greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Sunny and cool again today.

About half an hour after I made the blog entry yesterday, there was a fairly bad seizure. I spent most of the remainder of the day in bed. Spooky brought me Ranier cherries and slices of chipotle cheddar. I sketched and read. Just before sunset, I began to feel better, and had a bath, and dinner, after which I felt much, much better. Another hour, I was good as new. But, all of yesterday was lost, workwise, and now I have to scramble to try to make up for the lost time. I'd like to be back at work on Blood Oranges by Tuesday. I mean to have another three chapters written by the end of the month, at least.

But today, I have Vince's illustration of "Figurehead," and it's the fifth of May, so today pretty much has to be assembly day for Sirenia Digest #67. Tomorrow, I'll make a furiously determined effort to finish up with the galleys of Two Worlds and In Between. Oh, and I need to proof the galleys of "Fish Bride," which is being reprinted in the second issue of S. T. Joshi's Weird Fiction Review. And there are contracts, and...

I need to be writing. There's too much writing needs doing not to be writing.

---

Hopefully, a fair number of you read last month's "book of the month" selection, Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy (if you didn't, or haven't finished, don't apologize; nothing here is compulsory). I mean to write more about Under the Poppy, but I'm going to do so when I'm just a little more awake than I am now. I had a double-dose of the Good Worker Bee Pill last night, and I feel like it.

This month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club is Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants:



You may have seen the movie, which I liked a lot and is a fairly faithful adaptation. But it's no substitute for the novel, which you ought to read. Also, Spooky says the Audible.com adaptation is pretty good. It's unabridged, so you might go that route. Either way, book or audiobook. But, with the actual book-type-book, you get cool vintage circus photos.

---

An utterly moronic article in the Wall Street Journal, "Darkness too Visible," by someone named MEGHAN COX GURDON. Hey, it was in all caps on the website. Truth in journalism, right? The article carries the provocative subtitle, "Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?" Anyway, obviously Gurdon isn't at all happy about "dark" themes in YA literature. In fact, she's pretty sure that books like Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Game are mangling the minds of impressionable teens everywhere and will, I don't know, lead to mass suicides or something of the sort. The article is...well, read it if you must. But it's most entirely angrifying, fair warning. In response, a Twitter hashtag, #YAsaves, has sprung up, and editors such as [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow and authors such as [livejournal.com profile] blackholly have weighed in (lending their support to YA).

Look at this stinking shithole of a world, people. You really want to sugar-coat literature for the young'uns? You really want to try to insulate them from the difficulties of being a teen, or the hardships they're going to be facing very, very soon (if they aren't already)? Here again, we have the threat of warning labels rearing it's censorious, myopic head.

Whether I'm writing for an adult or a YA audience (and now I do both; also as my agent recently pointed out, Silk, Threshold, and Alabaster would likely now be considered YA), I mean for my fiction to be triggering. That's not a word that ought in speaking of art carry negative connotations. This is the very objective of art, and most especially including fiction: to trigger. To elicit in the mind of the reader a powerful emotional response that will move them, change them, upset or inspire them. We do not "protect" readers from this, else there's no point in writing or reading. We create art that will get their attention and make them think, and will help them survive some nightmare/s past, present, or future. Hey, other kids beside me cut. Other kids have survived rape. Other kids are gay and trans. And, fuck, look at this Catniss chick, what a kick-ass role model. And even if the reader has not experienced or is experiencing some personal trauma, just maybe these books will cause them to behave towards those who have with a little more understanding and sympathy.

Oh. I almost forgot. Gurdon hates dirty words, too. And she segregates the sexes, recommending "books for young men" and "books" for young women." It's still 1945, right?

So, fuck off, MEGHAN COX GURDON. You have the nerve (and are dumb enough) to recommend Fahrenheit 451 - a novel about book burning - in an article calling for censorship. Have you read Bradbury's book, MEGHAN COX GURDON? Do you understand the meaning of the word "irony"?

I'm sure there are many others who responses will be more "civil" and "politic," but I don't feel this nonsense deserves the effort required for either. However, if you'd like to see a really good and thoughtful response, read this post by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, or this post by Laurie Hall Anderson.

---

Last night we watched what must be one of the worst films ever committed to celluloid, Chris Sivertson's I Know Who Killed Me (2007). Two words, Lindsay Lohan. Why did I inflict this upon myself? I don't know. Plain and simple. This film is so bad...never mind, there are no adjectives in the English language capable of expressing of the badness of this film. Lohan can't act. The script...wait, what script? Silverton can't direct. The cinematographer spent the whole film in the crapper. It's like after-school-special torture porn. No, that would be better than this movie. Never mind.

