greygirlbeast: (river3)
Kittens, this is what happens when you break up with a vacation. It exhibits a flare for vindictiveness by seeing to it that, on the eve of New Year's Eve, I catch a mild intestinal bug, just enough to make me utterly miserable for a good twenty-four hours, and see that Spooky catches it just as I start recovering, so another twenty-four hours will be disrupted and more misery will be spread. So, warning: do not interrupt vacations.

But comment. I'll have the iPad with me in bed.

I spent most of yesterday lying on the chaise in the middle parlour, sleeping and moaning, except when I, I'll be discrete, yes? Yes. I did read Laird Barron's "Old Virginia" and Steve Duffy's "The Oram County Whoosit," the latter of which was not only quite good, but rather interesting. In that it covered some of the ground I covered in "In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)" and "The Colliers' Venus (1893)." Also, it put me in mind, a bit, of Carpenter's The Thing (1982). But I don't mean to say that it felt derivative (though it is a "Mythos tale"). You can find "The Oram County Whoosit" in New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, and I recommend it. This was the first story by Duffy I'd read.

Last night, as the crud struck Spooky, we watched Julie Delpy's The Countess (2009). And it really is Delpy's film as she wrote, directed, scored, and played the title role in the film. It's neglect of historicity aside, it's a fine film. Erzebet Bathory's story becomes both a fairy tale and a tragedy about a strong, intelligent (if psychotically, murderously neurotic) woman caught in an age when strong, intelligent women were generally deemed, at best, a nuisance. I especially approve of this latter theme, as it certainly did play a role in the downfall of the real Countess Bathory, between the enormous debt owed her by Hungary's King Matthias and the hatred she engendered from the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever else may or may not be true of her, having researched her life, there can be little doubt she ran afoul of a conspiracy and was an easy target. Anyway, I'd have liked a wilder, more explicit film, but The Countess is impressive, nonetheless (ignore the IMDb rating of 6.2; that's fucking poppycock). See it.

But what really saved the day yesterday was that the mail brought a gift from Neil, a personalized copy of the numbered edition of The Little Golden Book of Ghastly Stuff, from Borderlands Press. Spooky read a bit of it to me and the platypus. I was especially pleased with "Entitlement Issues" (you can read it online, just follow the link), which calls out all those fools who think authors owe them anything at all and who place stock in that "reader/writer contract" crap.

Ah, I'm running out of what little steam I had in me. So, I shall leave you with two things: Firstly, a promise that Sirenia Digest #73 will be out sometime in the next week or so, and, secondly, I leave you with this rare photo of me and the platypus together (we were fading fast):

On the Mend,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Somehow, about 7:30 a.m., I wandered into the bedroom and managed to fall asleep, listening to Spooky sleep, listening the Rachel's Selenography. I'm not entirely sure what happened in the two and a half hours preceding that. I know that I seriously considered getting dressed, taking the camera, and wandering Federal Hill taking dawn photos. Of course, when the drugs finally did kick in (as they evidently did), I'd have fallen asleep beneath a tree or in a storm drain, and right now Spooky would have the Providence PD out looking for me.

Things I can do at dawn thirty, fucked up on meds, unable to sleep: print fliers, go into WoW and put stuff up in the auction house on the Exodar. I can also take photos, post them to the internet, and make two blog entries, and talk to the cats, and urinate, and twat about ceramic cephalopods. Wait. Maybe that last part was before I began trying to sleep.

I love you, Nathan Fillion.

Tip: While good intentions are noted, it's a bad idea to tell the insane, sleep-deprived lady whose been an insomniac since grade school all the various home remedies you know for getting to sleep. Trust me. If you've thought of it, so have I. If you've read it somewhere, so have I. I've tried it. A thousand times, along with a thousand other clever and ineffective things I thought up on my own. Yes, even that one. And that one, too. Thank you.

I think my present mental state might best be described as manic quasi-consciousness. Good thing I only have one thousand things I need to do today.

Correction to yesterday's ReaderCon schedule: My Sunday reading is not thirty minutes long; it's one hour long. Two to three p.m., Sunday afternoon.

