greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
January is almost over, and we've had one snow. It only lasted a day before the melting began. I only have four data points from which to work, so my results are suspect, but based on those four, it's been an unusual winter here in Providence. Sunny today, and presently 39˚F.

I haven't seen the sea since sometime in mid December.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,249 words and finished "Camuffare." It's an unexpectedly gentle story. And, despite being very, very strange, it's certainly one of the most straightforwardly sexual (as opposed to more broadly erotic) I've written for the Digest. Quiet. I'm very pleased with it. Today, I begin a second piece for #74, for which I presently have no title.

I fear, these last few days, I may have been backsliding on the diet.

Last night, determined to stay off SW:toR (and we did!), we binged on whatever you call it when you stream video through a laptop. We watched last week's episode of Fringe – superb – then moved along to two films. SPOILERS The first, The Vicious Brothers' Grave Encounters (2011) came recommended by a friend who's taste is often in sync with our own. And...Grave Encounters is almost a very creepy film done very well. Almost. It has moments of brilliance. But, in the end, there are too many examples of the creators' never having learned that, more often than not, when tugging at the strings that control dread and outright fear, less is much more. We do not need hackneyed images cadged from hundreds of Japanese horror films and the like, not when the filmmakers have actually plugged into what makes Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves such a wondrous thing (stretches of this movie are close to straightforward adaptations of the novel). There's imagery and circumstance within Grave Encounters so effective that we don't need actual ghosts and monsters popping out of the walls. Whenever the ghoulies appear, the atmosphere and tension are shattered, and the whole thing threatens to careen into camp. You ought to see the film for those parts that work (none of which I will here spoil), but you also ought to know that, in the end, the film falls apart, and the conclusion, which literally opens a door into a blackness so profound it might have been genius, is squandered on cheesy images of pretend occultism and mad scientists. Okay, that's a spoiler. Sorry. But someone needs to take the "Vicious Brothers" (guys, get actual names...really, please) aside and show them how they almost made a truly impressive film. SPOILER ALERT ENDS

Afterwards, we watched Ole Bornedal's Nightwatch (1997; based on Bornedal's Nattevagten, 1994). Nice cast, including Ewan McGregor, Patricia Arquette, Nick Nolte, and Brad Dourif, plus an utterly inspired bit performance by Lonny Chapman. It's not a great film. It's a nice thriller with a decent amount of tension. If you're the sort who watches a "whodunit," and actually expects to have a hard time figuring out "whodunit," you'll be disappointed. I'm not that sort of person. And Ewan McGregor rocks. Even in bad Star Wars films. And Brad fucking Dourif. So, there you go. I enjoyed it.

Also, I began reading The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling, a biography of Mary Anning.

Now...I should go make words.

Trust Me,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
On this day, sixty-five years ago, the dismembered body of Elizabeth Short was found in Leimert Park, Los Angeles.

Bitterly cold (but no snow) here in Providence. We had single digits last night, and the temperature Outside is currently 15˚F.

Here's a link to the full text of the starred (!) Publishers Weekly review of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Also, my thanks to Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) for the very kind things she said about the novel a couple of days ago.

Yesterday, I realized that I'd done a very peculiar thing Friday while working on Albaster #4. I'd written pages five, six, and seven. But...this is going to sound so stupid...with seven I'd jumped ahead to a spot very near to the end of the book, only a few pages from the end. It was strange, yeah. I always write from "beginning" to "end," in a straight line, so it was a very odd thing for me to have done. Anyway, yesterday, I set that seventh page aside (I'll use it at the appropriate time), and wrote a new page seven, along with eight, nine, and ten (manuscript pages 14-19, 1,403 words). I stopped in the year 1864 – November, to be precise. I'll resume there today. Oh, it'll all make sense, trust me.

After the writing, I used the iPad to stream a rather dubious documentary about the Snowball Earth hypothesis. I don't mean to say that the hypothesis itself, though still somewhat controversial, is dubious. It's just that the Discovery Channel (I can't believe they haven't shortened the station's title to Disco) seems incapable of making coherent, accurate documentaries that don't drag everything down to the level of "Bat Boy" and the Weekly World News (By the way, you know you're old when you remember the days when the Weekly World News took itself seriously.). The documentary almost managed to reduce a respectable (and very likely) scientific model to nothing more than the latest Roland Emmerich blockbuster.

Later, we played SW:toR, forgoing RP in favor of leveling. We both reached Level 28. And then we watched Craig Gillespie's remake of Fright Night (2011). Now, given the fact that I'm an admirer of the original (1988) and the fact that I hate 3D, I will admit I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder going in. But I was quickly won over. Yeah, the 3D is gimmicky as fuck, and annoyingly intrusive at times (Oh! Look! Blood spurting at the film! Scream!). But the film is both a lot of fun and filled with genuine menace. Most of the casting is superb – Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell (I never would have believed it), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and (drum roll) David Fucking Tennant. The show really belonged to Tenant and Farrell. I do wish a little more care had been taken casting female roles. Imogen Poots? That was supposed to be an in joke, right? And Toni Collette....well, we know she can act, but I guess the fact that she's comatose for the second half of this film meant she didn't have much incentive to try during the first half. I was disappointed that we didn't get some of the wonderful creature effects from the original – the werewolf and the amazingly creepy bat thing – but still, very good and highly recommended. Even with the annoying 3D shots trying to jump out into you lap. Oh, it also scored points for mentioning Farscape.

After the movie, I read Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Silence of the Asonu" (1998), a fine bit of SF anthropology (also collected in Lightspeed: Year One). And then I finally slept.
greygirlbeast: (white)
He couldn't make a sentence stand up and be noticed if he put Viagra in the ink.

---

This the the sort of entry people do not like to comment on.

As this journal enters what I expect to be it's final three months as an entity that will be updated daily, my chief regret is that I have always held so much back. And that I have to continue to do so, probably, even now. From the beginning, I wanted this to be a blog where I talked about what it's like for me to be a writer, and, as much as I have been able, I've done that. But there have been many, many times when my hands have been tied by the politics of the industry. That is, I could say something true, true and useful to anyone with thoughts of trying to become a published author. But, as with all other arenas of human endeavor, publishing is ruled by politics, and telling the truth can be detrimental and even suicidal.

All writers lie about writing, and they do it for various reasons. But one reason that writers lie about what it's like to be a writer is their fear of repercussions that could end their career. Same with speaking openly and honestly about the work of other authors. To be able to do this would be immensely useful to anyone with aspirations in entering this shadowy realm. All those naïve wouldbes. But I've never been in a position to do this, to take those risks, and for that I apologize. Looking back, it's among those most valuable insights I could have imparted. I'll have to settle for old, familiar warnings such as Hic sunt dracones or, perhaps more appropriately, Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.

---

As for my daily activities, writing and not writing and whatnot, the last couple of days that sort of thing has taken a backseat to getting the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl out there. Let me see what I can now recall.

On Wednesday, I wrote 1,018 words on a piece for Sirenia Digest #73 called "Blast the Human Flower." Yeah, a lazy bit of titling, but not an inappropriate bit of titling. It may or may not stay on the finished vignette. I can recall nothing else of significance, or that's especially interesting, about Wednesday. Oh, we finished Season Six of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. How's that?

On Thursday, I awoke to the news that Penguin (Roc/NAL) had made on offer on Blood Oranges, and I spent part of the day discussing that with my agent. Nothing more was written on "Blast the Human Flower." I fucked off and left the house, and Spooky and I ended up at the Trinity Brew Pub, where I indulged in hot wings and beer. I don't often drink alcohol anymore (my meds), but I had a pint of their very excellent Belgian saison, made with a new variety of New Zealand hops. When I do drink beer, I want good beer. Later, Varla – my Sith Assassin – made Level 20.

Yesterday, we went to an early (1 p.m. CaST) matinée of David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and it's very, very good. Truly. And Trent Reznor deserves another Oscar for the soundtrack. The cover of Bryan Ferry's Is Your Love Strong Enough by How to Destroy Angels in exquisite, and, for that matter, the opening title sequence alone is almost worth the price of admission. No writing again yesterday. I don't think I've been slacking off; just too much anger and depression. Okay. Bullshit, no matter how I feel, I've been slacking off, and it ends today. Last night, I didn't get to sleep until after five a.m., sitting up late reading stories by Michael Shea and a very good piece by Kim Newman, "Another Fish Story." I don't usually care for Newman, but I did like this one.

