greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
2012-01-29 01:47 pm

"When we turn the dirt with our palms cupped like shovels..." (2)

January is almost over, and we've had one snow. It only lasted a day before the melting began. I only have four data points from which to work, so my results are suspect, but based on those four, it's been an unusual winter here in Providence. Sunny today, and presently 39˚F.

I haven't seen the sea since sometime in mid December.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,249 words and finished "Camuffare." It's an unexpectedly gentle story. And, despite being very, very strange, it's certainly one of the most straightforwardly sexual (as opposed to more broadly erotic) I've written for the Digest. Quiet. I'm very pleased with it. Today, I begin a second piece for #74, for which I presently have no title.

I fear, these last few days, I may have been backsliding on the diet.

Last night, determined to stay off SW:toR (and we did!), we binged on whatever you call it when you stream video through a laptop. We watched last week's episode of Fringe – superb – then moved along to two films. SPOILERS The first, The Vicious Brothers' Grave Encounters (2011) came recommended by a friend who's taste is often in sync with our own. And...Grave Encounters is almost a very creepy film done very well. Almost. It has moments of brilliance. But, in the end, there are too many examples of the creators' never having learned that, more often than not, when tugging at the strings that control dread and outright fear, less is much more. We do not need hackneyed images cadged from hundreds of Japanese horror films and the like, not when the filmmakers have actually plugged into what makes Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves such a wondrous thing (stretches of this movie are close to straightforward adaptations of the novel). There's imagery and circumstance within Grave Encounters so effective that we don't need actual ghosts and monsters popping out of the walls. Whenever the ghoulies appear, the atmosphere and tension are shattered, and the whole thing threatens to careen into camp. You ought to see the film for those parts that work (none of which I will here spoil), but you also ought to know that, in the end, the film falls apart, and the conclusion, which literally opens a door into a blackness so profound it might have been genius, is squandered on cheesy images of pretend occultism and mad scientists. Okay, that's a spoiler. Sorry. But someone needs to take the "Vicious Brothers" (guys, get actual names...really, please) aside and show them how they almost made a truly impressive film. SPOILER ALERT ENDS

Afterwards, we watched Ole Bornedal's Nightwatch (1997; based on Bornedal's Nattevagten, 1994). Nice cast, including Ewan McGregor, Patricia Arquette, Nick Nolte, and Brad Dourif, plus an utterly inspired bit performance by Lonny Chapman. It's not a great film. It's a nice thriller with a decent amount of tension. If you're the sort who watches a "whodunit," and actually expects to have a hard time figuring out "whodunit," you'll be disappointed. I'm not that sort of person. And Ewan McGregor rocks. Even in bad Star Wars films. And Brad fucking Dourif. So, there you go. I enjoyed it.

Also, I began reading The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling, a biography of Mary Anning.

Now...I should go make words.

Trust Me,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-12-23 03:51 pm

"My own secret ceremonials..."

Please comment, kittens. I just spent almost three hours on this bloody entry.

"Deny your pettiest of foes the satisfaction of defeat, or even of recognition, by consigning them to oblivion." – Old Sith Proverb (even though I just now made it up). Then again, as Brown Bird reminds us: "We file down our fangs on the bones of our foes." It's a damned conundrum, it is.

This is going to be a long entry, I think. Because, firstly, there's yesterday, and then, secondly, there's Ridley Scott's forthcoming Prometheus.

Yesterday, we finally left the house about two p.m. (CaST), and headed south and east to Conanicut Island and West Cove (~41°28'46.27"N, 71°21'40.50"W), nestled in amongst the ruins of Fort Wetherill. Longtime readers will recall this is one of our favorite destinations. It seemed a fitting place to spend Yuletide. Speaking of tides, as the new moon is Saturday, and we had a storm on Wednesday night, the last high tide had been very high, indeed. All the way back to the treeline. Therefore, all manner of interesting things had fetched up on the shore. When we visit West Cove, we're always most interested in mermaids' tears (beach glass) and the bones of gulls, cormorants, and other birds (and mammals, but mammalian bones are rare). I try to ignore the profuse plastic litter, mostly left behind by the summer people. I try to imagine the shoreline pristine, but it's hard when you know:

Around 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year of which about 10 percent ends up in the sea. About 20 percent of this is from ships and platforms, the rest from land.

- or -

Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and may persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Anyway, by my admittedly casual estimation, the tide must have stranded hundreds of rock crabs (Cancer irroratus), along with all manner of other Mollusca and Crustacea, many of which I've never before seen at West Cove. There were the remains of numerous genera of crabs and lobsters (including Limulus, Homarus, Libinia, and the aforementioned Cancer), pelecypods (including Mytilus, Ensis, Aequipecten, Mercenaria, Spisula, Crassostrea, and an as yet unidentified cockle), and gastropods, mostly slipper shells and periwinkles. I found a few interesting bird bones, and we collected some nice bits of glass. The sun was brilliant off the water, until banks of low clouds rolled in towards sunset. It was warmish, in the fifties Fahrenheit, except in the shadows. When the sun slipped behind the clouds, the temperature dropped into the low forties within minutes. I sat and listened to bell buoys and the slap of the surf, trying to calm myself for many days to come. As soon as we'd arrived, we climbed a large granite promontory and tossed a single sprig of yew into the dark waters of the cove as an offering to Panthalassa. We saw three ravens and a very large murder of crows, but, oddly, only a few seabirds, a few gulls that swept by overhead. Despiute the fact that I took a pretty hard fall in the rocks (and have the bruises and aches to show for it), it was a good (indeed, a bow tie) day at the sea. We headed home about 4:56 p.m., and I dozed all the way back to Providence. Winding up our celebration of Cephalopodmas, we watched the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's excellent adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu (2005) and Robert Gordon's It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955).

At least the first day of winter has come and gone, and now the days will grow longer.

Yuletide 2011 )


---

Yesterday, I saw the first official "teaser" trailer for Ridley Scott's forthcoming Alien (1979) prequel, Prometheus, to be released in June 2012:



It must be understood that I've been waiting for this film for many years, even before Ridley Scott ever decided it would be made. Perhaps before he even considered it might ever exist. Few mythologies are more important to me than the Alien mythos (excepting those silly AvP tie-ins), so...well, it's gorgeous, this trailer, and the cast sounds brilliant, and I was pleased to hear that Giger was consulted and at least marginally involved with the production, and the news that Marc Streitenfeld has scored the film. That said, Scott's decision to shoot the film in 3D is abominable, and has left me deeply disappointed and a little sick about it all. Yes, he's following some of the processes used in Avatar, a spectacle that manages to be marvelous in 2D, and I can only fucking hope that the same will be true of Prometheus. It's not like I can boycott this film. But, like Scorcese's decision to do Hugo in 3D, I can only shake my head in disbelief and say that Ridley Scott knows better. Even watching the trailer, you can see those "coming at you," pandering-to-3D shots that so compromise good (and great) cinematography.

It is, at best, a wait-and-see situation. But it's one I await with regret and a heavy heart. When our greatest directors resort to gimmicks beneath them, what are lovers of film to do? Turn away from the future of cinema and be grateful for its glorious past? In this instance, and despite what Scott may be saying, the decision to go with 3D was almost certainly one based on heavy pressure from 20th Century Fox. We'll wait and we'll see.

Dreadful,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
2011-11-13 07:12 pm

A Song



I think this may be the song that matters most to be in this moment; my thanks to Alan Montroso.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
2011-10-31 01:54 pm

"You bite down on the sheet, but your teeth have been wired."

A blessed Samhain, and a Happy Hallowe'en.

Comments! Please.

This morning, I fully understand what it means to "wake up on the wrong side of the bed." Not my usual state of affairs. In some ways, this is worse than the dreamsickness. I woke about 10:30 ayem, after getting to sleep about 4:30 ayem. My throat was so dry I couldn't swallow and could hardly breathe, so I went to the kitchen to swallow something wet and rehydrate the raisin that slumber had made of my esophagus. And there in the fridge was a baking dish covered in aluminum foil (I always want to type "tin foil"). I stood there, trying to figure out what was hiding under the foil – without actually having to look. And then I realized it was the remaining two turkey drumsticks (id est, tibiotarsi) from the four Spooky baked on Wednesday evening. In the chaos of the weekend and the freak nor'easter, they'd been forgotten. At least one (and maybe two) turkey's had sacrificed their legs, and we couldn't even be bothered to have the decency not to waste them. I stared a moment, went back to bed, laid there a short while, unable to stop thinking about the wasted turkey legs, hungry people, murdered turkeys, and got up again. See, thing is, we don't waste food. Anyway, that seems to have set the tone for the day.

