greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Because, you see, Ceiling Cat doesn't actually live in the ceiling. "Ceiling" is merely a metaphor meant to impress upon us his constant nearness and watchfulness. Ceiling Cat actually lives in the upper troposphere, which is a bit lower than one usually finds, say, the Flying Spaghetti Monster noodling about (deities must segregate, elsewise – a word LJ can't spell – we get Kaiju Big Battel and shit like that. Airplanes get eaten. Bad cellphone reception. Blood falls from the sky.). Hubero told me to explain all of this to you, so blame his bald pink ass, not mine.

I think the problem here is that I got less than six hours of sleep this morning. Thank you, Monsieur Insomnia.

It's snowing. A lot. The whole world is white, which makes it all vastly easier on my winter-shy eyes and nerves. Smooth away the bleak, ugly, sharp edges.

Not entirely sure where all of yesterday went. There was work, though no writing. Mostly answering email, questions about proofreading and copy-edited manuscripts, and stuff like that. A burning desire to clean my office (which might be constructive, only there's no longer room to move in here). I'm pretty sure there was nothing exciting. Today, among other things, I need to proofread "Tidal Forces," which is about to be reprinted in...you know, that information is probably not fit for public consumption yet. I will say, whatever editors out there might think to the contrary, "The Maltese Unicorn" (from Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir) was lightyears (yes, LJ; lightyear is one word) better than anything else I wrote last year, or the year before that...and that it hasn't received more attention baffles me. I think it must be that dildos embarrass people. I don't get that at all.

Also, this diet sucks. Sugar-free, low-fat instant cocoa. Sugar-free Red Bull. Shoot me now. (Also, please, no dieting advice.)

As it happens, Alabaster #1 will be published with two covers. That is, the official cover is by Greg Ruth, and that's the one everybody has seen. But there's also an alternate cover that will be harder to find, painted by Michael Oeming. Here it is:



If you want this cover, you'll probably need to put an order in now with your Local Comic Shop. Or wait for eBay.

---

Okay, so...I had it in my head I was going to write some long and insightful, Pulitzer fucking Prize-winning essay explaining my take on the SOPA/PIPA mess and the problem of internet piracy. And then I decided, fuck that. I don't have time. I'm not so disposed. Whatever. So, instead, I'll put it plainly, and make it brief. It's not like other people haven't already said everything I'm about to say. And said it better.

No, you may not have my books for free. No, I do not believe – based on anecdotal evidence – that if I let you have five books for free, you'll buy the sixth. Bring me some very hard empirical evidence that can be reproduced, and I might think about the ramifications. Me, I want to see BitTorrent and the like die a quick, messy death. I do not appreciate being stolen from. And no, information "doesn't want to be free." That's cock-eyed bullshit. How about, my rent and healthcare and utilities want to be free? I say these things because, people need to know, whether you believe it or not, the mounting theft of ebooks is leading – on my end – to lower and lower advances from publishers. Another couple of years at this rate, it will no longer be feasible for me to continue writing novels. No, really. That's not hyperbole. Want a book for free? Go to the motherfucking library. Or download the ebook free from a library (yeah, you can do that). Stop being so goddamn lazy and unimaginative and divest yourself of that bullsit privileged, entitled I-deserve-to-get-it-free-RIGHT-NOW attitude. Who put that stuff in your heads? Well, learn this: There are options that do not ass-rape the authors. I did the work, and I deserve to be fairly paid, and not to have my copyright violated by douchebags.

But SOPA/PIPA are not the solution. As I said before, you do not burn down a house to kill a termite. You don't risk wrecking the entire internet to stop internet crime. You move slowly and with great care. You address the actual problems. You don't allow the megacorps to crush "fair use" and the like and pervert copyright law (the US was doing this well before the internet). You create the least inclusive legislation possible, not the most. Even having said what I said above, to paraphrase Elizabeth Bear, my books are being pirated on the net every single day, and that's endangering the future of my career, but I'm more comfortable with the devil I know than with SOPA/PIPA. I'm willing to wait for a better solution.

So there. I think that gets the point across.

Oh, hey! Heidi Klum and Seal are getting a divorce! Cool! Who's gonna get custody of the litter?

Cheap, But Not For Free,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky says, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has tweeted "Rhode Island. It's not an island. Not even close. I have discovered this." He is a wise man. Oh, and he also just tweeted, "They really should change the name of that to A-Squid-Neck Island*. In honor of Lovecraft. Obviously. Fo shizzle." I think he's high.

Today, Hubero's name is Bill Murray. Just until midnight. This began when Spooky posted the following to Facebook: It's that kind of morning... discussing how funny it would be to change Hubero's name to Bill Murray. "Get down off that counter Bill Murary!" "Dust bunnies will kill you, Bill Murray!" Yeah, that one was for the Jim Jarmusch aficionados. Shit. Hold on. Bill Murray is eating coffee grounds out of the garbage.

Um...back now.

Yesterday, I worked. On, you know, The Secret.

And then I went to the Apple Store and bought an iPad. Yes, this may well mean the end of Western Civilization, and I am ashamed to the core of my being, and I apologize. But I'm going to need it for work soon, and it's tax deductible. Now, time was, writers didn't need Star Trek gadgetry to...write. They needed fingers and ink and paper and a quill. Later shit got fancy with pens and typewriters. Luxuries? Those were whiskey and cigarettes. This was the life of the writer, and they roamed the plains in vast and wordy herds. But now, writers must have gadgets. Yes, they must! Or the other writers make fun of them. Gonna have to get an iPhone soon, too...but that's gonna wait a few more months. Meanwhile, I will endure the peer pressure and limp along with my sad little 2009 cellphone. Anyway, yes. An iPad. And man, you wanna know how Sirenia Digest was meant to be seen? Look at #70 on an iPad. I had no bloody idea! Anyway, lest anyone gets too worried, no. I WILL NOT READ EBOOKS ON MY iPAD. Except magazines and newspapers and comics, because that's different. Why? Because I say so. Also, my basement is filled with cardboard boxes of National Geographic that a) weigh a ton, b) will never again be opened in my lifetime, and c) I can't bear to throw out.

My iPad's name is Kermit. First time I have ever given a computer a male name.

My thanks to Josh Cruz ([livejournal.com profile] subtlesttrap) for sending me the new Ladytron album, Gravity the Seducer. And to Melissa, for reminding me that I've fallen in love with St. Vincent. Sometimes, I forget my nouveaux amoureux (and that I don't actually speak French).

