greygirlbeast: (Doc10-2)
Cold here in Providence. All day yesterday, the mercury hovered in the twenties Fahrenheit. Today, I am told, we will suffer a balmy 43˚. Only, with wind.

Here I am, still on vacation. Still...vacating?

Not much to be said for yesterday. Oh, I did want to say that the past two nights I've slept 8.5 hours each, for a total of 17 hours. There are entire weeks when I don't sleep 17 hours! To wit, I propose it is writing that gives me insomnia.

But, yesterday. I actually did have to email my agent, regarding the Two Worlds and In Between audiobook that might one day exist, and I sent another email to my editor at Dark Horse (there were replies, and my replies to their replies, this ayem). But yesterday I mostly gamed. Unless I'm forgetting something. I played a LOT of SW:toR, leveling my Sith Inquisitor to 11, and my bounty hunter to 7. I discovered that playing a bounty hunter is a lot of fun. The storyline is very, very good. Actually, I have almost nothing to complain about as regards SW:toR, except a) the silly hop and b) the stagnant technology bullshit. I don't think many people have a proper enough concept of deep time (even on an historical scale) to grasp what 3,500 years means in terms of the evolution of a civilization. All the hand waving and absurd explanations aside, it's lazy design and fear of fan backlash. But yes, otherwise, a grand game.

Ah, hello. My comp copies of New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird (Prime Books) have just arrived. This is the second time an anthology has reprinted my story, "Pickman's Other Model (1929)." In fact, it's the first story in the volume. The story first appeared (outside Sirenia Digest #28, March 2008) in Joshi's Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror (2010; PS Publishing). So, grab a copy. And subscribe to Sirenia Digest. And listen to Brown Bird. All those things, though not necessarily in that order.

Last night, we saw an excellent episode of Doctor Who, "The Girl Who Waited," possibly one of the best episodes I've ever seen. When I finally went to bed, I read from Christopher McGowan's The Dragon Seekers: How an Extraordinary Circle of Fossilists Discovered the Dinosaurs and Paved the Way for Darwin (2001).

Tonight, we go to the Cable Car to see Lars von Trier's Melancholia.
---

And the last U.S. troops have left Iraq, and an illegal act of aggression draws to a close. After nine years and the deaths of almost 4,500 Americans, a number of casualties that pales when compared to the number Iraqi fatalities, a number which is very hard to pin down, but which may be as high as 109,032 deaths, including 66,081 civilian deaths, and a cost to US taxpayers of ~1.9 trillion dollars, and the further sundering of an ancient nation and its antiquities. We call this waste, kittens, the American and Iraqi deaths, and waste is the only true evil in the world. All evil can be reduced to wasteful fucking acts. But our troops are out, even if we're not sure exactly what that means. And isn't this another promise the President has kept? It is. And yes, Kim Jong-il is dead, and so now the world faces the uncertainty of Kim Jong-un, possibly an even greater danger than his father.

Regardless, this is no day of victory, as our soldiers come home. This is not a day of peace, because there is not yet peace in the world. This is a day of shame and disgrace, and a day George W. Bush, Jr. and his cronies should be remembered as war criminals (since we cannot try them as such), and a day we should mourn all those lost, on all sides of this abominably wasteful conflict, which was never about terrorism or democracy, but about profit margins and oil. Let's not even talk about the American vets whom we cannot care for, medically or psychologically, even if "we" wanted to do so. This is a war that has existed, in the main, beyond American consciousness.

Now...Afghanistan.*

Counting,
Aunt Beast

* And if you want to argue with someone over any of this, do it somewhere else.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I just needed this again...

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Dreams that do not bear repeating; wield spite, and bury a dream in oblivion. Besides, this is one of those days when I have too many things to write about, not too few:

1. We have just passed that "magic" moment, the eleventh second of the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh year of the Twenty-First Millennium. Of course, I would argue to anyone so feeble minded to read any significance into all those elevens, alas, they actually missed the boat back in the year 1111 A.D.

2. With an emotion gently and precariously balanced between horror and bemusement did I, this morning, read the story of how the Corporation for Travel Promotion, via JWT and The Brand Union, and armed with a budget of 200 million dollars (!!!), plan to solve all of America's PR/image ills with a campaign so stupid it sucks the air from your lungs. Hideous logo aside, the resulting slogan — the "United States of Awesome Possibilities" — almost had me squirting sugar-free Red Bull from my nostrils. Did no one stop and consider that the slogan, an abomination in its own right, can readily be rendered as the acronym U-SAP? No, of course they didn't.