I was thinking a thought, but now I can't recall what it might have been. Thank you, meds. Really, I could stop taking this toxic shit. But then Spooky would murder me. Thank you, dear sweet filthy world.

---

And, I REPEAT: Okay, here's some news, so perk up those ears. I've been sitting on a secret for many, many months, and many of you know this. On November 2nd, there will be some manner of revelation, and on November 9th, all will be revealed. That's Wednesday, and then the next Wednesday. The NSA has agreed to declassify the files, and the MiBs will go public. The gag order will be rescinded. Some of you will not hear the news here first. Machineries are in motion that are far greater than am I. But...I believe there will be a lot of happy campers among you, and I think the wait will have been worth it. It's worn me ragged, keeping this secret. Feel free, today, to speculate!

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,288 words on "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W." I thought I'd finish it yesterday, but there's more to come. Also, sadly, I'm no nearer to a seeing a human body with lines of latitude and longitude. But...there went my train of thought again. Choo choo. Um. Oh, yeah. Sirenia Digest subscribers will be getting something very strange and special this month. Well, unless you hated Silk, in which case you'll just be getting something...very strange.

By the way, I would so totally fuck Tom Waits. True fact.

Meanwhile, it's not too early to preorder The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. On the other hand, it might very soon be too late order a copy of Two Worlds and In Between. Snoozers are frequently losers. Or they pay too much on eBay. Or settle for crappy Kindle editions.

A great line from The Log of the Sea of Cortez: "An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep." Oh, to ever write a single sentence that sublime.

Also, if you cross the path of Rose Tyler today, do not fucking mistake her for Britney Spears or Christine Aguilera, or lasers will shoot forth from my bloodshot eyes, and those lasers will find you, no matter where you might be hiding. Respect the Companions, or die.

And Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Oh, and here are photos from early, early, early on Sunday, as the nor'easter struck our street (struck, street – cute), and one from the next day (for some reason):

30 October 2011 )


Irascible,
Aunt fucking Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-10-12 01:38 pm

intr. v.: impending

No numbered lists today. I've not the patience for it, and I have too little to say, and, besides, NASA finally decided the odds of the elctro-whatsit generator we need to proceed "probably" won't create a vast artificial black hole.

Secrets make me weary.

Yesterday...well, I did do some stuff. Spooky went out and rented a second storage unit, because there's too many comp copies of books I've written or have stories in, and everything has to be reorganized, and my isn't that exciting? Tonight, we'll be lugging boxes of books to Pawtucket. Still awaiting the go-ahead from the National Aeronautics geeks, I tried to begin a new vignette...or short story. Not sure which yet, or either. Or if either? Something's wrong there. Anyway, [livejournal.com profile] sovay helped me with the Greek for the title: "Hē tēs thalássēs mártys (ἡ τῆς θαλάσσης μάρτυς)," and I even wrote 104 words on it before giving up. Not in disgust. In something else. Possibly in misgiving or in trepidation.

Sometime, thereafter, I had my first seizure in months. Spooky wasn't here, and I came to on the kitchen floor. The usual "I have no idea what happened immediately beforehand" amnesia and the back of my head hurt. But no damage done. Just when I think I'm never going to have another one of these things...Anyway, my suspicion is there's just been far too much stress the last couple of weeks, which is, obviously, a primary trigger for PNES seizures,

Yesterday, talking about Silk, someone in the comments mentioned how they enjoyed the interconnectedness of the books. And I replied that, truthfully, I regret the novels being interconnected — Silk through Daughter of Hounds — and that I've seriously considered rewriting "Bainbridge" to remove its connections to Silk and Murder of Angels (and, so, by extension, the other three novels). I have no idea how my readers would feel about my attitude towards having tied all this stuff together, but as the years go by it seems juvenile, and as though I did the wrong thing for all the wrong reasons. Hence, The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir are almost entirely devoid of any connection to my earlier books. The bizarre series that Blood Oranges may be the beginning of, this is not the way I will continue to write most novels in the future (and I do not think of Blood Oranges as one of my serious novels; it's just a peculiar lark, fun, something to wake me up after the long fever dream of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir).

The weather's turning to shit just in time for this weekend's shoot. I suppose we will muddle through. Perhaps literally.

Oh, I know what I was going to say. One reason I stopped writing "Hē tēs thalássēs mártys (ἡ τῆς θαλάσσης μάρτυς)" yesterday was this sudden fear that I'm writing far too many stories about the sea. Yes, I know I do it very well. But I'm beginning to feel like I'm...repeating myself. Well, I know what I mean.

In the end, yesterday was an all but wasted day...which makes four in a row...during a month when I couldn't afford even one. But this shit happens. At least, today, I can go back to work in earnest. After all the email. Spooky has to drive down to her parents' place to gather up some spare blankets and pillows and stuff for people who will be crashing here over the weekend. We're still waiting on final conformation about shooting scenes in the Athenaeum. There's an awful lot of chaos (not with the Atehnaeum, that wasn't what I meant to imply). But this whole thing begins day after tomorrow, and a lot of things are still up in the air. And the funny part? There's zero evidence that book trailers help sell books. But we have a three thousand dollar budget.

I should go now, before I hurt myself.

Oh, but first — and speaking of book trailers — there's this. The first volume of Odd?, a new biannual anthology from Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (presently only an ebook, but a hardcopy edition is on its way), reprints my story "A Child's Guide to the Hollow Hills." But I think the promotional video is far more entertaining than is my story:



Masochistic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-09-28 01:26 pm

"There on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone."

So, the rains never came. The rains for which we cancelled the trip to Maine. There might have been a shower one night. Every day, the past few days, has been a case of "tomorrow, it's going to rain." And we have sunny days and warm nights. I've wasted an Indian Summer sitting at this fucking machine. Then again, there's so much work to be done, taking the time off truly would have been disastrous ("ill-starred").

We are surrounded by an ocean of words, and virtually no one knows their meanings.

COMMENT, KITTENS!

Yesterday, I began what I hope is a new piece for Sirenia Digest #70 (subscribe!). Currently, it's called "Evensong," and today I'll go back over the 1,134 words I wrote yesterday and see if I can make them a little more melodic, and then try to conjure whether or not the vignette (which it actually is) is leading me anywhere I want to go.

The workload right now has even me amazed. The money's nice. No denying that. But I doubt I'll be able to take more than two or three days off (maybe) until sometime in December.

It's a good thing that, as a small child, I was inoculated against suicide, what with all that talk of hellfire and damnation.

Ah, but two fine gifts yesterday, and thank you, Steven Lubold!

Lee Moyer and I have talking about the cover art for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. He had a great idea for an image from "Dancing with the Eight of Swords," and Bill Schafer has approved it.

There's a lot of shit I'd be blogging about, if I had half the requisite energy. For example, how mass media (televised and print) is largely ignoring the "occupation of Wall Street" and the instances of police brutality associated with it. Officer Tony Baloney, anyone? You know this tune! Sing along!

My bologna has a first name.
It's T O N and Y.
My Bologna has a second name.
It's P U S S Y.
Oh, I'd love to beat him every day,
For spraying girls inside a cage,
Cause we are now a police state from B O L O G N A !
— Anon.

You're a douchebag, Deputy Inspector Tony Baloney. Then again, maybe you give douchebags a bad rep. You're definitely giving the NYPD a bad rep.

I am currently battling a massive resurgence of time displacement. Taking my life back. I managed to get to sleep by three a.m. last night. I'm learning not to fight sleep. The pills are beating back Monsieur Insomnia; now I just have to let them. But yeah, asleep by three ayem, awake at ten ayem. In part, this improvement has followed from the strict adherence to my recently instituted and unflinchingly enforced NO BULLSHIT policy. If it is in my life, and if it turns to bullshit, I make it go away. It is proving an amazingly useful policy for the alleviation of stress of every sort. Three simple words: NOT MY PROBLEM.

