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: (Default)
Late yesterday, we drove down to Kathryn's parents' place, where we filmed last weekend. I'd hoped being away from the city might help the darkness that's been creeping back over me the past week or so. I know the meds are still working, even if it feels like they're not. Anyway, yeah, so we went to the farm. And at first I did have hope. I napped yesterday evening in the room I find safe and peaceful. But that was it. There was nothing else about the visit that helped, and that brief lifting of the veil dissolved very quickly.

But I did see a sky with far less light pollution. The stars I half forget are there to provide perspective. Which I suspect is one of the main reasons human beings are spewing so much energy to drive away the night. They know what the stars mean (even if only unconsciously, in that hindmost reptilian-part of their brains), and it terrifies them. At four-thirty ayem, I was watching the moon rise through the trees.

We played with the great beast that is Spider Cat. We fed the chickens. We saw deer. The frog that lives in the koi pond. The apple trees dying for another winter.

None of it did much of anything for the anger and blackness. Every year, there are fewer and fewer things that help. There is a darkness the meds can never touch, and even my psychiatrist knows that. Kathryn certainly knows. I'd burn it out if I could. I'd fill my eyes with the sheep-blank stares I see on most human faces, or I'd fill it with the ancient sanity of starlight.

Okay, enough of that for now. I'd "friends lock" this, except it would still go up on Facebook and Twitter, and LJ seems to have made it impossible to shut off the cross-posting feature I switched on a long time ago.

I still find myself hating the iPad. I think some people have misunderstood. I do not hate the iPad because it is a device somehow substandard to similar mobile devices. I hate that I needed to waste money on it, and that, no matter how hard I struggle to the contrary, it will be the vehicle of additional time displacement. This has nothing to do with Apple. The iPad is all shiny shiny and shit. It works like a dream. It's just something no one* on earth needs (or anything similar manufactured by another company), no matter how much they may "need" it.

I still find myself loving the work we did last weekend, and missing everyone who was here and helped to make the magic.

I'm considering – well, actually in the earliest stages of planning – two more Kickstarter projects, both for 2012. Now that Spooky is entering the final stages of the process of completing our "Tale of the Ravens" project, and now that I see The Drowning Girl Kickstarter yielding such fruits as it is yielding. We have had such amazing success with Kickstarter (thank you). One would be a boxed, two volume limited-edition set of hardbacks of both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl, with lots of tipped in color illustrations, facsimile documents, expanded text, appendices, and so forth (because, you know, there's time for these projects hemorrhaging from my asshole). It would be a very expensive undertaking, but it would be worth the expense and time, if I could make it happen. It would probably be limited to 500 signed and numbered copies. Maybe 26 lettered copies.

Anyway, the other project is one I actually began working on, conceptually, a year ago. A short film, a vignette of the sort you'd make of a Sirenia Digest vignette. A siren washed up and dying at the end of the world, and it might overlap territory explored in "The Bone's Prayer." That series of personal apocalypse stories. This would actually be a far simpler and far cheaper project than producing the books.

These are maybes.

Oh, we saw Kevin Smith's Red State last night, which I say is an unreservedly brilliant film, and which must be seen. Right now, Netflix is streaming it. It's a terrifying and sobering exploration of belief and the consequences of belief taken to extremes, the consequences of blindly following...anyone or anything. Only following orders. Only following a man. Only following a "god." There is a moment when the film almost veers into the supernatural that is the most genuinely chilling bit of film I've seen since Sauna.

Now...

*Amended to "not everyone."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Everyone's on her or his way home now (Boston, Philadelphia, Framingham, Washington D.C.). Three amazing days of work are behind us. Much more work lies ahead, and the first edit of the trailer (there will be several, and yes, a DVD at some point) won't be done until January. But, undoubtedly, many hours of footage was shot for, at most, a four minute film.

I am sore, and sleepless, and my head's swimming, and I went three days and hardly ate. And I haven't yet gotten to see last week's episode of Fringe (spoilers will get you dead). But I wouldn't have traded this experience for the world. I watched moments from the The Drowning Girl: A Memoir brought to life through the alchemy of effort, talent, patience, luck, and persistence. After all my years of publishing, I am not ashamed to say that I learned many things I wish I'd learned years ago. And new projects will happen because I have learned these lessons.

