greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The more I listen to Brown Bird, the more they amaze me.

Two Worlds and In Between, deluxe and trade editions, is now officially sold out.

And tomorrow is the day. But if you get your hopes up so much you think I've been crowned Grand Xena She-Ra, Wonder Woman, Queen of the Known Universe the First, you have only yourself to blame for the inevitable disappointment.

Today, I take...more. And we see if things get better. If I can remain functional. Because, apparently, it's one thing to have irrational fears of How Bad Things Are, and another thing entirely to have rational fears of How Bad Things Are. It's the same shit, either way. The meds just make me care a whole lot less. Well, and it's nice not having the seizures. Also, it's cool knowing that if someone were to try and drink my blood, they would die a horrible death.

"She came by her insanity honestly."

The first half of yesterday was a mad whirlwind of this, that, and the other, attending to various questions and details for various projects until, by, 3 p.m., I was exhausted and still hadn't written a single word. So, it being Samhain, and Hallowe'en, I took the afternoon off. Which was stupid, as I have too much work to be doing that. But I did. Spooky went to the market, and I wasted about a half hour of my life playing RIFT, and...well, that was a dumb idea. Not working, I mean. I took a hot bath before dinner. Spooky brought me a Black Forest cake (my favorite). We carved jack-o'lanterns. There were trick-or-treaters. We watched Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966), and the two new episodes of Beavis and Butthead.

The former was bittersweet and nostalgic, a gentle amusement from an age when lies were better at hiding the ugliness of the world from children (and parents tried a lot harder). The latter was funny as hell, and, as I said last night on Twitter, television has crawled so far up its own (porn, porn, porn, porn, porn) asshole that Beavis and Butthead (porn, porn, porn, porn, porn) actually come off as rather smart kids (porn, porn, porn, porn, porn). Beavis and Butthead on Jersey Shore and LMFAO's "Champagne Showers"? It's pretty incisive commentary on this dear sweet filthy world, kittens.

And we watched John Fawcett's Ginger Snaps (2000). It has aged very, very well. Sure, the final creature effects suffer from budget constraint (though the makeup up until then is brilliant), but it remains one of the very few genuinely good werewolf films. It's perfectly, morbidly, hilariously, grimly, gleefully horrific, and, in the end, an impressive examination of teenage alienation. Of finding oneself in that darkest of dark places, and at that moment you've spent a short life fearing above all others. If you've never seen this film, what the fuck's wrong with you? Oh, you were only ten when it was released....

Yes, if I had a daughter, I truly would name her Ampersand. Well, on the birth certificate it would be listed as & Rose Kiernan, but we'd call her Amp.

Thank you, [ profile] readingthedark. Thank you, The National. You guys rock.

Also, you might be a loony Xtian whackjob, but you go, Anne Rice (at least she wrote three good novels):

Lestat and Louie feel sorry for vampires that sparkle in the sun. They would never hurt immortals who choose to spend eternity going to high school over and over again in a small town — anymore than they would hurt the physically disabled or the mentally challenged. My vampires possess gravitas. They can afford to be merciful...The idea that if you are immortal you would go to high school instead of Katmandu or Paris or Venice, it’s the vampire dumbed down for kids. But it’s worked. It’s successful. It makes kids really happy. And here we are, back at Beavis and Butthead.

It's nice to see Anne Rice fucking grow a pair for an hour. And if you think I just made a sexist comment, grow a pair, please. After all, do you know I didn't mean ovaries? But, wait...wouldn't that also be sexist. Maybe I meant ears.

Oh, there are pumpkin photos from last night (mine was stolen, just like last year):

Jack! )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, let's get this over and done with, and then we may proceed to your regularly scheduled blog entry. I expect it will be less painful that way. Well, less painful for me at least, and I know I'll be loads less distracted:

Booya! )

That said...or shown, or both, know the lousy thing about incredible shit happening yesterday? The lousy thing about incredible shit having happened yesterday is that it's not happening today. Nonetheless, today I can lift up the blackness enough to peer out (though I do squint something fierce).

But, still, comment, kittens. And thank you for yesterday's comments.

Yesterday, we read chapters One and Two of Blood Oranges, and I can say, with great relief, that I still like this book a lot. It's about as far from The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as you can get, but that's not a bad thing. I think I'd reached a point where I had to write something just for fucking fun. And Blood Oranges is fun. And it's even funny. I never fucking knew I had all this fucking funny in me. It's like discovering a strange boil behind your ear, and someone lances it, and out comes humor. I mean "ha ha" humor, not aqueous humour – though lancing a boil behind your ear and getting aqueous humour would be interesting. Anyway, with luck, the manuscript will be proofread and corrected and in Manhattan on Monday morning. I've dragged my feet on getting it to my publisher and editor. Well, no, I haven't. I've been too busy with my work for No Such Agency, and with Sirenia Digest, and with the trailer/still-photo project for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir that Blood Oranges just...sort of got lost in the shuffle. But now it's unlost. Today, we do chapters Three and Four, which will put us halfway through the novel.

I think I've decided to keep Kermit the iPad. He proved himself very useful editing yesterday. And so I'm rethinking this whole thing. But thank you, Cliff Miller. Thank you all the same.

Also, I saw a rough cut of the teaser for the trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir yesterday, and it's all I can do not to link to it here. Imagine the lovechild of Terrance Malick and David Lynch, and you're in the neighborhood. Thank you, Brian and Kyle. This is going to be so fucking wonderful. I also spoke with [ profile] kylecassidy and [ profile] kambriel yesterday about shooting additional footage this winter in Philadelphia, and it seems like it'll happen. We'll be holding eBay auctions, props and such (a large moonstone signed by the whole cast & crew, etc.) from the first shoot, to fund that, and I'll keep you posted. Thing is, to quote Imp:

“I’m going to write a ghost story now,” she typed.
“A ghost story with a mermaid and a wolf,” she also typed.
I also typed.

Well, we have tons of mermaid/water footage, the Saltonstall stuff, but the wolf part has been sorely neglected, and for that we need winter, and snow, and a big wolf-like dog for the Perrault stuff, and we can make these things happen this winter in Philadelphia. So, yeah. Another shoot lies ahead. Which fills me not in the least with dread. It pleases me.

Last night, we proved that one meatloaf can be stretched out over four dinners and one midnight sandwich. Spooky has some mean Loaf Fu. We played some Rift. I'm obsessed with getting Selwynn glorified with the Icewatch in Iron Pine Peak, so...lots of dailies. Or, in my case, nightlies. Later, I read aloud to Spooky from John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez. Despite my love for Steinbeck and his Cannery Row books, I've never read this book, but found an old copy at Spooky's parents and borrowed it on Sunday (a copy that sold new in trade paperback for $1.45 in 1962). It begins with Steinbeck's "About Ed Ricketts" essay/eulogy, and, so far, I've managed not to cry. In another life, I might have been someone as good and useful to the world as Ed Ricketts. I like to think that.

