greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The Weather Channel says "It's a perfect day to call in sick. Did we say that out loud? But seriously, the Northeast will enjoy a beautiful spring-like day." But when I look at today's forecast I see that the predicted high is a paltry 48˚F (it's presently 43˚F), with a mostly cloudy sky. Which to me, to someone who grew up in the South, is about the same as saying today will be a "beautiful midwinter-like day." Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to rise as high as 56˚F, which is at least approaching "spring-like." But it's going to rain. Fuck you, Mr. Weather Channel.

I'm never going to be who I'm never going to be.

But look who I've become.

Yesterday, I didn't finish the pseudo-vignette that's still titled "Apostate." Instead, I spent the day doing other writerly stuff. Email with my agent, Dark Horse editor, and suchlike. And other stuff. Honestly, I can't even remember much of it, so it truly must have been dull, indeed. My publicist wants to get the book trailer (the "teaser") up on the Penguin website for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (right now, they don't even have the final cover up), and on the book's Amazon.com page. Which means I need to get him a DVD with "a compressed video file (preferably in .mov format and smaller than 100mb)," or use a legal file-sharing service, such as Dropbox.net. See? Exciting shit.

But! Here's something bow tie. You'll recall that on Sunday, there was the final shoot for book's full-length trailer, Kyle and Brian and Sara in the wilds of winter-stricken Pennsylvania, Sara in a beautiful dress made for the occasion by Kambriel. And here are two of the shots (behind the cut):

What India Found in the Forest )


And you may purchase prints of these and many of the other stills from the project right here. All proceeds will be used to offset our overages (yeah, we went over budget), and right now Kyle and I (and mostly Kyle) are covering that debt. This particular shot of Sara is on sale, for a short time,

Nothing interesting about the non-work part of yesterday. I had a hot bath. We had left over turkey chili (I am losing weight). We leveled our Twi'lek Jedi to 13. I read about Lyme Regis and 19th Century ichthyosaur discoveries. No more than that.

Today, more email, and I'm expecting the editorial notes of Alabaster #4, and I'll actually finish "Apostate."

Feeling Her Years,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I'm haunted,
By the hallways in this tiny room,
The echos there of me and you,
The voices that are carrying this tune,
Ba da pa pa...


Yesterday is what happens when chaos and the best of intentions square off and have a good ol' Godzilla versus Gamera boxing match. We're having a couple of moderately warm days here....

WAIT

Yes, in a few more hours, Dark Horse will spill the beans, and the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. Soon. We're almost there. On the cusp, as it were.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Warm weather. High sixties. So, I'd planned to play hookey yesterday, and slip away to Beavertail, even though I sure as hell haven't the time for such luxuries. I ought to be doing nothing but working on "Ex Libris." But then there was the long conversation with my editor at Dark Horse early in the day, and, afterwards, I realized I needed to have a long conversation with my lit agent (on entirely unrelated matters). But she was at a lunch meeting, and it would be about 45 minutes before she got back into the office. There was no way there'd be enough time to make it to Conanicut Island. So...not wanting to see the day become a total loss (I was far too higgledy-piggledy to get any writing done). So, bored and without especial focus, yet possessed of some odd motivation, I proposed we begin "remodeling" my office, which we've only been meaning to do for about...two years.

(Why does Microsoft Word discourage the use of contractions?)

One shelf and a shelf's worth of books went to the middle parlour, where, I must admit, they look quite handsome. I'd had my doubts.

Merrilee called and we talked, and talked, and talked. Fine things. Over time, I will tell you of these fine things.

There's enough to look forward to on this day. I'll make another post in a few hours. Patience, kittens. OH! Look! I just got a royalty check for $10.36 for the German edition of Threshold (id est, Fossil). Wow. Party time. Yes, the writing will make you rich, Bill Murray!

Anticipatory,
Aunt Beast

UPDATE (1:44 p.m.): Just got word the announcement from Dark Horse should come about noon PST, three EST, 4 CaST. Fuck it, Dude. I'm going to get nachos.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'm glad Lindsay Lohan's community service gig at the LA County Morgue is working out so well, because it doesn't seem like jail's willing to keep her even five hours. But, really, here's my thing: who gives a shit? Everywhere I go on the goddamn internet this morning, there's Lindsay Lohan skulking about, and it's not like I felt so fucking great when I woke up. I have to get Lindsay "I don't want to classify myself" Lohan, too?

Hell in a handbasket.

Yesterday, I sat here and tried to think of an idea for a 10k-plus word short story/novelette/novella sort of a thing (requests welcome), and....nothing. People think writers are bottomless wells of Ideas. And maybe some writers are. But speaking as an insanely productive author, occasionally you go to the well and there's nothing down there but dust and old spiderwebs. So, I sat and I stared at the screen, and I typed in a title, stolen from Milton, that I almost certainly won't use. It just sounded good. And there is not a single spare day this month (those so-called weekends) included for me to be not writing. Today, though it's in the list of the Last Ten Things I Want To Be Doing, I'll sit here and stare at this fucking screen again. How hard can it be? It's not like real work, right?

Speaking of which, I finally gave up about 5:30 p.m. (CaST) and loaded the van with about a hundred pounds (no, really; I checked) of books, mostly my comp copies of Two Worlds and In Between and carted them away to Pawtucket, to our second, and supposedly temporary, storage unit. The place was like a fucking icebox.

Please, I know it's hard to believe...

And I'm not even going to get started on how I couldn't get my fountain pen to work.