And that, in a nutshell, is the past three days. Oh, except I've been watching documentaries on the Mars Polar Lander, cosmic collisions, and "ancient astronauts" (I'm ashamed to admit that last one, but sometimes we learn a great deal about good science by watching the crackpots who have no clue when it comes to methodology, reproducible results, outlandish claims, anecdotal evidence, and critical thought). There are some photos from Thursday, below, behind the cut. Oh, I did want to mention that in the next day or two, we'll begin a series of auctions on eBay which will include souvenirs from the shoot back in October and also a copy of The Drowning Girl. I'll announce those as soon as they go up.

Okay. Gotta go write.

Hands Tied,
Aunt Beast

5 January 2012 )
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I seem to be developing a new loathing for "weekends" (id est, Friday night-Sunday), and I begin to guess why.

Comments would be good today, if anyone still reads LJ on Saturday.

Today, I have to get back to writing "Sexing the Weird," which I truly need to finish by tomorrow evening. Yes, it's about sex, and the weird, and weird sex. But maybe not how you think. Or maybe exactly as you think.

The only work yesterday were a couple of last minute corrections to the galley pages of The Drowning Girl. Then we had to rush out to the UPS place at Wayland Square to be sure the thing would be back in NYC on Monday morning. Forty-two dollars and some number of cents to get it there by then.

Anyway, after that we wondered...er, wandered (though I wonder a lot) about Providence for a little while, as late afternoon faded to twilight, just watching the last remnants of the day and the last remnants of autumn. I'm beginning to realize that autumn will never cease to make me melancholy. Doesn't matter if it's beautiful, but that should be obvious to anyone who stops and thinks about it. Indeed, the beauty of autumn may lie near the heart of why it inspires a sense of melancholy in me.

We drove up to Blackstone Park, but it was too cold to walk through the woods. We'd not dressed for that much cold. We took the road that leads south (well, we were going south; the other lane leads north), between the Seekonk River and York Pond. I glanced over at the shadows darkening the still waters of the pond, and spotted a lump moving across the surface that I first mistook for a large turtle (despite the chill), but soon realized was a beaver. Oh, before Blackstone Park, we stopped in at Myopic Books, which is next door to the UPS Place. My favorite used bookstore in Rhode Island. I was good. All I got was an 1883 book on the sea, Ocean Wonders: Our Summer at the Seashore and Lakes by William E. Damon (D. Appleton & Co.; New York; the book is inscribed in a beautiful, looping hand, "Lotie H. Palmer 1884") and a much less old children's book on horseshoe crabs, The Crab That Crawled Out of the Past by Lorus and Margery Milne (1966, Atheneum; New York). Looking at these books now, I think, gods, remember when there were innumerable publishers in Manhattan. Now there are about six. To the detriment of almost all authors. Anyway, I was good, as I said, and didn't get a couple of pricey books on the evolution of birds that I also wanted.

We got dinner from Mama Kim's Korean food truck. It was parked in the usual spot, near the corner of Thayer and George. It was almost dark. Spooky went to get the food (I had three gochujang sliders), and I sat on a bench, smoking and thinking about the ancient buildings around me. The silhouette of some Brown University tower was visible to the northwest. Spooky's still sad she didn't get the little fish-shaped, sweet-bean pancakes. They seem too peculiarly reminiscent of something Xtian for my comfort.

Later, too much freaking Rift. But we were finally able to "buy" the cool cold-weather outfits at Chancel of Labors.

Later still, we watched an odd film, Daniel Myrick's The Objective (2007). It was almost pretty good. Well, it probably was pretty good. But there was this horrid voice over, which felt tacked on, whether it was added in post production or was part of the original screenplay. It seemed to exist to a) tell us the plainly obvious and b) make the film seem more like Apocalypse Now. Anyway, voice over aside, great idea and some nicely unnerving imagery, especially the final shot. Then I finished reading John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez, because I only had twenty pages to go, and I was determined to finish (even if it did mean staying up until almost five ayem). Wonderful, wonderful book. Then there were the dreams, some oddly, disturbingly sexy, others oddly, pleasantly disturbing, and still others just odd.

Here are a couple of photos, the The Drowning Girl (+ cat hair!) and the 1883 book:

Covers )


Oddly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Al)
So, there's some asshole next door, guy has a lawn the size of a postage stamp. No, seriously. A postage stamp. And he's out there with a motherfucking leaf blower. Now, longtime readers will know that, as far as I'm concerned, no lawn is big enough to warrant the profound laziness, the unnecessary waste of energy derived from fossil fuels, the damage to the environment done by leaf blowers, or...and this is important, so please pay attention...the noise produced by the goddamn things. There is this marvelous invention, dating back, well, a long damn time. It requires a little sweat, sure. But that's why evolution gave us muscles and sweat glands and the ability to burn calories. This invention of which I speak is called a rake. And, in a sane world, I would go outside with a claw hammer, dismantle that leaf blower, gaily strew the shards across that cockwaffle's lawn, then offer him a rake with which to clean up the mess I've made. We do not live in a sane world, kittens.

Yeah, it's gonna be that sort of a day.

Doesn't help that it seems the DeLorean time machine didn't quite hit its target date (almost, but not quite...so now we have Bill Gates and Ann Coulter, neither of whom existed yesterday), and I'm going to spend the day chasing ripples through the matrix of space and time in order to make this the Present Day that the experiment was intended it make it into. Ripples.

Should a traveler appear earlier in the timeline of his own existence, he would be but as a pebble cast upon still water. But the ripples he creates would, over time, radiate upon far distant shores—geometrically altering events in their path.

Exactly.

I've gotten distracted.

Yesterday was a frustrating sort of day, waiting for that news from the past and all. But I worked on this and that related to the shooting of the book trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, which will be happening next weekend if it's ever going to happen. The three million details. You know, scooping up all the itty-bitty bits of brain and shit. I did some of that, while I watched the chronometers. I watched dozens of movie trailers, thinking, thinking, thinking. I made notes, and sent them to our cinematographer, Brian Siano. Gods, there are some beautiful movie trailers, an art in their own right, and I especially admire the ones that make shitty movies look like gold. Now, mind you, I'm not admiring the intent of whatever studio exec had those trailers made, the marketing people, all those deceitful assholes trying to pass shit off as gold. I'm applauding the poor schmucks who were tasked with the editing jobs, and who will do the job well, unless they wanted to go looking for another line of work. They are among the all-but-unsung heroes in the shitstorm of ballyhoo and jackassery that is Hollywood. Though, I will say, the trailers are frequently my favorite part of going to the theatre. But...I've gotten distracted again.

Oh, also I received sample design pages from Penguin, for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (of course). Overall, it's looking good, except for some hideous curlicue font used in the headers, a font I am assured will be replaced with something appropriate, something that doesn't make me want to gouge out my eyes.

Anyway, Spooky came home from the market with a cardboard shipping tube containing another nigh-unto-unspeakably beautiful piece of Philip George Saltonstall's artwork, created, of course, by the incomparable Michael Zulli, one which will appear in the book trailer. Seeing it was like being punched in the chest. And yeah, I've been punched in the chest, so I know what it feels like.

The evening's entertainment consisted of watching Serenity for the five-hundreth time (it's still a great and inspiring ride), and then playing my part in an Insilico RP that was almost very good...except—at some point it descended into "You're stealin' my man" soap-opera nonsense and utterly failed ooc communication—and, also also RPers online need to learn the difference between godmoding and how actions would realistically unfold in particular circumstances, cause and effect, and fuck the whiners. By the end of the scene, which went on for about three hours, I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. But it had it's moments.

Anyway, now I must go attend to those ripples.

Thinking wormholes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Someone should really tell whatever moron/s started using "baby bump" that it sounds like a disease. Then again, we are referring to pregnancy.