It occurs to me, apropos of nothing in particular, that there's no point whatsoever in having a cake if you can't eat it, too.

Wanting Cake, Black Forest,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunny today, Again, I should be in the sea. This is a thing that will not happen, though, because even if it weren't for the writing, I've got a doctor's appointment this evening. Actually, doctor's appointments can be fun, if you go about them the right way. I have found most doctors to be horrified and/or stupefied at the notion that everyone doesn't want every conceivable test for every conceivable symptom which might lead to any conceivable malady.

Doctor: "But you might have X?"

Me: "So what? If I do, I'd rather not know. It's not like I could ever afford the treatments, and, besides, I'm chronically suicidal."

This is not a fiction. I have actually had this exchange. It was lovely. I'm pretty sure it's not a patient response taught at medical schools.

Or! If any cavity probing is involved, only agree to them if the doctor first agrees to say "Good puppy," at regular intervals.


Yesterday, I wrote 1,957 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. The book is moving quickly towards its conclusion. I'm pretty sure an old school bus filled with Swamp Yankee werewolves is involved. Some idiot is going to proclaim this a great "horror" novel. Or say something like, "Finally, Caitlín R. Kiernan has figured out how to write great horror." And me, I'll just sit back and laugh. The hardest part about this book is that most of what is perceived as "horror" became self-parody and comedy long ago, but very few people have figured it out. It's hard to parody a parody. So says the world's only triggerpunk, and she ought to know.

Spooky (on the other paw) went to her parents' place, to visit with her sister, Steph, and nephew, Miles, who are up from Brooklyn. Miles is three and a half, and he likes pirates. And he proclaims, "Brothers are sisters. Sisters are brothers." I wish they taught this shit in school. Anyway, Spooky took photos of a cute kid and a frog (behind the cut, below). I cry foul.


This morning, Bruce Sterling tweeted, "Social media does not exist for you. You are the PRODUCT in social media. That's why it's free." Fucking brilliant. I'm going to have a stencil of that quote made and start tagging everything in site.


As for whatever else there was of yesterday...nothing that warrants recording, but I'll record it anyway. A little Rift (I'm trying to get the achievement for killing 250 centaurs in the Droughtlands; see, and you thought I was all like smart and shit). We read more of The Stand (1978 text, accept no substitute). There was some Second Life RP. Oh, furries are annoyingly little shit (just in case you didn't know). "It's not a fetish! It's a lifestyle! Do you think I chose to want to have sex in a fursuit!? I'm a Loony Toon trapped in a human body!" Milk and Cheese! Milk and Cheese!

Sorry. That wasn't nice, was it? I'm channeling Siobahn Quinn.

As for Ridley Scott directing and producing a Blade Runner sequel or prequel...I'm not sure how to react to that.

Aunt Beast

17 August 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, last night Mister Insomnia, he makes a house call. Which really didn't surprise me, as he'd made a house call the night before. But, last night, I resolve to kill the sorry motherfucker. I triple the usual dosage of the Good-Worker-Bee Pill. Ol' Mister Insomnia, he just laughed. I didn't even feel the pills. Sometime after dawn, Mister Insomnia grew bored, tossed me aside the way King Kong tosses aside all those blondes who aren't Naomi Watts, and he went off to torture someone else. Some day-sleeper, I suppose. And finally the pills kicked in, and I slept the sleep of the wicked and dead until Spooky woke me about noon. I needed help to walk to the kitchen table, pretty much. Now, I'm sitting up straight, but the pills are still going strong. I might be conscious and cognizant by three p.m. This is sort of like waking with a really bad hangover, and you lie still – hurting and ill – aware that you're about to puke, but unable to remember why. Then you do remember why, and you realize that at least you feel this shitty because there was fun beforehand. This is like that. Only I finally realized there was no fun beforehand.

Okay. Stop talking about that. It's not going to help.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,109 words on a new vignette, "Figurehead," for Sirenia Digest #67. The plan was to finish it today and tomorrow. Only, today I'm...this. So, instead, I might hope I can at least get through the line edits for "Fake Plastic Trees" (which sold to Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's After, in case I forgot to mention that).

Last night, we watched the saddest car wreck of a werewolf film. Scottish werewolves. I used to think Dog Soldiers would always be the worst Scottish werewolf film of all time. Au contraire, mon frè contraire. Because last night we watched Craig Strachan's Wild Country (2005), in which five Scottish teenagers – who, I swear to gods, had accents so heavy we needed fucking subtitles – are pursued through the Highlands by people in bear suits. Badly sewn bear suits. So, don't watch this movie, okay? Don't cause my suffering to have been in vain.

Oh, look. An eye booger.

Clearly, I should not be blogging at this particular moment.

P.S. – The moral of our story: Do not try to poison Insomnia, because he will fuck you up.
greygirlbeast: (white)
New version of Firefox, you suck. Just so you know.

And yesterday was a very weird day. But here I am, on the other side of it.

Yesterday, I wrote the journal entry and answered email. I edited the FAQ for the soon-to-go-live new Sirenia Digest website. And I did a little more work on "Fake Plastic Trees," adding about 200 words to clarify something the editors had requested I clarify. It was a point I admitted was a little vague, and now the editors are happier with the story, and so am I. Afterwards, I wrote 1,540 words on the first chapter of Blood Oranges, which is the thing that was conceived as a spoof of ParaRom, but seems to have grown into an actual novel. Its still a "werepire" novel, and it looks askance at and skewers everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Twilight, from True Blood to Anne Rice. It's a strange beast, about strange beasts. And I'm not going to say anything more about it until I write another 1,500 words, because it's just too strange.

I have set a goal for myself: I will write two more novels (Blood Oranges and Blue Canary), two new short stories, and produce nine more issues of Sirenia Digest by the end of January 2012. And not die in the process. Then, in 2012 I'd write Dark Adapted, the sequel to Blood Oranges, along with the sequel to Blue Canary.

So, yes. A lot of work yesterday. And the same today. And tomorrow. And that's what my summer looks like. Mostly. I get a few days off for good behavior.

There are days I could just sit and listen to R.E.M. all day long.

Yesterday, a very young humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was found beached at Little Compton.

I made a really terribly good salsa fresca (half the juice of one lime, two tomatoes, about a fifth of a red onion, half a large jalapeño, one serrano, a handful of fresh cilantro, a clove of garlic, and a dash of salt) for Cinco de Mayo, which we had with the pork quesadillas Spooky made. I wanted tequila and Sol beer, but the meds say no.

Then I took a short nap.