Yesterday...we went to Warwick and saw Michael Mann's Public Enemies (fictionalized from a non-fiction book by Bryan Burrough) which was actually quite good. Depp and Bale were both excellent. Lovely cinematography. Great soundtrack and score. But, we meant to attend the 3:15 show. We even bought tickets for the 3:15 show. But when we went into that "auditorium," we discovered it was actually a closet with a tiny little screen, and none of the seats actually centered with the screen. Worse yet, it smelled like cat piss. Or an abandoned baby diaper. So, we went back to the ticket booth and told them we could not possibly enjoy Johnny Depp and Christian Bale shooting at each other with machine guns on that tiny screen in a room that stunk of cat piss. The nice woman seemed very understanding and exchanged our old tickets for new tickets to the 3:45 showing, in a huge auditorium with a huge screen and centered seats and no cat-piss smell. Yay. It only smelled like old popcorn. So, yeah, good movie.

Since I have been awake (almost an hour now), only one thing has not brought me acute pain. Simon & Garfunkel. Go figure.

I should do something responsible now, like post a link to The Red Tree, and remind you that unless the sales those first few weeks are really good, I'm moving to Kamchatka to live in a hollow stump. No kidding. These things happen all the goddamn time. You think writers just get tired of writing and go into some more fulfilling and profitable line of work, like the food-services industry. No. They go to Kamchatka. There's a Russian word for them, but I've forgotten it. Oh, and if I were responsible, I'd say please subscribe to Sirenia Digest, 'cause these days, it keeps a roof above mine and Spooky's head.

Which reminds me, I think Readercon 20 has totally missed the boat on programming. Don't get me wrong, these are all marvelous panels, the one's they've scehduled. At least, they would be, in an ideal world. Which this isn't. So, where's the important stuff that writers need to know? Like, "Why are we letting Google Books ass rape us and not even putting up a fight?" and "Friends don't help friends become freelancers," and "A writers guide to home dentistry"? Especially the Google Books thing, because, you know, fine, information might want to be fucking free, but until groceries want to be free, and electricity wants to be free, and water, and rent wants to be free, and health care wants to be free, and we all live in a happy green cyber-hippy utopia ruled by our benevolent King Moby, I need to get paid. It might not sound very artistic of me, but it's the goddamned truth.

Platypus: Caitlín?

Me: Yeah? What?

Platypus: You need to stop now.

Me: Oh. But....

Platypus: No buts. Go sit over there and suck your thumb. I'll erase the death threats against Google execs, and all that stuff about having sex with vacuum cleaners. Go. Now.

Platypus: Sorry guys. She gets like this. Move along. Nothing here to see.
greygirlbeast: (platypus2)
Yesterday, there were no horrendous violations by the USPS of the last remaining shreds of my sanity. Instead, I wrote. I managed 1,138 words on "Fish Wife," which is turning out rather well, after three years on the shelf. I should be able to finish it today.

Most mornings, one of the things I do to help wake myself up is read back over blog entries from previous years. This day in 2003. This day in 2008. That sort of thing. This morning's assortment of flashbacks was especially....curious. To start with, on this date in 2004, I wrote:

"This morning, I was sitting here, checking my e-mail or some shit. I stretch, and my sternum pops, as it sometimes does when I stretch. "What was that?" Spooky asked, and when I told her, she made a disgusted face, like I'd just asked her to eat raw pork or something, and "You're weird," she says. To which I reply, "Hey, you're the one who tells me to whine like a puppy when we're having sex." And she says, "Well, you're the one who actually does the whining."

Which was an eye opener, I have to admit.

Then, on this day in 2005, I find "the origin" of Herr Platypus, or, rather, the first time I spoke openly of having a platypus. The news is couched as a metaphor, as I attempt to answer that loathsome question, "What advice would you offer aspiring authors?" I quote:

"My advice is don't ever be so stupid as to get your writing — which I assume you love — all tangled up in the matter of making a living, with matters of finance and the slog for money, because you will surely grow to hate every single goddamn consonant and vowel. Asking your writing to be your breadwinner is like asking your pet platypus to become a prostitute to pay for your crack habit. I mean, who wants to screw a platypus more than once? In the end, you have a cranky, disillusioned pet for whom you have lost all respect, an ailing bank account, a notable lack of crack, and a lot of people walking about wondering why they ever thought sex with a platypus was a good idea in the first place."

