greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
In the comments yesterday, the matter of Panthalassa came up, the matter of the focus my paganism. And I feel like I ought to explain something – not because anyone offended me – but just to be clear. My relationship with Panthalassa does not involve faith. Indeed, I am entirely lacking (or unburdened by) both religious and "spiritual" faith. Panthalassa, she asks for nothing, and I know I have nothing to give her. What's more – beyond the fact that she is objectively the world ocean – Panthalassa as a godhead exists only as a metaphor, and as a focus for psychologically healthy ritual. Which, if you ask me, pretty much puts her way ahead of Xtianity (or most other patrifocal religions), with its demanding, selfish, judgmental Old Man in the Sky. Or the "son" he supposedly sacrificed for our "sins." What I do, it's not drawing those lines – faith or failure, belief or torment. My meetings with Panthalassa are not about faith. Devotion, yes. And reverence. But not faith. Nor are they about communing with a conscious "higher power," as Panthalassa is not conscious. I am an atheist, and a pagan, and I know that bends some people's brains, but it ought not. I simply stepped outside several paradigms, all at once. Also, I have renounced the mess that Wicca has become.

---

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest 69 ready to go out to subscribers, and if you are a subscriber, you should have the issue by now. If you're not a subscriber, you should immediately follow the link above and rectify this lamentable situation. Thank you. I hope people are happy with the issue, and if they have had time to read it, will kindly comment upon 69 today.

Today I go back to work on The Secret. And I wait for the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I am not waiting with dread, only with mild and time-consuming annoyance. I know there will only be the annoying marks made by the copyeditor that, for the most part, I have to STET. The rest of September will truly be a crunch. I have The Secret, the aforementioned CEM, and we need to read through all of Blood Oranges (though that might have to wait until October).

Someone asked if there were plans for a Subterranean Press hardcover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. No, there are no such plans, but I will be speaking with other publishers, possibly, about this, and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.

---

Kathryn was at the market yesterday and heard a woman actually say "LOL," aloud. That is, "el-oh-el." After I tweeted her traumatic experience, I have discovered from others that this is not an unusual phenomenon, nor one confined to "kids these days." You shame yourselves yet again, Western Civilization. You poop in your own undies.

---

Speaking of poop, last night, for some reason beyond my comprehension, we watched John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (1987), a thing I swore I would never do. And, for fuck's sake, this is a bad movie. Even a weird little role (with no dialogue) by Alice Cooper doesn't help, not one itty-bitty bit.*** At the center of this mess is a pretty neat little idea – evil is a viral being from outer space that arrived upon the earth billions of years ago, and the purpose of the Catholic Church was to fool everyone with religion until science could become sophisticated enough to cope with the swirling green entity in the cylinder. Fine. Very Lovecraftian. But. Carpenter takes that scenario and turns it into a dull, over-lit mess, with no suspense whatsoever. This film is the very antithesis of suspense. It's where suspense goes to die of boredom. There's no acting in sight, except for Donald Pleasence's overacting. The film pauses, now and then, to ramble off a load of nonsensical exposition, which is at least a break from the slog of the story. What the fuck? Had Carpenter spent all his money on blow and whores and had nothing left over to spend on actors, a camera crew, writers, and SFX? In short, stay far, far away from this one. It's actually much worse than In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and that's saying something.

For my part, I say Carpenter had a good run from 1981 through 1986, and then violently bottomed out – with, as it happens, Prince of Darkness. His masterpiece remains, by far, The Thing (released in 1982), and I think that's mostly because he had a number of great things going for him – "Who Goes There," Howard Hawkes' The Thing from Another World (1951), Rob Bottin's brilliant SFX and art direction, Ennio Morricone's wonderfully minimalistic score, the intentional allusion to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and, lastly, a great location. John Carpenter may not be what made The Thing a great film.

But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance. Escape from New York (1981) is loads of fun, as is Big Trouble in Little China (and Kurt Russell is a significant part of what works with both those films). But yeah. 1981 through 1986, and then Carpenter takes a precipitous nose dive. Hell, I might even be generous, and include The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978) – though I don't really like either, they're gold compared with everything that came after 1986. And the plunge from Big Trouble in Little China to Prince of Darkness is almost inexplicable. So, yes. I say it was coke and whores.

Anyway, afterwards, we watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and read more of The Stand. I read two more stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Both were by authors with whom I'd had no previous experience. First, John Horner Jacobs' "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and then Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Flash Frame." Both were quite good, but I especially liked Jacobs' piece. All this helped get the taste of the awful movie out of my brain and eyeballs.

Tonight, maybe some Insilico RP.

Rain today. Chilly. Summer's passing away.

Oh! Photos from Sunday, as Irene was finishing up with Rhode Island (behind the cut). So, these photos were taken the day before the last set of photos I posted.

Chilled,
Aunt Beast

28 August 2011 )


***Spooky says, "The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A wonderful hard rain yesterday, wonderful even though I had to go Out into it. Much of the snow has been melted and washed away.

Comments would be good today. I know it's Saturday, but it feels like Sunday, and Sundays suck.

Well, the medical appointment yesterday wasn't nearly as bad as expected. I have a new doctor, and it's an infinitely better match than the last. So, no more Evil Nasty Clinic filled with rude homophobic assholes who get freaked out by pentagrams. Also, new doctor has an aquarium built into the waiting room wall, which scores all sorts of points with me.

After we got home yesterday, Spooky saw a raven perched on the house across the street. They don't usually range this far south, but this winter they're turning up in Rhode Island. Normally, we only get crows and fish crows. Sadly, I didn't see it. We're both getting somewhat serious about birding, and I take that as a sign of our advancing years. Then again, bird watching ain't nothing but dinosaur watching misspelled.

I got a copy of [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney's (Karen Mahoney) first novel, The Iron Witch, in the mail. Thank you, Kaz! And congratulations.

Late in the day, we proofed "By Turns" for To Worlds and In Between, so some work was done.

I loaded a lot of Dead Can Dance onto the iPod yesterday.

I've made an interesting decision as regards The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It occurred to me, yesterday, that I read novels about heterosexual characters, and the word heterosexual, or even straight, never appears, unless it's used to set the characters apart from queers. So. I'm removing every instance of the word lesbian from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Sure, there's lesbian relationships, lesbo sex, a hot tranny dyke, a sapphic siren/wolf girl, and so forth. But nowhere in the book will I actually use the word lesbian. Because I wouldn't use het, probably not even once, were Imp straight. And I figure, not only is it the right thing to do, but it will somehow annoy the bigots even more.

---

How frakkin' good is Rift? So damn good that Spooky and I are currently trading her laptop back and forth so that we can both play, that's how good. So far, no disappointments. Quite exactly the opposite. Telara grows more amazing the more I see. Right now, I'm in love with the creature design. Yesterday, Selwyn, my Kelari mage, made Level 12. Her minion is a human skeleton named Jude. Spooky's Kelari cleric, Miisya, made Level 10. She'll catch up today. Oh, and players cooperate, and come to the rescue of others, and stuff like that. Who'd have thought it? Yes, there are a few jerks. But infinitely (well, not literally) less than in WoW, and they're easy to ignore, especially if, like me, you keep general chat off.

In WoW, I'm still grinding away in Outland, trying to get Loremaster with Shaharrazad before I exit stage left. But it's starting to look as if that may never happen. Loremaster, I mean. There are just too many broken, forgotten quests out there. And I'll need every one of them to make the title. On the upside, WoW is a hell of a lot more fun playing in regions where there are absolutely no other players. By the way, third worst WoW quest ever is to be found in Shadowmoon Valley: "I was a lot of things..."

---

Vince is currently working on the illustration for Sirenia Digest #63, and it'll go out to subscribers ASAP. What? You're not a subscriber??? Fix that now! The platypus compels you with his venomous spurs.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1) This is the year that you may celebrate the last year of the first decade of the new millennium. Yes, you have my permission. I wouldn't have mentioned it, but I made such a big deal, in last year's New Year's Eve post, about how 2009 wasn't the end of the first decade of the new millennium.