Anything else? Bill Murray, you are not helping.

Oh! I know. Since when did publishing start thinking that anyone who has a blog, seems to be able to read, and can write halfway coherent sentences qualifies as an actual "book reviewer"? You know, those people who write "book reviews." Once, we had real book reviewers, who wrote actual book reviews for newspapers and magazines. In fact, we still do. Not as many as we used to, and, sure, few of the reviewers can match the Golden Days of Reviewers, the likes of Dorothy Parker's "Constant Reader" in the pages of The Atlantic. But, every goofball with a WordPress or TypePad account? Really? Fine, call me arrogant. I don't care. Call me meritocratic. I can live with that just fine. I can't live with BookVoreLady's "review" of The Red Tree being quoted by my publisher (I made up "BookVoreLady," but you get the idea), and I diligently have those "reviews" removed when they turn up in the opening, promotional pages of my books. Maybe this is the wave of the future, an age when merely being able to read and write automatically grants one the status of being a bona-fide book reviewer. But I don't have to like it or go along with it. Reviews have always been a questionable affair, but at least when the reviewer has a name and a face and you know their educational and professional pedigree, intelligent decisions based upon their opinions can be made. I may disagree vociferously with reviewers, but I do at least tend to respect the opinions of the learn'd and experienced.**

But what do I know? I bought an iPad and named it Kermit.

So, without further ado, eight more "making of" photos (chosen at random!) from the past weekend's shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir book trailer. These were taken by Ryan Anas, who was Kyle's PA for those three days. Ryan rocks the casbah, by the way. I'm not labeling any of these photos. You can all make a grand parlour game of guessing their provenance. Or not. Your call. Speaking of calls, Ryan took these with his phone, which sort of looked like an elephant had stepped on it, so he gets extra points for moxie. And speaking of moxie...

Hey! Bill Murray! Get away from the microwave! (This is why we can't have nice things.)

Ryan's Behind the Scenes, Part One )


*Aquidneck Island

** No, this is not–most emphatically not–any sort of condemnation of those of us (as I am included) who write about books, perhaps in great detail, in our blogs or what have you. But I've never yet written anything in my blog I'd dare have the hubris to call an actual review. The world, I think, needs a hubris extractor.
greygirlbeast: (white)
No, I'm awake. I promise. I can even see. Almost. I have even managed to survive the severe upbraiding I have received from Spooky for having awakened her at dawn-thirty because I was awakened by Hubero at dawn-thirty. I don't know why I did it! He does crazy shit, okay?! Crazy-ass cat shit, and usually she knows how to scare him in to calming the hell down. Instead, no, I'm in trouble for waking her up – me, the victim.

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

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

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

Spooky's muttering about washing her hair.

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

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

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

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

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

Stopping Before Someone Gets Hurt,
Aunt Beast

*A novel I might be able to write by 2014.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
The humidity is so high in this house I think the walls are about the begin dripping. I believe I can wring water from my socks.

I was dreaming of a life in a city, a filthy 20th-century city that had grown ancient and mean. Cruel, this city. Staircases that rose and descended forever, towards attics that could never be gained, and basements where no one ever dared go. The city, which was rotting, abutted the sea, which was rotten. I swam in water the color of strong tea, and there was a very large shark that swam past me. I photographed it. Among all those decaying tenements there was a sanitarium, or asylum, that seemed to have grown between and through many of the other buildings like a parasitic organism. My head ached, as if my head had always ached. Paranoia. Climbing and descending stairs. The certainty of being pursued, whether pursuers were in evidence or not. NecroNoir. A whole world in dead shades of brown and grey. The camera with the shark photograph on it lost, and a desperate hunt for it, as, somehow, the proof of my sanity rested with the proof of the shark. Windows looking out over sagging rooftops. Never anything to the sky but clouds.

I wish I could remember more, because there was a lot more. But I'm glad I can't remember more.

There's a shark shaped fin
In the water of my dreams.
Alligator screams from the depths there
I'd swim with you there...


---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,894 words and finished "Figurehead," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #67, which should be out on (or before) the 5th of June. When I was done with the story, I sent it to [livejournal.com profile] sovay, who brought up the relevance of passages from Ovid's Metamorphoses (1.125 — 134). I read a lot of Ovid long ago in college, but most of it's only echoes now. Sometimes, in need of inspiration*, I go back to the Metamorphoses (which is likely obvious). Anyway, she pointed me to a passage that was so alike to the theme of "Figurehead" that I felt the unnerving sensation of experiencing inspiration after the fact:

A third generation followed them, of bronze
and more savage by nature, readier with harsh arms,
yet not wicked; of hard iron was the very last.
All at once there broke into the age of baser ore
every wrong — shame and truth and loyalty fled
and in their place came trickery and deceit
and treachery and force and the wicked love of having.
The seaman spread his sails to the winds he did not yet
understand, and what had stood long on high mountains
now tossed as keels on unknown waves...


If you take the digest, you see what I mean. If you don't, you won't.

Last night, we played far too much Rift, fighting an endless series of invasions and rifts outside the Chancel of Labors and Whitefall, as Iron Pine suffered multiple air rifts and invasions by the minions of the dragon Crucia. Then, after Selwyn returned to Meridian, there was some very good rp on the cliffs north of Lakeside, looking out over the sea. Via a very strange turn of events, I find myself, for the first time ever, rping an essentially transgender character. Sort of an Orlando thing going on, only with a Kelari, instead of Tilda Swinton (Selwyn, though, I must say, is at least as hot at Tilda Swinton, even if she's only pixels). It all ended with Selwyn following Celinn across the burning wastes of Droughtlands to the refuge of Lantern Hook...which is essentially a Fremen sietch, straight from the pages of Dune. And I will remind you: We have a guild. Here. And you can play with us. And there's a FREE 7-day trial.

Today, Spooky has to get new tires for the automobile, and I have to write another (this time short) vignette for the digest.

And I leave you with Hubero:

29 May 2011 )


* A short, partial list of other authors I often turn to for inspiration: Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, T. S. Eliot, Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Matthew Arnold, W. B. Yeats, Angela Carter, William Gibson, William Blake, Anne Sexton, Joseph Campbell.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Fuck all, it's raining. It's cold and rainy and Spooky has to walk to the garage to get the hopefully not broken anymore car. And I don't feel like blogging, and as I was getting out of bed (crack, pop, fuck, crack, pop, crunch, ow), Hubero rather perfectly described my "artistic process." So, thought I, a guest blogger! People do that shit all the time, right? Well, Jeff VanderMeer does, and he's pretty cool.

