greygirlbeast: (Default)
C'mon, kittens! Sirenia Digest #70! Comments!

Though I'm trying to get more sleep, it's not really working. I did manage to make myself lie down by 3:30 ayem last night. I fall asleep now almost as soon as I do that (and almost any fucking time I do that). But there is in me, I have discovered—having conqured Monsieur Insomnia—a tremendous reluctance to sleep. We're not talking actual hypnophobia. But, see, there are the dreams (last night, I dreamt of being trapped inside the plot of some weird-ass Aliens 5 thing, which I would post here, if I could make sense of the fragments I remember), and then there's the fact that we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and then there's the dread of waking...it's complicated. And I'm rambling. This will be a hodgepodge of an entry, that's what I'm trying to say, because...well, I can't remember. Why. But it will be.

Yesterday was spent in a mad dash to make a time machine out of a DeLorean DMC-12. We're still waiting to see whether or not we were successful. But we may not know until three weeks ago. But yes, lots of work.

Oh, and I sold reprint rights for "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash" to Subterranean magazine. Not sure which issue it'll be appearing in just yet. By the way, "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash" almost became part of the "Back Pages" section of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but Peter Straub pulled my head out of my ass, and for that I am grateful. Just because it's a good piece of fiction relevant to the novel doesn't mean it belongs in the novel. At least not until there's a massive limited-edition hardback (for which there are currently no plans).

A wish to congratulate Holly Black ([livejournal.com profile] blackholly), who will be expanding her short story "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," one of the few brilliant vampire stories I've read in ages, into a novel for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. But you can read the whole story on her LJ. Very, very cool. I especially like that it's not just reworking the characters from the short story, but taking another route into that world.

I neglected, yesterday, to say that I think the assassination of President Kennedy was worked into the Mad Men very, very well. Last night, we finished Season Three and began Season Four. Wonderful stuff. Watching the first episode of the fourth season was weird, Thanksgiving 1964, because there's the world when I was about six months old. And it's so much not this world.

Spooky's no-longer-premature Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only one necklace and a bracelet left (plus paintings and other cool stuff), and who knows when she'll have time to make more. When making a purchase, IF YOU WANT THE SALE PRICE, you need to, at checkout, use the sale code SPOOK. People! Buy cool stuff!

Oh, and I know I said that Spooky would come along and help me catch all the typos in yesterday's first entry. Only, she was busy and never did, and after all that nonsense with the DeLorean time machine, I was too tired to catch more than a few of them. Apologies. I hate being sloppy. But, I was too distracted, after work and a short nap and dinner, and, besides, I was building my first ever male Second Life avatar. He took me two nights to construct, even with Spooky's avatar foo coming to the rescue. He is Alexander Ishmene, and may, or may not, be the "brother" of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene, which would be a might odd, her being an AI hiding in a cloned body and all.

Also, I will make my official announcement about this month's book of the month tomorrow. But it's Colin Meloy's Wildwood, illustrated by Carson Ellis.

I wish, wish, wish I could be in Manhattan, actually taking part on the Occupy Wall Street protests, but since I can't, I can at least donate pizza money. So can you! Pizza and other much needed supplies. Just go to the Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs webpage for their #occupywallstreet scent, and there are links, pointing to all sorts of ways you can lend your support. Including buying a bottle of #occupywallstreet.

My imaginary children are Carson (daughter) and Winslow (son). Some of us can only afford imaginary children, and are responsible enough not to have children we can't afford to care for and send to college.

Oh, yes! And don't forget to celebrate Columbus Day this weekend by walking into someone's house and telling them you live there. If they won't cooperate, just kill them. In fact, just kill them on general principle. It's worked before.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today needs a list. Or, rather, today my disordered mind requires a list:

1. I think this will be one of the coldest days I've ever lived through. In the Great White Outside, the temperature's currently 8˚F, with a windchill of -6˚F. The forecast high is 13˚F. There's a windchill advisory, which makes me wonder when or if they'd ever bother with an actual windchill warning. And yeah, it's much colder other places. Like Antarctica. But I'm not there, am I?

2. Yesterday, I wrote 1,200 words on Chapter 5, and reached manuscript page 250. But I wasn't terribly pleased with the results, so a good bit of today may be spent reworking what I did Sunday. I feel as if I've hit another speed bump, or a wall, or something equally unhelpful. It may only be the dread and misgiving that usually accompanies pivotal scenes.

3. Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. As I mentioned on Saturday, we've listed a copy of the original On the Road to Jefferson chapbook (2002), my very first chapbook with Subterranean Press. It's also the first time I did the cover art for one of my own chapbooks. We have only five or so remaining, and haven't offered a copy in years.

4. Free fiction. "The Melusine (1898)," which first appeared in Sirenia Digst #31, has been reprinted in the Winter '11 issue of Subterranean Magazine.

5. Spooky and I are going to be holding off at least a couple more days on the announcement I alluded to on Saturday. I apologize. There were many more loose threads remaining than I thought. I mentioned the project prematurely. Ah, well. Let the suspense build.

6. Last night, we watched Mike Newell's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010). I never go into movies based on video games expecting much, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying Prince of Persia. Generally, it seems more interested in being a film with it's own story to tell than trying to recreate the experience of the game, and, at the very least, it's great eye candy. There's something pleasantly old-style Hollywood about it.

7. I fucking swear, every time I begin to think WoW's done something really wonderful, it shoots itself in the foot. Case in point: Uldum. Possibly the most beautiful environment the game has ever created. And the quest chains were going very well, but last night the whole affair devolved into a spoof of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Really, really fucking dumb. Nazis in Azeroth. Out of nowhere. As Spooky asked on Facebook last night, "Uldum was so great, until it got stupid...what is with this expansion taking a joke and wearing it out and then dragging it limping along until you want to scream?" For me, this might be the final straw. As soon as (or if ever) I can get my hands on a decent PC laptop, I'm thinking I'll make the switch to LoTR Online. At least it's capable of taking itself seriously. WoW builds mood only to subvert it with mood-shattering jokes and an increasing number of tedious mini-games. It grows ever less immersive, and so ever less interesting.

Of course LJ doesn't know how to spell immersive.

8. I left the house about twilight last night, because I hadn't been out since Thursday evening. But it was just a trip to the market. I got pears and an avocado. Still, I'm holding to my New Year's resolution to stop being such a shut-in.

Anyway, there's email to me answered and doughnuts to be made. The day promises to be long and fractious. Your comments can only help.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Ah, the weather. I should be taking photographs. I seem to post many fewer photos than I used to. I think it's because loading OS 10.6.3 meant losing Photoshop 7, and now Spooky has to edit all my photos, because Gimp is a piece of shit. Anyway, the high today will only be 23˚F, with a low tonight of 8˚F. Of course, if you look at tomorrow night's forecast low of -5˚F (with a -20˚F windchill), that doesn't look so bad. Everywhere out there is white, and the sun is so bright I keep the curtains pulled shut.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,896 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but still didn't find the end of a long conversation. Hopefully, I will today.

I had a very, very encouraging conversation with my agent yesterday. Which was sorely needed, the way things have been the last few weeks, or months, or whatever. Perhaps things are looking up. I think I was most pleased to hear her say "Silk was way ahead of its time." At some point, I'll get this time travel thing right, and my books will appear in the optimum years.

I'm thinking that Sirenia Digest #62 will consist of an advance (very advance) look at The Drowning Girl: A Memoir— all of Chapter 1 —along with a couple of extras. There will be an illustration by Vince for the chapter. Does that work for everyone? I was going to hold off and include the excerpt in #63, but my schedule will suffer less disruption if I move it forward to the January issue. The novel's eating time like mad. In the last month, I've had to bow out of three anthologies, and turn down a number of others. Turning down paychecks, even small ones, drives me nuts. Oh, and if you're not a subscriber you can get an idea (for free) of what subscribers get each month by reading "The Melusine (1898)," which first appeared in Sirenia Digst #31 and is now reprinted in the Winter '11 issue of Subterranean Magazine.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We've listed a copy of the original On the Road to Jefferson chapbook (2002), my very first chapbook with Subterranean Press. It's also the first time I did the cover art for one of my own chapbooks. We have only five or so remaining, and haven't offered a copy in years. Speaking of eBay, during the last round, a bidder in Tasmania won a copy of Tales of Pain and Wonder. This will be one of the farthest south book shipments we've ever made (rivaled only by a shipment to the south island of New Zealand).

Also, tomorrow I'll be announcing a collaborative project between Spooky and I that's been so very secret this is the first you're hearing of it, even though its been in the works for about two or three months. You'll see.

Last night, lots and lots of WoW. Shah and Suraa finished Deepholm and moved along to Uldum. Which, by the way, is one of my favorite Azeroth regions ever. And we read. And, eventually, we slept.

Now. Doughnuts.