---

The heat is unrelenting. Yesterday, we were essentially confined to the middle parlour and bedroom, as the temperature in my office exceeded 90F. In the "cool part of the house" the temperature reached 86F. Somehow, in the haze of heat and being too addled to get work done, we stupidly managed not to flee for to a library or some other AC-protected place. We stayed here. All day. And around 7:30 p.m., my body temp went up to 100F, and I stopped sweating, and I started slurring, and...yeah. So, I spent the whole evening cooling my body down as best I could. The fever broke quickly. The meds that make me sensitive to heat were likely responsible. At least we head out to Readercon 22**** tomorrow and get three nights of AC. Also, if you are owed an eBay package, we apologize, but it won't go out until after the convention. Monday or Tuesday. It's just been too hot to pack books and get them to the p.o.

---

A terrible, strange dream just before I woke. I lived in a house at the end of a small lagoon or inlet. I was younger, maybe a teenager. There was a thin and frightening man outside our screened-in porch (side of the house, an old house) speaking Yiddish. I called to my mother, and when he spoke to her, he spoke English with a Russian accent. There were great trees, like pecans and oaks, all around the house. Later, we went somewhere, and when we returned home, and I saw that there were men in the water "walking" dolphins, the way one does with sharks or dolphins, trying to revive them. There was a sort of turn around, and as my mother used it to point the car towards the driveway, I saw more dolphins far up above the shoreline. They were tangled in a fence, though the fence was really fishing net, and the dolphins there were actually ichthyosaurs. Thick underbrush grew all around the netting. I wanted desperately to help. I got out of the car, and, looking back at the inlet, saw that the water had become violent, a great frothing, sloshing mass, churned by the trawling nets of gigantic factory-fishing ships that hardly even fit into the tiny body of water. The snap-on heads of yellow rubber ducks were washing up onto the shore. There was a child greedily gathering them. An orca had stranded itself, and I tried to help it, but was afraid, and never went very near. In the foaming white water, orcas and sharks and dolphins and ichthyosaurs all struggled to stay clear of the nets that were pulling up great mountains of fish. And this is all I can remember.

---

My thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday regarding "triggery." Some were quite good. I was especially amused by [livejournal.com profile] lady_theadora's:

I first saw these trigger warnings when Coilhouse began to use them all the time, as you've previously mentioned, and I think they're pretty damned redundant. I mean, really, you're on the fucking internet people. You're always one click away from porn, snuff, and/or Nigerian royalty. If you haven't figured that out yet, maybe it is time you learned.

Indeed. And the thing with Coilhouse posting those warnings, it was almost enough to make me stop reading the zine; Coilhouse posting "triggering" warnings is like the Sex Pistols apologizing for...well, anything. Absurd. Anyway, yes. I have a story, which I've never told publicly, and which might be too personal and TMI and all that, but I think I need to tell it, as partial explanation, and in response to [livejournal.com profile] lm. Unfortunately, there's not room here to post [livejournal.com profile] lm's entire comment (this is going to be long, as it is), but you can see her/his full comment appended to yesterday's entry. I'm also dropping paragraphs from the quote, to save space (and I apologize for that). There are slash marks where graphs end and begin. In part, [livejournal.com profile] lm writes:

...I have definitely been in a situation where it would have been incredibly helpful to be warned about potentially "triggery" things./Namely, when my mother hanged herself several years ago, I frequently found myself watching films with unexpected scenes of someone being hanged or committing suicide. This was something I was working very hard NOT to picture or think about, and as a result, I basically stopped watching new visual media for about a year - and because my primary social outlet was a film night, this turned me into a hermit, which also really wasn't great for me at the time./I did actually search online to see if there was an online database of non-friendly-to-suicide-survivor films, but there was none./I really didn't expect any handholding through this problem, and the only time I was genuinely annoyed was when people who knew my recent history recommended movies/shows to me that ended up containing said "triggery" material...but on the other hand, I wouldn't have complained one bit if the media had contained a disclaimer!

Okay. Now, that said, here's my story:

On Christmas Eve 1995, five months after the suicide of Elizabeth, the person whom I loved most in all the world, I was alone in the carriage house (where I was living) in Athens, Georgia. I'd spent the evening writing one of the last scenes in Silk. It was an especially graphic and disturbing scene, and I finally said fuck it, I can't do this, not that night, not alone. I drove to a nearby theatre (I was still able to drive back then), and bought a ticket to the first movie on the marquee, which was the vapid Jumangi. When it was over, I still didn't want to return to that empty house, and so I bought a ticket to see the midnight screening of Heat, with Al Pacino, which turned out to be a halfway decent movie. Anyway...

Near the end of Heat, Pacino's character's daughter, played by Natalie Portman, attempts suicide by slitting her wrists in a hotel bathtub. This is precisely the way that Elizabeth had committed suicide (the big difference was that the Natalie Portman character lived). The scene was graphic and well-played and emotionally sort of devastating. Maybe not to everyone, but to me. I watched it. I didn't look away. I cried through the rest of the film. When the movie ended, I went home and went to bed.

Now, was the film "triggery"? Well, yeah. Certainly, in that it put me right there at the moment of Elizabeth's suicide and elicited an intense reaction from me. But was that something I should have avoided? Should I have been furious or resentful (or whatever) that no one warned me? Should I have complained to the theatre management and demanded my money back? Should I have posted to Usenet, warning everyone? To all these questions, my response is an unqualified "no."

Seeing the scene, being forced unexpectedly to confront it, making it real for me in a way it had not been, was the true beginning to my road to learning how to live with a pain that I knew would never, ever go away. Oh, it would dull with age, and with other relationships (though it was almost a decade afterwards before I found myself in a meaningful relationship), but I will always, always be haunted by the event. And, by the way, I'm not a suicide "survivor," because I didn't attempt suicide. I'm a bystander. I'm someone who dealt with the consequences. Maybe that's just a matter of semantics, but I feel it's an important distinction.

In the years to come, I would spend a lot of time in therapy dealing with her suicide. I would spend almost all my writing time writing about it (and I still do); suicide is a primary theme in my fiction, especially the novels. And it was by these means, by persistently and directly confronting the greatest horror in a life that had had no shortage of horrors, that I reached a place where, usually, finally, I no longer wanted to follow her. Not by flinching or avoiding or staying away. By facing the truth head-on. And I'm not an especially strong person. At least, I don't see myself that way. I did what my therapists advised, and what felt right to me, and by happenstance, beginning with accidentally seeing that scene in Heat. Oh, it fucking hurt, yeah, sure. But it was also my path to recovery.

So, my point is simple. I do not - will not - accept that we recover from the tragedies of our lives by avoiding the fact of them. We do it by confronting the fact of them, and art - in all its forms - is one path by which we can do that. I don't see this as a "your mileage may vary" thing, either. You look into the abyss, and the abyss looks into you, and you keep looking and don't dare turn away. You tell the abyss, "You can't have me yet." (to murder and bend the words of Friedrich Nietzsche) You learn to understand and cope. But you don't flinch. You don't look for warning labels so you'll be protected from the truth. You develop calluses, scars, and this changes you forever, and it makes you stronger.

Oh, and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney for this quote from Akira Kurosawa: To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.

And this is long. And that's enough.

Not Ever Flinching,
Aunt Beast

Note: I have requested NOT to participate in an official signing at Readercon this year, so if you want stuff signed (and I'll sign as many books as you bring), I'll be signing after my reading and my How I Wrote Two Worlds and In Between solo talk. And, if you catch me in the hall, that's usually okay, too. Common sense dictates when it's not okay to ask me to sign (restroom, when I'm eating, when I'm having a conversation, when I'm rushing to get to or leave a panel, etc. - yes, all those scenarios have actually been played out).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, the results of my experiment were interesting, though not especially dramatic. I was up until sometime just after five. The sky was swiftly brightening, the way it does here. Almost like someone throws a switch. And just after five, I finally lay down. I hadn't expected to fall asleep. I was lying in bed, listening to Brendan Perry, and drifted off. Partly, I suspect this was the result of my overwhelming exhaustion, partly the result of my efforts not to get anxious about sunrise, and partly because I spent half an hour reading cosmology.