Last night, we read more of House of Leaves, to that wonderful line where Karen Navidson screams. I read more of The Log From the Sea of Cortez. I might have slept, because I might have dreamt. And fuck you, LJ, for not knowing how to spell dreamt.

Also, please, if you pre-ordered your copy of Two Worlds and In Between and you've not yet received your book, understand that telling me won't help. The book will come. I can't speak for Amazon.com, a company that's making a mint ripping people off (authors included), but I can speak for Subterranean Press. You will get your book. Be patient. Pre-ordering doesn't mean you get a book early, or at the same time as everyone (or anyone) else; it means you'll get a book.

Not Daring To Hope For a Better Day,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
It's already 1:39 p.m., because I was unable to get to sleep until almost 5 ayem, and because I awoke to fresh sorts of chaos. But what difference does it make, when I'm almost an entire month behind schedule.

Schedule. An idea that is anathema to life.

My head is filled, this morning, with all the colors of anger, and I'm making a conscious effort to let out only as much of it as I wish to release. Otherwise, it will gush forth and drown the...I almost wrote "drown the page." But there is no page, is there? We are moving rapidly towards the Extinction of the Page. Maybe whatever has stolen the page from me – vagaries of history – deserves to be drowned in all the colors of anger. Schedule surely deserves to drown. Sink it all.

In theory, I'm trying again to begin Chapter Five of Blood Oranges this afternoon. But...you, know...the story of how this book's gone sour is far too bizarre to explain here. Maybe someday I'll explain it somewhere. But it's bizarre and long. All that matters now it that I finish the thing, and move on to the next thing.

It's only a string of things.

If I'm very, very, very lucky I'll write today. If there were any other way on earth that I could make as much money as I make now – which is only just barely (and truly not even) just enough to take care of Spooky and myself – I'd stop writing. No, I mean for good.

Hardly any of the anger leaked out at all.

Teeth Bared,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
So...the heat finally abates. Which is the one good thing to be said for this shitty day.

The car is back in the shop. Third time. No idea what's up now. But it's pretty much been in the garage since July 5th. I suppose there are people who can afford to buy new cars.

And Frank the Goat and his mob of Russian hackers crashed LJ for the better part of the day. The next time an editor asks me why I've missed a deadline, I'll just say, "I'm experiencing loading issues."

The results of last night's poll were interesting. As I'd expected, WoW received the most votes of any other game, and, also as expected, a lot of people here don't game, or are still into tabletop/text-based gaming. I do wish I'd disallowed comments on the poll, as a few of the things people felt motivated to say were unnecessarily defensive/combative.

And I was unable to get back to work on the novel today, on Blood Oranges. I'm going to drug myself into a stupor this evening and hope the space rock arrives while I'm semi-conscious.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
The heat inside the house has become almost unendurable. This is not a melodramatic affectation. It genuinely is that hot. Spooky just showed me a map of the country, and I see that much of it is gripped by a heatwave. So, we're going to try to find a cooler place to wait for nightfall.

But a few things first.

My grateful thanks for all the comments yesterday. They're much appreciated.

Several of you suggested I write the entries each day, then post them when I get back. This doesn't work. For one, to keep the promise I made to myself, the entries have to be made on the day they were written, otherwise there will be no entries on those dates. This suggestion would sort of work if LJ would let you backdate entries, but it won't. I'll have no blank spots on the archives calendar. But thanks for the suggestion, regardless.

Also, I'm very glad 1990 was good to some of you, but I don't see where pointing that out to me is in any way productive or considerate.

At this moment I find myself "debt poor." When I was a kid, we'd talk about people being "land poor." That is, they owned a lot of land, but had virtually no income, and couldn't afford to live, much less pay land tax. I'm not "land poor," I'm "debt poor." About half a dozen publishers owe me money, collectively totaling thousands of dollars, and the checks are mostly delinquent. Ergo, "debt poor." NOTE: Subterranean Press is not one of these. They pay me on time. Anyway, I suspect this is true of many freelancers. Increasingly, it seems that publishers feel they can pay authors whenever they finally get around to it, after books have been printed and sold. Oh, and anthology editors are often in the same boat as us freelancers. Until they're paid, we can't be paid. And we are all at the bottom of the food chain, so far as many publishers are concerned. Recall, any food chain collapses if it's bottom (say, zooplankton) collapses. Anyway, not gonna name names, but to quote Malcolm Reynolds (ever quotable Mal), "We're close to gone out here."

Oh, hello acid reflux!

Last night, we finished Season Two of Criminal Intent. We were too hot to move, so we also watched Philip Kaufman's Twisted (2004), which was dull and shot like bad television. This is especially sad, given this is the director who brought us the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1979), as well as The Right Stuff (1983), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Henry and June (1990), and the brilliant Quills (2000). Anyway, afterwards, we watched Jennifer Lynch's Surveillance (2008), which I will, unreservedly, call terrific. The most wonderful film of it's sort since Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects (2005). Trust me. See it. Oh, be warned, it's mighty darn "triggery."

