greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold this morning. Cold, but sunny, 37˚F. Very, very windy.

Yesterday, I began a second pseudo-vignette for Sirenia Digest, and right now I'm calling this one "Apostate," though I'd like to come up with a better title. "Apostate" is appropriate, I just don't like it. One-word titles can get irksome, and I just finished "Camuffare." Anyway, I did 1,302 words yesterday afternoon, and I'll likely finish the piece today.

By the way, after the writing yesterday, I did some math. "Apostate" will be the 105th piece of short fiction I've written for the digest since December 2005 (vignettes, short stories, novelettes, novellas, what-the-fuck-have-you). That includes the three parts of The Alphabetos Triptych, each considered as a single work. To date, about a dozen of the pieces have been reprinted elsewhere. Twenty were collected in The Ammonite Violin & Others (2010), and another twenty-five will appear in Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Oh, and four appeared in Tales from the Woeful Platypus (2007). That's only forty-nine. Which means a mere 46.6% of the stories from the digest have been collected to date. Even assuming that Subterranean Press continues to publish collections of them, given that I keep adding more each month, it's going to be quite some time before everything from the digest is in print. It would require the digest be discontinued, and I don't see that happening any time soon. I found the numbers sobering. One-hundred and five stories. If you like my short fiction, and you're not a subscriber, this certainly ought to be an incentive.

Also yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, [livejournal.com profile] briansiano, and the intrepid Sara Murphy convened in the wilds of Pennsylvania to shoot more video and stills. More scenes from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I should have been there, but the continuing headaches (yes) and my deadlines made the long trip impractical (to say the least). But, here's the thing. Excepting the top-tier donors (3 people), the shots from this session is not available to those who donated to the Kickstarter project. And given we went a bit over budget, we're hoping to cover more of the overage by offering some of Kyle's prints for sale. I'll post the information here as soon as he's set up for the sale. Which should be very soon. The photos are gorgeous. [livejournal.com profile] kambriel* made the gorgeous "Le Petit Chaperon Rouge" dress that Sara wears. And, while I'm at it, the novel's release date is now only thirty six (!) days away.

Last night, on the recommendation of [livejournal.com profile] andrian6, Spooky and I watched Joel Anderson's Lake Mungo (2008). Except for Cloverfield, I'm fairly certain Lake Mungo is the best "mockumentary" (I fucking loathe that "word") since Myrick and Sánchez' superb The Blair Witch Project in (1999). Lake Mungo is quiet, eerie in all the right ways, and deeply disconcerting. In the end, it's what all "ghost" stories should be – it's sad. Set in Australia, it's sort of like Peter Weir did a ghost story back in the 1970s. You should see it.

And, with that...time to make the doughnuts.

Wishing She Were On the Way Home from Pennsylvania,
Aunt Beast

* If you want to see many of her beautiful designs on her retail website, just go here. Kambriel has made several custom pieces for me over the years.

Addendum (2:29 p.m.): Just heard from my agent that my Publishers Weekly interview is now out, in the January 30, 2012 issue of the magazine. Apparently, no one in Rhode Island sells the magazine, so if you can get me a copy, I'll show my gratitude in some very nice way. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
I forgot, this morning, to say that the PodCastle adaptation of "The Belated Burial" is now live. Have a listen. After the EscapePod adaptation of "Ode to Katan Amano," which I wasn't fond of, I was very skittish about doing more of these. But I'm much happier with what's been done with "The Belated Burial." Mostly, I wish podcasts wouldn't try to dramatize, but simply presently good readings. But I expect that's just me.

Also, I neglected to include a link to the current eBay auctions, a couple of which end tomorrow, including a copy of the trade edition of Tales from the Woeful Platypus.

Also...if you've not seen the new trailer for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm....have a look. It's amazing. Also, if you want to see examples of humanity at its most debased, glance at the comments.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I realized over breakfast (coffee and ramen with broccoli), that I've not left the House since we went to East Beach on Tuesday. I can surely count on one hand the number of days in August and the second half of July I've gone Outside. And if that's not precisely true. It sure as hell feels that way. I have no idea why I've gotten this bad again. The meds have my seizures under control. The depression is in check. The weather's mostly been cooler. I just forget to leave the House. Yet when I do, I'm usually glad I did. This whole thing confounds me.

Yesterday was spent getting through an enormous mountain of email, pertaining to everything from the "Best of" project to "The Maltese Unicorn" to Sirenia Digest #57. I may have finalized the table of contents for the "Best of" volume. If so, there are twenty-nine stories (well, twenty-eight and a poem), including a novella, The Dry Salvages. The word count comes in at ~220 thousand words. For an idea of how big a book that will be, The Ammonite Violin and Others is only about 80k words. Certainly, it's by far the longest book I've ever done.

One of the more difficult aspects of this, so far, beyond simply choosing the stories, has involved dating the older stories, those from the nineties. Back then, I wasn't so good at keeping records. When you've only written maybe a dozen short stories, it's easy to recall precisely when you wrote each one. But many, many years later, when you've done over two hundred short stories, those memories fade to the point of invisibility. Much of yesterday was spent trying to date "Tears Seven Times Salt" and "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun." I genuinely thought that the former had been written late in 1995, maybe in December of that year. But searching through old correspondence (at least I have that), I discovered, no, it was, in fact, written in the summer of 1994, late in June or very early in July. It was the first story I wrote after "To This Water (Johnstown, Pennsylvania 1889)," and the third story I wrote after moving from Birmingham to Athens. So, my memories were off by almost a year and a half. As for "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun," I'm still trying to date it. I thought it was written in 1995, but it's beginning to look as though it was actually written during the first half of 1996.

Oh, by the way, while I chose "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun (Murder Ballad No. 1)" over "Lafayette (Murder Ballad No. 2)," both "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)" and "The Road of Pins" made the cut.