Nothing's changed, really, except that my platypus and I have acquired a dodo, which only goes to prove the point I was trying to make. Kids, don't try this at home.

Not much to say about yesterday evening, after the writing. I did some editing at Wikipedia. Spooky made a very yummy pasta salad. We watched more of Season Seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Etc. and etc. I've not left the house since Friday, and I really do have to stop this not going Outside thing. I don't think I've let it get this bad since about 1999 or so.

And, as of today, a mere 13 days remain until the dreaded Birthday -5. I truly am dreading it, even if I can't say precisely why. But because dreaded negative numbers are always better with distractions, I have an Amazon wish list here, if you are so inclined.

And now...the platypus awaits.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck2)
I need to thank a few people for recent gifts. First, Kim Turner who sent me a copy of Windsor McCay's Dream of the Rarebit Fiend (1904-1913). A huge and beautiful and wonderful volume, and I am extremely thankful. Also, Stephen Spector sent a CD with various Decemberists rarities. And then, this morning, the USPS brought me a package from Poppy ([ profile] docbrite) containing a small box of absinthe-flavored chocolates from New Orleans' own Sucré. Watch it, people. You're going to spoil me.

Yesterday was a genuinely remarkable writing day, and I managed 1,820 words, and finished "The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade." This is the first of my two "Poe tribute" stories for Sirenia Digest #38. Today, I will begin the second story.

My thanks to Sonya ([ profile] sovay) for figuring out that Crowley's Hudson River "Aesopus Island" is now (and may have been then) "Esopus Island."

I ventured out into the world yesterday, into Outside, and hardly any of the snow has melted. We crossed the Providence River on our way to the market, and it remains partially frozen. Since the Epic Extraction (January 10th), I'd only really left the house once, for the drive to Moosup Valley (on January 16th). I realized yesterday that, over the course of some 16 days, I'd been Outside maybe five hours, total, which is bad even for me. I have resolved to do better. My world is out there, not in here.

Last night, we watched the newest episode of Battlestar Galactica, "A Disquiet Follows My Soul." It was, all in all, a solid episode, but I can't help but point out that, with the story drawing to a close, it's time to stop introducing more subplots and devote the available time to addressing those that are pre-existing. Afterwards, we watched Gil Kenan's City of Ember, an adaptation of Jeanne Duprau's novel (which I have not read). On the one hand, it's a beautiful film, to be sure, and Ember is a marvelously realized world. But, on the other, many of the cast members seemed to be set on autopilot (the older actors, mainly), and the plot holes were so numerous that even I couldn't ignore them. I do try, normally. Plot is not usually foremost on my mind. Other things interest me more, and, usually, if a writer or filmmaker has done a sufficient job tending to such matters as mood and characterization and worldbuilding, I'm willing to overlook a shoddy job of plot construction, that thing Margaret Atwood referred to as "a what and a what and a what." (Exact quote, from "Happy Endings", "That's about all that can be said for plots, which anyway are just one thing after another, a what and a what and a what.") In the end, I wanted to like City of Ember much more than I actually could.

Sorry to keep harping on this, but, if you have not yet ordered a copy of A is for Alien, I hope that you will do so today. Just look at the cover. How can you possibly resist?

Spooky has decalred I cannot legally change my name to "La Bête Gris." I mean, I could, legally, but she forbids it. So, maybe it will be a nom de plum for certain of my writings to come.

And the platypus says the dodo says that's enough journalizing for one day, and I'm wondering, since when does the platypus do the dodo's bidding?
greygirlbeast: (europa)
Bitter cold here in Providence. Right now, 18F, though the wind chill has it feeling like 3F. The snow is hardly even beginning to melt. The sun is bright, and the sky is a blue bowl laid over the city.

