greygirlbeast: (Default)
Listening to the new Tom Waits, and so a big thank you to Steven Lubold ([livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59) 'Cause this one rocks, even for Mr. Waits, and the 40-page book that comes with the deluxe edition is sublime.

But I slept eight hours, and I am not awake. Six hours, that's not enough, but I come awake fast, then feel like shit. Seven hours is perfect. Eight hours, a good lot of sleep, but then I can't wake the hell up. And I wish I could recall last night's (this morning's dreams) as they were odd and seem dimly important. Probably just the end of the world again.

I get ahead of myself. Or behind myself. Whichever. Yesterday, we read chapters Three and Four of Blood Oranges, so we're more than halfway through the ms. Kermit continues to prove useful in text editing, so maybe I haven't made a bad decision, keeping the iPad. I gotta post a photo of me and the Dubious Kermit Tech. But not today. Anyway, unless the MiBs call me to attention today and there's alien retroengineering to be done, we'll be reading chapters Five and Six. There are only Eight chapters to Blood Ornages. Only 70,000 words (my novels are usually well over 100k). So, we'll be done editing (id est, correcting typos and continuity errors) by Sunday evening, and my agent will have the ms. on Monday, when she gets home from the World Fantasy Convention in misbegotten and woebegone San Diego. No, as I keep telling people, I won't be there. If The Ammonite Violin & Others should win a WFA, Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) will be accepting on my behalf. I do not spend a thousand or so dollars to fly to southern California and risk getting felt up and fisted by the motherfucking TSA for any con.

Speaking of short story collections, I have the cover art by Lee Moyer for Confessions of Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). And here it is, behind the cut, based somewhat on "Dancing with the Eight of Swords" (Sirenia Digest #36, November 2008):

Guard Your Heart, No Matter the Chambers Therein )


And if you ordered directly from subpress, but you've not yet received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between, hang in there. Be patient. It's coming. To quote Arcade Fire, "We used to wait." I haven't even received all my comp copies yet.

Oh, but the weather has gone to shit and looks like it's gonna stay there a spell. We were so lucky with the shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Stills from a Movie That Never Existed. We're in wet Rhode Island October now. Cold and wet, just in time for Samhain and Hallowe'en. If we'd have had to wait one more week, the weather would definitely have been too shitty for our needs. Cutting it close and all.

By the way, the cover art for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.com (follow that link). But the text on the cover isn't final. Not sure why they put it up before we finalized that, but there you go. There's no fathoming the minds of Big New York Publishers. And yes, Penguin did a cover THAT I ACTUALLY LIKE, a lot. There's even a nod to The Red Tree in there. I'm taking that lone oak leaf as a belated apology for the gods-awful mess they made of The Red Tree's cover (which featured a poplar tree, by the way). Anyway, I'll post the cover here when they get the text corrected.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, then a tad of RIFT before bed. I read more of "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky.

Only Somewhat Disappointed Today,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caveat: No one is going to read this, and no one is going to comment. (This is an expectation, not a command).

Bright outside, and warm. I'd be on my way to Moonstone for a day of swimming, if the passing of Katia (the hurricane that's taking a Norwegian vacation) hadn't left the whole Eastern Seaboard with dangerous rip currents. So, instead, I will sit and work. Weekends are for...people who aren't writers. Just like vacations (I'm looking at you, Katia), retirement, and health insurance.

And I had dreams that are nagging at me, even though I can't remember them. And I have a headache I've had since last night. But other than that, hey man, as far as I know, the motherfucker's tiptop.

I don't get a lot of headaches, and they make me extra not right. Sorry.

Yesterday, I worked. Let's be safe and leave it at that. Oh, I will add that I needed Spooky to help me, and she displayed magnificent restraint and didn't kill me.

No matter how much time I spend on the internet (and it's a shameful LOT of time), I have a fairly low opinion of it. But every now and then someone has a good idea, and that good idea actually works. This is the case with Kickstarter, which has made crowdsourcing a practical option for many of us who often cannot find a traditional, conventional source for funding this or that project. The success of mine and Spooky's Tales of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter astounded me. I never thought it would work. But we not only met our goal, we received 212% of what we'd hoped for. And now, with mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed, as I write this we are in the Kickstarter's final hour, and its funded at 298%. So, not only will Spooky and I be producing this wonderful little book based on her raven paintings, but Kyle and I will be creating a set of photographs and a short film based on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A couple of years ago, none of these things would have happened. So, thank you, Kickstarter, and thank you donors. We will not let you down (though we may be slow as fuck).

---

Last night, rather impulsively, we decided to drive over to the Providence Place Mall (we avoid this place like all bad things that are to be avoided), because there's a Borders there. I sort of felt an obligation to see the end of Borders firsthand. And...it was sort of horrifying and sad and, yet, peculiarly gratifying. Looking at what seemed like, in some parallax trick, to be miles upon miles of empty shelving, it became clearer than it has yet been that we stand at the end of an old age of publishing. I don't want to admit it, and I have no idea what the next age will look like, but there's no denying this is a transitional event. The horror and sadness, that came from seeing books that had, essentially, been reduced to worthless chunks of paper, devalued, stripped of their supposed, inherent merit, 70%-90% off. The peculiar gratification (and I know this is petty), that came from seeing the fall of one of the monoliths that took out so many small and extremely valuable bookstores over the last two decades. What goes around...

But there was, of course, this other thing. This other thing, that was fear. I am a writer, and here is my livelihood, in part, here in the store, and it's dying. No, it's dead, and we were just hanging with the last round of vultures (the lions, hyenas, and jackals left days ago), as the maggot-riddled carcass was picked clean. Oh, I know my career will survive, however the presentation of the art I create might eventually be altered, whatever form it might take. But I'm 47, and bookstores, that sell actual fucking books, that's what I've known all my life. I didn't grow up wanting to write data, ones and zeros, for Kindles or what-the-fuck-ever ugly hunks of plastic. I wanted to make books. And, no matter how much of my income eventually is derived from ebooks, I will, always hate that format, and always cling to the past, which is my present. The book: which is an object with covers and binding and pages, something tactile, something with a wonderful odor, born of ink. This will all likely be swept away in a few more decades or less, excepting small specialty publishers catering to the antiquarian tastes of people like me. But I'll keep writing, and people will keep reading.

And Borders had it coming, just as Barnes and Nobles has it coming. Just as Amazon has it coming. In time, they all fall, because everything does. Because greed is an absolute with a single inevitable outcome.

Anyway, eulogies and nostalgia aside, there really wasn't much left to buy, which made it easy to be good kids. Oh, there were veritable fucking mountains of celebrity bios, especially books about Sarah and Bristol Palin. It was satisfying seeing how many of those were left. There were sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks that had no business having been published in the first place, and tons of YA vampire dreck. "Literature" was gutted, as was "Science," except for theoretical mathematics. We must have been there about an hour (it was very hot, and the fluorescent lights were making me woozy), and we spent about $45, picking those bones, and came away with:

The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars (2009), Christopher Cokinos
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must (1996, 2011) by Robert Zubrin
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks (2011) by Juliet Eilperin
The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created Alice in Wonderland* (2010) by Jenny Woolf*
Katharine Hepburn: A Life in Pictures (2009) Edited by Pierre-Henri Verlhac**

...and one DVD, the only one left worth a cent, the two-disc special edition of Tony Scott's True Romance (1993).

---

I'm oddly homesick.

---

Later, I had some decent RP in Insilico. I read Joe R. Lansdale's "The Crawling Sky" from The Book of Cthulhu. Now, understand – Joe is brilliant, 99 times out of every 100. I once had dinner with him on the Thames, a Chinese restaurant on a huge boat, restaurant with some fucking absurd name like the Floating Lotus. Anyway, that's a story for another time. But "The Crawling Sky" is one of those rare cases where a funny Lovecraftian story works. First off, understand that this is like Cormac McCarthy writing a Lovecraft story, filmed by the Cohen Bros., starring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn. Now, understand that, no matter how fucking funny the story may be, the "mythos" elements weren't being spoofed, but were taken pretty seriously. Anyway, yes. One of the anthology's gems. This line, I must quote: "He had the kind of features that could make you wince; one thing God could do was he could sure make ugly." Lansdale is, among other things, to be lauded for keeping the "weird western" alive.

