greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
A wild, rainy early afternoon here in Providence. Rainy and warm (50˚F). I hear rumours it may be snowing in Nova Scotia. Regardless, I hardly slept "last night," despite quite a cocktail of psychotropics, as Monsieur Insomnia came to join the dance. I read The Dawn Seekers until six ayem, when I finally drifted off. My dreams are better left unspoken, but I understand Spooky spent part of her slumber being romanced by Walter Bishop.

No writing yesterday. Only the search for a story, one to replace "The Diamond Friendly" (now shelved). I think I may have found just such a story. Or, well, what might grow into a story. This is for Sirenia Digest #74, by the way. Though, there are many others waiting in the wings, even though I began turning down almost all short-story solicitations many months ago. Mostly due to my work with Dark Horse. Still, I have about half a dozen to write this year (not counting the digest), plus my essay for Chicks Dig Time Lords. I will admit, I'm still a little uncomfortable with the fact that lesbians and female transgenders were not covered under Chicks Dig Time Lords. Anyway, as soon as Sirenia Digest #74 is out, I'll begin Alabaster #5.

By the way, and by the by, Dark Horse Presents #9 will be released on February 22nd and will include an eight-page sneak preview of Alabaster. And only thirteen days after that, The Drowning Girl will be released. Do me a favour. Follow that link to the novel's Amazon.com page, and click "like," right there beneath my name. It can't hurt sales, and it might give me some idea how many people are still reading this blog. Thank you kindly. Anyway, I'll be spending a great deal of March and April (and probably May, and...) promoting both books, including an uncommon (for me) number of public appearances (TBA, and only in the Northeast, Manhattan to Boston). This will eat up even more writing time, as I cannot write and travel, though I know many others can. Plus, who knows what crud I'll contract, all that human contact. Howard Hughes is unaccustomed to the microbial life outside her plastic bubble of social sterility.

As for last night...well, too much...um, recreation. A nice bit of C18H21NO3, far too much Star Wars: The Old Republic (my Sith and my Jedi), Curiosity Cola, and other nonsense. I went to bed, finally, and read The Dawn Seekers, and didn't sleep...but we've already covered that part, haven't we? Ah, I also read "Re-description and evolutionary remarks on the Patagonian horned turtle Niolamia argentina Ameghino, 1899 (Testudinata, Meiolaniidae)" is the most recent JVP.

My thanks to whoever sent me the new Penguin Classics The White People and Other Weird Stories by Arthur Machen, along with Franz Wright's Kindertotenwald.

Somewhere Near Awake,
Aunt Beast

Postscript: I don't have a lot of favourite designers, but...I just got the news that one of them, Eiko Ishioka, has died...and...fuck.
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
Bitter fucking cold here in Providence this afternoon, and tonight's going to be so nasty – 6˚F, with 22 mph winds - that Spooky and I are likely cancelling our plans to drive down to Point Judith and watch the brief Quadrantid meteor shower.

Yesterday was the most tedious sort of work day. At least if you're a writer who happens to be me. Which I am. Yesterday, we went back through about a hundred line edits that Kathryn couldn't make when she was editing the ms. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book back in December (based on notes/proofreaders marks we made fucking months ago), the ones that required I decide if a word was to be changed, or a comma deleted or inserted, or a sentence restructured, or an adjective added...and so on. We were at it all day, until, I think, about 6:30 p.m. My nerves were raw and bloody by the time we were done, but then I sent the files off to Subterranean Press. By then, I wanted stab myself in the nethers with a fork.

But I didn't. Instead, after dinner, I did some work on the process of revamping the website in preparation of the release of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir on March 6th. I chose one of [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's photos from back in mid-October, during the shoot for the book's trailer, to be used as the background. My intent is that we'll be swapping the background images out on a regular basis, but for now I just want to get the "teaser" up on a page devoted to the novel. It may be up as early as tomorrow morning (so thank you, Brian, Kyle, and Chris). Also, I'll be posting more behind-the-scenes stills from the trailer shoot this week.

I got preliminary pencils – gorgeous – for Vince's illustration for "Part the First" of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #73 (look for it by week's end).

---

Some people say we haven't lost.
But they're afraid to pay the cost,
For what we've lost.
~ Arcade Fire, "Half Light II (No Celebration)"

---

Someone wrote me (via email) a few days ago, inquiring about my blind left eye. Not the usual sort of email I receive, so it stuck with me. And it was actually elicited by something I said on Facebook, and email resulting from FB is even more rare. Anyway, the person wrote wishing to know more about my useless left eye, as he'd recently lost 30% of his vision in one eye. Specifically, he was curious how it affects my ability to read. To which I can only say, it doesn't really. Except that my eyes get tired very quickly when I read (though not when I'm writing or gaming, and I have no explanation for that), and only in the last ten years has that even begun to be an issue. But the difference here is that I was likely born almost 100% blind in my left eye. I never had any depth perception (binocular vision) to start with, and my field of view (my FoV is only about 90˚-100˚, instead of the usual human 180˚-200˚) was always seriously impaired. I taught myself to read when I was four, well before I began school, so clearly it was never a significant impediment to my fundamental reading ability. Except, I read very slowly. Also, it means that I have a lot of trouble if there's text over on my left that I need to read while also attending to anything on my right (this is a huge problem with text in console games and MMOs). And I was finally forced to stop driving about ten years ago (how I drove before then, and how I passed my original driver's test...long story, or not). So, anyway, short answer, my partial blindness has never caused me any significant difficulty as a reader, or as a writer. But that may be because I was born that way; no one even figured out anything was wrong until I was in fourth grade, and the extent and probable cause – in utero toxoplasmosis that scarred my left cornea – until I was in college. Anyway, there you go.

Now, I find a story.

Searching,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (river3)
Kittens, this is what happens when you break up with a vacation. It exhibits a flare for vindictiveness by seeing to it that, on the eve of New Year's Eve, I catch a mild intestinal bug, just enough to make me utterly miserable for a good twenty-four hours, and see that Spooky catches it just as I start recovering, so another twenty-four hours will be disrupted and more misery will be spread. So, warning: do not interrupt vacations.

But comment. I'll have the iPad with me in bed.

I spent most of yesterday lying on the chaise in the middle parlour, sleeping and moaning, except when I was...no, I'll be discrete, yes? Yes. I did read Laird Barron's "Old Virginia" and Steve Duffy's "The Oram County Whoosit," the latter of which was not only quite good, but rather interesting. In that it covered some of the ground I covered in "In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)" and "The Colliers' Venus (1893)." Also, it put me in mind, a bit, of Carpenter's The Thing (1982). But I don't mean to say that it felt derivative (though it is a "Mythos tale"). You can find "The Oram County Whoosit" in New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, and I recommend it. This was the first story by Duffy I'd read.

