greygirlbeast: (Default)
A very bad day, yesterday. Which I saw coming when I made yesterday's entry, though, at that point, I was still trying to make with the stiff upper lip and all. By late afternoon, all pretense was shed. And the day was simply shitty. So far, shitty again today. It doesn't help that here we are at the Vernal Equinox, Ostara...and it doesn't mean anything to me at all. And it doesn't help that spring's at least a month off here in Providence. Genuine, true, warm green spring.


No, sorry. This isn't the happy blog entry.


The feeling that I need to protect the new novel from the world and everyone in it persists. To the point that I spent part of yesterday – seriously – trying to figure out how to make it financially without allowing the book to be published. At least this should stand as evidence that I mean what I say when I say I only write for myself.


Didn't leave the house yesterday, and likely won't today.

I finally finished the mammoth tome that is Suzanna Clarke's Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Still forming first impressions. It is, indeed, a very good book, and quite an achievement. I think I may admire it most for insisting so fervently that it is a book. This novel will never be a movie. It's a book. I've read online that in 2005 Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) finished a screenplay, and that the film was supposed to begin production in 2006. But it has no IMDb page, so I'm assuming someone realized the folly of their ways. Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has some marvelous moments, is often very funny, occasionally moving, but doubtless too long. I have nothing at all against very long books. Moby Dick, Ulysses, and The Lord of the Rings all number among my favorites. I think Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell suffered tremendously from hype. Indeed, that's why it took me three years to buy a copy, and five more years to get around to reading it. But, I very much liked the last few pages.

And on the subject of books, we're almost done with Mockingjay, and, at this point, I think if anyone were to ask me about this trilogy, I think I'd say, read The Hunger Games and skip the rest. Which is to say I'm underwhelmed. I suspect the films may actually improve upon the second and third books (this was the case with some of Rowling's books). I suspect there should only have been two books, at most, and that Mockingjay should have been the second. But even this solution doesn't address all the problems. More when I'm completely finished.

See? It's assholes like me that books need protecting from.


The moon, the trumpeted perigee-syzygy, was beautiful last night, even through the light pollution of Providence.

Ostara '10

Mar. 22nd, 2010 12:59 pm
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
The sun is hidden by clouds today, and it's cooler again. Not cold, but cooler. Though I find that the longer I live in New England, the more liberal I am with my definition of warm. When I left Atlanta, my comfort threshold was somewhere between 75-80F. These days, it's dropped to something more like 55-60F. Acclimation, I suppose. I think the cooler weather bothers me quite a bit less than the "delayed" return of green. Anyway, yes, the clouds and rain are back, and it's Ostara.

Yesterday was an exceptional writing day, in terms of word count. I did 1,718 words on "Houndwife." I'm thinking I'll be able to finish the story tomorrow or Wednesday. Yesterday's biggest surprise (if a story fails to surprise me, I see no reason to be telling it) was learning that not only is "Houndwife" a sort of sequel to HPL's "The Hound" (1922), but that it's also tied to my own "Les Fleurs Empoisonnées" (2001), one of the Dancy Flammarion stories. Turns out that during her childhood the narrator of "Houndwife" met one of the Ladies of the Stephens Ward Tea League and Society of Resurrectionists'll see. If you're a subscriber to Sirenia Digest. Anyway, I didn't see this coming at all. I've not thought about Miss Ararmat's bunch since I wrote "Still Life" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus in October 2006.

I was reading back over old entries this morning, old entries for this date, and I was especially pleased with what I had to say on this day one year ago, regarding my feelings towards competitiveness. None of this has changed, except that it's become even more true than it was a year ago.

Last night, Spooky and I watched the new episodes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Caprica. I grow ever more impressed with the latter, and it occurs to me belatedly that I should be looking at the plot and characters with an eye towards parallels in Greek and Roman mythology.
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
And here is the first day of spring, the Vernal Equinox. Spooky and I will be observing Ostara on March 22nd, partly because at least one Wiccan website places it on the 22nd this year, and partly out of convenience. Regardless, today is the beginning of Spring. Fuck you, winter. The sun's out, it's warm, and the office window's open.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,068 words on a new story, "Houndwife," for Sirenia Digest #52. It's sort of shaping up to be a very peculiar "sequel" to Lovecraft's "The Hound" (1922). I like it.

