greygirlbeast: (white2)
Choice comments to recent entries. First, regarding the accelerating acceleration of life at the dawn of the Twenty First Century [livejournal.com profile] lady_tigerfish writes:

You just can't Tweet Big Thoughts; they take more than 140 characters. I resent any format that demands my thoughts be small.

– and also –

Making the time--for anything--seems to be a thing of the past. Nearly everyone I know describes themselves as lazy, but as far as I can tell, "laziness" seems to translate to nothing more than "not spending every waking hour doing something." There's an almost Puritanical bent to the way we seem to need to be busy every hour of ever day, to the way stillness is demonized as sloth. Like if we stop moving for two seconds, the devil himself will descend to make use of our idleness. We certainly treat each other that way whenever one of our own dares to step outside the regimen and, say, turns off the cell phone for awhile. Funny, since (as other commenters have pointed out) this pace actually makes us less productive in the long run.

And [livejournal.com profile] mrs_ralph writes, of writing and this blog:

I don't think that's what people are looking for when they follow a writer. I can't speak too much for other people but I think I was looking for the deep, dark secret of how to. Turns out there is no deep, dark secret or if there is one it is 'nose to the grindstone, shoulder to wheel and get on with it already!' or as so many writers say 'just write.' The magic isn't something you can beg, borrow, bottle or steal, it is what happens when a person with a unique mindset and a way with words sits down, writes a story and then lets the rest of the world read it.

Thank you both.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,608 words on the piece that is still called "Blast the Human Flower," but which really needs a different title. I wrote 1,608 words, and found THE END sometime after sunset. It's the sort of story I think of as the biological equivalent of "nuts and bolts" SF, that manly technopron that puts me to sleep. A couple of years back, I was on a panel at Readercon that asked why Darwin has been less of an inspiration to science fiction than, say, Einstein. Or, put another way, why sf authors are usually more concerned with, say, astrophysics, engineering, and robotics than they are with zoology, botany, and geology. It was a good panel. Dune was offered up as an especially good example of science fiction in which biology is the cornerstone of the tale. The sort there needs to be many more of, stories at least as concerned with life and earth sciences as with technology. Oh, and there's the matter of anthropology/sociology/psychology, too – which also seem frequently ignored or frowned upon by the self-appointed gatekeepers of the genre. I could get into the whole Apollonian sf vs. Dionysian sf thing, so-called "hard science" vs. so-called "soft science," writers and readers who don't have the stomach for flesh and sex (sex being, after all, the driving force of evolution)...but I won't.

In the end, of course, it's all matter, viewed at different levels and in different states and configurations, perpetually recycled. So, there. Science fiction, like all literature, is the literature of matter. Distinctions dissolve, as well they ought.

---

Since late Friday afternoon, a migraine has been eating at me. I can't tell if the anger's still here, or if my awareness of it has been eclipsed by the headache. Sometimes, my mood swings and chains of angry days would portend a seizure. Now that the meds have those in check, for the most part, I begin to suspect the same anger and mood swings portend the headaches (there's a lot of interesting data drawing parallels between migraines and certain sorts of seizure disorders, and vice versa). Anyway, I think I like the anger better.

Today is an assembly day. I hope to have Sirenia Digest #73 out to subscribers before midnight. This month you get the new vignette I was just discussing, plus part one of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" (with a great Vince Locke illustration), and the second chapter of the original and eventually very reworked text of Silk.

Throbbing,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
A cold, cold morning here in Providence. Okay, maybe not that cold.

Today, I allow myself a few more sentences than in my entry before last.

Yesterday was the writerly equivalent of having to spend a day running errands all over town. There were email conversations (which I'm never, ever going to get used to, though they do allow me to avoid phone calls) with my agent and her assistant; with Brian Siano regarding the thirty-second "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl to be released in January (a two-minute trailer will be released in March); my editor at Dark Horse; Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press; my publicist at Penguin; David Shaw at Readercon; and even Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) and Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay).

And then I remembered I'd not made corrections to "Another Tale of Two Cities," so I did that. I much prefer days when I actually have to write.

Have you ever paused to marvel at the eloquence and beauty of the humble question mark? See, there it is. Humble and beautiful and profoundly useful. But, and also, not always requiring an answer, and, sometimes when an answer is required, not always requiring that answer be spoken aloud. Other times, there is and cannot be an answer. That there are no rules to tell you when a question mark is meant to function in one of those roles only makes it that much more sublime, as it does what a question should do: it inspires introspection and critical thought. Silence or hushed consideration or heated debate. Too many questions meant to remain unanswered, excepting in the mind of the reader, are answered aloud, and, likewise, too many that are asked to elicit external investigation and active response go ignored (or even unrecognized). But, still, there is that eloquence in all question marks, which requires so much care on the part of both the user and the reader.

