greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
This morning, Spooky made a fantastic ham omelette (LJ can only spell the word as omelet, which figures), which I ate with pepperoncini (which LJ can't spell at all) and buttered toast, using the leftovers from Friday morning. As I ate, the thought occurred to me, reflecting on all the asshole shoppers and drivers that seem to have slithered out of the cracks the last week or five, I thought, and asked aloud, "If they're this bad at Xmas, what must they be like the rest of the year?" Or maybe it's just that Xmas makes people extra thoughtless, selfish, and whatnot. Maybe it's Consumer Jesus rebound. Regardless, Spooky makes a damned good omelette.

Yesterday? Very, very little with which to regale you lot, kittens. I didn't drink. How's that? I read stories by Sarah Monette and Paul McAuley. The only thing I really wanted to do was board the train last night and ride as far north as Boston or as far south as Manhattan. Just to see the lights, and the long stretches of mostly darkness, and to feel the wheels beneath me. That's what we didn't do, as it was impractical. I'll never understand all this time spent dodging the impractical. If life is an inflated inner tube, then practicality and caution are twin nails waiting to puncture the rubber and release all the air. Practicality and caution are twin nails, and they conspire to thwart the wild heart.

Instead, we nested. We hid. We watched Badder Santa, ate junk food, had Mexican Coke, and played a lot of SW:toR (and no, we haven't forsaken Rift, but I am mostly steering clear until the "Fae Yule" shit has passed). My Sith has yellow eyes now, which I suppose is meant to signify her descent into the Dark Side. Her eyes were the palest blue, almost white. She's a terribly vain woman, who once was a slave in the mines of Korriban. Unmentionable things were done to her there, and those crimes against her mind and body left her shattered, and seeing her eyes turn yellow only drove Varla that much farther into the shadows. But, on the other hand, Darth Zash gave her a shiny new Fury-Class starship...so, all's well that ends well.

Also, yesterday – here on Earth – I listened to lots of old music, mostly Athens-period stuff. I stewed and hated at Xmas, like the Grinch atop Mount Crumpit. But the rage has subsided to indifference today. An odd indifference. Today, I am not so much bitter as I am baffled at the shallowness of it all. This day doesn't even feel like that wicked holiday. It just feels like any other cold Sunday in Providence, which is a consolation, so maybe that's my Fury-Class starship.

Wishing For Summer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, there was more than a bit of drama on Facebook. Because I reposted an article unconditionally supporting a second term for President Obama, and pointing out what a bunch of loons the GOP has become. I'm honestly not sure when I started my FB page, but it was years ago. I must still have been in Atlanta. In all that time, I've found the need to ban only seven people. Yesterday, I banned two of those: a Mr. Tim Lieder and a Mr. Alexander Loeb. Weasels, the both of them, and one went so far as to imply that my wishing people not to comment on certain items I'd posted to my FB page was comparable to an accused child molester defending himself. No, I'm not making that up. Anyway, as of last night, my FB page is "friends only," which means it cannot be seen by the public. You can find my name and stuff, and request that I "friend you" (I fucking shudder at that phrase). Likely, I will. But Spooky has become adamant that I start screening people on FB.

---

It was a quiet day yesterday. I went back to work on the painting that was once called Black Ships Ate the Sky, back in 2010, but is now called Idumea (Charles Wesley, 1793). There will be a second canvas titled Black Ships Ate the Sky. If I ever finish this one. I paint like I write poetry, which is to say very, very, very slowly, as I dither. I fret. I may post an "in progress" photo of Idumea tomorrow.

In general, the vacation is agreeing with me. Not as much sleep last night, but I feel okay.

Oh! And this is so cool. I realized, a few days back, that if one takes bow tie and runs it together as bowtie, then capitalizes the "B," creating Bowtie, and then removes the "t," what remains is Bowie. How bow tie is that?! Also bow tie, just before we went to sleep, Spooky and I discovered how cool Artimesia looks when spelled backwards: aisemitrA. How much it recalls asymmetry.

---

Have you not yet ordered a copy (or copies) of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and/or Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart? You should. Pre-orders make publishers very happy. And, in the case of the latter book, it may well sell out before publication, especially the limited edition.

---

Last night, Kathryn and I went to the Cable Car for a 9:45 p.m. (8:45 EST) showing of Lars von Trier's Melancholia. Gods, this film is as close to perfection as films ever come. Yes, it's ostensibly a film about a rogue planet's collision with Earth, but it's truly (as von Trier has confirmed) a film about depression. There could be no better example of the difference between truth and fact than Melancholia. This film is beautiful, and magnificent, sublime, triumphant, and terrifying. von Trier's decision to reveal the ending of the film at the beginning (same reason I included the editor's prologue at the beginning of The Red Tree), and to metaphorically recount the narrative (again at the beginning) via a dream sequence, both were strokes of genius. Melancholia is, somehow, quite different from Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, even though they share very much in common. Such as being my picks for the two best films of 2010*. Nothing even comes close to either. I greatly admire von Trier's decision to avoid a realistic depiction of astrophysics. As I have said again and again, characters are the backbone of powerful science fiction (and of all powerful fiction), not science. This is a film of wonder and beauty, as much as it is a film of sorrow and fear, and...I'm going on and on. Just see it.

Vacating,
Aunt Beast

* I suspect Scorsese's Hugo probably deserves to be in my best three of 2011, but a) it was released in 3D, an idiotic move, and b) I've not been able to see it in 2D.
greygirlbeast: (Aeryn and Pilot)
00. I'm not feeling very bow tie this afternoon. Comments would be nice.

01. Yesterday there was email, and Subterranean Press needed some stuff from me for The Yellow Book, which, you may recall, is the FREE hardcover chapbook that accompanies the limited edition (but not the trade) of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Little odds and ends, nothing major. And I was still waiting to hear from an editor, so I proposed to Spooky that we proceed with a long, long delayed office renovation. We spent about an hour moving a shelf and books and stuff, then spent two hours realizing that the table we wanted to put in my office would never fit (this involved Spooky calling her Mom in South County to remeasure Spooky's sister Steph's old table out in the barn). Nope. No dice. So, I have resigned myself to being stuck in an office even smaller than my last (Mansfield Avenue, Atlanta, GA), which was, at best, a third as large as my office before that (Kirkwood Lofts, Atlanta, GA). A few years from now, at this rate, they'll have me writing in a restroom stall. Ah, well. At least then I'll never have an excuse to stand up. Anyway, in the end (no pun intended), yesterday was mostly a sadly and exhausting wasted day. Though, I did leave the house for the first time in five or six days.

02. In list of weird books to give the weird people in your lives for the holidays (that would be Solstice and/or Cephalopodmas), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, over at the Weird Fiction Review website (virtual sister of the Centipede Press print digest of the same name), in their listing Two Worlds and In Between, write:

Standing as one member of the Triad of Infernal Weird – the three who clearly have signed pacts with demons to keep the quality of their story forever elevated – that also includes Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco, Kiernan has emerged since the 1990s as a master of the weird tale.

Clearly, we haven't been keeping those meetings secret enough. Regardless, the VanderMeers strongly recommend the book ("This collection from Subterranean only confirms her brilliance."), along with several other very wonderfully weird titles (kittens, the word horror, when used to denote a literary genre, is so very not bow tie; parentheses are, though – trust me).

03. Today will be spent writing a very whimsical piece for Sirenia Digest #73, "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea." Think Victorian flower language (id est, floriography) and you're halfway there. I intend to enjoy writing this.

04. A point of etiquette (unless you happen to wish to seem a douchebag):

a) When a kerfuffle is made over a company publicly insulting transgender persons, and there is outrage, and said company wisely apologizes (though, note, I don't consider an apology an exoneration), and a somewhat prominent transgender author notes that at least this is evidence that change is coming, even if it's coming very, very slowly, do not

b) post in that authors' Facebook that, while you sympathize, you also find the insult funny, and then

c) when said author explains why it's not fucking funny do not

d) dig in your heels and go on about how some people take themselves too seriously, or

e) you will find yourself banned from that author's Facebook, Matthew Baker. Because admitting that you find a joke at the expense of transgender people funny, but also understanding it hurts them, but you still find it funny, makes you a hateful and transphobic (here's that word again) douchebag. I'll not dwell on the coincidences that you are also male, white, and cisgender. Also, definitely do NOT begin emailing the author afterwards to call them names, because then you'll have graduated from douchebag to troll.

05. Last night, after sandwiches from the Eastside Market deli, we watched Scott Crocker's documentary on the mistaken resurrection of the (almost certainly) extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Ghost Bird, with music by the amazing Zoë Keating. Ghost Bird is an exquisite film, not only because it documents this episode in the history of humanity's thoughtless elimination of other species, but because it serves as a case study of how science works: the theory, the methodology, responsibility, the politics, publishing, personal conflicts, and the perils of wishful thinking. See it; for the moment it can be streamed from Netflix.

After the film, there was Rift (which is to say, my social life), and Indus reached Level 40 (only ten to go). Then I read a rather good story by Ramsay Campbell, "Getting It Wrong," who needs no one to tell him how the Plight of Family X can, and usually does, make for a truly dull story. By the way, one day soon, I'll explain why several books, including Danielewski's House of Leaves, Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door, my own The Red Tree, and a few others, emphatically do not fall into the dreaded subgenre trap of "Family X Move Into the Bad House and Have Their Normative Domestic Bliss Wrecked by an Inconvenient Intrusion from Outside." The answer is surprisingly simple, though extraordinarily complex.

And now, the words.

Simply Complex and Complexly Simple,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:34 p.m.): Word from my editor at Penguin that the final and corrected cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna at The Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to You By Amazon.com

So let me get this straight.


Amazon would like to offer a Netflix-like subscription to unlimited ebooks for its Prime members. Business sites are all over the publishing companies to comply–after all, what’s a little monopoly between friends?


But as an author this stinks to high heaven. You know, that place where Borders is chilling on a cloud and crying into its celestial beer.


See, there’s no mention of author benefit–everyone is talking about the publishers and how they need to get with the times. But how, exactly, would we be compensated for this? Since it’s for their Prime members, who as Netflix has seen, would howl over a price hike, it’s possible this will just be lumped in, wrecking ebook sales and contributing further to the idea that the ideal cost for a book is $0.00. Not to mention the number this does on libraries.


Now, I get that ebooks are happening whether anyone likes it or not. And I get that subscriptions have worked for other media–I use my Netflix like anyone. But there’s a reason Netflix has a quite limited streaming selection, and it’s losing, not gaining, content. This is not because Netflix hates you and wants you to suffer. It’s very hard to get those licenses because it’s not a very good deal for the content creators and distributors. And it costs a lot of money to manufacture the level of quality content people expect. Now, it’s axiomatic that the middleman sucks and should be shot (except The Middleman, who is awesome) but to be quite frank, they serve a purpose, and while I’d like to see their tactics changed, I would not like to see them vanish entirely. They are also human, and in publishing they do the great good work of sifting wheat from chaff, editing and packaging the wheat and making sure the wheat can spell, while getting shit on from every side. (I would also like to see real competition for Netflix, who is a middleman, too, don’t be fooled. They’re just a very hands-off middleman. But until you can write a check to Matt Weiner for Mad Men, you are still using a middleman. However, as I’m going to say a lot, no one company should be the single portal for information of any type.)


So, let’s hear how this is anything but a grab for more rights for less money? Will Amazon be paying lump sums for licenses? Will authors see even one cent of that? Will we be paid per download? If they aren’t charging much more than Prime services already cost, who will be paying us? Anyone? Bueller? What about books already in print? Will we be paid for joining the service or just told our major problem is obscurity and we should be grateful?


But the business rags don’t care about that stuff. They’re too busy bizarrely cheerleading Amazon’s attempt to become an almost total media monopoly. And in a stroke of PR genius, Amazon has indie authors on their side, convinced Amazon is their friend, a champion of the little people, and a stand-up guy, willing to stick it to the mean old publishers. (Who sinned in not publishing literally everyone and deserve to be skewered, I guess?)


Hoggle is Hoggle’s friend. Amazon is no one’s friend. They want to control the ebook market. They’re pissed they don’t control the music and movie market to the extent they’d like to. They are nearly there with books, and having destroyed bookstores, they’re now after libraries and quite possibly just really interested in becoming the only publisher there is. Don’t think no one over there has thought of simply replacing the whole publishing apparatus with Amazon.com. And a lot of people would wave their pom-poms for that.


The fact that a company that tried to punish Macmillan simply for not kowtowing to them immediately is considered worthy of trust is laughable. These guys are thugs. It’s an awfully nice industry you got there. Shame if anything should happen to it.


I don’t actually feel like helping them to my own detriment, and don’t see why I or anyone else should be jumping at what looks like a shitty, shitty deal for content creators, libraries (I do not want libraries to die, you guys. And they let you borrow unlimited books FOR FREE. And pay for their copies. In fact, library sales are a huge part of a book’s life, particularly in the YA and children’s market. Oh and BY THE WAY. Poor people can use libraries. Not just us geekelites who can afford ereaders and subscriptions.) If I see people actually discussing what authors get out of this beyond that age-old gold standard EXPOSURE ZOMG! I’ll listen. For awhile. But here’s the rub.


To some extent this is already a thing. Libraries, yes, but also Baen Webscriptions and other services. Why not let Amazon in on that game?


It’s different because it’s Amazon. This is a company that has shown itself to be unscrupulous in its dealings with publishers time and time again. It’s being friendly to authors now, but it was friendly to publishers and bookstores for awhile too. Amazon is way more than an 800 pound gorilla. They want to be the only way you access books. That is good for no one. No one source should have that much power, or else you end up in a situation where if, say, Amazon doesn’t like queers, they can kill all their books and no one can say anything. They don’t think erotica should get ranked with “normal” books? They don’t. Amazon wants to remotely delete something you paid for? It’s deleted. This has already happened. More power to those people? I don’t think so. No single company should have the influence they want. You think it’s bad that there’s so few publishing companies? At least there are six.


Amazon knows they have the market share and presence to make competition basically a grassroots joke. They do not care. They do not care about you and they do not care about your (or my) indie cred and to be quite frank they could give a shit about books. That’s your dream. They’re happy to sell anything, it doesn’t matter what it is. (Clearly. I just bought a chicken nesting box from them. They just want to be where you shop, and by and large they are succeeding. Awesome?) This is about control of information and money. And I may have to knuckle under when my contracts come due but I do not have to be their cheerleader in the meantime.


I’m not saying they’re evil–well, maybe a little, but no more than any company. They simply want to grow. You know, like any organism. Without heed for the survival of any other organism. They will probably get this because no one, not least our rusty-ass anti-trust laws, stands up to them with any conviction. But to be honest, I am puzzled at people’s desire to be fish flakes for the Sarlaac. I am continually horrified at the rush to love and defend Amazon because of their current stance on self-publishing. Emphasis on the current. Yay! My book is on Amazon and I get 70%! Fuck everyone else! No, literally fuck them. Let us take to our blogs and cheer, just squeal with delight, for every job lost in a library or publishing company, large or small, every janitor at Random House and editor at Harper Collins, every librarian who gets kids to read, because Amazon loves us with its big fuzzy heart and will always, always treat us with dignity and fairness. Just show me where to sign that exclusive contract. And if I need an agent, why, Amazon can be my agent! They’re sure to give themselves a good deal. (Again, already happened.)


And the publishers had better just sign where they’re told to. After all, those dinosaurs had better get with the times. And the times, it seems, are called by Amazon. It’s the Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to you by Amazon.com, as our late great David Foster Wallace would say. Enjoy it.


And as far as self-publishing, which can be and is laudable and valuable, well, give it time. It’s early yet on that beachhead, kids. If the last 15 years of the internet taught you anything, it should be that nothing open and good lasts forever, and corporations trend ugly over time. (I’m looking at you, Google.)  It has not been enough to consume bookstores, libraries, publishing companies, and any author not selling direct to Amazon are next. Amazon was a friend to all of these once. Trust me, you don’t want to live in the world Amazon wants to build.


Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I'll make no apologies for the tone of yesterday's post. There are no regrets. I will only offer an opaque excuse, that I have been made a party to what is, in my estimation, a sickening tragedy. One that could have easily been prevented. One I tried to prevent. And now I will carry the fact of it in my head for years.

And so, yeah, the fury's going nowhere soon. So, do not attempt to console me. It's amazing how many people on the internet are unable to comprehend that trying to calm a rabid animal only gets them bitten. Oh, and then they whine about how unfair it is they've been bitten. Poor fucking idiots.

---

Today there is work, which part of me needs badly. Never mind my having finished a novel day before yesterday. It's not that I love the work; it's that the work keeps me sane by filling a void. So, yes, work, important work, then my psychiatrist before dinner. There's a prescription.

And speaking of work, I have begun to realize there's presently confusion over the two books I've written this year, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Blood Oranges. The first – The Drowning Girl: A Memoir – took me about a year and a half to write, and is, by far, my best novel to date. The second – Blood Oranges - took me forty-five days to write, and if you think of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as, oh, let's say a gourmet meal, then Blood Oranges is the tasty, but fluffy and insubstantial, desert that comes afterwards.

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will be out from Penguin in March 2012.

Blood Oranges hasn't yet sold.

And while I'm at it:

Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be out, I think, in September (or maybe October) from Subterranean Press. If you've not ordered, you need to do so.

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be released by Subterranean Press sometime in 2012.

And there's a lot more, and it's awesome, but if I told you, I really would have to kill you. No joke.

---

Yesterday, I read two stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Used to be, I never read the anthologies my stories appeared in. Don't know why. I just never wanted to do it. But, the last year or so I've been reading some of the books with my stories. Anyway, yesterday I read two of the twenty-seven (I think it's twenty-seven) stories in The Book of Cthulhu. The first, John Langan's "The Shallows" is actually quite brilliant. It's unexpected, and fresh, and comes at you sideways. It's not what you think it is. These are all good things. The other was Thomas Ligotti's "Nethescurial," a very Ligottian take on the Lovecraftian found manuscript and the Lovecraftian malign artifact. And of course it was brilliant. It was Thomas fucking Ligotti.

But I fear there's a lot of this book I'm not going to like, stories I'll skip over. Because the author has chosen to use parody in her or his approach HPL, and that's just not my thing.

---

Yesterday, after a lot of work and email, the "day off" began about three p.m. We drove south and west almost to the Connecticut state line, to Westerly and on down to Watch Hill. To the lighthouse at Watch Hill. We took the narrow, winding road out to the lighthouse, and sat on the sea wall. To the west, the protected waters of Little Narragansett Bay were still and quiet. A flock of cormorants sunned themselves on rotting pilings. On the east side of the point, though, the waves were still wild. Now and then, the sun through the spray off the tops of the waves created the briefest of rainbows behind them. We watched surfers a while, then drove east to Moonstone Beach.

As I've said, Moonstone has many moods. And I saw another new one yesterday. I'd expected piles of pebbles and all manner of unusual strandings and flotsam. My expectation is irrelevant. The beach looked stripped raw. I can think of no other way to describe it. There's been a tremendous amount of erosion during the storm. The tide was coming in, and there were odd sandbars and eddies, and the crashing waves – some easily six to eight feet high – were coming in from the west, the east, the southeast, the southwest, in no discernible (gods, the English language is retarded) pattern. The air reeked overwhelmingly of dead fish, though not a dead fish was in evidence. The usual cobbles were almost entirely absent. The waters in the breaker zone were an ugly greenish black, loaded with sediment and all manner of...well...dead things. Mostly plant matter. Only the Piping Plovers seemed to be happy with the state of things, dashing about madly at the water's edge. I could see that the waves had overtopped the dunes and the sea had reached both Trustom and Card ponds. It was the sight of a place you trust as being the incarnation of calm, seen after terrible violence has occurred. But the error is mine. Panthalassa has no interest in my moods, impressions, or needs, and if I thought otherwise, I'd be a fool. Moonstone will heal, in time.

Between the ponds, there were birdwatchers, and we had our monoculars with us. We spotted a Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) and three Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus), both new to us.

We drove on to Narragansett, but there was no power. So we couldn't get dinner at Iggy's or at George's (which is actually in Galilee). We did manage to piss at a Cumberland Farms. Their power was out, but they let us use a Bic lighter. It's amazing how dark a women's room can be. At sunset, we drove past Scarborough Beach, and Narragansett Beach. The surf was heavy at the latter, but not as heavy as I'd expected. There were dozens of surfers in the water, most seeming a bit disappointed. All in all, we saw far less damage than I'd expected. And then we came home.

And that was yesterday. Oh, except for three wasted hours in Second Life. If you tell me you like it dark, and then bale when it gets rough, and without so much as a "good night," you're a simpering weasel, and it's really as simple as that.

Wrathfully,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
My head is all fire and fucking molten nails this morning. I am the Good Ship Righteous Fucking Indignation. My threshold for douchebags will stand at zero for the foreseeable future. We're talking hellfire-and-brimstone Old Testament shit. Today, I am the nastiest pirate ship that ever plowed the Seven, and we're out for blood, and there will be rape and pillaging and cities will burn, just because.

Oh, I'm fine. And how are you?

I have the first line of a poem: Murder is underrated. Likely, that's all I'll ever write of it, but it's a good opening line.

I think I might have frightened my agent, finishing Blood Oranges so quickly. For my part, no, there will be no celebration. The speed was the result of desperation and necessity, and it was not an artful speed, and I would advise no one to follow in those footsteps. Most people who write multiple novels in a year...well, they write crap that looks like they write multiple novels in a year. They churn out. They produce. The paranormal romance, spawned by an unholy fusion of the death of "genre horror" and a dip in the romance market. But, I suppose, given that Blood Oranges is me giving ParaRom the "fuck you" finger, I suppose it's sickly appropriate I wrote the book as quickly as I did. "Oh, this is how you do it? With your hands tied behind your back, typing with your toes?"

There is no romance in Blood Oranges – which is funny, because my novels usually have romantic relationships, though they're adult ones. Not the schmaltzy, kiddy shit people like Patrica Briggs sell. Regardless, in Blood Oranges there are glimmers of kindness, but it always ends badly, and it ends badly with a sledgehammer. I think it's sort of like an episode of Angel directed by Quentin Tarantino, after he's been on an all night Jägermeister binge with Lars von Trier and David Lynch. Okay, no. It's not that good, but maybe you get the picture. There's Ian McShane in a very important role, and the soundtrack is a collaboration between Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Einstürzende Neubauten. There's very little gore. It's sort of silly, and sometimes it's funny, if you can laugh at car wrecks.

But, no. No romance. But there is a vicious, merciless sort of concern.

I don't know. I'm just saying shit.

Oh, hey. And if you're a goddamn 'shipper, just fucking butch up and admit it, okay?

Me, I'm going to wander away and revel in the beautiful devastation Madame Irene has wrought upon the race of men.

Not Your Solace,
Aunt Beast

I once knew a girl
In the years of my youth,
With eyes like the summer,
All beauty and truth.
In the morning I fled,
Left a note and it read,
"Someday you will be loved."

I cannot pretend that I felt any regret,
Cause each broken heart will eventually mend,
As the blood runs red down the needle and thread.
"Someday you will be loved."

You'll be loved, you'll be loved,
Like you never have known.
The memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams.
Just a series of blurs,
Like I never occurred.
"Someday you will be loved."

You may feel alone when you're falling asleep,
And everytime tears roll down your cheeks.
But I know your heart belongs to someone you've yet to meet.
"And Someday you will be loved"
–– Death Cab For Cutie

(I love this song.)
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Um...what? Already? Oh, fuck. Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afterwards, we had an early dinner at Tortilla Flats.

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

21 August 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] fornikate writes, "I have found [Ayn] Rand is a great way to weed out people that suck." Indeed. Rarely can one find a useful, simple and reliable douchebag litmus test. But an appreciation of Ayn Rand does spring immediately to mind.

---

Today is another muteday, if only to atone for yesterday's failure. Yesterday, I became very frustrated over work, and had to start speaking. I might have exploded, otherwise.

---

Wonderfully rainy last night, with violent winds. I think the last scabby snow in our neighborhood is gone, gone, gone. Washed away. Okay, well, most of it.

Yesterday, was a day of panic recovery, a day of figuring out how to build a Tardis. I have nine days, but I need twenty. That sort of thing. Spooky read me all there is so far of the tenth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and then she read me the last section of the ninth chapter. Then I wrote a new closing scene for the ninth chapter, which came to 1,078 words. All that is left to do on the novel is to finish the tenth chapter (hopefully today), write the epilogue (hopefully tomorrow), read through the whole manuscript (much of it I've not read, or heard read, except in the writing of it), make about a zillion line edits, secure permission to quote three songs, and send it away to my agent and editor in NYC. Which is to say, the novel is very nearly done.

Two Worlds and In Between has become the much greater worry. We're still proofreading. Yesterday, while I wrote, Spooky proofed "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles." Today while I write she'll proof "The Dead and the Moonstruck." That leaves "only" The Dry Salvages (a novella of over 30k words), "Stokers Mistress," "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," and "Houses Under the Sea." Spooky will do the latter for me tomorrow. Once all this proofreading is done, we have another zillion line edits to make before the ms. is ready to send to subpress.

---

A bunch of eBay books and other things I owe people are going out today. [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme, I need your address (if you've already sent it to me, I lost it, sorry).

---

Let me remind you of the Tale of the Ravens Kickstarter project. The good news is, we have 18 days to go, and the project is 164% funded (!!!). However, the farther over our projected budget we go, the better the finished product will be, and the better chance there will be of Goat Girl Press producing wonderful things after The Tale of the Ravens. There are still two of the four $500 pledge slots remaining, and we'd love to see those filled in the next eighteen days. Though, of course, any donation at all is welcome. Thank you.

---

Last night, being not at all in the mood for gaming, we watched two movies. The first, Ulu Grosbard's True Confessions (1981) is a pretty good, though somewhat odd, story built around the Black Dahlia murder. However, the film's set in 1947, and not 1948, and Elizabeth Short is referred to as Lois Fazenda. The movie, staring Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall, is based on John Gregory Dunne's 1977 novel of the same name, and I assume the changes were taken from the book. So, yes. Pretty good film. But our second feature was Malcolm Venville's 44 Inch Chest, which is utterly fucking brilliant (especially considering it was Venville's directorial debut). Imagine Twelve Angry Men crossed with Guy Ritchie's Snatch, and you're sort of in the neighborhood of this film. Sort of. The entire cast delivers amazing performances, but John Hurt and Ian McShane pretty much steal the show. Presently streamable from Netflix, and a definite must-see. Though, if the word "cunt" causes you too much discomfort, you might want to sit this one out. But it is, after all, a British gangster film. That, by the way— "cunt" —was the only word I was forbidden to use while writing for DC/Vertigo, which I'll never cease to find utterly fucking befuddling.

Later we read more of Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, which, I am happy to say, has completely recovered from those hurtfully dull first three chapters. Also, in my YA novels I will do all I can to avoid the recap infodumps. They piss me off to hell and back.

---

And now, kittens, it's time to make the doughnuts. Comments! Especially about Sirenia Digest #63, please.

Yours in Joyful Sin,
Aunt Beast (the Haggard and Weary)
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
I got almost seven hours sleep last night, probably the best sleep I've had in three weeks. And it's a good thing, because I was becoming seriously useless. Oh, and there was a half hour nap yesterday afternoon, also unusual. So, this morning, I almost don't feel like ass. And sure, I had to use Sonata last night, but I'm reaching the point where sleep is sleep.

I managed to get a little work done yesterday. Mostly reading back over "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," and discovering, to my great relief, that it all holds together and the constituent parts work as a whole. I have to go over it again today, and then make a lot of line edits. I mean this story to be as close to perfect as I can make it. Okay, well...I always do that. But I'm happier with this story than I have been with anything in quite some time. So, no warts if I can help it. Anyway, today will be a day of pulling the digest together. It should be ready to go out tomorrow, and as soon as I get Vince's illustration for "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" we can put it to bed.

I have something this week with Dark Horse. Details as soon as I am able, I promise. I'm very excited about it, but it's also something else that's popped up to interfere with me getting back to work on The Drowning Girl.

I got some work done yesterday on the Dancy box. I think it's actually finished. It no longer looks merely like a carefully orchestrated collection of interesting things invested with obvious meaning. It now has authenticity. It now has clutter. Partly, it was a matter of including enough of the right sorts of items, things that can have no possible significance except to Dancy, and so can only be puzzled over at length. Why did she keep that crayon? Why those marbles?

---

Last night, we watched the Capturing Pandora documentary that comes with the three-disc extended collector's edition of Avatar (thank you, Steven). Lots of fascinating stuff, especially the costuming and linguist Paul Frommer's work creating the Na'vi language. But I think what struck me most of all were comments from Cameron and others about the negative remarks that started popping up online after the first 15 minute preview and the trailers, the idiotic "smurf" and "thundercats" comments on blogs and what have you. Even after the film's release and its enormous critical and financial success, it's clear these comments still sting the creators. So, I'll try not to feel so bad about feeling bad about those stupid Amazon "reviews."

Oh, and speaking of Amazon "reviews," a dirty secret is finally becoming public: "Women writers at war over fake book reviews on Amazon". This is the sort of thing people won't believe, that publishers can be this petty, that this shit is common practice, that the Amazon review system is so completely faulty, corrupt, and potentially damaging. It's very good to see articles like this appearing. Well, except for the condescending "women writers" part of the headline.

Before bed last night, a little WoW, leveling our orcs, and then Spooky read me a story from Joan Aiken's The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (Big Mouth Books).

And now, the platypus says the time has come.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Too much to say in this entry, or not much of anything at all. The net result is the same.

Yesterday, we read all the way through "A Key to the Castleblakeney Key," my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. It's an odd piece, but I am especially fond of it. It was a relief to read the whole thing, and discover that it works.

I did some line editing on it, afterwards, and sent it away to the book's editors.

It was more work than it sounds like.

Stories for Sirenia Digest #58 is next on the list. I have to manage to get this issue of the digest out without Photoshop. The cover will, by necessity, have a new look, which is unfortunate, as I was just getting happy with the look of the covers.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. The late check got lost on its way from Manhattan to Providence, and taxes have to be paid, and Oregon's coming up fast.

Also, I have to say, I'm less than pleased with anyone who buys a book from us on eBay, then turns around a month or so later and tries to sell it on Amazon at twice what they paid us for it. I will not name names, this time. Next time, I will.

Maybe I'll be coherent tomorrow.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Merce Cunningham, the choreographer, has died at age 90.

Somewhat balmy day here in Providence. I should have already put my hair up, but I haven't. After this entry, if I can last that long. The sky is a dappled mix of clouds and blue.

Yesterday, I began a piece I'm calling "January 28, 1926," and wrote a very respectable 1,346 words. So, quite a good writing day. Sirenia Digest #44 is quickly coming together. Late last night, Vince sent me a sketch, his plan for the illustration for "Vicaria Draconis," and it's looking great. So, yes, two new vignettes this month, plus a new guest poet who shares my love of cephalopods.

A new page has appeared on the website, under evidence. It showed up on Saturday night, actually, but I decided to wait and see if anyone else noticed it before I said anything. This seemed more prudent. But, to my knowledge, no one has noticed it. Under evidence, read back over Plate XV, then note the links at the bottom of the page. Not the one on the left, nor the one on the right, but the one in the center. And no, that's not the book trailer. And if all these answers are beginning to vex you, be patient. The questions are coming.

Last night I made the mistake of perusing what's called "paranormal romance" on Amazon.com. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you've already heard my reaction. I seem to live in some sort of self-imposed state of literary asylum. I had no idea there was so much of this crap, or that it sold so well, or that it was so awful. I go to some of the bestsellers, which are, by the way, bestsellers, and cannot read a single sentence aloud without laughing, a reaction I'm fairly certain the authors were not trying to elicit. I'm not talking badly written; I'm not sure this stuff is written, at all. And no, I won't name names. That's poor form. But looking at all this junk, I felt so utterly, oddly defeated. Just seeing how people are lapping up this pablum, I never wanted to write another word (and yet, here I am, babbling away). Several things occurred to me, scanning the pages of Book 15 in a series by some woman who brags about writing three novels a year (on average). One of the thoughts is something that I've been saying for many years, that vampires are no longer monsters, no longer an incarnation of the Other. They have, instead, become primarily a socially acceptable expression of humanity's collective, if latent, necrophilia. Much the same way that zombies are in danger of becoming clowns, vampires are the daemon lover no one really wants to admit is a demon.

And a second thought, I'd be willing to bet you green folding money that a high percentage of the women (and men) who get off on "paranormal romance," who find all this werewolf/vamp/angel/mermaid/fairie/dragon/fluffy-bunny "otherkin" soft core so very titillating are also staunchly anti-GLBT. For example, we could start with a certain Mormon...oh, wait. I said I wouldn't name names. But, you know where I'm headed with this. I'll fuck a dead man (or woman) who drinks blood, this undead serial killer, and I really get off on stories about crime-fighting werewolves doing the nasty with dragons who are actually fairies pretending to be twentysomething human women with anorexia. But, ewwwwwww, men with men? Women with women? Transsexuals? The Bible says that's wrong.

Anyway, damned depressing stuff. [livejournal.com profile] grandmofhelsing observed that "paranormal romance" is "erotic horror" that is neither erotic nor horrific, which seems about right. And I suppose this is one reason that Sirenia Digest doesn't have a million subscribers. I know I'm shooting myself in the foot, sure, but I feel it's my sworn duty to write books and stories and vignettes that would never in a million years appeal to the consumers of "paranormal romance" (I shall not again call them "readers"). There is awe and wonder, terrible beauty and mystery, in the dark places, but you'll never see any of it if you're afraid to turn off the lights.

Only nine days (counting today), until the release of The Red Tree. Have you had another look at Plate 15 yet?

Oh, and the Very Special Auction continues.

And now I must go remember unpleasantries that may have occurred early in 1926, and late in 1919, and write it all down.
greygirlbeast: (river2)
This morning, or afternoon, as it does appear to now be afternoon, I am not entirely sure how or why I wound up getting somewhat drunk on black and tans at The Vortex late last night when I'd only meant to have a cup of Starbuck's swill...er, I mean coffee. Blame Ms. Lee. Especially since she seems to hold her liquor better than I do. We were talking about chakras and insanity, ethneogens, drag queens and Dragon*Con, sex and magick, and all of a sudden I was too drunk to walk home. She had to call Jim and Spooky to come and get us. In all fairness, though, yesterday must stand forever as one of the most perplexing, trying, and utterly inane excuses for a day that I've yet to have to live through. And now my head hurts, and I recall doing some sort of Nebari battle cry on the front porch at ohmygodthirty in the a.m. and it's a wonder no one called the cops, so that must be why my throat hurts. Now I'm trying to write out the tangle in my head, so that, hopefully, I can write some actual prose later today, because I sure as hell didn't get jack shit written yesterday (thank you very much, She Whose Name Will Never Be Spoken Here Again, amen, amen).

Proceed to the end of the beginning of the New Age of Me. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.

I'm sober now, and I have this need to sort through a number of "truths," so that later on, when the next dark day comes (as it surely will), I can look at this and try a little harder not to lose my shit. For instance, on the one hand, I seem to be a very good judge of people, but on the other, I have an astounding talent for befriending and trusting wolves in sheeps' clothing, finks, liars, weasels, stealth psychopaths, and pond scum. You know who you are, and you know who you aren't. Or maybe you don't, but it's not my problem anymore.

Sometimes, as Thomas Covenant reminded us, infections have to be cut out. Or, as Oatsie Mangehand would say, "It's only the next thing, it's not the last thing. Let's get through this, fellow."

For example. Somehow, no matter how many times you find yourself frelled up the ass by carelessly accumulated falsehoods masquerading as longtime friendships, cynicism and isolationism are still cop outs.

I could go on and on and on and the maudlin display might never end. But my head is killing me. And I really do have to write today; Spooky has to deal with eBay, tend to the grouchy, diabetic cat, feed the hamster, clean the house, fix the toilet, ad infinitum, but I have to write. Grateful thanks to those who helped us through yesterday and will help us through today and tomorrow. Now...where's my pointy stick? Move along. There's nothing here to see.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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