greygirlbeast: (Default)
Wow. 2012 feels exactly like 2011, so far.

I still have to replace the OLD calendar with the NEW calendar.

Not much to say. Spooky's better. I'm pretty much well. Today I have to get the corrected ms. for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book finished, because all my other obligations have caused me to neglect this far too long (we're talking months).

If you've not yet preordered the collection (and free hardback chapbook that comes with the limited edition), please do so. Same for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, if you possibly can. Thank you.

And now I got forth to attend to little red marks on white pages.

Uncorrectable,
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: (Narcissa)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, you will write a short blog entry! Yes, you will. Probably, no one's reading this thing today, anyway. Much less will they comment, so make it short. [I didn't.]

1) THIS IS IMPORTANT! Read it twice. Steam is offering Rift for a mere $14.99!!! That's 50% off! Plus, you play FREE for a month. Now, the offer will never get better than this, and we had a great RP session last night (thanks, guys). You can join us almost, if not quite, for free.

And really, say that you're here reading this and you don't want to take part in an interactive fantasy story written in part by me? You know you do. So, scoot over to Steam and toss them some pennies, download, sign in, create a Defiant character on the Faeblight shard, start grinding those first few marvelous levels, and join us on Telara. No, NOW. Go. I'll still be here when you get back.

2) Yesterday, I wrote three more pages of Alabaster #3 (though I still felt blegh). I should explain, that when I say I wrote three pages, that's three pages of the comic, which usually comes to about three manuscript pages, sometimes four.

3) I'm feeling much better, but it appears a lot of my exhaustion was a bug of the contagious sort, and now Spooky's caught it (as of yesterday). So, I got to say, "I told you I felt awful." But that's the only upside. She's miserable.

4) I'm not a hypocrite. I just like turkey. We eat it a lot (usually legs). But, yeah, yesterday Spooky made an awesome turkey breast (with cranberries, walnuts, apples, garlic, and onions), and we had mashed potatoes (POH_TAE_TOES?), English peas, homemade cranberry sauce (forget that jellied crap in the can), and apple pie. Days of leftovers. And unholy words were spoken to unspeakable gods while Ozzy Osbourne played in the background, so...none of this counts. Move along. Nothing to see here. Thank you. Drive around.

5) I mentioned this, right? Okay. Just checking.

6) This entry was going to be short, wasn't it?

7) I saw this yesterday, and I (no shit) almost cried: "Alabama’s Wealth of Fossil Dinosaur Feathers." Just read the article (after you've downloaded Rift). Suffice to say, I worked with the paleontologist who first noted feathers in the Eutaw Formation, after I'd spent many years urging collectors to focus on the Eutaw Formation (Late Santonian-Early Campanian) if they wanted to find a Cretaceous terrestrial fauna in Alabama. This is more than I ever dared hoped for.

8) The signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012) will reach me soon, and the signing will commence.

9) As I mentioned, great RP last night, the second scene in our rebooted storyline. The cleric Nilleshna called two more Ascendants to the Watchers of the Unseen and the Faceless Man's cause, a Kelari cleric named Emris and a Kelari rogue named Harlakai. And an old member was reunited with the guild, the Eth warrior Anaxakharis. They were all gathered together in a high alpine meadow on the border between Stonefield and Freemarch. Near the end of the scene, one of the guild's more infamous characters, Celinn (Kelari rogue) appeared from the trees and great and terrible weirdness ensued. The game's afoot...again!

10) We're running a Sirenia Digest special. Subscribe now, and you'll get #71 free with issue #72. In fact, if you subscribed any time in November you get #71. This is to be sure people reading the alternate first chapters of Silk will have access to the entire manuscript. So, take advantage of one of my rare acts of kindness. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

And now...the mothmen summon me.

Astounded at Her Pre[science],
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
0. Epic entry time. Comment, kittens. Let's have tomorrow all over again, and...

1. ...know you have my grateful thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. That's what I like to see. I do apologize for not responding to all of you. So, now...

2. ...I'm sitting here trying to remember what I was doing yesterday before everything sort of went to hell. Oh, but wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. Night before last, I slept less than four hours, and as the day wore on it became evident that my body had reached the end of its ability to take abuse. The last few days – all the work, the stress, dehydration, and exhaustion – finally took their toll. I managed the journal entry and a lot of email before I realized I was just too fried to do much else. I emailed my editor at Dark Horse to warn her that Alabaster #3 was probably going to be late by a couple of days (the deadline was November 30th). She was very cool about it, so thank you cool comic-book lady. This means that all I have left to do this "month" is:

a) Write Alabaster #3.
b) Go over the pencils for Alabaster #1 as soon as they come in.
c) Write something new for Sirenia Digest #72.

And I have nine days in which to do it. Well, given that the digest comes out on the fifth of each month now, that means I technically have fourteen days (hence the shutter quotes around month). Everything would be going more or less fine had I not wasted three days on an introduction I eventually scrapped. But yeah, fourteen days, two weeks. I can do that blindfolded, with one hand tied behind my back, standing on one foot, whistling "Dixie." Of course, then I'll have to immediately write Alabaster #4 and get to Sirenia Digest #73. Oh, and be sure the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl is ready to go up (AT A THEATRE NEAR YOU!) at the beginning of January. And, somewhere in all that, the galleys for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will likely rear their ugly head, but...

3. ...come hell or high water, mine and Spooky's genuine vacation begins December 15th and runs until January 3rd. Nineteen days free of work. Well, except for the inevitable, unforseen, this-can't-wait-until-later-because-you're-a-writer emergencies. Anyway...

4. ...as it became clear yesterday that I'd pushed myself just a little too far (about three p.m., I think), I said "Fuck it," and started downloading the software for this coming weekend's Beta of Star Wars: The Old Republic onto the Asus; this despite my comments of November 15th. I always forget how bloody long this shit takes. I think, total, the download took somewhere in the neighborhood of ten hours. And there will still be patches every day, all for a game I have a feeling I'm going to hate. But yeah, that, and...

5. ...I had a hot bath, as the exhaustion was beginning to clamp down hard on my muscles (this is about the time I stopped replying to comments in the blog). I fell asleep in the tub. Spooky woke me. I dressed and crawled away to the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fireplace, but couldn't get back to sleep. For dinner there was leftover chili. Spooky and I decided to watch Cloverfield for the tenth time or so. By then, I was beginning to think maybe it was more than exhaustion, that I might actually have caught something. We were watching the movie, and suddenly, as the monster ripped Manhattan apart, strange booming began outside. I mean, loud booming noises. They sounded remarkably like the booming noises in the film. After some moments of creeped-out confusion, we went downstairs, and, standing in the middle of the street, we could see fireworks going off to the east, near downtown or the the northernmost end of Narragansett Bay. Turns out, yesterday was the 375th anniversary of the City of Providence....and neither of us knew. So, boom, boom, boom. We went back in and finished watching the movie, and I felt worse...and worse...and worse. Now, and a smart...