After work yesterday, after a nap, and after chili, we watched last week's episode of American Horror Story (I love that they got in Elizabeth Short), then two episodes of Doctor Who (and aside from Neil's episode, I reluctantly say I am not loving this season), and then very fine guild RP in Rift (thank you all who participated!), and then I read a very good long short story (novelette?) by the awesome Elizabeth Hand, "Near Zennor." I fell asleep watching Charles Vidor's adaptation of A Farewell to Arms (1957). And that, kittens, was yesterday.

Today will likely be as hectic, with no writing, just the busyness of writing. Blegh. Spooky and I have to do the final read-through on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart in the next few days, before my vacation begins on the 15th. And if you haven't yet ordered your copy, best you do so now. Because you know how it goes. And ORDER DIRECTLY FROM SUBTERRANEAN PRESS, because Amazon might well fuck you over, as many can attest.

Off To See The Lizard,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, I did it. As of today, I have blogged six months straight, without missing a single day. Actually, I've not missed making an entry since February 13th, but I didn't make the "I'm not going to miss an entry for six months" declaration until March 1st, so I'm not counting February. Anyway, between March 1st and today (this post included), there's a total of 253 entries. Most days got one entry. Some got two or three. One got four entries. So, having accomplished this task, I ask myself, "Self, want to try for a whole year?" And remember, I have no iPad, no iPhone, Android, Blackberry, what-the-hell-ever mobile geegaw that allows me to post anywhere but home. So, this stands as ample evidence that I really don't have a life. Though, it's true, that three entries (I think it was three), were made from the business center of the Readercon hotel, back in July.

---

Yesterday, well...I worked. But I can't tell you on what I worked. And as the weeks roll by, until THE ANNOUNCEMENT is made, I'm going to have to say...yesterday I worked, and did X words on X, X pages on X, and so forth. It sucks. The other way – you seeing how marvelous the beginning of this undertaking is – would be so much cooler. But this is the way it is.

Anyway, yeah. Work on X. Then an appointment with my shrink. Then a trip to Pawtucket and the storage unit. Then dinner. I read "New Upper Pennsylvanian armored dissorophid records (Temnospondyli, Dissorophoidea) from the U.S. midcontinent and the stratigraphic distributions of dissorophids" and "Tupilakosaur-like vertebrae in Bothriceps australis, an Australian brachyopid stereospondyl" (both in the July JVP Then good RP in Insilico. Then Spooky read more of The Stand to me. And then...Monsieur Insomnia hit with a vengeance, and I sat up reading from The Book of Cthulhu until about 5:15 ayem. I read, um...let's see. Oh, yes. Bruce Sterling's "The Unthinkable" (1991, a peculiar little piece of whimsy, almost a vignette). Then Tim Pratt's "Cinderlands" (2010), which has a wonderfully non-linear narrative. It fumbles once with an achingly silly Lovecraftian pun, but yeah, otherwise, nice. And then Ramsey Campbell's very effective "The Tugging" (1976); Ramsey never ceases to amaze me. Then I managed to fall asleep, listening to This Mortal Coil, as the sun began to rise.

Tomorrow, I finally get to work on Sirenia Digest #69. It should be out by the fifth, on schedule. It's only going to feel late, on my end, because of this insane fucking amount of work lying over me like a heavy coating of bronze going green with verdigris.

And now, before I belatedly get to work on X, more photos from Friday, the day before Hurricane Irene began her sideswipe of Rhode Island (behind the cut).

Oh, and a big thank you to [livejournal.com profile] fornikate (my fans have the best LJ names) for teaching me that my spirit animal is actually a honey badger. It's absolutely true, and I should have figured it out years ago. We now have a jealous platypus.

August 26, Part 2 )


Mellivora,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Comment, kittens.

It seems that, in the past twenty-one hours or so, I have suffered a massive reversal of fortune. Suddenly, I am no longer debt poor (though a few publishers still owe smaller advances, some of which are horrendously late), our guild was able to transfer to Faeblight (Riftspeak, ignore), and Spooky is off retrieving the automobile from the team of gorillas who have been holding it hostage! (She just returned, and we had a belated "breakfast").

So, um...better now. My agent made me promise to buy another coolerator. I considered naming it after her – Merrilee – but think, instead, I'll named it Astor, as Writers House is in one of his old banks. Anyway, suddenly life sucks a lot less, and bills can be paid, and cats can go to the vet, and I can get my office in better order, and all manner of things have been made good again.

If you've not yet ordered Two Worlds and In Between, do so!