Gods, what a fucking long blog entry! Gotta work!

* Winner of the Most Absurd Subtitle Award.
** A beautiful "coffee-table" book. How will Kindle fill that gap? How will we have beautiful coffee-table books on iPads? Maybe we'll stop having coffee tables. They seem a holdover from some more civilized age, anyway.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, so. Back on January 16, 2010, I posted just how much it cost me and Spooky to travel from Providence for me to take part in a reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn, a post that included an itemized list of our expenses that night. $111.46, total. And we were only gone about 12 hours, something like that. The point of making that post was to demonstrate why I so rarely travel significant distances to make public appearances.

Our Tuesday/Wednesday trip to Manhattan stands as another prime example. Below is an itemized list of our expenses:

1. Round-trip bus fare (Providence to Port Authority) x 2*: $160
2. Cab fare (three cab rides): $58**
3. Parking at the bus*** depot in Providence: $16
4. Three soft drinks: $7
Total: $241 (for a day and a half)

Now, keep in mind, we had a place to stay, so no hotel bill, and Peter and Susan picked up the dinner tab on Tuesday, then Peter fixed us breakfast, so no meals were purchased. Lodging and meal expenses could easily have added another $200+. For one night. Obviously, a four-day convention is much more expensive.

Now, I also have to add to the total our museum visit, which added $53. But. We virtually never do anything of that sort. Our normal monthly entertainment expenditure averages less than $60. So, you add the museum (which isn't the business part), the cost goes up to $294.

* If you're wondering why I don't save money by traveling alone, the short answer is because I'm not well enough to do so, not at the present. Maybe at some future date, but not now.

** True, the subway would have been much cheaper. But. Our schedule would have made using the subway extremely inconvenient, neither of us are familiar with the routes, and riding the subway vastly increases the odds of catching this or that bug and sacrificing more money to lost days/productivity once the trip is over. I've used the subway lots (last January, for example). This time, it simply wasn't practical.

*** Had we taken Amtrak from Kingston, RI it would have cost us about twice as much.

So, why don't I do more conventions, readings outside Providence, etc.? This is why. Rarely do such activities even begin to prove cost effective. What they do, primarily, is increase my visibility within the community of writers and editors. Most readings net tiny attendance and insignificant book sales (and often lead to bookstores returning the extra stock they ordered for the event, which drives up my return rate). Far bigger names than me often have lousy turnouts at readings. And even if, say, fifty people show up (and for most of us, that's a huge turnout), what the bookstore makes selling books, and what your publisher makes, is likely less than what it cost you to travel to the event.

So, what work-related traveling I do, I choose the trips with great care. I do only those things I really, really want to do. KGB readings, for example. And ReaderCon. Of course, if an event or publisher is willing to pay for all my expenses, I'll usually make the trip; this has almost never happened for me.

I would also add, it horrifies me to think how much I would increase my carbon footprint...

By the way, have I mentioned this wonderful book my [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid (Nick Mamatas), Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Gods, but I'm no good at trip summaries. There are photos behind the cut.

I'm home, and I almost broke the big toe on my left foot night before last. It isn't broken, just bruised. I jammed it into a step as we (Peter and Susan Straub, Spooky, and I) were going to dinner on Tuesday night. Horrid bruise behind my toenail.

My agent managed to talk me into taking the bus down. When she first suggested it, I said "Ew," but she said "No, really. It's actually pretty nice these days. "But Port Authority!" I declared, but she persisted. So, Monday night I conceded, and we took the bus down on Tuesday morning, the Peter Pan - Bonanza express to NYC, and...it was actually cheap (half the price of Amtrak) and comfortable and quite nice. So, I see a lot of bus travel in our future. Normally, we drive to New Haven, then take the commuter rail to Grand Central Station. Which is a pain in the ass. This was better. Who'd have guessed.

We arrived in Manhattan about three fifteen in the p.m., and my meeting at Writers House was at four. We caught a taxi (usually, I have great taxi karma, by the way) from Port Authority to West 26th Street. I adore the building that houses Writers House. It was originally the bank John Astor's employees used, and it's a beautiful old Guided Age building.

Anyway, a good meeting with Merrilee. She loves The Drowning Girl, and has pronounced the first chapter of Blood Oranges the "most compelling thing I've ever written." And she's persuaded me to finish that book before writing Blue Canary. It was a hard decision, but yeah, I'm switching the two around. I hope to finish the former by the end of July, then have Blue Canary completed by the end of January 2012. So, a very good meeting, and we talked about many other things, but I can't set it all down here.

After the meeting, Spooky (who'd been visiting with her sister, Steph, at the camera store where she works) and I headed uptown to Peter's house. As always, Peter and Susan were grand hosts. We had dinner at Nonna, a wonderful Italian restaurant, pure comfort food. Later, back at their house, much good conversation. There was a rather strange bit of a shock when I realized the last time I visited Peter and Susan was on May 17th, 2001, exactly ten years previously, to the day.

At eleven p.m., Spooky and I went to bed (!) and proceeded to sleep until ten in the ayem, an amazing ten hours (!!). Peter finally woke us via the intercom. Then he made a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toasted English muffins, and double espressos. We said our goodbyes and Spooky and I headed off to the American Museum of Natural History to catch the special sauropod exhibit (I'll write about that tomorrow). While we were in the museum, a deluge commenced, and from the relative cover of a hotel's awning I hailed a taxi back to Port Authority. We left the city about 6 p.m., and were back in Providence by 10:15. Would have been sooner, but the traffic and rain were horrendous. Just about everything was closed, so we had to get a disgusting dinner from McDonalds; I'd not eaten McDonalds since 2004, and Spooky hadn't eaten from McDonalds since the '90s.

Oh, and an aside: If you consider yourself a science-fiction fan, but you don't know who Harlan Ellison is, you've no right to consider yourself versed in sf (you don't have to like Harlan, but you do have to at least know his part in the history of the genre). Otherwise, you're sort of like an expert in Russian literature who's never read Tolstoy.

And I must work, so here are photos:

May 17-18, 2012 (Part One) )


Later this evening, I'm going to post an itemized cost for the trip, as evidence of why I'm not a traveling author: I can't afford to be.

Home

May. 18th, 2011 10:59 pm
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Home.
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
So, since it's after midnight here in Providence, and since I made that promise to myself back in March to write at least one journal entry every day for the period from April first until the end of July, I'll get something down before I head to bed. We have to leave early for Manhattan, so I'm taking my good-worker-bee pill and going to lie down.

Tomorrow, I will meet with my agent and we shall talk The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Blood Oranges, and Blue Canary. Not necessarily in that order. Then, tomorrow night Spooky and I will enjoy Peter and Susan's hospitality, and we shall talk...about whatever we please.

A hideously rainy day today. Manhattan's going to be a deluge, so I am told.

My contributor's copies of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 arrived this afternoon. The box was wet; the books were well-wrapped and dry. "Hydraguros," One of my sf (science fiction, not San Francisco) stories is reprinted therein.

A special thanks tonight to Steven Lubold.

Work today consisted of getting ready to leave tomorrow, and email with my agent. Nothing thrilling, even by the standards of a freelancer. Tonight, we watched Henry Fonda and everyone else in the world in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). It truly is one of the - if not the - most spectacular Westerns ever made. The film's cinematography puts every square millimeter of picture to work, so do not dare watch it pan-and-scan. And while it's one of the first truly gritty Westerns, it's possessed of an amazing and almost surreal choreography.

