greygirlbeast: (Default)
C'mon, kittens! Sirenia Digest #70! Comments!

Though I'm trying to get more sleep, it's not really working. I did manage to make myself lie down by 3:30 ayem last night. I fall asleep now almost as soon as I do that (and almost any fucking time I do that). But there is in me, I have discovered—having conqured Monsieur Insomnia—a tremendous reluctance to sleep. We're not talking actual hypnophobia. But, see, there are the dreams (last night, I dreamt of being trapped inside the plot of some weird-ass Aliens 5 thing, which I would post here, if I could make sense of the fragments I remember), and then there's the fact that we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and then there's the dread of waking...it's complicated. And I'm rambling. This will be a hodgepodge of an entry, that's what I'm trying to say, because...well, I can't remember. Why. But it will be.

Yesterday was spent in a mad dash to make a time machine out of a DeLorean DMC-12. We're still waiting to see whether or not we were successful. But we may not know until three weeks ago. But yes, lots of work.

Oh, and I sold reprint rights for "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash" to Subterranean magazine. Not sure which issue it'll be appearing in just yet. By the way, "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash" almost became part of the "Back Pages" section of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but Peter Straub pulled my head out of my ass, and for that I am grateful. Just because it's a good piece of fiction relevant to the novel doesn't mean it belongs in the novel. At least not until there's a massive limited-edition hardback (for which there are currently no plans).

A wish to congratulate Holly Black ([livejournal.com profile] blackholly), who will be expanding her short story "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," one of the few brilliant vampire stories I've read in ages, into a novel for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. But you can read the whole story on her LJ. Very, very cool. I especially like that it's not just reworking the characters from the short story, but taking another route into that world.

I neglected, yesterday, to say that I think the assassination of President Kennedy was worked into the Mad Men very, very well. Last night, we finished Season Three and began Season Four. Wonderful stuff. Watching the first episode of the fourth season was weird, Thanksgiving 1964, because there's the world when I was about six months old. And it's so much not this world.

Spooky's no-longer-premature Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only one necklace and a bracelet left (plus paintings and other cool stuff), and who knows when she'll have time to make more. When making a purchase, IF YOU WANT THE SALE PRICE, you need to, at checkout, use the sale code SPOOK. People! Buy cool stuff!

Oh, and I know I said that Spooky would come along and help me catch all the typos in yesterday's first entry. Only, she was busy and never did, and after all that nonsense with the DeLorean time machine, I was too tired to catch more than a few of them. Apologies. I hate being sloppy. But, I was too distracted, after work and a short nap and dinner, and, besides, I was building my first ever male Second Life avatar. He took me two nights to construct, even with Spooky's avatar foo coming to the rescue. He is Alexander Ishmene, and may, or may not, be the "brother" of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene, which would be a might odd, her being an AI hiding in a cloned body and all.

Also, I will make my official announcement about this month's book of the month tomorrow. But it's Colin Meloy's Wildwood, illustrated by Carson Ellis.

I wish, wish, wish I could be in Manhattan, actually taking part on the Occupy Wall Street protests, but since I can't, I can at least donate pizza money. So can you! Pizza and other much needed supplies. Just go to the Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs webpage for their #occupywallstreet scent, and there are links, pointing to all sorts of ways you can lend your support. Including buying a bottle of #occupywallstreet.

My imaginary children are Carson (daughter) and Winslow (son). Some of us can only afford imaginary children, and are responsible enough not to have children we can't afford to care for and send to college.

Oh, yes! And don't forget to celebrate Columbus Day this weekend by walking into someone's house and telling them you live there. If they won't cooperate, just kill them. In fact, just kill them on general principle. It's worked before.
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
And this, Day 11, will be the last day with the CEM. Not only because I'm quite late getting it back, but because I'm sick to death of it. Not the novel, but working on the CEM, doubting every comma and period. Losing perspective and anything like objectivity.

Time is moving so fast. It used to puzzle me, but now I think I understand it's a sort of psychological time dilation. When we're young, say when we're ten, then five years is 50% of our lives. When we're twenty, it drops off to 25%. When we're forty, five years has become a mere 12.5%, and so forth. The longer one lives, the briefer any given span of time is perceived as being. The mind actually makes the span of time seem shorter than it did at an early age. Or, it may be this is some actual property peculiar to the fabric of time, but, at the moment, my psychological hypothesis seems more parsimonious. And, realizing all this, that's often been my best argument against suicide (though I strongly believe suicide is everyone's right and a personal decision, and I say this having lost someone I loved to suicide). Time is moving fast, and it moves faster and faster the older we get. If you hate life, just hang on. It'll be over "soon."

