greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, kittens, it's going to snow 1-3 inches here in Providence tonight, and we're the lucky part of New England. Apparently, Autumn took the year off; I don't blame it. I hear it's snowing in Manhattan right now.

Still, I wish I were at the sea today. I want to watch a heavy snow fall on the olive-green waves.

Okay, here's some news, so perk up those ears. I've been sitting on a secret for many, many months, and many of you know this. On November 2nd, there will be some manner of revelation, and on November 9th, all will be revealed. That's Wednesday, and then the next Wednesday. The NSA has agreed to declassify the files, and the MiBs will go public. The gag order will be rescinded. Some of you will not hear the news here first. Machineries are in motion that are far greater than am I. But...I believe there will be a lot of happy campers among you, and I think the wait will have been worth it. It's worn me ragged, keeping this secret.

And that's what I worked on yesterday, this secret thing. Meanwhile, Spooky attended to line edits on Blood Oranges, using the old iBook (Victoria; the old girl's got a lot of life left in her).

---

Yesterday evening, as the sun was setting, we arrived at the Steel Yard, for the 6th Annual Iron Pour. A most appropriate post-industrial celebration of Samhain (though, of course, Samhain proper isn't until Monday). Five-thousand pounds of molten steel poured from a blast furnace, molten metal to fill jack-o'-lanterns, a great skull-shaped mold (the skull, weighing hundreds of pounds lifted, glowing, by block and tackle). Hundreds of voices screaming, "Fire." Enormous effigies to be devoured by fire: demons, witches, the head of a goat. A woman with the head and wings of a bat, dressed all in black and on stilts. A chainsaw that belches flames. The burning effigies are revealed to have wrought-iron skeletons. Deliriously eldritch and aharmonic anti-melodies played on violins, saxophones, and coronets. Volcanic showers and liquid iron of sparks filling the air, and raining down almost atop our heads. That's the Iron Pour in Providence. There are pictures behind the cut, below (though, batteries were low, we forgot to change them, and the camera, therefore, acted up).

Do people know about the not-so-secret pagan rites in Providence? Well, more than know about the Big Chair Rites of Moosup Valley.

---

After my post yesterday, and my mention of seeing The Rapture (1991) again, an analogy occurred to me. It's one thing to call the Judeo-Christian god petty and sadistic. It's another to explain what you mean. So, here's one of a...well, of countless...examples: That whole Garden of Eden thing, Adam and Eve and the serpent. That chestnut. Here's the same story - the very same story – recast in less fantastic language. An unnamed adult (ADULT) places two three year olds, a boy and a girl, in a large room filled with every manner of toy they might ever desire, every sweet confection, a computer with the best games, every imaginable three-year-old delight, and the children are told, "You may play with all these things, and eat whatever you wish, and as much as you wish. But...you see that jar of Watermelon-flavored Jelly-Belly jelly beans over there? You do? Okay, now...that's the one thing you must not eat from. Now, I'm going to leave you to your own devices. Be good, kiddos." (No explanation is offered as to why the beans must be left alone.) And the adult goes away. And the two children have a blast, for days and days and days.

But, eventually, a loudspeaker mounted in one corner begins to whisper sibilantly about those Watermelon-flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans. It whispers, and most persistently, and, kids will be kids, and...when the unnamed adult returns to find the forbidden beans of jelly have been tasted, the two children are shamed with the harshest possible language, then tossed from the paradise of that room. They're thrown out into the cold winter streets, and guards are placed at the doors, that they can never again enter the marvelous room. Because they ate jelly beans that were placed there so that they would be tempted to eat the jelly beans. And there was that voice planted there to help them along, right? Don't think for a moment the adult didn't put that speaker there (whether or not the voice was his or hers, that's another matter). But it gets better, which is to say it gets worse. For having tasted the Watermelon Jelly Bellies, no child may ever again enter the room, and all the descendents of these two children will suffer unspeakable agonies and trials, and die, and face an eternity of torment unless they love the sadistic adult (ADULT) in question, despite this dirty, little trick with the jelly beans and the whispers...and, well, you know the story. And no, this is no more simplistic a parable than the original. Just a tiny bit more honest. And don't give me that "freewill" bullshit. ADULT knew better. He/she knew the nature of the children, she/he made them. The whole thing was rigged. For the Bible tells us so.

---

Spooky's Hallowe'en Sale isn't quite over, so have a look.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, and then a tiny dash of RIFT. Then we watched last week's episode of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story, and...it was...surprisingly better. It was actually...haunting. A tremendous number of story threads and themes were skillfully tossed about and interwoven and, hell, it would have made a fine last episode. Still that Dark Shadows camp, but elevated just a bit. Moments of genuine chill. I think it's possibly more interested in the problem of hauntings than in ghosts, and that would be a good thing. Oh, and now Zachary Quinto, also known as Spock #2 and My Second Husband (you get to guess who's my First and Third husbands are), has joined the cast...so I have to keep watching.

Later, I read Steinbeck's The Log of the Sea of Cortez until I could get to sleep, about four-thirty ayem.

And now, I hear those black panel vans...You know, Tom Waits* needs to write a song entitled "Black Panel Vans."

Clandestine,
Aunt Beast

28 October 2011 )


* "Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts."
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
In the comments yesterday, the matter of Panthalassa came up, the matter of the focus my paganism. And I feel like I ought to explain something – not because anyone offended me – but just to be clear. My relationship with Panthalassa does not involve faith. Indeed, I am entirely lacking (or unburdened by) both religious and "spiritual" faith. Panthalassa, she asks for nothing, and I know I have nothing to give her. What's more – beyond the fact that she is objectively the world ocean – Panthalassa as a godhead exists only as a metaphor, and as a focus for psychologically healthy ritual. Which, if you ask me, pretty much puts her way ahead of Xtianity (or most other patrifocal religions), with its demanding, selfish, judgmental Old Man in the Sky. Or the "son" he supposedly sacrificed for our "sins." What I do, it's not drawing those lines – faith or failure, belief or torment. My meetings with Panthalassa are not about faith. Devotion, yes. And reverence. But not faith. Nor are they about communing with a conscious "higher power," as Panthalassa is not conscious. I am an atheist, and a pagan, and I know that bends some people's brains, but it ought not. I simply stepped outside several paradigms, all at once. Also, I have renounced the mess that Wicca has become.

---

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest 69 ready to go out to subscribers, and if you are a subscriber, you should have the issue by now. If you're not a subscriber, you should immediately follow the link above and rectify this lamentable situation. Thank you. I hope people are happy with the issue, and if they have had time to read it, will kindly comment upon 69 today.