And now, I go to face the toothbrush. Next entry, Wednesday night.

Almost in Transit,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
How does one forget that she's supposed to be in Manhattan on Tuesday? That is, she forgets until almost the last minute, and...it's all pretty embarrassing. But I do. Have to be in Manhattan tomorrow, to see my agent and visit with Peter Straub and so on and so forth. I think it's a matter of inertia, the forgetting. The objects remaining at rest tending to remain at rest half of inertia, I mean. Not being one of the traveling authors, but one of the "homebody" authors – id est, one of the reclusive, antisocial, and sporadically agoraphobic ones. I am well acquainted with authors who jet about the world, while I rarely leave the apartment. I'd blame the TSA, but I'm pretty sure the rise of their New and Improved Draconian policies merely worsened what was already there.

It's a shame I can't blame the motherfucking fascist TSA.

So, tomorrow we take the train to NYC, but we'll be back on Wednesday evening.

---

On the subject of eBay: Please note, as stated on all our auction pages, we do not take checks or money orders. We also do not make exceptions, especially if you win an auction and then fail to contact us for three days. We only take PayPal. Here's the main reason why: Around here, money is almost always tight. And when we see an auction end, especially a "high-ticket item" like the recently auctioned boxed, lettered, double-signed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers (something we'd never before auctioned), we immediately factor that income into our budget. Because PayPal immediately sees to it that we're paid. So...please don't bid unless you have a working PayPal account, with sufficient money in it to cover your bid. Doing otherwise will cause us great inconvenience and, I might add, reflect poorly upon you. Wow. I haven't been that coherent in days.

---

If you are so foolish as to even imagine you'd like to be an author, you need to read Nick Mamatas' Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life. There's even a free digital version. It includes his rather brilliant essay, "Against Craft," which I adore, having always loathed the idea that writing is a "craft," and not an art.

---

Rain, rain, rain. All we have is rain and chill.

What was there to yesterday? There was that other leaning paper tower in my office, which, it turned out, was several leaning towers' worth of filing. Working from basic stratigraphic principles – specifically, the law of superposition, so thank you Nicolas Steno – that nothing much had been filed since at least June 2010. Which really says a lot. Back to inertia. Anyway, you file, and you find things you've lost that you never even knew you had.

Apologies to Rift folks. I just wasn't, for the most part, up to it yesterday. Mostly, I wanted to spend the day hiding in the bathtub under several layers of blankets. So, I wasn't around yesterday. The good news is that I slept last night, almost nine hours, thanks to one of the pills I prefer to avoid (mostly because it's not cheap). I'm not okay, but I'm better. Dreams aside, I'm better. Another night like that, I'll be much better. A week of that, I'll be functional again.

Last night, we watched the last two DVDs from Friday's binge at Acme Video. The first was Woody Allen's pitch-perfect Broadway Danny Rose (1984), and the second (last of the five) was Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray in Billy Wilder's The Apartment (1960), one of the films you'd find on my most-favorite-ever list. Both were new to Spooky. Seeing Broadway Danny Rose again, I remembered the first time I ate at the Carnegie Deli on 7th Avenue (Midtown NYC). It was very late at night, or early the next morning. May the 13th, 1998, which was a rainy Saturday. Unless you say it was the rainy pre-dawn hours of May the 14th, 1998, a Sunday, which is more likely. It was me, Christa Faust, some Mexican wrestler dude (masked, even), and Bernie Wrightson. I'd spent the night in a latex bodysuit and an Israeli gas mask, and was very, very dehydrated. That's a small bit of a long story. I'd just turned thirty-four.

A few years there, I spent so much time in New York.

Last night, after the movies, I lay on the floor in the front parlor listening to the rain. Just before bed, we ate fresh pineapple.

---

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...
(William Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality")

On the Eve of Departure,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
A blustery, cold day today. The sky is that shade of blue. Better I be in here, though I want to be out there. But, tomorrow I will be leaving the House for an autumn foliage excursion to parts north. I only hope that this wind has left a few leaves on the trees.

I find it hard to sleep on windy nights. I always find it hard to sleep, but the sound of wind has always made me restless. I've always been this way, all my life. The wind's fine so long as I'm Outside.

Yesterday was not so much productive as the other thing. Then again, it wasn't entirely counterproductive. Perhaps it was only frustrating. Having set aside "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," I need a couple of good ideas for vignettes to write for Sirenia Digest #59. And it seemed reasonable to do some editing for Two Worlds and In Between while I tried to think of stuff. I did a little layout on the manuscript, and then I read "Persephone" and "Two Worlds and In Between." And I could not resist editing and rewriting on both. I tried. I truly tried. "Two Worlds and In Between" was easier on me than getting through "Persephone." But both now have a couple of hundred red marks each. I'm not yet sure whether I'm actually going to make the edits. I'm tempted to yank both stories, because, truthfully, in 1993 and early '94 I was still just figuring out what it was I was trying to do. I read until dark, and it left me shaken and confused. Do these stories belong in a "best of" collection? They're an honest look back at the beginning, that's true, but they are surely not my best. They are, I suppose, the best I was capable of seventeen years ago.

Anyway, besides email and a phone meeting regarding the Secret, that was yesterday. Oh, and I had to sign the income tax forms, and send away more than thousand dollars to help fund wars against countries that have done me no wrong. And Sméagol has some odd ailment of his right nostril, and Spooky has to take him to the vet today. So...money flying out the window. Even though the windows are shut. Money flies, regardless. So, my great thanks to everyone who bid on the recent round of eBay auctions, and especially to the winner of the "napovel." I was stunned, genuinely stunned, at what it went for. I really do kind of love you guys.

Slowly, I'm trying to clean and bring order to my office.

Last night, we watched the new episodes of Fringe and Project Runway. And then I played CoX late into the night, or early into the morning, or both.

I have what I think is the final set of photos from the HPLFF trip. It's a random lot, stuff I probably should have included elsewhere, but didn't. Ergo, there's a legend for each one. They date from September 30th through October 4th. My mind is very, very scattered. I think the festival was so marvelous that it's left me off balance. Again, I say, I don't know how authors who travel for writerly travel ever manage to get anything written.

H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part the Last, Part 9 )


I am very annoyed there's no photo of me with S. T. Joshi and Wilum Pugmire. Finally meeting Wilum in person was one of the high points of the festival.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1. A blustery day after a rainy night, just like A.A. Milne might have ordered. But there's more rain on the way. At the moment, it's 55F and the wind's 19mph, gusting to 30 mph. There is a wind advisory in effect.

2. Please note that a number of the current eBay auctions will be ending this afternoon (one or two probably before I post this entry). Most notably, the "napovel" auction ends in 3 hours and 25 minutes. Thanks to everyone who has bid and might yet.

3. I spent yesterday working on "There Will Be Kisses For Us All." I wrote a measly 151 words, over several hours, and finally, again, admitted defeat and shelved the story. This makes twice for this particular story. Last time, two years ago, I couldn't quite find the story in the story. This time, I found the story, but was overwhelmed by everything that needed to go into the story to make it authentic, a hundred details I've been sorting through. And, as Spooky noted, it was threatening to become a full-blown short story, when I only have time to write two vignettes for Sirenia Digest #59. So, with much regret, I put this story away again, and will come back to it at some future date (I promise).

There was a suggestion from a reader yesterday, regarding the possible identity of the Englishman in "Dracula's Guest," who is usually assumed to be Johnathan Harker. [livejournal.com profile] papersteven writes: Am I mistaken that, in the novel, Renfield, before his stay in the sanatorium, had traveled to Castle Dracula? I may be thinking only of the back-story provided in Herzog's remake of Nosferatu, but I always thought it plausible that the Englishman in "Dracula's Guest" was Renfield.