Yesterday, I slogged through the more tiresome aspects of the process of getting the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ready to go back to my editor. Which is to say, heading down the steep slopes of Mount Taediosus, reaching the talus, one encounters great thickets of greenbriers and kudzu vines. The descent is slowed. And so forth. And today, I am reduced to double checking, mostly proving the things I've quoted are in public domain, or that I have quoted short enough portions that my quotes constitute fair use. Sometimes, this turns into black comedy, such as, for example, where I quoted Dante's Divina Commedia, which was, of course, written in the early fourteenth century. Obviously, it's in the public domain. But not so fast! Because, I quote both the original Italian and an English translation. So, which English translation did I quote? Because translations are subject to copyright, which means translated lines of a fourteenth century poem may well be under copyright.

But when asked, "Which translation did you use?" My response is, "Fuck if I know." Turns out, I used the translation made by Allen Mandelbaum between 1980 and 1984. Very much still in copyright. This means I have to quote the English translation lines from a much older translation, likely Henry Francis Cary's, which was done between 1805-1814, and is long, long out of copyright (therefore, in "public domain"). And so on, and on, and on, and on.

Thankfully, [livejournal.com profile] sovay was kind enough to read through the ms. again with an eye to this very problem, plus my copyeditor caught many of them.

Also. After adding, over the last week, an additional ten thousand words or so to the "Back Pages" portion of the ms., I began to fear I'd broken the book in so doing. I emailed it to Peter Straub, and he read over it again for me yesterday. And, says he, yes, I broke it. Chop the new stuff out. Which I will do, because I respect his opinion as much as that of almost any living author. Besides, cutting the new text will make my editor happy. An author must never, ever be afraid to take scalpel to child.

Also, I signed the signature sheets to the Centipede Press Machen collection.

And that was my yesterday. Pretty much. Oh, we're getting into Season Two of Mad Men, and I still can't figure out why they made the jump from 1960 to 1962. But it was disorienting, and I didn't even catch on until the third episode or so. And we read. And we slept. But I did not sleep enough.

Descending,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Sitting here in the business centre, determined to keep my vow to make at least one entry a day for six months. Booya.

Here's one of the secrets I've been having to keep for a while. Not the BIG COOL news, but news that is both big and cool. Along with Peter Straub, I have been chosen to be Guest of Honor at next year's Readercon, which will be Readercon 23. Peter, from the beginning of my career, has been a great friend and an invaluable mentor, and not only am I honoured to have been chosen to be Geuest of Honour next year, I'm honoured all the more to have been chosen to be Guest of Honor with Peter. Because bow ties are cool. Actually, I'm not sure Peter wears bowties, but I would, if I had one. Anyway, it fell to Peter and me to choose next year's Memorial Guest of Honour, and we chose Shirley Jackson. It would have been almost impossible to have chosen anyone else.

There much else to report. There was an impromptu reading of 7 from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir in mine and Spooky's room late last night, and almost everyone who, at last year's Readercon, helped me to work out the novel and save it from my frustration, was present: Sonya Taaffe, Greer Gilman, Geoffrey Goodwin, Michael Cisco, and Gemma Files. It was a practice reading for my actual reading at 11 ayem today.

Usually, of course, I'm still asleep at 11 ayem. So, it was a challenge to get up and dressed and conscious in time. The greater challenge was putting myself in the emotional space to read a very emotional chapter. But it went very, very well. I used my iPod to listen to Death cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" - to which so much of the book was written - and it took me back to Imp. It was, for me, one of the most intense readings I've ever done. It almost felt as if I were acting.

Anyway, I ought to sign off. Please forgive any typos. I'll fix them Sunday night, perhaps.

In Burlington,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
So, since it's after midnight here in Providence, and since I made that promise to myself back in March to write at least one journal entry every day for the period from April first until the end of July, I'll get something down before I head to bed. We have to leave early for Manhattan, so I'm taking my good-worker-bee pill and going to lie down.

Tomorrow, I will meet with my agent and we shall talk The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Blood Oranges, and Blue Canary. Not necessarily in that order. Then, tomorrow night Spooky and I will enjoy Peter and Susan's hospitality, and we shall talk...about whatever we please.

