greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I'm haunted,
By the hallways in this tiny room,
The echos there of me and you,
The voices that are carrying this tune,
Ba da pa pa...


Yesterday is what happens when chaos and the best of intentions square off and have a good ol' Godzilla versus Gamera boxing match. We're having a couple of moderately warm days here....

WAIT

Yes, in a few more hours, Dark Horse will spill the beans, and the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. Soon. We're almost there. On the cusp, as it were.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Warm weather. High sixties. So, I'd planned to play hookey yesterday, and slip away to Beavertail, even though I sure as hell haven't the time for such luxuries. I ought to be doing nothing but working on "Ex Libris." But then there was the long conversation with my editor at Dark Horse early in the day, and, afterwards, I realized I needed to have a long conversation with my lit agent (on entirely unrelated matters). But she was at a lunch meeting, and it would be about 45 minutes before she got back into the office. There was no way there'd be enough time to make it to Conanicut Island. So...not wanting to see the day become a total loss (I was far too higgledy-piggledy to get any writing done). So, bored and without especial focus, yet possessed of some odd motivation, I proposed we begin "remodeling" my office, which we've only been meaning to do for about...two years.

(Why does Microsoft Word discourage the use of contractions?)

One shelf and a shelf's worth of books went to the middle parlour, where, I must admit, they look quite handsome. I'd had my doubts.

Merrilee called and we talked, and talked, and talked. Fine things. Over time, I will tell you of these fine things.

There's enough to look forward to on this day. I'll make another post in a few hours. Patience, kittens. OH! Look! I just got a royalty check for $10.36 for the German edition of Threshold (id est, Fossil). Wow. Party time. Yes, the writing will make you rich, Bill Murray!

Anticipatory,
Aunt Beast

UPDATE (1:44 p.m.): Just got word the announcement from Dark Horse should come about noon PST, three EST, 4 CaST. Fuck it, Dude. I'm going to get nachos.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
The way I feel this morning, well, this is what three days of heftier-than-usual-Valium doses and pretty much no sleep does to a body. Or to mine. Maybe you could sail through it without batting an eye. Me, I feel like a bus hit me. Twice.

So, I just have to stay awake until two ayem or so. I think it's time to reset my clock again. Staying up far, far too late. The meds, they can't do overly much about that.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I have the new Decemberists EP, Long Live the King (plus accompanying awesome T-shirt), and great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for sending it our way. Right now, "E. Watson" is my hands-down favorite track (in two days, I've listened to it 42 times, according to iTunes).

Hallways, always.

Following the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE, which I linked to in yesterday's entry...well, following that was quite a lot of distraction and chaos (many, many thanks, kittens, for all the comments). No surprise. Wonder what's going to happen next Wednesday? Anyway, there was also a very long call from my agent, with some very, very good news (though I can't share any of that at this time). Many subjects were discussed. But, what with this and that, Spooky and I didn't finish with the line edits to Blood Oranges; that's what we'll do today, then send the manuscript to Merrilee (my agent).

This morning, I received Vince's pencils for the illustration to accompany "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W" in Sirenia Digest. It's gonna be a great illustration; I need to get some notes back to him on it. Also, I owe a long email to The Drowning Girl cinematographer, Brian Siano, and...well, other emails. I've also got to begin talking promotion with the PR guy that Dark Horse has assigned to the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE. So, I'm pretty spoken for today. Yep. Oh! And, yesterday, I got my comp copies for The Crimson Alphabet chapbook, and they are gorgeous!

Wow. I'd be in a good mood if this "I feel like I'm dying and back again" thing would stop. Oh, and Spooky's reading the Wikipedia article on Christina Hendricks, because she's a letch. Spooky, I mean. I have no intel as to whether or not Christina Hendricks is a letch. I'd like to think she is.

Last night, a lot of RIFT (I think its growing on me again), and I wound the day down by watching "Our Mrs. Reynolds" (Firefly) and "Not Fade Away" (Angel), as Netflix is late with the new episodes of Californication (wait, just arrived!). But now, work! Get a wiggle on, platypus!

A Tenth Free of Secrets,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Some portion of yesterday's sour mood (let's say 24.8%) followed from my having thought I'd lost a tiny silver ankh ring that I've worn on the pinkie finger of my left hand since it was given to me by Jada in 1990. That's twenty years or so that this ring has hardly ever been off my hand. And night before last, I realized it was gone, and figured it was gone for good. But Spooky found it at the foot of the bed yesterday, not long after I posted the entry. I rarely find the things I lose, so it was a huge relief.