Last night, as the crud struck Spooky, we watched Julie Delpy's The Countess (2009). And it really is Delpy's film as she wrote, directed, scored, and played the title role in the film. It's neglect of historicity aside, it's a fine film. Erzebet Bathory's story becomes both a fairy tale and a tragedy about a strong, intelligent (if psychotically, murderously neurotic) woman caught in an age when strong, intelligent women were generally deemed, at best, a nuisance. I especially approve of this latter theme, as it certainly did play a role in the downfall of the real Countess Bathory, between the enormous debt owed her by Hungary's King Matthias and the hatred she engendered from the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever else may or may not be true of her, having researched her life, there can be little doubt she ran afoul of a conspiracy and was an easy target. Anyway, I'd have liked a wilder, more explicit film, but The Countess is impressive, nonetheless (ignore the IMDb rating of 6.2; that's fucking poppycock). See it.

But what really saved the day yesterday was that the mail brought a gift from Neil, a personalized copy of the numbered edition of The Little Golden Book of Ghastly Stuff, from Borderlands Press. Spooky read a bit of it to me and the platypus. I was especially pleased with "Entitlement Issues" (you can read it online, just follow the link), which calls out all those fools who think authors owe them anything at all and who place stock in that "reader/writer contract" crap.

Ah, I'm running out of what little steam I had in me. So, I shall leave you with two things: Firstly, a promise that Sirenia Digest #73 will be out sometime in the next week or so, and, secondly, I leave you with this rare photo of me and the platypus together (we were fading fast):



On the Mend,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Skimp on one journal entry, everything piles up. Outside it's very cold. Well, very cold if you're me. 43˚F, and the low tonight will be 22˚F (-5.5 C). This might come out all higgledy piggledy (double dactyl!), but at least it will be a higgledy-piggledy list.

[One-hour pause to install iTunes 10.5.1, which should have been easy, but wasn't.]

1. Yesterday we saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Marvelous. If Ritchie's making Holmes purists uncomfortable, more power to him. A Game of Shadows was at least as smart, and funny, and as fine a box of eye candy as Sherlock Holmes (2009). Oh, and lots of deftly inserted (cough, cough) gay innuendo, so booya. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, I love you. Great chess, too. Eight tentacles up.

2. Last night, late, I finished with Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors. All I had left to go was Robert Shearman's very good Machenesque "A Child's Problem," Dennis Etchinson's pleasantly odd and wistful piece "Tell Me I'll See You Again," and Richard Christian Mathenson's somewhat delightfully sadistic "Last Words." The latter might have served as a fitting bit for Sirenia Digest. I don't read much contemporary horror, but A Book of Horrors is a solid volume (plus, you get my piece, "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint").

3. Thursday evening was cold, windy, and the sky spat rain. That would have been the first day of the vacation, yes? This day is the third. But I sort of did some work during the day, unless I misremember...which is always a possibility. Later, we visited the RISD Art Gallery (and got our nephew, Miles, a very bow-tie book for Solstice), then went out to get supplies (for both Spooky and me) at Jerry's Artarama*, then stopped near Brown and got delicious food from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ for dinner. It was worth huddling under my umbrella for.

4. Yesterday, UPS brought my copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I recreated my Twi'lek Sith inquisitor Herazade and began leveling again. Made it to nine. I really am loving this game. Utterly bow tie, despite my initial predictions and impressions. However, a caveat: Why can game designers not rid us of the ubiquitous MMORPG silly hop? Have they never noted how humanoids jump? Generally, pushing off and up with the ball/toe of one foot, then landing with their opposite/s. Simple anatomy. Hopping up and down with bowed legs looks idiotic, and it's everywhere, except in console games, where a better knowledge of functional anatomy seems to prevail. The standing jump, of course, would be an exception, but, in most situations, standing jumps are rare, and may not serve here as an explanation or excuse.

5. Tonight, we see Brown Bird play at the Met in Pawtucket, and our Honourary Gentleman Caller, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, will be joining us for the musical shenanigans. Gonna rock.

6. Since we'd let our Audible.com credits back up, I downloaded three books the other day: first, Harlan reading his own Edgeworks Volume 1 – which is a delight – William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Paolo Bacigalupi The Wind-Up Girl. The last is the only I've not read, but I have great hopes. Of course, I'm not reading here, but listening, which is a distinctly different experience. Since I was a very, very small child I have savoured having stories and novels read to me. Unlike ebooks, audiobooks are bow tie.

7. Right now, plans are that the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will go live at 12 ayem EST (1 ayem CaST) on January 1st, New Year's Day. It will appear at that moment on my LiveJournal, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. I will ask people to repost and embed it and link to it and spread it far and wide. I need the front page of my website redesigned for this book, but presently have no options. If anyone is willing to offer their web-fu for a FREE signed and inscribed copy of the book, email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work something out.

And that is all! No more words! Vakayshun!

Leisurely,
Aunt Beast

* In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Imp works at Jerry's.
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
My thoughts are well and truly scattered this morning. No, excuse me. This afternoon, as it is now 12:58 p.m. CaST (though only 11:58 ayem EST, hence still morning). I don't feel like resorting to numbers and bullet points today, either, so bear with me, or don't bear with me.

Bear with me. One of those interesting turns of phrase that I have to wonder if many people ever pause to consider the older, more genuine meanings. Bear. With. Me.

We were planning to be at the VNV Nation show in Boston tonight, and the fabulous Chris Ewen even saw to it that we were on the guest list. Then, yesterday, fearing the possibility of contracting some illness from the crowd, and fearing my deadlines, we pulled out. And our two places on the guest list were raffled last night by Chris, while he DJed at Heroes (DJed as in disc jokey, not as in a pillar-like ancient Egyptian symbol representing stability, id est, djed). So, two happy people will be taking our places tonight, and congratulations to them, but doing good rarely serves as much in the way of consolation if you are me. And I am. Me, I mean.

And I can’t fall asleep without a little help.
It takes a while to settle down,
My shivered bones,
Until the panic‘s out.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

Yesterday, I discovered that (as is so rarely actually ever the case) the third time was the charm with "Sexing the Weird," and I finished a new 1,525-word version of "Sexing the Weird," which will serve as the introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And I like it. Also, this morning (it truly was still ayem CaST) I received Sonya's afterword, "But She Also Lies Broken and Transformed." So, aside from Kathryn and I making about a bazillion corrections to the main text, then getting that text back to Bill Schafer, the book is done. Still no firm release date or date when pre-orders will begin. Later. It's safe to say it will be later, in both cases.

And today, I begin the aforementioned short story about the two women who become cities, for Sirenia Digest #72. And that reminds me to, again, remind you that responses to "Question @ Hand #5" are due by midnight (CaST) on the 7th. Also a caveat: best to avoid humor. I suppose I should have been clear about this from the beginning, but I didn't actually see this as a humorous undertaking (though humor and horror are always loping about, unsightly, hand in hand, I know); I am in an earnest state of mind.

Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher dans la compagnie calme.
Et je pouvais ne tomber pas dormir sans un peu aidé;
Il prendre beaucoup à se calmer mon os de frissonnement
Tant que la panique est dehors.
~ The National, "Amour terrible"

Black-eyed peas and collards for dinner last night. I'm undeniably homesick for Georgia and Alabama. Which is the height of peculiarity, given how neither place was ever a home to me, despite the fact that I lived there almost all my life. My relationship with the South could probably serve as a case study in Das Unheimliche.