I'm too tired to say very much, I only want to lie down and shut my eyes. But...yesterday we made it to Rolling Dam (the location that inspired the novel), and watched Sara become the marvelously predatory Siren of Millville. Never mind the water was fucking freezing, and rough enough it's a wonder she wasn't swept away. In time, you will see the beauty of those moments, but later. We can't show all our cards at once.

I sat with Nicola at Thundermist Falls in Woonsocket as the sun set, and coached her on what Imp would be doing and thinking and how she would move. I watched Imp try to drown in a bathtub, and panicked Abalyn carry her down a narrow hallway. In time, you'll see. We shot in the Providence Athenaeum (thank you, Super Librarian Women!), and other locales around the city today.

We've thanked each other, and wished we didn't have to leave, that we could keep working on this thing. But that's not how art is meant to be, is it? No, it's not. A special thank you to our absent genius, Michael Zulli. And to everyone who donated even so much as a single dollar to the Kickstarter crowdsourcing drive that made this happen.

My brains are running out my ears. But before I go, here are a few more shots:

15-16 October 2011; SFW? You decide. )


I drank the blood of angels from the bottle,
Just to see if I could call the lightning down.
It hasn't struck me yet, and I would wage my soul to bet
That there ain't no one throwing lightning anyhow.
— Brown Bird, "Blood of Angels"
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, setting aside for the moment that Kathryn managed to find a Bosco Milk Chocolate Bar (3.5 ounces of all natural pure fun, since 1928), we have had an amazing motherfucking day and night. Oh, yes. Let's not forget the night. But! No one drowned, which is bloody amazing, given we working on a trailer for The Drowning Girl and...well...you'll see.

Sure, it was a rainy fucking day here in Rhode Island. But, everyone arrived about noonish, and as we headed south towards Location #1, Moonstone Beach, we got a break. In the cloud cover that is. The drizzle ceased, and the filming at Moonstone went swimmingly (you gotta thank Geoffrey [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark for having committed that pun, as he was sitting here begging me not to use it, though he's the one that brought it up). Where was I? Oh, Moonstone Beach. Yes, it was one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen at Moonstone, and the novel's climactic scene was a marvel to translate into film. Oh, and there were beautiful mermaid's purses, and omen of a certain, some enormous (by the standards of selachian egg cases), perfectly hatched. Had a great close encounter with a loon (and I don't mean Geoffrey!). The mist was thick, and Block island was invisible in the distance, to the south, across the green, then blue gulf of Block Island Sound. Our actors—Sara (Eva) and Nicola (Imp)—were grand. Kyle played Mary Ellen Mark and shot a billion still photos. I played Werner Herzog, while Brian played Terrance Malick. Meanwhile, Kathryn, Geoffrey (there he is again), and Ryan saved our asses again and again and again. As the clouds parted, we were treated to a Maxfield Parrish sky, all in a trillion shades a blue and grey.

And then we took time to visit the jetty at Harbor of Refuge, which I walked, despite the fact I have no business playing mountain goat. And then, just before dark, we headed to the Point Judith Lighthouse. We watched men fishing in the rocky surf, and a couple of surfers (of questionable intellect) flinging themselves suicidally into the breakers. And the sun set and rain came down.

Hard.

We headed back to Kathryn's parent's farm, to shoot a pivotal scene, which calls for outdoor nudity. And it was shot in the rain. The pouring rain. The hard, cold, you can't hear yourself speak over it rain. Sara gets huge points from me for standing naked in the hard, cold, you can't hear yourself speak over it rain. For, I think, four takes. I only had to be soaking wet in my clothes. I think you could write a short novel about our filming that one scene, Sara and Nicola (who was at least dressed), and the cameras, and the umbrellas, and the automobile serving double duty as a lighting rig. And the rain. And the deer that almost ate Sara. And pizza. And umbrellas. And Spider the cat. And...stop me now.