It's very difficult to make entries after days that are consumed with line edits, as line editing is surely one of the least interesting and most tedious stages of writing a novel. Fixing commas, misspellings, grammatical errors, etc. Hundreds upon hundreds that I couldn't be bothered to get right to start with. At this point, we're working through the notes that Sonya ([ profile] sovay) kindly supplied after she read the manuscript for The Red Tree. Then we have two additional sets of line-edit notes to work through. Of course, this is all in advance of the actual copyeditor's notes. We made it halfway through the book yesterday.

I also carefully read over the editorial letter, and it's one of the best I've ever gotten. I was amenable to pretty much every suggestion my editor made, which was an enormous relief. I still have to email her, though I may not get to that until tomorrow.

I need to get the epilogue written, but I wanted to go over the pages a couple of times first.

See? Duller than dishwater.

I've only left the house once since the tooth extraction last Thursday, and I think I need to get out of here for a bit. But that probably can't happen until tomorrow.

The primary function of this journal for the next couple of weeks will likely be to promote A is for Alien, due out next month from Subterranean Press. To repeat what I said yesterday, please, if you have not yet ordered the book, and are able, it would be greatly appreciated if you did so now. It contains some of my best short-story work to date, including "Bradbury Weather" and "Riding the White Bull." And it's going to be a truly beautiful volume:

The other helpful thing would be subscribing to Sirenia Digest, which has pretty much become the "bread and butter" of my income. So, if you want to help, and are able, there you go, and I thank you ahead of time. If you've already done both these things, as I said yesterday, you rock. Also, I'm wondering if anyone might be kind enough to volunteer to create a banner ad from the cover of A is for Alien?

I think my coffee is freezing. I should go before Herr Platypus brandishes hisherits venomous spurs again.
greygirlbeast: (white)
I think the snow that fell on New Year's Eve has no intention ever of melting. It's a hard white crust laid over half that portion of the world that is visible from the many windows of the house. I've not left the house since the storm, which means I've not left the house this year. Today the sun is brilliant, and the sky is utterly blue. There is no warmth, though.

I did some tallying this morning, and see that I've done 53 pieces of fiction (vignettes, short stories, etc.) for Sirenia Digest over the past four years, since December 2005. During that same time, I've written only 5 short stories that were not intended for the digest; I also did the Beowulf novelization and wrote The Red Tree. The number of non-digest stories climbs slightly if I include the original pieces for Tales from the Woeful Platypus (as opposed to the reprints). If I include those, the number comes to 10. Still, 53 to 10. Plainly, the vast majority of my short fiction these days is being written for the digest. I just hope that quantity has not overwhelmed quality. That is one of my greatest fears.

I have an email from Mat Winser, who asks:

I think a few years ago, you wrote a story for an anthology based on Absinthe. Did that collection ever see light of day?

The anthology did not, which is a shame, as I was to be paid, in part, with Mari Mayans. However, the story I wrote for the anthology, "La Peau Verte," was published in my collection To Charles Fort, With Love, and also won the International Horror Guild Award for "Outstanding Achievement" in mid-length fiction. It was also reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (vol. 17), edited by Steve Jones.

All of yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #37 together, and it went out to subscribers late last night, at 11:12 p.m. (CaST). If you have not received #37 and are a subscriber, please write to Spooky at x.squid.soup.x(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll make it right.

Last night, we had a sort of Nicolas Cage binge, and watched Vampire's Kiss (1989) and Moonstruck (1987). Nothing much else to yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (platypus2)
So, my thanks to everyone who emailed to let me know about the new study published in Nature, regarding the sequencing of the genetic code of Ornithorhynchus anatinus, otherwise known as Herr Platypus. I've not yet had time to sit down and read all the reports, but there's some weird and wonderful news coming out of this study. For one, we now have genetic evidence that monotremes originated as far back as the mid-Jurassic Period, 170 million years ago (though the actual platypus fossils date only as far back about 100,000 years). This suggests that the Order Monotremata is quite a bit older than the earliest-known member of the group, Teinolophos trusleri, discovered in the Lower Cretaceous (approx. 123 mya) strata at Flat Rocks, Victoria, Australia. But far stranger is the discovery that ye olde platypus possesses "five X and five Y chromosomes..." which in theory "...means there are 25 possible sexes, though in practice that doesn't happen." A bloody shame, says I.

