greygirlbeast: (Default)
The snow's still out there. Most of it. The sky is cloudy, and that's a relief. I feel sort of shitty for not having gone out in the snow when it was still fresh and powdery and clean.

Have you ordered The Drowning Girl: A Memoir? And Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart? No? Well, Herr Platypus says that if you do it today you can ride the pterosaurs for free when you get to heaven. And he's a monotreme of his word.

---

Yesterday, for Sirenia Digest #74, I began a new science-fiction short story, "The Diamond Friendly." Sort of crime noir circa 2056 (I think). I've been wanting to write this piece for about a month, and yesterday I said fuck it and got started. Oh, and I should say, up front, I wouldn't being doing the story without [livejournal.com profile] corucia as a consultant. This one isn't art crime. This one's biocrime. Gene hacking. I'm still looking for the word that would fit the deed. Regardless, hard story. Slow going. I wrote only 1,007 words. Here's an excerpted paragraph (you're welcome):

They named him, in the grid-slicks, the wordless, spare-no-blows spill across the plex and subplex, they dubbed him Zoo. Of a certain, not the prime serial interspec alteration “artiste,” only the most elusive and, possibly, the most fecund (setting aside the likelihood that many re: at large, unapps skidding neath the radar, by hook and by crook). Zoo, he got hisself infamy and fame and phat martigen straightaway, possied up quick as light. Fuck All My Enemies, F/A/M/E. Ah, but. Mistake to think Zoo cognates along those straights. Or, maybe mistake, as we do not know Zoo’s motives entire. He claimed others, >.>, but maybe the ZOhBee lied it all before going ocultado, thant you. This agent, she don’t think the dick was in it for F/A/M/E, cult, spots, the gory smooth outs transmitted (which, note, did not come from the criminal, but all from the plex-subplex yellows. Each and all, god bless us everyone.) In his subtle not so subtle way, Zoo never advertised. He gave the chota fucks just enough to know he was out there, and catch me if you can. Like Monsieur Leather Apron of old. Tease, you are. Nuff to keep the peep on, Dear Boss, but nowhere near enough to tune up and apprehend. Part of me, she admires you for that. d(^_^d) Oh, and not being all about the mass-celeb chinaal after the fashion of so many others, and predecessors, and copeekats (we have cause to suspect he planted most of those, btw).***

---

A note to everyone who contributed to the Tale of the Ravens Kickstarter: Yes, we'd hoped to have finished it many, many months ago. But our schedule sort of exploded when so many thing started happening with Alabaster and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and...other stuff. And suddenly I needed Spooky fucking constantly for all the things that a wealthier writer would have hired a personal assistant (Is secretary no longer PC? If so, that's a bloody shame.) to tend to for me. We're talking LOTS of annoying shit. Shit that just happens, and if I'm going to get any writing done, someone else has to attend to it. Anyway, this is my apology for monopolizing all her time. The project was conceived a year or so ago when I was far, far, far less busy. That said, we hope to have it finished by the end of March. Soon, the rewards to contributors will begin going out, pinkie promise. But they will be going out in stages, likely the postcards and prints first. But I just didn't want anyone to think we were slacking off.

---

My career seems, for the first time in a decade, to be sorting itself out. Now, I just have to keep the rest of my life in check. Or get a grip on it. Whatever. The diet's part of that. I've got to start exercising regularly, and sleeping more. I'm playing much too much SW:toR. MMORPGs will kill you, Bill Murray. More reading. Less time at this desk. More contact with human beings who are actually in the same room as me and aren't wielding lightsabers. This is what I have to do. Resolve, that's all it takes. Not that this winter's helping.

Last night, I did manage to read a chapter of Christopher McGowan's The Dragon Seekers, a very fine book on Victorian paleontology. I also read Rhoda Levine's Three Ladies by the Sea (illustrated by Edward Gorey), which seems like a metaphor for my entire life. Spooky made an excellent dinner of black-eyed peas and collards. But now, to sloppily paraphrase Laurie Anderson, the day stretches out before me like a big bald head. It's Sharkey's Day today. Sharkey wakes up and Sharkey says: There was this man... And there was this road...And if only I could remember these dreams...

Daily,
Aunt Beast

***Copyright © 2012 by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Steal this and I will hunt you down, slice out your innards, and feed them to you before you die that slow painful death you've spent your sad, sick life trying to avoid.)
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
Well, fuck. It's almost 2 p.m. (CaST), and somehow the day is slipping past on filthy little cat feet – fuck you, Carl Sandburg, you sentimental twatwaffle. Okay. Definitely didn't mean to begin this entry that way. But, as Longbaugh reminds me, "I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen."

Yesterday, I wrote nothing. I sat here and thought about things I should have begun writing two days ago. Finding stories. I also made a flaccid attempt at cleaning my office. I decided that if snow is the dandruff of Ceiling Cat, dust is the dandruff of Basement Cat. I stacked up manuscript boxes that need to go to storage (various incarnations of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, typescripts and galleys). I shelved a couple of books, and then I gave up.

I read Jack McDevitt's "The Cassandra Project" (2010) and Vylar Kaftan's "I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You in Reno" (also 2010). Both had kernels of magnificence trapped deep inside. Both were far too short, felt like outlines, and were almost entirely devoid of voice. I'm not sure if it's true that "Science fiction is the literature of ideas" (not sure, either, who first said that, and if you can figure it out for me, you get a banana sticker), but I don't think they meant that all you need is an idea*. At least, I hope that's not what he or she meant. I look back to Philip K. Dick, William Gibson's early work, Ray Bradbury, Jack Vance, Robert Silverburg, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison...long, long list...and there is style. Voice. Good writing. Not this no-style style. From recent samplings, I fear that too much of contemporary science fiction has all the flavour of a stale communion wafer, and is just as flat. Sorry. Gratuitous (but true) Catholic reference. Where are our prose poets? Why doesn't the language used to convey the idea matter? It's not entirely true to say it's completely absent from contemporary sf. We have the brilliance of China Miéville, for example. But for fuck's sake, the short fiction I'm reading...communion wafers.**

I only just learned that Etta James has died.

I think my diet is killing me.