2) Yesterday, I wrote 1,246 words on "—30—", which I should be able to finish tomorrow, for Sirenia Digest #61. I might have written more, but I had to pause to read Michael Drayton's "Nymphidia" over again. Also, yesterday Spooky sent the Dancy Cigar Box off to the winner of the auction, Mr. Steven Lubold.

3) Heads up. The super special sale price for the limited edition of Two Worlds and In Between ends at 5 PM (EST) this evening. At this point, more than 450 of the 600-copy print run of the limited have been reserved (originally a 400-copy print run). So, yeah. Last chance to save $20 on the limited. Take heed.

4) Yesterday I also corralled the best answers to the question I asked last year on the 30th of December, "If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you have me/you/us do?", and those will also be appearing...belatedly...in Sirenia Digest #61. Also, if you weren't reading the blog last year and would like to get in on this, you can email me a reply today or tonight or tomorrow, to greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com. All answers will be published anonymously, so feel free to feel free. But no answers about how you'd spend all that time reading to me, or how you'd make me take a nap, or how you'd cook for me, force me to go Outside, or help me write, or have long conversations with me about writing and literature and dreams and magick. I'm looking for something spicier here. Although, forcing me to write or talk about writing would certainly rank fairly high on the sadism meter.

5) Two movies last night. I was sort of in a crime/thriller/noir headspace. We began with Richard Shepard's Oxygen (1999), because we're determined to see everything in which Adrien Brody has ever appeared. Not bad, though Brody was by far the best of it. Next, we watched D.J. Caruso's The Salton Sea (2002), which I liked quite a lot, really. Vincent D'Onofrio can always be counted on to add something wonderfully weird to any film in which he appears, and this was no exception. The very ending felt tacked on, though, as if maybe the studio execs got skittish of the bleak ending we almost get before the film unconvincingly tries to fake you out so that Val Kilmer can walk away into the sunset. Also, I find it odd Caruso would make a film titled The Salton Sea, in which horrific events have occurred at the Salton Sea, but fail to take advantage of the surreal landscape surrounding the Salton Sea. Still, I liked it.

6) I'm not gonna bother with any actual "best of" lists this year, if only because the Lamictal has made such a mess of my short-term memory. I strongly suspect I've not yet seen all the best films of 2010, but I'm going to say that the best films of 2010 that I have seen are (in no particular order) Black Swan, Inception, Shutter Island, and The Social Network. I also adored Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland and Kick Ass. Turns out, a lot of my favorite films from 2010 were released in 2009 (Neil Jordan's Ondine comes to mind). My reading habits are too spotty to say much at all about the best books of the year, though I did adore Patti Smith's Just Kids and Kristin Hirsh's Rat Girl. As for music, my listening habits have been even spottier, but, off the top of my head, my favorite album was probably Broken Bells' self-titled release.

7) Most years, I give the whole idea of New Year's resolutions the middle finger (which I was recently amused to hear described as the "Massachusetts State Bird," which is fair, given that the Rhode Island State Bird is the Dunkin' Donuts Cruller). Anyway, this year I actually do have a few resolutions, which I mean not only to make (which is easy), but to keep (which is hard). For starters, unless I'm too sick, I will leave the House at least once every four days. I've also decided to work harder at witchcraft and magick, which is one of the parts of my life that's been sort of lost in the chaos of the last two years. I'm going to read a lot more and game a lot less. And so on and so forth. You get the idea.

8) One of the coolest things I can say about 2010 is that I only got sick once (we're not counting my long list of chronic maladies here, just contagions). Back in January, I caught some sort of hideous bug when I did a reading in Brooklyn, and was down for a few days, but that was it. Garlic and hot, hot peppers, you rule.

And now, it's time to make some Rhode Island state birds....
greygirlbeast: (Default)
It's easier if I quote my blog entry from Solstice '08:

And now it is Solstice, and the days will grow longer. And that is a great relief. The rebirth of the "Great God," if only metaphorically. Though, truthfully, a metaphorical Cernunnos or Pan is as useful to me as would be one whose reality were less subjective. Here it is truth that applies, not fact. The wheel turns, and the Horned God wakes again. The long night of winter will end soon enough. A happy and/or blessed Solstice/Yule/Midwinter to all those who wish to be wished such.

And, of course, today is Cephalopodmas. Be grateful for the tentacles in you life.

[livejournal.com profile] readingthedark just awoke, so I'll make this short.

Yesterday we saw Aronofsky's Black Swan, a glorious examination of repression, freeing oneself from repression at all costs, and the drive for perfection in one's art. Possibly my favorite film of the year. See it. Now.

Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One) preorders contine to go extremely well. More than half the print run for the limited edition has sold out in two days. Subterranean Press has decided to increase the limited from 400 copies to 500 copies, given the demand. And the limited's still on sale for $40 (regular $60).

Later!
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Hot now in Providence. Summer arrived (again) a couple of days back, and here in the House, we are sweltering. Dr. Muñoz tries to keep us coolerated, but he is such a very small droid and it's such a very large old House. But, still, I am glad for the heat. All that rain and belated March was wearing me more ragged than my usual raggedness.

And here it is Litha, so this evening we'll go down to the sea. It won't be anything elaborate, but at least it will be the sea. I have to admit, I find myself reluctant to go to the shore. And I know it has something to do with what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico, and with my own complicity in that horror. When the sea is your goddess (even if she is a nonconscious goddess) and your species continues to befoul her at every turn, slowly transforming her into a corrupted morass of petrochemicals and floating plastic debris and dead zones and sewage and fertilizer runoff, the shame has to be embraced, not denied. The sea will, in time, when humans have gone, cleanse herself, but that will be a long, long age from now.

---

For the past two days I've been working on a new piece for Sirenia Digest, "Tidal Forces." It actually has nothing much to do with the sea, despite the title. I refer here to other tidal forces. More sorts than one, really. Saturday, I wrote 1,051 words, and another 1,005 yesterday. And yesterday I read it to Spooky, and she likes it.

Night before last, we watched Rowan Woods' Little Fish (2005). It's a very, very good film, though it's also a hard film to watch. Cate Blanchett is excellent, but Hugo Weaving steals the show in what might be his finest performance that I've seen so far. I haven't been reading much, mostly comics and paleontology stuff.

Spooky's begun a new round of eBay auctions, if you'd be so kind as to have a look. Thanks.

And a very happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] faustfatale!

I need to wrap this up and get to work. But I did want to mention that the demolition of the old overpass, where Point Street becomes Wickenden (or thereabouts), has resumed. I noticed a few nights back. Last night, on the way to the market for dinner, I got a couple of photographs of what remains of the southside of the mural (behind the cut):

20 June 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
1. I thought, the last couple of days, I was getting to that "pulling myself back together" place, having had two halfway decent nights of of sleep without fucking Ambien. Not enough sleep, no, but no hypnotics, either. Then, this morning, at four-thirty I was still awake, so I took half a pill. At 5:45, still awake, I took another half. I got the sleep around six, but was only able to sleep until about noon (all times CaST). I really cannot take much more of this. I've written nothing all damn month. Oh, and the weather here in Providence is miserable again: cold and rainy and overcast.

2. I managed to work yesterday (largely because I was just coming out of the Ambien haze). I signed the signature sheets for the special edition of The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror: Two Decades of Dark Fiction. They'd already been signed by Clive Barker and Stephen King and Peter Straub, though still have to be signed by Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman. On days like this, when I can't imagine pressing even one more verb against another noun, when my desire to write has dropped away to something very near zero, I try to take solace in the fact that, thanks to my writing, I count four of those five authors as friends, and three as dear friends (I've never met Stephen King). Also, I read back through "Werewolf Smile," seeing as how the book that The Wolf Who Cried Girl is becoming will be built, in part, upon that short story. And I was enormously annoyed to discover I'd missed a metric shit ton of typos when I proofed it for Sirenia Digest #45 (August 2009). I'm considering including a corrected text of "Werewolf Smile" in the March issue of the digest. Anyway, I also answered email and tidied up my file cabinet, which has needed tidying up for the better part of a year. I made notes for two short stories or vignettes, both for Sirenia Digest #52. One may be an indirect sort of footnote to Lovecraft's "The Hound," and the other involves a sideshow and herpetological tattoos. We shall see. I desperately need to get a chapter of the novel written before starting in on the digest.

