greygirlbeast: (river3)
Kittens, this is what happens when you break up with a vacation. It exhibits a flare for vindictiveness by seeing to it that, on the eve of New Year's Eve, I catch a mild intestinal bug, just enough to make me utterly miserable for a good twenty-four hours, and see that Spooky catches it just as I start recovering, so another twenty-four hours will be disrupted and more misery will be spread. So, warning: do not interrupt vacations.

But comment. I'll have the iPad with me in bed.

I spent most of yesterday lying on the chaise in the middle parlour, sleeping and moaning, except when I was...no, I'll be discrete, yes? Yes. I did read Laird Barron's "Old Virginia" and Steve Duffy's "The Oram County Whoosit," the latter of which was not only quite good, but rather interesting. In that it covered some of the ground I covered in "In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)" and "The Colliers' Venus (1893)." Also, it put me in mind, a bit, of Carpenter's The Thing (1982). But I don't mean to say that it felt derivative (though it is a "Mythos tale"). You can find "The Oram County Whoosit" in New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, and I recommend it. This was the first story by Duffy I'd read.

Last night, as the crud struck Spooky, we watched Julie Delpy's The Countess (2009). And it really is Delpy's film as she wrote, directed, scored, and played the title role in the film. It's neglect of historicity aside, it's a fine film. Erzebet Bathory's story becomes both a fairy tale and a tragedy about a strong, intelligent (if psychotically, murderously neurotic) woman caught in an age when strong, intelligent women were generally deemed, at best, a nuisance. I especially approve of this latter theme, as it certainly did play a role in the downfall of the real Countess Bathory, between the enormous debt owed her by Hungary's King Matthias and the hatred she engendered from the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever else may or may not be true of her, having researched her life, there can be little doubt she ran afoul of a conspiracy and was an easy target. Anyway, I'd have liked a wilder, more explicit film, but The Countess is impressive, nonetheless (ignore the IMDb rating of 6.2; that's fucking poppycock). See it.

But what really saved the day yesterday was that the mail brought a gift from Neil, a personalized copy of the numbered edition of The Little Golden Book of Ghastly Stuff, from Borderlands Press. Spooky read a bit of it to me and the platypus. I was especially pleased with "Entitlement Issues" (you can read it online, just follow the link), which calls out all those fools who think authors owe them anything at all and who place stock in that "reader/writer contract" crap.

Ah, I'm running out of what little steam I had in me. So, I shall leave you with two things: Firstly, a promise that Sirenia Digest #73 will be out sometime in the next week or so, and, secondly, I leave you with this rare photo of me and the platypus together (we were fading fast):



On the Mend,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
A day when you wake up two hours later than planned, well, there's not a lot you can do to salvage a day like that. Funny fucking thing is, yesterday I had a sort of panic & epiphany combo meal, realizing it was idiotic for me to think I could take a vacation from December 15th to January 3rd. That I thought the work would wait, or that I wouldn't be overwhelmed as soon as my playing hookey ended. So, I resolved to scrap the plans we had for this week (which included a trip to Yale and a trip to Marblehead, Mass.) and get back to work today.

And then...I didn't wake up until 1 p.m. (CaST).

Which sort of shredded my plans for today good and proper, and which is why it's 2:29 p.m. (CaST), and I'm only just starting my blog entry. I was going to get back to work on "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," but now I'm thinking, instead, I'll be lucky to deal with a bunch of email (one of the things I did yesterday, post-epiphany), then sign the signature sheets for the limited edition of A Book of Horrors (to be released by P.S. Publishing). But, in case you're curious (casually or otherwise), below is a list of what I have to have done between now and the end of January, and it ought to be enough to convince you of the folly of the "much-deserved vacation":

1. Produce Sirenia Digest #73, which means finishing "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" and writing another and as-yet-untitled science-fiction tale.
2. Editing Alabaster #3, as soon as I have my editor's notes.
3. Writing Alabaster #4
4. Keep track of the pages for Alabaster #2 as they're drawn and inked and colored.
5. Finishing making corrections to the mss. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book (about three weeks overdue, at this point).
6. Travel to Philadelphia sometime in the second half of January to finish up filming the trailer for The Drowning Girl.
7. Get the front page of my website revamped for the release of The Drowning Girl, and get it done ASAP.
8. Compile a list of suggested panels and other assorted programming for Readercon 23 for Rose Fox.

I mean...what the fuck was I thinking! That I was tired? Sure I'm fucking tired, but that's no excuse. Last week, my psychiatrist was trying to convince me to "drop something" to reduce my workload, and I think I did a pretty unconvincing job of explaining why I can't drop anything, not without...

It's like this. Lots of people have a lot of trouble understanding what it's like to be a "famous writer" who is only just managing to squeak by financially. In this economic climate, you'd think it would be an easy enough matter to understand. But yes, the vacation is over, and I just have to hope there wasn't too much time frittered away.

As for yesterday, there was prune hamantashan, a trip to our storage unit in Pawtucket, a clove cigarette (actually, these days they're clove cigars, technically), short fiction by Norman Partridge, William Browning Spencer, and Michael Marshall Smith. Partridge's "Lesser Demons" is an interesting new take on the tiresome zombie trope, and Smith's story, "Fair Exchange" is just about the funniest Innsmouth story I've ever read. Normally, I don't like funny in my Lovecraft. Normally, I'm violently opposed to it, in fact. But if you read this story, and hear the narrator's voice as Jason Statham, from the days of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, it's a fucking hilarious story. Yesterday, the cold sky over Providence was so blue it was murderous – that wide carnivorous sky of which I've been speaking of for years.

Carnivorous,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Hallelujah, Noël,
Be it Heaven or Hell...


That's the best part of the Greg Lake song, so that's the only part I'm quoting. And that's being generous. Fuck you, Xmas, and the manger you rode in on.

I ought be working, as that's my usual Xmas Eve tradition, but I'm supposedly vacating. Maybe I'll clean my office. I know I'll spend the evening posting Xmas cheer, like Tom Waits' "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" and the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York." And, of course, Spooky and I have our one and only Xmas Eve tradition: watching Terry Zwigoff's Badder Santa (2003), in which Billy Bob Thornton teaches us the true meaning of Xmas. "Fuck me, Santa. Fuck me, Santa. Fuck me, Santa." Well, that and wooden pickles. And theft. And booze.

