greygirlbeast: (Default)
The Book has landed. Late yesterday afternoon, early yesterday evening, on my backdoor steps. It's a beautiful book, and I'm very happy with it, and can say that, in terms of "booksmithing" alone, it's of the most beautiful editions I've ever produced with Subterranean Press. And yet, it's sort of terrifyingly daunting to be 47 years old and looking at Volume 1 of the "Best of" your life's work. So, this book makes me want to hug it, but it also makes me want to run screaming, both at the same time. The second reaction, however, is of no concern to anyone but me, and if you've not bought a copy, it's still not too late (well except for the limited edition, and fuck, the art section looks good). I assume your copies should be arriving (unless you didn't order, in which case they won't).

I hope that as the mass-media & publishing industries, along with various associated symbiotes and parasites and whores, continue to play circle jerk with ebooks and reader thingies and whatnot, and pat themselves on the back for embracing the cold, soulless, plastic Brave New (& Ever So Much More Practical) World of the Insubstantial, that it makes way for a "booksmithing" renaissance. The disease could be the cure. I'll suffer Kindles and Nooks and Schnooks and whatever, as long as real books (which are more than pixel words on a screen, in sixteen shades of grey) survive and thrive, even if only in a marginalized niche. I embrace marginalization. It's all I've ever really known, anyway. Also, fuck the world's bullshit desire for convenience. Art is not meant to be convenient, any more than it is meant to be easy to create or interpret.

Anyway, yes. I am happy with Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me. In fact, I went to bed snuggling it, as you can see in this photo (Spooky says it looks like I'm eating it):


Photographs Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn A. Pollnac
Cover art Copyright © 2011 by Lee Moyer.


Work yesterday. But I can't tell you what. I cannot even hint. There was a long teleconference, but that's all I can say. Next.

In fact, all of yesterday pales in comparison to the arrival of The Book, so...there's not much else to say.

Tomorrow, noonish, Spooky and I will be picking up a gaggle of folks at the train station in Providence, and the next three days will be spent filming (and right after that, I'm supposed to be in Northampton, Massachusetts...Tuesday, maybe) and photographing and such, from one end of Rhode Island to the other, getting material for [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's series of still photos based on The Drowning Girl and material for the book trailer, which is being shot by Brian Siano. There will be reports all weekend, in theory, behind the scenes nonsense, if I have the time. I know Kyle will be tweeting and whatnot, using all that newfangled gadgetry the kiddos are so proud of these days. It's going to be an intensely weird three days, and we'll be having thunderstorms on at least the first of those days...which sucks. But there you go.

Sucking As She Goes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
C'mon, kittens! Sirenia Digest #70! Comments!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, yes! And don't forget to celebrate Columbus Day this weekend by walking into someone's house and telling them you live there. If they won't cooperate, just kill them. In fact, just kill them on general principle. It's worked before.
greygirlbeast: (apple)
The first computer I ever used wasn't an Apple. This was June 1986, and the computer was something or another manufactured by the Kaypro Corporation. Looked like it had been yanked from a control panel on the Nostromo, that eighty-column, nine-inch green phosphor screen, 64 KB of RAM, the 2.5 MHz Zilog Z80 microprocessor, and so on and so forth. Drives for 91 kb 5¼ inch floppy disks. Remember those? Floppy disks? Anyway, I'd moved to Boulder, Colorado to go to school, and I was typing a paper for a conference—the umpteenth draft, dabbed with liquid paper—and James Kirkland (the first friend I made at UC; he was finishing his PhD) walked in and was like, "Jesus, you're still using an electric typewriter? You've gotta be kidding me. Come over here. Let me show you something." So, he introduced me to the Kaypro (in its all metal chassis) and a horrid, deafening little Okidata dot matrix printer. And it was a weird sort of love at first sight. I was using a computer. Just like on, you know, fucking Star Trek. I was fucking Lieutenant Uhura on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701, writing about extinct marine reptiles! It was fucking cool.