Regardless, I slept. Until 10 ayem, when a very noisy landscaper, turning green space next door into a vast field of gravel, awoke me with a cacophony of ungodsly scrapey and drilly sounds. Spooky had already yelled out the window at the guy, "Get off your damn cellphone," or something of the sort. So, she was up. I grumped about a bit and returned to bed, where I managed to sleep until almost noon. I'm guessing a total of 6.5 hours. Not bad at all, and no nasty hangover. Too bad it won't last, but then nothing ever does.

---

They will write of her, "She was one of the last great voices on LiveJournal."

---

Yesterday, despite the fact I was too strung out to get anything done, I proceeded to answer Two Important Emails. Then I did line edits on "Fake Plastic Trees" for [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow (and Terri Windling). And then, kittens, I wrote 1,443 words on "Figurehead" for Sirenia Digest #67. Oh, and then I sent enough of the piece to Vince that he could go ahead and get to work on an illustration before I actually finish the story (which it has become, as it clearly had no desire to be a vignette). I have proven zombies can be productive writers. Whoosh!

After that, um...wait. I'll remember. Oh, yeah. Spooky made chili while I had a half hour nap. After dinner, we told Rift it could live without us One Damn Night. So, we watched James Cameron's Terminator (1984) and the director's cut of Terminator 2 (1991). The former holds up well, despite all the ridiculous eighties clothing and hair and some laughable animatronics. It's sort of funny seeing a baby Bill Paxton right at the beginning (he shows up in the credits as "Punk Leader"). Anyway, seeing the two films back to back set me to thinking about how my favorite Cameron films almost always have director's cuts, which I usually like better than the theatrical releases: Aliens, Terminator 2, and Avatar. Admittedly, these are long films made longer, but like the director's cuts of Jackson's LotR films, the editing and pacing in the director's cuts is always vastly smoother and more logical.

And that was yesterday.

The month is almost over, and it's almost time to announce the next book in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. I hope at least some of you have read and appreciated Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy. In a perfect world, I'd send out merit badges for each book completed.

It's warm here in Providence. Beginning to get hot here in the house. I need to go to the shore. But not this weekend. Memorial Day and Brown Graduation and all. A shame we were not able to make a few good trips down before tourist season began, but until about four days ago it was still winter.

Pretty Much Awake,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
So, since it's after midnight here in Providence, and since I made that promise to myself back in March to write at least one journal entry every day for the period from April first until the end of July, I'll get something down before I head to bed. We have to leave early for Manhattan, so I'm taking my good-worker-bee pill and going to lie down.

Tomorrow, I will meet with my agent and we shall talk The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Blood Oranges, and Blue Canary. Not necessarily in that order. Then, tomorrow night Spooky and I will enjoy Peter and Susan's hospitality, and we shall talk...about whatever we please.

A hideously rainy day today. Manhattan's going to be a deluge, so I am told.

My contributor's copies of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 arrived this afternoon. The box was wet; the books were well-wrapped and dry. "Hydraguros," One of my sf (science fiction, not San Francisco) stories is reprinted therein.

A special thanks tonight to Steven Lubold.

Work today consisted of getting ready to leave tomorrow, and email with my agent. Nothing thrilling, even by the standards of a freelancer. Tonight, we watched Henry Fonda and everyone else in the world in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). It truly is one of the - if not the - most spectacular Westerns ever made. The film's cinematography puts every square millimeter of picture to work, so do not dare watch it pan-and-scan. And while it's one of the first truly gritty Westerns, it's possessed of an amazing and almost surreal choreography.

And now, I go to face the toothbrush. Next entry, Wednesday night.

Almost in Transit,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
How does one forget that she's supposed to be in Manhattan on Tuesday? That is, she forgets until almost the last minute, and...it's all pretty embarrassing. But I do. Have to be in Manhattan tomorrow, to see my agent and visit with Peter Straub and so on and so forth. I think it's a matter of inertia, the forgetting. The objects remaining at rest tending to remain at rest half of inertia, I mean. Not being one of the traveling authors, but one of the "homebody" authors – id est, one of the reclusive, antisocial, and sporadically agoraphobic ones. I am well acquainted with authors who jet about the world, while I rarely leave the apartment. I'd blame the TSA, but I'm pretty sure the rise of their New and Improved Draconian policies merely worsened what was already there.

It's a shame I can't blame the motherfucking fascist TSA.

So, tomorrow we take the train to NYC, but we'll be back on Wednesday evening.

---

On the subject of eBay: Please note, as stated on all our auction pages, we do not take checks or money orders. We also do not make exceptions, especially if you win an auction and then fail to contact us for three days. We only take PayPal. Here's the main reason why: Around here, money is almost always tight. And when we see an auction end, especially a "high-ticket item" like the recently auctioned boxed, lettered, double-signed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers (something we'd never before auctioned), we immediately factor that income into our budget. Because PayPal immediately sees to it that we're paid. So...please don't bid unless you have a working PayPal account, with sufficient money in it to cover your bid. Doing otherwise will cause us great inconvenience and, I might add, reflect poorly upon you. Wow. I haven't been that coherent in days.

---

If you are so foolish as to even imagine you'd like to be an author, you need to read Nick Mamatas' Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life. There's even a free digital version. It includes his rather brilliant essay, "Against Craft," which I adore, having always loathed the idea that writing is a "craft," and not an art.

---

Rain, rain, rain. All we have is rain and chill.

What was there to yesterday? There was that other leaning paper tower in my office, which, it turned out, was several leaning towers' worth of filing. Working from basic stratigraphic principles – specifically, the law of superposition, so thank you Nicolas Steno – that nothing much had been filed since at least June 2010. Which really says a lot. Back to inertia. Anyway, you file, and you find things you've lost that you never even knew you had.

Apologies to Rift folks. I just wasn't, for the most part, up to it yesterday. Mostly, I wanted to spend the day hiding in the bathtub under several layers of blankets. So, I wasn't around yesterday. The good news is that I slept last night, almost nine hours, thanks to one of the pills I prefer to avoid (mostly because it's not cheap). I'm not okay, but I'm better. Dreams aside, I'm better. Another night like that, I'll be much better. A week of that, I'll be functional again.

Last night, we watched the last two DVDs from Friday's binge at Acme Video. The first was Woody Allen's pitch-perfect Broadway Danny Rose (1984), and the second (last of the five) was Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray in Billy Wilder's The Apartment (1960), one of the films you'd find on my most-favorite-ever list. Both were new to Spooky. Seeing Broadway Danny Rose again, I remembered the first time I ate at the Carnegie Deli on 7th Avenue (Midtown NYC). It was very late at night, or early the next morning. May the 13th, 1998, which was a rainy Saturday. Unless you say it was the rainy pre-dawn hours of May the 14th, 1998, a Sunday, which is more likely. It was me, Christa Faust, some Mexican wrestler dude (masked, even), and Bernie Wrightson. I'd spent the night in a latex bodysuit and an Israeli gas mask, and was very, very dehydrated. That's a small bit of a long story. I'd just turned thirty-four.

A few years there, I spent so much time in New York.

Last night, after the movies, I lay on the floor in the front parlor listening to the rain. Just before bed, we ate fresh pineapple.

---

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...
(William Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality")

On the Eve of Departure,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy, cold. Green. Green Spring, but not spring. Not spring sensu familiari. Sonya, please correct my Latin if it's too atrocious. Or my English, for that matter. I'm only a poor juggler of words. I squeeze them, and various sounds are released: melodious, hideous, alluring, repulsive, alarming, discordant, anti-harmonic, mucosal, beatific, soothing, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, and so forth, and on and on and on. Meow.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,392 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges and found the chapter's end. Which should not be mistaken for THE END. Today, Kathryn and I will read back over the whole of it, I'll do a quick polish, then send it to my agent. That's a complete chapter in a mere six days. 9,546 words. Immediately after finishing "The Carnival is Dead and Gone" and getting Sirenia Digest #65 out to subscribers, which I did immediately after finishing "Fake Plastic Trees," which I wrote immediately after the story for Dark Horse, which happened almost right after getting Sirenia Digest #64 out, which came on the heels of the Great Four-Day Editing Marathon of 2011 (involving both The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Two Worlds and In Between), which happened almost as soon as I'd finished writing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Which takes me back to...Monday, March 7th. Yes, after today, I think that I should take a few days off. Of course, I'll likely spend them cleaning, because when all I do is work – and Spooky, too – the place becomes all shamblefied. Well, it ought to be a word.