Yesterday...er. After all the intoxicants, do I even remember yesterday? There were emails with publicity at Berkley Publishing Group/New American Library, because, you know, I'm on vacation. Only writers don't get vacations. Not true vacations. And there was a huge breakfast of ham and eggs and tomato and sautéed mushrooms. Oh, look. LJ can only spell sautéed if you leave off the acute accent. Fucking illiterate fucking internet. I read John Langan's "Mr. Gaunt." I took Vicodin for recreational purposes. Hey, my psychiatrist said it was okay, as long as I don't develop a dependency (flash back to my notorious Xanax addiction of 1988-1991). I thought about cleaning up my office, but it was too much work. I wanted some "candlelight yoga," but I was too stoned...and too sore from the fall at West Cove. I spent three hours on an LJ entry, which is sort of pathetic. We watched the last two episodes of American Horror Story (bow tie!!!), then played SW:toR (and I murdered a Darth! Also bow tie.), and I dozed while watching a documentary on how Earth's collision with a planetoid (Theia) led to the creation of the moon 4.53 Ga (4,533 million years ago, ten to the sixth, etc.). I guess that was yesterday. Oh, except for the Tiger Balm patch and two Red Bulls.

Maybe, late tonight, I'll go out and give all my money away to street crazies, and vets we can't be bothered to take care of, all the freezing and the homeless and lost and forgotten and forsaken and as good as walking dead. But not crack whores. I do not take pity on crack whores, kittens.

And now? Well, we shall see, won't we. Keep watching the skies.

Filled With Happy Juice,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Please comment, kittens. I just spent almost three hours on this bloody entry.

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

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

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

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

- or -

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

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

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

Yuletide 2011 )


---

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



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

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

Dreadful,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
The thing about those bow-tie HPLHS Solstice CDs is you gotta be in the same room with them, hearing the lyrics, or they just start sounding like the putrescent Xmas Muzak we must suffer if we are to have groceries. We went out to the market last night, and there was actually Shirley Fucking Temple! No, really. I swore that next November we're laying in supplies.

And here we are, on that shortest day of the year (well, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere; if you're below the Equator, strike that, reverse it), and, to those who wish to be wished such, Happy Yuletide. Or Midwinter. Or what have you.

There was a dream about changelings. I almost typed, "and not the good kind of changelings, either," but then reminded myself how the world and I often have different operative paradigms about things like changelings. Regardless, first they were Italian, then Greek. Dead chickens were involved.

Yesterday, there were errands (aforementioned grocer, liquor store, and chemist). We decorated our Cephalopodmas tree (photo behind the cut, below!). We had the last of Sunday's chili with Annie's mac and cheese. I took two naps in the middle parlour; I blame the fireplace. And – sorry, changing the subject a moment – it just occurred to me how much The National sound like Roy Orbison. Anyway, last night there was rain and much wind, and too much SW:toR, and I slightly over "self-medicated," which is probably why I was visited by Greek changelings with dead chickens.

For dog's sake, I fucking hate December. I am July.

But, today we are going to the sea.

And here are photos – the Cephalopodmas tree, Cephalopodmas cookies, and – just because – Idumea, still a work in progress:

22 December 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was a lot like today, if you only kept your eyes on the sky. Grey.

There's something grim hanging over me this early afternoon. It's familiar, but nothing that's been keeping me company lately. Maybe it's only because tomorrow is Cephalopodmas and Solstice. I need to go to the sea and make an appropriate offering. The weather is so cold and shitty, but I never used to let that stop me before. We're making octopus- and jellyfish-shaped sugar cookies, and I'll make a simple beef stew, beginning with a roux that includes a good stout. Probably not Guinness, though that's what I usually use. Maybe I'll make a huge breakfast on Friday morning. None of this is helping me lose weight.

Yesterday, I painted again. It would be soothing, I suppose. A soothing diversion, were my painting not, by necessity, such a violent act. Then again, maybe I find the violence soothing. Oh, and I have a postcard from Scotland in an antique Salmgundi Whitman's chocolates tin; that is, I just put the postcard in there so I wouldn't lose it. My office is an utter cacophony of paper and manuscript boxes, and it's easy to lose things.

Between now and mid-February, I desperately need a web monkey who'll work for all but free. I can offer inscribed, autographed books as remuneration. Mostly, I need the front page of my website converted from something that features The Red Tree to something that features The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, including the "teaser" trailer, which will later be replaced by the full two-minute version. The pages for The Red Tree would be placed elsewhere on the site. Easy stuff, yeah? But beyond my 1995 html skills. Hell, I'll even throw in a FREE one-year subscription to Sirenia Digest. If you want the job, say so here, in a comment, or email me a greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com. I'm sort of desperate. My publisher is useless on this front.

There was an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday evening after dark. The appointments are much less unnerving after dark, and she's a very pleasant woman whom I can talk to about almost anything. I'm always surprised at her forbearance.

I'm trying to listen to William Gibson's Neuromancer on audiobook, because it's been years since I read it. But the reader (remaining here nameless) has this annoying Southern accent, and he ends almost every sentence with an odd...how do I describe it? His voice dips and fades at the end of sentences, and, while he's good with Japanese and Russian accents, his attempts at reading female dialogue sounds like Monty Python drag. For dog's sake, just read the goddamn book, and stop trying to dramatize, even minimally. I'm very pleased I have so much control and say-so in the recording of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I've already made it plain I want not one whit of dramatization. Just a good reader, who will sound like Imp and simply read.

I cannot help but sing Death Cab for Cutie's "Someday You Will Be Loved" as a serial-killer song, always singing "Someday you will be loved" as "Someday you will be mine." Either way, it's a pretty harsh song. A killer or a cad.

Far too much SW:otR last night*. Spooky got the game yesterday, so now we're playing together. I rolled my second Sith inquisitor, and gods, she's adorable. Adorable evil. Like a half Nebari girl-child in Japanese schoolgirl mode, though she's actually human. Yes, I'm playing a bloody human, and liking it. Her name is Varla. Spooky's playing a Zabrak Sith warrior named Aisimetra. I didn't get to bed until 4:30 ayem (you tell yourself it's a bloody vacation, so it's okay to be bad kids), and only slept 6.5 hours.

And now I ought go and do vacating sorts of things. Except, today is a day of errands, preparing for tomorrow and ol' St. Cthulhu.

I want to see The Adventures of Tintin, but it's in blasted, fucking 3D motherfucking EVERYWHERE here, unless you can make an 11 ayem show (noon CaST). Yeah, right. That's gonna happen. Pretty much the same situation with Hugo, and Scorcese ought know better. When the hell is Hollywood going to accept that ticket sales on 3D movies have plummeted to about 20% of box-office revenue, mostly because of the more expensive tickets, and they're only throwing bad money after good (and destroying cinematography in the process)?