A hideously rainy day today. Manhattan's going to be a deluge, so I am told.

My contributor's copies of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 arrived this afternoon. The box was wet; the books were well-wrapped and dry. "Hydraguros," One of my sf (science fiction, not San Francisco) stories is reprinted therein.

A special thanks tonight to Steven Lubold.

Work today consisted of getting ready to leave tomorrow, and email with my agent. Nothing thrilling, even by the standards of a freelancer. Tonight, we watched Henry Fonda and everyone else in the world in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). It truly is one of the - if not the - most spectacular Westerns ever made. The film's cinematography puts every square millimeter of picture to work, so do not dare watch it pan-and-scan. And while it's one of the first truly gritty Westerns, it's possessed of an amazing and almost surreal choreography.

And now, I go to face the toothbrush. Next entry, Wednesday night.

Almost in Transit,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Honestly not a whole lot to say, and I'd probably be better off not even making this entry. But I'm trying to maintain some semblance of order in what seems an increasingly disordered life.

We may have snow incoming.

The depression, the crazy, all that shit, it doesn't usually keep me from working. Usually, it's the fuel. But I've lost the last four days, and I'll lose today. I can only hope tomorrow will be better. Yesterday, I sat here for two or three hours, trying to throw a spark. I managed to find a title for "Untitled 35." I'm going to call it "The Eighth Veil" (thank you, Patti Smith). That was my grand moment of creativity yesterday, that title. Oh, and deciding that if I ever do another collection of science-fiction stories it will be called HOPE is a Four-Letter Word. After that, I lay in bed and Spooky read to me from Peter Straub and Stephen King's The Talisman, which I've been wanting to reread (and which Spooky has never read).

If I owe you an email, I'll try to get to it soon. But not today.

At night, there's been roleplay in Insilico, which has been an odd sort of comfort. For solace, I retreat into the shadows of fictions that are not entirely (or even mostly) my own. It's one thing to be the sole voice weaving a story. It's another thing to be only a single voice in a multitude, and to watch the "novel" write itself around you. Xiang 1.5 is being kept safe by her owner, Omika, who's determined not to lose another Xiang. Xiang 2.0a builds it's lunatic universe inside a briefcase. And Molly Longshadow has released the Nareth clone into the city, in an attempt to track down a particularly nasty serial killer. But, in this case, the cure may be worse than the disease. There was an especially wonderful rp last night between Molly and Nareth, just before the clone was discharged from the Gemini Corporation's medical facility, that was so good I might try to get the transcript up. There are three screencaps behind the cut. Today...Spooky's making me risk Outside, as I've not gone out since Thursday.

Insilico Personae )
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
1. A few flurries Outside as I type. This is the north edge of the monster storm that walloped D.C. and Philadelphia yesterday. But we're not even expecting the tiniest bit of accumulation. Go figure.

2. The platypus says this is the best possible day on which to order The Ammonite Violin & Others, and being merely a lowly minion of the platypus, I am forced to relay hisherits every message. Remember, the limited edition comes with a FREE chapbook, "Sanderlings," the short-story set in Green Hill, RI, which I wrote back in November. Oh, and I did the cover for "Sanderlings." So, yeah. Do like the platypus says.

3. A question from James Maier, via email: Basically, my question is this: Which books are “grouped” together and in what order? i.e. the same characters, sequels, etc. Though I’m sure the novels all stand alone just fine, I kind of want to read along with the characters’ chronology and I’d like to avoid any more spoilers from reading Amazon’s descriptions.

Okay, it works something like this. Silk and Murder of Angels pretty much form a duology, the latter being a fairly straightforward sequel to the former. Same with Threshold and Low Red Moon, though you also get Daughter of Hounds, which sort of makes a trilogy of the whole affair. But it's a very loose sort of trilogy. And, of course, all five of these novels are interconnected here and there. There's also Alabaster, which very much ties into that "trilogy." Finally, yes, there's The Red Tree, which has echoes of many of the novels before it, but is definitely set apart. That said, if anyone wants my opinion, read The Red Tree first, then Daughter of Hounds, and after that...read them in what ever order pleases you.

