greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
A wild, rainy early afternoon here in Providence. Rainy and warm (50˚F). I hear rumours it may be snowing in Nova Scotia. Regardless, I hardly slept "last night," despite quite a cocktail of psychotropics, as Monsieur Insomnia came to join the dance. I read The Dawn Seekers until six ayem, when I finally drifted off. My dreams are better left unspoken, but I understand Spooky spent part of her slumber being romanced by Walter Bishop.

No writing yesterday. Only the search for a story, one to replace "The Diamond Friendly" (now shelved). I think I may have found just such a story. Or, well, what might grow into a story. This is for Sirenia Digest #74, by the way. Though, there are many others waiting in the wings, even though I began turning down almost all short-story solicitations many months ago. Mostly due to my work with Dark Horse. Still, I have about half a dozen to write this year (not counting the digest), plus my essay for Chicks Dig Time Lords. I will admit, I'm still a little uncomfortable with the fact that lesbians and female transgenders were not covered under Chicks Dig Time Lords. Anyway, as soon as Sirenia Digest #74 is out, I'll begin Alabaster #5.

By the way, and by the by, Dark Horse Presents #9 will be released on February 22nd and will include an eight-page sneak preview of Alabaster. And only thirteen days after that, The Drowning Girl will be released. Do me a favour. Follow that link to the novel's Amazon.com page, and click "like," right there beneath my name. It can't hurt sales, and it might give me some idea how many people are still reading this blog. Thank you kindly. Anyway, I'll be spending a great deal of March and April (and probably May, and...) promoting both books, including an uncommon (for me) number of public appearances (TBA, and only in the Northeast, Manhattan to Boston). This will eat up even more writing time, as I cannot write and travel, though I know many others can. Plus, who knows what crud I'll contract, all that human contact. Howard Hughes is unaccustomed to the microbial life outside her plastic bubble of social sterility.

As for last night...well, too much...um, recreation. A nice bit of C18H21NO3, far too much Star Wars: The Old Republic (my Sith and my Jedi), Curiosity Cola, and other nonsense. I went to bed, finally, and read The Dawn Seekers, and didn't sleep...but we've already covered that part, haven't we? Ah, I also read "Re-description and evolutionary remarks on the Patagonian horned turtle Niolamia argentina Ameghino, 1899 (Testudinata, Meiolaniidae)" is the most recent JVP.

My thanks to whoever sent me the new Penguin Classics The White People and Other Weird Stories by Arthur Machen, along with Franz Wright's Kindertotenwald.

Somewhere Near Awake,
Aunt Beast

Postscript: I don't have a lot of favourite designers, but...I just got the news that one of them, Eiko Ishioka, has died...and...fuck.
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Hallelujah, Noël,
Be it Heaven or Hell...


That's the best part of the Greg Lake song, so that's the only part I'm quoting. And that's being generous. Fuck you, Xmas, and the manger you rode in on.

I ought be working, as that's my usual Xmas Eve tradition, but I'm supposedly vacating. Maybe I'll clean my office. I know I'll spend the evening posting Xmas cheer, like Tom Waits' "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" and the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York." And, of course, Spooky and I have our one and only Xmas Eve tradition: watching Terry Zwigoff's Badder Santa (2003), in which Billy Bob Thornton teaches us the true meaning of Xmas. "Fuck me, Santa. Fuck me, Santa. Fuck me, Santa." Well, that and wooden pickles. And theft. And booze.

Yesterday...er. After all the intoxicants, do I even remember yesterday? There were emails with publicity at Berkley Publishing Group/New American Library, because, you know, I'm on vacation. Only writers don't get vacations. Not true vacations. And there was a huge breakfast of ham and eggs and tomato and sautéed mushrooms. Oh, look. LJ can only spell sautéed if you leave off the acute accent. Fucking illiterate fucking internet. I read John Langan's "Mr. Gaunt." I took Vicodin for recreational purposes. Hey, my psychiatrist said it was okay, as long as I don't develop a dependency (flash back to my notorious Xanax addiction of 1988-1991). I thought about cleaning up my office, but it was too much work. I wanted some "candlelight yoga," but I was too stoned...and too sore from the fall at West Cove. I spent three hours on an LJ entry, which is sort of pathetic. We watched the last two episodes of American Horror Story (bow tie!!!), then played SW:toR (and I murdered a Darth! Also bow tie.), and I dozed while watching a documentary on how Earth's collision with a planetoid (Theia) led to the creation of the moon 4.53 Ga (4,533 million years ago, ten to the sixth, etc.). I guess that was yesterday. Oh, except for the Tiger Balm patch and two Red Bulls.

Maybe, late tonight, I'll go out and give all my money away to street crazies, and vets we can't be bothered to take care of, all the freezing and the homeless and lost and forgotten and forsaken and as good as walking dead. But not crack whores. I do not take pity on crack whores, kittens.

And now? Well, we shall see, won't we. Keep watching the skies.