In the anti-holiday spirit,
Aunt Beast

* Oh, and no Xmas shit in SW:otR! Clearly, the Baby Jesus never reached either the Republic or the Empire. Woot!
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Skimp on one journal entry, everything piles up. Outside it's very cold. Well, very cold if you're me. 43˚F, and the low tonight will be 22˚F (-5.5 C). This might come out all higgledy piggledy (double dactyl!), but at least it will be a higgledy-piggledy list.

[One-hour pause to install iTunes 10.5.1, which should have been easy, but wasn't.]

1. Yesterday we saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Marvelous. If Ritchie's making Holmes purists uncomfortable, more power to him. A Game of Shadows was at least as smart, and funny, and as fine a box of eye candy as Sherlock Holmes (2009). Oh, and lots of deftly inserted (cough, cough) gay innuendo, so booya. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, I love you. Great chess, too. Eight tentacles up.

2. Last night, late, I finished with Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors. All I had left to go was Robert Shearman's very good Machenesque "A Child's Problem," Dennis Etchinson's pleasantly odd and wistful piece "Tell Me I'll See You Again," and Richard Christian Mathenson's somewhat delightfully sadistic "Last Words." The latter might have served as a fitting bit for Sirenia Digest. I don't read much contemporary horror, but A Book of Horrors is a solid volume (plus, you get my piece, "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint").

3. Thursday evening was cold, windy, and the sky spat rain. That would have been the first day of the vacation, yes? This day is the third. But I sort of did some work during the day, unless I misremember...which is always a possibility. Later, we visited the RISD Art Gallery (and got our nephew, Miles, a very bow-tie book for Solstice), then went out to get supplies (for both Spooky and me) at Jerry's Artarama*, then stopped near Brown and got delicious food from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ for dinner. It was worth huddling under my umbrella for.

4. Yesterday, UPS brought my copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I recreated my Twi'lek Sith inquisitor Herazade and began leveling again. Made it to nine. I really am loving this game. Utterly bow tie, despite my initial predictions and impressions. However, a caveat: Why can game designers not rid us of the ubiquitous MMORPG silly hop? Have they never noted how humanoids jump? Generally, pushing off and up with the ball/toe of one foot, then landing with their opposite/s. Simple anatomy. Hopping up and down with bowed legs looks idiotic, and it's everywhere, except in console games, where a better knowledge of functional anatomy seems to prevail. The standing jump, of course, would be an exception, but, in most situations, standing jumps are rare, and may not serve here as an explanation or excuse.

5. Tonight, we see Brown Bird play at the Met in Pawtucket, and our Honourary Gentleman Caller, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, will be joining us for the musical shenanigans. Gonna rock.

6. Since we'd let our Audible.com credits back up, I downloaded three books the other day: first, Harlan reading his own Edgeworks Volume 1 – which is a delight – William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Paolo Bacigalupi The Wind-Up Girl. The last is the only I've not read, but I have great hopes. Of course, I'm not reading here, but listening, which is a distinctly different experience. Since I was a very, very small child I have savoured having stories and novels read to me. Unlike ebooks, audiobooks are bow tie.

7. Right now, plans are that the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will go live at 12 ayem EST (1 ayem CaST) on January 1st, New Year's Day. It will appear at that moment on my LiveJournal, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. I will ask people to repost and embed it and link to it and spread it far and wide. I need the front page of my website redesigned for this book, but presently have no options. If anyone is willing to offer their web-fu for a FREE signed and inscribed copy of the book, email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work something out.

And that is all! No more words! Vakayshun!

Leisurely,
Aunt Beast

* In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Imp works at Jerry's.
greygirlbeast: (Chi and Aeryn)
I am truly kicking myself about not going to the VNV Nation show in Boston, and to the after party, and...never mind. Sweaty, bald, Irish men who write brilliant lyrics. I have weak spots.

Today, we're heading out to an early matinée of Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Because I'm on vacation! I can do shit like that!

Right now, I'm going to sit here and listen to "Darkangel" and cry into my Red Bull. More later.
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
A cold, cold morning here in Providence. Okay, maybe not that cold.

Today, I allow myself a few more sentences than in my entry before last.

Yesterday was the writerly equivalent of having to spend a day running errands all over town. There were email conversations (which I'm never, ever going to get used to, though they do allow me to avoid phone calls) with my agent and her assistant; with Brian Siano regarding the thirty-second "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl to be released in January (a two-minute trailer will be released in March); my editor at Dark Horse; Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press; my publicist at Penguin; David Shaw at Readercon; and even Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) and Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay).

And then I remembered I'd not made corrections to "Another Tale of Two Cities," so I did that. I much prefer days when I actually have to write.

Have you ever paused to marvel at the eloquence and beauty of the humble question mark? See, there it is. Humble and beautiful and profoundly useful. But, and also, not always requiring an answer, and, sometimes when an answer is required, not always requiring that answer be spoken aloud. Other times, there is and cannot be an answer. That there are no rules to tell you when a question mark is meant to function in one of those roles only makes it that much more sublime, as it does what a question should do: it inspires introspection and critical thought. Silence or hushed consideration or heated debate. Too many questions meant to remain unanswered, excepting in the mind of the reader, are answered aloud, and, likewise, too many that are asked to elicit external investigation and active response go ignored (or even unrecognized). But, still, there is that eloquence in all question marks, which requires so much care on the part of both the user and the reader.

After work yesterday, after a nap, and after chili, we watched last week's episode of American Horror Story (I love that they got in Elizabeth Short), then two episodes of Doctor Who (and aside from Neil's episode, I reluctantly say I am not loving this season), and then very fine guild RP in Rift (thank you all who participated!), and then I read a very good long short story (novelette?) by the awesome Elizabeth Hand, "Near Zennor." I fell asleep watching Charles Vidor's adaptation of A Farewell to Arms (1957). And that, kittens, was yesterday.

Today will likely be as hectic, with no writing, just the busyness of writing. Blegh. Spooky and I have to do the final read-through on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart in the next few days, before my vacation begins on the 15th. And if you haven't yet ordered your copy, best you do so now. Because you know how it goes. And ORDER DIRECTLY FROM SUBTERRANEAN PRESS, because Amazon might well fuck you over, as many can attest.

Off To See The Lizard,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
0. Epic entry time. Comment, kittens. Let's have tomorrow all over again, and...

1. ...know you have my grateful thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. That's what I like to see. I do apologize for not responding to all of you. So, now...

2. ...I'm sitting here trying to remember what I was doing yesterday before everything sort of went to hell. Oh, but wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. Night before last, I slept less than four hours, and as the day wore on it became evident that my body had reached the end of its ability to take abuse. The last few days – all the work, the stress, dehydration, and exhaustion – finally took their toll. I managed the journal entry and a lot of email before I realized I was just too fried to do much else. I emailed my editor at Dark Horse to warn her that Alabaster #3 was probably going to be late by a couple of days (the deadline was November 30th). She was very cool about it, so thank you cool comic-book lady. This means that all I have left to do this "month" is:

a) Write Alabaster #3.
b) Go over the pencils for Alabaster #1 as soon as they come in.
c) Write something new for Sirenia Digest #72.

