greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, the results of my experiment were interesting, though not especially dramatic. I was up until sometime just after five. The sky was swiftly brightening, the way it does here. Almost like someone throws a switch. And just after five, I finally lay down. I hadn't expected to fall asleep. I was lying in bed, listening to Brendan Perry, and drifted off. Partly, I suspect this was the result of my overwhelming exhaustion, partly the result of my efforts not to get anxious about sunrise, and partly because I spent half an hour reading cosmology.

Regardless, I slept. Until 10 ayem, when a very noisy landscaper, turning green space next door into a vast field of gravel, awoke me with a cacophony of ungodsly scrapey and drilly sounds. Spooky had already yelled out the window at the guy, "Get off your damn cellphone," or something of the sort. So, she was up. I grumped about a bit and returned to bed, where I managed to sleep until almost noon. I'm guessing a total of 6.5 hours. Not bad at all, and no nasty hangover. Too bad it won't last, but then nothing ever does.

---

They will write of her, "She was one of the last great voices on LiveJournal."

---

Yesterday, despite the fact I was too strung out to get anything done, I proceeded to answer Two Important Emails. Then I did line edits on "Fake Plastic Trees" for [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow (and Terri Windling). And then, kittens, I wrote 1,443 words on "Figurehead" for Sirenia Digest #67. Oh, and then I sent enough of the piece to Vince that he could go ahead and get to work on an illustration before I actually finish the story (which it has become, as it clearly had no desire to be a vignette). I have proven zombies can be productive writers. Whoosh!

After that, um...wait. I'll remember. Oh, yeah. Spooky made chili while I had a half hour nap. After dinner, we told Rift it could live without us One Damn Night. So, we watched James Cameron's Terminator (1984) and the director's cut of Terminator 2 (1991). The former holds up well, despite all the ridiculous eighties clothing and hair and some laughable animatronics. It's sort of funny seeing a baby Bill Paxton right at the beginning (he shows up in the credits as "Punk Leader"). Anyway, seeing the two films back to back set me to thinking about how my favorite Cameron films almost always have director's cuts, which I usually like better than the theatrical releases: Aliens, Terminator 2, and Avatar. Admittedly, these are long films made longer, but like the director's cuts of Jackson's LotR films, the editing and pacing in the director's cuts is always vastly smoother and more logical.

And that was yesterday.

The month is almost over, and it's almost time to announce the next book in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. I hope at least some of you have read and appreciated Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy. In a perfect world, I'd send out merit badges for each book completed.

It's warm here in Providence. Beginning to get hot here in the house. I need to go to the shore. But not this weekend. Memorial Day and Brown Graduation and all. A shame we were not able to make a few good trips down before tourist season began, but until about four days ago it was still winter.

Pretty Much Awake,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Sunny today. Sunny and cold.

No novelizing yesterday, and I didn't get quite as far with the work on Sirenia Digest #63 as I'd hoped I would. I wrote the prolegomenon and edited together the answers from the Question @ Hand challenge (I'd really like to make this a semi-regular feature, maybe once every three issues; I like the idea of readers taking an active part in the digest).

Vince has shown me the sketch for his illustration, which is going to be gorgeous and will be the cover this month; I'm now waiting on the final version, and I still have to do the line edits on the second chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Late in the afternoon, we proofed "Estate" for Two Worlds and In Between

And I find myself, rather unexpectedly, working for Suicidegirls. I'm not at liberty to say more, but I will later, when told that I can.

---

I forget stuff. Well intentioned, I make promises and then forget I made them. They just slip my somewhat addled mind. For example, I owe about twenty-five people a copy of a poem they were promised last summer. And I owe [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme a copy of Silk. Stuff like that. Right now, I'm rounding all these things up and making good on the promises. I've sworn I'll be better about this sort of thing in the future.

---

[livejournal.com profile] timesygn suggested the "Aunt Beast Book Club." The idea was amusing enough to appeal to me. So each month, I'll name one book, and that will be the book of the month. I will not actually review it, and there likely won't be much discussion. Basically, I say, this book is brilliant. Read it. And you can if you wish. And you may like it, or you may not. Might be a new book, or a book that came out several years ago, or a classic. Might be adult or YA. Might be genre, might not be. I'll try always to choose a book with a paperback edition (no Kindle promises, though). That said, the book for the month of March 2011 is Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps (2010).



On February 11th, after finishing the book, I wrote of it: I'm going to be processing this novel for quite a while. It resists any quick and easy assessment. But my first thought would be that I've encountered a shattered mind, that finally becomes incoherent, as madness increasingly refashions the world in the mad woman's image (unless it's the other way round), and I refer you back to the Joseph Campbell quote above. It's a very good novel, though it may not be at all what you'll expect going in, if all you expect is some weird shit about punk rock hobo junkie vampires drinking Robitussin and riding box cars around the Pacific Northwest. It sheds that skin fairly quickly, and moves into infinitely weirder, darker territories.

So, read it, beastlings.

---

Lots of gaming thoughts I didn't put down yesterday, and now it looks as if I'll have to save them for tomorrow.

Because now, my friends, it's time to make the doughnuts.

Yours in Ink & Pixels,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1. This morning will require numerals. This morning, I need to itemize. So, thing the first, it's chilly here in Providence, and cloudy, and windy. The sort of day that depresses Hubero and me both. However, I have had three consecutive nights of relatively good sleep.

