Stanford

Oct. 7th, 2011 07:18 pm
greygirlbeast: (apple)
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
A crazy, crazy morning. Too many emails and phone calls. But now I'm going to try to calm down and write a blog entry.

Yesterday, I didn't get a lot of work done. I only managed to copy edit two stories in The Five-Chambered Heart, "The Bed of Appetite" and "Untitled 31." The latter will have an actual title in the collection, though I don't yet know what it'll be. It's great to proofread the newer stuff I've written, because, mostly, I'm still in love with it, and I make virtually no changes to the text.

My thanks to "Moto" in San Francisco, whose sending me a first-edition hardcover of Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Remember when email was fast? When you wrote emails, and pretty much everyone responded to them quickly? And this was revolutionary? Lately, it's all iPhones and iPads. I know because it always says at the bottom from what sort of device the message was sent. Now, it seems people would rather speak by "texting." I'm sorry. I'm made the transition from "snail mail" to email in 1994. I'll not be doing it again (she says, knowing full well she will adapt, when it becomes an imperative).

A note to prospective and young writers: Be wary of editors a) offering 1¢/word who b) do not yet have a publisher for their anthology, c) want all sorts of electronic rights straight off, and d) despite the fact they have no publisher, already have a cover design and a marketing strategy involving selling the book as a PDF. Here, we have entered shady, sketchy territory.

Yesterday, as the heat inside mounted, we fled the house and (despite the questionable state of the car and the cost of gasoline) drove down to Moonstone Beach. Our first trip to the sea all summer! That's just...insane. As usual, Moonstone was pretty much free of tourons (you may know them as "tourists"), and we mostly had it to ourselves. I waded into the cold water up to my thighs, and it was wonderful. The sky was full of birds: cormorants (Phalacocorax spp.), both American and fish crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos and C. ossifragus, respectively), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica), piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), grey catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis), and all manner of gulls. We made tiny cairns from granite and slate cobbles, and found those others had made earlier in the day. We stayed until about 6:30 p.m., and headed over to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's (as a marvelous fog rolled in). I think we were back home by 8:45. It was an evening out I much needed. On the way down, and the way back up, I read Book 1 of The Stuff of Legend (written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, drawn by Charles Paul Wilson III). Brilliant comic.

I tried to play Rift for a bit, but got into some combination of a snit and a funk about the state of the guild and the game and players. My apologies to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for yammering my dissatisfaction at him for an hour. But really. On the one hand, I love the potential of MMORPGs. But on the other hand, I often loathe what they actually are. In the hands of most players, an MMORPG is like watching someone shoot marbles* with a particle accelerator. That is the degree of potential being squandered. Anyway, I gave up about 11:30 and wandered away. I'm not saying this is something wrong with Rift (though, in fact, I have a short list of things that are wrong with Rift), but with the whole gamer mentality. Note: I am not a gamer. I am a roleplayer. The game aspect to me is, at very best, secondary. And, please note, I am on what is supposedly an rp shard. Ergo....

Yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Later, kittens.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast

Wait. There are photos from yesterday:

28 June 2011 )


*I have no idea if kids still shoot marbles. Me, it was one of my favorite things as a child. It was a very important playground sport when I was in elementary school (1970-1975). Much of one's reputation was at stake.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Um. Yeah. Slept until the ass crack of noon, which means I got eight full hours of sleep for the first time in ages. I've been sleeping better in general, which I tend to do when I'm writing a lot. Plus, we were out yesterday and I soaked up a lot of sun, and the Vitamin D never hurts. Those gummy things are good, but they can't match getting it straight from the source.

My grateful thanks to everyone who donated a little or a lot yesterday. You guys really are wonderful. I've paid my SVP dues, dues for my twenty-eighth year in the Society, and I have a small sum left over to put towards the unexpected doctor's appointment on Friday.

Yesterday, I realized the next scene in the ninth chapter couldn't be written unless I visited a cemetery out on Aquidneck Island. I mean, sure, I could have faked it. But I fucking hate doing that. I can never write a real-world place well unless I've actually been there. So, about 2 p.m., Spooky and I left the house, and left Providence, crossing the Jamestown Bridge and then the Newport Bridge to Aquidneck. The sun was bold and brilliant (as Colin Meloy might say), and the bay shimmered like chrome. Still a lot of snow, and Green End Pond, along 138, was frozen almost solid. The graveyard in question— Four Corners Cemetery —is located in Middletown, a little north of Newport proper. It's not one of the state's most photogenic cemeteries, not by a long shot, but it plays a pivotal role in the The Drowning Girl. There was a huge crow perched on a headstone when we entered, and Spooky tried to get his photo, but he wouldn't be still. We didn't stay long, as there was a funeral service beginning, a military funeral with a bugler and uniforms and everything, and it would have been poor form to hang about doing ghoulish writing stuff.

