greygirlbeast: (white)
Cold and rainy last night, and this morning the snow has mostly been washed away. It's warmer today, about 52˚F at this particular moment.

I'm going to try to keep this short, because I need to get some writing done today. Yesterday was all work and no writing. But, there's news. Some of it's Big and Good, but a lot of that part I can't announce just yet (or maybe even not for a while yet). I can say I have a new editor at Penguin – Danielle Stockley – and we had a really wonderful conversation on the phone yesterday. Turns out, she went to school in Woonsocket, and not only did the whole Woonsocket ghoul/werewolf thing from my fiction not offend her, she seemed to suspect I Know To Much. Also, my favorite story from last year – "The Maltese Unicorn" – has been selected for The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2012 (edited by Paula Guran, Prime Books). Here you can see the whole Table of Contents. And I wish I could tell you more of the good things, but "to those who wait," right?

Last night, we braved the fog and drizzle to get Mama Kim's (the truck was parked on Broad Street, at Johnson and Wales). There are photos of the night, below the cut. If you're in the area and haven't had Mama Kim's, you truly must remedy that.

Later, we stumbled across one of those unexpected gems on Netflix. A film we've never heard of, and doesn't have an especially good rating, but proves to be brilliant. In this case, it's a grim little thing called Blood River, directed by Adam Mason (and topped off with an appropriately chilling song, that played over the end credits, by Martin Grech). There's almost nothing I can say about this film that wouldn't risk spoilers. I can only say that it's not what you'll start off thinking it is – it's something much, much worse. To quote a review by Johnny Butane (dreadcentral.com), "What's so great about Blood River is that nothing is spelled out for the audience. Your hand is not held, nor your steps guided, through this plot." Deeply unnerving, breathtaking, and highly recommended.

And I read a couple more chapters from Chris McGowan's book. Now, I go to write, but, first, the photos I promised:

23 January 2012 )


On the QT,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
He couldn't make a sentence stand up and be noticed if he put Viagra in the ink.

---

This the the sort of entry people do not like to comment on.

As this journal enters what I expect to be it's final three months as an entity that will be updated daily, my chief regret is that I have always held so much back. And that I have to continue to do so, probably, even now. From the beginning, I wanted this to be a blog where I talked about what it's like for me to be a writer, and, as much as I have been able, I've done that. But there have been many, many times when my hands have been tied by the politics of the industry. That is, I could say something true, true and useful to anyone with thoughts of trying to become a published author. But, as with all other arenas of human endeavor, publishing is ruled by politics, and telling the truth can be detrimental and even suicidal.

All writers lie about writing, and they do it for various reasons. But one reason that writers lie about what it's like to be a writer is their fear of repercussions that could end their career. Same with speaking openly and honestly about the work of other authors. To be able to do this would be immensely useful to anyone with aspirations in entering this shadowy realm. All those naïve wouldbes. But I've never been in a position to do this, to take those risks, and for that I apologize. Looking back, it's among those most valuable insights I could have imparted. I'll have to settle for old, familiar warnings such as Hic sunt dracones or, perhaps more appropriately, Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.

---

As for my daily activities, writing and not writing and whatnot, the last couple of days that sort of thing has taken a backseat to getting the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl out there. Let me see what I can now recall.

On Wednesday, I wrote 1,018 words on a piece for Sirenia Digest #73 called "Blast the Human Flower." Yeah, a lazy bit of titling, but not an inappropriate bit of titling. It may or may not stay on the finished vignette. I can recall nothing else of significance, or that's especially interesting, about Wednesday. Oh, we finished Season Six of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. How's that?

On Thursday, I awoke to the news that Penguin (Roc/NAL) had made on offer on Blood Oranges, and I spent part of the day discussing that with my agent. Nothing more was written on "Blast the Human Flower." I fucked off and left the house, and Spooky and I ended up at the Trinity Brew Pub, where I indulged in hot wings and beer. I don't often drink alcohol anymore (my meds), but I had a pint of their very excellent Belgian saison, made with a new variety of New Zealand hops. When I do drink beer, I want good beer. Later, Varla – my Sith Assassin – made Level 20.

Yesterday, we went to an early (1 p.m. CaST) matinée of David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and it's very, very good. Truly. And Trent Reznor deserves another Oscar for the soundtrack. The cover of Bryan Ferry's Is Your Love Strong Enough by How to Destroy Angels in exquisite, and, for that matter, the opening title sequence alone is almost worth the price of admission. No writing again yesterday. I don't think I've been slacking off; just too much anger and depression. Okay. Bullshit, no matter how I feel, I've been slacking off, and it ends today. Last night, I didn't get to sleep until after five a.m., sitting up late reading stories by Michael Shea and a very good piece by Kim Newman, "Another Fish Story." I don't usually care for Newman, but I did like this one.

And that, in a nutshell, is the past three days. Oh, except I've been watching documentaries on the Mars Polar Lander, cosmic collisions, and "ancient astronauts" (I'm ashamed to admit that last one, but sometimes we learn a great deal about good science by watching the crackpots who have no clue when it comes to methodology, reproducible results, outlandish claims, anecdotal evidence, and critical thought). There are some photos from Thursday, below, behind the cut. Oh, I did want to mention that in the next day or two, we'll begin a series of auctions on eBay which will include souvenirs from the shoot back in October and also a copy of The Drowning Girl. I'll announce those as soon as they go up.

Okay. Gotta go write.

Hands Tied,
Aunt Beast

5 January 2012 )
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
Took the "Break in Case of Emergency" pill this morning at five ayem, that tricksy gem in my prescription pharmacoepia, that I so very rarely touch. Because it hits within mere minutes, and it hits like a freight train (the passenger sort would only stun) and wears off about eighteen hours later. I slept more than 8.5 hours, a sleep which culminated with a dream of a post-apocalyptic (not one word, that adjective) plague that slowly, horribly transformed the infected into bat-like alien things. It isn't a dream I wish ever to go near ever again.

And I'm not awake. My left eyelid (blind eye), keeps closing of its own accord.

[livejournal.com profile] readingthedark arrived early in the evening, we had dinner from the hot bar at Whole Foods, then headed to the show at the Met. The first band sucked empty donkey ballsacks. Don't even recall the band's name. A bunch of fucking hipster poseurs from Brooklyn trying to audition for the Grand Ole Opry. But the second band, Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, were rather damn bow tie. Singer looked a lot like Michael Wincott (swoon), and the sound was sort of like a collision between Rockabilly and Bob Dylan and Nick Cave and a really skanky honky-tonk five miles outside Yazoo City, Mississippi.

Brown Bird (buy Salt for Salt TODAY), returning home after a long tour, looked a little haggard, but sounded better than I've ever heard them sound. A mountain of bow tie. It was even worth enduring the drunks and texting idiots. And here's a thing? Why do people pay to attend a show, then spend the whole goddamn show texting? Or even spend five minutes doing it? Are they truly so attached at the genitals to their cell phones and social fucking networks that they can't stop that shit fot a couple of hours and just listen? Anyway, fuck them, and Brown Bird remains the finest Appalachian-Roots-Yiddish-Doom-Folk band anywhere on Earth.