More to come. Ah, but! There is a sneak peek! Here:

14 October 2011, NOT WORK SAFE, like I give a shit )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence, we've leapfrogged from April, way back on Wednesday, to June. And, actually, four days ago, I had to run the space heater in my office. So! Everything normal here in New England. Last night, at three ayem, the humidity was 100%.

As birthdays go, or, rather, as my birthdays go, yesterday was probably ahead of the curve. I have a Magical Birthday Curse of Doom. Last year, for example, we were supposed to be in Boston, but the car died, it was 90 million degrees (and we still haven't invented AC in Rhode Island, probably never will), and I was a sick as a dog from one of my meds. Sure, last year's birthday began with Garrison Kiellor profiling me on NPR. And that was cool, in the most surreal of ways. If not for Garrison Kiellor, last year's birthday would have scored about 5% on the Birthday-o-Meter®. I give yesterday a 50%. So, yeah. Better.

Truthfully, any birthday that includes watching a school of mermaids drag a pirate ship into the briny deep can't be all bad.

Which is to say, Spooky's birthday present to me was a matinée showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In 2-D, thank you. It was fun, and the mermaids were spectacular. [livejournal.com profile] sovay would approve. And Ian McShane was awesome, but it was obvious he was on a short leash. Ian McShane is a goddamn force of Nature, but he must be free to say cocksucker as many times as is necessary. On Stranger Tides could have used about fifty uses of cocksucker. Jack Sparrow is definitely a cocksucker. Anyway, yeah. Fun and pretty movie. Great cast. But this needs to be the last of the series. Time to move on.

As for the rest of the day, well...there was floor cake. Floor cake sort of sums up everything not good about yesterday. But, we had pizza from Fellini's, just like last year. I sat on College Hill, watching the fog roll in from the bay. We played Rift (more on that in a moment). I did not write. There were some marvelous gifts, and my gargantuan thanks to everyone who went to that much trouble and expense. Truly. On Facebook, far more than 200 people wished me a happy birthday (only 32 on LJ, and only 8 on Twitter, and I find this all significant; oh, but [livejournal.com profile] rozk wrote me a wonderful birthday poem she posted to LJ). Late, I lay on the floor and watched two episodes of Firefly ("Trash" and "War Stories"), because Firefly on your birthday helps, like washing down a bitter pill with something sweet. This paragraph is horrid, but there you go. Spooky read me If I Ran the Zoo, before the insomnia struck (despite my Good-Worker-Bee Pill), and I couldn't get to sleep until after dawn

---

I have spent so much time singing the praises of Rift, that I almost (almost) feel obligated to write about its shortcomings. Which is sort of silly, as Rift at its worst still makes WoW look like the sad mess it is. But. Even so. If you visit Telara, and happen to find yourself in the region known as the Droughtlands, and it feels oddly familiar...well, if you've ever been on Azeroth, in Desolace, that explains the déjà vu. Truly, Trion photocopied Desolace, rendered it a thousand times better, and changed the name to the Droughtlands. You even get the fucking centaurs. Also, Trion does so much right, couldn't they have devised names for regions that weren't all two-word combinations: Freemarch, Moonshade, Iron Pine, Scarwood, Shimmersand, and Silverwood, and etc.? Come on, guys. This is airy-fairy billshit, possessed of all the imagination of a dead mouse. And the yetis? I know, Iron Pine Peak is cold and snowy...but yetis? That's the best you could come up with? As kids these days would say, "falcepalm."

You're awfully fine, Rift, but you could be so much more.

And now...fuck it. Sweat and write.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
The snow and ice are here to stay. What little melting takes places during the day freezes solid as soon as the sun sets. I'm not kidding about glaciers. I may have to do a driveway glacier photo essay. The low last night was something like 9˚F.

Today, your comments would be most appreciated. Fridays are always slow.

I tried, yesterday, to take a day off, and failed. At this point, there's not been a day without work since Monday the 17th, and there have been seventeen days of work since. Today will make eighteen. Starting to feel thin, but the work is piled on top of the other work. I've got to get through chapters 7 and 8 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir this month, and finish up the editing and layout (and other stuff) for Two Worlds and In Between, and get Sirenia Digest #62 out to subscribers (the latter should happen tomorrow).