Later, we watched the next-to-latest episode of American Horror Story, and, gods – Zachary Quinto in latex. Later still, for want of physical, non-virtual company or any other "real-world" diversion, we played Rift. This morning, Spooky was telling me about the offensive comments coming in over level twenty-something to level thirty-something chat – and I didn't ask for specifics, but I assume it was the usual homophobic, racist, sexist ramblings. I keep everything but guild and RP chat off, so I always miss this shit in Rift. I got enough of it in WoW. But it's not ever encountered in actual gameplay – and last night was a good example – people are consistently polite and often helpful (unlike the situation in WoW). It leads me to suspect that an awful lot of people log in merely to "socialize," and likely they're fairly young, or actual kids, and talking hate shit is the false bravado of their generation, as it has been of all generations. Which, of course, makes it no less disheartening, and reminds me why I stay out of Meridian ("New Orgrimmar") as much as possible and always keep general chat switched off. Gaming is, for me (RP aside), a fundamentally solitary exercise, and forget the "massively multiplayer" part. I rarely game with anyone but Spooky. We duo. Anything to avoid the chimps on crack who cram into so much of gamespace.

Ah, and here's a thing I thought I'd post. Behind the cut. Twenty fantasy books that exerted an especial influence on me as an adolescent, in no particular order (behind the cut):

Twenty+ )

And yeah, I cheated and that is many more than twenty books, but I still feel as if many important things have been left out. Ah, well. For another time, yes. But if you have not read all these books at least once, shame on thee.

Nostalgic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
This is the unusual, infrequent sort of day when I'd actually prefer to be writing, instead of all the busyness of writing that will consume the day. More and more, it's actually hard to find time to simply write, because there are so many different projects, at so many different stages of production. I imagine this time next year I will look back fondly on November 2011, and I'll think, Wow. I had so much time to just write back then.

---

Day before yesterday, we got the news that Spooky's maternal grandmother, Ann Hanon, suffered a stroke and heart attack. She's ninety-seven and a half, and a recovery is not expected. She's not regained consciousness. She gave instructions she was not to be placed on life support. So, now everyone's waiting. The air is tense with that waiting for news of an inevitability, and with sorrow people cannot help but feel, no matter if a loved one has lived a very, very long and full life. As I said of my own maternal grandmother who, at ninety (almost ninety-one), died in 2005, I can't stop thinking how this amazing person lived through so much time, so much time and so many worlds. So many incarnations of this world. If I live another fifty years...well, I'd prefer not to, but if I did...I cannot even begin to imagine the changes I would see. I think one of the hardest things for Kathryn and her immediate family is that none of them are with her grandmother in Wisconsin, as we have become this nation of latter-day nomads.

---

Yesterday, I began writing "Sexing the Weird," my introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I have grown to strongly dislike writing nonfiction, and especially nonfiction about my own work. After twenty years as an author, I fear I've sunk far too deeply into the bogs of my own work to speak about them...and no, that's not what I meant to say, but my difficulty articulating my thoughts on this subject should serve as an illustration of what I'm trying to say. Nonetheless, I made a good beginning, I hope, and I hope to have the introduction finished by tomorrow evening.

This month, I also still have to get the galley pages for The Drowning Girl back to Penguin (by Monday), write Alabaster: Wolves #2 for Dark Horse, work on promotional material (my publicist just emailed) for The Drowning Girl, and get Sirenia Digest #72 written and out to subscribers. I think the only thing keeping me moving ahead right now, besides the stubborn momentum of life and the pills my psychiatrist prescribes for me, is the determination that I will take two weeks off in December, a sort of Solstice/Cephalopodmas vacation. I've not had a vacation of any sort since December 2008. But other people seem to do it, so why the fuck not me?

---

A very nice interview at SFF Chronicles with Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala), in which she just happens to make a very kindly mention of The Drowning Girl.

---

And here's a particularly articulate bit of commentary on The Ammonite Violin & Others, which I very much appreciated seeing this morning. Towards the end, there's this paragraph I found especially apt:

A note of caution, though, the stories within this book are mostly excellent and there is no denying Kiernan’s ability and distinctive voice. However, if you read a number of these in quick succession, they do start to cloy and the depth and intricacy of the tales can become treacle thick and hinder the progress of the reader. This is something to enjoy in bite size morsels.

Yes. This is true. Well, I think it's true. I can no longer bear to read a great chunk of my own short fiction any more than I can eat more than a couple of pieces of Turkish Delight at one sitting. Or a few bites of baklava. But it's interesting, because of something someone asked in the comments to yesterday's entry, regarding the caveat lector that opens Harlan Ellison's Deathbird Stories. [livejournal.com profile] faffinz asked: "Did your copy of Deathbird Stories come with the warning note from Harlan that it should not be read all at once? If so, did you read it all at once?" It did, as that notice appeared at the beginning of all copies of the book (including the recent superb Subterranean Press edition). The caveat reads:

It is suggested that the reader not attempt to read this book at one sitting . The emotional content of these stories, taken without a break, may be extremely upsetting. This note is intended most sincerely, and not as hyperbole. ~ H. E.

To finish answering the question asked by [livejournal.com profile] faffinz, no, I didn't read the stories all at once. On the one hand, being possessed of only one functional eye, I have always been a rather slow reader. Also, I like to make good books last. But, also, I first encountered the book in 1981, and I didn't take the warning as a dare. I actually did find the stories too intense to be read without several breaks in between. In fact, I had to stop halfway through "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" and come back to it later (by the way, it remains one of my favorite of Harlan's stories). But this was in an age before Saw and its seven sequels. Which may or may not be relevant. But I am always a little disappointed to hear that someone has read the entirety of one of my short-story collections or novels at one sitting.

Yesterday, I left the house for the first time in a week. Just a trip to the market, and a stop at Mama Kim's, a local Korean food truck, for dinner.

Questioning Relevance and Relativity,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
So, I'm about two hours late beginning this journal entry, because freelancing means enduring bullshit from all directions when you least expect it. Though, a smart freelancer expects it every fucking second of every fucking day. Still, I might yet get some work done before midnight.

Seems I caused a recent kerfuffle over my opinions on ebooks. And here's what I don't understand: The proponents of ebooks have won, so why are they so defensive? Can you not allow the loser to be sore? Can a winner be so insecure he or she must wage an evangelical battle to convert all us lovers of actual books? The battle, if ever there were one, is long over. Think of it as the Battle of Serenity Valley. Think of me as a Browncoat. Think of ebooks and their industry and consumer proponents as the Alliance. Dumb analogy, I know. Fannish to the bone and all. But still apt. I've lost the war. I didn't even win a single battle in the war. Regardless, I will not go quietly into that good night (thank you, Mr. Thomas). So, allow me to hold my unpopular and irrelevant opinions, and to express them in what is my own bloody LiveJournal without running off to whine when you broke the First Rule of CRK's LJ: Do not poke the angry beast with a point stick. Or, stated another way, don't make contentious comments guaranteed to piss me off. In the old days, this was called trolling.

