greygirlbeast: (Default)
And I begin this...here.

No. Here.

Happy birthday, David Lynch! And Federico Fellini!

The snow finally came last night, and more will come tomorrow. We're about to go forth and do what errands must be done. But first, I'll write this journal entry. Because I wish to remember yesterday, for one thing.

We left Providence a little after one thirty (CaST) and made it to New Haven (CT) by three-thirty (also CaST). There were snow flurries along the highway, from a sky that was as sunny as it was cloudy. But they were the sorts of cloud that drop snow. I read from Lightspeed: Year One while Spooky drove and kept me informed about the flurries and birds and dead racoons. We parked off Whitney, on Sachem Street (saw a bumper sticker at the labs: "Honk If You Understand Punctuated Equilibrium"), and I got about two hours with the dinosaurs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Mostly, I sat on the wooden benches and stared up at the creatures Marsh named, the legacy of Richard Swan Lull, and George Ostrom, and Rudolph Zallinger's famous The Age of Reptiles mural (1943-1947) bringing it all to life (no matter how inaccurate we may now know it to be; many of our own imaginings will be disproven in due course – and I am not surprised LJ doesn't know how to spell the past participle of disprove; of course, I maybe misusing the past participle, but that doesn't absolve LJ of its ignorance).

And sure, these are the old circa 1930s-40s "tail-dragging" dinosaur mounts. But those are the images of dinosaurs that I grew up with. Back before the Renaissance of the 1970s, before it was understood that most dinosaurs were active, endothermic creatures, not sluggish reptiles. Before it acknowledged that, not only did birds evolve directly from dinosaurs, but that "birds" are surviving theropod dinosaurs, and many Mesozoic theropods had feathers. And so forth. I am comforted by these old visions of blundering, ectothermic monsters.

At some point, I opened my iPad just to see if I could actually get reception in there. It felt a like horrible sacrilege, but I signed into the Yale server as a guest and posted to Facebook: "Writing from inside the dinosaur gallery at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. This is MY church." A testament to the cosmic circle. No beginning. No end. Life, being a transient state of matter, and so here is my church.

Spooky was off looking at taxidermied crows and archaeological doodads, but when she returned, we went upstairs together to see live snakes in the children's "Discovery Room." One thing that makes the Yale Peabody so precious to me is that, while acknowledging science education for children, it hasn't turned itself into a theme park, as have so many American museums. Those that have allowed budgetary panic to morph them into nightmares of "edutainment" (Oh, fuck. LJ doesn't know disproven, but it knows the vile portmanteau edutainment. Fuck.). The Peabody is still a place where I can sit in peace with the past. Where there is still a stately air of respect for science and its endeavors. Truth is, the Great Hall at the Peabody calms me more than any of my meds, or any story I will ever write, or any painting I will ever paint.

Here are some photos:

19 January 2012 )


We left about 5:30 CaST, and made it back to Providence around 8 p.m. The snow came in earnest about nine or ten. The sky was creamsicle. I love creamsicle night skies.

Since my last LJ entry, I have – in stray moments – been reading short fiction, all from the aforementioned Lightspeed: Year One. Tananarive Due's "Patient Zero" (2008), Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "The Observer" (2008), David Tallerman's Jenny's Sick (2010), Anne McCaffrey's "Velvet Fields" (1973), and Eric Gregory's "The Harrowers" (2011). I liked Gregory and Tallerman the best; most of the stories would have benefited by being a bit longer, especially "Velvet Fields," which felt like a synopsis. The McCaffrey piece is little more than an outline, really. The Gregory piece felt short, but mostly that's just because it left me wanting more, which is a good trick for an author to turn and suggests no obligation to actually provide more.

Also, here's a rather good entry by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna on the fluidity of names, on those of us who cast off our birth names before we become artists. And sexism.

I do mean to write about my feelings on internet piracy and SOPA/PIPA, but there's no time now. Spooky and I have to run errands before ice and more snow arrives, and I have email.

Like dinosaurs, the snow is helping.

Somewhat calmer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
Note that I will make a post just after midnight (CaST), probably just a few words, and then this journal will "go black" as a protest against SOPA/PIPA. The blackout will end at midnight (CaST) on the 19th. No, I don't think it will change a thing. The whole internet going black won't change a thing. That's not the point. Sometimes we tilt at windmills because it's the right thing to do. We have also been assured that President Obama will block the legislation, and there's word Congress is already preparing to shelve it. By the way, my book sales are being seriously harmed by internet piracy, and I still oppose SOPA/PIPA. You do not burn down a fucking house to kill a termite.

