighthouse), to our favorite place to hunt for beach glass. We found lots, including some very old pieces, and one largish shard emblazoned with the word "ASK." Well, I'm sure it's actually a fragment of a longer word, but...still. We also found an assortment of gull bones, including a nice tarsometatarsus, a cervical vertebra, and a dorsal vertebra, along with what appears to be the synsacrum and incomplete pelvis of a cormorant. The usual assortment of crustacean remains, including Carcinus maenas, Cancer irroratus, and Callinectes sapidus. The water, both at Beavertail and Fort Weatherill, was so amazingly clear, and so many countless shades of green and blue. There were a couple of scuba divers at Fort Weatherill, and I envied them. We made it home about six p.m., I think. My face got a bit sunburned.

Okay. This has gone on longer than I meant it to. I have a few emails I have to answer...and then I'm just going to read, I think. Here are some photographs from yesterday:

April 5, 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
I neglected, yesterday, to give the title and publisher for the anthology that will be reprinting "Pickman's Other Model." The book, edited by S.T. Joshi, is Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror. It will be released late this year by PS Publishing, who are doing some genuinely gorgeous books, including the new edition of Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever for which I wrote an introduction.

Yesterday was an especially frustrating writing day. On the one hand, I wrote 1,211 words, part of a new scene for The Red Tree. This is a scene I was adding at the suggestion of my editor, and when she made it, I thought it was a very good idea. However, yesterday evening, having almost finished it, I realized that adding it would entail a good deal of restructuring to the last two and a half chapters of the novel. Because all changes, no matter how small, create ripples. And given that I have only ten days or so remaining to get the corrected ms. back to NYC, there simply isn't time to deal with those ripples. Moreover, the changes to text and character that the new scene would create would, in some ways, be undesirable. So...I spent half an hour this morning writing a detailed letter to Anne (my editor), explaining why I'm skipping this edit, and ditching everything I wrote yesterday. Today, I have to try to add another scene, but I'm hoping this one will create very few, if any, ripples. For me, attempting revisions on a novel that I have come to consider, for all intents and purposes, finished is not unlike time traveling. You cannot even step on a butterfly (thank you, Mr. Bradbury), without changing everything that lies downstream of said butterfly. I don't know how many metaphors I just mixed, but there you go.

There are still a few copies of the regular trade edition of A is for Alien available, and I hope that you'll pick one up.

Last night, after a meal of won-ton soup and particularly hot Szechuan beef, we started reading Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist (as translated by Ebba Segerberg). And my new Colman-Rider-Waite deck came yesterday, and I spent part of the evening making good on my resolution to hone my Tarot skills. Later, we ate Klondike bars and there was WoW, but it was all spent running about getting the "25 Coins of Ancestry" achievement. In the process, we also managed to score the exploration achievement for exploring Elwynn Forest, though it meant charging past the Level ?? guards and in and out of Stormwind City. There was a PVP skirmish at Sentinel Hill in Westfall that we sort of started. I'm beginning to get a rush off the PVP stuff. And that was last night, pretty much.
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
Yeah, so last night, or, rather, early this morning, Monsieur Insomnia made a most exceptional appearance. I was in bed before four ayem, and even after having a Lortab (tooth pain) earlier, and then my usual handful of bedtime pills, plus two zolpidem tartrate, I was still awake just before six, as the sun rose. Ugh. So, five hours sleep, at best.

Yesterday, I did 1,224 words on "The Z Word," which, despite the inherent absurdity of a zombie love story built upon ABBA songs, is coming out much grimmer and less whimsical than I'd expected. Someone asked if there would be a playlist, to which I reply, it comes built into the story itself. I should be able to finish the story today.

Not much else to yesterday. A lot of email that I need to answer. You'd think Sundays would have long since ceased to feel like Sundays. I don't have weekends, in any traditional sense. I don't take them off work. I'm not in school. I escaped the Xtian thing way back about 1982. So, yeah, I have no idea why Sundays continue to feel There was a little SL last night, an rp scene with Lina in Corvinus. Then Spooky and I watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), which I'd not seen in ages. It's still one of Speilberg's best films.