6. ...person would have packed it in and tried to go to sleep. Instead, I asked Spooky to read to me from House of Leaves. And after that, I dragged myself back into the office to see that the Asus was still downloading the main assest for SWTOR. So, I paused it and we played some Rift. Turns out, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack was on, so there was guild chatter. Where are you, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus! And don't tell me CoX. We need more players to get the RP going again. At any rate, Spooky and I were in the middle of our Iron Pine dailies, when suddenly I felt like a mac truck hit me. I managed the quest from Exile's Den, and really did crawl away to bed. Moaning and slightly feverish. I was, by this time, 95% sure I was dying (yeah, drama queen). I lay in the snarl of comforters, reading a biography of Barnum Brown, titled Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex. Finally, I gave up, as the pages weren't making much sense. I set the iPad to stream Andrew Marton's Crack in the World (1965), and finally, mercifully, found sleep, and didn't awaken until 11:30 this ayem, after almost eight hours of sleep. Oh, I almost forgot to...

7. ...mention that Trion has finally succumbed to the holidays. I thought we were safe. Unlike WoW, which senselessly includes pretty much every Western holiday, hardly even thinly disguised, Rift has been blessedly free of such bullshit. But no. Last night we were hit with "Fae Yule." As kids these days are won't to say, >.>, right? Right. Now, I'm pretty sure the baby Jesus never made it to Telara, but here was all this Xmas bullshit, only faintly made to seem like a response to the invasion of the dragon of air, Crucia. Oh, and never mind how angry it makes me that these games keep stealing the names of pagan celebrations to mask Xtian celebrations. After all, that's been going on forever in the "real" world. Anyway, yeah, do the holiday quests, get enough "special snowflakes" to buy a fucking Corgi dog with fucking antlers and a red fucking Rudolph nose. I shit you not, kiddos. Trion, you have let me down. Fuck you.

Epilogue: Don't mean to be picking on anyone, but ereaders do not contain books. They contain nothing more than computer code, just artless zeroes and ones.

PS: My niece rocks.

I've Felt Better,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Cloudy. Drizzly. 50˚F.

The light getting in beneath my office curtain has been drained of any quality to illuminate. It's still light, but a light that drenches and soaks in, rather than reflecting.

A stapler from college. A coffee cup from the Yale Peabody Museum, filled with pens and pencils. Four rocks: Moonstone Beach (RI), Jamaica, Ireland, Oregon. A tin of Altoids. Etc. & etc.

Comments can't hurt.

Yesterday, I wrote almost six hundred words on "Fake Plastic Trees." I very much like this story, but it's bleak. And it's only going to get bleaker. Yesterday, I decided I wanted the editor to read the first half before I write the second half, so I emailed it away. And now I'm waiting for the verdict. Which leaves me wondering what to do in the interim, which might be only a few more hours, but might be another day or two. I suppose I'll turn my eyes towards Sirenia Digest #65. Still hoping to see a few more answers to the latest Question @ Hand, by the way, though the ones I've received, most are keepers. Some made me feel that electric sensation in my gut. One of the highs I chase, night and day.

Two or three people have objected that they can't answer it because it involves my being forced, and maybe I see their point, the point of their objection. But, this is fiction, and, also, I've given my explicit consent to be fictionally forced. So, the objection mystifies me just a little.

CARE package yesterday from SL, who sent me two of the Brown Bird cds I didn't have, Tautology and Such Unrest, which I just loaded onto my iPod. Also, Curt Stager's (a paleoclimatologist) Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth. I read Spooky the prologue last night. And the package also contained Nicky Raven's retelling of Dracula as a children's story, beautifully illustrated by Anne Yvonne Gilbert. So, my gratitude.

Last night, in response to my Danielle Dax post, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus posted the video clip from Jordan's A Company of Wolves (1984) for which I'd posted the screenplay excerpt. And here it is:

<


Thing is, as artists we are influenced by things. I've always been aboveboard about the degree to which Angela Carter has influenced my work. She sparks my mind. She sings to me. I sing back. But then, as artists, sometimes, we are influenced by things, and, sometimes, we write (or paint, or whatever), and the influence acts unconsciously upon us. To wit, I was entirely unaware that in writing a significant part of The Drowning Girl I was very much expressing my love of this scene from The Company of Wolves. Imp tells a story, "The Wolf Who Cried Girl," and it derives very much from this scene. But I was entirely unaware what I was doing until I read the screenplay yesterday, and then it smacked me in the face. I'm fascinated by the silent influences, especially when they're so fucking obvious. "These things happen."

"And then,
you shall open
this book, even if it is the book of nightmares." (Galway Kinnell)

---

Good session with my doctor yesterday. New drug today, and maybe things will improve again. Soon, I hope. By the way, as I say in the acknowledgments to The Drowning Girl, without my doctor the novel never would have been written. It almost wasn't written.

Today, I may actually pitch the ParaRom lesbian junkie wolfpire novel to my agent. I would write it after Blue Canary, the first YA book, while she's shopping Blue Canary.

This evening, I have an appointment at RockStar Piercing on Thayer Street, to begin the process of having my earlobes stretched, and to put my labret back in. I need the sort of pain I get from body mods. It centers me.

Last night, we watched Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds for the fourth time. It's is a genuinely brilliant film, and he's going to have to do a lot to ever top himself. We played Rift. I read "Enhydriodon dikikae, sp. nov. (Carnivora: Mammalia), a gigantic otter from the Pliocene of Dikika, Lower Awash, Ethiopia" in the latest JVP. You have to imagine a mostly terrestrial otter the size of a bear, which lived alongside Australopithecus.

And I should try to do some work, while I wait for a verdict on "Fake Plastic Trees."
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
A rare alignment of cranial discomfort. Parallel lines of eye-bleeding hurt. I'm not sure Spooky and I have ever before had multi-day headaches at the same time. But we have now. And it sucks rancid weasel ass through a crazy straw, and it needs to fucking stop. My scalp feels like there's broken glass just beneath the skin.

This is a day on which there must be comments. I won't survive without them.

My thanks to Joah, who sent me a link to someone's list of "The Six Creepiest Abandoned Places." I'd argue the list isn't definitive, but it's still a pretty good list. I'm especially taken with Gunkanjima, Japan and Hellingly Asylum. The latter is genuinely exquisite. I would live there in a heartbeat:

On the sheets and pillow case,
In my bed for heaven's sake,
The devil's dancing until late in my head there.
But I could sleep with you there.
I could sleep with you there.


