greygirlbeast: (Default)
There's cold air on the way, but this early afternoon it's 74F and sunny, and my office window is open.

The comments from yesterday's post were a little overwhelming, and I didn't reply to all the ones I ought to have replied to, I know. The kind words are appreciated, but I was left feeling as though I were fishing for compliments...or something. Which isn't at all what I was doing. Anyway, whatever. Thank you. I think my favorite comment came from [livejournal.com profile] catconley, who asked, "Does the tweeter also think that Stephen Hawking is a computer?" Brava.

Seeing there was no hope of working yesterday, I left the House, and we went to What Cheer (Wayland Square) and the Curious Mermaid (Wickenden Street), looking for the things that will be making up the Dancy box. The things we aren't making. Little religious tchotchkes, a black plastic dog, an old postcard. This started out as just something extra to offer with a lettered copy of Alabaster (letter X). But now it's grown into a piece of art in its own right. Spooky's cousin Ben is sending us the perfect cigar box from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. It was a warm, drizzly day Outside, and I spent most of it sorting through postcards from the forties and fifties and sixties.

Jada sent us voodoo dolls for Halloween.

---

Mixed feelings about last night's episode of Glee. On the one hand, it was neat. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a huge part of my life long ago. Somewhere there are photos of me as Magenta. Oh, here they are (thank you Spooky):




"The Time Warp"



"Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me"



Anyway, I'm perplexed at the word "transsexual" having been replaced with "sensational." And they somehow managed to do the whole thing without cross-dressing, which is sort of like doing Doctor Zhivago without Russians. Maybe I'm not perplexed. Maybe I'm only disappointed. Oh, and saw the new Caprica, but I did so immediately after getting the news that "SyFy" has canceled the show, and that the final five episodes won't air until early 2011. May I call this SyFyail? The show was too smart, and too off-beat, and the money can be better spent making shitty movies and reality shows, I'm sure. Caprica will go down after only a single season.

---

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

Sometimes, my heart's just not in an entry. Like now.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Not nearly as ill this morning as I was afraid I would be. Yesterday, I loaded up on elderberry extract, zinc, Smith Brothers' cherry cough drops, and with the help of two Red Bulls, managed to get through a long and arduous day of proofreading and reformatting.

As soon as the Afterword (it was going to be an Introduction, but now it shall be an Afterword) for A is for Alien is finished, the ms. will go to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press, and it will be out of my hands. At least until the page proofs. And I can get back to work on The Red Tree. Well, right after I write a 3,000-word Introduction for Joshi's Arthur Machen collection.

Anyway, after we did another five or six hours of work on the AifA ms., Spooky and I took a mountain of books back to the Woodruff Library at Emory, and then had blisteringly spicy Thai noodle bowls for dinner. After dinner, back home, I suffered an absence seizure (which are beginning to seem almost routine). I crashed on the sofa, too exhausted for anything but the passive comforts of television. We watched an episode of Millennnium, "Maranatha," then the new ep of Deadliest Catch, and then the last episode of Season One of Millennium, "Paper Dove."

And there's this email, from Tim Huntley, regarding Sirenia Digest #29:

"I wanted to offer some (very brief) words on 'Concerning Attrition and Severance'. I am pleased this story was not a hidden piece and that it did make it into the Digest. As well as resembling a disturbing twist on Huis Clos peopled with Cenobites, the piece made me think of Pirandello (well, Six Actors in Search of an Author, to be exact).

"And, on today's anniversary of Sigmund Freud's birth, an almost randomly located line from Einige Charaktertypen Aus Der Psychoanalytischen Arbeit (1916): 'Let us leave it to future research to decide how many criminals are to be reckoned among these "pale" ones.' Perhaps not a citation - or a paper - that has anything truly in common with your story, but it seemed an apposite conjunction of sorts.

"'Flotsam' was another splendid brine-soaked piece which lingered with me and spiraled in my thoughts across this May Day weekend. Together with 'Concerning Attrition...' it made #29 feel like an old-style Digest in that it was, as your Prolegomena informed, comprised of two rich vignettes."

The parallel with Barker's Cenobites seems natural, in retrospect, though, with "Concerning Attrition and Severance," I was trying for something a bit more subtle and a bit less concrete than "The Hellbound Heart." Thank you very much, Tim!

Someone else asked for details on Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder, so I thought I'd post a scan of the cover of Spooky's copy (behind the cut, mais oiu):

Time of Wonder )


Oh, and here's a marvelous little thing, which I can now stare at to my nerdy heart's content, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sclerotic_rings, the Solar System Visualizer. It even includes numerous extrasolar star systems!

And once again, because it is my Royal Birthday Month, the Amazon wish list thing. A mere 19 days until that dreaded -04...
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,636 words, or I marched 1,636 steps. Six of one, half dozen of the other. It is very frustrating that I have to take Wednesday and Thursday "off" for a trip to Birmingham. I just want this to be over, this March, New Consolidated or otherwise.

The good news is that the cold snap of the last five days ends today, at least if you're here in Atlanta. Today, it will be warm enough for a long walk. And it is going to stay warm for the next ten days, at least. Spring is very, very near.

Yesterday, looking at someone's [livejournal.com profile] ditl, I noticed a "Lesser Octopus" stamp from the UK. I think it was a First Class stamp. It said "1st" on it. If someone reading this who resides in the UK would procure such a stamp for me, I would reciprocate with some appropriate trinket or another. Please and thank you. The address is P.O. Box 5381, Atlanta, GA 31107 USA. Because, you know, I need more junk with octopi on it.