My thanks to Cliff Miller for giving me permission to post his letter regarding "The Ape's Wife" (I have reformatted this letter slightly, to condense paragraphs):

I have just read "The Ape's Wife", by Caitlín R. Kiernan, for the third time. I have misunderstood it, totally, for up until this reading, I really didn't care for it. I suspect, or rather, fear that is because I am male, or middle-aged, or just not 'artistic' enough by nature. But I'm positive that I didn't understand because I did not read it carefully.

There are stories that you read and enjoy, that provide a few minutes of escape, that capture your imagination and provide pleasure. There are stories, more serious, that you find satisfying and that you admire for the craftsmanship and the universality of experience that you can share. These stories win prizes and awards and accolades for their authors. You can mention their titles in public and some of your companions say, "Oh, yeah, I read that. What an excellent story." Glasses clink and the conversation moves on. "The Ape's Wife" is neither of these.

For there is a third type of story. In this type, if you read carefully, you realize the author threw away all the stops and created something that is the best that they can do. They believe it is a fine thing, but they know for damn sure that it is the best that they can do. You understand this, as a reader, in the third person, as an observer, for the story surpasses intimacy. The author has not bared themselves in the way of lovers as it were. That is the second type of story.

In the third type, the author has removed her skin. All that she has been, all that she is, all that she believes she will be, is exposed for examination. Examination by lesser beings in many cases, but that is not the intent. Intimacy lies far behind. You can be the author, should you decide to enter the body so mercilessly laid open. You can dine on her flesh, or make fun, or dance away, without caring. She knew this, and wrote it anyway.

But, and again, you must read carefully. You must approximate in your attention the ultimate skill and care with which the story was imagined, assembled, and created. The fingers bruised by the computer keys, the floor slippery with blood, the paper pages soaked with tears.

Your opinion? I don't think she cared. The great ones don't. They write for themselves, because to not write is unthinkable. Your enjoyment, or appreciation, or understanding is simply not the point. You don't open yourself this way for another being. Any clarity and universality is a byproduct of a master craftswoman.

The unimaginable case is that not all stories of this quality find a market. You might have to look widely, deeply, with exhausting effort. Deep in a genre somewhere, though these stories operate outside of any genre. You might have to read a lot of crap before you find this kind of story. The third kind. In the case of "The Ape's Wife", it's worth any effort. Read it carefully, slowly, savoring each word, each sentence, each paragraph, each image, each reference. Respect the fact that you've entered someone else's being, universe, perception of reality. Remember you don't have to understand where you are to respect it and to honor it with your attention.

I don't know who or what you are, but if you do read it, carefully, I offer this promise. I promise you'll want to read it again.

Note that "The Ape's Wife" was first published at Clarkesworld Magazine, and was voted best short story of 2007 by the magazine's readers. It has since been reprinted (as in, on paper) by Wyrm Publishing in Realms: The First Year of Clarkesworld Magazine and in Stephen Jones' The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (#19). At least as regards my intent as a writer, and especially as regards the "Your opinion? I don't think she cared." bit, I'd say it's quite accurate. I may care later, once a story is written, but I cannot allow thoughts of how a story might be received to interfere with my I intent to write. As I have said too many times, I write for me and no one else. Anyway, thank you, Cliff.


Also, a brief bit more about the Swan Point security situation. A reader writes:

I just came across your livejournal from the Weird Tales webpage and saw your posts about Swan Point Cemetery. I moved to the East Side of Providence three years ago for work and I was excited to finally have the chance see all things HPL: his house, the places he mentions in some of his stories, and his tombstone. My girlfriend and I first went to see his stone about two years ago. I left him a guitar pick and took some photos by his grave. I saw one other group of people my age there and my girlfriend and I left after a few minutes so they could say hi to HPL, too. We didn't have any problems with security and no one bothered us. Recently though, it seems like there is a new security force in place. We walk the boulevard a lot in the evenings and they're always there with the huge spotlights, checking out the walls and brush. We've just noticed it this past month or so. I don't remember them doing it last year or the year prior for HPL's birthday, so maybe it's some new policy or something. Anyway, I'm sorry to hear that they were rude to you two and to some of the other folks that have written you as well. If that's the sentiment there these days I would be afraid to leave a guitar pick now - probably get in trouble because there's toxins in the plastic and they might leach out into ground and contaminate the (already dead) people living (buried) there. Anyway, hope they chill out soon and you get a chance to go back to see the grave in peace.

