greygirlbeast: (walter3)
1. Dreams give us another reality, realities that are, more often than not, terrible or horrific or surreal. But, always, those dream realities are brilliant. The are radiant, even if they radiate darkness and seethe with violence and fear. Then we awake, and we're back here again. Here, where the world is banal, and all is shit, and there is nothing. (A thought more perfectly realized in the instant of its conception, but, like a dream, it began fading as I tried to write it down.)

2. I have been sitting here contemplating measuring the speed of time as a physical constant. If not in this worldline, then in some other. Light's easy, that c we take for granted, a simple 299,792,458 m/second, but what if time moves? How does one state the speed of time without resorting to circular reasoning?

3. Yesterday, I did only one new page on Alabaster, Page Fifteen, because I realized that I'd set the plot on the wrong pivot (so to speak – pivot, fulcrum, whatever), and the first half #3 was the last chance I'd have to set it straight in the first series, and if I didn't set it right then the wrongness would echo down through many issues to come. Writing comics, plot is one of those things that are first and foremost. When I'm writing prose, I almost always let plot worry about itself. Usually, it accretes naturally out of characterization and mood and theme, those things I prefer to write. Actually writing plot is, I find, agonizing. Like picking buckshot out of your own flesh, then putting it back in another way round, but finding that configuration just as "wrong," and starting over and over and over. Life has characters and moods and maybe even themes run through it, but it has no plot. Which is why a plan is only a list of things that never happen. Like my proposals and synopses for unwritten stories. Anyway, I'll still hit my deadline on #3.

4. Apologies for not posting the "Question @ Hand" last night. Tonight, for sure. I'm dithering.

5. Played more of SW:toR last night (though only about a third as on Saturday), and, as promised, I was going to attempt to explain my thoughts on how it might be that video games make lousy movies, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back (1980). But, [livejournal.com profile] slothman has saved me the trouble:

When you get 3000 years away from the main setting, you can ignore 95% of the issues of continuity with the stories from the films and the vast majority of Expanded Universe fiction. That frees up the creators to tell entirely new stories, using the familiar ingredients of lightsabers and the Force and a hundred sentient species. In my opinion, the best Star Wars work takes place at least 1000 years before the films (the Knights of the Old Republic games and comics), and the second best over 100 years after (the Star Wars: Legacy comics).

Which is essentially what I was going to say.

I'm going to play again tonight, then summarize my thoughts on the beta tommorow. But I am still loving it mightily, but also allowing myself to see the blemishes. The one that bothers me the most (she jumps the gun!) is that SW:toR takes us three-thousand years into the past, roughly three-thousand years before A New Hope, and...all the technology is essentially the same. The starships, the shuttles, the weaponry, the speeder bikes, the droids, and so on. Now, this would be akin to watching technology on earth having failed to evolve significantly since, say, the Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt (roughly 1060-664 BC), or...well..pick another culture – China, Persia, the Mesoamericans, etc. – they all work in this analogy. Maybe, if I were a bigger Star Wars geek I'd know some bit of lore to explain the reason for this technological stagnation spanning millennia. As it is, I find the phenomenon baffling. Were the creators too lazy to fashion a genuine history for this galaxy long, long ago and far, far away? Do they fear fan backlash? It can't be that. Not after LucasArts unleashed Jar Jar fucking Binks on an unsuspecting world. Sure, later we get death stars and light sabers fall out of favour and whatnot, but nothing really changes in the course of three-thousand years.

6. I just got the news that Ken Russell has died. Truthfully, I hated almost all of his films, with the only notable exception of Whore (1991). But still...damn. As Russell said, "“Reality is a dirty word for me, I know it isn’t for most people, but I am not interested. There’s too much of it about.”

7. Part of last night was spent catching up on "television" (id est, streaming via Hulu). Very good episodes of both Fringe and American Horror Story. And I read chapters Five and Six of Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex before sleep, which didn't come until about four ayem. I was in bed at two, but my mind (despite a literal handful of pills) had other plans.

Here For Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (ragna)
I am presently so very not awake, but I wanted to get past the journal entry early today. I have already let so much of December slip past me when there was not a single day to be spared, I can't lose any more days. I can begin losing days again in April or May.

