greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Please do comment; I'll be here all damn day.

It seems that all my family and friends in Birmingham are safe. I know a few people in Tuscaloosa, mostly at the University, and I've heard nothing from that end. But the devastation from yesterday's tornadoes is horrific, and I've had to make myself stop looking at the photographs of familiar places reduced to unfamiliar places. Tornadoes are a part of living in the South that I do not miss.

---

Dream images from last night are mostly lost, and those that remain are faint and almost indistinguishable from the background clutter of my mind. There was a beautiful mastodon skeleton weathering from a river bank. There was frozen Stalingrad during World War II.

All summer they drove us back through the Ukraine.
Smolyensk and Viyasma soon fell.
By autumn, we stood with our backs to the town of Orel.


No, the mastodon skeleton wasn't in Stalingrad.

---

Work was an odd and scatterbrained affair yesterday. Lots of loose ends and such, and today I have to begin a new piece for Sirenia Digest, because I am woefully fucking late getting to it. Oh, by the way, the snazzy new Sirenia Digest website will go live this weekend or early next week.

I mentioned that the ARCs for Two Worlds and In Between arrived on Tuesday. They include Lee Moyer's cover art, but brightness and contrast are way off, rendering the cover muddy and dark. And it's not the actual layout we're going with, so if you happen to see one of the ARCs, this is not what the final book will actually look like. I spent part of yesterday making corrections to the text, because no matter how many times you proofread a thing, or how many people len their eyes to the proofreading, it will still be filled with fucking errors. The manuscript is 210,209 words long, which breaks down to 965,432 individual characters, all of which have to be checked again and again. Also, it seems that the release date on the book has been moved from January 2012 to September 30, 2011. I had no idea.

I spent a goodly portion of yesterday on the cover for "The Crimson Alphabet," the chapbook that will accompany Two Worlds and In Between. I'd already done a cover, but decided I hated it and started over. The end result is very, very simple.

---

[livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has announced the casting call for two projects related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. You can see his announcement here, but I'll also post his entry here in its entirety later. A book trailer and a still photography project. It's all fairly fucking awesome.

---

Last night, I left the house with Spooky, and we drove to College Hill. Spring is now in full bloom, and the temperatures have been warm enough that I am hereby declaring Cold Spring to have ended and Spring Proper to have begun. We stopped by Acme Video (complimentary Atomic Fireballs!), then Eastside Market, then got cheese burgers from Five Guys in Seekonk, Mass. I'm not used to driving out of state for burgers. That's going to take some time (and it's not something we'll make a habit of doing, either).

Back home, we watched Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void (2009). And I honestly wasn't impressed. If nothing else, the film needs at least 45 minutes trimmed away (running time, a whopping 161 minutes). This film manages to belabor pretty much everything it touches upon. In the hands of a skillful editor, it's possible that something worthwhile could be salvaged. If Lars von Trier and David Lynch had never heard of editing, they might make movies like Enter the Void. Also, it doesn't help that Nathaniel Brown, who plays the protagonist, has all the acting ability of a stalk of broccoli. There are plenty of arresting visuals, and some brutal, beautiful scenes, but even I can only watch psychedelic Tokyo sex scenes, shot from an overhead boom and lit with seizure-inducing, flickering shades of red, for just so long before the yawning begins. I hoped I would feel better about the film this morning, but, in fact, I find that I sort of loathe it; I suppose that's something.

---

I have about a hundred other things in my head, wanting to be spoken of in this blog today. Maybe later.

Disoriented,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunny and mild today. Yesterday's storms have gone, and they seem to have taken yesterday's heat with them. The temperature inside the House reached 85F yesterday.

And I only managed to write 558 words on "The Maltese Unicorn," over the course several hours. I swear, if this story were a film, and I were the director, at this point I'd be fired and they'd hire someone like Francis Ford Coppola to come in and try to clean up the mess. I am definitely over budget. And yet, the story now has a solid beginning, and today I can get back to the middle. I have about 5,000 words left to finish things up, and it's going to be a bit of a squeeze. I hope to be done by Friday, at the latest. And let me say again, for me this is such a strange and counter-intuitive way to write, pulling things apart, writing bits out of sequence, and so forth, and I sincerely hope not to be resorting to this method again anytime soon.

If you've not already, please have a look at the current eBay auctions, especially the Dreaming mobile, since we may never offer another of those. As ultra rare items related to my work go, the Dreaming mobile is about as rare as it gets. All proceeds from these auctions go to help offset the not inconsiderable expense of attending Readercon 21 next month.

So, yes, yesterday I wrote, and edited, and rewrote, and moved scenes around. Spooky painted. I wrote. I would make her stop so I could read her a few paragraphs, a single sentence, or a series of pages. Outside, storm clouds soared by and the wind blew wildly. The House was stifling. Finally, as I was reading her a scene for the fifth or sixth time, I said fuck it, it's too hot, and we went for a walk. It didn't seem a whole lot cooler out there, but at least there was a strong wind. We walked as far as the Dexter Training Ground and the Armory. Then I came home and went back to work. There are a few photos behind the cut:

6 June 2010 )


What else of yesterday that's worth writing down? Spooky's mom sent us a link to an adorable photo she'd taken of a four-foot-long Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor) she'd had to relocate from the strawberry patch. Spooky's dad's in the Philippines again, doing field work, by the way. I read a paper on the discovery of Paleocene-aged pantodont footprints in a coal mine in Norway. I watched an episode of Nova devoted to the causes of the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster. After dinner, we watched Philipp Stölzl's Nordwand (2008), which is a genuinely breathtaking, horrific film; highly recommended. Later, we played too much WoW, leveling Gnomenclature and Klausgnomi to 24. Oh, and I had an argument in guild chat about Han Solo and Greedo (Han shot first, you fools!), which is about as low as a nerd can sink. Though, what was more disturbing was that the person I was having the conversation with was born in 1990! I think that revelation actually made me dizzy. Anyway, that was yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Kraken)
I'm probably feeling far too rabidly antisocial even for a journal entry this morning, but here goes. And isn't it odd that in 2009, an undertaking that was once the very definition of private— writing an entry in a journal or diary —has now become a public spectacle? It seems to me that "we" are so very afraid of a moment alone, truly and completely alone, without even the promise that someone will at least eventually look at what is being done, what we are thinking, what we are feeling. A society that is becoming increasingly exhibitionist, and, of course, also becoming increasingly voyeuristic. It's a nice psychotic balance, I suppose, a new ecosystem of excessive interaction. Or not new, only made more intent, more intensely so. Makes Big Brother's job easier, I suppose.

No writing yesterday. No busyness of writing yesterday (a few emails aside). We went to the shore, to see the heavy surf that was the aftermath of the storm. We went first to Narragansett, to Harbor of Refuge. We were both surprised by the violence of the waves. It was greater than what we'd expected. We walked out on the beach on the western side of the granite jetty. The air was full of salt mist and sea gulls, and the wind was bitter, though the day was freakishly warm (high 60sF here in Providence). The sun was bright, a white hole of fire punched in the sky. It was almost impossible to hear one another over the roar of the waves, but then, there was nothing that needed saying, anyway. We found a surfboard washed up on the sand, its owner nowhere to be seen. It was clear that the high tide, which had been sometime around 9 a.m. (CaST), had come well inland, into the brush and salt marshes north of the harbor. It appeared that wooden barricades had been erected the day before to keep back sightseers, but the waves had smashed them. Spooky found an orange blob of fish eggs amongst the flotsam. I'm not sure how high the waves were— officially, I mean —but they were slamming against and over-topping the jetty (which is 5-7 feet high, if you're standing on the beach it protects), sending spray twenty or thirty feet into the afternoon air.

We left Harbor of Refuge, having decided we wanted to see what was going on farther west, at Moonstone Beach. But first we went all the way down to Point Judith, where the tide was lower than I'd ever seen it before. Mossy green rocks were exposed, and tide pools, but the waves were too treacherous to try for a look at what might be stranded in them. The foghorn at the lighthouse called out over the crash of the breakers.

On the way to Moonstone Beach, I pointed out a bumper sticker to Spooky. "Do No Harm." As if that's even possible, as if every human action, no matter how profound or mundane, doesn't do harm in some way. Still, I suppose it's a nice sentiment.

We reached Moonstone as the sun was getting low. We'd stopped somewhere along the way so I could photograph a field, still green in December. We passed cows and flooded pastures. When we finally reached Moonstone Beach, we found it completely transformed by the storm. The usual carpet of cobbles and pebbles was swept away or buried. Much of the sand was stained black with the ghost of the '96 oil spill. The waves were almost as impressive as those at Harbor of Refuge, four and half miles to the east. Despite low tide, the brackish tea-colored water in Trustom Pond was very high, rushing loudly through the spillway into Card Pond. Spooky and I walked west, towards Green Hill, walking into the wind. But we only went a hundred yards or so. The sun slipped behind clouds advancing from Long Island Sound, and the temperature abruptly plummeted. By the time we made it back to the car, we were shivering and the dunes were in shadow.

And that was yesterday. I have enough photographs for several days, and the first seven are behind the cut below.

Please note that we've begun a new round of eBay auctions. And that Spooky has only four of her Cthulhu-headstone Cehalopodmas ornaments remaining (of the ten she made); you can see (and purchase) them in her Etsy Dreaming Squid Dollworks shop.

There will be no writing today. I have to finish editing "Sanderlings" and get the chapbook ready to send to Subterranean Press. Also, I need to undo a large number of changes that an over-zealous copy-editor wrought upon one of my stories. I will not name the story, the book, or the editors— it wasn't their fault. I just wish publishers would start firing copy-editors who try to become authors vicariously, by "correcting," and thereby mangling, prose. It is an enormous waste of my time that I have to go back, now, and fix what wasn't broken to begin with.

Photos from Harbor of Refuge:

3 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (sol)
First, this video, which I did not take, but found online. We were very nearby, though, when it was filmed. This is at Harbor of Refuge, which was evacuated and closed about half an hour after we arrived at Pt. Judith. From the parking lot of the Pt. Judith Lighthouse, we could plainly see these same waves a quarter of a mile to our southwest, beyond the intervening salt marsh.



This is the video clip I got, maybe half an hour after the above clip was filmed. The sun was almost down. The view is to the east (above, it was to the southwest). The point was taking much of the punch out of the waves, so what we saw north of the lighthouse was considerably less dramatic than the waves over-topping the jetty at Harbor of Refuge (which wasn't much of a refuge last night).



And now, the still photographs (behind the cut):

22 August 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I am, in almost all ways, feeling better this morning. I was in bed before 2 a.m. The first tablet of zolpidem tartrate (the new generic Ambien) only made me very stoned, but the second one, which I took maybe half an hour later, put me to sleep, and I slept well until almost ten a.m., so I got at least seven good hours sleep. I hope for eight tonight. And no nasty dreamsickness; mercifully, I can not even now recall whatever dreams I might have had.

Yesterday, we read over and proofed "The Steam Dancer," and then I made some corrections and sent it to Vince. I still need to tweak the story just a very small bit, and read over "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles," but with any luck Sirenia Digest #19 should reach subscribers somewhere in the neighborhood of June 21st. And if you are not yet a subscriber, this issue would certainly be a good place to begin. There will be more than 15,000 words of fiction, delivered straight to your inbox. Just follow the link above, read the FAQ (which is a little out of date), and sign up. Easy.

Today, I hope to begin work on The Dinosaurs of Mars, which I'd like to have finished by the second week of July. I spoke with producer D yesterday about the "Onion" screenplay, to ask if we could put yesterday's meeting off until today (as I was nearing delirium and all but useless), and he proposed we wait until Thursday so that I'd have another day more to recover from the insomnia, which was very kind of him. Anyway, I'll likely be getting back to work on the screenplay tomorrow evening.

Sometime after six p.m. last night, a bank of clouds moved in from the northeast, and Spooky and I sat out on the front porch and watched a vortex of blue-greys and purples and dusky pinks swirling overhead. The wind was wonderful and smelled of rain and ozone. The clouds brought a heavy, cold downpour and a little hail. Today the sun is back, but the temps are much cooler. Hopefully, the drought is over.

The hand-corrected Silk auction has only about 26 hours left to go, so if you're interested, take note. This is not the sort of thing you get a second chance on (unless, of course, you buy it from whoever wins this auction). I'll repost photos of the book sometime this evening. This is, truly, a unique item. There will only ever be just this one.

And I have read the news that Mr. Wizard (Don Herbert) has died at 89 years of age.
greygirlbeast: (cleav2)
I must have finally gotten to sleep about 5:15 a.m. or so, when kava #2 finally took effect. So, today I am a wreck, more or less. Not awake. Not asleep. My head swimming with half realised dreams and poorly perceived bits of the waking world. My meeting with producer D may have to be postponed until tomorrow, if I can't snap out of this. Six hours sleep. But, tonight there will be "Ambien," so I can go to sleep when I lie down. I just have to hope it keeps me down. Babble, babble, babble. Bear with me, kiddos. I'm not myself this afternoon. I'm not sure I'm much of anyone this afternoon.

At least I finished "The Steam Dancer" on schedule yesterday. It only took an additional 857 words to find THE END (which means the story's total length is 4,650 words). It will appear in Sirenia Digest #19 (subscribe, subscribe, subscribe), along with "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles." I am pleased with "The Steam Dancer", I think, though it ended on a somewhat more melancholy note that I'd intended. I blame a ghost which visited me early yesterday, unexpected, unbidden, casting my mind places it's best off not going. I've yet to read the story all the way through, start to finish. Maybe later today. I have to send it to Vince to be illustrated. Oh, and it occurred to me as I was finishing the story that I was actually writing about me, almost directly, which I hardly ever do. Always, I am writing about me, yes, that's true, but usually it's all pretty well disguised. This is the first story I've written about how the things that have gone wrong with my feet have affected my life. That kind of took me by surprise. My health is something I tend to keep to myself.

Late yesterday afternoon, there was a wonderful thunderstorm. Spooky and I lay together on the chaise by the living-room windows and watched the rain and lightning. I pressed my fingertips to the window, savouring the vibrations from the thunder. I am never "nearer" to Nature than during a violent thunderstorm. Then it rained again last night, about 3 a.m. We need every bit we can get.

Ah...what next?

Oh, yeah. Good thing I make notes.

Some thoughts on Second Life. I've been on almost two weeks now, and I am beginning to see curious patterns emerge. Perhaps the one I find most puzzling is how, on the one hand, a minority of what I've seen displays tremendous ingenuity, care, and imagination, but...on the other hand, almost everything and everyone in Second Life seems afflicted with the stultifying monotony that has so afflicted this First Life. For example, here is a world wherein you may be almost anything you can imagine, especially if you're willing to work at it, and yet almost everyone seems to have adopted avatars that differ in no significant way from their "real" selves, or from the norm, or from the idealised versions of Homo sapiens advertisers spend so much time and money trying to sell us. I have seen so much badly rendered tanned skin I could puke. Almost everyone is Caucasian and clearly human. Meanwhile, I'm so driven to shake off the constrictions of this skin I'm trapped inside that I have already crafted six distinct incarnations of Nareth Nishi, six versions who not only look different from one another, but who think differently and are leading very different existences. And I think there will be at least a couple more before I'm done and turn to the matter of building things. I'm not saying this well, because I'm not awake. I'm not being articulate. But I am perplexed at the sameness. At the people who slap on a tail and a pair of cat ears, or a piair of wings, or neon-green liberty spikes, and think they've become something else. Yes, I do think people should use this tool as best suits them, but, at the same time, the lack of imagination baffles and disappoints me. Sometimes, it seems that a lot of people are using Second Life to create a more cartoonish version of herhisits First self.

Crap. Maybe I'll try to say this again when I'm not so damned zombiefied. Sorry.

All alone in space and time.
There's nothing here, but what's here's mine.
Something borrowed, something blue.
Every me and every you.
Every me and every you,
Every me...


Here's a link to the hand-corrected Silk auction. Have a look. This one's special, if I do say so myself (and I do).

Today, it has been one year since Sophie died. I am grateful to have Hubero, but I do miss that grouchy old beast. Some days I miss her almost more than I could ever say.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday I wrote 1,303 words on a piece that, for now, is known simply as "Untitled 27." I started with a sentence about the passage of time, uncertain where it was headed, but now it's looking a bit like "Untitled 23" — the piece about the wayward faerie girl and the Queen of Decay (Sirenia Digest #10) — filtered through certain Smashing Pumpkins and NIN songs ("Right Where You Belong" from With Teeth springs to mind). And with "male" characters instead of "female" characters. And as Bowie's Baby Grace Blue says, "I think something is going to be horrid." I'm liking it.

And here I am, Day Three of the Mordorian Death March, though there will be no actual marching again today. Tomorrow, though, I'll head out across Nurn, bound for the River Guthrant, beyond which I should be able to locate Thaurband and the Thaur Road. I will be merciless.

There were thunderstorms again yesterday evening. I love evening thunderstorms. After dinner, after the rain, Spooky and I walked. And then we watched My Fair Lady (1964) on TCM, and then I had a bath, and then we just talked for a couple of hours. Trying to figure out how to get from Atlanta to New England for good, once and for all. If I could do it without selling all this goddamn furniture. We're still thinking about Salem, which would be wonderful, and about Providence, maybe some place like Wakefield or Peacedale. If I had my druthers, we would be moving to Cambridge, but the rents are sky high anywhere that near Boston. Most of my life has been lived in the South, and I do fear the new England winters, but there's nothing here for me, nothing but inertia. Nothing but the weather, and that hardly seems a good reason to keep Spooky in exile. And I know we talked about other things, but they escape me just now. Spooky fell asleep about two thirty, but I was up until 4 a.m. or so reading Parini's Steinbeck biography.

Spooky just this second added a new bird to our "yard list": a Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus). Cool.

I guess that's it for now. My grateful thanks to the folks who have sent me birthday gifts, as we near the 26th and the Big -03. This year I have told Spooky I would like a German-chocolate cake. There hasn't been a cake the last couple of years; at least, I don't think there has been. But this feels like a cake birthday. Anyway, yeah, the wish list is here, should you like to contribute to the Great Distraction of 2007. The platypus says that I have to go write now. I am slave to a monotreme...
greygirlbeast: (chi (intimate distance))
The words came back to me yesterday. I did 1,119 words on a piece that I'm presently calling "The Cryomancer's Daughter," intended for Sirenia Digest 8 (July '06). So, in this respect, yesterday was a good day. It was the first day I'd been able to write fiction since June 4th.

I also have to look over the Alabaster galleys again today and sign off on them. The book is looking gorgeous.

Last night, as we were eating dinner, a terrific thunderstorm began. I'd been watching the sky on and off all day, watching as the thunderheads grew taller and taller over the city. The storm was wonderful, preceded by a violent wind and lightning. The rain began at 8:50 and continued for about an hour. We need it here very badly. Also, yesterday was another bad air day, an "orange day," and my throat and lungs and sinuses were feeling it. Hopefully, the rain cleaned some of the filth from the Atlantian air. We'd had some vague notion of wandering over to Freedom Park last night to watch the fireworks over downtown, that strange American reenactment of the War of 1812. But it was still pouring rain at 9:30, when the fireworks were scheduled to begin, so we stayed home and stayed dry.

I made a huge pitcher of fresh limeade yesterday.

Last night, we watched Milla Jovovich in Kurt Wimmer's Ultraviolet. It's certainly a visually stunning film, and makes for fine enough eye candy, but I couldn't help but want something more from it. Like a script. The fight scenes were generally well choreographed, and the climactic fight at the end, Violet and Daxus with flaming katanas, was especially nice. Very good soundtrack. So, yeah, if you're willing to switch your brain off for 90 minutes of so and just take in the images, go for it. I'm not sure I've ever seen anything else with the precise visual style of Ultraviolet, a very specific look and feel I believe was essentially invented for it. But I do wish someone would give Milla an sf film equal to 1997's The Fifth Element. I'm appalled that she's agreed to do a third Resident Evil film. Then again, working artists must work.

As I write this, we have 10 hours and 43 minutes remaining in the Snapdragon auction. This is your opportunity to own a bit of the genesis of Joey LaFaye, as this doll has formed the basis for one the book's central characters. Of course, Spooky's dolls rock my socks and Snapdragon is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship above and beyond her role in my next novel. And there are other auctions ongoing. Have a look. Bid if you'd like.

And now it's time to write.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
I got up about an hour and a half ago, and the sky was black, and there was rain and thunder and lightning. It seemed a good thing, after the nightmares, the violence in the sky a welcomed distraction and/or counterpoint to the violence of sleep. But now the storm has passed away east, and it's only grey and damp and chilly. Ugh. The storms never seem to last long enough these days, which is to say they never seem to last long enough to match the storms in me.

Yesterday, I came very, very near to being an irresponsible slacker and taking the day off. It had been ten days straight reading and editing Daughter of Hounds, ten days without a break. But there's really not a day to spare right now. I sat here for about an hour, trying to talk myself into getting up and getting dressed and leaving the house, maybe visiting the dinosaurs at Fernbank, maybe going downtown to the High. But then Diligence and Duty and that little bitch Fear won out, and Spooky and I spent the afternoon on the second pass through the typescript, tackling the more difficult line edits (but not yet things that qualify as actual rewrites; those come on the third pass). I discovered I'd used "shitstorm" four times in the ms., when only once will do. Stuff like that. We made it as far as page 319, and we'll do the other half today. But I'm reaching that point with the book again where I have to admit that I've become mired within it like an ant in amber or a scavenging Smilodon in tar. I have begun to lose perspective, and my ability to identify actual problems and pose actual solutions is fading fast. I am mired in the pages. I am lost in the futile struggle to make this book perfect, when I know it will never be perfect, and even if it could be, it's success or failure in no way hinges upon its proximity to that hypothetical state of perfection. Success hinges on advertising dollars that won't be spent and publicity that won't be pursued and the bottom-line politics of bookstores and the fickleness of readers who generally prefer mediocrity anyway.

Sorry. I hate waking up tired and being greeted right off by that thing which made me tired to start with. I hate waking from apocalypse into futility. I much prefer apocalypse, please.

Yesterday's bright spot was replacing the word "shit" with "alley apples," which amused me nigh unto wakefulness.

So, I struck a deal with Me, clear in the knowledge that I can't be trusted. I promised myself that if I worked on the ms. on Saturday and Sunday, then I could have Monday off. Even though I can't presently spare a day, between DoH and Sirenia Digest. But surely, after twelve consecutive days at the keyboard, at these pages, no one could begrudge me a day off, regardless of the deadlines in question. Right.

My thanks to everyone who's helped out with the video for "Special". Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] robyn_ma for sending me an .mpg that's vastly superior to what I was able to see at YouTube. I still don't have the complete video though, and should anyone come across it, I'd be grateful if you could please e-mail it my way (greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com).

There's an interesting discussion of "Onion" going on over at [livejournal.com profile] species_of_one. I don't post over there, as a rule, not wishing to discourage and whatever, but I thought I'd mention it, in case someone here who doesn't know about the forum (which replaces the old scaredhedgehog forum) should want to check it out.

There's the thunder again. Maybe there's more storm to come. Maybe it'll knock out the power. That wouldn't be so bad. Please have a look at the eBay auctions. Right now, we have The Dry Salvages and The Five of Cups up. Check it out. Wait. I said that once already. Er...bid. Yeah, that's better. Bid. Please. Okay, now I'm gonna go try to talk Spooky into making me coffee and noodles...

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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