And, more good news. Believed lost for some 165 years, hundreds of paleobotanical thin sections, once owned by Charles Darwin, have been rediscovered in the archives of the British Geological Survey.

If I do not leave the house today, it will have been eleven days since last I left the house. This is becoming serious. Again. And I have to face it and get out of here.

When we went to bed about 3:30 a.m., there was a very light dusting of snow on the ground, already beginning to melt.

I had a dream, this morning, that one of my molars fell out. This isn't unusual. I frequently have dreams of breaking and shattering teeth. I have bad teeth, and, moreover, many psychoanalysts believe this a sign that someone – whichever dreamer in question - feels they have lost, or are losing control of...well, whatever. In this case, I point to Alabaster #4. As I near the end of the next to last issue of the first series, I am terrified I am making missteps, that I was never cut out to write comics. And I cannot fail in this. Every single word matters, and, in many ways, this is a far, far more difficult undertaking than writing a novel. Yesterday, I wrote three more pages, 16-18 (manuscript pages 27-29, 951 words), which is probably more than I should have written yesterday. Likely, I will finish the three remaining pages today.

Please be reminded of the auction of ARC of the The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. By the way, if you haven't seen Publishers Weekly's STARRED review of the novel, you ought. Sure, too much time is wasted on synopsis, but too many reviewers these days don't know the difference between a review and book report.

Oh, and here's a photograph Spooky took day before yesterday, when I was washing my hair. All my life, I've known I had a birthmark on the back of my neck, just at and under the hairline. This is the first time I've ever seen it (behind the cut).

Birthmark )


After the writing, I curled up on the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fire place (it only sounds a tenth as cozy as it actually is), with the iPad and finished watching the National Geographic pterosaur documentary. It only got worse. Aside from Kevin Padian and David Unwin, actual experts on pterosaur paleontology were generally ignored (where was Peter Wellnhofer, for example, or Chris Bennett, or Dave Martill?). The science went from slipshod to fanciful. In short, whoever wrote this thing just started making shit up. Assemblages of animals were shown coexisting in the same environment, even though we know they belonged to different faunas separated by tens of millions of years. At least a third (and maybe half) of the documentary was wasted on an attempt to build a mechanical scale model of a pterosaur that would fly as a pterosaur flew. But it didn't work, even though the designers cheated right and left on the design (adding an elaborate "rudder" to an anhanguerine, for example, a group that all but lacked a tail, and certainly didn't use them for stabilization during flight). No, no, no. Bad science. This is National Geographic? My advice, stay away from this one.

Later, before sleep, I read Bruce Sterling's "Maneki Neko" (1998), a somewhat dull bit of cyberpunk. Near as I could tell, it was hellbent on showing that just as there's truth to the "ugly American" stereotype, there's also the "ugly Japanese." No shock there. The story's most interesting aspect is it's view of what the internet would become, but, in the ensuing fourteen years, has failed to do so.

And it's getting late. And I should scoot.

Scooting,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (fry1)
Using my Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) icon today because about 4:15 a.m. I finally fell asleep watching Pitch Black for the umpteenth time. I drifted off not long after the crash of the Hunter-Gratzner. Which means the film worked. My comfort films usually do. Work to put me to sleep, I mean. Fortunately, Pitch Black is streaming from Netflix, so I could get it via the iPad. By the way, that's about the only use for Kermit the iPad that I've found, streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix.

---

I just received word from Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press that The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has earned the coveted starred review in the new Publisher's Weekly. I won't post the full review for a few days, but I will excerpt this line (the rest is mostly synopsis, anyway, the last thing any book review should be concerned with):

Kiernan evokes the gripping and resonant work of Shirley Jackson in a haunting story that’s half a mad artist’s diary and half fairy tale.

I can live with that. Momentarily, I don't feel misunderstood. Though I'm sure that's just illusory and will pass shortly.

And speaking of Subterranean Press, if you've not already preordered your copy of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, you might want to do it before much longer. Remember, the limited comes with the FREE hardbound chapbook, The Yellow Book ("The Yellow Alphabet" + a new short story, "Ex Libris").

---

Yesterday, I only managed to write pages 5-7 (ms. pages 10-15, 1,256 words) of Albaster #4. Maybe I can write five today, and make up the difference.