Then, later that same year, I met the Apple IIe, with it's large screen and amber letters. It didn't look half so science-fiction, but was some how less annoying to work with. And then, in 1987, I met the Mac SE with its big grey screen, and diskettes, and a MOUSE (!!), and it was all modular and sexy and friendly and intuitive, and I fell instantly, utterly in love. It the thing broke, even I could usually get it up and running again. The computer lab became a glorious place to be. I made up excuses just to be there. Need someone to input all your data on the relative dimensions of the ammonite phragmocone, with possible relevance to sexual dimorphism? Sure, I'll do it free, and, besides, it's a chance to skip an organic chem lecture.

But it wasn't until 1993, back in Birmingham, Ala. that I got a special Apple student loan to buy my own machine, an Apple Color Classic. Of my very own. That I could take home! And here was that lovely 10″ Sony Trinitron color monitor, 512×384 pixel resolution, and sure, it only had 4 megs of memory, but later I was able to bump that up to 10 megs. I named her Pandora. And everything from "Persephone" to "Apokatastasis" on that lovely machine. I used AOL and Usenet and played SimEarth. I took it to Athens, Ga with me (1994), then back to Birmingham (1997), then to Atlanta (2001) and right back to Birmingham the same year.

But while I was in Atlanta, in October 2001, I bought a reconditioned Mac iBook, and slowly transitioned from Pandora to that machine, which I named Victoria Regina. I used this laptop until April 2007, when I took part of the advance from my shitty little Beowulf tie-in "novel" and bought the iMac I've been using ever since. She's named Arwen, and memory is measured in gigs, and there's over two hundred thousand colors on her huge LCD screen. That's only three Macs in twenty-five years, with virtually no crashes or trips to the service guys or anything. So don't tell me Macs aren't wonderful machines. Don't tell me they don't work for shit. Because I have the experience to know otherwise, a quarter century of it.

Oh, and I've also had two iPods (Moya and, then, Inara) I'd still be on my first, but it had a run in with an unfortunate very powerful magnet on the trip to Oregon a year ago). Pandora needs work on her screen, and Victoria still runs just fine, and I expect to be using Arwen for many years to come. The only reason I don't have an iPad or iPhone is that I cannot present afford either on my freelancers income.

And yesterday Steve Jobs died. It's messed with my head in ways I can't articulate. He was my Tesla. Something like that. He spawned wonders that changed the world, for better or worse. To quote [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, who I hope won't mind being quoted: [Jobs took] those thing that Apple had -- the weird idea that you'd want to have a sort of electronic Rolodex you'd carry around, that you can take notes on, that would schedule your appointments, the idea that you'd want to be able to talk to your computer and have it do things, the idea that a computer didn't sit on your desk, but that it belonged in your pocket, the idea that you could read a book on your computer and it could have sound and it could have video -- he took those things and he made them work.

It is very safe to say I never would have had a writing career without Apple. I can't even begin to fathom the Microsoft boxes and their unintuitive Windows interface (a creation stolen from Jobs and Wozniak by that ferret Bill Gates, then mutated into something nightmarish). I never would have had the patience to learn to use PCs, and my style of writing, I fear, isn't conducive to typewriters. Am I member of the so-called "Cult of Apple"? Maybe. I really don't care. But I would have liked to see Jobs get a little more time, and I am grateful for his work. It's safe to say I'm going to be mourning the loss of him for a while.

----

I can't tell you what I worked on yesterday, or what I'll work on today. But it's a crazy-lot of work, and it's going to be awesome beyond belief. Oh, and Sirenia Digest #70 went out late last night.

Late, I read Thomas Ligotti's "Conversations in a Dead Language" (1989), which I'd managed somehow never to read, and which I found oddly disappointing. I all but worship Ligotti, and hardly expected the disappointment. Most of the tale is fine, and I loved the twins in their gender-reversed wedding attire, but then the whole thing is spoiled by a silly "horror" story ending.

And now I gotta so. Many, many words before I can rest. Oh, there are typos in this, I'm sure. Spooky, she'll help me fix them later.

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

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

---

Words I find I live by more and more:

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

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

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

---

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

---

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

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

Now, back to the donut mines...

For the Moment, Guileless,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A rainy day here in Providence. It's nice.