The snow is so bright out there, I had to shut the curtain in my office. It's getting better, though, as the wide carnivorous sky is being decently obscured by clouds. I didn't leave the house yesterday, but Spooky did, and she took photos, which you can see behind the cut (below), along with a photo from the day before of a typical Providence grey squirrel, all of which have become absurdly obese of late, in this oddly snow-free winter. Oh. By the way. Yesterday was National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I shit you not. Let’s hear it for Sciuridae.

Last night, we watched last week's episode of Fringe. A marvelously tangled web. And yeah, it's not great science fiction, but it doesn't claim to be, and, even so, it does have a flavour.

Fat Squirrel + 21 January 2012 )


I Taste the World,
Aunt Beast

* Possibly, it was Pamela Sargent. Or, possibly, she appropriated it from Isaac Asimov.
** Near as I can tell, this has always been the case with "hard" and "military" sf.
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: (Bowie3)
A wild, wild wind* in Providence, the sky trying to blow down the world. The sun-buffeted clouds rushing by as if played fast forward. It makes me anxious, that much wind. That much wind battering the roofs.

In high school, I used to drive a particular English teacher to distraction by asking questions like, "If the plural of hoof is hooves, then why isn't rooves the plural of roof?" For a few months, she tried to pacify me with diachronic linguistics and etymology, but there came a point she'd had enough, and after that the only answer I ever got was "Because that's the way it is. If you're going to learn the English language, you must accept that a lot of it simply doesn't make sense. It's inconsistent. It's contradictory." Which felt like a victory.

These days, the meds do a pretty good job of keeping Monsieur Insomnia and the nightmares and dreamsickness at bay. But not this morning. It was five a.m. before I managed to get to sleep, and then...well...when I finally woke at a quarter past noon, to the roar of this wind, I wished I'd never fallen asleep.

Yesterday, I wrote the first four pages of Alabaster #4, the first eight manuscript pages, 1,480 words. Today I need to do at least another four pages. And there was a lot of other stuff. I should be posting additional upcoming appearances soon. It's beginning to look as if I'm going to spend more time in March and April out in the world schlepping my books than I am accustomed to doing. Pry me free of the house, and send me out into the snowless winter and the wind. See if I care.

Last night, after writing, I was so tired I had a half hour nap while Spooky made meatloaf, and then drifted about in a daze all night long. More asleep than awake. Though, in truth, I never felt awake yesterday, it just grew worse in the evening. I wasn't up to anything but lying in bed, so we watched seven episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Jeff Goldblum has shown up, and he's truly quite excellent. I'm not yet awake enough to be sure if the weariness is still with me, but the weather would have me think so.

Scoured,
Aunt Beast

* Presently (1:49 p.m.) 26mph gusting to 48mph.
greygirlbeast: (white)
First, here's a preview of Dark Horse Presents #9, which will include pages 1-8 of Alabaster #1. DHP #9 will be in stores on February 22nd. So, yes, Alabaster is coming! And Mike Mignola! Imagine that – me, in a comic with Hell Boy's dad!

---

Yesterday, there was no writing, no real writing. And yet there was a great deal of work. I finished the corrections to Alabaster #3 (with great and wondrous and much appreciated help from Spooky), then sent them away to my Dark Horse editor, the vivacious Rachel Edidin. And then I wrote the synopses and proposals for the two sequels to Blood OrangesFay Grimmer (you either get this joke or don't) and Puppy Love. I sent those to my agent, then called her and we talked about publishing options. She was very happy with the synopses. I'm looking at writing Fay Grimmer this summer, and then the third (and final) book in August 2013. Merrilee and I also talked a good bit about ebooks, audiobooks, and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Then I did some design work on the rest of the website revamp.

Afterwards, I had a hot bath, before calling Rachel (at Dark Horse, remember?), and we talked about all things Dancy Flammarion. Only minutes after that conversation, she emailed me Greg Ruth's colored cover for Alabaster #3, which is unbelievably beautiful. And that was, essentially, work yesterday (if I've forgotten anything, screw it). Today I mean to actually fucking write, beginning Alabaster #4.

My horns came! Now I only have to get my goatish (horizontal pupil) contact lenses. By the way, the horns were one of my Cephalopodmas gifts from Spooky. They are amazing, and as soon as I have the headpiece made, I'll post photos here.

Geoffrey arrived about 8:15 p.m. (CaST), and we had Palestinian takeout for diner. We spent the evening talking about books, our favorite and not favorite authors, good writing and bad, the panel proposals I need to send to Readercon (they were actually due at the end of December), Star Wars: The Old Republic, the hideous folly of 3D films, that which I have been reading and that which I feel like I ought to be reading, Aleister Crowley, the Ruination of Boulder, iPads, addiction, and the trap of genre fiction. I think he decamped for Framingham about 2 a.m. (CaST).

---

Speaking of Geoffrey and Readercon, I hope he doesn't mind, but I've got to post this mock-panel description he sent me yesterday for what I think would be the penultimate "horror" fiction panel. It is the truth, plain and simple:

WHY ARE WE STILL DOING THIS?

The antihorror panel. If you look around, any full-timer who’s here from over ten years ago has survived by giving up, writing five books a year, or shifting into thrillers, paranormal romance, or other greener pastures. Even the people in the audience who are currently writing “4 the luv” and think they’ll eventually earn their way onto this panel will regret attending this convention within five years. Horror’s dead for good and we’re the ones who killed it. If it weren’t for tenure, movie rights, and food stamps, the only people in this room would be locals and hobbyists. Yet, time and again, you ask people about this stuff and instead of shame you get stories of tormented childhoods rescued by monsters, women’s breasts, and copious amounts of blood. What’s wrong with us and how can we turn our lives around?

---

Okay, regarding my thing about the word awesome. I think there are lots of people misinterpreting what I'm trying to say, which is not, actually, that the word ought to be banned from the English language (though the situation is so frustrating I might have said that a few times), but, rather, that the absurd level of saturation that has been visited upon us by the use of the word needs to end. I'm not a "grammar Nazi," but, for fuck's sake, there are many, many other adjectives (veritable oodles), both proper and slang, wonderful and useful synonyms, that mean what "awesome" is being used (almost to the exclusion of all these words) to mean. And never mind the grotesque permutations ("Awesomesauce"? No. No. No.) the word awesome is presently suffering.