Doesn't work. Renfield as an estate agent was an element introduced in various stage and screen adaptations of the stories. Tod Browning (1931) has Renfield go to Transylvania instead of Harker, for example, and Francis Ford Coppola (1992) presents Renfield as the agent who went to Castle Dracula prior to Harker, and returned insane. But in the novel, Renfield is a patient in Seward's sanitarium, first mentioned in a May 25th diary entry, and not an estate agent.

4. Also, [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney asked of "Pickman's Other Model": Was that in an older Digest? I'm assuming so, as it has a VL illustraion. I keep thinking about that story... When you first wrote it, was it ever a potential novel-length project? I can see that, somehow.

Yes. "Pickman's Other Model" first appeared in Sirenia Digest #28 (March 2008). Can I see it as a novel? Yes, I could. Easily. Will I ever write that longer story it could be? Maybe, who knows. The problem is, of course, that I have very many short stories that could be novels (and vignettes that could be short stories, for that matter).

5. Yesterday, my new keyboard arrived. It was a gift from Jada, so thank you, Jada! Since April 2007, I've been writing on the keyboard that came with my iMac. But it was a bad design, always had sticky keys (that had become very, very sticky), and, because of the design (set into a clear plastic tray) it easily became filthy and was hard as hell to clean. The new keyboard, also an Apple keyboard, is a sleek brushed aluminum affair, and the keys require the application of only the lightest touch. The old keyboard, with which I wrote many, many stories, as well as The Red Tree (and Beowulf, too, but I'm trying to forget that ever happened), will be packed away now.

6. [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark arrived about 7:15 last night, and we got sandwiches from Fellini's, and spent the evening in conversation, about this and that and everything else. I can't begin to remember it all. I read him my introduction for Two Worlds and In Between, about which I was becoming very skittish, and he assured me it's fine (as Spooky had done). At some point, Kathryn called us to her laptop, to see a Second Life Innsmouth sim. There's not much good left that one can say about Second Life. It has become a stagnant backwater. But this sim is a beautiful, beautiful build. You can pose in the arms of a deep one out on Devil's Reef. I recommend you see it before it goes away (all good things on SL go away fairly quickly). The sim is named Innsmouth, so it's easy to find. She'd also downloaded the free Lord of the Rings Online trial (née Middle Earth Online), and we were all rather disgusted with it. Lousy graphics. I mean, sure, it would have looked good in 2002 or 2003. Now...it hardly looks as good as Morrowind looked. All in all, it feels like a WoW knockoff, but with graphics far inferior to WoW. I was very disappointed (though I never would have played anyway, since there's never going to be a Mac version). This is frakkin' Tolkien, people, and you get it right or you leave it the hell alone. Anyway, Geoffrey left a little after 2 a.m., and headed back to Massachusetts and Framingham.

7. And here's another set of photographs from the Portland/HPLFF trip. I hope no one's growing weary of this visual travelogue. I just want to get a goodly portion of it down in the journal, to look back upon in years to come. These are photos taken on our last day in Portland (Monday, October 4th), and in the air, and at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport before we learned the flight to Providence had been canceled:

H.P. Lovecraft, Part 8 )
greygirlbeast: (Lucy)
A nippy morning here in Providence (though it's almost a nippy afternoon). 62F at the moment. We're thinking we have to do our tour of the autumn leaves this weekend or we're going to miss out on the peak altogether. Before I forget, congratulations to Peter for being awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. Booya!

No actual writing-type writing yesterday. I had a half-assed idea of cleaning house while Spooky worked on the taxes, because [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark is supposed to visit this evening. But that didn't happen. Instead, I tried to work. I did an interview for Jeff VanderMeer's Booklifenow website, about writing "As Red As Red" (in Haunted Legends). And I sent my HPLFF keynote speech to S.T. Joshi, as he wants to print it in the Lovecraft Annual. I also sent him "Houndwife," which will be reprinted in Black Wings II (PS Publishing), and "Fish Bride," which will be reprinted in The Weird Fiction Review. And then, getting back around to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," I reread Stoker's "Dracula's Guest."

Over on Facebook, James Jeffrey Paul made mention of the fact that at least one Dracula scholar has suggested that Countess Dolingen of Graz, the vampire who menaces the unnamed Englishman (?Johnathan Harker) in "Dracula's Guest," might be one of the three "brides" in Dracula— the "fair" woman. Stoker writes: "The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where."

I'm not sure I'm convinced that the two are, in fact, intended to the same character, but it is an interesting possibility, and I may use it.

Other reading yesterday included beginning Chapter Two of Volume One of Joshi's I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft, and also beginning a paper in the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "Osteology of a new giant bony-toothed bird from the Miocene of Chile, with a revision of the taxonomy of Neogene Pelagornithidae." Indeed, Pelagornis chilensis is a marvel, a bird with a wingspan of 5.2 meters! By comparison, the wingspan of the Great albatross (Diomedea) is a mere 3 meters.

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Regarding various auctions: The auction for the one and only CRK "napoval" ends tomorrow. And there are, of course, the other eBay auctions. Also, check out the raffle to benefit the KGB Reading series (which I have taken part in twice, now). I've made two contributions to the raffle this year: A signed copy of the trade paperback of The Red Tree (I'll also draw a tree on the title page), and a chance to be "Tuckerized" in a forthcoming story. Raffle tickets are only one buck apiece, for a very good cause.

Also, a reminder that I will be reading and signing at the Brown University Bookstore on the evening of October 30th, 2010. Also, it will be a costumed event (optional, of course).

---

My great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yukio20 for bringing a bit of news from Blizzard to my attention (I don't usually follow the forums, so I'd missed it):

Since the release of 4.0.1, more than a few warlocks have noticed that their pets are in fact no longer their familiar demonic servants, and instead appear to be new entities with different names. We’ve been able to pinpoint the cause of the issue, which should be resolved by tomorrow for any warlocks that log in for the first time from then on. We’ve also been able to determine that we will be able to restore any renamed warlock pets to their original pre-4.0.1 names during next week’s scheduled maintenance. For those of you who like your new pet names, we’re working on a feature for a future patch that will allow you to refresh your summons and essentially generate a random pet name without having to level a new warlock.

So...Greezun, Volyal, and Drusneth will be coming home. It appears they only took a vacation to Booty Bay without telling me, and hired these impostors from some infernal temp agency. Speaking of WoW, Spooky and I restructured our talent trees last night, and began trying to make sense of the havoc that Blizzard has wrought to various spells and abilities. Truly, someone needs to tell Blizzard that there's a huge difference between fixing/improving things and simply changing things. Most of Patch 4.0.1 is a sad, confusing case of the latter. I would stop just (barely) short of saying the game is currently broken.

Oh, and we also watched the new episodes of Glee and Caprica last night. I am very pleased that Glee appears to have redeemed itself for last week's god-bothering episode, and I think it's only a matter of time before Brittany comes out. Also, how cool is it that the new kid, Sam, speaks Na'vi? Great, great episode of Caprica.

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And here's the next set of photos from the HPLFF. The festival put us up in a grand bed and breakfast, the White House (built in 1911). We had the balcony room. The house is watched over by an elderly albino Scottish Terrier named Prescott. We couldn't help but take a ton of photos of the place:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 7 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence, autumn seems to have come to stay. Trees are going red and yellow. Spooky and I are talking about driving up the Blackstone River valley in a couple of weeks, into Massachusetts, and maybe as far as Vermont, just to see the trees. And, by the way, I'm guessing there aren't many people who dream about finding the axis (2nd) vertebra of a Triceratops, but I did last night.

No writing yesterday. On Monday, I went back to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," abandoned in December 2008, and began from scratch. I did only 646 words. The prose is dense. And I spent a great deal of time with research. Like becoming obsessed with Romanian words for "whore" and "lover" and "wife." And whether Castle Poenari is on the north or south bank of the River Arges. And Rome's role in shaping the culture of Moldovan and Wallachian culture in the 15th Century. So, that was Monday. Today, I need to screw up my courage (an odd turn of phrase) and go back to work on the piece. But it's as intimidating as it was two years ago.