Also, I'm including the following photograph, behind a cut, taken by a local acquaintance the day after our visit (my frog offering is visible on the stone, but most of the flowers have wilted). He also reports having encountered no trouble with security. So, maybe they're very particular about who they single out for harassment, or maybe some of us are luckier than others. Anyway, yeah, this photo, because I've not yet decided whether or not to post our two shots (I'm talking with a lawyer about the situation). It's interesting to see that nothing had been removed from the monument. Frankly, I think the guy just didn't like our looks.

HPL's grave, August 21, 2008 )

Please have a look at the new round of eBay. Thanks. Also, I've heard that some bookshops now have the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds on the shelves, a week ahead of time.


Jun. 23rd, 2008 12:26 pm
greygirlbeast: (Middle Triassic)
George Carlin is dead. What do you fucking say to that, except "Fuck." Nothing else seems appropriate. Unless it's, "Shit." And I can quote him:

Religion easily has the best bullshit story of all time. Think about it. Religion has convinced people that there's an invisible in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn't want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.

And we move along, trying to pick up the fucking slack, and knowing we are not half equal to the task.

A very fine day yesterday. First, we watched the less-rough edit of Frank Woodward's Lovecraft documentary, and I was pleased with what I saw. It's going to be cool. Then Spooky found out about some abandoned amusement park down near Hope Valley, in South County, and she and Sonya ([ profile] sovay) wanted to go there. So, we didn't hang pictures (bad us), we went to the abandoned amusement park, but I'm going to write about that and show you those pictures tomorrow. After the abandoned amusement park —— and, by the way, there weren't any "No Trespassing" signs, so don't start in on that —— Sonya wanted to see Beavertail, so we headed east to the Jamestown Bridge. I dozed in the car, because the heat and light were getting to me, and I'd not slept enough Saturday night. When we reached Beavertail, there was some annoying wedding thing going on, but it was down at the lighthouse, not out on the rocks where we prefer to go. The three of us climbed down to the sea, maybe a hundred yards south of where we'd done our Solstice ceremony on Friday. The tide was starting to come in, rushing noisily over the rocks, but there were still tidal pools. Despite my dratted feet, which would have me do nothing but sit in this bloody chair all day long, I did a right decent job of scampering about on the boulders, keeping up with Sonya and Spooky. My ankles only hurt a little this morning. But, I've got to get some better rock climbing, wading-type shoes before we go back. Anyway...there are many photos behind the cut. Hope people aren't getting bored with the sea, because I doubt I ever shall:

Beavertail, June 22 )

Today, we head back down to Moosup Valley, because I need to do just a little more research before proceeding on to Chapter Two of The Red Tree tomorrow. It's cooler and cloudy today, good weather for driving, and for Moosup Valley. Anyway, last night, after Beavertail, we came back home. I heated up the leftover stew, and after dinner, Sonya and I talked shop until it was time to get her to the train station for the 10:25 back to Boston. Later, I spent several hours in rp in Second Life, just because it had been a while (thank you, Lorne and Omega). I think I didn't get to bed until about 4:45 ayem, and I was afraid the sun would be up before i could get to sleep. This whole early sunrise thing is definitely going to help keep me from pulling those crazy long nights on SL. I can't get to sleep once the sky is light. Anyway. Yeah. Moosup Valley...
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
A day of relief and some small bit of rejoicing yesterday, as we learned that we got the apartment near the Armory district in Providence that we were hoping we'd get. It is very, very good to know, again, where we will be sleeping two months from now. We plan to leave Atlanta, probably, on Friday, May 30th, and arrive at the new place on June 1st, just about the time the movers arrive with our furniture. It's a wonderful apartment, in a building dating back to 1875. This is the move I wanted to make in 2002, when we landed in Atlanta, instead, so it feels like some long-delayed goal has been achieved. Our five (going on six) years in Atlanta have not been a total waste, just awfully close to a total waste, and I'll be glad to be shed of this city. Of course, now we have less than six weeks remaining to pack everything.