---

All day Ma sits and taps at this thing. Don't know why she does it. She sits and taps at this thing all day long just tapping and tapping and tapping like it's supposed to mean something. She taps then she stops tapping and yells and then taps some more. She taps and yells and yells and checks the internets and taps. Sometimes she yells at my other Ma, and they yell at each other and then Ma gets quiet and stares at the glowing box before she taps some more. Tap tap tap tap tap. Then she goes to the litter box and comes back and taps. Then she yells and checks the internets and taps and punches the arm of her chair and yells and mutters and mumbles and takes her pills and can't find the book she needs so she yells more and I say fuck this noise and go find a place to sleep but I can STILL hear her tapping and tapping and yelling. Ma does this for hours and hours every single day. The other Ma mostly tells us not to eat STYRO-foam peanuts and dust bunnies and garlic skins but other other Ma taps all day long. Taps and yells. And stares. Lots of staring. Tapping and staring. And pacing and yelling and tapping. If she did less of this I could sleep in her chair which is nice because it smells like her butt.

Signed,
Hubero P. Wu



---

Yeah, Well. Anyway. So, maybe cats aren't natural born bloggers.

Yesterday was a whole lot more of everything that happened on Monday. Which you can find out about by reading yesterday's entry, rather than me regurgitating the tedious catalog. Wanna be a writer? Learn to love the hell out of tedium. That's rule Number One. Today, with luck, I'm actually going to begin work on the short story I should have begun work on two days ago. Because being ahead of schedule is about to turn in to being behind schedule. Oh, and I packed boxes for the storage unit. And hung pictures that have been waiting two and a half years to be hung.

Please have a look at the Totally Unique Never-To-Be-Repeated Keyboard Auction. Thanks.

Also, don't forget the Question @ Hand, the best replies to which will appear in Sirenia Digest #65.

---

Last night we watched Julian Schnabel's Basquiat (1996), which I can't believe I'd never seen. But I hadn't. If I had only one word? Poignant. In almost all senses of the word. Bowie's portrayal of Andy Warhol is especially marvelous. Afterwards, we watched Grant Harvey's Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004), which I enjoyed quite a bit more than the first time I saw it. I fear, the first time, I was too weighed down by expectation. Regardless, second time around, I mostly just had fun with the violence and werewolves and sexy. Yeah, a weird as hell double feature. I know.

Later, we played Rift. I decided, finally, that my Kelari mage, Selwyn (necromancer, warlock, pyromancer), will be my main. Spooky played as her Kelari cleric, Miisya (using her druid soul). We were out in Stonefield with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus's Kelari rogue, Celinn. Which was wicked fun, but Celinn needs a horsey. Or a vaiyuu. Either one. We may take up a collection, because, let me tell you, kittens, all that running across the plains of Rohan shit gets old fast. Selwyn made Level 22. Also, we need a fucking tank.

We read more of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

And that was yesterday. Whoopee.

Slogging Onward,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Back in September, thereabouts, there was a day when I finally sat down with Kathryn, and we talked, and I made the decision that I would never write a another novel. We worked out a remotely feasible way to bring in enough money with me only doing short fiction, novellas, and Sirenia Digest. It was a for-sure thing. There was a profound sense of relief, and it lasted maybe a month. I can only imagine it was like fighting in a war for fifteen years, and suddenly finding out there had been a truce. Not victory, but at least a truce.

Then, on November 1st, I sat down and began writing The Drowning Girl. On November 2nd, I wrote in the blog, "Yesterday, I wrote an impressive 1,664 words on Chapter One of The Drowning Girl. This is the first time I've had the nerve to go back to work on the novel since August 4th. I scrapped everything I wrote this summer and started over again. But, I think I have finally found the voice of this novel."

And, then, yesterday, after only a little more than four months, I finished the book, the one that originally occurred to me way back in August 2009, on a hot, sunny day at the Peace Dale Public Library, and that tried very, very hard not ever to be written. There might still be a weird sort of an epilogue to do, and there might not. But the book is essentially written. Imp has told her ghost story, which is both a mermaid story and a werewolf story, but really is neither of those things. I cried twice yesterday, when it was done.

I'll do a quick polish and send it to my editor sometime between now and Monday, and it should be out next spring. And yes, this will be my last "adult" novel for a while. What I do, the way I write, regardless of how popular or unpopular what I write may be, it messes me up to do it. As I told Neil a week ago, I want to just spend a few years telling stories. A little less public self evisceration. Well, except for the digest, which will stay the same. The digest won't change. And the stuff I write for anthologies, that won't change, either. Mostly, the novels.

And it truly is the best novel I've ever written, by a long shot.

Huzzah.

---

A quick recap of the rest of yesterday: It was a muteday, which made everything extra strange, finishing the novel and still remaining silent. I received permission to use one set of song lyrics, wrote Radiohead's management about another set, and will be writing R.E.M. today. I signed a mountain of eBay books, which Spooky then took to the post office. I answered a bunch of email. Oh, and I finished a novel. I only wrote 765 words, because I didn't need to write any more than that to reach THE END. The entire ms. for The Drowning Girl presently stands at 101,493 words. After all is said and done, it might go to 103,500.

Later, I went with Spooky to Staples, and PetCo, and Eastside Market, because we were out of lots of stuff. I'd not left the house since February 26th, when we made the snowy trek to the Blackstone Gorge. So, it had been...nine days. The day was bright, and the late afternoon light on College Hill was beautiful. But it was bitterly cold out there.

Back home, after dinner, Spooky proofed "The Dead and the Moonstruck" for Two Worlds and In Between. I was too exhausted to do anything but play about half an hour of Rift before I got disconnected from the server and gave up. We watched Richard Laxton's An Englishman in New York (2009), which is such a fine and brilliant film, and John Hurt is amazing as Quentin Crisp. Then Spooky played Rift, and her Kelari cleric made Level 18, and then I played again, and my Kelari mage reached Level 19. It's weird, not being able to play together, and soloing is a bitch, worse than in WoW. And after the gaming, we read more of Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire

And that was yesterday.