Speaking of this subject, here's a very much appreciated bit of information posted here by [livejournal.com profile] aliceoddcabinet:

Let me tell you a little story about the Domesday Book.

Completed in 1086, it held a record of many of the daily doings of everyday life and people in Great Britain at the time. It was like a proto-census. Sort of. Around 1999, the BBC thought it would be great idea to do another
Domesday Book for the New Millennium. So they got all this great information, including voice recordings, and digital video and all sorts of cool cool coolness. So they completed it.

On some random kind of Videodisk. And now, with very few players that can access the material on these Random Video disks, the million dollar project is now...well, rendered moot (mute, as well). The original
Domesday Book? From 1086? Written in Latin, written on paper is still available to be viewed at the British National Archives. And can be read by anyone who knows Latin. Hell, by anyone with a Latin Dictionary.

So there's my little Parable.


And, ebook evangelists, you really think you'll be able to go back read those Kindle ebooks you're buying in a decade? Really? Ha, ha, and ha (good name for a law firm). That was the sound of the Last laugh, which is to come.

Anyway.

Yesterday, we saw a matinée of Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s The Thing, a prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (1982, a remake of Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks' 1951 The Thing from Another World, a film version of John W. Campbell Jr.'s short story "Who Goes There?", first published in Amazing Stories in 1938). I liked it quite a lot. There a lot I want to say about it, but I don't have time at the moment. Maybe tomorrow.

A little reading. I read (in analog, thank you) Gary Braunbeck's pretty decent novella "Tessellations," and also "A selachian freshwater fauna from the Triassic of Kyrgyzstan and its implications for Mesozoic shark nurseries." Very, very amazing stuff. Just think: fossilized mermaids' purses. Also, "A new species of Laccognathus (Sarcopterygii, Porolepiformfes) from the Late Devonian of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada."

The new Brown Bird album, Salt for Salt, is incredible. Just had to say that.

Here are some "behind the scenes" from our weekend filming of the trailer for The Drowning Girl and Stills From a Film That Never Was (by the way, Kyle and I are talking about a mix-media/book mini-tour in galleries this spring in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Providence, and Boston):

14 October 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
See, it's not insomnia when you just stay up too late reading. No. It's not. That's called stupid. And so now I'm not awake, and I'm having to augment my sugar-free Red Bull by listening to Hubero going on about Sméagol freaking him out with carrot cards and a squeegee board. Funny cats are no fit substitute for sleep.

Currently, I'm being horrified by a new "texting" acronym: LMBO. Which is apparently what the Jesus has instructed good Xtians, fans of the Jonas Brothers, and devotees of Stephenie Meyer to use instead of LMAO. Because it's more wholesome to say "butt" than to say "ass." Really, people. What the fuck was wrong with "haha"? It's just as easy to "text" as LMAO. Four letters. Actually, it's easier to type than LMAO, because of the QWERTY keyboard layout. Also, it's logical. "Haha" isn't an acronym. It's an example of onomatopoeic language. Do not badly reinvent the wheel, people. That's why we have the Microsoft Corporation.

Yesterday was a symphony of...well, not dull. Actually, anything but dull. Exhausting, though, and vexing. I am now working on so many different projects at once, switching gears throws out my back about once a day. Or throws out my brain. Or whatever. Yesterday, after the blog entry, and after I brushed my teeth, and answered email, after all that, I had to send electronic files of the Authors Note and Author's Biography from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir to Penguin, because...let's not go there. I think people are forgetting how to retype. It all began with James Watt in 1779, unless it began with Johannes Gutenberg's printing press in 1436, unless it actually began with Bi Sheng in China in 1040, ol' Bi Sheng and his porcelain movable type. Wow. There's nine hundred and seventy-one years of laziness. And a huge digression.

I was saying, yesterday, after the files were sent to my editor at Penguin, I got back to my work on XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (guys, the TRUTH is out there, and it will be revealed in late November or early December, I am told, and we all have to sit tight until then). After that I was greeted by a mammoth email from my editor at Penguin, who needed clarification of several illegible comments I'd written on the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, illegible because the Lamictal (which I take for the seizures) makes my hands shake so badly. And that meant comparing my photostat (back to xeros + graphus) with her notes and...it took awhile, and a lot of patience on the part of the vocally reluctant (but ever helpful) Spooky. Then we had spaghetti. Then we proofread "John Four" for the first time since September 24, 2010 (I finished writing it on September 22, 2010), which is being reprinted in S. T. Joshi's A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, to be released in limited and trade editions in 2012 by Centipede Press (and maybe I wasn't suppose to announce that yet, but there you go). That was work yesterday, leaving out a few victuals and bits of flayed skin.

"John Four" is one of my best and strangest Lovecraftian stories, and I'm pleased to see it will be reprinted in such a good home.

Oh, and my comp copies of Stephen Jones The Book of Horror arrived, which reprints my story, "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint."

Last night, some very good RP in Insilico, and two episodes of Mad Men, and then, even though I was in bed by two-thirty ayem, I was awake until three forty-five, reading this, that, and the other. Included were two more stories from the Halloween anthology, Sarah Langan's "The Great Pumpkin Arrives at Last" and "The Sticks" by Charlee Jacob. The former is, at best, so-so. It relies too heavily on a somewhat unconvincing "twist ending." The latter, though, was quite effective, a story reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," though only in its most basic premise. I will admit, I'm uncomfortable talking about other authors' stories here, but there's a long tradition of authors commentating on authors, and if I'm going to read the damned things, I can at least be honest.

Spooky's no-longer-premature Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only one necklace and a bracelet left (plus paintings and other cool stuff), and who knows when she'll have time to make more. When making a purchase, IF YOU WANT THE SALE PRICE, you need to, at checkout, use the sale code SPOOK.

By the way, this is the one year anniversary of our return to Providence from Portland, Oregon. One year ago last night, we spent the whole night awake in the almost entirely deserted Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. Then...well, hell ensued. Anyway, here is a token from that night, which I may auction someday on eBay. It's companion, the shortest novel I ever wrote on a napkin, was auctioned last autumn.

The Napkin of Caribou )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today, we drop the CEM off at the post office, and the deed is fucking done. The corrected CEM for The Drowning Girl has been photocopied (never return a corrected ms. without making a copy, because shit does get lost in the mail). Letters granting me permission to quote songs and stories are included, as well as a copy of Lewis Carroll's "The Lobster Quadrille." I'm thinking the ms. will probably be in NYC by Wednesday. Now, maybe I'll stop smoking again, but I sort of doubt it.

And today is a day off.

And tomorrow I have to get work on the pieces for Sirenia Digest #70. And why aren't you subscribed (I don't actually require an answer, please)? It's quick, easy, cheap, and we have a snazzy new website!

---

Last night, there was more Mad Men. We've almost finished Season Two, and I have very much fallen in love with this series. It's what television ought to be. There was also RP in Insilico, and Grendel lost the first digit of her left pinkie to yubitsume. But it was her fault. After all, she was out of contact with the oyabun for more than twenty-four hours, because she met a woman at the space port (I hate that. No one in this version of the twenty-fourth century would say "space port." At the port, let's say), and it had been a long time between fucks. And you know how that goes.

