greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, let's get this over and done with, and then we may proceed to your regularly scheduled blog entry. I expect it will be less painful that way. Well, less painful for me at least, and I know I'll be loads less distracted:

Booya! )


That said...or shown, or both, whatever...you know the lousy thing about incredible shit happening yesterday? The lousy thing about incredible shit having happened yesterday is that it's not happening today. Nonetheless, today I can lift up the blackness enough to peer out (though I do squint something fierce).

But, still, comment, kittens. And thank you for yesterday's comments.

Yesterday, we read chapters One and Two of Blood Oranges, and I can say, with great relief, that I still like this book a lot. It's about as far from The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as you can get, but that's not a bad thing. I think I'd reached a point where I had to write something just for fucking fun. And Blood Oranges is fun. And it's even funny. I never fucking knew I had all this fucking funny in me. It's like discovering a strange boil behind your ear, and someone lances it, and out comes humor. I mean "ha ha" humor, not aqueous humour – though lancing a boil behind your ear and getting aqueous humour would be interesting. Anyway, with luck, the manuscript will be proofread and corrected and in Manhattan on Monday morning. I've dragged my feet on getting it to my publisher and editor. Well, no, I haven't. I've been too busy with my work for No Such Agency, and with Sirenia Digest, and with the trailer/still-photo project for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir that Blood Oranges just...sort of got lost in the shuffle. But now it's unlost. Today, we do chapters Three and Four, which will put us halfway through the novel.

I think I've decided to keep Kermit the iPad. He proved himself very useful editing yesterday. And so I'm rethinking this whole thing. But thank you, Cliff Miller. Thank you all the same.

Also, I saw a rough cut of the teaser for the trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir yesterday, and it's all I can do not to link to it here. Imagine the lovechild of Terrance Malick and David Lynch, and you're in the neighborhood. Thank you, Brian and Kyle. This is going to be so fucking wonderful. I also spoke with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and [livejournal.com profile] kambriel yesterday about shooting additional footage this winter in Philadelphia, and it seems like it'll happen. We'll be holding eBay auctions, props and such (a large moonstone signed by the whole cast & crew, etc.) from the first shoot, to fund that, and I'll keep you posted. Thing is, to quote Imp:

“I’m going to write a ghost story now,” she typed.
“A ghost story with a mermaid and a wolf,” she also typed.
I also typed.


Well, we have tons of mermaid/water footage, the Saltonstall stuff, but the wolf part has been sorely neglected, and for that we need winter, and snow, and a big wolf-like dog for the Perrault stuff, and we can make these things happen this winter in Philadelphia. So, yeah. Another shoot lies ahead. Which fills me not in the least with dread. It pleases me.

Last night, we proved that one meatloaf can be stretched out over four dinners and one midnight sandwich. Spooky has some mean Loaf Fu. We played some Rift. I'm obsessed with getting Selwynn glorified with the Icewatch in Iron Pine Peak, so...lots of dailies. Or, in my case, nightlies. Later, I read aloud to Spooky from John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez. Despite my love for Steinbeck and his Cannery Row books, I've never read this book, but found an old copy at Spooky's parents and borrowed it on Sunday (a copy that sold new in trade paperback for $1.45 in 1962). It begins with Steinbeck's "About Ed Ricketts" essay/eulogy, and, so far, I've managed not to cry. In another life, I might have been someone as good and useful to the world as Ed Ricketts. I like to think that.

It occurs to me, apropos of nothing in particular, that there's no point whatsoever in having a cake if you can't eat it, too.

Wanting Cake, Black Forest,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Here in Rhode Island, we're having a marvelous April.

