greygirlbeast: (Max)
Stumbled across this online today, and I thought I'd share...

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, I've survived that. Mostly, I'm just stiff and sore from lying down for the better part of two days, and bored silly, and in need of a shower. Spooky's still a bit ill, but her symptoms manifested about ten hours or so after mine did. Anyway, lousy fucking way to "ring in" the New Year.

Then again, why we do this, celebrate the exchange of one calendar for another, I admit it escapes me. We celebrated the arrival of 2011, which we apparently used up, so we celebrated the arrival of 2012. Benchmarks, I suppose. Congratulations that the world is still here. Something like that. Something must be celebrated to break up the days, most of which are unremarkable. For most.

For my part, 2011 was a vast improvement over 2010, though we struggled with a marked shortage of money the first half of the year. Still, 2011 was a year of recovery, I think, and of new beginnings. Not on the first of the year, but new beginnings strewn here and there throughout. The greatest of these is, of course, Alabaster, and my return to comics on my own terms – which I'd said for years was the only way I would return. But, too, I finished what is far and away the best novel I've written, The Drowning Girl, which will soon be out in the world. I did that, and still had the energy, somehow, to sit down and write another novel, Blood Oranges, which isn't even in the same league as The Drowning Girl, but which is quite a lot of fun, probably the last thing anyone could say about The Drowning Girl. Then there was the enormous success of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume 1), which still has me a little dizzy. And now Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book are on the way! Yeah, I'm tooting my own horn, as they are wont to say, but it was a good year, and the year to come ought be marvelous. And here is my recap of the short fiction I wrote this year:

01. "-30-"
02. "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash"
03. "The Carnival is Dead and Gone"
04. "Untitled 35"
05. "Figurehead"
06. "Fake Plastic Trees"
07. "Down to Gehenna"
08. "The Granting Cabinet"
09. "Slouching Towards the House of Glass Coffins"
10. "Evensong"
11. "Dear Daughter Desmodus"
12. "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W"
13. "Ex Libris"
14. "Another Tale of Two Cities"

That's three less than 2011, but when you consider that I wrote most of The Drowning Girl, all of Blood Oranges, the first three issues of Alabaster, and edited Two Worlds and In Between, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and The Yellow Book (the editing with a fucking enormous amount of help from Spooky and [livejournal.com profile] sovay) – I think that sort of explains why there was less short fiction this year. Also, I'll note that all but two of these were written for the digest.

And. Plus. The release of the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl is only days away (slightly delayed, due to the illness).

There truly is little that can be said for yesterday. Most of it was spent horizontal, watching crap on the iPad, recovering. Though, I will add that you cannot banish Yog-Sothoth from any dimension with the microdrive of an iPod, Mr. Shirley. Though, I do wish that trick would work on the majority of Xtians and Republicans and on the Tea Party loons, the lot of them worse than any of the Great Old Ones or Outer Gods dreamt up by HPL. Because I'd gladly sacrifice Inara to that end.

Now, I'm going to go take a shower and hope I've enough energy left afterwards to work on Sirenia Digest. I absolutely could not afford two days of downtime, as these deadlines pile up on top of me, and now I have to scramble three times as fast to catch up. But, if Spooky's up to the trip to Whole Foods, we'll manage our annual New Years' dinner of black-eyed peas, collards, mac and cheese, and corn bread.

Vertical,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (river3)
Kittens, this is what happens when you break up with a vacation. It exhibits a flare for vindictiveness by seeing to it that, on the eve of New Year's Eve, I catch a mild intestinal bug, just enough to make me utterly miserable for a good twenty-four hours, and see that Spooky catches it just as I start recovering, so another twenty-four hours will be disrupted and more misery will be spread. So, warning: do not interrupt vacations.

But comment. I'll have the iPad with me in bed.

I spent most of yesterday lying on the chaise in the middle parlour, sleeping and moaning, except when I was...no, I'll be discrete, yes? Yes. I did read Laird Barron's "Old Virginia" and Steve Duffy's "The Oram County Whoosit," the latter of which was not only quite good, but rather interesting. In that it covered some of the ground I covered in "In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)" and "The Colliers' Venus (1893)." Also, it put me in mind, a bit, of Carpenter's The Thing (1982). But I don't mean to say that it felt derivative (though it is a "Mythos tale"). You can find "The Oram County Whoosit" in New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, and I recommend it. This was the first story by Duffy I'd read.

Last night, as the crud struck Spooky, we watched Julie Delpy's The Countess (2009). And it really is Delpy's film as she wrote, directed, scored, and played the title role in the film. It's neglect of historicity aside, it's a fine film. Erzebet Bathory's story becomes both a fairy tale and a tragedy about a strong, intelligent (if psychotically, murderously neurotic) woman caught in an age when strong, intelligent women were generally deemed, at best, a nuisance. I especially approve of this latter theme, as it certainly did play a role in the downfall of the real Countess Bathory, between the enormous debt owed her by Hungary's King Matthias and the hatred she engendered from the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever else may or may not be true of her, having researched her life, there can be little doubt she ran afoul of a conspiracy and was an easy target. Anyway, I'd have liked a wilder, more explicit film, but The Countess is impressive, nonetheless (ignore the IMDb rating of 6.2; that's fucking poppycock). See it.

But what really saved the day yesterday was that the mail brought a gift from Neil, a personalized copy of the numbered edition of The Little Golden Book of Ghastly Stuff, from Borderlands Press. Spooky read a bit of it to me and the platypus. I was especially pleased with "Entitlement Issues" (you can read it online, just follow the link), which calls out all those fools who think authors owe them anything at all and who place stock in that "reader/writer contract" crap.

Ah, I'm running out of what little steam I had in me. So, I shall leave you with two things: Firstly, a promise that Sirenia Digest #73 will be out sometime in the next week or so, and, secondly, I leave you with this rare photo of me and the platypus together (we were fading fast):



On the Mend,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Not a good morning, this. Instead, the sort of morning you just have to keep moving through. Not because there might be something better on the other side, but because the only other option is to stop moving. And somewhere along the winding course of my life, the irrational belief was instilled in me that stopping is a Bad Thing.

Anyway...

Yesterday, post-"vacation mistake" epiphany, I wrote and answered emails. I signed the signature sheets I mentioned. We worked on the line edits for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book (and we're not too far from being finished with that). Today, more. Of everything. I think Kathryn's going down to her mom and dad's place. Would that I were going with her.

---

Yesterday, I was looking back over my Blogger entries from December 2003, and I found this passage, written on the 25th:

I will not get smarmy this morning, because I will not be a hypocrite, but I will wish you all the finest things that I can for the long year to come. Peace and freedom from tyranny and fear and repression, in all ways. The realization of dreams, or at least the luxury of the dreams themselves. The dignity that comes with pain that may not be avoided, and the strength to bear all the unbearable moments in life. Beauty and the eyes to see it. And perspective. And joy, which is a far finer thing than any passing happiness...Spooky and I have had the finest Xmas of any I've enjoyed since the late '80s.

