greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
No sleep until, I think, 4:30 ayem. Simply not sure. I waited forever to take the pills (which means they're still with me), and then Kathryn read to me until I could shut my eyes.

Sunny today, and I ought to be at Pride, but I'll sit here and write, instead.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,794 words on Blood Oranges. And considered changing the title of the book to Diary of a Werepire Dead Girl. Saner portions of my head prevailed. Last night, we watched Abrams' Star Trek for the bazillionth time – I love it more each time – and Selwyn made Level 48 in Rift.

I'm trying to figure out the dedication for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. It was easy with The Ammonite Violin & Others. Diane Arbus was the only choice that made any sense. But this time I have a list, and I'm considering Henry Darger, Angela Carter, Francis Bacon, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Anyway, blah, blah, blah. I should brush my teeth.
greygirlbeast: (Vulcans)
As days off go, yesterday was so-so. I did manage to spend two or three hours Outside, so that part went well. But it was windy and not at all warm, and I forgot my wool toboggan cap, so my ears hurt. The day was dazzlingly bright, even though we didn't get out until well into the afternoon. We went nowhere in particular. It was too cold to go to the sea without some serious bundling, and I was in no mood to bundle.

The sun is still with us today, but there will be rain again tomorrow. Unless there isn't.

Oh, I did send "Exuvium" to Vince yesterday morning, and as soon as his illustration is ready, I'll send Sirenia Digest #48 out to subscribers. It shouldn't be any later than Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, "Sanderlings" will be going to Bill Schafer at subpress, where it will become the chapbook to accompany the numbered edition of The Ammonite Violin & Others. I still have to put together a short afterword for that.

The coming month is going to be murder, so to speak. Sadly, only so to speak. I need to get through at least one chapter of The Next Novel. I've got to stop referring to it as Blood Oranges, as too many people are in love with the title, and I am beginning to see that it can't possibly work for this book. But, yeah...The Next Novel. The one that gets written after The Red Tree. That one. If only that was all I needed to get done this month.

Last night, we watched J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (second viewing, first on DVD), and, if anything, I'm now even more in love with the film. We also played a little WoW. I do enjoy this game, obviously, but I'm wishing terribly that I could find an MMOG that wasn't afraid to take itself seriously, one almost entirely free of irony and parody. That shit wears thin. I suspect such games exist, but finding them for the Mac is an issue. And, later still, we started reading Robert Silverberg's Nightwings (1968), which I've not read since junior high. Hearing it, I wish science fiction was as free to explore as it once was, that the pretense at "science" had not, at some point, won out over the "fiction," with all that is not deemed suitably scientific consigned to various splinters of "fantasy." It's all fantasy. All literature is fantasy. Every piece of fiction ever written is someone's fantasy, something that has never occurred and never will. Hell, a good portion of the time, actual history is fantasy.

I have a few photos from yesterday. I only allowed myself to take photographs from the moving car. Originally, I'd meant only to take them on the interstate, but that's dull as hell. Most parts of America look exactly the same when viewed from a car on an interstate. Anyway...

28 November 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Vulcans)
greygirlbeast: (Vulcans)
This morning I am tremendously grateful to a particular editor, who has extended the deadline on my next short story from May 15th to May 31st. The last two days have been passed in the panic and cold sweat that comes when the words won't, and the deadline looms, indifferent to my inability to tell tales. And, actually, I'm going to set this new story aside, let it steep a few days, and write a couple of pieces for Sirenia Digest #42.

At least a small portion of my present writing anxiety stems from the fact that human exploration and the ensuing cartography has rendered it all but impossible to tell "lost world" stories. Sure, I do love Google Earth, and Google Mars, and, for that matter, Google Europa. I spend hours pouring over satellite photographs. They fascinate me. But, I also miss the blank spaces on maps, those "Here Be Dragons" voids. And, in particular, I miss the opportunities they afforded writers of weird and speculative fiction. These days, there's nowhere left on this planet to halfway convincingly hide (and then discover) a Caprona, an Erewhon, a Brobdingnag. But, at least we can still turn to deep time, which is what I'm doing in the story that's presently giving me fits. The mapping of Deep Time will likely never be complete, or even halfway so, and, hence, I may freely populate it with any number of heretofore unsuspected microcontinents and atolls.

