greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Er...even though I hardly slept and rose too early (around eleven ayem.), I'm running late. So this will be a short entry. I'm pretty sure few will be annoyed by that, as LJ is dying, and even I, the lowly rat, is readying to leave this sinking ship. How do I know LJ is dying? All I have had to do is watch the decline in my Friends' List (they've deserted LJ en masse this past year), and the decline in comments. LJ is now mostly for slash fic and 'shipper communities. Oh, I have to keep going here until February 13th, so that I'll have blogged here one full year without missing a day. But I've already moved most of my LJ to Dreamwidth (along with comments). I tried TypePad, but found it unfathomably complex and counter-intuitive. If I can't solve a problem on my own, without recourse to "tutorials," I have no interest in it; always have I been this way, since I taught myself to read before kindergarten. Anyway, fuck you in both ears and twice on Sunday Facebook, and fuck you Twitter, you shallow, instant-gratification, no-effort-required motherfucker.

Now I've gotten that out, an exciting bit of news regarding The Drowning Girl, which is Thing #2 that I was waiting for the go-ahead from my agent yesterday before announcing; I only got the go-ahead about ten minutes ago. It was an uncommonly complex process, getting permission to release this news. But! The Drowning Girl audiobook (I don't hate audiobooks the way I hate ebooks, you may recall), will be released as part of the Neil Gaiman Presents (!!!!) series, which is likely to give the book a huge boost in sales and readership (or listenership). It also gives me veto/approval of readers, and they are open to my suggestions for readers, and receptive to the idea that I want a reading not a dramatization. I've known this for at least a month, but finalizing and all takes forever. So, woot, and thank you, all involved.

Yesterday, I wrote another 1,178 words on "Another Tale of Two Cities." Spooky says "It's like Dr. Seuss, only very dark and for grownups." Me, I have no idea what she's talking about, except I did do an entire panel at Readercon 21 on Dr. Seuss as weird fiction. And "Another Tale of Two Cities" (to appear in Sirenia Digest #72) is definitely weird fiction.

This is your LAST and FINAL notice about Question @ Hand #5, because I'm weary of nagging. A number of people who promised responses haven't yet delivered, which is a shame. I have four; I need at least seven. So, I'm extending the deadline until Friday (but that's not an excuse to drag your feet), since I'm probably not going to get the digest out until Saturday (the 10th, as announced earlier), anyway. I'd really love to see more replies. This isn't rocket science. It's only mad science.

Last night, after pizza and Rift, I finished the biography of Barnum Brown. Wonderful book, wonderful man. I finally fell asleep about about five ayem to Hud (1963), an old favourite. Spooky just told me Harry Morgan has died at age 96. I admire greatly that he never once appeared on a talk show.

Mourning That Which Is Passing Away, Into The West, Like The Elves
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
A good day for comments, kittens.

There was a cold front behind the storms, and yesterday, and today and, it seems, the foreseeable future, was, has, and will be a return to autumn. Which is how the weather works here in Rhode Island. A week or so ago, cold enough we had to use the fireplace. Then, all at once, in the space of a single day, it was so hot the house was almost too hot to work in. And now, we need sweaters. At least it hasn't snowed again. At least, it hasn't yet.

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary of our arrival in Providence.

And yesterday was spent, mostly, getting The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ready for my editor. I read over much of the book again.

Today, I have to buckle down (always hated that phrase) and get serious about my corrections to the galley pages of Two Worlds and In Between. This book is such a monster, in more ways than one, and I think I've done as much as possible not to draw its attention my way.

I want to be writing – if I must be working – and I want all this tiresome, tedious editing and proofreading and whatnot to be finished and over with. But I'll likely have it coming and going for a time, at least through the first half of the summer.

I took a break late yesterday afternoon, and I walked with Kathryn, all the way to the farmer's market at the Dexter Training Ground. This was the first week of the market, which runs through the summer. There was a chill in the air – as I said, sweater weather. But the world is green. We bought only ripe strawberries (which we had later over vanilla ice cream), though everything looked wonderful – the produce, the honey and cider, the meat and seafood. There wasn't as much variety as usual, because winter went on so terribly long this year. Behind the cut are a few photos I took yesterady:

2 June 2011 )


Last night, we watched Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland again. Not sure how many times we've seen it now, but I love it a little more with each and every viewing. I know that it's perceived as a sort of anathema for many Carroll purists. But, given the importance of Lewis Carroll to my own work, I don't think anyone could fairly consider my opinion on the film uninformed. I can accept Burton's radical reinterpretation, especially given that the reinterpretation is a sequel to Carroll's two books. Depp's Hatter will, for me, always be the definitive Mad Hatter, and I fall in love with him all over again every time I see the film.

I also read "The first definitive record of a fossil bird from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of the Haţeg Basin, Romania." In the January issue of JVP, that is. Now, on to another day of the tedium which is demanded of all authors, but which is not writing.

Tediously,
Aunt Beast

Oh, and here's a video of the tornado that touched down in Massachusetts on Tuesday. It is an amazing piece of film. The vortex seems all but alive.

greygirlbeast: (Humanoid)
If gaming shit bores you, skip this. I won't be offended. I'm mostly writing it for me.

Setting aside the recycled cover fiasco with The Red Tree for a moment, I want to talk about World of Warcraft, and how my time with the game is growing short. I'll be playing for about another six weeks, then leaving WoW.

I've worked out an exit strategy. I'll finish getting my Loremaster title, and then that's it. And, by the way, as most of this entry will be devoted to how WoW has worked so hard the last couple of years screwing the pooch, I'll point out that Spooky and I were both within a hair's breadth of having Loremaster, when the Catacylsm expansion essentially undid all our progress, forcing us to start over. That's hundreds of hours each spent working towards the title (which is a pathetic example of time displacement, I am well aware).

I'll be going to Rift and LoTRO, as soon as I (hopefully) have a laptop later this spring. Spooky's on the Rift beta, and has been playing LoTRO, and they both look far superior to WoW. Rift is blowing my mind.

I did want to post a list of the particular things that have driven me, after three years of intensive WoW play, to jump ship. So, here goes:

1) Blizzard has chipped away at class abilities. Warlocks have lost a lot. Paladins even more. And it's still happening. Just last week, warlocks lost mana drain, a very important defensive spell for a class stuck in cloth armor. And, perhaps even worse than the chipping away, has been the inexplicable reorganization of abilities. Old spells have new names. It's beyond confusing.

2) Changing the talent specialization system. Now, you're forced to place all our talent points in one specialization, until you've spent 30 points, and only then can you place points in other specializations. The old ability to create hybrids has been severely hampered.

3) WoW, which was never a very bright bulb, is increasingly, pandering to the lowest common denominator. This has gotten so bad with the release of Cataclysm that I've come to think of it as the Beavis and Butthead of MMORPGs (and really, that should just be MMOG). It's an endless barrage of lame National Lampoon-style pop-culture satire, faux wit, and endless poop and fart jokes. WoW is now a game for fourteen year olds and forty year olds who never matured beyond fourteen. WoW is sunk almost as low as Second Life. And the game just gets easier, and easier, and easier...and easier. Mounts at Level 20, maps that hold your hand all the way to quests objectives, etc. I'm not even going to get into examples of racism and homophobia.

4) The homophobic hate speech in chat is only getting worse, and if anyone's trying to stop it, there's no evidence of that effort.

5) The game's penchant for forced socilaization and it's disinterest in solo players (or even groups of two or three) is worse than ever. It's aggressive. Sure, we have the random dungeon finder now, which is fine, if you want to take your chances on winding up with a bunch of teenage dounchebags.

6) Dungeons are essentially closed to solo players and small parties. You must be many levels (and sometimes entire expansions) beyond the dungeon's level to run them. And endgame is essentially closed to us.