There's still a terrifying mountain of work to get done in the next week or so, but I think we have some emergency relief on the way. Comments would be very welcome today.

Oh, photos from yesterday. It seems somehow proper to photograph my mutedays:

7 March 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're in one of those dry spells between checks.

2) Now, before I forget again, the latest StarShipSofa includes a reading of "Galápagos." It's a pretty good reading. Merrick comes off a little too perky for a woman whose been through the hell she's been through, but the reader gets many words in many languages right, and that wins very big points with me.

3) The wind is a wild thing today. The wind is always a wild thing, but today it's throwing a wild rumpus out there. Speeds at 25mph, but gusting to 55mph. The house keeps moving, swaying. These old walls are reinforced with steel bands for protection against hurricanes, and days like this I'm grateful. Much of the snow has melted, though it's cold again, currently 35˚F (but feels like 21˚F). I shall be staying in today, thank you very much.

4) Yesterday, we actually did manage to make it all the way through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Go, Spooky! She read all 24,765 words of that aloud, and had to contend with my constantly asking her to stop for this or that line edit. It all holds together much better than I thought, and now I have the confidence, I hope, to proceed with the eighth chapter and then the ninth.

5) I'm reasonably certain that I'll be writing my YA books as Kathleen Tierney. That has mostly been my decision. I'll continue to write short fiction, novellas, etc. as Caitlín R. Kiernan.

6) People do not mean to set me off. Well, at least sometimes it's clear they don't. Case in point: Last night, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh posted a link to a review of the Decemberists' The King is Dead (in the comments to my blog), a review written by someone named Ezra Ace Caraeff and published in The Portland Mercury (February 17, 2011). It was not, I know, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh's wish to set me off, but the very first paragraph got me so angry I spent much of the night bitching about it (much to Spooky's chagrin). The review begins by slamming The Hazards of Love as a "turgid rock opera." But then it gets really stupid. I quote:

Their determined song cycle put the story before the music, and its confusing plotline (with its forest creatures, fauns, and fairies, Hazards might as well have come pre-packaged with 12-sided dice and a wizard's cloak) distracted from both the band's melodic craft and frontman Colin Meloy's penchant for creating lyrics that have left many a weak-kneed listener and dog-eared thesaurus in their wake.

As kids these days are wont to say, o.0. Or something like that. The Hazards of Love is one of the most amazing musical accomplishments of the last decade, and it pains me to see how little vision there is in the world. Also, when will we learn to stop letting doofus hipsters write indie music reviews? Of course, then no one would write them. Of course...that would be a good thing, right? Yes, The King is Dead is excellent, but it's nowhere near the marvel the band achieved with The Hazards of Love (though, I admit, I love my dodecahedral dice). Regardless, I do not blame you, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh.

7) My editor at Penguin wrote me yesterday about the recycled cover fiasco. In the end, it was pretty anticlimactic, as I'd expected it would be. I was told "It’s actually not that uncommon, as we only buy the rights to use the art on our books in the territories we have. The artist owns the work itself. So sometimes artists will sell the same painting or a similar painting to a foreign publisher for a different book, or sell the image for a greeting card or a calendar or something. I know it’s disconcerting to come across, though. I’m double-checking with our art director that the artist sold this legitimately, but I haven’t heard back yet." Of course, Penguin buys just about every territory on earth. But not Romania. By the way, the artist in question is Gene Mollica, and I'm told he has a website out there somewhere, though I have no wish to see it. It's all business as usual, and business as usual is pretty much always a slipshod, disheartening affair. Regardless, I don't blame my editor for this. She didn't make those rules.

8) Last night, after I plowed through all 55 quests in Azshara and started in on Desolace (still determined to get the title Loremaster before leaving WoW), I signed up for the Rift beta, and Spooky gave me a few minutes on her laptop. I rolled a Kelari mage named Selwyn and a Bahmi cleric named Shaharrazad (the name lives on! Arrakis, Azeroth, and now Telara). And I played a couple of levels. And...damn. The game is astounding. Everything I saw about this game is astounding. And beautiful. The best character generator I have ever seen, bar none. It was hard to go back to the candy-colored, cartoon silliness of WoW, with all its poo jokes and puns. But...I'll just soldier on and keep my sights on the spring. Of course, Rift isn't idiot proof. No MMORPG ever will be. For example, there was some Kelari woman named Mayonnaise in the starting area with me last night. I'm sure her typist though she or he was being terribly clever.

9) Yesterday, while we were reading, the door to the front stairwell mysteriously opened. We're pretty sure Hubero used his brain to make it open. And, of course, he was out in a flash, and Spooky had to chase him up and down the stairs. I came out and pulled the door shut behind me. And it locked. Fortunately, the guy downstairs is good at picking locks, so we were back inside in only about five minutes. Screw you, Houdini cat!

And now....doughnuts. Comments!
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
There's a glacier in the driveway.

Yesterday, I did 1,517 words on Chapter 5. As I said a few days ago on Twitter, I'm at least half serious about an author's note at the beginning, something like, Warning: This books contains lesbians and transsexuals, and they have teh sex— with each other —and they're treated like real people, not freaks, and there are no straight characters, just so the homophobic and transphobic whiners out there might be dissuaded from buying it and so whine a little less.

Spooky and I have decided to delay announcement of the secret project until tomorrow. There are still a few details to which she needs to attend. Which is fine, as more people read the blog on Mondays than on Sundays.

Last night, we got new Fringe, an excellent episode with Christopher Lloyd. And then we watched Po-Chih Leong's The Wisdom of Crocodiles (1998; also, unfortunately, known as Immortality). How I managed to overlook this film for thirteen years is beyond me. It only came to my attention a couple of days ago, thanks to a recommendation from [livejournal.com profile] tsarina. I liked it quite a lot. Jude Law in a fairly artful and understated British vampire film. Also, it includes the phrase "a species of one," so now I can't claim to be the first to have used it.

On WoW last night, I saw a Draenei girl in a guild named "Awesome Lolly Muffin Men." Very likely the most peculiar guild name I've ever seen. I thought it must be a reference to something pop cultural, but, if so, Google isn't being helpful.