And now! Photographs! The first is from Sunday, and the rest from our trip to West Cove on Monday:

27 September 2011 )


All Beauty and Truth,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (grey)
2011-09-27 01:49 pm

"Squeaky swings and tall grass, the longest shadows ever cast."

Though I slept eight hours or so, I feel like I didn't sleep at all.

And there's so much sun Outside. If I didn't mind a little chill–and I don't–I could spend the day swimming at Moonstone Beach. Same for yesterday. It was "supposed" to rain yesterday and again today. And the rain keeps running away from us. I think I'm going to write a paper titled "Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and New England Weather."

Yesterday, the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir was sent to my publisher from the Jamestown post office out on Conanicut Island. It should be in Manhattan by Wednesday. For the most part, it's now out of my hands.

We spent the afternoon, at West Cove, mostly beach combing. The water was very calm, only a few scattered clouds in the sky. When we arrived, there was a great deal of plastic litter (mostly old Clorox bottles–often used for floats on lobster pots–and soft drink and water bottles) along the shoreline. Spooky and I hauled a great deal of it up above the surf line, and then later someone else came along and gathered up still more. Lots of things wash up in West Cove. Sadly, a lot of it is refuse. It's hard to enjoy being at West Cove after such a futile task.

But we found some good beach glass. I only found one nice bird bone, which was unusual. There were kayaks, canoes, sailing ships, and other boats. We took a lot of photos, and I'll post some of them tomorrow. Just not up to the chore of Photoshop and ftp today.

Back in Providence, we dropped by the p.o. There was a box of antique porcelain doll heads Inzell, Germany for Spooky, and comp copies of the Lovecraft Annual (No. 5) were waiting for me. This issue reprints the Guest of Honor speech I gave at the HPLFF in Portland, Oregon last October. Oh, and there was also a resin cast of a raven skull for Spooky. Such is our mail.

There was pizza from Fellini's for dinner. As days off go, I've had worse. We did get more of The Sundial read, and finished Season Two of Mad Men.

---

Seems like I had more thoughts on The Stand, things I forgot to say yesterday, but now I've mostly forgotten them all again. I know I was going to mention how poorly paced the book is. Having read it again, I'm more amazed than ever that King released an "extended" version. The original is already too long. He could easy have cut out half the stuff in the Boulder Freezone, and it would have only helped. The novel all but grinds to a halt in the middle.

This is what a blog entry looks like when I really can't seem to muster the resolve to write a blog entry.

Anyway. I'll be over here, talking to myself.

Weary of the World,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-09-14 01:52 pm

"And all my life that now disturbs my fingers."

Phase One seems to have left no one burned, mangled, and/or bleeding. So, tomorrow, I have to finally turn my attention to the blasted CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Always I have found dealing with CEMs a distasteful, and, often, infuriating experience. And I expect I always will. I even recognize that my reaction to CEMs is not always rational. But I hate the things. I especially hate the things when copyeditors try to rewrite my prose; I can only hope that has not happened this time. I'm not in the mood for pyrotechnics.

Truth be told, I only want to be at the sea today. There is nothing else I want. There is nothing else I need, but that one thing I almost certainly will not get.

Summer is almost over.

Day before yesterday, I received contributor's copies of the limited and slip-cased edition of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 3, which reprints my SF story, "Hydraguros," possibly my best SF story to date. The limited is sold out, but the trade edition is still available.

My thanks to Maria Gerspacher for a marvelous package, which reached me day before yesterday. Somehow, yesterday, when writing my blog entry, I apparently forgot any mail arrived the day before.

Last night, I read "A revision of the Lari (Aves, Charadriiformes) from the early Miocene of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy (Allier, France)" and "New materials of Argentoconodon fariasorum (Mammaliaformes, Triconodontidae) from the Jurassic of Argentina" in the July JVP. The first article was of especial significance, as I'm trying to begin to puzzle out the morphology of some of the local seabirds, many of which belong to this group (most notably, gulls).

I should clarify something: The second entry that showed up in this LJ yesterday wasn't written by me. It said, right at the top of the post, "Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna at The Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to You By Amazon.com." Now, we can't be much clearer than that, can we? It wasn't my idea, but LJ posts can now be "shared," reposted in one's own LJ, and, in this case, I thought Cat was speaking very articulately on a subject that desperately needs addressing. But a number of people seem to think I wrote the post, and I didn't, and that was always plain as day. Pay attention, please.

And no, I will not write a story for your shitty little self-published anthology, and no, not even at the princely sum of 1¢ a word.

I want to write about how I've seen readership of the LJ falling off dramatically, and how I think a lot of that's to blame on the DDOS attacks against LJ (hence, the hackers win). I want to write about how LJ was already in decline before the DDOS attacks, because of Facebook and Twitter, and I want to write about how I believe this is because most people want instant gratification and so gravitate towards those more immediate and transient "social media," because, you know, blogging requires actual words, thoughtfulness, and the effort of reading. I want to write about how I've watched comments decline, and how I used to look at this journal as a means of communicating to my readers – that's why it exists – but how it's becoming something I write for myself, as fewer and fewer of my readers come to it, and even fewer comment. I wanted to ask that people please not comment just to tell me why they rarely comment because they think I'll think that by doing so I'll think they're being either fannish or behaving like stalkers. But I'm tired, and it's going to be a long day.

There are more important things to write about.

Whatever Comes Next,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
2011-09-06 01:57 pm

"...but I know our filthy hands can wash one another's."

In the comments yesterday, the matter of Panthalassa came up, the matter of the focus my paganism. And I feel like I ought to explain something – not because anyone offended me – but just to be clear. My relationship with Panthalassa does not involve faith. Indeed, I am entirely lacking (or unburdened by) both religious and "spiritual" faith. Panthalassa, she asks for nothing, and I know I have nothing to give her. What's more – beyond the fact that she is objectively the world ocean – Panthalassa as a godhead exists only as a metaphor, and as a focus for psychologically healthy ritual. Which, if you ask me, pretty much puts her way ahead of Xtianity (or most other patrifocal religions), with its demanding, selfish, judgmental Old Man in the Sky. Or the "son" he supposedly sacrificed for our "sins." What I do, it's not drawing those lines – faith or failure, belief or torment. My meetings with Panthalassa are not about faith. Devotion, yes. And reverence. But not faith. Nor are they about communing with a conscious "higher power," as Panthalassa is not conscious. I am an atheist, and a pagan, and I know that bends some people's brains, but it ought not. I simply stepped outside several paradigms, all at once. Also, I have renounced the mess that Wicca has become.

---

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest 69 ready to go out to subscribers, and if you are a subscriber, you should have the issue by now. If you're not a subscriber, you should immediately follow the link above and rectify this lamentable situation. Thank you. I hope people are happy with the issue, and if they have had time to read it, will kindly comment upon 69 today.

Today I go back to work on The Secret. And I wait for the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I am not waiting with dread, only with mild and time-consuming annoyance. I know there will only be the annoying marks made by the copyeditor that, for the most part, I have to STET. The rest of September will truly be a crunch. I have The Secret, the aforementioned CEM, and we need to read through all of Blood Oranges (though that might have to wait until October).

Someone asked if there were plans for a Subterranean Press hardcover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. No, there are no such plans, but I will be speaking with other publishers, possibly, about this, and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.

---

Kathryn was at the market yesterday and heard a woman actually say "LOL," aloud. That is, "el-oh-el." After I tweeted her traumatic experience, I have discovered from others that this is not an unusual phenomenon, nor one confined to "kids these days." You shame yourselves yet again, Western Civilization. You poop in your own undies.

---

Speaking of poop, last night, for some reason beyond my comprehension, we watched John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (1987), a thing I swore I would never do. And, for fuck's sake, this is a bad movie. Even a weird little role (with no dialogue) by Alice Cooper doesn't help, not one itty-bitty bit.*** At the center of this mess is a pretty neat little idea – evil is a viral being from outer space that arrived upon the earth billions of years ago, and the purpose of the Catholic Church was to fool everyone with religion until science could become sophisticated enough to cope with the swirling green entity in the cylinder. Fine. Very Lovecraftian. But. Carpenter takes that scenario and turns it into a dull, over-lit mess, with no suspense whatsoever. This film is the very antithesis of suspense. It's where suspense goes to die of boredom. There's no acting in sight, except for Donald Pleasence's overacting. The film pauses, now and then, to ramble off a load of nonsensical exposition, which is at least a break from the slog of the story. What the fuck? Had Carpenter spent all his money on blow and whores and had nothing left over to spend on actors, a camera crew, writers, and SFX? In short, stay far, far away from this one. It's actually much worse than In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and that's saying something.