---

Last night, Spooky and I measured Telara as best we could. Choosing as our standard the distance between Lantern Hook to the south and the Chancel of Labors in the north, we arrived at a base measurement of 5,500 meters, which I then used to get a north/south measurement on Telara, at the widest visible point of the (sub)"continent". And that measurement was 7,333 meters (+ or -), or about 4.5 miles. I was stunned. Truly. I'd expected to arrive at a measurement of at least 15 miles. As a point of comparison, the island of Manhattan is 13.4 miles long (or 2.97 Telaras).

Okay. Enough. Work awaits.

Angrified,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, the results of my experiment were interesting, though not especially dramatic. I was up until sometime just after five. The sky was swiftly brightening, the way it does here. Almost like someone throws a switch. And just after five, I finally lay down. I hadn't expected to fall asleep. I was lying in bed, listening to Brendan Perry, and drifted off. Partly, I suspect this was the result of my overwhelming exhaustion, partly the result of my efforts not to get anxious about sunrise, and partly because I spent half an hour reading cosmology.

Regardless, I slept. Until 10 ayem, when a very noisy landscaper, turning green space next door into a vast field of gravel, awoke me with a cacophony of ungodsly scrapey and drilly sounds. Spooky had already yelled out the window at the guy, "Get off your damn cellphone," or something of the sort. So, she was up. I grumped about a bit and returned to bed, where I managed to sleep until almost noon. I'm guessing a total of 6.5 hours. Not bad at all, and no nasty hangover. Too bad it won't last, but then nothing ever does.

---

They will write of her, "She was one of the last great voices on LiveJournal."

---

Yesterday, despite the fact I was too strung out to get anything done, I proceeded to answer Two Important Emails. Then I did line edits on "Fake Plastic Trees" for [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow (and Terri Windling). And then, kittens, I wrote 1,443 words on "Figurehead" for Sirenia Digest #67. Oh, and then I sent enough of the piece to Vince that he could go ahead and get to work on an illustration before I actually finish the story (which it has become, as it clearly had no desire to be a vignette). I have proven zombies can be productive writers. Whoosh!

After that, um...wait. I'll remember. Oh, yeah. Spooky made chili while I had a half hour nap. After dinner, we told Rift it could live without us One Damn Night. So, we watched James Cameron's Terminator (1984) and the director's cut of Terminator 2 (1991). The former holds up well, despite all the ridiculous eighties clothing and hair and some laughable animatronics. It's sort of funny seeing a baby Bill Paxton right at the beginning (he shows up in the credits as "Punk Leader"). Anyway, seeing the two films back to back set me to thinking about how my favorite Cameron films almost always have director's cuts, which I usually like better than the theatrical releases: Aliens, Terminator 2, and Avatar. Admittedly, these are long films made longer, but like the director's cuts of Jackson's LotR films, the editing and pacing in the director's cuts is always vastly smoother and more logical.

And that was yesterday.

The month is almost over, and it's almost time to announce the next book in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. I hope at least some of you have read and appreciated Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy. In a perfect world, I'd send out merit badges for each book completed.

It's warm here in Providence. Beginning to get hot here in the house. I need to go to the shore. But not this weekend. Memorial Day and Brown Graduation and all. A shame we were not able to make a few good trips down before tourist season began, but until about four days ago it was still winter.

Pretty Much Awake,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Tuojiangosaurus)
This morning (technically, this afternoon), I'm a little taken aback at otherwise sensible people who are feeling sorry for the disappointed, depressed, and down-at-heel followers of Harold Camping. As kids these days are wont to "say," o.0.

Here we have these cowardly fuckers who were hoping to be yanked away to some heavenly playground where they could wallow in eternal bliss, while 97.1% of humanity endured unspeakable horrors and fire and everlasting torment. And I'm supposed to feel empathy or sympathy or whatever for the idiot cult of Harold Camping, because they didn't get their wish? Hah! I admit that I have no especial love of humanity, and I've often thought total annihilation might not be such a bad thing, BUT at least I include myself among the annihilated. My doomsday is utterly indifferent and doesn't discriminate. I don't imagine some Old Man in the Sky who passes judgment. Who picks and chooses, and is willing and eager to spare you infinite agony if you'll get down on your knees and kiss "his" feet and stroke "his" ego and tell "him" you love no other god but "him."

So, no. The followers of Camping will get no sympathy from me. Let them weep. Let them gnash their teeth and feel the weight of the godless universe upon their cowards' shoulders.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,529 words on Chapter Two of Blood Oranges. And Spooky had trouble reading it, because she kept having to stop to laugh. She tells me that's a good thing, and I hope she's right. This is strange new territory for me.