I have declared war on the putrescent neologism "triggery" and all those simpering shits who whine about anything being "triggery" and how they go on about it being the responsibility of OTHERS to protect them from that which they subjectively deem "triggery." I say to them, "Fuck you. Take some responsibility for yourselves, or fuck off." And as I've said, I say this as someone currently on meds for PTSD.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally passed out on the chaise in the middle parlor, which was only hot, and slept for an hour and a half, comforted by the desperate whir of the sadly ineffectual Dr. Muñoz. We all remember how "Cool Air" ends, right? (A hint: it's "triggery.")
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Some portion of yesterday's sour mood (let's say 24.8%) followed from my having thought I'd lost a tiny silver ankh ring that I've worn on the pinkie finger of my left hand since it was given to me by Jada in 1990. That's twenty years or so that this ring has hardly ever been off my hand. And night before last, I realized it was gone, and figured it was gone for good. But Spooky found it at the foot of the bed yesterday, not long after I posted the entry. I rarely find the things I lose, so it was a huge relief.

Today I have to write. My grand plan of doing 1,500 words a day, every day of the month, is a grand failure. The whole thing was thrown off by my inability to write the Mars story, and the glumness that followed. But here it is the 18th, and the writing has to resume. I've got to write "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" for Sirenia Digest #61, then get back to work on The Drowning Girl. I still have 13 days left in the month. That's a lot of words, if only I stop fucking off.

Yesterday, the weather was warmish and blustery, a very beautiful day, and we crossed the river to College Hill. Somehow, we'd both managed never to visit St. John's Churchyard (formerly King's Cemetery, prior to the Revolutionary War). It's a very small graveyard, located between Benefit Street and North Main. Poe visited it on occasion, and Lovecraft mentions it in "The Shunned House":

I have reared a marble urn to his memory in St. John's churchyard— the place that Poe loved —the hidden grove of giant willows on the hill, where tombs and head stones huddle quietly between the hoary bulk of the church and the houses and bank walls of Benefit Street.

HPL also wrote a poem (an acrostic sonnet), "In a Sequester'd Churchyard Where Poe Once Walk'd." There are graves there dating back long before the Revolution, all sheltered by a gigantic poplar tree, which was still filled with yellow leaves yesterday. There were bright red maple leaves blowing down from a yard above the cemetery. We copied inscriptions and picked up bits of pottery. We found a penny from 1969. An old ivory button. It's a solemn, comforting place, largely hidden from view. The wind was chilly, and the sky was filled with great puffs of cloud, grey-purple below and brilliant white on top. Anyway, there are photos behind the cut, below. It was a good day, and getting out of the House, and going where we went, helped to clear my head.

Last night, with dinner, we had a bottle of Dogfish Head's Pangaea, which I bought back in March just because I couldn't pass up an ale named for the continent of Pangaea. Plus, it's brewed with Antarctic water. Anyway, the bottle got tucked into a cabinet in the pantry and mostly forgotten. But last night, it was finally consumed. Quite good, too.

And now, it's time to make the doughnuts. There are hungry bears in South County.

Gravely yours,
Aunt Beast

17 November 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was just shy of a total loss. I was hit hard by the chronic stomach ailment I've had most of my life. I tried to write anyway. I wrote 344 words for of my piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, before I was too sick to think straight enough to write anymore. Then I went back to bed. Later, I made it through dinner and two bottles of Gatorade and almost felt like I wasn't dead. It was a joyous day. And then, when I was trying to go to sleep, there was a small seizure (the first in three weeks), which left me jittery and awake until five ayem.

I strongly dislike writing about health problems in a public forum. I find the act distasteful. But it all has a direct bearing on the abysmal word counts of late. So, I figure it's part of the story. It's not whining, or a cry for pity. It's just exposition.

At least I have David Bowie. And coffee.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're hoping to have a little bit of spending money when we go to Oregon for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon at the end of the month. Thanks.

We've watched two movies over the last week. Between reading, Second Life, and WoW, I've not been watching many movies lately. Anyway, it gives me something to write about this ayem (which is actually early afternoon).

First, we saw Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo's After.Life (2009) on Thursday night. It wasn't a particularly good film, which was frustrating, because it could have been something just shy of great. Instead, it was weighed down by plot, and story, and subplot, and superfluous characters. The film has flashes of brilliance. Liam Neeson is surprisingly creepy as a mortician turned serial killer, and Christina Ricci was a perfect choice for a girl who is slowly being convinced that she is, in fact, a corpse. And that's the story, right there, all the story the movie needed. More than enough to deal with. But no, it kept dragging itself down into horror and slasher flick clichés, and made what might have been a powerful tale of psychological terror a lumpy, uneven mess. I can't even blame the director for fucking up someone else's screenplay, because it was her screenplay. I just wish someone could have told her to turn down the volume, lose the extra baggage, and tighten the focus. The film never should have left the one room in the mortuary.

Last night, we finally watched Louis Leterrier's remake of Clash of the Titans (2010). I saw the original in high school (1981, directed by Desmond Davis), and even at seventeen, I found the film tiresome and hokey. Even though I was a huge fan of Ray Harryhausen. So, what can I say about the remake? Well, it's still dumb as dirt. I'm still annoyed than the sea monster that comes for Andromeda is, inexplicably "the Kraken" (Norse), instead of Cetus. But, all in all, Leterrier's remake is less painful and not so dull. It has its moments (which the original entirely lacked, save moments of unintentional camp and irony). The whole thing was worth sitting through just for Perseus' battle against the gorgon Medusa (played by Natalia Vodianova, and never, ever has Medusa been so hot). The climactic showdown with "the Kraken" was at least a grand spectacle. So what if the monster design was pretty much lifted from Cloverfield. The 1981 Kraken just made me laugh. At least this one was a presence. The cast was unremarkable (more Liam Neeson, because Zeus = Aslan). I always enjoy watching Sam Worthington, though I'm not sure why. Ralph Fiennes made a fine enough Hades, because I could just pretend he was Voldemort. Alexa Davalos made for an entirely yawn-worthy Andromeda. I'm pretty sure Andromeda should inspire something more than a yawn. Who can blame Perseus for choosing Io?