Late last night, I learned that The Red Tree has made the "longlist" for the British Fantasy Award, which pleases me. My great thanks to everyone who voted for it. And I do hope to see it make the shortlist. There's an online voting form here. All members of FantasyCon '09 and '10 are eligible to vote.

Also, I've been meaning to mention that Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have asked to reprint "A Redress for Andromeda" (written in June 2000) in a forthcoming weird fiction anthology (title TBA), which pleases me a great deal. "A Redress for Andromeda," you may recall, is the first story in the "Dandridge Cycle."

Yesterday, Spooky had to go to her dentist in Wakefield. On the way home, she stopped by Pow! Science! (at Wakefield Mall) and found the new Carnegie Museum Tylosaurus. Finally, someone has made an accurate mosasaur figure! I should make a post about all the not-so-good mosasaur figurines that have come and gone over the years. Anyway, as it happens, the new Carnegie Tylosaurus was sculpted by a Rhode Island artist, Forest Rogers, who does truly beautiful things. You should have a look. If I were a wealthy beast, I would be buying original pieces of her artwork. Hell, if I were a truly wealthy bear, I'd be hiring her to do a Dancy Flammarion sculpture.

Oh, and Spooky has lowered the price of her latest doll, Cassandra, which you may see here, at Dreaming Squid Dollworks. You know you want to give her a good home.

My head is full of random things today. For example, on Tuesday, just after I'd "fired my therapist" (long story, do not ask), I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Annoy a Liberal: Work Hard and Be Happy." Shit like that just fucking baffles me. I am baffled at the sheer temerity of stupid, sometimes. Also, we filled out the Census Form and sent it back. Is it just me, or has the census been simplified nigh unto utter nonsense? I mean, they're collecting so little data this time. It seems like it was once far more complex. I think it took me about four minutes to answer the questions.

This is getting long, and I should wrap it up. Last night, Shaharrazad, my blood elf warlock, made Level 80. I created Shah on September 27th, 2008, and I only had to give up 37 days, 2 hours, 40 minutes, and 6 seconds of my life (890+ hours) to get her to Level 80. Which is the cap until the next expansion is released, which is not to say there's not still tons of "Wrath of the Lich King" left to play (though I am dubious of the people who claim the game "really only begins at Level 80," because they're the same ones who used to say, the game doesn't begin until Level 70. And does this mean that when the next WoW expansion is released, later this year, the game will suddenly stop and resume only when you reach Level 85? Anyway...Shah leveled sometime just after midnight, fighting Scourge-struck trolls in Zul'Drak.

greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
My head is in about fifteen different places just now, so...if this entry lacks focus, if it wanders and meanders and perplexes, you've been warned.

Last night, Poppy ([ profile] docbrite) wrote (and I do hope he will not mind me quoting this):

Rhetorical question: Is it possible for a reasonably intelligent person to go through four years of American high school and come out the other side ignorant of what "cheerleaders" symbolize to ugly girls, or girls who aren't ugly but are so weird that they get treated as if they're ugly, or "girls" who aren't really girls at all, but knowing that would have made the mouthbreathers in their school even more determined to kill them? What I mean is, once you've gone through high school as one of the losers, do terms like "cheerleader" and "jock" and "popular" ever lose their loadedness? Do they ever lose their ability to jump out from behind a quarter-century's worth of real life and bite you in the ass with teeth you assumed they'd lost years ago?

I have a bad habit of answering rhetorical questions. Anyway, I can only speak for myself. The putrid hell of high school is twenty-seven years behind me now, and I'm still haunted by this bullshit. I still have nightmares about the "jocks" and "pretty girls." Makes no sense whatsoever, and I know that. Especially given that I've had the opportunity to see that a great many of the "popular kids" who tormented me went on to have much less fulfilling lives than I've had. Doesn't seem to matter. I can gloat all I want about who got the last laugh, but that doesn't change the fact that the wounds hardly seem to have scabbed over. Sorry, Poppy. I know you weren't looking for a reply. This just seemed awfully close to something that's been going round and round in my head lately, that I've been meaning to write about here.

I've always loathed competition, of any sort. And yet, until a few years ago, I'd gotten pretty good at the Me against You, Me vs. Them game. At jumping through hoops to try and achieve some desired goal. Applications. Tests. And so forth. But, the last decade or so, my ability to compete for anything has simply evaporated. I find it entirely too distasteful, and I hate the way it makes me feel, and the way it causes me to behave. And a lot of it goes back to high school, where the compete-to-succeed mentality was pounded into me. These days, I go out of my way to avoid competitive situations. Which is a fairly difficult thing to do when you're a freelance fiction writer. In the end, there are only so many slots available in a given year for the publication of short stories and novels. The resources are finite. And, indeed, as the economy has floundered and new technologies promise new forms of entertainment and distraction, the resources have become increasingly limited. It will always be me against everyone else who's trying to get published and win readers. And I hate it.