Yours in Providence, Bitterly Cold,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
This is the special pain of having taken too many sedatives to try and sleep, and then having barely slept at all, and being exhausted and still drugged. Waiting for the pills to wear off. Trying to think, to type, to make decisions. So, gonna number items in this entry, and hope I don't forget anything.

1. My thanks to Steven Lubold and Gordon Duke for marvelous Solstice gifts. And a huge thanks to Kim, who gifted me and Spooky with a household membership to the Providence Athenaeum; this will be of enormous help with my writing. You are all too kind, truly.

2. An amazing number of copies of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One) have sold in the last two days (375+). Indeed, almost the entire planned printing of the limited edition. In response to demand, Subterranean Press has decided to increase the limited edition's printing from 400 copies to 600 copies. I'm used to my subpress books— especially the limiteds —selling out prior to publication, but I'm told this book "is pre-selling better than anything of yours we've ever announced." So, thank you all. The sale prices are still good, the limited for $40 (regularly $60), though I think the sale ends soon. Someone asked about the print-run for the trade edition, and I think it's somewhere around 2,000 copies (but don't hold me to that). Also, I can now announce that the book's cover will be done by Lee Moyer, an artist I met at the Lovecraft Film Festival and immediately wanted to work with.

3. More subpress news: My sf story, "Hydrarguros" is being reprinted in the forthcoming anthology Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2, and "The Melusine (1898)" will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Subterranean Magazine. But it's probably bigger news that several of my out-of-print subpress anthologies will soon be available in ebook editions for the Kindle (but no, not other readers/formats). From Weird and Distant Shores, Tales of Pain and Wonder, To Charles Fort, with Love, Alabaster, and A is for Alien will all be available for the Kindle in 2011.

4. I wish I were presently coherent enough to be articulate about Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, but I'm too drugged and sleep deprived. I say again, this may well be my favorite film of the year, and it's certainly one of Aronofsky's best (which is saying a lot). I hesitated to use the word lycanthropy in connection with the film, as there are no wolves in sight, but then I see the director has said "I liked this idea that we were kind of making a werewolf movie, except it was a were-swan movie." But, that said, the film transcends all genre tropes and conventions. This is, first and foremost, a film about seeking perfection in one's art, about the limits of the mind and flesh, about escaping repression and one's own mental and physical limitations. It's a film about insanity, and also a film about going sane. It might be the most emotionally devastating film I've seen since John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The imagery is breathtaking, as in, I truly found myself not breathing as the images passed before my eyes. Natalie Portman's acting is a revelation, and Clint Mansell's score is, not unexpectedly, brilliant.

5. A good visit from Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) and Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark). We read chapters One and Two of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir on Tuesday night, then Chapter Three on Wednesday afternoon. I am relieved to see that it works. So, thank you Sonya and Geoffrey, and huge thanks to Spooky, who read all 135 pages of the manuscript aloud.

6. On Tuesday, the I received my comp copy of John Joseph Adams new anthology of dystopian fiction, Brave New Worlds, which reprints my sf story "The Pearl Diver," along with stories by the likes of Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula K. LeGuin, J. G. Ballard, and, truly, many others.

7. And now, it's time to make the doughnuts. Today will be editing (despite my zombie-like state), so that I can get to Sirenia Digest #61, so that I can get back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ASAP.
greygirlbeast: (white)
A black day yesterday. A day of anger and disconsolate bitterness, that was really only the climax to a wave that I think began building on Tuesday. There was a fairly bad seizure on Tuesday, and, oftentimes, they are followed by these intense black moods. All week, this one built up like thunderheads, exacerbated by everything from this horrid winter to insomnia to the tedious line editing on The Red Tree to the idiocy of people who cannot be expected to know better. Then yesterday afternoon, the mood lifted rather suddenly, as often happens. Mostly, the lifting of these post-seizure funks seems to be a completely irrational matter. They come. Then they go. But yesterday, at least in part, this funk was driven back by a sudden dose of perspective. Seeing my place, as clearly as I ever can. And I hope you don't mind me babbling on like this. Point is, I got nothing done yesterday. It gets an L in the day planner ("Lost Day"), and today I have to try and make up for it. And keep myself, who and what I am, in perspective.

Set me aflame, and cast me free.
Away, you wretched world of shadows...


I wish I had nothing to nothing to do today, and Spooky and I could brave the cold and drive to Beavertail and celebrate the esbat. There are few better places hereabouts to watch moonrise than Conanicut Island. But, no, I have to make up for the work I haven't gotten done.

At least I slept more than seven hours last night, more sleep than I've gotten at a single stretch in...a while.

Bill Schafer has asked to reprint "The Belated Burial" in Subterranean Magazine, probably in the October issue. And I've just signed contracts for a forthcoming Lovecraftian anthology edited by S.T. Joshi that will reprint "Pickman's Other Model." I am always very pleased when pieces from Sirenia Digest are reprinted.

As I said yesterday, the limited edition of A is for Alien is now sold out, but you can still get the regular trade edition. And I hope that you will, if you've not already.

Not much else to say about yesterday. It was warmer here in Providence, and snow that has lain on the ground since New Year's Eve finally melted. The rivers must be swollen. But I didn't leave the house. Late, we played a little WoW. Mostly Shaharrazad is trying to gain "exalted" status with Orgrimmar and the Darkspear trolls. So, low-level quests in Durotar.

It seems the windows have been iced over, to one degree or another, for weeks. Behind the cut is a photograph Spooky took back on Thursday. The ice crystals are beautiful, no matter how the winter might have begun to weigh on me:

Ice )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Seems one of the cracked teeth has refused to heal. Dr. Booth warned me this was very possible. The damage was just too great. I awoke at 5:45 ayem or so, in something at least approaching agony, and it was near 7 am before I was asleep again, and the only thanks to pain pills and Ambesol. So, in all likelihood, I'll be going to have this tooth extracted sometime in the next two weeks, right in the middle of packing and all these deadlines, and I'll be losing at least a few days to recovery when I should be packing and writing.

I've been meaning to mention that "A Season of Broken Dolls" has been selected for a forthcoming trade paperback "sampler" of stories from the online version of Subterranean Magazine.

No writing yesterday, not really. We took Hubero outside on his leash, and it was good to be out in the spring sunlight, listening to the blue jays and the robins. We had someone from United Van Lines coming to give us an estimate on the cost of the move to Providence. He needed access to all rooms, and I knew I couldn't work through that, so I took a book and went to (boo, hiss) Starbuck's (and they may not have enough sense to use the apostrophe, but I do). I don't remember how many months ago it was that I laid aside Chris Beard's The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey: Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans (University of California Press, 2004), but shame on me. It's a wonderfully written thing, and I sat there and drank a white-chocolate mocha (too sweet, but not bad), and read Chapter 6 ("The Birth of a Ghost Lineage"), which was mainly about collecting fossils of the omomyid primate Shoshonius cooperi from the late Eocene Willwood Formation of Wyoming's Wind River Basin. Meanwhile, Spooky got our estimate from a guy named Ron Goodbub, a retired Pepsico salesman from Kentucky who grew bored with retirement and went back to work (I think it's very suspicious that LJ knows how to spell Pepsico, but not Shoshonius; hell, it can't even spell "Starkbuck's" without the apostrophe). Here's a bit from Chapter 6 of Chris Beard's book I wanted to quote:

"It hardly ever makes sense to refer to a given species — whether living or fossil — as being 'more primitive' than another, for reasons that go beyond any value-laden connotations the comparison carries along with it. Tarsiers are more primitive than humans in having three premolars on either side of their lower jaws and in lacking a complete mandible formed by bony fusion at the chin. Humans are more primitive than tarsiers in retaining a separate tibia and fibula and in having much smaller eyes. The important distinction here is that, while entire species can rarely be arranged from primitive to advanced, individual features usually can be. In fact, paleontologists rely on exactly these trait-by-trait comparisons to decipher the biology of extinct organisms, as well as to reconstruct how they fit on the evolutionary tree."

Myself, I prefer to speak of character states being more and less derived from a given ancestral state than to ever use the word "primitive" or "advanced," as any given organism's evolutionary "status" can only be assessed or judged relative to how well it is adapted to its environment. Tarsiers have been around a lot longer than humans (by tens of millions of years), but they are no less well adapted to their environment than are humans, and therefore no more "primitive" (which, of course, is just another way of saying what Beard is saying above). Yes, that was a tangent.

Mr. Goodbub took longer with the estimate stuff than expected, and it was after 4 pm before I got back to work. I read over the pages I did on "Rappaccini's Dragon" on Monday and Tuesday, made some corrections, and then decided I'd spend the rest of the afternoon packing, give up a Friday off, and plan to finish the story today. I packed something like seven large boxes of books, hardly the tip of the fucking iceberg. Then again, Mr. Goodbub was telling Spooky about having just moved a mathematician who had 500 boxes of books, which makes me feel a little better.

How I'm going to cope with my schedule this month — especially with the bum tooth — is sort of beyond me. I have to finish "Rappaccini's Dragon" for Sirenia Digest #30. I have to do the line edits and introduction on A is for Alien, and an introduction for an Arthur Machen collection that's being edited by S.T. Joshi. I have to get back to work on The Red Tree and make some real progress. I have to go to Birmingham and have a tooth pulled, then recover. And Spooky and i figured out yesterday that it's likely the pace of packing will have become so hectic by the 20th that I'll be forced to stop working. We will probably leave here on May 29th, a Thursday. It's insane, truly. I'd wait and have to tooth pulled after the move, but after the pain last night, that may not be an option.

I was in bed a little after one ayem, and we read more of House of Leaves, because I needed to hear the words. I was asleep by 2:30, only to be awakened a few hours later, which is where we came in...

Ah, and only a few weeks until I hit -4, on May 26th. I do have that wish list at Amazon.com, even if it does mean more packing. Distractions are always welcome, even when i have no time for them.

Coffee, platypus. Coffee, you fool!

Mars House

Oct. 25th, 2006 11:14 am
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
I may need to do two entries today. There's just too much stuff. I make little notes on my engagement calendar thingy during the day, things I might mention in the blog. The lists are rarely very long. But today's list, in the space delineated for 25 Wednesday, takes up a column and a half. Such a momentous day yesterday. For example, tempted by a Tootsie Fruit Roll (they used to be called Tootsie Flavor Rolls, I'm pretty sure), I bit the frell out of my tongue. Way back in the back on the left side. There was a meaty crunch as molars met tongue, then there was lots of blood. Which is what I get, I suppose, for being tempted by candy I shouldn't be eating in the first place. Damned trick-or-treaters. I was lisping last night, but this morning the swelling's down. I wish it had taken the pain with it. But, see what I mean? Exciting day.

Not long after I posted yesterday's entry, Bill Schafer called to say that Alabaster was sold out. He said he even had to turn some people away. What this means is that the collection is no longer available directly from the publisher. You may still purchase it from Amazon.com or other bookdealers, but probably only for another week or three. So, if you want a copy and don't have it yet, try a bookdealer, but don't wait too long to do so. Oh, and if anyone out there happens to have the issue of Locus (October '06, I think) with the full-page ad for Alabaster and could bear to part with it, I would love to have a copy for my files. I would send you some little token of my gratitude in exchange.

Yesterday was pretty evenly divided between e-mail (of which there was a veritable hillock) and The Dinosaurs of Mars. I'm trying to actually begin writing the novella, but I keep getting sucked into additional research. I spent a couple of hours yesterday reading the various crack-pot assertions posited by Richard C. Hoagland via his The Enterprise Mission website. I think I spent the most time on the pages devoted to "proving" his claim that Saturn's moon Iapetus is an artificial world. All this stuff is directly relevant to The Dinosaurs of Mars, but I still feel like a fool reading it. I actually find myself feeling sorry for Hoagland. It's obvious that he believes these things, and he believes them with passion, and they are wonderful fictions. If these things were true, if there was the science to back him up, what a wonderful lot of marvels we'd have. I can forgive his desire to believe, just not his sloppy logic, self-delusion, and endless ad hoc reasoning as he tries to dodge falsification. Also, it should be noted that Hoagland has abused the ellipse, both in print and online, as no other person writing in the English language has ever dared.

Perhaps today the first few sentences of The Dinosaurs of Mars will come to me, and then the flood of words will follow. Since I know this novella needs to be about 35,000 words long, I may use one of those goofy Zokutou word meters, mostly to keep me from letting the story sprawl over to 40,000 or 50,000 words. It's the sort of story that could easily do that. Sprawl. And having to go back and edit for length is worse even than having to write in the first place. Oh, I think I may try covering all the windows in the house with a film of orange-coloured acetate. Not only will this get rid of the wan autumn/winter light that tends to depress me, it will also give me nice orange Mars light. All the world is my holodeck.

Late yesterday, there was another trip to Emory, for yet more for research.

Sirenia Digest #11 will be along before too much longer. Vince is working on the illustration for "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad #4)," which he has declared a "creepy" story. I should hope so!

Anyway, yeah, perhaps I'll do another entry later this afternoon or this evening, because there are a couple of films I'd like to talk about, and it's noon and I should be getting to work. I will leave you with the dazzling cover of Subterranean Magazine #6, which will include my new sf story, "Zero Summer" (formerly known as "Night"), behind the cut:

Mimas or Bust )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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