greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, you will write a short blog entry! Yes, you will. Probably, no one's reading this thing today, anyway. Much less will they comment, so make it short. [I didn't.]

1) THIS IS IMPORTANT! Read it twice. Steam is offering Rift for a mere $14.99!!! That's 50% off! Plus, you play FREE for a month. Now, the offer will never get better than this, and we had a great RP session last night (thanks, guys). You can join us almost, if not quite, for free.

And really, say that you're here reading this and you don't want to take part in an interactive fantasy story written in part by me? You know you do. So, scoot over to Steam and toss them some pennies, download, sign in, create a Defiant character on the Faeblight shard, start grinding those first few marvelous levels, and join us on Telara. No, NOW. Go. I'll still be here when you get back.

2) Yesterday, I wrote three more pages of Alabaster #3 (though I still felt blegh). I should explain, that when I say I wrote three pages, that's three pages of the comic, which usually comes to about three manuscript pages, sometimes four.

3) I'm feeling much better, but it appears a lot of my exhaustion was a bug of the contagious sort, and now Spooky's caught it (as of yesterday). So, I got to say, "I told you I felt awful." But that's the only upside. She's miserable.

4) I'm not a hypocrite. I just like turkey. We eat it a lot (usually legs). But, yeah, yesterday Spooky made an awesome turkey breast (with cranberries, walnuts, apples, garlic, and onions), and we had mashed potatoes (POH_TAE_TOES?), English peas, homemade cranberry sauce (forget that jellied crap in the can), and apple pie. Days of leftovers. And unholy words were spoken to unspeakable gods while Ozzy Osbourne played in the background, so...none of this counts. Move along. Nothing to see here. Thank you. Drive around.

5) I mentioned this, right? Okay. Just checking.

6) This entry was going to be short, wasn't it?

7) I saw this yesterday, and I (no shit) almost cried: "Alabama’s Wealth of Fossil Dinosaur Feathers." Just read the article (after you've downloaded Rift). Suffice to say, I worked with the paleontologist who first noted feathers in the Eutaw Formation, after I'd spent many years urging collectors to focus on the Eutaw Formation (Late Santonian-Early Campanian) if they wanted to find a Cretaceous terrestrial fauna in Alabama. This is more than I ever dared hoped for.

8) The signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012) will reach me soon, and the signing will commence.

9) As I mentioned, great RP last night, the second scene in our rebooted storyline. The cleric Nilleshna called two more Ascendants to the Watchers of the Unseen and the Faceless Man's cause, a Kelari cleric named Emris and a Kelari rogue named Harlakai. And an old member was reunited with the guild, the Eth warrior Anaxakharis. They were all gathered together in a high alpine meadow on the border between Stonefield and Freemarch. Near the end of the scene, one of the guild's more infamous characters, Celinn (Kelari rogue) appeared from the trees and great and terrible weirdness ensued. The game's afoot...again!

10) We're running a Sirenia Digest special. Subscribe now, and you'll get #71 free with issue #72. In fact, if you subscribed any time in November you get #71. This is to be sure people reading the alternate first chapters of Silk will have access to the entire manuscript. So, take advantage of one of my rare acts of kindness. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

And now...the mothmen summon me.

Astounded at Her Pre[science],
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yeah, so. Somehow, we didn't wake up until almost one o'clock today. I swear to dog. This is what happens when I'm not broke and desperate. I get lazy. I relax. I let things slide. I oversleep. It's fucking stupid. There's an unspeakable amount of work to be done, and I'm suddenly going all juvenile delinquent on myself.

We even played hookey yesterday! Bad kids!

I've wolfed down breakfast, and am trying to, as they say, marshal my thoughts. Likely, that won't be possible until about two hours from now. I have this fantasy of being awake by 11 ayem every morning, but this is what's happening, instead.

FIRST! To quote [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, "Sweet barking cheese, it's launched!" That is, the Kickstarter page for The Drowning Girl: Stills from a Film That Never Existed. The page is pretty much self-explanatory. This is going to be so cool. It already is cool. Thank you, Kyle!

On Tuesday I only wrote 608 words on Blood Oranges, but that's all that was required to reach the end of Chapter Five. And I might have gone straight into Chapter Six yesterday, but I didn't really know "what happens next" (in the parlance of the Idiot Gods of Plot) until about 2 ayem this morning. Today, I'll begin Chapter Six. Though there is a great deal of "action" in this novel, I am doing everything possible to sabotage every semblance of action. Yes, on purpose; it distracts.

I also need to send the proofread .rtf of The Yellow Alphabet to Subterranean Press (it will be the chapbook to accompany Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart). And...other stuff.

Yesterday evening, I previewed the new website for Sirenia Digest, which was created over the past several months by [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest. He has done a wonderful job. Anyway, eventually the pages will be relocated at my own website, but, technically, the site is live and functional as it stands. We're hoping for a few new subscribers. Certainly can't say we're not fishing with a pretty lure (and this does give people a clear indication of what the digest is about).

---

So, yeah. Yesterday there was hookey. Spooky's been wanting to see Rupert Wyatt's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Personally, I've never had much interest in the "franchise" (*shudder...sorry, I loathe reducing films, books, whatever to "franchises"), though I was taken to see the original version of Planet of the Apes in April 1968. At a drive-in. I wasn't even four years old! Anyway...Wyatt's film is actually terrific, and cleans up after Tim Burton's 2001 fiasco. Hell, the film's worth ticket price for the scene on the Golden Gate Bridge alone. The one very notable flaw is the human actors. As in, they don't. Act. I'm seeing this a lot in live-action films wherein the most important characters are created via CGI motion capture. It's as though the director just can't be bothered to direct anyone else, he's so freaked at getting his paws on all this tech. Sure, Andy Serkis does marvelous things – as always – but James Franco is about as interesting as a bowl of cold oatmeal. John Lithgow is the only "human" actor who rises to the occasion (Tom Felton included). So, yes. I do recommend the film. Spooky cried a lot. It's that sort of film. It's triggery!

Oh, and after the movie we stopped at Target for a new tea kettle. And at Newbury Comics, where Spooky bought me the remastered special two-disc edition of R.E.M.'s Life's Rich Pageant (1986) as a belated birthday gift. Now, I have to find one for her.

Oh, and Tuesday, I read "New poraspids (Agnatha, Heterostraci) from the Devonian of the western United States" and "Evidence for sexual dimorphism in the stegosaurian dinosaur Kentrosaurus aethiopicus from the Upper Jurassic of Tanzania," both in the May JVP. Time for July.

And time to get to fucking work! Comment, kittens! I'll be here all damn day.

Belatedly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I realized over breakfast – a cold hard-boiled egg with black pepper and salt, accompanied by iced coffee – that I've not left the house since June 28th. I had no idea I'd hit a stretch of inadvertently going shut-in again, nor had Spooky. The last week and a half has been an utter blur of proofreading, Important Phone Calls, heat, internet porn, cat hair, other people's fireworks, Vincent D'Onofrio, car trouble, and Rift. But yeah, today will have been the tenth day, if I don't go Outside. My record is fourteen days...

My dog and fuck me, it's hot in here. 9O˚F? I don't know. I just couldn't deal with typing in the middle parlor again.

Okay, here's the tentative Table of Contents for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance:

Author’s Introduction: “Sexing the Weird”
“The Wolf Who Cried Girl”
“The Bed of Appetite”
“Untitled 31”
“The Collector of Bones”
“Beatification”
“Untitled Grotesque”
“Flotsam”
“Regarding Attrition and Severance”
“Rappaccini's Dragon (Murder Ballad No. 5)”
Unter den Augen des Mondes
“At the Gate of Deeper Slumber”
“The Melusine (1898)”
“Untitled 33”
“I Am the Abyss and I Am the Light”
“Dancing With the Eight of Swords”
“Murder Ballad No. 6”
“Lullaby of Partition and Reunion”
“Derma Sutra (1891)”
“The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade”
“The Belated Burial”
“The Bone's Prayer”
“A Canvas for Incoherent Arts”
“Pickman’s Other Model (1929)”
“The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction”
“Fish Bride”
Afterword (author TBA)

Note that "Untitled 31" and "Untitled 33" will have titles when they appear in the collection. And yeah, the ToC is subject to minor changes. This is a slightly longer collection than The Ammonite Violin & Others.