Courtesy the remarkable [livejournal.com profile] blackholly, news of a grand absurd kerfuffle over the presence of the word scrotum in the Newberry-Award winning children's book, The Higher Power of Lucky. Among other things, this just goes to show, yet again, how hopelessly screwed up Americans are when it comes to sex. I mean, really. Scrotum. Scrotum, scrotum, scrotum, scrotum, scrotum. American parents allow their little girls to dress themselves like pop whoresluts, but we cannot have the word scrotum in school libraries, because, you know, that might corrupt someone. Yeah, okay, whatever. This is one of those times I wish I were a gazillionaire, so I could buy a million or so copies of this book and distribute it free to children everywhere, just to piss of the prudes. Oh, and maybe I could hire a crack team of graffiti artists to spray-paint the word scrotum on the sidewalk outside one in every ten U.S. schools. Would that be deemed idealogical terrorism or something? I wonder if Susan Patron's book would have raised fewer eyebrows and less censorial wrath if she'd used nutsack, instead?

To quote Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now: "They train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write fuck on their airplanes because it's obscene!"

Spooky will be beginning a new round of eBay auctions this afternoon. Actual books this time. I'll post an addendum or something when the auctions begin.

Last night's episode of Battlestar Galactica wasn't so bad. At least the soap opera stuff made sense in context of the overall story and contributed something to characterization. It didn't come off like slash. I do wish more time had been taken with the air-lock accident, though. More adventure, please. As for the new episode of The Dresden Files, I thought it was actually a lot of fun. I somewhat enjoyed last week's episode, but I liked this week's even more. I believe it's beginning to find a sense of itself, which probably means the SFC will cancel it in the next two or three weeks to insert some new incarnation of Stargate.

Okay. The platypus says if I wanna walk before I write, I gotta snap to it. So, snap I shall.

(cue theme music; roll credits)
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Despite getting a very late start yesterday (a bit after 3 p.m.), the writing went well. I did 1,186 words and finished the new piece. No longer is it "Untitled 24." Now it is "A Season of Broken Dolls." Anyway, you can read it in Sirenia Digest #15. Today, I need to start the second piece for #15...something short...an actual vignette, I think. But the subject has not yet fixed itself in my mind.

Dreamsick this ayem.

The Raven Red auction ends in about nine hours. I hope you'll have a look. You can find all the raven auctions here. I thank you, Spooky thanks you, Hubero P. Wu thanks you, and Herr Platypus certainly thanks you. Someone recently suggested that perhaps the platypus is my totem animal. No way, no how. If I have a totem animal, which I kind of doubt, it's not even from this planet.

Looking back at old entries this morning, I came across this paragraph regarding Daughter of Hounds, from this same date one year ago:

Some part of me feels sick this morning. Not germ sick. Some intangible bit of me I can't treat with pills and the like. I'm very, very tired. I feel as though I could sleep a week. At least. We finished with read-through on Daughter of Hounds yesterday. Spooky cried again. It just left me feeling drained and at a loss. Like, okay, here it is. I've done this thing again, this book thing. I'm not sure I know what to make of it, all these stories I keep telling. A little bit after we'd finished, I admit I also got weepy, for the characters, for all the work that's already gone into the novel, for all of it. It's part relief. It's part dread. It's part weariness. Right now, I feel as though I could never write another novel and it would be for the best. Maybe I won't feel that way next week or next month. I suppose we'll see. I've put too much of myself into Daughter of Hounds, much more than I could spare. Now I want to hide it away somewhere, in a closet or beneath the bed. I don't want to see it edited and copyedited and published and reviewed and commented upon by readers. I just want to put it somewhere safe, and it could always be mine and never anyone else's. I don't know that I've ever felt this protective of one of my novels. I just want to keep it safe.


365 days farther in, I think I've resigned myself to the fact that Daughter of Hounds has moved forever beyond my ability to "protect" it. But looking at those words, while some of the urges in question may have diminished in intensity, I still know exactly what I meant.

A very fine walk yesterday, which is why I got such a late start. I was determined to wait until the air temp climbed above 50F, and that meant waiting until about 1:30 p.m. Bright sun. Blue skies. We walked far down Sinclair to Inman Park, then south to Euclid. We saw a hawk, gliding between the trees. We heard a woodpecker but didn't see it. We came back via L5P, and there were a lot of people out. But I miss what L5P was back in the early and mid '90s. These days, it seems so diminished. Anyway, we took a few photos on the walk (behind the cut):

From a Walk )


Last night's ep of Battlestar Galactica was an improvement, and next week looks like it will be still more space opera, less soap opera. So I shall continue to watch for the time being. Also, the new ep of The Dresden Files was nice enough, but I couldn't help thinking how much better the show would be if Whedon were directing, or if they'd stick with one writer. It needs less bland TV appeal, more genuine darkness, more black humour, an edge that's actually sharp. Later still, Spooky read me chapters 4-6 of The Terror, which I am liking quite a lot so far.