That's interesting. Firstly, that while thinking of Hellingly Asylum the lyrics to a Catharine Wheel song occurred to me. Secondly, that they apply so aptly to last night's insomnia (which was Nigh Unto Monumental, no sleep until after six ayem) and also apply to my emotional reaction to the photographs (follow the link from the article) of that place. Rabbit hole. Subconscious association. Pink Freud. 5 and 1/2 minute hallways. It's all the same thing in here. Anyway, I loved this bit from the article (about another asylum, one in New Jersey):

Listen, because this is important advice: If you ever start a sanatorium, you need to tear that shit down once you’re done with it. Not repurpose it or leave it empty or something; that is just begging – literally begging – for a group of stupid teenagers to sneak inside of it to have illicit sex, where they will inevitably get murdered by the ghosts of madmen. It’s like a Roach Motel for horny morons. You may as well put an “Idiots Fuck Here” sign out front and start up a mortuary next door; you’d make a killing.

See, I don't get to genuinely laugh – that sort of laughter that makes you hurt yourself – that often. That paragraph made me laugh. Oh, in particular, I was soothed by this photo from Hellingly. I'm not bullshitting you. I'm not being sarcastic. That's just...soothing. I think I look like that inside. If you cracked me open, you'd find that room.

---

On this day in 1900, Aleister Crowley broke into and took over the Golden Dawn temple in London, providing the catalyst for the demise of the original Golden Dawn.

---

Yesterday, despite the black mood and the headache, I wrote 1,072 words on "Fake Plastic Trees" while Spooky drew ravens. The story seems to be coming together. After reading yesterday's pages, Spooky said, "This makes me feel so bad. Really, really bad. The complete wrongness of it, of that whole world." I'm taking this as a compliment, because I know she meant it as one.

Intention isn't everything, kittens, but it carries a lot of weight with me.

After working on the story, I wrote an actual Wikipedia entry on Hauffiosaurus, because when I linked to it yesterday there was just a sad-ass, one-sentence stub. That took about another hour.

We saw the latest episode of Fringe last night. Jesus fuck, this show is brilliant. It's gone from a dull first season, all monster-of-the-week nonsense, to sheer fucking wonky universe-warping brilliance. Last night's episode, "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide," has to receive an Emmy nomination. If the Emmy's mean anything (and we already know they don't). This is the first series since Farscape that truly isn't afraid of being as weird as it needs to be, but which isn't just being weird for weird's sake. Pushing Daisies tried to be this brilliant, but was murdered long before it achieved this level of supremely masterful weirdness.

Spooky's doing the tax thing today. Taxes, taxes, we all fall down.

Gods, I just realized I've been wearing the same T-shirt for four days. "Reynolds/Washburne 2008: You Can't Stop the Signal." Dirty fucking nerd. Take a bath and change your damn clothes.

Oh, hello. How long have you been standing there?

You know, for kids,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Somewhat hungover this ayem, and suffering the effects of insomnia (which don't mix well with the hangover, by the way). It's sort of like being twenty-five on the morning after a binge, except every time I move some portion of my skeleton creaks or pops.

I probably ought not even be making a blog entry. Surely, I have nothing good to say. Not really.

Um...yesterday. Well, yesterday was spent on email, and copyediting, and line edits, and lots of tedious stuff that writers have to do that isn't writing.

Well, there were at least two pieces of good news. The one I can't tell you until Friday, and then learning that my editor at Dark Horse very much likes the story I wrote for her (which I can't say more about until later). These are my bright spots.

---

Last night, we watched the restored director's cut of Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (1981), which is undoubtedly on my list of the 100 Best Movies Ever Made in Any Language. Rarely has anyone conveyed the ultimate futility of struggle more beautifully than Petersen does in this film.

---

We had about an hour of rp in Rift last night, after which I decided that, for now, our guild's going to concern itself much less with rp, at least for the time being. After creating fiction all day, or suffering the consequences of having created fiction, the last thing I want to do at night is...create fiction. Also, rping in Rift, like rping in any MMORPG or any world created by someone besides the rpers, presents a unique set of problems. Most importantly, it's almost impossible for everyone to be on the same page, especially given that the lore (which weighs us down; though, unlike WoW, it isn't absurd) is often very vague on very important points. With Rift, the worst of this concerns the nature of the Defiant Ascendents' fundamental psychology and metaphysics. Anyway, yes. The guild is there. We'll do stuff that guilds do. But, for now, no rp. Later, probably. Maybe, eventually, we can come up with some sort of canonical interpretation, even if we can't confirm it's what Trion has in mind (which is probably irrelevant).

---

So, a thing I have never before done. But in the interest of reducing clutter (and covering a bill for unexpected auto repairs), I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated (on the back). The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

The platypus, he says this is a chance of a lifetime. Oh, and there's a photograph!



---

Cold and cloudy and rainy here in Providence. I have decided that in Rhode Island we have five seasons, not four. We have summer (late June-late August), Autumn (early September through late November), WINTER (late November-March), Cold Spring (late March though early May), and Spring (May and most of June). Someday, I'm going to acclimate. Understanding is the first step, and it's taken me three years to figure out the existence of Cold Spring.

---

I gave some of my dinosaurs a bath yesterday, trying to start to clear my office of a dreadful layer of dust. Maybe a third of my dinosaurs, if you don't count the ones in storage. And I took photos. Hey, it's whimsical, and lots more fun than email and waking up in the morning! Plus, no one likes a dirty dinosaur. Or plesiosaur. Or wooly mammoth.

Washing the Extinct! )


Lastly, for those who will never understand why I'm a socialist. "The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
There's sunlight, and cold air, and my head hurts. This time last year, Providence was turning green. Damn you, snow.

There was no work yesterday. No writing, and very little of the busyness of writing. I suppose it was a day off. Maybe. It all blurs together. I begin to fear that the meds are failing me, losing that potency. No, not that. My body developing a tolerance. And oh won't that make life fun? But no, let's not go there.

Regardless, I'm back in that place where there's mostly just the low-grade humming in my skull, which I begin to think is the white noise of the universe.

---

Yesterday was the 33rd anniversary sale of Newbury Comics in Warwick (well, Newbury Comics everywhere, but we go to Warwick...usually...and it's pronounced "War-ick," NOT "War-wick"), and since the check from Suicide Girls had come, Spooky took me out of the house to be bad and spend money I can't afford to spend on things I can live without (but wicked cheap, 25% off everything). In fact, yesterday sort of took this weird nosedive into a day of getting neat stuff. It was like Xmas, if Xmas wasn't a steaming pile of shit. Um, anyway. At Newbury Comics I picked up:

Fever Ray (deluxe three-disc set)
Rasputina, Great American Gingerbread
Rammstein, Liebe Ist Für Alle Da
Rammstein, Sehnsucht
The Pogues, If I Should Fall From Grace With God*
Radiohead, Pablo Honey (two-disc collector's edition)
Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here*

* Only have on vinyl, which is in storage.