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

And now, I'll leave you with a photo from last night, me and Hubero snuggling to stay warm (foreshortening renders my arm oddly stout):

22 January 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
1. I slept almost eight hours. Sure, I had to take half a Seroquel (which would be 12.5 mg) to get to sleep, but then at least I did sleep. I hate how I've become dependent on sleep aids again. And pills like Seroquel that aren't actually sleep aids, but allow me to sleep. I'm still very tired, but at least I know my body rested.

2. Very cold today. Presently 17˚F, with the windchill at 6˚. The still white world. Which is to say the world that is both white and still.

3. Yesterday, I made that big push to find the bottom of Chapter 4 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I wrote 2,515 words, and I did indeed reach it. But by the time I did, I felt as if I'd kicked my own teeth out. The manuscript is presently 218 pages long, which amounts to 48,218 words. I got a bit angry yesterday, I will admit, that it took me two years to work this novel out in my head, and now I'm having to rush to get it written in only a few months. Clearly, I'm putting the cart before the horse (that would be sarcasm). When I was done writing yesterday, Spooky read all of 4 to me aloud. And it works. But it's not what people will expect.

It's not what many people expect from me, and, sadly, it's not something most people will expect from a novel. And the prose is very simple, direct, not quite (but almost) stripped down. Surely, I have long since demonstrated my ability to write lush, lyrical prose to any reasonable person's satisfaction. And now I'm trying to do something else.

4. Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, because this whole "shit costs money" thing isn't going away any time soon.

5. I very almost apologized, just now, for sounding so glum and pissy. Which is funny, and which should serve as evidence of changes wrought by the meds since April.

6. Last night, after so much work, I was too tired to sit up straight, so naturally we played WoW. The instruments of time displacement may destroy me yet. We descended into the Maelstrom, literally. And I gotta say, Deepholm is beautifully designed and, so far, I love the quests. It's quickly making up for the sad mess that was Vashj'ir.

7. Just this second, I came very near to sitting on Hubero's head and killing him. No, by accident. So, I'm going to take that as a sign it's time to wrap this up.

Yours in Simmering Disbelief,
Aunt Beast

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: (goat girl)
It's hard to think of much of anything right now but the catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil still spewing from the broken pipe five-thousand feet below the remains of the Deepwater Horizon. It's pretty much a given, at this point, that coastal ecosystems and economies from Louisiana to western Florida will be devastated. Now, I'm also seeing reports that the oil will likely enter the Gulf Stream and hit the beaches of eastern Florida, and that it may even affect much of the Eastern Seaboard. In theory, it could reach as far north as Rhode Island and Cape Cod. Humanity creates disaster that will, at least in the short term, leave scars on a geological scale. I cannot help in the wildlife rescue efforts, because I'm not there, and I have no money to donate to the efforts. And I loathe this feeling of helplessness, and the knowledge that I'm as much to blame for this nightmare as anyone else who uses gasoline and oil and plastic. My complicity is explicit.

---

All of yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #53 out. Reading and editing the two new stories, writing the "prolegomenon," laying out the issue, etc. If you're a subscriber you ought to have the issue by now, as it went out early last night. If you've not received it, email Spooky at crk(underscore)books(at)yahoo(dot)com and she'll fix you up. New subscribers always welcome. Here's the cover from #53:



Last night, we watched Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on Roald Dahl's book. Another very wonderful film from Wes Anderson.

And there's also a photo I snapped yesterday, Hubero bathing on my desk while I was trying to work. It's behind the cut:

1 May 2010 )


And here's a very fine thing, a short (interactive) film using Arcade Fire's Black Mirror. I have to love anything that manages, simultaneously, to evoke Fritz Lang, Lovecraft, and Busby Berkeley.

And here's the link to the current eBay auctions. Please have a look. Thanks.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
We are being made to suffer for the brief hint of spring we had last week. Okay, no. I do not engage in that sort of magical thinking (or any other sort, if I can help it), but it seems that way. As I wrote my blog entry yesterday, the temperature here in Providence was 34F, with a windchill at 24F, thanks to a 21 mph wind. As I write this one, it's once again 34F out there, though the windchill is only 27F. That is a sarcastic "only," in case you're wondering.

No actual writing yesterday. I sat here for hours, searching for a story, after discovering the story I'd thought I was going to write after "Houndwife" isn't yet ready to be written. I dusted two bookshelves in my office. That took half an hour. I stared at the screen some more. I reread portions of Michael E. Bell's Food for the Dead (2001), and might have found an idea, which is currently known only as "Untitled 37." I read about sauropods. I made notes. I stared out the window at a late March that looks like early February. I made more notes. I reread Angela Carter's "Peter and the Wolf" (1982). I gazed forlornly at the screen of the iMac. I did a little straightening up in the kitchen. I fretted about my lousy, rotten feet, and my bad teeth, and not having health insurance, and getting old, and all the grey hair. I drank pomegranate-flavored limeade. I drank lime-flavored ice tea. I made a late lunch of a can of Progresso soup and Saltines and Izze ginger ale. I shelved books that needed shelving. I closed the curtain in my office so I couldn't see the cold blue sky. It was that sort of writing day.

And, at some point, I thought, I ask absurd things of myself. Finish one story on Thursday, begin another on Friday.

Spooky, on the other hand, had a productive day. She's working on a March Hare and sort of cameo thing, both for her Dreaming Squid Dollworks Shop on Etsy.

Oh, a good day to preorder The Ammonite Violin & Others, if you've not already done so. Thanks. It's a simple enough equation: if these books don't sell, there likely will not be future books. It's the vicious maxim by which all working authors live.

Early last night, just after dinner (leftover meatloaf), I had the worst seizure I've had since at least January. It caught us both by surprise, as the seizures have become infrequent. It left me feeling empty and wasted, but no real harm done. Spooky was there to catch me. I lay on the bed for an hour or so, trying to watch the new episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, but my head was very full of a fog that only began to lift later in the evening.

I was unable to sleep until sometime after four ayem, and then only with the help of Ambien (first dose in eight nights).

Oh, there are gratuitous photographs of Hubero:

26 March 2010 )
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: (Ellen Ripley 1)
The insomnia has been bad the last couple of nights, which is to say it has been worse than usual. I didn't get to sleep this morning until the sky was already brightening, sometime after 5 ayem.

Yesterday, we read chapters 4 and 5 from the The Red Tree page proofs, and today we made it through chapters 6 and 7, which means we should be able to finish tomorrow. I am abysmally slow when it comes to proofreading galleys (or any other sort of ms., I suspect). I know many authors are much quicker with these things. I recall, back in May of 2001, I was staying with Peter and Susan Straub in Manhattan, and Peter was going over the galley's for Black House. I seem to remember him doing it in a single day. If I can get through a set of galley pages for a novel in anything less than a week, I consider myself lucky.