Yesterday, I sat here in the heat (I did not adjourn to either middle parlour or bedroom – the two coolish rooms – as I am a fool) and wrote 1,117 words on "The Granting Cabinet," which I began back before Readercon 22. They were 1,117 words written mostly in a fever, I think. But then, clouds came, and there was rain, and the temperature Outside plunged ten degrees in about half an hour, and a sweet, cool breeze blew in through my office window.

---

I forgot, yesterday, to mention two movies we watched during the con (while hiding in the room between programming obligations). The first, Jonathan Liebesman's Battle Los Angeles is an oddly forgettable film. We rather enjoyed it while we were watching it. Good SFX, a serviceable script, Michelle Rodriguez, halfway decent cinematography, and so forth. A good summer B-grade flick. But the next day, my memories of it made Battle Los Angeles seem, at best, only half as good as it had seemed as we watched. This same thing happened when I saw Sin City (2005), and it's happened with other films. There's a magic, for me, while I'm watching, that appears to fade upon reflection. Anyway, I'd still say it's worth a rental or free streaming. If you like blow-'em-up marines versus extraterrestrial invaders films (and I generally do), you could do worse.

But the next film we watched was pure celluloid shit. Unless no one uses celluloid anymore, in which case it was shit of some other sort. Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood. Of course, this is the woman who made the screen adaptation of Twilight, so I was hardly surprised. It's sort of hard to explain how perfectly awful this film is. Even Gary Oldman didn't help. He just looked bored and trapped and recited his lines like a sleepwalker. Though set in some vaguely Medieval village, the costumes all looked like they'd come straight from a ren-fair. You could tell sewing machines were involved, and colors that would not possibly have been available were everywhere. Shiloh Fernandez (Peter) is a dead-ringer for Edward Cullen, right down to the hair gel and the terminally blank expression. Massively uneven art direction. The only thing that didn't stink of the fecal matter of aardvarks was the werewolf, which was a case of very creepy, effective CGI. But it couldn't save this turkey. Avoid it like the plague. Had I paid to see this film, I actually would have walked out halfway through and asked for a refund. I could have written a long and insightful review of this film, but it's just not worth the time and effort.

---

In the first paragraph of Sunday's blog entry I typed self when I meant to type shelf, which has to be indicative of some unconscious glitch.

---

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] cucumberseed for a truly superb mix CD. Also, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark for going far above and beyond to help me and Spooky retain our sanity during Readercon.

---

I've played this round, I've played your lover.
I've played it out and to the hilt.
You're coming on with something so fast, so numb
That you can't even feel.

You love it.
You hate it.
But you want to re-create it.
Now this is here. This is me.
This is what I wanted
You to see.
That was then. That was that.
That is gone. That is what
I wanted you to feel.
-- R.E.M.

To the hilt,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Because I really didn't want to title this Readercon 22 (III), and I've just awakened from a nap of cataclysmic proportions, despite having slept in the broiling car on the way back from Burlington to Providence. If title must be explained, that's why. I am home, with another Shirley Jackson Award stone to sit upon my shelf. But what matters is I am home.

Shirley Jackson understood the importance of coming home. Eleanor and Merricat, they knew how precious is home.

Still, it was good to see so many people I so rarely get to see, those other authors, those editors and publishers, those others who are dear to me and whom I so very rarely ever get to see. You know who you are. That said, I am no person for crowds. Likely as not, I could go many more months and never find myself in another crowd of human beings and be pleased. I am exhausted, and I need to be alone, just me and Spooky, and, occasionally, the visitation of a friend or two.

I was good this year, and bought only three books: two used hardbacks – Herbert's God Emperor of Dune and LeGuin's The Compass Rose: Short Stories – along with a copy of Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners. Even so, and even though we were frugal, the cost of the con (I kept a careful tally), came to $606.49. My thanks to Stephen Lubold and Cliff Miller, without whose generosity we couldn't have attended.

Though I did three panels this year, I'm fairly certain the first and the third (this afternoon) were precisely the same panel. Certainly, we said most of the same things this afternoon that were said on Friday.

Regardless, I am home, where there is no AC, and only two bearable rooms (and I am not writing this from either of them). I am facing a mountain of work that should have been done two weeks ago, and which must be done despite the heat. The weathermen say this coming week will be the hottest of the summer for us. But, even so, I'm glad to be home.

Here again,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Just saw a guy in the hallway wearing a pickle-colored T-shirt which read, "Pickles are cucumbers soaked in evil." Perhaps.

I'm no good at con reports, during or after the fact. I'm here. Cool stuff has happened and will happened. But I'm fading fast. I still have a reading for Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir tonight, and then the awards ceremony at 11 ayem (!!!), and then a noon o'clock panel on...something about ambiguity in "horror" novels. I suppose I was deemed appropriate for that. Of course, checkout's also at noon, so...nothing is ever convenient. I'm trying not to think how much the con has cost so far (and we're being frugal as we can), what with my presently being so goddmamn debt poor and all.