-----

Back to the Motel this morning. I do not for a fact know that it is a motel. That's just how I've come to think of the white room, the white tile floor damp with rain from a leaky roof, the flickering fluorescents. I think that I am being haunted by this goddamn dream, and I can not begin to puzzle it out. I half suspect it's not even my dream. But I am going to stop writing about it here. It must be getting tedious. Instead, I shall make a short story of the thing. Maybe that will act as a binding and lock it safely away.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I think I'm reaching that place where exhaustion is replaced by an abiding desire to simply punish this meatsack and the consciousness it has spawned, see how much the whole wet, bloody mess can take before it begins coming apart at the seams. Kick it until it doesn't even try to crawl.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,146 words. And that makes yesterday the second "best" day of this goddamned Forced March to THE END.

There was a question from the comments to yesterday's entry, and it was a good question, so I'm reposting it here. [livejournal.com profile] anthologie asked:

Caitlin, you have said you are a slow writer, that writing as much as 1,500 words in a day is a real struggle. If you'll forgive the question, I was wondering something: How long are your workdays, roughly? Eight-ish hours? I was wondering this because I am a fairly quick writer — 1,500 words takes me two to three hours, which feels a little slow to me, but really isn't. However, even if I have a whole day to do nothing but write, I can't really squeak out more than 2,500 or 3,000 words because once I start going beyond that, the writing starts being really shitty, I start making lots of typos and mistakes — all signs that my brain is completely done. That's frustrating because I have all those hours left in which I could write more, but it just won't come out.

Over the years I have become a faster writer, in the sense that it takes me less time to write X amount of words. But the only significant increase in my daily average word count occurred sometime in 2002, while I was writing Low Red Moon, I think (this could be falsified or confirmed by scanning old blog entries, an effort which is presently beyond me), when I went from about 500 words a day to 1,000. To this day, I doubt I've ever written more than 2,850 words in a day. But, what I wanted to say is that yes, I know what you're talking about, precisely. These days I may write faster, but it feels like I'm simply compressing the same amount of work into an ever smaller space. It seems to have more to do with how much I write than how long I spend writing it. Ignore the Forced March. The Forced March is an aberration. On a normal writing day, when I do 1,000-1,200 words, I usually start writing about 1 p.m. and finish any time between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. So, on average, I'd say I write 4-6 hours a day. Sometimes the words come all in a great rush (those are the good days), and I might do that 1,000-1,200 in only two or three hours. Sometimes, it takes me six or seven. And lately, there is so much work that needs doing, so much that needs writing, I wish I could use every waking hour, as almost every hour in any given day is a waking hour. But most of them feel "wasted." Last night, after dinner, after a very hot bath, I wanted so badly to go back to work. And I tried. But that 2,146 words, written in only about three hours, that was all I had for yesterday.

Gods, this is dull stuff to be writing down.

I have agreed to write a short piece for a forthcoming issue of Weird Tales, just 800 words or so; details to follow.

I did go outside yesterday, very briefly. Just long enough to cut a couple of Narcissus for the altar table, because there should be flowers for Imbolc, and the cold has not yet killed the Narcissus. I stood out front and breathed in the cold air, trying to feel clean, and stared up at the waxing moon, white in the blue sky. Last night, when I had at last given up on getting any more work out of me, I collapsed into a useless lump in front of the television, played a bit of Final Fantasy XII (trekking from Balfonheim Port northwest to the Cerobi Steppe, then west to the Tchita Uplands, then southwest, ending up at the save crystal where the Phon Coast begins), then watched a new ep of Miami Ink and then a documenatry on the Science Channel, Voyage to the Planets and Beyond, a rerun from 2005 I'd somehow missed the first time around. It originally aired in the UK as Space Odyssey. At some unspecified future date, five astronauts attempt a seven-year "grand tour" of the solar system aboard an ESA ship called the Pegasus. The science was a little wonky here and there, and naturally the planetology was already out of date (especially as regards Mars and Titan). But I still thought it was actually pretty good. It's heart was definitely in the right place. It really should have been four hours long instead of two.

I made it to bed sometime after two. I found sleep (or it found me) sometime after four. I woke at 10:30 a.m., more tired than when I fell asleep, with a song from 1994 stuck in my head, Billy Pilgrim's "Insomiac." I'm putting the lyrics behind a cut:

Insomniac )

Oh, and the offer of a FREE signed copy of Silk to new Sirenia Digest subscribers expires at midnight tonight. If you sign up today, your subscription will begin with issue #14.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday, I wrote 2,835 words. Which is almost certainly my record for most words written in a single day. I can't be sure, as there's no truly effective way to search the blog for this sort of thing. And, I should add, all those words came out in only about three hours, which makes it even more remarkable. At this point, the Word Bank (which I reset to 0 after my day off on Sunday, January 21st) stands at 2,859 words, as I have written 10,359 words in the last five days, when I only needed to write 7,500 to meet my 1,500 /per day quota. Last night, I estimated that the Forced March will end on Tuesday, February 6th. Which means only nine days left, and after the last few weeks, I think I can probably do nine days standing on my head.

I'm waiting to hear from my editor whether or not Daughter of Hounds is still on the Barnes and Noble SF/F trade paperback charts.

After the writing was done yesterday, after we'd read over yesterday's pages (there were thirteen), by then it was getting late. I played ten or fifteen minutes of Final Fantasy XII while Spooky had a bath. She'd spent the day on her birds and a trip to the market. She made a pizza for dinner, with pesto and red peppers and what have you. Then I went back to work, because I have to get Sirenia Digest #14 out today. I decided it wouldn't hurt to do one more read-through on "The Sphinx's Kiss," and I was right. Then I worked on the "prolegomena" until about 10:30 p.m. (CaST), when my eyes started to cross and I finally called it a day.