7) The game has abandoned any pretense at being immerssive (see 3), if, indeed, it ever tried.

8) With Cataclysm, the last vestiges of a coherent ingame timeline has been lost. And the game's lore is, and has long been, utterly incoherent. It's Tolkien, Moorcock, Howard, etc. perverted to utter fucking nonsense. Contradictions are rife.

9) The obsession with mindless "achievements" is truly clogging up the gaming experience, and is one of very many transparent attempts to keep players online long after there's any truly engaging reason to play. I'd say it preys on the human propensity for obsession...but...no, I will say that.

10) WoW's barrage of holiday nonsense, which has never made any sense inworld, and which just keeps getting worse.

11) Watching Spooky play LoTRO, I see a much greater level of maturity among players, but this goes back to item 3.

12) One word: mini-games.

In short, I need a game that takes itself seriously. A joke here and there, fine. But WoW has become a really badly written spoof of sword & sorcery. I adore my main, Shaharrazad. I've been with her, as of this moment, 55 days, 15 minutes, and 35 seconds, since September 27th, 2008. I've invested a lot, in money and time. It's hard to let go of her, but I just can't take the idiots anymore, or the idiotic mess Blizzard has made of the game. Likely, I'll come back for expansions, for two or three week intervals, but that's it. Blizzard could have made it all right with Cataclysm; they did the exact opposite.

Shaharrazad, self-exiled Sin'dorei, servant of Sylvanas and Thrall, veteran of the war against the Burning Legion, the struggle against and defeat of Arthas and his Scourge, and the rise of Deathwing, is exhausted, and sees the world she fought for fall into the ruin and chaos. She will retreat soon to the peace and splendid cold of the Howling Fjord, and make a solitary life for herself in Northrend.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
The only thing keeping me in this chair, at this desk, today is knowledge that clouds and rain are heading towards Providence from the west, and will be here shortly. Otherwise, Spooky and I would be on our way to Beavertail.

But there will be clouds, and there will be rain, and so I'll sit here and wrestle with the dreamsickness.

No actual writing yesterday. Lots and lots of reading on alchemy and dragons, looking for the way into "The Alchemist's Daughter" (a title I'm growing increasingly unhappy with). Today, I need the words to come.

And, by the way, as of night before last, we've been in Providence for a whole year now. Which just seems impossible. But a good sort of impossible.

Probably the best thing about yesterday was the arrival of a 1941 Royal typewriter we found on Etsy. It's the same make and model as the one that Sarah Crowe discovers in the basement of the old house on Barbs Hill Road, the one Charles Harvey was writing on, the one that Sarah uses to write The Red Tree. It's one of the few props we needed to acquire to shoot the promotional "trailer" this summer, and Spooky was lucky enough to find someone over on the east side of Providence with one for sale cheap, even though it's in fantastic condition. This is, by the way, the same make and model of typewriter that I grew up writing on, and that I was still using as recently as 1985. It weighs a marvelous 30+ pounds. Here are a couple of photos:





By the way, I'm trying to think of a contest wherein the prize would be one of the ARCs of The Red Tree. So far, the best idea has been a contest to create banner ads, and that's certainly something I need, but I'm still thinking. I might come up with something even better. The book will be released on August 4th, in case you're wondering.

Last night, Spooky read to me from Andrea Barrett's The Voyage of the Narwhal, and we watched Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army again. Gods, I adore this film, and not only for its beautiful and terrifying vision of Faerie (though that would be sufficient). And then we played some WoW. I'm almost halfway to Lvl 70, which is as high as I'll go for a while. We're planning on playing through the rest of "The Burning Crusade" expansion, and going back and doing a lot of the dungeons on Azeroth we were unable to do when we should have, before moving along to "Wrath of the Lich King." Northrend and the death knights can wait. I got to bed at 2:30 a.m., a vast improvement over the last few nights.

This is the last thing I read before bed last night, news of a Sacramento, CA morning talk-radio show's attack against transgender children that went so far as to advocate physical violence against them. It's unspeakably sick, the things these people were allowed to broadcast, and that their listeners are receptive, but then it's the same sick, hateful shit I've had to live through. The more I see...well...never mind. I've seen much too much in forty-five years, and it's left me with absolutely no tolerance for this sort of ignorant, inexcusable intolerance. GLAAD is watching these assholes now, and I'll be following the story.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Well, first the good news. Peter Straub has selected "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" for Fantastic Tales: American Stories of Terror and the Uncanny, which he's editing for the Library of America. The volume is due out in October 2009. I count this, with the reprint of "In the Water Works (1889)" in S. T. Joshi's American Supernatural Tales (Penguin Classics, 2007), as among my most notable accomplishments thus far. "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" first appeared in an issue of the now-defunct Carpe Noctem magazine, in 1999, and was thereafter collected in Tales of Pain and Wonder.

But, the bad news is that it looks like my plans for a March "vacation" are going to have to be scrapped, as I owe [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow a story, and somehow the deadline, and, indeed, the whole book, had slipped my mind, until she emailed me about it last night. So...I have until March 23rd to get that done, and when you figure in Sirenia Digest #40, the month is pretty much shot. I might be able to squeeze in a week between the story and the digest, maybe.

I spent all this morning figuring out fair-use and public-domain questions concerning three quotes used in The Red Tree. Specifically, a quote from Seneca the Younger's Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, one from Hesiod's Theogony, and another from The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe. All these were, of course, translations, and what is at question is when the copyright on the translations I used expired, or if they have not yet expired. Turns out, we're clear on Hesiod (Evelyn-White translation) and Goethe (Saunders translation), but not on Seneca (Gummere translation). Fortunately, [livejournal.com profile] sovay is very kindly providing me with a new translation of the Seneca passage in question, so I won't have to cut it from the book. That was my extra-tedious morning.

Here in Providence, the day is cold, and the sun blindingly bright off all the snow that isn't melting. Right now, it 29F, but 19F with wind chill factored in.

I'm still looking back over comments I've made regarding sf, and my science fiction, in particular, and there's this interesting bit from March 5th, 2006:

[livejournal.com profile] matociquala (Elizabeth Bear) and [livejournal.com profile] cpolk (Chelsea Polk) have coined a literary neologism for a certain sort of sf, a term which I'm finding extremely useful: eco-gothic*. I quote: "We look around at the world and we're fucking scared. There's this underlying idea of the implacability of the universe and the smallness of humanity. We know that there is no guiding, caring force. That life is amazing in its tenacity and persistence, but that ultimately, it's completely pitiless. And if you take it too far, if you unbalance it enough, it will crush you. This idea of the tenacity of life in a pitiless universe. And nobody else seems to fucking GET IT. Because life is tenacious, but humanity is disposable. It's not a tragedy that the passenger pigeon perished. And it won't be a tragedy when we go either...God doesn't care if we persist. We're not special. We're not essential. The universe doesn't love us bestest of all. Because you know, there's this critique that a Black Novel is not Relevant because it's about Blackness, not Humanity. Which upon I call bullshit. Because a human novel isn't relevant. Because it's about humanity. Six point five billion ugly bags of mostly water on a second-class planet in an arm of a barred spiral galaxy. Pretending like Hell that we signify." Click here for the transcript from which this quote was cobbled together.