I'm typing this from the hotel's business center, where there is actually FREE internet access (and even laser printing).

I've been changing my clothes two or three times a day. It either throws people off, or keeps them on their toes.

We got to bed much too late last night. About 3:30 ayem, I took a hot bath. Geoffrey crashed in our room, as the hour was so late and I didn't imagine himself wakeful enough to make the drive to Framingham. Anyway...enough for now. We should get home by 2:30 or 3:00 tomorrow at the latest. Home to the cats and the sweltering apartment. The AC here has been wonderful. So, yes. Next entry (with photos, most likely), tomorrow evening.

On Unfamiliar Keyboards,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Sitting here in the business centre, determined to keep my vow to make at least one entry a day for six months. Booya.

Here's one of the secrets I've been having to keep for a while. Not the BIG COOL news, but news that is both big and cool. Along with Peter Straub, I have been chosen to be Guest of Honor at next year's Readercon, which will be Readercon 23. Peter, from the beginning of my career, has been a great friend and an invaluable mentor, and not only am I honoured to have been chosen to be Geuest of Honour next year, I'm honoured all the more to have been chosen to be Guest of Honor with Peter. Because bow ties are cool. Actually, I'm not sure Peter wears bowties, but I would, if I had one. Anyway, it fell to Peter and me to choose next year's Memorial Guest of Honour, and we chose Shirley Jackson. It would have been almost impossible to have chosen anyone else.

There much else to report. There was an impromptu reading of 7 from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir in mine and Spooky's room late last night, and almost everyone who, at last year's Readercon, helped me to work out the novel and save it from my frustration, was present: Sonya Taaffe, Greer Gilman, Geoffrey Goodwin, Michael Cisco, and Gemma Files. It was a practice reading for my actual reading at 11 ayem today.

Usually, of course, I'm still asleep at 11 ayem. So, it was a challenge to get up and dressed and conscious in time. The greater challenge was putting myself in the emotional space to read a very emotional chapter. But it went very, very well. I used my iPod to listen to Death cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" - to which so much of the book was written - and it took me back to Imp. It was, for me, one of the most intense readings I've ever done. It almost felt as if I were acting.

Anyway, I ought to sign off. Please forgive any typos. I'll fix them Sunday night, perhaps.

In Burlington,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I've only been out of bed for less than an hour, and, already, I've had to calculate the temperature of the sun's core in Kelvins, Celsius, and Fahrenheit. It's going to be that sort of day.

Yesterday was a blur of getting packed and ready to leave later this afternoon for Readercon 22. But we did get a heavy rain, and the temperature in the house plunged into the low 80sF. When I crawled out of bed this ayem, it was only 71˚F!!! I saw a goddamn penguin dancing with the platypus (cheeky bastard). Oh, the dodo? She played cello while the mothmen sang a three-part harmony.

Gotta wake up. Gotta get all that shit done I have not yet gotten done. Time's a wastin', kittens.

And for anyone giving [livejournal.com profile] handful_ofdust (or anyone else) grief over the subject of the Author's Authority and Knowledge of Her or His Intent in Any Given Work of Fiction, go fuck yourself. Whoops, that just sort of slipped out. But...if I wrote the book, you do not disregard my comments on its meaning and/or implications as irrelevant. This is why we can't have nice things. The interwebs have far too many wannabe undergrad/grad lit-crit radfem queer-theory politicos out to nail "race-gender-class-fail" even if it means becoming exactly what they think they hate, and I, for one, couldn't care less what they believe. They are Nil. Remember how the Wicked Witch of the West met her end in Victor Fleming's 1939 adaptation of The Wizard of Oz? Well, toss a bucket of indifference on these fools, same thing happens. Or, you could say it's like slugs and salt. I'm sorry, guys, but if you dismiss William Faulkner's work just because he's a dead white guy, you're a wrongheaded asshole. You've been sipping at the purple Kool-Aid*. Oh, yeah. Sorry. Indifference!

I should probably finish this up and get back to packing. But if you're going to be at Readercon this weekend, my reading is at the ungodly hour of 11 ayem tomorrow. I'll be reading

7/7/7/7
7/7
7
seven
7
7/7
7/7/7/7


from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And if you want a book/s signed, just find me, as I asked not to be scheduled for a formal signing. No limit to the books I'll sign.

Also, I will be blogging from the con, as we'll have internet in the room on Friday and Saturday, so problem solved. And I should be home fairly early on Sunday.

Give 'em hell, kittens.

Decamping,
Aunt Beast

* Jim Jones
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Someone should really tell whatever moron/s started using "baby bump" that it sounds like a disease. Then again, we are referring to pregnancy.