Okay. Now, I see if this body is going to let me work today. Oh, wait. I have five cute photos of Sméagol:

11 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cooler and, more importantly, less humid, here in Providence. I actually had to put on a sweater this morning. We had several days of hot, spectacularly humid weather, so this comes as a relief.

Today, I very much need reader comments, if only to help me stay grounded. Thank you.

Not a lot of progress on the book though. On Thursday, I wrote 1,081 words, about normal for me, for any given day. But then yesterday, a combination of self doubt and misbehaving blood pressure (thank you, meds) left me such a mess that I only wrote 14 words (I shit you not). Today, I'll try to do better.

But the truth is, almost a year after conceiving of the story that has, eventually, become The Drowning Girl, and just a couple of months shy of the two-year anniversary of having finished The Red Tree, it isn't going well. It's hardly going at all. Do I know why? I have a bucketful of conjecture, but no, I don't know for sure. I only know it's put me in a truly terrifying place.

---

Lots of thoughts yesterday on convention in novels. Conventions in first-person narratives. Such as, how so few readers pause to consider the existence and motivations of the "interauthor." When you're reading a first-person narration, you're reading a story that's being told by a fictional author, and that fictional author— or interauthor —is, essentially, the central character. Their motivations are extremely important to the story. The simple fact that they are telling the story, in some fictional universe, raises questions that I believe have to be addressed by first-person narratives. Why is the interauthor writing all this down? How long is it taking her or him? Do they intend it to be read by others? Is it a confessional? Reflection? A warning? Also (and this is a BIG one), what happens to the interauthor while the story is being written, especially if it's a novel-length work of fiction?

In my case, it takes anywhere from a few months (The Red Tree, Low Red Moon) to years (my other novels) to write a novel. I assume this is the case for most people who sit down to write something that's seventy- to one-hundred-thousand words long. These are not campfire tales. These are major undertakings by their interauthors. So, the narrators stop and start writing the documents over and over and over while it's being written. But rarely are we shown what happens to her or him while the story is being told (Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves is a brilliant exception, and sure there are other exceptions). Some things will almost certainly occur that are important enough that they will intrude upon the narrative.

A first-person narrative occurs in a minimum of two time frames: the present (when the story is being written down) and the past (when the story occurred).

And it baffles me that so few readers or writers pause to consider these facts, and that so few authors address these problems in the text. A first-person narrative is, by definition, an artifact, and should be treated as such. Rarely do I use the word "should" when discussing fiction writing.

The other thing I thought about a lot yesterday was the convention of chapters, especially as it applies to first person and the interauthor. Does the interauthor actually bother dividing her story into chapters, especially if she's only writing for herself? If so, why? It seems patently absurd to me. She might date each section of her manuscript. She might divide sections with hash tags or asterisks. But chapters? No. That's absurd.

If I can ever get The Drowning Girl written, it may have no chapter divisions. To use them would be a ridiculous adherence to convention that makes no sense within the context of the artifact of the story.

One more thing: Most readers do not want to read books that are, to put it bluntly, smarter than they are. Such readers get very pissed, and resentful, and interpret their emotional reactions as a mistake or shortcoming on the part of the author (transference). This phenomenon will never cease to amaze and confound me.

---

Last night, we watched Sam Raimi's Drag Me To Hell (2009). It was appropriate to kid night: over-the-top goofy camp. Not sure if I liked it or not. It was fun, I suppose. Spooky probably liked it better than I did. For me, it was the sort of film I mostly enjoy while I'm watching it, but pretty much forget as soon as it's over. We also watched another episode of Nip/Tuck. We finished Season Two on Thursday night. And I have to say, the last episode of Season Two is one of the best, most-harrowing hours of television I have ever seen. I'm very glad I didn't give up on this show halfway through Season One, as I almost did.

Not much reading. It's almost impossible for me to read fiction while trying to write a novel.

And now...another fucking day...
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
The heat seems to have come to stay, at least until September. In this house, in this heat, it is no right season to be trying to write. I can hardly think. We had a few comfortable hours early this morning, say two a.m. until dawn. The thermostat even dropped all the way to 80F.

Yesterday was, so far as writing goes, just short of a complete loss. Mostly, the lack of sleep the night before is to blame. Rarely does insomnia make me sick, but it did yesterday. So, I sat here, dissatisfied with everything I'd written on Thursday and Friday, but full in the knowledge that my dissatisfaction was at least partly irrational. Maybe if I'd known it was completely irrational, things might have been easier. I rewrote. I bemoaned. I wrote paragraphs and threw them out. This is not the route to getting The New Novel written. This is not the way I write.

I finally gave up about five, and crawled off to the sweltering bedroom. It was too hot to be in there, much less sleep. Spooky came in and put a wet washcloth on the back of my neck and I dozed for half an hour.

Today has to be better.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, especially the Salammbô T-shirt. Also, Spooky's selling off a couple of pairs of shoes she never wears anymore (because they make her feet hurt), shoes she's hardly worn. They are lovely shoes. You can see them in her LJ, [livejournal.com profile] squid_soup.

My thanks to Bill at subpress for sending me a copy of Peter Straub's Skylark, the expanded text of A Dark Matter. It arrived yesterday, and is a beautiful, beautiful book.