Today I go back to work on The Secret. And I wait for the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I am not waiting with dread, only with mild and time-consuming annoyance. I know there will only be the annoying marks made by the copyeditor that, for the most part, I have to STET. The rest of September will truly be a crunch. I have The Secret, the aforementioned CEM, and we need to read through all of Blood Oranges (though that might have to wait until October).

Someone asked if there were plans for a Subterranean Press hardcover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. No, there are no such plans, but I will be speaking with other publishers, possibly, about this, and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.

---

Kathryn was at the market yesterday and heard a woman actually say "LOL," aloud. That is, "el-oh-el." After I tweeted her traumatic experience, I have discovered from others that this is not an unusual phenomenon, nor one confined to "kids these days." You shame yourselves yet again, Western Civilization. You poop in your own undies.

---

Speaking of poop, last night, for some reason beyond my comprehension, we watched John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (1987), a thing I swore I would never do. And, for fuck's sake, this is a bad movie. Even a weird little role (with no dialogue) by Alice Cooper doesn't help, not one itty-bitty bit.*** At the center of this mess is a pretty neat little idea – evil is a viral being from outer space that arrived upon the earth billions of years ago, and the purpose of the Catholic Church was to fool everyone with religion until science could become sophisticated enough to cope with the swirling green entity in the cylinder. Fine. Very Lovecraftian. But. Carpenter takes that scenario and turns it into a dull, over-lit mess, with no suspense whatsoever. This film is the very antithesis of suspense. It's where suspense goes to die of boredom. There's no acting in sight, except for Donald Pleasence's overacting. The film pauses, now and then, to ramble off a load of nonsensical exposition, which is at least a break from the slog of the story. What the fuck? Had Carpenter spent all his money on blow and whores and had nothing left over to spend on actors, a camera crew, writers, and SFX? In short, stay far, far away from this one. It's actually much worse than In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and that's saying something.

For my part, I say Carpenter had a good run from 1981 through 1986, and then violently bottomed out – with, as it happens, Prince of Darkness. His masterpiece remains, by far, The Thing (released in 1982), and I think that's mostly because he had a number of great things going for him – "Who Goes There," Howard Hawkes' The Thing from Another World (1951), Rob Bottin's brilliant SFX and art direction, Ennio Morricone's wonderfully minimalistic score, the intentional allusion to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and, lastly, a great location. John Carpenter may not be what made The Thing a great film.

But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance. Escape from New York (1981) is loads of fun, as is Big Trouble in Little China (and Kurt Russell is a significant part of what works with both those films). But yeah. 1981 through 1986, and then Carpenter takes a precipitous nose dive. Hell, I might even be generous, and include The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978) – though I don't really like either, they're gold compared with everything that came after 1986. And the plunge from Big Trouble in Little China to Prince of Darkness is almost inexplicable. So, yes. I say it was coke and whores.

Anyway, afterwards, we watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and read more of The Stand. I read two more stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Both were by authors with whom I'd had no previous experience. First, John Horner Jacobs' "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and then Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Flash Frame." Both were quite good, but I especially liked Jacobs' piece. All this helped get the taste of the awful movie out of my brain and eyeballs.

Tonight, maybe some Insilico RP.

Rain today. Chilly. Summer's passing away.

Oh! Photos from Sunday, as Irene was finishing up with Rhode Island (behind the cut). So, these photos were taken the day before the last set of photos I posted.

Chilled,
Aunt Beast

28 August 2011 )


***Spooky says, "The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,397 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. I also reached page 200 of the manuscript. The revision of my revised schedule puts me finishing the novel sometime between August 31 and September 3, if I can write at least 1,150 words per day. Oh, and I'd love to hear thoughts on Chapter Two from those who've had time to read Sirenia Digest #68.

It's raining today. The rain began last night. It'll be a little warmer tomorrow, but the rain will become thunderstorms.

I'm running so very, very late. There were many things I was going to discuss in this entry that are going to have to wait, if I want to get anything written today. And I kinda, sorta have to get something written today.

Last night, we watched Christopher Smith's Black Death (2010), and wow, this is the film that Season of the Witch tried to be and pretty much failed utterly. And it's a surprisingly complex film. On the surface, Black Death seems to be only another entry in the recent resurgence of the fear-of-pagans genre of film. And it would be easy to walk away from this film with the impression that it's pro-Christian and anti-pagan. But...it's only easy to do that if you don't stop to think about what's actually being said. A lot of this stuff isn't even subtle. It's a film about how power is wielded through belief systems, about fear and obsession and love. About exploiting ignorance and superstition. About egotism. And in the end, the Church, the "witch" Langiva, the monk Osmund – none of these are portrayed as virtuous. All are victims, and all create victims of their own. All are hungry for one thing or another, and all, ultimately, are rapacious in their quest to have this thing, be it power or revenge or whatever. The film does present "good" men and women who mostly exist beyond the boundaries of this power struggle – Wolfstan, Averill, and so forth. But even they are not genuinely innocent. Because the film tries hard to be a true film, and this world is all but devoid of innocent human beings. Black Death is a film about people who try to do good – Ulrich and Langiva are both trying to protect "their" people from the plague, but both are deeply flawed. Anyway, yes. Good movie. See it. Right now it can be streamed from Netflix.

And I must go meet the Word Monster.

Jousting,
Aunt Beast

Beltane '11

May. 1st, 2011 01:37 pm
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A happy and fine Beltane to all who wish to be wished a happy and fine Beltane. Winter is behind us, and now for blazing fires and blazing days.

Five hours sleep last night. The latest drug regimen has been helping me sleep the last week or so, eight hours a night two or three nights in a row. So, last night it was a surprise. It was just after six ayem when I finally got to sleep. The sky was the lightest shades of daylight. I covered my head, and pretended it was still night, which helped.

Yesterday was a day off, and it was a good day off. We left the house about 2:30 p.m., and headed north, through Woonsocket to Millville to the Blackstone River Gorge. We lingered briefly at Rolling Dam (aka Roaring Dam). The safety line strung with red pontoons had broken free, and there was damage to a portion of the spillway. I'm guessing it happened when the ice broke up. When we visited in February, the river above the dam was frozen. Also, there was a maple in the water that must have only just gone down, as the branches were filled with reddish sprouts. Then we headed out to the Gorge itself, which lies downstream (to the southeast) of the dam. We've never done the hike, though there and back is only a little more than a mile (depending which trail you take). We climbed to the top and gazed down into that dark tannin-stained water thirty or forty feet below, listening to the rapids, stared into the tops of trees beginning to come back to life. When we left Providence, the sky was cloudy, overcast, but the sun came out about the time we reached the dam, and I was able to take off my sweater and scarf.