At eleven (CaST) we watched the new ep of Battlestar Galactica. I have to admit that I so do not care about the Starbuck/Apollo/Dualla/Anders love quadrangle. At this point, it's playing out like slash, and I wish we could just please stay focused on the Cylons and the search for Earth. More space opera, less soap opera, please. Afterwards, we watched The Dresden Files, still giving it a chance. But last night's ep was quite a bit less quirky and charming, quite a bit more formulaic than the first ep. I hope this is not the direction the series is headed. Anyway, bed after that, but somehow I managed not to to fall asleep until sometime after 3 a.m.

Oh, my thanks to James Lowder for sending me news of a German edition of Shadows Over Baker Street (pic behind the cut), which includes my story, "The Drowned Geologist." So, you may now read this book in English, Spanish, or German.

Schatten über Baker Street )

—————

I was back at the Laugh Motel this morning. But I do not think that I'm going to write about it today.

—————

I didn't leave the house yesterday. I likely won't leave it today. Maybe, though, I will grow unexpectedly bold and mount an expedition onto the front porch, as far as the mail box.

The platypus says wrap it up. So, play nice, kiddos. No spitwads, please.

Turn up the lights - I don't want to go home in the dark. — O Henry (1862-1910)

Postscript (12:48 p.m.): This e-mail just came from my editor, and I quote: Hurray! DAUGHTER OF HOUNDS is going strong - #39 on the SF/F trade list.

BOO-ya.

Liz
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I did a very satisfying 1,669 words today, 8 pp. in about five hours. But, regrettably, it wasn't on "The Path of Silence," but a new piece, "The Voyeur in the House of Glass." Last night, as I began to drift down towards sleep, I realised that I simply do not presently have time to finish "The Path of Silence" for Sirenia Digest 13. Perhaps I can finish it for issue 16 (March). I actually began work on this story on March 5th, intending it for Sirenia 4. But it's just too ambitious and personal a piece, and I cannot rush it.

Anyway, so far, I'm very happy with "The Voyeur in the House of Glass," which resulted from a brainstorming session between me and Spooky this ayem. We were tossing ideas back and forth, and I'd scribbled sideshow in my notebook, and she started talking about voyeurism, and suddenly it just clicked. It does not usually happen that way. Not for me, at least. With luck and motivation and Red Bull, I'll finish this story on Tuesday. It will be a bit more erotic than the stories in the last couple of issues. Also, 13 will include a new piece by [livejournal.com profile] sovay (Sonya Taaffe), which makes me very happy.

Today, someone was asking about the planned e-version of Tales of Pain and Wonder. Those of you who kindly volunteered to do hypertext for the stories, I have not forgotten you. Expect to get text files sometime in January. It could be later than that, but certainly not any sooner. There's just too much other work right now.

Also today, some last minute work on The Black Alphabet chapbook.

I was looking back over what I wrote yesterday about this new sf novel idea being a place to work through some of the outrage and anger I feel towards humanity, and I just thought I should say, it's more than that. It's also a way to work through my sorrow at everything that's being lost, through my regret and despair, and also my own species dysphoria. And hope, too. Maybe in that story I could find a little hope, something that might yet serve me better than the Giant Space Rock and the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky.

[livejournal.com profile] jtglover asked:

Which of your works would you consider literary vs. non-literary? I have a hard time imagining you writing, you know, simple space opera or other "non-literary" SF.

I know this question is the result of the comment I made yesterday, quoting my agent on the market for "literary sf." Those were her words, not mine. Personally, I consider all fiction to be literature and therefore to be literary. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.) defines literary as "Of, relating to, or dealing with literature." And it defines literature as: "1. The body of written works of a language, period, or culture. 2. Imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value." For my part, that means all fiction, because whether it is great or merely good, mediocre or perfectly awful, all fiction possesses at least some rudimentary artistic value. Fiction is lit. All sf, dark fantasy, "horror," weird fiction, slipstream, etc. is, by definition, literary. There is a very odd and self-deprecating tendency among genre writers and genre critics and genre editors to reserve literary for mainstream fiction or even only that which has become canonical. To my mind, this is monumentally wrongheaded. All of my work is literary, because all of it is literature, because all of it is fiction.

Also, I got a wonderful, long e-mail from [livejournal.com profile] corucia regarding population stability in micro- and macroorganisms, limitations to exponential population growth, and the biology of stationary-phase cells, all as might relate to the the sf novel in question. But I think I'm gonna save that for tomorrow, as I am bleary and there are miles to go before I sleep and you know how that goes.

Last night, I watched something on the Science Channel about plate tectonics and vulcanism, and then Spooky and I watched Finding Neverland (2004). I don't know why it took me so frelling long to see this film. It's quite brilliant and entirely beautiful and magical, and I strongly encourage you to see it. Johnny Depp gives one of his best, most-understated performances, and Dustin Hoffman is superb. It's just a grand film, start to finish.