No writing yesterday, but that should be fairly obvious from the paragraph above. I started to have a go at the prologue for Joey Lafaye, but then I got to talking about the book with Spooky, which led me down all sorts undesirable side roads until I was no longer in the mood to write anything. So, I dithered about. Cleaned my office a bit, and cleaned the kitchen a bit. Filed a few things in my big black filing cabinet. But mostly, I dithered. I traded the buggy, unreliable ptp programme Frost Wire for the extremely functional Poisoned, which, after a day of downloads I'd recommend to any Mac user running OS X or higher. I straightened up my desktop (the iMac's desktop). I finally sat down and put my meager sewing skills to work making two little (7.75") beanie platypi. I've been meaning to do this for ages. See below.

The weather was unseasonably warm, still 71F at 5:30 p.m., and I had my first good walk in weeks. I have to try to get back into something like decent shape, and not walking because I'm too depressed to walk only makes me more depressed and less likely to walk. So, we walked all the way to Washita Avenue NE, south of the Carter Center and Freedom Park, before turning for home. There were irises blooming along Sinclair. On the way back, we stopped at Criminal Records, and I picked up copies of Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards (Jim Ottaviani and Big Time Attic) and the first volume of Fantagraphic's E. C. Segar's Popeye collection, I Yam What I Yam. More on both later.

After dinner, we watched Len Wiseman's Live Free or Die Hard, which despite the title, was exactly what I needed last night: a good Die Hard film. A big, dumb action film with just the right ratio of explosions and car crashes to snarling one-liners. It was good to see Timothy Oliphant outside Deadwood (no, I haven't seen Hitman, and won't until the DVD release). Justin Long — the "Mac guy" — was a blast, and Maggie Q was, well, kick-ass hot. Later still, there was some Second Life, because sometimes nothing makes you fell better than roleplaying a cyborg angel in a post-apocalyptic world.

---

This comment/question from [livejournal.com profile] seph_ski:

As someone who holds your books, Silk especially, in a very dear place in my heart, to hear that there are changes made in the latest mmps makes me wince a little in fear of that "Han shot first" kind of situation. Part of me really wants to pick up the latest and give it a read because I'm quite certain that if you think it's better, it's better. But the sentimental part of me says if I want to reread the story, I should just pick up the well worn and loved copy from my shelf and indulge in the very same copy of the book that completely enchanted me years ago. I read quite a bit, but there' only a short list of books I love enough to come back to (my to-read list is too long to allow for many rereads), and even fewer authors I'm fond enough of to keep up with, so your journaling is the first I'm hearing of changes made between earlier editions and mmps. Is it standard practice for authors to make changes between editions? (I'm a little nervous to hear this answer because it could mean a mass add to my already avalanching read pile.)

I know I'm going to wind up reading your mmps regardless, but I admit I'm still feeling a little conflicted, like reading an edited version would be cheating on an old favorite, ...as ridiculous as that may sound.


I think the revision that always drove me most nuts was the release of Stephen King's uncut version of The Stand. The previously unpublished material was great, but he also, inexplicably, tried to update the text from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. Hell, he even changed the brand of candy bar that Harold Lauder eats! Anyway, these are not the sorts of revisions I've made. The changes have been made mainly to the book's language, it's voice, not the plot or details or characters. Spyder is still Spyder. Daria is still Daria. Deacon is still Deacon. Some people may not like the changes to the prose, but they were something I felt I had to do, as the old text no longer worked for me. All the changes were entirely voluntary, by the way, and for that matter I was not paid by the publisher for all that editing (and it was a lot of editing). Also, near as I know, it is fairly unusual for writers to make these sorts of revisions to books that have already been published. Oh, and once again, here are the correct links and ISBNs for the new mass-market editions:

Silk (ISBN 978-0-451-45668-7)

Threshold (978-0-451-46124-7)

Low Red Moon (978-0-451-46164-3)

---

To help cover my recent and soon-to-come medical bills, we will be beginning a new batch of eBay auctions today or tomorrow. Among other things, we'll be offering copies of the lettered edition of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, with the aforementioned handmade-by-me platypus beanie. Each platypus beanie (actually, they're stuffed with rice, not beans) will be initialed and lettered to match the copy of the book it is sold with. You will recall that the lettered edition of this book was not offered for sale by Subterranean Press (or anyone else). I have been sitting on the 16 copies Bill gave me (K-Z, if I recall correctly — I kept K for myself). We will auction letter X first. I'm not sure how many of these we will be auctioning just now, as I can't say how many platypi I'm going to feel like sewing. We shall see. Details and link TBA.