3. Yesterday is a day I would rather not write about. But I will write about it, just to carve another notch into the bedstead of stupid I have experienced. The good part of the day (or at least the "goodish" part) was me writing another 1,334 words on "Ex Libris." But Kathryn is checking the galley pages for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir against our photocopy of the CEM (copy-edited manuscript), to be sure that the copy-editor's changes with which I didn't agree had not been made. And...she discovered that someone had, seemingly at random, made NEW changes to the text. Changes in wording, in punctuation, and so forth. Now, this wasn't my editor, and it couldn't have been the copy-editor, so...have you ever seen a warthog with rabies? Well, then you don't know what I was like for an hour or so yesterday. This means, you see, that every page of text, every word, every punctuation mark, has to be read over again twice (galleys against photocopy of the CEM) before the galleys go back to NYC. Recall, I said yesterday they're due back on November 15th. There was a flurry of email and phone calls. When all was said and done, 1) it had been determined that no one has any idea who made the changes or on whose authority, and 2) that it was a horrible thing that had been done to my book (like I didn't know this from the beginning), and 3) that the production manager, being the saintly sort, would extend to deadline to the 21st of November, so that Kathryn has time to read every single page over again, twice. Anyway...yeah. Bullshit. But my thanks to my agent and my editor for helping me through this mess.

Later, after the new deadline had been established, granting me and Spooky those measly four extra days, Spooky and I read through what I've written so far on "Ex Libris." By the way, Subterranean Press will be publishing "Ex Libris," together with "The Yellow Alphabet," in a hardback cloth-bound "mini-collection," The Yellow Book (yes, a nod to Chambers), which will come FREE with the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart.

4) I may have mentioned that the ebook pirates are nipping at my heels again. Well, technically, they're nipping at the heels of my publisher. For my part, I'm ready to wash my hands of this whole ebook fiasco. Let the devil take the hindmost and all that. I just don't care anymore. NMP, because I choose for it not to be. Hey, this strategy is working just fine for the United States of Awesome Possibilities, in their approach to the country's absence of affordable healthcare, and towards the homeless, and poverty, too. So, it can work for me and ebook pirates. NMP.

5) And here we are on Veteran's Day, which I do not recognize. Instead, I continue to recognize Armistice Day, and on that note, as I do every year, I will yield the floor to the late Mr. Vonnegut:

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, "Romeo and Juliet," for instance.

And all music is.


And So It Goes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
The last few days, I've been thinking, What am I going to write? What am I going to say? On that day, which is this day. And looking back, I don't think there's much more, for me, to say than what I said a year ago, which is (modified):

Ten years have come and gone. And we have our memories of the horror of that day. And we have the legacy of that day, which is not only our memories of the horror of that day, and our memories of those who died.

We have war in Afghanistan. We have war in Iraq. We have the Patriot Act. We have Islamophobia. We have torture at Gitmo. We have injured and traumatized war veterans returning to a country that will not care for them. We have TSA's "guilty until proven innocent" behavior. We have new memorials, to those who were heroic, and to those who were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Everything has changed.
For in truth, it's the beginning of nothing,
And nothing has changed.
Everything has changed.
For in truth, it's the beginning of an end,
And nothing has changed.
And everything has changed. -- (David Bowie, "Sunday")


And my mind reels at the knowledge that children born that day are turning ten years old today, and they never knew the world before.

As for my personal memories of that day. I watched on CNN, unable to believe what I was seeing, terrified, crying because that was fucking New York City. It would be a week before I learned if everyone I knew in Manhattan was safe. I was living in Atlanta at the time. Kathryn was at a job interview, which was interrupted by the news. That afternoon, with fears of additional attacks and the nearness of the CDC, an obvious and especially terrifying target, we left Atlanta for Birmingham. The flashing traffic signs on the strangely deserted interstate that usually warned of accidents ahead were all reading "National State of Emergency Declared." I remember, most of all and for the first time in my life, seeing a night sky without airplanes.

(Also, you should read this post by [livejournal.com profile] kambriel.)