---

The heat is unrelenting. Yesterday, we were essentially confined to the middle parlour and bedroom, as the temperature in my office exceeded 90F. In the "cool part of the house" the temperature reached 86F. Somehow, in the haze of heat and being too addled to get work done, we stupidly managed not to flee for to a library or some other AC-protected place. We stayed here. All day. And around 7:30 p.m., my body temp went up to 100F, and I stopped sweating, and I started slurring, and...yeah. So, I spent the whole evening cooling my body down as best I could. The fever broke quickly. The meds that make me sensitive to heat were likely responsible. At least we head out to Readercon 22**** tomorrow and get three nights of AC. Also, if you are owed an eBay package, we apologize, but it won't go out until after the convention. Monday or Tuesday. It's just been too hot to pack books and get them to the p.o.

---

A terrible, strange dream just before I woke. I lived in a house at the end of a small lagoon or inlet. I was younger, maybe a teenager. There was a thin and frightening man outside our screened-in porch (side of the house, an old house) speaking Yiddish. I called to my mother, and when he spoke to her, he spoke English with a Russian accent. There were great trees, like pecans and oaks, all around the house. Later, we went somewhere, and when we returned home, and I saw that there were men in the water "walking" dolphins, the way one does with sharks or dolphins, trying to revive them. There was a sort of turn around, and as my mother used it to point the car towards the driveway, I saw more dolphins far up above the shoreline. They were tangled in a fence, though the fence was really fishing net, and the dolphins there were actually ichthyosaurs. Thick underbrush grew all around the netting. I wanted desperately to help. I got out of the car, and, looking back at the inlet, saw that the water had become violent, a great frothing, sloshing mass, churned by the trawling nets of gigantic factory-fishing ships that hardly even fit into the tiny body of water. The snap-on heads of yellow rubber ducks were washing up onto the shore. There was a child greedily gathering them. An orca had stranded itself, and I tried to help it, but was afraid, and never went very near. In the foaming white water, orcas and sharks and dolphins and ichthyosaurs all struggled to stay clear of the nets that were pulling up great mountains of fish. And this is all I can remember.

---

My thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday regarding "triggery." Some were quite good. I was especially amused by [livejournal.com profile] lady_theadora's:

I first saw these trigger warnings when Coilhouse began to use them all the time, as you've previously mentioned, and I think they're pretty damned redundant. I mean, really, you're on the fucking internet people. You're always one click away from porn, snuff, and/or Nigerian royalty. If you haven't figured that out yet, maybe it is time you learned.

Indeed. And the thing with Coilhouse posting those warnings, it was almost enough to make me stop reading the zine; Coilhouse posting "triggering" warnings is like the Sex Pistols apologizing for...well, anything. Absurd. Anyway, yes. I have a story, which I've never told publicly, and which might be too personal and TMI and all that, but I think I need to tell it, as partial explanation, and in response to [livejournal.com profile] lm. Unfortunately, there's not room here to post [livejournal.com profile] lm's entire comment (this is going to be long, as it is), but you can see her/his full comment appended to yesterday's entry. I'm also dropping paragraphs from the quote, to save space (and I apologize for that). There are slash marks where graphs end and begin. In part, [livejournal.com profile] lm writes:

...I have definitely been in a situation where it would have been incredibly helpful to be warned about potentially "triggery" things./Namely, when my mother hanged herself several years ago, I frequently found myself watching films with unexpected scenes of someone being hanged or committing suicide. This was something I was working very hard NOT to picture or think about, and as a result, I basically stopped watching new visual media for about a year - and because my primary social outlet was a film night, this turned me into a hermit, which also really wasn't great for me at the time./I did actually search online to see if there was an online database of non-friendly-to-suicide-survivor films, but there was none./I really didn't expect any handholding through this problem, and the only time I was genuinely annoyed was when people who knew my recent history recommended movies/shows to me that ended up containing said "triggery" material...but on the other hand, I wouldn't have complained one bit if the media had contained a disclaimer!

Okay. Now, that said, here's my story:

On Christmas Eve 1995, five months after the suicide of Elizabeth, the person whom I loved most in all the world, I was alone in the carriage house (where I was living) in Athens, Georgia. I'd spent the evening writing one of the last scenes in Silk. It was an especially graphic and disturbing scene, and I finally said fuck it, I can't do this, not that night, not alone. I drove to a nearby theatre (I was still able to drive back then), and bought a ticket to the first movie on the marquee, which was the vapid Jumangi. When it was over, I still didn't want to return to that empty house, and so I bought a ticket to see the midnight screening of Heat, with Al Pacino, which turned out to be a halfway decent movie. Anyway...