I know why I wrote that, why I found an Xmas I could endure. What I spent a considerable bit of the day trying to puzzle out was exactly how things backslid so much between 2003 and now, what happened in the intervening seven years. Oh, I know the answer: a lot of bad shit. A fall. The whole affair left me sort of sick and confused.

---

Not much else to yesterday. I did manage a decent bit of reading. Three stories: Charles Stross' "A Colder War," Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "Mongoose," and Don Webb's "The Great White Bed." I don't think I'm ever going to "get" Stross. I believe he and I must simply exist on different points along the dial. But, reading him yesterday, that old chestnut about SF being the literature of ideas came to mind. Who said that? Pamela Sargent? I think it was her. Anyway, sure, "A Colder War" is a great bundle of interesting ideas. But there's very little in the way of characterization, and without solid characters, a "literature of ideas" is pretty much a textbook. Characters first, and then science. All the technoporn in the world can't save a story from the vacuum created by an absence of solid, believable characters. Also, the Burgess Shale fauna isn't Precambrian, it's Middle Cambrian. Sorry. I know it's poor form, one author publicly grousing about another, but Stross' stories always leave me feeling like I'm missing something that everyone else plainly understands.

As for "Mongoose," it's a beautiful, brilliant, and delightful story. Each of those adjectives was chosen with care, by the way. I'm not just heaping hyperbole. I can also use it to illustrate a point I was trying to make yesterday. I very much dislike Lovecraftian fiction that is parody and/or attempts at literary irony. Almost without fail, they fail, those sorts of stories. The author/s, having decided they cannot possibly take Lovecraft seriously, and that no one else can, either – not in this day and age, and probably not in any day and age – turn/s to satire (usually dimwitted satire). "Mongoose," on the other hand, manages to have a lot of fun with a futuristic extrapolation of Lovecraft's universe, and never once does it feel as if the authors are mocking the source material. It is, I think, a story HPL himself probably would have loved. The difference, I believe, is that "Mongoose" never stoops to parody or derision, but chooses wit and whimsy, instead. Especially whimsy. And it just works. Brava.

It took me forever to get to sleep, but I can't blame Monsieur Insomnia. Not when I didn't get up until one p.m. the day before. I think I finally found sleep sometime after five ayem, after watching the first half hour or so of Clarence Brown's The Rains Came (1939).

Slivy,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Doc10-2)
Cold here in Providence. All day yesterday, the mercury hovered in the twenties Fahrenheit. Today, I am told, we will suffer a balmy 43˚. Only, with wind.

Here I am, still on vacation. Still...vacating?

Not much to be said for yesterday. Oh, I did want to say that the past two nights I've slept 8.5 hours each, for a total of 17 hours. There are entire weeks when I don't sleep 17 hours! To wit, I propose it is writing that gives me insomnia.

But, yesterday. I actually did have to email my agent, regarding the Two Worlds and In Between audiobook that might one day exist, and I sent another email to my editor at Dark Horse (there were replies, and my replies to their replies, this ayem). But yesterday I mostly gamed. Unless I'm forgetting something. I played a LOT of SW:toR, leveling my Sith Inquisitor to 11, and my bounty hunter to 7. I discovered that playing a bounty hunter is a lot of fun. The storyline is very, very good. Actually, I have almost nothing to complain about as regards SW:toR, except a) the silly hop and b) the stagnant technology bullshit. I don't think many people have a proper enough concept of deep time (even on an historical scale) to grasp what 3,500 years means in terms of the evolution of a civilization. All the hand waving and absurd explanations aside, it's lazy design and fear of fan backlash. But yes, otherwise, a grand game.

Ah, hello. My comp copies of New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird (Prime Books) have just arrived. This is the second time an anthology has reprinted my story, "Pickman's Other Model (1929)." In fact, it's the first story in the volume. The story first appeared (outside Sirenia Digest #28, March 2008) in Joshi's Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror (2010; PS Publishing). So, grab a copy. And subscribe to Sirenia Digest. And listen to Brown Bird. All those things, though not necessarily in that order.

Last night, we saw an excellent episode of Doctor Who, "The Girl Who Waited," possibly one of the best episodes I've ever seen. When I finally went to bed, I read from Christopher McGowan's The Dragon Seekers: How an Extraordinary Circle of Fossilists Discovered the Dinosaurs and Paved the Way for Darwin (2001).

Tonight, we go to the Cable Car to see Lars von Trier's Melancholia.
---

And the last U.S. troops have left Iraq, and an illegal act of aggression draws to a close. After nine years and the deaths of almost 4,500 Americans, a number of casualties that pales when compared to the number Iraqi fatalities, a number which is very hard to pin down, but which may be as high as 109,032 deaths, including 66,081 civilian deaths, and a cost to US taxpayers of ~1.9 trillion dollars, and the further sundering of an ancient nation and its antiquities. We call this waste, kittens, the American and Iraqi deaths, and waste is the only true evil in the world. All evil can be reduced to wasteful fucking acts. But our troops are out, even if we're not sure exactly what that means. And isn't this another promise the President has kept? It is. And yes, Kim Jong-il is dead, and so now the world faces the uncertainty of Kim Jong-un, possibly an even greater danger than his father.

Regardless, this is no day of victory, as our soldiers come home. This is not a day of peace, because there is not yet peace in the world. This is a day of shame and disgrace, and a day George W. Bush, Jr. and his cronies should be remembered as war criminals (since we cannot try them as such), and a day we should mourn all those lost, on all sides of this abominably wasteful conflict, which was never about terrorism or democracy, but about profit margins and oil. Let's not even talk about the American vets whom we cannot care for, medically or psychologically, even if "we" wanted to do so. This is a war that has existed, in the main, beyond American consciousness.

Now...Afghanistan.*

Counting,
Aunt Beast

* And if you want to argue with someone over any of this, do it somewhere else.
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: (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)
And here it is the second of Hallowe'en, and on this day one year ago I was in Portland, Oregon, Guest of Honoring for the Lovecraft Film Festival. In fact, on this night a year ago I gave the speech that was recently published in the fifth issue of The Lovecraft Annual. I'm having one of those "How can a year have already come and gone?" days. Then again, since this day two years ago, I've written two novels and...well, a metric-asston of stuff has happened.

Yesterday, I pulled together everything for Sirenia Digest #70. Great cover this month. So, as soon as I have Vince Locke's illustration, it goes out to subscribers (if you are a subscriber). But, yeah, that was work yesterday.

And a there was an email from Gary K. Wolfe that actually managed to make me happy. Kind of scary when that happens. My moments of the happy, I mean. More on this very soon.

It's Sunday, and Sunday is a very good day to order your copy of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) (sorry, the super-snazzy limited sold out long ago, but there's still a few copies of the snazzy trade edition).

And before anyone asks (as if anyone need ask), yes, I support OccupyWallStreet one-hundred percent, and I only hope we see more protests of this magnitude in more cities across the country. "We are unions, students, teachers, veterans, first responders, families, the unemployed and underemployed. We are all races, sexes and creeds. We are the majority. We are the 99 percent. And we will no longer be silent." I wouldn't hasten to add, we are artists.