We also finished reading Stephen King's The Stand (the original, not fucked-up 1978 text), and I have many thoughts. I could make an essay of my thoughts, but I don't want to spend two hours droning on and on and fucking on about the whys and wherefores. Better I summarize. I didn't enjoy the book nearly as well as I did way back in high school and the eighties (I read it four times, I think). King simply isn't a good writer. He is a good storyteller, and he has a way with characters, but there's a lot more to writing than "Storytime with Uncle Stevie." And I think this has been the key to his success.

But I have deeper problems with the text. There's no denying it's sexist. Sure, we have Mother Abigail and the token queer, Dana, who gets sent off to die in Las Vegas (in one of the book's best scenes, by the way). Oh, and Nadine, who remains my favorite character. But that's pretty much it. Women are mostly there to be pregnant, and to fret, and to need men to protect them. And this seems a little much even for 1978. Maybe it would have seemed less out of place in a book written in 1948. And, trust me, I'm not a radfem. This is a very notable objective problem with the text. And, while I'm at it, Captain Trips seemed to have spared Caucasians over all other races. Well, there's Mother Abigail, who comes off as the "Magic Negro."

Another, for me, is that there's almost no getting around the fundamental Christianity of The Stand. It's steeped in it, with hardly room for any other interpretation, and we watch as a wicked god lays down his judgement, and war is waged against the forces of evil. Note: Tolkien did this in LotR without showing any evidence of religion whatsoever. And, like I said, this is a problem I have, the whole Christian fantasy thing, and likely it's not a problem for most people, especially, obviously Christians.

The whole thing after the epidemic just seems so...small. I recall it being epic, and it really isn't. It occurs on a much smaller stage than I remember. Of course, I'm forty-seven now, not, say sixteen, and I've read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which has changed the stakes of postapocalyptic books forever. There is no god. Or God. Or gods. No one's coming to save us when the big fuck up rains down. And it'll be worse than Stephen King dared to imagine in 1978. The human spirit will not triumph, because those left alive will be too busy fighting over whatever happens to be left. So, for me the book also fails in it's incredibly naïve anti-nihilistic approach.

But all of this is not to say that it isn't still enjoyable on some level. And there are still some great scenes (though I was shocked at how flat the climactic Las Vegas scene seemed). Spooky enjoyed it more than me, but then she'd never read it. For my part, I'm not revisiting any more King texts. I'll only be disappointed, and I'd rather remember them as I do, even knowing those memories are, by and large, false.

And we began reading Shirley Jackson's The Sundial. Finally.

And now I go have a day off.
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)
Yes, it is that. This entry is the 3,000th I've written since coming to LiveJournal way back on April 15th, 2004. And yeah, that's a lot of time and a lot of words. Though, truly, I first began keeping an online journal on Blogger, years before I met LJ, on November 24th, 2001. But, here I am at 3,000, as LiveJournal reckons time.

Yesterday was a roiling mass of chaos. There was a very long phone conversation with my agent, Merrilee, that essentially made it impossible to get much else done during the afternoon. But now I can get back to work on Blood Oranges, which she loves. Today, however, I am awaiting news regarding the NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL I can't talk about it yet. Which means I'll be good for nothing, except maybe proofreading the manuscript for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Yesterday, we managed to proofread "The Collector of Bones." I'd forgotten all the math I'd had to do for that story.

So, "civil unions" between gay couples will likely soon be legal Rhode Island. On the one hand, it's more than I ever expected. On the other hand, it's so blatantly discriminatory, that it's hard to see it as any sort of improvement at all. It's not even really "separate but equal." It's more like saying, "Look, we made you this, which looks sort of like marriage, and you'll get some of the benefits. But marriage is SACRED, and if we let you have actual...well, never mind what would happen, because we're not going to do that. Here. Take this, instead. Now, go play and leave us alone." That's what it's like. I do see it as a foot in the door, and I see the benefits. But unless this is a stepping stone towards the same rights afforded heterosexuals, it's worthless. Just second-class citizenry. Note that the bill has been heavily opposed by local gay activists. Anyway....let's not make the Baby Jesus cry...

Spooky was just telling me that WoW is now offering the same deal offered by LotRO, and soon to be offered by CoX. There's a downloadable "free to play" version that doesn't come with a 7-day expiration date, but has a Level 20 cap. So, you know, you can play WoW free forever, so long as none of your toons want to rise above 20. Which would at least be fine for rp, only, to echo an analogy yesterday, trying to rp in WoW is about the same as trying to use a Hula Hoop as a particle accelerator. Anyway, I think MMORPGs are finally learning from watching pushers.

Last night, I read Book 2 of The Stuff of Legend. This is, by far, the best new comic I've read in many years. Also, I read "The Dingus" by Gregory Frost, from Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir.

Today, I will proofread and wait...

3000 and Counting,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes. I am on a Kate Bush kick.

It's a beautiful autumn-summer day out there, sunny and blue skies, the temperature at 70F. Nice. Have to get Outside today. Getting out of the house is mandatory on a day like this. I'm doing a good job, actually, of not keeping myself cooped up.

At 4 a.m., not sleeping (despite the meds), I was on Rift talking with a friend in Alaska, and he said it was midnight and the sun hadn't set. In Providence, the sky was just beginning to lighten. It was a marvelously surreal moment, especially considering I was doped and half asleep (but only half). By the way, I want to actually calculate the distance across the part of Telara we can see, the size of the landmass north to south and east to west. I don't think many people have paused to think how small it must be. At first, I estimated it might be the size of Rhode Island (37 miles x 48 miles long, 1,214 sq. mi.), but I'm beginning to think it may only be half that size or less. Spooky's worked out a way to get a firm estimate, which we will do this evening (because we are pathetic nerds). A fantasy MMORPG will be truly fucking amazing when it can offer a continent the size of, oh, say Australia.

Where was I?

Yesterday was as tedious as I'd expected. I didn't actually make any progress with the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between (and I'm not going to explain why, because it's a tedious explanation that's all about editing PDFs and Adobe software and me being a psuedo-Luddite). But things did get done. Vince sent me the initial pencils for his "Figurehead" illustration. I did some more tweaking on the ms. for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and sent the Really and Truly Final Manuscript away to my editor. I spent about an hour on the immensely tedious and long guest questionnaire for Readercon 22. I read "Figurehead" and "Untitled 35" aloud to Kathryn, and we marked the pages red. I talked with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy about what ravens who might be nuns would....

Sorry. Lost my train of thought. Spooky and I were talking about Houdini.

Last night, we did Kindernacht with hot dogs and Tom McGrath's Megamind (2010), which was really a lot of fun, but not as good as Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's similar Despicable Me (also 2010). Of course, one is not supposed to talk about whether or not Kid Night movies are any good, so long as they're fun. We picked the DVD up at Acme Video, since it was an excuse to go Outside. Also, Acme Video gives away free atomic fireballs. After the movie, we did, of course, play Rift. Mostly it was rp for me, though there was also a major incursion upon White Fall and the Chancel of Labors by the minions of Crucia, and Selwyn and Miisya helped to repel the bad guys.