3. Last night, my blood-elf warlock, Shaharrazad, made Level 78. And it "only" took me 35 days, 21 hours, 7 minutes, and 43 seconds of gameplay (I actually rolled Shah in October '08). I will point out that Blizzard has done snazzy things with the Armory, adding character animation and whatnot. You may note that Shah has allowed her usually close-cropped hair to grow since heading out to Northrend.

4. For what it's worth, my beliefs are not beliefs I hold because I need to hold them. And I did not choose to hold them. I rejected that approach to belief decades ago. Indeed, I have often been frustrated that I cannot alter my beliefs based simply on what my mind needs. I've written about this in the past, especially as regards my approach to witchcraft and magick, and the fact that I remain an atheist, cosmicist, and pessimist*. My beliefs arise from personal observation of the world around me, from conclusions based upon those observations. I believe nothing simply because I somehow need to believe it. Desire or need alone cannot ever lead me to belief. Basing belief upon needs or desires is, to me, no more than wishful thinking.

5. Spooky's latest doll is now available via her Dreaming Squid Dollworks shop at Etsy. We call her Cassandra, for reasons that ought to be fairly obvious.

6. On Tuesday, we saw Tim Buron's Alice in Wonderland for the second time. If anything, it was more delightful than the first viewing (and we still will not debate its merits here).

* I would deny, though, that I am a nihilist, for a number of reasons.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Winter seems to have come to Providence last night. A low below freezing, frost warnings. I'm sure it'll warm up a little again, but...can't pretend it's "late summer" any longer. Cloudy and foul looking out there today.

Which is why Spooky made me get out of the house yesterday. We both knew no writing would be getting done, so there was no point in hanging about here. I'll go "back to work" tomorrow, after we spend today cleaning the place a bit. We've both been so busy, the clutter has gone wild. But yeah, tomorrow is all interviews: The South County Independent and the Brown University bookstore's newsletter. Then, on Saturday, I need to get started on Sirenia Digest #47. I am truly in no mood for interviews, but there you go.

Anyway...yesterday.

Actually, not so much to tell. I'm still trying to get untired, so it was a low-impact day out. I just wanted to see some autumnal trees. Spooky suggested Wickford. As we were leaving Providence, we saw the most remarkable sky. I took photos (below), but they fail to capture the weirdness of that sky. It was all about color and contrast and a peculiar flatness. It was a videogame sort of sky. Some trick of sunlight and clouds and high-altitude ice crystals, I suspect. In Wickford, there weren't many interesting trees. I think we'll have to head out towards Conancut Island for that, or north towards Woonsocket. But we walked about the harbor and window shopped. We visited the worst witchcraft shop in New England. Truthfully, it's not a witchcraft shop, and I shouldn't dignify it with that label. This is the place that had never heard of athames. Just a big ol' New Age place. Lots of Buddha pop, crystals, chakra crap, chicken soup for the fluffy bunnies. They do "aura" photography and interpretation. That sort of nonesense. I mostly only go in there because it seems to make the employees nervous, ever since I explained athames to them. Anyway, yeah...we walked around and looked through dusty shop windows and at antiques and old houses and boats on the water. Wickford turned three hundred years old this year. The tide was coming in. The sky went from sunny with clouds to flat and leaden. I visited my favorite Wickford boat (again, photos below). That was about it. We were home before six p.m.

Last night, after Night Three of Spooky's patented four-night soup, we watched David Lynch's Inland Empire, which I'd been avoiding because I knew it would do a number on my head. And it did. A stunning, brilliant film. Mother and I are still collating. Also, I read the latest Buffy the Vampire Slayer trade paperback collection (the comic), Predators and Prey (Vol. 5). Other than Lovecraft Unound, I've been working my way through the September '09 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and, over the last few days, I've read: "A New Species of Apateodus (Teleostei: Aulopiformes) from the Upper Cretaceous Niobrara Chalk of Western Kansas, U.S.A.," "The Anatomy and Systematics of Colepiocephale lambei (Dinosauria: Pachycephalosauridae)," "Diprotodontid Footprints from the Pliocene of Central Australia," "Cranial Mechanics and Functional Interpretation of the Horned Carnivorous Dinosaur Carnotaurus sastrei," and "A New Beaked Whale (Odontoceti, Ziphiidae) from the Middle Miocene of Peru." We got in some WoW after David Lynch. We both needed something familiar and mindless, and WoW fills that bill. Our Draenei characters made Level 49.

And that was yesterday (and etc.).

Now I'm going to go help Spooky unclutter the house. Here are some photos:

14 October 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Not a whole lot to write about, as regards yesterday. At least not, as regards writing. Since I didn't write yesterday.

Spooky and I chose Beavertail for our Mabon ritual. Last year we went farther east, out to Fort Weatherill. The weather was cloudy yesterday, and windy, but not cold. We found a good flat place on the rocks north of the lighthouse. No one nearby except a few fisherman. Sailboats in the bay. Gulls and cormorants.

Afterwards, we drove to Saundertown to visit Spooky's mom and dad (and get eggs and basil, squash and tomatoes). On the way back to Providence, we stopped to watch the sunset over a pumpkin patch north of Slocum. It was a good day. Autumn is not my season, but if it must come, it should be embraced.

There are photographs:

Mabon '09 )


---

Last night, we watched the Season premiere of Heroes. I liked the introduction of the carnival, and I still adore Zachary Quinto. But mostly, the show is what the show has always been. Not really good, just entertaining enough to keep you watching. Later, Spooky and I got in some WoW in the Badlands, with our Draenei characters, and we both reached Level 42.

Mabon '09

Sep. 22nd, 2009 12:18 pm
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Like I said yesterday, not ready for autumn. But it's here all the same. And I will greet it as best I can. Spooky and I are taking the day off. We'll go to Beavertail, to the sea, and by her parent's farm for eggs and green tomatoes (and probably other things).

A joyous Mabon to all who observe the Sabbat, to all who celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year.

---

Yesterday, I did 1,039 words on "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint," the second piece for Sirenia Digest #46. And discovered that what I needed to be a 2k-word vignette is determined to be a 4k-word short story.

And as soon as this story's done, I need to sit down and gather all my notes and thoughts on Blood Oranges into some sort of coherent whole. And begin my Martian YA story, which is due November 1st. It will be set on the same Mars as was my "Bradbury Weather."

And promotional stuff for The Red Tree continues.

---

Last night, we saw Paul McGuigan's Push (2009), which I actually liked quite a lot. It was rather like an especially good episode of Heroes, only less goofy. We played some WoW; I'm really getting addicted to doing the battlefields, but, gods, I wish Blizzard could give us battlefields that were actual battlefields, something a little more imaginative than endless rounds of "Capture the Flag." No, I wish they would, because they certainly could. Then again, I see plenty of players who can't seem to grasp the simple concept behind "Capture the Flag." Later, we watched another episode from the second season of Dead Like Me. I didn't notice this so much the first time through the series, but Season Two really loses direction. It's not surprising, given the way the network ditched the show's creator, Bryan Fuller, back in Season One. The performances remain true, but the scripts just sort of flail about.

That was yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
It seems impossible that this can be the Summer Solstice already. We've hardly had a whiff of summer in Providence. Hardly a whiff. And I'm so weighted down with the Tired and with deadlines that we've not had time to plan a ritual for this evening. Last year, we had such a wonderful Solstice on the rocks just north of Beavertail. I was hoping for a repeat this year. Anyway, one of the advantages of venerating all the nonconscious aspects of the Cosmos is knowing how indifferent the universe is to our little observances, and how it will take no notice whatsoever should we miss one, here or there. Panthalassa will not frown. Ur will not look askance. But I'll miss the ceremony, as it so helps my mind and my sense of the passing of time, ticking off these points along the wheel of the year. I do wish a fine Solstice to those who observe the day.

Anyway...