4. Yesterday I butched up and risked that carnivorous sky all over again. That is I went Outside, second day in a row. I wanted to get photographs of the continuing demolition of the Bridge Street Bridge that crosses Wickenden Street (you will recall the photos from the early stages of the demolition that were included in my January 13th and January 14th entries). The bridge is mostly down, and you can now stand and look up at the sky where, for the better part of a century, the sky was hidden. There are photos below, behind the cut. The day was cold, numbing my fingers as I tried to get the shots. Afterwards, we headed to Eastside Marketplace and Whole Foods, then spent a little time picking over the bones of a Blockbuster Video that's going out of business any day now. I assume they all are, but I don't know that for sure. Oddly, we came away without buying any of the super-cheap DVDs (everything we wanted was scratched to hell and back), but I did get two books, very cheap, and I didn't even know Blockbuster had started selling books. The Smithsonian Book of Mars by Joseph M. Boyce (2002) and Postcards from Mars: The First Photographer on the Red Planet by Jim Bell (2006), because I can never have too many reference books on Mars. Oh, and we dropped by the post office in Olneyville, so I could send in the contracts on "The Steam Dancer (1896)" (to be reprinted in Steampunk Reloaded) and a copy of Peter's A Dark Matter to my mother.

5. We watched the new episode of Fringe last night, possibly one of the best so far, and refreshing after the disappointing "monster of the week" episodes of the previous three weeks.

6. I have a plan. I will spend the remainder of February writing the vignettes that will comprise Sirenia Digest 51 and 52, so that I can set aside all of March and April for the writing of The Wolf Who Cried Girl. I'd hoped to get the novel written this winter, but what I want and what happens are too often not the same.

7. I stayed up far too late last night, roleplaying in Insilico, because I just don't know how to walk away from story when it's coming at me. Xiang was hired as bartender at the Blue Ant (now that she's registered and legal), and has proven that androids can make perfectly fine White Russians. Later, after "work," there was intrigue and adventure and dizzying heights. I fucking adore this place.

5 February 2010 )


By the way...I just spent about an hour and a half on this LJ entry....
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
1. Gods, I'm not awake. And to blame we have the Ambien I took at 4:45 a.m., although what we really have to blame is (drum roll, please) THE. BEST. ROLEPLAY. EVER. Which I got in Insilico last night. My thanks to Omika, Abiki, Fifth, Pinbacker...and others. Really, it's like being lodged in the forebrain/motherboard of an early William Gibson novel, this rp. Smart, immersive, simulationist, literate, and exquisitely hard. And to think I spent almost two and half years trying to find a sim that has its shit together, and players on the same wavelength as me, and that I suffered so much lousy rp and silly-ass ooc drama.* Anyway, wow, but I am so painfully not awake. Oh, I'm playing Xiang, a very confused little toaster.

2. Yesterday, I wrote 1,269 words on "Hydrarguros," for Sirenia Digest #50. The story really seemed to find itself yesterday afternoon. And then Jason Statham showed up. On Facebook, I wrote "Gods, I've just realized Jason Statham is narrating my new sf story. That is, the narrator's voice, as I hear it in my head as I write is that of Jason Statham." Sort of Jason Statham as he was in Snatch. Later, also on Facebook, I added, "You have to imagine Jason Statham starring in a film version of David Bowie's Outside, playing Nathan Adler, only it's not a movie about art crimes, but a movie about drugs from Mars." Which isn't precisely right, but somewhere in the neighborhood.

3. Okay, so...I've keep putting off talking about Peter Straub's very wonderful new novel, A Dark Matter (due out February 9th). Mostly, that's because I know enough to know I'm no good at reviewing books (would that more readers knew this of themselves), and I'm not going to do the book justice. I can heap praise upon it, which it deserves, but which is also insufficient. I could, in theory, reduce it to some book-reportish synopsis, but that would be criminal. So, I won't do either. You're just going to have to trust me on this. I've been reading Peter since 1981, and this is one of his very best. There are such moments of surreal, transcendent weird. Worlds bleed together. It is, in a sense, about the price of expanding one's consciousness. In another sense, it's about the charlatans who promise expanded consciousness, and, specifically, about the sorts who peddled those wares in the sixties. More than anything, this is a novel about consequence. In brilliantly inverts many of the readers expectations, turning its plot back upon itself, as we watch its characters struggle to come to terms with an unspeakably bizarre event from their pasts, in order to heal their present lives. You want to read this novel. Spooky read the whole thing aloud to me while I was sick, before she got sick. We expect to read it a second time in a few months. Thank you, Peter. You just shine, man.