Filled With Happy Juice,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
The thing about those bow-tie HPLHS Solstice CDs is you gotta be in the same room with them, hearing the lyrics, or they just start sounding like the putrescent Xmas Muzak we must suffer if we are to have groceries. We went out to the market last night, and there was actually Shirley Fucking Temple! No, really. I swore that next November we're laying in supplies.

And here we are, on that shortest day of the year (well, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere; if you're below the Equator, strike that, reverse it), and, to those who wish to be wished such, Happy Yuletide. Or Midwinter. Or what have you.

There was a dream about changelings. I almost typed, "and not the good kind of changelings, either," but then reminded myself how the world and I often have different operative paradigms about things like changelings. Regardless, first they were Italian, then Greek. Dead chickens were involved.

Yesterday, there were errands (aforementioned grocer, liquor store, and chemist). We decorated our Cephalopodmas tree (photo behind the cut, below!). We had the last of Sunday's chili with Annie's mac and cheese. I took two naps in the middle parlour; I blame the fireplace. And – sorry, changing the subject a moment – it just occurred to me how much The National sound like Roy Orbison. Anyway, last night there was rain and much wind, and too much SW:toR, and I slightly over "self-medicated," which is probably why I was visited by Greek changelings with dead chickens.

For dog's sake, I fucking hate December. I am July.

But, today we are going to the sea.

And here are photos – the Cephalopodmas tree, Cephalopodmas cookies, and – just because – Idumea, still a work in progress:

22 December 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Comment!

Spooky just quoted the Agricultural Commissioner of the state of Florida to me. "This snail is one bad dude," she said. Well, she said, he said. These are our mornings.

Yesterday, I didn't work. My body isn't exhausted. I've actually been getting more sleep than I did for a long time (finally having discovered the effective anti-insomnia cocktail...for me), but I've been working so much. For a long time, I was truly too ill to take on more than...this gets sort of funny. Even when I was very ill, I was working a lot. I'm making a living as a freelance, and so there's no choice but to work. Health is not relevant, not really. Regardless, about a year and a half ago, I began getting better, and taking on more work, and conceiving new ideas, and, at this point, I go to sleep working out problems in my fiction and wake up doing the same thing. Okay, more the former than the latter. But it's catching up with me, and my mind and nerves are tired. All thus fucking work. So, I didn't work yesterday.

I suppose autumn is here. I haven't spent much time outside, but it must be here. I feel it. It isn't looking in. Why would it bother? But I feel its dry brown eyes upon me, if only because I'm in the way. Not that I believe the autumn is something that can literally have eyes. And speaking of the autumn, and Hallowe'en, Spooky is having a Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. 20% off on everything! And if you don't buy something, she'll get sad, and when she gets sad.... Well, trust me. You don't want her sad. So, please...buy something. The necklaces are truly amazing.

Actually, I hate that word. Sad*, I mean. It's a child's word. There at least twenty synonyms in the English language that are far more suitable to mature vocabularies. Of course, if you are a child, by all means, good word. Use it till the wheels fall off.*

I'm having a great deal of frustration as regards futurism at the moment. I don't mean the artistic movement that arose in Italy about 1910 (including Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Antonio Sant'Elia, Tullio Crali and Luigi Russolo, plus the Russians Natalia Goncharova, Velimir Khlebnikov, and Vladimir Mayakovsky). I mean futurism in the many senses that it is employed by those who wish to analyze trends and then forecast. But I don't mean those looking for better futures (there are none), and I don't mean those who believe the future can be accurately forecast (that's almost impossible; not quite, but almost). What I have in mind is far simpler: communicating to people that the future will be alien, just as the past is alien. That is, alien to us, from the Here and Now. And convincing people they do not currently live in some incarnation or portion of the future (excepting that this came after that; well, that's bloody obvious, and now you're even older). I mean, the future will be different, and the farther you move into the future, the stranger (less like now) it becomes. That everything evolves, and not just technology, but culture. SF writers have an especial problem with evolving culture, economics, biology, medicine, politics, and especially with evolving language. But...I'm not actually concerned here with writers. Even the worst SF writer is ahead of the curve in this regard. I'm talking about...oh, never mind. You can lead a horse to a fine Bordeaux, but it's just gonna want the oogy, muddy, stinking water in the drinking through, where all the rodents poop. Some will know of what I speak; others will not.

Did I mention that Spooky is having a Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. I did? Just checking.

Last night, we happened to see a rather good movie, Christian Alvart's Case 39 (2009), with Renée Zellweger, Ian McShane, and Jodelle Ferland. I went in not expecting much, and was pleasantly surprised. You could call this a "horror movie," and maybe it is. But I find it more interesting to think of as a film about terror and horror (and those aren't the same emotions, you know, regardless of how linked they may be). Also, while this film clearly comes from the demonic child/possession tradition, it immediately struck me as a story about a fairie changeling, and (though the word demon is tossed about a couple of times, and we see a crucifix and a Bible, the Xtianity thing is almost absent). So, it may be Alvart had something far less concrete than a "demon" (sensu Xtianity) in mind. It may only be that he understands the American mind, needing something familiar, would fix on "demon." Anyway, Case 39 is not a particularly original movie, so if you're that sort (and I hope you're not), don't waste your time with it. It plays old tropes, but it plays them well. It's not brilliant, but it is good, and it's stuck with me. There are elements it borrows from better films, but it borrows them well. And, even in an ending that might seem hopeful, step back, and you'll see the overwhelming bleakness and horror still in play. It's streaming free on Netflix.