If I confess my crimes, I'll only go to the Hell where you're allowed to keep your pornography and drugs. Also, I don't know what to make of the fact that All but one of those albums begins either with P or R.*

Then, at the P.O. Box, there was a very generous CARE package, which added to the guilt load, since I'd just bought all those CDs (though, like I said, 25% off, and most were already used). Thank you, SL. Garona and the fifth volume of the collected Popeye comic strips were especially appreciated. And as if it couldn't get any more absurd, we arrived home to discover a box from Bill Schafer. Mostly, it contained copies of the lettered, boxed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers that he recently discovered buried in the depths of the Subterranean Press stockpile. But ALSO, a copy of the new expanded edition of Unca Harlan's Deathbird Stories, a book that influenced my own writing beyond any ability for me to elucidate, and it's a fucking beautiful edition. I haven't had a copy since the early nineties, when I loaned it to a friend, and he never returned it (I no longer loan books).

Later, dinner at Trinity Brew House (I just had a salad; no appetite lately), and then we went to the Brown Bird show down the street at the Speakeasy at Local 121. This awesome sweaty guy from Chicago opened for them, and then Tik Tok ("sounds like tin pans and chicken bones") played, and finally a very short set by Brown Bird (who are so cool they push the outside of the cool envelope). After the show, I got a copy of Brown Bird's The Devil Dancing, which made it a day of eight cds, but at least this last one didn't begin with P or R.

There were three frat boys in the back of the bar heckling, but you never have a blowtorch and needle-nose pliers when you fucking need them, right? Also, I'm pretty sure all the facial hair in Providence was in attendance last night. Which is cool; these days, too few men have beards.

All in all, it would have been a fantastic day, had it been twenty degrees warmer and had the white noise in my head have been turned down about two-hundred decibels.

---

Today, in theory, I begin the story for Dark Horse (TBA, so don't ask). I'd like to have it finished by Monday evening (if I live that long).

I don't know. I just don't know anymore.

Oh, there are photos from the show, behind the cut:

6 April 2011 )


Pitching and Yawing,
Aunt Beast

* To be fair, we haven't bought a CD, I don't think, since the new Legendary Pink Dots, back in October.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The sun's shining in a too-blue sky, but it's chilly.

Sirenia Digest #64 went out to subscribers last night, and everyone should have it by now.

Apologies for not including a link for The Book Thief yesterday.

---

If there's any more abominable phrase than "online social networking," I'm unaware of it. It reduces the concepts of friendship and acquaintance to a software-enhanced array of dendritic fingers, desperately probing the void for connections, aggressively seeking to supplant (or act as surrogate to) actual, face-to-face contact between human beings.

Or maybe I'm the only one who sees it that way. Or at least, it may be I'm in the minority. To quote Anaïs Nin, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” (Thank you, E. Harrington.) Regardless, there's no place for me on either Facebook or Twitter, and I'm going to write that on a piece of paper in big black letters and tack it to the office wall. Because, apparently, I keep forgetting. I've no interest in "online social networking." I find it as strange and toxic as plastic soda bottles.

I began this journal to record the process of writing, what that process is like for me (which, of course, is not the way it will be for much of anyone else). And, obviously, to promote my work. Then MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter came along, and I allowed myself to be seduced into believing that these sites would be as useful to me as has been LiveJournal, and before that, Blogger. But they're not. I cut MySpace loose a long time ago. As for Twitter, it just seems...harmlessly ephemeral. Too much so to serve any actual purpose I need it to serve. And as for Facebook, I can't take the assholes who think I'm there to be engaged in what they mistake as witty reporté. Not since the Bad Old Days of Usenet have I had to contend with as much rudeness and idiocy on the net as I've had to contend with on Facebook. Yes, granted, the troublemakers are a small fraction of the people who follow me there. But it only takes one or two or three persistently asinine individuals.

Those people are not "my tribe." I had a tribe once, but that was long ago.

No one is entitled to anything, and we all suffer alone, and, if we are honest, we all suffer.

These are bad days and nights, and I'm not well enough to get the writing done that I have to get done, much less banter with people who actually seem to believe there's nobility of purpose in lolspeak.

I need to be writing, and I need to be Outside, and everything else is irrelevant. Or worse.

---

The greatest compliment I can ever pay a band or musician is to say, "This is my new suicide album." At the moment, my suicide album is Radiohead's The King of Limbs.

---

People say, "You're so unhappy," and they clearly mean it as an insult. Or they think my unhappiness is an affront to what they believe is their happiness.

Funny thing is, I actually hate coffee.

Adrift in the White Noise,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wray)
1) Snow again this morning, but it's relatively light. A couple of inches at most. Likely, it will be gone in a day or two. Yes, I am sick of this particular winter.

2) Yesterday, I wrote 1,330 words and found the end of the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The manuscript now stands at 386 pages, 87,145 words. And from here I can see how the ninth and tenth chapters and the epilogue unfold. I may have the novel "finished" in only two more weeks. Which is sort of strange to realize.

3) The current Ebay auctions continue. Please have a look. Bid if you are able. Thanks.

4) If you're into MMORPGs and want to play a strong female character, especially a strong female character of color, you no longer have to settle for the racist parodies in WoW. The Kalari and Bahmi women in Rift are amazing, especially the latter. And they're, you know, like actual people. Female characters with dignity and grace and ferocious beauty, instead of, say, Rastafarian caricatures and She-Hulk lampoons. Also, back in WoW, I'm still slogging through my bid for "Loremaster," but beginning to doubt whether or not my will is equal to the task. Last night, I finished with Feralas, which wasn't easy, because there almost weren't enough Horde-side quests. Then I moved along to Thousand Needles, flooded post-Cataclysm and...well...it's just sort of stupid. I found the second worst WoW quest ever— "Pirate Accuracy Increasing." The only worse one I've encountered is that idiotic Joust homage in Mount Hyjal. Anyway...enough nerdy game nonsense.

5) Several comments on my cough yesterday, and some were of the "it might be this" variety, so I'm going to be a little more forthcoming on this than I'd planned. In truth, it's most likely chronic simple silicosis, caused by several years of heavy exposure to chalk and marl dust (which is largely silica particles) in the early years of my paleontology work. I was employed by a small museum in Birmingham (Red Mountain Museum, now defunct), and nobody had a clue about proper safety precautions. I didn't learn this until I went to work for the museum at the University of Colorado, where wearing a respirator during dusty prep work was mandatory. I have all the symptoms, and the cause is there, and a doctor has told me this is likely the problem. But I've never gone through tests for an official diagnosis. My grandfather, who was a brick mason, suffered from a far more severe case of the same disease. Anyway, colds and the flu trigger these bouts of coughing, which is one reason I go to such extremes to stay well.