And I have nine days in which to do it. Well, given that the digest comes out on the fifth of each month now, that means I technically have fourteen days (hence the shutter quotes around month). Everything would be going more or less fine had I not wasted three days on an introduction I eventually scrapped. But yeah, fourteen days, two weeks. I can do that blindfolded, with one hand tied behind my back, standing on one foot, whistling "Dixie." Of course, then I'll have to immediately write Alabaster #4 and get to Sirenia Digest #73. Oh, and be sure the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl is ready to go up (AT A THEATRE NEAR YOU!) at the beginning of January. And, somewhere in all that, the galleys for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will likely rear their ugly head, but...

3. ...come hell or high water, mine and Spooky's genuine vacation begins December 15th and runs until January 3rd. Nineteen days free of work. Well, except for the inevitable, unforseen, this-can't-wait-until-later-because-you're-a-writer emergencies. Anyway...

4. ...as it became clear yesterday that I'd pushed myself just a little too far (about three p.m., I think), I said "Fuck it," and started downloading the software for this coming weekend's Beta of Star Wars: The Old Republic onto the Asus; this despite my comments of November 15th. I always forget how bloody long this shit takes. I think, total, the download took somewhere in the neighborhood of ten hours. And there will still be patches every day, all for a game I have a feeling I'm going to hate. But yeah, that, and...

5. ...I had a hot bath, as the exhaustion was beginning to clamp down hard on my muscles (this is about the time I stopped replying to comments in the blog). I fell asleep in the tub. Spooky woke me. I dressed and crawled away to the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fireplace, but couldn't get back to sleep. For dinner there was leftover chili. Spooky and I decided to watch Cloverfield for the tenth time or so. By then, I was beginning to think maybe it was more than exhaustion, that I might actually have caught something. We were watching the movie, and suddenly, as the monster ripped Manhattan apart, strange booming began outside. I mean, loud booming noises. They sounded remarkably like the booming noises in the film. After some moments of creeped-out confusion, we went downstairs, and, standing in the middle of the street, we could see fireworks going off to the east, near downtown or the the northernmost end of Narragansett Bay. Turns out, yesterday was the 375th anniversary of the City of Providence....and neither of us knew. So, boom, boom, boom. We went back in and finished watching the movie, and I felt worse...and worse...and worse. Now, and a smart...

6. ...person would have packed it in and tried to go to sleep. Instead, I asked Spooky to read to me from House of Leaves. And after that, I dragged myself back into the office to see that the Asus was still downloading the main assest for SWTOR. So, I paused it and we played some Rift. Turns out, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack was on, so there was guild chatter. Where are you, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus! And don't tell me CoX. We need more players to get the RP going again. At any rate, Spooky and I were in the middle of our Iron Pine dailies, when suddenly I felt like a mac truck hit me. I managed the quest from Exile's Den, and really did crawl away to bed. Moaning and slightly feverish. I was, by this time, 95% sure I was dying (yeah, drama queen). I lay in the snarl of comforters, reading a biography of Barnum Brown, titled Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex. Finally, I gave up, as the pages weren't making much sense. I set the iPad to stream Andrew Marton's Crack in the World (1965), and finally, mercifully, found sleep, and didn't awaken until 11:30 this ayem, after almost eight hours of sleep. Oh, I almost forgot to...

7. ...mention that Trion has finally succumbed to the holidays. I thought we were safe. Unlike WoW, which senselessly includes pretty much every Western holiday, hardly even thinly disguised, Rift has been blessedly free of such bullshit. But no. Last night we were hit with "Fae Yule." As kids these days are won't to say, >.>, right? Right. Now, I'm pretty sure the baby Jesus never made it to Telara, but here was all this Xmas bullshit, only faintly made to seem like a response to the invasion of the dragon of air, Crucia. Oh, and never mind how angry it makes me that these games keep stealing the names of pagan celebrations to mask Xtian celebrations. After all, that's been going on forever in the "real" world. Anyway, yeah, do the holiday quests, get enough "special snowflakes" to buy a fucking Corgi dog with fucking antlers and a red fucking Rudolph nose. I shit you not, kiddos. Trion, you have let me down. Fuck you.

Epilogue: Don't mean to be picking on anyone, but ereaders do not contain books. They contain nothing more than computer code, just artless zeroes and ones.

PS: My niece rocks.

I've Felt Better,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
This is the unusual, infrequent sort of day when I'd actually prefer to be writing, instead of all the busyness of writing that will consume the day. More and more, it's actually hard to find time to simply write, because there are so many different projects, at so many different stages of production. I imagine this time next year I will look back fondly on November 2011, and I'll think, Wow. I had so much time to just write back then.

---

Day before yesterday, we got the news that Spooky's maternal grandmother, Ann Hanon, suffered a stroke and heart attack. She's ninety-seven and a half, and a recovery is not expected. She's not regained consciousness. She gave instructions she was not to be placed on life support. So, now everyone's waiting. The air is tense with that waiting for news of an inevitability, and with sorrow people cannot help but feel, no matter if a loved one has lived a very, very long and full life. As I said of my own maternal grandmother who, at ninety (almost ninety-one), died in 2005, I can't stop thinking how this amazing person lived through so much time, so much time and so many worlds. So many incarnations of this world. If I live another fifty years...well, I'd prefer not to, but if I did...I cannot even begin to imagine the changes I would see. I think one of the hardest things for Kathryn and her immediate family is that none of them are with her grandmother in Wisconsin, as we have become this nation of latter-day nomads.

---

Yesterday, I began writing "Sexing the Weird," my introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I have grown to strongly dislike writing nonfiction, and especially nonfiction about my own work. After twenty years as an author, I fear I've sunk far too deeply into the bogs of my own work to speak about them...and no, that's not what I meant to say, but my difficulty articulating my thoughts on this subject should serve as an illustration of what I'm trying to say. Nonetheless, I made a good beginning, I hope, and I hope to have the introduction finished by tomorrow evening.

This month, I also still have to get the galley pages for The Drowning Girl back to Penguin (by Monday), write Alabaster: Wolves #2 for Dark Horse, work on promotional material (my publicist just emailed) for The Drowning Girl, and get Sirenia Digest #72 written and out to subscribers. I think the only thing keeping me moving ahead right now, besides the stubborn momentum of life and the pills my psychiatrist prescribes for me, is the determination that I will take two weeks off in December, a sort of Solstice/Cephalopodmas vacation. I've not had a vacation of any sort since December 2008. But other people seem to do it, so why the fuck not me?

