greygirlbeast: (Heavy Horses)
I better number this one. Well, after I mention an extraordinarily weird dream I had last night involving a secret society of women who were capable of accomplishing mind transference, and so, once a year, traded bodies. And I was being asked to join. But it wasn't this me, it was some other version of me. The the whole affair was far more sinister than it sounds.

1. On this day in 2001 I began keeping a "blog." I'd long kept a private, handwritten journal, and I found the whole idea of a public journal oxymoronic. You know, "public privacy." America had not yet completely decided that "transparency" in all things was such a hot idea. Well, I still haven't (in fact, I know just the opposite), but I digress. It's been ten years since Neil persuaded me to give this blogging thing a try. And...ten years later, here I am. Offhand, I can think of no other author besides Neil whose blogged longer, and he's been nowhere near as fanatical about it as I've been. I started at Blogger, then at LJ beginning in April 2004, then stopped updating to Blogger in 2006. I suspect I've made an entry for 90% of all the days since that first entry. So, wow. Sure, blogging isn't cool anymore, but who gives a shit about what the interwebs deem cool?

2. [Interlude] Jethro Tull season has begun!

3. Here I will slightly amend a bit from the entry I made on the 24th of November 2009: On this day in 1859, 152 years ago, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life was first published (by British publishing house, John Murray). If any single book charted the course of my life, this is likely it. So, 152 years ago Darwin proposed a theory of evolution to explain the fact of evolution, and, of course, the theory is still evolving, which is the nature of science. And the creationists still don't get it. Maybe in another 152 years...well...let's not go there. My inner pessimist always wins. It's enough to marvel that so many years have passed, and we've made countless discoveries that would have dazzled, delighted, and humbled Mr. Darwin.

4. I just looked at my friends list (where fewer and fewer entries appear), and Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) has written (regarding the subjectivity of time in a narrative):

And thus, maybe a kiss deserves an entire paragraph in one circumstance... and in another, a battle no more than a sentence. It all depends on the subjective way that time dilates and contracts around your viewpoint characters.

And this is well said, but it set me to thinking – as these things always do – that subjectivity renders these sorts of observations all but useless. On the surface, I agree with the sentiment expressed here. Things get messy, though, when the author pauses to realize exactly how incredibly subjective readers' reactions are to...well...everything. What is too little detail for Reader A is too much for Reader B is just right for Reader C, or almost just right for Reader D, or...almost too much for Reader E. And so forth. There really are no happy mediums here. We can only write our voices, and what seems to suit us, and see how it all falls out in the end. That is, in my case, how many readers will feel as I do regarding detail and how long I've lingered on any given subject or event in any given scene. And, then, of course, I ignore the consensus and continue on my way.

5. Oh! Good news re: Rift. Trion appears to have responded to the outrage of many of its players as concerns the "Fae Yule" foolishness. An enormous amount of the Xmas trees, wrapped presents, and crap vanished yesterday with the latest hotfix to patch 1.6. Now, I can mostly avoid it by simply avoiding low-level areas and Meridian (the Defiant capital city) in Freemarch. Trion, it appears you done at least half good, after all. Oh, and gods, I got a glimpse (I quickly averted my eyes) of one of the Xmas themed rifts, complete with fucking snowman. To quote [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, "Sweet barking cheese." Pure cocksucking kitsch.

So, this evening, as the day winds down, this day on which we celebrate obesity and colonialism and the genocide of Native Americans, at the end of this day I can play Rift and pretty much be not be reminded of that which I wish to forget, namely the world's Xtian minority. By the way, last night Spooky and I played Indus (my Eth warrior) and Emris (her Kelari cleric) out in Stonefield. Emris is the only male character either of us plays (though, my main, Selwynn, a Kelari mage, is a strange sort of hermaphrodite). [livejournal.com profile] opalblack was with us (her Kelari rogue, Harlakai), but then suddenly vanished, and didn't reappear. Ah, but Spooky's talking to her now, so mystery solv'd.

By the way, as I wrote here (as a postscript) in 2008: Postscript: ...just in case anyone has forgotten since the last time i pointed this out, "Endeavor to be inoffensive to all who might have their feelings hurt at the drop of a hat" is not in my job description. In fact, I think it says something rather to the contrary.

6. Yesterday, I rehydrated, took it slow and steady, avoided caffeine, fought back the exhaustion, and wrote the first three pages of script for Alabaster #3. It's a good beginning. And Steve Lieber is hard at work on making my words into pictures. Cool stuff.