6) I've promised an in-progress preview of the cover that Lee Moyer is painting for Two Worlds and In Between, and here it is (along with some extras):

Changesonekiernan )


Postscript (1:44 p.m.): My agent and editor both have President's Day off. When did that become a holiday that people use as an excuse to stay home from work? A shame I haven't that option.
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
I want T-shirts made to promote The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. They'll read "Imp didn't die for your sins. She had better things to do."

But that's too wordy, isn't it? No, wait. It's only forty-seven characters, or fifty-eight with spaces. I figure the attention spans of human beings are still capable of handling anything shorter than a Twitter message.

Thanks for the eBay love. Someday, Spooky and I will be well-provided for, and we'll live on a little farm on a remote little island in Maine (Peneboscot Bay will do), and have two goats and two chickens and a big dog and three cats. We'll grow blueberries and apples. And we won't have to deal with eBay anymore ever again. Such dreams keep me alive.

Yesterday, after much book talk with Spooky, I tore apart the eighth chapter, and then wrote 1,417 words. 8 has gone from being a speed bump to being a wall. I know pretty much everything on the other side of the wall, all the way to THE END (which isn't really THE END, but only the place Imp doesn't have to say anything else). If I were capable of writing books out of order (and I emphatically am not, so don't suggest I try), I'd skip 8, write 9 and the epilogue, then decide if 8 is even necessary. But I can't do that.

The horrid cough I almost always get after any cold is here. No doctor has ever figured this cough out. It's a dry, wracking cough that leaves me exhausted and sore and wheezing. It usually hangs around for about a month (three months is the record), then leaves. This has been happening since the mid-eighties. The only thing that's ever seemed to help is Altoids peppermints, but they only help so long as one is in my mouth, and gods I get sick of Altoids fast. By the time I was done writing yesterday, the cough had me so exhausted that I lay down on the sofa in the front parlor and slept until dinner. Obviously, I've stopped smoking again.

Last night, there was, once again, far too much WoW. I finished the quests in Desolace and moved along to Feralas. It's the height of tedium, but I will leave that game with the title "Loremaster." To make things worse, Spooky let me actually play Rift last night, and fuck, but it's wonderful. I leveled Selwyn, my Kalari mage (necromancy, pyromancy, and chloromacy), to six. The world is so fully realized. Tomorrow's the end of the beta, and the game won't be released until March 1st, so...long wait for more wonderfulness.

I'm gonna go finish my coffee. But I leave you with photographs of Sméagol having a snooze in the sun:

Sméagol, 19 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I've not left the house in eight days. Presently, it's sunny and 23˚F, though it feels like 10˚F with windchill. Things I only know because of the internet. The last few days, the sun and rain have made a small dent in the mountain of snow. The streets of Providence have begun their annual disintegration, as potholes open up all over. Not that it matters to someone who seems never to leave the house.

I'm feeling much, much better. This has been an odd cold, for Spooky and I both. I've dubbed it the "Long Island Express." Fast and hard. It was sort of like a week and a half of sick, all in three days. Still, I'd rather it be that way, than lower-grade misery for ten days.

I suppose yesterday was a half a day off. I didn't actively write, but I did work. Email, and looked over copy editor's marks on "Tidal Forces" (soon to appear in Johnathan Strahan's Eclipse Four). I lay in bed while Spooky read back over all of the seventh chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and made line edits. I see now that the seventh chapter is done, and I'll begin 8 today. And I see that this novel may only have nine chapters, so...the ending is nearing sooner than expected. Which feels very, very strange, considering I actually only was finally able to begin it in earnest in November (after, I think, three false starts over the preceding eight months).

---

Thanks for all the potential "if I were" questions posted yesterday as comments. There were some excellent ones, and all have been cut an pasted into a file I keep for such things. But, as it happens, I thought of a very good question last night, which I'll probably post tomorrow. I think it's just the right balance of disturbing and erotic.

---

The thing I was going to get into yesterday and didn't, another highly questionable Amazon.com "review" and the issue of Sarah Crowe's sexuality. I quote:

Over all, I liked the book. I did get a bit irritated with the author constantly telling the reader that Sarah is a lesbian.

Now, I should note up front that the reader did, indeed, like the book, and she gave it four out of five stars. And, originally, I wasn't going to carp about this. But it's been eating at me. I will try to be succinct, because it's actually a very simple problem. To begin with, "the author" wasn't "constantly telling the reader that Sarah is a lesbian." It was Sarah who did the talking. The interauthor whose journal makes up most of The Red Tree. There are plenty who would say that's an absurd distinction, but I disagree. However, that's not the meat of the problem here.

To put it as simply as possible, most gays and lesbians spend a lot more time thinking of themselves as gays and lesbians than most heterosexual men and women spend thinking about the fact of their heterosexuality. This is simply true, and it follows from the repression and discrimination and hatred visited upon queers. When you aren't "the norm," when, all your life, the validity of your desires and loves has been condemned and questioned and, at times, attempts have been made to beat it out of you, it changes how you see yourself. It's unfortunate, but it's true. Maybe someday a time will come when this isn't true, and no one will give a second thought to being a lesbian. But, for now, we live in a society that rarely misses an opportunity to remind us how we deviate from a heterocentric expectation. We spend a lot more time thinking of our sexual identity (which is not the same as thinking about sex) than do straight men and women, because it has become a label. A tag with which to distinguish us from everyone who isn't a lesbian. And if you're straight, and you still don't get this after hearing an explanation, I'm sorry, but you're just not trying. Sarah grew up in the Deep South, one of those parts of the country where it's very hard to be queer, and has, no doubt, spent much of her life taking crap, and yes, she'd quite frequently think of herself as a lesbian. Ergo, she'd write about it. The Red Tree is her book, her voice, her story.

I grow weary of the "I have nothing against lesbians, but why do I have to read about them?" crowd. It's hard not to see this as closeted or thinly-veiled homophobia. Hets are not entitled to live in ignorance of lesbianism, any more than lesbians are entitled to live in ignorance of heterosexuality. This is the world you made, now butch up and live with it.

---

The rest of yesterday. Dinner was the third day of quadrupedal chicken stew. Because I was too bored to stay in bed, and too sick to do much of anything else, there was a lot of WoW. We're finishing up the Twilight Highlands with Shah and Suraa, which means finishing up the meat of the Cataclysm expansion. The Twilight Highlands has been, by far, the best of the expansion. The scene where Alexstrasza attempts to destroy Deathwing was very nicely done. Most of the Twilight Highlands quest chains are good. While Uldum is pretty to look at, it shoots itself in the foot with all the "Harrison Jones" silliness. At least the Twilight Highlands quests mostly take themselves seriously.

Mostly. But...I would be lying if I tried to pretend that my love affair with WoW isn't coming to an end. Blizzard continues to dumb down the game (and it wasn't exactly a bright child to begin with). And they continue to inexplicably whittle away at warlock abilities (and, I assume, abilities for other classes). Yesterday's big patch took away the "drain mana" spell, which I rely on quite a bit in PvE. It's beginning to look like I'll be able to get a laptop this spring, exclusively for gaming, and I suspect that when I do I'll be dropping WoW for LoTRO and Rift (Spooky's doing the Rift Beta, and it's an amazing game). I need a lot less funny and far more coherent, consistent storylines. I need a world that isn't afraid to take itself seriously, and game designers who are a little more considerate of players. Blizzard, you've lost me.

And now...I make the doughtnuts. Comments!
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I wrote 3,243 words on Chapter 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Which makes yesterday my best day ever in terms of word count, with at least three hundred words to spare. I truly didn't think I'd be able to pull it off, but I did, and in only five hours. I suspect I may have been channeling [livejournal.com profile] matociquala. At any rate, it's nothing I wish to do again any time soon. Considering that my daily average the last few years has been about 1,100 words, I've written almost five days worth of novel in the last two days.

And I'm sick as a sick fucking dog. And I'm not working today. Well, I'm not writing. I may lie in bed and manage some proofreading by having Spooky read to me. But that's different. I actually suck at doing nothing. I've never learned the trick. Which makes being ill difficult. My mind rages on, even when the body would be still. It has to have something upon which to gnaw.

I've not left the house since last Monday evening, the 31st, so I've not been out for seven days. I was doing much better for a while, keeping to my resolution never to stay in for more than four consecutive days. But the novel's been coming so fast, and the weather's been so horrid, the days slip by without my even realizing it.

There's something substantive I want to write, regarding an Amazon "reviewer's" complaint that, in The Red Tree, I harp on Sarah's being a lesbian, and how the complaint reveals just how poorly many straight people understand what it's like to be queer, and how ignorance can quickly become prejudice. But I'm not up to it now. Tomorrow I might be.

Anyway, I will be checking the blog today, so comment if you'd like. Ah, here's something. A number of people have mentioned to me how much they've enjoyed the "Alone" and "CreatureMe" pieces in Sirenia Digest nos. 61 and 62, respectively. The answers that made up those two articles were in response to questions I asked in the blog two years back. So...here's a challenge. Come up with a new question of the same sort. Something as good as "If I were a summonable monster..." and "What if you had me alone..." Don't worry, you couldn't shock me if you tried. But feel free to try, all the same.

Okay. Gotta go horizontal for a few minutes.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Sick as a dog. As a sick dog, I mean. I've never understood the whole "sick as a dog" thing, as though the normative canine state is sick. I've also never much understood football, but mostly, these days, I keep my mouth shut about it. Lots of people who get wet over touchdowns can't begin to appreciate the importance of a warlock's staff having +200 to shadow damage or why cool downs are such a bummer. So, live and let live. However, I wake up— not to news that the Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 (I actually had to google that) —but to a slew of articles analyzing and rating the goddamn commercials. And what's more baffling still, a whole bunch of Sturm und Drang about Christina Aguilera screwing up "The Star-Spangled Banner." Are you really surprised? She's Christina Aguilera. You let her sing a song with actual words, bad shit will ensue.

Anyway.

Yeah, sick. Bad night. Worse dreams. Feverish. Achy. Mucus in places mucus ought never be (a few sex-with-aliens scenarios aside).

Yesterday, I wrote 2,155 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The book grows ever more peculiar. And today, I've set for myself a challenge. Even though I'm sick as a sick dog. Today I mean to write 3,000 words, which is a thing I've never done. Not in one day. My personal best is 2,800+, but never 3,000. I'll probably fail, but I'm going to try. That way, if I'm too sick tomorrow to sit up straight, I won't have to feel guilty about not sitting up straight. I can lie in bed and moan and make Spooky's life miserable with a minimum of guilt.

Last night, Spooky made quadrupedal chicken stew. I don't know where she finds these four- and five-legged chickens, and I don't ask. We watched Fringe and the satisfying pornographic spectacle that is Spartacus. Then I logged into Insilico and spent three hours as a hopelessly broken droid caught between the godlike AI that created her and a human sadist into who's hands she's been delivered. Way more fun than football.

We went to bed and Spooky read to me from Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps. Which was a bad idea, what with being sick and the inevitable nightmares. My bad dreams are bad enough without fucking junkie hobo vampires coming along for the ride.

Time to make the doughnuts. Or dissolve in a puddle of my own phlegm. We'll see. But comment. Cheer me on. Jeer. Whichever.

In Misery and Chagrin,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
Thunderstorms last night. Lightning reflecting off the snow. This morning, the sun's out, it's 41˚F, and the melting seems to have begun in earnest. I feel like we've been locked in a hard freeze for a solid month or longer. Of course, now there's the ugliness of the melt, because humans and snow are a bad mix, and there's the threat of flooding.

Spooky's been down with some sort of crud much of the past week, and yesterday it finally grabbed hold of me. Right now, I feel pretty crappy. But there's work, and I have to try to keep moving.

All of yesterday was spent pulling Sirenia Digest #62 together. It went out to subscribers last night, and hopefully everyone has it who should have it. I'd very much like to hear feedback on the first chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Also, if you're not a subscriber and would like a sneak preview of the novel in progress, subscribe and you'll get #62.

For some damn reason, I get sick and my head fills with random thoughts. Usually, with random, unpleasant thoughts. It's as if a troll with a bucket of nails has been turned loose in my head. Nails and snot.

For example, never, ever, ever call me "hon." I get this on Second Life constantly, and on WoW, and other places, and it makes me want to wretch. Or, here's another moderately random thing: Yesterday, I read that the average American household includes thirty "always on" appliances. Stuff that never gets shut off. Thirty. Spooky and I sat and counted up our "always on" crap, and we could only come up with eight things*. So, how the hell do people manage thirty "always on" electronic (non-battery operated) appliances? Beats the hell out of me.

When I was done with the digest yesterday, once it had been sent away to be PDFed, I spent some time on Two Worlds and In Between. Mostly, I tried not to think about getting sick, or how it might affect my ability to get all this work done. Later, there was rp in Insilico...which was very good...and comic books, and cookies, and more Krilanovich, the thunderstorm and snuggling with Hubero. And here's a question, while I'm being all random and shit: Why do so many comic-book readers get annoyed at "funny books" when "comic books" means pretty much exactly the same damn thing? I grew up reading funny books, and I usually still think of them as funny books— even after having worked for DC/Vertigo all those years —and I just don't get it.

Ugh.

The platypus says stop here, and I think maybe that's not such a bad idea. Comments welcome, because Sundays suck even when I'm well.

In Phlegm,
Aunt Beast

* fridge, stove, microwave, an alarm clock, coffeemaker, water heater, modem, and router.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A very, very bad day yesterday. A day that should have been a Day Off, that, instead, became a Lost Day. I did leave the house, but it went very badly. Probably the worst day since this summer. The sky was too blue, too wide, and whatever it is that slams me did so. Fuck, it sounds silly writing about being freaked out by the sky. I know we live in the confessional, transparent age, and we wear our neuroses and infirmities on our sleeves, but I don't think I'll ever do such things with comfort and without shame.

More snow last night.

Today, I go back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I have to try to get Chapter 5 written by the 24th, so I'll have time to switch over and get the digest written. More and more, I feel as if this will be the last book I write for an "adult" audience. Well, the last book I write for me in hopes that it will be read by an "adult" audience. It would be better, I know, to do the best I am permitted to do with the current novel (deadlines and finances permitting), then switch over to novels for young adults. I know now that I can do it. I've found the voice. And, now that I'm reading a fair amount of YA, I suspect that younger readers are more open readers. I am almost ready to say they seem like smarter readers. I'm starting to think that I would encounter less stress writing YA, which is what matters most here. Less stress without sacrificing income.

I would not wish the life of a working writer on my worst enemy.

Okay, that's a lie. I have a vicious streak, and most certainly would wish the life of a working writer on my worst enemy. It's on the list, right after "festering boils."

A razor-sharp crap-shoot affair...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

You know...I just don't think there's any dignified way to end this entry that doesn't involve getting it over with as soon as possible. So, anything else interesting about yesterday? We had takeout from the Palestinian place— lamb, chicken shawarma, baba ghanoush, and the best baklava I've ever tasted (which is to say the only baklava I've ever actually liked). We streamed an unexpectedly good film, Michael J. Bassett's Deathwatch (2002). The title is a little unfortunate, but so is the cover of The Red Tree. Deathwatch is a weird tale set in the trenches of WWI that succeeds by both subtlety and brute force. Definitely recommended. Later WoW, and Shah and Suraa reached Level 84. Liking Deepholm. It's like what Outland might have been, if Outland had been well designed. Later still, reading. I got to sleep sometime after four ayem.

I have one photo from yesterday's abbreviated outing, Ladd Observatory in the snow:

17 January 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A vile morning here in Providence, after a vile, wild night. Hard rain and wind last night, with waves out at Beavertail as high as ten feet. Spooky says there were surfers out there after dark, which boggles my mind. About 2:30 a.m. last night (1:30 a.m. EST), the rain turned to fairly heavy snow, and the wind grew even worse. But everything was wet, and the snow didn't stick. This morning, the wind is a banshee, and the rain's still with us. I hear Maine took a beating.

Hemingway said to write about the weather.

I am now once again on Caitlín Standard Time, as I refuse to "fall back." Which makes me one hour early for everything.

Hardly any sleep again last night, and it must be a testament to the power of my insomnia that I make reference to an August Derleth story in the subject line of this entry. After sleeping only five hours night before last, last night I managed only four. I'm getting sickly again, from the work and the stress and, most especially, from the insomnia, so I suppose it's time to talk to my doctor, tweak the meds, take Vitamin D. Rumor has it today is a day off, though I doubt I'll notice.

But, there's good news. Yesterday, I wrote an astounding (for me) 2,769 words and found the place where Chapter One of The Drowning Girl ends. That wasn't quite my personal best for a single day (2,800+, I'd have to look it up), but it's damned close. And it was a relief, after only managing 259 words on Saturday. Unfortunately, now I have to set the novel aside and write a short story that has a December 1st deadline, and then do Sirenia Digest #60. But, if I'm correct about my various deadlines, I'll be able to spend almost all of December and January on the book. I'm guessing this novel will come in between 80,000 and 100,000 words, at about 10,000 words a chapter...pretty much the same as The Red Tree. So, I hope that by the end of January I'll have the first five or six chapters written.

I've not left the House now since the 30th, which makes...what? Today will be Day #9 of the Captivity. And it's far too nasty to go out today. Time feels weirder and weirder. Not sleeping, not going out, playing too much WoW and CoX, reading and reading and working and working. Not sleeping. Pills and eyestrain and dehydration and cold feet. It's all deranged, as Mr. Bowie said.

No, this is not a Happy Post.

Saturday night I began the next painting, Black Ships Ate the Sky, which is presently a furious, livid thing. This is the first largish canvas I've done in forever, 18"x24".

Spooky had to go out yesterday for more Napthol Crimson.

I think the wind means to flay the paint off the House.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A sunny, warm day in Providence. I want to be Outside, but there's so much work to do. Only ten days left until the trip to Oregon for the HPLFF, and there's so much to get done twixt now and then. Still, if I finish with the writing early, I may try to persuade Spooky to take me to the sea.

Tomorrow is Mabon.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,039 words on a very strange new piece for Sirenia Digest. Sort of a post-apocalyptic vignette, wherein the apocalypse seems to have been the coming of Nyarlathotep and Azathoth to earth. Or, more accurately, earth tumbling into Azathoth. I felt like doing something explicitly Lovecraftian just before the Festival in Portland, and this seems to be it. Also, I'm thinking #58 will be devoted entirely to my explicitly Lovecraftian tales (which are fewer and farther between than some may think), the new piece plus several of the old ones. By the way, I am adopting the term that Joshi sets forth in The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos. Which is to say, I have never written Cthulhu Mythos stories, which are stories arising from August Derleth's bastardization of Lovecraft's vision into an inane struggle between good and evil. Instead, I do occasionally write stories that fit into the Lovecraft Mythos (if one must put a label on these things).

This morning I got word that the Jeff and Ann are very pleased with "The Key to the Castleblakeney Key," which was good news to wake to, as it is also a very strange story.

Spooky made the front page of Etsy this morning, with one of her Pumpkinhead Ghosts, between noon and one. You can see the rest of her Etsy shop here. And please have a look at the current eBay auctions (unless you intend to immediately resell on Amazon for a profit).

Anyway, the good writing day gave way to a very frustrating evening. I was supposed to do a bit of rp in Insilico. We started it and took a dinner break. And then I couldn't log back in, though I spent about an hour trying before I gave up. I have no idea what was going on (I was able to log on just fine this morning). So, instead, Spooky and I did some WoW, the Warsong Gulch Battle three times (because it was Call to Arms this weekend); Horde won twice, so not bad. But then we tried to do one of the Outland dungeons, the Steam Vault, and the boss kicked our blood-elf butts five times. And he's only some dumb ass fucking naga! So...yeah, a night of geeky frustrations.

In the wake of a week of illness, I'm now on a diet of Utterly Fucking Bland Food. Chicken and rice. Bananas. Potatoes. Bland, mushy, pale food. But at least maybe I'll be able to get back to digesting what I eat. Oh, and once you're past -05, you're are allowed to talk publicly about gross shit like this. Look it up.

Okay. Time to work.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was wretched. Not much point watering down the truth. My head wasn't right, and my guts were worse. I spent a good bit of the day in bed. No writing was done. I didn't go Outside. Nothing was accomplished.

We shall see what today will be.

There were a few "slits of light" to yesterday. Peter sent me a copy of The Juniper Tree And Other Blue Rose Stories (Subterranean Press). The mail brought a very small royalty check from Steve Jones in London, for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.

Then last night, after trying to sit up awhile, I went back to bed. Spooky and I watched the newest episode of Project Runway (I really, really love Mondo). We watched two episodes of some exceptionally ridiculous Animal Plant cryptozoology series. The first imagined a plesiosaur in Monterey Bay; the second was about the "Oklahoma Octopus." Gotta say, if I were younger, I'd start a punk band called Oklahoma Octopus. Anyway, then we watched J.T. Petty's The Burrowers (2008), which, quite unexpectedly, turned out to be marvelous. It belongs to that all too neglected genre, the Weird Western. There are a few missed notes: the start is a little slow, and I could have done without the final shot, which was unnecessary. But, all in all, well acted, well filmed, and creepy as hell. It's one of those rare dark films where things start out very bad and just keep getting worse, spiraling down to a place no one and nothing can ever escape. The Burrowers can be streamed free from Netflix. Check it out.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

---

A comment from [livejournal.com profile] dragau, from day before yesterday (or the day before that), back to the subject of the lack of characterization in Neal Stephenson's novels:

Often when I read Stephenson, I feel the omission you describe, that his characters are indifferent toward their mindless drudgery of existence, and they follow their paths as pawns lacking anything better to do, their lives predestined. For the Baroque Cycle, I was hoping for a novel on par with Gary Jennings. Instead, we got an extended soap opera like War and Peace with its cookie-cutter characterization. After my disappointment with Anathema, I will be waiting to buy used paperbacks of his future novels.

As a measure of comparison, I think Stephenson serves better in contrast with your own stories. Many of your own characters also experience the drudgery and recognize the futility of fighting their fates, but you seize that oppression and wring from it every emotion and metaphor. You mop the floor with the tears and self-pity of those who surrender. Meanwhile, your strong characters rally themselves with the adage "I can fuck plenty with the future," and then they act, win or lose.

Conversely, Stephenson's protagonists are often mere witnesses to great events or they are catalysts. When they do perform a climactic act, their achievement really is being in the right place at the right time. This is progressively more so in his later novels, whereas you got the manipulative plot tropes worked out of your system early, and now for example, although the reader may know your main character will commit suicide, the paths leading to that eventuality will have many branches of uncertainty.


The only point with which I would disagree is that I don't make a distinction between strong and weak characters in my stories. Sometimes, surrender requires more resolve and greater courage than does fighting.

---

Come here, pretty please.
Can you tell me where I am?
You, won't you say something?
I need to get my bearings.
I'm lost,
And the shadows keep on changing.

And I'm haunted,
By the lives that I have loved
And actions I have hated.
I'm haunted,
By the lives that wove the web
Inside my haunted head
-- Poe, "Haunted"
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was just shy of a total loss. I was hit hard by the chronic stomach ailment I've had most of my life. I tried to write anyway. I wrote 344 words for of my piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, before I was too sick to think straight enough to write anymore. Then I went back to bed. Later, I made it through dinner and two bottles of Gatorade and almost felt like I wasn't dead. It was a joyous day. And then, when I was trying to go to sleep, there was a small seizure (the first in three weeks), which left me jittery and awake until five ayem.

I strongly dislike writing about health problems in a public forum. I find the act distasteful. But it all has a direct bearing on the abysmal word counts of late. So, I figure it's part of the story. It's not whining, or a cry for pity. It's just exposition.

At least I have David Bowie. And coffee.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're hoping to have a little bit of spending money when we go to Oregon for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon at the end of the month. Thanks.

We've watched two movies over the last week. Between reading, Second Life, and WoW, I've not been watching many movies lately. Anyway, it gives me something to write about this ayem (which is actually early afternoon).

First, we saw Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo's After.Life (2009) on Thursday night. It wasn't a particularly good film, which was frustrating, because it could have been something just shy of great. Instead, it was weighed down by plot, and story, and subplot, and superfluous characters. The film has flashes of brilliance. Liam Neeson is surprisingly creepy as a mortician turned serial killer, and Christina Ricci was a perfect choice for a girl who is slowly being convinced that she is, in fact, a corpse. And that's the story, right there, all the story the movie needed. More than enough to deal with. But no, it kept dragging itself down into horror and slasher flick clichés, and made what might have been a powerful tale of psychological terror a lumpy, uneven mess. I can't even blame the director for fucking up someone else's screenplay, because it was her screenplay. I just wish someone could have told her to turn down the volume, lose the extra baggage, and tighten the focus. The film never should have left the one room in the mortuary.

Last night, we finally watched Louis Leterrier's remake of Clash of the Titans (2010). I saw the original in high school (1981, directed by Desmond Davis), and even at seventeen, I found the film tiresome and hokey. Even though I was a huge fan of Ray Harryhausen. So, what can I say about the remake? Well, it's still dumb as dirt. I'm still annoyed than the sea monster that comes for Andromeda is, inexplicably "the Kraken" (Norse), instead of Cetus. But, all in all, Leterrier's remake is less painful and not so dull. It has its moments (which the original entirely lacked, save moments of unintentional camp and irony). The whole thing was worth sitting through just for Perseus' battle against the gorgon Medusa (played by Natalia Vodianova, and never, ever has Medusa been so hot). The climactic showdown with "the Kraken" was at least a grand spectacle. So what if the monster design was pretty much lifted from Cloverfield. The 1981 Kraken just made me laugh. At least this one was a presence. The cast was unremarkable (more Liam Neeson, because Zeus = Aslan). I always enjoy watching Sam Worthington, though I'm not sure why. Ralph Fiennes made a fine enough Hades, because I could just pretend he was Voldemort. Alexa Davalos made for an entirely yawn-worthy Andromeda. I'm pretty sure Andromeda should inspire something more than a yawn. Who can blame Perseus for choosing Io?

Okay. Now, I see if this body is going to let me work today. Oh, wait. I have five cute photos of Sméagol:

11 September 2010 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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