2. Vince needs more time on the illustration for "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," so subscribers should expect Sirenia Digest #60 to arrive in their inboxes either late on Thursday or sometime on Friday. Sorry for the delay. Such are the wages of Turkey Murder Day. And if you aren't a subscriber, all you have to do is follow the link above.

3. Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, the Dancy box is officially finished, and will go up on eBay sometime today.

4. I'm simultaneously working on too many things at once. It's starting to look like the "best of" volume won't have a cover by Zdzisław Beksiński. I'm having difficulty communincating with the museum in Częstochowa that holds the copyrights to all his work. It may be the fact that their English is not so great, and my Polish is nonexistent. Regardless, they seem to be of the opinion that the painting in question does not exist, though, if it did, they wouldn't have a high-resolution scan. Or something like that. Anyway, on to Plan B (TBA).

5. Speaking of covers, how can I not make fun of this? With very few exceptions, it's the same crappy art over and over and over. I didn't even know there was a best tramp-stamp award. It's rather telling that there's an award for "Most Unique" (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] criada for pointing that out). The good news, the cover for The Red Tree wasn't nominated. I can only hope that by 2015, this "UF/PR" plague will have burnt itself to a torrid cinder.

6. Finished the first Matt Smith season of Doctor Who last night. I wasn't terribly happy with the first half of the season, but the last few episodes rallied and won me over. The last two were very good, and after another season, I might stop missing David Tenant. Also, saw the season finalé of The Walking Dead, which was also very good.

7. As for reading, it's been more Armitage stories by Joan Aiken and more of Shirley Jackson's The Bird's Nest (even though I meant to be reading The Sun Dial).

And now, though there's more, it'll have to wait until later. A long day ahead...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather is cooler. The temperature plummeted in the night. It's only 72F Outside. Unfortunately, the heat did not take this sour mood with it.

This morning there was a dream that seemed to require days to unfold. But there's not much of it I can recall. I was in a city, a European city. I'm pretty sure it was a German city during WWII. I was in a ghetto, and everything was bombed out or rotting. There were trains belching steam and overcast grey skies and furtive, angry people. I was trying to find someone who did not want to be found, and every time I got anywhere near her, she ran again. I climbed a tall flight of wooden stairs, trying to reach a door, but the planks were rotten and kept breaking away beneath my feet.

All of yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #55 assembled and PDFed and out to subscribers. I think it's an especially good issue. I was particularly pleased with Vince's illustration for "Tidal Forces." Please comment if you have any thoughts on the issue. A good chunk of yesterday was spent writing the issue's prolegomenon. They are angry words I couldn't find the means to hold in any longer.

Today, I absolutely have to get to work on the edits to "The Maltese Unicorn."

---

I'm not getting much reading done. I did make it through a couple of articles in the new JVP: "Articulated skeletons of the aetosaur Typothorax coccinarum Cope (Archosauria, Stagonolepididae) from the Upper Triassic Bull Canyon Formation (Revueltian: early-mid Nornian), eastern New Mexico, USA" and "The first record of the large Cretaceous lamniform shark, Cardabiodon ricki, from North America and a new empirical test for its presumed antitropical distribution."

---

Over breakfast this morning, I was bemoaning, silently and to myself, the present 3-D craze and the damage it's doing to film. Yesterday, I saw the trailer to the final two Harry Potter films, and, on the one hand, it looks gorgeous, but on the other, the movie is constantly hurling things at the audience, in a contrived attempt to take advantage of the cheap "wow factor" of 3-D, thereby blowing what could be fine cinematography. I started thinking how great films of the seventies might have been ruined by 3-D. Imagine the original Star Wars saddled with the gimmick, or Ridley Scott's Alien. I stopped at Apocalypse Now: 3-D, because my brain would not let me go any farther. I kept seeing the scene where the PBR and it's crew are being fired upon by Montagnard villagers, and the audience is treated to arrows flying STRAIGHT AT THE SCREEN. Gimmicks do not make good movies. Good movie making does, and 3-D is anathema to good movie making.

Okay...whatever. Time to work.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
This morning, I dreamed of meeting Bob Dylan.

Yesterday, I walked in the sea.

No writing yesterday. I'd not really left the House since we did Gallery Night at the RISD Museum last Thursday (June 17th), and I was getting a little restless. So we went to Conanicut Island and Beavertail State Park. To the rocks and the sea. We parked and followed a path down to the western shore of the island, about .45 miles north if the point. The day was hot, and the sun a bit brutal down on the slate and phyllite. After a few minutes of watching the sea and looking for beach glass, I waded into the surf. I've never done this at Beavertail before, despite our many trips there. I went in as far as my thighs. And it was wonderful.

The water was icy, but the shock passed quickly. And I just stood there, feeling the sea all around me, pushing me and pulling me. I have resolved that I'm going to begin swimming again (I was once an excellent swimmer), and that next time we go to Beavertail, I'm swimming. I have to get this body back into shape, and swimming is one of the best things I could do towards that end.

There are trails along the cliffs that we'd never before explored, and we followed them south. The woods were full of birds: catbirds, red-winged blackbirds, starlings, pine warblers. Spooky spotted what we think was a Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra). We saw osprey nesting in the salt marshes, and egrets. Off shore, there were cormorants. There were gulls everywhere, of course. And rabbits. The dog roses are in full bloom, and the rose hips are ripening. So are the blackberries. There were tiger lilies on the cliff sides, in amongst the great green tangles of wild grape, blackberry, green brier, poison ivy, raspberry, honeysuckle, and milkweed. As we walked, the day turned overcast and cooler, as a mist began moving up from the direction of Point Judith, sweeping over Narragansett Bay. I found a sheltered cove where I intend to swim, despite the especially steep path down to the rocky beach.

