greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
Yesterday, [ profile] anaisembraced reminded me of a quote from one of Anaïs Nin's published diaries (1931-1934). It manages to say much more eloquently what I was trying to say yesterday about my need for a public persona:

"There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest."


Yesterday was spent, work-wise, beginning the layout of Sirenia Digest #58. I have to set that aside today for the aforementioned Weird Tales interview, which I'm doing after all. Part of me is so done with giving interviews. Another part of me recognizes it's always going to be something I have to do.

If you want truly secure online passwords, create your own language. It works wonders.

The weather has turned warm again.

People have started asking me questions about the H. P. Lovcecraft Film Festival. What I will and won't be doing, my schedule, how many books will I sign, when's my reading, what will I be reading from, how long will I be in Oregon, am I going to Powell's, and so forth. I'm going to post my schedule for the festival and CthulhuCon here in the next day or so.

As for signing, I'm not going to have an actual signing session scheduled, I don't think, so you might want to plan on bringing stuff you want signed to my reading, or catching me before or after a panel, something like that. But not if I'm eating, or something like that. I'll sign as many books as you want signed. No limit. I'll personalize them. I won't write stupid shit like, "To my best friend" or "For a kindred spirit" or poetry or anything like that. I won't inscribe my books with passages from my books. I bring these things up because from time to time they've been an issue in my eBay sales. I'll sign books, and I'll sign books to you or to whomever you want them signed to, but that's about it. Sometimes, if the mood strikes me, I throw in a monster doodle, but the mood rarely strikes me.

Also, I am declaring this con "Be Nice to Spooky Weekend." Which means, well, be nice to Spooky, because if she weren't coming along, I wouldn't be able to be there. Please feel free to bring her doughnuts from Voodoo Donuts (I think she's especially interested in the bacon-maple bars, voodoo dolls, and apple fritters). Or a vial of Escential's "oak moss." These things will make her smile.


So far, I've completely avoided seeing clips and trailers from Matt Reeves Let Me In, which is a remake of Tomas Alfredson's superb and perfect Låt den rätte komma in (both based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, Låt den rätte komma in). I hate the things that Reeves has said, with a straight face, about making the story more accessible for Americans. I hate that he's gutting the novel and original film's gender issues by simply making Eli a genetic female. How can that not come across as pandering to homophobic and transphobic filmgoers? And this is all confusing, because I very much loved Reeves' Cloverfield, and want to see more from him. I'm not especially fond of American remakes of foreign language films, but I also don't hate them on principle, as some seem to do. Usually, I'll give them a chance. But this time, I don't see how I can.

Oh, and I'm very pleased to see that [ profile] docbrite is finally reading House of Leaves.


Some smart, moving, exquisite rp in Insilico last night. Lately, my rp has involved very few people, which I have found, through trail and error, to be the best approach. Two people is ideal. Four is usually my limit for a scene. More than that, there's too much chaos. This story began back in January and February, with a long hiatus from April into July. At this point, it's mostly the story of two people, one of whom happens to be an android. It's like the middle of a good sf novel, one for which I know I'll never get to read the beginning or ending (which makes it rather like a dream). It demonstrates the marvel that Second Life can be, but almost never manages to be. Anyway, my thanks to Fifth and Molly.

Earlier, Spooky and I watched the latest Project Runway (good riddance, Ivy) and the first episode of Season Three of Fringe, which I though was an especially strong episode.

And now, there's the interview (though internet porn sounds like more fun)....
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 [ 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"
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today is Assembly Day. That is, the day I assemble the monthly issue of Sirenia Digest (spiffy new website coming very soon!). This will be #56.

Yesterday was a long, long, long day. In fact, it didn't end until sometime after 4:30 a.m., when I finally gave up and took an Ambien. I read about Lovecraft and Robert Bloch until I could sleep.

Yesterday, I wrote 902 words and finished Part One of "The Yellow Alphabet." L and M. Both were a bitch, and came only with great effort. Also, I worked on the Table of Contents for the enormous Best of CRK volume (desperately needs an actual title) that will be out from subpress in Spring 2011. Right now, I have a list of 31 stories, which might be about half the book. This thing is going to be bloody huge. Like the monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Australopithicines will shudder in its presence.

