greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The Weather Channel says "It's a perfect day to call in sick. Did we say that out loud? But seriously, the Northeast will enjoy a beautiful spring-like day." But when I look at today's forecast I see that the predicted high is a paltry 48˚F (it's presently 43˚F), with a mostly cloudy sky. Which to me, to someone who grew up in the South, is about the same as saying today will be a "beautiful midwinter-like day." Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to rise as high as 56˚F, which is at least approaching "spring-like." But it's going to rain. Fuck you, Mr. Weather Channel.

I'm never going to be who I'm never going to be.

But look who I've become.

Yesterday, I didn't finish the pseudo-vignette that's still titled "Apostate." Instead, I spent the day doing other writerly stuff. Email with my agent, Dark Horse editor, and suchlike. And other stuff. Honestly, I can't even remember much of it, so it truly must have been dull, indeed. My publicist wants to get the book trailer (the "teaser") up on the Penguin website for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (right now, they don't even have the final cover up), and on the book's Amazon.com page. Which means I need to get him a DVD with "a compressed video file (preferably in .mov format and smaller than 100mb)," or use a legal file-sharing service, such as Dropbox.net. See? Exciting shit.

But! Here's something bow tie. You'll recall that on Sunday, there was the final shoot for book's full-length trailer, Kyle and Brian and Sara in the wilds of winter-stricken Pennsylvania, Sara in a beautiful dress made for the occasion by Kambriel. And here are two of the shots (behind the cut):

What India Found in the Forest )


And you may purchase prints of these and many of the other stills from the project right here. All proceeds will be used to offset our overages (yeah, we went over budget), and right now Kyle and I (and mostly Kyle) are covering that debt. This particular shot of Sara is on sale, for a short time,

Nothing interesting about the non-work part of yesterday. I had a hot bath. We had left over turkey chili (I am losing weight). We leveled our Twi'lek Jedi to 13. I read about Lyme Regis and 19th Century ichthyosaur discoveries. No more than that.

Today, more email, and I'm expecting the editorial notes of Alabaster #4, and I'll actually finish "Apostate."

Feeling Her Years,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Thank you [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi. The beta of the revamped website is up, including the ~30-second "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl. Still photography by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, video by [livejournal.com profile] briansiano, my directorial debut, Nicola Astles as Imp, Sara Murphy as Eva Canning, and mermaid artwork by the astounding Michael Zulli. Of course, this couldn't have happened without all the amazing people who donated to our Kickstarter fund. Thank you. The full-length trailer will be posted in March, just prior to the book's release. So, without further ado:

The New Website 1.0
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
But I won’t follow you into the rabbit hole.
I said I would, but then I saw
Your shivered bones.
They didn’t want me to.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

0) We must have slept a little more than eight hours. This almost never happens. Now I'm achey and stiff and disoriented and dreamsick, but later I suppose I will be glad for the rest. Oh, and the Starbuck icon; I think I'm slowly working my way through my space-opera heroines.

1) Yesterday, work, work, work. I spent two hours signing signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I might have killed a pen. And those things – pens, I mean – don't grow on trees, you know. But now they are all signed and will go back to Subterranean Press on Monday (lots of mail going out on Monday, so watch out, you postal folk). And then the day was slipping away so fast, and Spooky and I had planned a full-on Kid Night, and I didn't want to work after dark (not that I ever do; it squicks me out, working after dark, which makes the winters hard). So, I could choose to work on the short story about the two women who become cities, or I could choose to work on the third (and very, very, very different incarnation of "Sexing the Weird"). Having already gone over the inked Alabaster pages, I chose "Sexing the Weird," though I'm sort of chomping at the bit to get the story (or vignette) written. And I have only thirteen days until The Vacation (!!), and by then I need to have Sirenia Digest #72 finished and out to subscribers and write Alabaster #4 before the vacation. Also, Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) is finishing up her afterword for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, which I am very much looking forward to reading.

2) A pretty damn cool article, one that Spooky just brought to my attention: "Lobster pot tag washes up across the Atlantic 2 decades after 'Perfect Storm.'" Ignore how badly written that headline is, that it ought to be "Lobster Pot Tag Washes Up Across the Atlantic Two Decades After 'Perfect Storm.'" Point is, a lobster tag lost twenty years ago traveled 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, from Cohasset in southern Massachusetts to Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland. Very cool. Except for the fact that people are forgetting how to write headlines.

3) Writers exist, in part, to remind people of things they might otherwise forgot. For example, Question @ Hand 5. Get those answers in!

4) Look for a new round of eBay auctions before Solstice/Cephalopodmas. These will all be souvenirs from our three-day shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir book trailer, and will also include an ARC of the novel. And a moonstone signed by the whole cast and crew. And clothing that Imp (Nicola Astles) wore in the trailer. And...stuff. We hope to shoot a little more footage this winter in Philadelphia, but money will be needed, and that's what this auction will help to fund.

5) A truly grand Kid Night last night. After a Kid Meal of fish sticks, mac and cheese, and tater tots, we ate cupcakes and watched The Goonies (1985), followed by our second viewing of Super 8 (2011). When The Goonies was first released, I was in college, twenty-two, I think. And I was on beyond unimpressed. I remain unimpressed. What a silly, silly movie, but it made Spooky smile. Super 8, on the other hand, is bloody fucking brilliant. By the way, when Steve Lieber asked me who my dream casting for the role of Dancy in a film version of Alabaster would be, I did not hesitate to name Elle Fanning. And he got it so right, that now it sort of creeps me out watching her.