Only two days remain on the "napoval" auction. One of a kind, people. One of a kind. A piece of my personal history. Also, there are the other eBay auctions.

---

The winner of the signed copy of Silk, commemorating seventeen years since I began writing it on October 11th, 1993, is [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme. The winner was determined by rolling polyhedral dice. If you are the winner, please send you snail-mail address to Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, and we'll get it in the mail to you. My thanks to everyone who left comments on Monday. They were great, all those stories about first encounters with the novel. Oh, and also, we're a little behind shipping eBay packages, what with the HPLFF and the taxes and everything else, but they'll be going out very soon, promise.

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Yesterday, for the first time since coming home from the airport on October 5th, I left the House. We drove down to Warwick for a matinée of David Fincher's The Social Network. It's a brilliant film, and Fincher deserves an Oscar nomination this year. Wonderful performances all the way 'round. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score (which I downloaded weeks ago) is superb. Parallels are being drawn between this film and Citizen Kane. They're not inappropriate. Highly recommended.

---

Ahem.

Spooky and I have been eagerly awaiting World of Warcraft's next expansion, "Cataclysm," due out December 7th. Yesterday, Blizzard rolled out patch 4.0, and we were excited about that, too. But my excitement came crashing down when I discovered that, among many other inexplicable and fundamental changes to gameplay (some of which I knew were being implemented), most warlocks have lost most of their minions, and had them replaced with...well...impostors. That is, Shaharrazad's succubus, Drusneth is now some hooven slut named Angxia. And her imp, Volyal, has been replaced with a much less agreeable imp named Voltuk. And her beloved felhound Greezun (who was the Reason) has been replaced by some mutt named Bheethun. Only her voidwalker, Zhar'los, was spared the purge. I'd had those minions for two years. Some players had the same minions for five years. And...gods...by the sword of my Dark Lady...I'm pissed about this. There was no sense in it. None at all. It's almost enough to make me give up on WoW. Yes, I know this sounds bloody ridiculous to all you non-warlock, non-WoW addicts. But there you go. The WoW bulletin boards are awash in 'lock sorrow, as we all join in grieving for our stolen minions, and as we futilely beg Blizzard to give us back our rightful minions, to whom we were soulbound. There's this poem, posted last night by a fellow Sin'dorei warlock, Myri (Sisters of Elune):

Ode to a Lost Voidwalker

Twas the night before Cata
and all through the land
Not a player was stirring,
their realms all unmanned.
The warlocks were nestled in Stormwind and Org,
Dreaming of chaos bolts, corruption and more!
Their minions all banish'd, soul shards fully stocked
waiting for Deathwing and his dragon flock.
Then suddenly, out of the gloom came a cry!
Our demons are missing! We have to know why!
In their places are strangers, our friends can't be found
From Icecrown to Stratholme we've scoured the ground.
They left us no messages, no clues to follow
and here we are lost, feeling lonely and hollow.
Oh where have they gone, our faithful fel pets...
A better companion, we haven't found yet.
So begone, all you mages and your elementals
Death knights and ghouls? Hardly sentimental.
The warlocks all sigh, downcast, brokenhearted
For a lock and her demon should never be parted.


---

Fortunately, I have a new MMORPG obsession, City of Heroes and Villains. In fact, I have become so obsessed with the game that, after last night, I'm forcing myself to step back from it for a couple of days. But...my magic corrupter, a vampire named Erzsébetta Bathory (yes, you read that correctly), has reached Level 23 and earned her first cape...and I just adore the game. Yeah, the controls suck, badly. But the game is still sort of wonderful, and almost everyone actually fucking roleplays. That's a fact I can't seem to get over. What I did not find in Second Life and WoW I have found in CoX. But I've played about twenty-one hours over the last three nights alone, and that's far too much, so I'm giving myself a short time out. Just until Friday.

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And now...another set of photographs from the trip. While wandering the empty Minneapolis airport on the night of the 4th and the wee hours of the 5th, we happened across a number of stone-inlay murals set into the airport floor. I have yet to determine when or by whom they were created, but they are beautiful. Photos below. Oh, and we also discovered that portions of the airport floor are paved with Solnhofen Limestone (from whence comes Archaeopteryx), from the Jurassic of Bavaria, including the floor around the murals. Spooky and I spotted fossil sponges and ammonites in polished cross-section. I imagine few of the tens of millions of people who pass through the airport ever how often tens of millions of people pass through the airport ever realize they tread on the remains of ancient reefs and lagoons. Anyway, photos:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 6, Floor Murals )
greygirlbeast: (cullom)
And here it is, seventeen years to the day that I began writing Silk. I was living alone in an apartment on Sixteenth Avenue South in Birmingham, Alabama. I only recall that it was a sunny, cold autumn day. I think what amazes me even more than all the time that has passed since that day is the fact that the book has now been in print for more than twelve years (it took five years to write Silk and then find a publisher). Anyway, since no one suggested a contest, I'll be giving away a signed and doodled in copy of the 4th edition mass-market paperback of the novel to someone who comments to the LJ today. I'll draw one of the names at random (and there's your incentive to comment).

Seventeen years ago, I'd hardly even been born.

---

Yesterday was an annoying sort of day. All thinking about writing, but no actual writing. I need to finish four or five stories by December 1st. One for an anthology and the rest for Sirenia Digest #s 59 and 60. So, I'm casting about for ideas. I think the first one, the one I mean to get to work on today, is called "There Are Kisses For Us All," which I actually began trying to write in December 2008, but set aside. I think maybe now I can actually write it.

I've not left the House since last Tuesday (October 5th), the day we returned from Portland. What is that, seven days? Six? I spoke with my psychiatrist about my reclusiveness, expecting her to be horrified. Instead, she only asked if it bothered me. I said no, that it didn't, and then she asked me that, in that case, why was I letting it worry me, that I shouldn't. That was an odd sort of relief, hearing her say that.

---

I will be doing a reading/signing at the Brown University Bookstore here in Providence on the evening of October 30th. I believe it's even going to be a costumed event. I'll probably read from The Ammonite Violin & Others. So, I hope some local people can make it out.

If you've not yet had a look at the "napovel," you may want to, along with the other eBay auctions. Also, Spooky's got Halloween stuff up in her Dreaming Squid Etsy shop, stuff she'll be taking down after Halloween. So please have a look. Thanks.

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Last Monday night and Tuesday morning, after our flight was canceled and we were waiting sleeplessly for a 6:40 a.m. flight, we wandered the concourses and corridors of the sprawling Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, which was surprisingly interesting. One of the wonderful things we found was a display of bronze sculptures by an artist named Gareth Andrews. Most of them involved whaling: sperm whales, humpbacks, blue whales, bowheads, along with seals and sea lions. There was one fantastically surreal piece, Nine Muses in Boreas' Wood. It is almost impossible to describe, and was harder still for us to photograph. An amalgamation of totem poles and whale and raven and skeleton and men and beavers and deadfall...somehow the whole put me in mind of a Giger design for a wrecked starship, à la Alien. Gorgeous stuff. To quote the artist, "Great whales have always caused us to check our shadows." Spooky and I took photos, but they fail to do the work justice:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 5, Gareth Andrews )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
And today is 10/10/10. Read into or out of that what you will. Having little, if any, use for numerology, I make nothing whatsoever of it, except that it is a calendric curiosity and inevitability. Like 9/9/09, or 8/8/08, and so forth. I wonder who thinks the sky is falling today?