Today I have to write. My grand plan of doing 1,500 words a day, every day of the month, is a grand failure. The whole thing was thrown off by my inability to write the Mars story, and the glumness that followed. But here it is the 18th, and the writing has to resume. I've got to write "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" for Sirenia Digest #61, then get back to work on The Drowning Girl. I still have 13 days left in the month. That's a lot of words, if only I stop fucking off.

Yesterday, the weather was warmish and blustery, a very beautiful day, and we crossed the river to College Hill. Somehow, we'd both managed never to visit St. John's Churchyard (formerly King's Cemetery, prior to the Revolutionary War). It's a very small graveyard, located between Benefit Street and North Main. Poe visited it on occasion, and Lovecraft mentions it in "The Shunned House":

I have reared a marble urn to his memory in St. John's churchyard— the place that Poe loved —the hidden grove of giant willows on the hill, where tombs and head stones huddle quietly between the hoary bulk of the church and the houses and bank walls of Benefit Street.

HPL also wrote a poem (an acrostic sonnet), "In a Sequester'd Churchyard Where Poe Once Walk'd." There are graves there dating back long before the Revolution, all sheltered by a gigantic poplar tree, which was still filled with yellow leaves yesterday. There were bright red maple leaves blowing down from a yard above the cemetery. We copied inscriptions and picked up bits of pottery. We found a penny from 1969. An old ivory button. It's a solemn, comforting place, largely hidden from view. The wind was chilly, and the sky was filled with great puffs of cloud, grey-purple below and brilliant white on top. Anyway, there are photos behind the cut, below. It was a good day, and getting out of the House, and going where we went, helped to clear my head.

Last night, with dinner, we had a bottle of Dogfish Head's Pangaea, which I bought back in March just because I couldn't pass up an ale named for the continent of Pangaea. Plus, it's brewed with Antarctic water. Anyway, the bottle got tucked into a cabinet in the pantry and mostly forgotten. But last night, it was finally consumed. Quite good, too.

And now, it's time to make the doughnuts. There are hungry bears in South County.

Gravely yours,
Aunt Beast

17 November 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was wretched. Not much point watering down the truth. My head wasn't right, and my guts were worse. I spent a good bit of the day in bed. No writing was done. I didn't go Outside. Nothing was accomplished.

We shall see what today will be.

There were a few "slits of light" to yesterday. Peter sent me a copy of The Juniper Tree And Other Blue Rose Stories (Subterranean Press). The mail brought a very small royalty check from Steve Jones in London, for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.

Then last night, after trying to sit up awhile, I went back to bed. Spooky and I watched the newest episode of Project Runway (I really, really love Mondo). We watched two episodes of some exceptionally ridiculous Animal Plant cryptozoology series. The first imagined a plesiosaur in Monterey Bay; the second was about the "Oklahoma Octopus." Gotta say, if I were younger, I'd start a punk band called Oklahoma Octopus. Anyway, then we watched J.T. Petty's The Burrowers (2008), which, quite unexpectedly, turned out to be marvelous. It belongs to that all too neglected genre, the Weird Western. There are a few missed notes: the start is a little slow, and I could have done without the final shot, which was unnecessary. But, all in all, well acted, well filmed, and creepy as hell. It's one of those rare dark films where things start out very bad and just keep getting worse, spiraling down to a place no one and nothing can ever escape. The Burrowers can be streamed free from Netflix. Check it out.

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

---

A comment from [livejournal.com profile] dragau, from day before yesterday (or the day before that), back to the subject of the lack of characterization in Neal Stephenson's novels:

Often when I read Stephenson, I feel the omission you describe, that his characters are indifferent toward their mindless drudgery of existence, and they follow their paths as pawns lacking anything better to do, their lives predestined. For the Baroque Cycle, I was hoping for a novel on par with Gary Jennings. Instead, we got an extended soap opera like War and Peace with its cookie-cutter characterization. After my disappointment with Anathema, I will be waiting to buy used paperbacks of his future novels.