And that's all I'm writing today. I'm still stoned, and I'm on vacation, motherfuckers.
greygirlbeast: (walkenVNV)
From the last Brown Bird how I attended. Superb!

Brown Bird - Cast No Shadow from CrashBoomBang Media on Vimeo.



This is one of the bands that have become the "soundtrack" to which I write Alabaster; remember that when you start reading it. Probably sounds weird, because people think I'm still all gothedy and shit, but Brown Bird is one of my five favorite bands right now. They are (in no particular order, and this may change by next week...but....):

1. The Decemberists
2. The Editors
3. Radiohead
4. Florence and the Machines
5. Brown Bird

Fuck. I left out R.E.M. But maybe R.E.M. is 5.1 or something.

And by the way, want bleak "Fuck-you-God-bring-on-the-Apocalypse" lyrics? Brown Bird.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I seem to be developing a new loathing for "weekends" (id est, Friday night-Sunday), and I begin to guess why.

Comments would be good today, if anyone still reads LJ on Saturday.

Today, I have to get back to writing "Sexing the Weird," which I truly need to finish by tomorrow evening. Yes, it's about sex, and the weird, and weird sex. But maybe not how you think. Or maybe exactly as you think.

The only work yesterday were a couple of last minute corrections to the galley pages of The Drowning Girl. Then we had to rush out to the UPS place at Wayland Square to be sure the thing would be back in NYC on Monday morning. Forty-two dollars and some number of cents to get it there by then.

Anyway, after that we wondered...er, wandered (though I wonder a lot) about Providence for a little while, as late afternoon faded to twilight, just watching the last remnants of the day and the last remnants of autumn. I'm beginning to realize that autumn will never cease to make me melancholy. Doesn't matter if it's beautiful, but that should be obvious to anyone who stops and thinks about it. Indeed, the beauty of autumn may lie near the heart of why it inspires a sense of melancholy in me.

We drove up to Blackstone Park, but it was too cold to walk through the woods. We'd not dressed for that much cold. We took the road that leads south (well, we were going south; the other lane leads north), between the Seekonk River and York Pond. I glanced over at the shadows darkening the still waters of the pond, and spotted a lump moving across the surface that I first mistook for a large turtle (despite the chill), but soon realized was a beaver. Oh, before Blackstone Park, we stopped in at Myopic Books, which is next door to the UPS Place. My favorite used bookstore in Rhode Island. I was good. All I got was an 1883 book on the sea, Ocean Wonders: Our Summer at the Seashore and Lakes by William E. Damon (D. Appleton & Co.; New York; the book is inscribed in a beautiful, looping hand, "Lotie H. Palmer 1884") and a much less old children's book on horseshoe crabs, The Crab That Crawled Out of the Past by Lorus and Margery Milne (1966, Atheneum; New York). Looking at these books now, I think, gods, remember when there were innumerable publishers in Manhattan. Now there are about six. To the detriment of almost all authors. Anyway, I was good, as I said, and didn't get a couple of pricey books on the evolution of birds that I also wanted.

We got dinner from Mama Kim's Korean food truck. It was parked in the usual spot, near the corner of Thayer and George. It was almost dark. Spooky went to get the food (I had three gochujang sliders), and I sat on a bench, smoking and thinking about the ancient buildings around me. The silhouette of some Brown University tower was visible to the northwest. Spooky's still sad she didn't get the little fish-shaped, sweet-bean pancakes. They seem too peculiarly reminiscent of something Xtian for my comfort.

Later, too much freaking Rift. But we were finally able to "buy" the cool cold-weather outfits at Chancel of Labors.

Later still, we watched an odd film, Daniel Myrick's The Objective (2007). It was almost pretty good. Well, it probably was pretty good. But there was this horrid voice over, which felt tacked on, whether it was added in post production or was part of the original screenplay. It seemed to exist to a) tell us the plainly obvious and b) make the film seem more like Apocalypse Now. Anyway, voice over aside, great idea and some nicely unnerving imagery, especially the final shot. Then I finished reading John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez, because I only had twenty pages to go, and I was determined to finish (even if it did mean staying up until almost five ayem). Wonderful, wonderful book. Then there were the dreams, some oddly, disturbingly sexy, others oddly, pleasantly disturbing, and still others just odd.

Here are a couple of photos, the The Drowning Girl (+ cat hair!) and the 1883 book:

Covers )


Oddly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
After much ado, follow this link. There will be much more news next Wednesday (the 9th of October), but I think the discerning reader of my work can gather quite a lot from this Dark Horse teaser. And, though I dislike speaking of the tips of icebergs, well...such things are. I hope you're as excited by this as I've spent the last year being (as yes, I've been sitting on this secret, in one form or another since Oregon and my GoH stint at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, when the mega-cool editor Rachel Edidin of DH asked for a meeting with me. So, make of all this what you will.

Props of [livejournal.com profile] corucia for guessing halfway right, and to [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh for making the most utterly fucking absurd guess: "I'm hoping the news is that science (Science!) has figured out how to download Harlan Ellison's mind into yours for safe keeping."

And now...other things, but comment, kittens, as I wish to revel in your excitement (and further speculations).

Today, between a zillion other distractions, Spooky and I are making the final edits to Blood Oranges before it goes to my agent and editor. Just piddly stuff, really. Mostly continuity.

Here in November, in this House of Leaves we pray.

Yesterday, I finished writing the new story for Sirenia Digest #71, "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W," which required of me 1,187 words. Written yesterday, I mean to say. And don't forget, really cool NEVER BEFORE RELEASED Silk archival material, available only to subscribers! Means, kittens, this is a good damn time to subscribe!

And I suppose, since I allowed Anne Rice to speak yesterday, Miss Stephenie Fucking Meyer deserves equal time, so I'll quote the article from The Atlantic Wire, for all the precious and celibate teen members of Team Edward out there (by the way, note that Miss Meyer fired the first shot in this little skirmish). Thus, I quote:

"But I can't read other people's vampires. If it's too close [to my writing], I get upset; if it's too far away, I get upset. It just makes me very neurotic." And Interview with the Vampire presumably gets her on the upset--the "too far away" kind of upset. "I've seen little pieces of Interview with a Vampire when it was on TV, but I kind of always go YUCK! I don't watch R-rated movies, so that really cuts down on a lot of the horror."

Yes, she really did say "yuck."

Last night, we played RIFT, and I got enough magma opals my fucking Ash Strider mount! Booya! And we finished Season Four of Mad Men, which would make me really sad, having to wait for Season Five, except we have the two-discs that collect Season Four of Californication incoming from Netflix tonight; I love me some Hank Moody. I think I got to sleep about 4:45 ayem. There was a dream this morning of apocalypse, but it's been forgotten (thank you, poisonous meds).

Did I mention this link?