---

Yesterday, the heat had me feeling ill, and very little work was accomplished. We proofed "Untitled Grotesque," because I'd realized it would be appearing in the collection. I answered some email. I'm on two meds that increase my heat sensitivity. Last summer it was three, so I suppose I should be grateful (but to whom or what?!) that I'm down to two. I did talk to subpress about tiny design details on the Two Worlds and In Between dust-jacket. But, mostly, I lay in bed feeling vaguely nauseous. Whee!

[livejournal.com profile] sovay is supposed to be here this evening. That gives me a focal point.

Do kids these days have any idea of what a telephone operator once was?

Mostly, I need to get back to work on Blood Oranges, and I am beset by a Great Reluctance to move forward. I probably ought not say why. That would be indelicate. So, I'm sweating and spinning my wheels and wasting precious time. Oh, I slept eight hours this morning (beginning at 3:30 ayem). Yesterday morning, I dreamt of excavating an enormous (roughly 90 meter) mosasaur skull from beds of chalky marl (or marly chalk) in central Alabama. I very clearly recall the frontoparietal suture. I think it was of the genus Prognathodon. This morning, I dreamt of Alabama zoos, and subterranean passages beneath zoos that led into vast green rivers, and swimming in those rivers.

Waste is the only sin, and nothing in the world is more precious than time. Someone will tell me love is more precious, but love can be readily reduced to a matter of time.

Sorry, platypus. Not up to sweaty fur today. The dodo will console you. Wait, here's a cool thing: sunrise at Tycho (that's on the moon, yo, located in the southern lunar highlands, named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).

Secluded in My Secret Lair,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Lots and lots of people I know are currently at ALA. No, not Alabama. Me, I'm quite glad not to be at ALA. Not my scene, man.

I was considering an apology for the tone of my post yesterday morning. But, upon further reflection, I'm not so sure all the whining was unjustified. At any rate, my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark for be willing to go to absurd lengths to try to get me to Boston today for the shoot with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and Our Eva Canning. I finally came to my senses and realized that there was no reason on Earth I actually needed to be there, and that I'd likely just get in the way.

So...

Hey! have a look at the current round the Big Damn eBay Auction. You need a book. By me. Signed. By Me. Thanks. Auctions expire TOMORROW, and we really need to sell these books.

I wrote about a thousand words yesterday on "Sexing the Weird," the introduction for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Not sure any of it's useable, but I wrote it. I've decided that, before I proceed, I need to track down a copy of Angela's Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography (1978), which I'm pretty sure is out of print.* And, inexplicably, I don't have a copy. Oh, there was more work, with [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest on the new Sirenia Digest website yesterday.

A couple of links. First, from the CBLDF Case Files, a new atrocity, as a man attempting to enter Canada was searched by customs and is facing a minimum sentence of year in a Canadian prison and being forced to register as a sex offender. Just for having manga on his laptop. The customs officer considered it to be child pornography. The CBLDF has agreed to assist in the case by contributing funds towards the defense, which it has been estimated will cost $150,000 CDN. The CBLDF will also provide access to experts and assistance on legal strategy.

On a lighter note, here's something wonderful: a seven-year-old's paleoblog, Life Before the Dinosaurs, specializing in Precambrian and early Paleozoic life. His mom does his typing. Kid, you rock.

Here in Rhode Island, we are finally having a lovely May.

I don't know what's worse, that people ask me to read their unpublished fiction, or that they get pissy when I tell them I'd charge $20/page to read their unpublished fiction and make them sign a waiver indemnifying me from any accusations of plagiarism, ever. Even if, you know, I actually do steal their ideas. Anyway, as you can imagine, I don't do a booming business in reading other people's shit. Which is a good thing.

I slept a lot last night. I wandered through dreams of idealized cities and idealized rivers. The sorts of dreams that can only reduce waking to regret.

Now...I'm sure there's something I have to type. While I sit in this chair. At this desk.

Not a Nice Person,
Aunt Beast

* Actually, it's still in print. The subtitle was changed to An Exercise in Cultural History. Which, you know, won't offend the prudes, the very people Carter was...oh, never mind.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
Only five hours sleep last night and the night before, and I'm feeling it. Add to that the fact that winter ended just last week and we've now fast forwarded to July, so my office is sweltering, and I presently feel just a little bit crappy. And sweaty. And sleepy.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,697 words, beginning and completing the second piece for Sirenia Digest #67, which is called simply "Untitled 35." By the way, "Untitled 35" is the 90th piece of short fiction I have written specifically for the digest. Which sort of blew my mind, when I did the math. Anyway, the vignette gets back to the roots of the digest. In fact, this whole issue does. Anyway, Vince is currently working on an illustration for the other story appearing in #67, "Figurehead."

I'm making this entry on the Asus laptop, Zoe, as I've never written anything on her before, and I'm curious to see if I'm as clumsy with this keyboard as I feared I would be. So far, I'm fine.

I have a number of almost, but not quite completely, edited projects piled on top of me that have to be attended to as soon as the digest goes out, before I get back to work on Blood Oranges. The changes to the galley pages of Two Worlds and In Between, and the Crimson Alphabet chapbook. And there's The Drowning Girl, which needs a couple of tweaks. And...stuff I'm too groggy to remember. But it all has to be taken care of ASAP.

Some email yesterday with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy regarding our impending work on the visual accompaniments for The Drowning Girl. We spoke of crow masks and nuns.

Spooky spent almost the entire day having new tires put on the automobile, and returning overdue library books to the Athenaeum. Well, almost all day on the first thing. The belated book return was, I expect, quick by comparison to sitting at the tire place for three or four hours.

Oh, did I mention it was hot? If not, well, it is. Hot. Here. Which is mostly just funny, because we were having to use the fireplace about a week ago.

Last night, about 10:30, we escaped the sweltering house, crossed the river, and then drove willy-nilly about College Hill, and all the way over to the southern end of Gano Street, where I'm setting part of Blood Oranges. I needed to see it at night. Now, I need to see it at twilight. The interstate looms above it there, and tawdry houses crouch in ominous shadows. Sorry. Just had an attack of Lovecraftitis. All over College Hill, the sidewalks were littered with the crap the deserted apartments of college kids excrete at the end of each school year. We saw two girls wheeling enormous wheeley bin things down the road, evidently cleaning out studios at RISD. On Benefit Street, we saw a very tall boy in a dress, attired rather like Dame Darcy. As Spooky said, he didn't look bad in a dress, but it was a curious sight, there beneath the streetlights. And then, a few minutes afterwards, we threw a hubcap. I assume there's no connection between the Dame Darcy boy and the throwing of the hubcap, but, rather, that someone at the tire place did a poor job of putting the thing back on. Anyway, Spooky managed to retrieve it, so all's well that ends well. It was wonderfully cool Outside, and the air smelled clean (though I expect it wasn't).

In Rift, there was more very good rp. Enthlye, Artemisia, Celinn, and Selwynn, at Lantern Hook in the Droughtlands. Lantern Hook, as I may have mentioned, is essentially a sietch, down to the reservoir. Anyway, the Order's future was discussed, as was Selwyn's sudden change of gender. But, yes. Loving the rp. I've not cared as much about an rp character as I do about Selwyn in quite some time. And it's amazing how Telera lends itself perfectly to rp, whereas Azeroth simply doesn't. Mostly, I think it's a matter of Rift being willing to take itself seriously. As someone said last night in general chat, "It's like WoW, without the suck and fail."

And I read "A new enantiornithine bird from the Lower Cretaceous of western Liaoning, China" and "The osteology of Chubutisaurus insignis del Corro, 1975 (Dinosauria: Neosauropoda) from the 'middle' Cretaceous of central Patagonia, Argentina," both in the January JVP. And tried not to think about sunrise.