---

Everyone needs to read this article, "What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents," unless you already know how bad the schools in America are, and how much of that damage is being done by parents. When I was in elementary school, many – if not most – of my teachers had been teaching (I shit you not) for thirty or forty years. Many had taught my mother. "Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years..." And "we" wonder.

---

Good work yesterday.

--

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Kickstarter for The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. We finished with 301% of the funding we were seeking. I promise you, we'll make the best book trailer in the short and sordid history of book trailers.

In Memoriam,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Osama bin Laden.

And here are my questions, as they pertain to relief and the celebrations and rejoicing in NYC, DC, and all around the nation.

Has this brought us any closer to ending the "war" in Afghanistan? Have we really dealt al-Qaeda some sort of fatal blow? No, on both accounts. More innocent Afghani men, women, and children will die. More American and Non-American soldiers and non-combat personnel will die. We've given al-Qaeda a martyr, another rallying point, and, anyway, Ayman al-Zawahiri will fill the dead man's shoes.

Yes, bin Laden deserved to die. But I don't see the point in celebrating. Nothing's been won. It's no where near over. And, too, another question lingers: If bin Laden's death was so important, and is a benchmark in the "war on terrorism," was it really worth the price of all those lives?

Ask me to celebrate when the war ends.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Awake until four ayem, and then I slept until noon. Which means enough sleep, more than usual, but I hate waking up this late. At least, though, we are past the part of the year when, even with CaST to help out, the darkness comes so insanely early.

I am choosing not to speak on the subject of Osama bin Laden's death. My thoughts on the matter are complex, and I see no need to burden the internet with them, or to spend an hour writing it all out.

Sunny out there today, sunny and the new leaves glowing brightly under the blue sky.

---

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 2,259 words on "The Carnival is Dead and Gone," and thought I'd found THE END. Then, late last night, it occurred to me that I may have sounded entirely the wrong note there at the last. So, the first thing I do today is go back and do a bit of tweaking to the last two or three paragraphs. Also, yesterday, I proofed "The Crimson Alphabet," which will come as a free chapbook with copies of the limited edition of Two Worlds and In Between. I exchanged emails with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy about the book trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Oh, and there was email from [livejournal.com profile] blackholly, which was a bright spot in the day.

For our Beltane dinner I made a lamb stew, which came out very, very well (I do say so myself), which we had with chicory stout, a freshly baked loaf of pain de campagne, and honey. Afterward, I did a little ritual work at the altar. Nothing fancy. It was a good Beltane, even without a roaring bonfire and what have you.

Later, we watched the latest episode of Fringe, then the second disc of the latest season of Weeds. Never has a series so literally lost direction and gone off wandering nowhere in particular. Truthfully, Weeds should have ended at the end of Season Three. The end of Season Three would have made very good ending. A very important part of telling stories is knowing when you've reached THE END, and not continuing in just because you're being paid to do so. Any story may be stretched out indefinitely; none should.* Anyway, later there was a tiny bit of Rift, and we read more of Under the Poppy.

---

Please have look at the current eBay auctions! Thanks.

---

And here's the second set of photos from Saturday's trip to the Blackstone River Gorge in Massachusetts:

30 April 2011, Part 2 )


* In large part, this is why The Dreaming was such an awful idea from the get go. The Sandman said almost everything worth saying, and, after that, it was mostly footnotes. I love reading footnotes, and writing them. Few other people do.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Comments, please. Some evidence LJ isn't dead.

Yesterday, UPS brought the ARCs of Two Worlds and In Between.

Last night, I was going back through the blog and came across the short "to-do" list I made for April. I don't usually make "to-do" lists, because they tend to guarantee I'll not get anything done. However, I've done well this month. The Dark Horse story is written and turned in. "Fake Plastic Trees" is written and turned in. Now, all I have to do is get Sirenia Digest done by May 5th, and I'll be well and truly jake. If only for April, which will have passed by then.

A tumult of dreamstuff in the hour or so before waking. A stony dam along a freezing wintry river, and hiding beneath the water with two other people (no idea who they were). The water was bright and clear, like a lit swimming pool. A fossil whale skull. Something about used books and Bolsheviks. The trees of a dark and threatening forest.

We were still awake well after four ayem, and came very near to leaving the house and driving out to Conanicut Island, to the Beavertail Lighthouse, to watch the sunrise at the sea. Then we saw that the sky was overcast. Sometime after five, I finally slept.