I'd love to hear feedback about Sirenia Digest #41.

Last night, I made the extraordinarily unlikely discovery that Species 4: The Awakening (2007) is the most watchable of the series. Not a good movie, no, but a perfectly watchable cheesy monster film (doubling as soft-core porn for those of us with a thing for alien sex). Also, I reread William Gibson's "The Hinterlands" (1982), which never ceases to amaze me. It had an enormous influence on The Dry Salvages, though I don't think I was aware of the influence when I was writing the novella. It certainly is a marvelous expression of the sort of cosmic horror that is so often called "Lovecraftian," though I doubt HPL was a direct inspiration for "The Hinterlands." Then again, without asking Gibson, I can't be sure (and we've never met). If I could ever write a story as perfect as "The Hinterlands," I think I'd finally be satisfied with my work. And no, it's not the search for perfection that keeps me writing. Most times, I feel like, more than anything else, it's force of habit and the need to pay the bills.

There are three photos behind the cut, just some mundane stuff from the last few days:

Days and Days )
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
I am very painfully not awake. No sleep until after 5 a.m. this morning.

And I have to ask, are people getting stupider, or am I just noticing it more frequently? If they are getting stupider, I blame Twitter. And Oprah. And the pharmaceutical companies. And the fact that Britney Spears was allowed to breed.

Yesterday, I managed to write another 1,196 words on "At the Gate of Deeper Slumber," which will be appearing in Sirenia Digest #41 later this month. While we were reading yesterday's pages, Hubero snuggled with me, and Spooky got this photo, much to his eventual chagrin (behind the cut):

20 April 2009 )


I looked out the window yesterday. Hardly a substitute for leaving the house, but it was the best I could manage. I looked out the window, and saw that the trees are now, finally, awash in a spray of new green. I think this dreadful winter might actually be behind us.

Last night, I suffered a three hour (!!!!!) dungeon crawl through Maraudon. When it was over, Shaharrazad socked Suraa in the nose and adjourned to the comforts of Orgrimmar, where she intends to get a room in the Drag, and hold up with booze and orc whores for at least a week.

Last night, I found the resolve to leave Second Life. For good. Forever. It's been almost two years since I began trying to use it for roleplay, as a means of generating what would be, essentially, interactive novels. And I now reluctantly admit defeat and pronounce the experiment a protracted, costly, embarrassing failure. Let someone else cast pearls before the swine. Anyway, I'll write more on this some other time, sometime when I'm less sleepy and can summon the requisite disgust. Anyway, don't look for me, because I'm not there. I will say that, disappointment aside, there is great relief that the whole mess is at long last behind me.

Okay. Where's the IV drip with the coffee/Red Bull blend?
greygirlbeast: (dr10-1)
Definitely the sort of day for which Jethro Tull Season was created. 34F out there, and a sky so blue I am quite certain of its predatory nature.

Not a bad day yesterday. An unremarkable day, tainted only by this nagging, dry cough I've had since the beginning of November. We are old friends, this cough and I. It first came to me in the late '80s, and usually returns once or twice a year. No diagnosis or medication has ever made much sense of it. Peppermint helps, but nothing else ever seems to. It rattles my eyeballs, and I half suspect it's some brand of psychosomatic. It was unusually bad yesterday. Oh, and there's this damn tooth, the one that had a temporary fix in September to buy me the time to finish The Red Tree. It's going hot, and I'd planned to have it extracted on Monday, but I think I may be able to last a little longer. But, these things aside, still a decent enough day.

We did housework. I puttered about on the computer. The day was peppered with writing-related odds and ends. To wit:

A is for Alien has received an excellent review from Booklist (reviewed by Regina Schroeder):

The grace and subtlety with which Kiernan inverts the roles of us and them, of those who seek to belong
and those who watch from the sidelines, makes for unnerving but extraordinary storytelling. When the
usual humans are the other, there’s a lot of rather dystopian ground available. Whether the focus is on alien
possession, as in “Riding the White Bull,” or on humans choosing to make themselves into other creatures,
as in “Faces in Revolving Souls,” Kiernan deals with transformations real and imagined, forced and
voluntary. She works on the self-centered strangeness of humanity with the way she approaches aliens as
indifferent, strange, and usually difficult to deal with. Kiernan’s style relies on clarity in prose, the
extraordinary related as if it were everyday, and a subtlety that belies her disturbing imagery. The eight
stories in this slim volume are, in short, exquisite containers for the strange paths of her imagined futures.
In reading these pieces, you become other, and the better for it.


Also, my comp copy of the sold-out limited edition of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy was delivered yesterday. It includes my sf story, "The Steam Dancer (1896)." I think all that's left are copies of the lettered edition.

Also also, Vince is almost finished with the interior illustrations for A is for Alien, which include some of the best work he's ever done for my fiction. There will be a black-and-white illustration for each story. The platypus and the dodo both agree this is an excellenet day to preorder the collection, if you've not already.

Last night we re-watched two more episodes of Series 4 of Doctor Who, "The Fires of Pompei" and "Planet of the Ood." Spooky made chili for dinner. Late, she read to me from The Fellowship of the Ring. Hubero listened, too. He insists that Sméagol is a Byronic Hero, and I've learned not to argue with Siamese cats.
greygirlbeast: (moons books)
Yesterday, I did 1,024 words on "The Melusine (1898)" for Sirenia Digest #31, but did not find The End. Because this is one those pieces. I meant it to be a vignette I could write in two days. It has, become, instead, a full-fledged short story that has, so far, required twice that number of days. If I'm lucky, I'll finish it today. Truth be told, I did not have time to write a short story just now, as the deadline for The Red Tree looms so frightfully near, and I have written only the prologue and that one chapter. And we know about authors who miss their deadlines, don't we? Or did you skip yesterday's lesson?

Yesterday, two years ago, Sophie died. That damned old cat. How can it have been two years already? We moved her ashes with us from Atlanta. I wasn't about to leave her ghost lurking about that godsforsaken city alone. And who'd have thought this annoying Siamese bastard named Hubero Padfoot Wu ever would have stolen my callous heart? It's a world of damned unlikely twists and turns, I tell you.