Then a house down the street erupted into flame. This makes the third serious fire on our street since November 2009. The second was in May 2010. And now this. When I first made it down to the street, and within maybe a hundred feet of the house, I thought they were going to lose the thing, and the wind was so bad I began to fear for surrounding houses. But at least five fire trucks responded (it was listed as a two alarm). Everyone got out. But now another beautiful old Victorian house on the street is scarred. All this would be very suspicious, and it's obviously statistically improbable. But the first fire was started by a faulty lamp cord, and the second by a cat knocking over a candle. Nothing suspicious there. Last night's fire was fucking terrifying. The cause remains undetermined. Spooky took three photos, which are behind the cut:

Fire Three, May 5 2011 )

Note to potential stalkers: I've said enough over the years that anyone who really means to can find my house, but you show up on my doorstep or lurking about, annoying me and mine, getting in my shit, and I will fucking kill you. End of story. So think twice, and then think again.

Later, when things had finally calmed down, we played a small bit of Rift. We watched the last four episodes of Season Six of Weeds. I must admit, the season recovers towards the end, and the last episode is very good. Later, we read more of Under the Poppy. That was yesterday, kittens.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Checks are coming in very slowly, and every little bit helps. Thanks. Also, Spooky's added a new necklace to her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries shop. She made a beautiful one for me (finally), which I'll post photos of soon, then made one more. It's awesome. Buy it.

And now I go to write about a werewolf attack.

Beastly Yours,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Fuck all, it's raining. It's cold and rainy and Spooky has to walk to the garage to get the hopefully not broken anymore car. And I don't feel like blogging, and as I was getting out of bed (crack, pop, fuck, crack, pop, crunch, ow), Hubero rather perfectly described my "artistic process." So, thought I, a guest blogger! People do that shit all the time, right? Well, Jeff VanderMeer does, and he's pretty cool.


All day Ma sits and taps at this thing. Don't know why she does it. She sits and taps at this thing all day long just tapping and tapping and tapping like it's supposed to mean something. She taps then she stops tapping and yells and then taps some more. She taps and yells and yells and checks the internets and taps. Sometimes she yells at my other Ma, and they yell at each other and then Ma gets quiet and stares at the glowing box before she taps some more. Tap tap tap tap tap. Then she goes to the litter box and comes back and taps. Then she yells and checks the internets and taps and punches the arm of her chair and yells and mutters and mumbles and takes her pills and can't find the book she needs so she yells more and I say fuck this noise and go find a place to sleep but I can STILL hear her tapping and tapping and yelling. Ma does this for hours and hours every single day. The other Ma mostly tells us not to eat STYRO-foam peanuts and dust bunnies and garlic skins but other other Ma taps all day long. Taps and yells. And stares. Lots of staring. Tapping and staring. And pacing and yelling and tapping. If she did less of this I could sleep in her chair which is nice because it smells like her butt.

Hubero P. Wu


Yeah, Well. Anyway. So, maybe cats aren't natural born bloggers.

Yesterday was a whole lot more of everything that happened on Monday. Which you can find out about by reading yesterday's entry, rather than me regurgitating the tedious catalog. Wanna be a writer? Learn to love the hell out of tedium. That's rule Number One. Today, with luck, I'm actually going to begin work on the short story I should have begun work on two days ago. Because being ahead of schedule is about to turn in to being behind schedule. Oh, and I packed boxes for the storage unit. And hung pictures that have been waiting two and a half years to be hung.

Please have a look at the Totally Unique Never-To-Be-Repeated Keyboard Auction. Thanks.

Also, don't forget the Question @ Hand, the best replies to which will appear in Sirenia Digest #65.


Last night we watched Julian Schnabel's Basquiat (1996), which I can't believe I'd never seen. But I hadn't. If I had only one word? Poignant. In almost all senses of the word. Bowie's portrayal of Andy Warhol is especially marvelous. Afterwards, we watched Grant Harvey's Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004), which I enjoyed quite a bit more than the first time I saw it. I fear, the first time, I was too weighed down by expectation. Regardless, second time around, I mostly just had fun with the violence and werewolves and sexy. Yeah, a weird as hell double feature. I know.

Later, we played Rift. I decided, finally, that my Kelari mage, Selwyn (necromancer, warlock, pyromancer), will be my main. Spooky played as her Kelari cleric, Miisya (using her druid soul). We were out in Stonefield with [ profile] stsisyphus's Kelari rogue, Celinn. Which was wicked fun, but Celinn needs a horsey. Or a vaiyuu. Either one. We may take up a collection, because, let me tell you, kittens, all that running across the plains of Rohan shit gets old fast. Selwyn made Level 22. Also, we need a fucking tank.

We read more of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

And that was yesterday. Whoopee.

Slogging Onward,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
All my best lives are lived in dreams.

Yesterday, being a day off, was, in the main, unremarkable, which is about the best I seem able to hope of my days off. (This is my journal and I may sound glum if I wish, and bugger off if you think any otherwise.)

There was torrential rain, and ferocious wind. The weather always becomes more interesting with the judicious application of adjectives.

I wore my pajamas all day, and we finished listening Madelaine L'Engle read A Wrinkle in Time. I may fundamentally disagree with L'Engle's cosmogony, which is distinctly Xtian, but I love this book, all the same. There was ramen for breakfast. There were brownies later on, and there was Chinese takeout for dinner. Late, there were those little Mystic frozen pizzas. There was a lot of WoW, because the weather was too crappy to venture out. Eyes of Sylvanas is beginning to feel a little like an actual guild, and there's talk of some coordinated play. We currently have 29 toons signed up. I finally got back to China Miéville's The Kraken, which I rather inexplicably set aside after the chaos of the Portland trip at the start of October. I took a nap in front of the fireplace. Spooky and I watched David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) again. Not sure which of us has seen it the most times, we've both seen in so many times. Just before sleep, Spooky read to me from Angela Carter.

Spooky has played a Worgen through the starting area, from Gilneas to Teldrassil. And, I quote, "That was so bad I wanted to die." So, I stand by my earlier assessment. Yes, Gilneas is beautifully designed. But the Worgen are a huge disappointment. Not scary. Not fun to play. Ridiculous to look at. And why do the females stand upright, while the males lurch and slump? The XX chromosomes must somehow protect the spine and pelvis of female werewolves. For that matter, the same is true of the trolls, now that I think of it. And if the Forsaken can be cannibals and scavenge their human kills, who don't the Worgan? Are furries too squeamish? Or is it because the Worgan are Alliance? Yet, I will say that it would be nice if Blizzard would gift the faux Brit accents of the Worgan and the people of Gilneas to the humans of Stormwind...who either sound like rednecks or Ned Flanders.

Today, I'm going to begin listening to the unabridged audiobook of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

And begin Chapter Three of The Drowning Girl. In which Imp may attempt to tell one version of the truth.