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Yesterday I finished the introduction for Two Worlds and In Between. Well, at least I hope that I finished it. I don't like writing these sorts of things. Anyway, it comes in at 1,541 words. I take George Orwell to task over that silly and too often parroted comment, "Good prose is like a windowpane.” But, also, I think writing instructors often fail to present the quotation in the context of the essay it has been taken from ("Why I Write," June 1946, originally published in the final issue of Gangrel, Summer 1946). Above all else, Orwell was a propagandist, which is not a bad thing. He had messages that needed speaking. And he needed them spoken very clearly (though, he was still awfully fond of metaphor, hence Animal Farm). But to think this applies to all prose, it was arrogant and short sighted of Orwell to think this, and idiotic for writers today to follow this edict.

I also cleaned up the keynote speech I gave at the HPLFF, because S.T. Joshi has asked to publish it (I can't remember where).

And that was work yesterday. I sat here and wrote and edited while Spooky went to South County to see her parents and her brother.

Oh, and thanks to Cat Conley ([livejournal.com profile] catconley, "The Awkward Marmoset") for sending me a copy of Greer's Moonwise. It was a pleasant surprise.

Last night there was far too much CoX. [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus showed up, and may even have joined out weird little group of vampires and supernatural ne'erdowells.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which include the "napovel," written in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport during our captivity there. All bids are much appreciated. We not only have to pay the taxes this month, we also have to consider the fact that both my iPod and cellphone were fried during the trip to Portland.

It's something of a mystery, and I know fuck-all about electronics. Neither will hold a charge now, and the iPod actually appears to have been wiped clean. I suspect my shoulder bag, at some point, came into contact with a strong magnetic field. I just don't know when it might have happened, or where. But as I rely heavily on both for writing, they will have to be replaced or repaired very soon. It may be the lithium-ion batteries only need to be replaced. I just don't know (and if you know anything about these sorts of conundrums, please say so).

---

I've been getting some good feedback on "John Four," which felt like a sort of story I haven't written before. So I was very nervous about it.

---

Somehow I forgot Sonya's ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) birthday. So, happy belated birthday, Sonya.

And now, more photos from Portland. I was amazed at the lushness of the neighborhood where we were lodging. Everything was green. I think of Rhode Island as being lush, but it can't compare to what I saw of Portland. So, here are some glimpses of the lushness and greenery:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 4 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I awoke this afternoon...and it really was afternoon...after about ten hours of sleep. Oh, and I dreamt about a Nazi invasion, and being some sort of resistance freedom fighter. But, er, where to begin. I'm not going to attempt a con report, because a) I'd be insulting the HPLFF by calling it a con, and b) I suck at making con reports. That which is not dead can not be summarized. You really had to be there. So, what I will do is strew random comments higgledy-piggledy through this entry and those for the next few days, comments which, when taken as a whole, will provide some vague impression of the past weekend.

It was almost perfect, this past weekend. It would have been a perfect weekend, if not for the nonsense that began at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and forced us to go to Detroit in order to get back to Providence. And except for my iPod apparently biting the dust (in all fairness, it was more than five years old, and there's that whole idiotic planned obsolescence thing to consider).

Before I forget, an announcement from Subterranean Press. It would seem that the warehouse has yielded a nearly full carton of The Ammonite Violin & Others, which we thought had sold out on publication. So, if you missed out, here's an unexpected second chance!

---

I do want to try to thank everyone who made HPLFF 15 so marvelous for me. Inevitably, I'll leave people out, because I am a forgetful beast with an addled brain, and for that I apologize ahead of time. Also, I'm not even going to attempt any sort of organized "thank you." Embrace the higgledy piggledy. So, first and foremost, thanks to Andrew Fuller, who not only writes a mean screenplay, but also ferried me and Spooky about all weekend, with infinite patience and punctuality. And to Andrew and Linda Miglore and all the other festival organizers and staff for pulling this amazing thing off pretty much without a hitch. My thanks to all the filmmakers (and I'll post a list of my favorites in another entry) who put their art and hearts up there for all to see. My thanks to Scott Connors and Ron Hilger for all four volumes of the The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith (Night Shade Books). My thanks to S.T. Joshi for volumes one and two of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft (Hippocampus Press). And let me tell you, lugging these books back home in our carry-on luggage was all sorts of fun (10 lbs.!) My thanks to Ellen Datlow ([livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow), who sort of seemed to keep me grounded all weekend. My thanks to Tony Starlight's Supper Club and Lounge for naming a menu item after me, if only for one weekend (Caitlín's Garlic Fries, "Fit for Mass Consumption, and 'Spooky' Good!"), and to Scott Glancy of Pagan Publishing, because sometimes you just have to say, "Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling." Oh, and thanks again to Scott Connors, who brought Spooky a great big bottle of oak moss, and to Cassandra Brewster ([livejournal.com profile] whiskeychick) for the Voodoo Doughnuts. Someone else brought a bag of Voodoo, but we don't know who. And everyone at Portland's White House, including Amara and Prescott, for the grand accommodations. And Lee Moyer, for, among other things, introducing me to Henry Clewes.

You know, this whole "thank you" thing is starting to sound like one of those Oscar speeches that goes on far too fucking long. But, it was great meeting so many people I should have met a long time ago, including Wilum Pugmire, Mike Shea and Lynn Cesar, Rachel Edidin and everyone else from Dark Horse, Edward Morris, Marc Laidlaw, Cody Goodfellow, and all the longtime fans and LJ readers like Chris Walsh ([livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh) and [livejournal.com profile] amberite (and everybody I'm forgetting, REALLY).

A special thank you to everyone who came to my reading on Sunday. I am told it was the best attended reading of any HPLFF ever.

And, gods, I met William F(ucking). Nolan!

Oh, and it was great meeting and conversing with Sean Branney of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, and also seeing sneak-peeks of the forthcoming HPLHS adaptation of "The Whisperer in Darkness," which looks awesome (yes, I said "awesome," even though the internet seems intent upon ruining that word forever and ever, because the eighties didn't quite finish it off).

I'm serious, the weekend was beautiful. The only part I'd subtract from it are Robert M. Price's sudden bursts of Islamophobia. Apparently, he actually believes that the inhabitants of Innsmouth should be viewed as "islamofascists." Um, yeah. Anyway....

---

Today, I'm going to finally get Sirenia Digest #58 out to subscribers, and I do apologize, again, for the delay.

---

And here are four random photos from the HPLFF (and there are many more to come):

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 1 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'm home. I have been since about noon. But I am only just barely awake, or even alive, I think. Yesterday, about seven p.m, shortly after we arrived in Minneapolis, for our connecting flight to Providence, said connecting flight was canceled. And we were cheerfully informed there would not be another flight until Tuesday morning. Yeah, Delta gave up a voucher for a Days Inn somewhere in the middle of god's left ballsack, and I suppose that was very nice of them. But we opted to spend the evening wandering about the airport...mostly alone. Not sleeping. On towards two a.m., the place took on a surreal tint. Everything in the airport closed up by ten p.m., which came as a surprise to me.

"Zombies don't need airplanes!"

"Empty airports late at night are like Radiohead videos."

Yes, it was like that. Also, I wrote a scenario for a short film titled, "Mother Hydra Triptych," and also wrote The Shortest Novel Ever on a Caribou Coffee napkin. I did not, however sleep. No, not Spooky, either. She read aloud to me "The Colour Out of Space" and "The Shunned House" (I'd just read the former to myself a few days before, but whatever).

We discovered a kindly robot that peed coffee (though we did have to pay it).

We caught a flight to Detroit at dawn, and then flew into Providence on something made from balsa wood and rubber bands. Every part of my body hurts. Since making it back to the House, I've wrestled with a mountain of email, slept three hours, and eaten two slices of pizza.

The HPLFF was brilliant, and wonderful, and cool, and I loved it so much I won't call it the best convention I've ever done, because I hate conventions, and to call it one would be an insult. Tomorrow, if I live that long, I'll be posting a long, long thank you list. And the first set of about five-hundred photographs.

Iä! Iä! Booya! (ouch)
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky and I just made a deal, that we would never again both smile at the same time. It was just all kinds of wrong. And we weren't even really smiling. We were sort of grimacing. So, we're really agreeing never again to bare our teeth like that at the same time.