Generally I loathe the Urban Dictionary, but even it understands, defining awesome as "1. Something Americans use to describe everything."

I am not now and have never been anti-slang. Slang is good and helpful. But all good things in moderation, for fuck's sake. How about cool, neat, groovy, nifty, keen, et al. And if you think any of these are too antiquated, does no one realize that this present usage of awesome actually entered our lexicon from Valley Girl speak in the late 1970s and early 1980s (except for Portland, OR, where it never exited and will will). It then exited, and was only resurrected to flood our sentences a few years back. So, toss in some other slang. Pretty please. With a goddamn cherry on top. That would be so bow tie.

And, for now, that's all. Oh, comment, kittens.

Chugging Red Bull, Because She Needs Wings,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, yesterday failed to measure up to the poopiness of its promise, though it was hardly conducive to the sort of work I'm supposed to be doing. You know...writing? Still, the anger subsided, and the day got better as it went on – a little better – and I have learned there's at least one person who thinks "awesome" is as overused (and inappropriately used) as do I, and who's willing to speak up. And that's pretty bow tie.

I managed to edit about one-third of Alabaster #3 before my agent called. It's fairly easy editing, as my editor at Dark Horse was very happy with this script, as was I. Hopefully, readers will also be happy with it.

My agent and I talked about Blood Oranges, mostly, and the fact that I'm planning two sequels (the second would be called Fay Grimmer; I don't yet have a title for book three). I'm morally opposed to any trilogy not written by Tolkien or Herbert or William Gibson or Holly Black. But...it's not really a trilogy-type trilogy. My story is more like one long (funny) story divided into three parts. It just works better that way. Also, the trilogy format allows me to write it over three years, instead of all at once. Many options are being explored. I am finally learning about options (after seventeen years in publishing). I'm fucking stubborn like that. Anyway, we also talked about the revamp of the website, and how not finished it is, and how the market is worse than ever, and how Dark Horse is now my day job, and how I'm turning down pretty much all short-story solicitations, and how to connect readers to booksellers that are not Amazon, and how to promote The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and how my craziness sometimes impedes my communication with Merrilee and leads to my overreacting and misunderstanding (and stuff). Oh, Merrilee Heifetz is my bow-tie agent (has been since 1997) at Writers House. And no, I will not tell her your book is an incredible work of literature, the greatest thing since sliced halva, and how she should represent you. So, don't even think I might.

Yesterday, I renewed my membership to The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (I've been a member since I was nominated to the society in 1984).

---

Fuck all, but this is a fucking perfect sentence (from Gibson's Neuromancer): The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

--

Late in the day, I was treated to pencils for Greg Ruth's cover for Albaster #3, and like the fist two covers, it's goddamn beautiful. Greg Ruth rocks. Which is to say, kittens, he is most bow tie.

Okay, now I go to finish with the editing of #3. I also have to speak to my editor at Dark Horse later today, and write synopses for the two books that will follow Blood Oranges (and, fuck all, but I hate writing synopses). However, my diligence will be rewarded with a visit from [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark this evening. We're gonna talk about stuff.

Slightly Improved & a Tad Manic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
It isn't bad enough that the few corners of the internet that I love are withering and/or drawing in upon themselves like a startled sea anemone, but the tempo as a whole – that is, the tempo of the internet – is accelerating. And the rate of acceleration appears exponential. So, that which is faster grows increasingly rapid. Attention spans decrease accordingly. Twitter and Facebook replace blogging. News stories become ever less informative. The sound byte (sound bite) is victorious. Analysis shrivels. Thought is compressed. Or, to me, so it seems. But I have a slow, slow and extremely analytical brain. My mind picks and sorts and rehashes and researches and is, above all, patient. I may require months to read a novel, but when I have read it, I can almost recite it. This requires patience. And patience is suffering a mass extinction on the internet.

One hundred and forty characters. Buzz words. Jargon. Texting. The entrenchment of l33t so that it no long signifies elite, and no one using it even recalls how or why it began. Speed. An expectation, beyond the internet, that instant gratification is good and normal and anything less is a failure. I want my ebook and I want it NOW. I want now. Now. Why is my order taking so long? What do you mean "I have to wait"? Waiting is a negative, by definition. Fast food. Overnight delivery. Thirty minutes or you get it free. First in line. Speed and cut me off on the interstate so that, ultimately, your drive is forty-five seconds shorter.

Why so goddamn, fucking fast? You think you'll buy more life, squeeze in a few more moments? Has civilization driven you to the fastest rat race ever? Is it that you believe doing it quicker actually is better than doing it right? Do you think you have no choice in the matter? You can't see the lie? The only thing you're running towards is death.

Slow down, you move to fast.

We used to wait...

And what is the utility of these words? Because the internet is fucking fickle, and, for whatever reasons, even for those few who do still blog, or at least read blogs, LiveJournal has ceased to be the hip place to be seen.

---

All unexpected anger this morning. The anger rarely comes these day, rarely comes with this intensity. Admittedly, I don't think this is irrational anger, for which I have my meds, but its hit me with that same force and with that same glee in its own existence.

---

Yesterday, I sat and stared at the iMac's screen, and after about five hours of that a story occurred to me. It's an ugly story and a beautiful story. It's kind and cruel. Gentle and violent. It needs to be written in a language that is just shy of cut up. As I wrote 7 in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The language I learned from Joyce, Faulkner, et al. And it needs to be written in two days, as I've got Alabaster #4 due on the 15th, and I have to get Sirenia Digest #73 out before then.

Wishing for the Salvation of Summer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Comment today, kittens. It'll help.

Three years ago, on December 24th, I wrote these lines:

"Last night, as I tried to find sleep, Spooky and I talked about having a farm. I would give up writing, I said, except for those things I wanted passionately to write, and we would have goats and chickens and an old horse and sheep and bees and rabbits. Orchards of apples and blueberry bushes behind fieldstone walls. We would have an enormous garden. It would be hard, hard work, but we would be as self sufficient as anyone can hope to be in this odd millennium. We'd only need to buy grain and sugar and coffee and such. We'd have a windmill for electricity, and a well. It was a pretty dream, no matter how impossible, to have before sleep and the inevitable nightmares, a dream of dirty hands and sweat and not sitting in this chair every goddamn day, worrying about sales figures."