I've reached the point where I don't even want to see myself nominated for awards anymore. I just want to be left alone, to write my stories in peace. They are the only stories I know how to write. And I'm tired of being told how much better my work might sell if I could write like [fill in the blank]. I write like me, and, near as I can tell, that's how it's supposed to work. Only, I am on the outside. Probably on the outermost rim of the outside. Just like high school. And people seem a lot less interested in seeing the world from an outsider's point of view than they do viewing it from the safe, familiar territory of their own perspectives. Yes, there are exceptions, and yes I do have a decent number of readers, but I also know that if I were capable of this competition trick, capable of viewing this as a contest wherein I follow the rules and listen to the self-appointed coaches and referees, I'd have a shot at the chintzy gold sparkle of that goddamn loving cup of True Popularity and Success.

I no longer compete, not if I can possibly help it. This is what I have to offer, and I have to hope I can find enough people who want it that I can keep the bills paid. Because I don't compete. I don't fill out applications. I don't joust. I don't capture the flag. I'm not looking to be queen of the mountain. I do not lock horns. I sit at this keyboard, and, on good days, I write my stories, which are my stories. They are not designed for mass consumption, if only because they are not designed with any audience in mind, except, possibly me. I am the author of my own limitations, just as I am the author of my own triumphs.


The last two days are a blur. I feel like the writing of "As Red as Red" has become a losing battle (with myself). My deadline is tomorrow, and the story is probably three or four thousand words from an ending.

And here it is spring, and it feels not the least bit like spring. It's cold, and there are only a few buds on the trees. We did our Ostara ritual outside this year, in the woods, and I'd desperately hoped it would help shake me free of the morass that this awful winter has landed me in. No luck. It was cold, and the fire hardly seemed to help. I have learned that working skyclad in late March in Rhode Island is an entirely different thing from working skyclad in late March in Georgia. Can you say "perky nipples"? Never mind having to worry about deer ticks. I fear my magick is growing a little darker every year, only...I don't actually fear the drift. Maybe what scares me is that it doesn't scare me.

I have to go look for an ending to "As Red as Red," though I fear I'm still a bit puzzled by the middle. Herr Platypus is not happy with me this morning.
greygirlbeast: (vlad and mina)
Today, Gary Oldman is 50 years old. That's why you get the Vlad and Mina icon, because one of my Hollywood fixations is now half a century old.


And now it is spring. And, here in Atlanta, a bright, sunny spring day it is. I pulled back the curtain in my office to let in the sun. I have survived another winter. And if you are someone who observes the Wiccan sabbats, I wish you a fine Ostara (though, of course, the actual equinox was yesterday). For me, spring is hope, the nearest I come to hope, hope and a balm against the hardness of winter, a season that more closely approximates my usual mental state — and it is a promise of the coming of summer.


Spooky ([ profile] humglum) is feeling pretty miserable, and she still has six days left on her antibiotics. We've been trying to work around her being so under the weather. But it's all editing, proofreading, etc. Wednesday, we read through "The Ape's Wife," because I wanted to go over it again before sending a "fresh" e-copy to Steve Jones for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (#19). Also, I started printing the manuscript of A is for Alien, though I didn't finish printing it until yesterday. On Thursday, we started proofing that, and made it through "Riding the White Bull" and "Zero Summer," a little better than the first 100 pp. Reading "Riding the White Bull" was rather annoying, as I'd somehow managed to print out a version that was neither the draft that sold to Argosy nor the reprint draft, and whole passages where missing. Anyway, I hope to have finished this read through by tomorrow evening, at which point I'll send the manuscript away to Sonya ([ profile] sovay) for a proper proofreading.

Not much to report, aside from work. In a fit of annoyed depression over not being able to make the appearance at the O'Neil Literary House, I think I tried to do myself in with Second Life on Wednesday evening/Thursday morning, at least twelve hours, and I didn't get into bed until about 5:30 ayem. Insanity. We've finished Season Four of Angel, and last night began Season Five with "Conviction" and "Just Rewards." And I'm having to be annoyed all over again that such a rare bit of wonderful television fantasy was canceled in its prime (despite good ratings and rave reviews). The suits rule the world; we just dance here.


