greygirlbeast: (river3)
Kittens, this is what happens when you break up with a vacation. It exhibits a flare for vindictiveness by seeing to it that, on the eve of New Year's Eve, I catch a mild intestinal bug, just enough to make me utterly miserable for a good twenty-four hours, and see that Spooky catches it just as I start recovering, so another twenty-four hours will be disrupted and more misery will be spread. So, warning: do not interrupt vacations.

But comment. I'll have the iPad with me in bed.

I spent most of yesterday lying on the chaise in the middle parlour, sleeping and moaning, except when I was...no, I'll be discrete, yes? Yes. I did read Laird Barron's "Old Virginia" and Steve Duffy's "The Oram County Whoosit," the latter of which was not only quite good, but rather interesting. In that it covered some of the ground I covered in "In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)" and "The Colliers' Venus (1893)." Also, it put me in mind, a bit, of Carpenter's The Thing (1982). But I don't mean to say that it felt derivative (though it is a "Mythos tale"). You can find "The Oram County Whoosit" in New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, and I recommend it. This was the first story by Duffy I'd read.

Last night, as the crud struck Spooky, we watched Julie Delpy's The Countess (2009). And it really is Delpy's film as she wrote, directed, scored, and played the title role in the film. It's neglect of historicity aside, it's a fine film. Erzebet Bathory's story becomes both a fairy tale and a tragedy about a strong, intelligent (if psychotically, murderously neurotic) woman caught in an age when strong, intelligent women were generally deemed, at best, a nuisance. I especially approve of this latter theme, as it certainly did play a role in the downfall of the real Countess Bathory, between the enormous debt owed her by Hungary's King Matthias and the hatred she engendered from the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever else may or may not be true of her, having researched her life, there can be little doubt she ran afoul of a conspiracy and was an easy target. Anyway, I'd have liked a wilder, more explicit film, but The Countess is impressive, nonetheless (ignore the IMDb rating of 6.2; that's fucking poppycock). See it.

But what really saved the day yesterday was that the mail brought a gift from Neil, a personalized copy of the numbered edition of The Little Golden Book of Ghastly Stuff, from Borderlands Press. Spooky read a bit of it to me and the platypus. I was especially pleased with "Entitlement Issues" (you can read it online, just follow the link), which calls out all those fools who think authors owe them anything at all and who place stock in that "reader/writer contract" crap.

Ah, I'm running out of what little steam I had in me. So, I shall leave you with two things: Firstly, a promise that Sirenia Digest #73 will be out sometime in the next week or so, and, secondly, I leave you with this rare photo of me and the platypus together (we were fading fast):



On the Mend,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The insomnia continues, for Spooky and I both. Hers, though, is the opposite of mine. I find sleep only with the greatest difficulty, but then I sleep. She usually finds sleep easily enough, but then wakes and can't get back to sleep. We're sleep-deprived bookends. On my end, the pills that are supposed to keep the drone sleeping and buzzing along like a good drone simply aren't working. I am a bee that can develop a tolerance to almost any drug within a month, it has always seemed. I say drone, but I ought to say worker. But insomnia has a droning sound, yes? Yes. Still, I ought to say worker.

No drug advice, please. I'm a walking PDR. And no insomnia advice; I've heard it all. Also, please, no assurance that I'm not alone. Hearing that doesn't help. I maintain there is a world out there where people do still sleep, as I used to sleep. If I'm wrong, I need to cling to my delusion. There is a world out there where not every single fucking person suffers from an acronym concocted either by modernity or researchers taking kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies.

Oh, look! Here are my acronyms! My credentials! Aren't they pretty? May I now be pitied and medicated, and, thereby, gain some sense of purpose and self-worth? Am I not now a real, non-contributing, fully-consuming member of society, now that I am properly duped, disordered, and drugged?

Rainy and chill Outside.

No writing yesterday. Spooky and I filed. There was a mountain of unfiled files scattered about the office, mostly short stories written over the last five or six months. There are still more to be filed. At least one more leaning tower. I helped her clean and organize the pantry, which badly needed it.

Last night, we watched Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass (1961). Natalie Wood was an amazing being, a shining and radiant being.

And you want to ask yourself (or I do), "Exactly what's left in the darkness that humans are so afraid of, that we have to light parking lots long after shops have closed, that every roadside is lit, that we squander energy just to hide the stars and drive back the night?" I think the answer's simpler than many might suspect. You only need a mirror to see the answer. Or walk along a crowded street. When I was a child, I could see the Milky Way.



We have made this ugly world. An eyesore from space.
Photo credit for satellite composite NASA.


I should make an end to this entry.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Yesterday, the postman brought my contributor's copy of the new Penguin Classics volume, American Supernatural Tales, edited by S.T. Joshi, which reprints "In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)." Since then, I've been trying to decipher my feelings about being chosen for this book. It goes without saying that I am immensely pleased and flattered to have this story included alongside the likes of Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu," T.E.D. Klein's "The Events at Poroth Farm," Ray Bradbury's "The Foghorn," Fritz Leiber's "The Girl With Hungry Eyes," and Shirley Jackson's "A Visit" — authors and stories who/that have had an enormous influence upon my own writing. But there is something more here, something I cannot quite wrap my brain around. This is a Penguin Classics volume, and in his introduction, Joshi grants me "tentative canonization," and, I don't know. I think it's just sort of cool, and I want to be glad for myself, because I've been banging away at this writing and publishing thing for the last fifteen years (I'm not counting all the crap I wrote in college and high school). It certainly hasn't made me wealthy — or even financially secure — and it's not hyperbole to say that it's taken a toll on my health and my nerves. But...I do have this, the inclusion of one of my stories with all these authors who helped to get me here, in a Penguin Classics volume that will likely remain in print for a decent span of time. And so I think I am actually proud of me, which is not the sort of thing I have often been heard to say. By the way, "In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)" was first printed in Tales of Pain and Wonder (2000), then reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume Twelve (2001) and Trilobite: The Writing of Threshold (2003); it was also the inspiration for my second novel, Threshold (2001).

As for yesterday, I sent "The Bed of Appetite" away to Vince Locke to be illustrated for Sirenia Digest #23. I exchanged several emails with my mother in one afternoon, which is a very unusual thing. I read Chapter Four of Carole G. Silver's Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness, "Little Goblin Men: On Dwarfs and Pygmies, Racial Myths and Mythic Races." I had a bath. I redecorated the altar for Samhain. I got an idea for a new piece for Sirenia Digest #24, something about a lycanthropy, only turned back upon itself. There was rain much of the day, drizzle and clouds, but the sun came out late. No walk, because I just couldn't seem to get interested in Outside. And that was yesterday.

I'm trying to decide whether or not to be excited about Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's novella, "The Mist." It has long been one of my favourite King stories, and it could be very good. Darabont is one of the few directors capable of getting King right (see The Shawshank Redemption). But, always, I am cautious.

Now, it's time to slay the coffee beast...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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