I leave you with another beautiful photograph from The Drowning Girl shoot, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy:



The genuinely intrepid Sara Murphy as Eva Canning, in the Providence Athenaeum.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, kittens, it's going to snow 1-3 inches here in Providence tonight, and we're the lucky part of New England. Apparently, Autumn took the year off; I don't blame it. I hear it's snowing in Manhattan right now.

Still, I wish I were at the sea today. I want to watch a heavy snow fall on the olive-green waves.

Okay, here's some news, so perk up those ears. I've been sitting on a secret for many, many months, and many of you know this. On November 2nd, there will be some manner of revelation, and on November 9th, all will be revealed. That's Wednesday, and then the next Wednesday. The NSA has agreed to declassify the files, and the MiBs will go public. The gag order will be rescinded. Some of you will not hear the news here first. Machineries are in motion that are far greater than am I. But...I believe there will be a lot of happy campers among you, and I think the wait will have been worth it. It's worn me ragged, keeping this secret.

And that's what I worked on yesterday, this secret thing. Meanwhile, Spooky attended to line edits on Blood Oranges, using the old iBook (Victoria; the old girl's got a lot of life left in her).

---

Yesterday evening, as the sun was setting, we arrived at the Steel Yard, for the 6th Annual Iron Pour. A most appropriate post-industrial celebration of Samhain (though, of course, Samhain proper isn't until Monday). Five-thousand pounds of molten steel poured from a blast furnace, molten metal to fill jack-o'-lanterns, a great skull-shaped mold (the skull, weighing hundreds of pounds lifted, glowing, by block and tackle). Hundreds of voices screaming, "Fire." Enormous effigies to be devoured by fire: demons, witches, the head of a goat. A woman with the head and wings of a bat, dressed all in black and on stilts. A chainsaw that belches flames. The burning effigies are revealed to have wrought-iron skeletons. Deliriously eldritch and aharmonic anti-melodies played on violins, saxophones, and coronets. Volcanic showers and liquid iron of sparks filling the air, and raining down almost atop our heads. That's the Iron Pour in Providence. There are pictures behind the cut, below (though, batteries were low, we forgot to change them, and the camera, therefore, acted up).

Do people know about the not-so-secret pagan rites in Providence? Well, more than know about the Big Chair Rites of Moosup Valley.

---

After my post yesterday, and my mention of seeing The Rapture (1991) again, an analogy occurred to me. It's one thing to call the Judeo-Christian god petty and sadistic. It's another to explain what you mean. So, here's one of a...well, of countless...examples: That whole Garden of Eden thing, Adam and Eve and the serpent. That chestnut. Here's the same story - the very same story – recast in less fantastic language. An unnamed adult (ADULT) places two three year olds, a boy and a girl, in a large room filled with every manner of toy they might ever desire, every sweet confection, a computer with the best games, every imaginable three-year-old delight, and the children are told, "You may play with all these things, and eat whatever you wish, and as much as you wish. But...you see that jar of Watermelon-flavored Jelly-Belly jelly beans over there? You do? Okay, now...that's the one thing you must not eat from. Now, I'm going to leave you to your own devices. Be good, kiddos." (No explanation is offered as to why the beans must be left alone.) And the adult goes away. And the two children have a blast, for days and days and days.

But, eventually, a loudspeaker mounted in one corner begins to whisper sibilantly about those Watermelon-flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans. It whispers, and most persistently, and, kids will be kids, and...when the unnamed adult returns to find the forbidden beans of jelly have been tasted, the two children are shamed with the harshest possible language, then tossed from the paradise of that room. They're thrown out into the cold winter streets, and guards are placed at the doors, that they can never again enter the marvelous room. Because they ate jelly beans that were placed there so that they would be tempted to eat the jelly beans. And there was that voice planted there to help them along, right? Don't think for a moment the adult didn't put that speaker there (whether or not the voice was his or hers, that's another matter). But it gets better, which is to say it gets worse. For having tasted the Watermelon Jelly Bellies, no child may ever again enter the room, and all the descendents of these two children will suffer unspeakable agonies and trials, and die, and face an eternity of torment unless they love the sadistic adult (ADULT) in question, despite this dirty, little trick with the jelly beans and the whispers...and, well, you know the story. And no, this is no more simplistic a parable than the original. Just a tiny bit more honest. And don't give me that "freewill" bullshit. ADULT knew better. He/she knew the nature of the children, she/he made them. The whole thing was rigged. For the Bible tells us so.

---

Spooky's Hallowe'en Sale isn't quite over, so have a look.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, and then a tiny dash of RIFT. Then we watched last week's episode of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story, and...it was...surprisingly better. It was actually...haunting. A tremendous number of story threads and themes were skillfully tossed about and interwoven and, hell, it would have made a fine last episode. Still that Dark Shadows camp, but elevated just a bit. Moments of genuine chill. I think it's possibly more interested in the problem of hauntings than in ghosts, and that would be a good thing. Oh, and now Zachary Quinto, also known as Spock #2 and My Second Husband (you get to guess who's my First and Third husbands are), has joined the cast...so I have to keep watching.

Later, I read Steinbeck's The Log of the Sea of Cortez until I could get to sleep, about four-thirty ayem.

And now, I hear those black panel vans...You know, Tom Waits* needs to write a song entitled "Black Panel Vans."

Clandestine,
Aunt Beast

28 October 2011 )


* "Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky says, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has tweeted "Rhode Island. It's not an island. Not even close. I have discovered this." He is a wise man. Oh, and he also just tweeted, "They really should change the name of that to A-Squid-Neck Island*. In honor of Lovecraft. Obviously. Fo shizzle." I think he's high.

Today, Hubero's name is Bill Murray. Just until midnight. This began when Spooky posted the following to Facebook: It's that kind of morning... discussing how funny it would be to change Hubero's name to Bill Murray. "Get down off that counter Bill Murary!" "Dust bunnies will kill you, Bill Murray!" Yeah, that one was for the Jim Jarmusch aficionados. Shit. Hold on. Bill Murray is eating coffee grounds out of the garbage.

Um...back now.

Yesterday, I worked. On, you know, The Secret.

And then I went to the Apple Store and bought an iPad. Yes, this may well mean the end of Western Civilization, and I am ashamed to the core of my being, and I apologize. But I'm going to need it for work soon, and it's tax deductible. Now, time was, writers didn't need Star Trek gadgetry to...write. They needed fingers and ink and paper and a quill. Later shit got fancy with pens and typewriters. Luxuries? Those were whiskey and cigarettes. This was the life of the writer, and they roamed the plains in vast and wordy herds. But now, writers must have gadgets. Yes, they must! Or the other writers make fun of them. Gonna have to get an iPhone soon, too...but that's gonna wait a few more months. Meanwhile, I will endure the peer pressure and limp along with my sad little 2009 cellphone. Anyway, yes. An iPad. And man, you wanna know how Sirenia Digest was meant to be seen? Look at #70 on an iPad. I had no bloody idea! Anyway, lest anyone gets too worried, no. I WILL NOT READ EBOOKS ON MY iPAD. Except magazines and newspapers and comics, because that's different. Why? Because I say so. Also, my basement is filled with cardboard boxes of National Geographic that a) weigh a ton, b) will never again be opened in my lifetime, and c) I can't bear to throw out.