Okay, make an end to this entry. Later, kittens.

Perspiring,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The tree outside my office window is finally greening.

It's Saturday, and I'm locked inside. Please comment.

And this is one of the days when I chafe at the tyranny of my pill bottles and boxes. I'd like to open the window and drop them out. Fuck you, defective brain chemistry. Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces. Not a pharmaceutical hybrid always telling me that's my face in the mirror, when I know better.

Fuck you, 47.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,599 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. My plan is to have the first chapter finished by Wednesday, and then set the book aside until September. Which is, I know, a weird way to write a book, but another book needs to be written in between. And maybe when I come back to Blood Oranges at the end of the summer, I'll have figured out everything that happens after Chapter One.

---

I've made it almost all the way through the latest JVP, articles on Cenomanian squamates in France, the skull of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion, saber-toothed cats from the Pleistocene of Venezuela, the therapsid Promoschorynchus, and a new Lower Carboniferous xenacanthiform shark from Australia.

---

Night before last, we watched Tony Scott's Unstoppable (2010), which is the other movie about trouble with trains he made, immediately after having done the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009). Both, of course, star Denzel Washington. Anyway, Unstoppable is good, and Washington is always a joy to watch. But, Chris Pine is dull as engine sludge, and it's a different sort of film than The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As much as I enjoyed Unstoppable, I found myself wishing for the electricity that had sparked back and forth between that film's antagonist and protagonist. But the presence of Rosario Dawson (who played Abernathy in Death Proof) helped.

Last night, we watched two "horror" movies. The first was an entirely enjoyable and stupendously ridiculous Joel Schumacher film, Blood Creek (2009). Rednecks in Virginia fight a zombie demon Nazi occultist in a big scary house where time has stood still since 1940. And there's a zombie horse that, honest to fuck, is one of the scariest things I've seen in ages. I expected nothing from this film, and liked it a lot. It's much more artful than it has any right to be. See it.

We also watched Kevin Costner in Luis Berdejo's The New Daughter, which is very remotely based on a short story by John Connolly. All that said, it really isn't very good, which should surprise no one, as Kevin Costner hasn't, to my knowledge, been in a good movie since 1993 (A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood). However, the sad thing is, The New Daughter has a lot of isolated effective moments, and it could have been brilliant. But the pacing's off, the film's about half an hour too long, is filled with actors who can't act, and feels like it wants to be a television mini-series. In fact, the uninspired cinematography absolutely screams old-school network TV mini-series. Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story. But it fails to mine the riches of that fictional territory (if, indeed, the film is even that aware of it's fundamental nature). The archetypes and opportunities are left to die on the vine while Kevin Costner flails about and pouts and fails at being a single helicopter parent. A bright spot, however, is Ivana Baquero (Pan's Labyrinth), who makes the best of a bad situation and rocks the fuck out of what little she's given to work with. The film's final shot might have been brilliant, but it gets mucked up by ham-fisted "horror" clichés. See this one if you're bored, or enjoy picking apart bad films that ought to have been better.

---

You know, I really do love Rift. In terms of a fantasy MMORPG, it's the best there's ever been. It's beautiful to look at, usually fun to play, and all that. It's even queer friendly. But the more I play, and the more the shiny wears off, the more I see how much better and smarter it ought to be. Look, here's the thing. I've said it before. Trion, are you listening?

Writer's work cheap.

Especially fantasy writers. We very often do our best work for a few pennies a word. It's obscene, but true. And it's entirely relevant here, Trion, because you didn't have to do this wrong. The plot holes, almost complete lack of internal logical integrity, faulty world-building, and so on and so forth, all that stuff could have been avoided. And you wouldn't have to be posting what is essentially poorly written fan fic to your website, mucking things up even more. You could have done this right, Trion, and either you were ignorant of that fact, or you just didn't give a shit. But it's not about money. Because, like I said (REPEAT AFTER ME), writers work cheap. And even moderately incompetent hacks who never aspired to write anything more ambitious than a twelve-volume epic – following the adventures of a Drow anti-hero with a name that makes me laugh – can do better.

This is my message to the whole goddamn world right now: You can do better. Yes, you can. And if you know this, and you continue on about your sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways, well...people will love you and shower you with riches and you'll win awards. Because this is the way the world works.

But some days it makes me more nauseous than others.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Venting Spleen,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Cloudy. Drizzly. 50˚F.

The light getting in beneath my office curtain has been drained of any quality to illuminate. It's still light, but a light that drenches and soaks in, rather than reflecting.

A stapler from college. A coffee cup from the Yale Peabody Museum, filled with pens and pencils. Four rocks: Moonstone Beach (RI), Jamaica, Ireland, Oregon. A tin of Altoids. Etc. & etc.

Comments can't hurt.

Yesterday, I wrote almost six hundred words on "Fake Plastic Trees." I very much like this story, but it's bleak. And it's only going to get bleaker. Yesterday, I decided I wanted the editor to read the first half before I write the second half, so I emailed it away. And now I'm waiting for the verdict. Which leaves me wondering what to do in the interim, which might be only a few more hours, but might be another day or two. I suppose I'll turn my eyes towards Sirenia Digest #65. Still hoping to see a few more answers to the latest Question @ Hand, by the way, though the ones I've received, most are keepers. Some made me feel that electric sensation in my gut. One of the highs I chase, night and day.

Two or three people have objected that they can't answer it because it involves my being forced, and maybe I see their point, the point of their objection. But, this is fiction, and, also, I've given my explicit consent to be fictionally forced. So, the objection mystifies me just a little.

CARE package yesterday from SL, who sent me two of the Brown Bird cds I didn't have, Tautology and Such Unrest, which I just loaded onto my iPod. Also, Curt Stager's (a paleoclimatologist) Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth. I read Spooky the prologue last night. And the package also contained Nicky Raven's retelling of Dracula as a children's story, beautifully illustrated by Anne Yvonne Gilbert. So, my gratitude.

Last night, in response to my Danielle Dax post, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus posted the video clip from Jordan's A Company of Wolves (1984) for which I'd posted the screenplay excerpt. And here it is:

<


Thing is, as artists we are influenced by things. I've always been aboveboard about the degree to which Angela Carter has influenced my work. She sparks my mind. She sings to me. I sing back. But then, as artists, sometimes, we are influenced by things, and, sometimes, we write (or paint, or whatever), and the influence acts unconsciously upon us. To wit, I was entirely unaware that in writing a significant part of The Drowning Girl I was very much expressing my love of this scene from The Company of Wolves. Imp tells a story, "The Wolf Who Cried Girl," and it derives very much from this scene. But I was entirely unaware what I was doing until I read the screenplay yesterday, and then it smacked me in the face. I'm fascinated by the silent influences, especially when they're so fucking obvious. "These things happen."

"And then,
you shall open
this book, even if it is the book of nightmares." (Galway Kinnell)

---

Good session with my doctor yesterday. New drug today, and maybe things will improve again. Soon, I hope. By the way, as I say in the acknowledgments to The Drowning Girl, without my doctor the novel never would have been written. It almost wasn't written.

Today, I may actually pitch the ParaRom lesbian junkie wolfpire novel to my agent. I would write it after Blue Canary, the first YA book, while she's shopping Blue Canary.

This evening, I have an appointment at RockStar Piercing on Thayer Street, to begin the process of having my earlobes stretched, and to put my labret back in. I need the sort of pain I get from body mods. It centers me.

Last night, we watched Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds for the fourth time. It's is a genuinely brilliant film, and he's going to have to do a lot to ever top himself. We played Rift. I read "Enhydriodon dikikae, sp. nov. (Carnivora: Mammalia), a gigantic otter from the Pliocene of Dikika, Lower Awash, Ethiopia" in the latest JVP. You have to imagine a mostly terrestrial otter the size of a bear, which lived alongside Australopithecus.