Yesterday, I tried very, very hard not to work. We made it through chapters 33-35 of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which seemed a good way to begin a day off. Only, then there was some sort of anxiety storm, that ended with me working on the layout and editing for Two Worlds and In Between, and realizing I hate the introduction I wrote, and that I have to write a new one today. And answering email. Oh, and the page proofs for "Hydrarguros" arrived in the mail yesterday. The story's being reprinted in Subterranean 2: Tales of Dark Fantasy.

Day before yesterday was spent trying to talk myself over the wall that has suddenly appeared between chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Like magick. As soon as I realized the novel would take a different shape, and that Chapter 5 was actually chapters 5 and 6...boom...the first real wall I've encountered since the novel started gathering momentum back in November. I have to find my way over the wall by Sunday morning, at the latest. Anyway, yeah, work is presently a higgledy-piggledy twilight sort of place, too many things happening all at once and no time to stop and take a breath without worrying I'll drown. The weather isn't helping.

I was pleased to see that The Ammonite Violin & Others made the 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List.

--

Last night, we finished reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which was quite good, and I recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered at the direction European history might have taken if all the kings and queens (except in Switzerland) had been half-mermaid. There's a passage I want to quote from pp. 321-322, a "deepsman's" thoughts on Jesus, the Second Coming, and death, just because I love it:

A man might come back after three days hiding; it was not impossible. But the landsmen seemed to think he'd come back again, some day when the world ended— a thought that, in itself, was inconceivable. Creatures died; the world was what creatures died in. A broken back or a gouged throat created not a shiver of notice in the world, in anything except the dying creature. The world was what happened before you were born and kept happening after you died; there was no need for some dead landsman to come back and have everything living die at the same time and tear up the world while he was at it. Everyone would die anyway if they waited. It seemed to Henry that the landsmen were confused, that they hadn't seen enough dead things to know how easily the water kept flowing after a death, that however much you dreaded the end nothing stopped the tides. And no landsman could destroy the world, anyway, however clever he was at dodging in and out of seeming dead.

Also, we began Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps last night, and I'm already amazed. Also also, it has one of the few truly good and artful book trailers I've ever seen.

---

Two good movies over the last couple of nights. Wednesday night, we finally got to see Gareth Edwards' Monsters. And wow. I'm fairly certain that, after Inception, this is the second best science-fiction film of 2010. I'm appalled it got such a limited release. For an alien-invasion film, Monsters is superbly soft spoken, a symphony of whispers rising, at last, to a distant rumble of thunder. The climactic encounter between the protagonists and two of the aliens invokes not terror, but awe, arriving at that moment of transcendence when eyes are opened and "monsters" become something else entirely. Highly recommended. This is a must see, now that it's finally on DVD and the vagaries of film distribution are no longer holding this masterpiece hostage.

Last night, we watched Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon (based on Cressida Cowell's book), and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd not been particularly enthusiastic about seeing it, perhaps because of all the 3D nonsense. But it's sort of marvelous. Sweet without going saccharine. Beautiful animation. And it all ends with a song by Jónsi. Very, very nice.

---

At this point, the Tale of the Ravens project is 160% funded (!!!), but it'll be open to donations, however large or small, for another 49 days. Please have a look. Spooky and I are both excited about this, our first collaboration and the beginning of Goat Girl Press. Please have a look. Oh, wait. I said that already.

And speaking of big black birds, here's the cover (behind the cut) for Ellen Datlow's forthcoming Supernatural Noir (due out from Dark Horse on June 22nd), which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn":

Supernatural Noir )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'm looking at the news, seeing that the South has been walloped with snow and ice. People are saying it's the worst snow in Alabama and Georgia since the winter storm of '93. I was living alone in Birmingham then, on the side of Red Mountain, and I was pretty much snowed in for a week, most of it without power. Long time ago. I was twenty-nine. It was the year before I moved to Athens, Georgia, and it was also the year I made my first short-story sale. Anyway, it appears the same storm front that hit the southeast will reach us sometime on Tuesday.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,753 words on Chapter 4 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And, as I mentioned yesterday, I'll be including the first chapter in Sirenia Digest #63 (February 2011).