We've taken a short break from eBay, but expect to get it going again in the next few days, because the medical bills are still here, and I'm no closer to having any sort of health care than I was a month ago (and the blasted taxes are looming just ahead). In the meanwhile, if you have not already subscribed to Sirenia Digest, the first day of spring, says Herr Platypus, is just about the best time to do so. This month, you'll get "Pickman's Other Model," and, well, something else, most likely.
greygirlbeast: (white)
I might have gotten four and a half hours sleep last night. Possibly. Possibly less. Maybe I'm fighting some unnatural bit of personal evolution. Maybe Nebari sleep a whole lot less than humans. Maybe it's an elvish thing. Maybe I've entirely lost my silly, sleep-deprived mind.

All yesterday was spent preparing for our Ostara ritual, which I thought came off wonderfully. I'm not sure what if anything I should say about it here. I sincerely don't want to become one of those tiresome gits who drones on and on and on about spirituality in her journal. But it was beautiful. We'd decorated our altar with acorns and dogwood and all sorts of wildflowers. Spooky baked honey cakes with flax and molasses, and I dyed brown eggs red. We bathed in hyssop and jasmine. A thunderstorm hit just before we began. During the ritual, after the invocation of the goddess, we planted basil seeds in soil into which I'd used my athame to stir the ashes of resolutions we'd each written down and then burned. Before we dismissed the Watchtowers and before the taking up of the circle, we ate the honey cakes with fresh strawberries and ale. I think next year I'll fix a proper feast for the occasion. Later today, we're taking one of the cakes and a strawberry, the eggs and and some ale out to the two oaks in Freedom Park (see my dream of 3/08/06); it seems right. Oh, while gathering acorns and flowers yesterday, we spotted a Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata), which was a new bird for both of us. And now it's spring, and I've survived another winter.

It doesn't look or feel much like spring out there today, not if you're going by the temp or the cast of the sky, which are both leaning back towards February, but the trees are all going green. That grand pale green of early spring. Warmer weather's on its way.

I'm listening to Moby's "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die," which has been stuck in my head since Sunday night, and the lyrics are making me think of Deacon in the epilogue of Low Red Moon.

I've heard more reports that the hardbacks of The Merewife and False Starts are nice. I haven't seen them yet, but Bill at subpress says there are copies on their way to me now. Today, I shall read "pas-en-arrière, " aloud to Spooky and make any corrections/changes that seem necessary. Then I may begin a new vignette (or that may not happen until tomorrow). There's reading I need to do. There's always reading I need to do. Also, "Night," which had been planned as a subpress chapbook will now be appearing instead in a forthcoming issue of Subterranean magazine. I don't know which one yet, but yes, the art I'm doing for the story will still appear with it. I much prefer this to the chapbook plan, as the magazine will get a larger readership for the story than the chapbook would have gotten.

[ profile] setsuled, the way things have been going on Wikipedia, I think you're going to have to do a new pin-up: Nar'eth, Barbarian Queen of the Ankylosaurs.

Please note that only 22 hours and 41 minutes remain on the "choose your own letter" Frog Toes and Tentacles auction. You snooze, you lose. Also, please have a look at the other auctions. The platypus will be grateful, as will I. And there's a bunch of stuff about gender polarity and Wicca ([ profile] morganxpage, I'm looking at you) that I want to put down, that I need to write out here, but it's going to have to wait until a later entry. The day's not getting any younger.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I think all Monday's should begin with e-mail from Leticia Aguilar and Kra Krarosaline. It's a good way for the day to begin. It makes it easier to believe I'm part of some vast conspiracy of pirates, smugglers, chorus girls, alien bounty hunters, and Dutch diamond merchants. Of course, the illusion would be easier to maintain if said e-mails were not spam trying to sell me script-free Vicodin and black-market Viagara, and if the names had not been randomly generated by some spambot somewhere. Still, I take my illusions where I can find them.