For my part, I say Carpenter had a good run from 1981 through 1986, and then violently bottomed out – with, as it happens, Prince of Darkness. His masterpiece remains, by far, The Thing (released in 1982), and I think that's mostly because he had a number of great things going for him – "Who Goes There," Howard Hawkes' The Thing from Another World (1951), Rob Bottin's brilliant SFX and art direction, Ennio Morricone's wonderfully minimalistic score, the intentional allusion to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and, lastly, a great location. John Carpenter may not be what made The Thing a great film.

But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance. Escape from New York (1981) is loads of fun, as is Big Trouble in Little China (and Kurt Russell is a significant part of what works with both those films). But yeah. 1981 through 1986, and then Carpenter takes a precipitous nose dive. Hell, I might even be generous, and include The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978) – though I don't really like either, they're gold compared with everything that came after 1986. And the plunge from Big Trouble in Little China to Prince of Darkness is almost inexplicable. So, yes. I say it was coke and whores.

Anyway, afterwards, we watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and read more of The Stand. I read two more stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Both were by authors with whom I'd had no previous experience. First, John Horner Jacobs' "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and then Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Flash Frame." Both were quite good, but I especially liked Jacobs' piece. All this helped get the taste of the awful movie out of my brain and eyeballs.

Tonight, maybe some Insilico RP.

Rain today. Chilly. Summer's passing away.

Oh! Photos from Sunday, as Irene was finishing up with Rhode Island (behind the cut). So, these photos were taken the day before the last set of photos I posted.

Chilled,
Aunt Beast

28 August 2011 )


***Spooky says, "The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
2011-09-04 02:44 pm

"Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole."

Here's the ruckus. There are three things in my life that bring me joy, without fail. What's more, each of these things is, essentially, free. No, I'll not tell you what those three things are. But, because I am not an utter cocksucker, I will say that one of them isn't writing, and if anyone should happen to guess what the other three are, I'll confirm. And send you a banana sticker. Oh, there would be four things that bring me joy, without fail, but it doesn't seem fair to include heroin on the list. Also, I lied about the banana stickers.

No, not having a good day. I'm afraid to go to sleep at night, because all I hear is a clock ticking very loudly.

Also, to harp and beat dead horses, the whole thing with emoticons and l33t, maybe you don't notice anyone thinking you're an idiot when you use XD or <.< or lol***, but maybe that's because you've begun keeping the company of idiots...or maybe you always did. Just a thought. Take it or fucking leave it be. Oh, Caitlín! Will you not ever learn you catch more flies with honey, and a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down? Problem is, it's a lot more satisfying hitting the Bad Things with baseball bats.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,261 words on the still untitled Mars story for Sirenia Digest 69. I mean to finish it today, which makes me eager to think of a title.

Last night, we watched André Øvredal's Trolljegeren (2010; aka Trollhunter). And, fuck me, but never in a million years would I have expected this to be a brilliant little movie. All I can say is see it, and if you read the description first, don't let that affect how you approach the film. You've got to go in with an open mind. I was only just barely able to, but I'm very grateful I was. Want to know what awesome really means, or, for that matter, awful? See this movie. The climactic creature encounter is, truly, genuinely, both awesome and awful. Four thumbs way, way up. Oh, it doesn't hurt if you love the art of people like Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and John Baur (1882-1918) and have at least a passing familiarity with Nordic mythology.

Now...photographs from August 29th (the day we drove to Watch Hill, then east again to Narragansett), after Irene passed over us, and left the sea angry and ill:

29 August, Part 2 )


*** Or, for example, ;-), :-), o.0, >.>, :-P, ad infinitum. And, for the record, yes, I've caught myself doing this, especially on SL, but I do my best to remind myself it makes me look like an idiot.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
2011-08-30 02:03 pm

"My head is weak, my heart always speaks, before I know what it will say."

I'll make no apologies for the tone of yesterday's post. There are no regrets. I will only offer an opaque excuse, that I have been made a party to what is, in my estimation, a sickening tragedy. One that could have easily been prevented. One I tried to prevent. And now I will carry the fact of it in my head for years.

And so, yeah, the fury's going nowhere soon. So, do not attempt to console me. It's amazing how many people on the internet are unable to comprehend that trying to calm a rabid animal only gets them bitten. Oh, and then they whine about how unfair it is they've been bitten. Poor fucking idiots.

---

Today there is work, which part of me needs badly. Never mind my having finished a novel day before yesterday. It's not that I love the work; it's that the work keeps me sane by filling a void. So, yes, work, important work, then my psychiatrist before dinner. There's a prescription.

And speaking of work, I have begun to realize there's presently confusion over the two books I've written this year, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Blood Oranges. The first – The Drowning Girl: A Memoir – took me about a year and a half to write, and is, by far, my best novel to date. The second – Blood Oranges - took me forty-five days to write, and if you think of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as, oh, let's say a gourmet meal, then Blood Oranges is the tasty, but fluffy and insubstantial, desert that comes afterwards.

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will be out from Penguin in March 2012.

Blood Oranges hasn't yet sold.

And while I'm at it:

Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be out, I think, in September (or maybe October) from Subterranean Press. If you've not ordered, you need to do so.

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be released by Subterranean Press sometime in 2012.

And there's a lot more, and it's awesome, but if I told you, I really would have to kill you. No joke.

---

Yesterday, I read two stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Used to be, I never read the anthologies my stories appeared in. Don't know why. I just never wanted to do it. But, the last year or so I've been reading some of the books with my stories. Anyway, yesterday I read two of the twenty-seven (I think it's twenty-seven) stories in The Book of Cthulhu. The first, John Langan's "The Shallows" is actually quite brilliant. It's unexpected, and fresh, and comes at you sideways. It's not what you think it is. These are all good things. The other was Thomas Ligotti's "Nethescurial," a very Ligottian take on the Lovecraftian found manuscript and the Lovecraftian malign artifact. And of course it was brilliant. It was Thomas fucking Ligotti.

But I fear there's a lot of this book I'm not going to like, stories I'll skip over. Because the author has chosen to use parody in her or his approach HPL, and that's just not my thing.

---

Yesterday, after a lot of work and email, the "day off" began about three p.m. We drove south and west almost to the Connecticut state line, to Westerly and on down to Watch Hill. To the lighthouse at Watch Hill. We took the narrow, winding road out to the lighthouse, and sat on the sea wall. To the west, the protected waters of Little Narragansett Bay were still and quiet. A flock of cormorants sunned themselves on rotting pilings. On the east side of the point, though, the waves were still wild. Now and then, the sun through the spray off the tops of the waves created the briefest of rainbows behind them. We watched surfers a while, then drove east to Moonstone Beach.

As I've said, Moonstone has many moods. And I saw another new one yesterday. I'd expected piles of pebbles and all manner of unusual strandings and flotsam. My expectation is irrelevant. The beach looked stripped raw. I can think of no other way to describe it. There's been a tremendous amount of erosion during the storm. The tide was coming in, and there were odd sandbars and eddies, and the crashing waves – some easily six to eight feet high – were coming in from the west, the east, the southeast, the southwest, in no discernible (gods, the English language is retarded) pattern. The air reeked overwhelmingly of dead fish, though not a dead fish was in evidence. The usual cobbles were almost entirely absent. The waters in the breaker zone were an ugly greenish black, loaded with sediment and all manner of...well...dead things. Mostly plant matter. Only the Piping Plovers seemed to be happy with the state of things, dashing about madly at the water's edge. I could see that the waves had overtopped the dunes and the sea had reached both Trustom and Card ponds. It was the sight of a place you trust as being the incarnation of calm, seen after terrible violence has occurred. But the error is mine. Panthalassa has no interest in my moods, impressions, or needs, and if I thought otherwise, I'd be a fool. Moonstone will heal, in time.

Between the ponds, there were birdwatchers, and we had our monoculars with us. We spotted a Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) and three Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus), both new to us.