The auction for The Drowning Girl ARC continues.

---

There was some good RP in SW:toR last night, and I read two stories, Tanith Lee's "Black Fire" (2011) and Julie E. Czerneda's "The Passenger" (1999). Both were quite excellent, but I was especially taken with the Tanith Lee piece*. These are collected, by the way, in John Joseph Adams' Lightspeed: Year One. I have a story in there, too. I just wish Orson Scott Card's name wasn't splashed across the cover of the book. I feel like I should wear gloves when I handle it.

Seven days have passed without my leaving the house (and I won't today, so make that eight), and its beginning to bother me again. I blame the weather. That sky. Getting to bed too late, waking too late. Having only five hours of daylight (or thereabouts), and needing three of them to wake up. This is my first (of four) profoundly shitty New England winters, and the workload isn't helping.

Snowed Under Without Snow,
Aunt Beast

* Though it's the Czerneda story that ends with this exquisite sentence: For like that precious bird, kept until death in a glass cage for all to see, wasn't he the last passenger of Earth?
greygirlbeast: (zoe1)
And as you cross the circle line,
Well, the ice wall creaks behind.
You´re a rabbit on the run.
~ Jethro Tull

Comment, kittens! Comment!

1) Two "BIG" announcements today, and you might get one now and one later, or both now, depending on when and what I hear from my agent. But. I may proceed with Thing #1: Subterranean Press has begun taking pre-orders for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Yes, now. Right now. The book is scheduled for release in Spring 2012. And I'm just going to say this upfront: Order directly from subpress, because Amazon is very likely to fuck you over. Many people who pre-ordered The Ammonite Violin & Others and Two Worlds and In Between had Amazon cancel their orders. So...don't even go there. Anyway, that's the first announcement. The second is dependent on whether or not I hear back from my agent before she goes to lunch (which now seems unlikely).

2) Yesterday was meant to be the day I wrote the next 1,000-1,500 words of "Another Tale of Two Cities." Instead, it was unexpectedly consumed by the need to unexpectedly leave the house and attend to a legal matter, regarding the second announcement I've not yet made, power-of-attorney stuff related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but I cannot yet say what that is, remember? Anyway, most of the day was spent with legalese and a notary public and UPS and the post office (USPS costs ~$65) and I did at least stop into Myopic Books at Wayland Square and once again drool over used copies of Sankar Chatterjee's The Rise of Birds ($15) and Lowell Dingus and Timothy Rowe's The Mistaken Extinction ($30), but was good and did not buy either (again). That was what happened to yesterday. Oh, and traffic.

3) I hate to keep "hating on" (a phrase for morons, hence shutter quotes) Kermit the iPad, but I fear he is the shape of things to come with Apple. Which is to say, the intuitive nature of Apple products, which is a large part of my loyalty, is missing from the iPad. It's like I'm wrestling with mysterious alien tech. What do all those little (unlabeled) pictographs mean? Which microscopic button in the side did I touch that made the screen go black this time? And so on.

4) I know this might have, so far, seemed like a "happy entry." But I am anywhere but at the moment. Lots of reasons. And this is my blog, so here I may bellyache about these matters. A large part of it is that all those years I had to go without healthcare (mostly neurological and psychiatric) did a great deal of damage to my body. And every time I plug one hole, another pops open. I'm beginning to think I'm going to drown in only a year or two. Sure, money's not so tight now, but "not so tight" is a long way from I can afford to have my rotten teeth and gums attended to, for example. Or from we can afford to get Spooky the checkup she's needed for years. And there are days it would scare the hell out of me, were I not so suicidal. By the way, the suicidal hypochondriac, there's a funny one, no? No, not really. But it does embody the true meaning of irony, and it does bring a smile to my face (a rare thing, that). And maybe the next year or two will change all this. And maybe it won't.

5) There is a game I like to play with myself. What if my life had taken a completely different course? It's no secret I do not love writing, no matter how good I might be at it. It's no secret my first love is vertebrate paleontology, and one of the great tragedies of my life was the derailment of my paleo' career in the late '80s by an elaborate combination of factors, too complex to here explain. That the writing career was a fallback (I was lucky to have) that arose from the ashes. I played the game last night. I would post the results here (seven steps were involved), but it would seem too much like self-pity, and while I may pity another, I may not feel pity for myself. We have all been conditioned to believe that's wrong.