Last night, a curious thing occurred to me. These days, most of my favorite musicians are men, and most of my favorite authors are women. It wasn't always this way. In the 90s, most of the musicians I listened to were women, and when I was a teenager, my favorite authors were male. So, not sure what to make of this. A statistical burp, and probably nothing more.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Very, very cold in Providence today. Currently, 25F, though it feels like 12F. I can feel the cold in my bones (especially my lousy, rotten feet). I'm hoping snow comes soon. Somehow, snow makes it all easier.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,703 words on The Drowning Girl. Now that it's finally begun, after numerous false starts, it seems as though this novel is bleeding out of me. A torrent, it seems. I've been writing it to Clint Mansell's soundtrack to Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain (2006). I love both, the film and the soundtrack, but in 2007 I made the mistake of writing that Beowulf novelization to the soundtrack, which rather spoiled the music for me. So, now I'm taking it back, as They are wont to say.

What else was there to yesterday? I didn't leave the House, but I'd not expected to do so. After the writing, my hair was washed, as it badly needed washing. We listened to more of A Wrinkle in Time, as read by the author. There was another story from [ profile] blackholly's The Poison Eaters, this time "Rock Breaks Scissors." After dinner, we watched Michael Winterbottom's Code 46 (2003). I'm not even sure how I missed this film, all these years. I've been an admirer of Winterbottom's since The Claim in 2000. Anyway, it's a wonderfully soft-spoken sf film, all light and glass, fluorescence and desert sunlight. It's the sort of science fiction that doesn't dwell on the technology at the center of its plot, but focuses, rightly, on the characters. I very highly recommend it. Currently, it can be streamed via Netflix.

There was more WoW, but after the insanity of Tuesday night, there was also moderation. We played through a new chain of Forsaken missions with Shaharrazad and Suraa, wherein Sylvanas (my Dark Lady) leads her troops against an alliance of the Worgen of Gilneas and human men from Stormwind. I'm not going to drop spoilers, but it's some of the best stuff I've ever seen in WoW. All in all, I have very few complaints so far about the expansion. There are so many improvements. For one, their writers have either learned to write, or they've hired actual writers. There's not much that can be done about the poorly thought-out tangle that is the game's lore, but at least the writing's improved (and some of it is very, very funny). I think my major disappointment with Cataclysm has been the design of the Worgen. Though some great conceptual designs were considered by Blizzard, they finally went with a design not much better than the anthropomorphic cartoon animals of furry slash fic/art.

Yes, it really is that bad. Especially the female Worgen. It's this huge sour note in an otherwise (so far) amazing expansion. It's all the more a shame because the Worgen starting area, Gilneas, is so beautifully realized. Yo, Blizzard! You've actually managed to make werewolves less scary and less threatening than the frackin' gnomes! Sheesh. You had the chance to do this right, and you blew it. Fortunately, the rest is pretty damn cool.

Also, Hellscream called Sylvanas a "bitch." Which rather sealed my disgust with the new warchief. Hopefully, Thrall will be returning from his time spent communing with the elements very soon, and we can be rid of this tiny-headed asshole before the Horde is in utter shambles. Yes, I do sound like a raving fangirl waiting in line at San Diego ComiCon. My roots are showing. Sometimes, it happens.

Anyway...time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Of all my nightmares, there is one that is the worst. Even my nightmares of nuclear apocalypse pale by comparison. It came to me this morning, that worst of all my dreams. And now I'm trying to put it away.

Yesterday, I wrote 973 words on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats." It was a day of very, very slow and meticulous writing. This is probably a more ambitious short story than I needed to take on just now. Maybe it's my way of coping with not having gotten the Mars story written.

I got the news yesterday that A is for Alien has sold out at the publisher. Which pleases me, and means, among other things, that we will now be offering it on eBay soon.

The weather has turned cold, and I'm supposing the first real snow's not too far off.

Last night, I tried Dogfish Head's Chicory Stout, and was truly, truly impressed. And I'm a stout snob.

Oh, and before anyone mentions it, I am very skeptical about Catherine Hardwicke's forthcoming Red Riding Hood, despite the involvement of Leonardo Dicaprio and Gary Oldman. For one, Hardwicke directed the first Twilight film, and for another, there's a lot of crap in the trailer that looks tailored to the paranormal romance/shifter crowd. Oh, and there's Billy Burke's absurdly anachronistic haircut. That haircut causes me pain. It hurts. I'm also annoyed at the articles calling this a "bold new take on 'Little Red Riding Hood,'" because it certainly isn't a new take. So, yeah, we shall see.

And do, please, not forget that today is the Twelfth Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
The heat comes back today. And we have a yellow air alert. The public transit system is running for free in hopes of discouraging drivers. In Birmingham and Atlanta, "yellow-alert air" is what Coca Cola bottles and sells for the three months of red air alerts that are the summer. Regardless, we will not be joining the hordes of skanky tourists filing to and back from the beaches.

Yesterday was a rather exceptional writing day. I did 1,844 words on the Next New Novel. More importantly, I think I finally found my way into this book that's been eluding me for the better part of a year. Which leads to the announcement about the novel that I've been avoiding making. Remember when I said that there was a sort of impromptu workshop late one night at Readercon 21, during which lots of folks (Sonya Taaffe, Geoffrey Goodwin, Michael Cisco, Greer Gilman, Erik Amundsen, and Gemma Files) helped me talk through some of the Big Problems I was having with it? Actually, looking back, it was really more like a literary intervention.

This arose, basically, from realizing that the "werewolf" book I was trying (and failing) to write could just as easily be a "mermaid" book. That the story would hardly change at all, swapping the wolf for a siren, and that several of the narrative problems I was having would be eliminated by jettisoning the wolf. Plus, there's my strong affinity to the sea to help drive the book. And so, that Saturday night, that Sunday morning, I made the decision.

And The Wolf Who Cried Girl became The Drowning Girl.

My only real regret is losing the original title, but I did use it for a short story long before I began trying to write the "werewolf" novel. (Note: There's a reason for those quotations marks. The "werewolf" in The Wolf Who Cried Girl was to have been about as close to people's conceptions of a traditional werewolf as the eponymous tree of The Red Tree is to traditional vampires. Likewise with the "mermaid" of The Drowning Girl, which begins not at the ocean, but a river in Massachusetts. Well, actually, it begins in an art museum.

Anyway, yes. The Next New Novel has undergone a necessary metamorphosis. Though, I will, in some sense, be preserving elements of The Wolf Who Cried Girl within The Drowning Girl, perhaps as an Albert Perrault exhibition.

Not much else to say about yesterday. But do please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Some eight and a half hours sleep last night. Clearly, I'm making up for lost time. Vague memories of a dream, standing on a bridge looking down into crystal clear water (a recurring dream), somewhere in Florida. I watched shoals of fish and huge crayfish scuttling along the bottom.

Yesterday, I did 838 words on "The Maltese Unicorn," and found myself much nearer THE END than I'd expected I would. I'd thought I'd be at least Monday getting to the conclusion. Now, I'm planning today to make a big and merciless push towards that last word. I've been working on this story much too long. It's time to be done with it.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, The Ammonite Violin & Others is still available in the trade hardback edition.