No writing yesterday. Not on four measly hours of sleep. Instead, we drove up to Boston. Ostensibly, to look for the tree that will be the Red Tree in the book trailer for The Red Tree. But, in fact, we mostly just wandered up and down Newbury Street and across Boston Commons and the Public Gardens. It was all rather splendid, a part of Boston I'd not seen. A place I wish I could live, where the past does not seem so entirely past. There are still vestiges of civilization showing through the grime of modernity, there on Newbury Street. You just have to peer past the people and the trendy shops and the trendier cafés. We overheard someone talking about rent on Newbury, $2600 (!!!) a month for an apartment. Only the rich can afford those particular vestiges. I shall have to be content with my rooms in this 1875 house here on Federal Hill. Yesterday, the weather was curious. The sky threatened thunder storms all day, but there wasn't even a drop of rain. Muggy, but no rain. An old man on the sidewalk played "All Along the Watch Tower" on an electric guitar, and it was wonderfully eerie. On the Commons, we watched squirrels and birds, and found a "dawn redwood" (Metasequoia) growing among the willows. In that city of overpriced everything, I was pleased to see that the boat rides (the swan boats that first began running in 1877), were only $2.75. We didn't go, though. Maybe next trip up. After Newbury Street, Spooky drove up to Cambridge and Harvard Square, and I saw the little cemetery that's mentioned in "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)," but we were too tired to stop.

Truthfully, my goddamn rotten feet made the whole day rather miserable, despite the wonderful sights. I'm reaching the point where the walking stick isn't sufficient, and may soon be resorting to a wheelchair for such things as wandering around Boston for hours at a time (almost three miles). I miss the days when I could walk and walk and walk, with hardly an ache at all. I miss dancing even more. I don't think I've really danced since November 2004. Between my feet and the seizures, I feel I've aged twenty years in the last five. There is no romance in invalidism, and I do not welcome this weakness. Anyway, we made it back home by about 8 p.m. We watched a couple of episodes of The X-Files and Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday (1940).

There are photos from yesterday (behind the cut):

20 June 2009 )


---

Cliff Miller writes, "There was a fire at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, causing heavy damage. I wondered if you had any memories of that place from your days in Athens that you might wish to share on the LJ?"

I heard about the fire at the Georgia Theater a couple of days back, and it saddened me enormously. I spent a lot of time at the Georgia Theater between 1994 and 1997. It's here I heard Concrete Blonde play, and met Johnette Napolitano (the same weekend I met [livejournal.com profile] docbrite). Death's Little Sister once played there, opening for someone (though I can't recall for whom). I'm glad to hear they plan to rebuild, but, of course, it'll never be the same.

---

I've begun tweeting the micropreview of The Red Tree over at greygirlbeast. The plan was to post a sentence a day, until the book is released on August 4th. Of course, I immediately realized that 140 characters won't accommodate many of those sentences. Today, for instance, I was only able to post the first three quarters or so of the first sentence. So, this is going to be a strange affair, indeed.

Please, if you haven't already, have a look at the current eBay auctions, all proceeds earmarked to help offset the cost of my attending ReaderCon 20 in July.

And, with that, the platypus says its time to get my skinny ass to the word mines....

Beltane '09

May. 1st, 2009 12:15 pm
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A happy and fine Beltane to all who wish to be wished a happy and fine Beltane. I was just looking at my entry from this day one year ago, and there's something from that entry that I'd like to repost:

For a long time, I could not allow myself to involve choice in matters of belief, as I held belief back for objective science and material concerns. I did not see how one could ever choose to believe. Partly, the epiphany simply required a different perspective on things I've been saying for years. The Cosmos (=tripartite goddess/horned god/divine adrogyne/etc.) may, in my veneration of it, assume any form. It contains all forms within it that can be realized or conceived. It hardly matters if I "worship" Brighid or Mórrígan or Aphrodite or Kali. They are all merely attempts of a conscious being to sum up an incomprehensible and nonconscious universe. They may, perhaps, each function like characters in a novel, avatars that grant access to the story of existence. It does not matter if they are not factual in their existence, as their existence is true, if they are true in our minds. If they contain within them useful truths, as is the way with all myths. It is not their objective existence which makes them useful avatars, but their subjective truth, what these deities mean to each of us. For me, this is the heart of Neopaganism. Designing ritual and godforms to function as conduits between conscious organisms and the remainder of the Cosmos, which is generally a nonconscious entity.

This is still pretty much where my head is, though I've added Panthalassa ("all seas") as my primary "deity." Which is to say, I may look to and venerate the Mórrígan, and Hecate, and Demeter, and Cernunnos (and a small host of others), but the concept of Panthalassa acts as a sort of godhead, freed of any connotations of gender or consciousness, morality or anthropomorphic form. Panthalassa is, by definition, a vast, impersonal, and almost inconceivable force. Anyway, yeah, I'm still getting better about belief as choice. And, by the way, this is what works for me, I'm not the least bit evangelical in my paganism, excepting where the beliefs of others attempts to infringe upon my day-to-day life or my ability to practice witchcraft as I've chosen to practice it.

---

Yesterday was just about as tedious as expected. The image behind the cut, multiplied by a whole bunch, will give you some idea:

Yesterday )


We read back over "At the Gate of Deeper Slumber" and "The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction" (formerly "Untitled 34"), and I made lots of line edits to both. I wrote the prolegomena for Sirenia Digest #41. I did the layout on the issue, and realized that we really need to do an article on Virgil Finlay. When the issue was all nailed together, I sent the files off to Gordon ([livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest) to be PDF'ed. And then we read through Chapter 3 of The Red Tree, which got us to page 138 of the page proofs. And that was yesterday.

By now, all subscribers should have the new issue of the digest. Just let us know if you didn't get it. I'm pleased to have included Sonya Taaffe's ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) poem, "The Coast Guard," in this issue, along with the two new stories.

And now..well, it's Beltane. I'll do no more work than I have to do.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
My head is in about fifteen different places just now, so...if this entry lacks focus, if it wanders and meanders and perplexes, you've been warned.

Last night, Poppy ([livejournal.com profile] docbrite) wrote (and I do hope he will not mind me quoting this):

Rhetorical question: Is it possible for a reasonably intelligent person to go through four years of American high school and come out the other side ignorant of what "cheerleaders" symbolize to ugly girls, or girls who aren't ugly but are so weird that they get treated as if they're ugly, or "girls" who aren't really girls at all, but knowing that would have made the mouthbreathers in their school even more determined to kill them? What I mean is, once you've gone through high school as one of the losers, do terms like "cheerleader" and "jock" and "popular" ever lose their loadedness? Do they ever lose their ability to jump out from behind a quarter-century's worth of real life and bite you in the ass with teeth you assumed they'd lost years ago?

I have a bad habit of answering rhetorical questions. Anyway, I can only speak for myself. The putrid hell of high school is twenty-seven years behind me now, and I'm still haunted by this bullshit. I still have nightmares about the "jocks" and "pretty girls." Makes no sense whatsoever, and I know that. Especially given that I've had the opportunity to see that a great many of the "popular kids" who tormented me went on to have much less fulfilling lives than I've had. Doesn't seem to matter. I can gloat all I want about who got the last laugh, but that doesn't change the fact that the wounds hardly seem to have scabbed over. Sorry, Poppy. I know you weren't looking for a reply. This just seemed awfully close to something that's been going round and round in my head lately, that I've been meaning to write about here.

I've always loathed competition, of any sort. And yet, until a few years ago, I'd gotten pretty good at the Me against You, Me vs. Them game. At jumping through hoops to try and achieve some desired goal. Applications. Tests. And so forth. But, the last decade or so, my ability to compete for anything has simply evaporated. I find it entirely too distasteful, and I hate the way it makes me feel, and the way it causes me to behave. And a lot of it goes back to high school, where the compete-to-succeed mentality was pounded into me. These days, I go out of my way to avoid competitive situations. Which is a fairly difficult thing to do when you're a freelance fiction writer. In the end, there are only so many slots available in a given year for the publication of short stories and novels. The resources are finite. And, indeed, as the economy has floundered and new technologies promise new forms of entertainment and distraction, the resources have become increasingly limited. It will always be me against everyone else who's trying to get published and win readers. And I hate it.