So, funding has been cut for SETI, and the program is going into "hibernation." The United States can spend billions a year on war, trillions over a decade, but science remains too expensive. Taxpayers understand war. It's what keeps Starbucks open. Science eludes them.

Also, if you're a fan of Sirenia Digest, you're going to love Michael Hutter. More over, Harry Clarke and Aubrey Beardsley.

Enough for Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Finally, yesterday, I left the House, and it was a substantial leaving. I had a headache, but I refused to let it keep me inside. After a quick stop at the market and to check the p.o. box, and a stop at the liquor store, we stopped at Wayland Square for coffee and baked goods at The Edge. We walked past Myopic Books and What Cheer Antiques, but didn't go inside. The day was bright and sunny, and though it was cold there was no wind, so it wasn't too terribly unpleasant being out. After coffee, we drove to Benefit Street and parked quite a bit south of the Athenaeum, because I wanted to walk. Most of the Brown and RISD students have gone away for the holidays, and College Hill is wonderfully peaceful.

We spent a couple of hours at the Athenaeum, even though my headache was so bad I couldn't really read. Mostly, I found books I very much wanted to read, and sort of scanned them. There was a paper on Monodon monoceras (the narwhal) in Smithsonian at the Poles: Contributions to International Polar Science Year (2009), on the evolution and morphology of the narwhal's "horn." There was a book on Dogtown, Massachusetts, which intertwined the history of Dogtown with a brutal murder that occurred there in 1984. The was a book on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and pop culture. But mostly, it was just good to be in the Athenaeum and not at home. And, by the way, if any kind soul would like to gift me with a membership to the Athenaeum, I won't protest. Personally, I think lending privileges ought to be free for local authors teetering on the brink of poverty, but there you go.

Of course, the big news yesterday was that the abominable "don't ask/don't tell" policy was repealed by the Senate. Finally. So, now openly gay men and lesbians are also free to die in the immoral wars America wages across the world. No, I am glad. Truly, and very much so, but it is an odd sort of victory, you must admit.

Last night, some very good, very quiet rp between Molly and Grendel in Insilico. Maybe, someday, all of this will become some sort of short story. Maybe. But probably not. And Spooky and I have reached Level 81.5+ in WoW. By the way, I think the insertion of all sorts of tedious "mini-games" into the new expansion is annoying and dumb as hell, especially that one in Mount Hyjal that's trying to pay homage to the old arcade game Joust. Worst. WoW. Quest. Ever. I wish I could recall the name of the stupid quest, but I can't. I have blotted it from my consciousness.

Today, today is another day off. I may finish a painting, and I may do some housecleaning. Spooky's finishing up a painting. We'll go to the market this evening. On Tuesday, we go to see Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. And that evening, both [livejournal.com profile] sovay and [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark will be coming down from Boston and Framingham, respectively, so that we can talk over the first three chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Maybe the long period of reclusiveness is ending.

I'll be posting a couple of "Year's Best" lists, but not until the year is actually over, or very almost so.

Anyway...time to wrap this up.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The Vonnegut quote I referred to was posted by [livejournal.com profile] grandmofhelsing and [livejournal.com profile] matociquala, and it was also nice to see an Armistice nod from [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving. Anyway, in case you've not read it, and wondered what I was on about, here's the quote:

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, "Romeo and Juliet," for instance.

And all music is.


Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Nine years have come and gone. And we have our memories of the horror of that day. And we have the legacy of that day, which is not only our memories of the horror of that day, and our memories of those who died.

We have war in Afghanistan. We have war in Iraq. We have the Patriot Act. We have Islamophobia.

Everything has changed.
For in truth, it's the beginning of nothing,
And nothing has changed.
Everything has changed.
For in truth, it's the beginning of an end,
And nothing has changed.
And everything has changed. -- (David Bowie, "Sunday")


---

My piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities has been coming along slowly. At the moment, it is entirely epistolary. I did 430 words on Thursday, and 1,092 yesterday.

We've begun a new round of eBay auctions. Please have a look. Thanks.

The weather has turned cool, but I probably mentioned that already.

Ramadan has ended. Eid al-Fitr is underway.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Yeah, here we are eight years farther along. And I think the question that needs to be asked, on this Day of Remembrance and amid all these memorials and moments of silence, is how, after all the ensuing years of war, the men who run this country are still finding excuses to drop bombs on people in Iraq and Afghanistan? And why the American people are still finding those excuses valid?