My iPad's name is Kermit. First time I have ever given a computer a male name.

My thanks to Josh Cruz ([livejournal.com profile] subtlesttrap) for sending me the new Ladytron album, Gravity the Seducer. And to Melissa, for reminding me that I've fallen in love with St. Vincent. Sometimes, I forget my nouveaux amoureux (and that I don't actually speak French).

Anything else? Bill Murray, you are not helping.

Oh! I know. Since when did publishing start thinking that anyone who has a blog, seems to be able to read, and can write halfway coherent sentences qualifies as an actual "book reviewer"? You know, those people who write "book reviews." Once, we had real book reviewers, who wrote actual book reviews for newspapers and magazines. In fact, we still do. Not as many as we used to, and, sure, few of the reviewers can match the Golden Days of Reviewers, the likes of Dorothy Parker's "Constant Reader" in the pages of The Atlantic. But, every goofball with a WordPress or TypePad account? Really? Fine, call me arrogant. I don't care. Call me meritocratic. I can live with that just fine. I can't live with BookVoreLady's "review" of The Red Tree being quoted by my publisher (I made up "BookVoreLady," but you get the idea), and I diligently have those "reviews" removed when they turn up in the opening, promotional pages of my books. Maybe this is the wave of the future, an age when merely being able to read and write automatically grants one the status of being a bona-fide book reviewer. But I don't have to like it or go along with it. Reviews have always been a questionable affair, but at least when the reviewer has a name and a face and you know their educational and professional pedigree, intelligent decisions based upon their opinions can be made. I may disagree vociferously with reviewers, but I do at least tend to respect the opinions of the learn'd and experienced.**

But what do I know? I bought an iPad and named it Kermit.

So, without further ado, eight more "making of" photos (chosen at random!) from the past weekend's shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir book trailer. These were taken by Ryan Anas, who was Kyle's PA for those three days. Ryan rocks the casbah, by the way. I'm not labeling any of these photos. You can all make a grand parlour game of guessing their provenance. Or not. Your call. Speaking of calls, Ryan took these with his phone, which sort of looked like an elephant had stepped on it, so he gets extra points for moxie. And speaking of moxie...

Hey! Bill Murray! Get away from the microwave! (This is why we can't have nice things.)

Ryan's Behind the Scenes, Part One )


*Aquidneck Island

** No, this is not–most emphatically not–any sort of condemnation of those of us (as I am included) who write about books, perhaps in great detail, in our blogs or what have you. But I've never yet written anything in my blog I'd dare have the hubris to call an actual review. The world, I think, needs a hubris extractor.
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
In the comments yesterday, the matter of Panthalassa came up, the matter of the focus my paganism. And I feel like I ought to explain something – not because anyone offended me – but just to be clear. My relationship with Panthalassa does not involve faith. Indeed, I am entirely lacking (or unburdened by) both religious and "spiritual" faith. Panthalassa, she asks for nothing, and I know I have nothing to give her. What's more – beyond the fact that she is objectively the world ocean – Panthalassa as a godhead exists only as a metaphor, and as a focus for psychologically healthy ritual. Which, if you ask me, pretty much puts her way ahead of Xtianity (or most other patrifocal religions), with its demanding, selfish, judgmental Old Man in the Sky. Or the "son" he supposedly sacrificed for our "sins." What I do, it's not drawing those lines – faith or failure, belief or torment. My meetings with Panthalassa are not about faith. Devotion, yes. And reverence. But not faith. Nor are they about communing with a conscious "higher power," as Panthalassa is not conscious. I am an atheist, and a pagan, and I know that bends some people's brains, but it ought not. I simply stepped outside several paradigms, all at once. Also, I have renounced the mess that Wicca has become.

---

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest 69 ready to go out to subscribers, and if you are a subscriber, you should have the issue by now. If you're not a subscriber, you should immediately follow the link above and rectify this lamentable situation. Thank you. I hope people are happy with the issue, and if they have had time to read it, will kindly comment upon 69 today.

Today I go back to work on The Secret. And I wait for the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I am not waiting with dread, only with mild and time-consuming annoyance. I know there will only be the annoying marks made by the copyeditor that, for the most part, I have to STET. The rest of September will truly be a crunch. I have The Secret, the aforementioned CEM, and we need to read through all of Blood Oranges (though that might have to wait until October).

Someone asked if there were plans for a Subterranean Press hardcover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. No, there are no such plans, but I will be speaking with other publishers, possibly, about this, and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.

---

Kathryn was at the market yesterday and heard a woman actually say "LOL," aloud. That is, "el-oh-el." After I tweeted her traumatic experience, I have discovered from others that this is not an unusual phenomenon, nor one confined to "kids these days." You shame yourselves yet again, Western Civilization. You poop in your own undies.

---

Speaking of poop, last night, for some reason beyond my comprehension, we watched John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (1987), a thing I swore I would never do. And, for fuck's sake, this is a bad movie. Even a weird little role (with no dialogue) by Alice Cooper doesn't help, not one itty-bitty bit.*** At the center of this mess is a pretty neat little idea – evil is a viral being from outer space that arrived upon the earth billions of years ago, and the purpose of the Catholic Church was to fool everyone with religion until science could become sophisticated enough to cope with the swirling green entity in the cylinder. Fine. Very Lovecraftian. But. Carpenter takes that scenario and turns it into a dull, over-lit mess, with no suspense whatsoever. This film is the very antithesis of suspense. It's where suspense goes to die of boredom. There's no acting in sight, except for Donald Pleasence's overacting. The film pauses, now and then, to ramble off a load of nonsensical exposition, which is at least a break from the slog of the story. What the fuck? Had Carpenter spent all his money on blow and whores and had nothing left over to spend on actors, a camera crew, writers, and SFX? In short, stay far, far away from this one. It's actually much worse than In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and that's saying something.

For my part, I say Carpenter had a good run from 1981 through 1986, and then violently bottomed out – with, as it happens, Prince of Darkness. His masterpiece remains, by far, The Thing (released in 1982), and I think that's mostly because he had a number of great things going for him – "Who Goes There," Howard Hawkes' The Thing from Another World (1951), Rob Bottin's brilliant SFX and art direction, Ennio Morricone's wonderfully minimalistic score, the intentional allusion to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and, lastly, a great location. John Carpenter may not be what made The Thing a great film.

But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance. Escape from New York (1981) is loads of fun, as is Big Trouble in Little China (and Kurt Russell is a significant part of what works with both those films). But yeah. 1981 through 1986, and then Carpenter takes a precipitous nose dive. Hell, I might even be generous, and include The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978) – though I don't really like either, they're gold compared with everything that came after 1986. And the plunge from Big Trouble in Little China to Prince of Darkness is almost inexplicable. So, yes. I say it was coke and whores.