Kind of muggy and sticky and too warm here in Providence.

I just got the artwork from Vince for Sirenia Digest #58 (and I love it). But it seems very unlikely that I'll be able to find time to get the issue out before we leave for Portland. Again I apologize. I hate being late with anything, ever. Tardiness just irks me. I am a punctual beast.

As for yesterday's interesting email from my agent, let's just say that not all unexpected opportunites are good, and so we move on.

I'm trying to be higgledy-piggledy without the --- dividers. Seems more honest.

Still much too much to get done before we leave in the morning. I have a very long list. Yesterday, we drove to South County, to Spooky's parents' place. We have a housesitter for the days we'll be away, but Spooky's mom will be coming up to give Sméagol the malt-flavored prednisone he takes for his plasma cell pododermatitis. So, we took her a key. On the farm, wild grapes and ferns were going yellow with autumn, and there were autumnal bursts of red in a few trees. It was raining and windy, and I thought about the much worse weather in New York and New Jersey and Connecticut. I visited the steamsquid, who's getting along quite well, a year and a half after we rescued himherit. Afterwards, we drove to Warwick, and I looked for a couple of pairs of pants at the thrift store. I have developed an almost religious enthusiasm for thrift stores of late (in spite of garish overhead lighting). Anyway, I found two pairs, including an absurdly large pair of brown corduroys. I almost got a pair of seersucker pants, but it's late in the year for seersucker.

I read two more stories in Haunted Legends, Steven Pirie's "The Spring Heel" and Laird Barron's "The Redfield Girls." I liked both, but found the Pirie story especially effective. And we finished Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl last night, which is truly excellent, and which I strongly recommend.

I also finished Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age late last night, when I should have been asleep, but was, instead, awake. My opinion at the end is pretty much the same as it was halfway through the novel. Wonderful worldbuilding, an intriguing (if far-fetched) future, an interesting quasi-Dickens pastiche, but not a single act of characterization in sight. The novel is actually more like a long outline for a novel. It's a great mountain of plot and ideas. This happened, and this happened, and this happened. But...we are never allowed to see into the people to whom all this plot is happening. Sometimes, we're told how someone feels, but we're pretty much never shown. Which makes this only one half of a good novel; I can't even consider it finished. It's sort of amazing, that a book can be so devoid of characterization. Anyway, I think I'll read the new China Miéville next. And probably a bunch of other stuff, because I seem unable to read only one book at a time.

This will be my last entry until after Portland, and I feel like I'm forgetting shit.

I read "Pickman's Other Model" aloud last night. It's the piece I want to use for my reading on Sunday. The reading's an hour long, and reading the story at a leisurely pace, it came in at about fifty-five minutes. So, I don't know. I'll either read it, or something from The Ammonite Violin & Others. Oh, and DO NOT FORGET. This weekend is be kind to Spooky weekend. Oak moss and voodoo donuts. I'm serious. Just don't try to hug her, because she bites.

And while I won't be tweeting, or blogging, or facebooking (???) on this trip, I will be taking tons of photos, and will post a bunch of them afterwards.

Now, I think I need a bath.

Oh, fuck! It's National Coffee Day!
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
And here it is Friday, and only seven days until we leave for Portland (and that's counting today). So things are getting weird and hectic. I've never been to Portland, but Spooky lived there for three years, 1996-1999, and has tremendous trepidation about returning. So, we're coping with that, too. But I am not a traveling writer. There seem to be so many traveling writers these days. By "traveling writer," I mean writers who spend a lot of time on business-related trips (i.e., workshops, conventions and conferences, expos, and book tours). I love to travel, if it's purely for the sake of traveling, but I'm really not one for writing-related travel (except in the sense that any given trip may inspire stories). So, this sort of thing is rare for me. And it makes me very anxious.

I also don't know how writers who spend so much time engaged in writer-travel get anything written. I wouldn't be able to get anything written.

I was wondering, the other night, why people seem resistant to the idea of writers having public personae. It's perfectly normal (and common) for actors and musicians. But with writers it seems to piss people off (including other writers), or at least annoy them. I sort of have a public persona. The person you see at a con isn't precisely the person I am in private. I found it necessary a long time ago, both to alleviate my anxiety about public appearances and because the person I am in private is terribly anti-social. So, for cons and signings and readings I have this other Caitlín persona I put on. I wear her (though she's changed over the years). Trust me, she's much nicer to be around.

---

Yesterday, I decided, we needed one last day off before the mad rush to the trip. One last day just for me and Spooky to be calm. So, about three p.m. we headed to Conanicut Island (the right way round), out to West Cove, our favorite beach for sea glass. When we arrived, there was a large group of scuba divers. It's a popular spot for scuba, but I'd never seen so many at once before. Most left shortly after we arrived, but some lingered in the cove, occasionally rising to the surface like strange aquatic hominids. The weather was good, warm and only a few clouds. We found some good glass, but some really spectacular bones. West Cove is also a good bone beach, mostly bird bones. Yesterday, I we found an assortment of wings bones and vertebrae from cormorants, gulls, and other birds, and I also found a spectacular gull jaw, complete with yellow-orange keratin sheath. Really gorgeous. I also found three bones I'm fairly certain belong to a seal, which is a first.

I've often imagined, while at West Cove, carrying out a weird sort of "future paleontology" study there. I mean, imagining what the sandy, pebbly deposits there would be like ten or fifteen million years from now. And trying to reconstruct the local fauna, assuming the bones I'm finding would be preserved as fossils. A diverse avifauna would dominate the assemblage, with lots of fish and very rare mammals.

Yeah, I'm a science nerd.

Anyway, we stayed until it was almost dark, and the tide was coming in. We watched two mallards, and a sad sort of sea gull that seemed to be following them around. We tried to decided if a cross between a gull and a mallard would be called a "gulk" or a "dull." We finally, reluctantly, headed back to the van about six-thirty p.m. I wanted to stay all night, listening to the lapping waves and watching the sky and hearing the birds. There are photos, at the end of this entry, behind the cut.

Oh, I read Richard Bowes' short story, "Knickerbocker Holiday" (from Haunted Legends), on the way down to the island.

---

I think I have to do an interview for Weird Tales before we leave.

---

In all this discussion of eReaders, one thing in particular strikes me as absurd. And I'm honestly not trying to pick on anyone, I'm just being honest. What strikes me as especially absurd are the people who tell me they absolutely could not live without their Kindle or Nook or whatever. They are fervent in this claim, and I assume they truly believe what they're saying. I'm just not sure they've thought very much about what they're saying. I mean, they got along just fine without these devices a year or two or three ago, right? And now they can't live without them? I kind of have to assume this is hyperbole, that they're very enthusiastic and overstating their case. Because, otherwise, it's absurd, and I like to think people aren't absurd (though clearly most are).

I think about recently acquired tech that is very dear to me. Say, my iPod (I'm still using a sturdy old fossil of an iPod from early 2005). Or my very low-tech mechanical pencils. Or the PlayStation 3. Our digital cameras. Or certain programmes, like Second Life and World of Warcraft. These things are dear to me, to varying degrees, and I use them a lot. But can I live without them? Sure. I did just fine before they came along. So, it's hard for me to imagine these eReader users keeling over from shock or wasting away if they were ever suddenly deprived of their Nooks. Or Kindles. Or whatever.

When they say, "I can't live without my eReader," they must surely mean, "I don't want to live without my eReader," or even "I can't imagine living without my eReader."

Rarely does it help an argument to overstate your case.

---

At Eastside Market, I saw a book with the excruciatingly embarrassing title Wuthering Bites, and a cover that was clearly meant to look like one of the Twlight covers. And the book's exactly what it sounds like, Emily Bronte's novel rewritten with vampires. Can we please stop doing this? It was never very funny, and at this point these parodies seem like parodies of parodies. Which is to say the gimmick is on beyond tired. Stop milking it. Please.