All hail the noble platypus, and hisherit's formidable toxic spurs!

And though it has nothing much to do with platypuses, you really should check out the James Gang. Some things are better heard and seen than described. So, have a listen. But, in the words of the Gang:

The James Gang is an updated 1920’s Vaudevillian throwback-style group of three magical entertainers that sing songs, dance, ride unicycles, perform magic and blow fire to name just a few of the things they do in their full show. There are (3) main performers with more background performers to come as the movement grows. T J G consists of Jellyroll James, Deacon Boondini and the Great Gatsby “for short we go by Jelly, Deacon and Gatsby” This group dresses in a high fashion style that is not seen today in music. They have many looks that range from 1920’s suit jackets with knickers, bow ties and knee high argyle sox to all denim jackets and pants tucked into Equestrian knee high boots with Barret and Poorboy hats armed with wooden canes. Think Harlem when they dressed really regal. It is the mission of the group to restore real performances back into the African American community and the world community at large.

greygirlbeast: (Default)
I did 1,550 words yesterday.

I also obsessively checked the sales ranking on Daughter of Hounds at least once every hour. The book made it all the way up to 8,014 at one point. By the way, the platypus says that the 5th of January, should it happen to fall two days after the full moon, is the best date of all to order a copy of Daughter of Hounds. Hesheit is an amazing beast, the platypus, filled with wisdom and wit, piss and vinegar. Hesheit claims to have once lived beneath the desk of Isaac Asimov, and I wouldn't put it past himherit. One must never short-change a platypus.

There's a great wall of thunderstorms barreling down on Atlanta as I type this.

Last night, we watched Neil LaBute's 2006 remake of Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man, and, really, the less said the better. This film would have been right at home in some mid-70s TV line-up, it was just that dull. Long have I said that Nicolas Cage makes two sorts of films, the brilliant and the abominable. This falls squarely into the latter camp. And just about anything else I might say about the film would only open one of those cans of political worms, and I've better things to do. After the wretched film, we read quite a bit more of Gregory Maguire's Lost, which grows more interesting.


This morning I escaped a severe bout of dreamsickness by the merest fraction of a hair. I woke just after 10 a.m. (CaST), an hour later than I would have liked, from some cybernoir fiasco. There was snow the colour of rust. I may be able to blame The Road for that part. I'd lost a syringe of some sort and all manner of nonsense depended upon my finding it again. There were interminable conversations, and I cut my hand (I can't recall which one) on a broken bottle. The "plot" of this thing, Margaret Atwood's dreaded "a what and a what and a what," has faded almost beyond recollection. And that's a good thing, I suspect. But there were robots — not androids, but robots — none of which seemed to work quite as they should. I had a tiny, unheated apartment garishly lit by exposed fluorescent tubes that seemed to flicker incessantly. The floor was always wet. Not damp, but wet tile. I had sex with a very beautiful legless albino woman, and she had whole galaxies in her blue eyes. There was something that happened on a rickety fire escape overlooking a sort of gigantic excavation. I don't think I ever did manage to get the syringe back, so that's probably why I wound up back here, pecking at this keyboard. That dream me was probably murdered by a corporate hit man or North Korean double agents or a legless albino woman. I will never know.
greygirlbeast: (Manah 1)
Yesterday was almost as unremarkable a day as I would have hoped for. Hot bath. Clean hair. Spooky made her cannelini bean soup for dinner. I decided, in the absence of Bailey's, that cosmopolitans would do, so we had to get cranberry juice. We picked up another pumpkin at Whole Foods. There was a nap on the sofa. I went almost the whole day without even checking my e-mail.