I've reached the point where I don't even want to see myself nominated for awards anymore. I just want to be left alone, to write my stories in peace. They are the only stories I know how to write. And I'm tired of being told how much better my work might sell if I could write like [fill in the blank]. I write like me, and, near as I can tell, that's how it's supposed to work. Only, I am on the outside. Probably on the outermost rim of the outside. Just like high school. And people seem a lot less interested in seeing the world from an outsider's point of view than they do viewing it from the safe, familiar territory of their own perspectives. Yes, there are exceptions, and yes I do have a decent number of readers, but I also know that if I were capable of this competition trick, capable of viewing this as a contest wherein I follow the rules and listen to the self-appointed coaches and referees, I'd have a shot at the chintzy gold sparkle of that goddamn loving cup of True Popularity and Success.

I no longer compete, not if I can possibly help it. This is what I have to offer, and I have to hope I can find enough people who want it that I can keep the bills paid. Because I don't compete. I don't fill out applications. I don't joust. I don't capture the flag. I'm not looking to be queen of the mountain. I do not lock horns. I sit at this keyboard, and, on good days, I write my stories, which are my stories. They are not designed for mass consumption, if only because they are not designed with any audience in mind, except, possibly me. I am the author of my own limitations, just as I am the author of my own triumphs.

---

The last two days are a blur. I feel like the writing of "As Red as Red" has become a losing battle (with myself). My deadline is tomorrow, and the story is probably three or four thousand words from an ending.

And here it is spring, and it feels not the least bit like spring. It's cold, and there are only a few buds on the trees. We did our Ostara ritual outside this year, in the woods, and I'd desperately hoped it would help shake me free of the morass that this awful winter has landed me in. No luck. It was cold, and the fire hardly seemed to help. I have learned that working skyclad in late March in Rhode Island is an entirely different thing from working skyclad in late March in Georgia. Can you say "perky nipples"? Never mind having to worry about deer ticks. I fear my magick is growing a little darker every year, only...I don't actually fear the drift. Maybe what scares me is that it doesn't scare me.

I have to go look for an ending to "As Red as Red," though I fear I'm still a bit puzzled by the middle. Herr Platypus is not happy with me this morning.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Well, first the good news. Peter Straub has selected "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" for Fantastic Tales: American Stories of Terror and the Uncanny, which he's editing for the Library of America. The volume is due out in October 2009. I count this, with the reprint of "In the Water Works (1889)" in S. T. Joshi's American Supernatural Tales (Penguin Classics, 2007), as among my most notable accomplishments thus far. "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" first appeared in an issue of the now-defunct Carpe Noctem magazine, in 1999, and was thereafter collected in Tales of Pain and Wonder.

But, the bad news is that it looks like my plans for a March "vacation" are going to have to be scrapped, as I owe [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow a story, and somehow the deadline, and, indeed, the whole book, had slipped my mind, until she emailed me about it last night. So...I have until March 23rd to get that done, and when you figure in Sirenia Digest #40, the month is pretty much shot. I might be able to squeeze in a week between the story and the digest, maybe.

I spent all this morning figuring out fair-use and public-domain questions concerning three quotes used in The Red Tree. Specifically, a quote from Seneca the Younger's Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, one from Hesiod's Theogony, and another from The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe. All these were, of course, translations, and what is at question is when the copyright on the translations I used expired, or if they have not yet expired. Turns out, we're clear on Hesiod (Evelyn-White translation) and Goethe (Saunders translation), but not on Seneca (Gummere translation). Fortunately, [livejournal.com profile] sovay is very kindly providing me with a new translation of the Seneca passage in question, so I won't have to cut it from the book. That was my extra-tedious morning.

Here in Providence, the day is cold, and the sun blindingly bright off all the snow that isn't melting. Right now, it 29F, but 19F with wind chill factored in.

I'm still looking back over comments I've made regarding sf, and my science fiction, in particular, and there's this interesting bit from March 5th, 2006:

[livejournal.com profile] matociquala (Elizabeth Bear) and [livejournal.com profile] cpolk (Chelsea Polk) have coined a literary neologism for a certain sort of sf, a term which I'm finding extremely useful: eco-gothic*. I quote: "We look around at the world and we're fucking scared. There's this underlying idea of the implacability of the universe and the smallness of humanity. We know that there is no guiding, caring force. That life is amazing in its tenacity and persistence, but that ultimately, it's completely pitiless. And if you take it too far, if you unbalance it enough, it will crush you. This idea of the tenacity of life in a pitiless universe. And nobody else seems to fucking GET IT. Because life is tenacious, but humanity is disposable. It's not a tragedy that the passenger pigeon perished. And it won't be a tragedy when we go either...God doesn't care if we persist. We're not special. We're not essential. The universe doesn't love us bestest of all. Because you know, there's this critique that a Black Novel is not Relevant because it's about Blackness, not Humanity. Which upon I call bullshit. Because a human novel isn't relevant. Because it's about humanity. Six point five billion ugly bags of mostly water on a second-class planet in an arm of a barred spiral galaxy. Pretending like Hell that we signify." Click here for the transcript from which this quote was cobbled together.

Certainly, all of my sf would fall into this category of "eco-gothic." The Dry Salvages, "Riding the White Bull," "Faces in Revolving Souls," "The Pearl Diver," "Persephone," "Hoar Isis," "Between the Flatirons and the Deep Green Sea"...all of it. And I think one thing I found particularly intriguing was the suggestion that writers of "eco-gothic" sf may, perhaps, do so because "we were the second-class geeks who took life sciences instead of physics with the hard-line geeks." That's one of my dirty little secrets. Sure, I took chemistry and physics and mathematics in college, but I had no real aptitude for it. It was in the life and earth sciences that I excelled, particularly in paleontology, which is often disparagingly labeled by the math and physics types as a "soft science." Anyway, it's just something I wanted to note, because of the things I said about sf on Friday, and because it's something I want to think about. I have no problem with a neologism or a literary category so long as it is useful and needed and I suspect this one may be both. It is, of course, inherently Lovecraftian, and minor caveats and questions do arise. Perhaps I will come back to those later. Not only does this remind me why I shall never appeal to those sf readers who dislike "dystopian" sf, but also why I shall likely always find myself in a rather minuscule fraction of Wiccans. The gods do not care because, after all, they're only hopeful metaphors for needful humans. Anyway, thank you Bear and Chelsea.


So, it's not surprising that Elizabeth Bear ended up writing an afterword for A is for Alien, an afterword which, in part, explores the idea of the eco-gothic.

Also, it has been one year to the day that I announced in the journal that Spooky and I would be moving from Atlanta to Providence. What an eventful year it has been.

Yes, the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky has duly noted the Earth's recent near-miss by a Tunguska-sized asteroid. Hope springs eternal.

Last night, I stumbled across some bloody frakking idiot, somewhere on the web, who'd referred to Echo (from The Dreaming) as a "Mary Sue" character, and I'm still laughing...

* [livejournal.com profile] matociquala later found a use of "eco-gothic" dating back to 1996, in a description of Stephen Palmer's novel, Memory Seed.
greygirlbeast: (white)
A black day yesterday. A day of anger and disconsolate bitterness, that was really only the climax to a wave that I think began building on Tuesday. There was a fairly bad seizure on Tuesday, and, oftentimes, they are followed by these intense black moods. All week, this one built up like thunderheads, exacerbated by everything from this horrid winter to insomnia to the tedious line editing on The Red Tree to the idiocy of people who cannot be expected to know better. Then yesterday afternoon, the mood lifted rather suddenly, as often happens. Mostly, the lifting of these post-seizure funks seems to be a completely irrational matter. They come. Then they go. But yesterday, at least in part, this funk was driven back by a sudden dose of perspective. Seeing my place, as clearly as I ever can. And I hope you don't mind me babbling on like this. Point is, I got nothing done yesterday. It gets an L in the day planner ("Lost Day"), and today I have to try and make up for it. And keep myself, who and what I am, in perspective.

Set me aflame, and cast me free.
Away, you wretched world of shadows...


I wish I had nothing to nothing to do today, and Spooky and I could brave the cold and drive to Beavertail and celebrate the esbat. There are few better places hereabouts to watch moonrise than Conanicut Island. But, no, I have to make up for the work I haven't gotten done.