Later, I read a truly awful story in the Halloween anthology, Lyllian Huntley Harris' "The Vow on Halloween." Never heard of Lyllian Huntley Harris? Well, neither had I, and with good reason. The anthology's editor (who freely admits this tale is "pure pulp and quaintly romantic") notes that the story was, in a 1985 anthology, mistakenly attributed to the Irish novelist Dorothy Macardle. Turns out, though, it was published in Weird Tales in 1924, by a Georgian woman (that is, Georgia, USA), and her name was Lyllian Huntley Harris, and she couldn't write for shit. Virtually nothing else is known about her. She died in 1939.

Oh, we saw the first episode of Season Four of Fringe, and...wow. More, please. I am impressed and pleased. There are points I could get picky about, but I'm not going to, because the show is just too much fun.

Also, here's an interesting bit of trivia. My first rejection slip ever came from the late, lamented Twlight Zone magazine in 1982 (at least, I think it was '82). The story was a stinker, and it deserved the rejection, believe me. Anyway, at the time, the editor was T. E. D. Klein, who wrote the excellent and surprisingly (to me) successful Machenesque novel The Ceremonies (1984) and the shorty-story collection Dark Gods (1985), and, sadly, very little else. But, yeah, my first rejection slip came from T. E. D. Klein, who, turns out, wrote the introduction of the forthcoming Hippocampus Press collection of Arthur Machen stories, which will feature the afterword I wrote in 2008 for a different collection of Machen stories. It's an odd little twist of fate.

Um...well...I have gone on haven't I?

Inveterate,
Aunt Beast

* Then again, there's really nothing wrong with the word sad. Not intrinsically. The problem is people who use it childishly, habitually, with marked naïveté. Usually, these are people with a stunted world view.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I awoke about nine p.m., hot and sweaty and sick from having taken a Valium and two Sonata, but then only slept five hours. I awoke to relive, it seems, an especially grotesque day from October 1990.

It's just me, or it's everyone, or it's only some people, but even after forty-seven years, I've no idea whatsoever.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,236 words on a new vignette, "The Granting Cabinet."

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to keep up these journal entries during Readercon. Back in March, I promised myself I'd make an entry every day for six months. But I'm not about to pay the hotel's exorbitant charge for internet access, so I really have no idea how I'm going to make it happen. Not that anyone much still reads LJ – they're all too busy with the easy, instant gratification and minimal compositional prerequisites of Twitter and Facebook – but it's important to me, if only because it's a promise I made to me.

Maybe I'll spend the day lying on the kitchen floor. The view from there isn't so bad.

Here are the photos from Saturday that I'd wanted to post yesterday.

9 July 2011 )
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: (Narcissa)
This morning might almost be mistaken for June. Sunny. Warm, if you ignore the breeze. 74F.

Speaking as someone who has (and continues) to cope with addiction, I remain forever...how shall I say this nicely? I remain forever at odds with NA and AA. I've seen so many sane, decent, rational, likeable drunks and addicts turned into unbearable, self-righteous zombies obsessed with abandoning personal responsibility and shifting it to their so-called Higher fucking Powers. Once upon a time, back in the late 1980s, I had a therapist in Birmingham. I can't even recall her name. But she tried to get me on the twelve-step bandwagon. There was a day she grew (no shit) absolutely livid because I refused to "surrender" to any "Higher Power." She accused me of "not even trying" and threatened to stop seeing me. "Can't you at last pretend?!" Hell, let us here note the success rates of these programs are crap. And here's the thing, it's not that I don't recognize that the universe is filled to overflowing with that which is more powerful than the one little organism of me. I do recognize that. Humpback whales. Hurricanes. Volcanoes. Plate tectonics. The sun. Whatever. I'm just one little bug. But I refuse to make up – or buy into other people's made up – sentient "Higher Powers." Trading one drug for another, in effect, one dependency for another. Though, in retrospect, maybe I should have claimed my Higher Power was a female Black Lectroid leader named John Emdall (from Planet 10, natch). Sorry. Rant ends here.

---

Workwise, yesterday was a bit of a nightmare. As I was about to begin the next section of Chapter Four, I realized there was a huge continuity error, and that its roots lay far back in a conversation I'd written in Chapter Two. I refused to rewrite the conversation, and sat here until I found a way to progress, resolve the continuity problem, and keep the conversation. All that led to a somewhat lowered word count, "only" 1,034 words.

There's something about Blood Oranges that I hope people will understand. This book is "just for fun." Spooky calls it a "popcorn book." Which is fairly accurate. It is in no way meant to be received the way I hope people have received The Red Tree and will receive The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. This one's just for shits and giggles.

Anyway...