Certainly, all of my sf would fall into this category of "eco-gothic." The Dry Salvages, "Riding the White Bull," "Faces in Revolving Souls," "The Pearl Diver," "Persephone," "Hoar Isis," "Between the Flatirons and the Deep Green Sea"...all of it. And I think one thing I found particularly intriguing was the suggestion that writers of "eco-gothic" sf may, perhaps, do so because "we were the second-class geeks who took life sciences instead of physics with the hard-line geeks." That's one of my dirty little secrets. Sure, I took chemistry and physics and mathematics in college, but I had no real aptitude for it. It was in the life and earth sciences that I excelled, particularly in paleontology, which is often disparagingly labeled by the math and physics types as a "soft science." Anyway, it's just something I wanted to note, because of the things I said about sf on Friday, and because it's something I want to think about. I have no problem with a neologism or a literary category so long as it is useful and needed and I suspect this one may be both. It is, of course, inherently Lovecraftian, and minor caveats and questions do arise. Perhaps I will come back to those later. Not only does this remind me why I shall never appeal to those sf readers who dislike "dystopian" sf, but also why I shall likely always find myself in a rather minuscule fraction of Wiccans. The gods do not care because, after all, they're only hopeful metaphors for needful humans. Anyway, thank you Bear and Chelsea.


So, it's not surprising that Elizabeth Bear ended up writing an afterword for A is for Alien, an afterword which, in part, explores the idea of the eco-gothic.

Also, it has been one year to the day that I announced in the journal that Spooky and I would be moving from Atlanta to Providence. What an eventful year it has been.

Yes, the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky has duly noted the Earth's recent near-miss by a Tunguska-sized asteroid. Hope springs eternal.

Last night, I stumbled across some bloody frakking idiot, somewhere on the web, who'd referred to Echo (from The Dreaming) as a "Mary Sue" character, and I'm still laughing...

* [livejournal.com profile] matociquala later found a use of "eco-gothic" dating back to 1996, in a description of Stephen Palmer's novel, Memory Seed.
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
The world was deprived of no great entertainments that I posted no entry yesterday. It all goes back to the book I agreed to review for Publisher's Weekly. And the fact that I never do today what I can put off until next month. So, Wednesday was reading, reading, reading — and then I finally wrote the review yesterday. After this, I send it to my editor at PW. But. I was not meant to be a book reviewer. I don't know who would want to be. We'd all be better off without book reviews. And the pay, even when it's good, is for shit. So, yeah, likely I shall not do that again. I have no business mouthing off — in print — about an author many, many years my senior who has written and published far more than have I, and has awards out the wazoo, and so forth. And getting paid for it. But, you know. I'll try anything once...or twice, if it leaves a nice scar.

Congratulations to the winners of the "cephaloflap" and "doodleflap" auctions. They ended while I was looking the other way.

Er...yesterday. Well, besides finishing the novel I had to review, I moved the CD shelf, all the hundreds and hundreds of CDs (and no one should own hundreds and maybe thousands of CDs) from the "middle parlour" to the kitchen. More unpacking. After 5 pm, Spooky and I went to the little farmer's market at the Dexter Training Ground, to pick up our weekly bag of produce (it's a local farmer's support thingy), and this week we got apple butter, a mescaline salad mix, three tomatoes, apple mint, a cucumber, strawberries, and sugar snap peas. And then we went to Whole Foods, and East Side Market. Providence is at its most stunning in the late afternoon sunlight of summer. I'm going to have to walk out onto the Point Street Bridge soon, late in the day, and take some photos. Many boxes were broken down and carried to the street yesterday, as this morning the recycling truck came. No, they're not yet all unpacked, the boxes from Atlanta, but we're at least 90% of the way there. This is coming out all higgledy-piggledy, my recollections of yesterday, but who cares, eh? Late, late, I did some ritual work and also some writing in my Book of Shadows for this evening's seaside Solstice ceremony. Spooky and I took a very short walk about 2:45 ayem (I stayed up too late), and the moon was full (well, one night past) and beautiful hanging over all these old Victorian rooftops. Spooky trimmed my hair, which badly needed it after the ravages of the move. The postman brought the June 2008 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and it looks to be a great one, lots of dinosaurs and non-archosaurian herps. Oh, and I got a package from Writer's House (the lit agency that handles me), with half the advance for the German-language editions of Low Red Moon and Threshold, and that was a welcome sight (Amazon.com has gone back to making it a pain in the eema to find the new mmp of the former, by the way). For dinner, Spooky made bow-tie pasta with an arugula pesto and spicy Italian sausages. I read more of Fraser's book on the Triassic (I wish I were being paid to review that). And, give or take, that was yesterday.

Oh, I've made another "word cloud," this time from three paragraphs near the middle of Chapter One of The Red Tree. Also, this one uses two hundred words, whereas the last one used only one hundred and fifty (just click to see the larger version):



Today, well...there's some work, though there likely won't be much. We're getting ready for Solstice tonight and for [livejournal.com profile] sovay's arrival tomorrow afternoon. Monday, though, I make one more trip over to Moosup Valley, and on Tuesday I nail myself inside this office and don't come out until The Red Tree is written (fortunately, there's an entrance to the bathroom from my office). I have lost far too much time, and have far too little time until the book is due. And I know it will refuse to be rushed, even if I had the will to rush it, which I don't.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] nullmode wrote: Having been involved with wicca some years ago and being disappointed by the fro fro nature of what I found there I gave up on it. However, reading your blog and the comments of some of your readers I find myself inspired by the fact that there are intelligent people out there practicing in a meaningful way. So, although I know that discussion indicates that there are not many great books out there, do you have any recommendations? I'd like to re-explore a bit and I was wondering what you've read and liked.

And I replied: I have found very, very few.

First, and foremost, I would recommend Ronald Hutton's
Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft (Oxford; 1999). Also, something of a classic and slightly dated (but maybe good for that reason), Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshipers, and Other Pagans in America Today (Penguin Compass; 1979, 1986). Those are, by far, the two best that I have found. Starhawk's The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess (HarperSanFrancisco; 1999), in its 20th-anniversary incarnation, is not so bad as many who disparage "fluffy-bunny" Paganism make out. Sure, Starhawk is still full of it as regards buying into Murray's ideas about there having once existed a universal goddess religion and a race of Pictish dwarves and all that, and she can go a bit twee at times, but she has a poet's ear. Too many Wiccan books read like bad goth poetry. Starhawk also gets points from me for at least trying to embrace science and rationalism, for her ecological emphasis, and for generally seeming to regard magick as a matter more of psychology than of manipulation of cause and effect and matter.

Anyway...those are the three I'd recommend at this point. Hutton is the best. Adler shows us what Paganism in America was like before the Coming of the Fluffy Bunnies and the subsequent loss of diversity, before wishful thinking overtook common sense.


Okay. Gotta go. Merry Litha, to thems what observes it. Miles to go before I sleep, and all that rot.
greygirlbeast: (Middle Triassic)
Last night we went to bed at a respectable hour —— 2:30 ayem or so —— and I was utterly exhausted. Spooky feel asleep immediately, but, despite an Ambien, I was awake for another hour, tossing, turning, not sleeping. About 3:30, I gave up and took a second Ambien. It put me to sleep, but I'm paying for it this morning. I figure I may wake up in two or three hours. Maybe.

Yesterday went pretty much as predicted. Spooky's mom drove up to Providence, and we moved at least 25 boxes (manuscripts, corrected galley pages, boxes of stock for eBay sale, VHS tapes) to our storage unit. The last serious bit of box moving associated with this move, so it was cause for celebration. Our storage place is up in Pawtucket, on the banks of the Blackstone River (which, for those of you who've read Daughter of Hounds), wends and winds its way northwards to dread Woonsocket. I even took some incredibly exciting photos of said storage unit, because I cannot resist this urge to share, and you can see them behind the cut. Behold the mighty mounds of STUFF that will not fit in our house!

Another Long Hall )


Anyway, it took two trips, but getting those boxes out of here made a great deal of difference. It looks like people live here, finally! Oh, and a few things went down to our basement, which Pickman would envy (another set of photos at some future date). The weather was cold and rainy, but good weather for moving damned boxes.