---

A very nice interview at SFF Chronicles with Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala), in which she just happens to make a very kindly mention of The Drowning Girl.

---

And here's a particularly articulate bit of commentary on The Ammonite Violin & Others, which I very much appreciated seeing this morning. Towards the end, there's this paragraph I found especially apt:

A note of caution, though, the stories within this book are mostly excellent and there is no denying Kiernan’s ability and distinctive voice. However, if you read a number of these in quick succession, they do start to cloy and the depth and intricacy of the tales can become treacle thick and hinder the progress of the reader. This is something to enjoy in bite size morsels.

Yes. This is true. Well, I think it's true. I can no longer bear to read a great chunk of my own short fiction any more than I can eat more than a couple of pieces of Turkish Delight at one sitting. Or a few bites of baklava. But it's interesting, because of something someone asked in the comments to yesterday's entry, regarding the caveat lector that opens Harlan Ellison's Deathbird Stories. [livejournal.com profile] faffinz asked: "Did your copy of Deathbird Stories come with the warning note from Harlan that it should not be read all at once? If so, did you read it all at once?" It did, as that notice appeared at the beginning of all copies of the book (including the recent superb Subterranean Press edition). The caveat reads:

It is suggested that the reader not attempt to read this book at one sitting . The emotional content of these stories, taken without a break, may be extremely upsetting. This note is intended most sincerely, and not as hyperbole. ~ H. E.

To finish answering the question asked by [livejournal.com profile] faffinz, no, I didn't read the stories all at once. On the one hand, being possessed of only one functional eye, I have always been a rather slow reader. Also, I like to make good books last. But, also, I first encountered the book in 1981, and I didn't take the warning as a dare. I actually did find the stories too intense to be read without several breaks in between. In fact, I had to stop halfway through "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" and come back to it later (by the way, it remains one of my favorite of Harlan's stories). But this was in an age before Saw and its seven sequels. Which may or may not be relevant. But I am always a little disappointed to hear that someone has read the entirety of one of my short-story collections or novels at one sitting.

Yesterday, I left the house for the first time in a week. Just a trip to the market, and a stop at Mama Kim's, a local Korean food truck, for dinner.

Questioning Relevance and Relativity,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
In my forty-seven years, I have been around for the breakup of innumerable rock groups. Hell, I can clearly remember when the Beatles called it splitsville – a complicated, litigatious affair, that began in 1970, but was dragged out in courts until 1975 (so, from the time I was six until the time I was eleven). But I don't think I've ever been so affected by the breakup of a band as I'm being affected by the breakup of R.E.M. I came to the band fairly late, in 1986. I was in school in Boulder, CO at the time, and my first R.E.M. album (the first I encountered) was Fables of the Reconstruction, after which I immediately sought out Life's Rich Pageant. Eventually, by the sheerest happenstance, I came to live in Athens, GA in 1994, and running into and speaking with members of the band was a fairly frequent event, if only because we hung out in a lot of the same places. "Buck Berry Mills Stipe" managed to speak of the South in a way that few others ever have, with an authenticity, power, and beauty to rival prose authors such as Faulkner, Williams, and O'Connor. I cannot stress too strongly the influence their words and music has had on my own writing. They said it true. And I think they've now done the right thing. After all, thirty-one years is a long time, and their's is an amicable parting of the ways, and for the right reasons. But I cannot help but feel a pang of loss. And, I should note, if you're in the mood to do some R.E.M. bashing, do it elsewhere, please.

Yesterday was spent adding about eleven thousand additional words to the "Back Pages" section of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And then proofreading them. As Peter Straub said upon reading the manuscript, "I don't think I've ever seen a novel where it was so obvious the author didn't want to stop writing." He was, of course, right on the mark. This book is probably a quarter the length it ought to be, just as The Red Tree was about half as long as it should have been. And yes, publishers do give me word limits, both minimum and maximum. Plus, I have to factor in how long I can afford to spend working on any given book, as paychecks matter, as I was not blessed with, say, a trust fund.

Today, I add a little more. Then I try to take my hands off the thing, and I try to leave them off it, and look ahead.

Speaking of which, looking at my schedule again yesterday, I realized that there's no chance of me taking a "vacation" any time soon. Somehow, I thought there were three free days that don't exist. Probably, this is because I've spent so much time on the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. So, no Maine. So, no unplugging.

---

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] docbrite asked to see a transcript of me poking that Facebook idiot with my pointy stick. I didn't think Facebook logged such things, but I was wrong. You may find it behind the cut. I'm omitting the name of the idiot. Not because I'm nice. Because I'd rather not have some jack-off whining at me. Also, note how this guy began trying to get me to speak to him way back on July 14th (the spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc. is exactly as I received it):

For Billy )

Meanwhile...well, frankly I don't know. How is one expected to follow an act like that?

Radio Free,
Aunt Beast

* I have no friends named Linda. I don't think I've ever had a friend named Linda.

** It is, of course, common knowledge that the day of my birth is May 26th.
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Cloudy and chilly today here in Providence. There's rain coming, and it may not let up until next week sometime.

Yesterday, we made it through chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Yes, we are proceeding at a painfully slow pace, a fact that does not make my editor or me or Spooky happy campers. And this is because my method of approaching a CEM is, admittedly, odd, compared to the way most writers work through a CEM. It goes like this: I read the CEM aloud, while Spooky follows along on a hard-copy or on a laptop. There are pauses every few minutes to deal with this or that question from the copy-editor. Sometimes, these are lengthy pauses. Obviously, this is a somewhat grueling and, clearly, time-consuming process. Why do I do it this way? Because, I am blind (since birth) in my left eye, and I cannot easily scan from, say, the CEM page to the page of my computer. And immense and prohibitive frustration arises, and it actually takes longer than the unconventional method I have just described. Oh, and the copy-editor aside, I have my own changes I make, my own edits. The CEM is the last chance an author has to make substantial changes to the ms. (so far, I have made no substantial or lengthy changes to this manuscript).

However, I'm sick of the CEM, and still have a lot of polishing to do on the ms. after we address the copy-editors comments, and it's supposed to be back in NYC on Friday (Monday is more likely). So, today we mean to make a mad push to THE END, which would mean we'd have to make it through "Werewolf Smile" and chapters 8-10 and the "Back Pages" section (yes, that's a Bob Dylan reference). I know we won't pull this off, but the Herculean push will mean that we'll finish with this read through tomorrow.

So, that's yesterday's work and today's.