And I should try to do some work, while I wait for a verdict on "Fake Plastic Trees."
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
The postman just brought me two copies of Weird Tales #357, which includes [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark's (Geoffrey H. Goodwin) interview with me. And...wow, this is just sort of cool. In February 1928, "The Call of Cthulhu" appeared in Weird Tales— and, for me, the magazine will always be Lovecraft's —and now here's me, eighty-three years later. The interview looks great. The coolest thing about it, they used the alternate cover for The Red Tree created by [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi (Christopher Lee Simmons). So, that just ladled a fat dollop of extra cool on top of the already cool. Anyway, it's the Spring 2011 issue, and if it's not out now, it soon will be. Oh, and the cover is one of Lee Moyer's exquisite paintings. Oh oh, and there's a very nice little review of The Ammonite Violin & Others, too. I should always have something this cool before breakfast.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,824 words on the ninth chapter of The Drowning Girl. This morning, I was speaking with my editor, and she doesn't want the book running any longer than 115,000 words at the most, so I find myself very, very near THE END. I have maybe two weeks of writing left until THE END, and maybe less. Which leaves me with mixed feelings. This has been, by far, the most difficult novel I've ever written, and it will be a bittersweet relief to see it done. But, on the other hand, I have fallen so deeply in love with Imp that setting her behind me and moving on to other stories will be very strange.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, if you've not already. Also, I've a favor to ask. Lately, I feel like I'm constantly asking favors of my readers, and the favors are almost always favors involving money. This I find distasteful in the extreme. But. It's been a longtime between checks again, and I have a doctor's appointment on Friday that's sort of hit us out of nowhere. And I've not yet paid my dues to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology for 2011. As of March 1, I'll be facing a steep late fee on top of the $130 annual dues. I was nominated into SVP in 1984 and have been a member for twenty-seven years. So, there's a PayPal button below, and if you can donate a few bucks, I will be extremely grateful.

After the writing, Spooky and I proofed "La Peau Verte" for Two Worlds and In Between. And them, last night, I had a long nap before dinner. Writing at this pace, and coughing, I find naps unavoidable. Then, after dinner, we watched the new episodes of Fringe and Spartacus, and both were excellent. And then I played WoW and finished all the Thousand Needles quests and started in on the Un'Goro Crater ones. I hate Un'Goro Crater. And then we read more of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's The White Cat. And then, finally, I slept.

Spooky has just inspired me to write a song titled "Heroin Slug," about a huge banana slug who lives in Portland, Oregon with a bunch of junkies. It will be very William S. Burroughs. I wonder if Weird Tales would publish it? Or maybe I know a musician who might set it to music and record it....

Comment!
greygirlbeast: (wray)
1) Snow again this morning, but it's relatively light. A couple of inches at most. Likely, it will be gone in a day or two. Yes, I am sick of this particular winter.

2) Yesterday, I wrote 1,330 words and found the end of the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The manuscript now stands at 386 pages, 87,145 words. And from here I can see how the ninth and tenth chapters and the epilogue unfold. I may have the novel "finished" in only two more weeks. Which is sort of strange to realize.

3) The current Ebay auctions continue. Please have a look. Bid if you are able. Thanks.

4) If you're into MMORPGs and want to play a strong female character, especially a strong female character of color, you no longer have to settle for the racist parodies in WoW. The Kalari and Bahmi women in Rift are amazing, especially the latter. And they're, you know, like actual people. Female characters with dignity and grace and ferocious beauty, instead of, say, Rastafarian caricatures and She-Hulk lampoons. Also, back in WoW, I'm still slogging through my bid for "Loremaster," but beginning to doubt whether or not my will is equal to the task. Last night, I finished with Feralas, which wasn't easy, because there almost weren't enough Horde-side quests. Then I moved along to Thousand Needles, flooded post-Cataclysm and...well...it's just sort of stupid. I found the second worst WoW quest ever— "Pirate Accuracy Increasing." The only worse one I've encountered is that idiotic Joust homage in Mount Hyjal. Anyway...enough nerdy game nonsense.

5) Several comments on my cough yesterday, and some were of the "it might be this" variety, so I'm going to be a little more forthcoming on this than I'd planned. In truth, it's most likely chronic simple silicosis, caused by several years of heavy exposure to chalk and marl dust (which is largely silica particles) in the early years of my paleontology work. I was employed by a small museum in Birmingham (Red Mountain Museum, now defunct), and nobody had a clue about proper safety precautions. I didn't learn this until I went to work for the museum at the University of Colorado, where wearing a respirator during dusty prep work was mandatory. I have all the symptoms, and the cause is there, and a doctor has told me this is likely the problem. But I've never gone through tests for an official diagnosis. My grandfather, who was a brick mason, suffered from a far more severe case of the same disease. Anyway, colds and the flu trigger these bouts of coughing, which is one reason I go to such extremes to stay well.

6) I've promised an in-progress preview of the cover that Lee Moyer is painting for Two Worlds and In Between, and here it is (along with some extras):

Changesonekiernan )


Postscript (1:44 p.m.): My agent and editor both have President's Day off. When did that become a holiday that people use as an excuse to stay home from work? A shame I haven't that option.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Yesterday, I wrote another 2,292 words of Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I begin to suspect this is the bottomless chapter. This book, its become a fever, and the pages are a fevered blur. Part of me says, slow down, slow down, I'm going to break it, but this other part of me is insisting, no, no, the speed of the telling is integral, its a confession and there's no way she'd write it slowly, so neither can I. Maybe I'll try to explain, someday, how I'm a "method writer."

Today I have to try to write the "hardest scene," or only the second hardest. Hard on Imp, and hard on me.

The nightmares are worse than they've been in a long time. A tumult of calamity and past events that never actually occurred.

The new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology came yesterday, December 2010. It was late, in part because it was shipped with a huge memoir describing a pugnacious little terrestrial croc named Simosuchus. There's also the description of a new genus and species of bothremydid turtle, Chupacabrachelys complexus. The name's etymology deserves a moment of explanation. To quote the paper's authors, "The chupacabra (Spanish for 'goat sucker') is a mythical creature in contemporary Mexican-American legend said to feed on livestock in the border region of Texas and Mexico. The skull of Chupacabrachelys resembles that of a mangy coyote believed to be responsible for chupacabra sightings in South Texas during 2008." Also, for the species, "In recognition of 'the Complex Tour' performance of the Blue Man Group, which provided the authors with many hours of entertainment during collection and preparation of the type and referred specimens."

I left the house late yesterday and went to the market and an art supply store with Spooky. I was amazed at how much the snow hasn't melted. Everything is still blanketed. There are banks of snow five and six feet high where snowplows and shovels have heaped it. The Providence River below the Point Street Bridge is frozen over.

Good roleplay in Insilico last night (thank you, Tracy). It's been just a little more than a year since I discovered Insilico. And while it didn't live up to the embarrassingly optimistic hype I ladled over it, I've found that the sim does, nonetheless, provide a fine backdrop for private cyberpunk rp. Spooky and I played WoW, and I'm still liking the Twilight Highlands. Last night, for the first time since I started playing in October 2008, I found myself holding more than 20,000 gold. No, I haven't ever done raids, and most of the money I make in WoW comes from auctions and quests.

And now, there will be doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
1) I slept eight hours, and I'm still not exactly what passes for awake.

2) We've laid in supplies. The snow is coming. It should arrive around midnight tonight. Heavy, heavy snow. If I were still in Birmingham or Atlanta, this sort of snow would spell the beginning of a week or two of havoc. Here, we may be unable to leave the house for one day, maybe. By "leave the house," I only mean get the car out of the driveway.

3) Yesterday, I wrote 1,142 words on Chapter 4 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm starting to suspect I'll finish the chapter on Thursday. I'm on manuscript page 162. But, even as I begin this seemingly marvelous progress, the insecurity mounts. The fear that I'm not even half smart enough to write this book, and that there's no audience who wants to read a novel of this sort. I have begun heavily second guessing the reader.