6) Three matters I need to attend to, and I'm posting them here because it'll help me not forget (the Lamictal [Lamotrigine] plays havoc with my memory). Firstly, I need to send ReaderCon an updated biography, because the one they have now is very out of date. Secondly, and on a related note, I need to get new bibliographical and biographical data to the Writer's Directory before December 17th. Thirdly, back to ReaderCon, I need to send Rose Fox a list of any programming I'd like as one of the two Guests of Honor, and I need to do it before the end of the month (suggestions welcome).

7. Question @ Hand #5, kittens! Do not disappoint me. We've gotten a couple of good entries, but I need about five more, or Sirenia Digest will be the poorer for the absence of any at all. I'm not asking for great literature, okay? Oh, and don't email me your answer, please. Write them in LJ; this makes my life easier.

8. Spooky and I had a HUGE Rift binge last night, leveling my Eth warrior, Indus (she has a spectral feline companion named River) from Level 32 to 34, and we got Dancy (yes; a Kelari cleric) leveled the same. Please come and play with us (Faeblight shard, guild Watchers of the Unseen). Here is your chance to take part in an interactive story written by "one of our essential writers of dark fiction" (the NYT says so!), and you're letting it pass you by? Inconceivable!

Oh, gods. That's enough.

Spun About,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (river3)
Don't forget, kittens, today is Krampus Day. Behave accordingly.

Bodies, can't you see what everybody wants from you?
If you could want that, too, then you'll be happy.
~ St. Vincent, "Cruel"

Yesterday, I wrote 1,241 words and so began "Another Tale of Two Cities" for Sirenia Digest. I'm hoping very much that it will be finished on the evening of the 7th, at the latest. It might be called science fiction, but I'd rather just call it weird erotica. And speaking of the evening of the 7th, I'm very much hoping to see more replies to the Question @ Hand #5 by then.

Last week, I stopped myself from buying an iPhone, though I seem to need one. In part, I stopped myself out of fear of another wave of "buyer's remorse," such as experienced recently, immediately after purchasing Kermit the iPad. Which I seemed to need for work. Since that purchase, by the way, I have found about fifty wonderful uses for Kermit the iPad...but not a single one of them has been work related*. Sure, endless mobile Japanese porn – no denying that rocks – but not exactly what my editors mean when they speak of "increased connectivity." In the Elder Days, by the way, we just said "easier to contact." Anyway, I didn't buy the iPhone, because (even though my cellphone is a pile of bantha dung), near as I can tell the iPhone and the iPad do exactly the same thing. Only, the iPhone has a vastly smaller screen and keys (and the virtual keys on my iPad are already too small for my admittedly large fingers), and I'll be damned if I can figure out a single useful thing the iPhone does that Kermit the iPad doesn't already do. Well, except make phone calls. And I hate making, and receiving, phone calls. Besides, technically, the iPad does permit video calls, all Jetson-like, using either FaceTime or Skype. Of course, the thought of a video call terrifies me beyond words. It's bad enough that callers can hear me. Let them see me, too? Anyway, point is, other than the fact that the iPhone is much smaller, and therefore even more mobile...why bother? And, by the way, you know, I hope, that all this increased connectivity nonsense, it's nothing but a) a means for the CIA, NSA, BTFA, DHS, and aliens from Planet X to keep track of you, and b) is being sold to us so that we never have a moment free of the grinding machine of capitalism (yes, excessive socialization aids and abets the agenda of the New World Order).

Damn, that's a long paragraph.

Probably, I ought to stop now. Only, I'll first point out that – following this thread – ebooks do the same thing as books, only not as well, and the ones you buy today will PROBABLY be inaccessible in a few years, and you can't donate them to libraries, or leave them to anyone. Meanwhile, my hard copies might well be accessible five hundred years from now, and can be bequeathed to loved ones. However, "we" are increasingly a selfish and short-sighted species (this makes my life easier = this is good), now more than ever before, so none of this is relevant. But I'm beating a dead horse. Whack, whack, whack.

Staring at Kermit,
Aunt Beast

* Spooky says this is not true, as all of Blood Oranges was proofed on the iPad. I will qualify, and say that actually she only used it to read along while I read the hard-copy ms. aloud and made marks on it. Still, I suppose she has a point.
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)
Listening to the new Tom Waits, and so a big thank you to Steven Lubold ([livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59) 'Cause this one rocks, even for Mr. Waits, and the 40-page book that comes with the deluxe edition is sublime.