Kyle and I have been hammering out specifics on the still photography/book trailer project for The Drowning Girl, and it's a stressful affair. Well, if you're me. I can make stress out of thin air. Anyway, the Kickstarter is going extraordinarily well (166%)...and...Michael Zulli has just come on board to do the actual painting, The Drowning Girl, which, in the novel, was painted in 1898 by an artist named Phillip George Saltonstall. Zulli has become our Saltonstall, which is beyond amazing.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,480 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges, and talking through with Kathryn what remains of the story, blocking it (a term I use instead of "plotting," as blocking is much looser), I begin to see that it's not a ten-chapter book, or a nine-chapter book. Probably, it's an eight-chapter book. Otherwise, this becomes gratuitous. And I'll not have that. Regardless, the word count will be somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 words.

Some news regarding Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). The limited edition will include an extra volume (probably trade paperback), containing The Yellow Alphabet and 10,000 words of new fiction (likely in the form of two new stories). And I'll be working with Lee Moyer again on the cover.

---

A thought last night. Actually, a storm of thoughts whirling into a vortex. But, I'll play nice and call it a thought. Singular and calm. And it was just this: In today's subgenre-obsessed market, Harlan Ellison would be tagged a "horror writer." No, really. Go back and read the bulk of his fiction. Usually, he's writing "horrific sf" (as a disparaging Locus reviewer said of The Dry Salvages, "This is what happens when a horror writer tries to write SF"). Ellison's greatest achievements are almost all, at their roots, horrific. They're not about the sailing off into the stars, or the future, or the possibilities of technology, and finding a better world for mankind. Look at, for example, "The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World" (1967), or "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" (1968), or "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" (1973), or even "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" (1967). Though hailed as one of the most important SF writers of the 20th Century (I'd simply say one of the most important writers, period, and dispense with your fucking qualifying adjectives), if time were scrambled and he emerged into today's literary marketplace, a new writer, Harlan would be pegged a "horror writer." Probably, he would never receive all those Nebulas and Hugos. Being labeled "a horror writer" would define him in the eyes of NYC editors, and this would absolutely have a great influence on what he could and could not sell and see published. And this would be a crime of the first fucking order.

Stop thinking inside the genre paradigm, people. By doing so, you destroy art and opportunity. It's fiction, all of it. It's all literature. We need no other words to accurately define it. We need no reductionist baloney.

---

I don't feel right any longer saying, "Last night I watched television," when, in fact, I streamed video files across the internet from Netflix or Hulu. Anyway, last night Spooky and I gave AMC's Mad Men a try, beginning with the first two episodes. And were very impressed. Then we finished Season One of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and began Season Two. At some point I'll maybe be able to summarize my thoughts on all this L&O stuff. After hundreds more episodes. I also read "New unadorned hardrosaurine hadrosaurid (Dinosauria, Ornithopoda) from the Campanian of North America" (very cool beast, is Acristavus gagslarsoni) in JVP. And we read more of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I read more of Denise Gess and William Lutz' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History. We're trying to get our bedtimes back to something sane. Maybe 2:30 ayem, instead of 5 ayem. Last night, I was asleep by four, I think. Baby steps.

Giving Genre the Massachusetts State Bird,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
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: (The Kiss)
Even if there hasn't yet been a (I).

Today's icon was meant to be yesterday's icon, but better late than never.

My thanks to Benjamin for sending me an excerpt from Strange Horizons and Richard Larson's review of Eclipse Four (ed. by Johnathan Strahan). I think this review is my reward for surviving the coming day, even if the reward's arrived before the actual chore. Dessert before dinner. Anyway, Larson writes:

For example, I think people will be talking about Caitlín R. Kiernan’s "Tidal Forces" for quite a while. The story is a meditation on the tragic inevitability of loss, the willing submission to unexplained forces that govern time and space, being and not being. Emily's lover, Charlotte, has been attacked by a mysterious shadow—"I can sit here all night long, composing a list of what it wasn't, and I'll never come any nearer to what it might have been" (p. 23)—and subsequently develops a steadily growing hole in her abdomen, later understood as "not merely a hole in Charlotte's skin, but a hole in the cosmos" (p. 26). Emily tries to derive a sense of linearity from what is happening by adopting a metaphor of a house of cards,