After Middletown, we drove down to Spooky's parents' place, though her mom was out running errands and her dad's in Ecuador. We still got to visit Spider Cat and the chickens. There are photos behind the cut:

22 February 2011 )


Back home, we proofed "Andromeda Among the Stones" (for Two Worlds and In Between), which I wrote in 2002, nine years ago, but it's still a personal favorite. Last night, well...there was leftover meatloaf, and then there was a WoW marathon, during which I had Shaharrazad finish off the quests in Un'Goro Crater and then moved along and did all of Dustwallow Marsh, and got Loremaster of Kalimdor. Of course, now I have to do all of Outland to get the Loremaster title (I already have Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Cataclysm, and Northrend). Nerd, nerd, geek. Later, we read more of White Cat (which we've almost finished).

Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] blackholly and to Uncle Harlan on the occasion of their Nebula Award nominations!

"Comment!" says Herr Platypus!
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Here in Providence, the days have turned oddly cool, dry, sunny. There's rain on the way tomorrow, and still cooler temperatures. Summer seems to have been waylaid.

I can tell, already, this is going to be a meandersome entry, so please bear with me. I've a meandersome mind lately.

Only a little writing yesterday. On Sunday, I discovered a book I very much need to read before I begin "The Maltese Unicorn" (Polly Adler's A House is Not a Home, 1953), but we're having to get it through interlibrary loan, which will take a week or so. And I decided to make the best of the delay by writing something for Sirenia Digest #54. Monday was spent looking for that vignette, which I found partway through the day. I made a hesitant beginning to "Eurotophobia" (don't ask; that's why Larry Page and Sergey Brin invented Google). Then, last night, after my Frank Frazetta post, someone suggested I might write a vignette based upon one of Frazetta's paintings. I will admit, the idea appeals to me. I'd already planned to dedicated the issue to him. So, I'm thinking that I may shelve "Eurotophobia," and, while I'm waiting for the Polly Adler book, write a vignette based on this painting:



Frazetta titled it "Tempest Witch," but I can find no date, so I don't know when it was painted. It seems no one does. Likely, I will simply name the vignette "Tempest Witch."

There are new auctions underway, including some stuff we've not offered in a while, and of which we only have a few copies remaining.

---

There are birthdays coming up. On May 26th, I'll be -6, which is truly more than I care to consider. I've asked Spooky for a quiet day at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge and dinner with friends. And that's all I'm asking for. However, on June 24th, Spooky will be turning the big -0. And I'd like to get her a PS3, which she's only been wanting since 2006. But funds are low right now, between this, that, the other, and my new meds. So, I have devised a plan. I'm going to write a new poem, the first I've written since February 2007. I will be printing fifteen copies of it (on a nice high-grade paper), which I will sign and number. Each person who donates $25 towards the Spooky Birthday Present Fund will receive a copy of the poem, which will probably never see publication in my lifetime. That's a fair trade, yeah, and for a good cause. So, if you'd like to help out, here's the PayPal button:

Button removed by CRK


The signed copies of the poem will go out to donors at the end of June, and Spooky will be very, very grateful. That I will be grateful goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Thanks.

---

Last night, in memory of Frazetta, we spent three hours doing battlefields in WoW. Well, Alterac Valley over and over and over...and over...again. Not sure whether or not Frazetta would have approved, but there was blood, swords, barbarians, mammoths, black magic, dinosaurs, and warrior women, so it seemed fitting to me. Later, we read more of Patti Smith's Just Kids. We're almost finished with the book, which is far too short. That's not a criticism. More like praise. I wish there were more of it.

Smith notes how Cocteau once said of a Jean Genet poem, "His obscenity is never obscene." It struck a nerve. Since Frog Toes and Tentacles and the beginning of Sirenia Digest so much of my work has been one or another flavour of obscene. I'm imagination's whore. I'd like to think my obscenities are never obscene, but I honestly do not know. Spooky says I'm never lewd. I don't have that sort of perspective. I see a line so fine as to be all but invisible, and I lose myself in semantics.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
1. Yesterday, I did another 1,137 words on "Hydrarguros." This is one of those stories that truly make me pause to ponder that question I long ago forbade interviewers to ask: Where the fuck do I get my ideas? Seriously, I sat down on Sunday and began this story, with only the vaguest idea as to its plot, setting, characters, and whatnot. The usual suspects. And by Monday afternoon, I was knee-deep in Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey. Homosexual gangsters of the very near future. Strange nosebleeds and a drug that may be extraterrestrial in origin. And it all just came. From where, I do not know.

2. There's a little bit of snow on the way. On this day last year, we had heavy snow in Providence. Ah, the snow has just started falling.