Okay. I'm extremely tired and still need to add a couple of things to the the eBay auctions. I'm listing another Daughter of Hounds ARC, as well as a hand-corrected and signed unbound galley for the same. Because gas bills must be paid, and roofs must be kept over our heads, even when publishers drag their feet. Both these items will be five-day auctions, so they'll finish up before Xmas (though, obviously, we can't get them to you until after Xmas). Please have a look and bid. Thank ye.
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
I made it into bed, in the strictest sense (that is, I was technically, bodily, in the bed), by 1:30 last night, but Spooky and I sat there talking until almost three. Something woke me at four. Spooky claimed it was her stomach making noises, but I have my doubts. I awoke again at nine, from nightmares I had no wish to go back down to, so I decided I would make do with six hours sleep (give or take; take mostly). Spooky got up at ten, when the alarm went off.

Upon waking, I wrote down as much of the dream/s as I could recall. That part of the dream nearest to the waking event (what is the geometry/geography of dreams?). That part most recoverable by my conscious mind. Too much to write down here. You wouldn't want to read it all. I wouldn't want to write it down again. But there was part that might have been a road trip, or a forced march, or an exodus, or somehow all these things at once. The sky was burning, and the whole world was shades or orange and red. There was a man on stilts. There was something I kept hidden that I was always afraid would be discovered. There were wastelands of twisted steel and the charred corpses of automobiles piled up along the highways. There were bones, too. There were bones everywhere — bleached white, burnt black — and at one point I was explaining to someone traveling with me (I can't say who, because I do not know) which ones were human and how you could tell. There was an old house where I stopped to rest, a house surrounded by dead trees. I sat for a long time on the stairs, listening to the wind and to people talking. A girl, maybe twelve or thirteen, asked me if I was thirsty, and I told her no, though I was very thirsty. There were bloody handprints on the wall beside me. The blood was dry and looked more like rust. Etc. and etc.

The writing went very well again yesterday. I did the first 1,424 words on a new piece for Sirenia Digest which I am calling "Metamorphosis A." I expect to finish it today.

We watched "Heroes" last night, instead of waiting for the Friday night rerun on SciFi. I'm losing patience with the show. The hope I had for it at the start is fading fast as it seems to dissolve into too much of the usual television foolishness. I think, at this point, I'm only watching it for Hiro. I'll likely give up and see the rest on DVD. The commercials drive me crazy. They defeat whatever tension the scripts manage to build. Oh, wait. We'll be back to our story in a moment. But first, listen to people scream at you about new cars and insurance and breakfast cereal and all our other crappy shows (Friday Night Lights????). I'm pretty sure the reason I liked Season One of Battlestar Galactica so much more than Season Two or Season Three (thus far) is that I saw it on DVD, where there were no commercials to undo the tension.

Read chapters IXX and XX of House of Leaves.

I'm excited about the new Pynchon novel, Against the Day. Given the teaser, how I can I not be excited? To wit: Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.

With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.


Besides, I've never not loved a Pynchon novel.

I suppose that's it for now. That's enough. Do recall that the eBay auctions end this evening, late this afternoon, whichever. The Daughter of Hounds ARC and the lettered copy of Alabaster with chapbook and Spooky's doll. The latter, especially, involves one-of-a-kind items. There will never be another green-haired boy doll. This is the one and only. You'll not regret it.
greygirlbeast: (platypus)
Another day off. Probably the last I can afford until November. Make the most of it.

Tomorrow, I shall get back to work on Sirenia Digest 11 (subscribe now) and The Dinosaurs of Mars.

It's cold here again. The L5P Halloween parade is this afternoon, but I'm feeling too reclusive to be bothered. Spooky might wander out that way. I've considered trying to sleep all day.

I'm not going to say much about The Prestige, because it's the sort of movie you could easily spoil for someone. But I loved it. Especailly David Bowie as Tesla. I'm really not crazy about Hugh Jackman, and I think that's my only complaint and it hardly seems valid. Besides, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis, and Michael Caine more than made up for him. And, er, David Bowie as Tesla. I was so dazzled by the props and costumes that I found myself losing track of the story at times. It's a beautiful, beautiful film. And Thom Yorke's "Anaylse" was the perfect song for the credits. Now I must see Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette.

Oh, and last week I promised myself four-words per "review" for this weekend's comments on the Friday night SFC line-up, didn't I? Okay, here goes:

Heroes: Still optimistic. Not convinced.

Dr. Who: I miss Christopher Eccleston.

Battlestar Galactica: Best episode this season.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] shadowmeursault for pointing me towards the new platypus skull icon.

After Battlestar Galactica, we switched over to TCM and watched Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr - Der Traum des Allan Grey (1932), long a favourite of mine. I love the scene where Sybille Schmitz (Leone) watches Rena Mandel (Gisele) with that wide, predatory grin.