...held together by nothing more substantial than balance and friction. And the loops I'd rather make than admit to the present. Connecting dot-to-dot, from here to there, from there to here. Here being half an hour before dawn on a Saturday, the sky growing lighter by slow degrees. Here, where I’m on my knees, and Charlotte is standing naked in front of me. Here, now, when the perfectly round hole above her left hip and below her ribcage has grown from a pinprick to the size of the saucers she never uses for her coffee cups. (p. 19)

But she gets lost in the metaphor, lost in the senselessness of imminent loss, left to simply sit on the sidelines and watch Charlotte be consumed by something that might be the "inadvertent avatar of a god, or God, or a pantheon, or something so immeasurably ancient or pervasive that it may as well be divine" (p. 29). Kiernan employs a number of through lines and recurring images which deepen the narrative, opening it up to include the whole world, much as the hole in Charlotte's abdomen comes to include a "preposterous and undeniable blackness" (p. 26). Charlotte’s memory of being shot by a BB gun as a child, for example, connects a trauma from her past with this inexplicably traumatic present. And Emily's vocation as a writer affords an opportunity for her research about the Age of Exploration to comment on the very nature of storytelling: "All those overlooked islands, inaccessible plateaus in South American jungles, the sunken continents and the entrances to a hollow Earth, they were important psychological buffers against progress and certainty" (p. 18-19). The metaphor resonates directly with Emily and Charlotte's present project of explaining the unexplainable, of attaching a narrative to an experience which very well may exist outside of the realm of story, outside of the usual boundaries created by a measurable time and space. But "Tidal Forces" is at its most moving when these confrontations with the unknown are most closely aligned with the human factor, the idea of two people loving each other enough to believe anything for the other—especially if it might save her.


Nothing's gonna come close to beating that today. Anyway, yesterday – made it through two more of the stories in Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, "Murder Ballad No. 6" and "Lullaby of Partition and Reunion." Hopefully, I'll get through at least two more today, because tomorrow I have to get Sirenia Digest #67 out to subscribers, and on Wednesday, it's back to actual writing.

On this day in 1911 – one hundred years ago – my maternal grandfather, Gordon Monroe Ramey, was born. He died in 1977, when he was 65 and I was 12.

Yesterday morning, I dreamed of being in a vast grocery store shortly after some or another worldwide cataclysm. All was chaos. And there was almost nothing left on the shelves. Spooky and I were taking a few items, and I felt incredibly horrible about not paying for them. Never mind that's very unlike me, or that there was no one to pay, or that paying for stuff at The End of the World makes little or no sense (speaking of Rift, someone needs to tell the vendors at Terminus this very thing). Anyway, I meant to include that bit of dream yesterday, but forgot.

Anyway, today will be tedious and long...and hot. And more I write on this entry, the more I see myself stalling. Just gonna keep trying to smile about that review.

Did I mention it's hot here?

Staring Down the Barrel,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Today, Ferris Bueller's Day Off is twenty-five years old. That is, today is the 25th anniversary of its theatrical release. Fuck, I'm old. I told Spooky we should play hooky today, do nutty shit like lip syncing on parade floats, and then destroy an expensive car. Sadly, she only laughed.

"Bueller?...Bueller?...Bueller?"

Le sigh.

I hereby open the floor to comments.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,430 words on Chapter Three of Blood Oranges (a chapter which, by the way, is titled "Bobby Ng, Alice Cregan, and the Troll Who Lives Under the Bridge"), and reached page 102. It was pretty much all a conversation with the troll yesterday. Today, I have to find the end of that conversation. I let [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark have a look at the pages last night, and, afterwards, he declared "Holy shitfuck. You've written literary crack." I'm assuming that's a good thing. Anyway, he's driving down tonight for a visit.