Last night, after dinner, I watched a new Nova documentary on Mount St. Helens (I was only 15, almost 16, when it erupted on May 18th, 1980). And then we watched Joe Johnston's The Wolfman (2010), which was actually quite good. It was refreshing to get an old-school werewolf film, instead of all the nonsense about clans, otherkin, "lycans," and such (and for that, I blame White Wolf's werewolf rpg, the Underworld films, and a host of crappy paranormal romance novels that have reduced werewolves to "shifters"). Though ostensibly a remake of George Waggner's 1941 The Wolf Man (scripted by Curt Siodmak), Johnston's grandly atmospheric film pays homage to both the classic Hammer films and Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). A great score by Danny Elfman (again, very reminiscent of Wojciech Kilar's score for Coppola's Dracula), and the cast is excellent through and through. It doesn't hurt that Benecio del Toro bears an uncanny resemblance to Lon Chaney, Jr., and Anthony Hopkins is nicely creepy. The transformation sequences are excellent, though I didn't find the end result nearly as menacing or otherworldly as the old-fashioned werewolf makeup effects from (again) Bram Stoker's Dracula. In fact, if I have any single gripe with Johnston's film it would be its reliance on CGI. Why was the trained bear in the gypsy camp done with CGI, and the stag that's used as bait for the werewolf? In both those cases, the sfx fall flat, though they usually work with the monster. The actual makeup was done by Rick Baker, by the way. Anyway, yes, I strongly recommend this one.

Afterwards, we watched a Dutch film, Ole Christian Madsen's Flammen & Citronen (2008), which was also excellent, and there's a lot I could say about it, but I've gone on so long about The Wolfman that I really need to wrap this up.

Yesterday was the birthday of the father of sociobiology*, E. O. Wilson (born in 1929). Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

The platypus is ready for the home stretch.

* Yes, I know that John Paul Scott was likely the first to use the term sociobiology, but it was Wilson who brought the field into its own (and took so much flack early on).
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
A grey, chilly day here in Providence.

Nothing has been written in...well, days. And that brings me to a sort of announcement. Since August, I've been trying to make a beginning of the next novel, The Wolf Who Cried Girl. That's more than eight months. And since January I've been doing little else. And what I have to show for it is several false starts, three major plot revisions, two thousand words that might be usable, and something verging on nervous exhaustion. So, on Saturday, after writing about 200 words, and erasing about two hundred words, and after a long conversation with Kathryn, I decided that, for now, I'm shelving the novel to concentrate on things that I can write. The novel is due in September, so...well, we shall see.

This isn't the first time this has happened, that a novel has simply refused to come when I call. It happened in 1999 with Trilobite (which eventually became Threshold), and then it happened again with Murder of Angels in 2001, which I gave up on after two and a half chapters, but went back to in 2003 and finished. I hope that after I step back, concern myself with other projects, and give the thing some space, that, sooner or later (let's hope sooner), the words I need to write The Wolf Who Cried Girl will come to me.

For now, I will focus primarily on Sirenia Digest and various short-story commissions.


Yesterday, Kathryn and I got out of the House and spent some time at the Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street. I prowled shelves of very old books, looking for stories. Spooky proofread the galley pages for the mass-market paperback edition of The Red Tree. She's finding very few typos/mistakes, which is a relief. I took some photos as we walked along Benefit Street. The spring colors have come early this year:

12 April 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Sunny and warm here in Providence. I finally begin to believe spring has arrived.

Yesterday, I sat here all day and wrote less than 300 words on the new beginning of the first chapter of The Wolf Who Cried Girl, but I'm not sure any of them are words I'll actually hang onto. So, the beginning has, I suspect, yet to begin in earnest.

Novels are always difficult things for me to get underway. I refuse not to fear a bad "first draft," as I do not write novels in drafts. I write the novel. If it has to be rewritten, I've failed to do my job right the first time. And, truthfully, this is no slower a way to work than authors who take for granted that three or four drafts will be needed to get things correct. I cannot abide repetitive tasks, and, for me, that's what rewriting is, a tedious, repetitive task. If it were necessary, I'd not be a novelist.

I know that much of the novel is set in Olneyville, and I know that the protagonist (to use the word loosely) takes long nocturnal drives in rural western Rhode Island and northeastern Connecticut to help herself through those times when she's having trouble sculpting. After sitting at the iMac all day yesterday, I left the House, and Kathryn drove me out Hartford Avenue from Olneyville Square, west towards the state line. The sunset was fiery, a red-orange inferno hovering above the purple horizon. Hartford Avenue becomes Route 6A/Hartford Pike, through Johnston and Scituate and Foster (and south of Ponaganset and Gloucester), and we followed 6A all the way to Connecticut. The air through the windows of the car was chilly, and smelled of growing things and receding flood waters and, occasionally, of dead skunks. We passed Rhode Island's highest point, Jerimoth Hill, a lowly 812 feet above sea level. The land out that way alternates between marshy woods and rocky, forested hills strewn with boulders. Old houses loom along the roadside. The night was filled with the sound of frogs. It's always a comfort to hear frogs these days, given how their numbers have declined in recent decades.

About 7: 30 p.m., we drove through East Killingly, Killingly Center, Dayville, and Pomfret. At Mashamoquet State Park, we passed Wolf Den Drive (named for Isreal Putnam, who is reputed to have murdered Connecticut's last wolf in a nearby cave in 1742). By this time, it was full dark, and we turned north onto Ye Old Windham Road (also Route 97/Hampton Road), a narrow two-lane affair bordered by dense tangles of hardwoods and greenbriars, drystone walls and pastureland. We circled back to 6A, and headed home around 8 p.m. I'm fairly certain the book's opening scene will be take place somewhere near Route 97 in Connecticut (though most of the novel is set in Providence). Somewhere along the road, we stopped at a doughnut and coffeeshop called Baker's Dozen (buy a dozen, get thirteen). Very good doughnuts, like Dunkin' Doughnuts used to taste. On the way back to Providence, I dozed a bit. We made it back about 9 p.m., and stopped for Chinese takeout. Driving west, we listened to Arcade Fire (Neon Bible); driving home, we listened to Radiohead (Iron Lung).

And later, insomnia. I slept maybe six hours, with the help of Ambien (which means I'm still not awake). It's never good to go to bed with a mood as black as mine was last night, but I tired of trying to keep myself distracted and only wanted to lie down. Not sleep. I rarely want to sleep.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
The sun is still with us. The day is bright, and Rhode Island is slowly coming to terms with the flooding— which, technically, is not yet over, as rivers continue to crest. Amtrak is still not running through the state, but I-95 reopened late yesterday.

All subscribers to Sirenia Digest should have #52 in their inboxes. If you haven't gotten it, speak up. I'm very happy with #52. Among other things, we've finally transitioned to having something like a genuine cover, instead of merely a title page. I'd love to hear reactions to the issue here today.