I didn't leave the house.

Not much else to yesterday. I've started reading Shackelton's Forgotten Men: The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic by Lennard Bickel (2001). We read more of Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters (2009). We watched, of all things, Guillermo del Toro's Blade II (2002), which I think made my third time (one in the theatre, now twice at home). I really wasn't in the mood for a big, stupid vampire movie, but I was too tired for anything else. On the one hand, the visual and make-up FX have aged much better than I expected. And Ron Perlman is still cool (and always will be). On the other hand, this film can stand as proof that you really do need a screenplay and actors to make a film. Explosions and martial arts and mutant vampires, that's all well and good, but dialogue helps, too.

There was some rp in Insilico, mostly a long conversation between Molly and Grendel wherein they tried valiantly to talk about "good things," but kept going back around to all the bad things. But it was good rp. It was, I daresay, sweet. I'm going to step away from IS for two or three days. There's just too much work, and it's just too taxing. Also, I leveled my blood-elf death knight to 64. She's named Shahharazad, which, of course, looks an awful lot like Shaharrazad, my Level 82 blood-elf warlock. I call one Double H and the other I call Double R.

And now, the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
And already it's the third day of the year...

1) I awoke to the news that Pete Postlethwaite had died. An actor I adored, and who never failed to impress. The world is poorer.

2) Got up about eight this ayem (seven EST) and, half asleep, cracked my head rather hard against the edge of a door frame. Hurt like fuck all, but I appear to be okay. Not even a lump. Just a very sore forehead. I need curb feelers or something. Whiskers might do.

3) Yesterday tried to be a day off, but failed rather miserably. We left the house about 2:30 p.m. It was fairly warm, but overcast, with dirty snow still heaped everywhere. A most disheartening landscape, Providence with snow scabs. First, we drove from the train depot on Gaspee to the Ladd Observatory on Hope Street, because it's a route that my protagonist in "—30—" walks and I needed to know the mileage (about two miles). Then we made a trip to the market and the pharmacy. We'd had some notion of doing something more interesting. Anything more interesting. But it began to rain, and so we went home, instead. I went back to work on "—30—". I had Spooky read the whole story aloud to me and was relieved that it works quite well. I made a lot of line edits, and expanded a section near the end. So, the day off turned into a work day.

For dinner, the second night of black-eyed peas (like I said, I made enough for an army). We watched Andrey Konchalovskiy's Runaway Train (1985; inspired by an Akira Kurosawa screenplay). I'd not seen it since it was new, and Spooky had never seen it. Watching The Taking of Pelham 123 got me thinking about it, the night before. It holds up very well. Only the score, which reeks of the the eighties (and not in a good way), made me wince. We followed it with Gregor Jordan's Unthinkable (2010), a film with Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie-Anne Moss that I'd not even heard about. Turns out, it was a direct-to-DVD release (I don't know any of the specifics as to why). It's a peculiar mess of a movie, and I'm inclined to agree with Sean Axmaker, who called Unthinkable "a clumsy polemic that bounces between the boundaries of stage-play debate and torture porn spectacle." Later, we began reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which I'm liking quite a lot so far (despite a cover blurb from Sherrilyn Kenyon). Hopefully, the promise of its first three chapters will be realized.

So, that was yesterday.

4) Today will be spent putting together Sirenia Digest #61, which will hopefully go out to subscribers either late this evening or early tomorrow.

5) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks!

6) I want to link to this again today, because it's just so wonderful: "For the children I will never have: The facts of life". Thinking about it yesterday, a thought occurred to me that occurs to me every so often. Given I will never have a child, I sometimes imagine sitting down and writing an account of the life of the child that I will never have. A might have been, as it were. It wouldn't be anything romanticized. I'd at least try to write it honestly.

7) It's sunny today, and there's still snow. We had rain last night, so at least the snow is cleaner than it was. Yesterday's warmth is gone. Here in Providence, it's currently 33F, with a wind from the northwest, 17mph gusting to 25mph, making it feel like 22F. A good day to stay inside and work. I might open my curtain and let the sun in...
greygirlbeast: (fight dinosaurs)
Hold on for Round Three of higgledy piggledy.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,413 words on "John Four," and found THE END. It's a strange story, maybe even strange for me. Maybe even grim for me, right down to the irony in the Biblical allusion of its title. I wrote yesterday's pages to the Swans' My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. It was the perfect soundtrack to the story. The last couple of hours of writing yesterday were pell-mell, a dizzy rush through black words. I almost felt as though my brain was tripping over itself. If this story has a moral, it must be that the end of the world is only merciful if it really is the end of the world, and not the beginning of another. Anyway, the vignette will be included in Sirenia Digest #58, along with reprints of most of my Lovecraft Mythos fiction. I felt I should do a Lovecraft issue, since I'll be heading off to the HPLFF next week, so that's what I'm doing.

---

I woke this morning from the most remarkable dreams, though sadly only random shreds remain. But the shreds are dazzling. I was living out a fourth book in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and somehow Saruman's industrial revolution had occurred after all. The landscape was at first Stalin's Russia, then New York City in the Great Depression. I only saw hobbits and humans. The elves would be gone, of course, but there should have been orcs and dwarves. There were refugees in boxcars in a barren snowy place. At one point, there was a frantic climb through the freezing waters of an enormous dam's spillway. There was a climactic showdown in what seemed to me a bank, and it was very Miller's Crossing somehow, only with swords instead of guns. And I woke from this dream wanting so badly to write a fantasy novel set against the backdrop of the first three decades of the 20th Century.

--- (These divisions, in my mind, make an entry less higgledy piggledy.)

Thanks for all the comments yesterday, mostly as regards ebooks and eReaders. Truth is, on the one hand, I don't care if people are using eReaders. If that's how you want to read, it's sure as hell not my business. I can't do it, because for me a book consists of two parts: 1) the experience of reading it (which includes tactile sensation) and 2) the physical object itself. These things are, for me, indivisible. I'm not looking for a "good read," because the process of reading a book cannot be reduced to mere action. But that's me. I think the only thing that scares me about all this is that I feel fairly certain that if the trend continues, we'll reach a point where what remains of New York publishing will ditch most hardcopy books, especially the midlist. It will be far cheaper to rely on ebooks, as they have so much less overhead (especially since the publishers aren't manufacturing the eReaders). The two greatest expenses in publishing would be eliminated: warehousing and distribution. Sure, there will still be hardbacks for best sellers, and also from specialty houses like Subterranean Press, but most authors won't have access to such luxuries. The midlist author will be consigned to ebooks. And if that happens, I'll stop writing. I'll just stop. Because half of my reward for having written is that tangible object, which to me is a work of art— the book —which can never be reduced to zeroes and ones.

Also, books don't usually break when you drop 'em.

I'm not going to get started on the horror that introducing social networking to the act of reading represents for me. No, I never belonged to book clubs, and I hated literature classes. For me, reading is inherently solitary.

---

Last night we saw Neil Jordan's Ondine (2009). I am a long-time admirer (that's probably putting it too mildly) of Jordan's films, and this one was everything I'd expect. Brilliant, beautiful, and sublime. Fairy tale and mythology are always there, even when they aren't. Fantasy (truth) is inseparable from reality (fact). It's probably the best film about a selkie ever made, regardless of whether or not there's actually a selkie in it. Yes, even better than The Secret of Roan Inish (1994). Filmed in Cork County, Ireland, the landscape is shades of green and grey and blue that are, at once, perfectly solid and yet too exquisite to have ever existed outside cinematography. Great performances from Colin Farrell (Syracuse), Alicja Bachleda (Ondine), and Alison Barry (Annie). Oh, and how can I not love a film about selkies in which Sigur Rós are integral to the plot! If you ask me, this is a must see.

(We also saw the new episode of Glee, which still rocks.)

---

I sat down yesterday and started reading through "As Red as Red" (in Haunted Legends; I don't know why I've started reading my stories in print; I never used to do this). I reached page 80, where the protagonist travels from Providence to Aquidneck Island and Newport. Only, this is what it says:

I made the commute from Providence to Newport, crossing the East Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island and then the West Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport.

This is, of course, backwards. It's akin to being in Manhattan and saying you're going to travel east to New Jersey. It's that wrong. It should read, "I made the commute from Providence to Newport, crossing the West Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island and then the East Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport." But somehow I wrote it down backwards, and, somehow, despite all the times I read it during editing, the mistake was never corrected. I've made this "commute" more times now than I can recall, and this is just a dumb mistake, one that made it into print. Odds are most readers will never catch it, not unless they're familiar with Rhode Island geography. But I had to point it out, if only in the hopes that the embarrassment will make me more attentive in the future. It was a depressing thing to find.

Okay. That's it for now. How can it already be Thursday? Yeah, I know. Because yesterday was Wednesday....
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, California's Proposition 8 has been ruled unconstitutional by District Judge Vaughn Walker. A black day for the assholes who put the hateful thing in place. A thin ray of light for the rest of us. That's a battle won, and I was glad for the news. But the war's still raging out there. And I dislike making war analogies, almost as bad as I hate making sports and computer analogies, but sometimes they're apt.

A good writing day yesterday. After an initial wave of panic, concerning my oft-stated problems with first-person narratives, I calmed down and got to work. I honestly don't know how Spooky does it, enduring my outbursts and diatribes and wearisome self doubt. Anyway, I wrote another 1,577 words on Chapter One of The Drowning Girl. I hope to finish the chapter by Friday evening. I was sorely tempted to dispense with chapters in this book. The manuscript is being written by someone who does not think of it as a novel and never intends it to be read, so why would the manuscript be subdivided into chapters? Just to meet reader expectations? How does that ever begin to make sense? Regardless, for the moment, the novel has chapters. Vive le conventionnel.

I'm trying to figure out if anyone else has ever written a ghost story about a mermaid, or if this might be the first.

I also spent about forty-five minutes more fidgeting about with the table of contents for the "Best of CRK" volume. Mostly pulling stories and sticking others in, creating hypothetical configurations and recalculating word count based on each one.

If you've not, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Between delayed checks and quickly approaching expenses, eBay income is especially important to us at the moment. Plus, you get cool books. Thanks.

And now I make the words flow...
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
The heat comes back today. And we have a yellow air alert. The public transit system is running for free in hopes of discouraging drivers. In Birmingham and Atlanta, "yellow-alert air" is what Coca Cola bottles and sells for the three months of red air alerts that are the summer. Regardless, we will not be joining the hordes of skanky tourists filing to and back from the beaches.

Yesterday was a rather exceptional writing day. I did 1,844 words on the Next New Novel. More importantly, I think I finally found my way into this book that's been eluding me for the better part of a year. Which leads to the announcement about the novel that I've been avoiding making. Remember when I said that there was a sort of impromptu workshop late one night at Readercon 21, during which lots of folks (Sonya Taaffe, Geoffrey Goodwin, Michael Cisco, Greer Gilman, Erik Amundsen, and Gemma Files) helped me talk through some of the Big Problems I was having with it? Actually, looking back, it was really more like a literary intervention.

This arose, basically, from realizing that the "werewolf" book I was trying (and failing) to write could just as easily be a "mermaid" book. That the story would hardly change at all, swapping the wolf for a siren, and that several of the narrative problems I was having would be eliminated by jettisoning the wolf. Plus, there's my strong affinity to the sea to help drive the book. And so, that Saturday night, that Sunday morning, I made the decision.

And The Wolf Who Cried Girl became The Drowning Girl.

My only real regret is losing the original title, but I did use it for a short story long before I began trying to write the "werewolf" novel. (Note: There's a reason for those quotations marks. The "werewolf" in The Wolf Who Cried Girl was to have been about as close to people's conceptions of a traditional werewolf as the eponymous tree of The Red Tree is to traditional vampires. Likewise with the "mermaid" of The Drowning Girl, which begins not at the ocean, but a river in Massachusetts. Well, actually, it begins in an art museum.

Anyway, yes. The Next New Novel has undergone a necessary metamorphosis. Though, I will, in some sense, be preserving elements of The Wolf Who Cried Girl within The Drowning Girl, perhaps as an Albert Perrault exhibition.

Not much else to say about yesterday. But do please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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