Byron will be driving up with us, to drive Spooky's car while she drives the van that will transport more fragile belongings (fossils, computers, Hubero, framed pictures, etc.) that we don't trust to the movers. It's good to know we won't be on the road alone. He'll take a plane back (though we have hopes that Providence will seduce him, as well).

A decent writing day yesterday, though it took me forever, or so it felt, to get started. I did 1,131 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree. As for the footnotes vs. endnotes thing, I think I have (after many comments from readers) come down on the side of footnotes. We'll see how it goes when I finish this chapter and backtrack to add them in, see if footnotes look and feel right.

Email yesterday from Frank Woodward of Wyrd Co., to let me know that the editing on the documentary, H. P. Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, is finished, and wanting to know if I'd like to be one of the first to see it. Of course, I said yes. And I cannot recall, offhand, who it was, back during the medical/dental crisis of February who bought letter "L" of Tales from the Woeful Platypus (plus Beanie platypus #4), and for whom I promised a letter "L" limerick, but I apologize for not having gotten around to it yet. Yesterday, Spooky shoved the Beanie platypus at me and threatened death if I did not take care of this. So. It's on the list for this weekend, promise, and I thank you for your patience. Spooky has decided, by the way, that there shall be no more eBay until after the move.

Last night, Byron came over for the premiere of Series Four of Doctor Who, and I thought it was a very excellent episode, indeed (of course, UK folks saw it about three weeks ago, I guess). A good start, though I would so have loved Astrid to have become the new companion, if we can't have Sally Sparrow or Martha Jones. I was not, however, impressed with the The Sarah Jane Adventures. Maybe if I were twelve. But the new episode of Battlestar Galactica was also quite good, with a nice tummy punch there at the end. Byron did not stay for BSG, as he still holds a grudge against the SFC for canceling Farcscape, and says that Doctor Who is one thing, since it's actually produced by the BBC, but BSG is another. I hold the grudge, as well, but fell in love with BSG on DVD and couldn't help myself. Later in the night, some good rp in Second Life.

Someone got me thinking that today was Darwin Day, when, in fact, Darwin Day was February 12th (his birthday). Today is actually the date of his death in 1882. However, since I missed Darwin day this year, I shall recognise it today:

I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother, and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.

—— Charles Darwin, from Autobiography (1958, edited by Darwin's granddaughter, Emma Barlow)
greygirlbeast: (blood)
I do not want this journal to become a whining catalog of my physical infirmities. But when those infirmities have a direct bearing on my ability to think, to work, to sleep, to fucking write, the one concern overlaps the other. Things that I have always considered too personal to place in a public journal become central to my public endeavors. It has grown very confusing. What to say, what not to say. The worst seizure last night since October, probably, and it must have been about 3:30 or 4 ayem when it happened. Just hit like a jet plane landing inside my head, no warning, and then I was afraid to try to go to sleep. I was up until a little after six. The sound of the mockingbirds finally drove me to bed, and I slept through nightmares until about one, to wake feeling not the least bit rested. To wake feeling even more exhausted than when I fell asleep.

Seizure: "act of seizing," 1482, from seize (q.v.). Meaning "sudden attack of illness" is attested from 1779. Or, Epilepsy: 1578, from M.Fr. epilepsie, from L.L. epilepsia, from Gk. epilepsia "seizure," from epi- "upon" + lepsis "seizure," from leps-, future stem of lambanein "take hold of, grasp" (see analemma). Replaced the native name, falling sickness. Of course, my seizures are not exactly epilepsy, they're just pretty much indistinguishable from epileptic seizures.

More reading yesterday, more of the New England vampire book.

I do think, after looking over yesterday's comments, that I have resolved to make the protagonist of The Red Tree the same age as me, which will be -04 for most of the time I'll be writing the book. How far in the Pit has American publishing sunk when it's afraid of middle-aged and older characters? Afraid or simply disinterested. Whatever. I'll make the weird girl who lives in the attic of the house , the painter — who was going to me a man — a twenty-something. Maybe that'll make people happy. But I discovered, when I wrote "Salammbô Redux (2007)" last summer, that it was something I needed to do, writing older characters. So, there. Thank you for the comments yesterday. You tipped the scales.