Yesterday was not exactly a work day, but nor was it a day off. The galley pages for the mass-market paperback edition of The Red Tree arrived from NYC. They have to be proofed and back to Roc by the 15th. There are mistakes that made their way into the first edition that have to be corrected. But yesterday, I only opened the envelope and glanced at the pages. This edition will be out in September.

Other bits of yesterday: Hubero lay on my desk, basking in the sun and fresh air coming in through the open office window; Spooky and I shared a corned beef and coleslaw sandwich from the Hudson Street deli; we had a walk, that took us to Dexter Training Ground and the Armory, where there were dogs and children and budding trees, clover and green grass (photos tomorrow); I had a long hot bath; I read an article from the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology; I talked with Bill Schafer about the new Ray Bradbury volume they're about to release, A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories, which comes complete with a beautiful cover by the incomparable Joseph Mugnaini (1912-1992); Spooky made Spanish rice with chicken and pintos for dinner; and so forth. It was a day. A not bad day. There are far too few of those.

I announced last night on Facebook that I'm planning to have my back, shoulders, and both arms tattooed, and I think, the date being April 1st, no one believed me. But the announcement wasn't a prank. I'm talking with Vince about designing the three pieces. The first, which I hope would be done this summer, will be an octopus that will cover my entire back, shoulders to upper buttocks. But the whole series of tattoos would be sea themed (extinct and extant creatures), and very colorful. My skin has been blank far too long. I'm racing towards forty-six-years-old, and I want this done. There will be trilobites and bladderack, eels and eurypterids. I have to find a local tattoo artist I'm comfortable with. I expect the whole tattoo will take a couple of years to complete, beginning, hopefully, this summer.

In the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, I've made my way through several articles over the last week: "Bistahieversor sealeyi, gen. et sp. nov., a new tyrannosauroid from New Mexico and the origin of deep snouts in Tyrannosauroidea"; "A reappraisal of the origin and basal radiation of the Osteichthyes"; and "Demythologizing Arctodus simus, the 'short-faced' long-legged predaceous bear that never was." The third article was especially interesting, as it turns out that A. simus (fossils date from about 800,000-12,500 years ago), while truly gigantic, may not have been the "super-predator" it has often been characterized as being (it has even been invoked as an agent for delaying the radiation of Homo sapiens in North America); indeed, it appears also not to have been particularly short faced or long legged, when compared to various extant bear species.

Late last night— well, early this morning — as I was drifting off to sleep, there was a bump somewhere in the house. I came awake with a start, which startled Spooky awake. And my head was suddenly filled with new ideas— an entirely new approach —for The Wolf Who Cried Girl Spooky switched on the light and I jotted everything down (this was about 3:16 a.m.), so I wouldn't forget any of it. I am newly excited about the long-delayed novel.

As promised, here are a few screencaps from the ongoing Insilico rp, the latest incarnation of the Xiang AI (played by me), inside her Faraday cage:

Rebuilding the Perfect Beast, or Fifth's Secret )
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
We have sun again this morning, after many sunless days. It helps, though it would help more if warmth had come with the sun. The wind is gusting to 29mph, so it feels quite a bit cooler than it is. We are promised tomorrow will be better. The rivers are still cresting.

I have a "doctor's" appointment today at three p.m., which means we have to leave at 2:30 p.m., which, considering I didn't wake up until 11 a.m., rather screws any chance for a productive day. Of course, I had all of yesterday at my disposal and managed not to be very productive. Despite the "eureka" of Sunday, doubts remained. I sat and stared at the words that were not getting written. I reread Bruno Bettelheim's essay (1975) on "Little Red Riding Hood" (which doesn't hold nearly as much water with me as it once did). Spooky and I talked through various aspects of The Wolf Who Cried Girl. I discovered a perfect epigraph, which is about as close as I came to actually writing.

Here's the piece on The Red Tree I mentioned on the 14th, courtesy Rob Suggs (I'm pretty sure this is a different Rob Suggs than the guy who writes all those creepy Xtian books for children, by the way):

My mother used to tell us about wonderful books she saw when she was growing up in the thirties. They were mysteries whose final solution could only be seen by working a jigsaw puzzle that came with the book. I’ve never been attracted to the sterile neatness of straightforward mysteries, but I do like the idea of having lots of thinking and fitting to do after a book is complete. The Red Tree gives me that.

Many readers, of course, want to do anything but think—before, during and after their reading. All should be neatly wrapped up, as with the multiple weddings at the end of an early Dickens. But I’ve always loved Aickman. The best ghost novel ever written, for my money, is
The Haunting of Hill House; I see The Red Tree as a Hill House for these times (realizing, of course, that there are many other inspirational texts; they’re obvious throughout, and even cataloged in the afterword). This is Algernon Blackwood’s great-granddaughter describing what happened in the forest behind Hill House, perhaps.

At the end, we know that Eleanor has had more than a homecoming; she doesn’t simply belong at Hill House, but it is who she is. The yawning corridors are the compartments of her psyche. Or, as a shade told Jack in
The Shining, “You have always been the caretaker.” So it is with Sarah Crowe, a name so reminiscent of A Little Princess of Frances Hodgson Burnett; what irony there. (The Red Tree is more like a twisted Secret Garden, which also contains Freudian landscaping).

Sarah, like Jack and Eleanor, has come home forever, without knowing it. Her identity merges with the little house in the big woods, and isn’t that what really happens when we’re deeply depressed? We dig into some dark hovel, hating it even as we find sanctuary there. The Wight house is the architecture of clinical depression. There is the main floor, where Sarah lives out her conscious, day to day existence, sitting at a kitchen table, gazing out at a strangely frightening world that should be a beautiful one, and not working. In the elevated place above her, we find the artist. The artist is a younger, more physically beautiful spirit who comes down occasionally to converse with the conscious Sarah; to love, to quarrel, to walk together. The artist’s version of a ghost story (in a book of many kinds) is notably neat, uplifting, symmetrical to the point of ringing false. Constance tells it in the 1901 “Steps” tale. We’re never certain whether to believe it; real terror, as Sarah knows on the main floor, is never so tidy.

And then, at the bottom of it all, is of course the cellar. It is the place where Sarah is least comfortable. The artist is youth and beauty and hope, but at the foundation is something much the opposite: shocking age, rank decay, and despair. Abandon hope all ye who enter here: to explore is to become lost. It is truly this event which begins the ending for the doomed heroine of the novel. As we come to the final chapters, the puzzle pieces begin to assemble themselves, and Sarah faces truths she cannot live with. To leave the house would be an irrelevant action, because what is inside her cannot be thrown off like an old skin; and the artist has made its last showing and vanished. The attic is not only a place of dust again, but Sarah believes it to have been one all along.

The readers, of course, know better. They have been tipped off from the very beginning that it is Constance who is a real, living person and Sarah who now belongs to the ages. Here is the sadness: our suspicion that Sarah is a far better artist than she knows, and has allowed herself to be consumed by her own depression.