Anyway, afterwards, we watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and read more of The Stand. I read two more stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Both were by authors with whom I'd had no previous experience. First, John Horner Jacobs' "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and then Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Flash Frame." Both were quite good, but I especially liked Jacobs' piece. All this helped get the taste of the awful movie out of my brain and eyeballs.

Tonight, maybe some Insilico RP.

Rain today. Chilly. Summer's passing away.

Oh! Photos from Sunday, as Irene was finishing up with Rhode Island (behind the cut). So, these photos were taken the day before the last set of photos I posted.

Chilled,
Aunt Beast

28 August 2011 )


***Spooky says, "The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Just want to get something down lest the wind take out the power. I've only got three days left to make my six months without missing a day blogging goal. This storm will not stop me.

Yesterday, I did 1,352 words on Chapter Eight (the last chapter) of Blood Oranges. I also added a sentence to The Drowning Girl.

We've got power lines downed a couple of houses over, the Providence Fire Department evacuating a house by the power lines, tons of leaves down, wind, a little rain, trees moving about alarmingly, and the air smells of the sap of freshly severed branches. But we seem to have come though the worse (which wasn't very bad).

More later...

Ruffled,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
We're provisioned, high and dry, and watching the charts, the diagrams, the broadcasts. I'm not especially worried about Providence. And the storm will have spent most of its fury before it reaches Boston. We'll get heavy rain and bad wind. And hellacious swells and tides (Why am I not surprised that LJ can't spell "hellacious"?). But it's Manhattan and the other boroughs that worry me the most.

Regardless, it'll be a rough weekend on the Eastern Seaboard. I'd thought maybe I could get to Moonstone Beach late this evening and get in one last swim before the storm hits. But the surf report for the day is looking less than optimum. By the time I could reach the shore, late this afternoon, the surf will be 3+ feet (waist to stomach height), with swells at 2-3 feet. The swells really are not bad for swimming, given that the water should be semi-glassy/semi-bumpy. But my legs are still weak enough that getting in and out of that surf could be dangerous (I can still be knocked down by a 2-foot wave, if it catches me off guard). So, I imagine we'll drive down and watch the sea, but stay dry (I'll get photos and post them). The temptation is just so...strong. But the surfers are excited. They'll be out in force at Point Judith by tomorrow. Surfers know no fear (which, in this case, may equate to having little in the way of instincts for self-preservation*).

But things get scary on Sunday, when we'll have 10-15 foot waves, with 15-26+ ft. swells. And, of course, the new moon is bringing our highest tides of the month. Here in Providence, the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier will protect downtown (which is only 8-12 feet above mean sea level). I doubt there will even be an evacuation order for Conanicut, Aquidneck, and Block islands. But we shall see.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on Chapter Eight of Blood Oranges. I am so, so near the ending. But today, I need to go down to Exeter, about 15 miles from here, to do some last minute research for the final scene. We'll stop by the Chestnut Hill Cemetery and see the grave of Mercy Brown, which I've never done. Oddly.

They can no longer move.
I can no longer be still.
-- Throwing Muses

[livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has begun a new LJ, [livejournal.com profile] evacanning, for the outtakes and progress with The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed and the book trailer (not sure why this isn't being done via Kickstarter, but there you go). Kyle and I will both be making upates. There are already some great stills (Sarah [Eva] and Kyle, and one of the plague doctors) up on the blog.

Oh, the deadlines I am facing in the next three weeks. Fuck me twice on Sunday. Wish me luck. If I survive them, well...maybe then I'll be able to survive the two months that follow those three weeks. The matter was discussed yesterday with my editor at Penguin.

Well, enough for now. If you're in Irene's path, do the smart thing. Be safe. But I cannot help but marvel (and herein lies conflict) at the beautiful ferocity of this beast, Panthalassa's rough, watery beast slouching towards Nova Scotia.

Awed,
Aunt Beast

* This isn't meant to be value-laden, loaded language. Frankly, I admire anyone who takes on that wild water. If I were younger and/or stronger, I would be out there.
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: (alabaster2)
The storms have passed, and it looks like we made the right call, not attempting the drive to Boston yesterday. The video I've seen of a sizable tornado dragging itself along the Connecticut River in Massachusetts yesterday, slinging it's debris field round and round, is beautiful and terrifying and filled me with awe. But, having watched tornadoes in the wild (let's say), face-to-face with those beasts (in Alabama), I'm glad to have been nowhere nearby. Here in Providence, we got a lot of weird skies, some wind, and about fifteen minutes of heavy rain and pebble-sized hail. That's all.

Yesterday was spent on the final-most editing of The Drowning Girl. I added a little text, and I took nothing away. And going back to the text, I realize now what an enormous emotional drain the writing of it was for me, and I know why I was so wrecked when it was finished. Both Spooky and my psychiatrist were of the opinion that my dark mood in April was caused by the book, and now I believe them. I think I scraped down all the way to the bottom of my being for this one, and never have I loved a character as much as I love Imp. I may never again. Once again, the novel will be released in March 2012, and will include three illustrations by Vince Locke.

Today, I send the manuscript back to my editor, and it'll be out of my hands until the arrival of the CEM (copy-edited manuscript).

It looks like Sirenia Digest #67 will most likely go out on the 5th, as soon as I have Vince's illustration. I think this is going to be a very good issue.

Spooky and I picked that fifteen minutes of rain and hail to leave the house to run errands. I took photos as we crossed the Point Street Bridge and drove up Wickenden Street (behind the cut, below). The hail pounded our umbrellas and bounced all around us.

---

There were a couple of comments to yesterday's entry that I'd like to repost. On the subject of the #FuckPlanB hashtag on Twitter, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy writes:

I should probably write something about F#$k Plan B – I fear it's at best hyperbole and at worst dangerous. If your plan A is good enough, and broad enough like "be smart, work hard, learn to write" it will give you many options. But one need only look as far as 35 year old former pro-football players to see where a dogged grappling of a narrow plan A can leave you. I should add that I fear many people being encouraged to "F#@k plan B" don't have what's necessary to succeed at plan A. I admit as Exhibit A all the self-published 99-cent ebooks littering Amazon.

To which I wish to add, a lot of people truly do not want to believe in the necessity of talent required for many Plan As. You cannot learn talent. All the workshops and best efforts and schooling in the world cannot bestow talent. Too many learn that much too late.

- and [livejournal.com profile] opalblack wrote something which evoked such wonderful imagery, I just wanted to make sure everyone sees it:

I went to Venice during Carnival this year. It was like someone had taken a slice of my brain and turned it into a city that was having a party in drag. We went to Isola di San Michele, the cemetery island. We picked up little pieces of broken glass and pottery. Space on the island is at such a premium that the graves are regularly turned and re-let to new occupants. As we strolled through one such recently turned area, I spotted bones. Tiny human bones, a finger here, a fragment of skull there. I picked them up, as is my wont when I find bones – which like yourself is often. We returned to our room, drank absinthe, and smoked. Eventually we went back to Belfast, swearing to return to Venice soon and often. I carried our treasures in my cleavage.