In a hollow between slabs of Devonian granite, we found a boggy place that proved to be the remains of a very old garbage dump. Late Nineteenth Century or older. Heaps of glass, brick, ceramics, ornate china shards, shattered jugs, lead nails, shreds of hobnailed boots...it would be a fascinating place to dig, but the park forbids it. Not far past the dump, we found a wide sandy place by the river. I spotted something in the water downstream, which I at first mistook for ducks. However, the disturbance turned out to be two otters (Lontra [?=Lutra] canadensis) frolicking in the shallow, slow-flowing river. I'd never before seen otters in the wild. Various other mustelids, yes (skunks, mink, weasels, etc.), but never otters. We sat and watched them for a about half an hour. They were maybe a hundred yards from us, at the most, and we did most of the watching through a 10x42 monocular. They breached and dove, rolled, and swam swiftly, sinuously, along just below the surface. The air was filled with birdsong. And were actually heard a Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus). It was truly wonderful, and the cumulative effect of yesterday was to lead me to resolve that the stagnant age of sitting at this desk all the time, whether I'm working or not, is over. I'm missing the world, the world I used to live in, the wild.

Part of this, of course, is that, thanks to meds and exercise, my Lousy Rotten Feet have improved dramatically over the last year and a half. I don't even really need the stick anymore. I used it during yesterday's hike, because the ground was so uneven and heights were involved, but, usually, I leave it at home now. Anyway, there are a few photos from yesterday behind the cut, below, and I'll post more tomorrow.

---

And this month, the selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club is Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja (Small Beer Press, 2010). This is such a marvelous book. Koja has become such a very brilliantly polished author, and here she treads territories that have rarely been done justice. There's a faint whiff of Angela Carter. But yes, there's our novel for May.



---

We played far too fucking much Rift last night, mostly questing out of Perspice. The highpoint had to be escorting Kayfax, a talking cat, as it tracked trolls. Kayfax decided that Selwyn and Miisya would make very fine pets, and so we were referred to as "pet." Selwyn made Level 35, and Miisya made 36.

Ah, and by the way. Back at the beginning of March, I vowed to make at least one blog entry every day for four months. I didn't want to jink it by announcing it until I was well in. And now I've made it halfway.

And that's all for now. Have a fine first day of May, kittens.

Springy,
Aunt Beast

30 April 2011, Part 1 )
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
There was no time yesterday for a blog entry, as we had to drive to Massachusetts to find a screening of Avatar that wasn't 3-D.But, had I made an entry yesterday, I would have said that, on Thursday I somehow went from completely locked up (first half of the day, carrying over from Wednesday and Tuesday) to writing 1,106 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." Which was a huge relief. I might survive this month, after all. Today, I'll go back to work on the story, and hopefully it will be finished by Sunday evening, and I can move along to Sirenia Digest #49.

---

So, yesterday we drove to Massachusetts for a 1:30 (CaST) showing of James Cameron's Avatar. And I think (given how many times I've said I'm not someone who can write actual film reviews) I'll just cut to the chase and say that this is a brilliant, stunning, and terrifying film. In some ways, it's a film I've been waiting my whole life to see. Not merely because Cameron and Weta have created such a convincing extraterrestrial biosphere, and not only because it speaks to my "parahuman" psyche, but because that "alien" landscape is merely one part of such a grandly sublime package. During and after the film, my head was crammed full of things I wanted to say here, and I should have written those things down, because now I can't seem to find the words. The film affected me deeply, and on a level I'm not sure I can articulate. Generally, reviews are either evaluations, arguments, or a combination of those two things. I can evaluate this film, and if I had a good deal more time at my disposal (and the requisite motivation), I could also argue why this film is not only a great film, but why it is an important film. They might even be convincing arguments for some. But I'm going to have to settle for something more to the point.

With Avatar, Cameron (and all those who worked with him) have created a film that places humanity in the role of alien invader, inverting Wells' War of the Worlds formula. Which is exactly what I was hoping to see. Indeed, I would say that Cameron inverts one of his own earlier efforts, Aliens (1986). In 2154, a joint military/corporate effort from a dying earth seeks to exploit the mineral resources of an earth-like moon circling a gas giant in a distant solar system. The problem, of course, is that a sentient race lives on the moon, one that is....well, we get into spoiler territory here, and I very much don't want to spoil this for anyone. I'm honestly not sure what to say (as I may have said above). Roger Ebert and other genuine reviewers have already said so much that needed saying about the film.

I'm not so much impressed that, with Avatar, Cameron was willing to make a film with such a strong pro-environmentalist and anti-war message. Lots of people are doing that (though none have risked this sort of budget in the process). What truly impresses me is that Cameron has made what is essentially an anti-human film. On Pandora, in the conflicts between mankind and the Na'vi, we see what we've seen on Earth for the entirety of human history. In general and with precious few exceptions, humans will go to any length to exploit Nature for short-term and short-sighted gains. And "contacts" between technological and not-so technological civilizations pretty much always end with the latter getting throttled, displaced, and often driven to the brink of extinction. Avatar says, as I have always said, that there's no reason whatsoever to think things would be any different were "we" to encounter another civilization on another planet. But there's more here than some hackneyed, naive fairy-tale of the "noble savage." At the core of this film is an ingenious sort of evolutionary surprise that gives the Na'vi a fighting chance.

I'll also say that Avatar impressed me as a profoundly pagan film, but I know that it's too easy to see what we want to see in art that we love. So I'm not going to dwell on that (though Avatar already has some Xtians in a lather for this very reason).

I could go on and on, but I won't. I will say that I thought the science was pretty decent. Sure, there are a few holes here and there, but they're nothing serious, nothing that interferes with the story. I could believe in the animals and plants I saw on Pandora, that I was seeing viable ecosystems. The creatures are as amazing and gorgeous as any fictional fauna and flora that have ever graced a screen, and I very much hope that we'll see a book from Weta Workshop like the "natural history" of Skull Island they released back in 2005, because I very much want to know more.

Go see this film. It's a damn good movie. Like The Road, It's terrible and beautiful and true. Which means that it's important.

* H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds (1898)
greygirlbeast: (Blood elf 2)
A cold, clear day here in Providence. The trees are quickly shedding their fall colors. Winter will be coming on, soon. Back in Atlanta, we'd be freezing, and I'd be bitching about the cryosphere in my office. Here in Rhode Island, ironically, we're quite toasty. And, before I forget, happy birthday to Neil, who turns -08 today, and also to Spooky's sister, Steph, in faraway Brooklyn.