As a measure of comparison, I think Stephenson serves better in contrast with your own stories. Many of your own characters also experience the drudgery and recognize the futility of fighting their fates, but you seize that oppression and wring from it every emotion and metaphor. You mop the floor with the tears and self-pity of those who surrender. Meanwhile, your strong characters rally themselves with the adage "I can fuck plenty with the future," and then they act, win or lose.

Conversely, Stephenson's protagonists are often mere witnesses to great events or they are catalysts. When they do perform a climactic act, their achievement really is being in the right place at the right time. This is progressively more so in his later novels, whereas you got the manipulative plot tropes worked out of your system early, and now for example, although the reader may know your main character will commit suicide, the paths leading to that eventuality will have many branches of uncertainty.


The only point with which I would disagree is that I don't make a distinction between strong and weak characters in my stories. Sometimes, surrender requires more resolve and greater courage than does fighting.

---

Come here, pretty please.
Can you tell me where I am?
You, won't you say something?
I need to get my bearings.
I'm lost,
And the shadows keep on changing.

And I'm haunted,
By the lives that I have loved
And actions I have hated.
I'm haunted,
By the lives that wove the web
Inside my haunted head
-- Poe, "Haunted"

Awake

Jun. 16th, 2010 03:43 am
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I should be asleep, but I'm not. My meds mostly have the insomnia under control these days, but only mostly. So, there are nights like tonight. Mornings like this morning. I have to take the Ambien, which I try hard not to take. I was on it for too long, and it does unpleasant things to my mood the next day.

But soon the sky will be growing light Outside.

I thought about writing that poem I need to have written by the end of June, as a thank-you to all the people who chipped in on Spooky's birthday present. But that seems like it would only carry me still farther from sleep.

Anyway...back to bed, to try again. I'm typing badly. That's a good sign.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
And suddenly, here it is, my 2,500th LiveJournal entry. I was relatively late coming to LJ. I began an account here April 15th, 2004, intending it only as a mirror for my Blogger account. And that's what it was for a while. But, for one reason or another, I eventually switched over to LJ exclusively. I'm not even going to try to "guesstimate" how many words I've written on LJ over the past six years. An awful lot. And if you go back and add in the Blogger entries, which began on November 24th, 2001...well, it's a lot of words, and spans the better part of my career as a writer. On November 24th, 2011, I'll have been blogging for an entire decade, which seems almost impossible.

---

I'm utterly overwhelmed at the response to yesterday's "Spooky Birthday Present Fund" proposal. I'd thought that we might get fifteen donations by late June. As of this morning, we have twenty five. About an hour ago, I took down the PayPal button, and we started turning people away. This means that I'll be producing twenty-five copies of the new poem, instead of fifteen copies. My great thanks to everyone who's taking part in this (including the people we turned away). You guys are unbelievable. While most donors were in the US, we also have people in Canada, England, and Australia. Now, of course, I have to write a very good poem. So, yeah, wow and thank you. We have all your snail-mail addresses, and the signed and numbered copies of the poem will be mailed out late in June.

---

Today, I'm going to begin writing "Tempest Witch," my Frazetta tribute, which will be appearing in Sirenia Digest #54 later this month. As soon as this piece is done, and as soon as I've read A House is Not a Home, I'll be beginning work on "The Maltese Unicorn."

I'd like to remind you that, although the limited edition is sold out, there are still copies of the trade hardcover of The Ammonite Violin & Others available from Subterranean Press.

There was a mild seizure yesterday evening, which took me by surprise, as I've not had one in...well, at least a month.

Night before last, we finally saw Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans. It's a brilliant film, despite having two sets of colons in the title.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Here in Providence, the days have turned oddly cool, dry, sunny. There's rain on the way tomorrow, and still cooler temperatures. Summer seems to have been waylaid.

I can tell, already, this is going to be a meandersome entry, so please bear with me. I've a meandersome mind lately.

Only a little writing yesterday. On Sunday, I discovered a book I very much need to read before I begin "The Maltese Unicorn" (Polly Adler's A House is Not a Home, 1953), but we're having to get it through interlibrary loan, which will take a week or so. And I decided to make the best of the delay by writing something for Sirenia Digest #54. Monday was spent looking for that vignette, which I found partway through the day. I made a hesitant beginning to "Eurotophobia" (don't ask; that's why Larry Page and Sergey Brin invented Google). Then, last night, after my Frank Frazetta post, someone suggested I might write a vignette based upon one of Frazetta's paintings. I will admit, the idea appeals to me. I'd already planned to dedicated the issue to him. So, I'm thinking that I may shelve "Eurotophobia," and, while I'm waiting for the Polly Adler book, write a vignette based on this painting:



Frazetta titled it "Tempest Witch," but I can find no date, so I don't know when it was painted. It seems no one does. Likely, I will simply name the vignette "Tempest Witch."