But all the time we were out, it was impossible not to think about the Gulf of Mexico and the BP petrocalamity. It was impossible not to think about how easily we could lose the bay. One really bad tanker spill. There was a bad one at Moonstone Beach, back on January 19, 1996, when the tank barge North Cape and the tug Scandia grounded there. This was nothing remotely in the range of what's happening in the gulf, but, fourteen years later, there are still plenty of signs of that spill, including thick rubbery hydrocarbon mats between the rocks at Green Hill. It was also impossible not to think of the fact that we drove about 70 miles, round trip from and back to Providence, to have that day on the island. That's roughly 3.5 gallons of gasoline, refined from a well somewhere in the world.

---

Back home, Spooky made a cold dinner (my appetite has been off for days) of chicken, feta cheese, cucumber, watermelon, and olive bread. I was a bit groggy from all the sun. We spent much of the evening with the PlayStation. Spooky played Folklore and I played Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. I've really missed the lombax. Later, she looked at a craft magazine my mother sent her, and I browsed through Martin J. S. Rudwick's Worlds Before Adam: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Reform (University of Chicago Press, 2008), but I was too bleary to actually read.

Oh, Vince sent me the pencils of his illustration for "Tidal Forces," and it's gorgeous. I'd feared this story wouldn't be amenable to illustration, but I was wrong.

Also, may I refer you to [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's (Cat Valente) "5 Reasons You Should Not IM Me," because I couldn't have said it better myself, and now I do not have to try.

And here are some photos from yesterday:

26 July 2010 )

8.8

Feb. 27th, 2010 01:39 pm
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
1. Running behind this morning. I actually slept last night, close to eight hours, catching up and all that. Bad dreams, but at least I slept well. Then I awoke to a light snow and news of the 8.8 earthquake in Chile (that's eight-hundred times more powerful than the recent Haitian quake, and one of the most powerful ever measured by seismologists), and the tsunamis beginning the be felt across the Pacific. I've been watching the live feed via CNN, and sipping coffee, and trying to wake up.

2. Yesterday went pretty much as expected. I dealt with most of the line edits on all three pieces for Sirenia Digest #51: "Apsinthion (ἀψίνθιον)," "Persephone Redux (A Fragment)," and "The Eighth Veil." Spooky was in Wakefield most of the day, getting a tooth filled, and didn't get home until well after dark. Today will be spent pulling #51 together, and I'm hoping it will go out to subscribers this evening, if I get Vince's final artwork in time.*

3. Last night, we streamed Stuart Gordon's From Beyond (1986) from Netflix. I'd not seen the movie since sometime in the late 1980s. It is, of course, based on Lovecraft's rather short tale of the same title (1920). Only HPL's story wasn't soft-core porn, though Gordon's adaptation comes very close to qualifying as such. We'd call this irony, only I still contend that, no matter how much Lovecraft feared sex, he was constantly writing about sex. Anyway, the film hasn't aged very well, and is much goofier than I remember. I wish it had been played straight. The creature effects were clearly very much influenced by Carpenter's The Thing (1982), though much less accomplished. There are some nice bits, here and there, but this is one of those cases when a film failed to measure up to my memories of it.

4. I did a couple of short scenes in Insilico last night, the best of the two being an exchange between Xiang 1.5 (Victoria) and the maintenance drone Abeus. This week I have succeeded in cutting back drastically on the amount of time I've been spending in SL, compared to the last five or six weeks. There really is far too much in First Life to allow myself to fall into that trap again.

5. And here are more photos from our second day at Beavertail, on Monday. We hiked all the way to the fissure at Lion's Head. There were some spectacular ice formations:

22 February 2010, Part 2 )


* Final art just arrived, as I was preparing to proof the blog entry. So, we should be set.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
1. Yesterday, I did 1,014 words on the new vignette, which, it turns out, will be named "Apsinthion." Though I am tempted to name it "αψίνθιον," but fear the Greek letters would give [livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest fits when it came time to translate it all into the PDF for #51. Spooky read the first 2,000+ words back to me yesterday, and she likes it a lot. And I like it, so now all I have to do is find THE END today. I'm thinking Sirenia Digest #51 will go out to subscribers on Saturday, but Sunday at the latest.

2. Last night, I got the rough sketch for Vince's illustration for "The Eighth Veil," and it's looking awesome. I have to write him back this morning, to answer a question or two, but it's going to be perfect for the story.

3. Greer Gilman ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) brought this bit of anti-intellectual claptrap to my attention last night: "A reader's advice to writers - A word to the novelist on how to write better books," by someone named Laura Miller. Never mind the highly dubious conceit of the title, that readers are qualified to tell authors how to write (I say that's very like me advising a dance choreographer or a cameraman or a cellist). Once again, we are told that style is a no-no. Voice is bad. Just hand out story, please. To quote the passage that Greer has already quoted:

4. Remember that nobody agrees on what a beautiful prose style is and most readers either can't recognize "good writing" or don't value it that much. Believe me, I wish this were otherwise, and I do urge all readers to polish their prose and avoid clichés. However, I've seen as many books ruined by too much emphasis on style as by too little. As Leonard himself notes at the end of his list, most of his advice can be summed up as, 'if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.' Or, as playwright David Hare put it in his list, 'Style is the art of getting yourself out of the way, not putting yourself in it.' But whether you write lush or (please!) transparent prose, keep in mind that in most cases, style is largely a technical matter appreciated by specialists. You probably don't go to movies to see the lighting and photography, and most readers don't come to books in search of breathtaking sentences.

