greygirlbeast: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Um...what? Already? Oh, fuck. Okay.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,163 words on the final chapter of Blood Oranges. More bridge troll stuff – but Otis, not Aloysius. It's very, very weird writing a book of any sort this quickly.

One video, and then another, and now Spooky has me listening to Tom Waits this morning. Which is better than having "At the Hop" stuck in my head. Yeah, I just woke up, and there it was, in my head.

My thanks to Scott Pohlenz for sending me a copy of Subterranean Press' exquisite The Martian Chronicles: The Complete Edition. The slipcased and numbered edition! #49! And on Bradbury's birthday, even! Okay, that's enough goddamn exclamation points, but thanks all the same, Scott. You made my day. Originally, I wrote, "You made my day awesome." But then Spooky politely reminded me how we don't use that word around here, because all those AWESOME shit-wit hipsters and interweb dweebs have ruined it.

Here in la Case de Kiernan y Pollnac we're bracing for [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and crew on Friday, and the possibility of Hurricane Irene on Monday. Boom.

Yesterday, I read "A fossil sperm whale (Cetacea, Physeteroidea) from the Pleistocene of Nauru, equatorial southwest Pacific." See, it's them little "hyperlinks" that make sense of the whole bloody world. Unless, like me, you've read too much obscure zoological, geological, and geographical literature.

Random comment: I hate having to be the sane, considerate, grown-up person. I'm ill-suited to the task. But not as much as I once was. Thank you, Mr. Lamictal and smart psychiatrist lady. You both rock.

Spent time last night thinking about the life and death of Robert E. Howard, and the sad mess that has been made of his literary estate over the decades since June 11, 1936. Somehow, it all culminates with a lawsuit filed by Stan Lee Media Inc. against the makers of Conan the Barbarian 3D (i.e., Another Sad Sack of Cinematic Shit Wherein Everything Jumps Out At You®). Trying to fathom the ins and outs of this legal circle jerk makes me want to do bad things to myself with a titanium spork. Also, it encourages me to be sure that my own "literary estate," whatever it may amount to, is in good hands when that time comes. I want it to be safe and out of the paws of weasels at least as long as the people I want to benefit from it are around. Then, whatever. Fuck it. The lawyers and con men always win. It's only a matter of time. Oh, the stories I could already tell. Except, I can't. Because that's the way it works. And, you know what? It works that way because of lawyers.

Hey! Mr. Stephen fucking King! You listening to me? Spooky and I were up until four ayem reading the original 1978 edition of your novel The Stand, and it's a damn swell book and all (oh, my godforsaken crush on Nadine), BUT WE WANT OUR SLEEP BACK.

Oh, and Patti Smith is writing a second memoir. Which makes me happy.

Probably, I should go now. Yeah, that's what I should do. Tomorrow, we'll talk again.
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
And today, is Ray Bradbury's 91st birthday. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for Mars, Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, bottles of dandelion wine, that foghorn, the Elliot family, and a thousand other wonders.

Sunny and cool here in Providence, thanks to a low humidity and dew point. Very windy.

Turns out, as of yesterday, we're moving the entire shoot for The Drowning Girl book trailer and The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed from Boston the Rhode Island. This happens this coming weekend, so things here will grow increasingly chaotic. [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and crew will arrive on Friday evening, and as we only really have about a day and a half to shoot, it's going to be intense. But, hopefully, fun intense, and hopefully many wonderful things will come of it. Oh, and yesterday Michael Zulli showed me the underpainting of his version of G.P.S.'s The Drowning Girl (1898), and, even at this unfinished stage, it's beautiful. A part of the novel is coming alive and will exist beyond the printed page, and I thank him so much for that.

As announced, yesterday was a "day off." I still spent about three or four hours working, but there was no writing. What we did do, though, is go to Swan Point Cemetery for the first time since the ugly fiasco of the 20th of August 2008. I do not know if it was my post, then Boing Boing picking up the story of the verbal assault against me and Spooky, and the story spreading across the interwebs that led to a major change in Swan Point security, or if it was that combined with other incidents, or if it didn't involve my experience at all. But it has changed, and wonderfully so. There are visitors again, and bicyclists, and the air of oppression has been lifted. For the first time in three years (!!!) we were able to visit Lovecraft's grave. Likely, things have been better there for a year or two, but I've just not been able to return, that incident in 2008 was so upsetting. There was a big gathering on Saturday to commemorate HPL's birth date, but I didn't want to be a part of the crowd, so I waited until yesterday (I don't think the Old Gent would have minded my tardiness). We walked around the beautiful cemetery, me making notes, recording names for future stories and novels, getting mosquito bites, and marveling at trees. We found a huge red oak (Swan Point is also an arboretum) , and I took a single leaf and pressed it in between the pages of my Molskine. The cemetery was so, so peaceful: bird songs, the wind through trees, insects, the Seekonk flowing past to the east, and very little else. It was at least part ways as grounding as the sea.

We saved HPL's grave for the last. There were many a wonderful offering carefully laid above the grave. I left a tiny button in the shape of a black cat; knowing his love of cats, it seemed very appropriate. Anyway, hopefully we are now all free to visit the grave whenever we like, and I can only hope that asshole security guard was fired. Yesterday, I felt like I'd gotten back something very grand and important to me. There are photos below, behind the cut.