Here's a cool little thing. Jeff VanderMeer writes about ghouls (and I get a mention, alongside HPL and Brian McNaughton), and there's a link to an article of the origin of HPL's ghouls (which are, more or less, my "Hounds of Cain"). Thank you, [ profile] sovay, for bringing this to my attention.

Last night, a sort of half-hearted "Kid Night," we watched the last three episodes of the final season of Angel. Seasons Four and Five were really quite good. The series was just hitting its stride. Wesley's death and that final scene — marvelous, but it was a hard ending to take. And then we watched Battlestar Galactica, which was good, and gods, but I do adore Katie Sackoff. However, I think commercials really do this series grave harm. The suspense builds and is then deflated. I'll likely watch the whole series over on DVD when it's done. Later, some very frustrating Second Life, nothing to write home about.

I did not leave the house yesterday.

I'm going to go now and try to get some reading done.
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,080 words and finished "Flotsam." I am very, very pleased with the piece. It is possessed of the sort of economy and density I achieved in "Untitled 17" (in Frog Toes and Tentacles). It is a true vignette, a scene (though the narrator's mind wanders a bit in time), and it's so rare that I'm actually true to the original mission statement of Sirenia Digest.

In response to my request for comments regarding "Pickman's Other Model," I received a rather marvelous email from one Mr. Tim Huntley, who writes:

The lines from the Ovid in Part 3 drew me to thinking about transformation but also about the particular morphē that changes. What, for me, was particularly well written throughout "Pickman's Other Model (1929)" was the notion of change and development. I touch on nothing you didn't intend, I'm sure, but I find that there is an interesting development from the paintwork and photography of Lovecraft's own mode of revelation into the charcoal sketches and cinematic reels of the mode of grotesque revelation in your own piece.

The role of cinema is very well placed though. Having read
Sirenia Digest #28, I looked to some Lovecraft letters and found a Sept 1935 note where HPL bemoans missing a screening of Caligari. Yet cinema is a mode not in Mr Blackman's favour: he is a man of the theatre, favouring "living actors." As such your story gives rise to thinking on the oppositions of metamorphosis and body; of theatre and cinema. The performance one becomes gives way to what one is, a fixity surely put in question by any notion of acting. However, for all the doubt Mr Blackman casts on his own authorial veracity, Lily nonetheless casts him as "a persistent fellow such as you".

In short, "Pickman's Other Model" takes up the ways in which popular folk myth, cultural gossip, horrors, and memory endure. It takes them up and scatters them through a myriad of forms. (On a lighter note, dare I say that Thurber's presence at the screening ("Now, do you understand?") seems to have the hint of a nod to that moment in Landis'
An American Werewolf in London, where Kessler sits with Jack Goodman...) There was also an echo from your own work: I loved the ground that seems to stretch from the private arcane collection of Silas Desvernine in "Estate" to the corporeal arcanum of the Hounds' film. Between these two stories there was an interesting shift from introspective real estate to projected industrial product: the cinema film (played, nonetheless, underground by the Harvard Square collective). And the relaying of the Durand Drive events was superb – for me it was inlaid perfectly: like a miniature inset of "The Call of Cthulhu" part II.

Finally, I have to say, Lillian Margaret Snow is a splendidly defined ghost, shifting through the whole of the piece. "Pickman's Other Model (1929)" is a piece for which you should be proud.

Danke schön. Actually, though I do see your point about Jack Goodman, I think what was actually going through my head at the time was a line from Poe's "Hey Pretty" ("Do you get this gist of this song now?"), which, of course, leads back to Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves. Also, Sean writes:

I'd never read it ["Pickman's Model"] before with thoughts towards the unreliability of first person narration, but I think the points from your prolegomena are well taken. It did seem like Thurber was about to come off the rails completely before his account was finished. In that light, it seems perfectly logical that he might have later committed suicide. Your story did seem to leave one unanswered question though in regards to Thurber — what, if any, was the extent of his contact with Vera Endecott/Lillian Snow? Did he merely get the sketches from Pickman, or did they meet during the time she modeled for Pickman? What exactly was the final straw that broke his mind is also somewhat shady. Perhaps you left these things ambiguous on purpose and, in any case, the story didn't suffer for it.