Please allow me to remind you of the Big Damn eBay auction. Because, you know, I'm still waiting for Everything on Earth is Free Forever Day, but it's a slow train coming. Also, have a look at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. All her paintings are on sale (limited time) for 20% off! Coupon code: ART20

It just occurred to me that the loathsome emoticon o.0 is actually a broken infinity symbol, and that's got to be some sort of profound. I blame the Illuminati. For breaking it, not for my revelation.

Gods, it's only noon thirty, and already I've mentioned the Soggy Bottom Boys.

Yesterday, Spooky stopped by Myopic Books and procured for me a belated birthday present – the 50th-anniversary edition of William S. Burroughs' Junky, because a bitch cunt of a snatch, who otherwise shall not be named, absconded with my copy back in 2005 (along with many other favorite books), and because I've been needing to read it again. In part because Siobahn Kerry Quinn, the protagonist of Blood Oranges, was a heroin addict before getting bitten by a werewolf and then vampirized on the same night. Oh, and last night, we watched Trainspotting, which I hadn't seen since the '90s. Obviously, not exactly a coincidence. I can hardly draw off my own experiences as a heroin addict, having only shot up that once and all. It's not that I dislike needles. And smack really is better by a hundred times than the best sex you've ever had. It's just I was meant for greater things, like growing old and bitter and more properly wicked.

Junkies, by and large, aren't wicked people. Sure, they'll rob you blind, but isn't that the American way? Isn't that the cornerstone of Capitalism? I ask you, isn't highway robbery the very platform upon which this great nation was founded? Isn't that why Richard Nixon rode out against Che Guevara at the Battle of Little Bighorn on that venerable Christmas Day in 1932? Isn't that why Mister Fred McFeely Rogers wore cardigan sweaters?

What the hell am I on about? Oh, and now Spooky's singing the theme song to Captain Kangaroo, but making up her own lyrics.

Maybe we'd best pause here, to reflect and twiddle our collective thumbs.

Twiddlin' and Reflectin',
Aunt Beast

Jun. 8th, 2011 10:31 pm
greygirlbeast: (sol)
The first time I saw this, on some long lost and forgotten Saturday morning, it would have been 1973, the year after we moved from Jacksonville, FL to Birmingham, AL. Probably, I was eight or nine years old. The song was written by American jazz musician Bob Dorough, and was performed by American jazz singer and pianist, Blossom Dearie (April 28, 1924 – February 7, 2009). In hot times, it always comes back to me.

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes. I am on a Kate Bush kick.

It's a beautiful autumn-summer day out there, sunny and blue skies, the temperature at 70F. Nice. Have to get Outside today. Getting out of the house is mandatory on a day like this. I'm doing a good job, actually, of not keeping myself cooped up.

At 4 a.m., not sleeping (despite the meds), I was on Rift talking with a friend in Alaska, and he said it was midnight and the sun hadn't set. In Providence, the sky was just beginning to lighten. It was a marvelously surreal moment, especially considering I was doped and half asleep (but only half). By the way, I want to actually calculate the distance across the part of Telara we can see, the size of the landmass north to south and east to west. I don't think many people have paused to think how small it must be. At first, I estimated it might be the size of Rhode Island (37 miles x 48 miles long, 1,214 sq. mi.), but I'm beginning to think it may only be half that size or less. Spooky's worked out a way to get a firm estimate, which we will do this evening (because we are pathetic nerds). A fantasy MMORPG will be truly fucking amazing when it can offer a continent the size of, oh, say Australia.

Where was I?

Yesterday was as tedious as I'd expected. I didn't actually make any progress with the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between (and I'm not going to explain why, because it's a tedious explanation that's all about editing PDFs and Adobe software and me being a psuedo-Luddite). But things did get done. Vince sent me the initial pencils for his "Figurehead" illustration. I did some more tweaking on the ms. for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and sent the Really and Truly Final Manuscript away to my editor. I spent about an hour on the immensely tedious and long guest questionnaire for Readercon 22. I read "Figurehead" and "Untitled 35" aloud to Kathryn, and we marked the pages red. I talked with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy about what ravens who might be nuns would....

Sorry. Lost my train of thought. Spooky and I were talking about Houdini.