7. Back to the shuggoths! And later, William S. Burroughs.

Rolling along,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Heavy Horses)
Well, truthfully, this year's Jethro Tull Season began at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, but everyone knows I'm a big fat liar. So, there you go. Screw St. Nick and shopping malls and all those damn dead turkeys! Break out the heavy horses and the locomotives and the dirty old homeless men with pneumonia! Yes, this is how Caitlín copes with winter. Jethro Tull.

Thanks to Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala, a fellow Tullite), I wasted over an hour this morning destroying most of the earth's population with a viral pandemic. I failed, though I did manage to wipe out the entire populations of Russia (where it began), North America, Europe, India, Greenland, much of South America, China, and most of Africa, before the disease finally burned itself out. I even bested the attempt to create a vaccine. Every day should begin so triumphantly (even though I failed).

Also, 149 years ago today, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was first published. 149 years later, we are still beleaguered by creationist numbnuts.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on "The Collier's Venus (1893)," and I almost found THE END. There will be one last short scene today. It's an odd story, another of my Cherry Creek steampunk tales (this will be the fourth), revisiting much of the territory covered by "In the Waterworks (1889)" and Threshold. After the writing, and a dinner of chili, we read and proofed Chapter Six of The Red Tree. I am pleased to say I like this novel even more now than when I "finished" it last month.

We lit the fireplace last night, for the first time this year. I haven't lived anywhere with a functional fireplace since 1982.

After the reading, we watched Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War, which I found extremely effective and chilling. A study in unforeseen consequences. The more things change, the more things keep getting worse. Meet the new boss, same as the old. You know the score. Tom Hanks was good, but Philip Seymour Hoffman was brilliant. Julia Roberts was just scary. And then, after the movie, there was WoW.

I think that I am finally beginning to become disenchanted with World of Warcraft. That makes what? Almost three months? It's just starting to feel far too much like a game (which, of course, is what it is), and I am too entirely disappointed by its utter failure as rp. I'm going to try and stick with it longer by scaling back the number of characters I'm playing, so there's not so much repetition (part of the undesired "gaminess"). I hate games. I want a simulation. I want roleplay, not gameplay. I want full immersion. I want to lose myself in alternate realities. And, so, I suspect it's time to forsake the visual interface and start reading more again. Reading, at least I am not bombarded by REAL LIVE idiots and by stats and leveling and all those other things that only serve to destroy suspension of disbelief. Last night, Mithwen reached Lvl 35. Scaling back, I'll most likely confine myself to Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, and her little sister, Hanifah (a paladin). Spooky's talking about concentrating on her Tauren shaman, Usiku. Total, I presently have six characters, which looks pretty bad, until you consider that Blizzard permits you to have fifty. Anyway, I will continue to hope that at some point within the next few years a genuine rp "simulation" will emerge from the chaos of SL and mmorpgs and whatnot.
greygirlbeast: (Tull2)
You will note that this entry is segregated into distinct portions, via the use of "---". This afternoon (morning, whatever it happens to be where you're reading this), I felt the need to hold certain things apart from certain other things.

To wit:

---

I did only 798 words yesterday, but they were 798 hard-won words. Each one came kicking and screaming and clawing, biting and pissing and cursing at the aether.

Near as we can tell, the distribution of Sirenia Digest 12 went off without a hitch. If you are a subscriber (as I hope you are), and you've not yet received issue 12, please write Spooky (crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com), and she'll correct the problem ASAP. I am especially pleased with this issue. "The Lovesong of Lady Ratteanrufer" is, I think, one of the best pieces I've done for the digest, along with "Pony," "The Ammonite Violin," "Untitled 17," and "Untitled 20." And I think the thing with Spooky's "Whistlebox" photos worked quite well. Vince will be back next month, by the way.

Thanks to those who posted comments yesterday. They were appreciated. I'm hoping there will be some feedback today regarding Sirenia Digest 12.

If you haven't already, please take a moment to pre-order Daughter of Hounds. Note that Amazon.com is offering a deal whereby you may order DoH and Alabaster together for a mere and extraordinarily reasonable $27.70. Or, you may order DoH and the mmp of Threshold together for an even more frugal $18.19.

Yesterday, Chris Walsh ([livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh) wrote: Refresh our (read: my) memory about the Jethro Tull thing. There's a connection tickling at the back of my head between you and Tull, but it's...not...coming...to me... To which I reply, Jethro Tull is my winter music. I have a lot of trouble with winter, and even more trouble being bombarded by the hideous commercial shitstorm of Xmas. It brings me down, as the Dude might say. Jethro Tull takes the edge off. Jethro Tull redeems winter, and takes the edge off. I can't really explain it. Much of their music strikes me as undeniably wintry, and a good bit of it has even been devoted to that vilest of holidays, Xmas. And still, they rock my socks. So, at some point I declared Jethro Tull Season, which extends from the day after Thanksgiving all the way to March 1st. Generally, I only listen to Tull during those three months, so it gives me this thing about winter and the dread "holiday season" to which I can look forward. It has become my Solstice and Imbolc music. It gets me through.