But I slept eight hours, and I am not awake. Six hours, that's not enough, but I come awake fast, then feel like shit. Seven hours is perfect. Eight hours, a good lot of sleep, but then I can't wake the hell up. And I wish I could recall last night's (this morning's dreams) as they were odd and seem dimly important. Probably just the end of the world again.

I get ahead of myself. Or behind myself. Whichever. Yesterday, we read chapters Three and Four of Blood Oranges, so we're more than halfway through the ms. Kermit continues to prove useful in text editing, so maybe I haven't made a bad decision, keeping the iPad. I gotta post a photo of me and the Dubious Kermit Tech. But not today. Anyway, unless the MiBs call me to attention today and there's alien retroengineering to be done, we'll be reading chapters Five and Six. There are only Eight chapters to Blood Ornages. Only 70,000 words (my novels are usually well over 100k). So, we'll be done editing (id est, correcting typos and continuity errors) by Sunday evening, and my agent will have the ms. on Monday, when she gets home from the World Fantasy Convention in misbegotten and woebegone San Diego. No, as I keep telling people, I won't be there. If The Ammonite Violin & Others should win a WFA, Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) will be accepting on my behalf. I do not spend a thousand or so dollars to fly to southern California and risk getting felt up and fisted by the motherfucking TSA for any con.

Speaking of short story collections, I have the cover art by Lee Moyer for Confessions of Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). And here it is, behind the cut, based somewhat on "Dancing with the Eight of Swords" (Sirenia Digest #36, November 2008):

Guard Your Heart, No Matter the Chambers Therein )


And if you ordered directly from subpress, but you've not yet received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between, hang in there. Be patient. It's coming. To quote Arcade Fire, "We used to wait." I haven't even received all my comp copies yet.

Oh, but the weather has gone to shit and looks like it's gonna stay there a spell. We were so lucky with the shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Stills from a Movie That Never Existed. We're in wet Rhode Island October now. Cold and wet, just in time for Samhain and Hallowe'en. If we'd have had to wait one more week, the weather would definitely have been too shitty for our needs. Cutting it close and all.

By the way, the cover art for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.com (follow that link). But the text on the cover isn't final. Not sure why they put it up before we finalized that, but there you go. There's no fathoming the minds of Big New York Publishers. And yes, Penguin did a cover THAT I ACTUALLY LIKE, a lot. There's even a nod to The Red Tree in there. I'm taking that lone oak leaf as a belated apology for the gods-awful mess they made of The Red Tree's cover (which featured a poplar tree, by the way). Anyway, I'll post the cover here when they get the text corrected.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, then a tad of RIFT before bed. I read more of "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky.

Only Somewhat Disappointed Today,
Aunt Beast
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: (white)
So, yeah. Yesterday evening, after the blog entry, I was alerted to the fact that Two Worlds and In Between and I were being spoken of reverently in the pages of The New York Times. To whit:

There’s also no shortfall of ghosts, revenants and otherness in Ms. Kiernan’s Two Worlds and In Between. What’s most satisfying, though, in this retrospective — more than 200,000 words covering 1993 to 2004 — is watching Ms. Kiernan progress from competence and promise to become one of our essential writers of dark fiction...Ms. Kiernan is a cartographer of lost worlds..."

(byline, Dana Jennings)

Follow this link to read the full review.

Yeah, it brightened my mood a tiny bit. I think this is the first time I've ever been mentioned in The New York Times. Sure, the whole world can see my name and my prose every day just by going online. But today, from Manhattan to Tokyo, from Munich to Bombay, people will read my name and prose in print. And, especially in this day and age, that makes me smile. Sure, tomorrow, those same papers will be used to wrap fish and line bird cages. But today...damn. I want to buy copies, cut out the review, and make sure it's read by every one of those assholes who swore I'd "never amount to anything." Alas, many of them are mercifully dead now. As my life unfurls and winds down, I understand it's not enough to outlive your detractors. You also have to do something worthwhile during that whole outliving them thing. Anyway, yes, I am allowed to slip out from beneath the black cowl, feel some vague sense of accomplishment, and gloat for a few hours. I'll duck back into the shadows afterwards, don't worry. Truthfully, it didn't feel real until this morning. Spooky's gone out to find copies of the paper (page C4). Seeing it printed with ink on actual paper will make it feel much more real, I'm sure.

The morale of our story? Simple: If you manage not to die long enough, someone will notice. Maybe.

And if you're looking to bring me down today, over this or anything else, take a number. The line starts over there. Don't call me, I'll call you.