Afterwards, we had to do some grocery shopping, so we drove over to the east side of Providence. Back home again, more unpacking, then dinner (leftover spaghetti). I unpacked another display case, hung a few things on walls, etc. We watched an episode of Battlestar Galactica online ("Sine Que Non"), trying to catch up. We'll watch "The Hub" tonight. Then I read more of Nicholas Fraser's book on the Triassic, then we watched Nathan H. Juran's 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), because sometimes only Ray Harryhausen will do, and 20 Million Miles to Earth is one of my favourites. Certainly, the Ymir is one of Harryhausen's most personable monsters. If you're not cheering for that poor sod right from the start, you've a cold, cold heart. Colder even than mine.

Let's see. What else? Well, once again it's Bloomsday, and once again I'm not in Dublin. But I am about 1,100 miles closer to Dublin than I was last Bloomsday. So, that's something. Also, do please have a look at the "cephaloflap" and "doodleflap" auctions, and bid if you are able. Danke. And it's still not too late to make Spooky smile on her birthday. Just hit the big button below. Remember, guys, she's the one who keeps me going, day to day:

My Amazon.com Wish List
.

Me, I'll be working on Sirenia Digest today, tidying it up and writing the prolegomena. Not a great deal of substance to this enty, but you did get gratuitous storage photos.

Postscript (4:19 pm) —— Fuck me. Stan Winston has died. I mean...damn.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck2)
No writing yesterday. Nothing much yesterday, but unpacking, and a long bath. At least my hair is clean. And we can sort of see the Light at the End of the Cardboard Tunnel. So, in a sense, we can call this progress.

Today will be more unpacking, the very last day I can spare for this, as there is simply too much unwritten that must be written by the end of June, or before — two more chapters of The Red Tree, that review for Publisher's Weekly, the prolegomena for Sirenia Digest #31 (which will be unusually long, I think). Oh, and line edits for "Unter den Augen des Mondes" and "The Melusine (1898)." So, no more boxes after today. None. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Spooky's mom is driving up today and we're carting a couple of car and van loads of manuscripts and eBay stock to our storage unit. There are so many things I'd hoped to have room for here that I simply do not.

Most of the bruises (from moving) healed last week while I was writing and hiding from the heatwave. This morning, I have a whole new batch. Spooky and I should lie in bed and play connect the dots with a black Sharpie and one another's bruises.

Elsewise, yesterday, well...I mentioned the bath. I started reading Nicholas Fraser's Dawn of the Dinosaurs: Life in the Triassic (illustrated by the incomparable Douglas Henderson), which was a birthday gift this year from...someone (the Amazon thingies are still packed somewhere, sorry). Ah, the Triassic. My second favorite period, after the Cretaceous. I only made it as far as the first part of Chapter One, but I see this is going to be a wonderful book. I've never been able to do much fieldwork in Triassic deposits. Back in 1993, I actually was awarded a summer's internship as a paleontologist at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona (which includes the Triassic Chinle Formation), but my doctor said I was not healthy enough to accept it, so I didn't. That will always stand as one of the great disappointments of my life. In 1996, I did some collecting in the Triassic of North Carolina, but the most interesting thing I found was a phytosaur tooth in an old brick quarry near Chapel Hill. And now, I am in New England, and there are Triassic rocks strung out through Connecticut and Massachusetts (part of the Newark Supergroup, just like the rocks in NC), just to the west and north of me. Those great flame-coloured cliffs above New Haven, for example. But I digress...

Spooky made spaghetti for dinner last night, and we'd excavated the kitchen enough that we could actually sit at the little fold-out kitchen table. There were also artichoke hearts. We drove about a bit very late to escape the heat of the house. It's quite cool today, after rain and a cold front, only 58F and cloudy at the moment. And to think we had a heat index over 100F last week. Amazing.

And I was...distracted...for a bit by a marvelous Russian artist that acephale linked to. Just follow this link, but be warned. This is like Sirenia Digest for the eyeballs. I could write a story for every photograph. Max Sauco is definitely on my short list of artists to be profiled for the digest.

Of course, the "cephaloflap" and "doodleflap" auctions continue apace. Please bid, if you can. Thank you.

And now I should go. There is cardboard with my name on it...literally.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I'm going to start this off with a very nice email I received yesterday, because, right now, I need something very nice. Matt Stagg writes:

I rarely do this, but I wanted to email you and express how much I admire your work. Discovering your short stories was a revelation for me: I love the way that they flitter back and forth between the sublime, the horrific and mundane. Your novels equally thrill me. How you so easily and successfully weave the disparate elements of genres as diverse as crime fiction and Lovecraftian weird tales will forever escape me; I must satisfy myself instead with the knowledge that some things are both beautiful and unknowable. Such is your fiction.

Thank you, Mr. Stagg. That sounds rather grimly sexy doesn't it? Thank you, Mr. Stagg.

Now. On to yesterday. As you know, we fled this sweat-box, and ended up at the Peace Dale Library in South County (which is actually in Washington County, for them what do not know). I sat in the wonderful air conditioning, not baking for the first time since Friday night, and oil portraits and marble busts of Mr. Rowland Hazard (1855-1890) beamed approvingly down upon me. But...after ten or fifteen minutes, I grew antsy, restless, worried about Hubero, whom we'd left back in the heat (with a bowl of ice water), worried about my writing deadlines, and so forth. But. The library had a copy of To Charles Fort, With Love, which pleased me inordinately. But it depressed me that they had all of the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson Dune books, but none of Frank Herbert's originals. I tried to do some actual work, reading from books on the history of Rhode Island architecture, the great New England hurricane of 1938, and local sea life. Spooky found Clive Barker's Mister B. Gone (2007), which is a gorgeous, gorgeous book. Honestly, I lost interest in Clive's work somewhere around Galilee (1998), so I'd not seen it. I've not read the Abarat books, either. But I might give Mister B. Gone a try, as it sounds quite good. Anyway, my restlessness increased, and we ventured back out into the heat for lunch. Lunch and tourists. We drove from Peace Dale through Wakefield to Narragansett, and then, after we ate, back to the library. Oh, Spooky took me to a pet store she used to frequent as a child, and they had a gorgeous California kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus californiae) and also a cornsnake (Pantherophis guttata guttata) that I never got a good look at. I reread the first few chapters of Moby Dick. I always forget how much I adore Melville when it's been a while. Spooky read the first half of Kathe Koja's Stray Dog (2002).

About six pm, we headed over to Spooky's parents' place, because her mother had unexpectedly and kindly acquired for us a portable air-conditioning unit. A Sony CB-10NH, actually, which looks a bit like a shiny black Star Wars droid. We visited briefly, and I hugged Spider the Giant Cat (photo below), then headed back to Providence. Turns out, yesterday set a record high for that date in this city, 98F. It was 8:30 pm when we got home, and the thermostat was reading 93F in the house! Hubero looked utterly pathetic. We hastily set up the portable air conditioner (it needs a name), in the central room. At first, the temp dropped rather rapidly, down to 90F in about fifteen minutes, but then it refused to budge any farther. We sat in front of the AC and ate a late dinner of cold pastrami and Swiss, and sulked and sweated and grumped. Afterwards, I retreated to the swelter of my office, and tried to get into a bit of Second Life rp. Thank you, Gloriana, Pontifex, and Merma/Ardere.