I've felt so lousy the last few days (much better this ayem), we splurged last night and went to the 6:30 screening of Terrence Malick's Tree of Life at the Avon on Thayer Street (I half made up for it by have PB&J for dinner). Malick is in the tiny handful of directors who can, in my opinion, pretty much do no wrong. I'd love to write a review expounding just how amazing and beautiful and brilliant Tree of Life is, but, as I've said many times, I have no talent for reviews. But...you have to see this if you can. A film that manages to place the everyday life of a Waco, Texas family in the 1950s within a universal context, within the context of deep time. From the formation of the galaxy to the prebiotic earth to a Cretaceous forest...to the emptiness of an architect's life decades after his brothers death...to the nova of our star and, then, earth as a burnt out cinder. Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are both perfect. Indeed, this is about as close to perfect as film ever comes. There's not much I can think of that's comparable to Tree of Life, except Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Only Tree of Life is a better film. No film has impressed me this much since Synecdoche, New York (2008). Tree of Life goes on my "Top 50 Films Ever" list. Not sure what gets bumped off.

---

Later, back home, I played Rift. A lot of Rift, while Spooky played the new American Mcgee Alice game (which is gorgeous). My thanks to Tracy T. for a combination of superb rp and helping me survive two enormous fire-rift events in the Droughtlands. Ah, Maelforge, chaos incarnate, dragon ruler of the Plane of Fire, you are a right bastard.

Then Spooky and I finished reading Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants (this month's selection in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club - hint, hint). A marvelous novel, though I actually think the film may be ever so slightly better. That actually does happen from time to time, the creation of a film that bests its source material. Oh, our mathematician's dice came yesterday! And I read "Cranial osteology of a juvenile specimen of Tarbosaurus bataar (Theropoda, Tyrannosauridae) from the Nemegt Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Bugin Tsav, Mongolia" from the January JVP.

Oh, and I think I've decided that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be dedicated to Henry Darger.

Also, all of Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction has ended except this.

Okay. Must write now, and must not wish (too hard) that I were at the sea.
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
No sleep until, I think, 4:30 ayem. Simply not sure. I waited forever to take the pills (which means they're still with me), and then Kathryn read to me until I could shut my eyes.

Sunny today, and I ought to be at Pride, but I'll sit here and write, instead.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,794 words on Blood Oranges. And considered changing the title of the book to Diary of a Werepire Dead Girl. Saner portions of my head prevailed. Last night, we watched Abrams' Star Trek for the bazillionth time – I love it more each time – and Selwyn made Level 48 in Rift.

I'm trying to figure out the dedication for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. It was easy with The Ammonite Violin & Others. Diane Arbus was the only choice that made any sense. But this time I have a list, and I'm considering Henry Darger, Angela Carter, Francis Bacon, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Anyway, blah, blah, blah. I should brush my teeth.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Today, the meteorological violence of the past two days is gone. The sky is overcast, and the air is cool, presently only 77F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,738 words on Chapter Three of Blood Oranges. Now, there's a troll in the book.

Much of the day was spent bracing for a storm that I'm pretty sure actually came the night before. But the weathermen freak out when something gets past them, so they were overcompensating, going so far as to warn people to stock up on food and water and suchlike...for a thunderstorm. Spooky did go out to the market, and there were trees down – some of them quite large – from the storm that hit us early on Wednesday morning. Some buildings in our neighborhood took damage from that storm, from the wind and hail. Anyway, here's how things looked about 5:30 p.m. yesterday:



About 6 p.m., as we were eating dinner, the red band swept over us, and it was a kitten compared with the night before.

---

Yesterday, something happened that I've been expecting ever since Colgate-Palmolive bought a controlling interest in Tom's of Maine back in 2006 – I opened a box of toothpaste and discovered that the old metal tube had been replaced with a squishy plastic one. And who the hell really knows which is "greener" than the other, metal or plastic. Point is, toothpaste ought come in metal fucking tubes.

---

I slept last night, at least. About seven and a half hours. But the Good Worker Bee Pills are making me fat, a side effect that is known and common, so it's not as if I wasn't warned.

---

Last night, though the air cooled dramatically after the storms, my office was still too stuffy for Rift, so we finished watching the Burroughs documentary (dir. Yony Leyser, 2010). It was very, very well done. Afterwards, though, we watched William Cameron Menzies' The Maze (1953). Menzies is credited with inventing the role of the film production designer and was involved in the creation of many wonderful films. The Maze is not one of them. It didn't help that it was shot for 3-D, during one of those other times Hollywood fell for that gimmick. Very likely one of the dullest films I've ever slept through. Okay, I only slept through about ten minutes, and apparently I didn't miss anything. It was almost worth eduring the whole silly, wretched mess for two lines:

Kitty Murray (played by Veronica Hurst): Look, there's a strand of seaweed!

Edith Murray (played by Katherine Emery): And a bowl of tomatoes (pronounced toe-MAH-toes).

Anyway, then we watched Christopher McQuarrie's The Way of the Gun (2000), which I love, even though it sort of destroyed the man's career. It shouldn't have. Spooky had never seen it. Yeah, that's a lot of watching. I wasn't in the mood for much else.

---

Rhetorical Question: How am I not to conclude that, in the end, I am, at best, a forgotten experiment and no one is watching?