The day is overcast, and it's only 54˚F out there. Hello, pretender to the throne of May.

Spooky has listed a new necklace in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Esty shop. You should buy it. Spooky's necklaces are grand.

Last night, I revisited Gregory Hoblit's Fallen (1998), which I think is somewhat underrated. Spooky had never seen it before. And we played Rift. And read Under the Poppy, which I hope you're reading, too. Also, I read two articles in the January issue of JVP: "New information Wumengosaurus delicatomandibularis Jiang et al., 2008 (Diapsida: Sauropterygia), with a revision of the osteology and phylogeny of the taxon" and "A small alvarezsaurid from the eastern Gobi Desert offers insight into evolutionary patterns in the Alvarezsauroidea."

Proudly Unraptured,
Aunt Beast

Oh, and dinosaur (etc.) photographs:

May 17-18, Part Three )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Comment, kittens!

It's not just the innate creepiness of the "praying hands" and swirly lights aspect of the present LJ banner, it's the nigh unto vomitous pale orange/melon-colored scheme. And I have to see it while I compose a journal entry. Someone ought to have to hurt.

Gagh.

Meanwhile, another bout of "not enough sleep" last night, despite my being a good little drone to the Queen Bee of 21st Century Pharmaceutical & Invalidism Culture and having refilled my "sleep aid" script. I think I almost, maybe, slept six hours. And it all just fucking figures. I'm working my ass off, and I'm mostly sleeping well. Often eight hours a night. Then, I force myself to take time off which is, essentially, necessary, and – KERBLAM – no sleep. Write or die. Dance until your feet bleed, or die. Don't stop dancing.

Yesterday was a Very Bad Day, and I don't have those very often anymore. Because I'm a good drone and take my meds and spend the day making honey and all. But yesterday, slip, and there's a Very Bad Day of the sort we've not seen in...quite some time. More than a year. We did leave the house and drive aimlessly about Providence for a while. The weather was too unpredictable to make an attempt at reaching the shore. Sunny, but a chilly wind. It's so green out there, but still it doesn't feel like May. I make the honey, like a good bee, and still the warmth doesn't come, and if I ever dare to stop and catch my breath, then there's no sleep, and the rage returns, and the noise, and the wish for self-annihilation, and no, no, no, you don't know what I mean.

Also, I just accidentally took my morning and afternoon pills at the same time. Booya.

The good news? Spooky just found my riding crop. It vanished when we moved here from Atlanta three years ago, and I despaired of having another so fine, without ponying up (hahahahahahahaha) a tidy sum at a tack shop. But no. Spooky found it.

While we were out, we stopped by Acme Video, and in a desperate effort to quell ye olde inner dæmons, I went hog wild renting comfort movies. Five of them. Movies where the wold is soothingly black and white and grey. Last night we watched two of them, George Cukor's The Philadelphia Story (1940, one of the most perfect films ever made) and John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). It helped, as long as the movies were playing. They ended, and the curtain came down again.

All I need is a reliable supply of opiates, enough for a couple of good doses a week. Paregoric would be perfect. Or laudanum. Or Vicodin. Anything.

In a couple of weeks, I turn 47. There are no words for how utterly fucking fucked up this is. Not just the "Woe is me, I'm getting old" part. That's obvious. No, it's the time dilation. The surreality of having lived from Then until Now, and through the shitstorm in between. It's a wicked sick excuse for a joke, and there's not even a god to blame it on. Only Chance and Probability and all those other rational, empirical anti-gods of Science.

I do have a wishlist at Amazon. You can look at it if you wish. I'm not adverse to gifts this time of year, even if they're of the non-opiate variety.

Oh, and you may now see the complete, final cover of Two Worlds and In Between, just by clicking here. Okay, it's not complete complete, as it still lacks the text of the flap copy. But it's mostly complete. Pay close attention to the book the painting me holds on the front cover. With a larger canvas, infinite regression could have been mimicked. Lee and Kyle are geniuses. They have wrapped my words in folds of zebra flesh and bergamot and vetiver and claret velvet.

Judge the book by its cover. Please.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented how Kathe Koja still has a thing for the "love is doom" motif we saw in Skin (1993) and Strange Angels (1995) and Kink (1996). Okay. He didn't name all those books. I filled in the gap. I don't know how Kathe feels about this (I may ask her), but, for my part, yeah...love is mostly doom. Exceptions are few and far between.

Listing to Starboard, Hardly Yar,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Okay, what the fuck is up with the LJ banner today? Is this a reference to the Rapture flap?