Honestly, I am rethinking Second Life a lot these days. I think all the time away from it moving gave me some perspective, and I see that I abused it the last year, because I was so miserable in Atlanta and just wanted to be anywhere else but there (well, no, not anywhere, but New Babbage, Arrakis, and Toxia were all a step up). No, I'm not about to give it up or anything. But. I can't sink so much time into it. I'd already cut way, way back before the move. It's a tool, a wonderful tool that has helped me write several very good stories, but there's so much else to be done, in this First Life. One reason I make a shitty transhumanist. I fall for the real sand and sky and sex almost every goddamn time. I will say that I am deeply frustrated at the inability to construct stable rp in SL with more than three or four people, and at the plethora of illiterate, immature, ill-mannered, attention-deficit morons clogging up the works. Yeah, well, anyway. Just thinkin' aloud again.

When I went to bed at about 2:25 am, the thermostat was still hovering stubbornly in the high 80s. This sort of heat can drive you to murder your beloved. Or cut off another toe. Or alphabetize all your CDs in reverse order, Z-A. I lay in bed, mine and Spooky's sweat commingling, and watched the first part of Alien while I waited for the Ambien to take effect. Space looked so wonderfully, wonderfully cold. The corridors of the Nostromo never looked so inviting. They say this is the last day of the heatwave. But they were wrong yesterday, and I say meteorologists are going to have to bleed and suffer and die, in vast numbers, to appease Helios. We'll take the meteorologists who don't plan to vote Obama first.

Oh, I think I've found the new "art correspondent" for Sirenia Digest. Thank you all.

Oh, yeah. Photos. A bunch of photos, some of yesterday, and some that are just shots of the new place, because I'm not the only crown-molding whore out there (behind the cut):

Home and Last Yesterday )
greygirlbeast: (sol)
At 2 ayem, when I finally went to bed last night, it was still 87F inside the house. Right now, inside, it's 89F and climbing fast. Outside, it's 96F and feels like 101F with the heat index. We hardly made it through yesterday. Today, we're heading for a library or museum, some place with AC, and the unpacking and work can wait until things cool off tomorrow.

Somehow, yesterday, I managed to write 578 words on a new piece for Sirenia Digest, though I honestly do not know how I managed it. It's called "The Melusine (1898)," and it's set in the same city as the "The Steam Dancer (1896)," though, obviously, two years later. Life throws you a heatwave, write some steampunk. I should be working on The Red Tree, but the heat was in no way conducive to that story. We are promised relief tomorrow (a high of only 84F), and if the meteorologists have this wrong, I say they should be flayed alive, then strung up by their entrails to appease Helios.

Yesterday. A sweaty mess of a blur. Before the writing, I made it through lots and lots more email. I sent out a massive bcc announcement of the address change. I chatted (via email) with Peter Straub, Bob Eggleton (because Dinosaurs of Mars is not dead, it's just sleeping), Jeff Vandermeer, Merrilee (my agent), Elizabeth Bear, and I don't know who else. The Others. I got to read the afterword (or introduction, I forget which) to A is for Alien, and it pleased me greatly. I drank iced coffee and Gatorade. I ate nothing all day but a handful of wasabi rice crackers. I sat here, in my underwear, my hair twisted up in a topknot, a wet towel about my neck, a fan blowing towards me across a bowl of ice cubes, writing. The ice cubes melted away about every twenty minutes. At some point, I crawled off to the claw-footed tub and lay in cold water (and lavender-scented fizzy salts) for half an hour or so. I think all the real writing happened after the bath. Late in the day, a great beast of a storm system swept across Connecticut, and though it passed through South County, missed Providence. But we got the clouds and some coolish wind. I lay on the bed, trying not to sleep, watching the sky while Spooky went out to forage for our dinner. I lay there watching someone's laundry, strung on a line, flapping in the tepid breeze, remembering sheets on clothes lines, trying, also, to remember when that ceased to be a common sight and why.

Egg-salad sandwiches for dinner, with the eggs we got at Spooky's parents on Thursday. Egg salad with dill relish and black pepper, mayo and Swiss cheese, tomato and lettuce, and I was starving, but it was still too hot to eat. I tried to unpack more books afterwards — poetry, mostly, and mythology — but the humidity and heat got to me quickly. I went into Second Life for maybe an hour and a half, the longest I've been in over the last couple of weeks, I think. But there was Bad News awaiting Nareth, and she made an ass of herself in the haven in Toxia, trying to pick a fight in the one place you can't fight. Later, after Spooky was asleep, I read more of Joss Whedon's Serenity: Those Left Behind. And that was last yesterday. I think. Unless I'm remembering today ahead of schedule.

I talked with my agent again this morning. She said I should go swimming. I laughed. It was rude, but I laughed. I don't even own a bathing suit, and under this sun? The library seems a more amenable alternative.

If there was anything else I meant to say, it'll just have to wait. The theromstat says it's 89F inside. Time to run for cover...
greygirlbeast: (Western Interior Seaway)
Yargh.

So, after a couple of days of dismally wet and genuinely cold weather, today we were hit with what the meteorologists are calling a heat wave. Yesterday, the highs in Providence were in the low 70s F, today, in the mid 90s F. And this house — built in 1875, and designed for New England winters — is great at keeping heat in. Whether it's summer or winter. So, we had a sauna today. Hours and hours of unpacking books in a sauna. Finally, partway through sorting out my paleo' books, I wandered away to the bedroom, sweat-soaked and half-delirious. I lay down, and Spooky set up a fan in the doorway, so that tepid air blew about the place just a bit. But. There's really not a lot of difference between stagnant sauna and circulating sauna. Anyway, I think that was about 4:30 pm. She lay down, too, and I dozed, feverishly. I think Hubero even joined us. Then Spooky got up, quite some time before I did. I must have lay there at least an hour. Pretty much miserable, half dreaming. I tried to do some more unpacking afterwards, but the thermostat (for the baseboard radiators) was reading 81F (around 5:30 or 6). So, I said screw it, and we got in the car and headed for Point Judith, where, as it turns out, the weather was quite wonderfully chilly. Really, at the most, low 70s, maybe 60s, a cold breeze blowing off the Atlantic.

We stopped at Iggy's for doughboys, just as they were closing up for the night. If you've never had a doughboy, they're a little hard to describe. A bit like the beignets you get at Café Dumont in the French Quarter in New Orleans (and, presumably, elsewhere), only slightly saltier, and, instead of powdered sugar, they're coated with granulated sugar. Fried, and somehow fluffy and dense at the same time, they are delightful. We ordered a half dozen and headed for Harbour of Refuge, a mile or so farther south. Literally, "land's end." We sat there, first in the car, then out on granite boulders near the jetty. I closed my eyes, taking in the surf, the foghorns from the Point Judith lighthouse and maybe, distantly, from the lighthouse on Block Island. The crashing waves. A bell buoy. There was an undercurrent of beach roses beneath the high-tide smell of the sea. To me, the ocean so often smells like sex, which seems very appropriate. Only a waxing sliver of moon in the sky, but it was bright off the breakers and the pale stone. Before long, we were shivering, our teeth chattering, and we headed back to the car, and then home again. Amazing. No more than thirty miles, and we went from sweltering to shivering. I will note that we could smell the sea long before we left the city, which was the first time I'd noticed that.

Tomorrow, sauna or no sauna, unpacked boxes or no, I have to, in some capacity, go back to writing. Whether it's something for Sirenia Digest #31 or The Red Tree or the introduction for Joshi's Machen collection, I will work on something. I have written nothing of substance since May 20th (!).