I've begun a second LiveJournal account, as of yesterday. It's purpose is to serve as a more stable and accessible archive for the entries from my old Blogger journal, which was begun in November 2001, just before I started writing Low Red Moon (and which I'd originally intended to end when the book was done). As such, it bears the rather unimaginative title [livejournal.com profile] crk_blog_vault. Each day, I'll be reposting one to three entries from the old Blogger account, with the original date and time for the entries included as the subject line. Hence, the first entry is "November 24, 2001 (12:40 a.m.)." Anyway, have a look if you're interested. "Low Red Moon Journal" has been orphaned since December 2006, but mostly I'm interested in mirroring those hundreds of entries that were made before I began this LJ in April 2004. I've shut off the comments feature for the new journal, and I'm still fiddling about with the look of the thing.

Yesterday, I did 1,453 words on "The Colliers' Venus (1893)," previously titled "The Automatic Mastodon (1893)." The automatic mastodon still makes a cameo appearance in the story, but I realized yesterday it's not the centerpiece. So, a very good writing day.

And a lot of work besides the new short story. After the writing, while Spooky made a quick trip to the market to get dinner, I went through the ARC for A is for Alien, for the very last time before it goes to press, and found only four problems. I'll send the corrections to Bill at Subterranean Press as soon as I finish this entry. After dinner, Spooky and I began reading through The Red Tree, and managed all of the Preface and Chapter One. Lots of corrections. I think we finished with that just after 10 p.m. Oh, and this weekend Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) and Spooky dad, Richard, both read the ms. And they both loved it, and are helping with the proofreading. Hearing it aloud last night, I remembered again just how much this one means to me. Oh, and I think I'll repost the cover, for anyone who might have missed it on Saturday:

The Red Tree )


Also, we received the images for the artist interview for Sirenia Digest #36, the interview originally scheduled for #35. My thanks to both Heather Eve and Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark). So, yes, a very busy day yesterday (but it made up for Saturday, which was a bit of a washout). And I fear that it's going to be this busy all the way to December.

I played a couple hours' worth of WoW last night. Back to Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, after three nights playing Mithwen, my night-elf fighter. I fear Shah is much closer to my heart, but I've probably said that already. Spooky ("Suraa") and I did some questing in Hillsbrad and the Alterac Mountains north of Tallin Mills, then slaughtered trolls in the Arathi Highlands, just because. And after WoW, we watched an episode of Firefly (the marvelous "Objects in Space") because I was exhausted and needed "comfort food" before bed.

I'm doing some concerted magickal work for the first time since October, mostly protective spells and wards and such. Getting a little Enochian. Crowley meets Wicca meets the Greek pantheon. Something like that. Nothing I want to go into detail about, just making the walls a little stronger, you might say. Anyway, now the platypus and the coffee are waiting for me. The day lies ahead.
greygirlbeast: (white)
One reason that I tend not to talk overly much about politics in this journal (and there are many reasons) is that, at this stage in my life, I just don't have the...energy...to deal with Those Who Are Offended. For example, when speaking of the presidential election, I said that I am ashamed of the South for not having taken this opportunity to step away from its history of bigotry and hatred. A number of people were offended, not because they are bigots, but because I made a generalization that they felt did not allow for the people in the South who are not hateful bigots. Yes, obviously those people do exist. Clearly. I never said that they do not. Until June, I was one of them. But I think the generalization holds water —— the Deep South is still one of the more prejudicial, hate-riddled parts of the country —— and I say this not as someone on the outside, but as someone who has spent most of her life there. Hate and racism, homophobia and sexism and Far-Right Xtianity are not confined to the South, by any means. But they do find especially fertile ground in places like Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi, and in the Deep South as a whole. And trying to claim otherwise is like trying to deny that Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey have more Mafioso than do, say, Arkansas and South Carolina.

You know, I call myself a pagan. But I most emphatically do not get offended when I meet someone who has the impression that pagans are, on the whole, superstitious "fluffy bunny" New Agers obsessed with crystals, magical thinking, astrology, fairies, unicorns, and dumbed-down, misappropriated shamanism. I don't get offended because I see perfectly well how non-pagans get this impression. Walk into almost any American "witchcraft" shop. It smacks you in the face. The generalization is, generally, true, even if it's not true of me. I do not take offense and get defensive at being mistakenly lumped in with the idiots. It's a risk I accept. Do you get the gist of this song now? Because I'm moving on....

Not much to say about the last couple of days. I spent most of it lying down. My body finally reached the exhaustion threshold and switches started flipping into the off position. Exhaustion and, apparently, severe dehydration. Yesterday, I actually slept until noon. And I'm feeling much better today. Which is good, because I have a lot of writing and editing to get done this month.

I ate Chinese food, read Clara Pinto-Correia's Return of the Crazy Bird: The Sad, Strange Tale of the Dodo (2003), and washed my hair. Last night, Spooky and I watched Ratatouille again, and I still think it is, by far, the best Pixar film. I napped, a lot. I missed my date with the Plateosaurus at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, because it was raining so hard yesterday, and I was really just too tired for Boston, anyway. In fact, I didn't leave the house Wednesday or Thursday (and fear I may not have left it since, crap, Hallowe'en night). But, I listened to the rain, which has really been marvelous. I played too much WoW, as usual (thank you, "Kalizsera," for the kitty), and even waded back into Second Life for an hour on Wednesday night —— sadly, just long enough to be pretty sure I was right to jump ship.

Anyway, the platypus is reminding me that I need to email my agent and my editor, and that I have a short story to write, and that the day is slipping away.

Oh, I think I'll be posting the cover art for The Red Tree tomorrow....

And I almost forgot. Yesterday, I stumbled across this review of the cover of To Charles Fort, With Love at Bookslut. Pretty cool.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
I slept about ten hours, which is really nothing short of amazing. All day yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #32 out, six or seven hours work after four and a half hours sleep the night before. I will say that I think this issue of the Digest is one of the very best I've done, in terms of content and appearance. My grateful thanks to Sonya, Geoffrey, Vince, Rick, Gordon, and Spooky for making it work. Yesterday, somehow, I managed to proof and edit "Derma Sutra (1891)" (which I really am pleased with, by the way; I think I found a new flavour of me with it), proof Geoffrey's very excellent interview with Richard A. Kirk, and deal with the layout, in a state of consciousness that can best be described as zombiefied. There were a couple of lines from the interview with Rick I wanted to post here, because I just found it brilliant:

Our perception of the universe is like a tiny house floating on an endless sea. We sit inside this thing we have constructed, completely unaware of what lies outside, hoping that whatever is out there never gets curious enough to poke its nose under the door.

And if you'd like to get #32, subscribe sometime in the next week, and you'll get it.