4. Last night, we watched Anthony Bourdain in the Philippines (our fondness for this man seems to know no bounds), and then watched Rob Zombies' remake of Halloween 2. I'm still parsing my thoughts on the film. It was, in many ways, a much more ambitious film than his Halloween remake, and it had some fine moments, but, in the end, I don't think it was as good as the first film (and certainly not as good as The Devil's Rejects). Mostly, I think Mr. Zombie needs to a) stop casting the atrocious Sheri Moon Zombie in his films, even if she is his wife, because the woman simply cannot act, and she's holding him back; and 2) I think it's time for him to try something new. We now know he can make very, very good slasher films in the spirit of the '70s and '80s classics. Now, I'd like to see him do something different, because I think he has it in him, and it's time to grow artistically.

5. Email this morning from the woman who'll be reading both Low Red Moon and Threshold for the Audible.com adaptations. They start recording tomorrow, and need correct pronunciations for trilobite names. So, I think all the audiobooks are now in production, which is just amazing.

6. I'm now going to go drink what's left of my coffee and try to wake the fuck up. Excuse me.

*Within a few weeks, Insilico proved itself almost as bad, or worse, than the rest of Second Life, and I had to start eating my words.
greygirlbeast: (white)
1. Yes, I'm still using the somewhat pathetic crutch of numbered items in my entry. The platypus has given hisherits permission, so it's cool. One day soon— or so I'm told by the voices that speak to me in the dead of night when sleep won't come —my mind will be clear again and I can dispense with these numbers.

2. I am much, much better. However, Spooky contracted the Dread Bug from me, and now she's sick as the proverbial dog.

3. On Friday, thinking I was "well," and feeling a bit of cabin fever, I unwisely convinced Spooky to take me to a matinée screening of Scott Stewart's Legion. Unwise for three reasons: 1) I was actually still sick, and Spooky was just getting sick; 2) It was cold as a midwinter night on Hoth out there; and 3) Scott Stewart's Legion is the lousiest excuse for a movie I've paid to see in a very, very long time. As we were leaving the theatre, I wanted to say, "That's the worst movie about angels I've ever seen." Sadly, that's probably not true, so I didn't say it. I cannot recall an instance of noisy teenagers making fun of a movie I was trying to watch not pissing me off, but there were three who kept cracking wise during Legion, and that's probably the only thing that got me through the film. Spooky almost fell asleep, repeatedly. I'm assuming that Paul Bettany played the archangel Micheal because Vin Diesel was busy with a game of AD&D. Regardless, Bettany delivers what has to stand as one of the most wooden performances in the history of bad movies about angels. The guy that played Gabriel was even worse. Pissed-off angels should not make one chortle. Someone needed to have taken Kevin Durand aside and shown him Tilda Swinton's portrayal of Gabriel, as an example of a creepy, threatful Gabriel done well. Or, hey, they could have shown Durand a bit of Christopher Walken. Or both. In the entire cast, only Charles S. Dutton and Dennis Quaid even tried to act. I think The End of the World, With Red Necks would have made a better title. All in all, it's really a shame, because I was rather intrigued by the film's premise. But instead of taking that premise anywhere worth going, we get rednecks (I mentioned that), the redneck Baby Jesus Mark II, a redneck truck stop, a nonsensical and inconsistent plot, and angels that seemed a lot more like a cross between death knights and gladiators than angels of any stripe. Maybe that's how rednecks imagine angels. I don't know. Like, okay...you're a fucking angel, right? You're fucking Gabriel, to be precise. You do not need some huge-ass Klingon dagger to kill a lousy human. I think that's actually in the Old Testament somewhere. And never mind the machine guns. Just skip this one. Don't even wait for the DVD, unless you're going to zap it in the microwave. Mr. Stewart, if you are reading this, please drop the theological claptrap and go back to doing visual effects for movies that don't suck, made by actual directors.

4. I should be writing about what a wonderful novel is Peter Straub's A Dark Matter, but I refuse to speak at length about such a fine book in the same entry that I speak at length of a shit stain of a movie like Legion, so that's going to have to wait until tomorrow.