Also, I spent some time figuring out what the redesigned needs to look and feel like, so my new web guru, Karina Melendez, can get to work soon. Oh, Spooky was of great assistance with both the work on the Table of Contents and the website ponderings (through a crazed haze of pain and crankinss, because she had a migraine).

Subscribers should expect #56 before midnight EDT.

I think I stopped working about 6:30 p.m. But then, after dinner, there was the first episode of Season Eight of Project Runway. Mondo is my favorite so far. I have peculiar soft spots for both Casanova and Jason. I loathe the atrocious Peach Car (a name not even a drag queen could love). I'm also rooting for Sarah Trost, if only because she designed the costumes for the Guild video, "(Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar." I'm still in awe (yes, sarcasm) that this Ivy chick made pants out of pants, argued with the judges, and didn't get the boot. And Tim Gunn is still my boyfriend. Well, one of many.

Later, truly fine rp in Insilico. Thank you, Fifth, Joah, and Urdith.

And, well, I've already talked about having trouble getting to sleep. And here are the current eBay auctions. Please have a look, because I found out yesterday that a check we've been waiting for is going to be several weeks late, and the bloody big heads at the IRS isn't as agreeable as I am about waiting for their money. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (redeye)
Yesterday was not a good writing day. It took me all afternoon to produce a measly 716 words on "Pickman's Other Model." The constant need to fact check (everything from the movie industry in 1920's Fort Lee, New Jersey to the geography of the Massachusetts North Shore) didn't help, and there was one paragraph I spent almost an hour on — writing it, rewriting it, re-rewriting it, trying to get the wording just right. The voice of this story does not bear much resemblance to the peculiar use of first-person narrative that Lovecraft employed in "Pickman's Model." It's far more reserved, as the character of Eliot, as i am choosing to write him, is quite a different person than was Thurber (the narrator of HPL's story). One neat thing, yesterday I discovered an unexpected overlap between Low Red Moon and "Pickman's Other Model," and, as it turns out, this story will provide a bit more history to Narcissa Snow's family. Anyway, hopefully today will go better. Truthfully, I should not have attempted such an ambitious short story when I have so many deadlines pressing in on me, but, damn it, this is what I want to be writing. Also, my thanks to [ profile] derekcfpegritz for pointing me to a better e-text of "Pickman's Model" (at Wikisource).

So many things in my head this morning, I'm bound to forget something.

Yesterday, after the writing, UPS dropped (literally) a 45 lb. box of Tales of Pain and Wonder and Tails of Tales of Pain and Wonder onto our front porch. And now I have seen the 3rd edition of the collection, and it is beautiful, and I am extremely grateful to Bill Schafer at subpress for giving me another chance to get this book right. In particular, Richard A. Kirk's artwork is reproduced beautifully. It's just a gorgeous book, and if you haven't already ordered, I urge you to do so now, because soon it will be sold out once again, and, if you wish to own it, you'll have to resort to paying exorbitant eBay prices to people who are not me.

And I was extremely pleased that Christian Siriano won Project Runway 4. I just had to say that, because I am a fashion nerd (thank you, Diana Eng).

No walk yesterday, because I just wasn't up to the chilly wind. It's much warmer today, I'm glad to say.

I'm considering (and I know this is a strange idea, bear with me) of establishing an rp group on Second Life to try rping through certain scenarios before I write them as vignettes or stories for Sirenia Digest. I'd probably call it "The Sirenia Players" (how could I not), and it would be a small group, no more than ten people, I think. Part of the great, untapped potential of SL is all the ways it can aid authors, and this would be another way of taking advantage of what it has to offer. To date, I have derived a number of pieces for the digest from SL rps, including "The Steam Dancer," Scene in the Museum (1896)," and "In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection". Anyway, speak up here or via email — greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com — if you might be interested, and I'll keep you posted.