Fuck the so-called wisdom of writing workshops, of instructors, and fuck all that shit about reader/writer contracts. This sort of anxiety is poisonous to good fiction. One does not write for an audience, unless one only wishes to pander. One writes. The worth of a novel is not determined by the opinions of those who read it, collected and averaged to yield an objective rating that may be expressed in stars given and stars withehld. It's all a lonely mess. The book's "worth" lies in the mind of the author, and in the mind of each reader. Each is alone with the book, and everyone who reads it is subject to their own unique experience. Nothing is generally true. That said, I sit and try to just let Imp speak and tell her story, but I begin to hear the complaints to come. The shitty Amazon and blog "reviews" it may receive in 2012. These things shouldn't occur to me, and certainly they shouldn't give me a moment's pause, but they do. "It takes forever before anything actually happens." "It's slow." "It rambles." And so on and on and on and so forth.

4) Yesterday, after the writing, we had to go to our storage unit in Pawtucket. Outside, the world was bitter cold, scabby, too sharp around the edges. Anyway, we needed to drop off those files I mentioned having boxed up back on the 7th. That was the easy part. I also needed to find the missing files for The Dry Salvages, which I'm revising a bit before it's reprinted in Two Worlds and In Between. The files weren't in my cabinet, or anywhere in my office, or in the house. So, it stood to reason, we'd find them in the storage unit, where most of my old manuscripts and notes are kept. Nope. They may be there, but we didn't find them. Which is going to make revising The Dry Salvages much more difficult. I'll say more on this later.

It was depressing, seeing all my paleo' stuff, my Lane cabinet and all the rest. Things that have been in storage since August 2001, when I only thought I was briefly putting my paleo' work on hold.

5) Few things are so capable of filling me with despair as the paperback rack at the market. Who actually reads this crap? I mean, clearly lots and lots and lots of people do, because every one of those books has some bestselling pedigree slapped across its foil embossed cover. These are the forgettable books that everyone reads. Maybe not me, or you, or you, but everyone else. They all seem to amount to little but a combination of fourth-grade reading-level prose and woozy melodrama with bland, idealized characters. They are not meant to be good books. They are meant to be easy reads. Good reads (a phrase I loathe, a dismissive, backhanded slap of a compliment). They are meant to be consumed and then disposed of, like all the best products of this society. I know the money would be heavenly, but I don't think I could sleep at night. Okay, touché. I already have trouble sleeping.

6) I'm starting to think I'm sitting in a great empty room, talking to myself, listening to my hollow voice echoing off the silver walls.

7) Last night we watched Michael Winterbottom's excellent The Killer Inside Me (2010; based on Jim Thompson's 1952 novel). A few lapses in logic aside, I liked it quite a lot (and the lapses are only problematic if we assume the characters are especially bright people, and mostly they don't appear to be). Western noir set in the 1950s. It felt a lot like what you might get if the Coen Bros. and David Lynch made a film together. As usual, Winterbottom doesn't pull his punches, and so the brutality and loss rings true. Casey Affleck delivers a chilling performance as a small-town sociopath who also happens to be a deputy sheriff. Highly recommended.

8) I ordered my new iPod Classic yesterday. My thanks to Steven Lubold, who made it possible for me to get a new iPod. I've been trying to decide what I'll name it. My first iPod (the one from 2005 that recently died) was Moya. This one may be Inara. I always name my computers. Anyway, right now I see it's in Shanghai, because, you know, that makes sense. My iPod and the ramen I had for breakfast have traveled more than I ever will.

9) Last night, Shaharrazad reached Level 83.

And that's more than enough for now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today is David Bowie's Birthday. Why the hell isn't this a national holiday. I guarantee you it's an intergalactic holiday. Also, also, also it's Spooky's mom's birthday!

We're having a shit year for snow here in Providence. Even the blizzard hardly touched us. Everyone around us gets hit hard, we get a dusting. Happened again this morning. Spooky says this is normal, that we had much more snow than usual the last two winters, but I say fuck that shit.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,336 words on Chapter Four of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir.

Also, as my office is becoming a hazardous place to work, I boxed up half a filing cabinet's worth of old story files. I've always kept at least one manila folder for each and every short story and vignette I write, all the way back to 1992. Having now written more than 200 stories...well, you get the picture. The cabinet was full, and files have been piling up almost as fast as the books for which I have no remaining shelf space. So, half of the files are going away to our storage unit, where I'll likely never set eyes on them again. Which is a weird thing to know. But, really, what need will I ever again have to look at the file I kept while writing "Tears Seven Times Salt" in 1994? Also, all my pen-and-paper correspondence from 1993 onwards was transferred to a sturdy container. It's all been crammed into an overstuffed old shoebox since forever.

I will see this office organized.

And I also left the house for the fourth consecutive day. Just the bank and the market, but still. Go me.

Last night, I finished reading David L. Meyer and Richard Arnold Davis' A Sea Without Fish: Life in the Ordovician Sea of the Cincinnati Region (2009). And there was more rp in Insilico. Very, very good rp (thank you Blair and Tracy!). I've been hurting for cyberpunk roleplay recently, having gone a while without. Last night, Molly and Grendel acquired a shiny new droid of their very own. Grendel's up to something, though I'm not yet sure exactly what. Hey, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, you should come out and play tonight...

And that's it for now. Coffee's getting cold.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Cold and clear in Providence. The tree Outside my office window has shed its leaves. Some asshole vandalized both our jack-o'-lanterns. They cut the word "fuck" into one. I wonder if she or he feels that was some grand show of rebellion. Carving "fuck" on a jack-o'-lantern. If so, I'd like to find him or her and offer a lesson, out of pity. Anyway, I fear there will be no pumpkin drop this year. The pumpkin is defaced, and I'm too busy to make the trip to the Saugatucket River.

Sleep was better, thanks to the Sonata I took at 3:30, which allowed me to get to sleep about 5 a.m.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,877 words on The Drowning Girl. Two days down, twenty-eight to go. Since I'm making the 1,500-word-a-day push, I'm going to word bank, like I did the last time I set such a desperate, idiotic goal for myself. How does one word bank? Well, each day I have to write 1,500 words. Whatever I write beyond that goal counts as surplus. Surplus accumulates. For example, the Word Bank has accumulated a surplus of 501 words over the past two days. This surplus protects against the inevitable day when I can't get anything written. A surplus of 1,500 words is a lost day I don't have to worry about quite so much. By the way, while I do approve of writers making themselves write something almost everyday, I do not approve of the sort of thing I'm doing here, and have only resorted to it out of desperation.

A shame, though, that I can't spend the whole month of November on The Drowning Girl. I can only work on it until the 6th. On the 7th, I have to begin work on a longish short story for an sf/f anthology. That's going to take at least two weeks, and then I have to write the contents of Sirenia Digest #60 and get the issue out by the 30th.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney for pointing me towards Colleen Mondor's review of "As Red As Red," which I might have missed otherwise.

---

I'm trying not to think about the elections. The losses, the wins. I'm so weary of fickle, short-sighted Americans. Because President Obama could not solve all their ills and fix the world in two short years, they're changing course, jumping ship, pretty much insuring the President will be even less effective. Things are still bad two years in; jump ship. The next set of politicians are the ones who will hand you that quick fix. Anyway, here in Rhode Island, we've elected the state's first independent governor. No, not some shit-for-brains teabagger. Lincoln D. Chafee is a former Republican, who broke ranks with the party to endorse Obama, and Obama endorsed his run for governor. So, yeah. Rhode Island remains the contrary state, and it could have been worse. Democrats won all other statewide races in Rhode Island.

---

We have entered the final day of the auction for Study #2 for Yellow. And there are other auctions, and, as always, money's tight. So please have a look. Thanks.