6) After Kid Night wound down, Spooky used the iPad to watch episodes of Art:21 on PBS, while I read Chapter Ten of the Barnum Brown biography I'm reading.

7) And now, I leave you with a photograph Spooky took while I was signing yesterday. I am not at my most glamorous (I rarely am these days), still in my pajamas, wearing my Jayne Cobb hat and Imp sweater and chewing a pen:

2 December 2011 )


Feelin' Scruffy,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Another fan video for a song by The National, made by the same person who made the video I posted on the 27th:

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, let's get this over and done with, and then we may proceed to your regularly scheduled blog entry. I expect it will be less painful that way. Well, less painful for me at least, and I know I'll be loads less distracted:

Booya! )


That said...or shown, or both, whatever...you know the lousy thing about incredible shit happening yesterday? The lousy thing about incredible shit having happened yesterday is that it's not happening today. Nonetheless, today I can lift up the blackness enough to peer out (though I do squint something fierce).

But, still, comment, kittens. And thank you for yesterday's comments.

Yesterday, we read chapters One and Two of Blood Oranges, and I can say, with great relief, that I still like this book a lot. It's about as far from The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as you can get, but that's not a bad thing. I think I'd reached a point where I had to write something just for fucking fun. And Blood Oranges is fun. And it's even funny. I never fucking knew I had all this fucking funny in me. It's like discovering a strange boil behind your ear, and someone lances it, and out comes humor. I mean "ha ha" humor, not aqueous humour – though lancing a boil behind your ear and getting aqueous humour would be interesting. Anyway, with luck, the manuscript will be proofread and corrected and in Manhattan on Monday morning. I've dragged my feet on getting it to my publisher and editor. Well, no, I haven't. I've been too busy with my work for No Such Agency, and with Sirenia Digest, and with the trailer/still-photo project for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir that Blood Oranges just...sort of got lost in the shuffle. But now it's unlost. Today, we do chapters Three and Four, which will put us halfway through the novel.

I think I've decided to keep Kermit the iPad. He proved himself very useful editing yesterday. And so I'm rethinking this whole thing. But thank you, Cliff Miller. Thank you all the same.

Also, I saw a rough cut of the teaser for the trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir yesterday, and it's all I can do not to link to it here. Imagine the lovechild of Terrance Malick and David Lynch, and you're in the neighborhood. Thank you, Brian and Kyle. This is going to be so fucking wonderful. I also spoke with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and [livejournal.com profile] kambriel yesterday about shooting additional footage this winter in Philadelphia, and it seems like it'll happen. We'll be holding eBay auctions, props and such (a large moonstone signed by the whole cast & crew, etc.) from the first shoot, to fund that, and I'll keep you posted. Thing is, to quote Imp:

“I’m going to write a ghost story now,” she typed.
“A ghost story with a mermaid and a wolf,” she also typed.
I also typed.


Well, we have tons of mermaid/water footage, the Saltonstall stuff, but the wolf part has been sorely neglected, and for that we need winter, and snow, and a big wolf-like dog for the Perrault stuff, and we can make these things happen this winter in Philadelphia. So, yeah. Another shoot lies ahead. Which fills me not in the least with dread. It pleases me.

Last night, we proved that one meatloaf can be stretched out over four dinners and one midnight sandwich. Spooky has some mean Loaf Fu. We played some Rift. I'm obsessed with getting Selwynn glorified with the Icewatch in Iron Pine Peak, so...lots of dailies. Or, in my case, nightlies. Later, I read aloud to Spooky from John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez. Despite my love for Steinbeck and his Cannery Row books, I've never read this book, but found an old copy at Spooky's parents and borrowed it on Sunday (a copy that sold new in trade paperback for $1.45 in 1962). It begins with Steinbeck's "About Ed Ricketts" essay/eulogy, and, so far, I've managed not to cry. In another life, I might have been someone as good and useful to the world as Ed Ricketts. I like to think that.

It occurs to me, apropos of nothing in particular, that there's no point whatsoever in having a cake if you can't eat it, too.

Wanting Cake, Black Forest,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Before I begin rambling on and blithering on and what not, a wonderful thing (I'll repost this on Monday, because we seem to have fewer readers...or at least fewer comments on Saturdays). One of [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's photographs from last weekend's shoot for "The Drowning Girl: Stills from a Film That Never Existed," based on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. This one is...astounding (inspired by a scene in Chapter 8). You will note the two titular paintings by Michael Zulli. And I owe an unspeakable degree of "Thank You" to Nicola Astes for nailing Imp in this fictional (but true) moment :



Um...the rest of yesterday. Well, there was a great deal of work, and a benchmark was reached, though an infinity of benchmarks lie before me. But when you're working with No Such Agency, there's only so much that can be said, and I've said too much already. The truth is out there, and it's coming soon.

I have this stuck in my head, going round and round:

And it came to me then that every plan
Is a tiny prayer to Father Time.
— Death Cab for Cutie, "What Sarah Said"

Maybe by putting it here, and causing other people to read it, I'll let it go. For now.

Nothing else much to yesterday. Leftover meatloaf. Too much RIFT (in silent moments, the futility and vapidness of MMORPGs weighs heavily on me, the whole issue of time displacement, what I could be doing with my life instead).