Also, you can now "See the Alternate Ending for I Am Legend That Was Too Satisfying for Test Audiences," courtesy New York Entertainment (my thanks to [ profile] chris_walsh for pointing me to this). It's still not the right ending, but is an ending that follows logically and emotionally from the rest of the film, doesn't reinforce the myth that the military can save us from a doomsday of our own devising, and it is far, far preferable to what was shown in theatres. Of course, if you have not yet seen the film and want to, it's probably best not to watch this ending, as it is undeniably spoilerish. If only the practice of employing "test audiences" to aim films at the lowest common denominator (which is to say, the average audience) would go the way of the non-avian theropods...
greygirlbeast: (cleav2)
Finally, it's uncomfortably cold in Atlanta. As the globe warms, autumn doesn't really seem to be ending here until mid-January. Yesterday, about 5 p.m. (CaST) it began to snow, and the snow continued to fall until well after dark. For at least two hours, white stuff fell from the skies. I lay in the living room on the chaise, staring up into the twilight sky, pleased at the sight of the heaviest snowfall I think I've ever seen in Atlanta. And we learned that Hubero hates snow. By 7 p.m. or so, we had maybe a quarter of an inch. We took some photos, which are behind the cut:

Dandruff from the sky! )

As predicted, yesterday was spent reading what presently exists of Joey Lafaye, the prologue and first chapter. Spooky read, and I listened. And then I sat down and figured out that I have 18 weeks or so until the ms. is due in New York. Only 18 weeks, mind you, and 3 of those weeks, at least, have to go to Sirenia Digest, which leaves me a mere 15 weeks or so. And since the contract is calling for a novel that is approximately 100,000 words in length (I'd have preferred something closer to 70,000 for this one), that means I must write a minimum of 6,034 words per week to make my deadline (as I have, thus far, written only 9,749 words on the book). It's doable, just barely, even with the several days I'll be losing to the trip to Maryland to speak at the O'Neil Literary House at Washington College (in April). Of course, there are writers I know who could do this in their sleep, even with the Digest thrown in. I just don't happen to be one of them (or want to be one them), so I'll have to do it while awake.

Oh, and I answered a lot of email yesterday. Later, I watched two episodes of Project Runway 4 (it feels like I never watch TV anymore). The prom-dress episode was completely vomitous and silly, but the "Avant-Garde" episode made up for it. I truly loved the punky, futuristic coat that Victorya and Jillian created. It might be the most fabulous thing I have ever seen made on the show, and I would wear it forever. Chris and Christian also did a fantastic job with their "48 yards of organza." But I also liked Kit and Ricky's dress quite a lot, and Nina needs to get a clue (Santino knew this, and no one would listen to him), and I was very sad to see Kit go, as she is just too cute to be believed. And I know that most of you neither know nor care what I am on about, but yes, I am a fashion nerd (even if I dress like a steampunk bulldyke), and it can't all be word counts and narrative angst, now can it?

And this morning, I have an email from my Beowulf editor at HarperCollins (or HarperPrism, or whatever), saying he's sending me copies of the book in Polish, Italian, Korean, and Portuguese. Which I think is about a third of the languages it's being translated into. Oh, and we have begun a new round of eBay, which you may see here. And I just got Vince's finished art for "The Collector of Bones," and it is awesome.

Oh (again), and here's a question from yesterday's reader comments (thank you, [ profile] wistful_nana_o), which I will treat as a sort of micro-interview, because that's sort of what it is, and I don't really do interviews anymore (behind the cut):

three questions )
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Late, late, late, and I need to be in bed. But I was going to mention my surprise at finding myself disappointed that the oleaginous Malan Breton was given the boot on Project Runway last night. I loathe the man, but this third season is shaping up to be notable only in its almost complete absence of personality. What a painfully dull lot. In that drab company, Mr. Breton at least commanded attention. And whoever imagined that Miss America would make for an interesting challenge? For the first time, I found myself bored at the series. Anyway...

My thanks to [ profile] sclerotic_rings for reminding me of Titan and the wonders that continue to be revealed by the ESA Cassini probe. Wow. Perhaps we will not have ethane or methane seas, but whatever the solar system presents beyond the speculations of mankind are wonders enough for me. Okay. Bedtime. Perhaps I shall even sleep...
greygirlbeast: (Sex)
Act 1: Though all these deadlines and the impending trip to Rhode Island have placed me in a situation wherein I need to be writing every single waking moment, and though I said that stuff about Gandalf and Pippin and the deep breath before the plunge, and though I am surely one of the most productive writers I've ever personally met (if I do say so myself, and I do)...still, I'm not an assembly line. I cannot write as an assembly line, no matter how much I may desire to or need to. On Tuesday, I finished "The Cryomancer's Daughter (Murder Ballad No. 3)" and had every intention of beginning a vignette for Tales from the Woeful Platypus on Wednesday. When writing on Wednesday fizzled, I resolved it would happen on Thursday. And here I am, and it's getting late on Thursday, and I have only a title — "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ghoul" — and a handful of ideas and about two hundred discarded words. Because I'm not a gaddamn assembly line, though it's not for any lack of trying. Because the words come only when the words come. Maybe by Saturday, I'll be writing again. Please cross your fingers, toes, and/or pedipalps on my behalf.

Act 2: A free (yes, FREE) e-version of my sf novella The Dry Salvages will soon be available from Subterranean Press. I do not yet know all the formats it will be available in. As many as possible, I suppose. One of the things I'll be doing during the trip is reading over the story again and creating a revised text for Bill Schafer. This is what we call an experiment. Hopefully, something good will come of it.

Act 3: Though I have been silent on the subject of late, I continue to practice and identify as Wiccan, but I also continue the search for some branch of neopaganism with which I am much more compatible. Most recently, this has led me to investigate Feri. And I must admit there are some aspects which I find attractive: the general absence of heterocentrism and gender polarity, no general adherence to the "threefold law," an emphasis on ecstasy rather than fertility, and so forth. And yet, it also has much that annoys me to distraction: incorporation of the myth of the "Attacotti" or whatever you choose to call Murray's Pictish "little people," Victor Anderson's preposterous claim to have been initiated into a preexisting witchcraft tradition at the age of nine in the Oregon woods, the inclusion of aspects of Xtian mysticism, claims to antiquity and a prehistoric origin, etc. Mostly, I feel as though I'm chasing my tail round and round. There are days, like today, where I cannot begin to understand what ever set me on this path, why I could not be content with my dogged rationalism, but then I go and have a day (or night) when I understand precisely what precipitated this search.

Act 4: Yes, of course I'm watching Project Runway 3. But so far, I have no clear favourites, and all I know for sure is that I loathe Malan Breton with a passion. I believe the word which best describes him is oleaginous, both in the sense of a thing being oily and in that other sense relating to smugness and all that is unctuous. Put another way, ewww. The man makes me want to bathe, and I fear he'll be around most of the season.

Act 5: I spent part of yesterday listening to Thom Yorke's solo album, The Eraser, which I quite like.

Act 6: Also yesterday, Spooky and I made a second trip to the "pet sematary" to get more photographs, and this time we discovered it seems to have some peculiarities relating to our perception of its overall size. When I wrote of it on the 11th, I said that is was "maybe three feet across at its widest point." The first thing that struck me upon seeing it the second time was that it was considerably larger than that, perhaps four feet wide. However, I paced it off and Spooky and I were both astounded to discover that it is actually about eight feet at the oval's widest (east-west) dimension. I paced it off again. Again, eight feet. Looking at it, it really appears no more than four feet wide. I'm assuming there's some perfectly ordinary explanation for this discretion between our perceptions and our measurements. We'll be going back with a tape measure to try to figure it out. Meanwhile, more photos (behind the cut):

five-and-a-half-minute hallways )

Act 7: Simian Publishing has posted the cover for Into the Dreamlands, which will reprint "So Runs the World Away." It looks like this:

Act 8: Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We'd have listed more items, were we not presently so busy. Note that the copy of the subpress hardback of Low Red Moon is one of the few I have, which means it's one of the very few I will be auctioning. So, if you want to get this particular edition of the book from me, you really might want to bid. And, as always, thanks muchly.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
Okay. I just almost cried over Nick getting booted on Project Runway tonight. Really, I'm that ridiculous. I cheered for Santino (of course), and immediately apologized and got all teary. Someone needs to buy me a clue. Chloe deserved the win, but I know Nick's way more talented than Kara, whom I feel has mostly coasted along on luck and mediocrity. *sigh* Pity me.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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