Last night, we drove up to a four-band show in Pawtucket, at the Met Cafe in the Hope Artiste Village. Well, mostly, we went to see Brown Bird (click for the HEARING OF THE MUSIC), who played second. We are Brown Bird addicts, because they rock. Yes, they do, so don't make that face, you sluggard! But the first band was a group from Chicago, Pillars and Tongues (their Band Camp site), and they, too, were truly amazing. Spooky described them as the lovechild of David Sylvian, Brenden Perry, and Sixteen Horsepower. And Mark Trecka plays the harmonium! Wonderful. Then Brown Bird came on, and I was very confused, until I figured out that strange woman wandering around on stage was, in fact, Morganeve, who's cut all her hair off. Others were also confused. We left after Brown Bird, even though we wanted to see Dark Dark Dark play. But the third band was...bad. And painful. As in, a trumpet (or coronet?) splitting our skulls apart. And the bad clothes. Like, a thousand hipsters dumped into a blender and out popped this bad. Oh, and banana shoes. Let us not forget the hallowed banana shoes. We did discover that by the time we'd left the building, and walked around front and across the street to the parking lot, by then they sounded okay. But, yes, Pillars and Tongues and Brown Bird. If they play near you, SEE THESE BANDS. There are three photos behind the cut:

1 October 2010 )


Back home...we watched Mad Men (in Season Three, now), and I read to Spooky from Halloween. Yeah, I'm having another go at reading through an anthology that's reprinted one of my stories, since it's been going fairly well, this odd new habit. Oh, and I've never before been in an anthology that also includes Sir Walter Scott. Anyway, I read her "Ulalume: A Ballad" (including the last stanza, which is usually missing) and Lovecraft's "Hallowe'en in a Suburb," which led to a rather amusing conversation about lemurs, Lemuria, Goethe, and the lemures of Roman mythology. Then she went to sleep, and I read, to myself, Joe Lansdale's extremely effective "On a Dark October."

And that, Kätzchen, was yesterday, give or take.

Car Lagged,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
No, I'm awake. I promise. I can even see. Almost. I have even managed to survive the severe upbraiding I have received from Spooky for having awakened her at dawn-thirty because I was awakened by Hubero at dawn-thirty. I don't know why I did it! He does crazy shit, okay?! Crazy-ass cat shit, and usually she knows how to scare him in to calming the hell down. Instead, no, I'm in trouble for waking her up – me, the victim.

But that's cool. No more saving her from sasquatches.

And here it is the First of Hallowe'en, which would be fine, if I hadn't lost the first third of summer to rain, and the second third to...a bunch of dumb shit.

Yesterday I wrote a mere 454 words on "Daughter Dear Desmodus." Then I realized, This isn't a vignette. Or even a "sudden" fiction, or a short short, or whatever the beatniks are saying these days. It's not a short story, and I think it's more than a novelette. Or even a novella. Gods fuck me sideways, I think it's the first few pages of a novel about a "bat girl" in a carnival sideshow and how she grows up to unwittingly become the center of a doomsday cult, and fall in love. You know, like Water for Elephants on LSD.* And that's when I typed, THE END, because if I stopped at the conclusion of the paragraph I was writing, the story would have a happy ending. Okay, not happy. But what Spooky pronounced "sweet." Look, I don't know if it's the pills they give me so I don't flop around on the floor and choke on my own spittle to die the ignominious death of Tchaikovsky, or if I'm just getting old...but I find myself, now and again, wanting to let a character with whom I have fallen in love off the hook just a little. IS THAT SO BAD? Anyway, this is the story Vince will be illustrating, instead of the other story.

Spooky's muttering about washing her hair.

Yesterday, the mail (which only works about half the time) brought me my comp copies of Paula Guran's Halloween (Prime Books), a volume with many fine authors (Ray Bradbury, Thomas Ligotti, Lovecraft, Peter Straub, me, and etcetera) that reprints my piece, "On the Reef" (I found two minor typos; my fault). Oddly, I appear only ever to have written two "Hallowe'en stories": "At the Reef" and "A Redress for Andromeda." More proof I'm not a "horror" writer. You know, people still get hung up on that shit, me refusing to be called a "horror" writer. They take it personally. Seriously. For my part, I look at writers I admire, who had a great influence on me growing up. Ray Bradbury (again), for example. Sure, he writes science fiction, and fantasy (sensu stricto and sensu lato), and scary stories, and non-fantastic lit. Italo Calvino? Ambrose Bierce? Or Harlan Ellison, for example. You could not find an author more impossible to categorize (okay, well maybe you could, but that's not the point). He writes...what he wants to write. Same with Shirley Jackson: ghost stories, insightful stories about insanity and the labyrinth of the American family, and she also wrote some very funny shit. And Lovecraft? You really think "The Colour Out of Space" and "At the Mountains of Madness" are "horror" stories? But...William Gibson's "Hinterlands," that's sceince fiction? Pffffft.

You know, there are an awful lot of quotation marks in the last paragraph.

Today I work on pulling Sirenia Digest #70 together, so that I can send it to be PDF'd as soon as I have Vince's illustration, then Spooky can send it out to all the subscribers (and if you are not one of those, it's NEVER too late...unless you die first).

Some really fine RP in Insilico last night. Thank you, Joah. You've helped to complete the building of the perfect beast. And I read Algernon Blackwood's sublime "The Wendigo" for the umpteenth time, but every time it amazes me all the more.

Anyway...you know what? I consider myself a connoisseur of fetishes. There are few of them with which I am not acquainted. And there are still fewer that don't get me off. Wait...never mind. This isn't about non-Euclidian geometry and larger and smaller infinities, Georg Cantor and his cardinalities, integers vs. whole numbers. Not that math can't be a fetish. It can. But...what was I saying? Oh! Yes! Every now and then I watch the creation of a new fetish right before my very eyes and I know - with perfect clarity - it was created just for me. To whit, Christina Hendricks and her red accordion. I would show you the clip, but YouTube has disabled embedding by request. You'll have to settle for a link to Christina Hendricks playing her red accordion. And really, it's all I need. I could just...sit...and watch...her and...that red accordion...for hours. Without breathing.

Stopping Before Someone Gets Hurt,
Aunt Beast

*A novel I might be able to write by 2014.
greygirlbeast: (grey)
Though I slept eight hours or so, I feel like I didn't sleep at all.

And there's so much sun Outside. If I didn't mind a little chill–and I don't–I could spend the day swimming at Moonstone Beach. Same for yesterday. It was "supposed" to rain yesterday and again today. And the rain keeps running away from us. I think I'm going to write a paper titled "Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and New England Weather."

Yesterday, the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir was sent to my publisher from the Jamestown post office out on Conanicut Island. It should be in Manhattan by Wednesday. For the most part, it's now out of my hands.