There's a thought that has been going round and round in my head, because of all this moving, weeks of being confronted with two people's lifetime accumulation of furniture and books and clothes, dishes and papers and knick-knacks. Make of it what you will. When you buy something, it becomes your responsibility, so long as you are alive, and, for that matter, even after you are dead. Whether it is an end table, a plastic straw, an action figure, an envelope, a dictionary, or a tank of gas, once you have bought it, it belongs to you. All this stuff. You are responsible for whatever impact it may have (or has had) on your environment, your world, forever. In a sense, it was made for you, after all, even if the manufacturer did not know that you, personally, would be the buyer, the owner. And when we buy a thing, or give a gift, we should do so with this responsibility in mind. We may consider a paper cup or a ballpoint pen or even a DVD player "disposable," short term or long term. But, the truth is, you own it, whether it's in your home or taking up space in a landfill somewhere. In this paradoxically materialistic, throwaway society, responsibility does not end when our need or desire for an object ends. And like I said, just a thought.

I believe that I will live here, in this house, until I am at least -15 (which would be 16 years from now). I think it suits me. I know it suits Spooky.

Oh. New address, finally. You may now contact me at, or send packages to:

Caitlín R. Kiernan
P.O. Box 603096
Providence, RI 02906 USA
greygirlbeast: (chidown)
There has to be an end to the horror of this move, and so there also has to be a day that I can finally return to work. But it won't be tomorrow.

The movers came. They filled our empty apartment with our things, most of which are not broken from a week on that damned truck. They showed up about 4 pm, and weren't done unloading until about 9, and there's a lot more to it than that, but fuck all if I have the energy to write it down.

Finished Whedon's Fray last night, but I'm also too tired to write about that. Bosco (the shaggy dog) tried to break into our flat very, very early this ayem, and I thought we were being robbed. No. Just a dog who seems to love us.

I just signed on Second Life for the first time since last Thursday or Friday, and spoke briefly with Omega and Pontifex and Larissa. It was good to hear the "sound" of their "voices." At least the Museum and the laboratory at Abney Park are still right where I left them.

The cold weekend is about to, overnight, become a sweltering week (60s F today and last yesterday, 90s F tomorrow). There's no air conditioning in this house. We have a couple of window fans. And we have to unpack in the heat, and put books shelves together, and shelve books, and...yeah, well, anyway.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Yesterday, after I finally managed to deal with the great hillocks of email that had accumulated during the trip from Atlanta to Providence, and having learned that our furniture would not be delivered until this afternoon, we reluctantly got back into the car and headed west out of Providence. Oh, but before I tell that part, I should say these other things.

First, Sirenia Digest #30.1 has now gone out to subscribers. It differs in no significant way from #30, except that it includes Vince's illustration for "Rappaccini's Dragon," which I neglected to include in the first version of May's issue. It's the first time an artist has reproduced one of Albert Perrault's dreadful paintings, though they have figured — more or less prominently — in at least four of my stories, beginning, I believe, with "The Road of Pins." Also, please have a look at [livejournal.com profile] kambriel's Unexpected Moving Sale. You will find many a wonderful notion, have no doubt. My thanks to Greg Fox for the photos he sent me yesterday of Charles Fort's grave at Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, New York. Another place I have to visit very, very soon. Also, there's been quite a positive review of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy in Locus. It's far too long for me to quote in its entirety, but has this to say about "The Steamdancer (1896)," my contribution to the anthology:

...an effective steampunk sketch of a crippled woman who obtains new life from her artificial eye and limbs, ugliness made beauty for many a kinkily lustful eye...

Okay. Now back to the events of yesterday. Though the weather was cold, windy, and wet, I needed to have my first firsthand look at the Moosup Valley/Barbs Hill Road area, south of Foster, in western Rhode Island, the area that is the setting for The Red Tree. So, we headed west through North Scituate, turning onto 102 at Chopmist, which we followed south to Plainfield Pike, which, in turn, took us to Moosup Valley Road. Unfortunately, the old Tyler Library, which I'd wanted to have a better look at, is closed on Thursdays. Instead, we stopped to have a look at the pond behind the cemetery across the street from the library, as it will be one of the models for the novel's fictional "Ramswool Pond." At once, we were astounded at a truly amazing amount of scat littering the soggy, sandy ground. I guessed we were seeing raccoon droppings, but the only tracks I could locate were those of a very large species of anseriformid bird. As we marveled at the acres of poo, two Canadian geese (Branta canadensis) flew by overhead. Clearly, a very large flock of geese had stopped at the pond shortly before our arrival. We walked about the place for a bit, noting plants, birds, a beaver-notched tree, and what we could see of the local geology. But the great quantities of goose scat were, to say the least, off-putting, and we soon left. We did spot a goldfinch (Carduelis tristis), happily bathing in the stream flowing from the pond into the marshes at the edge of the Moosup River. Inspired by Edward Gorey's The Deranged Cousins; or Whatever., we christened the pond "The Goose's Restroom," then got back into the car and headed south along Barbs Hill Road. In the summer, the country in this part of the state seems truly wild, the fern-fringed macadam road vaulted by an incredibly green and shadowy forest of second-growth pines, maples, and oaks. There were skunk cabbages, wild grapes, green briers, honeysuckle, daisy fleabane, cowslip — I didn't keep a list of all the flora. Maybe next trip. We saw several farmhouses along the road, some dating back to the 18th Century. There was a small herd of goats, and a couple of collies. We crossed the Moosup River again near where it empties into Briggs Pond, pausing there on the bridge for a bit.

The long, curving road ends at Rice City and Vaughn Hollow, and we headed east again, to visit Spooky's mother at her parents' farm near the University of Rhode Island (where her father is a professor and department head; he's currently doing work in some faraway place I cannot now recall). It was the first time we'd had a chance to stop by her parent's place since we arrived. We played with Spider (a truly enormous cat), looked through photographs of Spooky's great-grandmother and grandmother (her mom's engaged in an elaborate geneological project involving the letters of Margaret Russell —— née, Winslow —— Spooky's great-grandmother, who left Appleton, WI, and moved away to the wilds of South Dakota in the first decade of the 20th Century). We got fresh eggs and a number of other things that we needed (all our pots and pans being on a moving truck somewhere*), then headed back to Providence. I think we got home about 7 pm. Here are some photos, behind the cut:

Moosup Valley and Barbs Hill )


My thanks for the amazing number of comments yesterday. There were even MySpace comments, which are rare, in my experience. Most everyone who commented was of the opinion that I shouldn't censor myself for fear of alienating readers, though many also understood my fears and thought them justified. At any rate, I'm thinking the whole matter over, and, in the meanwhile, will say that I am very relieved that Hillary Clinton has finally bowed out of the race for the Democratic nomination. Also, I'll point you towards this article on the impending demise of the SUV, Hummer, and other conspicuously obscene gas-guzzlers, as sales plummet and auto manufacturers move towards smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles. Also, note that "Republicans have blocked efforts to bring a global warming bill up for a final Senate vote after a bitter debate over its economic costs and whether it would push gasoline prices higher." The proposed bill "...would cap carbon dioxide coming from power plants and factories with a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 71 percent by mid-century."** On the one hand, these bastards are shortsighted idiots, worrying about gas prices while the planet bakes and melts and sea levels rise. And on the other, even if the bill were to be passed and enforced, given how far global warming has already advanced, and all the other nations that won't enact such legislation, the U.S. lowering emissions to 71% of present levels by 2050 would be much too little, much too late. By then...well, you'll see, if you should live so long. Meanwhile, please check out 350.org.

* Our moving coordinator at United Van Lines called while I was typing this, and we're expecting our belongings to arrive between 4-5 pm this evening.
** Quotations from the Associated Press.
greygirlbeast: (river2)
Up too early. But not as early as Spooky, and there's a story there. I'll get to it in a moment.

I have been seized by a terrible panic, that I have to get back to work now, or certain doom will descend upon me. And, really, it's only a slight exaggeration. I only have a few months to finish a novel I've hardly begun. I have to keep the digest going. I have other deadlines. Moving to Providence negated none of that, cardboard canyons or no cardboard canyons, exhaustion or no exhaustion. The movers still have not come with our furniture, by the way, and the novelty of the air mattress has worn thin. We were told we could expect the truck here by Friday, at the latest. So, hopefully, we'll hear something today.