Three years later, I still resurrect the daydream, now and again. Or Kathryn will. It's not dead.

---

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] mizliz (in response to my second entry yesterday), expressed her confusion over the meaning (to use the word loosely) of Z'omglol. Not wanting to dig too deeply into the politics and semantics of the more asinine denizens of MMORPGs – which would be, depending on the game, 75%-90% of the players – I'll toss out the quick answer, cribbed from that most tiresome of sources, the "Urban Dictionary." To wit:

zOMG is a varient of the all-too-popular acronym 'OMG,' meaning 'Oh My God'. The 'z' was originally a mistake while attempting to hit the shift key with the left hand, and type 'OMG.' Also used in all-caps, 'ZOMG' is generally used in a sarcastic manner, more often than not a humiliating fasion [sic]. It is also used as a device for stating the obvious.

Which is to say, in gaming, it shows up in the "too cool for school" crowd, the faux rebels who believe themselves so above it all (especially the concept of RP) that they choose these ironic names. Even though, for the most part, they couldn't define irony if their weaselly little existences depended on it. Because, you know. When there's no room in hell the dead will walk the earth. You're welcome, kittens.

---

Yesterday, though. I am neglecting yesterday. We'd planned to watch the original Star Wars trilogy, but got started too late and only made it through Star Wars (that would be – ahem – "Episode IV: A New Hope") before dinner (leftover meatloaf with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, Precious). I saw Star Wars when it was first released in theatres back in 1977, thirty-four years ago. I was in eighth grade. And I thought Star Wars was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Until The Empire Strikes Back came along in 1980, a film I loved so much I saw it twenty times in theatres that summer. Looking back at Star Wars (1977) yesterday, it seemed astoundingly quaint. I know that there was an intentional innocence that Lucas was trying to capture, but the quaintness goes far beyond that. And, too, the acting is often terribly wooden, a fact I blame on Lucas, who simply is incapable of good direction. One reason that The Empire Strikes Back is so much better than its predecessor is that the directing reins were passed to Irvin Kershner. Anyway...playing the SW:otR MMORPG, I wanted to revisit. And it was...odd.

I can also say that I have settled on a title for the second "best of" volume (which will not be out until 2014, so please don't ask ridiculous questions about pre-orders). I'm liking Weave a Circle Round Her Thrice: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 2).

Also, I read Wilum Pugmire's rather enchanting "The Fungal Stain." And then, having managed to get into bed before two-thirty a.m. (!), I proceeded to watch an amazingly creepy film, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton's Yellowbrickroad (2010). I know that critics pretty much brushed this one aside, but by the time it ended (about four-thirty a.m.) I was so disturbed I had to switch the light on to get to sleep. I find no shame in admitting such a thing. Yellowbrickroad is clearly very heavily influenced by both House of Leaves and The Blair Witch Project (and were I not writing this, I'd say The Red Tree). It is one of those stories about a Wrong Place. Or...well...the less said the better. It's a slow burn, quiet with sudden moments of horror, whispered impossibilities, and a marvelously surreal ending. The ending (and pacing) are likely why so much of the slasher crowd couldn't wrap their brains around this film. Anyway, this is my recommendation. See it (it's streaming free from Netflix).

And I should go. Because, even though this is my vacation, I have work to do. January is beginning to look like the worst train wreck in history.

Quasi-Vacating,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (fry1)
Not sure why I'm using my Carolyn Fry icon today, from that marvelous scene as the Hunter Gratzner crashes. It just felt right. Maybe it says something about the health of Frank the Goat this morning and early afternoon, as LJ suffered another DDoS attack.

1) A late start to the day. But I've already signed 600+ signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (coming from Subterranean Press in 2012) and proofed inked pages for the Alabaster comic. I wish I could show you more of the art; the first issue is going to kick ass, and a lot of that credit will go to Steve Lieber (artist and letterer), our colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, and cover artist Greg Ruth.

2) I'm still hoping to be able to begin the new short story, for Sirenia Digest #72, started this afternoon. A tale about two women who become cities. And yeah, sorry, the digest will be woefully late this month. November was a right proper cunt, was she. So, blame her. But, still, I hope to have it out by the 10th of December at the latest.

3) And speaking of Sirenia Digest #72, come on, kittens. Get in those responses to the fifth Question @ Hand. Don't be shy. You get complete anonymity, and you DO NOT have to worry about the feasibility of the science in your replies. Oh, and I'll be especially pleased by entries that make no mention of my being a writer. But don't tarry too long. If these are going to make it into #72, I need all replies in by midnight CaST (EST +1 hour) Wednesday, December 7th.

4) Good RP in Rift last night. Thank you, all who took part. You were splendid. I'm hoping to double our numbers by the end of December, and then worry a lot less about recruiting for a bit. I'm beginning to wonder if a surprisingly (to me) small number of my readers are gamers. My calls for players go mostly unheeded, and, truly, not only is Rift an awesome game (as in, it fills me with awe), it's a great entertainment value. For the price of a large pizza, for less than a single movie for two, you get a month of unlimited play. Can't do much better than that. Dump that crappy cable TV, and come and play with us!

5) We've been working our way through Disc One of the most recent season of Doctor Who, and last night we finally saw the episode written by Neil, "The Doctor's Wife." Frankly, I was completely unimpressed by the four episodes (or was it three?) that preceded it, but then "The Doctor's Wife" blew me away. It is no lie to say that I very almost cried at the end. It shows that Matt Smith can be a good doctor, if given good scripts (though I still miss David Tenant, and I miss Christopher Eccleston – my doctor – even more). However, no author can redeem Rory Williams (BORING), and I want him gone.

6) Whoever is responsible for the portmanteau "advertorials" (derogatory shutter quotes!) needs to die, along with whoever invented the concept. And Jesus fuck, LJ knows how to spell the goddamned "word"!

Anyway, I think that's all for now. Carry on.

Eating A Cupcake,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
I'm sitting here composing, in my head, a Tom Waits song that Tom Waits will never compose, much less record. But it's about not sending "wish you were here" postcards to nightmares.