Today will be off again, but tomorrow will be on. I was tempted to work today, just to spite frelling stupid Columbus Day. But no. More rest, please. I got at least eight hours sleep last night, and I feel quite a bit better for it.

Last night, after the bean soup, I mostly played Drakengard 2, and I do not believe I've enjoyed a game this much in ages. Iko and Shadow of the Colossus were much better made games, but I'm not sure they were as fun. Showtime was doing its free preview thingy this weekend, and we caught an ep of Dexter (based on Jeff Lindsay's novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter), which I found I loved completely and unashamedly. So, Spooky's ordering Showtime today. It's a good excuse to cancel HBO, now that Deadwood is gone. Anyway, then I played still more Drakengard 2, slaughtering the knights guarding the Heavenly Clocktower and confronting Eris and Gismor. Eris' death was a shock, but I can't say I was sorry to see her go. Anyway, tonight Nowe and Manah shall ascened the tower and battle whatever awaits them there.

See? Unremarkable. And no gorramn word count.

The photos that have been coming back to Earth from the Opportunity rover and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are beautiful and amazing.

And speaking of photos, my thanks to Erin Potratz for sending me one of a platypus at the Sydney Aquarium. I showed it to "my" platypus, but sheheit just snorfled and grumbled something incoherent.

Oh, on a somewhat work related note, here's the cover of the Czech sf anthology in which "Riding the White Bull" will be reprinted (behind the cut). This will not be my first translation into Czech, as "Escape Artist" (in The Sandman: Book of Dreams) holds that honour:

Trochu divné kusy )

And happy birthday to [ profile] sovay!

Okay. Spooky says we will be going for a walk now. And look, she has my leash...
greygirlbeast: (earth)
Yesterday we did only a single chapter, Chapter Six. It has a title, but not one I like or intend to keep, so it's best considered presently untitled. Soldier and Odd Willie trapped in the warrens beneath Woonsocket, Soldier as a child being led up to the attic of the yellow house on Benefit Street. And now the Zokutou whatchamadoodle looks like this:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
404 / 691

With luck, we'll make it through chapters seven and eight today. At this point, counting today and the day the ms. is supposed to be back in NYC, I have only fourteen days remaining before it's all pumpkins and mice again. And I shouldn't count the day it's due back, even though I am being allowed to e-mail the edited ms. back to Penguin. So, less than two weeks.

As we've been reading the novel this time, Spooky and I have been playing the "casting the movie" game. Here are our picks and blank spaces, our dream cast (so far) for a Daughter of Hounds film adaptation:

Emmie Silvey (eight years old) — uncast
Soldier (as adult) — Katee Sackhoff
Soldier (as child) — uncast
The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles — uncast
Deacon Silvey (now in his fifties) — Steve Buscemi
Sadie Jasper (now in her early thirties) — Clea Duvall
Odd Willie Lothrop — uncast
Saben White — uncast
The Bailiff — Jim Broadbent
Madam Terpsichore — Alice Krige
Sheldon Vale — uncast
George Ballou — Wilem Dafoe
Esmeribetheda — uncast

Hmmmm. I'd thought we had fewer blank spaces than that.

We had a very pleasant Beltane. We picked flowers late in the day. A huge feast for dinner and then the ritual around eleven p.m. During the ceremony we had blueberry cornbread and fresh, locally grown strawberries with lambic ale flavoured with black currants. I'll post the text of the ritual later, behind a cut, if anyone's interested. Still, I wished we could have been out on a field or a wood or on a beach somewhere, a bonfire and all. Ah, well. Someday. Someday, we'll see the Edinburgh Fire Festival, which is Beltane frelling done right. This afternoon, we'll take the last of the ale and bread and a few of the berries to the two oaks, the ones I posted a photo of earlier, the ones from my dream.

And now we have now reached that dread part of the year when May 26th looms vast and ugly on the horizon, and I'm beginning to fear that -2 will be an even traumatic birthday for this particular nixar than was -0, and, you know, gifts always seem to help to soften the blow. Should you be so inclined, there's this Amazon wish list thing.

Hold on, platypus. I'm coming....


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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