Near the end of Heat, Pacino's character's daughter, played by Natalie Portman, attempts suicide by slitting her wrists in a hotel bathtub. This is precisely the way that Elizabeth had committed suicide (the big difference was that the Natalie Portman character lived). The scene was graphic and well-played and emotionally sort of devastating. Maybe not to everyone, but to me. I watched it. I didn't look away. I cried through the rest of the film. When the movie ended, I went home and went to bed.

Now, was the film "triggery"? Well, yeah. Certainly, in that it put me right there at the moment of Elizabeth's suicide and elicited an intense reaction from me. But was that something I should have avoided? Should I have been furious or resentful (or whatever) that no one warned me? Should I have complained to the theatre management and demanded my money back? Should I have posted to Usenet, warning everyone? To all these questions, my response is an unqualified "no."

Seeing the scene, being forced unexpectedly to confront it, making it real for me in a way it had not been, was the true beginning to my road to learning how to live with a pain that I knew would never, ever go away. Oh, it would dull with age, and with other relationships (though it was almost a decade afterwards before I found myself in a meaningful relationship), but I will always, always be haunted by the event. And, by the way, I'm not a suicide "survivor," because I didn't attempt suicide. I'm a bystander. I'm someone who dealt with the consequences. Maybe that's just a matter of semantics, but I feel it's an important distinction.

In the years to come, I would spend a lot of time in therapy dealing with her suicide. I would spend almost all my writing time writing about it (and I still do); suicide is a primary theme in my fiction, especially the novels. And it was by these means, by persistently and directly confronting the greatest horror in a life that had had no shortage of horrors, that I reached a place where, usually, finally, I no longer wanted to follow her. Not by flinching or avoiding or staying away. By facing the truth head-on. And I'm not an especially strong person. At least, I don't see myself that way. I did what my therapists advised, and what felt right to me, and by happenstance, beginning with accidentally seeing that scene in Heat. Oh, it fucking hurt, yeah, sure. But it was also my path to recovery.

So, my point is simple. I do not - will not - accept that we recover from the tragedies of our lives by avoiding the fact of them. We do it by confronting the fact of them, and art - in all its forms - is one path by which we can do that. I don't see this as a "your mileage may vary" thing, either. You look into the abyss, and the abyss looks into you, and you keep looking and don't dare turn away. You tell the abyss, "You can't have me yet." (to murder and bend the words of Friedrich Nietzsche) You learn to understand and cope. But you don't flinch. You don't look for warning labels so you'll be protected from the truth. You develop calluses, scars, and this changes you forever, and it makes you stronger.

Oh, and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney for this quote from Akira Kurosawa: To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.

And this is long. And that's enough.

Not Ever Flinching,
Aunt Beast

Note: I have requested NOT to participate in an official signing at Readercon this year, so if you want stuff signed (and I'll sign as many books as you bring), I'll be signing after my reading and my How I Wrote Two Worlds and In Between solo talk. And, if you catch me in the hall, that's usually okay, too. Common sense dictates when it's not okay to ask me to sign (restroom, when I'm eating, when I'm having a conversation, when I'm rushing to get to or leave a panel, etc. - yes, all those scenarios have actually been played out).
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I awoke about nine p.m., hot and sweaty and sick from having taken a Valium and two Sonata, but then only slept five hours. I awoke to relive, it seems, an especially grotesque day from October 1990.

It's just me, or it's everyone, or it's only some people, but even after forty-seven years, I've no idea whatsoever.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,236 words on a new vignette, "The Granting Cabinet."

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to keep up these journal entries during Readercon. Back in March, I promised myself I'd make an entry every day for six months. But I'm not about to pay the hotel's exorbitant charge for internet access, so I really have no idea how I'm going to make it happen. Not that anyone much still reads LJ – they're all too busy with the easy, instant gratification and minimal compositional prerequisites of Twitter and Facebook – but it's important to me, if only because it's a promise I made to me.

Maybe I'll spend the day lying on the kitchen floor. The view from there isn't so bad.

Here are the photos from Saturday that I'd wanted to post yesterday.

9 July 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Howard Hughes)
And so, this month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club is Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children:



And, while I'm posting images, yesterday the mail brought me my contributor's copies of Jeff and Ann VanderMeer's The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities:



My contribution to the latter is "The Key to the Castleblakeney Key," but I would also note that in a long section of the introduction devoted to Lambshead's life, there is a highly dubious treatment of my own extensive research into the mysterious "death" of his wife, Helen, as well as her involvement in occult societies, and Thackery and Helen's undeniable practice inserting coded messages into documents associated with the loan of objects from his infamous cabinet to various galleries and other institutions. But I shall not take the bait...

---

Spooky's dad, Richard, is currently doing research in Tubigon, which is in the Phillipines. He keeps sending her emails about outrigger canoes and Google Earth and how much he loves eating squid for breakfast.