Then we have a short vacation (three days, two nights, probably to Maine), my first in years, and then I have Sirenia Digest #70 (woot), and then October will be here, and I have to read through Blood Oranges and get it to my agent, and go back to work on my kinemassic field generator (there are issues with field propulsion independent of reaction mass to be worked out), and then I'll have Sirenia Digest #71 to write.

Today, the contracts for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart went back into the mail to Subterranean Press, along with a huge box of my books bound for Michael Zulli.

Coming soon: a new round of eBay auctions! (Spooky goes woooooohhoooooooo)

---

Last night, after work, Spooky warmed up leftover chili. I had RP in Insilico. Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene (Xiang 1.5), my Level V (highly illegal) AI in a non-AGIS clone body (now highly illegal) has been promoted within our futuristic yakuza to the level of wakagashira, First Lieutenant to Inara Nasenyana, the oyabun. Which is really pretty cool. She carries a bad-ass katana with a laser running along the cutting edge.

Later, we watched a couple more episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. But we're almost to the end of Season Two, and, frankly, the series has grown dull as hell. At this point, we're only watching it for Richard Belzer. The "rape of the week" storylines are unbearably unimaginative. I mean, come on, seriously, I could think up dozens of sex-related crimes, but no, all we get is rape, rape, rape, rape. I imagine this is because rape and the rape-variant, the sexual abuse of children, is the best that could make it onto prime-time network television. We'll watch to the end of this season, then switch over to the far-more-deserving of our attention Mad Men.

And, just before sleep, I read Elizabeth Bear's ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) "Shuggoths in Bloom," which I shamefacedly admit I'd never before read. But I think that's it for me and The Book of Cthulhu. Still, sixteen out of twenty-seven stories, that's not so bad (seventeen, if you count the T. E. D. Klein story, which I read in my twenties). The rest looks like parody and/or slog, so I'm moving along to revisit the collected works of either Lord Dunsany or Algernon Blackwood.

I should really go now, brush my teeth, then exercise, and get to work. A long, long day stretches out before me.

Stretched,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
As my vacations go, I suppose it was a decent enough ten days. Better than usual, though I've taken so few "vacations" over the last decade that I'm not sure there's enough data available for statistically significant comparisons. Mostly, I stayed in the house and read. Which isn't bad, even if it probably would have been better for me to get out more than I did. I have so little interest in socializing these days, less than ever. It requires so much effort to motivate myself towards that end.

So, yeah...lots of reading. There were a few short stories worthy of mention. David Morrel's "They" was especially nice. Also, Gahan Wilson's "The Outermost Borough" and and Tim Pratt's "Gulls." And I read a good deal of the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, including "Redescription and Phylogenetic Relationships of Doswellia kaltenbachi (Diapsida: Archosauriformes) from the Upper Triassic of Virginia," "Utility and Validity of Middle and Late Triassic 'Land Vertebrate Faunachrons,'" and "The Skull of Teleosaurus cadomensis (Crocodylomorpha; Thalattosuchia), and Phylogenetic Analysis of Thalattosuchia."

I probably would have left the house more than I did over those ten days, had the weather been more amenable. So much rain. And the temperatures are still pretty wintry, despite what the calendar says. Right now, it's 41F here in Providence, but feels like 32F, when you factor in the 18 mph wind blowing from the NNW. The forecast low for tonight is 29F. There are signs of spring when you head out of the city. Budding trees, a few flowers. The grass is green again. But spring still seems a long way off.

Yesterday, I attended to a lot of email that had accumulated during my time off. I also make a couple of minor edits to "As Red as Red," at the editor's request. We read through the story again, and I can't believe I was able to do that in the utter stupor of exhaustion that I was in for most of March. Oh, and there was a minor seizure yesterday. Today, I'm going to be working on the "secret project" I last mentioned back on February 20th. Tomorrow, I'll get started on a new story for Sirenia Digest #41.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, if you're so disposed. Emma, the Beltane Bunneh is still looking for a good home, and Spooky has added a nifty pendant she made yesterday with sea glass we've collected.

And now it's time to dust off the dodo and the platypus, rouse them from their slumber. Oh...never mind. They're waiting on me.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
What is this obsession with writing it all down? Has some part of me begun to believe it isn't real, these experiences, unless I write them down? Or that they are not valid, or won't prove lasting, unless I commit them to this journal? It's been eating at me.

Yesterday, we left Providence about one p.m., and drove north, past Boston, to Salem. Along the road, only the willows seemed to be greening. There were red splotches of cranberry bogs. We spent part of the afternoon exploring witchcraft shops (an annoying number of which were closed). We found a couple that were not too touristy and not of the airy-fairy, fluffy-bunny variety, which was refreshing. Places that weren't terrified of the "left path." Some old guy on the street, wearing so many pentagrams I lost count, showed us we were holding the map of Salem upside down. We drove past the House of the Seven Gables and Nathaniel Hawthorne's birthplace, but it was already late, and we didn't stop. On the waterfront, we saw a huge sailing ship, Friendship of Salem. The city has a strange effect on me. Salem, I mean. On the one hand, there's all the tacky Disneyesque crap, the wax museums, the "haunted tours," and whatnot. And then there's the history of the trials (which has a lot less to do with witchcraft than with mass hysteria and general intolerance). And then there's the sense that, ironically, Salem draws genuine practitioners of various occult traditions. And the end result, in my head, is a weird clash, an almost dizzying sort of cognitive dissonance.

Late in the afternoon, we drove down to Marblehead. I wish I could see Marblehead as it was a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago, before it was prettied up and gentrified. The tide was out, and just as the sun was setting, we found a marvelous rocky cove on Front Road. Later, back home, I learned that it's called Fort Seawall Cove. There was a seawall. The beach here reminded me of Ireland, in and around Dublin, which no other New England beach has ever really done. There was beach glass everywhere. Great clumps of bladder wrack, huge mounds of snail and mussel shells. Tilted beds of Precambrian granite. We stayed almost until dark, and left reluctantly. I think we made it home about 8:30 p.m.

Here are three photos from yesterday:

9 April 2009 )


---

And I should repost links to the latest round of eBay auctions and, also, to Emma the Beltane Bunneh.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So...I'm being naughty, which I rarely ever am. At least not when it comes to work. Taking a couple of extra days on this vacation. It's been so long since I've had an extended series of days off that didn't suck (or blow, or both), I'm sort of afraid to stop. Which is to say, mostly, this has been a nice little vacation.

Not much else to write about. Well, except a new round of eBay auctions has begun.