---

I've been reading about Harry Clarke. And sure, Beardsley was an enormous influence on Clarke, but I think Clarke was actually the more talented illustrator. Of course, his true passion was designing stained-glass windows, though he's most often remembered as an illustrator of Edgar Allan Poe. Also, still making my way through the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (30:5), including "A Miocene ziphiid (Cetacea: Odontoceti) from Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, USA," "The dentary of Suuwassea emilieae (Sauropoda: Diplodocoidea)," and "The postcranial skeleton of the aquatic parareptile Mesosaurus tenuidens from the Gondwanian Permian."

And now, time to stock the word bank.
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
Cloudy and cold in Providence. Not snowy, frosty cold. But not warm.

More often than not, to quote Elmore Leonard, "I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen." Days and days ago, the plan was to finish "The Cloud That Took the Form..." and then have "At the Reef" finished by Wednesday. And here it is Sunday, and, if I'm lucky, I'll finish "At the Reef" today. The stories do as they will, and this one means to be longer than I envisioned. A long vignette, a very short short story. In this case, labels are meaningless. I might have finished yesterday, but I spent too much time researching the submarine USS O-10 and the Boston Navy Yard (circa 1928) and seafloor topography off Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and Iranian ceremonial masks and the Winward Islands of French Polynesia. Still, I wrote 1,233 words. Today, I find THE END.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, as nothing has changed since yesterday. That is, the IRS hasn't decided we don't have to pay taxes, after all. That is, they haven't sent back the check Spooky wrote. Speaking of Spooky, I reiterate, all those cool Halloween thingumies in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop will be taken down come November 1st.

I didn't leave the House yesterday. There was oatmeal with pomegranate and cranberries for breakfast, and apple-walnut pie for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner.

Still looking for more votes in the podcast poll. Take a moment to speak your piece.

Spooky and I are assembling a "Dancy box." That is, the box that Dancy Flammarion would have had with her on her long, long walk. When it's done, we'll be auctioning it, along with a lettered copy of Alabaster. Yesterday, Spooky went to a yard sale and found the perfect sunglasses and an old rosary. But we still need many more things.

And speaking of Dancy, and just in case you didn't follow the link yesterday: If ever there were a film version of some combination of the short stories in Alabaster (directed by the Coen Brothers, creature effects by Weta Studios, Dancy played by Elle Fanning, Sid Haig as the Bailiff), this is Brown Bird, the band I would want to do the soundtrack.

One of my "rules" about writing is never, ever for any reason write a story in second person. But all rules are made to be broken by those with the skills to break them. Walls only exist to inspire the breaking down of walls. Anyway, yesterday I read "Oaks Park" by M. K. Hobson, in Haunted Legends, which is written in second person, and which is brilliant, poignant, and which has left me with a lingering haunted mood. It is one of maybe...three, maybe...stories I've ever read written in second person that succeeds.

I've been making my way through the new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (30:5), and so far have read "Osteology of a new giant bony-toothed bird from the Miocene of Chile, with a revision of the taxonomy of Neogene Pelagornithidae," "The evolution of extreme hypercarnivory in Metriorhynchidae (Mesoeucrocodylia: Thalattosuchia) based on evidence from microscopic dental morphology," "A new specimen of Eutretauranosuchus (Crocodyliformes: Goniopholididae) from Dry Mesa, Colorado," and "Naming dinosaur species: the performance of prolific authors." I'm trying to get back to China Miéville's The Kraken, which is very good, but which I set aside in the chaos after the trip to Portland. Just before bed last night, I paged through Nightmares of Decay: The Edgar Allan Poe Illustrations by Harry Clarke.

A welcome to everyone who's joined Eyes of Sylvanas, and I hope to see a few more of you. Just contact Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com if you're interested. Last night, we did far too many Alterac Valley battlefields, but I made enough honor points to get Shaharrazad more epic gear, in this case a necklace and cloak.

Okay. Time to work.
greygirlbeast: (Lucy)
A nippy morning here in Providence (though it's almost a nippy afternoon). 62F at the moment. We're thinking we have to do our tour of the autumn leaves this weekend or we're going to miss out on the peak altogether. Before I forget, congratulations to Peter for being awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. Booya!

No actual writing-type writing yesterday. I had a half-assed idea of cleaning house while Spooky worked on the taxes, because [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark is supposed to visit this evening. But that didn't happen. Instead, I tried to work. I did an interview for Jeff VanderMeer's Booklifenow website, about writing "As Red As Red" (in Haunted Legends). And I sent my HPLFF keynote speech to S.T. Joshi, as he wants to print it in the Lovecraft Annual. I also sent him "Houndwife," which will be reprinted in Black Wings II (PS Publishing), and "Fish Bride," which will be reprinted in The Weird Fiction Review. And then, getting back around to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," I reread Stoker's "Dracula's Guest."

Over on Facebook, James Jeffrey Paul made mention of the fact that at least one Dracula scholar has suggested that Countess Dolingen of Graz, the vampire who menaces the unnamed Englishman (?Johnathan Harker) in "Dracula's Guest," might be one of the three "brides" in Dracula— the "fair" woman. Stoker writes: "The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where."

I'm not sure I'm convinced that the two are, in fact, intended to the same character, but it is an interesting possibility, and I may use it.

Other reading yesterday included beginning Chapter Two of Volume One of Joshi's I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft, and also beginning a paper in the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "Osteology of a new giant bony-toothed bird from the Miocene of Chile, with a revision of the taxonomy of Neogene Pelagornithidae." Indeed, Pelagornis chilensis is a marvel, a bird with a wingspan of 5.2 meters! By comparison, the wingspan of the Great albatross (Diomedea) is a mere 3 meters.

---

Regarding various auctions: The auction for the one and only CRK "napoval" ends tomorrow. And there are, of course, the other eBay auctions. Also, check out the raffle to benefit the KGB Reading series (which I have taken part in twice, now). I've made two contributions to the raffle this year: A signed copy of the trade paperback of The Red Tree (I'll also draw a tree on the title page), and a chance to be "Tuckerized" in a forthcoming story. Raffle tickets are only one buck apiece, for a very good cause.

Also, a reminder that I will be reading and signing at the Brown University Bookstore on the evening of October 30th, 2010. Also, it will be a costumed event (optional, of course).

---

My great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yukio20 for bringing a bit of news from Blizzard to my attention (I don't usually follow the forums, so I'd missed it):

Since the release of 4.0.1, more than a few warlocks have noticed that their pets are in fact no longer their familiar demonic servants, and instead appear to be new entities with different names. We’ve been able to pinpoint the cause of the issue, which should be resolved by tomorrow for any warlocks that log in for the first time from then on. We’ve also been able to determine that we will be able to restore any renamed warlock pets to their original pre-4.0.1 names during next week’s scheduled maintenance. For those of you who like your new pet names, we’re working on a feature for a future patch that will allow you to refresh your summons and essentially generate a random pet name without having to level a new warlock.

So...Greezun, Volyal, and Drusneth will be coming home. It appears they only took a vacation to Booty Bay without telling me, and hired these impostors from some infernal temp agency. Speaking of WoW, Spooky and I restructured our talent trees last night, and began trying to make sense of the havoc that Blizzard has wrought to various spells and abilities. Truly, someone needs to tell Blizzard that there's a huge difference between fixing/improving things and simply changing things. Most of Patch 4.0.1 is a sad, confusing case of the latter. I would stop just (barely) short of saying the game is currently broken.

Oh, and we also watched the new episodes of Glee and Caprica last night. I am very pleased that Glee appears to have redeemed itself for last week's god-bothering episode, and I think it's only a matter of time before Brittany comes out. Also, how cool is it that the new kid, Sam, speaks Na'vi? Great, great episode of Caprica.

---

And here's the next set of photos from the HPLFF. The festival put us up in a grand bed and breakfast, the White House (built in 1911). We had the balcony room. The house is watched over by an elderly albino Scottish Terrier named Prescott. We couldn't help but take a ton of photos of the place:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 7 )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
And here it is Friday, and only seven days until we leave for Portland (and that's counting today). So things are getting weird and hectic. I've never been to Portland, but Spooky lived there for three years, 1996-1999, and has tremendous trepidation about returning. So, we're coping with that, too. But I am not a traveling writer. There seem to be so many traveling writers these days. By "traveling writer," I mean writers who spend a lot of time on business-related trips (i.e., workshops, conventions and conferences, expos, and book tours). I love to travel, if it's purely for the sake of traveling, but I'm really not one for writing-related travel (except in the sense that any given trip may inspire stories). So, this sort of thing is rare for me. And it makes me very anxious.