---

I almost forgot, there's a very nice review of The Ammonite Violin and Others at The San Francisco Book Review (review by Ariel Berg). I love this bit: "Those whose imaginations flourish best in the dark will find a great deal to love in The Ammonite Violin."

Okay. Here are the photos. I need to get to work, and Spooky has to go to the post office.

23 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Another line from Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl, and she's writing about the sort of music Throwing Muses was doing in 1985, but it's true of every sort of writing I've ever done:

"It's hard to learn something that no one can teach you."

Actually, it was Leslie Langston (the band's original bass player) who said that. Kristin Hersh wrote it down.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,169 words on the new vignette, which now has a title. I'm calling it "John Four."

Also, my old passport came home to me yesterday. I'm very pleased that it was sent back to me. I just asked Spooky exactly who sent it back to me, and she said, "I don't know. The passport people." So, thank you passport people. I wanted to be sure I got the old one back (though it now has two holes punched in the cover). It has my immigration stamps from places like Dublin and Shannon and London.

Spooky says "fuck" a lot more than I do. Which is saying something, because I say "fuck" an awful fucking lot.

Jupiter was amazing last night. I sat in the front parlor, and it amazed me. This startling, beautiful point of light just left of the moon.

---

Weird rehashed thoughts about "God" this afternoon (I can't pretend it's still morning). Like, is it not obvious that there's something seriously warped about the idea of a god that demands praise, and if you don't deliver, you'll have really, really bad shit happen to you? I mean, in Xtianity, it's pretty much that simple. Love me, and tell me you love me every chance you get, or you get sent to the bad place when you die. Imagine if a human treated you that way, a human being with comparable expectations. Tell me you love me, and that I'm the best, and tell me that over and over and over, on you knees, head bowed, or I'll beat you. How can something this self evidently wrong not be self evident to everyone?

Anyway, speaking of vicious "gods," I have a snazzy looking ad for the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon. So, lights, action, tentacles:



---

How did the world suddenly grow so brittle?
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A sunny, warm day in Providence. I want to be Outside, but there's so much work to do. Only ten days left until the trip to Oregon for the HPLFF, and there's so much to get done twixt now and then. Still, if I finish with the writing early, I may try to persuade Spooky to take me to the sea.

Tomorrow is Mabon.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,039 words on a very strange new piece for Sirenia Digest. Sort of a post-apocalyptic vignette, wherein the apocalypse seems to have been the coming of Nyarlathotep and Azathoth to earth. Or, more accurately, earth tumbling into Azathoth. I felt like doing something explicitly Lovecraftian just before the Festival in Portland, and this seems to be it. Also, I'm thinking #58 will be devoted entirely to my explicitly Lovecraftian tales (which are fewer and farther between than some may think), the new piece plus several of the old ones. By the way, I am adopting the term that Joshi sets forth in The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos. Which is to say, I have never written Cthulhu Mythos stories, which are stories arising from August Derleth's bastardization of Lovecraft's vision into an inane struggle between good and evil. Instead, I do occasionally write stories that fit into the Lovecraft Mythos (if one must put a label on these things).

This morning I got word that the Jeff and Ann are very pleased with "The Key to the Castleblakeney Key," which was good news to wake to, as it is also a very strange story.

Spooky made the front page of Etsy this morning, with one of her Pumpkinhead Ghosts, between noon and one. You can see the rest of her Etsy shop here. And please have a look at the current eBay auctions (unless you intend to immediately resell on Amazon for a profit).

Anyway, the good writing day gave way to a very frustrating evening. I was supposed to do a bit of rp in Insilico. We started it and took a dinner break. And then I couldn't log back in, though I spent about an hour trying before I gave up. I have no idea what was going on (I was able to log on just fine this morning). So, instead, Spooky and I did some WoW, the Warsong Gulch Battle three times (because it was Call to Arms this weekend); Horde won twice, so not bad. But then we tried to do one of the Outland dungeons, the Steam Vault, and the boss kicked our blood-elf butts five times. And he's only some dumb ass fucking naga! So...yeah, a night of geeky frustrations.

In the wake of a week of illness, I'm now on a diet of Utterly Fucking Bland Food. Chicken and rice. Bananas. Potatoes. Bland, mushy, pale food. But at least maybe I'll be able to get back to digesting what I eat. Oh, and once you're past -05, you're are allowed to talk publicly about gross shit like this. Look it up.

Okay. Time to work.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Today is a day off. As will be tomorrow and Tuesday. I'm exhausted and need to try to rest and recharge, so I can come back at The Drowning Girl with a clear head.

Autumn seems to have come to Providence. Spooky assures me this is not the case. But the highs are in the 70sF, the lows in the 60s and 50s, and the sky has that vacant autumnal blue.

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #56 ready and out the "door." I hope people are pleased with it. Part Two of "The Yellow Alphabet" is already coming together in my head.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. "The Black Alphabet" chapbook goes off this afternoon. Thank you.

There's a grand review of The Ammonite Violin & Others in the new issue of Locus (my thanks to Bev Vincent for sending it my way, and to Curt Jarrell for the heads-up). So, the book got glowing reviews from all the biggies (of those that will bother with it).

A couple of quick announcements. First, last night I agreed to appear as a guest at the 2010 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR (I think the dates are September 30th-October 3rd). This will be my first trip to Portand, and my first trip to the West Coast since October/November 1998. We're still ironing out the details, but it looks like a done deal. Second announcement, Bill Schafer at subpress has agreed that The Dry Salvages (2004) will be included in the "Best of CRK" volume. That's 30,600 words of a 200k-word book I don't have to worry about. And, on the subject of this volume, I received an email from John Glover, who writes:

It's my hope that when you are considering the ToC for the volume that you do not put too strong an emphasis on your most recent work. You have often blogged about your declining opinion of your early work, frustration with the "compounderations," etc., but I hope you will keep in mind that your early work was distinctive, unlike the rest of what most other writers were doing in the 1990s, and it attracted attention for that reason. That those early stories may seem painfully young (?) to you now is not the same thing as them being of low quality. "Persephone" is a effective, evocative, affecting story, and the same could be said of many of your early published stories.

I have often been frustrated, generally speaking, by lists or anthologies or summative essays that claim to cover the "best" of an author, genre, or whatever...and almost always seem to be focused on the now. My copy of
The Ammonite Violin arrived a couple days ago, and I am very much enjoying it, but from what I've read thus far, I don't feel that the stories contained in it could be said to speak for all of your work; it speaks of what you've been writing in recent years.

I think I can see the outlines of why you might say
Ammonite Violin, and your most recent work in various formats, is the best example of what you are trying to do as an author -- but by the same token, 14 years stand between "Persephone" and The Red Tree, and those years are replete with good stories. They might not, as you look back on them, be exactly what you were trying to do, and they may reflect your changes and growth as a writer, but I don't think any artist ever attains anything she will actually consider perfection when the work is viewed in retrospect. There's always a wart, or an adverb out of place, or one too many compounderations; those are the charms of the work as it was made.

So often artists talk about what they are interested in the moment, and seem to show little interest in where they were 5-10-however-many years before. The unstated sentiment behind that, I think, is that their old work is somewhere between inert and dead to them. Sometimes they actively revile it (witness: Anne Rice). I don't think there's anything wrong with that, in so far as it bears on what *is* happening in the moment--creating new work--but when taking the long view? Not so much.
Sirenia Digest has obviously been a great place for you to experiment and write some less traditionally marketable work, but I see it as only one part of your work -- it doesn't have as much of the South, the overtly deep time of Threshold, the Gothic of ToPaW, etc. -- all of which should be represented in any Best-of-Caitlín-R.-Kiernan volume. (In my opinion, of course, which may not be shared by you or by other readers.)

To which I say, no need to worry, John. Well, not about this, anyway (but I'll say more later).

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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