To which I reply, I always try to leave as many questions unanswered as answered, and thinking on it now, answering your questions would make another good story (and no doubt lead to new questions, because this regression is infinite). Anyway, my thanks to Sean and Tim, both.

I'm taking the day off, going to the picture show with Spooky. There was a very small seizure late yesterday, the sort that is usually called "petit mal" or "absence" seizures, which mostly just leave me feeling odd for a few hours. But the insomnia and stress is piling up, so, yeah, a day off to try to get pointed to true north once more. But, first, these marvelous images, courtesy [ profile] thingunderthest (behind the cut):

Farscape definitions )

*Just a word to the wise, from me to a certain "Tristan Pennell," should he actually be reading this (by way of the Dresden Dolls, of course).
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
I've been making myself go to bed at 2 ayem the last two nights (or mornings), and slowly I am catching up on all the sleep I've lost. Still, here it is 1:12 pm, and I'm still groggy. It's cold in Atlanta this afternoon, but we got marvelous thunderstorms yesterday, and the warm will be back tomorrow, so that's not so bad.

Yesterday. Let's see. It was all about getting Sirenia Digest #28 put together. I did the corrections to "Pickman's Other Model" that I marked when we last read through the story on the 18th, but had not yet made. I have a feeling I'm going to have to read over this one one more time before I send it out into the world. Anyway, that took about an hour and a half. Then I snurched HPL's "Pickman's Model" from Wikisource and spent a bit of time making sure the formatting matched HPL's original (there were some discrepencies), because I want Sirenia readers who haven't read "Pickman's Model" to have it on hand. I gathered up some images I want to use in the issue. I wrote the prolegomena, which is mostly about inspiration. So, it's looking like #28 will go out tomorrow. I still have to do the layout today, and I'm waiting on Vince's illustration. Oh, and this issue will also include, for all those new subscribers, one of the older stories, one of my favourites, "The Sphinx's Kiss" (from #14, January 2007). I think I will be very happy with this issue.

Also, yesterday, the contracts for the German-language editions of Threshold and Low Red Moon arrived. Of course, the IRS still hasn't sent me the forms I need to send to my German publisher to prove that, yes, I really am an American citizen (in order to avoid the hefty German taxes). The post also brought a package from Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, because Spooky had ordered a bottle of their Baghdad for me (amber, saffron, and bergamot, with mandarin, nutmeg, bulgar rose, musk, and sandalwood), plus a bunch of "imps" (and I'm not gonna list them all, but her faves are Zombi and Séance). Baghdad is the new smell of me.

Last night, there was Manhattan-style clam chowder for dinner, followed by a pretty good episode of Torchwood and a very good episode of Angel ("Damage"). I started reading another JVP paper yesterday — "Cranial anatomy of Ennatosaurus tecton (Synapsida: Caseidae) from the Middle Permian of Russia and the evolutionary relationship of the Caseidae" — but didn't finish it.

Another casualty of the March 14th-15th tornadoes, one I have not yet mentioned, was the second of the two trees in Freedom Park that played an important role in a dream I wrote of way back on March 8th, 2006. Somewhere, there's an entry with a photograph of the two trees standing, but the journal's gotten so long, I'll be damned if I can find it. Anyway, one of the two trees was already dead and fell in storms last year. These two oaks were a bit special to me, because of the dream, and because we'd done some magick there, and they were just very fine trees in their own right (which is the most important thing). There's a photo, taken late on Thursday, behind the cut:

Fallen )

My thanks to [ profile] furrylittleprob for pointing me to more LJ icons by artist Liz Amini-Holmes.

Yeah. I hear ya, platypus. Where's my damn coffee?

Postscript (2:34 p.m.) — Thanks to [ profile] cliff52 for pointing out that the photo of the two trees can be found in my March 10th, 2006 journal entry (third photo down).
greygirlbeast: (mucha)
Yesterday was a decent enough writing day. I did 1,125 words on "Pickman's Other Model" and finished the third section of the story. HPL never gave first names for either Eliot or Thurber, and after looking into names that were popular in the late 19th Century, when Thurber (narrator) of "Pickman's Model" would have likely been born*, I have settled on William Thurber, who, it turns out, had an older sister named Ellen (I think).