We watched the second episode of American Horror Story, which I'm on the fence about. There's an interesting trick that's trying to be turned here, straddling a fine line between utter camp and halfhearted sincerity. I'm still trying to decide if the show is very good, mediocre, or actually quite awful. Mostly, I think producers somewhere are hoping to capitalize on the impending release of Tim Burton's film version of Dark Shadows by whipping up this hodgepodge of the supernatural. I do like Tate (as played by Evan Peters), and there was a good scene last night, when Violet is talking to her new "friend," that former-mean-girl-turned-witness-to-true-evil. I think the Jessica Lange character is, unfortunately, very much over the top for my liking, and I hope we're not supposed to have sympathy for Ben Harmon (as played by Dylan McDermott), because he's a total douchebag. There's still potential here, but I'd like to see more focus and less reliance of wearisome horror movie tropes and those shots we all expect. Having said that, I realize that I may be missing the point. But I also realize that missing the point may mean getting the point, which may be a mark in my favor.

We watched more Mad Men, which is excellent, no fence straddling required. We read more of Wildwood, which is delightful in that way that the truly good books we read as children are delightful. It makes me wistful in a good way.

Oh, and I'm regretting having bought the iPad. It's fair astounding, sure, this device. And I need it for work, because the world is going All Digital. But I sort of hate it. And can't help thinking about the infinitude of better ways the money could have been spent, and how easy it would be to let this Thing devour more of my life.

And now I'm going to sit in a corner.

Reticent,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Everyone's on her or his way home now (Boston, Philadelphia, Framingham, Washington D.C.). Three amazing days of work are behind us. Much more work lies ahead, and the first edit of the trailer (there will be several, and yes, a DVD at some point) won't be done until January. But, undoubtedly, many hours of footage was shot for, at most, a four minute film.

I am sore, and sleepless, and my head's swimming, and I went three days and hardly ate. And I haven't yet gotten to see last week's episode of Fringe (spoilers will get you dead). But I wouldn't have traded this experience for the world. I watched moments from the The Drowning Girl: A Memoir brought to life through the alchemy of effort, talent, patience, luck, and persistence. After all my years of publishing, I am not ashamed to say that I learned many things I wish I'd learned years ago. And new projects will happen because I have learned these lessons.

I'm too tired to say very much, I only want to lie down and shut my eyes. But...yesterday we made it to Rolling Dam (the location that inspired the novel), and watched Sara become the marvelously predatory Siren of Millville. Never mind the water was fucking freezing, and rough enough it's a wonder she wasn't swept away. In time, you will see the beauty of those moments, but later. We can't show all our cards at once.

I sat with Nicola at Thundermist Falls in Woonsocket as the sun set, and coached her on what Imp would be doing and thinking and how she would move. I watched Imp try to drown in a bathtub, and panicked Abalyn carry her down a narrow hallway. In time, you'll see. We shot in the Providence Athenaeum (thank you, Super Librarian Women!), and other locales around the city today.

We've thanked each other, and wished we didn't have to leave, that we could keep working on this thing. But that's not how art is meant to be, is it? No, it's not. A special thank you to our absent genius, Michael Zulli. And to everyone who donated even so much as a single dollar to the Kickstarter crowdsourcing drive that made this happen.

My brains are running out my ears. But before I go, here are a few more shots:

15-16 October 2011; SFW? You decide. )


I drank the blood of angels from the bottle,
Just to see if I could call the lightning down.
It hasn't struck me yet, and I would wage my soul to bet
That there ain't no one throwing lightning anyhow.
— Brown Bird, "Blood of Angels"
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Sitting here in the business centre, determined to keep my vow to make at least one entry a day for six months. Booya.

Here's one of the secrets I've been having to keep for a while. Not the BIG COOL news, but news that is both big and cool. Along with Peter Straub, I have been chosen to be Guest of Honor at next year's Readercon, which will be Readercon 23. Peter, from the beginning of my career, has been a great friend and an invaluable mentor, and not only am I honoured to have been chosen to be Geuest of Honour next year, I'm honoured all the more to have been chosen to be Guest of Honor with Peter. Because bow ties are cool. Actually, I'm not sure Peter wears bowties, but I would, if I had one. Anyway, it fell to Peter and me to choose next year's Memorial Guest of Honour, and we chose Shirley Jackson. It would have been almost impossible to have chosen anyone else.

There much else to report. There was an impromptu reading of 7 from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir in mine and Spooky's room late last night, and almost everyone who, at last year's Readercon, helped me to work out the novel and save it from my frustration, was present: Sonya Taaffe, Greer Gilman, Geoffrey Goodwin, Michael Cisco, and Gemma Files. It was a practice reading for my actual reading at 11 ayem today.

Usually, of course, I'm still asleep at 11 ayem. So, it was a challenge to get up and dressed and conscious in time. The greater challenge was putting myself in the emotional space to read a very emotional chapter. But it went very, very well. I used my iPod to listen to Death cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" - to which so much of the book was written - and it took me back to Imp. It was, for me, one of the most intense readings I've ever done. It almost felt as if I were acting.

Anyway, I ought to sign off. Please forgive any typos. I'll fix them Sunday night, perhaps.

In Burlington,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
The storms have passed, and it looks like we made the right call, not attempting the drive to Boston yesterday. The video I've seen of a sizable tornado dragging itself along the Connecticut River in Massachusetts yesterday, slinging it's debris field round and round, is beautiful and terrifying and filled me with awe. But, having watched tornadoes in the wild (let's say), face-to-face with those beasts (in Alabama), I'm glad to have been nowhere nearby. Here in Providence, we got a lot of weird skies, some wind, and about fifteen minutes of heavy rain and pebble-sized hail. That's all.