5. I have to try to write today, or these deadlines are going to chew me up and shit me out.

6. To my great pleasure, I actually found some very, very good Second Life roleplay last night. My thanks to "Hibiki Ochs" and "Omika Pearl" and whoever built the Insilico sim, because I was just about the ditch SL for the fifteenth time.* Also, Insilico brought a bright spot to an otherwise terribly bad day.

Okay...I let my coffee get cold. Crap.

*The love affair was short lived, Insilico quickly proving to be as disappointing as the rest of SL, despite the shiny candy coating.
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
1. No, I'm not dead. Though, round about night before last, it would have been preferable. I am much, much better this morning, so hopefully I'm quickly recovering. Tiger Balm patches are a marvelous thing. Now, if my body would just shutdown the mucus pumps for a while. But, seriously...people are always asking, why do you never go anywhere or do anything? I say, "Because I'll get sick. I look at a crowd of people, and all I see are hundreds of billions of virulent germs." People scoff and call me silly. I go Outside. I get sick. And then I lose writing time I can't afford to lose. Now, yeah, I know it's very bad for me, never leaving the house, but being shut down for five or six days to some bug isn't very good for me, either. It's a damned conundrum.

2. I've spent most of the past two days in bed. There was a lot of TV (on laptop via DVD) and a lot of reading, mostly, Spooky reading aloud to me. We finished Peter Straub's very, very wonderful A Dark Matter (due out February 9th). I'm going to say more about it when I'm a bit more articulate, but it really is a grand novel. I also read more of the December issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology— "Comparison and biomechanical interpretations of the vertebrae and osteoderms of Cacops aspidephorus and Dissorophus multicinctus (Temnospondyli; Dissorophoridae)," and "A possible new ctenosauriscid archosaur from the Middle Triassic Manda Beds of Tanzania." And I began the paper on the pedal morphology of the "marsupial lion," Thylacoleo, one of the the most splendidly bizarre bits of evolutionary tinkering known thus far. It makes Spooky start talking about "blender mammals." Also, we watched all of Season Five of Weeds in two nights.

3. On Wednesday, the February National Geographic arrived. Had I not already been sick, the cover story would have done it. Some ancient old Mormon extremist fucker with five wives, forty-six children, and 239 grandchildren. Recall David Szydloski's modest proposal from The World Without Man? I quoted it at length. Now, I know it's a fairy tale of sanity and restraint, expecting a human reproduction rate of one child per each man and woman. I know that perfectly well. But...here we have six adults who, rather than producing about twenty new humans (which would be in keeping with the worldwide average), they've squirted out a total of 285. I think I'm going to have to tear the cover off before I can read this issue.

4. I did manage a very small amount of writing. Very, very small. 410 words on Wednesday, and the day before that, Tuesday, 204. That's how bad this week has been. Monday, I've got to call my agent and talk about the feasibility of certain deadlines.

5. I am officially puking sick to fucking death (this has nothing to do with my plague, different kinda sick) of reactionary internet twitwad word police who seem to exist for no other reason than to get pissed at the drop of a hat. Which is to say, if I proclaim "I'm no one's bitch," I am not feeding into so-called "rape culture" (see the last paragraph of this entry by Himself if you are wondering what I'm on about). This is almost as fucked-up as the jackass on Twitter who accused me of encouraging discrimination against transgendered people. By the way, as it happens, I am Spooky's bitch. And the platypus'. But that's all. The bitch line ends there.
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
1. Something strange this morning. Someone going by "Blue Tyson" has posted a one-star review of The Red Tree to Amazon.com. Thing is, it's not actually a review of the book. Instead, the "review," titled "Blacklisted - Georestricted," reads: This book is georestricted and hence will not be bought. Unfortunately it is probably good, too. Now, I have no bloody idea what this means, but I see the same person has posted identical "reviews" to novels by a number of other authors. I've reported it as "inappropriate," and I'd like to ask my readers to please do likewise, as the novel and I certainly do not need a one-star review that's not even a "review" dragging down the book's rating. Thanks. It's an easy process. Just click "report this." Eventually, Amazon.com will take it down. Also, if anyone can explain to me what this bullshit is all about, I'd appreciate it.

2. I slept too late. I must have been truly exhausted, as I slept more than eight hours without Ambien. And now I'm running hopelessly behind today.

3. Not much to yesterday. Decompression. No work done, speaking of getting even farther behind. I managed a hot bath, a very large corned-beef sandwich, and a nap.