Last night, after the writing and a dinner of leftovers (that were better the second night), I settled in for an evening of Ray Harryhausen films on TCM: The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Rapunzel (1951), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Mysterious Island (1961), and The Story of King Midas (1953). I'd never seen any of Harryhausen's fairy tale shorts, so Rapunzel and The Story of King Midas were a treat. And Mysterious Island is one of the overall best films Harryhausen was ever connected with. I'd have preferred something else to Jason and the Argonauts and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad — say One Million Years B.C. (1966) and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1954). But still, it was a good way to pass a Friday night, given I was too tired to even think about reading, though it did keep me up until 3 a.m. (CaST) and led to my getting less than seven hrs. sleep last night.

I'm still pondering the specifics of the free, downloadable PDF collection I mentioned yesterday. I'm now considering making it the whole of Tales of Pain and Wonder, all 21 stories, plus the poem "Zelda Fitzgerald in Ballet Attire." I own all electronic rights to the book, so this might be the path I choose.

A big, big thank you to Paul Riddell ([livejournal.com profile] sclerotic_rings) for the package that arrived yesterday, and which included material that will be very useful during the writing of The Dinosaurs of Mars, especially two NASA volumes, Mars as Viewed by Mariner 9 and Viking Orbiter Views of Mars, neither of which I was able to locate at Emory. Also, thanks for the beautiful book on bonsai, which is something I've always been fascinated by but never really investigated. Here's a bit of trivia: the Japanese word nebari refers to the visible roots of a bonsai tree. Of course, it's only a coincidence of homonyms.

---

I had a long and disheartening talk with Poppy last night, most of which is strictly between the two of us. However, it reinforced in me the desire to communicate something here, which I do not think can be made clear enough. I know that a lot of people who read this are would-be working writers (that is, writers who rely entirely upon their writing income and have no other means of support, visible or otherwise), and I know that's why some of you read the journal. I do not offer a lot of advice to would-be working writers (and as to why I don't, that's another subject for another entry), but I will say this, this being that something which I don't feel I can ever say too often. No matter what you may have heard elsewhere or however you may have romanticized the life of working writers, know this: it is, with very, very few exceptions, a brutal, ugly, and unrelentingly difficult existence. It is a grind, no matter how much you may love to write or feel driven to tell stories. Personal demons aside, you will encounter at almost every turn no shortage of idiots and shitheels upon whom you must depend to get your work to readers. Occasionally, there will be a fortunate abberation: a wonderful, brilliant editor, or a copyeditor who doesn't try to express herhimitself vicariously by attempting to rewrite your work, or an agent who busts hisherits ass for you. You may even be so fortunate as to encounter a publisher who cares more about herhisits authors than the bottom line. Those things do happen. But don't ever fucking count on it. If you come to this life, and if you "make it" and can actually eek out some sort of living writing, you will likely learn these things for yourselves. Plenty of people will tell you I'm full of shit on this account. And you are certainly free to listen to whomever you please. But after fourteen years as a full-time writer, during which time I have had great successes and profound failures, seen modest fortune and considerable poverty and everything in-between, been appreciated and reviled, awarded and ignored, helped and hindered — one thing remains true. It's a tough row to hoe, as my Grandfather Ramey would have said. And you do yourself and all working authors a disservice if you dare believe otherwise. Which brings me back to a quote from last week, concerning the nature of passion:

Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It's not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

This is not some bullshit line from someone who wishes to see herself as a "suffering artist." Far from it. I have zero potential as a martyr of any sort, artistic or otherwise. Indeed, I wish to see myself as an obscenely popular author. I wish immense wealth and complete comfort and a vast audience of adoring readers. I have never once desired to "suffer" for my art. But. Even less do I desire to watch the people I love suffer for theirs. But I do. And so do they. And so will you, almost certainly, if this is the life you choose.

