greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
This is one of those rare mornings when I wake freezing, shivering, headachey, just shy of full-blown hypothermia, somehow having divested myself of all the blankets in the throes of this or that bad dream. And then I need two hours to get warm. Only, according to Spooky, I was actually being a bed hog, and if I'm cold it's my own damn fault.

Yesterday, I did an interview. An important interview. But I cannot yet say for whom or where it will appear. I will tell you as soon as I can. But it ate up more of the day than it should have. Also, I've gotten bloody sick of talking about myself. It's a little easier to talk about Imp or Sarah or Dancy, and almost as accurate since they're all overlapping aspects of me, anyway. To all prospective interviewers and would-be biographers of Me, I say to you, the only biography that's worth a good goddamn, the only truth-be-told, must first be filtered and fictionalized. You reduce the lives of women and men down to mere fact and history, and mostly you'll be left with the banal; if you're lucky, you'll get monotonous tragedy. Mythologize, though, and at least tragedy will seem noble, and even mundanity may be transformed and redeemed.

I am a writer, and my lot in life is to lie constantly, all the while never failing to tell the truth.

Today, I go back to work on "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," and hopefully finish it. It will come in Sirenia Digest #73, with a great illustration by Vince Locke, plus Chapter Two of the original (scrapped) attempt to write Silk, plus (!, I hope) a new science-fiction story. I hope. Maybe.

Yesterday, I saw the colored pages for one of the Alabaster stories, colored by Rachelle Rosenberg, and wow.

An announcement. Every morning, or early afternoon, or mid afternoon, I spend anywhere from one to three hours on this journal. An hour and a half is about average, but let's say an hour, because round numbers are easier. That means I journalize seven hours a week, twenty-eight hours a month, three hundred and sixty-five hours a year (or about 15.2 days; and, in truth, a considerably larger sum). Think of all the stories or vignettes or work on novels I could get done in that time. And I've been doing this for more than eleven years, almost every single day! So, I'm thinking that after March, after the release of The Drowning Girl, I'm going to cease this every-goddamn-day blogging thing, this wearisome cataloging of the humdrum events of my humdrum life, and reserve the LJ for news of forthcoming books and of occasional interesting trips, saving untold hours that can be devoted to work, waking up, staring out the window, reading the day's news, et aliae. It's unlikely I'll change my mind.

It's looking now like the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl will go live until January 3rd, due to web-design issues. We have everything in place, it just has to be assembled. The new front page of my website, that is. The thirty-second trailer is edited and ready to post (thank you, Brian!).

Yesterday, well, not much else to tell. I read a pretty good story by David Barr Kirtley (whom, I admit, I'd never heard of before), and before bed I read Stuart Moore's graphic-novel story loosely based on Thomas Ligotti's "The Last Feast of Harlequin (2007), as illustrated by Colleen Doran (I worked with her on an issue of The Dreaming, but, offhand, I can't recall which one). I napped. I watched a PBS documentary on the AZORIAN Project and the 1974 attempt to raise the sunken Soviet submarine K-129. I played Star Wars: The Old Republic. And there was other stuff.

And now, I go forth to think on bivalves and cephalopods.

Warm Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Aeryn and Pilot)
00. I'm not feeling very bow tie this afternoon. Comments would be nice.

01. Yesterday there was email, and Subterranean Press needed some stuff from me for The Yellow Book, which, you may recall, is the FREE hardcover chapbook that accompanies the limited edition (but not the trade) of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Little odds and ends, nothing major. And I was still waiting to hear from an editor, so I proposed to Spooky that we proceed with a long, long delayed office renovation. We spent about an hour moving a shelf and books and stuff, then spent two hours realizing that the table we wanted to put in my office would never fit (this involved Spooky calling her Mom in South County to remeasure Spooky's sister Steph's old table out in the barn). Nope. No dice. So, I have resigned myself to being stuck in an office even smaller than my last (Mansfield Avenue, Atlanta, GA), which was, at best, a third as large as my office before that (Kirkwood Lofts, Atlanta, GA). A few years from now, at this rate, they'll have me writing in a restroom stall. Ah, well. At least then I'll never have an excuse to stand up. Anyway, in the end (no pun intended), yesterday was mostly a sadly and exhausting wasted day. Though, I did leave the house for the first time in five or six days.

02. In list of weird books to give the weird people in your lives for the holidays (that would be Solstice and/or Cephalopodmas), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, over at the Weird Fiction Review website (virtual sister of the Centipede Press print digest of the same name), in their listing Two Worlds and In Between, write:

Standing as one member of the Triad of Infernal Weird – the three who clearly have signed pacts with demons to keep the quality of their story forever elevated – that also includes Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco, Kiernan has emerged since the 1990s as a master of the weird tale.