Later still, I tried to read something about the geochemistry of Martian soil, but got too sleepy, so Spooky read me a few pages from one of Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat novels (which she's been devouring) until I dozed off.
greygirlbeast: (grey)
Late last night...well, early this morning, actually, about 1:50 a.m., I was in the living room, getting ready to go to bed. I switched on a lamp, switched off a space heater, then turned so that I was facing the windows. And a fat little animal came trundling out of our yard, over the curb, and into the street, where it was plainly visible beneath the streetlights. At first, I thought it must be a cat. There are so many on this street, but then the details of its morphology began to sink into my sleepy brain, the way it moved, and I saw it was clearly not a cat. Nor was it a dog, of any sort. I have chosen to believe it must have been a raccoon, or perhaps even a posssum, which had somehow lost its tail. Because I will not believe that I saw a wombat crossing the street. I have enough to worry about without rogue wombats wandering about Atlanta in the dead of night. I only saw a wombat, which is not to say there was ever a wombat there to see. I shouted for Spooky immediately, as it crossed the street. She was in my office, doing something online, and by the time she made it to the window the womb...er, I mean the tailless raccoon or possum had vanished beneath a white SUV parked across the way. I think she thought I'd lost my mind good and proper, as I was babbling on and on about this strange-looking animal, the odd way it moved, its stocky build, the angle of its forelimbs relative to its body, and she dragged me out onto the front porch, but there was no sign of the beast anywhere. It was not a woodchuck. It was not a skunk. And it most certainly was not a frelling wombat. I said, "It looked like a tiny bear," and Spooky rolled her eyes and told me to go to bed before I hurt myself or she decided to do it for me. I said, "I choose to believe that I saw a raccoon or a possum, without a tail," and "Fine," she said and rolled her eyes. "Now go to bed." No, I was actually sober, and it helps not in the least that there was only about ten feet between me and it, or that the street light was quite bright. I do so dislike that sensation of having seen something I feel I wasn't meant to see, even if it is only a possum or raccoon. Now, I know what Charles Fort would have to say about nixars who say they've seen tailless possums or raccoons when they've plainly seen a wombat at 1:50 a.m. almost 10,0000 miles from where wombats have any business being. Charles Fort had much to say about displaced (or misplaced) things and animals and people. But, thankfully, I only have to answer to Spooky.

Anyway...

A good writing day yesterday. 694 words. Quite unexpectedly, I began a new story — "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad #4") — which I suppose will be appearing in Sirenia Digest 11 late this month. The last few days, a ballad, "The Twa Sisters" (recorded by Loreena McKennitt as "The Bonny Swans"), has been going round and round in my head, wanting to be retold as a short story. I think this is it, though there's not a swan in sight. I am unaccustomed to having so many stories in my head at once. Right now, there's "The Ammonite Violin," and there's also Joey LaFaye, and there's also The Dinosaurs of Mars. I'm used to one story at a time, so my head is story stew. Anyway, expect "The Ammonite Violin" to be paired with [livejournal.com profile] grandmofhelsing's interview with Vince, and perhaps also with "Lafayette." A lot of you may not have read "Lafayette," and it's an old favourite from Tales of Pain and Wonder, which I've begun to think of as "Murder Ballad #2."

It pleases me that the drop-down menus on LJ use entry instead of post.

Byron came by last night, halfway through Heroes, and stayed for Dr. Who. He would not, however, stay for Battlestar Galactica. Because, said he, he has yet to "drink the purple Kool-Aid." Which is to say, Byron has managed to hold his grudge against the Sci Fi Channel much more faithfully than have I, and even now, four years later, he's not forgiven them for cancelling Farscape. Truth is, I haven't forgiven them, as the act in question was unforgivable. I just decided, reluctantly, I wasn't going to be stubborn and miss Dr. Who and Battlestar Galactica over so negligible a matter as mere principle or integrity. But Byron's better with such things than I am, inconvenient things like principle and integrity. Not quite so much better that he'll miss Dr. Who, but betterer enough that he refuses to watch Battlestar Galactica, which he knows he would love. I think he figures that Dr. Who is merely being shown on the SFC, while Battlestar Galactica was created by the SFC and took Farscape's place. But, anyway, I'm going to experiment with two-word TV reviews:

Heroes: still optimistic.

Dr. Who: brilliant, delightful.

Battlestar Galactica: wow, again.

Eh. Next week, I think I shall allow myself four words for each review. Also, I finally sat down and listened to the new disc from the Decemberists, The Crane Wife. Exquisite, says I. Quite different from Picaresque. There are fewer of the flights of fancy we saw in, say, "The Infanta" or "The Mariner's Revenge Song." It seems a more grounded and solemn album. There are murder ballads (there's that phrase again), in "The Landlord's Daughter" and "You'll Not Feel the Drowning." There's reference to the Civil War ("Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Again)") and the seige of Leningrad ("When the War Comes," and how can I not love an album with an ode to Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov?). But there's still some whimsy, particularly in the "The Crane Wife," parts 1, 2, and 3, though it's a sad sort of whimsy. Only one song seems suited to the 20th Century, "The Perfect Crime #2," and then only just barely. I think my favourite track is "Come and See," though the last song, "Sons and Daughters," is awfully good, as well. Anyway, no sour notes here. Check it out. I do wish that Petra Haden were here, though.

Oh, yeah. After Battlestar Galactica, I finished Drakengard 2. Well, one of three possible endings. I won't risk any spoilers, only say that I loved the game, Manah's still hot, and it was quite difficult (I played it set on "challenge"), but I was somewhat dissatisfied with the ending. I'm not usually like that. I tend to treat the ends of stories like history. Which is to say, that's what happened, regardless of who dies or is betrayed or gets away unscathed. I figure, the author knows what is to come, what happens, the history of the story sheheit is telling, and the reader is merely watching. This is what I believe. Just so long as it rings true. But I did not find that the end of this game rang true. It seemed an eleventh-hour plot twist, put there to stun and take aback. I'm going to have a break from gaming, at least until Final Fantasy XII comes out at the end of the month, as there's so much writing and reading to get done. But I will come back to Drakengard 2 one day and find those other endings, hoping that one of them rings more true.