Someone said something. I won't say who or where the comment was made. The "You're a horror writer" thing. No, I'm not. But. If you insist, maybe it's simply that my definition of "horror" and yours are so vastly different that we possess incommensurable worldviews and can't actually communicate on the subject in any mutually intelligible way (by the way, if you grew up without phonetics/phonics, you're screwed; then again, I guess that's why we have "l33t," "texting," and online dictionaries).

Why no, I'm not in a good mood. Not at all. Not after those dream worlds. And given the fact that there's no way for me to conclusively demonstrate to myself that they're any less objectively "real" than this waking world wherein I'm typing this LJ entry (never mind the world wherein you're reading it; I'll not open that can of worms). Still, this mood has to be bent far enough in that direction that I can get "Sexing the Weird" finished today. I have to be productive. No option, even if there's a hypothetical option.

Problem is, I have this thing I thought would take me two days to write, and today will be day four...I think. I spent yesterday navigating my way through the original and expurgated texts of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and then it was Machen's "The Great God Pan," and finally that got me to the central focus of Part One of the introduction, which is simply that Lovecraft wrote a LOT about fucking. I began with "The Dunwich Horror," a lamentably silly, sprawling tale that I sincerely wish were not thought of as one of HPL's best. But, nonetheless, it is a tale of interspecies and interdimensional sex, and therefore serves my purposes. Today, onward. The thesis statement is remarkably simple: sex (and especially "deviant" sex) has often been at the heart of weird fiction, all the way back to the Gothics. Though...I only go as far back Le Fanu, and if anyone wants to go farther back, well...the path is marked. And yeah, I see the repetitive nature of two of those sentences. Let's pretend I did it on purpose.

---

Today is the 13th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. The whole thing is explained here, for those who need an explanation. I'd like to think that no one does need an explanation. Transgender people live with the constant threat of physical and psychological violence, and even death, every single hour of our lives. No matter who you become, that threat, and the fear it engenders, never goes away. Even when you might actually be genuinely safe. Because too many times you haven't been, and you know what might happen if you're not careful and can't figure out how to cheat all the immutable pink and blue rules of a cisgendered world (and you can't). Me, I have about a hundred tales. Someday, maybe I'll tell one of the closest calls I ever had, which concerns three drunken Athens, GA frat boys bearing down on me as I gripped a can of pepper spray. Playing chicken with hate, as it were. No one can count the dead, but we can remember a few who must serve, in these grim mathematics, as the symbols for an unknown (and unknowable) number.

---

Last night a new episode of Fringe, "And Those We Leave Behind," and it was so good I cannot imagine how this series is still on the air. It just keeps going to stranger places. We all do this at our own risk, going weird places, if we expect anyone to follow. And storytellers tend to have to wish for followers. Elsewise, we're only talking to ourselves. Not that there's anything wrong with talking to ourselves. Me to myself. You to yourself. Unless you need to make a living telling stories (an awful, awful situation). Anyway, a fine episode, and I think they finally made me care about Peter Bishop, who has almost always felt like a great slab of nothing interesting. I just hope that the series either a) wraps things up this season or b) doesn't lose it's following and is permitted another season. Were it me, I'd have taken this season to end the story, especially considering how this season almost didn't happen.

The platypus shakes the word basket, and I reach inside, hoping this isn't one of those days the platypus is being cute and has slipped in a few razorblades just for shits and giggles.

Remembering,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I'm haunted,
By the hallways in this tiny room,
The echos there of me and you,
The voices that are carrying this tune,
Ba da pa pa...


Yesterday is what happens when chaos and the best of intentions square off and have a good ol' Godzilla versus Gamera boxing match. We're having a couple of moderately warm days here....

WAIT

Yes, in a few more hours, Dark Horse will spill the beans, and the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. Soon. We're almost there. On the cusp, as it were.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Warm weather. High sixties. So, I'd planned to play hookey yesterday, and slip away to Beavertail, even though I sure as hell haven't the time for such luxuries. I ought to be doing nothing but working on "Ex Libris." But then there was the long conversation with my editor at Dark Horse early in the day, and, afterwards, I realized I needed to have a long conversation with my lit agent (on entirely unrelated matters). But she was at a lunch meeting, and it would be about 45 minutes before she got back into the office. There was no way there'd be enough time to make it to Conanicut Island. So...not wanting to see the day become a total loss (I was far too higgledy-piggledy to get any writing done). So, bored and without especial focus, yet possessed of some odd motivation, I proposed we begin "remodeling" my office, which we've only been meaning to do for about...two years.

(Why does Microsoft Word discourage the use of contractions?)

One shelf and a shelf's worth of books went to the middle parlour, where, I must admit, they look quite handsome. I'd had my doubts.

Merrilee called and we talked, and talked, and talked. Fine things. Over time, I will tell you of these fine things.

There's enough to look forward to on this day. I'll make another post in a few hours. Patience, kittens. OH! Look! I just got a royalty check for $10.36 for the German edition of Threshold (id est, Fossil). Wow. Party time. Yes, the writing will make you rich, Bill Murray!

Anticipatory,
Aunt Beast

UPDATE (1:44 p.m.): Just got word the announcement from Dark Horse should come about noon PST, three EST, 4 CaST. Fuck it, Dude. I'm going to get nachos.
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
See, it's not insomnia when you just stay up too late reading. No. It's not. That's called stupid. And so now I'm not awake, and I'm having to augment my sugar-free Red Bull by listening to Hubero going on about Sméagol freaking him out with carrot cards and a squeegee board. Funny cats are no fit substitute for sleep.

Currently, I'm being horrified by a new "texting" acronym: LMBO. Which is apparently what the Jesus has instructed good Xtians, fans of the Jonas Brothers, and devotees of Stephenie Meyer to use instead of LMAO. Because it's more wholesome to say "butt" than to say "ass." Really, people. What the fuck was wrong with "haha"? It's just as easy to "text" as LMAO. Four letters. Actually, it's easier to type than LMAO, because of the QWERTY keyboard layout. Also, it's logical. "Haha" isn't an acronym. It's an example of onomatopoeic language. Do not badly reinvent the wheel, people. That's why we have the Microsoft Corporation.