Afterwards, we had an early dinner at Tortilla Flats.

And I have a long day ahead of me. Spooky's begun cleaning the apartment in anticipation of the arrival of photographers (and all their gear) and models/actresses on Friday. I have to begin Chapter 8, the final chapter of Blood Oranges, which I hope to make very significant progress on this week and finish early next week.

21 August 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
So, Anne (my editor) accepted my decision regarding the addition to The Red Tree that I'd decided wouldn't work. The one I wrote 1,211 words for on Monday, then had to dump in the novel's morgue. To quote Anne, "If it won’t work, it won’t." Which is pretty much my take on such situations.

Yesterday was ultimately more productive, though I actually wrote less. I did 817 words, adding another scene that Anne suggested in her editorial letter. But this one works without distorting those events that lie downstream from it. Today, more additions (which I always prefer to subtractions, or, worst of all, changes).

Spooky has begun a new round of eBay auctions. Bid if you are so disposed.

As soon as the edits to The Red Tree are done, and as soon as Sirenia Digest #39 is finished and sent out, it'll be time to get serious about writing the re-imagined Joey Lafaye for my next novel. That would be early March, I suppose.

My thanks to David Kirkpatrick for the package that reached me safely yesterday, bearing first-edition hb copies of Ray Bradbury's The Toynbee Convector, A Graveyard for Lunatics, They Have Not Seen the Stars: The Collected Poetry of Ray Bradbury, and The Cat's Pajamas. I had none of these, so it is a welcomed gift.

Last night, we watched Jon Favreau's Iron Man, which I liked quite a lot. I was especially impressed with Jeff Bridge's role as villain. I was in a mood for anti-heroes, fireballs, and giant robots, and was not disappointed. Afterwards, a little more WoW. We've gone back to questing in the Eastern Plaguelands, and are both about halfway to Level 61. And after that, I did a little more with the new Tarot deck, just before bed, mainly concentrating on the Major Arcana. And that was yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
I neglected, yesterday, to give the title and publisher for the anthology that will be reprinting "Pickman's Other Model." The book, edited by S.T. Joshi, is Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror. It will be released late this year by PS Publishing, who are doing some genuinely gorgeous books, including the new edition of Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever for which I wrote an introduction.

Yesterday was an especially frustrating writing day. On the one hand, I wrote 1,211 words, part of a new scene for The Red Tree. This is a scene I was adding at the suggestion of my editor, and when she made it, I thought it was a very good idea. However, yesterday evening, having almost finished it, I realized that adding it would entail a good deal of restructuring to the last two and a half chapters of the novel. Because all changes, no matter how small, create ripples. And given that I have only ten days or so remaining to get the corrected ms. back to NYC, there simply isn't time to deal with those ripples. Moreover, the changes to text and character that the new scene would create would, in some ways, be undesirable. So...I spent half an hour this morning writing a detailed letter to Anne (my editor), explaining why I'm skipping this edit, and ditching everything I wrote yesterday. Today, I have to try to add another scene, but I'm hoping this one will create very few, if any, ripples. For me, attempting revisions on a novel that I have come to consider, for all intents and purposes, finished is not unlike time traveling. You cannot even step on a butterfly (thank you, Mr. Bradbury), without changing everything that lies downstream of said butterfly. I don't know how many metaphors I just mixed, but there you go.

There are still a few copies of the regular trade edition of A is for Alien available, and I hope that you'll pick one up.

Last night, after a meal of won-ton soup and particularly hot Szechuan beef, we started reading Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist (as translated by Ebba Segerberg). And my new Colman-Rider-Waite deck came yesterday, and I spent part of the evening making good on my resolution to hone my Tarot skills. Later, we ate Klondike bars and there was WoW, but it was all spent running about getting the "25 Coins of Ancestry" achievement. In the process, we also managed to score the exploration achievement for exploring Elwynn Forest, though it meant charging past the Level ?? guards and in and out of Stormwind City. There was a PVP skirmish at Sentinel Hill in Westfall that we sort of started. I'm beginning to get a rush off the PVP stuff. And that was last night, pretty much.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
The snow is falling hard again. Hubero is sitting on my desk, watching as the white world gets a little whiter. I have promised him that it will be at least Wednesday before the weather forces us to eat the cats. Hubero replies he is grateful to now live in the world of corner stores.

Bad insomnia again last night. But I did manage to get to sleep before 5:30 ayem. While Spooky was reading to me from The Historian, I could hardly keep my eyes open. As soon as she stopped, I was wide awake. This is no reflection on the book.

No writing again yesterday.