At least I slept more than seven hours last night, more sleep than I've gotten at a single stretch in...a while.

Bill Schafer has asked to reprint "The Belated Burial" in Subterranean Magazine, probably in the October issue. And I've just signed contracts for a forthcoming Lovecraftian anthology edited by S.T. Joshi that will reprint "Pickman's Other Model." I am always very pleased when pieces from Sirenia Digest are reprinted.

As I said yesterday, the limited edition of A is for Alien is now sold out, but you can still get the regular trade edition. And I hope that you will, if you've not already.

Not much else to say about yesterday. It was warmer here in Providence, and snow that has lain on the ground since New Year's Eve finally melted. The rivers must be swollen. But I didn't leave the house. Late, we played a little WoW. Mostly Shaharrazad is trying to gain "exalted" status with Orgrimmar and the Darkspear trolls. So, low-level quests in Durotar.

It seems the windows have been iced over, to one degree or another, for weeks. Behind the cut is a photograph Spooky took back on Thursday. The ice crystals are beautiful, no matter how the winter might have begun to weigh on me:

Ice )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
The snow is falling hard again. Hubero is sitting on my desk, watching as the white world gets a little whiter. I have promised him that it will be at least Wednesday before the weather forces us to eat the cats. Hubero replies he is grateful to now live in the world of corner stores.

Bad insomnia again last night. But I did manage to get to sleep before 5:30 ayem. While Spooky was reading to me from The Historian, I could hardly keep my eyes open. As soon as she stopped, I was wide awake. This is no reflection on the book.

No writing again yesterday.

Yesterday, the mail brought my contributor's copies of the new PS Publishing edition of Ray Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever (originally published in 1958), which includes my introduction, "The Most Beautiful Music I've Ever Read." At this point, depending what one does and does not count, I've written and published upwards of seven novels, something like a hundred and fifty short stories, novellas, and vignettes, dozens of comic scripts for Vertigo, won a few awards, and so forth. But, honestly, I think I've never been half so proud of anything as I was of seeing my name on the title page of The Day It Rained Forever ("Introduction by...."). It completes a sort of circle, as Bradbury was such an enormous formative influence. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity. Among my comp copies was the deluxe boxed set, which includes the PS Publishing editions of both The Day It Rained Forever and A Medicine For Melancholy. Almost, but not quite, the same collections. There are four stories in the former that were not included in the latter, and vice versa. Essentially, The Day It Rained Forever was the UK edition of A Medicine For Melancholy.

I desperately needed to get Outside yesterday, if only to see Providence blanketed in all this snow. It took us about half an hour to dig out the van, so we could escape the driveway. I brought a yardstick down, and measured the snow depth in a number of undisturbed spots. An average of 9 inches, with drifts well over a foot. We drove (very slowly) from Federal Hill, across the river to College Hill. The roads were slushy and brown, and not as many people were out as I'd expected. This was already late in the day, after four thirty by the time we reached Wickenden Street. Eastside Market was open, and we stopped for a few things, then headed back towards Benefit Street. There are photos below. The sky had gone the color of blue-grey clay, and it was snowing hard. We followed Angell Street west, then ended up on Congdon headed south. By fits and starts, we reached Benefit Street. I saw Lovecraft's "Shunned House" (the "Yellow House" of my own stories) in the snow, which made it look quite a bit more imposing. I glimpsed the Fleur-de-Lys House (from "The Call of Cthulhu") through the storm. We headed back across the Point Street Bridge, and stopped to take a few photos of the Providence River and snow-shrouded College Hill. The river was like slate, and the waves seemed more like chips in stone. The old wharf that, in the summer, is usually covered with gulls and cormorants, was buried in snow and ice. And that clay sky above it all. We made it back home just before sunset.

And now it is Solstice, and the days will grow longer. And that is a great relief. The rebirth of the "Great God," if only metaphorically. Though, truthfully, a metaphorical Cernunnos or Pan is as useful to me as would be one whose reality were less subjective. Here it is truth that applies, not fact. The wheel turns, and the Horned God wakes again. The long night of winter will end soon enough. A happy and/or blessed Solstice/Yule/Midwinter to all those who wish to be wished such.

Yes, this entry is wandering a bit, isn't it?

A reminder that the current eBay auctions are ongoing. Please do have a look. Now, the photographs from yesterday:

Saturday, December 20, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Blood elf 2)
A cold, clear day here in Providence. The trees are quickly shedding their fall colors. Winter will be coming on, soon. Back in Atlanta, we'd be freezing, and I'd be bitching about the cryosphere in my office. Here in Rhode Island, ironically, we're quite toasty. And, before I forget, happy birthday to Neil, who turns -08 today, and also to Spooky's sister, Steph, in faraway Brooklyn.

I've begun a second LiveJournal account, as of yesterday. It's purpose is to serve as a more stable and accessible archive for the entries from my old Blogger journal, which was begun in November 2001, just before I started writing Low Red Moon (and which I'd originally intended to end when the book was done). As such, it bears the rather unimaginative title [livejournal.com profile] crk_blog_vault. Each day, I'll be reposting one to three entries from the old Blogger account, with the original date and time for the entries included as the subject line. Hence, the first entry is "November 24, 2001 (12:40 a.m.)." Anyway, have a look if you're interested. "Low Red Moon Journal" has been orphaned since December 2006, but mostly I'm interested in mirroring those hundreds of entries that were made before I began this LJ in April 2004. I've shut off the comments feature for the new journal, and I'm still fiddling about with the look of the thing.

Yesterday, I did 1,453 words on "The Colliers' Venus (1893)," previously titled "The Automatic Mastodon (1893)." The automatic mastodon still makes a cameo appearance in the story, but I realized yesterday it's not the centerpiece. So, a very good writing day.

And a lot of work besides the new short story. After the writing, while Spooky made a quick trip to the market to get dinner, I went through the ARC for A is for Alien, for the very last time before it goes to press, and found only four problems. I'll send the corrections to Bill at Subterranean Press as soon as I finish this entry. After dinner, Spooky and I began reading through The Red Tree, and managed all of the Preface and Chapter One. Lots of corrections. I think we finished with that just after 10 p.m. Oh, and this weekend Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) and Spooky dad, Richard, both read the ms. And they both loved it, and are helping with the proofreading. Hearing it aloud last night, I remembered again just how much this one means to me. Oh, and I think I'll repost the cover, for anyone who might have missed it on Saturday:

The Red Tree )


Also, we received the images for the artist interview for Sirenia Digest #36, the interview originally scheduled for #35. My thanks to both Heather Eve and Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark). So, yes, a very busy day yesterday (but it made up for Saturday, which was a bit of a washout). And I fear that it's going to be this busy all the way to December.

I played a couple hours' worth of WoW last night. Back to Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, after three nights playing Mithwen, my night-elf fighter. I fear Shah is much closer to my heart, but I've probably said that already. Spooky ("Suraa") and I did some questing in Hillsbrad and the Alterac Mountains north of Tallin Mills, then slaughtered trolls in the Arathi Highlands, just because. And after WoW, we watched an episode of Firefly (the marvelous "Objects in Space") because I was exhausted and needed "comfort food" before bed.

I'm doing some concerted magickal work for the first time since October, mostly protective spells and wards and such. Getting a little Enochian. Crowley meets Wicca meets the Greek pantheon. Something like that. Nothing I want to go into detail about, just making the walls a little stronger, you might say. Anyway, now the platypus and the coffee are waiting for me. The day lies ahead.
greygirlbeast: (white)
One day off turned into two days off. One day Outside became two days Outside, and I didn't argue. So, this will be a long catching-up sort of entry. But, first, I want to mention the current eBay auctions, which end tomorrow, and which seem to have drawn far less attention than usual. Please do have a look. Bid if your are interested and so disposed. It will be greatly appreciated. Also, a quick explanation regarding Sirenia Digest #34. Rather, a quick explanation regarding that second copy that went out yesterday. There were a number of very minor errors in the first PDF, and, all day on Tuesday, while I was trying not to think about work, they bugged me. That "Untitled #33" should have been "Untitled 33." That the captions for Karl Persson's paintings were in Courier, when the font should have been Times New Roman. Stuff that I doubt anyone but me would have ever noticed, but...anyway...[livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest kindly produced a new and corrected PDF. And that's why you got two. The second is the keeper.