We spent the afternoon, at West Cove, mostly beach combing. The water was very calm, only a few scattered clouds in the sky. When we arrived, there was a great deal of plastic litter (mostly old Clorox bottles–often used for floats on lobster pots–and soft drink and water bottles) along the shoreline. Spooky and I hauled a great deal of it up above the surf line, and then later someone else came along and gathered up still more. Lots of things wash up in West Cove. Sadly, a lot of it is refuse. It's hard to enjoy being at West Cove after such a futile task.

But we found some good beach glass. I only found one nice bird bone, which was unusual. There were kayaks, canoes, sailing ships, and other boats. We took a lot of photos, and I'll post some of them tomorrow. Just not up to the chore of Photoshop and ftp today.

Back in Providence, we dropped by the p.o. There was a box of antique porcelain doll heads Inzell, Germany for Spooky, and comp copies of the Lovecraft Annual (No. 5) were waiting for me. This issue reprints the Guest of Honor speech I gave at the HPLFF in Portland, Oregon last October. Oh, and there was also a resin cast of a raven skull for Spooky. Such is our mail.

There was pizza from Fellini's for dinner. As days off go, I've had worse. We did get more of The Sundial read, and finished Season Two of Mad Men.

---

Seems like I had more thoughts on The Stand, things I forgot to say yesterday, but now I've mostly forgotten them all again. I know I was going to mention how poorly paced the book is. Having read it again, I'm more amazed than ever that King released an "extended" version. The original is already too long. He could easy have cut out half the stuff in the Boulder Freezone, and it would have only helped. The novel all but grinds to a halt in the middle.

This is what a blog entry looks like when I really can't seem to muster the resolve to write a blog entry.

Anyway. I'll be over here, talking to myself.

Weary of the World,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Cloudy and chilly today here in Providence. There's rain coming, and it may not let up until next week sometime.

Yesterday, we made it through chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Yes, we are proceeding at a painfully slow pace, a fact that does not make my editor or me or Spooky happy campers. And this is because my method of approaching a CEM is, admittedly, odd, compared to the way most writers work through a CEM. It goes like this: I read the CEM aloud, while Spooky follows along on a hard-copy or on a laptop. There are pauses every few minutes to deal with this or that question from the copy-editor. Sometimes, these are lengthy pauses. Obviously, this is a somewhat grueling and, clearly, time-consuming process. Why do I do it this way? Because, I am blind (since birth) in my left eye, and I cannot easily scan from, say, the CEM page to the page of my computer. And immense and prohibitive frustration arises, and it actually takes longer than the unconventional method I have just described. Oh, and the copy-editor aside, I have my own changes I make, my own edits. The CEM is the last chance an author has to make substantial changes to the ms. (so far, I have made no substantial or lengthy changes to this manuscript).

However, I'm sick of the CEM, and still have a lot of polishing to do on the ms. after we address the copy-editors comments, and it's supposed to be back in NYC on Friday (Monday is more likely). So, today we mean to make a mad push to THE END, which would mean we'd have to make it through "Werewolf Smile" and chapters 8-10 and the "Back Pages" section (yes, that's a Bob Dylan reference). I know we won't pull this off, but the Herculean push will mean that we'll finish with this read through tomorrow.

So, that's yesterday's work and today's.

Then we have a short vacation (three days, two nights, probably to Maine), my first in years, and then I have Sirenia Digest #70 (woot), and then October will be here, and I have to read through Blood Oranges and get it to my agent, and go back to work on my kinemassic field generator (there are issues with field propulsion independent of reaction mass to be worked out), and then I'll have Sirenia Digest #71 to write.

Today, the contracts for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart went back into the mail to Subterranean Press, along with a huge box of my books bound for Michael Zulli.

Coming soon: a new round of eBay auctions! (Spooky goes woooooohhoooooooo)

---

Last night, after work, Spooky warmed up leftover chili. I had RP in Insilico. Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene (Xiang 1.5), my Level V (highly illegal) AI in a non-AGIS clone body (now highly illegal) has been promoted within our futuristic yakuza to the level of wakagashira, First Lieutenant to Inara Nasenyana, the oyabun. Which is really pretty cool. She carries a bad-ass katana with a laser running along the cutting edge.

Later, we watched a couple more episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. But we're almost to the end of Season Two, and, frankly, the series has grown dull as hell. At this point, we're only watching it for Richard Belzer. The "rape of the week" storylines are unbearably unimaginative. I mean, come on, seriously, I could think up dozens of sex-related crimes, but no, all we get is rape, rape, rape, rape. I imagine this is because rape and the rape-variant, the sexual abuse of children, is the best that could make it onto prime-time network television. We'll watch to the end of this season, then switch over to the far-more-deserving of our attention Mad Men.

And, just before sleep, I read Elizabeth Bear's ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) "Shuggoths in Bloom," which I shamefacedly admit I'd never before read. But I think that's it for me and The Book of Cthulhu. Still, sixteen out of twenty-seven stories, that's not so bad (seventeen, if you count the T. E. D. Klein story, which I read in my twenties). The rest looks like parody and/or slog, so I'm moving along to revisit the collected works of either Lord Dunsany or Algernon Blackwood.

I should really go now, brush my teeth, then exercise, and get to work. A long, long day stretches out before me.

Stretched,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
A lowly 61˚F outside just now, and I'm not sure it's all that warmer in the house. But that's why, long ago, some crazy motherfucker grabbed a sheep and some knitting needles and invented the sweater. Still, I want summer back. Especially given that July was, essentially, lost to various and sundry bullshit.

Yesterday, we made it through chapters 2 and 3 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It's going well. The copy-editor hasn't made me want to break her/his neck even a single time. Maybe happenstance or sanity has bred a new species of copy-editor. Today, we move on to chapters 4 and 5.

Starting to feel like a shut-in again. Too much work. Too much crappy weather.

Oh, but you remember, back in 1988, when Nicolas Cage ran through the streets of Manhattan screaming that he was a vampire? Sure you do. Anyway, turns out, he was telling the truth, and some comedian on eBay will sell you proof for only one million dollars. Can anyone say "ghost in a jar"? That's okay. I can.*

Last night, at 6:48 p.m. EDT, I sent my first Skype message, thereby entering, irrevocably, this vile age of excessive, shallow social contact. At 7:39 p.m. EDT, I almost accidentally made my first video call on Skype. Fortunately, I was able to hit cancel in time. Mostly, I think Spooky and I plan on using Skype as a sort of intercom, so we won't have to yell back and forth, our voices ringing alarmingly loudly (and yet unintelligibly) down the immemorial halls and off the walls of the house. The cats are grateful, but I remain dubious.

I think I've reached the end of that portion of The Book of Cthulhu which I deem worthwhile. Last night, I read Ann K. Schwader's "Lost Stars," which has it's moments – and some intriguing ones, at that – but which never really manages to coalesce into a genuinely effective whole. Which is a shame, as the image of "Ammutseba" devouring a Leonid meteor shower above the Flatirons of Colorado was, indeed, apocalyptically chilling. Also, I'm very pleased that Spooky's sort of re-discovered Manly Wade Wellman. Last night, she read "Where Angels Fear" and "Nobody Ever Goes There."