Clearly, we haven't been keeping those meetings secret enough. Regardless, the VanderMeers strongly recommend the book ("This collection from Subterranean only confirms her brilliance."), along with several other very wonderfully weird titles (kittens, the word horror, when used to denote a literary genre, is so very not bow tie; parentheses are, though – trust me).

03. Today will be spent writing a very whimsical piece for Sirenia Digest #73, "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea." Think Victorian flower language (id est, floriography) and you're halfway there. I intend to enjoy writing this.

04. A point of etiquette (unless you happen to wish to seem a douchebag):

a) When a kerfuffle is made over a company publicly insulting transgender persons, and there is outrage, and said company wisely apologizes (though, note, I don't consider an apology an exoneration), and a somewhat prominent transgender author notes that at least this is evidence that change is coming, even if it's coming very, very slowly, do not

b) post in that authors' Facebook that, while you sympathize, you also find the insult funny, and then

c) when said author explains why it's not fucking funny do not

d) dig in your heels and go on about how some people take themselves too seriously, or

e) you will find yourself banned from that author's Facebook, Matthew Baker. Because admitting that you find a joke at the expense of transgender people funny, but also understanding it hurts them, but you still find it funny, makes you a hateful and transphobic (here's that word again) douchebag. I'll not dwell on the coincidences that you are also male, white, and cisgender. Also, definitely do NOT begin emailing the author afterwards to call them names, because then you'll have graduated from douchebag to troll.

05. Last night, after sandwiches from the Eastside Market deli, we watched Scott Crocker's documentary on the mistaken resurrection of the (almost certainly) extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Ghost Bird, with music by the amazing Zoë Keating. Ghost Bird is an exquisite film, not only because it documents this episode in the history of humanity's thoughtless elimination of other species, but because it serves as a case study of how science works: the theory, the methodology, responsibility, the politics, publishing, personal conflicts, and the perils of wishful thinking. See it; for the moment it can be streamed from Netflix.

After the film, there was Rift (which is to say, my social life), and Indus reached Level 40 (only ten to go). Then I read a rather good story by Ramsay Campbell, "Getting It Wrong," who needs no one to tell him how the Plight of Family X can, and usually does, make for a truly dull story. By the way, one day soon, I'll explain why several books, including Danielewski's House of Leaves, Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door, my own The Red Tree, and a few others, emphatically do not fall into the dreaded subgenre trap of "Family X Move Into the Bad House and Have Their Normative Domestic Bliss Wrecked by an Inconvenient Intrusion from Outside." The answer is surprisingly simple, though extraordinarily complex.

And now, the words.

Simply Complex and Complexly Simple,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:34 p.m.): Word from my editor at Penguin that the final and corrected cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (apple)
The first computer I ever used wasn't an Apple. This was June 1986, and the computer was something or another manufactured by the Kaypro Corporation. Looked like it had been yanked from a control panel on the Nostromo, that eighty-column, nine-inch green phosphor screen, 64 KB of RAM, the 2.5 MHz Zilog Z80 microprocessor, and so on and so forth. Drives for 91 kb 5¼ inch floppy disks. Remember those? Floppy disks? Anyway, I'd moved to Boulder, Colorado to go to school, and I was typing a paper for a conference—the umpteenth draft, dabbed with liquid paper—and James Kirkland (the first friend I made at UC; he was finishing his PhD) walked in and was like, "Jesus, you're still using an electric typewriter? You've gotta be kidding me. Come over here. Let me show you something." So, he introduced me to the Kaypro (in its all metal chassis) and a horrid, deafening little Okidata dot matrix printer. And it was a weird sort of love at first sight. I was using a computer. Just like on, you know, fucking Star Trek. I was fucking Lieutenant Uhura on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701, writing about extinct marine reptiles! It was fucking cool.

Then, later that same year, I met the Apple IIe, with it's large screen and amber letters. It didn't look half so science-fiction, but was some how less annoying to work with. And then, in 1987, I met the Mac SE with its big grey screen, and diskettes, and a MOUSE (!!), and it was all modular and sexy and friendly and intuitive, and I fell instantly, utterly in love. It the thing broke, even I could usually get it up and running again. The computer lab became a glorious place to be. I made up excuses just to be there. Need someone to input all your data on the relative dimensions of the ammonite phragmocone, with possible relevance to sexual dimorphism? Sure, I'll do it free, and, besides, it's a chance to skip an organic chem lecture.