---

A chilly grey day here in Providence. It feels like late October.

Yesterday, I did a rather unsatisfying 511 words, and did not find THE END of "Shipwrecks Above." Which pretty much means I have to find it today. Yesterday was sort of a disaster, and I'm amazed I wrote as much as I did.

As we wrap up promotion of The Red Tree, I'm looking at only three additional public appearances in support of this book. They are as follows:

——Tomorrow, 9/12/09, Friendly Neighborhood Comics, 191 Mechanic Street, Bellingham, Mass. 4 to 6 p.m.

——10/24/09, Brown University Bookstore, 244 Thayer St., Providence. 7 p.m.

——10/27/09, South Street Seaport in downtown Manhattan. Still waiting on the details on this one. And it's actually not a signing for The Red Tree, but for Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft Unbound, which includes my story "Houses Under the Sea." However, I certainly will sign any copies of The Red Tree that happen to be on hand.

It is unlikely any additional dates will be added, as I'm just too busy.

Also, I'm very much hoping to sell out this first printing of The Red Tree, in the interest of writing and publishing future novels. If you've not already picked up a copy or ordered one online, please do. And repeat customers are welcome. Think of all those friends and relatives who've not yet fed the Tree.

---

Day before yesterday, Spooky's laptop came back from the hospital, and last night we finally returned to WoW (after an absence of three weeks). I got my Draenei retribution paladin to Level 37, questing in the Alterac Mountains. Meanwhile, my Blood Elf warlock (Level 70) languishes in Outland. Afterwards, we watched another episode of Pushing Daises, which I'm still finding brilliant, six episodes in.

I think one thing some people failed to understand about Pushing Daises is that it's, essentially, a fairy tale for adults. And, as such, many times things do not happen because they're logical or likely or "make sense," but for no other reason than the fact that they are what needs to happen.
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
Up since 7:30 ayem, which might not have been so bad, except I didn't get to sleep until sometime after three, probably more like four.

There was snow in Providence yesterday evening, but the ground wasn't frozen, and it didn't stick. In the night, it changed over to rain.

Sometime just before I awoke, I dreamt of collecting fossils on Mars. I very, very frequently dream of collecting fossils, but usually the terran variety. In this dream, however, I was on Mars, in a very lightweight spacesuit. There was someone with me, but I can't recall now if it was someone I know in my waking life or not. We were walking a long river valley, a sort of braided river valley, which ran north to south (and the Ares Vallis comes to mind). Anyway, the ground was a very light grey, almost purple in places, a weathered clay or mudstone or siltstone of some sort. I came upon a small rise in the old riverbed (or flood channel) where an amazingly rich bone bed was exposed. The fossil bone was almost the same color as the stone, though I recall the unweathered parts being purplish and the more weathered surfaces being almost white. All the bones were disarticulated, but looked as though they'd come from Martian analogs of Late Paleozoic sarcopterygians and temnospondyls. Mostly, there were isolated skull bones: frontals, parietals, postorbitals, squamosals, parasphenoids, jugals, etc. I was elated to have come so unexpectedly upon such a wealth of bones, and was bagging them as quickly as possible. Whoever the person with me was, he or she was trying to get me to hurry, as we'd been away from the habitat too long, and there was concern about cosmic rays. Something like that. Still, I managed to fill two specimen bags. Marvelous dream. Maybe this is my subconscious telling me to get back to work on The Dinosaurs of Mars.

---

The last two days are a blur of editing The Red Tree. The good news, though, is that the ms. has to be back in Manhattan by Monday, so this can only possibly continue another four days, at the worst. Though I hopefully suspect that there's only two days work left to be done. I just got an email from Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), who very kindly went through and found all the quotes within the text, quotes from other works. They're all either "fair use" or quotes from works in the public domain (and most are the latter), but I have to provide documentation for each quote for legal at Penguin. Writing all that up will likely require a day. Yeah, see what fun shit authors get to do? And that will be that, at least until the CEM. But, this time, Spooky will be handling the CEM for me, mostly, so that's a relief. She can write "stet" as well as I can ("stet" is a proofreaders mark, Latin for "let it stand," and when one wishes to disregard a copyeditor's mark, one writes "stet" in the margin of the page. My CEMs get hundreds and hundreds of "stets").

The eBay auctions continue. Thanks to everyone who has bid thus far. Take a look. Bid if you are able and interested.