No sleep until after six ayem, so fuck you, Mr. Insomnia. I was in bed at 2 a.m., to no avail, and this is what I get for trying to sleep without pharmaceutical backup.

Yesterday's first day of quasi-vacation bore no resemblance at all to an actual day of quasi-vacation. Which is to say work stuff kept me at the desk most of the day. Oh, and I installed Adobe Photoshop Elements on my iMac. Adobe Photoshop Elements has to have the most idiotic installation disk ever.

It's almost warm out there today.

Still no word from my agent. I think the "warning label" might be at the root of the quiet.

Last night we saw David O. Russell's very impressive The Fighter. And read Under the Poppy. And played Rift. And why the fuck is my left ear ringing?

And there was The Dream this morning, and that's enough for now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy and a bit chilly today. All is glum.

Easier to shut the curtain.

So, lift my spirits, kittens. Comment.

Today will be an Assembly Day. That is to say, a day spent assembling the latest issue of Sirenia Digest – in this instance, #65 – so that it can be mailed out to subscribers. Which you ought to be, if you're not.

I'm mentioned very briefly near the end of this article, "Lovecraft's Providence" (in "Fine Books and Collections," which, near as I can tell is a webzine only*). Anyway, the article's by Nick Mamatas ([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid), and both me and Brian Evenson are quoted.

Also, a couple of weeks back, I took part in a "One Word Interview," in which the word in question was silence. I meant to post the link, but I often forget these things.

Yesterday I was a bad kid and played hooky. Spooky and I went to Warwick and saw a matinée of Francis Lawrence's Water for Elephants (from Sara Gruen's 2006 novel, of which Spooky is a great admirer). I'd never have thought the man who made I Am Legend (2007) and Constantine (2005) would have been the right director for this film, but I would have been wrong. The film is superb. The entire cast is excellent (yes, including Robert Pattinson), especially Christoph Waltz. If you place any weight in my opinion, this is a must-see film. And no more hooky for me until at least June.

Please, please have a look the current eBay auctions! Thanks.

Last night, curiosity got the better of me, and I did a thing I'd sworn I would not do. In Rift, I created a Guardian-side character. Now, if you know the Rift backstory, you know that the Guardians are loyal to the old gods of Telara, while the Defiant have rejected the gods and pursue a technological and scientific means by which to defeat the two factions' common enemy. Each side blames the other for the rifts, and so on, and so forth. Anyway, I created Mithrien, a High Elf, and Spooky created another High Elf, Serrafina. And we played them through the first ten levels. My conclusion? The Guardians should be renamed the Godbotherers. No, really. It gets very obnoxious after a while, and I doubt I'll be playing much of Mithrien, what with all the praying and inspiration and talk of faith and whatnot. But here's the thing that really got me. At several points, polytheistic Guardian NPCs refer to the Defiant as "heathens." Do the people at Trion who wrote the script know what that word means? Because, in point of fact, the Guardians are nearer to being heathens, while the Defiant would be more fairly described (by theistic folk, anyway) as infidels or apostates, but not as heathens.

However, big points to Rift for the lesbian thing with Kira Thanos and Uriel Chuluun (Defiant side).

Okay, yeah. Big queer nerd-out. Sorry.

Um...where was I? Ah, fuck it.

You are reading Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy, right?

Glumly,
Aunt Beast

* Nick tells me it is, in fact, a bimonthly print magazine.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Awake until four ayem, and then I slept until noon. Which means enough sleep, more than usual, but I hate waking up this late. At least, though, we are past the part of the year when, even with CaST to help out, the darkness comes so insanely early.

I am choosing not to speak on the subject of Osama bin Laden's death. My thoughts on the matter are complex, and I see no need to burden the internet with them, or to spend an hour writing it all out.

Sunny out there today, sunny and the new leaves glowing brightly under the blue sky.

---

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 2,259 words on "The Carnival is Dead and Gone," and thought I'd found THE END. Then, late last night, it occurred to me that I may have sounded entirely the wrong note there at the last. So, the first thing I do today is go back and do a bit of tweaking to the last two or three paragraphs. Also, yesterday, I proofed "The Crimson Alphabet," which will come as a free chapbook with copies of the limited edition of Two Worlds and In Between. I exchanged emails with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy about the book trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Oh, and there was email from [livejournal.com profile] blackholly, which was a bright spot in the day.

For our Beltane dinner I made a lamb stew, which came out very, very well (I do say so myself), which we had with chicory stout, a freshly baked loaf of pain de campagne, and honey. Afterward, I did a little ritual work at the altar. Nothing fancy. It was a good Beltane, even without a roaring bonfire and what have you.

Later, we watched the latest episode of Fringe, then the second disc of the latest season of Weeds. Never has a series so literally lost direction and gone off wandering nowhere in particular. Truthfully, Weeds should have ended at the end of Season Three. The end of Season Three would have made very good ending. A very important part of telling stories is knowing when you've reached THE END, and not continuing in just because you're being paid to do so. Any story may be stretched out indefinitely; none should.* Anyway, later there was a tiny bit of Rift, and we read more of Under the Poppy.

---

Please have look at the current eBay auctions! Thanks.

---

And here's the second set of photos from Saturday's trip to the Blackstone River Gorge in Massachusetts:

30 April 2011, Part 2 )


* In large part, this is why The Dreaming was such an awful idea from the get go. The Sandman said almost everything worth saying, and, after that, it was mostly footnotes. I love reading footnotes, and writing them. Few other people do.

Beltane '11

May. 1st, 2011 01:37 pm
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A happy and fine Beltane to all who wish to be wished a happy and fine Beltane. Winter is behind us, and now for blazing fires and blazing days.

Five hours sleep last night. The latest drug regimen has been helping me sleep the last week or so, eight hours a night two or three nights in a row. So, last night it was a surprise. It was just after six ayem when I finally got to sleep. The sky was the lightest shades of daylight. I covered my head, and pretended it was still night, which helped.

Yesterday was a day off, and it was a good day off. We left the house about 2:30 p.m., and headed north, through Woonsocket to Millville to the Blackstone River Gorge. We lingered briefly at Rolling Dam (aka Roaring Dam). The safety line strung with red pontoons had broken free, and there was damage to a portion of the spillway. I'm guessing it happened when the ice broke up. When we visited in February, the river above the dam was frozen. Also, there was a maple in the water that must have only just gone down, as the branches were filled with reddish sprouts. Then we headed out to the Gorge itself, which lies downstream (to the southeast) of the dam. We've never done the hike, though there and back is only a little more than a mile (depending which trail you take). We climbed to the top and gazed down into that dark tannin-stained water thirty or forty feet below, listening to the rapids, stared into the tops of trees beginning to come back to life. When we left Providence, the sky was cloudy, overcast, but the sun came out about the time we reached the dam, and I was able to take off my sweater and scarf.

In a hollow between slabs of Devonian granite, we found a boggy place that proved to be the remains of a very old garbage dump. Late Nineteenth Century or older. Heaps of glass, brick, ceramics, ornate china shards, shattered jugs, lead nails, shreds of hobnailed boots...it would be a fascinating place to dig, but the park forbids it. Not far past the dump, we found a wide sandy place by the river. I spotted something in the water downstream, which I at first mistook for ducks. However, the disturbance turned out to be two otters (Lontra [?=Lutra] canadensis) frolicking in the shallow, slow-flowing river. I'd never before seen otters in the wild. Various other mustelids, yes (skunks, mink, weasels, etc.), but never otters. We sat and watched them for a about half an hour. They were maybe a hundred yards from us, at the most, and we did most of the watching through a 10x42 monocular. They breached and dove, rolled, and swam swiftly, sinuously, along just below the surface. The air was filled with birdsong. And were actually heard a Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus). It was truly wonderful, and the cumulative effect of yesterday was to lead me to resolve that the stagnant age of sitting at this desk all the time, whether I'm working or not, is over. I'm missing the world, the world I used to live in, the wild.

Part of this, of course, is that, thanks to meds and exercise, my Lousy Rotten Feet have improved dramatically over the last year and a half. I don't even really need the stick anymore. I used it during yesterday's hike, because the ground was so uneven and heights were involved, but, usually, I leave it at home now. Anyway, there are a few photos from yesterday behind the cut, below, and I'll post more tomorrow.

---

And this month, the selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club is Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja (Small Beer Press, 2010). This is such a marvelous book. Koja has become such a very brilliantly polished author, and here she treads territories that have rarely been done justice. There's a faint whiff of Angela Carter. But yes, there's our novel for May.



---

We played far too fucking much Rift last night, mostly questing out of Perspice. The highpoint had to be escorting Kayfax, a talking cat, as it tracked trolls. Kayfax decided that Selwyn and Miisya would make very fine pets, and so we were referred to as "pet." Selwyn made Level 35, and Miisya made 36.

Ah, and by the way. Back at the beginning of March, I vowed to make at least one blog entry every day for four months. I didn't want to jink it by announcing it until I was well in. And now I've made it halfway.

And that's all for now. Have a fine first day of May, kittens.

Springy,
Aunt Beast

30 April 2011, Part 1 )

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