Yesterday, the mail brought my contributor's copies of the new PS Publishing edition of Ray Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever (originally published in 1958), which includes my introduction, "The Most Beautiful Music I've Ever Read." At this point, depending what one does and does not count, I've written and published upwards of seven novels, something like a hundred and fifty short stories, novellas, and vignettes, dozens of comic scripts for Vertigo, won a few awards, and so forth. But, honestly, I think I've never been half so proud of anything as I was of seeing my name on the title page of The Day It Rained Forever ("Introduction by...."). It completes a sort of circle, as Bradbury was such an enormous formative influence. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity. Among my comp copies was the deluxe boxed set, which includes the PS Publishing editions of both The Day It Rained Forever and A Medicine For Melancholy. Almost, but not quite, the same collections. There are four stories in the former that were not included in the latter, and vice versa. Essentially, The Day It Rained Forever was the UK edition of A Medicine For Melancholy.

I desperately needed to get Outside yesterday, if only to see Providence blanketed in all this snow. It took us about half an hour to dig out the van, so we could escape the driveway. I brought a yardstick down, and measured the snow depth in a number of undisturbed spots. An average of 9 inches, with drifts well over a foot. We drove (very slowly) from Federal Hill, across the river to College Hill. The roads were slushy and brown, and not as many people were out as I'd expected. This was already late in the day, after four thirty by the time we reached Wickenden Street. Eastside Market was open, and we stopped for a few things, then headed back towards Benefit Street. There are photos below. The sky had gone the color of blue-grey clay, and it was snowing hard. We followed Angell Street west, then ended up on Congdon headed south. By fits and starts, we reached Benefit Street. I saw Lovecraft's "Shunned House" (the "Yellow House" of my own stories) in the snow, which made it look quite a bit more imposing. I glimpsed the Fleur-de-Lys House (from "The Call of Cthulhu") through the storm. We headed back across the Point Street Bridge, and stopped to take a few photos of the Providence River and snow-shrouded College Hill. The river was like slate, and the waves seemed more like chips in stone. The old wharf that, in the summer, is usually covered with gulls and cormorants, was buried in snow and ice. And that clay sky above it all. We made it back home just before sunset.

And now it is Solstice, and the days will grow longer. And that is a great relief. The rebirth of the "Great God," if only metaphorically. Though, truthfully, a metaphorical Cernunnos or Pan is as useful to me as would be one whose reality were less subjective. Here it is truth that applies, not fact. The wheel turns, and the Horned God wakes again. The long night of winter will end soon enough. A happy and/or blessed Solstice/Yule/Midwinter to all those who wish to be wished such.

Yes, this entry is wandering a bit, isn't it?

A reminder that the current eBay auctions are ongoing. Please do have a look. Now, the photographs from yesterday:

Saturday, December 20, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I would think that by just about any sane measure, I would count as a very prolific writer. At times, somewhat too prolific for my own good. And with this in mind, it seems inevitable that there will be these dry spells. These times where I sit and stare at the keyboard until I must either find some suitable diversion, some work substitute, or start breaking things. Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day trying to write. I found a title. I found a good portion of the story — here, behind my eyes. But all that made it from my brain to the screen of the iMac was the title: "The Ape's Wife." This is the aforementioned Kong story, which I have decided is not destined for Sirenia Digest, but for the pages of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy, an anthology which will be published by subpress. So, there, I have a title and I know some part of the story, and today, with luck, it will not rain, but the words will come, which is really the same thing.

When I could no longer stare at the keyboard (I think it was about 5 p.m.), I distracted Spooky from working on the taxes (gathering receipts for Herr Accountant) and read her an Angela Carter story, "Wolf Alice," one of my very favourites. Then I read her one of my favourite Bradbury stories, "Tyrannosaurus rex" (originally published as "The Prehistoric Producer"). And then we had a walk. I needed a sweater, which seemed odd as we've been having days in the high seventies and low eighties (and it's even cooler today). Nothing remarkable about the walk. Down to the end of Seminole where the skateboarders hang out, where their ramps, geometrical oddities of plywood and particle board, sit abandoned on days they're not using them. Days like yesterday. There was a chilly wind, but the sun was bright and warm. We walked as far as Videodrome, which really wasn't very far, not as far as we should have walked. I'm trying to do better with this whole exercise thing, dull though it may be.

Back home, UPS delivered the signature pages for the hardback edition of Subterranean Magazine #6, which includes a new sf story by me, "Zero Summer." I decided I would wait until tonight to deal with the signature sheets. After dinner, we watched Brian W. Cook's Color Me Kubrick, which I found wonderful in a ghastly way, or ghastly in a wonderful way — one or the other. I downloaded new wallpaper for the Unnamed iMac from the National Geographic website. At midnight, we watched a new Nova documentary on cuttlefish. And that, near as I can recall, was yesterday.

I have yet to decide how I feel about the news of a film adaptation of Edward Gorey's "The Doubtful Guest." I see so many ways this could go very wrong.

In yesterday's entry, I forgot to mention that on Tuesday I had to proofread the galleys for a reprinting of "So Runs the World Away." I am still very fond of this story, and I found myself wondering if I might want to write a story about Dead Girl and Bobby after they leave Providence. I still am undecided.

The Canon has been repaired and, even now, is on its way back to us, so soon there will be photos again.

And I think that's it for now. But, wait...the platypus says this would be an exceptionally good day to pick up a copy of Daughter of Hounds, and the platypus, it should be noted, has a damned uncanny sense about such things.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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