4. I did get a rather marvelous email from Micheal Cisco, a link to a short film (very short) that David Lynch made to commemorate the centennial of the Lumière Brothers' first motion picture.

5. Kathryn and I have begun reading Peter Straub's new novel, The Dark Matter, which we're both loving. We made it through the first forty-three pages yesterday evening. The book will be released on February 9th. So, now we're reading three novels simultaneously: Dark Matter, along with Greer Gilman's Cloud and Ashes and Francesca Lia Block's Pretty Dead. I hate reading more than a single novel at a time, but....

6. Last night, we watched Karyn Kusama's Jennifer's Body. I'd avoided it in theateres, because I'm really not a fan of Diablo Cody (and let's not get into that here, please). But it's actually quite good. The comparisons with Gingersnaps and Heathers that I've seen are apt. Definitely one of the few good "horror" films of the last year. The kitchen scene, just after Jennifer's reanimation, was probably my favorite bit. I think I will need to own this one on DVD. We also saw the latest episode of Fringe, which was good. I'm starting to think Playing God would have been a better title for the series. But, I'm an atheist, and I probably fail to appreciate how a title like that would have pissed off a significant percentage of the series' potential viewership. I also fail to care, so there you go.

7. An idea has occurred to me, a sort of more transgressive take on the loathsome "paranormal romance" subgenre, which I may pitch to my agent and editor as a three-book series, and which I would write under the pseudonym Kathleen Tierney (if you know your Gælic, this is essentially the same name as "Caitlín Kiernan"*). I'm not sure where I would find the time, but it might be fun. Geoffrey and Kathryn find the idea intriguing. There would be incestuous lesbian half sisters, demons, interdimensional travel, vampirism, an order of ceremonial magicians bent on some appropriately dark purpose, and all sort of Lovecraftian frippery. One trick would be to circumnavigate the default (and ironic) homophobia of "pr." We shall see.

8. I promised there would be more photos from the trip to New York, and there are, behind the cut. They're a bit grainy, because we decided to use only the available light and not disrupt everything with a flash. I may post two more sets, one of the Montauk Club's architecture, and another of Grand Central Station.

15-16 January 2010, Part 2 )


* In both instances, the surname is an anglicized derivation of the Irish surname Ó Tighearnaigh.
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
A wonderful cool day here in Providence today. Only 77F out there as I type this.

Most of yesterday was spent re-reading Arthur Machen, in preparation for writing the introduction for Joshi that I should begin today, but will likely begin tomorrow, after more reading. I'd forgotten how much I adore Machen's "The Great God Pan." It's certainly not his best, and bears all the marks —— good and bad —— of the first important work of a very young author —— he was only 32 when it was first published in 1894, and in those days before the instant gratification of POD, 32 was young for an author. Truthfully, it still is. Anyway, I'd forgotten what a great influence the novella had on Peter Straub's brilliant Ghost Story (1979), which is essentially a 20th-Century retelling of "The Great God Pan" moved to upstate New York and writ large (and minus Machen's rather absurd proto-sf elements). Exchange Helen Vaughn/Mrs. Herbert/Mrs. Beaumont for Alma Mobley/Eva Galli/Angie Maul/Anna Mostyn, and maybe exchange Pan for the Manitou. For that matter, I'd not realized the degree to which Machen's story had so influenced a couple of my own short stories, including "Houses Under the Sea" (2004) and "Pickman's Other Model" (2008). Influences fascinate me, and as I almost never claim any attempt at originality, I have no qualms about pointing out those places where I have borrowed, intentionally or unconsciously, from another.

In Machen's introduction to the 1916 reprint of the story, he writes:

Stevenson [Robert Louis], I think, knew of the emotions which I am trying to express. To his mind the matter presented itself thus: there are certain scenes, certain hills and valleys and groves of pines which demand that a story shall be written about them. I would refine: I would say that the emotions aroused by these external things reverberating in the heart are indeed the story. But, our craft being that of letters, we must express what we feel through the medium of words. And once words are granted, we fall into the region of the logical understanding, we are forced to devise incidents and circumstances and plots, to "make up a story"; we translate a hill into a tale, conceive lovers to explain a brook, turn the perfect into the imperfect. The musician must be happier in his art, if he be not the sorry slave to those follies which mimic the lowing of cattle by some big brazen horn. The true musician exercises a perfect art; there is no descent into the logic of plots for him.