Yesterday was a symphony of...well, not dull. Actually, anything but dull. Exhausting, though, and vexing. I am now working on so many different projects at once, switching gears throws out my back about once a day. Or throws out my brain. Or whatever. Yesterday, after the blog entry, and after I brushed my teeth, and answered email, after all that, I had to send electronic files of the Authors Note and Author's Biography from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir to Penguin, because...let's not go there. I think people are forgetting how to retype. It all began with James Watt in 1779, unless it began with Johannes Gutenberg's printing press in 1436, unless it actually began with Bi Sheng in China in 1040, ol' Bi Sheng and his porcelain movable type. Wow. There's nine hundred and seventy-one years of laziness. And a huge digression.

I was saying, yesterday, after the files were sent to my editor at Penguin, I got back to my work on XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (guys, the TRUTH is out there, and it will be revealed in late November or early December, I am told, and we all have to sit tight until then). After that I was greeted by a mammoth email from my editor at Penguin, who needed clarification of several illegible comments I'd written on the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, illegible because the Lamictal (which I take for the seizures) makes my hands shake so badly. And that meant comparing my photostat (back to xeros + graphus) with her notes and...it took awhile, and a lot of patience on the part of the vocally reluctant (but ever helpful) Spooky. Then we had spaghetti. Then we proofread "John Four" for the first time since September 24, 2010 (I finished writing it on September 22, 2010), which is being reprinted in S. T. Joshi's A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, to be released in limited and trade editions in 2012 by Centipede Press (and maybe I wasn't suppose to announce that yet, but there you go). That was work yesterday, leaving out a few victuals and bits of flayed skin.

"John Four" is one of my best and strangest Lovecraftian stories, and I'm pleased to see it will be reprinted in such a good home.

Oh, and my comp copies of Stephen Jones The Book of Horror arrived, which reprints my story, "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint."

Last night, some very good RP in Insilico, and two episodes of Mad Men, and then, even though I was in bed by two-thirty ayem, I was awake until three forty-five, reading this, that, and the other. Included were two more stories from the Halloween anthology, Sarah Langan's "The Great Pumpkin Arrives at Last" and "The Sticks" by Charlee Jacob. The former is, at best, so-so. It relies too heavily on a somewhat unconvincing "twist ending." The latter, though, was quite effective, a story reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," though only in its most basic premise. I will admit, I'm uncomfortable talking about other authors' stories here, but there's a long tradition of authors commentating on authors, and if I'm going to read the damned things, I can at least be honest.

Spooky's no-longer-premature Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only one necklace and a bracelet left (plus paintings and other cool stuff), and who knows when she'll have time to make more. When making a purchase, IF YOU WANT THE SALE PRICE, you need to, at checkout, use the sale code SPOOK.

By the way, this is the one year anniversary of our return to Providence from Portland, Oregon. One year ago last night, we spent the whole night awake in the almost entirely deserted Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. Then...well, hell ensued. Anyway, here is a token from that night, which I may auction someday on eBay. It's companion, the shortest novel I ever wrote on a napkin, was auctioned last autumn.

The Napkin of Caribou )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, the rains never came. The rains for which we cancelled the trip to Maine. There might have been a shower one night. Every day, the past few days, has been a case of "tomorrow, it's going to rain." And we have sunny days and warm nights. I've wasted an Indian Summer sitting at this fucking machine. Then again, there's so much work to be done, taking the time off truly would have been disastrous ("ill-starred").

We are surrounded by an ocean of words, and virtually no one knows their meanings.

COMMENT, KITTENS!

Yesterday, I began what I hope is a new piece for Sirenia Digest #70 (subscribe!). Currently, it's called "Evensong," and today I'll go back over the 1,134 words I wrote yesterday and see if I can make them a little more melodic, and then try to conjure whether or not the vignette (which it actually is) is leading me anywhere I want to go.

The workload right now has even me amazed. The money's nice. No denying that. But I doubt I'll be able to take more than two or three days off (maybe) until sometime in December.

It's a good thing that, as a small child, I was inoculated against suicide, what with all that talk of hellfire and damnation.

Ah, but two fine gifts yesterday, and thank you, Steven Lubold!

Lee Moyer and I have talking about the cover art for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. He had a great idea for an image from "Dancing with the Eight of Swords," and Bill Schafer has approved it.

There's a lot of shit I'd be blogging about, if I had half the requisite energy. For example, how mass media (televised and print) is largely ignoring the "occupation of Wall Street" and the instances of police brutality associated with it. Officer Tony Baloney, anyone? You know this tune! Sing along!

My bologna has a first name.
It's T O N and Y.
My Bologna has a second name.
It's P U S S Y.
Oh, I'd love to beat him every day,
For spraying girls inside a cage,
Cause we are now a police state from B O L O G N A !
— Anon.

You're a douchebag, Deputy Inspector Tony Baloney. Then again, maybe you give douchebags a bad rep. You're definitely giving the NYPD a bad rep.

I am currently battling a massive resurgence of time displacement. Taking my life back. I managed to get to sleep by three a.m. last night. I'm learning not to fight sleep. The pills are beating back Monsieur Insomnia; now I just have to let them. But yeah, asleep by three ayem, awake at ten ayem. In part, this improvement has followed from the strict adherence to my recently instituted and unflinchingly enforced NO BULLSHIT policy. If it is in my life, and if it turns to bullshit, I make it go away. It is proving an amazingly useful policy for the alleviation of stress of every sort. Three simple words: NOT MY PROBLEM.

And now! Photographs! The first is from Sunday, and the rest from our trip to West Cove on Monday:

27 September 2011 )


All Beauty and Truth,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
In Rhode Island, the meteorologists employ a twenty-sided die. They roll it each morning, once for each of the ten days to come. On each side is printed something like, "Rain" or "Snow" or "Partly Cloudy." Or "Godzilla." And then they tell us what the die said. Ergo, they are almost always wrong. Today is a good example. Mostly sunny out there, and it was supposed to be rainy. And you people call yourself scientists!

Yesterday, we actually managed to make it through Chapter 8, then "Werewolf Smile," and then chapters 9 and 10 (pp. 181-251*). To THE END. Which isn't really THE END of The Drowning Girl. Because after THE END, you get "Back Pages," which we didn't read through yesterday.

So, that's today. The very last bit, and then adding some new material to the "Back Pages," and then adding a few more lines here and there, and little bits of this and that, before it goes back to NYC, probably tomorrow.

Oh, and the signature pages for the Arthur Machen collection just arrived. Oh, you know what? I'll explain about that tomorrow.

Have you ordered your copy of Two Worlds and In Between? No? Then get to it, slacker. It'll be showing up any day now, for them what pre-ordered.

And speaking of Bad English, this morning, I dropped by Facebook. What fresh hell, right? Something big stepped on it last night. But that's not my point. Even though I'd previously switched off the "chat" option, someone IMed me (I suppose that's what we call it), and began to chatter in this or that version of text or l33t or whatever, something that might once have born some vague resemblance to actual English. I mocked him. He got very, very angry. And so I mocked him some more. And, oh, how his anger grew. Anger and righteous indignation. So, I poked some more. Finally, he crawled away to sulk. Hey, at least it was amusing. For me, I mean.

Seriously, people. I am an author. I am an author who spends her days worrying over the placement of nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and what have you. I fret over subject and predicate. I do my painstaking best with punctuation and spelling (which would be easier if TPTB wouldn't keep changing the rules, seemingly at random). And, then, "you" begin speaking to me in some incoherent mess that (say it again) might once have been distantly related to the English language, and you think I'm not going to be annoyed? Seriously? If your answer is "Yes, I wouldn't expect you to get angry," then all I can say is "Fuck off." I agreed to write books. I never agreed to play nice. Me and "patience with bullshit" have, recently, forever parted ways. "Irreconcilable differences," that's what the judge said.

And I suppose that's all for now. I suppose there will be more tomorrow.

Irreconcilable,
Aunt Beast

*Note that these are pages as they will appear, more or less, in the actual book. This is the first time ever a CEM has been sent to me after being "typeset" (i.e., font changed, thereby playing merry havoc with all thoughts of formatting).
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Not much in the mood for an entry today. We'll play a nice game of catch up tomorrow.

My thanks to everyone who has donated mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's Drowning Girl Kickstarter project. At this point, it's 141% funded, and we still have twenty-eight days to go. And there are some amazing new rewards, soon to be announced. So, it's not too late. Also, people seem shy about those donations between $1-$14, but they ought not. Every bit helps, plus those donations grant access to the project blog.

Today, I am going to the sea.

Try to go seventy-two hours without using "lol," in any context (unless it's part of an actual word, such as lollipop). Maybe future generations won't thank you, them being doomed and all, but I'll sure be grateful.

Oh! One last thing. From Richard Horton's review of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, in the August issue of Locus:

Finally, Caitlín R. Kiernan’s ‘‘The Maltese Unicorn’’, which is as stylishly noir as any story here, is about a used bookstore owner who is friendly with a mysterious brothel owner, and thus ends up trying to track down a strange object – a dildo – for her, and gets involved, to her distress, with a beautiful and untrustworthy woman mixed up in the whole business. I thought this the best story in the book, and the story that most perfectly, to my taste, matched the theme.

Booya!

Lastly, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sovay for news of this wondrous fossil, a plesiosaur found with an unborn plesioaur in its abdomen:

greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
I'm not even gonna talk about the insomnia. The attention just encourages it.

Finally, a good fucking writing day yesterday. I did 1,426 words on my piece (I'm not sure it has a title yet) for the The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. At this point, I'm only about 5,000 words behind for September.

I'm not sure I have anything else to say today.

In one week, Providence seems to have gone from summer to autumn. Outside, it's 64F and cloudy. You know, like June in Providence.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

Someone had to explain to me yesterday what "Oh snap" is meant to signify (I won't say "mean"). And I just looked it up online. And I still think the expression's dumb as hell. And this isn't just one of those "kids these days" things. There are lots of idiotic turns of phrase from the 70s and 80s and 90s I always refused to use.

These are random thoughts. Feel free to jump right in.

This isn't funny anymore.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
1. Yesterday, I did 1,107 words on the piece I'm still calling "Untitled 35," but which I hope to find an actual title for (though, on the other hand, I'm rather fond of "untitling" pieces, as I've always felt titles were such strange literary artifices). It's going very well. I may finish it today. I think I've managed to construct a future syntax that's mostly believable and also comprehensible to the present-day reader without resorting to a glossary. It's involved everything from revived 1920s jargon to technobabble neologisms to pidgin French to riffs on Cockney rhyming slang.

2. I am doing my best not to think about how The Wolf Who Cried Girl is currently not getting written. Other things are getting written, instead, and it all has to be written; in the end, it'll all balance out.

3. The mystery of the provenance of the "Bowie" quote— "It's a dream-kill-dream world in here..." —has been solved. My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] musey_q for digging back though older blog entries, and the comments to blog entries, and discovering that the quote dates back to January 6th and January 7th, 2008. However, turns out, neither Bowie nor I are the author. The line was coined by [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest. This was during a bout of recurring dreams that I was trying to deal with— the orange man on the space zeppelin, that bout —and [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest commented (on January 6th):

I have to admit, I envy you your dreams. I'm one of the lucky ones I suppose, whose dreams are balanced between distractingly epic and restively mundane. As a side note, you showed up a few nights ago in a gunfight of programmable matter. No hard feelings right? It's a dream-kill-dream world in here...

So..mystery solved. Regardless, it's a beautiful line, and I regret I am so damn forgetful and didn't credit its author in the chapbook. I'll try to remedy that at some point in the future. What's weird, [missing text]

4. It seems we have some serious snow on the way. Spooky will be heading out soon to lay in supplies for a couple of days.

5. The wonderful rp in Insilico continues. Honestly, every time I think it can't get cooler, it gets cooler. A couple of days back, [livejournal.com profile] papersteven asked: "Does Xiang keep a journal like Professor Nishi did? I truly enjoyed reading that. Or would you grace us with a transcript, if one exists? Thank you either way." Professor Nishi was, of course, my character from my first SL rp, way back in '07. But to answer the question, so far, no. Two reasons for this: 1) I discovered that allowing a character to journal leads to metagaming (in this instance, people trying to rp with information that they've picked up from the journal and could not actually have access to in character), and 2) it's a lot of work, and takes up time that could be spent, you know, actually roleplaying. That said, I am actually considering a more limited sort of journal for Xiang. More like footnotes and bits of transcript. In the meantime, I'll leave you with another screencap, from last night:

Xiang and Fifth )
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
1. I began yesterday's entry with the following line: It's a dream-kill-dream world in here..., which I attributed to David Bowie. Then someone asked which song, in particular, I was quoting, that they'd googled the quote and come up with nothing. I had it in my head the line was from "Get Real," which was originally meant to be part of Outside (1995), but didn't make the cut. Turns out, I was wrong. Indeed, I cannot presently trace the quote to anything Bowie has written— or anything anyone else has written, for that matter —and it's all gotten alarmingly odd. It's used as an epigraph in my chapbook B is for Beginnings (2009), where I thought I'd attributed the quote to Bowie. Only, I didn't. I did not attribute it to anyone. So, now I have no idea where it might have originated. Did I write it? Did I find it online somewhere, on a page that has since vanished? At this point, I can't say. But if anyone should happen to solve this mystery, I would be grateful.