Oh, and I got another request for my Amazon wishlist, which you may find here. And you can find Spooky's here. Solstice gifts will not go unappreciated.

Okay. I need breakfast and coffee. Then the words must flow.
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
By now, everyone should have Sirenia Digest #24. But, if by some miscalculation or unfathomable whim of the world wide web (and really, that ought to be world-wide web), you haven't yet recieved it, simply email Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com. She'll make it right. I think that "The Wolf Who Cried Girl" is possibly one the the most personal stories I've written in some time, certainly since "Salammbô Redux" (though, as Spooky pointed out to me, they are personal for rather different reasons).

Yesterday, well, I worked on Tails of Tales of Pain and Wonder, the FREE chapbook to accompany the new edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. I will spend today and tomorrow finishing with the editing on the chapbook, then it's back to Joey Lafaye. Oh, yesterday's post brought me a DVD from Emma Davie at BBC Scotland, the episode of The Culture Show with my interview.

A good and timely question yesterday, from Nowell by way of MySpace:

You've discussed making changes to your previously published work quite a bit in the past month(s). How much are you changing details versus simply making editorial corrections to grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc? I am particularly interested in the changes to Silk for the third (?) edition? While novels like Low Red Moon and Daughter of Hounds are great, as well, Silk seems interesting to teach because it deals so directly with the young, the disenfranchised, and the working poor. Threshold does this, too, to some extent, but some of this focus seems to have faded from the latter novels as characters are more aligned with graduate school, the supernatural, or professional jobs. This isn't meant as criticism, just something that seems to have happened (maybe you won't agree that this has happened?).

I agree, there has been a shift in my novels, away from the sorts of characters who were the focus of books like Silk and Tales of Pain and Wonder. I wrote Silk in my late twenties and early thirties, and a lot of it was me writing about personal experiences and people I'd known in my teens and twenties. And there was only so much I had to say about those things, and I think I pretty much wrote it all out a long time ago (a lot of it also went into The Dreaming). As for the recent editing, it has varied from book to book. A lot of it has been for grammar and continuity errors and suchlike, but there has also been quite a bit of stylistic editing. Re-reading Silk, I could no longer "hear" the voice it was written in, and what once seemed poetic to me had become too often jangling. So, I toned down the impressionism, you might say, and made the sentence structure somewhat more standard. I'm still not sure if this was the "right" thing to do, but it's what I've chosen to do. Of all the books, Silk has been most heavily "revised," with Threshold in second place. By comparison, Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels were edited hardly at all for the new (or, in the case of MoA, forthcoming) mass-market paperback editions. This is, I suspect simply because I've become a better writer over the last decade, the period spanned by these novels, so the more recent the book, the happier I was with it. I hope that makes some sort of sense, as I have not yet had coffee or alcohol. Also, nowhere have I made any significant changes to character or plot.

Last night, Byron joined us at our favourite Thai restaurant, and then the three of us came back here and watched Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava's Ratatouille. It's really a wonderful film and has been added to my "best of 2007" list. I'm quite certain it's the overall best film that Pixar has released thus far, and was sorry we didn't see it in a theatre. I was especially pleased with the following bit of dialogue from food critic Anton Ego (voiced with perfection by Peter O'Toole):

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new.

This is, I think, an utterly brilliant bit of commentary on criticism, whether one is talking about cooking, books, film, or what have you. Anyway, yes, a wonderful film.

Today is the beginning of the 2007 Jethro Tull season. I began it late this year, so that I might reap the full benefits during the bleak December that lies ahead of me. And bleak it shall be, I have no doubt.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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