---

One of the many things that needed doing in this round of editing The Red Tree required that I read Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear" again. It's really one of the most atrociously written of HPL's stories, and a testament to how stupendously his writing improved from the early 1920s to the early and mid-1930s. Anyway, yeah, I had to read back over the story on Tuesday, because there's a line from it that I'd been trying to recall, that I wanted to use for one of Sarah Crowe's novels (Sarah is the protagonist of The Red Tree). I last read the story back in June, when we were driving up from Atlanta; while we were driving through the Catskills, in fact. And I found this one line, and I thought, That would make a great title for one of Sarah's novels. But, I didn't mark it. Hence the need for a re-read. However, halfway through the story on Tuesday, I could take no more, had not found the line, and decided that The Ark of Poseidon would remain The Ark of Poseidon. I did, however, rediscover a very interesting thing.

I have argued in the past that Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (1959) owes a considerable debt to Lovecraft, in particular to "The Dreams in the Witch House." But I can also point to a passage in "The Lurking Fear." At the end of Chapter Five of The Haunting of Hill House, Eleanor and Theo experience another harrowing visit to their bedroom by the entity that "walked there" in Hill House. In her terror, Eleanor reaches out and takes Theo's hand, and she squeezes it tightly. At the very end of the chapter, however, the lights come up, and Nell discovers that she couldn't have been holding Theo's hand, after all, as Theo is still across the room in her own bed. Jackson writes:

"What?" Theodora was saying. "What, Nell? What?"
"God god," Eleanor said, flinging herself out of bed and across the room to stand shuddering in a corner, "God god — whose hand was I holding?"


In "The Lurking Fear," HPL's protagonist has an almost identical experience when he and two companions spend a night at the Martense mansion on Tempest Mountain. Three men fall asleep in one bed. The narrator is in the middle. Though in a sort of fever dream, he is distinctly aware that one of his companions, at one point, throws an arm across the narrator's chest. Then he awakes to find both men dead and horribly mutilated. HPL writes:

Something had lain between me and the window that night, but I shuddered whenever I could not cast off the instinct to classify it. If it had only snarled, or bayed, or laughed titteringly — even that would have relieved the abysmal hideousness. But it was so silent. It had rested a heavy arm or fore leg on my chest...

---

Last night, Spooky and I watched Ridley Scott's Body of Lies, which I wish I'd been able to see in the theatre. I thought it was splendid. And it occurred to me that, unlike the Vietnam War, the great movies about America's war against Middle Eastern nations are being made right now, while the events are still unfolding. Which is an interesting state of affairs. Of course, history could always prove me wrong. Maybe the Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan Apocalypse Now won't be made until 2020 or so.

There. A nice long entry of substance, despite the insomnia. Screw you, "micro-blogging."
greygirlbeast: (Howard Hughes)
I did write yesterday. 1,089 words on Chapter Two of The Red Tree. But only by the skin of my teeth, as they are wont to say. Skin of my teeth. A curious expression, as, obviously, teeth lack any epidermis. Which I suppose is the point. Anyway, the novel is simply grinding to a halt. Yesterday was a wake-up call. I'm trying to race through this to "produce" a finished manuscript by the end of the summer. But —— what with the switch from Joey LaFaye to The Red Tree, being sick much of the spring, and the move to Rhode Island, I've not given myself the time to sit down and do all the research that needs to be done to write the book. Not to write it well, but simply to write it at all. Mostly, historical stuff. So, today I am likely off to a library, if any are open, what with this being the weekend of the Sainted Fucking 4th of July and all. Maybe by Monday I can be actually writing again, unless the libraries aren't open, in which case I guess I'll make up a Plan B.

Speaking of Independence Day, Jesus Fuck, this neighborhood was a bloody warzone last night. I have never endured such a barrage of amateur fireworks, even though most of my life has been spent living in cities. Only by a combination of chance and wet weather did the Armory District not burn to the ground. Fucking idiots. Fireworks are 100% illegal in Rhode Island, and also in Massachusetts, but apparently there's a healthy illegal black-market trade from Connecticut. I read people went to jail this year, for bringing them into Rhode Island, though clearly, enough people did not go to jail. Last night, for at least two or three hours the windows rattled as fireworks meant to explode hundreds of feet high were detonated at ground level. Finally, the cops showed up, the cops and the fire department and ambulances, because there had been some sort of accident in a nearby park, an SUV and a bicycle, and things began to calm down. I'm pretty sure the fools trying to blow up Federal Hill weren't in any way celebrating the 4th of July. They just thought it would be cool to blow shit up. Then again, isn't that the heart and soul of American expansionism? Or at least its fist. The bomb, the rocket's red fucking glare? Oh, and yeah, I know if I were a real writer —— you know, the sort who write "reviews" for Amazon —— I wouldn't need all this fucking profanity to express my fucking thoughts. Sure.