Yesterday, we managed to proof "Rappaccini's Dragon (Murder Ballad No. 5)" and "Unter den Augen des Mondes," which will both appear in Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Today, I need to try very hard to proof at least four more stories, as I have to get back to work on Blood Oranges in the next two or three days. Also, lots of email yesterday.

Behind the cut, you will find my schedule for Readercon 22 (July 14-17):

Readercon 22 )

Okay. That's enough of a blog entry for any Saturday (though, since I don't actually get weekends...). Also, a copy of Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography (1978) arrived yesterday. My thanks to M. Kaligawa.

Obscenely,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
If I had a kiddo – which I don't and, for better or worse, never shall – I would teach her or him this: there are two things, only two things that you must learn, and having learned them you'll be able to do anything you wish. Oh. You may not be able to make a living at anything you wish. But you will have the intellectual means. Learn to read and learn mathematics, and all the world can, in theory, be yours. Sorry, stray thought as I roll my mathematician's dice and wish for a different possible and unrealized past.

We are in the final few hours of the last auction in Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction. This is, of course, the auction for the hand-corrected ARC of Two Worlds and In Between. Not only is this a first chance at owning the collection in any form, it goes without saying that the ARC is one of a kind (or ooak in eBay speak). The reason we're pushing eBay so hard just now is that I'm in paycheck limbo, an inevitability for all freelancers. Check might or might not come in the next two or three weeks. But I can't count on it coming, and must have a Plan B if I am to attend Readercon 22. The auctions are Plan B. So, if you can, please bid. Thanks.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,551 words and found the far end of Chapter Four of Blood Oranges. That's the first 35,794 words of the novel, either just a smidgen more or just a little less than half of it. It will be written by the end of July, my peculiar little popcorn novel.

Also, I managed to nail together the first and very rough draft Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Right now, there are twenty-three stories. I expect this will go up to twenty-five. So, presently, 102,566 words. By the way, at the moment I'm working on four books, in various stages. I'm in the middle stages of editing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm at the final stages of editing Two Worlds and In Between. I'm halfway through the writing of Blood Oranges. And I'm just beginning the editing of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Never before have I done such a thing. Thank you, dubious pharmaceutical cornucopia.

Last night, Spooky made yummy pasta salad, and I played far, far too much Rift. It's time to back off a little, I think. I get too immersed, and just keep going for hours. Last night, I don't even know. But Selwyn is halfway to Level 49, and there was a lot of great rp (special thanks to all, especially Spooky, Tracy, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus).

Late last night, I saw the first images from my Drowning Girl collaboration with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy. I'll post something as soon as he says I may.

Now, I should scoot. Slept too late, and the day is leaking away between the cracks.
greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
It's Rhode Island. A week ago, we had highs in the 60sF. Today, the high will be in the 80s. Tomorrow, the 90s. A few days, back down in the 60s. It's Rhode Island.

All the expected tedium of yesterday was delivered, with a free side of frustapation. That's a Popeye word, frustapation, and I love it. We proofed "Fish Bride" (three minor corrections), I dealt with contracts, and an author's note and bio I should have sent away to an editor days ago, and then we got around to working on the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between.

Oh, and the discovery that a check we've been counting on arriving this month might not arrive until next month. Yes, to paraphrase Nick Mamatas ([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid), the one thing we may count on as a professional freelance author, the check will always be late. More on this in a moment.

Anyway, we finally headed off to my doctor's appointment...in Cranston...only to discover that it had been moved to next Monday. And no one had called to tell me. I like my doctor. I truly do. I was very lucky to find her. But there I lost a couple of hours I could have spent editing the collection. So, we headed back to Providence, and we took the DVDs back to Acme Video (free Atomic Fireball, which at least helped with the cigarette craving I was having), and then returned home. And had leftovers. And I did a little more work, just beginning to compile the table of contents for the next short-story collection, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (publication date TBA). And I read an article in the January JVP, "A new helmeted frog (Anura: Calyptocephallidae) from an Eocene subtropical lake in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina." And we played Rift, and both Selwyn and Miisya reached Level 45.

I have a couple of Rift screencaps, which I've left at their original size, because shrinking them does them an injustice. Does the beauty of the game an injustice.




An impromptu gathering of Kelari mages in the halls of Lantern Hook (left to right: Enth'lye [foreground], Selwyn, Celinn, and Artemisia). Kelari women have a very strict protocol as regards sitting, by the way.



Selwyn and Celinn astride their vaiyuu in the snowy wilds of Iron Pine, the gates of Stillmoor looming in the near distance (Selwyn front).