And now, Red Bull! And my red pen! And...whoa, look. The contracts from Subterranean Press for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart have just arrived. Cool beans.

Shut In,
Aunt Beast

* Actually, the rational explanation for the Nicolas Cage "vampire photo" is that time travel will soon become a reality.
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Both my feet feel like blocks of wood this morning. Since I began taking Gabapentin, and the neurological problems in my feet began to improve, this doesn't happen so often. Only sometimes. Regardless, it's a very unpleasant sensation (or lack thereof), and can make walking tricky (which is why I used a stick for so long).

A great comment to Wednesday's entry, which was largely concerned with the decline of LJ, care of [livejournal.com profile] opalblack : "It's (LJ's} drawing me back more and more because it isn't so instant, and many of the smaller minds have drifted away for shallower waters." Smaller minds and shallower waters, that's the bit I like.

---

Sort of chilly this morning. Storms passed through Providence yesterday, in advance of the cold front, and now it feels nothing at all like summer.

---

Yesterday, there were some last-minute adjustments to the flux capacitor, which was only managing a paltry 1.02 gigawatts, when 1.21 are required for optimal performance. But, as soon as that was dealt with, I finally opened the envelope containing the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (which actually arrived here on September 8th), and we made it through Chapter One. We'll do Two and Three today. Which seems, at the moment, a lofty fucking goal. But I will say this. With The Red Tree, I got the best copy-editor I'd ever had, one who didn't try to rewrite, and who actually caught genuine errors I'd missed. I seem to have lucked out again, or – though it seems unlikely – NYC's standard for copy-editors has gone up. (And yes, I think "copy-editor" ought to be hyphenated).

Oh, and I answered far too much email yesterday.

---

Please have a look at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. The Halloween stuff is up, as it's that time of year again (well, sort of). And a couple of wonderful new necklaces.

---

Last night we played Rift, wandering about Gloamwood on our najmoks, working on achievements for the region. Then we watched the last couple of epsiodes of Season Five of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, which means we'll now have to "resort" to the mail for Season Six (perhaps the Athenaeum, if they have it), or go back to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. When all is said and done, the latter is actually the better of the two, even without Vincent D'onofrio. But the "rape of the week" plot template gets old fast. Still, there's Richard Belzer. Anyway, then I read a couple more stories from The Book of Cthulhu, Michael Shea's "Fat Face" and Brian McNaughton's "The Doom that Came to Innsmouth."* Shea does a great job of capturing a particular and especially seedy side of LA. McNaughton's story is good, but would have been a lot better if he'd turned the volume down just a little near the end. A little goes a long way, a lesson it has taken me the better part of twenty years to learn.

Platypus, what's wrong with this picture? Where's my sugar-free Red Bull!

In the Gloaming,
Aunt Beast

* An interesting note. The antagonist of McNaughton's story is named Dr. Isaac Mordecai Saltonstall. And in The Drowning Girl, the painter who painted the titular painting is named Phillip George Saltonstall. For the record, before last night, I'd never even heard of "The Doom That Came to Innsmouth" (which originally appeared in Tales Out of Innsmouth, 1999, Chaosium Inc; oddly, I don't even own that anthology). I found the name in a Rhode Island or Massachusetts cemetery, where I often find names. I'm combing through my Moleskines, trying to figure out which cemetery it was. Anyway, only a curious coincidence.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Should probably make this quick. Out there it's sunny, and it almost still feels like summer. Almost. But I won't be heading for the sea.

Yesterday, I finished, well...I think they'll not abduct me again and use the electric nipple clamps on me, not if I only say, yesterday I finished Phase One. Just wait until you see.

Actually, the electric nipple clamps are kind of exquisite.

---

I'm reposting a big chunk of Friday's post, because not as many people seem to bother with reading this LJ on Friday's, and I want this seen. Comments are good, too:

Before anything else is written on this entry, you have to see what happens when The Drowning Girl: A Memoir falls into the hands of the superb and marvelous Michael Zulli, who has, through his own amazing graces, become my Phillip George Saltonstall. Here is the painting of the title, and here, too, is the "lost" painting that Imp does not learn about until much later:

The Drowning Girl, Nos. 1 & 2 )


There really are not words adequate to the task of describing the effect these paintings have had on me, seeing your fiction made real, and I thank you again (and publicly for the first time), Michael. No, these will not be in the Roc trade paperback, but they will appear in any hardback edition, should any hardback edition ever appear. At least one of them will also appear in the photographs and book trailer project that I have undertaken with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy. These images will also appear on the LJ we're keeping for the project, [livejournal.com profile] evacanning, and, eventually, on the novel's website.

---

Last night, after Vincent D'nofrio, I read another story from The Book of Cthulhu, Molly's Tanzer's "The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins." And wow, this one's a keeper. I'd never encountered this author before, but...imagine H. P. Lovecraft refracted through the lenses of Lemony Snicket, Edward Gorey, and any number of Victorian authors, and you get this wonderful and delightfully perverse short story. Brava, Ms. Tanzer. That said, I fear I'm running out of good stories in this anthology. I've read twelve out of twenty-seven, and I don't have high hopes for more than three or maybe four further worthwhile pieces. But yes, "The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins" is very, very good, and I'll be keeping my eye open for additional work by that author.

Etsy has proven the Apocalypse is nigh: there is now a category for "hipster."

I'm not heartened at the news of a new Kate Bush album (coming in November), Fifty Words for Snow, not after her last couple of releases.

And, finally, I was genuinely saddened to see that Andy Whitfield has died. Spartacus: Blood and Titties won't be the same without him.

The Word for the World is Plastic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caveat: No one is going to read this, and no one is going to comment. (This is an expectation, not a command).

Bright outside, and warm. I'd be on my way to Moonstone for a day of swimming, if the passing of Katia (the hurricane that's taking a Norwegian vacation) hadn't left the whole Eastern Seaboard with dangerous rip currents. So, instead, I will sit and work. Weekends are for...people who aren't writers. Just like vacations (I'm looking at you, Katia), retirement, and health insurance.

And I had dreams that are nagging at me, even though I can't remember them. And I have a headache I've had since last night. But other than that, hey man, as far as I know, the motherfucker's tiptop.

I don't get a lot of headaches, and they make me extra not right. Sorry.

Yesterday, I worked. Let's be safe and leave it at that. Oh, I will add that I needed Spooky to help me, and she displayed magnificent restraint and didn't kill me.