And on this day four years ago I wrote the following:

Lately, I can't seem to get past the cold fact of "popularity contests." We tend to use that phrase in a strictly pejorative sense, as in, "I don't want anything to do with that. It's just a popularity contest." And yet, that's what publishing is. If you win, it's because you've cracked the secrets of the popularity contest, and if you fail, it's because you never figured it out, or never tried, or no one ever paid to put you at the top of the list, or whatever. And adding to the frustration is the importance of happenstance in this whole enterprise. How does someone achieve popularity? Well, I have to admit, at least in the short run, money helps. The more money is spent promoting your books, the more chance is weighted in your favour. But it's not at all unusual for books with huge advertising budgets to fail. In fact, that's what usually happens to books with huge advertising budgets, if only because that's what happens with most books (and forget the highly questionable and rarely questioned, even if often parroted, Sturgeon's Law; it's about as useful and relevant here as any adage). What really makes for success is that intangible, elusive ability to appeal to large numbers of people, for whatever reason. Authors tend to achieve success in the marketplace by one of two routes: a) an ability to speak the common tongue and tell stories that resonate with a large number of readers, or b) a knack for being in the right place at the right time. In either case, it's mostly luck. This is not an issue of art, or of quality, or of effort. No matter how hard one tries, or how well one writes, the odds of success are roughly the same. The work ethic fails here, along with all those American fantasies of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps and naive beliefs that quality will out.

Four years on, I still haven't gotten over being appalled at the whole high-schoolish "popularity contest" aspect of publishing. Likely, I never, ever shall.

Now that the heatwave has abated, I am being preyed upon, or falling victim to the seductions of, another of the Nine Seven Deadly Sins of Writing —— Distraction. How am I supposed to sit here, in this tiny office, writing about a fabulous clockwork Western America, an alternate reality with mechanical mastodons and zeppelins and mysterious carnival tents that reek of the ocean, when I could easily be at Beavertail, or the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, or the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, or visiting Lovecraft's grave at Swan Point, or talking with Panthalassa at Moonstone Beach, or meeting Bob Eggleton for coffee to discuss The Dinosaurs of Mars, or taking in a movie at the Avon on Thayer Street, or searching for trilobites at Lionshead on Conanicut Island, or reading old books in the Providence Athenaeum, or taking the train down to Manhattan? I mean, sheesh. There was nothing to do in Atlanta —— nothing worth doing —— but now i am here, and there are a hundred things to do on any given day. What odd gravity holds me in this chair, I'll never know.

Last night, more unpacking, mostly fossils for the big display case, and a few recent skulls. Three starfish from Jacksonville, FL. Then we watched the very first episode of Deadwood for the fourth or fifth time, because I needed a dose of Al Swearengen. Then there was more unpacking, and bed a little after 2 ayem.

The box-flap doodle art auctions have begun! Two of them, which is all there shall be. There's the "Cephaloflap" and the "Monster Doodle." Take your pick, or go for both. All proceeds go to, well, stuff. There's always stuff. Stuff is not free. Except for free stuff, of course. Frell, free stuff is cool, right? So, I'll even throw in a free moonstone from Moonstone Beach, collected by mine own hands, to each auction winner. So there. Go forth and bid, ye bloomin' scallywags.

Also, Spooky's birthday still has not been moved from June 24th, despite appeals to the Homeland Office of Birth Date Relocation, and you can find her Amazon wish list by following the button below. Me, I need more caffeine, obviously.

My Amazon.com Wish List


Shit, it's Friday the fucking 13th. Good thing I'm not triskaidekaphobic or paraskevidekatriaphobic.
greygirlbeast: (white)
I am not nearly awake enough to be writing this entry, but, still, write it I shall. It is allotted but one hour, and then I must begin packing again. Wakefulness is irrelevant. And, I have recently been less awake than now, such as night before last, as I was packing CDs and started singing "Particle board, particle board, doing the things a particle...board...can do." That was a low point. I blame the How It's Made marathon. Anyway, Spooky's about to take Hubero away to Pets Are People, To be imprisoned until after the movers are done tomorrow. Hubero says we're evil parents. But he's a bastard.

A friend came to help us with the Birmingham fiasco yesterday. I will not use his "real" name. Let's call him Friend X. No, that's too long. Let's call him Jim. Yeah, sure. Jim's a good solid name. Even if his "real" name is not "Jim." We sat and talked a bit, chatting amidst this maze of boxes, before heading for Alabama. I heard the story of how he discovered that his eccentric next-door neighbor is, in fact, Steve Walsh, vocalist and keyboard player for the progrock legend Kansas (that must be typed with the proper amount of reverb). How weird is that? "Carry On My Wayward Soul," indeed. We call these signs, if we are superstitious. We call them meaningful coincidences, if we are merely Jungian. If we are strictly empirical, we call them, simply, coincidences. I'm never sure, anymore, what I should call anything.

The drive to Birmingham was relatively uneventful. Hot, but uneventful. The Harris Building was an oven, but I can drive a freight elevator with the best of them. Oh, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. We had to pick the truck up from the Penske rental place just north of Sloss Furnace, and Spooky saw right off that the brand new yellow truck they brought out for us had a bald tire (left rear). So, we had to wait...and wait...and wait...while another truck was driven up from Oxmoor Road. And it was hot. I think we got to the Harris Building about 3 pm (Central), and it closes at 5, which left us with only two hours to load the truck with the contents of my 5'X12' storage unit. The gigantic steel Lane cabinet was the worst of it. And frell me with a dead wombat if there weren't boxes hidden away in there that have been packed since I left Boulder (Colorado) back in the '80s. We finished up about 4:30 or 4:45, with time to spare. I said my goodbyes to my mother and stepfather, and then we headed back to Atlanta. Headed "home" no longer seems right. Home is waiting for us in Providence. Anyway, "Jim" drove the 12' Penske truck, Spooky drove to car.

A few miles west of the Anniston/Gadsden exit we were caught in a veritable deluge, complete with thunder and lightning. Lots of people pulled over to wait it out, but we bravely forged ahead. Water. From the sky. Searing bolts of electricity stabbing earthward. And they say Charles Fort was a loony bird! As Spooky drove, I began reading Neptune's Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas (2007) by David Rain Wallace (with illustrations by Ken Kirkland). See above: superstition, meaningful coincidences, and coincidences. It was, as I said last night, about 9 pm by the time we made it back to Atlanta. Kaloo kallay.