You know what's really annoying? Well, then, I'll tell you. I keep this journal primarily to promote my writing. That means, oftentimes, I keep certain opinions to myself, knowing that if I speak my mind on those subjects, I'll alienate readers (or potential readers). And lately, I find myself wanting to opine on a great number of touchy subjects. But if I succeed in alienating readers, I have defeated the primary purpose of this journal. So, I ask you — how many here would stop reading if I just opened up and really spoke my mind? On anything and everything, from Hilary Clinton's refusal to step aside to the wholesale rape of the environment by humans to 133t-speaking idiots on Second Life? Of course, no such poll would ever be scientific. I'd need, literally, thousands of replies, and I'd likely only get a few dozen, maybe a hundred if I bothered to set up a poll. So. Just thinking aloud here. It's a curious sort of Catch-22. Some will say I'm not giving readers enough credit, but many, many times I've had people email to say they will no longer read my LJ or my books because I've said X, Y, or Z. And, yes, I do need readers who do not share the same views as I do. Otherwise, I would starve on the street.

As for yesterday, it was chilly and rained hard all day long. A wonderful, steady rain. It was Byron's last day in Rhode Island, and what did he want to do with it? Go to another location of Newbury Comics, this time at Providence Place mall. It's like an annex of Nerd Heaven (though, of course, the original location of Newbury Comics is on Newbury Street in Boston). My feet still hurt, so, mostly, I sat outside the shop and watched people. I used to do a lot of people watching. They can be more interesting than watching birds, every now and then. Some moron tried to shoplift from Newbury, him and his girlfriend, and they got caught. And I marveled at the droopy jeans. When the hell is this going to cease to be cool? Seriously, when the crotch of your jeans is down to your knees, it's time to see a therapist about those feelings of penile inadequacy you suffer from.

So, yeah. I watched surly teens. Surly white teens. Surly black teens. Surly Hispanic teens. I'm not sure where all the surly Asian, Middle Eastern, and Indian teens were. Maybe they only sulk about the mall on Fridays or something. Anyway, Byron found the special edition of the new Weezer album, which was problematic, as he'd bought the regular edition (five tracks shorter) in Warwick the day before. Solution? He bought the limited, and then gave me the regular. And, yes, it rocks.

Back home —— it was raining too hard to make the trip to Lovecraft's grave at Swan Point —— I finished reading David Rains Wallace's Neptune's Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas. A really wonderful book, and I recommend it highly to anyone with a general interest in the evolution of secondarily marine tetrapods along the western coast of North America. Maybe I'll try to write more on the book later, as I feel it deserves a more thoughtful comment than that. It got me through the long drive up from Atlanta, it and HPL —— "The Colour Out of Space" (one of his very best) and "The Lurking Fear" (not one of his very best).

Here we come to the part of the entry that explains why I'm not very awake, and why Spooky's worse off than I am. Byron's flight out of Providence was scheduled for 5:59 p.m., but bad weather to the south —— in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, delayed the flight an hour. We sat with him until almost seven, then swung by Whole Foods to get some dinner and other essentials. And then, later, while I was having a much needed bath, Byron called to say that, because of the weather, the flight had been canceled. So, Spooky had to drive back to the airport to retrieve him. While she was gone, I read the start of Joss Whedon's Fray and started breaking down some kitchen boxes. When the two of them returned, Byron and I sat and talked a long time about comics —— my feelings about having done The Dreaming and the mess that it became, DC/Vertigo editorial policies, comics in general, and, finally, The Red Tree. Because I can rarely resist a captive audience, I read him the first two sections of Chapter One. And then there was bed, about midnight, because Spooky had to get him back to the airport for an 8 ayem flight, which means they had to be there by at least 7:30 or so. Blegh.

Long day ahead of me. For one, I have to deal with at least some of the backed up email. But I shall leave you with a photo, me and Spooky out front of the house, taken late on Tuesday (we have the second floor). It's not the best photo in the world, because I was tying my shoe, and it was taken with a Blackberry, and there's some weird foreshortening going on, but...I like it. It is so rare that Spooky will let me post a photo of her. For that matter, it's rare these days I want to post a photo of me. Photo (by Byron) behind the cut:

Home again, home again )
greygirlbeast: (decemberists)
I am so tired, but I wish so very desperately to write a good entry about the last two days. I am, however, genuinely not certain that I know where to begin. So, since all beginnings (like all endings, and, for that matter, all middles) are, ultimately, arbitrary things, I'll start here.

Most of yesterday is a blur of unloading the Penske truck, most of which was done by Spooky and Byron, as my damned feet and knees were giving me the special hell only they can give. We'd hoped to get everything we weren't bringing up those incredibly narrow, winding stairs leading into the house off to our storage unit, but there just wasn't time. Finally —— exhausted, annoyed, dehydrated, sore —— we called it a day. Spooky unpacked some kitchen stuff, and then we headed down to South County, to get dinner at Iggy's, my favourite place to eat in all Rhode Island. I had cod with chips and a side of Manhattan-style clam chowder. We took our food down to the lighthouse and ate to the sound of the surf. Afterwards, we drove the short distance to the long westwardly curving jetty at Harbour of Refuge. I threw rocks at the surf as the tide came in, and Byron took photos, and I think, for the very first time, standing in that cold sea air, this felt real — that I have moved to New England. That I do not have to go back to Atlanta after some brief and predetermined period of time.

Later, back in Providence, there was yet more unloading of the Penske truck, but at least it was dark and the weather was cool. We met our neighbour, a Brown University professor and owner of a completely lovable English Sheepdog named Bosco, who'd actually introduced himself to us earlier in the day. Bosco is dreadfully afraid of cats, so I doubt he and Hubero shall become fast friends.

Today, we got up and out as early as we could, and made the drive across town to the warehouse where we've rented a storage unit. Thankfully, the place was air-conditioned, and we were done unloading by noon. There was a wonderful story that the woman who checked us in told, and I wish I could recall it in detail. But, in her story, there were three cops —— named Elmo and Oscar and Big Bird. Elmo and Oscar were really named Elmo and Oscar, but Big Bird was just called Big Bird for the hell of it. Anyway, most of what's in storage is eBay stock (books), the thousands of fossils that make up the study portion of my paleontological collection, my steel Lane cabinet, an old book shelf, and papers from college. There were a couple of boxes that I packed when I left Boulder (CO) in 1986, that I have not unpacked since. All in all, compared to all that came before, it was a painless experience, the storage unit, and when we were done, we returned the truck to a Penske drop-off.

And then, then it was finally time to let Byron enjoy some of his time in Rhode Island. And where did he want to go first? Newbury Comics in Warwick, which, if you don't already know, is Nerd Heaven. I first went there in August 2006, and barely escaped with my bank account. Anyway, Spooky announced that she was getting me birthday presents (as we pretty much ignored my birthday last week), and so I got two Joss Whedon graphic novels I've been wanting — Fray and Serenity: Those Left Behind, plus a Bellatrix Lestrange action figure. But. It's a bloody dangerous place, and there was much drooling.