So...yes. Wanna be a freelance writer? Wanna say #fuckplanB and throw caution to the winds? Then prepare for the fact that the check will always be late. Now, almost usually, you will be paid. Eventually. When someone gets around to it. When payroll can be bothered, etc. But there's no relationship between when you'll need the money for, say, clothing, rent, or an upcoming convention, and when it will actually arrive. No, no one cares. This is simply how it is. It's how its always been. Anyway, because the check will always be late, and because I have a commitment to attend Readercon 22 July 14-17th (if only because I'm nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award, and have agreed to take part in various bits of programming), we're beginning a BIG Damn eBay Sale (it's still small just now). There's the need for new clothes (I last bought clothing in September) and, of course, moolah to cover all the con expenses (which are not inconsiderable). We'll make the money, or I'll cancel. Honestly, I'm so tired of all this, I only just barely care which.

It's not as if we live an extravagant lifestyle. Our monthly "entertainment" expenses might come to $30-$50 dollars, max. I hardly ever even leave home. We virtually never eat out, or buy books or CDs or DVDs, or, heavens forbid, travel. Mostly, there's rent and medical bills. We're going to see a movie today*, at a matinée, and I am wracked with fucking guilt. Anyway, I'm emphatically not whining. I'm just saying, soberly, 19 years into this "career," saying to you out there who would be writers, steel yourselves for this. And do not think that any measure of critical success protects you from poverty. Not ever. Nor should you be so deluded as to believe celebrity equals financial stability (and fuck wealth). No, this is how it is, almost always, very few exceptions. Anyway, yeah...eBay. Please bid if you are able during the next few weeks. Cool, rare, and one of a kind items will be offered. We have set a goal of making $1,000.

Tomorrow, I go back to work on Blood Oranges. I have three chapters to write this month.

Now, make the doughnuts.

Living the Life,
Aunt Beast

* The expense will be offset by a couple of days of egg salad.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The cool weather is still with us. A mere 71F Outside at the moment. It's cool enough inside that I can actually wear pants. But the heat's supposed to make a comeback in the next day or two, I think.

All of yesterday was spent on the editorial pages for "The Maltese Unicorn." But I saved all the really hard stuff for today. And today is the very last day I have to work on the story, so it's going to be a long, long afternoon. Speaking of long, did I mention this is probably my longest short story since "Bainbridge" back in December 2005?

I've been alerted (thanks, John Glover et al.) to the fact that Amazon.com is now saying that The Ammonite Violin & Others won't be shipping for 1-2 months. No, I don't know why. But I have just emailed Bill Schafer to see if he knows, and I'll pass the news along as soon as I have it.

---

There's an announcement I need to make, and I see no point in putting it off any longer. This will likely be the last year I do conventions. I have Readercon 21, and then another con this autumn, and I don't expect to do any more after that. They're just too expensive, require too much time and energy and time away from work, and my health isn't what it once was. And, truthfully, I've only rarely enjoyed doing conventions. Dragon*Con was fun those years I costumed, and Readercon is nice, because it's laid back and feels a little more like an academic conference than a sf/f con. But yeah, consider this my last year for cons.

---

What else about yesterday? I watched an episode of American Experience about the Donner Party, via PBS online. And later, Spooky and I marked the 150th anniversary of Thomas Huxley's 1860 debate with Samuel Wilberforce by watching Jon Amiel's Creation (2009; based on Randal Keynes' 2000 novel Annie's Box).

It's a beautiful, marvelous film. Yeah, it has its share of fictionalized and synoptic history, but it very effectively communicates Darwin's struggles with his own loss of faith, his health problems, the death of a daughter, and the tensions between him and his wife, all leading up to the composition of On the Origin of Species. Both Paul Bettany (Charles Darwin) and Jennifer Connelly (Emma Darwin) are superb in their roles. And Toby Jones was an inspired choice for Thomas Huxley. The film captures all the wonder, confusion, and terror that must have attended Darwin's protracted epiphany. Excellent cinematography, which often makes great use of bright splashes of color against drab canvases. I very strongly recommend this film.

You may recall the kerfuffle that preceded Creation's US release (it was eventually picked up by Newmarket Films; the US was one of the last countries where it found a distributor). To quote producer Jeremy Thomas, "It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There's still a great belief that he [God] made the world in six days. It's quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules." It is, indeed, unbelievable, and a tragedy that anyone would try to prevent this powerful and powerfully humane film from being shown anywhere. It is unthinkable to me that 151 years after the publication of Darwin's great book, Americans have yet to come to terms with the fact of evolution, and that so many of them cling to the absurdities of Biblical literalism, and, in doing so, contribute significantly to scientific illiteracy in this country. Darwin wasn't wrong in fearing the storm he would ignite, but I don't think even he imagined that we'd still be weathering it this far along.

Now, the mothmen, the platypus, and the dodo are telling me there's a unicorn with my name on it.

Profile

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

S M T W T F S
    1 234
56 7 891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 28th, 2017 12:29 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios