greygirlbeast: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (cullom)
So, yesterday we made it all the way through Chapter Four ("Yer Funeral") of Silk. It was a little annoying to discover that the photostat I'd been sent was missing several pages near the beginning, but it's nothing that isn't easily remedied. Anyway, as of the end of the day yesterday, this is how the Zokutou page meter looks:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
93 / 354
(26.3%)


Having not read this novel in at least a decade, I am pleased to say that I still like it. I was afraid that I would not, that who I am now and how I write now and how I view the world now would have deviated to such a great degree from the me who wrote Silk that our worldviews — this me and that former me — would have become incommensurable. But this isn't the case. The book holds up well, and I'm proud I did such a good job with what was only my second novel. I am making quite a lot of minor changes, more than I'd thought I would, primarily smoothing out the grammar a little, standardizing commas, hyphens, semicolons, & etc. I'm dividing the more visually jarring "compounderations" with hyphens or simply making of them two words. Anyway, yes, it's going well.

One thing that struck me in particular yesterday was this passage:

And when she was thirteen she'd run away the first time, had been picked up by Florida state troopers, hitchhiking a few miles from the Alabama state line. Had finally spent a little time in juvie, and no one had really bothered to argue when she turned sixteen and dropped out of school. No one had come after her when she'd bought the bus ticket back to Birmingham with her own money. She'd walked from the Greyhound depot downtown, dragging an old duffel bag behind her. Military canvas crammed full of her ratty jeans and T-shirts and comic books like some gigantic olive-drab sausage. (p. 57, Roc mmp)

I have remarked more than once of the sometimes intentional, sometimes unintentional recurrence of "the white woman" in my stories and novels, beginning with Virginia Percel in The Five of Cups on up the legless albino in "the white dreams" and "In View of Nothing." However, this parallel with Spyder's return to Alabama and Dancy's exit from Florida in Threshold, and then "again" in Alabaster, was, I can honestly say, entirely accidental. It gave me pause, seeing it yesterday. Was Spyder a dress rehearsal for Dancy? Is Dancy merely Spyder Baxter seen from some other perspective? Then, when you reconsider "Bainbridge" in light of this passage, "Bainbridge" being the story where the events of Silk, Alabaster, Threshold, and Murder of Angels are finally brought into direct contact, all sorts of wormholes and literary Möbius strips and new resonances emerge. Most of the interconnectedness in my stories is intentional, but this parallel certainly was not, which probably makes it all the more meaningful.

I have held off on making this announcement until I had my schedule, but yes, I will be appearing at the Birmingham Public Library's Alabama Bound lit festival in April. Specifically, at 12:30 p.m., Saturday April 14th. It will be a very short sort of a thing, hardly even a real reading (as that's the way Alabama Bound works), but I will be answering questions afterwards and signing for a bit (I think a local Barnes and Noble will be providing copies of Daughter of Hounds and Threshold for sale). This is my first public appearance since November 2004, and I currently have no others planned.

Last night, Spooky and I watched the three-hour Galápagos special on the National Geographic Channel. Beautiful.

Okay. Back to the word mines...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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