Last night, we did Kindernacht with hot dogs and Tom McGrath's Megamind (2010), which was really a lot of fun, but not as good as Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's similar Despicable Me (also 2010). Of course, one is not supposed to talk about whether or not Kid Night movies are any good, so long as they're fun. We picked the DVD up at Acme Video, since it was an excuse to go Outside. Also, Acme Video gives away free atomic fireballs. After the movie, we did, of course, play Rift. Mostly it was rp for me, though there was also a major incursion upon White Fall and the Chancel of Labors by the minions of Crucia, and Selwyn and Miisya helped to repel the bad guys.

Yesterday, I read the title story of Johnathan Thomas' Tempting Providence (Hippocampus Press). To be sure, it's a weird tale, but it's also a poignant travelogue/walking tour devoted to a finer and simpler and far more interesting Providence than has survived to the present day. I also read "A new unintan horned brontothere from Wyoming and evolution of canine size and sexual dimorphism in the Brontotheriidae (Perissodactyla: Mammalia)" in JVP. Speaking of reading, kittens, tomorrow I'll be announcing the June selection for Aunt Beast's Book Club.

---

On this day in 2007, I wrote:

I have been worrying a lot lately about my writing. It started when I reread Silk and looked through Tales of Pain and Wonder for the first time in ages. Sure, I'm a much, much better writer now, but is what I'm writing inherently better than what I was writing then? More importantly, is it about something more than telling stories? Almost ten years after it's original publication, I see lots of flaws with Silk I couldn't see in 1996 or 1998, and parts of it make me groan, but it has something to say, something it says, and for that I will likely always love it. This is even more true of ToPaW. It's true of The Dreaming. But is the same true of Threshold? Low Red Moon? I think so. And I know it's true of Murder of Angels, but I'm not so sure about Daughter of Hounds, even though I also know it's my best-written novel to date. One may write well — one may write exquisitely, even — and have nothing at all to say. Writing "The Ape's Wife" last month, this all seemed suddenly very important to me again. I fear that in the rush to meet deadlines and write enough to keep all the bills paid, somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten that it is not enough to tell a good story, or even to create characters who ring true. These are necessary accomplishments, but they are surely not sufficient. Art requires more than mere craft, more even than talent. It requires meaning. Heading into The Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey Lafaye, these thoughts will be my Beatrice (so to speak). There's something I feel I might have drifted away from, and I want...no, I need to get back to it again.

So, four years later, I can say I found an antidote for this anxiety and these worries, which was writing The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, no matter how much the effort has exhausted me. Also, it should be noted that, in June 2007, I was still suffering from the trauma of having written that unmentionably shitty novelization for Robert Zemeckis' butchering of Beowulf (2007)*. That Mordorean death-march ordeal (fuck you, Roger Avery) left me unable to write long-form for the better part of a year, until I began The Red Tree in April 2008. By the way, I'm still waiting on The Dinosaurs of Mars to reveal itself to me, and have come to accept that Joey Lafaye will likely never happen. You may always think of Beowulf as the novelization that murdered Joey Lafaye. At least the Beowulf gig sort of paid well. And at least you didn't need 3-D glasses to read the book. Seamus Heaney, forgive me.

So...now, today.

* And as bad as my novelization was, the movie was at least a hundred times more awful.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Today is the official street date for the mass-market paperback edition of The Red Tree. So, there you go. Smaller, cheaper, and printed on actual paper.

Warm, but not hot, here in Providence. There's a nice breeze from the south/southwest, about eleven mph. The sun is bright through the office window, shining through the leaves of the tree we saved.

Yesterday, I had to get my passport photo taken. My passport is my only form of photo ID, as I don't have a driver's license. In my old passport photo, taken in January 1996, I look maybe twenty five, though I was, in fact, thirty two. Looking at the new photos, taken fourteen years later, I look, at the very least, my age. Every year of my forty six are there in the photo, and maybe a few more than that. My preternatural youth slipped away at some point, some moment, or over however many years, when I wasn't paying attention. More than anything, I look at these new photographs and see exhaustion, of several different varieties.