And today is Lughnasadh. Spooky and I had planned to do a ritual out at Beavertail, but I think we're both still pretty exhausted from yesterday's Big Push, so we're playing it by ear. We'll at least bake a loaf of something, at the very least. I so desperately want to find a coven, and one reason is so that we do not have to be solely responsible for the details of ceremony on every sabbat and esabat. But, that brings me back around to either facing the not insignificant problem of finding a group that is comfortable with my unorthodox views (and vice versa) or trying to found my own coven built upon those views (Panthalassa, diminished emphasis on gender polarity, inclusion of a Divine Androgyne aspect as part of the "tripartite" Goddess, a move away from anthropomorphic deities, removal of the distinction between left- and right-hand paths, and so forth).

Anyway, when the work was finally done yesterday, I lay down on the chaise with Dr. Muñoz to try to read a few more pages of Fraser's Triassic book while Spooky fixed dinner (a stirfry of green beans, red bell pepper, zucchini, fresh basil, and ground chicken), but I dozed almost immediately. Spooky woke me for dinner. Later, but not too late, there was a really excellent bit of rp in the "Kingdom of Sand" sim (thank you Badra, Lina, Hela, and Sev), that pretty much exemplified what it is I've come to SL looking for and which sort of renewed my faith in the inherent potential of SL as an interactive story-telling tool, just when that faith was at an all-time low. In fact, I may clean up the transcript from the rp, add a few embellishments here and there, and post it behind a cut in this journal. It was really a splendid little series of scenes, first in the throne room of the palace in Ireem, then, later, in the Tower of Serpents (where the Magi practice). Nothing too profound. No fireworks. No sex. Just simple, good, solid rp/story telling. Anyway, about one a.m., I was falling asleep at the keyboard, and I crawled away to the front parlor and put Danny Boyle's Sunshine in the DVD player, as it has become one of my "comfort films." I dozed while it played, awakening for bits here and there. I remember waking to hear Cassie say, "Only dream I ever have...is the surface of the sun. Every time I shut my eyes, it's always the same." And finally I awoke near the end, as Capa is struggling in the bulky EVA suit to reach the payload, and, half awake, I lay there and marveled at the score and what a beautiful thing this vastly underrated film is (my next Mac will be named Icarus). Then I went to bed. And slept and slept and slept.

I should wrap this up. I've been ignoring email for two days, and I should ignore it no longer. Please have a look at the current eBay auctions (two of which end this afternoon), and please, please do pre-order a copy of the mass-market paperback edition of Daughter of Hounds. The platypus will probably thank you. I know that I shall.

Postcript (2:26 p.m.): It just occurred to me that I neglected to note in the new issue of the Digest that "Derma Sutra (1891)" was written entirely to just one song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds —— "Lovely Creature." I did manage to work the title into the story, but wish I'd remembered to acknowledge the song in the issue itself. I kept count (thank you iPod) of how many times I listened to the song while writing the story —— 104 times in 4 days (that's about seven hours worth of the song).
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,103 words on Chapter Two of The Red Tree. Not a stunning writing day, but a decent one. Today, though...well...beginning last night...I realized I'm just not going to be up to writing today. It's just not...there. I don't know if this is exhaustion, depression, or relief, or if I'm just a little freaked out that we are actually here and settling into the new place in Providence. The last month has been a whirlwind. I feel as though it has beaten me to a pulp, and now there is only the work, and it's not so bad, the work...but sometimes I lose my footing. Oh, and there's a mountain of neglected email. There was a brief absence seizure last night.

I should announce that I'll be appearing at Readercon later this month, Friday and Saturday only, July 18-19. I have a reading scheduled. I have grown to hate doing conventions, so don't expect to see me doing much of this, even now that I'm all Yankeefied and social and all. I'll post my itinerary once I know it.

I think we're going to see Wall-E today, because Spooky and I are likely the only two sentient bipeds on earth who have yet to see it.

I was planning a New Moon ritual for tonight, out at Beavertail, but that's another thing I know I'm just not up to. It takes a clear mind —— the rituals —— and focus, and I presently haven't much of either. Better to set it aside until next month, than to botch it. I spent about 45 minutes, yesterday evening, after the writing was done, looking at local covens — the ones that are listed through Witchvox. There were one or two I almost emailed to set up interviews with. But That Little Voice kept pulling me back. I am weary of it being only me and Spooky, this quasi-solitary practice, but I suspect I'd be better off trying to found my own group than attempting to enter one. My issues with the focus of duality will surely cause me trouble trying to enter a coven, and I easily could list half a dozen other things. But, starting my own group, that takes a sort of energy, and experience, I do not have at this time. Maybe I'll look at the Massachusetts-based covens. Maybe something there will seem more "right."

I did manage to finish reading Chapter Four of the Triassic book yesterday. Spooky made spaghetti for dinner.

I think that's all I have for now. Here are the basement photos I promised a few days back. I think, at some point, Spooky and I should find the nerve to spend a night down there. The doorknobs are the best:

Pickman Lived Here )

Midsummer

Jun. 21st, 2008 10:00 am
greygirlbeast: (Late Cambrian)
Monsieur Insomnia has a talent for finding me at the most inopportune times. I've been sleeping marvelously since coming to Rhode Island (21 days ago now!), until night before last...and last night. I'm no longer 20 or 30, and, alas, I cannot function very well on 6 hours sleep. Which is about what I got last night. Oh, and a very peculiar set of dreams, which I shall not here recall.

Since I began practicing Wicca in 2005, something has felt wrong during mine and Spooky's rituals. We'd have the words. All the material components. Our hearts were in it, our minds focused. And yet, still, something felt wrong. And now I know, for sure, what. Wicca cannot be practiced in a crowded back room that is generally used for dollmaking. It must be practised beneath an open sky. This is to say, the Midsummer ritual last night was exquisite, one of the most remarkable hours of my life. And I know now that my suspicion that the missing element in our rituals was environmental was spot on*.

We left Providence about 4 pm, because we needed to swing by the Kingston Free Library to drop off 5 more boxes of books. We'd already donated 2, so that's a total of 7 we've given for their forthcoming book sale (by the way, no idea why I'm typing numbers as numerals instead of words today...they're just coming out that way). Maybe 200 books, all told. I should have parted with 3 times that number, but, you know, baby steps. After the library, we drove up to Spooky's parent's farm in Saunderstown, because her father has finally returned from his latest anthropological sojourn to some exotic clime or another (I forget just where, somewhere in South America). We must have gotten there about 5 or 5:30, and it was so much cooler in South County than in Providence, with the wonderful breeze. They showed us their new pitcher plant (sorry, don't recall the species), and we talked by the koi pond her mother, Carol, is working on. They're about to install a biofilter, to help keep the water a little cleaner. I think the pond has about 50 koi at this point. Her mother trades the babies for fish food. We played with Spider, talked about birds, and my bad eyes, black bear sightings in South County, and summer, and graduate students, and back doors. A taillight on Spooky's car was fixed by cannibalizing the old blue van. It was a good visit.