We drove on to Narragansett, but there was no power. So we couldn't get dinner at Iggy's or at George's (which is actually in Galilee). We did manage to piss at a Cumberland Farms. Their power was out, but they let us use a Bic lighter. It's amazing how dark a women's room can be. At sunset, we drove past Scarborough Beach, and Narragansett Beach. The surf was heavy at the latter, but not as heavy as I'd expected. There were dozens of surfers in the water, most seeming a bit disappointed. All in all, we saw far less damage than I'd expected. And then we came home.

And that was yesterday. Oh, except for three wasted hours in Second Life. If you tell me you like it dark, and then bale when it gets rough, and without so much as a "good night," you're a simpering weasel, and it's really as simple as that.

Wrathfully,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-08-27 03:50 pm

Irene Day 3

Okay, so even though I got up about an hour early, I'm running about an hour late, and I blame you, Johnathan Strahan, and you, Gary K. Wolfe. And this Coode Street Podcast, which will have me smiling for days to come. And, of course, now I'm dying to see Gary's Locus review of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One). I was especially pleased with their suspicion that Volume Two is going to be so much better than Volume One (because it will be).

Comments today, kittens! I need them.

---

Yesterday, after I attended to email (Michael Zulli and I seem to have become regular correspondents, which is just too cool), we left Providence, about 3 p.m.. And drove south to Exeter, in the southwestern quadrant of Rhode Island. Throughout Blood Oranges I've been doing something I never do with novels: I haven't spent much time scouting locales. To keep with the fast-pace of the book, I've relied on my memories. But the climactic scene occurs in Exeter, where I've spent very little time. Now, if you're into the weird of New England, or vampire lore, you know all about the Mercy Brown incident (and the related cases of New England "vampires"). I've read Michael E. Bell's superb book on the subject, Food for the Dead, and used the case in several stories. Yet, I'd never visited the grave. Nor had Spooky, which is even odder. So, yesterday we set out to remedy this.

It could hardly have been a less appropriate day, if you're the sort who wants some appropriately eldritch atmosphere for such an outing. The sun was blazing, and there's virtually no shade in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery. The temperature must have been in the mid-eighties Fahrenheit, with heat indexes close to ninety. But I think Spooky and I were both happy that we weren't making some cliché goth pilgrimage. We followed Ten Rod Road (Route 102) to Exeter and the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church (behind which the cemetery is located). Mercy's grave is a simple marble marker, unassuming, and unlike that of Nellie Vaughn – another tuberculosis victim that superstitious locals feared was an undead, life-draining revenant (oh look, LJ can't spell revenant) – there's no inscription that could be taken the wrong way. Vaughn's grave, in Greenwich (Gren-itch), reads: "I am waiting and watching you." Anyway, there is at least a large cedar that shades Mercy's stone. As with HPL's marker, people had left tokens on the headstone. I left a small black pebble. There are photos behind the cut.

After Exeter, and all the notes carefully recorded in my Moleskine, we headed over to Newbury Comics in Warwick (War-ick) to kill some time until it was cool enough to make the drive down to Moonstone Beach. And we were Bad Kids, and each bought two CDs. Not being utterly destitute after the long monetary drought, these things happen. And they were all used CDs. I got Death Cab For Cutie's Plans and Placebo's Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004. Spooky got Einstürzende Neubauten's Strategies Against Architecture, Volume 4 and the Swans' Children of God. We were not utterly awful, though; we only looked at the amazing new Depeche Mode boxed set.

After Warwick, we headed south to Moonstone. And, of this beach's many moods, here was another one. One perched at the edge of a tremendous chaos. Already, the waves were dangerously high, at least 3-5' high, and a big yellow sign had been posted forbidding people from walking on even the lower part of the beach. Walking over the dunes, past Trustom Pond, where a few bird watchers were set up (the birds were all in a lather, as the storm approaches), we spotted a beautiful Green Heron (Butorides virescens), a new species for both of us. It was perfectly still at the edge of the pond, fishing. A tiny Piping Plover kept creeping near it, then dashing away again. But no cormorants anywhere, no gulls in the sky. Flocks of pigeons heading inland. A squawking catbird. A strange and ominous ornithology.

On the beach proper, well...I can't do it justice in words. A painter could have done it justice. I'll post photos over the next few days (assuming we don't lose power). There were a few people. We walked a long way (maybe .40 miles, so .80 altogether) as the sun was setting. The wind was chilly, very wet and misty, quite a change from Exeter. We saw all manner of flotsam and jetsam. We spotted the leathery remains of a skate (Family Rajidae, maybe a Thorny Skate), and another beachcomber told us that a Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was stranded at Moonstone on the 9th of the month. Oh, the wonders I miss by not being nearer the shore! Fuck you, motor boats; the turtle likely died from gash in a front flipper, from a propeller. As the sun was giving way to night, beneath a Maxfield Parish sky, we reluctantly headed back to the van. I wanted to spend the night in the dunes, just feeling the storm coming on.

Back in Providence, we stopped by Eastside Market to grab a last minute pile of supplies, readying to sit out what Irene throws our way (I've heard we're getting 18 hours of continuous tropical storm conditions), and we remain under a Hurricane Warning. Anyway, there was a package from an incredibly kind anonymous individual – a first edition (!!!) of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial, sent from The Strand in Manhattan. Whoever did this, a million thanks.

---

Good RP in Insilico, and some of The Stand last night, as Trashcan reached Las Vegas.

---

So, we're watching little but the progress of Irene up the Eastern Seaboard. Terrifying, this storm, and, as I have said, I am honestly more worried about Manhattan than I am about Providence. Regardless, stay safe. Don't laugh this one off. Not since Katrina has America faced such a threat from a hurricane. We've got mandatory evacuations in coastal and low lying areas here in Rhode Island. But regardless of my fear (and I am afraid of this storm), gods, what a splendid expression of sky and sea, this child of Panthalassa. The sea stands up and walks across the land. This has been happening for billions of years, and we're the ones in the way. This doesn't mean I am without concern. It only means I see both sides.

Concerned and Awed,
Aunt Beast

Anyway, here are the Exeter photos:

26 August, Part 1 )


Addendum: This entry took over two and a half hours to compose.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-08-26 02:12 pm

Irene Day 2

We're provisioned, high and dry, and watching the charts, the diagrams, the broadcasts. I'm not especially worried about Providence. And the storm will have spent most of its fury before it reaches Boston. We'll get heavy rain and bad wind. And hellacious swells and tides (Why am I not surprised that LJ can't spell "hellacious"?). But it's Manhattan and the other boroughs that worry me the most.

Regardless, it'll be a rough weekend on the Eastern Seaboard. I'd thought maybe I could get to Moonstone Beach late this evening and get in one last swim before the storm hits. But the surf report for the day is looking less than optimum. By the time I could reach the shore, late this afternoon, the surf will be 3+ feet (waist to stomach height), with swells at 2-3 feet. The swells really are not bad for swimming, given that the water should be semi-glassy/semi-bumpy. But my legs are still weak enough that getting in and out of that surf could be dangerous (I can still be knocked down by a 2-foot wave, if it catches me off guard). So, I imagine we'll drive down and watch the sea, but stay dry (I'll get photos and post them). The temptation is just so...strong. But the surfers are excited. They'll be out in force at Point Judith by tomorrow. Surfers know no fear (which, in this case, may equate to having little in the way of instincts for self-preservation*).

But things get scary on Sunday, when we'll have 10-15 foot waves, with 15-26+ ft. swells. And, of course, the new moon is bringing our highest tides of the month. Here in Providence, the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier will protect downtown (which is only 8-12 feet above mean sea level). I doubt there will even be an evacuation order for Conanicut, Aquidneck, and Block islands. But we shall see.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on Chapter Eight of Blood Oranges. I am so, so near the ending. But today, I need to go down to Exeter, about 15 miles from here, to do some last minute research for the final scene. We'll stop by the Chestnut Hill Cemetery and see the grave of Mercy Brown, which I've never done. Oddly.

They can no longer move.
I can no longer be still.
-- Throwing Muses

[livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has begun a new LJ, [livejournal.com profile] evacanning, for the outtakes and progress with The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed and the book trailer (not sure why this isn't being done via Kickstarter, but there you go). Kyle and I will both be making upates. There are already some great stills (Sarah [Eva] and Kyle, and one of the plague doctors) up on the blog.

Oh, the deadlines I am facing in the next three weeks. Fuck me twice on Sunday. Wish me luck. If I survive them, well...maybe then I'll be able to survive the two months that follow those three weeks. The matter was discussed yesterday with my editor at Penguin.