Yesterday, I read the title story of Johnathan Thomas' Tempting Providence (Hippocampus Press). To be sure, it's a weird tale, but it's also a poignant travelogue/walking tour devoted to a finer and simpler and far more interesting Providence than has survived to the present day. I also read "A new unintan horned brontothere from Wyoming and evolution of canine size and sexual dimorphism in the Brontotheriidae (Perissodactyla: Mammalia)" in JVP. Speaking of reading, kittens, tomorrow I'll be announcing the June selection for Aunt Beast's Book Club.

---

On this day in 2007, I wrote:

I have been worrying a lot lately about my writing. It started when I reread Silk and looked through Tales of Pain and Wonder for the first time in ages. Sure, I'm a much, much better writer now, but is what I'm writing inherently better than what I was writing then? More importantly, is it about something more than telling stories? Almost ten years after it's original publication, I see lots of flaws with Silk I couldn't see in 1996 or 1998, and parts of it make me groan, but it has something to say, something it says, and for that I will likely always love it. This is even more true of ToPaW. It's true of The Dreaming. But is the same true of Threshold? Low Red Moon? I think so. And I know it's true of Murder of Angels, but I'm not so sure about Daughter of Hounds, even though I also know it's my best-written novel to date. One may write well — one may write exquisitely, even — and have nothing at all to say. Writing "The Ape's Wife" last month, this all seemed suddenly very important to me again. I fear that in the rush to meet deadlines and write enough to keep all the bills paid, somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten that it is not enough to tell a good story, or even to create characters who ring true. These are necessary accomplishments, but they are surely not sufficient. Art requires more than mere craft, more even than talent. It requires meaning. Heading into The Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey Lafaye, these thoughts will be my Beatrice (so to speak). There's something I feel I might have drifted away from, and I want...no, I need to get back to it again.

So, four years later, I can say I found an antidote for this anxiety and these worries, which was writing The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, no matter how much the effort has exhausted me. Also, it should be noted that, in June 2007, I was still suffering from the trauma of having written that unmentionably shitty novelization for Robert Zemeckis' butchering of Beowulf (2007)*. That Mordorean death-march ordeal (fuck you, Roger Avery) left me unable to write long-form for the better part of a year, until I began The Red Tree in April 2008. By the way, I'm still waiting on The Dinosaurs of Mars to reveal itself to me, and have come to accept that Joey Lafaye will likely never happen. You may always think of Beowulf as the novelization that murdered Joey Lafaye. At least the Beowulf gig sort of paid well. And at least you didn't need 3-D glasses to read the book. Seamus Heaney, forgive me.

So...now, today.

* And as bad as my novelization was, the movie was at least a hundred times more awful.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, so. Back on January 16, 2010, I posted just how much it cost me and Spooky to travel from Providence for me to take part in a reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn, a post that included an itemized list of our expenses that night. $111.46, total. And we were only gone about 12 hours, something like that. The point of making that post was to demonstrate why I so rarely travel significant distances to make public appearances.

Our Tuesday/Wednesday trip to Manhattan stands as another prime example. Below is an itemized list of our expenses:

1. Round-trip bus fare (Providence to Port Authority) x 2*: $160
2. Cab fare (three cab rides): $58**
3. Parking at the bus*** depot in Providence: $16
4. Three soft drinks: $7
Total: $241 (for a day and a half)

Now, keep in mind, we had a place to stay, so no hotel bill, and Peter and Susan picked up the dinner tab on Tuesday, then Peter fixed us breakfast, so no meals were purchased. Lodging and meal expenses could easily have added another $200+. For one night. Obviously, a four-day convention is much more expensive.

Now, I also have to add to the total our museum visit, which added $53. But. We virtually never do anything of that sort. Our normal monthly entertainment expenditure averages less than $60. So, you add the museum (which isn't the business part), the cost goes up to $294.

* If you're wondering why I don't save money by traveling alone, the short answer is because I'm not well enough to do so, not at the present. Maybe at some future date, but not now.

** True, the subway would have been much cheaper. But. Our schedule would have made using the subway extremely inconvenient, neither of us are familiar with the routes, and riding the subway vastly increases the odds of catching this or that bug and sacrificing more money to lost days/productivity once the trip is over. I've used the subway lots (last January, for example). This time, it simply wasn't practical.

*** Had we taken Amtrak from Kingston, RI it would have cost us about twice as much.

So, why don't I do more conventions, readings outside Providence, etc.? This is why. Rarely do such activities even begin to prove cost effective. What they do, primarily, is increase my visibility within the community of writers and editors. Most readings net tiny attendance and insignificant book sales (and often lead to bookstores returning the extra stock they ordered for the event, which drives up my return rate). Far bigger names than me often have lousy turnouts at readings. And even if, say, fifty people show up (and for most of us, that's a huge turnout), what the bookstore makes selling books, and what your publisher makes, is likely less than what it cost you to travel to the event.

So, what work-related traveling I do, I choose the trips with great care. I do only those things I really, really want to do. KGB readings, for example. And ReaderCon. Of course, if an event or publisher is willing to pay for all my expenses, I'll usually make the trip; this has almost never happened for me.

I would also add, it horrifies me to think how much I would increase my carbon footprint...

By the way, have I mentioned this wonderful book my [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid (Nick Mamatas), Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life.
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
Maybe it was premature of me to say that Providence has made the transition from Cold Spring to Spring Proper. Or, it may be that there needs to be a third and intermediate formal subdivision: Green Spring. That is, May, when it's finally fucking green out there, but people think it's warm when the temperature rises into the high sixties. Like today. Tomorrow, back into the fifties.

At least there's sunlight today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,662 words on Blood Oranges. I know how the chapter ends now, and should be able to finish it by tomorrow evening.

If you're a Sirenia Digest subscriber and haven't voted in the "Question @ Hand" Poll, please do, and thanks.

I've been trying to manage more reading and less gaming. There's Under the Poppy, and the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Yesterday, from the latter, I read "Nuralagus rex, gen. et. sp. nov., an endemic insular giant rabbit from the Neogene of Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)." Imagine a rabbit ten times the size of modern cottontails, only it doesn't hop and doesn't have long ears. Also, reading Curt Stager's Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth and Jane P. Davidson's A History of Paleontology Illustration. But also gaming. Last night, we neglected Selwyn and Miisya, and played our Guardian high elves. Though the godbothering is fierce, I have in mind a storyline for our guild that involves making contact with a group of Guardians who have grown distrustful of their leaders and who doubt the Vigil, and who suspect they're not being told the truth about a lot of things, including what happened in Scion. So, I need characters of sufficiently high levels to reach areas where interfactional rp can occur.

Yes! Cross-faction rp. Which you can actually do in Rift. It's just a shame the game designers didn't allow for a far more realistic and inevitable scenario involving defections from one side to the other (only on RP servers), and also a loose confederation of the Undeclared, consisting of those who won't take a side. Would have been much more interesting. Anyway, yes, we have a guild, "Eyes of the Faceless Man," Defiant side, on the Shadefallen Shard. We'd love a few more members, and I know some of you game, and you should know Rift as good as it gets in terms of high fantasy/S&S MMORPG. Whatever faults it may have, Rift leaves WoW in the dust.