The "Question @ Hand" poll is now closed. There were 39 "yes" votes (88.6%), and only 5 (11.4%) "no" votes. So, I suppose I'll give it another shot. This is a very small sampling of the subscribers, and the results are in no way "scientific." But, there you go. I'll probably pose the next Question @ Hand in July, I'm thinking. Beforehand, I may ask for suggestions.

Yesterday, I read one article from the January JVP – "Three-dimensional pelvis and limb anatomy of the Cenomanian hind-limbed snake Epodophis descouensi (Squamata, Ophidia) revealed by synchrotron-radiation computed laminography."

The cat from downstairs came calling, unexpectedly, last night. Hubero is only just recovering.

Last night, we watched Pieter Van Hees' Linkeroever (Left Bank, 2008). It's a film that had tremendous potential. It has moments – entire scenes – that rank up there with, say, Låt den rätte komma in or Sauna. And, as someone mentioned, there's some undeniable overlap with The Red Tree. Ultimately, though, it falls apart, largely in the last few minutes. I can forgive the paganophobic crutch, the one that was so commonly employed during in the 1970s (think The Wicker Man or Harvest Home), but the Linkeroever's last scene – the childbirth scene – makes literal what should have remain implied. All mystery is destroyed. Explanation undoes the inexplicable. Truthfully, if the film had chosen to eschew the scary pagans trope, and if we'd only been left with the problem of an apartment building with a secret history and a Very Bad Place for a cellar, the film might have been brilliant. There was some remarkably disturbing imagery, some of it subtle, some of it not so subtle, but all of it struggling against the rather silly nonsense about the archery lodge and ancient Celtic blood sacrifices, and then all of it shot in the head by that ridiculous final scene. I do recommend you watch this film, but I also recommend you switch off the DVD as Marie is struggling to escape the cavern, as she screams and the light seems to be taking her apart. Stop it. Right there.

And we did some rp in Rift, a scene with four players, which is proving that patience and skill can spin good roleplay from the game. So, that was nice. Oh, and now there's a FREE trial (which Trion should have had from the start).

CASSIE: Hey. Good dream? Let me guess. The surface of the sun. Only dream I ever have. Every time I close my eyes, it's always the same.

Off to do the word thing.
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
Maybe it was premature of me to say that Providence has made the transition from Cold Spring to Spring Proper. Or, it may be that there needs to be a third and intermediate formal subdivision: Green Spring. That is, May, when it's finally fucking green out there, but people think it's warm when the temperature rises into the high sixties. Like today. Tomorrow, back into the fifties.

At least there's sunlight today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,662 words on Blood Oranges. I know how the chapter ends now, and should be able to finish it by tomorrow evening.

If you're a Sirenia Digest subscriber and haven't voted in the "Question @ Hand" Poll, please do, and thanks.

I've been trying to manage more reading and less gaming. There's Under the Poppy, and the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Yesterday, from the latter, I read "Nuralagus rex, gen. et. sp. nov., an endemic insular giant rabbit from the Neogene of Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)." Imagine a rabbit ten times the size of modern cottontails, only it doesn't hop and doesn't have long ears. Also, reading Curt Stager's Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth and Jane P. Davidson's A History of Paleontology Illustration. But also gaming. Last night, we neglected Selwyn and Miisya, and played our Guardian high elves. Though the godbothering is fierce, I have in mind a storyline for our guild that involves making contact with a group of Guardians who have grown distrustful of their leaders and who doubt the Vigil, and who suspect they're not being told the truth about a lot of things, including what happened in Scion. So, I need characters of sufficiently high levels to reach areas where interfactional rp can occur.

Yes! Cross-faction rp. Which you can actually do in Rift. It's just a shame the game designers didn't allow for a far more realistic and inevitable scenario involving defections from one side to the other (only on RP servers), and also a loose confederation of the Undeclared, consisting of those who won't take a side. Would have been much more interesting. Anyway, yes, we have a guild, "Eyes of the Faceless Man," Defiant side, on the Shadefallen Shard. We'd love a few more members, and I know some of you game, and you should know Rift as good as it gets in terms of high fantasy/S&S MMORPG. Whatever faults it may have, Rift leaves WoW in the dust.

---

Last night, was apparently devoted to creepy movies from 1987. First, we watched Alan Parker's Angel Heart, which, somehow, I'd never seen. It's a beautifully shot and acted film, but I think the ending gets heavy handed. We didn't need the yellow contact lenses. We also watched Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark, which, of course, I've seen about a hundred times, though in about twenty years. There are still some marvelous moments in the film, and Lance Henriksen is wonderful. But it falls apart as a whole, and I'm starting to think I should stop watching eighties horror films, which rarely ever measure up to my memories of them.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. Also, Spooky's made a really marvelous new necklace, which is up in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop, and which you can see here.

And now, words.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
It's Friday, kittens. Comment, as evidence that LJ isn't about to fade away.

A beautiful, beautiful sunny day out there. But I will be "good," and not run away to the seashore when I ought to be writing. My window's open, and for now that's just going to have to suffice.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,517 words on a new piece, for Sirenia Digest #65, "The Carnival is Dead and Gone." It sort of feels like it's happening in the same near future Manhattan as "A Season of Broken Dolls," and was inspired by all the talk about sideshows and freaks. So, a very good writing day. May there be another today.

---

I was just reading yesterday's [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse report on the assault of transwoman Chrissy Lee Polis and its aftermath. On the one hand, it's heartening to know that "Over 135,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the McDonald’s Corporation holds its employees accountable for the assault." And seeing hundreds of people show up for an anti-hate rally outside the MacDonalds where the attack occurred, that doesn't hurt, either. However, as the [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse article notes:

"Coverage of the story on the web has been as painful to watch as the footage itself. It was awful to witness the first wave of discussion, which appeared almost exclusively on white supremacist blogs, with transphobia piling on top of racism as details about Polis’ identity emerged. It was painful to watch mainstream, high-traffic blogs use the word 'tranny' in their coverage (the best example of this being, if memory serves correctly, Time-Warner-owned blog Smoking Gun, though their posts appear to have now been scrubbed of the slur). And it was painful to watch Polis’ own twin brother continually refer to her as 'my brother' and pointedly use male gender pronouns at her support rally. All around, a damning look at the country’s state of gender awareness, or lack thereof."

Lots of people aren't going to understand that thing about tranny. But just imagine Smoking Gun using words like nigger and faggot in articles reporting violations of African American and gay male rights. Yeah, it's like that. Doesn't mean you won't hear it used by transgender people, but...well, I'm going to assume I don't have to explain how an oppressed minority reclaims or appropriates denigrating language and, in so doing, gains strength from a thing that was meant to cause them harm.

---

Last night, we watched Robert Rodriguez' Machete (2010). We've actually had that particular Netflix envelope, unopened, since early February (!!!). Mostly, I was afraid that what made a very funny 30-second faux movie trailer couldn't be sustained for 105 minutes. But, I was wrong to worry, I'm happy to say. And fuck all, but Michelle Rodriguez just keeps getting hotter and hotter.

Later, Spooky and I finished reading Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. And what a brilliant and beautiful novel it is. Truly and genuinely. I'm lousy commenting on books, because I usually find myself relying on words that come off trite and come nowhere near expressing how I actually feel. Just because someone can write a book doesn't mean she can review or commentate on a book. It took me a while to figure that out. Regardless, yes, if you didn't read this one for the AB Book Club, please get around to it eventually. I struggle every day to achieve such simple, splendid poignancy as Zusak displays in this novel, and I think I've never yet come anywhere close. So, buy a copy or get it from the library. Listen to the audiobook. If you must, read it on your Kindle (shudder). Just read it.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Raining now. Raining and likely fifty-something out there. I don't feel like checking the actual, factual temperature. Spring – real Spring – is coming on very slowly, but very certainly. All the little specifics don't matter. Only what they add up to, that's what matters.

Don't mind me. I'm just a crazy lazy sitting in a chair.

Today seems to be looking at me the way an Irish wolfhound eyes a dog biscuit, so comments wouldn't be unappreciated.

Two days here to recount:

1) Thursday: I wrote 1,584 words on "Fake Plastic Trees." We tended to the new piercings, which are doing well. I didn't leave the house, though the possibility was briefly discussed. I was groggy from the new meds. I almost engaged in rp, but didn't because of the aforementioned wooziness. I played a little Rift, but sucked, thanks to the wooziness in question. During the day, much email. We may have chosen the author's photo for Two Worlds and In Between. Not one I expected we'd choose. But it's not yet final. I sent the "final" version of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir to my editor at Penguin, and she says the release date is still March 2012. Which surprises me, as I've been so late delivering the thing. In the evening, Spooky and I watched Jean-Jacques Annaud's very under-appreciated Enemy at the Gates (2001). I'd seen it twice before, but she'd not seen it. In all ways this film is wonderful, except for James Horner's suffocating score. That was Thursday, give or take.

2) Friday: I exchanged what felt like about a hundred emails with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, mostly regarding the book trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I learned my lesson with the aborted trailer for The Red Tree. There are things I cannot do myself, and that's why there are other talented people in the world. I'll say more about it later, but the trailer's looking as if it'll be very cool. We're in the stage of casting about for models (Imp, Abalyn, and Eva), and finding locales, and all that fun stuff. I'll have more to say on this soon. I wrote very little yesterday on "Fake Plastic Trees," only about 400 words. I'm very near THE END, and I find myself shying away from the grimmest ending that may present itself. I wrote 400 words and had to step back, because it was a little too much to look at straight in the eye like that. Wicked little god you are, Aunt Beast, with all those universes clenched in your fists. Anyway, I'll probably finish the story today. I need to, as there's other work waiting. We left the house, and returned to Thayer Street, and I got the boots (thank you again, Jada). So, behind the cut, below, there's boot porn. They make me an inch taller, but what the fuck. I saw a very green willow. After dinner, we watched Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2 again, since we watched Vol. 1 on Wednesday night. We played Rift, and Selwyn reached Level 30. She's becoming quite the bad-ass necromancer, out there doing the bidding of the Faceless Man. We read more of The Book Thief, and I decided what the book-club book will be next month (but don't ask; it's still a secret).

So, there. Two days, all squished up together. Condensed days.

There's talk of me being in Manhattan on the 17th of May. We'll see how that goes.

And I should decamp this blog for now, make an end to this entry, and face the woebegone day.

Boot Porn )


Implicitly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
On Monday, I learned that "As Red As Red" has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, as has the anthology in which it was published, Ellen Datlow's Haunted Legends (Tor).

---

No work yesterday, aside from email. No good excuse. The words were in my head, and the deadlines are pressing in about me. Still, I fucked off to nowhere in particular. Spooky got back from the mechanic (the bill was bad, but less than expected, and we're pretending that faulty crankshaft will last forever), and I realized that I'd not left the house since Sunday. So, I tagged along while Spooky ran assorted errands. For a while, the sun was warm on my face, and there were the first hints of green, and, here and there, blooming things. All traces of motivation and enthusiasm, enthusiasm for anything at all, faded from me. I dozed in the van. I looked through the windows at the shadows along Benefit Street. I ate a handful of jelly beans. On the way home, we stopped at Acme Video (but I'm coming to that).

---

Last night, we watched Let Me In, Matt Reeves' remake of Tomas Alfredson's Låt den rätte komma in, which, of course, was adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel of the same title. I avoided Reeves' film in the theater, which seemed like the best course of action. I couldn't see the point of it. Even if Reeves' film turned out good, he was still remaking a very new and very excellent film. An endeavor which would be, at best, pointless. And then I learned that the issue of Eli's gender was being removed from the script, which goes a long way towards gutting the story. Eli becomes Abby, and Abby's just a "girl," and all ambiguity is removed. To make things worse, I happened across an interview with Reeves (which I tried to find again, and have been unable to*) in which he was very open about his beliefs that these changes were necessary for the story to be appreciated by an American audience. So, no. I didn't go see it.

I also swore I wouldn't see the DVD.

Regardless, last night, we watched Matt Reeves' film. I tried very hard to judge this film only on its own merits, not relative to Alfredson's. And I failed. But then so does Matt Reeves. Spooky and I often happen upon interesting indie horror films that we'd never heard of, and which turn out to be quite good. Had it not been for the masterful Låt den rätte komma in, Reeves' film might have struck us that way. A pretty good little coming-of-age vampire story. I might even have applauded its grittiness and willingness to take child characters places lots of filmmakers wouldn't have. Instead, Let Me In came across as rushed and disjointed. Even dull. We both actually almost fell asleep.

There are places where the film is a shot-by-shot remake of Låt den rätte komma in, which, again, makes judging it on its own merits difficult. And what was all that business with "Owen's" mother being a religious maniac? I thought, oh...okay...she'll be the one "Abby" bites, the one who lives, then dies in the hospital-room conflagration, having learned she's become the thing she professes to hate, and hey, okay, that might be kind of interesting. But no. Nothing of the sort. Chloe Moretz, who entirely won me over in Kick Ass, radiated nothing of the quiet, innocent threat we saw from Lina Leandersson. And that kid who played "Owen" is about as interesting to watch as a bowl of Cream of Wheat. Is this actually the same actor who appeared in The Road? It's hard to fucking believe. Also, sure, there are more special effects in Reeves' film. Because that's what Americans do. So what?

Verdict: Let Me In is a very mediocre little horror film, if you've never seen Låt den rätte komma in, and if you can set aside the homophobic/transphobic politics that turned Eli into "Abby." But if you passionately love the Swedish film, as did I, and if you expect anything like its depth and Alfredson's marvelous study of mood and atmosphere and character, you're up shit creek. A very shallow shit creek. My advice would be to watch Låt den rätte komma in. It's actually a good film and worthy of your time and attention. To call Matt Reeves' remake unnecessary is a gross understatement.

I never go into a film with the intention of hating it. You know, watching (or reading) something just to earn the rights to kvetch. And I should have kept my promise and avoided this remake.

---

I've ended the keyboard auction. I realize now that I made the incredibly dumb mistake of putting it up just as taxes are due. Maybe I'll list it again in a month or two. My thanks to everyone who looked in, though, and everyone who spread the word.

---

Aside from the film, not much to last night but Rift. Selwyn made Level 26. I genuinely wish that MMORPGs would offer you the opportunity to tell whining, cowering townspeople to butch up and take care of their own problems or shut the fuck up. It could add a whole new set of stats. Another sort of reputation rating or something. I often have that reaction, and I was having it a lot last night, as the people of Granite Falls (Telara's answer to Deadwood, I think) asked me to do this and then that menial task. For example, the nurse who was too squeamish to take blood. Um...okay. The Ascendant are these super beings, essentially demigods, and we spend a significant amount of our time searching out lost lockets for mourning widows and putting meat in the tables of people apparently too lazy or incompetent to do it for themselves. Yeah, that makes sense.

---

And now...well...we'll see.

* I intend to continue looking for it, though.

Postscript: My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark who appears to have found the interview I'm remembering: "Hammer Film's Simon Oakes Promises Scary, Accessible 'Let Me In'". But I may also have read this, which [livejournal.com profile] sovay tracked down: "Matt Reeves Interview LMI DVD,Talks About Abby's Gender." Both contain equally offensive and idiotic comments.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Fuck all, it's raining. It's cold and rainy and Spooky has to walk to the garage to get the hopefully not broken anymore car. And I don't feel like blogging, and as I was getting out of bed (crack, pop, fuck, crack, pop, crunch, ow), Hubero rather perfectly described my "artistic process." So, thought I, a guest blogger! People do that shit all the time, right? Well, Jeff VanderMeer does, and he's pretty cool.