Being sick the last few years has surely taken its toll, as have the insomnia, so much time spent in front of this computer screen, one particular person who shall here go unnamed, my general inactivity, and, well...yeah, I'm not a kid anymore. I wasn't a kid anymore in 1996, but some part of me still thought I was and would be for fucking ever and ever. Looking at the photos last night, 1996 and 2010 side by side, I resolved to stop playing that game. Here I am. I was born in 1964, and here I am today. I will age with dignity, and not cling and claw desperately to something I lost a long time back, just because society has a hard-on for youth.

So, that was yesterday. That was the important part of yesterday.

There was also some very good rp in Insilico, Molly and Xiang (X 1.5, id est Grendel) in their squalid, cluttered little room in the Skygate Motel. I think, after six months, the Xiang AI has achieved its primary directive, and ended the beginning of its journey towards humanity. It's actually a pretty good story, half forgotten and half scattered through a hundred rp transcripts. Xiang is, I suppose, the inverse of what the transhumanists think they want. She is a transmachinist. Molly's something else, something broken and left for human, and still has a long road ahead of her.

Spooky and I slept more than eight hours last night, which is nothing short of miraculous. We didn't wake until after noon. And here is today.
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
Yeah, so it's still not summer here in Rhode Island. It is, however, damp. And cloudy. 64F, with the humidity sitting at 82%. The world is mildewing all about me. And what I miss most are the warm summer evenings....

I wrote yesterday, but nothing particularly useful. I'm working on a "sword-and-sorcery" fantasy, "The Sea Troll's Daughter," and trying to invert the gender roles as completely as possible (compared to the old "damsel-in-distress" formula of the subgenre), and my editor needs it by July 5th, at the very, very latest. I don't know how much I actually wrote yesterday, because I kept ditching things. 600 or 700 words. I have to do better today. Oddly, I have the entire story in my head, pretty much. Beginning, middle, and end, which is unusual (this sort of happened with "The Alchemist's Daughter," too, which remains unfinished), so you'd think this wouldn't be so difficult. But I can't settle on voice, or tone, or POV. And worldbuilding has me all tangled up. I see my world just fine, but describing it without recourse to infodumps, that part's eluding me.

I've decided that I'm going to abandon the MySpace account, beginning in about a week. So, if you're reading the blog over there, you're going to have to start following it at LJ or Facebook of Dreamwidth or Twitter. Five is too much. Hell, four is too much. But MySpace is the homeliest of the lot, so it gets the hatchet. As for Twitter, I remain surprisingly optimistic. In four days, I have gained 400 followers, and still hope to reach 1,000 by the end of July. Hopefully, this will provide me with another effective forum by which to promote The Red Tree. The micropreview sneak-peek thngy is kind of interesting, and you can follow it at greygirlbeast.

Last night, after all the dithering and not-particularly-productiveness, we binged and watched every episode of Felecia Day's The Guild. Damn funny, and after surviving two years of Second Life rp hell, and the last ten months of WoW, it strikes a nerve. Or a chord. Or both. Anyway, have a look.

The current eBay auctions continue. Please have a look. I should remind you that the clothbound copy of The Merewife up now is very probably the only one I will ever auction, as I received but four comp copies, back in 2005. Among my hard-to-find publications, it's surely one of the hardest to find. Have a look. Bid if you can. Thanks.

Way back in 1996, when I was still just a wee babe of 31, Christa ([livejournal.com profile] faustfatale) and I drove from Los Angeles to the World Horror Con in Eugene, Oregon. The con was pretty dull, but the trip up the coast and back down again is the stuff of legends. On the way up, we stopped in San Francisco, and spent a night with Darren ([livejournal.com profile] tjcrowley), who took us to dinner at the delightfully surreal Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel. At some point, an artificial rain shower began fall from the ceiling (to match the tropical Tiki theme, I suppose), and Christa got a photo of me hiding beneath a paper umbrella:



Day before yesterday was Christa's birthday, which I neglected to mention. Because I suck like that. But, anyway, she and Darren were in the Tonga Room and reenacted my Wile E. Coyote moment, twelve years later:



So, anyway, happy birthday, Christa.

