greygirlbeast: (white)
I don't think I have anything in me today worthy of an actual entry, than to note The Day, and perhaps a couple of other minor this or that.

Yesterday, as regards those who are too cool for school, and who, on general principle, cannot possibly enjoy a film like Cowboys and Aliens, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack wrote:

Everyone's too Hip and Cool to enjoy fun any more. It's like the whole world is an uptight teenager trying to impress everyone with how grown up it is, by smoking behind the toilets, looking bored, and mocking everything. Balls to that. I invoke The Law Of Awesome in this place, none of that bullshit here, thank you.

Indeed. Though, the word awesome, overused to a state of wearisome threadbareness, is beginning to grate.

And yes, I came to westerns very early in my life, and I've loved them ever since.

As for that "variant" spelling of Siobhan, it was a typo (which may appear throughout the manuscript, I don't know), though there are very many variants of the name, which is the feminized version of the Gaelic appropriation of John.

Also, I'm discovering I hate MMORPG culture. A lot of immature, ignorant, dick-measuring, pigheaded motherfuckers.

And.

Today marks the sixteenth anniversary of Elizabeth's suicide. She would be 40.

And there's this, which is a song we shared, and which she loved, in a time and place that is gone.

I still have this.

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Better late than never. Well, that's always been a dubious adage, but whatever.

I begin to see a trend. When I was writing The Red Tree I became, in some sense, Sarah Crowe. When I was writing The Drowning Girl, I became India Morgan Phelps. And now that I'm writing Blood Oranges, I find myself becoming Siobahn Quinn. No, this didn't used to happen.

Yesterday, as predicted, was spent pulling the Digest together, writing the prolegomenon etc. Finding the cover image, and the ending for the back page. What the fuck is wrong with LiveJournal that is doesn't fucking know how to fucking spell "prolegomenon"? Anyway, I also took care of some last minute details regarding Two Worlds and In Between, which goes to the printer any day now.

Red Bull and benzodiazepines. Two great tastes that go great together. Oh, look! LiveJournal can't spell "benzodiazepines," either. Ah, the brilliant internet.

Hot Outside, here in Providence. Well, hot for Providence.

Good RP in Rift last night. Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. You guys don't know what you're missing. If we're gonna let these computers ruin our lives, and change what it means to be human, we might as well have some fun with it, right?

---

Just back from a matinée of Jon Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens. And I loved it. Almost unconditionally. You know what I said about how we need B-movies? Well, it's true. But this film unexpectedly transcends a category I expected it to fall within. It's simply a good movie. Maybe not great cinema, but a good movie. And, right now, I'll settle for that. The cast is marvelous, top to bottom: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford (who actually does more than play Harrison Ford), Clancy Brown, Olivia Wilde, Keith Carradine, etc. Someone was mouthing off on IMDb about (Oh, it can spell "IMDb"!) this being the "worst idea for a film ever." It is nothing of the sort. Why assume alien invasions would always come in the present (or, perhaps, the future)? Anyway, as to the central premise, to quote Stephen Hawking:

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.

A point which is touched upon in the film. The Native American bit, I mean. Obviously, the subject of the film is an alien race seeking to exploit the Earth, and willing to commit genocide to do it. Wait. There has to be another word, one for wiping out an entire, particular species to get what you need. Sure, the end result is extinction, but there ought to be a word for the process. Ah. Extermination. That will do.

Anyway, yes. A very, very good, fun, and moving film, working both as a Western and an SF film. I recommend it unconditionally. Unless you're too jaded for the fundamental concept and go into the theatre needing to be convinced. Here we are now, entertain us. If that's your attitude, save the price of admission and stay home. But I give it a solid two thumbs up.

---

I think Frank the Goat is feeling better. Now if someone would just teach him how to spell.

Up to Here,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
This really needs to be short. Too much to do today, so that I can get back to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and begin Chapter Four tomorrow.

---

Yesterday was, indeed, a day off, and we saw the Coen Bros. remake of True Grit (or perhaps we should say their adaptation, since both films have been based on Charles Portis' 1968 novel). And I was nothing but pleased. I actually almost cried at the end, in part because the Coen Bros. adhere much more closely to the novel's ending than did the original Henry Hathaway film (1969). Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges nail their roles, and are an absolute joy to watch. I'm too groggy to do anything but burble kindly adjectives, but it really is an excellent film. Beautiful cinematography. Wonderfully bleak soundtrack, including vocals by Iris DeMent. Yes, this goes on my list of best films of 2010, as I knew it would. Even though we had to see it in a freezing closet on a smallish screen. At least the screen was flat. All the good screens were given over to crap like Tron and Little Fockers (shudder). Never mind that True Grit is performing better at the box office than Tron. Anyway, yes. See True Grit, whether you like westerns or not.