---

One last thing, because it is, after all, Jethro Tull Season:

And as you cross the circle line, the ice-wall creaks behind ---
You're a rabbit on the run.
And the silver splinters fly in the corner of your eye ---
Shining in the setting sun.
Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story's
Too damn real and in the present tense?
Or that everybody's on the stage, and it seems like
You're the only person sitting in the audience?
greygirlbeast: (Heavy Horses)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,052 words. Not bad. Not too damn shabby. Then, after dinner and the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends "movie,", I worked on getting the last bits done on Sirenia Digest 12, which will go out to subscribers (and why aren't you one?) this very afternoon or evening. There are a couple of bugs to be worked out first. Anyway, yeah, I tinkered with the digest until 11:16 p.m. (CaST) last night. If not for Red Bull, I'd be nothing. After work was finally done, I played a couple more hours of Final Fantasy XII. Fran with a cypress staff is even sexier than Fran with a bow, though I would not have thought such a thing possible.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of my first Blogger entry. Five years worth of entries now, and I'm guessing that's easily half a million words. Back then, on November 24, 2001, Threshold had just been released, I was only beginning to imagine the book that would become Low Red Moon, and had barely begun my work with Subterranean Press. Wrong Things, In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers, and From Weird and Distant Shores were all just around the corner. I was still writing for DC/Vertigo. Back then, I was extremely skeptical at the whole idea of a public journal, but Neil persuaded me to give it a shot. Originally, I'd only intended to document the writing of LRM, but when those eight months had come and gone, I discovered I didn't want to give it up. That November, I was living in downtown Birmingham and was working part-time at the McWane Science Center. I was still doing field work in the Late Cretaceous of Alabama. Spooky and I were not quite yet an item (though we actual met in March '99). A lot has changed. Anyway, to mark the date, I've included that first entry below (behind the cut). Here's to another five years.

Entry the First )

---

During our walk yesterday, we saw two of the hawks. It was marvelously warm. I was even able to open my office window for most of the afternoon; it's supposed to be warmer still today.

Byron called from Athens, where he's visiting his family.

The first day after Xtian Thanksgiving is also the first day of Jethro Tull season, which somehow helps me survive winter.

It occurs to me that I presently have far too many books to promote all at once, as I've somehow ended up with three releases in January 2007: Daughter of Hounds (please preorder today, and thank you), the mmp of Threshold, and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. I shall endeavor not to have this happen again, three books in one month. Whichever book I happen to be promoting, I inevitably feel as though I'm neglecting the other two.

One last thing before I wrap up this entry and move along to the wishes and whims of Herr Platypus. I've decided I'm going to put together a short collection, maybe four or five stories, all reprints from Tales of Pain and Wonder and To Charles Fort, With Love, and offer it as a free downloadable PDF. There will be illustrations and lots of fun marginalia. And did I mention it will be free? Hey, it works for heroin pushers, I figure I might as well give it a shot. The first one's on me...

Oh, and comments especially welcome today. I don't know. I'm just in a responding-to-comments sort of mood.

Postscript: Lots of people have been asking about Sirenia Digest back issues. Yes, they may be purchased. Just $10 per. November '05 (No. 0) through October '06 (No. 11). Interested? E-mail Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, and she'll fix you up, so to speak.
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
Yesterday, we finally finished proofing Threshold. Errors have been corrected. It goes back in the mail to NYC tomorrow.

Today, I was supposed go to Birmingham, to my mother's, for the whole silly Thanksgiving thing. Actually, we'd planned to go yesterday evening and come back tomorrow. But I've yet to shake the glumness that settled over me after Daughter of Hounds, and I told my mother that I was still entirely too unpleasant to be around. She agreed that I sounded very glum. So, we stayed in Atlanta. These days, I'm actually fairly indifferent about Thanksgiving. Another Xtian holiday I no longer have any use for. But I am amused at how Thanksgiving resists marketing, largely frustrating the efforts of those who might make more of a consumer blitz of it. I mean, yeah, the grocery stores and turkey farmers and the like, they do okay off Thanksgiving, but it lacks the balls-to-the-wall marketability oomph afforded by Halloween, Xmas, and, to somewhat lesser degrees, Easter and Valentine's Day. I am fixing Spooky a nice, turkeyless dinner tonight, because I'm not a total asshole, but, for my part, Thanksgiving just makes me wish the "Indians" had been a little less friendly.

Oh, and I've been listening to lots and lots of Jethro Tull, because Jethro Tull has become something I listen to in the winter to combat the handful of nasty little Xmas gremlins that always manage to slip through the cracks in my tin-foil hat. "Aqualung" and "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day" can be counted on to kick Xmas gremlin butt every time. Even the numerous Xmas songs Jethro Tull has recorded kick Xmas gremlin butt.

I thought I might have more to say. Maybe later in the day. Maybe not. We shall see.

And as you cross the circle line, well, the ice-wall creaks behind — you're a rabbit on the run.
And silver splinters fly in the corner of your eye — shining in the setting sun.
Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story's too damn real and in the present tense?
Or that everybody's on the stage, and it seems like you're the only person sitting in the audience?
(Jethro frelling Tull)

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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