---

What else was there to yesterday? A cold dinner that I barely had the appetite to eat. The new National Geographic came in the mail. I realized there wasn't a Wikipedia article for the archaeocete whale genus Pontogeneus, so, after dinner, I wrote one. It had been a year or so since the last time I wrote a paleo' entry for Wikipedia. It was too hot to read, so we watched John Maybury's Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998), with Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig (and Tilda Swinton!). We watched more episodes from Season Two of 24. Just before sleep, I finished Chapter Two of The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos.

And that was yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
My head is filled with random bits of Saturday night that I've not written down, or written down nowhere but my Moleskinne notebook. The "rickshaws" along Massachusetts Avenue, for example. Or leaving Boston after the show, and Mass Ave being littered with scattered pods of drunken idiots trying to hail cabs. Passing MIT in the night. On our way back down I-95 to Providence, and the moon shining through a thin cloud cover, reflected on the glassy black water of Manchester Pond just before we crossed the state line into Rhode Island. Impressions, most of them already lost or remembered only by my unconscious mind.

On Sunday, I proofed the galley pages for "As Red as Red" (written about this time last year), which will be appearing later this year in Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas' Haunted Legends anthology (Tor Books). I still like the story much more than I expected. A year is usually long enough for me to begin disliking what I've written. But, anyway, nothing new was written on Sunday.

Nothing new was written yesterday, either. Though I sat here all damn day, staring at the screen, staring at Vince's illustration (which this next vignette will be based upon), reading things that ought to inspire, looking at art that ought to inspire. I have to have better luck today. Even so, subscribers should play it safe and expect Sirenia Digest #53 to be a day or two late this month. I'm hoping it will go out on May 2nd. Still, we could get astoundingly lucky and get it out on the night of April 30th. I'm just not going to count on that happening.

A wonderful package arrived yesterday, from Steven Lubold of Laughing Ogre Comics in Fairfax, Virginia. Literary care packages are always much appreciated. This one contained the second issue of The Guild comic, along with Patti Smith's Just Kids, Mark Miller and John Romita, Jr.'s Kick-Ass, and Patagonian Mesozoic Reptiles. So, many thanks, Mr. Lubold. You rock. We began reading Just Kids last night, because, currently, my superpower seems to be reading too many books all at once. Currently, I'm also trying to finish Greer Gilman's Cloud and Ashes, Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men, Matthew Goodman's book on the 1835 moon hoax, and the third volume of E. C. Segar's collected Popeye strips. That's at least three books too many.

Yesterday, the mail also brought a book looking for a blurb. At the moment, I have two of those waiting for me to get to them. Even after all these years, I am still unaccustomed to editors asking me for promotional blurbs.

Sunday night, we watched Richard Curtis' Pirate Radio. An oddly adorable movie that proves, yet again, that Philip Seymour Hoffman can do no wrong.

And here are thirteen photos from the Faith and the Muse show on Saturday night, as promised. It wasn't easy choosing thirteen from fifty-eight (well, except for those showing only the backs of anonymous heads):

Faith and the Muse, 24 April 2010, Boston )
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Mostly cloudy today, and still chilly. But the warmth is on its way back.

I slept eight hours last night.

The last couple of days have been somewhat tumultuous, and have included seeing a new psychiatrist on Friday (and two new meds), and Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) visiting on Friday night and sticking around until Saturday afternoon. None of which has been conducive to writing, but all of which was necessary. I am optimistic about the new doctor, though one of the medications is atrociously fucking expensive, and so we're going to be beginning a new round of eBay auctions (the first in quite some time) to help offset the expense (no health insurance, remember). I'll post more about that when the auctions begin. And no, I'd rather not name the meds in question. I feel as though I'm probably saying more than I should as is, and I'm not going to stray into the Land of TMI.

I am marveling at the footage and still photos of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, and wishing I were in Iceland.

Friday, Spooky and I had lunch at Tortilla Flats on Hope Street (only the seventh time we've eaten in a restaurant in Providence since moving here almost two years ago). Geoffrey arrived before sunset, and most of the evening was spent in conversation: writing, Second Life, books, movies, and so forth. I discovered he'd never seen an episode of Farscape, and we watched two, "A Clockwork Nebari" (2.4) and "Crackers Don't Matter" (2.18). He sprung for dinner from Fellini's on Wickenden. I think I got to bed about 4:30 a.m. On Saturday, more conversation, and Geoffrey headed back to Massachusetts about 3 p.m. or so.

Last night, we watched the new episodes of Fringe, which was excellent, and the very satisfying season finale of Spartacus. We also read more of Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men.

I forgot to mention that, on Thursday night, we finally saw Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, and thought it was very, very good; both more humorous and more melancholy than I'd expected.

And today I have to get back on the horse, so to speak. I've got to get Sirenia Digest #53 written. I've lost enough time.

And here are photos from the Charlestown Beach part of Wednesday's frigid trip to the shore, and two from Friday evening:

14 April 2010, Pt. 2 )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
A grey, chilly day here in Providence.

Nothing has been written in...well, days. And that brings me to a sort of announcement. Since August, I've been trying to make a beginning of the next novel, The Wolf Who Cried Girl. That's more than eight months. And since January I've been doing little else. And what I have to show for it is several false starts, three major plot revisions, two thousand words that might be usable, and something verging on nervous exhaustion. So, on Saturday, after writing about 200 words, and erasing about two hundred words, and after a long conversation with Kathryn, I decided that, for now, I'm shelving the novel to concentrate on things that I can write. The novel is due in September, so...well, we shall see.