---

Utterly fucking splendid rp last night in Rift – Selwyn, Enth'lye, and Ghaun – and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus and Tracy T. for that. It buoys my spirit, good rp. And we have a grand story beginning to unfold, working within the framework of Rift's lore. Join us!

And now, off to work.

Shiny,
Aunt Beast

Rainy Day )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Today, kittens, would be a fine day for comments.

Spooky and I are on the guest list for the Brenden Perry and Robin Guthrie show at the Paradise in Boston tonight. BUT. There are thunderous hellstorms barreling down on New England. And my feet are swollen (and I might have to stand at the show). And the car's acting goofy. And parking's always dodgy in Boston, which means walking on the swollen feet I might have to stand on for two hours. And I'm waiting on checks that haven't come, so money's tight (and gas is exorbitant). And there's work needs doing. And I already took yesterday off. And...you see? When I was thirty-seven, I'd have said "Fuck it all. We're going." Now, I can't stop chewing over the cons, and the pros shrink away. But Brenden Perry and Robin Guthrie.

Brenden Perry makes this fluttery feeling in my belly.

Anyway, decision made. Staying home and working. Or something of the like.

---

I awoke yesterday - after that paltry and feverish five hours of sleep - to a barrage of Very Important Email, which halfway thwarted my day off. But only halfway. Spooky and I escaped the sweltering house about three-thirty p.m. There had been plans to head down to Moonstone Beach, but I think we were both just not up to the drive (and back to the cost of gas). Instead, we crossed over to College Hill, and spent about an hour at India Point Park, where the Seekonk River drains into Narragansett Bay. The sun was hot, but there was a cool wind off the bay. I lay in the grass, and thought about Blood Oranges, and found a squirrel femur lying beneath a tree. There are photos below, behind the cut (oh, and one of me from back on May 19th, signing the signature sheets for the limited of Two Worlds and In Between).

Then we had an early dinner at Tortilla Flats on Hope Street (at the same intersection where we threw the hubcap on Monday night). I ordered a margarita, though my meds and drinking are a no-no. I did it, anyway. And delivered unto me was the Mother of All Margaritas. No, seriously. Must have been five shots of tequila in the thing. So, Spooky helped me drink it. Gods, I miss the taste of tequila. And after that, we headed back to the house. So, that was my semi-day off.

Last night was mostly just Rift, which was mostly me and Spooky level grinding in Iron Pine, then very good rp (thank you, T!) at Lantern Hook. Spooky's cleric, Miisya, made 44. By the way, here's an offer to people who might want to try Rift and join our guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man. Do the free trial, and if after those seven days, you decide to stick around, the guild will pay for your first mount (horse or vaiyuu). That 2.5 platinum, which, by the way, is hard as hell to make in the lower levels. The guild is beginning to come together, but the more the better. If you want to take us up on this offer, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll add you to the list and answer questions and whatever. And remember that we're on the Shadefallen shard, Defiant side.

---

The idiotic #FuckPlanB thread on Twitter was brought to my attention this morning, and I sort of wish it hadn't been. It goes something like this: "If you have a fallback plan, a Plan B, in case Plan A doesn't pan out, then you're not really trying." And this is utter bullshit, and advising any would-be artist to adopt this philosophy as valid is the height of irresponsibility. The road to oblivion and homelessness is paved with those who could not (or would not) adapt. Hell, I wouldn't even be a writer if I hadn't had a Plan B, as Plan A was vertebrate paleontology! Yeah, life isn't fair, and settling for less than "your bliss" can suck, but it's better than the alternative. Unless you're so privileged (trust fund, whatever) that you can actually afford the sort of failure that derives from not having a Plan B (and C, and D), this attitude is, simply, self-destructive. Consider Sirenia Digest. That was a Plan C. Anyway, this whole thing has made me rather ill. If you want to read a very cogent take on this, read what [livejournal.com profile] bethofalltrades has to say on the matter in this post.

---

Also, I'm very pleased to see the return of [livejournal.com profile] acephalemagic to LJ. He's one of my favorite bloggers and one of My Favorite People I've Not Yet Met.

Now, kittens, I face the storm.

Plan Ahead,
Aunt Beast

31 May 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
Only five hours sleep last night and the night before, and I'm feeling it. Add to that the fact that winter ended just last week and we've now fast forwarded to July, so my office is sweltering, and I presently feel just a little bit crappy. And sweaty. And sleepy.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,697 words, beginning and completing the second piece for Sirenia Digest #67, which is called simply "Untitled 35." By the way, "Untitled 35" is the 90th piece of short fiction I have written specifically for the digest. Which sort of blew my mind, when I did the math. Anyway, the vignette gets back to the roots of the digest. In fact, this whole issue does. Anyway, Vince is currently working on an illustration for the other story appearing in #67, "Figurehead."

I'm making this entry on the Asus laptop, Zoe, as I've never written anything on her before, and I'm curious to see if I'm as clumsy with this keyboard as I feared I would be. So far, I'm fine.

I have a number of almost, but not quite completely, edited projects piled on top of me that have to be attended to as soon as the digest goes out, before I get back to work on Blood Oranges. The changes to the galley pages of Two Worlds and In Between, and the Crimson Alphabet chapbook. And there's The Drowning Girl, which needs a couple of tweaks. And...stuff I'm too groggy to remember. But it all has to be taken care of ASAP.

Some email yesterday with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy regarding our impending work on the visual accompaniments for The Drowning Girl. We spoke of crow masks and nuns.

Spooky spent almost the entire day having new tires put on the automobile, and returning overdue library books to the Athenaeum. Well, almost all day on the first thing. The belated book return was, I expect, quick by comparison to sitting at the tire place for three or four hours.

Oh, did I mention it was hot? If not, well, it is. Hot. Here. Which is mostly just funny, because we were having to use the fireplace about a week ago.

Last night, about 10:30, we escaped the sweltering house, crossed the river, and then drove willy-nilly about College Hill, and all the way over to the southern end of Gano Street, where I'm setting part of Blood Oranges. I needed to see it at night. Now, I need to see it at twilight. The interstate looms above it there, and tawdry houses crouch in ominous shadows. Sorry. Just had an attack of Lovecraftitis. All over College Hill, the sidewalks were littered with the crap the deserted apartments of college kids excrete at the end of each school year. We saw two girls wheeling enormous wheeley bin things down the road, evidently cleaning out studios at RISD. On Benefit Street, we saw a very tall boy in a dress, attired rather like Dame Darcy. As Spooky said, he didn't look bad in a dress, but it was a curious sight, there beneath the streetlights. And then, a few minutes afterwards, we threw a hubcap. I assume there's no connection between the Dame Darcy boy and the throwing of the hubcap, but, rather, that someone at the tire place did a poor job of putting the thing back on. Anyway, Spooky managed to retrieve it, so all's well that ends well. It was wonderfully cool Outside, and the air smelled clean (though I expect it wasn't).

In Rift, there was more very good rp. Enthlye, Artemisia, Celinn, and Selwynn, at Lantern Hook in the Droughtlands. Lantern Hook, as I may have mentioned, is essentially a sietch, down to the reservoir. Anyway, the Order's future was discussed, as was Selwyn's sudden change of gender. But, yes. Loving the rp. I've not cared as much about an rp character as I do about Selwyn in quite some time. And it's amazing how Telera lends itself perfectly to rp, whereas Azeroth simply doesn't. Mostly, I think it's a matter of Rift being willing to take itself seriously. As someone said last night in general chat, "It's like WoW, without the suck and fail."

And I read "A new enantiornithine bird from the Lower Cretaceous of western Liaoning, China" and "The osteology of Chubutisaurus insignis del Corro, 1975 (Dinosauria: Neosauropoda) from the 'middle' Cretaceous of central Patagonia, Argentina," both in the January JVP. And tried not to think about sunrise.

Okay, make an end to this entry. Later, kittens.

Perspiring,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence, we've leapfrogged from April, way back on Wednesday, to June. And, actually, four days ago, I had to run the space heater in my office. So! Everything normal here in New England. Last night, at three ayem, the humidity was 100%.

As birthdays go, or, rather, as my birthdays go, yesterday was probably ahead of the curve. I have a Magical Birthday Curse of Doom. Last year, for example, we were supposed to be in Boston, but the car died, it was 90 million degrees (and we still haven't invented AC in Rhode Island, probably never will), and I was a sick as a dog from one of my meds. Sure, last year's birthday began with Garrison Kiellor profiling me on NPR. And that was cool, in the most surreal of ways. If not for Garrison Kiellor, last year's birthday would have scored about 5% on the Birthday-o-Meter®. I give yesterday a 50%. So, yeah. Better.

Truthfully, any birthday that includes watching a school of mermaids drag a pirate ship into the briny deep can't be all bad.

Which is to say, Spooky's birthday present to me was a matinée showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In 2-D, thank you. It was fun, and the mermaids were spectacular. [livejournal.com profile] sovay would approve. And Ian McShane was awesome, but it was obvious he was on a short leash. Ian McShane is a goddamn force of Nature, but he must be free to say cocksucker as many times as is necessary. On Stranger Tides could have used about fifty uses of cocksucker. Jack Sparrow is definitely a cocksucker. Anyway, yeah. Fun and pretty movie. Great cast. But this needs to be the last of the series. Time to move on.

As for the rest of the day, well...there was floor cake. Floor cake sort of sums up everything not good about yesterday. But, we had pizza from Fellini's, just like last year. I sat on College Hill, watching the fog roll in from the bay. We played Rift (more on that in a moment). I did not write. There were some marvelous gifts, and my gargantuan thanks to everyone who went to that much trouble and expense. Truly. On Facebook, far more than 200 people wished me a happy birthday (only 32 on LJ, and only 8 on Twitter, and I find this all significant; oh, but [livejournal.com profile] rozk wrote me a wonderful birthday poem she posted to LJ). Late, I lay on the floor and watched two episodes of Firefly ("Trash" and "War Stories"), because Firefly on your birthday helps, like washing down a bitter pill with something sweet. This paragraph is horrid, but there you go. Spooky read me If I Ran the Zoo, before the insomnia struck (despite my Good-Worker-Bee Pill), and I couldn't get to sleep until after dawn

---

I have spent so much time singing the praises of Rift, that I almost (almost) feel obligated to write about its shortcomings. Which is sort of silly, as Rift at its worst still makes WoW look like the sad mess it is. But. Even so. If you visit Telara, and happen to find yourself in the region known as the Droughtlands, and it feels oddly familiar...well, if you've ever been on Azeroth, in Desolace, that explains the déjà vu. Truly, Trion photocopied Desolace, rendered it a thousand times better, and changed the name to the Droughtlands. You even get the fucking centaurs. Also, Trion does so much right, couldn't they have devised names for regions that weren't all two-word combinations: Freemarch, Moonshade, Iron Pine, Scarwood, Shimmersand, and Silverwood, and etc.? Come on, guys. This is airy-fairy billshit, possessed of all the imagination of a dead mouse. And the yetis? I know, Iron Pine Peak is cold and snowy...but yetis? That's the best you could come up with? As kids these days would say, "falcepalm."

You're awfully fine, Rift, but you could be so much more.

And now...fuck it. Sweat and write.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy and a bit chilly today. All is glum.

Easier to shut the curtain.

So, lift my spirits, kittens. Comment.

Today will be an Assembly Day. That is to say, a day spent assembling the latest issue of Sirenia Digest – in this instance, #65 – so that it can be mailed out to subscribers. Which you ought to be, if you're not.

I'm mentioned very briefly near the end of this article, "Lovecraft's Providence" (in "Fine Books and Collections," which, near as I can tell is a webzine only*). Anyway, the article's by Nick Mamatas ([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid), and both me and Brian Evenson are quoted.

Also, a couple of weeks back, I took part in a "One Word Interview," in which the word in question was silence. I meant to post the link, but I often forget these things.

Yesterday I was a bad kid and played hooky. Spooky and I went to Warwick and saw a matinée of Francis Lawrence's Water for Elephants (from Sara Gruen's 2006 novel, of which Spooky is a great admirer). I'd never have thought the man who made I Am Legend (2007) and Constantine (2005) would have been the right director for this film, but I would have been wrong. The film is superb. The entire cast is excellent (yes, including Robert Pattinson), especially Christoph Waltz. If you place any weight in my opinion, this is a must-see film. And no more hooky for me until at least June.

Please, please have a look the current eBay auctions! Thanks.

Last night, curiosity got the better of me, and I did a thing I'd sworn I would not do. In Rift, I created a Guardian-side character. Now, if you know the Rift backstory, you know that the Guardians are loyal to the old gods of Telara, while the Defiant have rejected the gods and pursue a technological and scientific means by which to defeat the two factions' common enemy. Each side blames the other for the rifts, and so on, and so forth. Anyway, I created Mithrien, a High Elf, and Spooky created another High Elf, Serrafina. And we played them through the first ten levels. My conclusion? The Guardians should be renamed the Godbotherers. No, really. It gets very obnoxious after a while, and I doubt I'll be playing much of Mithrien, what with all the praying and inspiration and talk of faith and whatnot. But here's the thing that really got me. At several points, polytheistic Guardian NPCs refer to the Defiant as "heathens." Do the people at Trion who wrote the script know what that word means? Because, in point of fact, the Guardians are nearer to being heathens, while the Defiant would be more fairly described (by theistic folk, anyway) as infidels or apostates, but not as heathens.

However, big points to Rift for the lesbian thing with Kira Thanos and Uriel Chuluun (Defiant side).

Okay, yeah. Big queer nerd-out. Sorry.

Um...where was I? Ah, fuck it.

You are reading Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy, right?

Glumly,
Aunt Beast

* Nick tells me it is, in fact, a bimonthly print magazine.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Please do comment; I'll be here all damn day.