About 6:30 or so, we headed east to Beavertail, across the Jamestown Bridge to Conanicut Island, and then south to Beavertail. The sun was beginning to set, and the wetlands and thickets of beach roses and other assorted flora were teeming with wildlife. Deer, rabbits, egrets, robins everywhere, all manner of sea birds. We circled back behind the lighthouse, to a more secluded place we found in 2004 (about 1,200 feet northeast of the lighthouse). I'd packed about half our altar for the trip, trying to keep in mind the wind and that the ritual should not be overly complicated or ruined by things one cannot do while clinging to a rocky sea cliff in a strong wind. It was actually cold when we got out of the car, and I put on my sweater, my arm socks, and my cloak, and followed Spooky down the steep erosional ravine leading to the rocks (carefully skirting the ubiquitous poison ivy). There were very few people nearby, mostly fishermen, and the people who were there kindly left us alone. We must have gotten started about 7 pm, and the tide was coming in**, consuming the shore in great foaming mouthfuls. Spooky spotted crabs in a high tide pool. There were bits of dried seaweed scattered about. There were a few gulls, and cormorants just offshore (Phalacrocorax spp.). Spooky said, "They look like little Nessies." There were seabirds I did not recognize. The sky had gone a wonderful assortment of blues, greys, and pinks. To the south, the lighthouse flashed at its regular intervals. I cast the circle, started a small fire in our cauldron, and we set to work. Well, work's the wrong word, I think. It was too delightful to call work. Recall my definition of magick as the "willful invocation of awe." It was that. I adapted Starhawk's Litha ceremony, substituting some of my own phrasing, and tailoring it for only 2 people, instead of a full coven. A handful of salt to the North, a feather to the East, a garlic clove to the south, two fern fronds to the West. The wind and the sea were wild, and this was the wild magick I've been seeking for three years.

About halfway through, we paused to eat the bread we'd brought along and have some of the wine. We were joined by a young gull, who seemed hardly the least bit afraid of people. He landed inside our circle, and Spooky fed him. A Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus), the largest species in the North Atlantic, with wingspans up to 65". This fellow was no more than three winters old. As the breakers crashed over the craggy black and grey rocks (Jamestown Formation, Middle Cambrian age) and rushed noisily into deep places between the rocks, the lone gull added a note of humour to the whole affair. Soon, though, a second, larger gull arrived and swooped over us a couple of times, then sat a short distance away, seeming to caw angrily at our visitor. The two finally left together, and we continued. I finished the ritual and opened the circle. It was getting dark by then, and we had to pick our way carefully along the cliffs back to the ravine. Within sight of the path leading back up the to car, we stopped, stealing a little more time with the sea. Spooky arranged stones in her impromptu mandalas, and I stood on a high promontory jutting out over the rough waters of Narragansett Bay. I closed my eyes and spread my arms, just listening — the birds, the wind, the sea, a bell buoy, a distant foghorn. There was a moment that seemed to stretch on forever. As Einstein said, "People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."*** I know there was time in that moment, but I also felt, with perfect clarity, its relativity to my perceptions of it. Beneath my feet, the metamorphosed sandstones and shales were still being laid deposited in trilobite-haunted seas, still being heated in the orogenies that formed Avalonia, crosscut with plutonic intrusions during the Ordovician and Devonian. Offshore, it might have been 500 AD, or 1649, or sometime in the 19th Century. I was unstuck. It was a million years from now, and storms and the tides had washed away those cliffs entirely. I opened my eyes to a distinct sense of vertigo, as I seemed to snap back into the matrix of the moment, and there was the sense that something I'd called up in the circle had trailed after us, lingering there with me on the cliff. But. It tattered and came apart in the salty wind, and I saw the designs Spooky had made on the rocks. She said we'd best be going before it got any darker, and I admitted, reluctantly, she was right. I didn't want to leave the sea and head back to the city. I wanted to sink back into that mental space I'd found, unfixed in time, that place where all the thousand petty concerns of my day-to-day life, all the noise that adds up to Me, was shown to be so perfectly insignificant before the business of this vasty universe.

I should cut this off now. [livejournal.com profile] sovay will be arriving on the 1:45 train from Boston, and I should really try to straighten up the mostly unpacked house just a little more. There are a few photographs from yesterday evening (behind the cut):

Midsummer 2008 )


* No, this wasn't my first outdoor ritual — there was the skyclad one a couple of years back, for example, but it had been a while.
** High tide at Beavertail at 9:46 last night.
*** From a letter (March 1955) printed in the posthumously published Science and the Search for God Disturbing the Universe (1979).
greygirlbeast: (white3)
Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,531 words, finishing "The Melusine (1889)," which weighs in at a total word count of 5,099 words. Together with "Unter den Augen des Mondes," this means that Sirenia Digest subscribers will be getting over 7,500 words-worth of new fiction from me this issue, plus the new "weird artist" of the month profile feature by Geoffrey Goodwin. It was a long writing day yesterday, and the story took a slightly unexpected and, for me, unusual, turn. It rather knocked the wind from me, I think. When "The Melusine (1889)" was done, I was left with that depression that completing a piece usually brings — though that mood usually has the decency to wait until at least the next day to hit me. It was compounded by the fact that it seemed I'd played an even crueler trick than usual upon the story's protagonist, Cala Mornroe Weatherall. It's a brick wall, the end of that story, and you hit it at fifty miles an hour. If I believed in gods who passed judgment on "sinners," I'd envision a special hell for authors, for the lifetimes we spend breaking the lives and minds of our characters, trapped there in their sooty little universes.

When I was done, I just wanted to lie down and cry or something, but Spooky made me get dressed, instead. She took me down to Narragansett, to Iggy's, for dinner. We got our food, then went to the Point Judith lighthouse to eat. The wind was cold, but bracing and filled with the smells of the sea. On the way down, we saw a doe grazing. And a crow pursued by an angry mockingbird. I ate far too much — fried cod and chips, clam cakes, Manhattan-style clam chowder, cole slaw, root beer — and afterwards we sat by the sea and watched the lights on passing boats, the low waves crashing against the rocks. And I began to come back to myself.