There are new auctions underway, including some stuff we've not offered in a while, and of which we only have a few copies remaining.

---

There are birthdays coming up. On May 26th, I'll be -6, which is truly more than I care to consider. I've asked Spooky for a quiet day at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge and dinner with friends. And that's all I'm asking for. However, on June 24th, Spooky will be turning the big -0. And I'd like to get her a PS3, which she's only been wanting since 2006. But funds are low right now, between this, that, the other, and my new meds. So, I have devised a plan. I'm going to write a new poem, the first I've written since February 2007. I will be printing fifteen copies of it (on a nice high-grade paper), which I will sign and number. Each person who donates $25 towards the Spooky Birthday Present Fund will receive a copy of the poem, which will probably never see publication in my lifetime. That's a fair trade, yeah, and for a good cause. So, if you'd like to help out, here's the PayPal button:

Button removed by CRK


The signed copies of the poem will go out to donors at the end of June, and Spooky will be very, very grateful. That I will be grateful goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Thanks.

---

Last night, in memory of Frazetta, we spent three hours doing battlefields in WoW. Well, Alterac Valley over and over and over...and over...again. Not sure whether or not Frazetta would have approved, but there was blood, swords, barbarians, mammoths, black magic, dinosaurs, and warrior women, so it seemed fitting to me. Later, we read more of Patti Smith's Just Kids. We're almost finished with the book, which is far too short. That's not a criticism. More like praise. I wish there were more of it.

Smith notes how Cocteau once said of a Jean Genet poem, "His obscenity is never obscene." It struck a nerve. Since Frog Toes and Tentacles and the beginning of Sirenia Digest so much of my work has been one or another flavour of obscene. I'm imagination's whore. I'd like to think my obscenities are never obscene, but I honestly do not know. Spooky says I'm never lewd. I don't have that sort of perspective. I see a line so fine as to be all but invisible, and I lose myself in semantics.
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
Another spring-like morning here in Providence. The office window is open. The sun is bright. I can almost pretend I slept well and that every muscle in my body doesn't ache. I left the office window open until 10:21 p.m. last night.

Yesterday, no writing. And, at this point, nothing substantial has been written since I finished with "Apsinthion" back on February 25th. This has to change very, very soon. It doesn't matter whether or not I'm well. This broken sack of crap and bones can go hang. It also doesn't matter what asinine shit pushes in at the borders of my life. This not-writing absolutely has to stop. For a month, almost, I have been No One, for I am No One, if not a writer, and if I am not writing, I won't call myself a writer.* Then again, the thought of being simply and only No One...okay, let's not go there.

I spent much of yesterday just resting, recuperating (not entirely sure from just what), hydrating, and so forth. Trying to forget that Tuesday ever happened. The sun and the clean air helped. All there was to St. Patrick's Day was me hanging my Irish flag in the window of the front parlour. Maybe next year.

Today, I just want to go to the sea...but I'm going to Boston, instead.

* If anyone dares, today, to tell me this is a fallacious line of reasoning— that it's, for example, like questioning a lesbian's lust for the female form because she's not actually had sex for the last ten years —I will ban her, him, or it from every posting a comment here again. Yes, I love you, too.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I've been meaning, for weeks, to post something poetical for National Poe'tree Month, and here the month is almost history. But. First. My broken glasses, or how to go from geek to nerd in two easy steps!







Anyway...

You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last.
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast.
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun,
Crying like a fire in the sun.
Look out, the saints are comin' through,
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

The highway is for gamblers; better use your sense.
Take what you have gathered from coincidence.
The empty-handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets.
This sky, too, is folding under you
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home.
Your empty-handed armies are all going home.
The lover who just walked out your door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor.
The carpet, too, is moving under you
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

Leave your stepping stones behind; something calls for you.
Forget the dead you've left; they will not follow you.
The vagabond who's rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore.
Strike another match, go start anew.
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.


— Bob Dylan (1965)

Now, where's my slide rule.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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