So, I have long been an admirer of the awesomeness of [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse, but, of late, they've been dropping these "(trigger warning!)" PSAs into lots of their posts. What the fuck, guys? To start with, this is fucking Coilhouse, home of the weird, brash, and bold. And secondly, when the hell did sudden, unexpected emotional responses that resonate deeply because of traumatic personal experiences become a Bad Thing that one should be warned against? And – no shit – I say this as someone who's struggled with severe PTSD since before it was a goddamn acronym and who's still medicated for it. And yet, here I am, the personification of TRIGGERING, the very idea of TRIGGERING MADE FLESH. Has the concept of catharsis passed from the world? I can't help but suspect that [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse has bowed to the pressure of the Whiners. Butch up, people. There is no fucking shelter from the storm. Worse still, the storm has only just begun.

I will not be a member of the congregation of the Church of Protect Me From That Which Might Make Me Cry.

Yeah, another grumpy day.

But I have to get over it, because tomorrow is Spooky's birthday, and I think I'm going to be in Boston on Saturday evening...so...maybe the Good Fairies of Sunshine and Pink-Pony Cupcake Sprinkles will show up and pull some cheer forth from my ass in time to save the day.

---

Yesterday was spent editing Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, answering email, sending email, waiting on email, and not much else. Today, I begin a vignette for Sirenia Digest #67. It's all in my head.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for making sure I got a copy of Publisher's Weekly 258/24, in which Two Worlds and In Between not only received a starred review, but appeared on the Table of Contents page as their "pick of the week." It really is amazing, holding that in my hands, seeing the final version of Lee Moyer's cover in color. So, thank you, [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59.

So few people would ever guess that "Houses Under the Sea" was inspired by R.E.M.'s song "Belong." And that just goes to show you how useful expectations can be. "Oh, that story was inspired by Lovecraft!" Well, actually...

---

Okay, here's another one to help me purge the angrification gremlins. If you're running a writer's conference at a well-respected liberal-arts college some 70 miles from my home (and that's as the crow flies, so it probably more like 125 miles), because you want me on ONE panel, then you're going to have to offer me a hell of a lot more than lunch and breakfast. Like an honorarium, and travel expenses, and a hotel room. Offer me those, and I might think about it. Maybe. It's nice to be asked, yes, but it's rude to put someone (a freelancer, at that) in the position of having to say no to what only seems like an honor, in a world where gas is edging towards four dollars a gallon. And ys, I appreciate the conference doesn't have a lot of money, but that's not my problem.

Hold on...be back in a second. Spooky is channeling her inner australopithicine. No, really. Monkey noises.

---

Round 3 of the Big Damn eBay Auction has begun. Right here. Please bid if you are able and interested! Thankses, Precious.

---

Last night, we made up for the lousy Hal Hartley film by watching Terrence Malick's impressive debut feature, Badlands (1973). Somehow, I'd never seen it before. Then there was Rift, and the blowback from the Big Patch, 1.3, which has loads of cool shit, but they messed up guild vaults, so we still don't have one, and all the talent trees were reset. Still, we managed a very good rp scene in the Spire of Orphiel. Later, Spooky read aloud from Junky, and then I read back over "The Maltese Unicorn," in Supernatural Noir. I really am exceptionally happy with this story, and thankful I was given a chance to write it. Now, I proceed to the other tales in the book!

Oh....here's something interesting at NPR: The End Of Gender?.

Ambiguously,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
This morning might almost be mistaken for June. Sunny. Warm, if you ignore the breeze. 74F.

Speaking as someone who has (and continues) to cope with addiction, I remain forever...how shall I say this nicely? I remain forever at odds with NA and AA. I've seen so many sane, decent, rational, likeable drunks and addicts turned into unbearable, self-righteous zombies obsessed with abandoning personal responsibility and shifting it to their so-called Higher fucking Powers. Once upon a time, back in the late 1980s, I had a therapist in Birmingham. I can't even recall her name. But she tried to get me on the twelve-step bandwagon. There was a day she grew (no shit) absolutely livid because I refused to "surrender" to any "Higher Power." She accused me of "not even trying" and threatened to stop seeing me. "Can't you at last pretend?!" Hell, let us here note the success rates of these programs are crap. And here's the thing, it's not that I don't recognize that the universe is filled to overflowing with that which is more powerful than the one little organism of me. I do recognize that. Humpback whales. Hurricanes. Volcanoes. Plate tectonics. The sun. Whatever. I'm just one little bug. But I refuse to make up – or buy into other people's made up – sentient "Higher Powers." Trading one drug for another, in effect, one dependency for another. Though, in retrospect, maybe I should have claimed my Higher Power was a female Black Lectroid leader named John Emdall (from Planet 10, natch). Sorry. Rant ends here.