Suddenly, I'm wondering if it would be fun to make a direct-to-YouTube porno film. Lots of blood. Lots of tentacles. Lots and lots of tentacles. Some NASA stock footage. Yeah, sounds like fun to me...
greygirlbeast: (Eocene)
Here I've made no entry since April 3rd, and I have to try to play catch up. Generally, it's a sign that a vacation is going well, if I can stay away from the blog.

Friday and Saturday are a bit of a smudge. I did little but read on either day. Read and sleep. Lots of naps the last few days, which are helping enormously in this bid to restore me. But, anyway...reading. On Friday, I picked up Burleson's Lovecraft: Disturbing the Universe, only to be disappointed to learn that it's primarily a dry attempt to subject HPL's work to the rusty razors of deconstruction and post-structuralist literary theory. I made it through "Pre-lude: The Manner of Reading" before the yawning was getting the better of me. I don't think anyone can fairly accuse me of being anti-intellectual, but I can live without Jacques Derrida, thank you very much. Joshi is quoted as saying that this text is "The most challenging book ever written on Lovecraft." It's certainly the most tedious. So, anyway, I tossed Burleson aside, and picked up Goldner and Turner's The Making of King Kong. Much better. I read about half the book on Friday, and finished it late yesterday. Also, on Saturday, at the suggestion of a reader, I went back to The Children of Cthulhu and read the three stories that had been suggested: Tim Lebbon's "The Stuff of Stars, Leaking," Alan Dean Foster's "A Fatal Exception has Occurred at...," and Brian Hodge's "The Firebrand Symphony." The first wasn't bad, a little skimpy, but not bad. I thought it worked primarily as a mood piece, but didn't quite live up to the images evoked by its title. The second, the Foster story, was both dull and ridiculous. And someone should have told the author that earthquakes are not at all unusual in Denver, since he made such a big point of them never occurring there. But I rather liked the Brian Hodge story.

There's also been an awful lot of "television." I use the quotation marks because, these days, we pretty much stick to DVDs and what we can stream from Hulu or Netflix, and watch it all on Spooky's laptop. Lots more of Season Four of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. And someone somewhere was saying all of us who'd abandoned Dollhouse early on should give the latest episode a try, since it felt much more like Joss Whedon. They did caution that it wasn't any good, just that it at least felt much more like Joss Whedon. I would amend that to say that the latest episode of Dollhouse felt like a parody of Joss Whedon, made by someone looking for the "secret formula." Eliza Dushku simply can't act (and here, the main problem is that she has no range, in a role demanding great range), and the show's about as interesting as...well, actually, it's not interesting at all. I did rather like the most recent episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, though. One of the best of the series so far. Also, we've started watching Season Two of Heroes. It's about what I recall from Season One. Bland, frequently silly, but oddly watchable.

Yesterday, we'd planned to drive up to Boston and spend the day at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. But the weather was so sunny and warm (high about 60F, though with winds gusting to 24 mph), after three or four consecutive days of rain and cold, that we decided, instead, to head out to Conanicut Island. The sky was a brilliant blue, and there were more glimpses of spring in the woods, along the streams and in the bogs. The fields are all brilliant green, and the trees have gone red with a wash of buds. We reached Beavertail, meaning to explore a favorite cove on the western side of the point (about .15 miles northwest of the lighthouse), but the wind was a bit harsh. Also, we kept stumbling upon clusters of small jellyfish (so far unidentified) washed up on the rocks. So, after just a little while, we crossed over to the more sheltered eastern shore. I found a comfortable spot (about .44 miles northeast of the lighthouse) among the tilted beds of Cambrian-aged phyllite and slate, and I just lay there in the sun, listening to the sea and watching the birds. It was marvelous. There were some unfamiliar birds floating on the water, birds that were neither cormorants nor gulls. They might have been either murres or eider ducks; we didn't have the binoculars, so we're not sure. Might have been a few of both, or none of either. I think I dozed a little, right at the edge of the surf, as the tide roared in.

Later, we made it over to Fort Weatherill, south of Jamestown (still on Conanicut Island, but about 2.82 miles, as the gull flies, northeast of Beavertail Lighthouse), to our favorite place to hunt for beach glass. We found lots, including some very old pieces, and one largish shard emblazoned with the word "ASK." Well, I'm sure it's actually a fragment of a longer word, but...still. We also found an assortment of gull bones, including a nice tarsometatarsus, a cervical vertebra, and a dorsal vertebra, along with what appears to be the synsacrum and incomplete pelvis of a cormorant. The usual assortment of crustacean remains, including Carcinus maenas, Cancer irroratus, and Callinectes sapidus. The water, both at Beavertail and Fort Weatherill, was so amazingly clear, and so many countless shades of green and blue. There were a couple of scuba divers at Fort Weatherill, and I envied them. We made it home about six p.m., I think. My face got a bit sunburned.

Okay. This has gone on longer than I meant it to. I have a few emails I have to answer...and then I'm just going to read, I think. Here are some photographs from yesterday:

April 5, 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
A quick recap of the last two days.

Wednesday:

I spent most of Wednesday reading, it seems, which is rather nice, as I miss reading days. However, I was reminded why I never actually read the anthologies in which my stories appear. Casting about for something, I more-or-less randomly grabbed two books, The Children of Cthulhu (2002) and Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth (2005). From the latter, I read fragments of an early draft of HPL's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," that were interesting in a vaguely academic sense, and made me glad that he figured out a different way to tell the story. Also, "Eggs" by Steve Rasnic Tem (not bad; a little rushed, I thought) and "The Quest for Y'ha-nthlei" by John Glasby. The latter was more interesting in concept than in execution: An epistolary tale from the POVs of several Federal agents who took part in the raid on Innsmouth in 1928. Would have made a far better novella than short story. From The Children of Cthulhu, I only read "Long Meg and Her Daughters" by Paul Finch. On the one hand, it kept my attention for 58 pages (no mean feat), but, on the other, it had that 1970s drive-in-movie, fear-of-pagans hysteria about it ("Despite the serenity of the environment, pagan monuments like this always seemed to have an appeal for nutballs. Even if the crazies who came here weren't actually practicing magic, they might be deluded enough to think they were."). The story came off a bit like Torchwood: The Motion Picture, only sexist, and someone needs to suggest to Mr. Finch that tales of Shub-Niggurath and Tsathoggua, and Lovecraftian fiction in general, tend not to involve the conquest of dark, outside forces by virile English policemen, but, rather, the other way round.

I also read "Eothyris and Oedaleops: do these Early Permian synapsids from Texas and New Mexico form a clade?" in the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

I had a bath. I had an hour-long nap before dinner. The rainy grey day became a rainy grey night. We watched an episode from Season Four of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and played WoW. Shaharrazad finally became exalted with the orc city-state of Orgrimmar, which means she got a warg to ride, and has, for the time, put her felsteed out to pasture. Or out to seething volcanic abyss. Or...whatever.