And then we drove east, across the Jamestown Bridge and down to Beavertail State Park. Specifically, to the lighthouse and the rocky place at the southernmost tip of the point. This place is holy to me, as holy as any place will ever be. I hesitate to use that word —— holy —— as all the world (Cosmos) is surely holy, but...if Panthalassa ever had a "church" (and, of course, "she" has no need of any such thing), then the place at Beavertail where the land ends and the sea begins would be a better place than most. In my opinion. It was here, in June 2004, that I had what is most conveniently referred to as an "epiphany," or "a moment of clarity," a moment that has led to very many things. Some of which I have written of here, and some of which I shall never write of anywhere. When we arrived this evening, the sun was low, but not yet twilight, and the tide was rolling in, pounding the breakers. There were gulls, of course, and red-winged blackbirds, cormorants, robins, a few ravens. The beach roses were in bloom, and the air smelled of roses and honeysuckle and the sea. We walked past the lighthouse (with its quaint little marine museum) to the foundation of the original lighthouse (destroyed during a hurricane long ago). We sat on the rocks a while, and Byron asked me how old they were, because people always ask me those sorts of questions. I told him that they were Middle Cambrian, about 550 million-years-old. Mostly these strata are highly metamorphosed shales (phyllites) of the Jamestown Formation and the Dutch Island Harbor Formation. Trilobites swarmed the seas where these rocks were deposited, even if plate tectonics have erased almost all evidence of them at Beavertail.

After Beavertail, we headed back into Providence, to College Hill, giving Byron a brief tour of Benefit Street. There was not time to do the "Lovecraft tour" justice. Oh, and I'll post some of Byron's photos from today sometime tomorrow or on Thursday, as soon as I have time to edit and upload them.

And, more or less, that was today. Byron has a flight back to Atlanta tomorrow evening. But we're going to try to squeeze a little more "sightseeing" in tomorrow.

As for business — which I have to get back to ASAP — a number of things. People keep asking for the new address. We do not yet have a p.o. box, but we should on Thursday, and I'll post it then. Also, thanks for all the many well wishes; they were needed and greatly appreciated. Also also, at the end of this week, I'll be sending out a second edition of #30 of Sirenia Digest, which will include Vince's beautiful illustration for "Rappaccini's Dragon" that, in the confusion of packing, I omitted when the issue was mailed out last week. Let's call it #30.1, why don't we. So subscribers should watch your in-boxes for that. Also, I have a mountain of backed-up email, and if I have not replied, you know why. I'll get through it as soon as I can. I promise. Right now, this place is a canyon of boxes. I am typing this entry on the kitchen counter, and the movers probably won't be bringing the furniture until sometime late this week. Hopefully, by then, we'll have figured out which box I packed the platypus in...
greygirlbeast: (Middle Triassic)
Just something short to say that we made it into Providence last night sometime around midnight. An arduous, seemingly endless day on the road, but now we are here. And here we shall stay. For a long, long time.

I will say that I do adore the new apartment. After the long, degrading nightmare of that mean and grungy hole on Mansfield Avenue (1193, for the curious), all that time between December 2004 and two days ago, this seems like heaven. Built in 1875, the new place is a fine example of Victorian architecture in New England. I adore the elaborate crown molding, and the extraordinarily narrow stairwells that are like nothing so much as the stairs of a lighthouse. But, the bedroom and the room that is to be my office are both far smaller than we'd expected, which means, among other things, a lot of books will be going into storage, indefinitely, and we may have to jettison a few pieces of furniture (that I am loathe to part with, as they are antiques). But, even so, I still adore this place. It is a long-needed change of surroundings, and a beautiful space. After all the sickness and chaos of the last two or three years (and especially the last seven months), I think this is a good place to heal. I'll post some photos as soon as I can.

Byron's taking a nap. Hubero seeems pleased with his new home.

Yesterday, we crossed into Pennsylvania at 12:05 p.m., exiting the South. I do not expect to return for many years.

I'll try to make another entry this evening.
greygirlbeast: (golden compass)
Just a short word before I give up for the night and go to bed. We didn't make it out of Atlanta until about one pm, and we were all three so exhausted that we only made it as far as Staunton, Virginnesse.

See, Virginnesse is that large swath of wilderness north of Georgiabama, but south of Pennsyltucky. With luck, this time tomorrow night, we'll be safely in Connectichusetts Island. Sorry for the lecture of geographical nomenclature. I just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page, so to speak. I wouldn't want anyone to think we'd gotten lost and wandered over towards Indianahio.

Yeah, I'm delirious. But Spooky's worse. Byron seems pretty much okay, though. Hubero, he's utterly freaked out. Oh, and I had no idea that there's a Miocene megafaunal site in Gray, Tennessee (which is what some people call southern Virginnesse)? A shame we didn't have time for the detour.
greygirlbeast: (chidown)
Get this. We pull out of here by noon tomorrow, and, at this point, I'd guess we're 95% packed. Is that good or bad? I don't know anymore. I can no longer feel anything below my calves. Is that good or bad?

Today. Well, trucks were sucessfully swapped. Loads were swapped. Spooky and I finally reached a point, about 20 minutes ago, where we could no longer walk the distance to the truck and back. We'd have been screwed right and proper if not for "Jim" and Byron. Oh, and Hubero came home and is very, very confused.

All I want is sleep. Oh, thanks to Byron's fancy PC, I will likely blog on the road, How fucking "cyberbeat" is that?
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
Spooky and Byron are now on their way downtown to pick up the 16' Penske truck. I'm not awake. Hubero is still in kitty jail. Have you ever seen dragonflies have sex? No? Not sure? Well, if you have ever seen dragonflies have sex, maybe you'll understand how we're about to transfer the contents of the 12' truck to the new one. Of course, I'm not awake, so what do I know about the mating habits of the Anisoptera? Eight hours sleep last night, which is amazing (though my muscles and joints want another eight). Spooky slept at least six hours, which is a good thing. So, yeah. If all goes according to plan (and it hasn't so far), we'll do this thing, get another good night's sleep, and head out tomorrow morning. Early. I suppose this is what it feels like to be an astronaut, waiting for your taxi to the International Space Station, only there was a ladybug on the booster engine, and then someone peed in the shuttle, and you keep getting yanked back. Or not. And now, for my next trick, I shall stop typing! Voila!
greygirlbeast: (blood)
There are these moments that have clearly been set aside in time, in history, in the bloody, fucking collision of seconds and atoms and ironies just so I will not forget how perfectly ridiculous it all is, in the end. For example, just now, trying to drink from a full one-gallon jug of Gatorade with a bendy straw. Yeah, Kiernan. That was real smooth. How are you with rocket science. But. But. But. I'm typing this on my old iBook, which is precariously percehed atop two cardboard boxes. I just had to take a moment, not to whinge or plea for mercy, or attempt to curry pity, but just to point out how idiotic this move has become.

And sitting here, in this emptry room, I see one of my "possible pasts" (thank you, Roger Waters), and never mind that this past would, actually, still be a possible future, because I know what I mean. I mean, I see myself as Laura Means, there at The End, rolling those goddamn dice, standing at the open door that leads out into the whole goddamn, wicked Cosmos. Only. It's not Patti Smith playing as I slit my wrists. It's David Bowie. "The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)." Bingo.

Which is to say, the movers came today, and through a grotesque bit of miscommunication — and I'm not pointing fingers, because I know I'm a hateful bitch — a whole lot of stuff that should have gone on the big truck did not. And we will not be leaving tomorrow, but on Saturday. Tomorrow, we try to talk Penske into letting us swap our 12' truck for a 16' truck, and then unload one truck and fill the other one. My muscles have died and gone to a place where pain only means I'm still alive. Spooky slept one hour last night. And there's still shit to pack.

I'm going to sleep on the floor now, because our bed is on its way to Rhode Island without us. But. First, my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mech_angel for what truly is a wonderful painting. I'll use it in a future issue of Sirenia Digest, with her consent. Also, I will get Vince's illustration for "Rappaccini's Dragon" out to subscribers...eventually. And my thanks to Byron, and "Hannah," and "Jim." And to Spooky's mom and dad. And to Spooky, who really should have murdered me by now...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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