No matter how much time I spend on the internet (and it's a shameful LOT of time), I have a fairly low opinion of it. But every now and then someone has a good idea, and that good idea actually works. This is the case with Kickstarter, which has made crowdsourcing a practical option for many of us who often cannot find a traditional, conventional source for funding this or that project. The success of mine and Spooky's Tales of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter astounded me. I never thought it would work. But we not only met our goal, we received 212% of what we'd hoped for. And now, with mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed, as I write this we are in the Kickstarter's final hour, and its funded at 298%. So, not only will Spooky and I be producing this wonderful little book based on her raven paintings, but Kyle and I will be creating a set of photographs and a short film based on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A couple of years ago, none of these things would have happened. So, thank you, Kickstarter, and thank you donors. We will not let you down (though we may be slow as fuck).

---

Last night, rather impulsively, we decided to drive over to the Providence Place Mall (we avoid this place like all bad things that are to be avoided), because there's a Borders there. I sort of felt an obligation to see the end of Borders firsthand. And...it was sort of horrifying and sad and, yet, peculiarly gratifying. Looking at what seemed like, in some parallax trick, to be miles upon miles of empty shelving, it became clearer than it has yet been that we stand at the end of an old age of publishing. I don't want to admit it, and I have no idea what the next age will look like, but there's no denying this is a transitional event. The horror and sadness, that came from seeing books that had, essentially, been reduced to worthless chunks of paper, devalued, stripped of their supposed, inherent merit, 70%-90% off. The peculiar gratification (and I know this is petty), that came from seeing the fall of one of the monoliths that took out so many small and extremely valuable bookstores over the last two decades. What goes around...

But there was, of course, this other thing. This other thing, that was fear. I am a writer, and here is my livelihood, in part, here in the store, and it's dying. No, it's dead, and we were just hanging with the last round of vultures (the lions, hyenas, and jackals left days ago), as the maggot-riddled carcass was picked clean. Oh, I know my career will survive, however the presentation of the art I create might eventually be altered, whatever form it might take. But I'm 47, and bookstores, that sell actual fucking books, that's what I've known all my life. I didn't grow up wanting to write data, ones and zeros, for Kindles or what-the-fuck-ever ugly hunks of plastic. I wanted to make books. And, no matter how much of my income eventually is derived from ebooks, I will, always hate that format, and always cling to the past, which is my present. The book: which is an object with covers and binding and pages, something tactile, something with a wonderful odor, born of ink. This will all likely be swept away in a few more decades or less, excepting small specialty publishers catering to the antiquarian tastes of people like me. But I'll keep writing, and people will keep reading.

And Borders had it coming, just as Barnes and Nobles has it coming. Just as Amazon has it coming. In time, they all fall, because everything does. Because greed is an absolute with a single inevitable outcome.

Anyway, eulogies and nostalgia aside, there really wasn't much left to buy, which made it easy to be good kids. Oh, there were veritable fucking mountains of celebrity bios, especially books about Sarah and Bristol Palin. It was satisfying seeing how many of those were left. There were sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks that had no business having been published in the first place, and tons of YA vampire dreck. "Literature" was gutted, as was "Science," except for theoretical mathematics. We must have been there about an hour (it was very hot, and the fluorescent lights were making me woozy), and we spent about $45, picking those bones, and came away with:

The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars (2009), Christopher Cokinos
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must (1996, 2011) by Robert Zubrin
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks (2011) by Juliet Eilperin
The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created Alice in Wonderland* (2010) by Jenny Woolf*
Katharine Hepburn: A Life in Pictures (2009) Edited by Pierre-Henri Verlhac**

...and one DVD, the only one left worth a cent, the two-disc special edition of Tony Scott's True Romance (1993).

---

I'm oddly homesick.

---

Later, I had some decent RP in Insilico. I read Joe R. Lansdale's "The Crawling Sky" from The Book of Cthulhu. Now, understand – Joe is brilliant, 99 times out of every 100. I once had dinner with him on the Thames, a Chinese restaurant on a huge boat, restaurant with some fucking absurd name like the Floating Lotus. Anyway, that's a story for another time. But "The Crawling Sky" is one of those rare cases where a funny Lovecraftian story works. First off, understand that this is like Cormac McCarthy writing a Lovecraft story, filmed by the Cohen Bros., starring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn. Now, understand that, no matter how fucking funny the story may be, the "mythos" elements weren't being spoofed, but were taken pretty seriously. Anyway, yes. One of the anthology's gems. This line, I must quote: "He had the kind of features that could make you wince; one thing God could do was he could sure make ugly." Lansdale is, among other things, to be lauded for keeping the "weird western" alive.

Gods, what a fucking long blog entry! Gotta work!

* Winner of the Most Absurd Subtitle Award.
** A beautiful "coffee-table" book. How will Kindle fill that gap? How will we have beautiful coffee-table books on iPads? Maybe we'll stop having coffee tables. They seem a holdover from some more civilized age, anyway.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
My morning was going rather shitty (resuming a course begun last night), but then I saw someone refer to Orson Scott Card as a "howling bigoted douchemonkey," and I almost laughed, and now I feel a little better. Also, I've been sleeping like crazy, which is a tad bizarre. Vaults of sleep. Too much wandering in the watery Dreamlands. These days, always do I dream of water. Also, I might be getting a headache.

Yesterday, I did a metric shit-ton of work on those acoustic particle destab...wait. What was I saying? I knew a moment ago, then there was this bright flash before my eyes, and now I have no idea whatsoever. That is so fucking weird. It just keeps happening. But...um...yeah, I did a lot of work yesterday. And I sent "John Four" to S. T. Joshi, who wanted to read it. If he decides to reprint it for a forthcoming anthology, I might decide to expand it a bit (because, you know, spare time spills forth from my asshole). And I emailed Michel Zulli. And I received news from Penguin that the delayed (by a hurricane) CEM for The Drowning Girl should arrive here today. I'm praying it got fucking lost somewhere in Connecticut, and will remain so for at least a week*.

And you know, a leech (Hirudinea) is such an honest organism, even among other oligocheates. No frills, no fussing about with frippery.

This society needs less enthusiasm, less opportunity to express its opinion, and more time spent in quiet reflection.

Oh, last night? Thank you for asking. Perfectly wretched, but, truly, I've no one to blame but myself. I would say there was lousy RP in Insilico last night, but that would imply there was RP in Insilico last night, and there wasn't. Yet, for some psychotic reason, I waited around for more than two hours. Oh, yes. Because there was supposed to be RP. But...whining ooc drama trumps all else in SL, and almost all the good RPers have flung themselves into the abyss of the virtual bureaucracy of sim administration...which means they rarely have time to RP...and really, that was only the tip of how everything kept going crappy last night.

But! All was not lost. I had Valium and Vincent D'Onofrio! And Vincent D'Onofrio makes even the most sour night a little less so. An "actor's actor," I have heard him called, even as I have been called a "writer's writer." These, kittens, are what are known as backhanded compliments, or consolation prizes, or what the fuck ever. But! Just give me ponygirls, a glass dildo, and the brain of Vincent D'Onofrio, and you'll hear not one complaint from me. Oh, and a little Oxycodone. That would sweeten the pot, yes.

Oh, I also read another story from The Book of Cthulhu, W. H. Pugmire's "Some Buried Memory," which was delicious, because Pugmire is brilliant. Alas, there are not many more good stories in this (largely) reprint anthology that I've either not read previously or which I won't deign to read. Here's my thing (as Lara Means would say): Except in extraordinarily rare instances, you either approach the work of Lovecraft with a straight face, or you leave it the hell alone. Bring humor and parody to the table, and usually you'll make a fool of yourself and embarrass others. Bring irony, that's worse still. Do it right, or don't do it, but for fuck's sake, stop with the attempts at too-cool-for-school hipster and/or pseudo-intellectual comedy. There have been exceptions, a tiny handful, such as Neil's "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar." As the Mythbusters say, these exceptions are not something you should try at home. Keep your cuddly Cthulhu slippers and plushie Azathoths to yourselves and far away from me. Anyway, too much of The Book of Cthulhu is given over to the funny which is not funny. There are probably half a dozen good stories I've yet to read, at best. Which is a shame.

Did I mention Vincent D'Onofrio?

Dry and Humorless,
Aunt Beast

* It's here. Let this fresh hell begin.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, I did it. As of today, I have blogged six months straight, without missing a single day. Actually, I've not missed making an entry since February 13th, but I didn't make the "I'm not going to miss an entry for six months" declaration until March 1st, so I'm not counting February. Anyway, between March 1st and today (this post included), there's a total of 253 entries. Most days got one entry. Some got two or three. One got four entries. So, having accomplished this task, I ask myself, "Self, want to try for a whole year?" And remember, I have no iPad, no iPhone, Android, Blackberry, what-the-hell-ever mobile geegaw that allows me to post anywhere but home. So, this stands as ample evidence that I really don't have a life. Though, it's true, that three entries (I think it was three), were made from the business center of the Readercon hotel, back in July.

---

Yesterday, well...I worked. But I can't tell you on what I worked. And as the weeks roll by, until THE ANNOUNCEMENT is made, I'm going to have to say...yesterday I worked, and did X words on X, X pages on X, and so forth. It sucks. The other way – you seeing how marvelous the beginning of this undertaking is – would be so much cooler. But this is the way it is.

Anyway, yeah. Work on X. Then an appointment with my shrink. Then a trip to Pawtucket and the storage unit. Then dinner. I read "New Upper Pennsylvanian armored dissorophid records (Temnospondyli, Dissorophoidea) from the U.S. midcontinent and the stratigraphic distributions of dissorophids" and "Tupilakosaur-like vertebrae in Bothriceps australis, an Australian brachyopid stereospondyl" (both in the July JVP Then good RP in Insilico. Then Spooky read more of The Stand to me. And then...Monsieur Insomnia hit with a vengeance, and I sat up reading from The Book of Cthulhu until about 5:15 ayem. I read, um...let's see. Oh, yes. Bruce Sterling's "The Unthinkable" (1991, a peculiar little piece of whimsy, almost a vignette). Then Tim Pratt's "Cinderlands" (2010), which has a wonderfully non-linear narrative. It fumbles once with an achingly silly Lovecraftian pun, but yeah, otherwise, nice. And then Ramsey Campbell's very effective "The Tugging" (1976); Ramsey never ceases to amaze me. Then I managed to fall asleep, listening to This Mortal Coil, as the sun began to rise.

Tomorrow, I finally get to work on Sirenia Digest #69. It should be out by the fifth, on schedule. It's only going to feel late, on my end, because of this insane fucking amount of work lying over me like a heavy coating of bronze going green with verdigris.

And now, before I belatedly get to work on X, more photos from Friday, the day before Hurricane Irene began her sideswipe of Rhode Island (behind the cut).

Oh, and a big thank you to [livejournal.com profile] fornikate (my fans have the best LJ names) for teaching me that my spirit animal is actually a honey badger. It's absolutely true, and I should have figured it out years ago. We now have a jealous platypus.

August 26, Part 2 )


Mellivora,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I'll make no apologies for the tone of yesterday's post. There are no regrets. I will only offer an opaque excuse, that I have been made a party to what is, in my estimation, a sickening tragedy. One that could have easily been prevented. One I tried to prevent. And now I will carry the fact of it in my head for years.

And so, yeah, the fury's going nowhere soon. So, do not attempt to console me. It's amazing how many people on the internet are unable to comprehend that trying to calm a rabid animal only gets them bitten. Oh, and then they whine about how unfair it is they've been bitten. Poor fucking idiots.

---

Today there is work, which part of me needs badly. Never mind my having finished a novel day before yesterday. It's not that I love the work; it's that the work keeps me sane by filling a void. So, yes, work, important work, then my psychiatrist before dinner. There's a prescription.

And speaking of work, I have begun to realize there's presently confusion over the two books I've written this year, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Blood Oranges. The first – The Drowning Girl: A Memoir – took me about a year and a half to write, and is, by far, my best novel to date. The second – Blood Oranges - took me forty-five days to write, and if you think of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as, oh, let's say a gourmet meal, then Blood Oranges is the tasty, but fluffy and insubstantial, desert that comes afterwards.

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will be out from Penguin in March 2012.

Blood Oranges hasn't yet sold.

And while I'm at it:

Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be out, I think, in September (or maybe October) from Subterranean Press. If you've not ordered, you need to do so.

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be released by Subterranean Press sometime in 2012.

And there's a lot more, and it's awesome, but if I told you, I really would have to kill you. No joke.

---

Yesterday, I read two stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Used to be, I never read the anthologies my stories appeared in. Don't know why. I just never wanted to do it. But, the last year or so I've been reading some of the books with my stories. Anyway, yesterday I read two of the twenty-seven (I think it's twenty-seven) stories in The Book of Cthulhu. The first, John Langan's "The Shallows" is actually quite brilliant. It's unexpected, and fresh, and comes at you sideways. It's not what you think it is. These are all good things. The other was Thomas Ligotti's "Nethescurial," a very Ligottian take on the Lovecraftian found manuscript and the Lovecraftian malign artifact. And of course it was brilliant. It was Thomas fucking Ligotti.

But I fear there's a lot of this book I'm not going to like, stories I'll skip over. Because the author has chosen to use parody in her or his approach HPL, and that's just not my thing.

---

Yesterday, after a lot of work and email, the "day off" began about three p.m. We drove south and west almost to the Connecticut state line, to Westerly and on down to Watch Hill. To the lighthouse at Watch Hill. We took the narrow, winding road out to the lighthouse, and sat on the sea wall. To the west, the protected waters of Little Narragansett Bay were still and quiet. A flock of cormorants sunned themselves on rotting pilings. On the east side of the point, though, the waves were still wild. Now and then, the sun through the spray off the tops of the waves created the briefest of rainbows behind them. We watched surfers a while, then drove east to Moonstone Beach.