I also don't know how writers who spend so much time engaged in writer-travel get anything written. I wouldn't be able to get anything written.

I was wondering, the other night, why people seem resistant to the idea of writers having public personae. It's perfectly normal (and common) for actors and musicians. But with writers it seems to piss people off (including other writers), or at least annoy them. I sort of have a public persona. The person you see at a con isn't precisely the person I am in private. I found it necessary a long time ago, both to alleviate my anxiety about public appearances and because the person I am in private is terribly anti-social. So, for cons and signings and readings I have this other Caitlín persona I put on. I wear her (though she's changed over the years). Trust me, she's much nicer to be around.

---

Yesterday, I decided, we needed one last day off before the mad rush to the trip. One last day just for me and Spooky to be calm. So, about three p.m. we headed to Conanicut Island (the right way round), out to West Cove, our favorite beach for sea glass. When we arrived, there was a large group of scuba divers. It's a popular spot for scuba, but I'd never seen so many at once before. Most left shortly after we arrived, but some lingered in the cove, occasionally rising to the surface like strange aquatic hominids. The weather was good, warm and only a few clouds. We found some good glass, but some really spectacular bones. West Cove is also a good bone beach, mostly bird bones. Yesterday, I we found an assortment of wings bones and vertebrae from cormorants, gulls, and other birds, and I also found a spectacular gull jaw, complete with yellow-orange keratin sheath. Really gorgeous. I also found three bones I'm fairly certain belong to a seal, which is a first.

I've often imagined, while at West Cove, carrying out a weird sort of "future paleontology" study there. I mean, imagining what the sandy, pebbly deposits there would be like ten or fifteen million years from now. And trying to reconstruct the local fauna, assuming the bones I'm finding would be preserved as fossils. A diverse avifauna would dominate the assemblage, with lots of fish and very rare mammals.

Yeah, I'm a science nerd.

Anyway, we stayed until it was almost dark, and the tide was coming in. We watched two mallards, and a sad sort of sea gull that seemed to be following them around. We tried to decided if a cross between a gull and a mallard would be called a "gulk" or a "dull." We finally, reluctantly, headed back to the van about six-thirty p.m. I wanted to stay all night, listening to the lapping waves and watching the sky and hearing the birds. There are photos, at the end of this entry, behind the cut.

Oh, I read Richard Bowes' short story, "Knickerbocker Holiday" (from Haunted Legends), on the way down to the island.

---

I think I have to do an interview for Weird Tales before we leave.

---

In all this discussion of eReaders, one thing in particular strikes me as absurd. And I'm honestly not trying to pick on anyone, I'm just being honest. What strikes me as especially absurd are the people who tell me they absolutely could not live without their Kindle or Nook or whatever. They are fervent in this claim, and I assume they truly believe what they're saying. I'm just not sure they've thought very much about what they're saying. I mean, they got along just fine without these devices a year or two or three ago, right? And now they can't live without them? I kind of have to assume this is hyperbole, that they're very enthusiastic and overstating their case. Because, otherwise, it's absurd, and I like to think people aren't absurd (though clearly most are).

I think about recently acquired tech that is very dear to me. Say, my iPod (I'm still using a sturdy old fossil of an iPod from early 2005). Or my very low-tech mechanical pencils. Or the PlayStation 3. Our digital cameras. Or certain programmes, like Second Life and World of Warcraft. These things are dear to me, to varying degrees, and I use them a lot. But can I live without them? Sure. I did just fine before they came along. So, it's hard for me to imagine these eReader users keeling over from shock or wasting away if they were ever suddenly deprived of their Nooks. Or Kindles. Or whatever.

When they say, "I can't live without my eReader," they must surely mean, "I don't want to live without my eReader," or even "I can't imagine living without my eReader."

Rarely does it help an argument to overstate your case.

---

At Eastside Market, I saw a book with the excruciatingly embarrassing title Wuthering Bites, and a cover that was clearly meant to look like one of the Twlight covers. And the book's exactly what it sounds like, Emily Bronte's novel rewritten with vampires. Can we please stop doing this? It was never very funny, and at this point these parodies seem like parodies of parodies. Which is to say the gimmick is on beyond tired. Stop milking it. Please.

---

I almost forgot, there's a very nice review of The Ammonite Violin and Others at The San Francisco Book Review (review by Ariel Berg). I love this bit: "Those whose imaginations flourish best in the dark will find a great deal to love in The Ammonite Violin."

Okay. Here are the photos. I need to get to work, and Spooky has to go to the post office.

23 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky's getting ready to take Sméagol back to the vet, because the abscess on his foot has turned into cellulitis. He's spry and eating, no fever and seems to be in no pain, but obviously we're worried (and never mind the damned vet bills). Oh, now Spooky's gone. Well, there you go.

The last couple of days I haven't been in that blogging frame of mind, whatever that blogging frame of mind might be. I think there was a post con crash, which happens sometimes. I'm on for three days, then suddenly I'm off. I'm surrounded by people for three days, then suddenly I'm my old reclusive self again. It didn't help that the last panel I had for Readercon 21, the "Gender and Sexuality in F/SF" late on Sunday, left such a bad taste in my mouth. I keep thinking of things I wish I'd said to the idiot who accused us of being "selfish" for not taking the feelings of readers into account when writing taboo subjects (lesbianism, it seems, is a taboo subject). I wish that I'd said, "Look, asshole. I will never make enough money to own a house. My teeth are shot. I can barely pay my bills. I have no health insurance, and I'll never be able to retire, ever. Writing almost every day for eighteen years has left me with a wrecked body and shot nerves. I need new glasses and can't afford them. The stress of this life led to seizures that have led to the need for medications I can't afford, but have to have, regardless. So, shut the hell up, you tight-assed little twerp, and let me write whatever it is I need to write. It's the only solace I have in this shitty job. I spent four hundred dollars I haven't got to attend this convention, and I'm not paying for the privilege of being called selfish by fools like you." Or something like that.

And I'm not going to start in on the two or three people (all female) who thought books need "warning labels," like "the ingredients list on food," so they wouldn't come upon a scene that offended their precious, fragile sensibilities. And why the fuck am I on about this again?

---

A good writing day yesterday. I did 1,644 words on the Next New Novel, beginning it for the third time. I'll say more about this situation in a few days, when I feel a little more self confident.

Later, we stopped by the farmer's market at the Dexter Training Grounds for fresh corn, and I finally got a new office/writing chair. The one I've had since 2003 or 2004 was, literally, falling apart, and doing horrible things to my back. And by the way, I'm going to make an effort not to talk so much about health and money problems here. It's something I personally find gauche, and would prefer not to ever do. There's just been so damn much of it lately.

Spooky has begun a new round of eBay auctions, which are important, as we have to cover the cost of Readercon and Sméagol's vet bills. So, please have a look. Bid if you are able. In particular, there's the Salammbô T-shirt (art by the astounding Richard A. Kirk), one of the last from the batch of 500 that were printed in 2000 to promote the original release of Tales of Pain and Wonder. We only have four left. We began this auction a couple of weeks ago, then ended it, because I didn't really have time to promote the item. If you're interested in rare stuff related to my work, this is one of the rarest you're going to come across, ever.

---

The last few days, besides writing and house cleaning and cat doctoring, we've been watching Season Two of 24 and Season One of Nip/Tuck. I've been reading Angela Carter's exquisite Wise Children (1991; Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy is next). We've played a little WoW, still trying to get Shah and Suraa through Icecrown. I've been making my way through the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and read "Tetrapod fauna of the lowermost Usili Formation (Songea Group, Ruhuhu Basin) of southern Tanzania, with a new burnetiid record" and "A new and unusual procolophonid parareptile from the Lower Permian of Texas." I've mostly been sleeping well.

Yesterday, there was cautious relief at the news that BP's latest cap tests have temporarily staunched the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But I get the impression a lot of people think this means the oil isn't going to start flowing again (though even BP has stressed that it will). And, of course, even if no new oil were to enter the Gulf after today, there's presently almost 200 million gallons of oil befouling the area affected by the petrocalamity.

---

On Tuesday, we took in a matinée of Nimród Antal's Predators, which Spooky and I both enjoyed very much. My complaints are few. I would have liked it to be maybe half an hour longer, as it seemed a little rushed. But the creatures SFX were very good, and I can't get enough of Adrien Brody. John Debney's soundtrack was quite effective. Definitely a film that needs to be seen on a big screen. It's great fun, and I was in need of a Big Monster Movie that's great fun.

We also finally saw the Doctor Who "The End of Time" episodes. I thought the first half was a bit silly, but loved the second half. Has a doctor ever before refused so vehemently to go quietly into that gentle night? I'm going to miss David Tenant something fierce.

Okay...far too long an entry. The platypus says no one's going to read all this. I replied that I will, one year from now.
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The weather is cooler. The temperature plummeted in the night. It's only 72F Outside. Unfortunately, the heat did not take this sour mood with it.

This morning there was a dream that seemed to require days to unfold. But there's not much of it I can recall. I was in a city, a European city. I'm pretty sure it was a German city during WWII. I was in a ghetto, and everything was bombed out or rotting. There were trains belching steam and overcast grey skies and furtive, angry people. I was trying to find someone who did not want to be found, and every time I got anywhere near her, she ran again. I climbed a tall flight of wooden stairs, trying to reach a door, but the planks were rotten and kept breaking away beneath my feet.

All of yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #55 assembled and PDFed and out to subscribers. I think it's an especially good issue. I was particularly pleased with Vince's illustration for "Tidal Forces." Please comment if you have any thoughts on the issue. A good chunk of yesterday was spent writing the issue's prolegomenon. They are angry words I couldn't find the means to hold in any longer.

Today, I absolutely have to get to work on the edits to "The Maltese Unicorn."

---

I'm not getting much reading done. I did make it through a couple of articles in the new JVP: "Articulated skeletons of the aetosaur Typothorax coccinarum Cope (Archosauria, Stagonolepididae) from the Upper Triassic Bull Canyon Formation (Revueltian: early-mid Nornian), eastern New Mexico, USA" and "The first record of the large Cretaceous lamniform shark, Cardabiodon ricki, from North America and a new empirical test for its presumed antitropical distribution."

---

Over breakfast this morning, I was bemoaning, silently and to myself, the present 3-D craze and the damage it's doing to film. Yesterday, I saw the trailer to the final two Harry Potter films, and, on the one hand, it looks gorgeous, but on the other, the movie is constantly hurling things at the audience, in a contrived attempt to take advantage of the cheap "wow factor" of 3-D, thereby blowing what could be fine cinematography. I started thinking how great films of the seventies might have been ruined by 3-D. Imagine the original Star Wars saddled with the gimmick, or Ridley Scott's Alien. I stopped at Apocalypse Now: 3-D, because my brain would not let me go any farther. I kept seeing the scene where the PBR and it's crew are being fired upon by Montagnard villagers, and the audience is treated to arrows flying STRAIGHT AT THE SCREEN. Gimmicks do not make good movies. Good movie making does, and 3-D is anathema to good movie making.

Okay...whatever. Time to work.
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Thanks to the new (very expensive) medications, my insomnia is vastly better than it's been for years. But last night, I was awake until sometime after four, and then only got to sleep because I'd taken Ambien (which I dislike doing). Then I woke from a nightmare at eight, to construction noise from next door. And that was it. No getting back to sleep for me. I got up so the tossing and turning wouldn't wake Kathryn. So...now I have to manage to stay awake until tonight.

Yesterday, I did as little work as possible. But I did do a small bit of last minute editing on "The Maltese Unicorn" and sent it away to the anthology's editor. But mostly it was a "day off," after the insanity of Sunday and the big push to finish editing the short story.

I read Chapter Four of Gaining Ground by Jenny Clack ("Setting the Stage: The Devonian World"). I read the first part of Tales of the Slayers (Dark Horse), and especially liked "Righteous" by Joss Whedon and Tim Sale. Spooky made chili for dinner. Afterwards, we watched two short films by Nacho Cerdà, who directed The Abandoned (2006)— Genesis (1998) and Aftermath (1994). Both were very well done, though I was far more impressed by Genesis. Then we played WoW, leveling Gnomnclature and Klausgnomi to 30, before switching back to our main toons, Shaharrazad and Suraa, who we left stranded in Icecrown a couple of months back. That was yesterday. Oh, and the toilet broke. No, wait. That was day before. Night before last. Whichever.

Spooky got the new Rasputina CD yesterday, Sister Kinderhook, though I've yet to listen to it.

I know it's the future, and the world sucks extra hard now and all, but...my life would be at least 3% less annoying if the internet were not plagued by idiotic emoticons. Right now, I think the worst offender is— XD —though, I have to admit— o.0 —is a close fucking second. Oh, and— <.<, >.>, and >.< —are also nigh unto unbearable. These emoticons pretty much brand the user a total moron, even if the user is, say, Stephen Hawking. I actually sort of miss the days of ;-P and :-) and :-(. Things were so much simpler back then.

There are people on Earth, right now, who honestly believe all sentences should end with "lol."

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which end this afternoon. Thanks.

Er...and I have a few photographs from the Museum of Comparative Zoology, before the day went to crap:

13 June 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Another cloudy day here in Providence. If we're lucky, the temperature will reach 72F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,486 words and found THE END of "The Maltese Unicorn," which, ironically, meant finding my way back to the beginning. I think I like what I've done. Today we're going to read it start to finish for the first time. This is the longest story I've written since...I'm not sure. It might be the longest short story I've written since coming to Rhode Island, which is a bit weird. I blame all the damn plot. And it seemed to take forever. I began writing it on May 27th, and fifteen days were spent on the actual writing. I won't be doing that again anytime soon. Sadly, I simply have too much to write— if I want to keep up with deadlines and keep bills paid —to spend that much time on any one short story.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, and thanks.

After the writing, while Spooky went out to the market and to return DVDs and to pick up burgers from Stanley's, I watched an episode of American Experience about the Civilian Conservation Corps. My maternal grandfather, Gordon M. Ramey, was in the CCC, but I'm not sure when or for how long. He was born in 1911 (died in 1977), so would have been about twenty-two when Roosevelt formed the CCC in 1933. I know that part of his time in the CCC was spent working in Cleburne County, Alabama. There were 49 CCC camps in the state. Anyway, I'm thinking about submitting a request for his CCC service records.

I read two articles in the May 2010 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "Allodaposuchus Nopsca, 1928 (Crocodylia, Eusuchia), from the Late Cretaceous of southern France and its relationships to the Alligatoroidea" and "Pachycephalosauridae from the San Carlos and Aguja Formations (Upper Cretaceous) of West Texas, and observations of the frontoparietal dome."

Later, we played a bit of WoW, to get our gnomes up to Level 27. But I was so exhausted, I kept getting the giggles. Finally, Spooky...um...I mean Klausgnomi...got into it with Marshal Haggard at the Eastvale Logging Camp. When Klaus said, "Watch it, Marshal. I'll poke your other eye out," I started laughing and was in tears before I could stop. I took that as a sign I was too wasted to even play WoW. So we retreated to the bedroom and watched two more episodes from Season Five of Deadliest Catch. And that was yesterday, for the most part.

Tomorrow, I go to Boston to do the things I was going to do on my birthday. And here's a photo from Wednesday, me with two of Spooky's paintings, the two she just sold, and I think this is the first photo of me in my pajamas since 2004:

9 May 2010 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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