---

Workwise, yesterday was a bit of a nightmare. As I was about to begin the next section of Chapter Four, I realized there was a huge continuity error, and that its roots lay far back in a conversation I'd written in Chapter Two. I refused to rewrite the conversation, and sat here until I found a way to progress, resolve the continuity problem, and keep the conversation. All that led to a somewhat lowered word count, "only" 1,034 words.

There's something about Blood Oranges that I hope people will understand. This book is "just for fun." Spooky calls it a "popcorn book." Which is fairly accurate. It is in no way meant to be received the way I hope people have received The Red Tree and will receive The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. This one's just for shits and giggles.

Anyway...

I've felt so lousy the last few days (much better this ayem), we splurged last night and went to the 6:30 screening of Terrence Malick's Tree of Life at the Avon on Thayer Street (I half made up for it by have PB&J for dinner). Malick is in the tiny handful of directors who can, in my opinion, pretty much do no wrong. I'd love to write a review expounding just how amazing and beautiful and brilliant Tree of Life is, but, as I've said many times, I have no talent for reviews. But...you have to see this if you can. A film that manages to place the everyday life of a Waco, Texas family in the 1950s within a universal context, within the context of deep time. From the formation of the galaxy to the prebiotic earth to a Cretaceous forest...to the emptiness of an architect's life decades after his brothers death...to the nova of our star and, then, earth as a burnt out cinder. Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are both perfect. Indeed, this is about as close to perfect as film ever comes. There's not much I can think of that's comparable to Tree of Life, except Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Only Tree of Life is a better film. No film has impressed me this much since Synecdoche, New York (2008). Tree of Life goes on my "Top 50 Films Ever" list. Not sure what gets bumped off.

---

Later, back home, I played Rift. A lot of Rift, while Spooky played the new American Mcgee Alice game (which is gorgeous). My thanks to Tracy T. for a combination of superb rp and helping me survive two enormous fire-rift events in the Droughtlands. Ah, Maelforge, chaos incarnate, dragon ruler of the Plane of Fire, you are a right bastard.

Then Spooky and I finished reading Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants (this month's selection in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club - hint, hint). A marvelous novel, though I actually think the film may be ever so slightly better. That actually does happen from time to time, the creation of a film that bests its source material. Oh, our mathematician's dice came yesterday! And I read "Cranial osteology of a juvenile specimen of Tarbosaurus bataar (Theropoda, Tyrannosauridae) from the Nemegt Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Bugin Tsav, Mongolia" from the January JVP.

Oh, and I think I've decided that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be dedicated to Henry Darger.

Also, all of Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction has ended except this.

Okay. Must write now, and must not wish (too hard) that I were at the sea.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Monday was sort of a mess, what with one thing and another, but there was work, just no proofreading. So, yesterday, a day behind schedule, Spooky and I proofed chapters Six and Seven of Daughter of Hounds ("Shadows and Flame" and "Star," respectively). Also, my editor sent me the semi-final cover layout:



It's not the direction I'd have gone, but it's quite cinematic and sexy and will probably sell more books than the other, less literal approach I'd have taken. Daughter of Hounds is a hard book to sum up in one image, if only because, for much of the novel, there are two interlinked but somewhat independent narrative threads (Emmie and Soldier). I'm assuming that the woman in the image is meant to be Soldier, even though, in the book, I say she's blonde with shortish hair. Actually, in my mind's eye, Soldier looks a bit like Katie Sackoff in Starbuck mode. And I don't know what's up with the "fuck-me" boots. But. I like the fire and the road and the trees and the clockface back behind it all. It's a cover that manages to capture some part of the flavour of the novel, even if it is, undeniably, a little over the top. There is, indeed, a lot of fire in this book. Oh, and the shotgun's nice. Anyway, please, please preorder Daughter of Hounds. The preorders matter very, very much. I just hope that people who buy it for the bad-ass, gun-totin' babe on the cover aren't disappointed when they discover the book spends half its time on an eight-year-old-girl.