As I've said, Moonstone has many moods. And I saw another new one yesterday. I'd expected piles of pebbles and all manner of unusual strandings and flotsam. My expectation is irrelevant. The beach looked stripped raw. I can think of no other way to describe it. There's been a tremendous amount of erosion during the storm. The tide was coming in, and there were odd sandbars and eddies, and the crashing waves – some easily six to eight feet high – were coming in from the west, the east, the southeast, the southwest, in no discernible (gods, the English language is retarded) pattern. The air reeked overwhelmingly of dead fish, though not a dead fish was in evidence. The usual cobbles were almost entirely absent. The waters in the breaker zone were an ugly greenish black, loaded with sediment and all manner of...well...dead things. Mostly plant matter. Only the Piping Plovers seemed to be happy with the state of things, dashing about madly at the water's edge. I could see that the waves had overtopped the dunes and the sea had reached both Trustom and Card ponds. It was the sight of a place you trust as being the incarnation of calm, seen after terrible violence has occurred. But the error is mine. Panthalassa has no interest in my moods, impressions, or needs, and if I thought otherwise, I'd be a fool. Moonstone will heal, in time.

Between the ponds, there were birdwatchers, and we had our monoculars with us. We spotted a Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) and three Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus), both new to us.

We drove on to Narragansett, but there was no power. So we couldn't get dinner at Iggy's or at George's (which is actually in Galilee). We did manage to piss at a Cumberland Farms. Their power was out, but they let us use a Bic lighter. It's amazing how dark a women's room can be. At sunset, we drove past Scarborough Beach, and Narragansett Beach. The surf was heavy at the latter, but not as heavy as I'd expected. There were dozens of surfers in the water, most seeming a bit disappointed. All in all, we saw far less damage than I'd expected. And then we came home.

And that was yesterday. Oh, except for three wasted hours in Second Life. If you tell me you like it dark, and then bale when it gets rough, and without so much as a "good night," you're a simpering weasel, and it's really as simple as that.

Wrathfully,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, no Great Trailer & Photo Shoot for The Drowning Girl this weekend. Thank you, Hurricane Irene. Early last night, watching the grave weather forecasts, Kyle and I made the decision to postpone the whole affair. Which means postponing it until early October. Even if we could have reached Moonstone Beach (the area will likely be evacuated), I'd have never asked Sarah (who plays our Eva) to walk towards that surf, much less into it. So, there you go. But I do not argue with forces of Nature. They were here first, and will be here long afterwards. Forces of Nature have seniority.

But yeah, it's looking pretty bad here in Providence, and we'll spend part of the day laying in supplies for the impact. Fortunately, we have storm windows, and the walls of this old house were built with a crisscrossed lattice of steel to protect against this very thing (though it makes hanging pictures a bitch).

I got virtually nothing written yesterday. There was far too much commotion. Confusion. Calamity. All those good "c" words. Mostly, having to figure out, at the last fucking minute, what to do about the Great Trailer & Photo Shoot. Thus, I only managed to write a paltry 698 words on Chapter 8 of Blood Oranges. Nonetheless, I intend to have the book (plus epilogue) finished by the end of the day Tuesday (August 30).

I now have both of Vince Locke's illustrations for The Drowning Girl, and they're marvelous. Sirenia Digest subscribers have seen the first of the two, but no one (outside my publisher's offices) gets to see the second until the book is released next year.

Yesterday, my contributor's copy of The Book of Cthulhu arrived. As did the very beautiful edition of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial I'd ordered. Also, a care package from Madison Colvin in Savannah, Georgia, which included, among many other things, a copy of Angela Carter's Love (one of the few books by her I didn't own). So, thank you, Madison. Very, very sweet of you.

Last night, once the dust of difficult decisions had settled, there was some not exactly very good RP in Insilico, but it had a Season Five Dexter chaser, so everything worked out well. And I think the problem that caused the not exactly very good RP has been identified, so that it won't happen again. Then Spooky read The Stand, and I listened. We reached Chapter 38. And, for fuck's sake, I hate Harold Lauder. Sociopathic, maladjusted, plain ol' disgusting behavior aside, he makes me want to bathe. Oh, back to Dexter, Peter Weller is becoming William Burroughs. Has anyone else noticed that? Meanwhile, Deb Morgan is my latest profanity crush (I know most people don't get those, but I definitely have a profanity fetish; my last profanity crush was Al Swearengen). To wit:



And that was yesterday.

Battening Down the Hatches,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
And today, is Ray Bradbury's 91st birthday. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for Mars, Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, bottles of dandelion wine, that foghorn, the Elliot family, and a thousand other wonders.

Sunny and cool here in Providence, thanks to a low humidity and dew point. Very windy.

Turns out, as of yesterday, we're moving the entire shoot for The Drowning Girl book trailer and The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed from Boston the Rhode Island. This happens this coming weekend, so things here will grow increasingly chaotic. [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and crew will arrive on Friday evening, and as we only really have about a day and a half to shoot, it's going to be intense. But, hopefully, fun intense, and hopefully many wonderful things will come of it. Oh, and yesterday Michael Zulli showed me the underpainting of his version of G.P.S.'s The Drowning Girl (1898), and, even at this unfinished stage, it's beautiful. A part of the novel is coming alive and will exist beyond the printed page, and I thank him so much for that.

As announced, yesterday was a "day off." I still spent about three or four hours working, but there was no writing. What we did do, though, is go to Swan Point Cemetery for the first time since the ugly fiasco of the 20th of August 2008. I do not know if it was my post, then Boing Boing picking up the story of the verbal assault against me and Spooky, and the story spreading across the interwebs that led to a major change in Swan Point security, or if it was that combined with other incidents, or if it didn't involve my experience at all. But it has changed, and wonderfully so. There are visitors again, and bicyclists, and the air of oppression has been lifted. For the first time in three years (!!!) we were able to visit Lovecraft's grave. Likely, things have been better there for a year or two, but I've just not been able to return, that incident in 2008 was so upsetting. There was a big gathering on Saturday to commemorate HPL's birth date, but I didn't want to be a part of the crowd, so I waited until yesterday (I don't think the Old Gent would have minded my tardiness). We walked around the beautiful cemetery, me making notes, recording names for future stories and novels, getting mosquito bites, and marveling at trees. We found a huge red oak (Swan Point is also an arboretum) , and I took a single leaf and pressed it in between the pages of my Molskine. The cemetery was so, so peaceful: bird songs, the wind through trees, insects, the Seekonk flowing past to the east, and very little else. It was at least part ways as grounding as the sea.

We saved HPL's grave for the last. There were many a wonderful offering carefully laid above the grave. I left a tiny button in the shape of a black cat; knowing his love of cats, it seemed very appropriate. Anyway, hopefully we are now all free to visit the grave whenever we like, and I can only hope that asshole security guard was fired. Yesterday, I felt like I'd gotten back something very grand and important to me. There are photos below, behind the cut.

Afterwards, we had an early dinner at Tortilla Flats.

And I have a long day ahead of me. Spooky's begun cleaning the apartment in anticipation of the arrival of photographers (and all their gear) and models/actresses on Friday. I have to begin Chapter 8, the final chapter of Blood Oranges, which I hope to make very significant progress on this week and finish early next week.

21 August 2011 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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