This isn't the first time this has happened, that a novel has simply refused to come when I call. It happened in 1999 with Trilobite (which eventually became Threshold), and then it happened again with Murder of Angels in 2001, which I gave up on after two and a half chapters, but went back to in 2003 and finished. I hope that after I step back, concern myself with other projects, and give the thing some space, that, sooner or later (let's hope sooner), the words I need to write The Wolf Who Cried Girl will come to me.

For now, I will focus primarily on Sirenia Digest and various short-story commissions.

---

Yesterday, Kathryn and I got out of the House and spent some time at the Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street. I prowled shelves of very old books, looking for stories. Spooky proofread the galley pages for the mass-market paperback edition of The Red Tree. She's finding very few typos/mistakes, which is a relief. I took some photos as we walked along Benefit Street. The spring colors have come early this year:

12 April 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
There's an entry I'd meant to make today, but I think I'm going to wait until tomorrow.

Instead, I'll simply say that nothing was written yesterday.

We read more of Gregory Macguire's A Lion Among Men. We also watched Drew Barrymore's Whip It (2009), which we both loved. A very funny, sweet coming-of-age film in which hot girls on roller skates beat the shit out of one another. What's not to love? Plus, you get Zoe Bell. Strongly recommended.
greygirlbeast: (blood)
The window is open, and though the sun is bright, the breeze coming into the office is chilly. Here we are back to a normal Rhode Island spring.

There was no writing yesterday. I could not even bring myself to try. The very thought brought on an instant panic and a black fury. I spent most of the afternoon in bed.

Spooky read to me from Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men, which I'm liking quite a lot. That's hardly surprising, given how much I loved Wicked and Son of a Witch. We watched Glenn McQuaid's I Sell the Dead (2008), which is a truly adorable film. Dominic Monaghan and Larry Fessenden both deliver splendid performances, and even though Ron Perlman is pretty much on autopilot, what the fuck. He's Ron Perlman. The art direction and makeup effects show how one can do quite a lot on a tight budget. Much homage is paid to Hammer, as well as to Roger Corman's Poe films. Highly recommended. I can't say the same for Tommy Wirkola's Norwegian splatter-fest Død Snø (aka Dead Snow, 2010). A terrible, silly mess of a film. The Nazi zombies' makeup effects were cool, but there's not much else positive to say about the film. It doesn't even work as a film that's so bad it's good. Just bad.

There was leftover egg salad for lunch. We got pizza from Fellini's for dinner. We watched the episode of Fringe, a series that just keeps getting better. I tried to do a little rp in Insilico, but came away infuriated and confused and determined to disentangle myself from Second Life...again. Maybe if I go so far as to uninstall the software from my computer I can stop getting sucked back in. There was some WoW, in the Storm Peaks of Northrend. We read more Gregory Maguire until I was was finally sleepy, which must have been close to four ayem. And that was yesterday. An "L" in my day planner.

Today...I did try to write. I managed about 200 words (after erasing a good bit of what I wrote on Thursday), and then I gave up for the day. And I'm going to have something important to say on the subject of The Wolf Who Cried Girl tomorrow. I should probably say it now, but I'm just not up to it.

Spooky's proofreading the galleys for the mass-market paperback edition of The Red Tree, which is due back in NYC on the 15th.

If you've not already, do please preorder The Ammonite Violin & Others. Thanks. Remember, only the limited comes with the "Sanderlings" chapbook.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Today, the meteorologists say we will reach the low eighties here in Providence. Actually, we have already. The temperature has already risen to 81F (up from 74F in the last hour).

Yesterday was, more or less, another fruitless day of staring at the iMac, trying to will into existence words that aren't coming. I can only hope for better today. I can only ever hope. And sit. And stare. I see the beginning so clearly, but the words keep slipping through my fingers. Yesterday, I erased almost everything I'd written on Monday. About 4 p.m., Spooky pulled me out of the House. It was too beautiful a day to spend sitting here, not writing.

Outside, I was pleasantly surprised at how much the city has greened just since I was out on Sunday. It's come on very suddenly, all these blossoms and the sprays of yellow green in the trees. We took one photo, which I'll post day after tomorrow, when I'm done with the photos of the old mill. We drove south, down I-95, and past Warwick Mall, which took so much damage in the flood. The place is surrounded by work crews and machinery. Last I heard, 4,000 jobs were lost in the flood, and this in a tiny state that already had a 13% unemployment rate.

And then I did something I pretty much never allow myself to do. I indulged in "retail therapy" at Newbury Comics. My version of retail therapy is a bit different than most people's, I suspect. For me, it's an issue of spending money I cannot really afford to spend on things I can live without, in an effort to guilt trip myself into working harder. Sometimes it works. Yesterday, Newbury Comics was having its 32nd anniversary sale, so everything was 32% off, which at least minimized the damage. We picked up three CDs— Jónsi's Go (Jónsi is the vocalist for Sigur Rós), the Evelyn Evelyn CD, and Her Majesty The Decemberists, because somehow I didn't have a copy. We also got three DVDs— the new Sherlock Holmes, Enchanted, and the remake of Deathrace. Oh, and the first issue of Felicia Day's The Guild comic from Dark Horse, because you cannot be in the only WoW guild with a comic and not read said comic. I was very good, and did not get the Severus Snape/Bellatrix Lestrange lunchbox...even though it was 32% off.