Yesterday went well. Busy, but well. We found all the Ostara-related things we needed at the Phoenix and Dragon. There's was an amusing moment when the young man at the register (it makes me feel like an age'd spinster, writing "the young man at the register," and presently that amuses me) who was new was examining the bits of stone we'd selected and couldn't identify the bloodstone (green jasper with bits of iron oxide). When another employee finally told him what it was, he said, indignantly, "But it's green." I almost laughed. "Yes," he was told by the other employee, "but see all these tiny flecks of red?" To which he replied, "That's kind of creepy." Which seemed to confirm my earlier suspicions that he was one of those very sensitive New-Age, indie-rock Buddhist boys (and there's nothing wrong with that, mind you). I went the whole day without eating, just one of those days when I forgot to frelling eat, and my protein- and carb-deprived body passed out about six and slept until seven. Spooky cooked a pizza for dinner, which made the hunger go away. We watched the new ep of The Sopranos, which was superb, and we both loved that it closed with Moby's "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die." The consecration ceremony went well. I'm always the nervous one. Afterwards, I carried a violet candle into each room, and Spooky recited a farewell to winter which I'd written. I think I got to bed about two and lay there listening to "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die" on repeat while Spooky puttered about online. Later, she came in and read me Robert McClusky's One Morning in Maine. I fell asleep about halfway through, but, annoyingly, awoke as soon as she was done and was awake until well after three. Then I awoke from troublesome dreams at eight and thought that was all the sleep I'd get, but dozed off again until ten.

Spooky was reading me a bit of Amanda Palmer's blog yesterday, and it touched on something important that I'm not sure I've ever talked about here. Amanda writes (behind the cut):

in her e. e. cummings way )

And, yes, that was a very long quote, and I hope that Amanda won't mind, but it was easier than restating it all. This is the first time I've ever heard another artist admit this. That their passion for the art form which they create/perform has been tainted by the fact that they've become a professional practitioner of it. I'd long ago assumed it was just me. I used to love to read. I read voraciously. Up until about 1994 or so, about the time my fiction started selling. By 1998, I'd pretty much stopped reading novels. And this is why. Reading had become work. Somehow, the old passion for reading had been undone by the fact that it was now my job to write. I come to fiction these days and only rarely can I enjoy it. My mind is too clouded with thoughts I never thought in the old days. How did that get past the copyeditor? How did that get past the editor? And if I believe the writer's not as talented as me, and they happen to be more successful, all I can think is why? And if the author's more talented than me, but nowhere near as successful, all I can think is why? Jealousy and matters of inequity arise. The fickle nature of audience. I waste energy envying X's ability or their readership, or I get entirely distracted and angry that so few people are reading Z. It goes on and on like this. And I read less and less fiction. And even if I can avoid all these things, I can never escape the fact that reading is now work. No longer can I read for the sake of reading. When I read, it's no longer to satiate the part of my mind that craves story. I get that from movies now. When I read, I can only analyze and quantify and pick apart and critique and think about the marketplace and what I'll write next and why I'm not this good or how I'm so much better. Being a writer has ruined reading for me. I still read short stories sometimes. Spooky reads me novels, which usually works, though she often gets interrupted by me ranting about something or another. I can't even go near a comic book. Poetry is still safe, which is one reason I don't write more of it. At least I still have poetry. And non-fiction. I read a lot of non-fiction.

I should also mention that dead writers are usually safe, as I can neither envy them nor be angry they aren't being treated better. Okay, that last part isn't true. I often get angry about dead writers who aren't treated better. A handful of living writers are safe: Harlan, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey, Peter...a few others. The reasons why these writers are safe vary a bit, but it's usually because they're simply, objectively, and vastly more talented than I am, and I know it, and, besides, I've worshiped them since childhood.

Amanda writes:

listening to music has become WORK.
i don't want it to be. i listened to music for years because i loved it, not because i wanted anything for or from it, not because i wanted to DO something with it.
though that's not really true....even in high school i was making music videos in my head to every song on my walkman. but that was outside reality, it doesn't count.

The "outside reality" bit is an important point. I was writing poetry and short stories twenty years before my first fiction sale, but I never believed, not really, that any of it would be published. That it would become about making art and making money and sales reports and return rates and critics and readers and agents. Anyway, I'm sorry to see someone else struggling with this, but I'm also comforted that I'm not the only one. I would ask the other professional writers reading this, because I've never had the nerve to do so, has something like this happened to you? I know that many of you are heavy readers.

Argh. This has gone on far too long, and there are things I need to get done. Wind her up and watch her go. Damn straight. Please have a look at the eBay auctions. Thanks. "See" you later.

Postscript: Good luck today, Sonya.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

    1 234
56 7 891011


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 21st, 2017 05:09 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios