greygirlbeast: (Eli1)

Now, that's bow tie.
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
I didn't work again yesterday. Somehow, taking one day off made me so tired that I needed two off. Which is odd, as I left the house on neither day. I think this is one reason I so rarely bother to take days off. Not only do I not have time, and not only do days off make me twitchy (no matter how much I need them), they also seems to make me tireder.

On this day a year ago—right about now—we were flying out of Portland, vaulting eastward, homeward, over a range of towering, snow-capped volcanic peaks, and little did we suspect the hell of air travel snafus and "we don't give a fucks" awaiting us in Minneapolis and beyond. Still, even for that, it was great trip. But I'll never fly again, unless I can't avoid it, or it means I get to cross the Atlantic.


Words I find I live by more and more:

Business as usual is unacceptable. If this is the best you can do, do better. Or do something else. Do not expect me to slow down so you can catch up. No one cares, and no one is coming for you. Desire does not equate to talent, and there is too much neglected talent for anyone to have to endure mediocrity born of even the most passionate, talentless desire. Yes, it's true that honey catches more flies than does vinegar, but fly paper catches far more than either. You're dying, already. Do not ask my opinion, unless you're willing to take a chance that I might disembowel your dreams, and no, it's not worth taking the chance.

I know how it looks. Or sounds. But all we have left to us is the truth. Lies are for the World At Large, for The Machine, for Them, the Faceless Corporate Rapists of the World. And the men and women who serve them, the men and women so filled with fear and self-loathing they only know how to believe and consume and hate. The willfully ignorant. If the truth is Hell, and Heaven a lie, give me Hell. That's the only sane choice (sane being an admittedly subjective term) .

This is what happens when I don't work. I bleed thoughts. Ugly thoughts. Like, "When did America cease producing adult human beings?"


I have received word from Subterranean Press that Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be arriving in the subpress warehouses today, BUT, Bill Scahfer says they "have a number of titles slated to hit the door before its turn, and half my shipping department is out sick. I don't think we'll be shipping for 1-2 weeks. " So, be patient, kittens. It's coming. It will be my Samhain gift to thee.


Nothing much happened yesterday. I took a long hot bath. There was washing-machine drama in Pickman's Basement. The new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived. I received a biography of Arthur Machen (coincidence?) I've not read as a gift from [ profile] ashlyme in far-away England. Small thank yous are often the nicest. Not always, but frequently. I've been playing a lot of Rift again. Not RPIng, just playing. The guild is actually still alive, which sort of amazes (put pleases) me. Selwynn abandoned Meridian, sick of watching the Guardians and Defiant squabble over science and religion while Regulus destroys the world; she now slays demons on her own terms. There were sandwiches for dinner. We read, and then I read to myself, K. W. Jeter's (the man who invented the term "steampunk," April 1987) "Riding Bitch," from the Halloween anthology. Not bad, really. But I stayed up too late reading.

Spooky's Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only two necklaces and a bracelet left, and who knows when she'll have time to make more. You snooze, someone else wins.

Now, back to the donut mines...

For the Moment, Guileless,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, we did get a dab of snow, but it all quickly melted. So, no harm done.

1. Yesterday was another day of editing. I thought I was done with the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between, but then I realized there was, inexplicably, no story for 1998. So...I asked Bill if I could add one, and he kindly consented (all this was in yesterday's entry, I know). So I chose "Salmagundi (New York City, 1981)." Which needed a lot of revision (it was last revised in 2007). And that's what I spent the day doing. Truthfully, it's more complicated than that, but I'll let that stand as my synoptic history, my necessary fiction. Regardless, yesterday was another editing day. But, after dinner, the "final final" ms. went away to subpress, and now it's out of my hands. Cue huge sound of relief.

2. Thanks to the people who donated to the Kickstarter project yesterday! You guys are amazing. One last request regarding "The Tale of Two Ravens" and the birth of Goat Girl Press. We're a mere $35 dollars away from being 200% funded. Anyone want to pony up that last $35? You'd put a big ol' smile on Spooky's face.

3. The Green Man review of "The Steam Dancer (1898)" has been bouncing around in my head. And while it was a very positive review, and I'm grateful for that, something about it began gnawing at me. The reviewer wrote "...I must stress that this tale is depressing..." Only, it's not. Yes, it's set in a world that, I contend, is far more honest and believable than most of those conjured for steampunk. It's a world where the consequences of a reliance on steam power is plainly evident. It's also set in a rough frontier town in the American West. But the story itself, the story of the life of Missouri Banks, is one of triumph and joy. She is raised from squalor and sickness by a man who loves her, who literally puts her back together, and she celebrates her reconstruction in dance. It's not a depressing story. I suspect the more realistic setting - which lacks the deluded shine of so much steampunk - obstructed the reviewers view of the story, though it shouldn't have. Anyway,'s emphatically not a depressing story. It's a story (I don't believe I'm about to write this) of the triumph of the human spirit over terrible adversity.

4. Today, I have to find a story for Sirenia Digest #64. I've not had time to think about the digest, between finishing and editing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and editing Two Worlds and In Between. By the way, everyone who keeps congratulating me on finishing the aforementioned books and saying that now I have breathing There is no breathing room. There's only writing, if the bills are to be paid and the deadlines are not to be missed. I wish there was breathing room. The air is getting awfully close in here.

5. My great thanks for all the YA suggestions. But I should be clear that, from here on, I've only got time, just now, to read books set in the 20th Century, and, preferably, the first half of the 20th Century. Maybe I can get to the others later.

6. Yesterday morning we read more of Margo Lanagan's superb and brutal Tender Morsels, and last night we read more of Markus Zusak's very wonderful The Book Thief.

And now, kittens, I go forth to whip the word troll into submission...

In Perplexity,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (4:20 p.m.): I don't usually do this. But. If anyone has an idea, or anything remotely approaching an idea, for a vignette for Sirenia Digest #64, feel free to post it. Think of this as me taking requests. Well, at least considering requests.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Slowly, slowly, spring is coming to Providence. I try not to think how fast it must be coming on in Birmingham, and Atlanta, and Athens. Here, it comes slowly. And I am here, and, in all ways, that's better than my being in Birmingham, or Atlanta, or Athens. But the slow-coming spring, it's still odd and difficult, especially after a winter like the one we just had. The days are averaging 40sF, the nights 30sF or high 20sF, which actually seems warm. We can acclimate to almost anything.

The nice thing about knowing that virtually no one reads this blog is that I don't have to worry about whether or not I'm boring people.

Anyway, yesterday was warm. The official high in Providence was 71˚F, I think. As it was day one of the three-day vacation, we decided to drive to West Cove on Conanicut Island. It was very comfortable when we left the city, but there was a wind advisory, with gusts up to 50 mph. When we got out of the van at West Cove, it felt like the temperature was in the thirties, and I spent the first hour of beach combing shivering and trying to keep my hands from going numb. Then the sun came out, and the afternoon warmed. I was able to remove my gloves and unzip my coat. Yesterday, it will likely go down in the annals of West Cove days as the day I stepped on a dead, rotten, beached skunk. That was surely yesterday's most dramatic moment. I found two specimens of a pelecypod I've never seen in the cove before, Cerastoderma pinnulatum (the Small cockle). I found a few good bird bones, including another cormorant beak. We stayed until late, then headed back to the city.

On the way home, I watched the moon through my Orion 10x42 monocular. Of course, this weekend's moon is Big News, but it really was beautiful. I could identify so many landmarks: mountains, craters, basins, etc., all in reflected silver and shades of grey. We stopped by the market, and were home before dark.

There are photos from yesterday, below the cut (at the end of the entry).


I won't write about the post-novel depression, just now, and certainly not the whys of it. It only gets worse when you look directly at it, or speak its name.

There's always an odd sort of embarrassment when I see a review of an anthology, and the reviewer hated most of the book, but really loved my contribution. Case in point, a review of Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded at Green Man Reviews. The book reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)," and the reviewer writes:

It’s a beautiful achievement, this story, a very human, rather squalid life offered for our perusal in terms that are neither sentimental nor cruel, managing an effect at once intimate and remote. Now there’s so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing that I must stress that this tale is depressing, in a quiet sort of way… but that’s not what makes it art. What makes it art is the command of voice and personality Kiernan displays, the things she says and the things she leaves unsaid, and the fact that she can deliver this character-driven gem while still conjuring up a whole world of clanking, steam-driven marvels in the background, almost all through hints and allusions. This story lingers. I hope it gets a good deal of attention; it deserves to.

Okay, aside from the snarky, bizarre "so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing" bit, very nice. I continue to believe "The Steam Dancer (1896)" is, in fact, one of my best stories.

Also, I've seen a review of The Ammonite Violin & Others by ST Joshi that I think will be appearing in Dead Reckonings (I think). Also, very flattering. A short excerpt:

Purely on the level of prose, Kiernan already ranks with the most distinctive stylists of our field—Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Thomas Ligotti. With Ligotti’s regrettable retreat into fictional silence, hers is now the most recognizable voice in weird fiction. No one is ever likely to mistake a sentence by Caitlín R. Kiernan for a sentence by any other writer.

That ought to cheer me up, right? I know that it should. But...


Also, yesterday I read David H. Keller's "The Jelly-Fish" and F. Marion Crawford's "For the Blood is the Life." Neither was very good, but the latter was almost unreadable in its dullness. Also read, from the last JVP, "A new partial skeleton of a cryptocleidoid plesiosaur from the Upper Jurassic Sundance Formation of Wyoming" and "A possible azhdarchid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Qingshan Group of Laiyang, Shandong, China."

Right. I'm not supposed to work today. That's the truth. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do, instead, to busy my restless, fretting mind.

Here are yesterday's photographs:

18 March 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Sleep went disastrously wrong last night. I crawled off to bed about 3:30 a.m., but couldn't sleep (let's not go there). So, I got up, and didn't go back to bed until 5:30. Then I began waking around 9 a.m., and finally got up at 11:15. How the hell do people "sleep in"? I'd even taken a Sonata. So, this morning I am more than half asleep and almost every joint in my body (but especially the knees down) is screaming. These little reminders that I am not a kid anymore. Spooky hardly slept any better than I did, or than did I, or what the fuck ever.

Yesterday was mostly spent reading over "The Colliers' Venus (1893)" for the first time since I finished it almost two years ago, at the end of 2008. I remember not being happy with how the story turned out, but reading over it again yesterday I liked it quite a lot. It's one of the four Cherry Creek stories, set in an alternative steampunkish history, and Denver is, instead, a city named Cherry Creek. And people dig too deeply. I had a lot of questions from the copyeditor, and the only way I could answer them was to read the story. So, I read the story, and then I answered the questions.

We continue to work on Dancy's cigar box. In the meantime, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. And Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries Etsy shop. The whole tax thing really did a number on us this year, and I feel like no amount of work can compensate. I wrote two stories between October 18th and October 24th, and I still feel like a slacker. After all, what about all those hours I was awake when I could have been writing more.

I'm not leaving the House enough, even though I'm leaving it more than usual.

Oh, yesterday I also backed up almost everything on my iMac to Spooky's Toshiba 250 gig external hd. That meant, among other things, removing almost exactly 10,000 photographs from my Mac, and, to no one's surprise, it's running much better now.

My thanks to Steven Lubold for the marvelous packages that arrived yesterday.

In theory, today is a day off. Though, I'm told I have to work on the painting I set aside more than a month ago. Study #2 for Yellow.

Some very good rp in CoX last night (and a little bit of leveling). Special thanks to [ profile] stsisyphus.

And now...well, we'll see.
greygirlbeast: (Kraken)
First, because [ profile] docbrite posted one and I am a copycat, here's a map of all the US states I've visited. This summer, I'll be making Maine for the first time, and then, in the autumn, I'll get my first trip through Ohio, on the way to Minnesota. But, here's how it stands:

create your own personalized map of the USA

And now, a somewhat wonderful short film, The Anachronism:

The Anachronism (Full Film) from Anachronism Pictures on Vimeo.

greygirlbeast: (Barker)
I need a caffeine enema.

It's raining here in Providence. It will rain for two days more, say the weathermen. Then, supposedly, spring will return. I've not left the House since March 23rd, which makes six days. Not good, but nowhere near my worst. Work and the weather and fear of human contact conspire to make a recluse of me. But, Spooky has sworn I have to leave the house this evening.

Subway bombings in Moscow. Thoughts of the feel-good travesty that is "Earth Hour." The sinking of a South Korean vessel by a North Korean mine. The fact that, as of yesterday, the US war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than Vietnam, and takes its place as the longest "active" US war ever. These thoughts, all this news pollution that I cannot effect nor dismiss, beat about my eyes and ears and slow me down. They would shut me down, were I only a little more sane.

Yesterday, I had every intention of getting Sirenia Digest #52 laid out, including writing the prolegomena. But I only managed to proofread "Houndwife" and deal with the line edits to the story. Spooky had gone down to Saunderstown to her parents place, because her sister, Steph, was up from Brooklyn with our two-year-old-nephew, Miles. I stayed behind and tried to work. But after the proofreading...everything just sort of came apart. I puttered. I dithered. I read a small bit. I did nothing in particular, except think about how I ought to be working. Spooky made it back sometime after 5:30 p.m. I have a photo of Miles (Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn A. Pollnac):

So after having that marvelously unproductive day, we didn't get to bed until after 3 a.m., because we are bad kids who do not know when they've had enough WoW. Then, to make the day perfect, my insomnia kicked in (though I'd been all but nodding off at the iMac) and I had to take an Ambien. I think I didn't get to sleep until almost five. And that was my yesterday.

Oh, I did propose, via Twitter (*shudder*) that "steampunk" might be salvaged from an inevitable and imminent demise (thanks to hipness and assimilation by the masses) if we take to calling it "coalpunk." Someone kindly pointed out this title disregards wood-powered engines and suggested "smogpunk." And, actually, it was a rather fine suggestion. Come to think of it, I have never written steampunk. I have, however, written a bit of smogpunk. "Smogpunk" can help us divest steampunk of its peculiarly romantic overtones, that idealizing and redemption of the Industrial Revolution, that short-circuiting of what ought to be dystopian, by drawing attention to the true byproduct and consequence of all that steam...namely smog. It's not about the steam, clean and billowing, but the pall of smog in which any steampunk world would be shrouded.

No one will notice this nomenclatural coup, but there you go.

Have you preordered The Ammonite Violin & Others? Well, then, please do so. Thank you.

Okay. Must awaken. Must work....
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
1. Yesterday, I began the second piece for Sirenia Digest #51, and wrote 1,011 words. I think I'm liking it. It was inspired by something I saw at Beavertail on Sunday. Also, Vince is working on an illustration for "The Eighth Veil," so the issue is coming together, and should be out before the end of February.

2. A couple of days back, the check arrived for the editions of Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, Daughter of Hounds, and The Red Tree. The arrival of money is never a bad thing. Anyway, the tentative release date for the audio editions of all five novels is April 27th, 2010, and I'm looking forward to it.

3. Jeff VanderMeer has just posted the Table of Contents for Steampunk Reloaded, and it's a great lineup. The book reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)." This marks the first time I've been in an anthology that also includes work by William Gibson, and I'm kind of excited about that. Also, I'm pleased that John Coulthart is responsible for the book's interior design.

4. Another rhetorical question: If I have a parting of the ways with a world that's only a simulacrum, do I only have to pretend to mourn?

5. If I ever sink so low as to write a paranormal romance novel titled Succubi Like It Hot, someone please gut me slowly with a dull grapefruit spoon. Thank you.

6. As promised, more photographs from Sunday at Beavertail (warning: I was sort of fixated on seaweed that day). All these were taken on the eastern side of the point. I'm already wishing I could have another day there, and not be cooped up at the desk and keyboard. That's a good sign, Howard Hughes wanting to get out and about in the world. As soon as Sirenia Digest #51 is out, I think Spooky and I will be spending a day in Boston. Anyway, yes, more photographs, and there will be still more tomorrow, and more the day after that, get the picture (so to speak):

21 February 2010, Part 2 )

Give a dog a bone,
He'll eat for the day.
But teach him how to kill...then...
greygirlbeast: (fisting)
1. There were terrible dreams this morning; I'm trying to let them all go, forget them. The only good thing about today thus far is that I'm having coffee with chicory for the first time in many years. I've been craving it for some time, and Spooky came back from the market on Thursday with a can of French Market. So, yeah, that one thing, at least, is good. Of course, I've only been up for about an hour, so the day may yet improve.

2. There was snow yesterday, but nothing heavy. I sat here at my desk and wrote the scene that I hope will open The Wolf Who Cried Girl, and I watched the snow spiraling down outside. Here in Providence, the ground has been white all year. Anyway, yeah, I did another 1,173 words yesterday. Today, I'll finish the prologue, and try to figure out if it really is how the book begins.

3. Okay, so here's the cool news about the forthcoming adaptation of The Red Tree. I was informed on Thursday that it will be a multi-voice production, with different readers for Sharon Halperin (Sarah's editor), Sarah Crowe, and Charles Harvey. Which pleases me enormously, as this is how I want people to hear the novel. No word yet when it will be released. At this point, I'm working with on a few very minor changes to the text, things that worked in print that obviously won't work for audio. The footnotes, for example.

4. I promised, back at the end of December, to post the cover art for The Ammonite Violin & Others, and then it slipped my mind. But, better late than never. Richard Kirk has, of course, done something brilliant. I'm placing it behind a cut, as the jpg is rather large:

The Ammonite Violin )

5. I'm very pleased to announce that "The Steam Dancer (1896)" will be reprinted in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's forthcoming anthology, Steampunk Reloaded.

6. I'm surprised that there haven't been more responses to last night's "If I were a summonable monster" poll, given that there have been about fifty replies to the "If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours..." poll. I actually thought last night's question was far more fun. Anyway, I'll keep reading for both right up until time to begin production on Sirenia Digest #50, so there's still plenty of time.

7. My great thanks to Steven Lubold of Phoenix Comics in Fairfax, Virginia, who sent Spooky and me a number of very fine books from our Amazon wishlists. The distractions are very much appreciated!
greygirlbeast: (white)
In a rush this morning, because I stayed up an hour too late, and slept likewise. So, I'm making this short. No, I really am. No kidding. Shortish, at any rate.

Yesterday, I finally found the beginning of "The Apprentice's Daughter" (new title to arrive ASAP), and wrote 1,101 words. And gods I hope it's not a false start. I can't afford one of those just now. The story has refused to be a vignette, insisting, instead, that it will be a short story. I remain skeptical about the whole endeavor, but Spooky likes it, and I hate it when that happens, when we have that sort of divided opinion over what I'm writing (though it's happening a lot lately). As it turns out, "The Appretice's Daughter" is set in Ulthar in Lovecraft's dreamlands, and yes, there will be a dragon. And yes, it will be erotica. Eventually. I hope this to be the story that Vince will be illustrating for Sirenia Digest #43.

And there was this question from [ profile] corucia:

If you're hunting around for the next novel, might I suggest something? I'd love to see a novel connecting 'Derma Sutra', 'The Steam Dancer' and 'The Melusine' together, perhaps as a series of seemingly-unrelated stories wherein the underlying history of the world gets laid out in the background and interstitials between stories. I'm thinking of a 'Cannery Row' kind of book, where each story builds the world and moves things forward, without ever really directly addressing what would be major plot elements in other authors' hands. I think your writing style would lend itself wonderfully to such an oblique approach...

Plus, I really like that world and want to see more of it!

To which I reply, you will likely someday get your wish. Just not for the next novel. To date, I've written (I think) four stories set in Cherry Creek, Colorado (an alternate-history, steampunk version of Denver). The plan is to eventually write eleven of these stories, one for each year from 1890 through 1900 (to date, I've done 1891, 1893, 1896, and 1898). But it could easily be another two or three years before this project is finished, so you'll have to be patient. I still have seven stories to write before it can be a book. Maybe it can appear by 2012 or so.

Spooky is beginning a round of eBay auctions to offset our ReaderCon 20 expenses in July. I'll be doing a solo presentation on Dr. Seuss as weird fiction, and another on the writing of A is for Alien, as well as numerous panels, and a reading, I suppose.

The platypus says it's time to go, and we do not argue with the platypus (well, we do, but not today).
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
Yeah, here it is. -05. It's pretty much as strange and disconcerting as I expected.

Yesterday, I actually seem to have reached THE END of "Galápagos," though I'd not expected to do so until this afternoon. I wrote a somewhat impressive 1,455 words, and there it was. No one was more surprised than I. But pleasantly surprised, I will add. This is, by the way, the only short-story length work of science fiction I've produced since "A Season of Broken Dolls," back in March 2007. Well, except some forays into steampunk, but that's not the same. At least, not the same to me. As soon as I can, I'll announce the book in which "Galápagos" will be appearing, and its release date.

On a related note, yesterday [ profile] ardiril asked, "Have you ever tried writing a story backwards in such instances?" Such instances being those cases where I begin a story with some image from the climax fixed firmly in my mind. Short answer, no, I haven't. I can't. As I've said before, I have this thing, this tick I suppose, that makes it necessary for me to write a story from beginning to end (even in cases of non-linear narratives, such as "In View of Nothing" and, more recently, "At the Gate of Deeper Slumber"). On the one hand, I consider this a sort of literary neurosis. On the other, I think I have a sound methodological reason for writing this way. In a lecture, Shirley Jackson once said (and I paraphrase) that one should never begin a story with the ending in mind and write towards it. I believe this very much, even though I sometimes do begin a story with the ending in mind. For me, a story, and the process of writing it, should be organic, somewhat spontaneous. It should mirror our perceptions of the world. Events occur. They follow one after the next (assuming you accept this view of linear time), and they have consequences. The consequences are the climax of the story. Story results from the natural interplay of cause and effect. In ideal cases, one cannot know a story's conclusion at its start, for the simple reason that it hasn't happened yet. The alternative is a sort of fictional predestination, which I find distasteful, even in those cases when I'm the one doing it.


Last night, the writing had left me pretty close to insensible. I think I was drooling. But we watched a truly bizarre and very funny film, Kit Ryan's Botched (2007). There was a little bit of WoW (though I had to have a Red Bull to manage that level of consciousness), and then Spooky read me another chapter from Andrea Barrett's The Voyage of the Narwahl. I'm enjoying this book a great deal. It even works as a sort of companion piece to Dan Simmons' superb The Terror, since it's a story about an attempt to find and rescue Franklin's lost expedition. I'm keen to track down more of Barrett's books now. Turns out, she was a biologist before she gave it up for writing historical sea-faring novels. And then I didn't wake up until about 11:30 this morning, which means I got more than eight hours sleep. Amazing.

And now I should be going, because we're expecting Sonya ([ profile] sovay) this evening, and there's stuff to be done.

Oh. Here are a few WoW screencaps, including Shah's embarrassing dance during the L80ETC show the other night:

Suraa, plus Egg Nog and Port Don't Mix )
greygirlbeast: (white)
I had it in my mind that today might be a day off. I don't actually have the time to take a day off right now, but I'm exhausted and meant to do it anyway. I was going to go to Boston, to the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard, or to New Haven, to the Yale Peabody Museum. But, no. Rain and gale force winds. So, I'm going to do some work, and maybe go out this evening to procure more warm clothes. I'm now planning a day off for the day after Sirenia Digest #36 is sent out to subscribers, come hell or high water (or snow).

Yesterday, I wrote 759 words and found THE END of "The Colliers' Venus (1893)." So, that's nine days and forty-seven typescript pages and 9,991 words. The longest story I've written in a while, and also an odd one for me. It strays dreadfully near an actual "happy ending," with actual resolution. Okay, maybe not a happy ending, but a much less bleak than usual for me ending. And maybe not genuine resolution, but something in the same neighborhood. I'm also toying with changing the title to "Ancient of Days (1893)," but I probably won't. Also, yesterday we read through Chapter Seven of The Red Tree. I think that I have finally written a book that fascinates me. Oh, I love Daughter of Hounds, and all the others have their good points, but I'm not sure they ever fascinated me. I was passionate for each and every one, yes, but I feel as though I could stare at The Red Tree for days and days and never see the bottom.

So, instead of a day off, today I will likely be finishing the first read through on The Red Tree (just two chapters to go) and polishing "The Colliers' Venus (1893)." And, as I said, maybe going out for more sweaters and socks.

Last night is sort of a blur. I couldn't stay awake, until I tried to fall asleep. I managed some work on the [ profile] crk_blog_vault project.

Mostly, I'm toying with the idea of turning back to some of my shelved paleontology work to occupy my mind and get me away from time sucks like SL and WoW. I've got a whole fauna from the Bluffport Marl (Demopolis Chalk) of Sumter County, Alabama waiting to be prepared and described (including a large marine turtle and the youngest Cretaceous bird from Alabama). I think I've spent too much of my life, the last year and a half, living only virtually. I'm weary of it all, all those cartoon avatars. All the morons who can't be bothered, because they never learned to be earnest and, you know, it's not cool to take shit like this seriously. All the wasted potential. The simulacra that were only chat rooms. Maybe it's time for me to turn back to the "Real World." Oh, and books. And RL friends. And exercise. And sleep.

I'm not at all sure I'm making sense.

Of course, even as I say these things, I may be buying back the Palaeozoic Museum in New Babbage (SL). I sold it a few months ago, during the Howard's End debacle, but the woman who purchased it has defaulted on her rent. The mayor's offering to sell it back to me, and Spooky and I put so much work into it, I hate to just see it torn down. There's so little of old New Babbage left (it's a steampunk sim).

Also, I will cautiously say that I might be sort of tentatively impressed with Facebook. It's like MySpace for actual grown ups. People even use their actual names. That's sort of amazing.

Okay. The platypus says to drink my coffee and hop to it. So, I hop.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
Yesterday, despite the fact that I spent all day at the keyboard, I managed only a paltry 675 words on "The Collier's Venus (1893)." The story continues to confound me. A locked box to which I seem to have never received the key. Or, I have the key, but can't quite figure out how it works. I sent the first three sections to Sonya last night, and she likes it. Spooky likes it. But I am entirely uncertain. It will be finished, because there is not now time to begin a new story. I see this story so clearly in my mind's eye, and yet the words escape me. I think the last time I had this sort of frustration was with "The Ape's Wife." And, I should admit, that turned out quite well, in the end. Or, in THE END. There are precious few mornings when I sit down in this chair and actually look forward to writing. But, usually, at least I do not sit down with an utter dread of the story I'm trying to write. That's the present situation. But I am the sole creatrix of that world, that fictive reality, and, in time, I'll unlock the box. There's just so little time.

Yesterday, I came to a sort of resolution. In large part, it stems from the trouble I'm having with "The Collier's Venus (1893)." In large part, it's just common sense. I'm going to set December and January aside for a "semi-vacation." That is, I'm scaling back work for those two months, limiting myself to Sirenia Digest and the editing of The Red Tree. This means I'll be pulling out of a couple of anthologies I've agreed to write stories for. But it simply cannot be helped. I am too tired. No, I am bloody exhausted. There's been no break since...the move, and that was hardly a break. I didn't even take any sort of decent breather after finishing The Red Tree*, and I simply cannot keep this up. I will be sick again, if I do.

So...I just have to survive writing "The Collier's Venus (1893)," all of Sirenia Digest #36, and the trip to Manhattan next week, and then maybe I'll be fine.

Ah, but there is a little good news. Stephen Jones has selected "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" for a special Twentieth Anniversary "very best of" The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. This story and I have a long, long history. It was originally written in November 1993, my third story ever intended for publication. It's probably one of the more interesting pieces of my "naïve period" (let's say '93-'95). Originally, the story placed with a small press zine called Eldritch Tales (long deceased). However, four years later, it still had not been published. Then, at the May 1997 World Horror Convention in Niagara Falls, Steve Jones asked me to write a Dracula-themed story for the '97 World Fantasy Convention souvenir book, Secret City: Strange Tales of London. So, I sent a letter (we still wrote actual letters back then, on paper, with ink) to the editor of the obviously moribund Eldritch Tales, withdrawing the story. I wrote a second draft, adding 1,100 words, and sent it to Steve, who loved it. Later, it was selected for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (Vol. 9, 1998), and then was reprinted in my second collection, From Weird and Distant Shores (2002). And now, it will be reprinted again, sixteen years after I began it. The book will be released by Earthling Publications as a signed, limited edition, and will include one story from each volume of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. More details TBA.

Last night, after Chinese leftovers, we ventured out into the wuthering evening, because I couldn't stand to be shut up in the house with all that wind pressing in at the walls. And I needed more Yacht Club ginger ale. Yacht Club is my new beverage addiction (they also make excellent root beer). Anyway, last night our cashier at Eastside Market just happened to be the girlfriend of the son of the owner of Yacht Club Bottling Works (located in Centredale, RI), which was sort of weird and cool. Back home, there was WoW. Shaharrazad and Suraa slew kobolds, dromaeosaurid theropods, giant spiders, ogres, (at Boulderfist Hall) and laid waist to countless humans at a Syndicate encampment (at Northfold Manor), all in the Arathi Highlands. I posted another entry to [ profile] crk_blog_vault. Later, we watched the first episode of Deadwood for the zillionth time. And it's still brilliant, and still makes me sad that the idiots at HBO saw fit to cancel what is possibly the best written series in television history. I think we got to bed just before 3:30 a.m.

* I was just looking back over old journal entries, and it appears the last time I took an actual vacation was the first week of June 2007.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
A truly stunningly hideous dream this morning, even by my standards. So, just a tad dreamsick right now.

Yesterday, I wrote only 839 words on "The Colliers' Venus (1893)," which looks rather pathetic compared to Sunday's word count. I fear the story might have derailed, and I may have to spend today getting it back on track. This is another one set in my alternate-hitsory steampunk Colorado, in the city of Cherry Creek (known in this worldline as Denver), which was also the setting for "The Steam Dancer" (1896)," "The Melusine (1898)," and "Derma Sutra (1891)."

I should give some sort of historical context for the stuff I'm reposting at [ profile] crk_blog_vault, for those who are following it. It's very strange for me, reading back over and reposting those old entries. At the time I began the blog, I'd just returned from my first (and bloody disastrous) move to Atlanta. I was once again living in Liberty House in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, in a loft (#304) next door to the loft (#303) I'd moved out of just a few months earlier. I adored Liberty House, though, sadly, it has since been devoured by the condo monster. Once upon a time, it was the Liberty Overall's factory, there on Morris Avenue, and Jada's grandmother worked there when she was young. The building was built in the 1920s. The ceilings in that second loft were, at their highest point, eighteen feet from the hardwood floors (there was a slope from the back of the loft to the front, with the ceiling becoming progressively higher). Threshold had just been released, and I was, obviously, trying to begin Low Red Moon. I was still doing research on mosasaurs and the Upper Cretaceous of Alabama, and would soon begin doing volunteer work at the McWane Science Center. I was thirty-seven years old, which seems very young now. Spooky had gone back to Rhode Island by the time I started the blog. Sophie (the cat) was getting old, but still had five years to live. I was scripting the last book I'd do for DC/Vertigo, Bast: Eternity Game. My office roof leaked when it rained. Anyway, I'm putting the entries up pretty much as written, making only spelling corrections and such.

Back to yesterday...

While I wrote, Spooky took the car to a mechanic down in Wakefield, to have fixed whatever went wrong with the windshield wipers back in September. She visited her mom, and they went to the Toy Vault (wicked cheap) in the Wakefield mall and found the Severus Snape action figure I've been coveting. Now, if I can just find Dumbledore. Anyway, Spooky drove her mother's van back to Providence, and tomorrow we should get our car. There was a big pot of chili for dinner. We made it through Chapter Two of The Red Tree. But I took a hot bath before we started reading and had a great deal of trouble staying awake for the first few pages. Later, when work was finally done, we played a little WoW. Shah and Suraa wandered from the Arathi Highlands all the way south to Booty Bay, where they drank cherry-flavoured grog in the company of goblins. Shaharrazad got a fancy new wand (35-66 arcane damage, 29 damage/second, speed 1.8) off a Dalaran summoner (human) that Suraa killed, which is pretty cool, considering there's only a 1% drop rate for that wand. Later still, we watched more Firefly.

Right. Coffee. Platypus. Deadlines. Here we go again....

And no, I do not celebrate Veteran's Day. I recognize Armistice Day (thank you, Mr. Vonnegut).
greygirlbeast: (Amano)
I forgot to mention in this morning's entry that last night we watched The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello (2004), and thanks to YouTube, you can to:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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