Well, enough for now. If you're in Irene's path, do the smart thing. Be safe. But I cannot help but marvel (and herein lies conflict) at the beautiful ferocity of this beast, Panthalassa's rough, watery beast slouching towards Nova Scotia.

Awed,
Aunt Beast

* This isn't meant to be value-laden, loaded language. Frankly, I admire anyone who takes on that wild water. If I were younger and/or stronger, I would be out there.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
2011-08-17 01:59 pm

"He kisses my wrist, and I am an inferno."

Thanks for yesterday's comments. Let's see if we can do that again. I like to see Frank the Goat all smiling and happy.

Sunny, and warm (high of 84˚F forecast) here in Providence, and I should go to the sea. Instead, I'll write.

So, after I propose a book as the month's selection, and after I discover it's a steaming pile of pink giraffe dung, then people step forward to tell me that it was a baffling choice. Better yet, that my choice of Ryan's book led them to doubt my sanity and the very fabric of time and space. Helpful lot, you are. Anyway, so I officially decry The Forest of Hands and Teeth as the waste of a wonderful title and a lot of paper, and move along. Yes, you heard me. I am breaking with my neurosis and not even finishing it. And there will be no other choice for the "book club" this month. Me, I'm reading The Stand (the original 1978 text) for the first time since the 1980s. And this be a lesson to you all. Even aliens fuck up sometimes.

Seriously, how does someone get to be an adult-type person and have such a dopey, sugary view of the world as Carrie Ryan? How is it that their ideas of human relationships remain so firmly rooted in the ninth grade?

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,349 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. Yes, I finished Chapter Six on Monday without having realized that I'd done so. I am approaching the book's climax. It's a very, very peculiar book. It's me taking a vacation. But, regardless, I can assure you that – whatever it might be – it's at least 1,000% better written than The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

---

I was very pleased to see this bit in John Clute's review (at Strange Horizons) of Ellen Datlow's Naked City:

And Caitlin R Kiernan's "The Colliers' Venus (1893)" (in a steampunk Denver here called Cherry Creek) is an engrossingly indirect narrative at the climax of which the eponymous figure—who is Gaia in bondage—turns to holy ash, which is coal dust that fills the lungs, which is to say she imprints us with our fate.

But the entire review should be read, as it speaks to the sad mess that has been made of the once respectable and promising label "urban fantasy." Seriously, if you value my fiction, or my opinion of fiction in general (the Carrie Ryan gaffe notwithstanding), you should read this whole review. But I will quote two passages:

"If it's the same story wherever it happens to be set," I wrote, "it isn't Urban Fantasy."

– and –

The best stories in both anthologies, being about our world, do not pretend to tell us that all will be well, that all things will be well if we listen, down to the last sweet-tooth detail, to the child inside. Paranormal romances told by sweeties no longer feed us joy or terror, not any more. They are yesterday's newspaper. If it is our fate to breathe dust, then let it be the dust of the world we live in.

Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes. Where have all our John Clute's gone?

---

So, as I was saying, casting about for something reliable to read last night, we settled on the original text of The Stand (1978). The 1990 revision/extension/updating, in my opinion, was mostly nonsensical and all but ruined the novel.* I'd actually wanted to read Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (1958), but couldn't find my copy anywhere (and fear it was lost on a move [dash] book purge). So, yes. The Stand. I was afraid we'd start, and this book I'd loved so much during my teens and early twenties that I read it pretty much once a year would have lost everything that made it dear to me. Kathryn and I re-read King's 'Salem's Lot back in 2004, and, frankly, I found it embarrassing. That is, I was embarrassed I'd ever admired that novel. Anyway...

Last night I was very pleasantly surprised to find that The Stand is still, to me, an enthralling, well-written book. Which means King's writing improved considerably between 'Salem's Lot and The Stand, between about 1973 and 1977 (approximate composition dates, not publication dates). I entirely stopped reading him after '89 and '90's supremely disappointing The Dark Half and the reworked edition of The Stand. For me, the high point had been Pet Sematary (1983), and I knew the party was ending when I read the atrociously bloated and silly It (1986). I've drifted off the point. So far, after the first five chapters and the first fifty pages, The Stand is what I remember it being. I'm just glad that I have a copy of the original text, and not the later, longer, and lesser edition.

And I should go. There's an impatient platypus.

An Old-School Urban Fantasy,
Aunt Beast

* Much like what Clute says about urban fantasy stories being about the places they're set in, and ceasing to be those stories if moved to a new place...a good novel is about its time, no matter how "timeless" the basic elements may be, and cannot simply be bumped ahead in time to make more money for publishers and authors. Just look at the mess that has been made of Lovecraft on film, because no one understands these are now period stories. Now, from here, The Stand is a story about the world thirty-one years ago (it's set in 1980).
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
2011-08-13 01:04 pm

"I struck that picture ninety times, I walked that path a hundred ninety."

Not much in the mood for an entry today. We'll play a nice game of catch up tomorrow.

My thanks to everyone who has donated mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's Drowning Girl Kickstarter project. At this point, it's 141% funded, and we still have twenty-eight days to go. And there are some amazing new rewards, soon to be announced. So, it's not too late. Also, people seem shy about those donations between $1-$14, but they ought not. Every bit helps, plus those donations grant access to the project blog.

Today, I am going to the sea.

Try to go seventy-two hours without using "lol," in any context (unless it's part of an actual word, such as lollipop). Maybe future generations won't thank you, them being doomed and all, but I'll sure be grateful.

Oh! One last thing. From Richard Horton's review of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, in the August issue of Locus:

Finally, Caitlín R. Kiernan’s ‘‘The Maltese Unicorn’’, which is as stylishly noir as any story here, is about a used bookstore owner who is friendly with a mysterious brothel owner, and thus ends up trying to track down a strange object – a dildo – for her, and gets involved, to her distress, with a beautiful and untrustworthy woman mixed up in the whole business. I thought this the best story in the book, and the story that most perfectly, to my taste, matched the theme.

Booya!

Lastly, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sovay for news of this wondrous fossil, a plesiosaur found with an unborn plesioaur in its abdomen:

greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-08-09 02:27 am
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
2011-08-01 01:01 pm

"I've been swimming in a sea of anarchy."

Today is Lughnasadh. Unless, of course, you're in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case it's Imbolc. So, may the day be good to you.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,465 words, and finished "The Granting Cabinet," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #68. The story was sent away to Vince Locke to be illustrated. Today, I'll begin laying out the issue. As soon as I have Vince's illustration, I'll get the issue out to subscribers.

In the meanwhile, I'll get back to work on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges.

I have discovered that the ubiquitous "In a world..." has been replaced in the realm of movie synopses by "...begins to suspect that..." Well, at least so far as Netflix synopses are concerned.

And here's a story I found...interesting: "Married Lesbian Couple Rescued 40 Teens from Norway Massacre". What matters here is not that these two women are a married couple, but that their efforts have almost certainly been ignored by the press because they are a lesbian couple. Anyway, I especially liked this paragraph:

The mainstream U.S. media, which loves a hero story almost as much as a tragedy, has been uniformly silent about the lesbian superstars. Instead, you get a gay man, Bruce Bawer, in his self-serving WSJ piece saying how shocked he is to discover his extremist anti-Islam writings are quoted in the extremist anti-Islam writings of a killer.

Yesterday, I read another paper from the May Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "New occurrences of dinosaur skin of two types (Sauropoda? and Dinosauria indet.) from the Late Jurassic of North America (Mygatt-Moore Quarry, Morrison Formation)."

Last night, we watched Dominic Sena's Season of the Witch. And...this would have been a perfectly enjoyable, fun B-movie if only someone hadn't convinced Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman that men in the 14th Century were incapable of emoting. Otherwise, the cast is fine. Claire Foy is quite good, in fact. Tippet Studio's climactic demon sequence is disappointing, but serviceable. Again, Season of the Witch is almost a fine little B-movie, and I think we need to acknowledge that there is a place for B movies. Anyway...later, I did two short RP scenes in Rift, one with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus and one with [livejournal.com profile] r_darkstorm, and also got our Guardian-side sister Guild, the Hidden Variable, up and running (as a prop, it plays an important roll in the story arc of Watchers of the Unseen, but also provides the advantages of a guild for our Guardian-side characters).