Okay. I got behind on e-mail yesterday and must catch up. And then, well, you know.
greygirlbeast: (mirror2)
Well, yesterday was far and away better than Thursday, and yet it was also frustrating and disappointing and, yes, it was tedious, too. I managed to get all the way through the five new pieces that will be appearing in Tales from the Woeful Platypus and did the corrections and a little more revision that is usual for me. But I did not manage to get to the four reprints from Sirenia Digest — "Untitled 17," "Untitled 20," "Pony," and "pas-en-arrière." Those I will have to do today, which puts me another day behind. With luck, this evening I'll have the whole ms. together and can e-mail it away to Subterranean Press. Because I need to have started work on The Dinosaurs of Mars two weeks ago.

There is some dim, reckless plan to take two or three days off, beginning tomorrow, but I've already decided to spend one of them cleaning the house.

And before I drift too far afield from the subject of writing, I was over at Elizabeth Bear's LJ ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) and that particularly tiresome old shibboleth, the bit about good prose being akin to a pane of glass, "transparent prose," had come up. And I ought not say anything at all, because anyone who's been reading this journal for any time at all knows a) how I feel about declarations that, when writing fiction, one ought or ought not do any given thing and b) how I feel about the No-Style Style of writing championed by people who like to go on and on about how good prose must be transparent. Bear had many sensible things to say on the subject, and she knows I'm not addressing her. But I started trying to remember where this whole "transparent prose" nonsense got started, because I thought I recalled a quote. The best I can come up with is this bit from George Orwell: "Good prose is like a window pane." (1954, "Why I Write," from A Collection of Essays).

For my part, I'd say that good prose is like a stained-glass window. In fact, I might have already said that here before. It should allow the light through (or the darkness), but it must not be devoid of flavour and texture and sound and all the millions of things which makes each individual writer a unit discrete from all those other writers. I'll take Ray Bradbury over Mary Higgins Clark any damn day. Give me James Joyce or Angela Carter or Mark Twain or Charles Dickens and please, please keep your Robin Cooks and Jonathan Kellermans. I want to hear the writer's voice, because fiction writers are not frelling journalists. We take a story, a story anyone could tell, as all tales have been told and re-told, but then we make it our own. We find a way to tell it that is ours. Breezy, fast-paced, airplane-friendly plots are a dime a dozen. The magic is in the voice, in the point of view conveyed by the voice. The artist is the art is the artist is the art, round and round and round in that familiar Ourobouros dance of tail-swallowing. I do not write transparent prose. I will not write transparent prose. If I'm not there, on every page, in every sentence, I might as well be off somewhere writing copy for the AP.

There's a new e-ish of The Adventures of Boschen and Nesuko, wherein I reprise my role as a topless alien whore. Right there in panel 1. Really, topless alien whore, fiction writer, six of one or a half dozen of the other.

The tediousness of yesterday's editing left me too tired and stupid for anything but television. Good thing there was actually some decent television, for a change. Just a quick recap, because the platypus is crouched here beneath my desk, tapping herhisit's webbed foot. Someone asked me last week if I'd seen Heroes, and I didn't reply, because I hadn't. I was afraid it would just be another festival of pretty, interchangeable faces (i.e., Lost), wrapped up in a rip-off of The X-Men. Last night we watched the second ep, and while I think maybe the X-Men thing might still be an issue, I was surprised that the faces of the actors had character, that the characters had character, and by the end of the hour I was ready for more. So, I remain cautiously optimistic that Heroes may amount to something interesting. Then, of course, I watched the first ep of the "new" season of Dr. Who, which was really my first taste of David Tennant as the Doctor. Confession: I'm not a Dr. Who fan; I'm a Christopher Eccleston fan. That's why I was so nuts about last season. That said, I thought "Tooth and Claw" was actually very good, and I might just be able to get into this next season after all. He's no Christopher Eccleston, but David Tennant might yet win me over. And finally, the two-hour season premiere of Battlestar Galactica. Wow. I think the creators of the series are making very smart moves and have managed to pull the series out of the doldrum it had wandered into midway through the second season. And while I'm at it, let me just say that a) I hate having to say good things about programming on the Sci-Fi Channel and b) at least Friday nights have at last been freed from the bland and tiresome grip of Stargate SG-1.

Oh, and there was half an hour or so of Drakengard 2, just long enough for Manah to kick Caim's sorry ass.

Okay. Must go now. The platypus is showing me those venomous spurs, reminding me that tedium waits for no nixar.
greygirlbeast: (mirror)
Thanks to everyone who's taken (or may yet take) the time to comment on this morning's entry. It really is something I've sort of allowed myself to agonize over the last couple of weeks. Unduly, I'm certain, but knowing that doesn't stop me from fretting.

Yesterday, I got back to work on the selkie story, "For One Who Has Lost Herself," after not writing anything for several days. I'm really liking this piece, and it was good to come back to it. I did 770 words yesterday. I'm thinking this story will likely come to about 4,000 words. Sirenia Digest #5 is shaping up to be a longish issue, which is a good thing. The chaos of the last week, the silly day-to-day drama I bring upon myself or which wells up from myself, has made a bit of a frelling train wreck of my schedule. I'm late getting Alabaster proofed, haven't finished the illustrations for "Night," have this whole website redesign thing to deal with, and the Bradbury intro to write. On top of it all, I expect the Daughter of Hounds editorial letter any day now. And Joey LaFaye is begging me to start writing it a full two months before I'd planned to begin.

I've done an amusing little interview sort of a thing for Jeff VanderMeer's blog, VanderWorld, that I still need to e-mail him this evening.