*blink blink*

Actually, I do go to movies to see lighting and photography, very much so. And costume design. And to admire well-written screenplays. So, it should come as no surprise that my favorite directors are not bland facilitators of unremarkable cinematography. They are people like Wes Anderson, Jane Campion, David Lynch, Tim Burton, the Coen Bros., Werner Herzog, Martin Scorcese, and so forth — directors whose vision of a story is as important as the story itself, who are visible on every frame of film. And the same is true of the books I most love. I need to hear the voice of the author, and it must be a compelling voice. People like Ms. Miller, well, I'll be kind and say I find them utterly fucking unfathomable. If you ever asked me for writing advice, and I ever refused to give it (because that's not something I make a habit of doing), I'll give you a little now: ignore this sort of nonsense. Good prose isn't transparent. It's not a clear window, but, rather, something more akin to stained glass. The trick is not to be "accessible" to as many people as possible, but to find your voice, whether or not anyone will ever listen.

5. After long a month in Insilico, a month of extremely heavy rp that has, among other good things, inspired a couple of nice short stories, I'm stepping back from Second Life a bit. Again. Mainly, I don't have the time to keep up with all four characters that setting out to rp one character somehow spawned. I will, for now, continue to play the part of Xiang 1.5, currently known as "Victoria," but that's really all that I can handle. I find myself fretting over those characters when I ought to be fretting over my fiction. No, the other fiction, the stuff that pays the bills. Last night, no SL for the first time in a couple of weeks. Instead, I played WoW with Spooky, and, unexpectedly, had quite a lot of fun. I think that was my first WoW in five or six weeks.

6. Last night, Spooky made meatloaf and we watched Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in Howard Hawks's delightful Ball of Fire (1941), an old favorite.

7. And now, the third set of photos from Sunday's trip to Conanicut Island. These were taken after we left Beavertail and drove east, to West Cove at Fort Wetherill:

21 February 2010, Part 3 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
I'm not well this morning, but I'm not going into the gory details. I just need to rest today, and hope I'm better tomorrow. There's no time now to get more behind than I already am.

Not going to be much to this entry, because I have email that has to be answered, and I can only remain vertical for just so long.

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

We have another cloudy, rainy, cold day here in Providence.

Yesterday was consumed by the busyness of writing, not by actual writing. However, I've seen Vince's sketch (from which he produces the final artwork) for Sirenia Digest #47, and it looks good.

Last night, when I was only just starting to feel lousy, we did a bit of WoW, leveling our troll characters in Durotar and the Barrens. Mine is a hunter named Jornda, and Spooky's troll is a priest named Manalani. Also, the insomnia seems to be back full force, and it was (again) almost five before I got to sleep.

Yeah, not much of an entry. But there are more photographs from Sunday, taken from two bridges over the Saugatucket River in Wakefield:

25 October 2009 )


Also, here are Spooky's sepia-toned photos of the ruined house on Old North Road. They're exquisite, and I think they capture the feel of the place better than the color shots I posted yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
The LJ will now be known as "Unfit for Mass Consumption," until I grow weary of that title. At least it's an accurate description of the blog, and its author, and her writing. By the way, if you can tell me the film that title references, you win...absolutely nothing.

I've just received the illustration for "Shipwrecks Above" from Vince. So, I'm hoping that subscribers will have Sirenia Digest #46 by midnight EST.

As for yesterday, and the night before yesterday, and the day before that...

All of Monday was spent tweaking the ms. for The Ammonite Violin & Others, getting it ready to send to Subterranean Press. It needs at least one more day of tweaking, which I expect is what I'll be doing tomorrow. I did decide that the collection will be dedicated to Diane Arbus, and that the next one will be dedicated to Henry Darger, because it just seems right. Oh, there was also interview-related business on Monday. Turns out, I have two more to do, both in October, and then I'm saying "no" to everything until after I write the next novel. Well, unless it's Oprah fucking Winfrey or The New Yorker or something of that stripe. Not that The New Yorker and Oprah fucking Winfrey are of the same stripe, but there you go. Anyway, here's a link to one of the most recent interviews. I think it's actually one of the better I've given recently, if only because I'm so sick of doing them that it's a bit more "open" than usual.

---

Monday night, we discovered that Netflix is streaming Joel Schumacher's Flatliners (1990). I'd not seen it since the original theatrical release, and I wanted to see how well it had aged over the last 19 years. It's not too dated, and I still find it enjoyable. But I do think a really sublime premise was wasted on this film. One gets the feeling that the director or writer or who the hell ever got his paws on this rather grand premise (med students exploring what lies beyond brain death), but had absolutely no idea what to do with it, and so coughed up something flaccid (after death, we will all be haunted by our guilty consciousnesses).

---

Yesterday, not much work. There was a veil of anger I could not seem to think through (it's been with me a lot lately), so we took in an afternoon matinée of Jonathan Mostow's Surrogates. Again, great idea, not so stunning execution. Yes, someone needs to make a good sf thriller about the logical consequences of Second Life and the concept of robotic avatars, but, sadly, this is not it. Which is not to say that Surrogates is a bad film. But it's not very bright (which is what it most needed to be). Mostly, it's an okay sf/action flick, and I'd say wait for the DVD. It has some good moments here and there, though they mostly serve to remind one of the unrealized potential. There are some good visuals, and Bruce Willis rarely bores me. But the science has holes you could toss a small planet through (I'm thinking Mercury). We're told, for example, that something like 98% of all humans on Earth (about fourteen years from now) are using surrogates. And I immediately thought, how much do these things cost? Surely, inflation will continue in this future, and a surrogate is an infinitely more complex piece of technology than is, say, an iPod, iPhone, or the best available laptop. So, what charitable organization saw to it that the three billion or so people worldwide living below the poverty level (working from the World Bank's current estimate of people now living on less than $2/day and projected rates of population growth in developing nations) were provided surrogates? Now, maybe this is a future with far fewer people, and one without rampant poverty, but if so, we're not privy to that information.

---

Last night, we watched Dominic Sena's Kalifornia (1993), again because I was curious to see how well the film's held up after so many years. Much better than Flatliners, but then, it was a much better film to begin with. Neither Spooky nor I had seen it since it was new. But it still packs a wallop. Brad Pitt's Early Grayce is a joy to watch (a disgusting joy, admittedly), and utterly overshadows poor David Duchovny, who'd not yet grown much of a personality. Juliette Lewis gives one of her best performances, and Michelle Forbes (of whom I'm oddly fond) rounds out the foursome with one of her few genuinely good performances. The cinematography tries a bit too much to look like a Tony Scott film, but the script is sharp enough to make up the difference. So, yeah, still a very fine film, even with the unnecessary epilogue and Duchovny's sleep walking.

We also watched the new episode of Heroes, and another episode of Pushing Daisies. Yesterday, I really wasn't up to much but watching.

---

I had a fairly severe seizure yesterday at the market. It's one of the few that's happened any place public, and it left us both deeply shaken. It was violent, but brief. No one did anything stupid, like call an ambulance. Back home, I slept an hour or so, and felt a bit better.

And now, I take my platypus in hand and....
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Today, I will punish myself with work.

I can think of no more hideous act of self castigation than forcing oneself to write, or attend to all the nonsense that comes with being an author.

My fingers will bleed before I'm done.

---

I have a rough sketch from Vince, for "Shipwrecks Above." I think this will be a rather nice, if entirely brutal, issue of Sirenia Digest. Then again, I doubt there's anything as brutal as was last month's "Werewolf Smile."

Today will, in fact, be a day of loose threads.

---

There is almost nothing worth saying about yesterday. I spent most of the afternoon in bed, recovering from the Everlasting Migraine. I despise myself when they drive me to bed. I had a bath. I watched another irredeemable day slip past.
greygirlbeast: (Trilobite)
I went straight into writing this morning, rather than pause to do a blog entry, so now I'm playing catchup. I did edit a bunch of photos from yesterday, edit them this morning, I mean, and I'll get to those.

Yesterday, I did 1,035 words on "A Paleozoic Dreamquest." Today I did another 1,452, and found THE END of the vignette. So, everything (except the prolegomena) has been written for Sirenia Digest #45, though I still have a bit of editing to do. Oh, and as promised, here's the "trilobite pr0n" illustration that Vince Locke sent, upon which I based "A Paleozoic Dreamquest." Pretty literally, I might add. I love when we reverse the process, and I get to write for what he's already drawn:



It's been a rainy, cool day here in Providence, as Danny approaches.

After work yesterday, we headed to Moonstone Beach, as we'd wanted to get some post-Hurricane Bill beachcombing in. But as we were walking from the van, along the sandy trail that leads between Trustom and Cards ponds and out to the shore, we came upon a female Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). Clearly, there was something wrong with it, as they never allow us to approach so close. Of all Rhode Isalnd's sea birds, the cormorants are my favorite, and it was wonderful to be able to get so near to one, but alarming, too, as we realized it was either sick or injured (even though no injury was visible). I sat down on the bridge near it, and a few minutes later, a man came along who'd already called the Department of Environmental Management about the cormorant. We talked about the threat posed to her by coyotes, raccoons, minks, and other local predators. But thinking that help was on the way, we headed along to the beach.

The storm had moved the sand about quite a bit, and there were more cobbles and pebbles than usual. There were shattered spider crabs, sponges, horseshoe crabs, and a few unusual varieties of snail. The air was so clear that Block island seemed close enough to touch, though it lies ten miles to the south, across the sound. As the sun was setting, we headed back to the van, and found the ailing cormorant had not moved from its perch on the stone wall. However, it had been joined by a male, presumably its mate. Not wanting to leave before the DEM showed up (assuming the would show), we waited a bit. Spooky got some video of the birds, and I sat near them on the bridge. Before long, the man who'd called the DEM returned, with a cat carrier and heavy gloves, and we helped him bundle the female cormorant into a towel (she offered no resistance) so that he could get her to a local wildlife rescue vet. The male dove into the salt marsh, and swam away. It was almost dark when we finally left. I spent most of the night worrying about the cormorant, and have no idea what has become of her. I suppose I never will.

I should definitely write these things in the morning, when I'm not too exhausted from fiction writing to do them justice.

If you've not had a look at the current round of eBay auctions, please do, and thanks.

And here are the photos from yesterday evening:

27 August 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
A cool night last night. We slept with the windows closed. A cool day today. I could even have my coffee hot. Tropical Storm Danny has us in his sights.

By the way...I was under the impression that TS/Hurricane names were only used once. Yet, there was a Hurricane Danny in July 1997. Played merry havoc with the Gulf of Mexico.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,035 words and finally finished "Werewolf Smile." The piece started as an idea (conceived in the Peace Dale Public Library on August 20th), intended to be a 2,000-word vignette. But, by the time I reached THE END, it had grown into a 7,435 word short story. So, that's a little something extra for Sirenia Digest subscribers this month. Today, I'll be starting a second piece for #45, based on an illustration by Vince Locke (I'll post the illustration tomorrow), but I think we're talking trilobite sex. Regardless, this second piece has to be short, the vignette I mean it to be. My intentions have to count for something, as I'm very, very short on time.

Regardless, I'm glad to be done with "Werewolf Smile," as it was taking me someplace darker than even I am generally comfortable going. Then again, that might sound like hype, and truthfully, all this shit's subjective. Darkness is like eroticism, in its penchant for subjectivity. What you find painfully dark (or unbearably sexy), might have no effect on me. What takes me to the edge, might well leave you cold.

Please have a look at the latest round of eBay auctions. Bid if you are so able and inclined. Thank you. We tend to offer the hard-to-find books more cheaply than you will find them elsewhere.

No work on the website last night. I was just too tired after finishing the story. Maybe tonight.

Also, if you've not yet picked up a copy of The Red Tree, please do so, whether it's from Amazon or some other source. Every sale counts. Also, I'll repost the link to the recent Subterranean Press interview, which is mostly concerned with The Red Tree.
greygirlbeast: (Vulcans)
Yes, the rumors are true. Last night, I signed up for Twitter. I am now twatting. Or tweeting. Or twitting. Or what the fuck ever, as greygirlbeast. Yes, it's really me. For now. Yesterday, I began to wonder if I'd become like all those stabilists, back in the '50s and '60s, who still refused to accept the reality of plate tectonics, even when there was finally loads of hard data to support Alfred Wegner's model of continental drift. Yes, that's the way my mind works. Also, I couldn't get the refrain, "One of us! One of us!" out of my head. So, yes. It's really me. Greygirlbeast. Or @greygirlbeast. Or however one writes out their twat address. Please, don't rub it in. Already, the shame burns like hygiene. Oh, Spooky twats as DreamingSquid, in case you're interested. She's been doing it behind my back for weeks.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,947 words (a very, very productive writing day for me) and finished "The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean," which will be appearing in Sirenia Digest #43. I sent the story to Vince last night, so that he can begin work on an illustration for the piece.

Today, I'm exhausted, and have declared a semi-day off.

However, it seems that the prime instigator in the recent round of severe insomnia may have been my attempt to finish "The Alchemist's Daughter." After I gave up and shelved it on Saturday, I began to sleep again. Let this be a lesson to you, young lady. Sometimes, you have to let go.

Not much else to yesterday. It rained, and it's still raining today. I'm going to petition city hall to decree that Providence shall henceforth be known as Seattle, RI, until such time as summer begins. So, yeah, it rained yesterday.

Spooky has added a few more items to the current eBay auctions. These include a hardback copy of The Merewife chapbook that was originally released with Subterranean Magazine #2, back in 2005. This is almost certainly one of my most collectible books. The hb printing was very small, and quickly sold out. I received only four comp copies, and this is probably the only one I'll ever auction.

We finished reading Andrea Barrett's The Voyage of the Narwhal last night. It's truly an extraordinary novel, and I strongly recommend it. Especially if you have an interest in 19th-Century naturalists, the development of the theory of evolution, and the history of Arctic exploration. It almost makes a curious sort of preface to Dan Simmons' superb The Terror. There's a passage from the last page that I want to put down here, it pleased me so much: Here are the hinges on which the world turns and the limits of the circuits of the stars.

And now I'm going to have coffee with a reclining platypus and a groggy dodo. I mentioned the twatter thing, right?
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I swear to whichever goddess is presently in the mood to listen, if these weird dreams keep up, I'm going to have our water tested for LSD. This time, I was a high-school student somewhere in the Ozarks, only it was an Asian vampire film involving nanites, a very gory Asian vampire film that just happened to also be a musical (and I blame "Once More, With Feeling"). Most of the twists and turns are now forgotten, lost to me, but it was one of those dreams where you're simultaneously a character and someone watching what's happening, as though it's a movie. The whole thing played itself out twice, except the second time through I realized there were scenes I'd somehow missed the first time. It ended, finally, with the realization that the "vampires" (for want of a better word) could only be killed by running a long silver needle through their left temple and leaving it there. It sounds funny now, but it was truly, genuinely terrifying (and not just because of all the singing schoolgirls and choreography). One detail I recall very vividly, a sort of ad or pamphlet urging graduates to remain in the town after graduation. Drawn in a very 1950s style, it showed three deliriously happy people: a jock in his letterman sweater, a cheerleader, and a very bookish girl.

Meanwhile, because we are apparently in competition at the moment in the surreal dreams department, Spooky was having a dream about stealing absinthe from Harlan Ellison's locker. I asked her if the dream was set in a high school, and she said no, there was just this locker. Anthony Stewart Head was with her (she says he was not Giles), and he could open the combination lock on the safe by listening to the tumblers. There was someone else with them, a third, but she couldn't recall who he or she was. They took the pilfered bottle of absinthe to a cornfield, but the corn had only just begun to sprout, and so didn't make much of a hiding place.

So...now I am awake. I think. No one but Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld are singing, and I take that as a good sign.

Yesterday, I did 1,214 words on "The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean," which I expect to finish today. Also, Tuesday, and again yesterday, I forgot to mention that on Monday I'd done all the requested line edits and a couple of minor rewrites on "As Red as Red," which will be appearing in Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas' forthcoming anthology, Haunted Legends.

Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. I should stress that my personal stock of both The Five of Cups and Tales from the Woeful Platypus (hardback trade editions) is getting very low, and I'll not be offering many more copies of these two books. Your bids will be much appreciated.

By the way, if you're going to make it to my "How I Wrote A is for Alien" solo presentation at ReaderCon 20, I think I'll be handing out sets of the four images by Vince Locke that did not actually appear in the published book. How's that for incentive? Frankly, I have no idea how I'm going to spend an hour talking about writing the anthology, especially given that it was written over a period of four years, as individual short stories, and not as a single volume. But, these things always seem to attend to themselves, so I expect I'll do fine, and great fun will be had by all. And, of course, Henry the Horse dances the waltz.

I'm going to go finish my coffee now. The platypus is giving me the hairy eyeball.

But wait..."Evidence Found for Ancient Mars Lake". A body of liquid water the size of Lake Champlain, which existed 3 billion years ago. Exquisite.
greygirlbeast: (fisting)
There was a seizure last night, but fortunately, I was already lying on the bed when it hit. I bit my lip, but not badly. These damn things have become such a part of my life, they hardly even scare me anymore. Spooky much more so than me. But still, they do have a way of kicking a day or evening in the groin.

Yesterday, I read back over "Fish Bride," and polished it a bit. It was strange, going back to it after having finished "Galápagos," and it's weird in general, given this was a story I started trying to write three years ago. But now it's finished. Also, Vince's illustration for the piece came in, and I love it. Perfect. So, I will spend today assembling the file for Gordon to PDF, and, hopefully, Sirenia Digest #42 will go out to subscribers this evening. Remember, this issue will also includes the very detailed synopsis for mine and Poppy's unwritten X-Files novel, Dead Kids, plus a new poem by Sonya Taaffe. So, it would be a good place for new subscribers to jump onboard. Just click here (and, yeah, the FAQ's a little antiquated).

A lot of yesterday went into planning various bits of promotion I'm going to undertake for The Red Tree, and most of it's new ground for me. Some cool stuff, though, and I'll be able to talk about this a little more in a week or so.

I've been spending a lot of time over at deviantART lately (wonderful site), and I'm surprised at how so few of the professional artists there use their actual names for their accounts. Almost none, really. It's one of the peculiarities of Facebook, and something I like about it, that most users do use their names. Then again, I use "greygirlbeast" on both LJ and MySpace. But, than again again, my name is right there alongside the pseudonym. Is that even the right word — pseudonym — in this day and age, when speaking of the internet? Anyway, I just found it odd, but I find most things about the web odd.

---

Last night, Spooky and I watched Bryan Singer's Valkyrie (2008). Not a great movie, but not a bad movie. Mostly, a movie that should have been much better. A great cast, including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp, and Eddie Izzard. Tom Cruise was only moderately annoying. Mostly, I was annoyed that hardly anyone but the actor playing Hitler could be bothered with a German accent. Cruise couldn't even be bothered to affect the British accent sported by most of the cast. Is a German Resistance more palatable to American moviegoers if they don't sound like Germans? Newton Thomas Sigel's cinematography was quite good, the best thing about the film.

And we read more of Andrea Barrett's The Voyage of the Narwhal.

And now, it's time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (white)
First, something I need to be reminded of every so often:

What is the common touch that it is supposed to be so goddamned desirable? The common touch is usually an inept, stupid, clumsy, unintelligent touch. It is only the uncommon touch that amounts to a damn. (John Steinbeck, 1949)

Thank you, Mr. Steinbeck.

Another grey and chilly day here in Providence.

Yesterday, I spent an additional four or five hours on "Galápagos," dithering, tweaking, and worrying over continuity and science. At least one page was entirely rewritten. And, finally, realizing that I was losing my ability to look at the story objectively, I sent it off to the anthology's editor.

And today, I go back to work on Sirenia Digest #42, which should go out to subscribers on the 31st. Oh, and, while she was here, Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) requested a dragon story for #43, and I've actually managed to think of one, so I suspect that's the next thing I'll be writing. At the moment, I'm calling it "The Alchemist's Daughter," but this is definitely subject to change.

Yesterday, I got the initial pencils for Vince's illustration for "Fish Bride," and I'm very pleased. #42 should be a splendid issue.

Also, thanks to Amanda for the Dreamwidth invite codes. Last night, I was able to back up the LJ, including comments, images, and tags, to Dreamwidth, which takes quite a load off my mind. For now, I have no intention of actually moving to Dreamwidth. It will be there as a mirror, and nothing more, so long as LJ continues to function. I like it here just fine, mostly.

---

I continue to be amazed and appalled at Fox's decision to renew Dollhouse (though only a half season on a reduced budget) and dump Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Especially in light of the fact that, turns out, Dollhouse is the lowest-rated show in twenty years to score a renewal. I sincerely hope Fox doesn't think this qualifies as some sort of belated atonement for the way they butchered Firefly, which was, you know, actually a good Joss Whedon show that deserved a chance.

And, as long as I'm being appalled, I'm appalled at the news that Kaz Kuzui is trying to scare up interest for a new feature-film "reboot" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, sans the TV series' cast, the series' characters, or even Joss Whedon's involvement. I can only hope this plan falls through, and falls through hard. On its face. On concrete.

Okay...I'm stalling. Off to the word mines....
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
A hard rain last night, which got rid of a little bit of the snow, and made an utter glacier of our driveway. And the temperature won't rise above freezing today.

Yesterday, I did a very satisfactory 1,732 words, and so finished my second piece for Sirenia Digest #38, "The Belated Burial." Vince is working on the illustration for "The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade," and thinks it will be done tomorrow, so, with luck, #38 will go out to subscribers tomorrow evening. As for me, I just wrote two short stories in a week, and now I'm going to take a couple of days off, a very short and well-deserved micro-vacation, before I have to go back to The Red Tree and get those revisions/corrections finished.

Also yesterday, I send an .rtf of "The Wolf Who Cried Girl" to Sean Wallace, as the story is to be reprinted in a forthcoming Horror: The Best of the Year (the volume covering 2007, I think).

It has been suggested to me that a good way to promote Sirenia Digest, and possibly draw a few more subscribers, would be to offer podcasts of some of the stories via iTunes. I'm considering this. I might run a poll here to try and gauge interest. This whole podcast thing is new to me.

If you've not yet ordered A is for Alien, well, this is me reminding you once again. And to those who have, I thank you, and I hope these repeated entreaties for others to do the same are not too annoying. The truth is, most authors must either promote themselves or go without promotion. And going without promotion means...well, it's pretty straightforward.

I think we're going to have a house guest Sunday and Monday, so, part of the micro-vacation will be spent helping Spooky clean this cluttered house. But not today. Today, I rest.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I wrote 1,660 words yesterday.

Also yesterday, Vince sent a really wonderful first study for his illustration for "The Sphinx's Kiss," a new story which will be appearing in Sirenia Digest 14, the January issue (subscribe, kiddos). I told Vince I loved it, that he was headed in exactly the right direction, and e-mailed him some reference material. And, also also yesterday, the gift of the "kindly but anonymous ichthyologist," the spare iBook, arrived safe and sound, so Spooky is, as she says, now "back among the living." This means, among other things, the website redesign can resume and we can get the eBay auctions going again.

There was no walk, but I did at least get out of the house. I went to the market with Spooky and to Videodrome, to find something for Kindernacht. We settled on the Pang Bros. Gawi wik (Re-Cycle; 2006). I'd not been impressed by The Eye (2002) and had not even bothered with The Eye 2 (2004). And at first, I thought we'd scored a dud with Re-Cycle. The beginning is slow and muddy and poorly focused, snagging up on lots of Asian horror movie clichés. I actually dozed. Then, about half an hour in, Re-Cycle takes off, becoming something else entirely, sort of Alice in Wonderland as reimagined by Dante Alighieri, the journey of a writer lost in a universe populated by her own abandoned ideas — indeed, by everything humanity has ever abandoned. The story remains murky, but the fundamental concept and the visuals are truly magnificent and worth the ride. Think キャシャーン (Casshern; 2004), and, visually, you'll be in the ballpark (though, truthfully, Casshern is, far and away, a much better film than Re-Cycle). Anyway, we followed it with The Craft (1996), which is one of those films that it's odd I'd never seen. Some part of me badly wanted to hate this film. But I could not. The Lost Boys for lost girls, so how could I not love it. Add in Fairuza Balk in a splendidly campy performance. If The Craft is guilty of any particularly serious crime, it's only that it makes Wicca look like a lot more fun than it actually is. So, all in all, a good Kindernacht.

The second bird of Spooky's Ornithaceous Period is finished, and you can see it at [livejournal.com profile] squid_soup. This one will be going to eBay, she says, and there have already been inquiries by one or two interested parties.

Meanwhile, if you have not already ordered Daughter of Hounds, please do so. I found this "bookstore report" from [livejournal.com profile] corucia in the comments to yesterday's entry encouraging:

I was at our local Barnes & Noble tonight. They had one copy left of the Threshold MMP, which I bought, but there was space on the shelf where a few more had obviously been. Next to it was one copy of Daughter of Hounds, face-out. This store usually does face-outs with at least five copies, so it's likely that they've sold at least four from that shelf. On the way out I luckily noticed that they also had Daughter of Hounds on one of the 'New Release' tables in front of the exit. These tables all have a shelf coming up off the center of the table - Daughter of Hounds was on the top of that shelf, once again face-out and once again with only one copy remaining out of a likely five to six initial pack.

I can only hope this scenario is being repeated in hundreds upon hundreds of bookshops across the country. Don't forget, Amazon is offering Daughter of Hounds together with the mmp of Threshold for only $18.19, delivered to your doorstep.

Postscript (1:22 p.m. CaST) — I've had a couple of people ask me if, in last night's meme, I made a spelling error when writing out Nar'eth ni'glecti Mericale and Tai'lah ni'glicti Mericale. That is, ni'glecti vs. ni'glicti. The answer is no. The phrase ni'glecti translates from the Nebari roughly as "first born of," while the phrase ni'glicti translates as "second (or later) born of." A first-born child is ni'glecti; all who follow are ni'glicti.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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