And that was yesterday. And here's the photographic beach porn I promised yesterday:

30 July 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-07-31 02:34 pm

"But I held my breath, and I kicked my feet."

I have got to start going to bed earlier. Or later, but before "almost dawn."

Yesterday became an unexpected day off. Before returning to work on "The Granting Cabinet" for Sirenia Digest #68, I needed to clear my head. So we headed down to Moonstone, for a late afternoon of swimming. The temperatures were hovering just below 90˚F. The shadows below the trees along the South County back roads were cool. Yesterday, was the annual "blessing of the fleet," a nightmare of drunken tourists, but we managed to skirt all that. When we reached the beach, sometime just after 5 p.m., there were people crabbing off the bridge between Trustom and Card ponds. White buckets filled with restless blue crabs.

This time, we came dressed to swim, and I was in the water almost at once. The farthest I swam out was about a hundred yards. The water gets deep fast in Block Island Sound off Moonstone Beach, but I have no way of knowing how deep it was beneath me. I managed to find bottom at about ten feet, but I swam quite a bit farther out after that. Spooky swam out farther than before, than our last visit. I never feel half so free as I feel when I'm in the water, salt or fresh. Water the color of the brine inside a jar of olives buoyed me up and down again, long, slow swells that were breaking against the shore in waves that were two or three feet high. Ochre-colored water, filled with bits of silt, detritus, and seaweed. I almost got wrapped in a huge strand of kelp. The water was clear enough I had no trouble keeping my feet in sight. The air was also clear, thanks to low humidity, and Block Island stood out against the southern horizon. We watched an osprey dive in just offshore, and pull out a sizable fish. It flew away to the east, towards Narragansett, with the fish wriggling in its talons.

Spooky checked the water temperature before leaving home; it was 69˚F. But after the initial shock, I was fine. I floated and stared at the sky. Weightless. Nothing above, and nothing below (no matter how false that statement might be). I only wish we could have stayed a couple of hours longer. We left about 7 p.m., and, on the way home, stopped to see Spooky's parents. Her dad, International Man of Mystery, has just returned from Newcastle, UK. We stayed just a little while, too tired from swimming and half starved, before heading home. On the way back to the van though, we spotted another frog by the koi pond. If I'd had my meds with me, we'd have stayed all night. We'd have laid out beneath the stars (which are still visible from South County), listening to crickets and katydids. Anyway, for those with the stomach for beach porn, there are photos below, behind the cut.

---

Back home, after dinner, after showers, there was a little Rift. No RP, just leveling Otamisia (Spooky's Kelari mage) and Nilleshna (my Kelari cleric).

Afterwards, we watched Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch. I'm still trying to figure out what I thought of this film. No doubt, it's dazzling. The steampunk WWI battle scene was amazing. If I were only rating it on it's value as eye candy, Sucker Punch would score a 10 out of 10. What I can't quite decide is how I felt about the rest of the film. This quote from a Salon review by Andrew O'Hehir seems true enough (cribbed from the film's Wikipedia entry), "If you want to understand Snyder's central narrative gambit, it's right there in the title. He gives us what we want (or what we think we want, or what he thinks we think we want): Absurdly fetishized women in teeny little skirts, gloriously repetitious fight sequences loaded with plot coupons, pseudo-feminist fantasies of escape and revenge. Then he yanks it all back and stabs us through the eyeball." But I'm still sorting out various aspects of the film, and trying to decide if it's even the sort of film that merits so much thought. I enjoyed it, undoubtedly, but something keeps nagging at me. Still, I think it got a bad shake from critics, and should be seen by more people than it has. It can't be dismissed as outright mysogyny, anymore than it can fairly be praised as an empowering piece of girl-power propaganda (though it's been called both).

And that was pretty much yesterday.

I forgot, yesterday, to mention Friday night's eight-episode Law and Order: Criminal Intent binge, the beginning of Season Four.

MTV is about to turn thirty years old. How weird is that? August 1, 1981. I was about to begin my last year of high school. The Empire Strikes Back was in theaters. And MTV showed nothing but...you know...music videos. You younger sorts might have heard of those.

Oh, thanks to my having gotten so behind this month (heat, convention, insane fucking car, etc.), Sirenia subscribers will, this month, get the new story, "The Granting Cabinet," plus Chapter Two of Blood Oranges, "Songs For My Funeral" (Yeah, like the Snakefarm album). I do hope you will enjoy.

And now, the photos! (Wait, my webhosting service is doing something really fucking weird. I'll get the photos up tomorrow...I hope. Apologies.)
greygirlbeast: (sol)
2011-07-20 02:25 pm

"You’re you in cartilage, shark-eyed, shock horror, all present tense..."

Put on your comment caps, kittens.

The heat in Providence continues to worsen. We have an "Excessive Heat Watch," and on Friday we're supposed to reach 96˚F, with a heat index of 105˚F. Might not sound too scary if you're used to the heat in Arizona or Alabama, but that's just short of a natural disaster in Rhode Island. We're planning to not be in the house that day. A theatre. Something. Anything dark and cool.

Trying to sort my thoughts.

Well, my first thought is that I'm at least two weeks behind schedule. Of course, being a freelance, the schedule is of my own devising. Of course, while that makes it more flexible, a flexible schedule is no less important to adhere to – flexibility – if one is at least to earn checks that might, in theory, one day arrive to keep you going until the next Maybe Check. Um...lost my train of thought again. Oh yes, behind fucking schedule. Blood Oranges was supposed to be finished by the end of the month. It was very important that it be written by then, written and out of the way. Now, having lost most of July to crap and a convention and heat and editing, the best I can hope for is to finish it by mid-August. Which...might work. Possibly. The Great Reluctance to Move Forward that I spoke of on July 7th hasn't actually removed itself from my path. I have to climb over that motherfucker to get back to Quinn and Bad Mr. B and the Bride of Quiet. So, I get farther and farther behind, and lose sight of how to get ahead again. Or just caught up. Caught up would be bloody wonderful.

---

You know, I am aware that if this blog were more – what's the word? Political? Controversial? Confrontational? None of those are the right words. Let's say, more like [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's. If it were more like that, there would likely be many more comments. Well, perhaps. And were I a much younger beast, I might still have the energy to write those sorts of entries. But I'm not, and I don't. More's the pity, I suppose. It's not that I don't have a lot to say on subjects like gender bias in speculative fiction or the problem of "racefail" or the mounting absurdities of copyright law in America. But I can only speak of these things in small bits, small bits at a time. My writing energy, my brainmeats, they have to be reserved, mostly, for the fiction. Sorry, just a stray thought.

---

No writing yesterday, but we did finally finish going over the galley pages for Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, (Volume One). The text is probably as error-free as I can make it, given subpress' publishing schedule (there's that word again). And then we sent the corrections off to Yanni Kuznia, who will pass them along to Gail Cross (who does subpress' design and layout). I also need to send the signature pages back. I've had them here forever.

After I answered the day's emails, Spooky and I fled for Moonstone Beach. I'm getting to a point where I just can't stay away from the sea anymore, and now that we have the van back, it's only a question of gas money and time (not much of either on hand). Well, those two things, plus the guilt of enlarging our carbon footprint by driving so much. We headed south to the beach, it was already 4:30 p.m. or so, and we arrived about 5:30. Perfect day for that spot. There were people crabbing on the little bridge that crosses the connection between Trustom and Card Ponds. There were red-winged blackbirds, catbirds, cormorants, piping plovers, and all the gulls. I could no longer resist the water. I waded in wearing baggy cargo shorts and a grey tank top. For a short time, I only splashed about in the surf, letting the breakers knock me about. And then a couple of BIG waves (4+ ft.) pretty much took my loose clothes off. There was almost no one on the beach, so I stripped and swam out about 10-15 yards***. The water was marvelously cold and buoyant. I floated, hearing only the sea, seeing only sky above me. This is as close as I come to peace. I dove down eight feet, ten feet, and then I was too far out to find bottom (which drops away fast). Spooky (decently clothed) followed me maybe halfway. She never went so far she couldn't feel the bottom beneath her. I can honestly say I'd not been that happy in years. We left about the time the sun began to set over the dog roses and the silvery surface of Trustom Pond, once the air temperature began to drop, about 7:30 p.m. There are photos behind the cut. No, none of me skinny-dipping (by the way, bathing suits are stupid, even if they keep the sand out of places sand ought never go):

19 July 2011 )


Movin’ through rough waters motel boy,
And swimming in your sleep.
How could I be so blind, mis-sighted,
Not to see there’s something wounded deep.
-- R.E.M.