We made it back to Providence about six p.m. There was leftover spaghetti for dinner. Later, there was cheesecake with fresh strawberries on top. I had some very good rp in Insilico (thank you, Blair) with the twin "daughters" of Xiang 1.0, Nanyah (Xiang 2.0a) and Victoria (now Maajida, Xiang 1.5), and did a couple of battlefields in WoW as Morskalíi, my Draenei death knight. It was an evening of virtual distractions.

As my days go, a bit of fluff, all in all. I'm hoping what I needed was a bit of fluff.

Here are more photos of the old mill in Dayville, CT, and these focus primarily on the collapsed roof. I think I may have a short story about the mill germinating in my head. But now, I go to make another attempt at finding my way into The Wolf Who Cried Girl:

4 April 2010, Pt. 3 )
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Another warm and sunny morning in Providence. This chair and this window and this desk are far more pleasant places to be when there is sun coming in through the window, and when it's not freezing outside.

And any day that begins with an email from my agent informing me that a "scary cease-and-desist order" is being sent to an unscrupulous peddler of cheaply printed POD "books," one who has recently been offering an unauthorized edition of one of my short-story collections via Amazon...well, a day like that must hold some promise.

Also, the pastel, leporine horror of Zombie Jesus Day has passed, and that's always a good thing.

So...maybe things are looking up. Never mind that I've already been barraged today with news of the death of the Aral Sea, and of a Chinese oil tanker that's about the break apart on the Great Barrier Reef, and...never mind.

---

Yesterday, it very quickly became obvious that I was too ill from the Ambien and not having slept to hope to get anything written. Instead, Spooky and I left the House about 3 p.m., and retraced the route we'd driven on Saturday night. We left Rhode Island on the Hartford Pike, and drove as far west into Connecticut as Pomfret, in Windham County. Saturday, we'd turned north here, at the intersection of the Hartford Pike and Route 97. Yesterday, we turned south, onto Wolf Den Road, which skirts the western edge of Mashamoquet State Park. For me, this sort of research is pretty much the same as "scouting locations" for a film. That's how I think of it, anyway. It serves the same purpose. Finding the places where scenes in a novel will occur. Standing there, smelling the air, getting to know it as well as I can. We drove south on Wolf Den Road to Brooklyn Road, then circled back north on Valentine Road to the Hartford Pike. The woods were magnificent, just slipping into spring. I spotted white oaks and red maples and mountain laurel. The sky was wide and bottomless, that hungry blue laid out overhead and the sun blazing alabaster. This is where the novel begins.

Before reaching Pomfret, we stopped to examine an old mill in the Dayville district of Killingly. We'd noticed it on Saturday night, but in the darkness it had been little more than a hulking shape. We're both fascinated by industrial ruin, so we had to have a better look. The mill sits just south of Dayville Pond, and Five Mile River winds by on its eastern edge. The site is fenced off, so there was no danger of us actually entering the treacherously dilapidated structure. We did notice that a great section of roof had collapsed. And a little later, when we stopped for coffee, we noticed a local newspaper headline that read, "Part of roof collapses at vacant mill: 40-foot section caved in on Friday." So, the day before we first saw the mill, the roof had collapsed, which seemed somehow oddly ominous. Back home, Spooky found a bit about the mill online. It opened in March 1883, as the Sabin L. Sayles Company, a manufacturer of woolen goods. In 1895, it became the Dayville Woolen Company, which in 1902-1903 was incorporated as the Assawaga Company. Finally, in 1939, the mill was purchased by a German wire manufacturer, "...William Prym and Company and began manufacturing straight pins, safety pins, cover buttons, snap fasteners, and hooks and eyes." So ended its long history as a textile mill. Near as we can discover, the William Prym Company ceased operations in Dayville in 1995, and the mill has sat vacant for fifteen years. It was recently purchased by a Pomfret businessman, who planned its renovation, though I do not know to what end. We took something like sixity photos of the mill, some of which I'll post.

Driving west, we listened to the Smiths and Massive Attack. Heading home, David Bowie. We made it back to Providence about 7 p.m.

Damn, my coffee is cold, and there are too many sweaters in my office. Five is too many. Anyway, photos behind the cut, and will be more in later entries:

4 April 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Sunny and warm here in Providence. I finally begin to believe spring has arrived.

Yesterday, I sat here all day and wrote less than 300 words on the new beginning of the first chapter of The Wolf Who Cried Girl, but I'm not sure any of them are words I'll actually hang onto. So, the beginning has, I suspect, yet to begin in earnest.

Novels are always difficult things for me to get underway. I refuse not to fear a bad "first draft," as I do not write novels in drafts. I write the novel. If it has to be rewritten, I've failed to do my job right the first time. And, truthfully, this is no slower a way to work than authors who take for granted that three or four drafts will be needed to get things correct. I cannot abide repetitive tasks, and, for me, that's what rewriting is, a tedious, repetitive task. If it were necessary, I'd not be a novelist.