Thursday:

We'd planned to drive up to Salem and Marblehead, but the sunny, warm day the local meteorologists promised turned out to be a cold, rainy, foggy day (just like today). We drove down to Warwick and got the new P.J. Harvey and John Parish album, A Man a Woman Walked By wicked cheap (only $7.99!; favorite track so far, "Cracks in the Canvas"), plus a couple of graphic novels, Joss Whedon's Runaways: Dead End Kids and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home. Then we headed down to Kingston, because I wanted to stop in at the Kingston Hill Store (ca 1897). These days, it's a grand used and antique bookshop. When Spooky was a teenager, it was a convenience store where she worked. We browsed a bit, and I picked up Lovecraft: Disturbing the Universe by Donald R. Burleson (1990) and The Making of King Kong by Orville Goldner and George E. Turner (1975).

On the way from Warwick to Kingston, we saw the first genuine signs of spring in the woods, especially along brooks and in the swampy lowlands. Pussy willows in bloom, dogwoods budding, the Narcissus providing tiny splashes of yellow against the brown landscape, fields going green. The lichen seems to be loving this cold, wet weather, and in places, where it carpeted the field-stone walls and tree trunks, it almost seemed to glow an unearthly shade of greenish white.

After Kingston, we headed on south to Narragansett, mostly because we didn't want to go home. We were very pleased to find our favorite chowder house, Iggy's, was already open for the season (we knew they were opening in April, but thought it was still a couple of weeks off). We ordered a half dozen doughboys and ate them in the small dining room. Then we drove south to Point Judith and Harbor of Refuge. It seemed like I hadn't been to the sea in many, many months. In truth, I was in Newport early in March, but I felt as though it had much longer. And a tame marina on the bay can't compare to the sea at Point Judith. There was a strong wind, and mist, and we only stayed out on the jetty for a short while. But the waves against the rocks were soothing.

Last night, I read "Osteology of the cryptocleidoid plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis, with comments on the taxonomic status of the Cimoliasauridae" from the new JVP, and we watched four more episodes of Buffy.

And those are the most interesting bits of the last two days. Today, I'm going to stay in and read all day. I need a break from the rain and fog, which seems to have settled in to stay for a while. There are a few photos, behind the cut. Also, I encourage everyone to have a look at Spooky's Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks, where she's purveying her very adorable beasts. Every one of them, she's had to convince me to not to hide somewhere so she couldn't sell them.

April 2, 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
So...by now, all subscribers should have Sirenia Digest #40. It went out about 11:30 p.m. last night (EDT). If you are a subscriber and haven't yet received #40, and you've looked to see that it's not in the spam trap, please email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll fix you up.

And now, I'm taking the next week off. Three weeks in March were supposed to have been vacation-time (which is really recharge so I can write more time), but, instead, I wrote "As Red as Red," helped Spooky with the CEM of The Red Tree, and wrote "A Canvas for Incoherent Arts." This morning, I'm sending an email to my editor and agent asking not to be disturbed for the next seven days, unless my entire career depends upon it. So, entries here might be sparse for a few days.

I have reached a level of physical and mental exhaustion that...well, I am amazed that I was able to write anything in March. It's not a bottomless well, the story pool. I often treat it that way, and then I start wondering why I'm having to work three times as hard to get half as much story from it. And I'm looking at everything that must be done in the spring and early summer: Sirenia Digest, new short stories for three different anthologies, and I have to begin the Next Novel. Which means that first, finally, I have to pause and allow the pool to start filling up again. And I'll torture that extended metaphor no longer.

Yesterday, Anne (my editor) sent me sample pages from a sort of test galley for The Red Tree, so that I could get some sense of how the design folks at Penguin are approaching the multiple typefaces, etc. that the novel calls for. And it's looking very good. Also, the CEM went back into the mail, and should reach NYC tomorrow.

As I type this, there are three hours and forty-one minutes remaining on the long-lost Monster Doodle sculpture auction. So, you might want to take a look. Googledy eyes and all.

And now...it's not time to make the doughtnuts. So, take it easy, platypus. Chill out, dodo. You can both have another go at me next Wednesday. I bleed better when I'm rested.
greygirlbeast: (Eli4)
I haven't much felt like making entries the last few days, and as I was on "vacation," I didn't.

But today it's back to work, and a small mountain of tedium awaits me. I only have to make a molehill of it all by the end of the day.

The time has come that I have to get very serious about beginning the next novel. I'd decided that it would be Joey LaFaye, and I thought, back in December, that it was a hard and fast decision. But now I'm thinking I'm still not ready. I think maybe I know, now, what Neil meant about not writing The Graveyard Book for so long, because he didn't feel as though he was yet a good enough writer to do it justice. I believe that's what has happened to me with Joey LaFaye. I want to write it. I've been attempting to write it for something like three years now. But I'm just not ready. Instead, I will write something else. I do not yet know precisely what, but it might involve the "yellow house" in Providence (see "So Runs the World Away," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," Low Red Moon, Daughter of Hounds, etc.), something concerning the New England vampire hysteria of the 19th Century. But I'm not yet certain. Mother and I are still collating.

Seven days off, and I might actually feel more exhausted than I did beforehand.

The most interesting thing I've done in the last seven days was Sunday's trip to Newport. I have it in my head that the story I need to begin tomorrow will be set there, and, also, I wanted to see the waterfront, which is always too clogged with sweaty, ill-dressed tourists in the summer to bother with. It was warmish and sunny when we left Providence, but by the time we crossed the bridge to Aquidneck Island and reached Newport, clouds had moved in and the day had turned chillier. We parked off Washington Street, then walked south along America's Cup Avenue and Thames Street. I was sorely disappointed, though I should have expected it. I recall having said before how much I want to see a fishing town that is still a fishing town, and not a self-parody, living off tourism. Gloucester is the closest I've gotten. Newport, though, feels like fucking Disney World. Everything is too bright, too stark, too friendly, too not-quite-real. And even in that nasty weather, there were tourists from Connecticut and New York (just not so many you couldn't walk along the sidewalks). But the harbour was nice, and the boats, and we found a wholesale lobster place that didn't mind us strolling about inside amongst the holding tanks and equipment. I think the lobster place was the only thing that actually almost felt real. When we'd finally had enough of tacky gift shops., we drove east to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum (ca. 1747), which is gorgeous. We may be heading back there tomorrow. It's the oldest lending library in America, and the oldest library building in continuous use anywhere in the US. Anyway, there are some photos behind the cut:

March 8, 2009 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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