Much more, of course, can be said about The Red Tree, particularly in its traditional elements of terror and the supernatural. Like all fine books, there are multiple layers here. I hope many more volumes along these lines will follow.

This is, by the way, the very first reader, to my knowledge to hit upon the origin of the protagonist's name, that I borrowed it (albeit in a slightly altered form) from Frances Hodgson Burnett.


If you've not already, you should have a look at Spooky's most recent doll, which you may see at her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks.

As for last night...a bath, and I washed my hair. I did a couple of short scenes in Insilico. Played a little WoW. When I finally crawled off to bed, Spooky read me Robert McCloskey's Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man (1963). As we were trying to go to sleep, we played a sadistic game that consisted of lodging the theme songs of television sitcoms in one another's heads.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Here in Providence, the weather is still chilly and the rain is still beating at the windows. The flood warnings continue. Winds are gusting to 29mph. It's bleak, and I try not to look out the windows, but the raw sound of the wind is constantly drawing my eyes in that direction. Oh, for a sunny, hot, summer day.

Yesterday was a sort of triumph, I think. I say this with great caution. Spooky and I sat down to talk our way through the tangle that The Wolf Who Cried Girl (the next novel) had become. We talked, and we talked, and we talked. My purpose was simple, to pare down the very plot-heavy novel that I'd concocted back in January and December (with the aid of Geoffrey and Sonya). I started out by saying something like, "Screw the plot." Indeed, I wrote in one of my notebooks, "Plot is the enemy; mood and character and theme, these are the things that matter." So, we talked about India Phelps and Eva Canning and Albert Perrault (who has been dead almost a decade when the novel opens). We talked about fairy tales. In particular, various takes on "Little Red Riding Hood." We talked about art and artists, sculpture and stage acting. And the excess layers of plot began to fall away, so that I could see the heart of this thing. I made pages and pages of notes.

I think the greatest single "eureka" moment was deciding that this novel can be written in an epistolary form, even though I "just" did that with The Red Tree. The big difference is that in The Wolf Who Cried Girl, the story will be told by more than a single journal, alternating between India and her lover, Eva, and possibly with excerpts from Albert Perrault's Werewolf Smile, as well as excerpts from books written about Perrault. It will be a novel about obsession, both artistic and sexual. Some of the themes that dominated my original vision for the book have been jettisoned or given considerably less importance. There will be some overlap with The Red Tree, I think. Joseph Fearing Olney may be mentioned, and the writings of Sarah Crowe may also be mentioned.

The novel will be set almost entirely in Providence. India and Eva will have a loft in Olneyville, and when I realized that, despite the foul weather, I got dressed and had Spooky drive me over to Olneyville to "scout locations." I always, always do this before I begin a novel, as I always mean my settings to be real places, or abstractions of real places. I already had the loft in mind, but we saw a lot of other interesting architecture, and will be going back on a sunny day in order to see far more than we saw yesterday. All in all, Olneyville is one of those parts of Providence that reminds me of Birmingham— abandoned warehouses and factories, a desolate post-industrial landscape. Some of the photos I took are behind the cut:

14 March 2010 )

So...yes. I think this novel has finally become something that I can write.
greygirlbeast: (Eli6)
Last night there was sleep, last night and this morning. I didn't find it until about four a.m., but then I proceeded to sleep eight hours, without Ambien (or anything else). I've not slept that much at a stretch in forever. So, I dub today the beginning of the New Restoration. I almost feel rested. Spooky and I fell asleep talking about how marvelous is Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, especially the Hatter and the March Hare, the Bandersnatch and the battle with the Jabberwocky.

Here in Providence, it's rainy and drear and chilly and windy. I do very much love New England, but it's, it's impossible...not to miss the spring that must presently be springing in Atlanta and Birmingham. Here, we likely have another month of winter ahead of us.

Yesterday was every sort of hell that one receives when one agrees to be a novelist. I sat here, trying to begin The Wolf Who Cried Girl. I sat, and I sat, and I sat. All day, I sat. I wrote three sentences, and likely none of them are any good. Today, I will either sit again, or I'll go to the library and sit there. I only have to find my way in, now that I've scaled the novel back. I know this is primarily a novel about a sculptor named India Phelps and her obsession with the art of Albert Perrault (whom you may remember from "The Road of Pins," "La Peau Verte," "Last Drink Bird Head," "Rappaccini's Dragon (Murder Ballad No. 5)," and probably a few other stories I'm not recalling just now). I know it is also about her lover, whose name is Eva Canning, who is a stage actress. I know it's set in Providence, and is sort of a werewolf story, though I suspect there are no actual werewolves in it. I know it's very much about sex, and art, and repressed and/or taboo desires. I ought to be able to make a beginning, knowing all of that.

Last night, we watched the new episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and marveled at the sweaty man flesh and the cheesy dialogue (oh, and the severed penis). Later, I had a very good roleplay in Insilico. It was very good, and I thank Molly and Fifth for it. It was so good, in fact, I shall likely edit the long transcript and post it on my page at the Insilico Ning. But...that said, it left me (and by "me" I mean the typist, the player, not the character of Victoria [Xiang 1.5]) rattled and uneasy, angry with myself and feeling foolish. I am not accustomed to playing (or writing) characters who are naive, innocent, effectively adolescent, and so forth. Which is precisely what Victoria is, a self-aware AI slowly, painfully coming of age in a harsh, ugly world that wants no part of self-aware AI. And, both as the character and as the player, I have repeatedly done, well, dumb and childish things. I know this is because I immerse myself so deeply in a character that I can only do what she would do in a given situation. But the effects of those actions can be devastating to a character, as they were last night to Victoria. As for last night, she appears to have survived, and this hasn't spiraled into another catastrophe— of the sort that got Xiang 1.0 killed, and Xiang 2.0b boxed, and Victoria tossed out on the street —but she has, of course, been changed on some level forever and for good (which is not necessarily to say for the better).

Have you pre-ordered your copy of The Ammonite Violin & Others, with cover art by Richard A. Kirk and an introduction by Jeff VanderMeer? If not, you should correct this oversight immediately.

And now I should wrap this up, and see what sort of today today will be.

A bruised full moon play fights with the stars.
This place is our prison, its cells are the bars.
So, take me to town. I want to dance with the city.
Show me something ugly, and show me something pretty.
(Editors, "The Boxer")
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yeah, I've missed a couple of days.

1. On Sunday, I wrote 1,069 words, and finished the prologue to The Wolf Who Cried Girl. Or, at least I hoped that I had. I had a hot bath, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We were having Sonya ([ profile] sovay) and Geoffrey ([ profile] readingthedark) over, and Sonya's train arrived at 7:20 p.m. (CaST). I didn't want to go out in the cold, especially considering I'd left the House only the day before to go down to Warwick (office supplies, etc.). But Spooky more or less ordered me to go along. So, I bundled up and braved the glacier slicking our driveway.