Which rather nicely sums up my thoughts on the artifice and contrivance of plot, the writer's sadly necessary evil, and I love that phrase, "...descent into the logic of plots...."

And today, it has been thirteen years since Elizabeth's suicide.

My thanks to everyone who commented yesterday, as the comments pretty much rendered moot any need for a poll. The journal will stay as is. Also, my great thanks to the few who have taken a moment to comment on Sirenia Digest #32, particularly on "Derma Sutra (1891)." It was one of those stories I was especially reluctant to show the world, and I have been heartened by the responses I've seen so far. More comments are welcome, of course.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. And if you can, pre-order a copy of the forthcoming mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds. Also, be advised that subpress is accepting pre-orders for A is for Alien.

As for the rest of yesterday, not much to it. A quick trip through a thunderstorm to Borders. This dratted constant pain in my dratted face. Spooky made a really fine stew, mostly with stuff from our CSA bag —— green bell pepper, elephant kale, zucchini, tomatoes (fresh and canned), white mushrooms, patty-pan squash, white onion, garlic, chicken, and I won't even try to list the spices, because I'd only forget most of it. Later, we had a bit of Second Life rp in the Tower of Serpents in the "Kingdom of Sand" sim. Later still, we watched the last episode of Angel —— "Not Fade Away" —— as I wanted to see it before reading After the Fall.
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
As I begin this entry, the temperature here in Atlanta is 96F with a heat index of 100F. The day's actual high is forecast at 101F.

Yesterday, the postman brought a present from Peter Straub, a copy of his new book of non-fiction, Sides (Cemetery Dance Publications), which includes the afterword he wrote for the first edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder back in 1999. Thank you, Peter.

No writing in these quarters yesterday. It's so hot there are no birds singing until long after sunset. Or so it seems. Even the cicadas hardly make a sound. We read more Anaïs Nin — "Marieanne" and "Elena." Spooky went out into the fullness of the heat a couple of times, but I didn't leave the house.

In the 1930s and '40s, Anaïs Nin was "the madam of a literary house of prostitution." For one dollar a page, she and many of her friends — other writers and artists — wrote erotica for an anonymous "collector." The collector insisted, again and again, that the erotica be devoid of any hint of "poetry." This from the preface to The Delta of Venus:

December, 1941

George Barker was terribly poor. He wanted to write more erotica. He wrote eight-five pages. The collector thought they were too surrealistic. I loved them. His scenes of lovemaking were disheveled and fantastic. Love between trapezes

He drank away the first money, and I could not lend him anything but more paper and carbons. George Barker, the excellent English poet, writing erotica to drink, just as Utrillo painted painting in exchange for bottle of wine. I began to think about the old man we all hated. I decided to write to him, address him directly, tell him about our feelings.

"Dear Collector: We hate you. Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession. It becomes a bore. You have taught us more than anyone I know how wrong it is not to mix it with emotion, hunger, desire, lust, whims, caprices, personal ties, deeper relationships that change its color, flavor, rhythms, intensities.

You do not know what you are missing by your microscopic examination of sexual activity to the exclusion of aspects which are the fuel that ignites it. Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional. This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements. You are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood.

If you nourished your sexual life with all the excitements and adventures which love injects into sensuality,
you would be the most potent man in the world. The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. You are watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Without feeling, inventions, moods, no surprises in bed. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine.

How much do you lose by this periscope at the tip of your sex, when you could enjoy a harem of distinct and never-repeated wonders? No two hairs alike, but you will not let us waste words on a description of hair; no two odors, but if we expand on this you cry Cut the poetry. No two skins with the same texture, and never the same light, temperature, shadows, never the same gesture; for a lover, when he is aroused by true love, can run the gamut of centuries of love lore. What a range, what changes of age, what variations of maturity and innocence, perversity and art...

We have sat around for hours and wondered how you look. If you have closed your senses upon silk, light, color, odor, character, temperament, you must be by now completely shriveled up. There are so many minor senses, all running like tributaries into the mainstream of sex, nourishing it. Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy."


I may spend the day hiding in the bathtub.

Oh, I keep forgetting. Spooky has listed another copy of the mmp of Theshold on eBay, so if you'd like a signed, personalised copy, you might want to have a look.

If there's anything I've forgotten, I'm sure it can wait until later.

Postscript (3:23 p.m.) — The temp has reached 100F, with a heat index of 108F.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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