Last night, we watched Terrence Malick's 1998 adaptation of James Jones' novel The Thin Red Line. I saw it once in the threatre, but I've been wanting to see it again since seeing Malick's The New World (2005) a few weeks back. Spooky had never seen it. I was even more taken with The Thin Red Line on this second viewing. I was also struck by the similarities between it and The New World, visually and thematically. I could go on about this film all day long, but I think what impresses me most is Malick's approach to the dissolution of ego and the loss of individuality in war. There's a reason we lose track of any given character, why they seem to come and go and merge one into the other. In the end, there is only a single soldier, neither American nor Japanese, neither quite alive nor quite dead. Also, Malick's insistence on keeping Nature in the foreground, his constant reminder that the petty affairs of man are just that, petty, makes both The Thin Red Line and The New World especially powerful films. As one soldier in TTRL says repeatedly, "We're dirt. We're just dirt." Indeed. Malick doesn't spend all that time on images of the natural world just because he likes the scenery. He's showing us the dispassionate observer, which is also the dispassionate stage, the greater character in these dramas, and thereby gifting the films with a transcendence and tragedy they might never achieve in the hands of a more conventional storyteller. The wars of men come and go, terrible games by which men seek to raise themselves up, and yet all men are only blades of grass in the wind, or dirt, or waves upon the shore. And through it all, horror is perfectly paired with beauty and awe. The Thin Red Line is surely the most important war film since Apocalypse Now.

Later, we watched another episode of Firefly ("Safe"). Thanks again to whoever it was sent me the DVDs for my birthday last year. I am greatly enjoying the series the second time through.

Right. Time to read...
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
Rather than another travelogue, this morning I shall quickly write the more regular sort of entry, as we were in all day yesterday and the weather's cooler and we long to be out of doors. I'll get to the Watch Hill entry later, maybe late tonight, maybe tomorrow. This getting behind thing is a bitch.

Bill Schafer at subpress has informed me that only 25 copies of the limited edition of Alabaster now remain, so if you mean to order it, you may wish to do so very soon. The limited is signed by me and Ted and comes with an extra Dancy story, "Highway 95," in the form of a chapbook.

One hundred years ago today, director John Huston was born (he died in 1987).

I've got to look at the settings on the iBook. For some reason, it's importing photos from the camera at 72 dpi instead of 300 dpi, and I'm not happy with the resolution of the images I posted yesterday.

You should have a look at the new chapter of The Adventures of Boshen and Nesuko, as [livejournal.com profile] sovay, [livejournal.com profile] robyn_ma, and I appear in supporting roles (as Sept whores, no less).

Last night, we watched Terrence Malick's breathtaking The New World (2005). I've been a great admirer of Malick since The Thin Red Line (1998). Well, actually, I've been a great admirer of his since Days in Heaven (1978), but only recently realized he directed that film. The New World is a beauty and a delight, sheer visual poetry. Malick's ability to tell terrible stories and imbue them with such beauty amazes me. In this case, the story of Pocahontas (played by Q'Orianka Kilcher) and her love for John Smith (Colin Farrell) and John Rolfe (Christian Bale). The cinematography is perfection, seeming almost to weave motion from still photography, and the screenplay (by Malick), which layers spoken dialogue and internal monologues is also very, very fine. See it. Malick is surely one of the most under appreciated directors of our time. I'm very sorry that I missed The New World in theatres.

Right. Time to get dressed and have a few little adventures...

Oh, wait. Once again, here are the links to order the mmp of Threshold and the tpb of Daughter of Hounds from Amazon.com. Your preorders will be greatly appreciated.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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