I have tried to select at least one story for every year between 1993 and 2007, but it's starting to look as if there won't be a 1995 story. Which, given the wretchedness of that year, might be just as well.

As for a title, I've been trying for days to think of one. I certainly am not going with nothing but The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan: Volume One. Then last night, Spooky and Bill Schafer both made the same suggestion, independently, which still has me a little freaked out. Both have suggested I call the book Two Worlds and In Between (a line from the Sisters of Mercy's "Lucretia My Reflection"). The book does happen to contain my zombie story "Two Worlds, and In Between." And maybe this should be the book's title, if only by dint of the peculiar coincidence of two people suggesting that same title on the same night. Also, the title is not inappropriate, having more than a single relevant interpretation relative to the book and my work in general. So, maybe, Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Volume One.

I'll post the table of contents tomorrow.

---

We began two new auctions yesterday. Both are a bit special. The first is the auction of the first painting I have ever offered for sale, Study 1 for Yellow. The second is for a lettered copy of Tales from the Woeful Platypus (you can choose from M, R, or Z), which comes with a hand-made Beanie platypus (made by Spooky). Please have a look. Thanks.
greygirlbeast: (Amano)
This question from day before yesterday, asked by [livejournal.com profile] subtlesttrap:

On an unrelated note, Wikipedia has Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart listed as another 2010 short fiction release, please tell me its true we get TWO collections from you this year!

Originally, that was the plan. However, it was a rough winter, and has, in some ways, become a rougher spring. I've not even really gotten the next novel started (and it's supposedly due in September). I'm only just barely managing to keep up with Sirenia Digest. I have two short stories due soon, one in late May, the other in July (I think). So, likely, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be a 2011 book. At this rate, maybe late 2011. By the way, it will be the third (and probably last) of the small format erotica volumes, and will make a nice little triptych wiith Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. So, someone who does Wikipedia should probably amend that listing.

Day before yesterday, I managed to write only 788 words. Yesterday, a mere 473. However, yesterday's 473 got me to THE END of "Three Months, Three Scenes, With Snow," which will be included in Sirenia Digest #53. It's a quiet piece, a soft-spoken bit of the inexplicable. Also, yesterday I printed out the galley pages for "As Red as Red," which will soon be appearing in Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas' Haunted Legends, which I now need to proofread. I think the day seemed much more productive than it actually was.

And here's a reminder that Subterranean Press is still taking preorders for The Ammonite Violin & Others. Also, Spooky's beach-glass pendants have been selling briskly. You can see them at her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks.

---

Last night, after the new episode of Fringe, we watched Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity (2007). I went into it expecting nothing much at all, and was still disappointed. Yes, it has a few effective moments here and there, but in the end is a bit of a mess with nothing to make up for the general amateurishness of the effort. Neither Katie Featherston nor Micah Sloat have the acting chops required for their parts. Far too much is shown, things that should only be suggested. Indeed, the film's greatest flaw is probably its explicit disclosure, revelations that would have been better left unrevealed. All the lessons this film might have learned from The Blair Witch Project (which I continue to adore) were obviously ignored. So, yeah, I love the concept behind Paranormal Activity, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The Coen Bros.' A Serious Man is actually a better piece of weird fiction.

---

Rumour has it I will be in Boston tonight, for the Faith and the Muse show.

Ostara '10

Mar. 22nd, 2010 12:59 pm
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
The sun is hidden by clouds today, and it's cooler again. Not cold, but cooler. Though I find that the longer I live in New England, the more liberal I am with my definition of warm. When I left Atlanta, my comfort threshold was somewhere between 75-80F. These days, it's dropped to something more like 55-60F. Acclimation, I suppose. I think the cooler weather bothers me quite a bit less than the "delayed" return of green. Anyway, yes, the clouds and rain are back, and it's Ostara.

Yesterday was an exceptional writing day, in terms of word count. I did 1,718 words on "Houndwife." I'm thinking I'll be able to finish the story tomorrow or Wednesday. Yesterday's biggest surprise (if a story fails to surprise me, I see no reason to be telling it) was learning that not only is "Houndwife" a sort of sequel to HPL's "The Hound" (1922), but that it's also tied to my own "Les Fleurs Empoisonnées" (2001), one of the Dancy Flammarion stories. Turns out that during her childhood the narrator of "Houndwife" met one of the Ladies of the Stephens Ward Tea League and Society of Resurrectionists and...well...you'll see. If you're a subscriber to Sirenia Digest. Anyway, I didn't see this coming at all. I've not thought about Miss Ararmat's bunch since I wrote "Still Life" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus in October 2006.

I was reading back over old entries this morning, old entries for this date, and I was especially pleased with what I had to say on this day one year ago, regarding my feelings towards competitiveness. None of this has changed, except that it's become even more true than it was a year ago.

Last night, Spooky and I watched the new episodes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Caprica. I grow ever more impressed with the latter, and it occurs to me belatedly that I should be looking at the plot and characters with an eye towards parallels in Greek and Roman mythology.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Yesterday, I did 1,035 words on "Werewolf Smile," but did not find THE END. This one is determined to go on as long as ever it pleases, despite my own needs. I admit I feel a little lost in it, in the dark folds of this story. Last night, I read the whole thing aloud to Spooky, and she liked it, and it works far better than I thought. I also sent it to [livejournal.com profile] sovay and [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, for additional opinions. But it has to be finished today. I think I am developing a dread of the final scene.

Also yesterday. I agreed to do two short readings during this weekend's Fledgling Festival here in Providence, which is being held at the Perishable Theater on Empire Street. I'll be reading both Saturday and Sunday nights. Likely, it will be material from either Frog Toes and Tentacles or Tales from the Woeful Platypus. So, those of you who were asking about Providence appearances, well here's your first chance.

Frankly, the next few days are sort of terrifying to contemplate. I have to finish "Werewolf Smile," and then write a new vignette for Sirenia Digest #45. I have to do the readings this weekend, and an interview for Amazon.com. And I have to get Sirenia Digest #45 out to subscribers. Tuesday, I'm not doing anything, if I can still move by then.

Please have a look at the current round of eBay auctions. Thanks.

Tonight, I hope to get in some work on the website, more evidence relating to The Red Tree.

Come on, platypus. We're burning daylight.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Barely four hours sleep last night. I woke just before 7 a.m., took another half Ambien, but to no avail. Anyone planning to attend ReaderCon should be forewarned: The stress and insomnia and seizures and winter have all taken a toll. You may or may not recognize me.

No writing yesterday, but that was planned. What wasn't planned was that the day would spin insanely out of control, devolving into an utter shitstorm of wasted time and frayed nerves. So, yesterday gets a big fat "L" in the day planner. Less than nothing was accomplished.

And yeah, I'm still twatting (tweeting, whatever). There I am, @greygirlbeat. As of this moment, I have 281 people following the...what do you call a stream of tweets? A tweetstream? A feed? No idea, but anyway, that's not bad for the first 24+ hours. I'm hoping to reach 1,000 by the end of July. It's a sort of goal I've set for myself. To determine whether or not Rachael is merely an experiment, and nothing more. And here I am now, on Blogger, LiveJournal, Myspace, Facebook, Dreamwidth, and, now, Twitter. Which makes me incalculably more connected than I would be, were there not this necessity for promotion. Were I only Thomas Ligotti or Thomas Pynchon, or if the blasted books would sell themselves.

One thing that worries me —— and I cannot say this is new, as it has worried me for years, since I started the blog over at Blogger (and probably Usenet before that, back to '94), probably: All of this networking and reporting on the ups and downs on my day-to-day life, the ongoing, ceaseless catalog of profundities and the mundane, it changes that which it records. For so long now, I have been aware that I'll do a thing, go to a museum or a concert, a movie or the sea, and all the while I'm thinking, in some part of my mind, won't this make a good blog entry (or conversely, too bad this won't...). And how could I make it an even better blog entry. It's a bit like the old problem of wave-particle duality, or the trouble any anthropologist will encounter, attempting not to change the thing she observes. How different would each of these experiences be, if I were not aware that I would be reporting them to the world? I can't know, of course. X = the change wrought by my foreknowledge that I am living a life others will watch, even if only in a highly edited form, online. It worries me, and I'd be a liar if I said otherwise.

But it seems to have become inescapable, especially for those of us who are authors, or musicians, or painters, or some other art that needs the Word to Get Out There. If we ignore these technologies, our art may suffer, though we can never know that how or by how much. We can call that part of the equation N. The value of uncertainty. And, of course, just as awareness of the blogs and tweets to come will perforce alter various experiences, so to will they alter the things we write and paint and photograph and compose and so forth. Call that unknown value Y.

Just thoughts I cannot help but think. And yeah, this problem existed before the internet, but the last fifteen years or so (and especially in the last five or six, as these communication technologies accelerate towards...whatever) it has worsened dramatically.

A book I need to find and read: The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage (1998), on 19th-Century information overload.

Today, though I am not awake, we will go forth and seek the tree that will stand in for the eponymous red tree, and which will appear in the trailer for The Red Tree. Or, I may say fuck it all and go visit with Louis Agassiz' cabinet of wonders at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. That's not such a long drive, and perhaps my tree is somewhere in Boston.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. And, again, I ask that you might pay especial attention to the hardback copy of The Merewife (Subterranean Press, 2005), as you are not likely to ever see me auction another. There's also a PC copy of the leather-bound and numbered state of Tales from the Woeful Platypus up now. Bid if you are so able, and so disposed. All proceeds go to my attending ReaderCon next month. Thank you.

Now, I think I will go find caffeine, or throw up, or just look in a mirror and watch my eyes bleed.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I swear to whichever goddess is presently in the mood to listen, if these weird dreams keep up, I'm going to have our water tested for LSD. This time, I was a high-school student somewhere in the Ozarks, only it was an Asian vampire film involving nanites, a very gory Asian vampire film that just happened to also be a musical (and I blame "Once More, With Feeling"). Most of the twists and turns are now forgotten, lost to me, but it was one of those dreams where you're simultaneously a character and someone watching what's happening, as though it's a movie. The whole thing played itself out twice, except the second time through I realized there were scenes I'd somehow missed the first time. It ended, finally, with the realization that the "vampires" (for want of a better word) could only be killed by running a long silver needle through their left temple and leaving it there. It sounds funny now, but it was truly, genuinely terrifying (and not just because of all the singing schoolgirls and choreography). One detail I recall very vividly, a sort of ad or pamphlet urging graduates to remain in the town after graduation. Drawn in a very 1950s style, it showed three deliriously happy people: a jock in his letterman sweater, a cheerleader, and a very bookish girl.

Meanwhile, because we are apparently in competition at the moment in the surreal dreams department, Spooky was having a dream about stealing absinthe from Harlan Ellison's locker. I asked her if the dream was set in a high school, and she said no, there was just this locker. Anthony Stewart Head was with her (she says he was not Giles), and he could open the combination lock on the safe by listening to the tumblers. There was someone else with them, a third, but she couldn't recall who he or she was. They took the pilfered bottle of absinthe to a cornfield, but the corn had only just begun to sprout, and so didn't make much of a hiding place.

So...now I am awake. I think. No one but Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld are singing, and I take that as a good sign.

Yesterday, I did 1,214 words on "The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean," which I expect to finish today. Also, Tuesday, and again yesterday, I forgot to mention that on Monday I'd done all the requested line edits and a couple of minor rewrites on "As Red as Red," which will be appearing in Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas' forthcoming anthology, Haunted Legends.

Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. I should stress that my personal stock of both The Five of Cups and Tales from the Woeful Platypus (hardback trade editions) is getting very low, and I'll not be offering many more copies of these two books. Your bids will be much appreciated.

By the way, if you're going to make it to my "How I Wrote A is for Alien" solo presentation at ReaderCon 20, I think I'll be handing out sets of the four images by Vince Locke that did not actually appear in the published book. How's that for incentive? Frankly, I have no idea how I'm going to spend an hour talking about writing the anthology, especially given that it was written over a period of four years, as individual short stories, and not as a single volume. But, these things always seem to attend to themselves, so I expect I'll do fine, and great fun will be had by all. And, of course, Henry the Horse dances the waltz.

I'm going to go finish my coffee now. The platypus is giving me the hairy eyeball.

But wait..."Evidence Found for Ancient Mars Lake". A body of liquid water the size of Lake Champlain, which existed 3 billion years ago. Exquisite.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Waking much too early this morning, after getting to bed too late, waking to more snow. Snow over snow over snow. Deep stratifications of successive snowfalls. I sat in the big chair in the front parlour, surrounded on three sides by windows, watching the snow sifting down from the alabaster sky. Providence inside a paperweight, an ornamental snow globe, a cheap souvenir that is occasionally lifted and shaken. And I took this photograph:



Photograph Copyright © 2009 by Caitlín R. Kiernan


The words came yesterday. I did 1,079 words on "The Belated Burial," which sounds like an Edward Gorey tale, or maybe Lemony Snicket, but which is actually another nod to Poe. It's going to be a short one, a sort of pseudo-vignette, like many of the pieces that appear in Frog Toes and Tentacles and in Tales from the Woeful Platypus. It's a "yellow house" story. This month, Sirenia Digest subscribers get ghouls and vampires, changelings and whores.

The days must be shrinking, because I'm having much more trouble recalling anything about them to write here.

Last night, Spooky made chili, and we watched Anthony Leondis' Igor. The animation is nice, but, in the end, this is a film that misses the mark (whatever that mark might have been intended to be). Steve Buscemi's immortal, but suicidal, lab bunny is the best of it, though I think the best line was delivered by Sean Hayes' "Brain" character —— "He said do." Yeah, it was that sort of film. An okay way to pass an hour and twenty minutes last night, but I'm glad we didn't pay theatre prices. I had the sense that everyone was trying very, very hard, and the concept was interesting enough, but...no dice. The Tale of Despereaux remains my favourite animated film of 2008.

If you've not yet ordered A is for Alien, today is as good a time as any.

The words are waiting....but first, these lines seem perfect for the day:

It's so hard to tear myself away.
Even when you know it's over,
It's too much to say.
Banish all dismay,
Extinguish every sorrow.
If I'm lost, or I'm forgiven,
The birds will still be singing.
(Elvis Costello)
greygirlbeast: (white)
I think the snow that fell on New Year's Eve has no intention ever of melting. It's a hard white crust laid over half that portion of the world that is visible from the many windows of the house. I've not left the house since the storm, which means I've not left the house this year. Today the sun is brilliant, and the sky is utterly blue. There is no warmth, though.

I did some tallying this morning, and see that I've done 53 pieces of fiction (vignettes, short stories, etc.) for Sirenia Digest over the past four years, since December 2005. During that same time, I've written only 5 short stories that were not intended for the digest; I also did the Beowulf novelization and wrote The Red Tree. The number of non-digest stories climbs slightly if I include the original pieces for Tales from the Woeful Platypus (as opposed to the reprints). If I include those, the number comes to 10. Still, 53 to 10. Plainly, the vast majority of my short fiction these days is being written for the digest. I just hope that quantity has not overwhelmed quality. That is one of my greatest fears.

I have an email from Mat Winser, who asks:

I think a few years ago, you wrote a story for an anthology based on Absinthe. Did that collection ever see light of day?

The anthology did not, which is a shame, as I was to be paid, in part, with Mari Mayans. However, the story I wrote for the anthology, "La Peau Verte," was published in my collection To Charles Fort, With Love, and also won the International Horror Guild Award for "Outstanding Achievement" in mid-length fiction. It was also reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (vol. 17), edited by Steve Jones.

All of yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #37 together, and it went out to subscribers late last night, at 11:12 p.m. (CaST). If you have not received #37 and are a subscriber, please write to Spooky at x.squid.soup.x(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll make it right.

Last night, we had a sort of Nicolas Cage binge, and watched Vampire's Kiss (1989) and Moonstruck (1987). Nothing much else to yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
As I said last night on my Facebook account, here we go again. My first New Year's Day in Providence. Spooky and I spent the evening quietly, at home, the way we spend almost every evening. I am, of course, getting ahead of myself.

This should begin with the snow. Or, no, it should begin with the insomnia. Night before last, I slept two hours, then woke at five ayem and didn't get back to bed until almost seven. Then I slept restlessly, in fits and starts, and woke around ten to discover it was snowing very, very hard. Somehow, neither Spooky nor I had known that the snow was coming. We managed to get dressed and out of the house before there was even coffee. I think it was the cold air that woke me. It was a windy, wet sort of snowstorm, very different than the one that came back on the 19th of December. We inched our way across Providence, over the river to College Hill, then on to Eastside Market for groceries, uncertain how long the storm would last. Visibility was down to about a hundred yards, at best. The sky and earth had become almost the same shade of white, divided one from the other only by an uneven rind of rooftops and tree limbs. We stopped at Dexter Training Grounds near the Armory, and I quickly took a few photos (below). The wind was too raw to stay out in it for long. I'm not sure how much snow fell here. East Providence got eight inches, and we likely did, as well.

By now, Sirenia Digest subscribers should have received an email from Spooky, informing them that #37 will be a couple of days late. I hate that. I hate when I'm late for or with anything. But between the unrelenting insomnia, the inclement weather, the tooth that still has not been pulled because the cough still has not ended, the pills for the tooth pain, the trouble I've had finding the stories for #37, and so forth, it was unavoidable. If all goes well, the digest should go out day after tomorrow.

I was not able to begin writing yesterday until sometime after two in the afternoon, and the snow was an enormous distraction. I suppose, when I have been here in New England for a few years, it will cease to be remarkable to me. Right now, I'm trying to savor the fact that it is remarkable. On Tuesday, in a sleep-deprived delirium, I'd written maybe four hundred words on a vignette to accompany the illustration Vince sent. Yesterday, I scrapped them all and started over. I wrote 1,141 words on something I'm presently calling "Murder Ballad No. 5." It's a fairy tale, in that literal sense that it is a tale about fairies. It's looking to be one of the short pieces, like the vignettes in Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. Over the years, working on the digest, I have found it no mean trick, keeping things short. Everything wants to sprawl.

Spooky sewed a corduroy bat, and listed some of her stuff on Etsy, which you may see here. Meet Orville and Jasper.

Last night, after fish and chips, we watched Paul McGuigan's Lucky Number Slevin (2006). I found it charming, smart, and entirely entertaining. Also, few films have ever managed to make such grand use of wallpaper as a means of setting mood. Sometimes, I think I could watch Bruce Willis floss his teeth and be entertained. Later, there was a little bit of WoW. There has been less WoW since Shah and Suraa made Level 50. Spooky and I both are feeling the need to cut back a bit. Last night, we played our alts, which means I played Shaharrazad's little sister, Hanifah, a blood elf paladin, and Spooky played Usiku, her Tauran shaman. We helped a demented undead alchemist concoct a toxin, then poisoned a puppy, and slaughtered humans in Hillsbrad and at an old watchtower southwest of Tarren Mills. Usiku reached Level 23, and Hanifah reached 25. When 2008 ended, we did what any pair of self-respecting nerds would do, which is to say, we exchanged virtual kisses. Tauran/blood elf love. There's gotta be a law against that somewhere. Anyway, we got to bed about three, and Spooky read me McCloskey's Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man (1963). And then I slept. The best night's sleep I've had in more than a week.

Now, I need to finish "Murder Ballad No. 5," and then I'm going to post my favourite films of 2008 list, and maybe even a favourite albums of 2008 list. Oh, and do please have a look at the current round of eBay. Bid if you are so disposed. Thanks. And thus begins my sixth year on LJ, and my eighth year of blogging.

The Last Day of Last Year )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Late last night, just after 2 ayem, a bad seizure. I was walking out of the bathroom, and then, a few minutes later, I was lying on the floor of the front parlor. When I could talk again, I asked Spooky if it was bad, and she said, "You've had worse." Small mercies. I went to bed not long afterwards and slept about eight and a half hours, which is more than I've slept at a stretch in ages. This morning, I'm sore and disoriented. I suspect I got a lot of bruises.

I cannot shake the feeling that my fits are something I should not be discussing publicly.

The sun is bright this morning, and the sky is that shade of blue. Terrific thunderstorms last night, hard rain and wind howling around the edges of the house.

Not much to say about yesterday. There was more line editing to be done than I'd expected, mostly pertaining to format. But now B is for Beginnings (the chapbook that comes free with the limited edition of A is for Alien) should be as "corrected" as it's going to get. I still need to go through the collection itself one more time, mostly looking for formatting errors. We read over what has been written on "Some Notes on an Unfinished Film," and Spooky likes it, and she says I should finish it. I sent it to [livejournal.com profile] sovay, who also says finish it. So, I suppose that I will. Part of me wants to set it aside (again), and write something much simpler for Sirenia Digest #35. A simpler narrative structure, I mean. After the decidedly not simple structure of The Red Tree, all those epistolary antics, my preference would be something along the lines of the vignettes from Frog Toes and Tentacles or Tales from the Woeful Platypus. But...here's this story already begun, and I'm already running late, and I don't really have any ideas at the ready for vignettes.

After the editing and reading yesterday, I read and rested, even managing a nap late in the afternoon. Spooky went out into the world and slew a wild pizza for dinner. I fretted about The Red Tree. It rained. Ba da pa pa.

I want to go back to bed, but the platypus says that's not an option.
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
Quite a good writing day yesterday. I'm sure the sleep helped. I did 1,381 words on "Derma Sutra (1891)." This will be, by the way, a more Lovecraftian/dark fantasy sort of story set in the same steampunk alternate Denver ("Cherry Creek") that I used for "The Steam Dancer (1896)" and "The Melusine (1898)." I'm really falling in love with that world. Maybe, I'll eventually have a story for each year from, say, 1888 to 1900, and it can be a subpress collection or something. That would leave me with only nine stories left to write. Also, yesterday, we read over Sonya Taaffe's ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) contribution to #32 —— "The Woman Who Was Wife to the Husband of the Sea" —— which I think is bloody marvelous, and which is the story that Vince is illustrating this month. Anyway, this issue look for Sirenia Digest on the last day of the month.

A few things:

1) We are now in the final 24 hours of the KGB Fantastic Fiction Raffle, and I urge you to please have a look. It's a great cause, with great prizes. Tickets are only $1 apiece. So, yes, please, do have a look.

2) Spooky has begun the midsummer eBay auctions, which include the trade hardcover of Frog Toes and Tentacles and the trade hardcover of To Charles Fort, With Love, and there are more to come. In fact, if there's something you'd like to see added to the auctions, just say so, and we'll see what we can do. All books can be signed and personalized at the winning bidders' request.

3) At long last, thanks to Frank Woodward and Lovecraft, I actually have a page at IMDb. Sure, it's just one little thing, me listed as having played "herself," but still...it makes me smile.

Yesterday was a fairly pleasant day, all round. Wonderful thunderstorms. Spooky made a yummy peach cobbler with the peaches from our CSA produce bag. I had some good rp in the "Kingdom of Sand" sim, in the Medieval Persian city of Ireem. A really beautiful build. It's almost like being on Arrakis again. I have a title now, having been named the "Royal Prophet's Apprentice," though I'm really a sort of feral, mute, amnesiac necromancer. Yesterday, I was rewarded by the Princess for having saved her from an undead the night before, and I had a marvelous rp with a harem girl, Hela, who doesn't seem to mind that Shahrazad's teeth have been filed to sharp points (usually, Shah wears a mask to hide her mouth). Rping mute is amazingly challenging (i.e., hard), but I'm loving it. I want to invite those who signed up for the "Sirenia Players" group to check this out (or anyone else reading this, for that matter). It's going to be a great story, and if you're new to SL and nervous about your rp skills, your avatar's appearance, or whatever, I'll gladly give you a hand getting started. Don't be shy. Just say something here, or IM me inworld (Nareth Nishi). If I'm busy, I can point you in the right direction, or we can set up a time to talk later.

Okay. Time to make the goddamn doughnuts...
greygirlbeast: (Doc10-2)
Yesterday, I did 1,265 words on the new werewolf vignette for Sirenia Digest #31, and finished it. It has a title now, "Unter den Augen des Mondes." And if there's some obvious error in my German, I hope someone here who is a native German speaker (I know we have several) will correct it. Thank you. I do like this piece. It is only 2,423 words long, but that's as long as it "wanted" to be, and feels a lot like the pieces in Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. It is the last piece of fiction I shall write in Atlanta. How weird is that?

Anyway, today will be my very last work day here, before the move to Providence next week. Counting today, we have eight days remaining until moving day. Well, except that eleven hours and forty-seven minutes of today have already passed. So, we have seven and a half days. About 180 hours. 10,800 minutes. Some 648,000 seconds. Except we lose tomorrow on a trip to Birmingham to see my doctor there. Six and a half days. The time has grown so short so quickly. Today, I'll work on getting Sirenia Digest #30 together, though I'm not precisely sure which day I'll be sending it out. I'm still waiting on Vince's artwork for "Rappaccini's Dragon." This month's issue will also include a new vignette by Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), "The Mirror of Venus." Oh, and I probably haven't mentioned this, but Vince will also be providing interior illustrations for A is for Alien.

The packing is truly wearing us down. The house is a maze of boxes, a veritable labyrinth of cardboard. Now that all the books are packed, I've moved along to fossils and such. The truly tedious, time-consuming stuff. For example, last night I packed the Camarasaurus and Maiasaura peeblesorum skull casts. Tonight, many more fossils, my display trilobites and ammonites and Solnhofen specimens and such.

We got out of the maze yesterday evening long enough for a Thai dinner. And then, much later, we watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in preparation for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which I hope we can take time to see on Friday. I'd not seen Temple of Doom since its initial theatrical release in 1984. Then I hated it, but I had some meager hope maybe it was not as bad as I recalled. But it is. There are a few good moments here and there, but, overall, it's a fairly ridiculous film. Somewhere after the plane's engines sputter and fail, the whole thing goes to crap. A huge part of it is the intolerably screechy Kate Capshaw. Gegh. But, though I could list many reasons this film fails as a "prequel" to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), the most important is simply that Temple of Doom presents us with a Dr. Jones who can accept (and use) supernatural forces. Can we really buy that after using those stones to defeat Mola Ram, that he doesn't accept even the possibility that the Ark possesses supernatural abilities? No, we can't. Well, I can't. It's just an awful, awful movie, and it's a shame that the second film in this series could not have followed the example of its predecessor, instead of delivering something that feels like a parody of Raiders. It's an eyesore, and I was completely justified in dismissing it all those years ago.

Oh, someone on my FL was asking about favourite Speilberg films. Mine would be Jaws, with Close Encounters of the Third Kind in second place.

Very late, we read the first chapter of the book I'm reviewing for Publisher's Weekly.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
A day of relief and some small bit of rejoicing yesterday, as we learned that we got the apartment near the Armory district in Providence that we were hoping we'd get. It is very, very good to know, again, where we will be sleeping two months from now. We plan to leave Atlanta, probably, on Friday, May 30th, and arrive at the new place on June 1st, just about the time the movers arrive with our furniture. It's a wonderful apartment, in a building dating back to 1875. This is the move I wanted to make in 2002, when we landed in Atlanta, instead, so it feels like some long-delayed goal has been achieved. Our five (going on six) years in Atlanta have not been a total waste, just awfully close to a total waste, and I'll be glad to be shed of this city. Of course, now we have less than six weeks remaining to pack everything.

Byron will be driving up with us, to drive Spooky's car while she drives the van that will transport more fragile belongings (fossils, computers, Hubero, framed pictures, etc.) that we don't trust to the movers. It's good to know we won't be on the road alone. He'll take a plane back (though we have hopes that Providence will seduce him, as well).

A decent writing day yesterday, though it took me forever, or so it felt, to get started. I did 1,131 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree. As for the footnotes vs. endnotes thing, I think I have (after many comments from readers) come down on the side of footnotes. We'll see how it goes when I finish this chapter and backtrack to add them in, see if footnotes look and feel right.

Email yesterday from Frank Woodward of Wyrd Co., to let me know that the editing on the documentary, H. P. Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, is finished, and wanting to know if I'd like to be one of the first to see it. Of course, I said yes. And I cannot recall, offhand, who it was, back during the medical/dental crisis of February who bought letter "L" of Tales from the Woeful Platypus (plus Beanie platypus #4), and for whom I promised a letter "L" limerick, but I apologize for not having gotten around to it yet. Yesterday, Spooky shoved the Beanie platypus at me and threatened death if I did not take care of this. So. It's on the list for this weekend, promise, and I thank you for your patience. Spooky has decided, by the way, that there shall be no more eBay until after the move.

Last night, Byron came over for the premiere of Series Four of Doctor Who, and I thought it was a very excellent episode, indeed (of course, UK folks saw it about three weeks ago, I guess). A good start, though I would so have loved Astrid to have become the new companion, if we can't have Sally Sparrow or Martha Jones. I was not, however, impressed with the The Sarah Jane Adventures. Maybe if I were twelve. But the new episode of Battlestar Galactica was also quite good, with a nice tummy punch there at the end. Byron did not stay for BSG, as he still holds a grudge against the SFC for canceling Farcscape, and says that Doctor Who is one thing, since it's actually produced by the BBC, but BSG is another. I hold the grudge, as well, but fell in love with BSG on DVD and couldn't help myself. Later in the night, some good rp in Second Life.

Someone got me thinking that today was Darwin Day, when, in fact, Darwin Day was February 12th (his birthday). Today is actually the date of his death in 1882. However, since I missed Darwin day this year, I shall recognise it today:



I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother, and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.

—— Charles Darwin, from Autobiography (1958, edited by Darwin's granddaughter, Emma Barlow)
greygirlbeast: (platypus2)
The auction for a lettered copy of Tales from the Woeful Platypus ends in less than two hours. Remember, you pick the letter, any letter between L and Z, excluding X. This state of the book is leather bound and includes one vignette not found in the trade edition, "Excerpt from Memoirs of a Martian Demirep." And, too, it comes with #3 of the five hand-sewn paisley platypuses. Most of the proceeds from this (and our other auctions) will be going towards my ongoing medical expenses, so your bids are even more appreciated than usual. Thank you.

Postscript (5:40 p.m.): My congratulations and thanks to Stephen Spector, winner of today's auction for "beanie" platypus #3 and a lettered copy of Tales from the Woeful Platypus.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday went about as well as the beginning of any year can go, I suppose. We cooked an enormous meal, which we'll be eating on for days, and Byron came over. I finished up my three days off, trying to actually rest as much as possible. I did manage a nap on the sofa, listening to Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3 Opus 36 (which I'm listening to again this morning).

The only silver-lining to having suffered through Skinwalkers a couple of weeks back, was that the DVD also had a trailer for Andrew Currie's hilarious Fido (2006), starring Carrie-Anne Moss and Billy Connolly. Which we watched last night with Byron. Wow. The first charming zombie movie I've ever seen. This Canadian film is set in an alternate late 1950s or early 1960s, after a zombie plague and a zombie war, and the only safe human communities exist inside walled-off sanctuaries, presided over by the all-powerful Zomcon. Not only does Zomcon render zombies "safe" by fitting them with blinking collars (this is Nebari tech, I swear), it also decides who stays in the picturesque Leave It To Beaver towns and who gets chucked out into the "wild zones" where the zombies still hold sway. It was like Lassie, only with zombies, and you really ought to see it. Wonderful art direction, soundtrack, and cinematography. Just excellent all round.

Tomorrow, I need to make another trip to Athens, more research for Joey LaFaye, but we finally have bitter cold in Atlanta (presently 28F with a wind chill that drags it down to 16F, and a NW wind at 19 mph, gusting to 27 mph), and tomorrow does not promise to be much better. So, it may be late in the week before I can get back to Athens. I think I'll go ahead and finish "The Crimson Alphabet" now, get most of Sirenia Digest written, so I can devote the rest of the month to the novel. By the way, I have been very pleased with the several reader comments I've received, all of the positive, regarding "Untitled 31." So, thanks. Glad you liked it.

I must remind you of the ongoing eBay auctions, and I hope you'll take a look, and also hope that you'll bid. Let me draw your attention to the paisley platypuses accompanying these lettered editions of Tales from the Woeful Platypus — hand sewn by me, signed and numbered. I only made five, and two are gone. That leaves three. Just three, then probably no more paisley platypuses. They measure about eight and an eighth inches long, and are filled not with beans, but with rice. This particular auction, for the copy of the book with platypus #3, ends tomorrow, January 3rd.

Also, Subterranean Press is still taking preorders for the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder, which comes with the FREE chapbook, Tails of Tales of Pain and Wonder.

Oh, and I must share this — The lolcat Bible Translation Project — (thank you, Byron), because it's actually very funny, and, also, I fear that Ceiling Cat may now have replaced the Flying Spaghetti Monster as my favored absurdist alternate deity of choice.

Oh gods. So this is 2008? What a kick in the nethers....
greygirlbeast: (serafina)
First the news of the death of an escaped tiger at the San Francisco zoo, and the possibility that there was human involvement in the escape. Then, this morning, the news of the assassination of Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and really, I think I've had enough news for a while.

Yesterday was a loss, in so far as writing is concerned. It just didn't happen, and there's not much point in going into the whys and wherefores. I have five days to finish Sirenia Digest #25, and I have to make it happen, regardless.

Late yesterday, about 5:30 p.m., I asked Spooky to drive me over to Piedmont Park, hoping a walk Outside might help. The sun was already setting, so most of the park was in shadow and very cold. My ears and fingers began to ache almost at once. Spooky spotted a chipmunk and a red-headed woodpecker. I didn't have my glasses, so I could only look where she was pointing and pretend to see wildlife. Even that late, there were people walking their dogs, throwing Frisbees for their dogs, and there were joggers and such. But it did help, being out in the comparatively fresh air, having trees and sky about me, despite the bleakness of a late December day in Atlanta. I took some photos (though I hate how much resolution gets lost online):

Piedmont Park, December 26th )


I suppose the only genuinely bright spot to yesterday was receiving a somewhat late, utterly superb, and entirely unexpected Solstice/Cephalopodmas gift from Anita (still in Spain) — the 5-disc boxed set of Blade Runner: The Final Cut. I called to thank her, which was, I think, my first international call since...oh, yeah. All that business with BBC Scotland back in November. Anyway, we watched the whole of Dangerous Days, the "making of" documentary last night, all three-and-a-half hours of it, and it was superb. I was surprised by many things. For example, I ended up much more sympathetic with David Peoples than Hampton Fancher, when I'd always felt the other way round. Harrison Ford's comments regarding the voice-over and the last-minute post-test-audience tacked-on happy ending were enlightening and hilarious. "A lie," he said, in no way following from everything else the film had told you, echoing my recent comments regarding the ending of I Am Legend. Learning that the snake Zhora dances with was actually Joanna Cassidy's pet Burmese python. Seeing test and interview footage of Stacey Nelkin, who would have played "Mary," the sixth replicant (and who almost played Pris), but whose part was cut because of a strike. Realizing how many scenes were filmed, but were cut from the original theatrical release (a lot of them are included on one of the five discs, I think). Finding out that it was Rutger Hauer who came up with the line, "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain." And about a hundred other things. Anyway, if you have a chance, and you love Blade Runner (in any of its incarnations), see this documentary.

Once again, thank you, Anita. Once again, you really, really shouldn't have.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, one of which is a red leatherbound lettered copy of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, complete with beanie paisley platypus hand-sewn by me. Actually, Spooky says the copy of Platypus isn't up yet, but will be later today. This time, the winner may choose which letter hesheit gets, as long as it's a letter from L to Z, and not including X, which we just auctioned. Also, Spooky says if you were a winning bidder in the most recent round of finished auctions, she'll be mailing your books out tomorrow.

Okay, now the words must flow.
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
Just wanted to remind everyone that two of our current eBay auctions will be ending early this evening. This includes the letter X of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, which comes with a beanie platypus sewn by my own two hands. Also, the auction for a copy of the trade hardback edition of Frog Toes and Tentacles will be ending. So, please have a look, and if you are of such an inclination, please bid. Proceeds will mostly be going to cover recent and ongoing medical bills (no insurance for this freelancer), so thanks to those who do bid.

Last night, we watched Nicolas Cage in Lee Tamahori's Next (2007), which is very, very loosely based upon Philip K. Dick's short story, "The Golden Man" (1954). I'd say it was, at most, suggested by Dick's story. Anyway, it wasn't great cinema, but it was an enjoyable film, possessed of a certain lopsided charm, which is more than can be said for Cage's two other recent genre outings, Ghostrider and the lamentable remake of The Wicker Man.

Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi had this to say regarding [livejournal.com profile] anextropian's comments that writers should not and do not own their creations, and I feel like quoting it:

I've run across this ludicrous sort of denial before, the idea that we should not expect any sort of protection or recompense for the ideas that we, if not generate, at the very least aggregate. It has its roots in the hacker/hippy culture that brought us a lot of wonderful advances and horribly out-of-touch demagogues like Richard Stallman. The democratization of ideas is all well and good, until you realize that the signal-to-noise ratio has reached overload. In theory, the good writers and artists and musicians will rise to the top, wheat and chaff and all that...

But if you take the tack that "information wants to be free" means that there should be no copyright, no trademark, and that all media should be free to anyone who wants to enjoy it, then you have to accept that the quality of media will largely disintegrate. If an artist cannot rely on compensation for their work, two things are sure to happen: that artist will have to get another job, and will either stop creating art, or at the very least, they will not have the output they surely would have had if they could work at their art full-time.


Just five days left until Cephalopodmas. If anyone is feeling gifty and generous, here are links to my Amazon wishlist, and another link to Spooky's. What we really want is a modest harem of nubile young Asian cyborgs (all three genders welcome) with tentacle implants in just the right places...but, alas, I couldn't find any of those on Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (white3)
There were plans for yesterday, a long road trip and "field work" for Joey Lafaye, but the weather turned shitty, and it's still shitty today. There was rain yesterday and last night, something that has become almost mythical here in Atlanta. A cold, stinging rain, and if it did that for a couple of months, it might save us from the Great Water Riot of 2008. Or not. Oh, and I was up way the hell too late on Friday night, until something like 4:30 ayem, and that also messed with my plans for yesterday. No rain today, just cold and grey.

Instead, I stayed in and began proofreading the galleys for Tails of Tales of Pain and Wonder. Spooky and I spent a couple of hours writing out a sort of prospectus for "The Crimson Alphabet," parts one and two. We have a least one word for each letter at this point. Several people said they wanted to see me do "The Crimson Alphabet," and no one said they didn't, so I interpreted that as a vote of confidence. Oh, and I managed to combine three boxes of paperbacks (Silk, Low Red Moon, and Beowulf) into only two boxes. They'll go to storage in Birmingham now. I washed my hair. That was the work I did yesterday instead of the work that I should have been doing yesterday. Oh, and I got a $10.56 royalty check, for "Bela's Plot" in Love in Vein II. Over the years, only a tiny handful of the 100+ short stories I've sold have actually earned royalties, and "Bela's Plot" is one of them.

Last night, we had dinner with Byron at the Vortex, then came back here and watched Badder Santa, which I must confess I loved. Quite a lot of films lately, and I can't recall if I've mentioned them all. Friday night, Spooky and I saw Daywatch (Dnevnoy dozor, 2006), which was beautiful and superbly dreamlike, but which didn't make much more sense to me from a narrative standpoint than did it's predecessor, Nightwatch (Nochnoy dozor, 2004). I think it's something about fundamental conventions of Russian filmmaking and/or storytelling that I fail to grasp. Which is to say, the problem is probably with me, not the films.

The latest round of eBay auctions continue, and please note that the auction for Letter X of Tales from the Woeful Platypus (complete with hand-sewn paisley platypus) ends tomorrow. I think Spooky's going to be listing a couple of new things today.

I learned on Friday that, in light of my recent health problems, my editor at NAL — Anne Sowards — has agreed to extend my due date on Joey Lafaye to June. Which is a huge relief.

Here we are, approaching the long cold death before the year is reborn, and so I must remind you of Cephalopodmas, which falls on December 22nd.

One last thing: Clarkesworld is doing a "favorite story of the year" poll, and if you happened to really love "The Ape's Wife," please take a moment to tick that particular box and let it be known. Thank you.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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