Same As It Ever Was,
Aunt Beast

* From Wikipedia: "A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply. Rhetorical questions encourage the listener to think about what the (often obvious) answer to the question must be. When a speaker states, "How much longer must our people endure this injustice?", no formal answer is expected. Rather, it is a device used by the speaker to assert or deny something. (e.g.: "Why me?") While amusing and often humorous, rhetorical questions are rarely meant for pure, comedic effect. A carefully crafted question can, if delivered well, persuade an audience to believe in the position(s) of the speaker."
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Yesterday, I received NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL, that I may very possibly explode before I'm permitted to spill the beans. I think, when I do, a lot of my readers will be very happy. Like, "Oh, fuck!" happy. Maybe in another few weeks. I hope. Otherwise...you know, the exploding-writer problem. Scanners and all that shit.

I needed a whole Good Worker Bee Pill to get to sleep this morning, and I feel like whatever comes after a zombie. Five and a half or six hours sleep, and a few hours from now this shit might be out of my system. Meanwhile, whatever comes after zombie. I think this entry's going to be a breach birth. My thoughts are sideways. And crookedy.

We sweltered all day yesterday. We basted in our own bodily juices. About an hour after sunset we left the house and drove over the river to India Point Park. There was a hint of a cool breeze coming off the harbor. The black water was washed with a shimmering industrial Christmas-tree glow from the lights along Allens Avenue – red, white, yellow, blue – half a mile, a mile to the west and southwest. We sat a while on a stone wall at the park before heading home to the oven again. I've begun this, this entry, the wrong way round, of course.

Yesterday, I did only 626 words on Chapter Three of Blood Oranges, and then there were phone calls, and I received NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL it sort of disrupted my ability to write fiction for the remainder of the afternoon. Instead, I wrote an introduction I've been meaning to write, the one that will come before the illustrations in the limited edition of Two Worlds and In Between. Spooky and I went through all the issues of The Dreaming and found the names of all the many artists I worked with between 1996 and 2002. So, all told (sans blog entry), I wrote 1,090 words.

I'm in a rock-opera state of mind.

The Big Dam eBay Sale continues. Please have a look, and thanks. Also, visit Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. All her paintings are on sale (limited time) for 20% off! Coupon code: ART20

So, last night again. Back to last night. After the drive, returning to the oven, even with Dr. Muñoz blowing in the middle parlor, my office was unbearable, so we retreated to the bedroom and streamed The Prophecy 3: The Ascent (Patrick Lussier, 2000). I am constantly amazed at my ability to underestimate just how bad a bad movie will be. Sure, dumb direct-to-video angelic horror, but for fuck's sake, Vincent Spano turned in what is likely the worst performance as an angel ever in the history of film. On the other hand, Christopher Walken was predictably entertaining. I'm pretty sure he must have said "Fuck this shitty movie. I'll just say some funny-ass shit, cash my check, and go home." Too little Brad Dourif, who would have improved things immensely had there been more of him. If he'd have had Vincent Spano's role, for instance.

Afterwards, we began streaming a very good documentary on William S. Burroughs, but at 12:30 the internet went away (space weather!). We did nothing in particular for the next hour, and were thinking about trying to sleep when a hellacious thunderstorm swept across the city. We'd heard thunder and seen distant flashes of lightning all night, even back at India Point. But I hadn't expected anything to come of it, and I certainly didn't expect what did come of it. A fifteen or twenty minute barrage of hail, straight-line winds from 50-70mph, rain to drown a fish. It hit, stripped leaves from trees and broke branches, and then was gone. Truly, I've been through tornadoes and hurricanes, and still this was impressive. The lights flickered, but didn't go out. Many people in Providence are still without power. Today we are expecting very, very bad weather. Anyway, after the storm, Spooky read to me from Water for Elephants while I sketched yellow umbrella ladies.

If this is boring you, I apologize. I'm trying to yammer myself awake. Spooky just brought me a Red Bull, and maybe that will act as an antidote to the Necessary Evil slogging through my bloodstream. Fight one Necessary Evil with another Necessary Evil, I always say.

---

A tiny number of people who follow me (like 5-6 out of almost 1,800) are upset that I shut off the comment feature. Some wonder why I allow comments here, and not on Facebook. The answer is simple. It's rare that comments to my LJ are contentious or argumentative, whereas on Facebook I often make a remark that spawns a tiny flame war (that's probably a dated term). And I don't need that shit. Sometimes, I just want to say something, without soliciting good advices and dissention. I don't need that shit. And now it won't happen.

Time to make the doughnuts.

Windblown,
Aunt Beast

Oh, grainy photos from last night:

8 June 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
So.

I'm not asleep. I've taken my nightly meds, but have foregone the Good Worker Bee Pill, in favor of the Highly Unreliable Sleep Aid. Problem with all my meds (and especially the Good Worker Bee Pill and the Highly Unreliable Sleep Aid) is that my body often develops resistances to drugs at rather alarming rates. And by the time I've tripled the dosage on the Good Worker Bee Pill, a) it's not working and b) the side effects are making me ill.

So.

Tonight I will sleep, or I will not sleep. If I do not sleep, I will stay awake. If I stay awake, I will not allow myself sleep until tomorrow night. At which point, eventually exhausted, my body will reset. I'll crash. I'll sleep. At least one night.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, last night Mister Insomnia, he makes a house call. Which really didn't surprise me, as he'd made a house call the night before. But, last night, I resolve to kill the sorry motherfucker. I triple the usual dosage of the Good-Worker-Bee Pill. Ol' Mister Insomnia, he just laughed. I didn't even feel the pills. Sometime after dawn, Mister Insomnia grew bored, tossed me aside the way King Kong tosses aside all those blondes who aren't Naomi Watts, and he went off to torture someone else. Some day-sleeper, I suppose. And finally the pills kicked in, and I slept the sleep of the wicked and dead until Spooky woke me about noon. I needed help to walk to the kitchen table, pretty much. Now, I'm sitting up straight, but the pills are still going strong. I might be conscious and cognizant by three p.m. This is sort of like waking with a really bad hangover, and you lie still – hurting and ill – aware that you're about to puke, but unable to remember why. Then you do remember why, and you realize that at least you feel this shitty because there was fun beforehand. This is like that. Only I finally realized there was no fun beforehand.

Okay. Stop talking about that. It's not going to help.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,109 words on a new vignette, "Figurehead," for Sirenia Digest #67. The plan was to finish it today and tomorrow. Only, today I'm...this. So, instead, I might hope I can at least get through the line edits for "Fake Plastic Trees" (which sold to Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's After, in case I forgot to mention that).

Last night, we watched the saddest car wreck of a werewolf film. Scottish werewolves. I used to think Dog Soldiers would always be the worst Scottish werewolf film of all time. Au contraire, mon frère...au contraire. Because last night we watched Craig Strachan's Wild Country (2005), in which five Scottish teenagers – who, I swear to gods, had accents so heavy we needed fucking subtitles – are pursued through the Highlands by people in bear suits. Badly sewn bear suits. So, don't watch this movie, okay? Don't cause my suffering to have been in vain.

Oh, look. An eye booger.

Clearly, I should not be blogging at this particular moment.

P.S. – The moral of our story: Do not try to poison Insomnia, because he will fuck you up.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I think I was actually a little disappointed to awake and discover it looks like we're still stuck with the 2.9% of the earth's human population (200 million/3.9 billion) that Harold Camping promised we'd be rid of come 6 p.m. local time (which it is now long past in much of the world, ergo...). I am left with a question for Camping, though. Given that his heavenly abduction would have begun in the Pacific and rolled westward as the planet revolved, doesn't that mean that people in, say, California would have had an awfully unfair advantage over people in, say, New Zealand? I mean, in terms of last minute repenting and whatnot, which surely would have followed from the news reports. Then again, the number of Rapture tickets was awfully small, and I'm guessing they were all printed in advance. So, never mind.

---

I did sleep last night, more than eight hours, thanks to the Good Worker Bee pill.

I was going to post museum photos today, but I found I wasn't in the mood to bother with resizing them. Photoshop pisses me off.

Not much to say for yesterday. Work, whatever that was. And we went out to Acme Video to get movies for Kid Night. The day was green and mostly sunny...and cold. We have a month until Solstice, and sure it's green out there, but it's still chilly. I'm beginning to despair of seeing any warmth this year.

Last light, we watched the two sequels to Robert Rodriguez' Dusk Till Dawn (1996). I have to admit to having been underwhelmed by the original film. It's sort of grown on me over the years, but I've always felt Rodriquez missed the chance to make a really good movie, and we were left with a so-so "it could have been worse" sort of movie. Well, Dusk Till Dawn: Texas Blood Money (dir. Scott Spiegel; 1999) is that movie that could have been, and was, worse. A bad, bad, needs to be put over someone's knee and beaten sort of a movie. Not just bad, but dull. I nodded off three times. Fortunately, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (dir. P.J. Pesce; also 1999, so I assume the films were shot back to back) is much, much better. As in, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Michael Parks was great as Ambrose Bierce. So, after a crappy first feature, Kid Night rallied with a fun second feature and all was not lost.

Very good rp in Rift last night.

--

Oh, I just remembered. Yesterday, I got the editorial letter for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir from my editor at Penguin. Only, it wasn't actually an editorial letter, not in the usual sense. My editor suggested only a single very minor change to ms. page 431 (out of 488 pages). I was kind of blown away. The good kind of blown away. My editor said incredibly nice things about the book (which I may quote, if she gives me permission). And that was that. Which saves me a week or so of revision work. I have a tiny number of additions I'd like to make to the book, and then it will be well and truly done.

And now...
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
So after three nights of 8+ hours and one of 10+ hours,, I haven't yet fallen asleep. Not after two doses of the weak stuff. So, I just took a dose of the Good Worker Bee pill, that I might be asleep by 5:30 a.m., 6 at the latest. That means, if I'm lucky, I can get six hours.

The victories against Monsieur Insomnia are fleeting, for he he a sucker of other people's cocks.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
How does one forget that she's supposed to be in Manhattan on Tuesday? That is, she forgets until almost the last minute, and...it's all pretty embarrassing. But I do. Have to be in Manhattan tomorrow, to see my agent and visit with Peter Straub and so on and so forth. I think it's a matter of inertia, the forgetting. The objects remaining at rest tending to remain at rest half of inertia, I mean. Not being one of the traveling authors, but one of the "homebody" authors – id est, one of the reclusive, antisocial, and sporadically agoraphobic ones. I am well acquainted with authors who jet about the world, while I rarely leave the apartment. I'd blame the TSA, but I'm pretty sure the rise of their New and Improved Draconian policies merely worsened what was already there.

It's a shame I can't blame the motherfucking fascist TSA.

So, tomorrow we take the train to NYC, but we'll be back on Wednesday evening.

---

On the subject of eBay: Please note, as stated on all our auction pages, we do not take checks or money orders. We also do not make exceptions, especially if you win an auction and then fail to contact us for three days. We only take PayPal. Here's the main reason why: Around here, money is almost always tight. And when we see an auction end, especially a "high-ticket item" like the recently auctioned boxed, lettered, double-signed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers (something we'd never before auctioned), we immediately factor that income into our budget. Because PayPal immediately sees to it that we're paid. So...please don't bid unless you have a working PayPal account, with sufficient money in it to cover your bid. Doing otherwise will cause us great inconvenience and, I might add, reflect poorly upon you. Wow. I haven't been that coherent in days.

---

If you are so foolish as to even imagine you'd like to be an author, you need to read Nick Mamatas' Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life. There's even a free digital version. It includes his rather brilliant essay, "Against Craft," which I adore, having always loathed the idea that writing is a "craft," and not an art.

---

Rain, rain, rain. All we have is rain and chill.

What was there to yesterday? There was that other leaning paper tower in my office, which, it turned out, was several leaning towers' worth of filing. Working from basic stratigraphic principles – specifically, the law of superposition, so thank you Nicolas Steno – that nothing much had been filed since at least June 2010. Which really says a lot. Back to inertia. Anyway, you file, and you find things you've lost that you never even knew you had.

Apologies to Rift folks. I just wasn't, for the most part, up to it yesterday. Mostly, I wanted to spend the day hiding in the bathtub under several layers of blankets. So, I wasn't around yesterday. The good news is that I slept last night, almost nine hours, thanks to one of the pills I prefer to avoid (mostly because it's not cheap). I'm not okay, but I'm better. Dreams aside, I'm better. Another night like that, I'll be much better. A week of that, I'll be functional again.

Last night, we watched the last two DVDs from Friday's binge at Acme Video. The first was Woody Allen's pitch-perfect Broadway Danny Rose (1984), and the second (last of the five) was Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray in Billy Wilder's The Apartment (1960), one of the films you'd find on my most-favorite-ever list. Both were new to Spooky. Seeing Broadway Danny Rose again, I remembered the first time I ate at the Carnegie Deli on 7th Avenue (Midtown NYC). It was very late at night, or early the next morning. May the 13th, 1998, which was a rainy Saturday. Unless you say it was the rainy pre-dawn hours of May the 14th, 1998, a Sunday, which is more likely. It was me, Christa Faust, some Mexican wrestler dude (masked, even), and Bernie Wrightson. I'd spent the night in a latex bodysuit and an Israeli gas mask, and was very, very dehydrated. That's a small bit of a long story. I'd just turned thirty-four.

A few years there, I spent so much time in New York.

Last night, after the movies, I lay on the floor in the front parlor listening to the rain. Just before bed, we ate fresh pineapple.

---

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...
(William Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality")

On the Eve of Departure,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The insomnia continues, for Spooky and I both. Hers, though, is the opposite of mine. I find sleep only with the greatest difficulty, but then I sleep. She usually finds sleep easily enough, but then wakes and can't get back to sleep. We're sleep-deprived bookends. On my end, the pills that are supposed to keep the drone sleeping and buzzing along like a good drone simply aren't working. I am a bee that can develop a tolerance to almost any drug within a month, it has always seemed. I say drone, but I ought to say worker. But insomnia has a droning sound, yes? Yes. Still, I ought to say worker.

No drug advice, please. I'm a walking PDR. And no insomnia advice; I've heard it all. Also, please, no assurance that I'm not alone. Hearing that doesn't help. I maintain there is a world out there where people do still sleep, as I used to sleep. If I'm wrong, I need to cling to my delusion. There is a world out there where not every single fucking person suffers from an acronym concocted either by modernity or researchers taking kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies.

Oh, look! Here are my acronyms! My credentials! Aren't they pretty? May I now be pitied and medicated, and, thereby, gain some sense of purpose and self-worth? Am I not now a real, non-contributing, fully-consuming member of society, now that I am properly duped, disordered, and drugged?

Rainy and chill Outside.

No writing yesterday. Spooky and I filed. There was a mountain of unfiled files scattered about the office, mostly short stories written over the last five or six months. There are still more to be filed. At least one more leaning tower. I helped her clean and organize the pantry, which badly needed it.

Last night, we watched Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass (1961). Natalie Wood was an amazing being, a shining and radiant being.

And you want to ask yourself (or I do), "Exactly what's left in the darkness that humans are so afraid of, that we have to light parking lots long after shops have closed, that every roadside is lit, that we squander energy just to hide the stars and drive back the night?" I think the answer's simpler than many might suspect. You only need a mirror to see the answer. Or walk along a crowded street. When I was a child, I could see the Milky Way.



We have made this ugly world. An eyesore from space.
Photo credit for satellite composite NASA.


I should make an end to this entry.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Comment, kittens!

It's not just the innate creepiness of the "praying hands" and swirly lights aspect of the present LJ banner, it's the nigh unto vomitous pale orange/melon-colored scheme. And I have to see it while I compose a journal entry. Someone ought to have to hurt.

Gagh.

Meanwhile, another bout of "not enough sleep" last night, despite my being a good little drone to the Queen Bee of 21st Century Pharmaceutical & Invalidism Culture and having refilled my "sleep aid" script. I think I almost, maybe, slept six hours. And it all just fucking figures. I'm working my ass off, and I'm mostly sleeping well. Often eight hours a night. Then, I force myself to take time off which is, essentially, necessary, and – KERBLAM – no sleep. Write or die. Dance until your feet bleed, or die. Don't stop dancing.

Yesterday was a Very Bad Day, and I don't have those very often anymore. Because I'm a good drone and take my meds and spend the day making honey and all. But yesterday, slip, and there's a Very Bad Day of the sort we've not seen in...quite some time. More than a year. We did leave the house and drive aimlessly about Providence for a while. The weather was too unpredictable to make an attempt at reaching the shore. Sunny, but a chilly wind. It's so green out there, but still it doesn't feel like May. I make the honey, like a good bee, and still the warmth doesn't come, and if I ever dare to stop and catch my breath, then there's no sleep, and the rage returns, and the noise, and the wish for self-annihilation, and no, no, no, you don't know what I mean.

Also, I just accidentally took my morning and afternoon pills at the same time. Booya.

The good news? Spooky just found my riding crop. It vanished when we moved here from Atlanta three years ago, and I despaired of having another so fine, without ponying up (hahahahahahahaha) a tidy sum at a tack shop. But no. Spooky found it.

While we were out, we stopped by Acme Video, and in a desperate effort to quell ye olde inner dæmons, I went hog wild renting comfort movies. Five of them. Movies where the wold is soothingly black and white and grey. Last night we watched two of them, George Cukor's The Philadelphia Story (1940, one of the most perfect films ever made) and John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). It helped, as long as the movies were playing. They ended, and the curtain came down again.

All I need is a reliable supply of opiates, enough for a couple of good doses a week. Paregoric would be perfect. Or laudanum. Or Vicodin. Anything.

In a couple of weeks, I turn 47. There are no words for how utterly fucking fucked up this is. Not just the "Woe is me, I'm getting old" part. That's obvious. No, it's the time dilation. The surreality of having lived from Then until Now, and through the shitstorm in between. It's a wicked sick excuse for a joke, and there's not even a god to blame it on. Only Chance and Probability and all those other rational, empirical anti-gods of Science.

I do have a wishlist at Amazon. You can look at it if you wish. I'm not adverse to gifts this time of year, even if they're of the non-opiate variety.

Oh, and you may now see the complete, final cover of Two Worlds and In Between, just by clicking here. Okay, it's not complete complete, as it still lacks the text of the flap copy. But it's mostly complete. Pay close attention to the book the painting me holds on the front cover. With a larger canvas, infinite regression could have been mimicked. Lee and Kyle are geniuses. They have wrapped my words in folds of zebra flesh and bergamot and vetiver and claret velvet.

Judge the book by its cover. Please.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented how Kathe Koja still has a thing for the "love is doom" motif we saw in Skin (1993) and Strange Angels (1995) and Kink (1996). Okay. He didn't name all those books. I filled in the gap. I don't know how Kathe feels about this (I may ask her), but, for my part, yeah...love is mostly doom. Exceptions are few and far between.

Listing to Starboard, Hardly Yar,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Okay, what the fuck is up with the LJ banner today? Is this a reference to the Rapture flap?

No sleep until after six ayem, so fuck you, Mr. Insomnia. I was in bed at 2 a.m., to no avail, and this is what I get for trying to sleep without pharmaceutical backup.

Yesterday's first day of quasi-vacation bore no resemblance at all to an actual day of quasi-vacation. Which is to say work stuff kept me at the desk most of the day. Oh, and I installed Adobe Photoshop Elements on my iMac. Adobe Photoshop Elements has to have the most idiotic installation disk ever.

It's almost warm out there today.

Still no word from my agent. I think the "warning label" might be at the root of the quiet.

Last night we saw David O. Russell's very impressive The Fighter. And read Under the Poppy. And played Rift. And why the fuck is my left ear ringing?

And there was The Dream this morning, and that's enough for now.
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

Beltane '11

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

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

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

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

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

---

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



---

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

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

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

Springy,
Aunt Beast

30 April 2011, Part 1 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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