Back home, unpacking, always with the unpacking. The big display case is mostly sorted out, and I got the altar set up again. I need to go to a shop over in Tiverton and get a new athame. There's one there I like. An athame, I mean. Later still, I had a date on Second Life for rp with the Omegans, and my thanks to Larissa, Abigel, Pontifex, Bellatrix, Joah, Merma, Omega, and Denny for a great scene (or, rather, series of interconnected scenes). It was late before I got to bed, just before 4 ayem. The damned birds had started singing.

Spooky's looking at local Pagan gatherings associated with the Solstice. Part of me wants to become involved with a nearby coven or circle — I've never liked the solitary practitioner thing — and part of me knows it would just be asking for trouble. All this foolish nattering about "dispelling negative energy." Whatever happened to paganism as a road to balance? Never mind that the word "energy" should be forever stricken from the pagan lexicon, for the perpetual abuse and complete lack of definition it endures. One reason I came to Providence was to find like-minded pagans, hopefully Wiccans, but I fear they'll all think I'm some spooky left-pather, a bête noire to be avoided lest my "negative energies" taint their rituals "of light and purification." Pfft. Sometimes, it seems to me so many American Wiccans are devolving into happy-crappy, pseudo-Xtianity, afraid of their own shadows, struggling to recreate the religion that drove them to paganism to start with. But I rant. Don't fear the darkness, kiddos. It's one half of the equation. Without it, there can be no balance. And balance, I believe, is the key, here.

Anyway, the "Cephaloflap" and "Doodleflap" auctions are off to a grand start. Keep in mind, these are the first monster doodles I've offered in something like two or three years, and they're the largest I have ever offered. And they're part of HISTORY, my Grand Transmigration from the South. All proceeds will likely go towards a birthday present for Spooky. Speaking of which:

My Amazon.com Wish List


Anyway, I've declared today an unpacking and hygiene day, because I'm sick of these boxes, and writers must bathe, too. And after "The Melusine (1898)," I need a day away from making words. I need a day away from unpacking, too, but that's not going to happen for at least another week or so.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Turns out, after driving to Birmingham, I had to forgo the dental appointment. We were home by noon yesterday. I'm no closer to knowing what the pain in my face is all about, and we're making an appointment with a local dentist. Screw this driving to Alabama nonsense. As for my doctor, she wants to put me on medication that will interfere with my ability to write, which makes sense, as she suspects I'm writing too much and the writing-related exhaustion is a major factor in my present health problems. I did point out that if I miss deadlines, I cannot pay medical bills. Hell, if I make deadlines, I still can't pay medical bills. Anyway, after we got home, we spent the better part of yesterday extracting shards of Budweiser bottles and knobby sweet potatoes from my buttocks. Which is to say, in an ideal universe, Robert Frost might have come across as a less-naive poet. Which is to say, this bit from "The Death of a Hired Man":

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in."

"I should have called it
Something you somehow haven't to deserve."


...well, it's bollocks. I mean, yeah, I wish, and I still love Robert Frost, if only for the sound of his words, but bollocks.

Yesterday, I received the cover flaps for the new mass-market edition of Murder of Angels, which goes on sale April 1st, 2008. Overall, I'm very happy with the cover. Penguin used the same model for Niki that they used for the mmp Silk cover. Anyway, much more to say on both these books (and the mass-market paperbacks, in general) tomorrow. Today, I find myself not in the mood to write about writing.

So, here are some links, instead:

From the Natural Resources Defense Council, a much-needed petition asking the US government to extend protection to polar bears under the Endangered Species Act.

Also, Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno has declared creationism to be a form of paganism. Well, duh. Still, this is a weird one for me, as I cheer all jabs at creationism and "intelligent design," but cannot help but be annoyed at Consolmagno's comment that what's so troublesome about creationism is "it's turning God into a nature god." For my part, the only gods worth a damn are nature gods, but since my concept of gods views them as metaphorical, or as focal points for consciousness, I suppose I can shrug this off and just be glad that even the Catholics still want nothing to do with creationists (the Vatican has a long history of denouncing "scientific" creationism). I also love Consolmagno's description of the concept of Papal infallibility as a "PR disaster," and this statement regarding the Pope: "It's not like he has a magic power, that God whispers the truth in his ear."

And lest I leave you with the thought that I have a soft spot for the Church, here's this bit about the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (cough), denouncing the film adaptation as a platform for atheism aimed at children. Meanwhile, of course, the British Secular Society is pissed that the anti-Church aspects of the novels were watered down for the film. Me, I just want to see the bears...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,048 words on the sf story/dream cycle that is still, for the time being, called "In View of Nothing." At this point, I'm so far into the thing, having already spent three days on it, that I may as well see it through to The End. Spooky likes it. To me, it just seems like I'm working extra-extra hard and coming nowhere close to what I'm trying to say. I will be amused, in a sad, sick sort of way, if I finish this literal "telling" of the dream, only to discover that the metaphorical approach of "A Season of Broken Dolls" worked better. Imagine that you have met someone who has been blind since birth, and they were also born without the ability to taste or smell, and yet you must explain to them all the subtle colours and flavours and aromas of a lime. That's what this feels like, exactly. Also, I have done something which I never do — I have gone so far as to produce an outline for this short story. It will be divided into nine sections. Anyway, it will appear in Sirenia Digest #16.

I should have had a walk yesterday, but I didn't. The weather is beautiful. All the way up to 70F today, and it's all I can do to make myself sit at this frelling chair and frelling type when I could be out there.

But I will at least have a walk.

Not much else to yesterday. Spooky and I played Scrabble. We watched Howard Hawks' The Big Sleep (1946), which I love despite the almost unfathomable convolutions of the plot. Then bed and reading until about 3 a.m., when I finally laid the book down and faced the ugly necessity of sleep. Oh, TCM is airing four of the Basil Rathbone Holmes films tonight, beginning, I think, at 9 PM (Eastern). If you're into that sort of thing. I used to carry such a torch for Basil Rathbone.

Meanwhile, More than 30 Vermont towns passed resolutions on Tuesday seeking to impeach
President Bush, while at least 16 towns in the tiny New England state called on Washington to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq
. While it seems extraordinarily unlikely this will ever have much effect on President Asshole, it's still some shade of heartening. Then again, Sauron never worried himself too much about the Shire...