Yesterday was spent on the final-most editing of The Drowning Girl. I added a little text, and I took nothing away. And going back to the text, I realize now what an enormous emotional drain the writing of it was for me, and I know why I was so wrecked when it was finished. Both Spooky and my psychiatrist were of the opinion that my dark mood in April was caused by the book, and now I believe them. I think I scraped down all the way to the bottom of my being for this one, and never have I loved a character as much as I love Imp. I may never again. Once again, the novel will be released in March 2012, and will include three illustrations by Vince Locke.

Today, I send the manuscript back to my editor, and it'll be out of my hands until the arrival of the CEM (copy-edited manuscript).

It looks like Sirenia Digest #67 will most likely go out on the 5th, as soon as I have Vince's illustration. I think this is going to be a very good issue.

Spooky and I picked that fifteen minutes of rain and hail to leave the house to run errands. I took photos as we crossed the Point Street Bridge and drove up Wickenden Street (behind the cut, below). The hail pounded our umbrellas and bounced all around us.

---

There were a couple of comments to yesterday's entry that I'd like to repost. On the subject of the #FuckPlanB hashtag on Twitter, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy writes:

I should probably write something about F#$k Plan B – I fear it's at best hyperbole and at worst dangerous. If your plan A is good enough, and broad enough like "be smart, work hard, learn to write" it will give you many options. But one need only look as far as 35 year old former pro-football players to see where a dogged grappling of a narrow plan A can leave you. I should add that I fear many people being encouraged to "F#@k plan B" don't have what's necessary to succeed at plan A. I admit as Exhibit A all the self-published 99-cent ebooks littering Amazon.

To which I wish to add, a lot of people truly do not want to believe in the necessity of talent required for many Plan As. You cannot learn talent. All the workshops and best efforts and schooling in the world cannot bestow talent. Too many learn that much too late.

- and [livejournal.com profile] opalblack wrote something which evoked such wonderful imagery, I just wanted to make sure everyone sees it:

I went to Venice during Carnival this year. It was like someone had taken a slice of my brain and turned it into a city that was having a party in drag. We went to Isola di San Michele, the cemetery island. We picked up little pieces of broken glass and pottery. Space on the island is at such a premium that the graves are regularly turned and re-let to new occupants. As we strolled through one such recently turned area, I spotted bones. Tiny human bones, a finger here, a fragment of skull there. I picked them up, as is my wont when I find bones – which like yourself is often. We returned to our room, drank absinthe, and smoked. Eventually we went back to Belfast, swearing to return to Venice soon and often. I carried our treasures in my cleavage.

---

Utterly fucking splendid rp last night in Rift – Selwyn, Enth'lye, and Ghaun – and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus and Tracy T. for that. It buoys my spirit, good rp. And we have a grand story beginning to unfold, working within the framework of Rift's lore. Join us!

And now, off to work.

Shiny,
Aunt Beast

Rainy Day )
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Rainy and cold in Providence. Each spring, this actually-late-winter stage seems to last longer and longer. Like a sort of time dilation. I need it to fuck away elsewhere, but Nature does as Nature does. Except, of course, when we break it. Though, even then, it does as it does given a new set of rules, as it always would have done. Regardless, fuck you day of drizzle and clouds. If I don't go out today, I'll not have left the house, for more than three or four minutes on one occasion, in the past twelve days.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,755 words on "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash," and found THE END. It is a very peculiar story. No surprise there. I'm tempted to spend two days adding footnotes, because they'd certainly fit right in. Then again, it's usually better to leave the reader to puzzle out whatever may not be clear (only too many readers hate to think; they just want "a good read" or "a quick read" or "an easy read"). It's a fine story and I'm pleased with it. Well, it's not so much a story, as journal entries from the final days of a man's life. And the word "random," it should come as no surprise that the use of that word here is a boondoggle. Anyway, when I was done with the story yesterday I realized a very important thing. The sort of very important thing I should have realized long ago. Gobsmacked by the obvious. I've spent at least three years mining my gradual and inexorable mental (and, to a lesser degree, physical) deterioration. And now it's time to stop writing novels like that. Imp and The Drowning Girl, that's the last time I do it. Probably forever. I've sold the most private confessions far too cheaply. Likely, I can't keep these elements out of my short stories, but it'll not find its way into my attempt to write YA. Blue Canary is going to be a creepy, whimsical, adventurous, fun sort of quasi-detective story. If anyone's insane, they'll be safe caricatures. I see people whine about how Kathe Koja gave up the ghost after Kink, how she "lost it" when she started writing YA, to which I can only say – fuck off. I've had enough of this. Howard Hughes is tired of telling the truth.

I forgot, a couple of days back, to mention that I'd been sent copies of Graham Joyce's The Silent Land (courtesy the publisher, Doubleday) and Carrie Ryman's The Forest of Hands and Teeth (courtesy Cassandra Brewtser). They have been added to the Mountain of That Which Must Be Read. Avalanche warnings have been posted.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So far, Spooky has rendered this morning a scene from an unmade David Lynch film. Bobby Vinton and fussing about how I clean out the coffee maker were involved. She checked for fish. After all, there are tins of sardines in the pantry. Oh, and it doesn't help that, last night, someone pointed out to me how much Thom Yorke and Tilda Swinton look alike. It's true.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,428 words on the final chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A pivotal, culminative scene I could not have written (well) had I not gone to the Blackstone River in the snow on Sunday. But I did go, and so I did write the scene to the best of my ability. And I find that, as I expected, this is essentially a novel without climax. There are revelations strewn here and there, but nothing actually ever coalesces into a climax. It's a novel that begins here and stops there, when Imp believes she's done the best job she'll ever do of telling her "ghost story."