At least the country's gone back to Caitlín Standard Time.

I've been devouring papers on new dinosaurs. Most recently two papers from the latest issue of Geodiversitas, descriptions of the ankylosauroid Antarctopelta (only the second dinosaur named from the antarctic, Cryolophosaurus being the first) and the new carcharodontosaurid theropod from Argentina, Mapusaurus. Drad and awesome beasts. And, if you follow those links, you'll see I'm still stuck on writing articles for Wikipedia.

We've been making good progress with Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon, which is definitely the most informative book I've yet to find on Wicca and Neo-Paganism. Next, I think we'll read The Triumph of the Moon by Ronald F. Hutton. Suddenly, so many things about magick and Wicca that have confounded me for so long seem to be coming together. There's a newfound clarity, and new rituals are unfolding in my mind, though I haven't yet written any of them down.

I spent way too much of last night in front of the television, but first there was a documentary on mega-tsunamis, and then the new ep of The Sopranos, and then another documentary, on feathered dinosaurs and dinobirds and early birds. And after that, I started playing Kingdom Hearts II, because Spooky went and rented it yesterday. I've stayed away from the PS2 and the X-Box since finsihing Ico back in December or January, and now Spooky has made a damn'd recidivist of me. But how could I say no to a game with Rikku, Yuna, and Paine? Still, nothing had prepared me for the sheer, balls-to-the-wall, mind-bending weirdness that is Kingdom Hearts. Wow. I mean, imagine dropping a couple of hits of acid and then visiting Disney World with a bunch of cosplayers. It's something like that. But it is is a gorgeous game. I think I'm becoming a stone-cold Square Enix junky, which seems more unlikely than I can even say.

Okay. Last thing. We're down to the final twenty five hours of the "choose your own letter" Frog Toes and Tentacles auction. The winner may choose from M, N, O, P, Q, R, T, U, V, W, and Y. And, of course, you get the handmade silk and velvet "cozy" sewn by mine and Spooky's own paws. Please have a look and consider the degree to which winning this auction would enrich your life. Thank you. Now I'm gonna go outside for a bit and catch the last of the day. There's a marvelous wind out there which I hope will continue into the night.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck1)
It wasn't all just fish and giggles. And velour. And redneck tourists slandering octopi. For one thing, my contributor's copy of Horror: Another 100 Best Books arrived in the post yesterday morning. This is Steve Jones and Kim Newman's follow-up to their 1988 volume, Horror: 100 Best Books. You may recall that I was asked to write one of the essays and chose Kathe Koja's novel Skin (1993) as my subject. I have to confess that I have a very bad habit of not reading the anthologies in which my stories are published. I tend to flip through them and set them on the shelf where I keep all my published stuff, intending to get back to the book, but then forgetting all about it. However, I wanted to take a moment to reccommend this book. The first volume was really wonderful. I picked it up when I was in London in '98. Wonderful essays by wonderful authors. The editors asked 100 authors to each choose one horror/dark fantasy/thriller book which they considered a classic of the form. This time out, sixteen years later, it was the same idea. So far, I've read Peter Straub's foreward and Steve and Kim's introduction, as well as three of the essays: Jeff VanderMeer on House of Leaves, S. T. Joshi on The Nightmare Factory, and Brian Hodge on Lost Souls. This is a very, very readable book, and you should all endeavor to snag a copy ASAP. It's available from Amazon and should be in the chain bookshops, too. And I must admit to being flattered that Silk, Tales of Pain and Wonder, and From Weird and Distant Shores made the "oversight" list at the end of the book.





After the aquarium yesterday, we treated ourselves to some very hot, very yummy Thai food for dinner. Then spent most of the evening watching the next four episodes of Season Two of Battlestar Galactica (which continues to amaze and delight). And, of course, we watched the new Project Runway (which was just a little surreal, sandwiched between two episodes of BG). I'd picked Nick Verreos to win (though I personally liked the designs by Andraé Gonzalo and Diana Eng much more), so I was surprised when it went to Santino Rice. But I was even more surprised when they dumped the very talented Gaudalupe Vidal and kept frelling Marla Duran, even after she admitted to having copied her design from a Chloe dress...sigh. Go figure.

Oh, this comment yesterday by [livejournal.com profile] davidmlemoine amused me very much, so much so that I'm going to repost it. It made me smile. It is, well, drad: If you search the word "drad" on Google, your Amazon.com Farscape list is the #7 link on the page. If you search "farscape" and "drad" together yours is the number one result. Kinda neat.. Kinda drad, if you ask me.

Crap. I wish I wouldn't leave myself cryptic little notes I cannot later decipher. BBM. What the frell does that mean? It's in a list of things I was going to discuss in this entry, but I have no idea what it might stand for. If I remember, later, I'll add a postscript.

Spooky, who manages the stock that I sell on eBay, has declared that the copy of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers presently being auctioned will be the last that I'm allowed to auction. So, this is it, kiddos. If you want to get this book from me (and it's also sold out at subpress), this is your last chance. No foolin'. Of course bidding continues, rather furiously, on letter X of Frog Toes and Tentacles and it's sexy little "cozy." At least I know how we'll pay the gas bill this month. Here's the link to our eBay auctions. Have a look, if you will. Thanks. And there's always Sirenia Digest. As soon as I get "Bainbridge" proofed and polished (tomorrow), I have to write the next two vignettes.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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