---

Tuesday: We didn't manage to get out of the house until after 2 p.m., because I had to dither over this and dither over that. I squeezed in a little work-like activity, such as begging off a review for Publisher's Weekly, the first book in a fantasy trilogy, and as I told my editor, I was entirely wrong for that. And then, when we left, we couldn't go very far, not as far as any of the beaches, because the windshield wipers still have not been fixed (we're waiting on the part) and the sky was threatening rain. But, first, we drove over to check the p.o. box, which I'd not done in a while. There was a contributor's copy of Not One of Us #40, which reprints "Flotsam." Then we headed back towards the river and the Old North Burial Ground (estab. 1700). We wandered among the tombstones, marveling, especially, at the slate markers from the 18th century. The maples had gone bright red, ringing in October, and there were truly enormous, ancient European beeches (Fagus sylvatica). It's a beautiful cemetery, and none of the groundskeepers or security even seemed to look at us twice, much less harass and threaten us the way the Swan Point asshole did (oh, and turns out, when Frank Woodward was there filming for Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, he got crap from the Swan Point security, even though he had permission to film). Anyway, it was very pleasant, there among the dead, and we read inscriptions and took photos. The trees were filled with noisy grackles. The air smelled like rain, and the sky was dark.

Afterwards, we drove towards downtown and parked on Point Street and walked out over the bridge across the Providence River. There was a little mist, but no actual rain. Beneath the bridge are the rotting wooden pilings of some manner of old dock or pier, which seems to have been left in place for the multitude of cormorants and gulls that congregate there. The water itself is a little dispiriting. The color of a ripe avocado skin, and with a slightly oily sheen. There were an alarming number of dead fish near the banks (and trash, including Dunkin" Donuts cups and a rusting, half-submerged bicycle). Still, this river must have been much worse off back in the 70s and 80s, before Rhode Island got serious about cleaning up its waterways. After the bridge, we headed back towards home, stopping for a while at White Electric Coffee on Westminster (where they always seem to be playing Patti Smith, whenever I drop by). Having secured our caffeine fix, we checked out a nearby abandoned building that Spooky had been wanting to photograph, the burnt-out ruins of the What Cheer Laundry (or Loutit Laundry) building (ca 1906 and vacant since 1987, partly demolished by a fire in 1991) on the north side of Cranston Street. The entrance surround is comprised of pilasters supporting a broken arched pediment with a panel bearing the words: “What Cheer Laundry” and depicting Roger Williams meeting Native Americans. The air was turning chilly, the day growing late, and afterwards we headed home.

Tuesday night, we watched Scorsese's Gangs of New York (2002) again. I don't think either of us had seen it since we saw it at the Fox in Atlanta in the summer of 2003. Still a beautiful, sublime epic. It had seemed like a good film to follow Miller's Crossing, and left me wanting to go back to Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale (1983). And I think that covers Tuesday fairly well. We took a lot of photographs, and I'll get some up later this week. Oh, and I read, in the June JVP, "The vertebrate fauna of the Upper Permian of Niger. IV. First evidence of a gorgonopsian theraspid."

---

Wednesday: Not nearly as interesting as Tuesday, but Spooky made sure I spent most of it out of the house. We wandered about points south of Providence — Warwick, West Warwick, East Greenwich, and Wakefield. We did locate a wonderful little witchcraft shop in West Warwick —— The Bella Earth —— and I got a new pentagram pendant to replace the one I broke a couple of month's back. Unlike, say, The Grateful Heart in Wickford, The Bella Earth isn't a mess of trendy, fluffy bunny, New Agey junk, but is mostly devoted to Wicca.

Last night, we watched the director's cut of Tarantino's Death Proof (2007), which is even cooler than the theatrical cut. Zoe Bell rocks our socks, and the last half hour or so is pure, vengeful fun. Later, I pulled the plug on the Howards End sim in Second life. This decision was hard, and I'm going to write about it in detail in another entry, maybe this evening. I do appreciate all the effort that various people put into it, but, in the end, I'm just too busy, too unwell, too fed up with SL, and...well, like I said, there will be an entry specifically devoted to the termination of the sim project. It was not an easy choice to make. Also, I played a few hours of WoW. Mithwen, my night-elf hunter is at Lvl 23, and is now running missions out of Astranaar in Ashenvale. Meanwhile, Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, has reached Lvl 12, and was just invited to join a guild ("The Flaming Fist"), which includes a couple of Lvl 70 warlocks. Got to bed about three last night, and there was a very brief absence seizure yesterday, but it was hardly a blip. Oh, and I read, again in the June JVP, "Hyaenodon chunkhtensis and the hyaenodontid fauna of the Upper Eocene Ergilin Dzo Formation of Mongolia."

---

One last thing before I wrap this up. Spooky stumbled across the trailer and website for Darren Lynn Bousman's forthcoming Repo! The Genetic Opera, and it looks astounding. I have been pretty much unimpressed by Bousman's Saw series (in fact, I saw only the first one, I was so unimpressed, and can't even imagine there are four of the things). But I am greatly intrigued by Repo!. Yeah, sure, you have to ignore the fact of Paris Hilton, but we get to hear Anthony Stewart Head sing again (!!!), and there's Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre, Poe, Sarah Brightman, Joan Jett, and the whole thing just looks gorgeous. So, we shall see.

Okay. Today, it's back to The Red Tree....
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
An extremely good writing day yesterday. I did 1,864 words and finished Chapter Six of The Red Tree. Much better than Sunday, when I wrote only 1,010 words and did not finish the chapter. The manuscript is now 68,003 words long. There was no writing on Monday, because it was Mabon, and I had no intention of spending the whole sabbat at a keyboard. And now it is Wednesday, and I see that my last real entry was made on Sunday morning, which leaves me to play catch up again.

First, I want to announce that Frank Woodward's documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (in which I appear), winner of best documentary at this year's San Diego Comic thingy, will be screened at the Chaplin Theatre on Saturday, October 4th, at the absurdly early hour of 1:45 p.m. It's part of this year's Shriekfest, whatever that might be. This will be the film's Los Angeles premiere. Frank tells me it's also been slated for festivals in Buenos Aires and Montreal.

Sunday night we watched Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001), which I'd only seen the one time in the theatre. I'd forgotten what a truly perfect film it is.

Monday, we got out of the house as soon as we could, which I think was about 2 p.m., and headed south from Providence. First, we visited Game Stop in Warwick, because they had the World of Warcraft "Battle Chest" (Wow plus the "Burning Crusade" expansion) on sale, and we picked up a copy for me and another for Spooky. Yes, it's gone that far. I'll return to the subject of WoW shortly. Anyway, after Warwick, we'd intended to drive down to Moonstone Beach, but changed our minds (we have two of them, most of the time) and instead headed east towards Beavertail. But there was to be yet another change in plans. In Jamestown, we decided that instead of going on to Beavertail, we'd explore the southeastern edge of Conanicut Island, around the ruins of Ft. Wetherill. The first fort built on the coast here was Fort Louis (named for the King of France, yes), erected during the American Revolution. Later, it was Fort Dumpling (named for Dumpling Rock), after being lost to the Brits during the occupation of Newport. In 1900, the fort was renamed in honor of Captain Alexander Wetherill, an infantryman killed in the Battle of San Juan during the Spanish American War.

We parked and spent the afternoon on the rocky beaches, surrounded by high granite cliffs (an unnamed granite formation dating from the Late Proterozoic), searching for bits of beach glass. It was a grand way to spend the first day of Autumn, and I was more in need of actual Nature than Ritual, so it was also a grand way to spend Mabon. I needed that nearness to Panthalassa. So, I lay for hours on the cobble-strewn beach, the clear water of West Cove literally lapping at my feet. It was a grey overcast day, and quite chilly, but no rain. There were ravens and gulls and cormorants. We found lots of glass, including some rare violet and pink bits. The only other people we saw, I think, were two guys who'd been scuba diving in the cove. There were sail boats, and the wind made my ears ache. It was close to a perfect day. There are photos below, behind the cut.