---

Last night, was apparently devoted to creepy movies from 1987. First, we watched Alan Parker's Angel Heart, which, somehow, I'd never seen. It's a beautifully shot and acted film, but I think the ending gets heavy handed. We didn't need the yellow contact lenses. We also watched Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark, which, of course, I've seen about a hundred times, though in about twenty years. There are still some marvelous moments in the film, and Lance Henriksen is wonderful. But it falls apart as a whole, and I'm starting to think I should stop watching eighties horror films, which rarely ever measure up to my memories of them.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. Also, Spooky's made a really marvelous new necklace, which is up in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop, and which you can see here.

And now, words.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, we did get a dab of snow, but it all quickly melted. So, no harm done.

1. Yesterday was another day of editing. I thought I was done with the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between, but then I realized there was, inexplicably, no story for 1998. So...I asked Bill if I could add one, and he kindly consented (all this was in yesterday's entry, I know). So I chose "Salmagundi (New York City, 1981)." Which needed a lot of revision (it was last revised in 2007). And that's what I spent the day doing. Truthfully, it's more complicated than that, but I'll let that stand as my synoptic history, my necessary fiction. Regardless, yesterday was another editing day. But, after dinner, the "final final" ms. went away to subpress, and now it's out of my hands. Cue huge sound of relief.

2. Thanks to the people who donated to the Kickstarter project yesterday! You guys are amazing. One last request regarding "The Tale of Two Ravens" and the birth of Goat Girl Press. We're a mere $35 dollars away from being 200% funded. Anyone want to pony up that last $35? You'd put a big ol' smile on Spooky's face.

3. The Green Man review of "The Steam Dancer (1898)" has been bouncing around in my head. And while it was a very positive review, and I'm grateful for that, something about it began gnawing at me. The reviewer wrote "...I must stress that this tale is depressing..." Only, it's not. Yes, it's set in a world that, I contend, is far more honest and believable than most of those conjured for steampunk. It's a world where the consequences of a reliance on steam power is plainly evident. It's also set in a rough frontier town in the American West. But the story itself, the story of the life of Missouri Banks, is one of triumph and joy. She is raised from squalor and sickness by a man who loves her, who literally puts her back together, and she celebrates her reconstruction in dance. It's not a depressing story. I suspect the more realistic setting - which lacks the deluded shine of so much steampunk - obstructed the reviewers view of the story, though it shouldn't have. Anyway, no...it's emphatically not a depressing story. It's a story (I don't believe I'm about to write this) of the triumph of the human spirit over terrible adversity.

4. Today, I have to find a story for Sirenia Digest #64. I've not had time to think about the digest, between finishing and editing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and editing Two Worlds and In Between. By the way, everyone who keeps congratulating me on finishing the aforementioned books and saying that now I have breathing room...no. There is no breathing room. There's only writing, if the bills are to be paid and the deadlines are not to be missed. I wish there was breathing room. The air is getting awfully close in here.

5. My great thanks for all the YA suggestions. But I should be clear that, from here on, I've only got time, just now, to read books set in the 20th Century, and, preferably, the first half of the 20th Century. Maybe I can get to the others later.

6. Yesterday morning we read more of Margo Lanagan's superb and brutal Tender Morsels, and last night we read more of Markus Zusak's very wonderful The Book Thief.

And now, kittens, I go forth to whip the word troll into submission...

In Perplexity,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (4:20 p.m.): I don't usually do this. But. If anyone has an idea, or anything remotely approaching an idea, for a vignette for Sirenia Digest #64, feel free to post it. Think of this as me taking requests. Well, at least considering requests.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Snowy, slushy, cold here in Providence. Presently, 30˚F, with an expected low tonight of 21˚F, so yeah, we're sort of having a heatwave. More snow on the way tonight.

Day before yesterday, we spoke with my doctor. Dosages have been increased. There is hope the storm inside my skull may soon subside, and I can go back to looking the other way.

Tuesday I wrote 1,152 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Yesterday, I wrote not a single word. The whole day was spent, instead, talking about what I wasn't writing. I've been lucky. Yesterday was the first significant wall the book's hit since I began it in earnest back in November.

Lee Moyer's cover for Two Worlds and In Between is coming along very well. He's at the mock-up stage, but I'm loving it. Right now, it's been the bright spot amid all the sticky black clouds.

The current eBay auctions continue (and are going well).

I didn't leave the house yesterday. Or the day before that. But I'm going out this evening, weather permitting.

I feel bad for not having mentioned the 202nd anniversary of Edgar Allan's Poe's birth, but I didn't make an entry yesterday. So, there you go.

---

Books and movies. Night before last, we streamed two of the latter, fashioning an inexplicable sort of double feature. First, I wanted to see Mike Figgis' Leaving Las Vegas (1995) again, and Spooky had never seen it. Nicolas Cage films tend to fall into one of two categories. Those in which he acts, and those in which he can't be bothered to act. Happily, Leaving Las Vegas is one of the good ones. More on one of the not-so-good ones in a second. We followed Leaving Las Vegas with Michael Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat (2007), which would have be a wonderful pairing with, oh, say Fright Night. Plus, Anna Paquin as a hot werewolf. It was actually very enjoyable, which surprised me, as I tend to hate "anthology" films (Creepshow [1982], Twilight Zone: The Movie [1983], Cat's Eye [1985], and so on and so forth). Then, last night, we watched Jon Turteltaub's The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010), a big, steaming mess of stupid. This movie is so bad that even though it's not one of the movie's in which Nicolas Cage can be bothered to act, everyone else— except Alice Krige —is so bad, it seems like he's acting. In fact, Nicolas Cage's not-acting was about the only thing that made the movie bearable. The leather duster he was wearing also gave a nice performance. And Alice Krige is cool no matter what manner of mouse-eared shit she's stuck in. I'm sure she was paid well, which is really more than I can claim for my own forays into prostitution. I think the best thing I can say about The Sorcerer's Apprentice is this: If you're sick in bed, and there's nothing to do except watch this movie, it probably won't make you feel any worse than you already do.

And I read [livejournal.com profile] blackholly and Ted Naifeh's Kin, Kith, and Kind. Very good. I was especially pleased with the ending. And we're still reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters.

---

Anyway, wrapping this up. I need to call Lee, and email my agent, and get back to the novel. Comments especially welcome today. It's going to be a long one.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was yesterday. Today isn't.

Which ought to be obvious, but there you go.

People do nice things for me, and it will never cease to amaze me. All I do to deserve this is make shit up.

Yesterday, as I was saying, we did some housecleaning. It was, theoretically, an off day. We went to the market and drugstore ("chemist" just sounds so much cooler, but I bow to regional convention). We stopped Outside of White Electric Coffee on Westminster and bought a marvelous green ceramic bowl from Unkle Thirsty's Cups. They'd set up a couple of tables on the sidewalk in front of the coffeehouse, and it was so bitterly cold...and I needed a good ceramic bowl for the gull and cormorant bones from West Cove and Moonstone. They were playing music and dancing around trying to stay warm. The sky was slate.