---

Yesterday afternoon, we made a matinée of J. J. Abrams' Star Trek, and I found it entirely and unreservedly delightful. Yeah, the science is pretty much junk, stem to stern, as has always been the case with Star Trek. But so what. It's Star Trek, and Abrams has given the story the reboot it needed after the obscene farce of Star Trek: Enterprise (and Star Trek: Nemesis, while we're at it). I loved the film. Crazy-good space opera. Breathtaking sfx. And the casting is superb. I already knew that I'd love Zachary Quinto as Spock, but I was almost as pleased with Karl Urban as McCoy, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, and John Cho as Sulu. I've never been much for Kirk, but Chris Pine did just fine. And casting Simon Pegg as Scotty was a stroke of pure brilliance. This one's a winner, and, while the film is utterly satisfying, I'm a glutton and was left wanting much, much more, please.

Last night, we watched Abrams Cloverfield (2008) again, because it just seemed the right thing to do. Though, of course, Cloverfield was directed by Matt Reeves, and not Abrams. They do, however, share the same creature designer, Neville Page.

---

Having fun with WoW the last few nights. Shaharrazad and Suraa both made Level 67 last night, while trudging through the swampy wastes of Zangarmarsh.

And now, says the platypus, it's time to wrap this up. The dodo concurs.
greygirlbeast: (stab)
I have more reasons to love Harlan than I can count, but this is the latest one:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ELLISON SUES STAR TREK

And this line:

"To quote Gandhi: ‘First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.’"

Fuckin' A.
greygirlbeast: (Nar'eth)
Sirenia Digest #6 went out late yesterday afternoon and last night (thank you, Spooky), so everyone should have it by now. I've received some very positive comments on "The Black Alphabet," which is reassuring. Note, though, that this piece will not be reprinted in Tales from the Woeful Platypus, as the collection only covers issues #1-#6.

Spooky says today is an off day. It will only be my fourth in the past forty-two days, so that seems fair. We have no plans. The day is going to be hot, so we'll likely spend most of the afternoon indoors, reading and suchlike. I like the idea of a day off with no plans. Tomorrow, though, I'm going to begin work on the second half of "The Black Alphabet," as I really do intend to get the next issue of the digest out by June 14th.

There was much more work yesterday than I'd expected, and afterwards I was bleary and unfocused. Spooky had gotten a watermelon from the co-op, and we ate watermelon on the front porch and spat seeds into the grass. It was a very good, locally grown, "organic" watermelon, not one of those flavourless, thick-rinded things from Publix. After dinner, we had a long twilight walk around Freedom Park. Most of the day's heat had bled away, and there was the slimmest crescent of the waxing moon. We saw a few lightning bugs, but no bats. The pink and purple remains of sunset hung above downtown Atlanta. I picked some flowers for our altar. It was a very good walk. Back home, we finished Chapter Nine ("Matrix") of The Triumph of the Moon. Hutton's book grows ever more captivating, but...no one, not even a Professor in History at the University of Bristol, should be permitted to use a word like "revivifying" when "reviving" works just fine. Or so I say. Later, we watched Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), which I'd never seen before. Certainly it was better than Star Trek V, but then most things are. Iman was much appreciated, though there was too little of her. Kim Cattrall made a perfectly cute Vulcan saboteur, and I kept singing the Kim Cattrall song from MST3K, mystifying Spooky no end. I was baffled by Michael Dorn's appearance in the film (as ST:TNG had already established him as Worf), but it was nice getting so many Klingons all at once. Oh, and we watched some of the extras on the last Dead Like Me DVD, including the short making-of documentary, Dead Like Me...Again.

That was yesterday.

I think I am in direst need of breakfast. I could murder a produce stand.

Postscript: Cari at Darkshire...you need to e-mail Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com. Your digest bounced last month, and it bounced again last night, so we need a new e-mail. Thanks!
greygirlbeast: (Default)
It's very warm here in Atlanta, highs in the eighties yesterday and again today. I'm loving this early taste of summer. A sunny day out there, so I'm determined not to waste all of it in here at this dratted desk.

I thought that it might be interesting to do something I've not done before (at least, I don't think that I have) and show one of Vince's early working sketches for a Sirenia Digest story. The following was his first go at "To One Who Has Lost Herself," the result of e-mail exchanges between us shortly after I finished the story last week:


Copyright © 2006 by Vince Locke


There's really not much to be said about yesterday. I think the highpoint was when I walked down the back steps and almost stepped on a Dekay's Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi dekayi) that had just molted and was sunning itself. It was a beautiful little beast, about twelve inches long. We moved it from the driveway to a safe patch of yard. I've now seen two species of snake in our neighborhood, the Dekay's and a ringneck (Diadophis punctatus ssp). There ought to be green snakes, as well, and garter snakes, and maybe a few other species. And anoles. I've yet to see a lizard in Atlanta. I think I'm beginning to miss reptiles. I kept snakes when I was a child, and then, while I was in college, I had a fondness for lizards and turtles. At one point, about 1988, my bedroom housed a Tokay gecko, a smooth softshell turtle, a Barbour's map turtle (now endangered and protected), a common snapping turtle, and a yellow-bellied slider. Perhaps my office would benefit from a snake...

Later, we continued our Star Trek movie binge with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Mostly, I've been surprised that the Star Trek movies are a little better than I remember them being, even IV, despite it's atrocious score, the insufferable Catherine Hicks, the particularly wonky science, and all the chintz that comes with 1986. However, ST:V is every bit as gawdawful as I remember it being. Indeed, it's so bad one wonders that there was ever another Star Trek movie after it. Most of the SFX would have looked cheap and dated at the time (1989), production values seemed to hover near zero, Shatner's direction is the very definition of "hamfisted," and the climax...never mind the climax. This one should come with a warning label.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] headhouse for directing me to this truly wonderful site, Paleogeography and Geologic Evolution of North America. It has some of the best paleogeographic maps I've ever seen, and you can track the evolution of the continent from the late PreCambrian (550 mypb) all the way to the present. My favourite's, of course, are the three Late Cretaceous maps (100-75 mybp). Check it out, kiddos.

There's news of a ground sloth skeleton unearthed in the Florida everglades (not surprising), and, naturally, I'm very excited about the data and photos streaming back to Earth from the ESA's Venus Express. None of these things make it easy to think about the work I need to be doing, though. Indeed, I'm afraid that I'd much rather be looking at maps of North America during the Mesozoic or these magnificent images of the Venusian south pole than writing anything I need to be writing at the moment. Sometimes, all my life seems a binary opposition between writing and those things which kindly distract me from writing.
greygirlbeast: (chi4)
The sun is so bright through my window, I only want to be outside. The leaves have reached that part of spring where they seem to blaze with green fire.

It's weird when the day begins with a phone conversation. My agent called this morning and we had an Encouraging Talk which left me eager to read Daughter of Hounds again and even more eager to begin Joey LaFaye. She — my lit agent — is flying away to London this week, and then a week in Florida, and I'm thinking I wish that the rest of my April wasn't going to be spent in this frelling office. But. That's what I do. Writers write. And I cannot write on the road (I've tried). And there is so very much to be written, so here I am.

The proofreading went well yesterday. We got through both "Waycross" and "Alabaster," both of which I still like a great deal. Today we'll do "Les Fleurs Empoisonnèes", and tomorrow we'll do "Bainbridge" and I'll check over the preface, and then it'll be done and I can move along to the next thing. Yesterday, I was utterly baffled at a few of the typos we found in "Waycross," even though it's been published twice already, first as the chapbook (2003) and then in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (Vol. 15; 2004). Yet, still, here are these stupid, stupid errors. Argh.

I wonder if anyone's written The Mammoth Book of Mammoths? If not, I want to do so.