Not too long after we got back, Geoffrey arrived. And since we're on the second floor and our doorbell is broken, he announced his arrival by hurling a snowball at the window. Which worked. We got takeout from Fellini's on Wikenden. And then I read everyone the prologue (Spooky had not yet heard the end of it). It was met with approval, and I was tremendously relieved. Now, I only have to find my way into Chapter One. Afterwards, there was much good conversations, topics ranging from Readercon, sea chanteys, vile "salads" involving Jell-O and mayonnaise, Baudelaire and Nabokov, Lovecraft and how much the "holiday" season sucks, Crowley and how Cormac McCarthy was arrested in the seventies for having public sex with a watermelon and...I don't know. Lots and lots of things. But, then I had a moderate seizure, sometime after midnight. The worst of it was that I bit my tongue. Still, we watched Luc Besson's The Fifth Element (1997), which Sonya had never seen. Despite the way the seizure had left me feeling— foggy and wiped out —I didn't get to bed until about 5 a.m. (CaST).

2. On Monday, there was more conversation. Sonya had to catch a train back to Boston at 2:30ish. This time, I was not forced out into the cold. Geoffrey stayed, and we talked until dusk, when he headed back to Framingham. It was a good visit (my fit notwithstanding), and I wish I'd have people over more often. Of course, then less would get written. Last night, Spooky and I watched four more episodes of Fringe. I want a T-shirt that says, "Unless your IQ is higher than mine, I don't care."*

3. I want to remind everyone in the Brooklyn/Manhattan area, I'll be part of a Lovecraft Unbound reading this coming Friday night (January 15th) at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn. Naturally, I'll be reading from "Houses Under the Sea." And this will be my last public appearance until ReaderCon in July.

4. If you've not already, the platypus urges you to preorder The Ammonite Violin & Others.

5. The last week or so, I have allowed myself to wander back into Second Life. I thought I was out for good, but that aforementioned desperation for the lives that can only be lived through avatars and free-form roleplay with a visual interface drove me back in. It hasn't gone well, and I may now be in the process of seeking an exit strategy, or at least searching for a sim where morons make up somewhat less than 95% of the virtual population. Which is probably utterly futile. But it's so hard for me to give up on something I waited for all my life. It ought to be brilliant, and, instead, SL is a haven for the worst of the worst of the internet. I loathe SL, passionately, and yet it keeps drawing me back in.

6. Lastly, I'm getting some truly grand responses to the two polls— "If I were a monster you could summon...." and "If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to" —those polls. There was something genuinely amazing last night from [ profile] jacobluest. Anyway, I'll be reading your responses for at least another week and a half, maybe two. Thanks to everyone who has answered.

* 147-149, depending whether I refer to the test of '81 or the test of '90, respectively. Both were administered by licensed psychologists.
greygirlbeast: (white)
We awoke to a dusting of new snow.

Yesterday, I managed to write what might be the first 1,255 words on the prologue of The Wolf Who Cried Girl. I won't really know if I'm on the right track until I read it again today, but I do have some faint hope of finishing the prologue this afternoon. Unless I have to throw these words out and start anew; I am having a great deal of difficulty finding the tone of this novel, finding its voice.

But yeah, a much better day, as far as writing is concerned.

Also, well...there is some really cool news regarding the adaptation of The Red Tree, but I haven't yet asked permission to share it, so that will have to wait.'s cool.


Also, yesterday I started reading "A reevaluation of the manus structure in Triceratops (Ceratopsia; Ceratopsidae)," and finished Alan Weisman's brilliant The World Without Man (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007). It's not an easy book to read, even when you already have a pretty good idea how much human beings have loused up this planet. And yet, despite the catalog of extinctions and poisons (including dioxins which will still be here when the sun finally novas, billions of years after humans have finally become extinct), it is a book laced through and through with hope. Because it calmly and with good science assures us that life on Earth will continue long after Homo sapiens is gone, even if Homo sapiens will have forever altered the course of evolution. As marine biologist Eric Sala put it (quoted by Weisman), "If the planet can recover from the Permian, it can recover from the human." And that is a comforting thought, indeed. I strongly urge you to find and read this book, and again I thank David Szydloski for kindly sending me a copy.

There is a passage I would like to quote, if only because it tackles a problem that virtually no one is even willing to discuss, even as we see ecosystems collapse and the climate change accelerate, that of voluntary human population control:

"Yet the biggest elephant of all is a figurative one in the planet-sized room that is ever harder to ignore, although we keep trying. Worldwide, every four days human population rises by 1 million...

The intelligent solution would require the courage and the wisdom to put our knowledge to the test. It would be poignant and distressing in ways, but not fatal. It would henceforth limit every human female on Earth capable of bearing children to one.

The numbers resulting from such a draconian measure, fairly applied, are tricky to predict with precision: Fewer births, for example, would lower infant mortality, because resources would be devoted to protecting each precious member of the latest generation. Using the United Nation's medium scenario for life expectancy though 2050 as a benchmark, Dr. Sergei Scherbov, who is the research group leader at the Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and an analyst for the World Population Program, calculated what would happen to human population if, from now on, all fertile women have only one child (in 2004, the rate was 2.6 births per female; in the medium scenario that would lower to about two children by 2050).

If this somehow began tomorrow, our current 6.5 billion human population would drop by 1 billion by the middle of the century. (If we continue as projected, it will reach 9 billion.) At that point, keeping to one-child-per-mother, life on Earth for all species would change dramatically. Because of natural attrition, today's bloated human population bubble would not be reinflated at anything near the former pace. By 2075, we would have reduced our presence by almost half, down to 3.43 billion, and our impact by much more., because so much of what we do is magnified by chain reactions set off through the ecosystem.

By 2100, less than a century from now, we would be at 1.6 billion: back to levels last seen in the 19th century, just before quantum advances in energy, medicine, and food production doubled our numbers and then doubled us again. At the time, those discoveries seemed like miracles. Today, like too much of any good thing, we indulge in more only at our peril.

At such far-more-manageable numbers, however, we would have the benefit of all our progress plus the wisdom to keep our presence under control. That wisdom would come partly from losses and extinctions too late to reverse, but also from the growing joy of watching the world daily become more wonderful. The evidence wouldn't hide in statistics. It would be outside every human's window, where refreshed air would fill each season with more birdsong."

Of course, I do not believe this is remotely possible. Weisman is essentially correct, in theory, but I think he vastly underestimates humanity's hardwired need to reproduce, and reproduce, and reproduce, even if reproduction, ironically, means its own present misery and premature extinction (and that of so many other species). He ignores selfishness and short-sightedness. He ignores greed. He ignores all those countless differences in religion and ideology that keep humanity divided and always at one another's throats. Ultimately, it is a solution humans are neither smart enough nor humane enough to choose. But it is a grand thought, that human beings would willingly step back from the precipice and start putting things back together again.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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