Back home, I did more work on my next painting, my painting in progress, Black Ships Ate the Sky, and yes that's a direct reference to the Current 93 album. I used a great quantity of Napthol Crimson and not much else. Thus far, it's about the only color I've used on the painting.

There was more of Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Kraken: An Anatomy, reading and listening. Someone wanted to know if the footnotes are included in Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell; they are. After dinner, we watched more of the most recent season of Deadliest Catch. We're taking this season slow, knowing what's coming. I don't think of Deadliest Catch as "reality television." It's much more like an ongoing documentary. Which raises interesting questions, which are probably easily solved. Still later, there was very good rp in Insilico. Grendel is moving towards what may be a very terrible moment or may be her salvation, and only time will tell. She's trying hard not to bolt and run, which is what she's always done before. But before she was never pregnant with a human child. And after the rp, because Spooky and I are bad kids, and because I never want to ever sleep (except I do), we played WoW, and Shaharrazad and Suraa reached Level 82.

Today, I have to work.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Slept halfway decently last night, but, still, I'm not awake this early, early afternoon (it's only just eight past noon for those of us on CaST). And the bitter cold lingers, 30F (feels like 21F), and likely will...maybe until spring, which comes in late June. I'm wearing too many clothes, which is never pleasant.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,875 words on Chapter Three of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It was all ravens, Scottish witches, and pretend sea monsters. [livejournal.com profile] michael_b_lee commented to yesterday's post, as regards the interauthor, first person as artifact, and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir:

In this particular case, I think trying to explain how the artifact came to the attention of the reader would actually work at cross-purposes to what you're trying to achieve. Nothing should be explicated. The reader should at no times be certain of her footing.

And I agree, which is why, in this instance, the reader won't learn how it's possible they've gained access to the artifact.

Comments have fallen off again. I assume this has more to do with "the holidays" than it does with the ever-dwindling pool of LJ devotées.

But, yes, the cold weather. I mentioned that part already. After the writing, we had the last sad dregs of the "Five Legged Stew," and watched the first episode of Twin Peaks (1990). That is, the first one after the pilot. It is a strange fact that I have somehow never seen the series, but I'm remedying that now. Fish coffee and the log lady. And lots of bad 80s hair. There was WoW. Oddly, Spooky and I have not yet begun leveling our main toons, Shaharrazad and Suraa, to 85. On the one hand, we've been distracted by new races and new lower-level quests and whatnot. On the other, we've both been working towards the title "Seeker," which comes with having completed 3,000 quests. Spooky got it a couple of nights back, and I likely will tonight. There wasn't any IS rp last night, because I just wasn't up to it emotionally. Playing a pregnant fugitive AI in a flesh-and-bone body ain't as easy as it sounds, you know. Especially not when her human girlfriend has just gone back to work for the Benignly Evil Megacorp and the pregnant AI is beginning to suspect she has developed gestational diabetes. So, Twin Peaks, WoW, and then more Angela Carter before bed. Also more Susanna Clarke yesterday, but no China Miéville. Gotta catch up on him today.

It's that time of year when everyone decides I don't actually need to be paid until sometime after the New Year, bills or no bills. Which I suppose is the true meaning of Xmas.

There are contracts (short-story reprints) that I need to get into the mail today.

Just thinking, truly a shame that jealousy, sorrow, regret, and the need for vengeance do not necessarily have expiration dates. But, then again, if they did what would possibly serve as adequate motivation to keep me writing? I blame Elvis Costello for my having said that last part aloud.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A blessed Samhain, and a Happy Halloween.

As it happens, I only got half of what I should have gotten done yesterday done. I made the line edits to "And the Cloud That Took the Form" and "At the Reef." I nailed down the cover image. But then it was late and I had to start getting ready for the Brown reading. So, expect Sirenia Digest #59 tomorrow. It can be the Día de los Muertos issue.

The reading went well last night (photos below). We scored rock-star parking directly across the street from the bookstore. I read "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4)" and "In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection." My thanks to Bob Geake and Barry DeJesu for setting up the reading, and to everyone who came out. It was good to see [livejournal.com profile] catconley again, and to meet Brian Hauser, winner of the Deep One Award for Best Screenplay, for his Cult Flick, at the HPLFF (he also attended my reading in Portland).

On the way home, we got burgers and Quebec fries from Stanley's. I spent the evening playing City of Heroes and Villains, while Spooky played Lord of the Rings Online. I was in bed a little after two, and Spooky read Kelly Link's superb "Monster" to me. I slept, finally, a good seven and a half hours, the best I've managed for some time. Maybe Quebec fries are a good sleep aid. Or maybe it's Kelly Link.

We did not try to attend the annual Iron Pour at the Steel Yard, not after the mess that last year was. I'm just glad we got to attend in '08, before it became The Hip Hipster Thing To Do. Tonight, we'll stay in and have a misplaced Kid Night, with zombie movies, candy, and a fort built of chairs and blankets.

My thanks to the people who commented (and bid) on the painting yesterday. I'll likely start Black Ships Ate the Sky tomorrow, but it won't be auctioned. It will be for me.

We've been enjoying reading banners and signs from yesterday's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in D.C." I am deeply envious of [livejournal.com profile] sovay, who actually got to attend. I'm hoping the numbers in attendance, far oustripping Glenn Beck's turnout, will be reflected at the polls.

Okay. Gotta work, to earn this Kid Night. Here are the photos from last night:

Pumpkins and Tentacles )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
My insomnia's been getting worse again, which drags everything else down the shitter, of course. My work habits. My mood. My ability to tell if Drug X is dealing with Symptom Y. My ability to remember if I've taken Drug X. My appearance. I do not sleep, it all goes to Hell in a little rowboat.

And I have a reading in six hours. Before the reading (six o'clock p.m. at the Brown University Book Store; at least I get to wear a mask), I need to wash my hair, let it dry (NO BLOW DRIERS), make edits for the two stories for Sirenia Digest #59, layout the issue (including cover), and...stuff. Lots of stuff. How this is going to happen, I don't know.

Yesterday, what? Oh, yeah. Yesterday, I wrote the prolegomenon for #59, which went a bit long. And I read over and made line edits to "And the Cloud That Took the Form" and "At the Reef."

I consume virtually no caffeine.

I think my body has spent a decade forgetting how to sleep.

My thanks to the reader who sent me Richard Kaczynski's Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley, so now I can be reading about six books all at once.

Really excellent rp in City of Heroes and Villains last night, and I wanted to say thank you to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, Mel, Enth'lye, and Blair. Yes, it would seem that ecsedi Báthory Erzsébet and La Bête du Gévaudan are one and the same, who now exists as an insane super villain with freezy powers, after being enslaved by Vlad Tepes who wanted to use her undead womb as a vessel to allow Nyarlathotep to be born into the world! Yeah, I know. Wacky. I'm waiting for the zombie unicorns to appear.

Here are four photos of Study #2 for Yellow. The painting will go up on eBay later this afternoon. The platypus is giving me the finger, so...later...

Study #2 for Yellow )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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