Spooky just reported that, in fact, all the libraries are closed today. Brown. The Athenaeum. The public libraries. Beautiful.

Not much else to yesterday. When the writing was done, I just felt sick. I lay down on the bed, and Spooky read me the first chapter of The Golden Compass. I hate that, being a writer and all, being the writer I am, all I can really think of when I listen to her read me fiction is, "Why didn't I write this?" We made a trip to the market to get dinner for last night and tonight. Much later, we watched Men in Black (1997). Still love it. We drove about the neighborhood a little at some point (that must have been before the movie), and a thick, smelly gunpowerdy haze lay over everything. Little pretend wars. I think I got to bed about three ayem. Shit was still exploding. I only hope —— if there is a thimble's worth of justice — that many are missing fingers this afternoon.

So...no library. And the internet is only so good for this sort of research. I suppose I will try press on, somehow, and attempt to finish Chapter Two this weekend. Like they say in the Land of Whores and Celluloid, I can fix it in post.
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Yeah, well, the last forty-eight hours or so are a useless blur of anger and depression (and, I know, that's probably stuff I should reserve for the private journal). I'm getting, at best, five hours sleep a night, and that's after I finally broke down and started taking the damned Ambien again. Too, too much in my head, and no way to drain it all away. And we leave for Rhode Island on Tuesday. That's only five days left, and neither me nor Spooky are anywhere near ready. Asleep last night after three, awake at eight. When I sleep badly, Spooky sleeps badly, too.

I've been sitting here listening to a CD of chanteys, ballads, and sea songs which [livejournal.com profile] sovay was kind enough to send me.

My hair is black again.

I've been watching too much news, CNN (WarTV®), the escalating Israeli-Lebanese conflict. It's all insanity and leaves me with little but disgust and new disappointment in humankind. Disgust with Israel and Hezbollah and the Lebanese government and the U.S., and, really, I don't know why I bother. This bloody logic of retribution is beyond my abilities of comprehension.

We've managed our walks the last couple of evenings, just after twilight, despite the heat and humidity and lousy-air warnings. Both nights we've seen bats, and last night Spooky saw a bright shooting star in the east. I missed it, distracted and looking the other way (at nothing in particular). There were talll pink and bluish thunderheads to the south and east, catching the very last of the sunlight, and they were filled with lightning, but we got no rain.

Vince is just about done with his illustration for "The Cryomancer's Daughter (Murder Ballad No. 3)," and I'm liking it a great deal. If you've not already subscribed to Sirenia Digest, I wish you would. I'm pretty sure I'm doing my best new writing for it. Plus, this month you get Sonya Taaffe's "The Depth Oracle." Just click here, read the FAQ, and subscribe.

Day before yesterday, I read a good bit of Lynn Truss' Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, which I quite enjoyed, much to my surprise.

Anyway. I should go and try to make a productive day. I can only hope that, while we're in New England, my vision will clear and life after Daughter of Hounds (preorder now) will become a little less daunting prospect. Because right now, it's daunting as hell. Oh, here are a couple of photos of me, hopelessly sleepless, with ruined makeup and crabbit and new hair and blind yellow eye, about 2:30 a.m. this morning.

Spooky did it. )


Oh, in case you missed this announcement from Monday: "First off, I know a lot of you have been waiting on the details of the Boston signing. Finally, I have them. I will be signing and reading at Pandemonium Books in Cambridge (4 Pleasant Street) on Saturday, August 5th, from 8-10 p.m. You can get directions to Pandemonium from their website (link above). I'll likely be reading something from Daughter of Hounds (unless I change my mind), and yes, I will sign whatever you bring for me to sign. I cannot yet say which books will be available at Pandemonium. If you've been waiting for me to make an appearance in the Massachusetts-Rhode Island area, this is it. There may not be another for quite some time, so I hope you can make it."

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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