Last night, we waded back into WoW (rather literally), and Shah and Suraa made a bid for Level 83. We fell a few bars short, but tomorrow's another day I'll squander on MMORPGs and all that rot. Having finished with Mount Hygal, we were shipped of the to sunken subcontinent of Vashj'ir. At first, being underwater and riding seahorses was a novelty, but it very quickly became tedious. I never would have imagined I wouldn't love a game set under the sea, but there you go. The quests are horridly repetitive, even by WoW standards. Kill nagas, find lost stuff, kill nagas, find lost stuff, rinse, repeat. But we'll see it through to the end. I just wish this section were as well designed, questwise, as was Mount Hygal. The environments are beautifully rendered, but...once you realize you can ride any mount at the bottom of the sea, well, it just all sort of gets too silly after that. Also, I was very disappointed that the Vashj'ir stuff begins as an expedition to thwart the Alliance, but immediately becomes this other thing instead.

---

A weird time for me right now. I have some fear that my meds aren't working, which means upping the dosage, which means more of the bad side effects and more expense. But when they work, they work, which is infinitely fucking better than before. And I'm slipping into one of those places where it becomes almost impossible to see any value in my own writing. Here are the hundreds of stories, all these novels, and have I done it right even once? I can hardly even make a living, and that might be fine if I could look at my writing and know that I've done a good job. Right now, I can't. Most times I can't. It's worse now than usual.

Sorry. Enough of that.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was wretched. Not much point watering down the truth. My head wasn't right, and my guts were worse. I spent a good bit of the day in bed. No writing was done. I didn't go Outside. Nothing was accomplished.

We shall see what today will be.

There were a few "slits of light" to yesterday. Peter sent me a copy of The Juniper Tree And Other Blue Rose Stories (Subterranean Press). The mail brought a very small royalty check from Steve Jones in London, for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.

Then last night, after trying to sit up awhile, I went back to bed. Spooky and I watched the newest episode of Project Runway (I really, really love Mondo). We watched two episodes of some exceptionally ridiculous Animal Plant cryptozoology series. The first imagined a plesiosaur in Monterey Bay; the second was about the "Oklahoma Octopus." Gotta say, if I were younger, I'd start a punk band called Oklahoma Octopus. Anyway, then we watched J.T. Petty's The Burrowers (2008), which, quite unexpectedly, turned out to be marvelous. It belongs to that all too neglected genre, the Weird Western. There are a few missed notes: the start is a little slow, and I could have done without the final shot, which was unnecessary. But, all in all, well acted, well filmed, and creepy as hell. It's one of those rare dark films where things start out very bad and just keep getting worse, spiraling down to a place no one and nothing can ever escape. The Burrowers can be streamed free from Netflix. Check it out.

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

---

A comment from [livejournal.com profile] dragau, from day before yesterday (or the day before that), back to the subject of the lack of characterization in Neal Stephenson's novels:

Often when I read Stephenson, I feel the omission you describe, that his characters are indifferent toward their mindless drudgery of existence, and they follow their paths as pawns lacking anything better to do, their lives predestined. For the Baroque Cycle, I was hoping for a novel on par with Gary Jennings. Instead, we got an extended soap opera like War and Peace with its cookie-cutter characterization. After my disappointment with Anathema, I will be waiting to buy used paperbacks of his future novels.

As a measure of comparison, I think Stephenson serves better in contrast with your own stories. Many of your own characters also experience the drudgery and recognize the futility of fighting their fates, but you seize that oppression and wring from it every emotion and metaphor. You mop the floor with the tears and self-pity of those who surrender. Meanwhile, your strong characters rally themselves with the adage "I can fuck plenty with the future," and then they act, win or lose.

Conversely, Stephenson's protagonists are often mere witnesses to great events or they are catalysts. When they do perform a climactic act, their achievement really is being in the right place at the right time. This is progressively more so in his later novels, whereas you got the manipulative plot tropes worked out of your system early, and now for example, although the reader may know your main character will commit suicide, the paths leading to that eventuality will have many branches of uncertainty.


The only point with which I would disagree is that I don't make a distinction between strong and weak characters in my stories. Sometimes, surrender requires more resolve and greater courage than does fighting.

---

Come here, pretty please.
Can you tell me where I am?
You, won't you say something?
I need to get my bearings.
I'm lost,
And the shadows keep on changing.

And I'm haunted,
By the lives that I have loved
And actions I have hated.
I'm haunted,
By the lives that wove the web
Inside my haunted head
-- Poe, "Haunted"

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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