I know that much of the novel is set in Olneyville, and I know that the protagonist (to use the word loosely) takes long nocturnal drives in rural western Rhode Island and northeastern Connecticut to help herself through those times when she's having trouble sculpting. After sitting at the iMac all day yesterday, I left the House, and Kathryn drove me out Hartford Avenue from Olneyville Square, west towards the state line. The sunset was fiery, a red-orange inferno hovering above the purple horizon. Hartford Avenue becomes Route 6A/Hartford Pike, through Johnston and Scituate and Foster (and south of Ponaganset and Gloucester), and we followed 6A all the way to Connecticut. The air through the windows of the car was chilly, and smelled of growing things and receding flood waters and, occasionally, of dead skunks. We passed Rhode Island's highest point, Jerimoth Hill, a lowly 812 feet above sea level. The land out that way alternates between marshy woods and rocky, forested hills strewn with boulders. Old houses loom along the roadside. The night was filled with the sound of frogs. It's always a comfort to hear frogs these days, given how their numbers have declined in recent decades.

About 7: 30 p.m., we drove through East Killingly, Killingly Center, Dayville, and Pomfret. At Mashamoquet State Park, we passed Wolf Den Drive (named for Isreal Putnam, who is reputed to have murdered Connecticut's last wolf in a nearby cave in 1742). By this time, it was full dark, and we turned north onto Ye Old Windham Road (also Route 97/Hampton Road), a narrow two-lane affair bordered by dense tangles of hardwoods and greenbriars, drystone walls and pastureland. We circled back to 6A, and headed home around 8 p.m. I'm fairly certain the book's opening scene will be take place somewhere near Route 97 in Connecticut (though most of the novel is set in Providence). Somewhere along the road, we stopped at a doughnut and coffeeshop called Baker's Dozen (buy a dozen, get thirteen). Very good doughnuts, like Dunkin' Doughnuts used to taste. On the way back to Providence, I dozed a bit. We made it back about 9 p.m., and stopped for Chinese takeout. Driving west, we listened to Arcade Fire (Neon Bible); driving home, we listened to Radiohead (Iron Lung).

And later, insomnia. I slept maybe six hours, with the help of Ambien (which means I'm still not awake). It's never good to go to bed with a mood as black as mine was last night, but I tired of trying to keep myself distracted and only wanted to lie down. Not sleep. I rarely want to sleep.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
We are being made to suffer for the brief hint of spring we had last week. Okay, no. I do not engage in that sort of magical thinking (or any other sort, if I can help it), but it seems that way. As I wrote my blog entry yesterday, the temperature here in Providence was 34F, with a windchill at 24F, thanks to a 21 mph wind. As I write this one, it's once again 34F out there, though the windchill is only 27F. That is a sarcastic "only," in case you're wondering.

No actual writing yesterday. I sat here for hours, searching for a story, after discovering the story I'd thought I was going to write after "Houndwife" isn't yet ready to be written. I dusted two bookshelves in my office. That took half an hour. I stared at the screen some more. I reread portions of Michael E. Bell's Food for the Dead (2001), and might have found an idea, which is currently known only as "Untitled 37." I read about sauropods. I made notes. I stared out the window at a late March that looks like early February. I made more notes. I reread Angela Carter's "Peter and the Wolf" (1982). I gazed forlornly at the screen of the iMac. I did a little straightening up in the kitchen. I fretted about my lousy, rotten feet, and my bad teeth, and not having health insurance, and getting old, and all the grey hair. I drank pomegranate-flavored limeade. I drank lime-flavored ice tea. I made a late lunch of a can of Progresso soup and Saltines and Izze ginger ale. I shelved books that needed shelving. I closed the curtain in my office so I couldn't see the cold blue sky. It was that sort of writing day.

And, at some point, I thought, I ask absurd things of myself. Finish one story on Thursday, begin another on Friday.

Spooky, on the other hand, had a productive day. She's working on a March Hare and sort of cameo thing, both for her Dreaming Squid Dollworks Shop on Etsy.

Oh, a good day to preorder The Ammonite Violin & Others, if you've not already done so. Thanks. It's a simple enough equation: if these books don't sell, there likely will not be future books. It's the vicious maxim by which all working authors live.

Early last night, just after dinner (leftover meatloaf), I had the worst seizure I've had since at least January. It caught us both by surprise, as the seizures have become infrequent. It left me feeling empty and wasted, but no real harm done. Spooky was there to catch me. I lay on the bed for an hour or so, trying to watch the new episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, but my head was very full of a fog that only began to lift later in the evening.

I was unable to sleep until sometime after four ayem, and then only with the help of Ambien (first dose in eight nights).

Oh, there are gratuitous photographs of Hubero:

26 March 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
Another spring-like morning here in Providence. The office window is open. The sun is bright. I can almost pretend I slept well and that every muscle in my body doesn't ache. I left the office window open until 10:21 p.m. last night.

Yesterday, no writing. And, at this point, nothing substantial has been written since I finished with "Apsinthion" back on February 25th. This has to change very, very soon. It doesn't matter whether or not I'm well. This broken sack of crap and bones can go hang. It also doesn't matter what asinine shit pushes in at the borders of my life. This not-writing absolutely has to stop. For a month, almost, I have been No One, for I am No One, if not a writer, and if I am not writing, I won't call myself a writer.* Then again, the thought of being simply and only No One...okay, let's not go there.

I spent much of yesterday just resting, recuperating (not entirely sure from just what), hydrating, and so forth. Trying to forget that Tuesday ever happened. The sun and the clean air helped. All there was to St. Patrick's Day was me hanging my Irish flag in the window of the front parlour. Maybe next year.

Today, I just want to go to the sea...but I'm going to Boston, instead.

* If anyone dares, today, to tell me this is a fallacious line of reasoning— that it's, for example, like questioning a lesbian's lust for the female form because she's not actually had sex for the last ten years —I will ban her, him, or it from every posting a comment here again. Yes, I love you, too.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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