Time to make the goddamned doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (grey)
And speaking of my writing schedule, this morning I would like to express my gratitude to Subterranean Press for extending my deadline on delivery of the Tales of Pain and Wonder manuscript to late September or early October. Suddenly, there's breathing room again, and I start to see how I can get all this done.

This morning, I got news that the first printing of Beowulf is, well, gigantic. I'm pretty sure my heart momentarily stopped beating when I'd counted all those zeros. Then I remembered this was a "work for hire" contract, and the world righted itself again. But at the very least, this is going to give me a great burst of exposure, and I can only hope it will carry over to the other novels.

Speaking of the other novels, yesterday the post brought me two cover flats of the new (4th) edition of Silk (slated for a December 4th release), which looks like this (behind the cut if you're on LJ):

Silk, once more )


I think I may actually like this cover more than the original Roc cover (1st and 3rd editions, 1998 and 2001). Also, I've seen the cover for the mass-market paperback of Murder of Angels (due out next spring), and Penguin seems to have used the same model for Niki on both, so that's good.

Yesterday I did not get back into The Dinosaurs of Mars, as there were disruptions and wailing and much dithering, but I did read through "Anamorphosis" for the first time since at least 1999 (as I'm beginning to edit the "typescript" of Tales of Pain and Wonder), and that was a very strange experience, indeed. I sort of had to read it as though I was reading a story written by someone else. I must have said something to this effect when I was reading back over Silk recently, something about the Me of Now reading the thoughts of the Me of Then. I wrote that story in May 1994, and now it seems I wrote it in a world that was immeasurably different from the world of 2007. And certainly the woman who wrote it was immeasurably different (and distant) from the person I have become. I'd just moved to Athens, GA (from Birmingham) in April. I was writing Silk. I'd not yet done a convention, and though I'd sold a few sf stories to small-press magazines, nothing had yet been published. In those days, I wrote for no reason but to write, which was my odd sort of therapy. I spent my days in the Carriage House, hunched over the keyboard, and my nights in coffee houses, bars, and hanging out with friends' bands and other ne'er-do-wells. I was extraordinarily single. And I had no inkling that I would spend so many years in the company of Mr. Deacon Silvey or what terrible travails lay ahead for both of us. All in all, I think we've probably fared about equally well, though my demons have, generally, been less corporeal than have his.

What else about yesterday? Well, I finished Chapter Three of Chris Beard's book on early primates, the chapter that dealt mostly with Eocene omomyids from North America. Spooky and I finished Lemony Snicket's The Ersatz Elevator, which I think is probably my favourite book of his since the first three. I really did not care much for the The Miserable Mill, and was only a little happier with The Austere Academy, but I genuinely liked The Ersatz Elevator. He seems to have found the story again, which felt like it was drifting. And, if I'm not mistaken, there were some wonderful nods to Danielewski's House of Leaves, right down to the two blacked-out pages. In Second Life, we finished construction of the Palaeozoic Museum, just as the sun was rising over New Babbage (as a Rule of Thumb, there are four SL days to every one RL day), about 11:45 p.m. I'll post some photos later. I'm surprised that no one commented on the photos I linked to yesterday. It could be you all think I'm mad as a hatter, becoming so wrapped up in this thing. If you haven't spent enough time in SL to get past the strip-mall hideousness of the "mainland," I can hardly blame you. But it's going to be a marvelous place, this Museum, and Spooky and I are very proud of it. Now, I only have to build the exhibits. Admission will be free to all, and there will never be anything for sale anywhere on the premises, so screw you, All-Mighty Linden.

Remarkable thunder outside.

Though I have been perplexed and annoyed at the mean-spiritedness of the people leaking spoilers online for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I am equally perplexed and annoyed at Rowling's anger at today's review of the novel in The New York Times. The book is being released on Saturday. With most novels, there would have been reviews weeks ago. I mean, yeah, sure, I enjoy the books, and I'm doing all I can to avoid spoilers, and sure she's the Best-Selling Author of All Time, but I don't see how that changes the rules. But that's probably just the Socialist in me talking. Anyway...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. I have a growing platypus to feed.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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