Longing for the Sea,
Aunt Beast

***Moonstone Beach was a nude beach, before it became a piping plover sanctuary.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
2011-07-13 01:41 pm

"...and a man with a broken neck."

Someone should really tell whatever moron/s started using "baby bump" that it sounds like a disease. Then again, we are referring to pregnancy.

---

The heat is unrelenting. Yesterday, we were essentially confined to the middle parlour and bedroom, as the temperature in my office exceeded 90F. In the "cool part of the house" the temperature reached 86F. Somehow, in the haze of heat and being too addled to get work done, we stupidly managed not to flee for to a library or some other AC-protected place. We stayed here. All day. And around 7:30 p.m., my body temp went up to 100F, and I stopped sweating, and I started slurring, and...yeah. So, I spent the whole evening cooling my body down as best I could. The fever broke quickly. The meds that make me sensitive to heat were likely responsible. At least we head out to Readercon 22**** tomorrow and get three nights of AC. Also, if you are owed an eBay package, we apologize, but it won't go out until after the convention. Monday or Tuesday. It's just been too hot to pack books and get them to the p.o.

---

A terrible, strange dream just before I woke. I lived in a house at the end of a small lagoon or inlet. I was younger, maybe a teenager. There was a thin and frightening man outside our screened-in porch (side of the house, an old house) speaking Yiddish. I called to my mother, and when he spoke to her, he spoke English with a Russian accent. There were great trees, like pecans and oaks, all around the house. Later, we went somewhere, and when we returned home, and I saw that there were men in the water "walking" dolphins, the way one does with sharks or dolphins, trying to revive them. There was a sort of turn around, and as my mother used it to point the car towards the driveway, I saw more dolphins far up above the shoreline. They were tangled in a fence, though the fence was really fishing net, and the dolphins there were actually ichthyosaurs. Thick underbrush grew all around the netting. I wanted desperately to help. I got out of the car, and, looking back at the inlet, saw that the water had become violent, a great frothing, sloshing mass, churned by the trawling nets of gigantic factory-fishing ships that hardly even fit into the tiny body of water. The snap-on heads of yellow rubber ducks were washing up onto the shore. There was a child greedily gathering them. An orca had stranded itself, and I tried to help it, but was afraid, and never went very near. In the foaming white water, orcas and sharks and dolphins and ichthyosaurs all struggled to stay clear of the nets that were pulling up great mountains of fish. And this is all I can remember.

---

My thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday regarding "triggery." Some were quite good. I was especially amused by [livejournal.com profile] lady_theadora's:

I first saw these trigger warnings when Coilhouse began to use them all the time, as you've previously mentioned, and I think they're pretty damned redundant. I mean, really, you're on the fucking internet people. You're always one click away from porn, snuff, and/or Nigerian royalty. If you haven't figured that out yet, maybe it is time you learned.

Indeed. And the thing with Coilhouse posting those warnings, it was almost enough to make me stop reading the zine; Coilhouse posting "triggering" warnings is like the Sex Pistols apologizing for...well, anything. Absurd. Anyway, yes. I have a story, which I've never told publicly, and which might be too personal and TMI and all that, but I think I need to tell it, as partial explanation, and in response to [livejournal.com profile] lm. Unfortunately, there's not room here to post [livejournal.com profile] lm's entire comment (this is going to be long, as it is), but you can see her/his full comment appended to yesterday's entry. I'm also dropping paragraphs from the quote, to save space (and I apologize for that). There are slash marks where graphs end and begin. In part, [livejournal.com profile] lm writes:

...I have definitely been in a situation where it would have been incredibly helpful to be warned about potentially "triggery" things./Namely, when my mother hanged herself several years ago, I frequently found myself watching films with unexpected scenes of someone being hanged or committing suicide. This was something I was working very hard NOT to picture or think about, and as a result, I basically stopped watching new visual media for about a year - and because my primary social outlet was a film night, this turned me into a hermit, which also really wasn't great for me at the time./I did actually search online to see if there was an online database of non-friendly-to-suicide-survivor films, but there was none./I really didn't expect any handholding through this problem, and the only time I was genuinely annoyed was when people who knew my recent history recommended movies/shows to me that ended up containing said "triggery" material...but on the other hand, I wouldn't have complained one bit if the media had contained a disclaimer!

Okay. Now, that said, here's my story:

On Christmas Eve 1995, five months after the suicide of Elizabeth, the person whom I loved most in all the world, I was alone in the carriage house (where I was living) in Athens, Georgia. I'd spent the evening writing one of the last scenes in Silk. It was an especially graphic and disturbing scene, and I finally said fuck it, I can't do this, not that night, not alone. I drove to a nearby theatre (I was still able to drive back then), and bought a ticket to the first movie on the marquee, which was the vapid Jumangi. When it was over, I still didn't want to return to that empty house, and so I bought a ticket to see the midnight screening of Heat, with Al Pacino, which turned out to be a halfway decent movie. Anyway...

Near the end of Heat, Pacino's character's daughter, played by Natalie Portman, attempts suicide by slitting her wrists in a hotel bathtub. This is precisely the way that Elizabeth had committed suicide (the big difference was that the Natalie Portman character lived). The scene was graphic and well-played and emotionally sort of devastating. Maybe not to everyone, but to me. I watched it. I didn't look away. I cried through the rest of the film. When the movie ended, I went home and went to bed.

Now, was the film "triggery"? Well, yeah. Certainly, in that it put me right there at the moment of Elizabeth's suicide and elicited an intense reaction from me. But was that something I should have avoided? Should I have been furious or resentful (or whatever) that no one warned me? Should I have complained to the theatre management and demanded my money back? Should I have posted to Usenet, warning everyone? To all these questions, my response is an unqualified "no."

Seeing the scene, being forced unexpectedly to confront it, making it real for me in a way it had not been, was the true beginning to my road to learning how to live with a pain that I knew would never, ever go away. Oh, it would dull with age, and with other relationships (though it was almost a decade afterwards before I found myself in a meaningful relationship), but I will always, always be haunted by the event. And, by the way, I'm not a suicide "survivor," because I didn't attempt suicide. I'm a bystander. I'm someone who dealt with the consequences. Maybe that's just a matter of semantics, but I feel it's an important distinction.

In the years to come, I would spend a lot of time in therapy dealing with her suicide. I would spend almost all my writing time writing about it (and I still do); suicide is a primary theme in my fiction, especially the novels. And it was by these means, by persistently and directly confronting the greatest horror in a life that had had no shortage of horrors, that I reached a place where, usually, finally, I no longer wanted to follow her. Not by flinching or avoiding or staying away. By facing the truth head-on. And I'm not an especially strong person. At least, I don't see myself that way. I did what my therapists advised, and what felt right to me, and by happenstance, beginning with accidentally seeing that scene in Heat. Oh, it fucking hurt, yeah, sure. But it was also my path to recovery.

So, my point is simple. I do not - will not - accept that we recover from the tragedies of our lives by avoiding the fact of them. We do it by confronting the fact of them, and art - in all its forms - is one path by which we can do that. I don't see this as a "your mileage may vary" thing, either. You look into the abyss, and the abyss looks into you, and you keep looking and don't dare turn away. You tell the abyss, "You can't have me yet." (to murder and bend the words of Friedrich Nietzsche) You learn to understand and cope. But you don't flinch. You don't look for warning labels so you'll be protected from the truth. You develop calluses, scars, and this changes you forever, and it makes you stronger.

Oh, and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney for this quote from Akira Kurosawa: To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.

And this is long. And that's enough.

Not Ever Flinching,
Aunt Beast

Note: I have requested NOT to participate in an official signing at Readercon this year, so if you want stuff signed (and I'll sign as many books as you bring), I'll be signing after my reading and my How I Wrote Two Worlds and In Between solo talk. And, if you catch me in the hall, that's usually okay, too. Common sense dictates when it's not okay to ask me to sign (restroom, when I'm eating, when I'm having a conversation, when I'm rushing to get to or leave a panel, etc. - yes, all those scenarios have actually been played out).