But it wasn't until 1993, back in Birmingham, Ala. that I got a special Apple student loan to buy my own machine, an Apple Color Classic. Of my very own. That I could take home! And here was that lovely 10″ Sony Trinitron color monitor, 512×384 pixel resolution, and sure, it only had 4 megs of memory, but later I was able to bump that up to 10 megs. I named her Pandora. And everything from "Persephone" to "Apokatastasis" on that lovely machine. I used AOL and Usenet and played SimEarth. I took it to Athens, Ga with me (1994), then back to Birmingham (1997), then to Atlanta (2001) and right back to Birmingham the same year.

But while I was in Atlanta, in October 2001, I bought a reconditioned Mac iBook, and slowly transitioned from Pandora to that machine, which I named Victoria Regina. I used this laptop until April 2007, when I took part of the advance from my shitty little Beowulf tie-in "novel" and bought the iMac I've been using ever since. She's named Arwen, and memory is measured in gigs, and there's over two hundred thousand colors on her huge LCD screen. That's only three Macs in twenty-five years, with virtually no crashes or trips to the service guys or anything. So don't tell me Macs aren't wonderful machines. Don't tell me they don't work for shit. Because I have the experience to know otherwise, a quarter century of it.

Oh, and I've also had two iPods (Moya and, then, Inara) I'd still be on my first, but it had a run in with an unfortunate very powerful magnet on the trip to Oregon a year ago). Pandora needs work on her screen, and Victoria still runs just fine, and I expect to be using Arwen for many years to come. The only reason I don't have an iPad or iPhone is that I cannot present afford either on my freelancers income.

And yesterday Steve Jobs died. It's messed with my head in ways I can't articulate. He was my Tesla. Something like that. He spawned wonders that changed the world, for better or worse. To quote [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, who I hope won't mind being quoted: [Jobs took] those thing that Apple had -- the weird idea that you'd want to have a sort of electronic Rolodex you'd carry around, that you can take notes on, that would schedule your appointments, the idea that you'd want to be able to talk to your computer and have it do things, the idea that a computer didn't sit on your desk, but that it belonged in your pocket, the idea that you could read a book on your computer and it could have sound and it could have video -- he took those things and he made them work.

It is very safe to say I never would have had a writing career without Apple. I can't even begin to fathom the Microsoft boxes and their unintuitive Windows interface (a creation stolen from Jobs and Wozniak by that ferret Bill Gates, then mutated into something nightmarish). I never would have had the patience to learn to use PCs, and my style of writing, I fear, isn't conducive to typewriters. Am I member of the so-called "Cult of Apple"? Maybe. I really don't care. But I would have liked to see Jobs get a little more time, and I am grateful for his work. It's safe to say I'm going to be mourning the loss of him for a while.

----

I can't tell you what I worked on yesterday, or what I'll work on today. But it's a crazy-lot of work, and it's going to be awesome beyond belief. Oh, and Sirenia Digest #70 went out late last night.

Late, I read Thomas Ligotti's "Conversations in a Dead Language" (1989), which I'd managed somehow never to read, and which I found oddly disappointing. I all but worship Ligotti, and hardly expected the disappointment. Most of the tale is fine, and I loved the twins in their gender-reversed wedding attire, but then the whole thing is spoiled by a silly "horror" story ending.

And now I gotta so. Many, many words before I can rest. Oh, there are typos in this, I'm sure. Spooky, she'll help me fix them later.

Goodbye, Mr. Jobs,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather has finally turned genuinely cold here in Providence.

I suppose I can write the entry I meant to write yesterday, given I have not yet today been jabbed in the eye with the pointy stick of a homophobic "review." Maybe that happens later, late this afternoon, or tonight.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which include Study #2 for Yellow. [This entry was just interrupted by the discovery of a mouse in Spooky's workroom...time for humane traps, as the mice are bold and apparently the cats can't be bothered].

Two good nights sleep in a row, so I suppose only getting four hours last night was to be expected.

Yesterday, I wrote an impressive 1,664 words on Chapter One of The Drowning Girl. This is the first time I've had the nerve to go back to work on the novel since August 4th. I scrapped everything I wrote this summer and started over again. But, I think I have finally found the voice of this novel. It's a new voice, another first-person narrative, but quite distinct from Sarah Crowe (though India Phelps is another goddamn lesbian, so buyer beware). Anyway, here's hoping the third or fourth time's the charm, because I've gotten the third extension of this novel's deadline, and I need to have something coherent for my publisher come March. I have set a goal of writing at least 1,500 words a day, every day, at least for the next month, a thing I've not attempted since early 2007, and which I swore I'd never inflict upon myself again.