2. Yesterday, I began a new vignette, presently called "Untitled 35." I wrote only 624 words, for a number of reasons. Mostly, I got started very late in the day, around 3 p.m. (CaST). However, another problem goes back to what I have often said about science fiction (yes, "Untitled 35" is sf), the problem of linguistic evolution. Very few authors have ever managed to deal with this convincingly when writing about future societies. In my eyes, even Anthony Burgess' excellent A Clockwork Orange (1962) falls short in this regard, and Burgess was a trained linguist. Anyway, point being, in this new piece, a first-person narration, I am struggling to create a somewhat plausible "future language" for a late 21st Century Boston.

Of course, it needs to remain comprehensible to readers in 2010, which hobbles me considerably. But I am always galled by futuristic sf (even the stuff I like) that doesn't at least make some effort to deal with linguistic drift and evolution. Stories set two or three hundred years in the future, in which everyone speaks perfectly understandable English, and so forth; I consider this a far worse offense than "getting the science wrong" (though, technically, this is a matter of anthropology). Ideally, films and stories set that far ahead would need subtitles and glossaries. Think of it this way: Imagine you're living in 1820, in England, and somehow happen across a copy of William Gibson's Burning Chrome. Just how much sense would it make to you?

3. The final cover design for The Ammonite Violin & Others is now up at Subterranean Press, though I've neglected to post it here. Another great piece by Richard Kirk:



4. And now, another day begins. I apparently have no say in this, which seems odd.
greygirlbeast: (Doc10-2)
No writing yesterday. No, that's not true. I began one story, wrote about 400 words, then realized it was not the right story. So I stopped and began another story, which I hope will be the right story. "The Sea Troll's Daughter," and I wrote more than 500 words on it. But I'm pretty sure it was a false start. So, you figure it out. I have most of the story in my head, the characters, the tone, the plot...and that very rarely ever is the case at the outset. Now, I only have to locate the words.

Um...how could it have taken me half an hour to realize that this is not 1931? The iPod should have been a dead giveaway, but there are so many temporal shifts lately, it's hard to keep track.

Still cloudy. Still raining. Still not summer.

I fear I have become addicted to Twitter. In one week, I went from detesting it on general principle, to addiction. Which is pretty much how I do things. Ah, well. Beats the crap out of backsliding into Second Life (It's been two months now, so yay me!). I will say that there are two things about Twitter that have pleased me greatly. First, none of this misuse of the word friend. On Twitter, one has followers, and one follows others, which, in all ways, makes much more sense, without linguistic perversions. Several times now, I've had people (from LJ, SL, Facebook) pull that "But you're my FRIEND" shit on me, and I have to point out that no, I'm not, that we've never even met, and so on, and so forth. Drama ensues. And, of course, the misuse of friend has led to the neologism friending, when there was already befriend to function as an accompanying verb, and it would have worked just fine. "But, you friended me!" No, I befriended you. And, in this qualified sense of the word, that only makes us sort of vaguely acquainted, at best. Anyway, that's one thing.

Another thing that pleases me about Twitter is that, at least among the people who are following me thus far (362), and those I'm following (57), there's been, in more than three days, almost no l33t or lolspeak or emoticons. Which surprises me, as we're limited to 140 characters per message, and yet, all of these people stop and think of a way to make themselves understood without resorting to idiotic acronyms. I have not seen "lol" even once (but maybe that's because I'm not following Eliza Dushku). I am told this would change were I to descend into the realm of "people who do real-time conversation," but I'm not even sure what that is——I mean, how it would differ from what I've seen so far, since it all seems rather "real time"——so I shall simply avoid it. Anyway, I'm greygirlbeast.

Yesterday, I tweeted the first part of The Red Tree micro-sneak-peek experiment. Today, I'll repost yesterday's bit, then add Pt. 2.

My thanks to everyone who's bid in the current round of eBay auctions. I will remind you that the clothbound copy of The Merewife up now is probably the only one I will ever auction, as I received but four copies, back in 2005. Among my hard-to-find publications, it's surely one of the hardest to find. And, yes, all proceeds from these auctions will go to help offset the expense of my attending ReaderCon in July. So, thank you again, if you've bid or already won an auction.

Yesterday, Serena Valentino ([livejournal.com profile] serenavalentino) wrote to relate to me a dream she'd had, a dream in which I appeared, and a dream which delighted me, when I heard of it. She's given me permission to include her description of the dream in this entry:

I had an interesting dream about you, even more interesting by virtue of rarely remembering my dreams. You were dressed in an Edwardian era outfit, a hybrid of a lady's outfit, but with long riding breeches under your skirt. I know this not because I got under your skirt, mind (it wasn't that sort of dream) your skirt was split in the front, revealing the breeches. Your long coat was also rather masculine, but tailored for a woman. It was very fetching. We were sitting near each other during a performance of some kind (candles illuminated the foot of the stage) and you commented on the performance, it was a very witty sort of comment, one would expect from Oscar Wilde, or yourself for that matter. I remember laughing a little too loudly for the people sitting near us, and that made us laugh even harder.

I only wish I could remember any of this.

Anything else? No, not really. Oh, except one thing. I'm pretty sure that very few people under the age of thirty-five remember what the word angst actually means, or know that "angsting" isn't a word, or that feeling and expressing angst is not a sign of weakness or something to be loathed and mocked. We'll talk about "emo" later. How can a nation be simultaneously so overwrought and emotionally constipated? Anyway, class dismissed. I need to see a lady about a platypus.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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