It seems that all my family and friends in Birmingham are safe. I know a few people in Tuscaloosa, mostly at the University, and I've heard nothing from that end. But the devastation from yesterday's tornadoes is horrific, and I've had to make myself stop looking at the photographs of familiar places reduced to unfamiliar places. Tornadoes are a part of living in the South that I do not miss.

---

Dream images from last night are mostly lost, and those that remain are faint and almost indistinguishable from the background clutter of my mind. There was a beautiful mastodon skeleton weathering from a river bank. There was frozen Stalingrad during World War II.

All summer they drove us back through the Ukraine.
Smolyensk and Viyasma soon fell.
By autumn, we stood with our backs to the town of Orel.


No, the mastodon skeleton wasn't in Stalingrad.

---

Work was an odd and scatterbrained affair yesterday. Lots of loose ends and such, and today I have to begin a new piece for Sirenia Digest, because I am woefully fucking late getting to it. Oh, by the way, the snazzy new Sirenia Digest website will go live this weekend or early next week.

I mentioned that the ARCs for Two Worlds and In Between arrived on Tuesday. They include Lee Moyer's cover art, but brightness and contrast are way off, rendering the cover muddy and dark. And it's not the actual layout we're going with, so if you happen to see one of the ARCs, this is not what the final book will actually look like. I spent part of yesterday making corrections to the text, because no matter how many times you proofread a thing, or how many people len their eyes to the proofreading, it will still be filled with fucking errors. The manuscript is 210,209 words long, which breaks down to 965,432 individual characters, all of which have to be checked again and again. Also, it seems that the release date on the book has been moved from January 2012 to September 30, 2011. I had no idea.

I spent a goodly portion of yesterday on the cover for "The Crimson Alphabet," the chapbook that will accompany Two Worlds and In Between. I'd already done a cover, but decided I hated it and started over. The end result is very, very simple.

---

[livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has announced the casting call for two projects related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. You can see his announcement here, but I'll also post his entry here in its entirety later. A book trailer and a still photography project. It's all fairly fucking awesome.

---

Last night, I left the house with Spooky, and we drove to College Hill. Spring is now in full bloom, and the temperatures have been warm enough that I am hereby declaring Cold Spring to have ended and Spring Proper to have begun. We stopped by Acme Video (complimentary Atomic Fireballs!), then Eastside Market, then got cheese burgers from Five Guys in Seekonk, Mass. I'm not used to driving out of state for burgers. That's going to take some time (and it's not something we'll make a habit of doing, either).

Back home, we watched Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void (2009). And I honestly wasn't impressed. If nothing else, the film needs at least 45 minutes trimmed away (running time, a whopping 161 minutes). This film manages to belabor pretty much everything it touches upon. In the hands of a skillful editor, it's possible that something worthwhile could be salvaged. If Lars von Trier and David Lynch had never heard of editing, they might make movies like Enter the Void. Also, it doesn't help that Nathaniel Brown, who plays the protagonist, has all the acting ability of a stalk of broccoli. There are plenty of arresting visuals, and some brutal, beautiful scenes, but even I can only watch psychedelic Tokyo sex scenes, shot from an overhead boom and lit with seizure-inducing, flickering shades of red, for just so long before the yawning begins. I hoped I would feel better about the film this morning, but, in fact, I find that I sort of loathe it; I suppose that's something.

---

I have about a hundred other things in my head, wanting to be spoken of in this blog today. Maybe later.

Disoriented,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (blackswan)
1. The cat's out of the bag. Yes, the work that I've been doing for SuicideGirls.com consists of being part of a development team creating a steampunk sister site, UnsavoryTarts.com. Not sure about the launch date. But I think the new site goes live in a few months.

2. Also, finally I can announce that the Alabaster film is in preproduction. Getting David Fincher on board as Executive Producer was entirely cockblocking the production, but now that he's agreed, Lion's Gate's announced that the project's greenlit. Yes, I'm very happy. In fact, I could hardly be happier, considering they've managed to sign Elle Fanning for the part of Dancy Flammarion. Also, Sid Haig will play the Bailiff, and Anne Hathaway has been cast as Aramat Drawdes (which, yes, gives away the fact that In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers forms part of the film). Wayne Barlowe will oversee creature design...and...I wish I could say more (the director, for example), but I can't. Except, maybe a summer 2014 release date.

3. Yesterday, no actual writing. Tons of email, though. Really. I weighed it.

4. I managed to get out of the house. We braved the shitty weather to make a trip to the Athenaeum. Just as we parked, it began to rain. By the time we left, it was snowing. By the time we got back to the house, it was snowing heavily. Fortunately, the ground was too warm for accumulation, so fuck you, Mr. Snow. At any rate, a good and productive trip to the library. There are photos below, behind the cut. But the coolest part by far was Spooky coming across a copy of Dashiell Hammett's 1931 anthology of macabre and suspense stories, Creeps by Night (The John Day Company). The book includes Lovecraft's "The Music of Erich Zann," and was one of the very few times in HPL's life that his fiction appeared in print outside the pulps, and one of the best pay checks he ever earned. Lovecraft was paid $25 for reprint rights. In 2008 dollars (best I could come up with), that's equivalent to about $317. This was two years after the beginning of the Great Depression. Anyway, I sat holding the volume, knowing that Lovecraft almost certainly held the very same copy at least once. The book was accessioned by the Athenaeum on September 27, 1932. Also, read Galway Kinnell's The Book of Nightmares (1971), which is on beyond beautiful.

5. Back home, I ripped off my left thumbnail. No, not on purpose.

6. I got to thinking yesterday about how my novels always wind up with theme songs. That is, one song usually gets associated, in my mind, with any given novel. With The Drowning Girl, it was Death Cab For Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark." With The Red Tree, it was Poe's "Haunted." With Daughter of Hounds, it was R.E.M.'s "You Are the Everything" (I think).

7. After the library, we stopped by the p.o., and there were a couple of packages waiting for me. [livejournal.com profile] hollyblack sent me a copy of Red Glove, which is now next in the to-be-read queue, after The Book Thief and Tender Morsels. There was also a package from Paul Riddell, which held many things, including a copy of Chuck Jones' Chuck Amuck. Books in the mail are a good thing. Yes, Precious.

8. Lying in bed last night, listening to Kathryn read Markus Zusak's brilliant, heart-breaking The Book Thief, this thought came to me: I could very well write a novel that offended no one, that was correct from every imaginable social and political perspective, and that wasn't, in any way, "triggering." Yes. I could do that. And it would be as bland as a mouthful of unsalted crackers, and it would be shit, and it would be of no worth to anyone. But I could do it. I could set aside all that "art is a hammer" nonsense. I could be safe and sterile and no one would ever have to worry that what they read between the covers of my books would cause them any discomfort of any sort.

And I made Spooky promise she'll take away my crayons and paper if i ever fucking do this.

9. No, I do not approve of Shopping-Enabled Wikipedia on Amazon. No, not even if it sells more of my books. No, not even if it makes our lives more convenient. It's still loathsome.

And now, photos:

31 March 2011 )


All photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
Providence dodged the snow.

Huzzah!

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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