3. More excellent rp at Insilico last night. I am being spoiled by this sim. I'll never, ever again be able to grin and bear lousy rping, ooc nonsense, and half-assed worldbuilding in Second Life. I see now that it can be done the right way, that is has been done the right way. All it takes are smart, talented, determined people. I'm just glad that I found my way there. Things go well with Xiang.*

4. Not much else to say for yesterday. After the writing, I had a hot bath, and then, while Spooky went out to the market, I lay down, meaning only the grab a ten or fifteen minute nap. I slept for over an hour.

*Maybe it was that good, briefly. But I suspect not. So, yeah, excessive enthusiasm.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Last week, one day or another, I got emails from my lit agent and my editor at Penguin (Anne Sowards) discussing when the short synopsis for the novel to be published after Joey Lafaye would be due. Yes, the novel after the novel I have not yet even begun. And I sort of panicked, because even my place-holder synopses are hard to come by. I don't generally know what happens in a novel until it happens. Even though Anne was suggesting it would not be due until August 2008, this synopsis for the book after Joey Lafaye, I freaked out. How the frell would I know, either now or fourteen months from now? Then, last night — no, just after 4 a.m. this morning — as I lay awake in the arms of Madame Insomnia, listening to Spooky sleep, the roughest form of that novel came to me, that it would be another story about Emmie Silvey, that she would be maybe ten or eleven, that something has gone awry in the Providence warrens and the changeling children seek Emmie out, because she's become sort of legendary...and no, it doesn't sound like much. But it's better than nothing at all, and I have fourteen months or so to let it steep. Insomnia is often the mother of necessary invention.

I have been worrying a lot lately about my writing. It started when I reread Silk and looked through Tales of Pain and Wonder for the first time in ages. Sure, I'm a much, much better writer now, but is what I'm writing inherently better than what I was writing then? More importantly, is it about something more than telling stories? Almost ten years after it's original publication, I see lots of flaws with Silk I couldn't see in 1996 or 1998, and parts of it make me groan, but it has something to say, something it says, and for that I will likely always love it. This is even more true of ToPaW. It's true of The Dreaming. But is the same true of Threshold? Low Red Moon? I think so. And I know it's true of Murder of Angels, but I'm not so sure about Daughter of Hounds, even though I also know it's my best-written novel to date. One may write well — one may write exquisitely, even — and have nothing at all to say. Writing "The Ape's Wife" last month, this all seemed suddenly very important to me again. I fear that in the rush to meet deadlines and write enough to keep all the bills paid, somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten that it is not enough to tell a good story, or even to create characters who ring true. These are necessary accomplishments, but they are surely not sufficient. Art requires more than mere craft, more even than talent. It requires meaning. Heading into The Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey Lafaye, these thoughts will be my Beatrice (so to speak). There's something I feel I might have drifted away from, and I want...no, I need to get back to it again.

Yesterday, well, it was day 4 of this vacation. Today is day 5. Likely as not, there won't be a day 6, though I must have earned a day 6. Life is not getting what we've earned, it's making the most of what we get. Anyway, yesterday was mostly spent with Second Life, I am so thoroughly captivated. I think I spent ten or eleven hours in SL yesterday, which means I've done more than 24 hrs. now. Maybe more than 30. And none of the shiny has worn off yet. My thanks to the people who came to the Dark Goddess last night to see Nareth Nishi dance. I saw [livejournal.com profile] sovay and her brother, as well as [livejournal.com profile] blu_muse. I've been asked to post the times I'm dancing at the Dark Goddess (which is in Dorje), my "work schedule," but I can't seem to locate it at the moment. However, I do know that I'm dancing today from 2-4 p.m. (PST; 5-7 EST) and then again from 6-8 PST (9-11 EST). Tips are very welcome. And if you should happen to sign up for a Second Life account, please be so kind as to say I (Nareth Nishi, not Caitlín Kiernan) recommended you, as that gets me Lindens (SL dollars). [livejournal.com profile] blu_muse took some cool snapshots last night, and maybe I'll post a couple of them here tomorrow.

Also yesterday, here in my first life, we had our walk about sunset. I read "Osteology of Ampelosaurus atacis (Titanosauria) from Southern France" by Jean Le Loeuff (and realized I can read French much better than I can speak or write it). Sometime after midnight, we watched Will Smith and Thandie Newton in Gabriele Muccino's The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), which we liked, actually. It was good to see Will Smith in a substantial role. I think that was everything of note as far as yesterday is concerned.

Okay. Back to the waning vacation...

Postscript (2:21 p.m.): Just found my "work" schedule. I dance in SL @ the Dark Goddess—

MONDAY—FRIDAY:
2 PM SLT TO 4 PM SLT
6 PM SLT TO 8 PM SLT
SAT:
2 PM SLT TO 4 PM SLT
6 PM SLT TO 8 PM SLT
SUN:
6 PM SLT TO 8 PM SLT

Note that I will not always be dancing the midday shift. But I will be today. And Second Life Time = PST.

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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