Sirenia Digest #59 went out to subscribers last night. Two new stories, which I hope readers will enjoy.



---

A fine Halloween this year. I worked on the digest, but afterwards I read the first volume of Kirkman and Moore's The Walking Dead ("Days Gone Bye"). I followed that with Thomas Ligotti's "The Medusa." As we'd declared Sunday night a Kid Night, we had hot dogs and candy (too much candy) and watched "scary" movies (I use the quotations because I rarely find "scary" movies scary, which is okay, because I enjoy them on many other levels). In fact, we made is a quadruple feature! We began with Jon Harris' The Descent: Part 2 (2009), which wasn't as good as the first film (not as atmospheric, and we see the monsters far too clearly this time), but was still a decent sequel. There are some interesting parallels between The Descent/The Descent: Part 2 and Alien/Aliens. Next up, we watched Jim Mickle's Mulberry Street (2006), a surprisingly effective low-budget affair which did a much better job of portraying NYC than most big budget films set in NYC manage. We followed that with Mark A. Lewis' The Thaw (2009), which was better than it should have been, given how much it borrows from Carpenter's The Thing and a particular episode of The X-Files ("Ice," Season 1, Episode 8). Finally, we finished up with the astoundingly ridiculous Vampires: Los Muertos, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (2002). John Bon Jovi is a freelance vampire hunter with a surf board; the only thing this film really had going for it was Arly Jover's performance as a blue-eyed, sexy vampire (Jover also played a vampire in 1998's Blade). So, yeah. A pretty damn good Halloween.

---

Last night, we saw the first episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, adapted from the aforementioned graphic novel of the same name. I was impressed. Not only was the first episode extremely faithful to the source material, it brought a new depth to the story. And it's pretty cool seeing a post-apocalyptic Atlanta. However, I will say that I'm dangerously near total burnout on zombie films, good or bad or otherwise. I think we've reach that point with zombies that we reached with vampires in the early '90s. I fear it's time to step away from the zombies for a while (though, of course, the cultural fascination at work here is rife with potential insight).

---

After The Walking Dead, I played CoX, and got Erzsébetta from Level 29 to Level 38. Plus, there was some good rp.

Okay. Time to write.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I finished Study #2 for Yellow. I'll post photographs of it tomorrow. While I was working on this painting, I didn't let myself look at images of Study #1 for Yellow. So, I was sort of astounded when I finally did yesterday, and saw how much better the second painting is than the first. This one will go up on eBay, but I have a feeling I won't be offering another painting for a while. The next couple, I'm going to want to hang onto. It's not like selling a short story or a novel. You're not really giving anything away. These days, I don't even send an editor a hard copy of a manuscript. The paintings are solid, tangible, and they go away, and they're gone.

I emailed Vince notes about his illustration for "At the Reef" (to appear in Sirenia Digest #59).

Then we took advantage of what will likely be the last warm day this year. It was 74F Outside, so, we left the House and drove south and east to Conanicut Island and Beavertail. On the way down, we listened to Throwing Muses and I read two Thomas Ligotti stories, "Drink to Me Only With Labyrinthine Eyes" and "The Glamour." By the time we reached the shore, the sun was low. And it felt about twenty degrees cooler by the sea. The surf was unexpectedly rough, and there was an enormous fog bank rolling in from the east. We watched it swallow Newport and Aquidneck Island. It was neither grey nor blue, and moved swiftly over the water. We sat on the rocks and listened to the foghorn. There was a flock of cormorants drifting out beyond the breakers, and a few gulls perched on the boulders, eyeing the bay as though it had betrayed their expectations. A flock of eider ducks flew past. The air was salty and cold and I didn't want to come home.

There a photos below, behind the cut.

---

I'm wondering if I can "crowdsource" two relatively simple tattoos. Am I even using the portmanteau correctly? Anyway, I've been thinking, as I cannot currently afford the back and sleeve work I want done, I could settle for one word on each wrist. On my left would be the word House (in blue) and on my right wrist would be the word Tree (in red). Both would be inked in Courier. I'd probably have it done at Artfreek on Wickenden Street. Two words that have had such significance for me.

---

Tomorrow night, I will be reading (and signing) at the Brown University Bookstore on Thayer Street. Costumes optional. Reading starts at 6 p.m. You should come, if you can. I hate reading to empty rooms. I will probably be reading something from The Ammonite Violin & Others.

---

The platypus compels you to have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, the platypus compels me to remind you that all the cool Halloween-related creations in Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop will go away on November 1st, so act now. The platypus is a compelling beast.

I think that's all for now. Except for the photographs. I have to write.

Last Warm Day, 28 October 2010 )

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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