Also, because I apparently needed something else to piss me off today, we have further proof here that the editorial standards at WitchVox remain as low as ever, and that witches and pagans can be just as hateful and prejudicial and wrongheaded as Xtians. My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] morganxpage for the link. Frankly, I stopped reading WitchVox many months ago, as, more often than not, I find the "articles" are barely literate, rarely thoughtful or well researched, and frequently serve only to illustrate the many ills of Neopaganism. I think I'm actually less annoyed by this idiot's crypto-heterosexism, transphobia, and fear of androgyny than by his insistence that some murky idea of "spirit" must be the focus of paganism, his belief that he is anything more than carnal, anything grander than a meatbag held back by too much wishful thinking. Mind and body are one; "mind" is a function of brain. I see no evidence that there exists anywhere a "spirit" or "soul" or "lifeforce" divided from the flesh. And if the Divine Androgyne exists, then I say it exists most genuinely in temporary corporeal incarnations, not some sterile, intangible abstraction. Okay. Enough ranting for now. Time to stroke the platypus, that fine old androgynous whore.
greygirlbeast: (Nar'eye)
Proceeding as it did from the dreams, yesterday was a Very Bad Day during which nothing was written or edited or even planned. Virtually nothing of note was accomplished. Yesterday got an L in my day planner, whether it earned one or not. The dreams this morning were almost as bad, or as good, depending upon one's frame of reference and desires. Safer to say, the dreams this morning were as segregated from this waking life and as possessed of their own integrity. I need to have the Ambien refilled. At least the Ambien makes it hard for me to remember the dreams.

I cannot afford to lose even one more day over the next two and a half months.

Push it away. Push it all away.

I did get this comment, from [livejournal.com profile] shadowmeursault, in response to yesterday's entry, which I thought contained some good questions, so I'm quoting it here:

do you know the "answers" to your own mysteries? do you ever feel the need to justify a suspension of disbelief, even to yourself? or are you content to leave your mysteries as mysteries, even to your own mind? an example being the hemispherical world in Murder of Angels. do you, as its creator, know all of its nuances, or are you content with the little mysteries it gives you?

I cannot think of a single example of me knowing anything much more than what has been revealed in the stories themselves. Which is to say, I'm not holding out. Sometimes, I've sort of felt like reviewers and readers suspected that I was...holding out. But I'm not. If it's not there on the page, I likely am as much in the dark as you. I only find the answers I find as I write. There are very few exceptions. For example, I only learned about the connection between Dancy Flammarion and Spyder Baxter, and the connection between the Weaver and Dancy's "angel," as I was writing "Bainbridge" last December and January. Of course, I still don't know if Spyder's father was "only" schizophrenic, or if Dancy's mother was only "schizophrenic." When these questions are left unanswered, I'm not being dishonest with the reader. I simply never found the answers myself. Usually, that's because I preferred to leave the questions unanswered in my own mind. Maybe someday I'll draw a map of the hemispherical world, but I have not yet. Mostly, it's a big blank for me. The mysteries mean more to me than the possible solutions. I'll take a really good question, filled with endless possibility, over a sterile concrete answer any day of the week.

On that note, while the mini-series was mediocre overall, I was impressed and pleased that so much ambiguity was allowed to persist at the conclusion of The Lost Room. I kept expecting some hackneyed explanation: the Occupant must have had dealings with the Roswell aliens; or Room 10 was the result of a Cold war experiment; or the Objects were the components of a time machine which had crashed in Gallup, New Mexico on May 4th, 1961. But no. We were allowed to keep the mystery. For that alone, The Lost Room is to be commended. I kept wishing that it could have been just a little smarter, just a little less TV, but at least it was halfway decent TV. Which is fortunate, as I gave it six hours and suffered through the same insufferable commercials for three nights running.

Merrilee, my NYC agent, sent me a box of cookies and brownies from Solomon's Gourmet Cookies in Chicago (since 1943). The jelly cookies were especially good.

I'll be adding more items to the eBay auctions today or tonight. Please have a look. Lately, I really haven't felt like dealing with the tedium and frustration that is eBay, but a check is long overdue. A rather large check from a publisher, which was due two months ago. And the guilty party is neither Subterranean Press nor is it Penguin. It's someone else. At this point, I do not expect to be paid until at least January. My need to be paid cannot be allowed to interfere with the vacations and religious holidays of others. So, it's back to eBay. I may even list a second Daughter of Hounds ARC, though I said I wouldn't. Of course, when I said that, I thought surely I'd be paid by Thanksgiving, at the latest. Silly nixar.

In response to one my comments yetserday about NeoPaganism, [livejournal.com profile] morganxpage wrote:

I think that this is caused by the same thing a lot of other problems within the NeoPagan (and particularly, the Wiccan) communities: non-conversion. Most NeoPagans never truly convert to their NeoPagan religions, instead holding on to their previously Western Judeo-Christian beliefs, often without realizing that that is what they're doing. NeoPaganism becomes a new surface mask for the previous belief system. So instead of truly appreciating and serving Nature, they hold on to the belief that Nature is meant to serve them, which stems from Biblical teachings.

I think you're right, only I'd not confine the source of the failed conversion problem to "Biblical teachings." This is a problem with humanity as a whole, not soley with those humans with a JudeoXtian background. Humans have always had a tendency to imagine the world as this thing which revolves around humans. I see it in all the world's religions, to one degree or another. The inability to grasp that the nonconscious universe is wholly indifferent to the needs and desires of humanity or of any other species, for that matter. The refusal to view Nature as Nature instead of anthropomorphizing it as Mother Nature or the Goddess or Gaia or what have you. There are no gods and there are no goddesses, excepting our concepts of them. There is only the universe, and humanity is only a component of that system. No one and nothing "out there" is watching out for us. And, looking at Pleistocene and Holocene extinction patterns on Earth, it's clear that most PaleoPagans were ultimately no less anthropocentric and short-sighted, in terms of viewing Nature as something to be exploited. It is a myth that all indigenous peoples the world over held Nature in higher regard than their own immediate well-being. The present extinction event began long before the arrival of Xtianity and the fires of industry, even before the development of agriculture. Ultimately, I am asking that humans stop behaving like humans, not that NeoPagans stop behaving like Xtains (though that would be nice, too). I'm asking people to hack millions of years of genetic hardwiring and reboot (I mean these things figuratively, not in the transhumanist, singularitarian sense). I'm expecting people to let go of the comforting lies. While I'm at it, I'll take the goddamn moon, as well.

Okay. I need to be working on something for the December Sirenia Digest. I need to get moving.

Postscript (2:15 p.m. CaST; 1:15 p.m. EST): Upon reflection, it seems as though, increasingly, this journal has become less about my writing and more about things I'm probably better off not discussing at all publicly. If nothing else, it's hard to imagine that I'm not boring the crap out of some people, while leading others to conclude I am a complete lunatic and alienating still others. So, from here on, I believe I will be confining myself primarily to that subject for which this journal was created — my writing and the promotion of my writing. The rest is likely only white noise, anyway.

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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