As it stands, the manuscript is 96,158 words long. My contract specifies a novel 100,000 words long. Setting aside for the moment that no one should ever tell an author how long or short a novel has to be, I emailed my editor a week back and told her it might go to 120,000. She asked if I could please keep it to 110,000-115,0000. I did some math, juggled scenes, and replied that I might be able to keep it to 110,000, which made her very happy. So, assuming I can do that, I have about 13,842 words left to go until the more or less arbitrary THE END. I've been writing, on average, 1,200-1,500 words a day, which means I'll likely finish sometime between Friday the 11th and Sunday the 13th. Hardly any time left to go, on a novel that I've been working on. in one way or another, since August 2009.

Also, we proofed "Postcards from the King of Tides" for Two Worlds and In Between. It's a story that still works for me, despite having been written in 1997. I don't think that I'd ever seen how much influence "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" had on the story until yesterday.

For dinner, there was spicy beef shawarma and baba ghannoush.

---

Last night, we finished Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Gods, this is a brilliant book. I mean fucking brilliant. Horrifying and sorrowful and poignant and beautiful and strong. Katniss is one of my new favorite literary figures. I'm not going to gush on and on, or risk spoilers, but I will say I was especially impressed at how Collins deftly managed to put us in the mind of someone living in a totalitarian world. There are so many times Katniss Everdeen might have stopped and given the gamemakers or the Capital the middle finger. But she doesn't, even though that's what they do in Big Hollywood movies, because she understands the dire consequences it would have for her and, more importantly, for her family and District 12. She only knows, at this stage, how corrupt and loathsome the world is, and that it may destroy everything it touches. This is how evil men stay in power. And it's impossible not to read this novel and see the Capitol of Panem as the US, and each of the twelve districts (thirteen was obliterated in the late civil war) as all those countries where people live in squalor so that Americans may enjoy an obscenely high standard of living.

---

Gaming consumed far too much of my night. First, Spooky let me use her laptop long enough the level Selwyn to 16. I love the world of Rift so, so much. I love that it awes me, and takes my breath, and frightens me, and that I walk through Meridian and so many people are in character, roleplaying, and so few have inappropriate names (for now, the name police thing is working).

Meanwhile, in that other game, the candy-colored one, Shaharrazad is still grinding away at Loremaster. I've now done 105 out of the 120 Netherstorm quests.

---

Okay, I slept far too late, and now it's time to make the doughnuts. Go to bed at 5 ayem, get up at noon thirty, you must make concessions.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A wonderful hard rain yesterday, wonderful even though I had to go Out into it. Much of the snow has been melted and washed away.

Comments would be good today. I know it's Saturday, but it feels like Sunday, and Sundays suck.

Well, the medical appointment yesterday wasn't nearly as bad as expected. I have a new doctor, and it's an infinitely better match than the last. So, no more Evil Nasty Clinic filled with rude homophobic assholes who get freaked out by pentagrams. Also, new doctor has an aquarium built into the waiting room wall, which scores all sorts of points with me.

After we got home yesterday, Spooky saw a raven perched on the house across the street. They don't usually range this far south, but this winter they're turning up in Rhode Island. Normally, we only get crows and fish crows. Sadly, I didn't see it. We're both getting somewhat serious about birding, and I take that as a sign of our advancing years. Then again, bird watching ain't nothing but dinosaur watching misspelled.

I got a copy of [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney's (Karen Mahoney) first novel, The Iron Witch, in the mail. Thank you, Kaz! And congratulations.

Late in the day, we proofed "By Turns" for To Worlds and In Between, so some work was done.

I loaded a lot of Dead Can Dance onto the iPod yesterday.

I've made an interesting decision as regards The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It occurred to me, yesterday, that I read novels about heterosexual characters, and the word heterosexual, or even straight, never appears, unless it's used to set the characters apart from queers. So. I'm removing every instance of the word lesbian from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Sure, there's lesbian relationships, lesbo sex, a hot tranny dyke, a sapphic siren/wolf girl, and so forth. But nowhere in the book will I actually use the word lesbian. Because I wouldn't use het, probably not even once, were Imp straight. And I figure, not only is it the right thing to do, but it will somehow annoy the bigots even more.

---

How frakkin' good is Rift? So damn good that Spooky and I are currently trading her laptop back and forth so that we can both play, that's how good. So far, no disappointments. Quite exactly the opposite. Telara grows more amazing the more I see. Right now, I'm in love with the creature design. Yesterday, Selwyn, my Kelari mage, made Level 12. Her minion is a human skeleton named Jude. Spooky's Kelari cleric, Miisya, made Level 10. She'll catch up today. Oh, and players cooperate, and come to the rescue of others, and stuff like that. Who'd have thought it? Yes, there are a few jerks. But infinitely (well, not literally) less than in WoW, and they're easy to ignore, especially if, like me, you keep general chat off.

In WoW, I'm still grinding away in Outland, trying to get Loremaster with Shaharrazad before I exit stage left. But it's starting to look as if that may never happen. Loremaster, I mean. There are just too many broken, forgotten quests out there. And I'll need every one of them to make the title. On the upside, WoW is a hell of a lot more fun playing in regions where there are absolutely no other players. By the way, third worst WoW quest ever is to be found in Shadowmoon Valley: "I was a lot of things..."

---

Vince is currently working on the illustration for Sirenia Digest #63, and it'll go out to subscribers ASAP. What? You're not a subscriber??? Fix that now! The platypus compels you with his venomous spurs.
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
I want T-shirts made to promote The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. They'll read "Imp didn't die for your sins. She had better things to do."

But that's too wordy, isn't it? No, wait. It's only forty-seven characters, or fifty-eight with spaces. I figure the attention spans of human beings are still capable of handling anything shorter than a Twitter message.

Thanks for the eBay love. Someday, Spooky and I will be well-provided for, and we'll live on a little farm on a remote little island in Maine (Peneboscot Bay will do), and have two goats and two chickens and a big dog and three cats. We'll grow blueberries and apples. And we won't have to deal with eBay anymore ever again. Such dreams keep me alive.

Yesterday, after much book talk with Spooky, I tore apart the eighth chapter, and then wrote 1,417 words. 8 has gone from being a speed bump to being a wall. I know pretty much everything on the other side of the wall, all the way to THE END (which isn't really THE END, but only the place Imp doesn't have to say anything else). If I were capable of writing books out of order (and I emphatically am not, so don't suggest I try), I'd skip 8, write 9 and the epilogue, then decide if 8 is even necessary. But I can't do that.

The horrid cough I almost always get after any cold is here. No doctor has ever figured this cough out. It's a dry, wracking cough that leaves me exhausted and sore and wheezing. It usually hangs around for about a month (three months is the record), then leaves. This has been happening since the mid-eighties. The only thing that's ever seemed to help is Altoids peppermints, but they only help so long as one is in my mouth, and gods I get sick of Altoids fast. By the time I was done writing yesterday, the cough had me so exhausted that I lay down on the sofa in the front parlor and slept until dinner. Obviously, I've stopped smoking again.

Last night, there was, once again, far too much WoW. I finished the quests in Desolace and moved along to Feralas. It's the height of tedium, but I will leave that game with the title "Loremaster." To make things worse, Spooky let me actually play Rift last night, and fuck, but it's wonderful. I leveled Selwyn, my Kalari mage (necromancy, pyromancy, and chloromacy), to six. The world is so fully realized. Tomorrow's the end of the beta, and the game won't be released until March 1st, so...long wait for more wonderfulness.

I'm gonna go finish my coffee. But I leave you with photographs of Sméagol having a snooze in the sun:

Sméagol, 19 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
I did something this morning that I almost never do. I got up when Spooky did, then went back to bed. And, all in all, slept about eight hours, which is about the most I ever get. So, booyah.

Last night, I posted the New Question, the Question @ Hand, and you can read it and respond here. If you were to make of me— of my actual, physical body —a work of art, what would it be? Answers are screened, so only I can see them. I'll select the ones I like best for Sirenia Digest #63, where they will appear anonymously. There have already been two answers so delightful that I wanted to hug them. Hug the answers, I mean. Though, so far, all the usual suspects have been silent. Anyway, I'll be collecting the replies over the next week and a half or so. Haven fun with it. No minimum or maximum word length. And as I said last night, don't be shy. Get our hands dirty.

And here are the current eBay auctions.

I didn't leave the house yesterday.

There was good news from Dark Horse, which I'll talk about as soon as I am told that I may.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,623 words on the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A passage from Joseph Campbell (1970), writing on schizophrenia, is very apt: "The whole problem, it would seem, is somehow to go through it, even time and again, without shipwreck: the answer being not that one should not be permitted to go crazy; but that one should have been taught something already of the scenery to be entered and the powers to be met, given a formula of some kind by which to recognize, subdue them, and incorporate their energies." I've passed the 75,000 word mark— by more than a thousand, actually. After writing, we proofed "The Road of Pins" for Two Worlds and In Between.

Last night we spent a little time leveling our dead girls, Erszébetta and Tzilla. Then we finished reading Grace Krilonovich's The Orange Eats Creeps. I'm going to be processing this novel for quite a while. It resists any quick and easy assessment. But my first thought would be that I've encountered a shattered mind, that finally becomes incoherent, as madness increasingly refashions the world in the mad woman's image (unless it's the other way round), and I refer you back to the Joseph Campbell quote above. It's a very good novel, though it may not be at all what you'll expect going in, if all you expect is some weird shit about punk rock hobo junkie vampires drinking Robitussin and riding box cars around the Pacific Northwest. It sheds that skin fairly quickly, and moves into infinitely weirder, darker territories.

Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to snap a series of photos taken from my desk, from the chair where I spend most of most every day and night. I decided it wouldn't matter whether or not the photographs were good photographs, but they had to be taken from my chair. I ended up with thirteen, behind the cut (and don't forget to have a go at the question @ hand). I make no apologies for dust and clutter:

A Sessile Organism Views the World, 10 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (starbuck1)
The snow is here again. Not that it ever went anywhere. The new snow is here, adding another stratum atop the last. Though, at least it may not be as bad as the Weather Channel was predicting last night (early this ayem). Still, I don't think Providence will be free of this blanket until sometime in late March. I woke this morning about seven o'clock and stood in the parlor a moment, in the perfect grey quiet, watching the slow white rain.

Note that between now and Valentine's Day, Spooky's offering free shipping on any jewelery purchase from her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy Shop. Please have a look. Right now, my favorite piece is the mermaid's garden skeleton key necklace. I tried to get her not to sell it, but I usually lose those arguments. So, buy it for someone and make him, her, or it very happy, with my blessings.

Yesterday was...I'm not sure I have an adjective for what yesterday was. In my Moleskine I wrote, "Scaling back ambition." And also, "This is the day when I realized that I'll not be writing the book I thought I'd be writing, but, instead, the book that I can write." Spooky and I spent hours talking through what's left to be done, how much has been written thus far, deadlines, the story as I understand it, and my somewhat precarious mental state. I have two months until I have to deliver the novel, and if I'm only halfway through, I'd need until the end of May. Which I don't have and can't get. Also, the manuscript would be, at a conservative estimate, 150,000 words long (my contract stipulates 100k). And, sure, it's nice to take the high road and declare that the book will be as long as the book needs to be. But, sometimes, the high road is inaccessible to even the best climbers, and another route has to be found. Yesterday, I began finding that alternate path through The Drowning Girl, seeking another way to tell exactly the same story without rewriting anything I've done so far. It's going to require at least a few days to sort out, but I'm starting to see how it can be done.

Probably, yesterday was the most utterly terrified I've been of and about this novel, and also the day when I suddenly felt very relieved. Someday, when it's finished, I can talk particulars.

And my thanks for all the kind words that people offered in the comments yesterday. As much as words can help, they helped. I read them all, even if I didn't reply to them all. I finally admitted, publicly to something I've known for a long time. In response to [livejournal.com profile] whiskeychick, I wrote:

"...the truth is that, in one way or another, I've been writing exactly the same book, trying to achieve exactly the same catharsis, since Silk. It will never be written out, and I have to accept that. Haunted people do not get unhaunted, and closure is essentially a lie."

It is my intention never to write this book again after The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I won't have written it out, or found "closure," or have healed, or any of that nonsense. It'll still be right here locked up in my chest, where it's always been. But what's going to make this novel different from all the others will be Imp coming to understand that haunted is forever. There are no exorcists, no psychiatric miracles, no magic words, no salted earth, no cleansing fire, nothing with the power to dispel our ghosts. Not really. And you live, or you die. Either way, you move on.

Anyway....

Not much else to yesterday. I was very late at the doctor, until about 8:30, and then there was the market, and dinner, and a few hours of intense rp in Insilico. The latest incarnation of the Xiang AI may not be the strangest yet, but she may be the most lost. Oh, she named Nemo. Then, I was unable to get to sleep until almost five ayem, and didn't sleep long enough to escape the effects of the Seroquel, so I'm kind of oogy just now. And here's the view from our front parlor window this morning:

1 February 2011 )


On this day in 1926, eighty and five years ago, "The Call of Cthulhu" first appeared in print.
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
It's bright out there. Cold, but bright. And there's another storm on the way, as I'm sure at least half the country is aware. The snow should reach us by morning. I'm thinking of all those six-foot heaps made by the snowplows, and wondering how they'll look as seven- and eight-foot heaps. We have to get out of here this evening, before the weather starts deteriorating. I have a 7 p.m. (CaST) doctor's appointment, and we'll need to make it to the market.

---

Something happened yesterday that's never happened before. It's remarkable, I suppose, that it's never happened before, given I've been writing pretty much full-time now for nineteen years. I'm hesitant to even speak of it here. But given how this journal is meant to be an honest record of my experiences as a writer and author, I would feel dishonest leaving it out. Yesterday, first time ever, I found myself crying because of what I was writing. It came on very suddenly, and I had to stop and step away for awhile before finishing the scene. I know I was crying for Imp. There are other reasons, too, which I'm not going to spell out. But, later, I found myself thinking that this has to be the last novel of this sort I write, at least for the foreseeable future. It's too terrible and too personal. I find myself not wanting to let anyone see this one, ever. I felt that way a little with Daughter of Hounds, then even more so with The Red Tree. But it's never been this strong, the urge to lock the book away and not subject it to editors and reviewers and Amazon reader comments and people mouthing off on their blogs. It's just too personal, and I suppose I have no one to blame but myself. No one forces me to write these particular stories, to keep picking at these particular scabs. But, yeah. Last time. And then I'm going off to write YA, and tell wondrous stories, and they'll be dark, sure. They'll be true. But they sure as fuck won't be this. It sounds melodramatic, I know, but the truth is I'm making myself sicker, writing this novel, and it's not worth the toll it's taking.

It's okay if that didn't make much sense. Like Imp's story, it's mostly just for me.

At best, I'm halfway through the novel.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,106 words on Chapter 5, and finally reached the end of the longest chapter I've ever written.

--

Not much else to say about yesterday. We watched the new episode of Fringe, which, of course, was very good. Then we watched the first two episodes of Season Two of Spartacus. Gods, I'd forgotten how much I love this show. Sheer and utter fucking debauchery and depravity, unabashed, unapologetic. All fucking id, top to bottom. It's nowhere near as well written as was Deadwood, but I think it has much the same appeal for me. Later, we played a little WoW. I think I got to bed about 3:45 a.m. (CaST).

Gonna go now. Comments would be especially welcome today.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Yesterday, I wrote another 2,292 words of Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I begin to suspect this is the bottomless chapter. This book, its become a fever, and the pages are a fevered blur. Part of me says, slow down, slow down, I'm going to break it, but this other part of me is insisting, no, no, the speed of the telling is integral, its a confession and there's no way she'd write it slowly, so neither can I. Maybe I'll try to explain, someday, how I'm a "method writer."

Today I have to try to write the "hardest scene," or only the second hardest. Hard on Imp, and hard on me.

The nightmares are worse than they've been in a long time. A tumult of calamity and past events that never actually occurred.

The new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology came yesterday, December 2010. It was late, in part because it was shipped with a huge memoir describing a pugnacious little terrestrial croc named Simosuchus. There's also the description of a new genus and species of bothremydid turtle, Chupacabrachelys complexus. The name's etymology deserves a moment of explanation. To quote the paper's authors, "The chupacabra (Spanish for 'goat sucker') is a mythical creature in contemporary Mexican-American legend said to feed on livestock in the border region of Texas and Mexico. The skull of Chupacabrachelys resembles that of a mangy coyote believed to be responsible for chupacabra sightings in South Texas during 2008." Also, for the species, "In recognition of 'the Complex Tour' performance of the Blue Man Group, which provided the authors with many hours of entertainment during collection and preparation of the type and referred specimens."

I left the house late yesterday and went to the market and an art supply store with Spooky. I was amazed at how much the snow hasn't melted. Everything is still blanketed. There are banks of snow five and six feet high where snowplows and shovels have heaped it. The Providence River below the Point Street Bridge is frozen over.

Good roleplay in Insilico last night (thank you, Tracy). It's been just a little more than a year since I discovered Insilico. And while it didn't live up to the embarrassingly optimistic hype I ladled over it, I've found that the sim does, nonetheless, provide a fine backdrop for private cyberpunk rp. Spooky and I played WoW, and I'm still liking the Twilight Highlands. Last night, for the first time since I started playing in October 2008, I found myself holding more than 20,000 gold. No, I haven't ever done raids, and most of the money I make in WoW comes from auctions and quests.

And now, there will be doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
So much more snow. The sun is blazing off all that white, and virtually nothing will melt today. We got several more inches last night. Last night, the sky glowed orange, and the snow was coming down so hard you could not clearly see the houses on the other side of the street. And there was insomnia last night. I slept less than six hours.

Spooky and I are a bit overwhelmed at how well things are going with our The Tale of the Ravens Kickstarter project. As of right now, we're 105% funded, which means we exceeded our goal in hardly more than forty-eight hours. We are enormously grateful to everyone who's pledged. We hope that people will continue to do so, because even though we've met our goal, $3,300 was a very conservative estimate of what would be required for production and postage costs. Every bit over the target helps make the end result that much higher quality. Spooky allotted two months for this, thinking we'd need two months just to reach our goal. And here we've exceeded it with fifty-seven days remaining. Booya, I say. Thank you. And remember, no one gets charged until after March 26th, when the fundraising officially ends. Yesterday, the project appeared under both "New and Notable" and "Recommended." Goat Girl Press is born.

No writing yesterday. We needed to read over Chapter 1 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir again (fourth time through, I think) and make line edits before the chapter appears in Sirenia Digest #62. Also, I made the decision earlier this week (or maybe late last week), to make Imp younger, 24 at the time the story's being told, instead of 30 (and so 22 when the events she's relating occurred). So, that's requiring a bit of editing, as well.

I also managed a little work on Two Worlds and In Between. And I loaded R.E.M. albums onto the new iPod. And I finished the Moleskine notebook I've been using since August 22nd, 2009 and began a new one.

Spooky made lasagna for dinner. I'm not sure which of us does it better. I roleplayed in Insilico, where a new generation of the Xiang AI has emerged, calling itself Nemo. And LJ can't spell Nemo, roleplayed, Insilico, or Xiang, which I suppose isn't unreasonable. However, it also can't spell LJ, or LiveJournal, or even Livejournal. You'd think that they'd have fixed that at some point in the last twelve years. But, no.

Later, we watched Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010). You can't really choose to watch a Resident Evil film and then fairly claim to have been disappointed. These sorts of things are what they are, and you know that going in. Milla being sexy and defying physics, mutant zombies, a grand choreography of surreal violence, and so forth. Oh, and guns. Lots and lots and lots of guns. But Resident Evil: Afterlife really isn't as good as Resident Evil: Extinction. The latter was prettier, scarier, sexier, and more stylish. Also, it wasn't so weighed down by the nefarious Albert Wesker, man with the plastic hair. He wants to be Agent Smith and the Terminator, but the best he can do is make me laugh. But hey, it's all cheese. You go in because you're in the mood for Velveeta, and that's what you get. Milla and Velveeta (which brings oddly kinky images to mind). Oh, but the pandering to 3D, that didn't help, either. Fuck you, 3D.

Now, it's time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I wrote 2,179 words on The Drowning Girl and reached the end of Chapter Two. In the past five days, I've written 9,154 words on the book, when I generally only average about 1,100 words a day. But today I'm going to stop and read back over both One and Two (or 1 and 2, as Imp would have it).

Cold here in Providence.

My thanks to those who've commented on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," either here, on Facebook, or by email.

Yesterday was the sort of day that needs a lot of hot tea. I began with an Earl Grey made with white tea, then moved along to blend of black tea, orange, cinnamon, and cloves. We watched Micheal Winterbottom's Butterfly Kiss (1995). We seem to be on a Winterbottom kick. Next up, Jude (1996), with Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet.

I was thinking about ragging on the Worgen a little more, but I think I'll do that some other time.

I think my next audiobook may be the unabridged Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, even though it's thirty-two hours long...

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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