---

All day Ma sits and taps at this thing. Don't know why she does it. She sits and taps at this thing all day long just tapping and tapping and tapping like it's supposed to mean something. She taps then she stops tapping and yells and then taps some more. She taps and yells and yells and checks the internets and taps. Sometimes she yells at my other Ma, and they yell at each other and then Ma gets quiet and stares at the glowing box before she taps some more. Tap tap tap tap tap. Then she goes to the litter box and comes back and taps. Then she yells and checks the internets and taps and punches the arm of her chair and yells and mutters and mumbles and takes her pills and can't find the book she needs so she yells more and I say fuck this noise and go find a place to sleep but I can STILL hear her tapping and tapping and yelling. Ma does this for hours and hours every single day. The other Ma mostly tells us not to eat STYRO-foam peanuts and dust bunnies and garlic skins but other other Ma taps all day long. Taps and yells. And stares. Lots of staring. Tapping and staring. And pacing and yelling and tapping. If she did less of this I could sleep in her chair which is nice because it smells like her butt.

Signed,
Hubero P. Wu



---

Yeah, Well. Anyway. So, maybe cats aren't natural born bloggers.

Yesterday was a whole lot more of everything that happened on Monday. Which you can find out about by reading yesterday's entry, rather than me regurgitating the tedious catalog. Wanna be a writer? Learn to love the hell out of tedium. That's rule Number One. Today, with luck, I'm actually going to begin work on the short story I should have begun work on two days ago. Because being ahead of schedule is about to turn in to being behind schedule. Oh, and I packed boxes for the storage unit. And hung pictures that have been waiting two and a half years to be hung.

Please have a look at the Totally Unique Never-To-Be-Repeated Keyboard Auction. Thanks.

Also, don't forget the Question @ Hand, the best replies to which will appear in Sirenia Digest #65.

---

Last night we watched Julian Schnabel's Basquiat (1996), which I can't believe I'd never seen. But I hadn't. If I had only one word? Poignant. In almost all senses of the word. Bowie's portrayal of Andy Warhol is especially marvelous. Afterwards, we watched Grant Harvey's Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004), which I enjoyed quite a bit more than the first time I saw it. I fear, the first time, I was too weighed down by expectation. Regardless, second time around, I mostly just had fun with the violence and werewolves and sexy. Yeah, a weird as hell double feature. I know.

Later, we played Rift. I decided, finally, that my Kelari mage, Selwyn (necromancer, warlock, pyromancer), will be my main. Spooky played as her Kelari cleric, Miisya (using her druid soul). We were out in Stonefield with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus's Kelari rogue, Celinn. Which was wicked fun, but Celinn needs a horsey. Or a vaiyuu. Either one. We may take up a collection, because, let me tell you, kittens, all that running across the plains of Rohan shit gets old fast. Selwyn made Level 22. Also, we need a fucking tank.

We read more of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

And that was yesterday. Whoopee.

Slogging Onward,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Somewhat hungover this ayem, and suffering the effects of insomnia (which don't mix well with the hangover, by the way). It's sort of like being twenty-five on the morning after a binge, except every time I move some portion of my skeleton creaks or pops.

I probably ought not even be making a blog entry. Surely, I have nothing good to say. Not really.

Um...yesterday. Well, yesterday was spent on email, and copyediting, and line edits, and lots of tedious stuff that writers have to do that isn't writing.

Well, there were at least two pieces of good news. The one I can't tell you until Friday, and then learning that my editor at Dark Horse very much likes the story I wrote for her (which I can't say more about until later). These are my bright spots.

---

Last night, we watched the restored director's cut of Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (1981), which is undoubtedly on my list of the 100 Best Movies Ever Made in Any Language. Rarely has anyone conveyed the ultimate futility of struggle more beautifully than Petersen does in this film.

---

We had about an hour of rp in Rift last night, after which I decided that, for now, our guild's going to concern itself much less with rp, at least for the time being. After creating fiction all day, or suffering the consequences of having created fiction, the last thing I want to do at night is...create fiction. Also, rping in Rift, like rping in any MMORPG or any world created by someone besides the rpers, presents a unique set of problems. Most importantly, it's almost impossible for everyone to be on the same page, especially given that the lore (which weighs us down; though, unlike WoW, it isn't absurd) is often very vague on very important points. With Rift, the worst of this concerns the nature of the Defiant Ascendents' fundamental psychology and metaphysics. Anyway, yes. The guild is there. We'll do stuff that guilds do. But, for now, no rp. Later, probably. Maybe, eventually, we can come up with some sort of canonical interpretation, even if we can't confirm it's what Trion has in mind (which is probably irrelevant).

---

So, a thing I have never before done. But in the interest of reducing clutter (and covering a bill for unexpected auto repairs), I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated (on the back). The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

The platypus, he says this is a chance of a lifetime. Oh, and there's a photograph!



---

Cold and cloudy and rainy here in Providence. I have decided that in Rhode Island we have five seasons, not four. We have summer (late June-late August), Autumn (early September through late November), WINTER (late November-March), Cold Spring (late March though early May), and Spring (May and most of June). Someday, I'm going to acclimate. Understanding is the first step, and it's taken me three years to figure out the existence of Cold Spring.

---

I gave some of my dinosaurs a bath yesterday, trying to start to clear my office of a dreadful layer of dust. Maybe a third of my dinosaurs, if you don't count the ones in storage. And I took photos. Hey, it's whimsical, and lots more fun than email and waking up in the morning! Plus, no one likes a dirty dinosaur. Or plesiosaur. Or wooly mammoth.

Washing the Extinct! )


Lastly, for those who will never understand why I'm a socialist. "The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent."
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Oh dear Monsieur Insomnia, fuck you.

I hate waking to important email, which is what happened this morning. The whole weekend has been email and stress and worse. But the good news is that everything seems to be working out for the better. It's not that I worry over nothing. It's that unless I worried so fiercely, everything would go to crap.

It's almost going to be warm today, but I'm trapped here inside the house. There must be work.

But! I have some very good news, even though I can't say what it is until Friday.

Yesterday, I took a day off. Pretty much. Aside from having to deal with email all day and night, and aside from being unable to stop obsessing over The Drowning Girl, I took the day off. It was cloudy and chilly, and all I did was ride along with Spooky while she did errands, but at least I wasn't stuck at this fucking desk. We went to PetCo for cat food, and I found a baby Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) that I don't know how I got out if the store without buying. We took Les pacte des loup back to Acme Video on Brook Street, and rented three more movies: Das Boot (I haven't seen it in ages), Basquiat, and the third Ginger Snaps film. It was surely one of the oddest assortments the clerk had rung up all day. Then, East Side Market to get chili fixings. Then home again. And I packed some boxes for storage. The office is about to undergo a complete overhaul to make it more functional, and there's just not room for everything.

If you own so much shit, you have to rent a storage unit to hold some of your shit, you own too much shit. This is probably one of those distinctly American problems. Fucking absurd.

Oh, I also added a few words of text to The Drowning Girl, to which I can't seem to stop adding little bits. Truthfully, I need six more months with the ms.. I'm just not going to get it.

---

The latest Question @ Hand has been posted. You may see it and answer here. All replies (unless you post them to Facebook) are screened and confidential. The ones I like best will appear anonymously in Sirenia Digest #65. I have some really good responses so far. Let's see more!

---

Last night, we watched Daniel Alfredson's Luftslottet som sprängdes (2009). It's a very different film from the other two in the trilogy, essentially a political thriller and court-room drama. But very good. Still, I think my favorite is the first film. And we played Rift. I played Indus, my Eth warrior (reaver and beastmaster), and she reached Level 19. I'm not sure why I'm running three characters simultaneously, but I am learning how different races and classes work. We read more of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, and I read another article from the new JVP: "A new pachypleurosaur (Reptilia; Sauropterygia) from the lower Middle Triassic of southwestern China and the phylogenetic relationships of Chinese pachypleurosaurs." Then...I didn't sleep. Well, not until sometime after five ayem.

And now, more photos by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy from the shoot Saturday before last, at the Harvard Museum of Natural History (including very, very rare shots of me and Kathryn together; my favorite is the last):

In the Museum )
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Just back from a day at the shore, but I'll write about that tomorrow, and there will be photos.

The post-novel depression hit full force while I was sitting there watching the sea. It's a couple of days overdue, but I was still writing even as the editing began, hence the delay. And here I am, back at that place where I want no one to read the novel. I sure as fuck don't want it read and reviewed and "reviewed" and have to watch the sales figures and all that shit.