After I finished "pas-en-arrière", way back whenever it was I finished it, mid March, I thought I'd be going into Sirenia Digest #5 ahead of things for once. But then "For One Who Has Lost Herself" went from being a vignette to a full-blown short story that I only just finished on Thursday last, and it still hasn't been illustrated...so...here I am behind again. But I shall do my best to get the digest out on the 14th, or at least no later than the 17th. *sigh*

Last night we continued the Star Trek movie binge with Star Trek: The Search For Spock (1984) which was much more fun than I'd remembered it being. I still think Christopher Lloyd totally steals the show as the Klingon commander Kruge. And, truth be told, Robin Curtis made a better Vulcan than did Kirstie Alley, but her take on Saavik was so completely different that I had a hard time seeing them as the same character. And, speaking of that which is both geeky and trivial, my very first date movie was Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Yes. I was doomed from the very beginning.

Later, after writing a longish Wikipedia entry for the subfamily Mosasaurinae between midnight and 1:30 a.m., I was lying in bed reading the wonderful Weta Studios book on the fauna of Skull Island, trying desperately to get sleepy, and I'm such a damned nerd I got obsessed with Vastatosaurus rex and how it couldn't have evolved from Tyrannosaurus as the book would have us believe, because the manus of T. rex is functionally didactyl and V. rex is tridactyl. Add in biogeographic considerations, and it must have evolved from some other earlier, less derived tyrannosauroid, because evolution generally doesn't work backwards and character-state reversals are never the most parsimonious explanations...and I'm thinking, you damned dork, it's fiction, and it looks cool, and that's what matters, and why the hell don't you shut the damned brain off and go the frell to sleep.

Anyway, now I must go forth with my red pen and find typos that should have been caught five years ago...
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
As it turned out, I did only one of those memes yesterday. Today, though, I'll do the National Poetry Month thing. Later today.

The proofreading went better than expected. Usually, when I'm in such a mood, that mood where the last thing I want to read is me, proofreading is pointless. I hate everything I see. I cannot pretend I ever have anything like objectivity as regards my own work, but in those moods there is a marked bias against anything I've written. I want to draw a red line through it all. However, I managed to slip out of it yesterday, somehow. We read through "For One Who Has Lost Herself," and it seems to work for me. Which was a relief. I changed very little from the "first draft." Just a few line edits. Then we got back to work on Alabaster. I knew I was only up for one story, so we read "The Well of Stars and Shadow," one of my favourites in the collection. I changed a few words here and there, a handful of commas. It was weird reading those two stories back to back. Two very different voices. My voice that sounds just a little like Shirley Jackson and then my voice that sounds just a little like Flannery O'Conner merged with Harper Lee. There might have been a time when I could pretend I wrote with one voice, but that time's is passed, for better or worse.

Oh, frell. Let's not go all retrospectical autoanalytical. Not just now.

Today, we're going to proof "Waycross" and "Alabaster" and maybe also "Les Fleurs Empoisonnèes". I'd really like to be done with these galleys by Tuesday, at the latest. And I have to talk with Vince about the illo. for "For One Who Has Lost Herself."

We had a good walk late yesterday. Out to Freedom Park. Everyone was off at the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont, so we had the park almost entirely to ourselves. The oaks are greening, and there was a breathtaking, beautiful bank of cumulus clouds, towering and white and blue and grey, moving in from the north or northeast. There was a sunlit window yesterday, between the morning's overcast gloom and second waves of storms in the evening. It was much appreciated. I only wish I'd had the camera to get some shots of those clouds.

Spooky went to the market. I wrote a new Wikipedia entry, for the Chinese basal ornithischian Hexinlusaurus multidens, and edited a number of others. I fixed dinner. We watched most of the extras on the two Star Trek DVDs we'd rented Friday. I didn't mention yesterday that this "director's version" of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the final cut that Robert Wise never got, because the shooting/release schedule for the film was so absurdly rushed. And it does smooth out a lot of the rough spots and makes more sense of the action without changing any of it. A lot of the sfx were reworked, all for the better, and nothing was done that couldn't have been done with 1978 technology. It's not the sort of hatchet revisionist job George Lucas did on the first three Star Wars films. The opening sequence on Vulcan is much improved.

So. That was yesterday. Back to the red pen now.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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