Have I mentioned how much I love the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. I do not generally tend to look at my books very much once they are published, but I'm making an exception with this one. It's been such a long road, turning this collection into a book I'm happy with, I feel I should try to savor it. This edition more than makes up for the mess that Meisha Merlin foisted upon me (and everyone who bought the book). This is probably as near to what I'd originally intended it to be as I can ever hope to come.

Byron dropped by last night, and we did dinner at the Vortex, and broke the news to him about the move to Rhode Island. I'm going to make a very short list about the things in the South I will miss, and Bryon is on that list. He took it well. Of course, I wish we could just haul him north with us. Anyway, after dinner, we watched Austin Powers (1997), which I'd never seen, and Spooky had only seen while stoned. I fear I was not impressed. I tried to be impressed, but it just seemed like the same only faintly humorous line delivered again and again. For spoofs of sixties spies, I'll stick with James Coburn and Lee J. Cobb in Daniel Mann's Our Man Flint (1966). After the movie, we happened to catch the infamous scientology episode of South Park (which I'd only seen once), and I swear, that one episode is such a tremendous service to mankind that Trey Parker and Matt Stone deserve a Nobel Prize.

Sometime back, I decided it was best for this blog to steer clear of politics, but Hilary Clinton's behavior the last couple of weeks has finally pushed me to break radio silence on the subject of the 2008 US presidential election. Specifically, her bizarre attempt to convince voters that, if worse comes to worse and she doesn't get the Democratic nomination, that the Republican's McCain would make a better President than would Barack Obama. Has any Democratic candidate ever made such a twisted, desperate bid to sway an election? It's very hard to listen to her campaign rhetoric and not come away with the impression that what she's really saying here comes down to, "Yes, McCain's the enemy, but at least he's white." So, though I hate sounding like a reactionary, I have chosen what is, in my opinion, the lesser of two evils, or, more specifically, Hilary Clinton's actions have made the choice for me. The Obama sign goes up in the front yard next week. Besides, he's kind of cute, and we surely can't say that about McCain or Clinton, and I think he's more likely to get the country out of Iraq than is the somewhat hawkish Hilary Clinton. As usual, Olbermann does not mince words:

Anyway, don't forget that Sunday everyone switches back to Caitlín Standard Time (which is sort of annoying, as I will no longer be early for everything).

* I draw this conclusion based upon Thurber describing himself as "middle-aged" and the assumption that the story is contemporaneous with the time that HPL wrote it (September 1926; published October 1927).
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I was up a wee bit too late last night (but thank you Lorne and Larissa), and then there were the nightmares, so I'm presently somewhat dazed and disoriented. I'm awake, I'm just mostly elsewhere.

Yesterday, I did 1,070 words on "Pickman's Other Model." The writing started out slowly, but then built up some momentum. A much better day of it than I had on Wednesday. If it'll just all hold together, in terms of the story's historical authenticity, I think I'm going to like this one.

I want to say again how happy I am with the Subterranean Press edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. My thanks to everyone who has ordered a copy thus far.

After about half a dozen people expressed an interest in participating in the Second Life "Sirenia Players," I went ahead and established the group yesterday evening. At this point, four people have been invited in, three have accepted. More invitations will go out this evening. We'll probably have an informal get-together in a few weeks, to talk through the basics, lay some ground rules, and so forth. If you're interested, I need your SL username, otherwise I can't find you to send you an invitation, and the group is invite-only.

A good walk yesterday, down Sinclair Avenue to talk to Daisy Dog and the dinosaur. The Narcissus and camellias are blooming. I'm going to miss these Southern springs, but I figure it'll be more than fair, the trade off. Speaking strictly in terms of climate, it's a bloody shame the great industrial (and cultural) centers of this country were not founded in the southeast, instead of the northeast. Oh, fickle fucking happenstance. Anyway, after dinner, another two episodes of Angel. I enjoyed "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," but "Supersymmetry" was just a little too something.

And really, I think that's all for now. Time to dance with the platypus in the pale moonlight (


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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