After a quick dinner, we sent off Sirenia Digest #30 (thank you, Thing). Speaking of which, I somehow screwed up and omitted Vince's illustration for "Rappaccini's Dragon." So. Later today expect a supplement to #30, consisting of that illustration. Sorry guys. It's mad around here. Anyway, after packing lots of clothes, I hand washed a few things, and we went to bed EARLY (about 1 ayem). Spooky read me Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder, which usually helps me get to sleep. It didn't last night. She dozed off, and I watched the end of The Return of the King and part of the middle of Jackson's remake on King Kong (two of my "sleep movies"), and I finally got to sleep about 2:30, I think.

We've decided — given all the packing that's left to be done today — that we will likely not leave Atlanta until Friday morning (instead of late Thursday), which still puts us getting into Rhode Island on Saturday evening, as planned. We drive the Penske, Byron drives the car. Hubero will ride with us, as his cat carrier (he calls it the Iron Maiden, or the Cage of Despair, or the Black Pit of Angband, depending on his mood) fits snuggly between the truck's seats. We even got a truck with a CD player. Regardless, whether we leave tomorrow evening or Friday morning, this has to be counted as our last semi-"normal" day in Atlanta. The beginning of the last 48 hours or so. The last 2,880 minutes. We'll sleep on an air mattress tomorrow night (and, possibly, for several nights in Providence, until the movers find us).

And I think that's it for now. I must start packing the last things left to packed. It's going to be a Very Long Day, but Byron's coming over this evening, which is something to which I can look forward.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Seems one of the cracked teeth has refused to heal. Dr. Booth warned me this was very possible. The damage was just too great. I awoke at 5:45 ayem or so, in something at least approaching agony, and it was near 7 am before I was asleep again, and the only thanks to pain pills and Ambesol. So, in all likelihood, I'll be going to have this tooth extracted sometime in the next two weeks, right in the middle of packing and all these deadlines, and I'll be losing at least a few days to recovery when I should be packing and writing.

I've been meaning to mention that "A Season of Broken Dolls" has been selected for a forthcoming trade paperback "sampler" of stories from the online version of Subterranean Magazine.

No writing yesterday, not really. We took Hubero outside on his leash, and it was good to be out in the spring sunlight, listening to the blue jays and the robins. We had someone from United Van Lines coming to give us an estimate on the cost of the move to Providence. He needed access to all rooms, and I knew I couldn't work through that, so I took a book and went to (boo, hiss) Starbuck's (and they may not have enough sense to use the apostrophe, but I do). I don't remember how many months ago it was that I laid aside Chris Beard's The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey: Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans (University of California Press, 2004), but shame on me. It's a wonderfully written thing, and I sat there and drank a white-chocolate mocha (too sweet, but not bad), and read Chapter 6 ("The Birth of a Ghost Lineage"), which was mainly about collecting fossils of the omomyid primate Shoshonius cooperi from the late Eocene Willwood Formation of Wyoming's Wind River Basin. Meanwhile, Spooky got our estimate from a guy named Ron Goodbub, a retired Pepsico salesman from Kentucky who grew bored with retirement and went back to work (I think it's very suspicious that LJ knows how to spell Pepsico, but not Shoshonius; hell, it can't even spell "Starkbuck's" without the apostrophe). Here's a bit from Chapter 6 of Chris Beard's book I wanted to quote:

"It hardly ever makes sense to refer to a given species — whether living or fossil — as being 'more primitive' than another, for reasons that go beyond any value-laden connotations the comparison carries along with it. Tarsiers are more primitive than humans in having three premolars on either side of their lower jaws and in lacking a complete mandible formed by bony fusion at the chin. Humans are more primitive than tarsiers in retaining a separate tibia and fibula and in having much smaller eyes. The important distinction here is that, while entire species can rarely be arranged from primitive to advanced, individual features usually can be. In fact, paleontologists rely on exactly these trait-by-trait comparisons to decipher the biology of extinct organisms, as well as to reconstruct how they fit on the evolutionary tree."

Myself, I prefer to speak of character states being more and less derived from a given ancestral state than to ever use the word "primitive" or "advanced," as any given organism's evolutionary "status" can only be assessed or judged relative to how well it is adapted to its environment. Tarsiers have been around a lot longer than humans (by tens of millions of years), but they are no less well adapted to their environment than are humans, and therefore no more "primitive" (which, of course, is just another way of saying what Beard is saying above). Yes, that was a tangent.

Mr. Goodbub took longer with the estimate stuff than expected, and it was after 4 pm before I got back to work. I read over the pages I did on "Rappaccini's Dragon" on Monday and Tuesday, made some corrections, and then decided I'd spend the rest of the afternoon packing, give up a Friday off, and plan to finish the story today. I packed something like seven large boxes of books, hardly the tip of the fucking iceberg. Then again, Mr. Goodbub was telling Spooky about having just moved a mathematician who had 500 boxes of books, which makes me feel a little better.

How I'm going to cope with my schedule this month — especially with the bum tooth — is sort of beyond me. I have to finish "Rappaccini's Dragon" for Sirenia Digest #30. I have to do the line edits and introduction on A is for Alien, and an introduction for an Arthur Machen collection that's being edited by S.T. Joshi. I have to get back to work on The Red Tree and make some real progress. I have to go to Birmingham and have a tooth pulled, then recover. And Spooky and i figured out yesterday that it's likely the pace of packing will have become so hectic by the 20th that I'll be forced to stop working. We will probably leave here on May 29th, a Thursday. It's insane, truly. I'd wait and have to tooth pulled after the move, but after the pain last night, that may not be an option.

I was in bed a little after one ayem, and we read more of House of Leaves, because I needed to hear the words. I was asleep by 2:30, only to be awakened a few hours later, which is where we came in...

Ah, and only a few weeks until I hit -4, on May 26th. I do have that wish list at Amazon.com, even if it does mean more packing. Distractions are always welcome, even when i have no time for them.

Coffee, platypus. Coffee, you fool!
greygirlbeast: (cleav1)
Not a very Samhain or Hallowe'en sort of sentiment, I know. But it's true, and it's the subject line that popped into my head. Hubero, brawny little fellow that he is, says Byron is his Daddy, so it's all okay.

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

Pumpkolanternia )


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

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

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

Yep.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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