And that sort of brings me to thing number next:

As we finish up Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, the part of Katniss Everdeen has been cast for the forthcoming film/s. She will be played by Jennifer Lawrence. And yesterday Spooky alerted me to the great mewling outcry from the books' community of "fans." YA boards and communities were abuzz (and likely still are) with outraged cries of "racebending" and "whitewashing" and all sorts of other nonsense. I wish to state a few thoughts, which I'll put forth as bullet points, as this lamentable format seems so popular these days:

1) Race: Katniss Everdeen has dark hair and olive skin, yes. But she is Caucasian. Indeed, her mother and sister are blondes. Near as we are told, the people of the Seam are mostly, but not all, white. Peeta Mellark has blond hair. People of the Seam often have grey eyes. All this is hardly surprising given that it seems that District 12 is located somewhere in the West Virginia/Pennsylvania region of the Appalachians. So, cries that the casting is racist are...well...it makes me wonder if the people who read the book, you know, read the book. Let us wait to see how Rue is cast before we howl about "whitewashing."

2) Can Jennifer Lawrence play Katniss Eberdeen? How about this. Watch the trailer for Debra Granik's Winter's Bone:



Truthfully? You ask me, this looks like Lawrence having a trial run at playing Katniss. I say she's damn close to perfect.

3) Does the author approve of the casting choice? Yes, very much so. To quote AccessHollywood (there's a first in this blog):

In a statement released by the studio, Author Suzanne Collins and director Gary Ross expressed their excitement at having Jennifer join the cast.

“Jennifer’s just an incredible actress. So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. I never thought we’d find somebody this perfect for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it,” Suzanne said.


Now, for my part, points one and two aside, this ought to shut all the naysayers the fuck up. It won't, of course, but it should. These books do no belong to the fans, not matter how devoted and no matter how much they might believe otherwise. They belong to the author, that person whose name follows the © symbol. Everyone else has the pleasure of reading the books, and may own copies, but the novels belong to the author. And if she's happy with the choice, that's good enough for me.

More and more, I realize there's this great mass of humans who squat in waiting on the internet, just waiting for an opportunity to be offended. The chance to whine and bellyache and point fingers and pull the holier-than-thou routine. And, usually, a chance to be utterly wrong. This is, of course, their right. But they're only embarrassing themselves.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I think Spring is beginning to think about considering possibly coming somewhere near Rhode Island. Highs in the high 40s Fahrenheit. We may have 60s by late April.

Yesterday was a bloody nightmare of double-barreled line editing. No, no, no. That almost makes it sound fun, and it was at that other end of the spectrum from fun. Spooky and Sonya worked together like a well-oiled machine, and actually made it all the way through The Drowning Girl, though they didn't finish until after dinner.

In the same amount of time, I only managed to make it through six stories in the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between. I began at the end of the collection and worked my way towards the beginning, as the later stories have far, far fewer edits than do older ones. I figured if I'd done it the other way round, and had to face those 1993, 1994, 1995, etc. stories first, I would have locked up and made no progress whatsoever. Yesterday, I edited "Houses Under the Sea," "Daughter of the Four of Pentacles," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," "Waycross," "Riding the White Bull," and "La Peau Verte." I stopped about 9 p.m., I think. These newer stories are much longer than the older stories, but, as I've said, have far fewer corrections.

So...today, we start all over again. Sort of. I'm handing the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between off to Spooky and Sonya (it was actually their idea, after my agitation yesterday), and I'm going to do all the very last things that need doing on The Drowning Girl (I have a list), which I expect to send to my editor tomorrow afternoon.

Here's a thing: I need someone fluent in French, preferably someone in France or Quebec, to check my French in Two Worlds and In Between. I can't pay you, but your name will appear in the book's acknowledgments.

Last night, there was very good Palestinian takeout for dinner.

This morning I saw Lee Moyer's almost final version of the cover for Two Worlds and In Between , which I'll share here as soon as ere I may.

---

Saturday night, I showed Sonya Pitch Black (directed by David Twohy, 2000), one of my favorite big-bug scifi thrillers of the last twenty years. She'd never seen it, and I was relieved she enjoyed it. Last night, she showed me Derek Jarman's adaptation of The Tempest (1979), which was, by turns (and, sometimes, all at once), sublime, grotesque, and beautiful. Jarman's cinematic composition always amazes me, each shot framed like a Renaissance painting, so arresting to the eye that you almost don't want to progress to the next frame of film. For me, Toyah Willcox's somewhat feral Miranda was the finest bit. Also, we watched Jarman's short Art of Mirrors (1973). Tonight, I'm showing Sonya the director's cut of Alex Proyas' superb Dark City (1998).

---

Later, Spooky and I began Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, and, so far, it's a vast improvement over Catching Fire (which, by the way, I cannot believe the New York Times actually had the temerity to claim was better than The Hunger Games). We made it through the first three chapters or so.

Oh, and when I write Blue Canary**, and if it's a success and there are the two books after it that I'm planning, I promise I will not burden the beginning of the second two books with recap. I'll do the sensible thing, and begin the second and third volumes with concise "Our Story Thus Far" sections, which can be skipped if they're not needed.

So, that was yesterday. Today will likely be equally tedious, and both Sonya and Spooky have my most sincere apologies for this.

Postscript (2:08 p.m.): I AM NOT A HORROR WRITER!

** I ought not have to say this, BUT...if you steal this title, I will cause you harm, by hook or crook.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
I've been looking at the images and reading the news coming out of Japan for the past hour, and I can't do it anymore for now. This is what an 8.9 earthquake and a 33-foot tsunami does when there are people and cities (and nuclear power plants) nearby. I have no friends or family in Japan, but I know those who do. Absurdly, I keep thinking, this might have been so much worse. And, not so absurdly, I think, "It may yet be."

George Takei just tweeted, "Today we are all Japanese. Give $10 to help." He included a link to the American Red Cross' donation page. Also, you can text REDCROSS to 90999.

---

Yesterday was all proofreading. Spooky read me the first four chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Which amounted to 7.5 hours reading time, 218 pages, 48,631 words. Today, we read the next three chapters. We were reading until 11:30 p.m. (CaST).

Hearing it, yes, I know that this is the best novel I've written. I feared I'd never write one better than The Red Tree. Yet, here it is. And I have no idea how readers will react, and part of me truly doesn't care. The other part of me cares, but that's mostly because I spend so much time worrying about money. This is my book, and Imp's story. There is little to be gained, at this point, by fretting over the things that it's not, or the minds that won't be open to how I've told this very weird tale.

There was no time for work on Two Worlds and In Between yesterday. All we have left to read over is the thirty+-thousand words of The Dry Salvages, and I expect we'll do that on Wednesday.

[livejournal.com profile] sovay will be arriving Saturday evening, and will be here until Tuesday, to assist with making all these line edits, getting both these mss. ready for their respective editors. Whether or not she knows it, it's a rescue mission. Hopefully, with Sonya's help, both of these mss. will be out of my hands by next Friday (the 18th). Then, I get a couple of days off before I have to start work on Sirenia Digest #64.

Still coughing. The less I talk, the less I cough, but you know how that goes.

---

[livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow has posted the "honorable mentions" list to her annual year's best, and I'm pleased to see I'm named nine times, and all but two from the digest:

"As Red as Red," Haunted Legends
"Exuvium," Sirenia Digest 48
"Fairy Tale of the Maritime," Sirenia Digest 57
"O is for Oyster," Sirenia Digest 57
"R is for Radula," Sirenia Digest 57
"On the Reef," Sirenia Digest 59
"Sanderlings” (Subterranean Press chapbook)
"Tempest Witch” Sirenia Digest 54
"The Prayer of Ninety Cats,” Sirenia Digest #60

---

After all that reading yesterday, we were too tired for anything but a movie (and, probably, we were too tired for that). We watched Ivan Reitman's Stripes (1981), which seemed quite a bit more ridiculous than when I was seventeen and saw it for the first time (theatrical release). Then again, it's still very funny, and compared to most comedies released today (Adam Sandler, I'm looking at you), Stripes is fucking Mensa material. I think the weirdest thing about watching Stripes again was seeing Sean Young the year before she played Rachael in Blade Runner (three years before she played Chani in Dune).

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts....

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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