Oh, and having reviewed Apple's return policies, I'm fairly certain the iPad will be returned. I just don't need the thing as badly as I need many other things. And I do need what it could take away. I might change my mind. The jelly-bean shiny may carry the day. Nobody's perfect. We'll see. I'm encountering this phenomenon referred to as "buyer's remorse."

Great new episode of Fringe last night ("Subject 9").

Ah, Spooky's back. Must go see. But first this comment [livejournal.com profile] opalblack made to last night's entry:

Do you know there are actually people out there who envy us that tearing, bottomless darkness? Mostly nooage middle-class-white types who run around campfires waving dead things on sticks and calling it shamanism. I would like to slap them. For a lot of things, really.

Oh, I know those people...and antidotes.

Look upon me! I'll show you the life of the mind! I'll show you the life of the mind! — Charlie Meadows, Barton Fink

Surprised,
Aunt beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Late yesterday, we drove down to Kathryn's parents' place, where we filmed last weekend. I'd hoped being away from the city might help the darkness that's been creeping back over me the past week or so. I know the meds are still working, even if it feels like they're not. Anyway, yeah, so we went to the farm. And at first I did have hope. I napped yesterday evening in the room I find safe and peaceful. But that was it. There was nothing else about the visit that helped, and that brief lifting of the veil dissolved very quickly.

But I did see a sky with far less light pollution. The stars I half forget are there to provide perspective. Which I suspect is one of the main reasons human beings are spewing so much energy to drive away the night. They know what the stars mean (even if only unconsciously, in that hindmost reptilian-part of their brains), and it terrifies them. At four-thirty ayem, I was watching the moon rise through the trees.

We played with the great beast that is Spider Cat. We fed the chickens. We saw deer. The frog that lives in the koi pond. The apple trees dying for another winter.

None of it did much of anything for the anger and blackness. Every year, there are fewer and fewer things that help. There is a darkness the meds can never touch, and even my psychiatrist knows that. Kathryn certainly knows. I'd burn it out if I could. I'd fill my eyes with the sheep-blank stares I see on most human faces, or I'd fill it with the ancient sanity of starlight.

Okay, enough of that for now. I'd "friends lock" this, except it would still go up on Facebook and Twitter, and LJ seems to have made it impossible to shut off the cross-posting feature I switched on a long time ago.

I still find myself hating the iPad. I think some people have misunderstood. I do not hate the iPad because it is a device somehow substandard to similar mobile devices. I hate that I needed to waste money on it, and that, no matter how hard I struggle to the contrary, it will be the vehicle of additional time displacement. This has nothing to do with Apple. The iPad is all shiny shiny and shit. It works like a dream. It's just something no one* on earth needs (or anything similar manufactured by another company), no matter how much they may "need" it.

I still find myself loving the work we did last weekend, and missing everyone who was here and helped to make the magic.

I'm considering – well, actually in the earliest stages of planning – two more Kickstarter projects, both for 2012. Now that Spooky is entering the final stages of the process of completing our "Tale of the Ravens" project, and now that I see The Drowning Girl Kickstarter yielding such fruits as it is yielding. We have had such amazing success with Kickstarter (thank you). One would be a boxed, two volume limited-edition set of hardbacks of both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl, with lots of tipped in color illustrations, facsimile documents, expanded text, appendices, and so forth (because, you know, there's time for these projects hemorrhaging from my asshole). It would be a very expensive undertaking, but it would be worth the expense and time, if I could make it happen. It would probably be limited to 500 signed and numbered copies. Maybe 26 lettered copies.

Anyway, the other project is one I actually began working on, conceptually, a year ago. A short film, a vignette of the sort you'd make of a Sirenia Digest vignette. A siren washed up and dying at the end of the world, and it might overlap territory explored in "The Bone's Prayer." That series of personal apocalypse stories. This would actually be a far simpler and far cheaper project than producing the books.

These are maybes.

Oh, we saw Kevin Smith's Red State last night, which I say is an unreservedly brilliant film, and which must be seen. Right now, Netflix is streaming it. It's a terrifying and sobering exploration of belief and the consequences of belief taken to extremes, the consequences of blindly following...anyone or anything. Only following orders. Only following a man. Only following a "god." There is a moment when the film almost veers into the supernatural that is the most genuinely chilling bit of film I've seen since Sauna.

Now...

*Amended to "not everyone."
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.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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