As for World of Whorecrack, and what should have been Level Grind Part Two, let me just say that nothing takes the gung out of your ho (or mine, anyway), like having to endure two hours (!) loading the game software and innumerable patches. My free trial was almost up, so I went ahead and activated a paid account. But, yeah, the software took for fucking ever to load. And load. And load. It was after 9 p.m. before I actually got back to, you know, playing. I'd hoped to get back up to Lvl 15 last night, but having lost all that time loading the game, I only made it to 13. Still, not bad for two nights. Mithwen advances. But. I am beginning to wonder why I bothered switching from the PvP server to an RP server. In two nights, and maybe twelve hours of play over those two nights, except for a few exchanges between me and Spooky, I have yet to see anything resembling rp. I don't mean that I'm seeing bad rp. I'm just not seeing any rp at all. Not even an attempt. I do see lots of annoying ooc behavior and chat. And there's more traffic on the new server, which is sort of irritating, and people keep challenging me to duels (I decline, as it makes no sense in story, and they make no attempt to rp the requests). So...I am left to wonder. Why does Blizzard bother with rp servers, and why do all these people sign in to rp servers, when no one even tries to rp. There's no attempt that I can see at being in character, playing someone who is actually a part of Azeroth. As near as I can tell, it's not that players in WoW can't rp, it's more like the concept is entirely alien to them. I begin to suspect it never even crosses their mind, what "roleplay" actually means. Fortunately, it's a good enough game that I don't really care about the missing rp, and I suppose I could form a group devoted to actual rp. We'll see. But I am annoyed that I switched servers and started over.

Oh, and last night, while I was trying to dump some loot in the bank in Darnassus, some goofball named "Thirstyblood" shoved a guild charter in my face and asked if I would sign it. I did, since it seemed like it would be more trouble to say no. I did not know this would automatically make me a member. Duh. Anyway, shortly thereafter, the guild was activated and the title appeared over my head —— "Unholly Strength." I "whispered" to Thirstyblood and asked if he knew he'd misspelled "unholy." At first, he said no, he'd spelled it that way on purpose. He then admitted "unholy strength" was taken. I asked to leave the group. He wanted to know if I was leaving over the spelling, and I said yes, for starters. At this point, he changed his story again, and said it was just how he wanted to spell "unholy," and made a stink about having a right to spell things as he wished. I said fine, wonderful, just please let me leave. Never mind that we're playing Alliance, so it's a given that we at least probably wouldn't think of ourselves as unholy. Or unholly, for that matter. The guy was getting really...apoplectic...over me not respecting his "right" to spell words as he "chose." But, after five minutes or so of this, he did finally eject me from the guild. I wanted to ask if he called himself "Thirstyblood" because "Bloodthirsty" (which would have been bad enough) was already taken, or if that was a personal choice, too. Jesus fuck, where does all the stupid come from?

Anyway, I have to get to work on Sirenia Digest #34 (subscribe!) and look over the page proofs for the B is for Beginnings chapbook...but yeah...photos behind the cut:

Fort Wetherill, Mabon 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Middle Triassic)
Soooooo...a Joyful Mabon to all those who mark the turning of the Wheel of the Year.

But, I'm making this post because a few of you expressed interest in joining me and Spooky in World of Warcraft. And I discovered this morning that I goofed when I set up my account last Saturday. You may recall, I was in the throes of tooth pain and Oxycodon. Instead of choosing an RP server, I chose a PVP server (Anub'arak). And we didn't catch it until this ayem, which might say something about the usefulness of WoW for actual rp. Anyway, despite the fact that my character, Merricat, was LvL 19+, and Spooky's, Syllahr, was 17+, tonight we started we've both started over on an RP server — Cenarian Circle. My new character looks exactly the same, but is named Mithwen, instead of Merricat, as I was in the mood for Sindarin (Mith = "grey" + the suffix wen, "maiden"). Spooky is still Syllahr, and she says I shouldn't be Tolkien's bitch. But I am. Anyway, as I write this, I've made it back up to Lvl. 8 (since 9:00 pm). And that's the server where we'll be, if anyone is looking for us. Apologies for any inconvenience.

I'll make a real post tomorrow.
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
The last few months, my dreams have been strangely subdued. Strange for me, I mean. Only rarely have I had to cope with the old morning bouts of dreamsickness. I have no idea why. Anyway, the last week or so, the dreams have been back, bright and loud and insistent, and lingering long after I'm "awake."

Yesterday, I only managed 843 words on Chapter Six of The Red Tree. But. All my concerns about time aside, this morning I do at least retain the clarity to know that it's wrong to worry that you did not write enough on any given day that you sat trying to write. I will say, I think that The Red Tree is the book that I hope I one day have the opportunity to rewrite and expand. One day, I hope there might be a hardback edition with all the different fonts the text calls for, and the photographs, and facsimiles of letters, and all the rest. We can dream. By the way, here's the excerpt from Thoreau's The Maine Woods (1864) that appears in the novel (and offers a bit of insight into the novel, really):

…Nature was here something savage and awful, though beautiful. I looked with awe at the ground I trod on, to see what the Powers had made there, the form and fashion and material of their work. This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night. Here was no man's garden, but the unhandselled globe. It was not lawn, nor pasture, nor mead, nor woodland, nor lea, nor arable, nor waste-land. It was the fresh and natural surface of the planet Earth, as it was made for ever and ever, —— to be the dwelling of man, we say, —— so Nature made it, and man may use it if he can. Man was not to be associated with it. It was Matter, vast, terrific, —— not his Mother Earth that we have heard of, not for him to tread on, or be buried in, —— no, it were being too familiar even to let his bones lie there, —— the home, this, of Necessity and Fate. There was there felt the presence of a force not bound to be kind to man. It was a place for heathenism and superstitious rites, —— to be inhabited by men nearer of kin to the rocks and to wild animals than we. We walked over it with a certain awe, stopping, from time to time, to pick the blueberries which grew there, and had a smart and spicy taste. Perchance where our wild pines stand, and leaves lie on their forest floor, in Concord, there were once reapers, and husbandmen planted grain; but here not even the surface had been scarred by man, but it was a specimen of what God saw fit to make this world. What is it to be admitted to a museum, to see a myriad of particular things, compared with being shown some star's surface, some hard matter in its home! I stand in awe of my body, this matter to which I am bound has become so strange to me. I fear not spirits, ghosts, of which I am one, —— that my body might, — but I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them. What is this Titan that has possession of me? Talk of mysteries! —— Think of our life in nature, —— daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, —— rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we?

And I should also express my gratitude for the many words of encouragement yesterday, though, in truth, that's not why I posted that entry. Rarely do I publicly express the self doubt that I always, always feel. But, as this journal is meant to be an accurate portrayal of what writing is like for me, it seems unfair to never include that part of it, when that part of it is really very front and center. I will never be the writer I want to be. I will always fall short of my own expectations. And maybe that's important, even vital. Maybe it's what keeps me moving.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, three of which end today. Also, let me remind you that the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds is now available, and also that subpress is taking pre-orders for my first sf collection, A is for Alien.

A nasty bit of a headache this morning, and I have to beat it down, because there's no time for headaches.

As for the non-writing portion of yesterday, I don't know. I think yesterday and the two days before have sort of blurred together. Spooky has changed the summer altar dressings to the autumn altar dressings, in preparation for Mabon. We spent some time yesterday evening working on my office, which never really got completely unpacked and set up back in June. I reached a point and just sort of stopped unpacking and began writing. But its been bugging me. Spooky spent part of yesterday out photographing various buildings in Providence that we are recreating in the Howards End sim. Last night, we both played far, far too much World of Whorecrack. I fear we are well and truly hooked. I made it as far south as Ashenvale, and the Zoram Strand, which is quite gorgeous, even if the deer can kill you. Merricat has reached Level 18, and halfway to 19. Back on Earth, and actually before WoW, I had a hot bath, and we had leftovers for dinner. I think that was yesterday, more or less. Hubero says hi, by the way.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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