greygirlbeast: (Aeryn and Pilot)
00. I'm not feeling very bow tie this afternoon. Comments would be nice.

01. Yesterday there was email, and Subterranean Press needed some stuff from me for The Yellow Book, which, you may recall, is the FREE hardcover chapbook that accompanies the limited edition (but not the trade) of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Little odds and ends, nothing major. And I was still waiting to hear from an editor, so I proposed to Spooky that we proceed with a long, long delayed office renovation. We spent about an hour moving a shelf and books and stuff, then spent two hours realizing that the table we wanted to put in my office would never fit (this involved Spooky calling her Mom in South County to remeasure Spooky's sister Steph's old table out in the barn). Nope. No dice. So, I have resigned myself to being stuck in an office even smaller than my last (Mansfield Avenue, Atlanta, GA), which was, at best, a third as large as my office before that (Kirkwood Lofts, Atlanta, GA). A few years from now, at this rate, they'll have me writing in a restroom stall. Ah, well. At least then I'll never have an excuse to stand up. Anyway, in the end (no pun intended), yesterday was mostly a sadly and exhausting wasted day. Though, I did leave the house for the first time in five or six days.

02. In list of weird books to give the weird people in your lives for the holidays (that would be Solstice and/or Cephalopodmas), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, over at the Weird Fiction Review website (virtual sister of the Centipede Press print digest of the same name), in their listing Two Worlds and In Between, write:

Standing as one member of the Triad of Infernal Weird – the three who clearly have signed pacts with demons to keep the quality of their story forever elevated – that also includes Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco, Kiernan has emerged since the 1990s as a master of the weird tale.

Clearly, we haven't been keeping those meetings secret enough. Regardless, the VanderMeers strongly recommend the book ("This collection from Subterranean only confirms her brilliance."), along with several other very wonderfully weird titles (kittens, the word horror, when used to denote a literary genre, is so very not bow tie; parentheses are, though – trust me).

03. Today will be spent writing a very whimsical piece for Sirenia Digest #73, "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea." Think Victorian flower language (id est, floriography) and you're halfway there. I intend to enjoy writing this.

04. A point of etiquette (unless you happen to wish to seem a douchebag):

a) When a kerfuffle is made over a company publicly insulting transgender persons, and there is outrage, and said company wisely apologizes (though, note, I don't consider an apology an exoneration), and a somewhat prominent transgender author notes that at least this is evidence that change is coming, even if it's coming very, very slowly, do not

b) post in that authors' Facebook that, while you sympathize, you also find the insult funny, and then

c) when said author explains why it's not fucking funny do not

d) dig in your heels and go on about how some people take themselves too seriously, or

e) you will find yourself banned from that author's Facebook, Matthew Baker. Because admitting that you find a joke at the expense of transgender people funny, but also understanding it hurts them, but you still find it funny, makes you a hateful and transphobic (here's that word again) douchebag. I'll not dwell on the coincidences that you are also male, white, and cisgender. Also, definitely do NOT begin emailing the author afterwards to call them names, because then you'll have graduated from douchebag to troll.

05. Last night, after sandwiches from the Eastside Market deli, we watched Scott Crocker's documentary on the mistaken resurrection of the (almost certainly) extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Ghost Bird, with music by the amazing Zoë Keating. Ghost Bird is an exquisite film, not only because it documents this episode in the history of humanity's thoughtless elimination of other species, but because it serves as a case study of how science works: the theory, the methodology, responsibility, the politics, publishing, personal conflicts, and the perils of wishful thinking. See it; for the moment it can be streamed from Netflix.

After the film, there was Rift (which is to say, my social life), and Indus reached Level 40 (only ten to go). Then I read a rather good story by Ramsay Campbell, "Getting It Wrong," who needs no one to tell him how the Plight of Family X can, and usually does, make for a truly dull story. By the way, one day soon, I'll explain why several books, including Danielewski's House of Leaves, Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door, my own The Red Tree, and a few others, emphatically do not fall into the dreaded subgenre trap of "Family X Move Into the Bad House and Have Their Normative Domestic Bliss Wrecked by an Inconvenient Intrusion from Outside." The answer is surprisingly simple, though extraordinarily complex.

And now, the words.

Simply Complex and Complexly Simple,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:34 p.m.): Word from my editor at Penguin that the final and corrected cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (mirror2)
Yesterday was, in all respects, a vast improvement upon Wednesday and Thursday. First off, the words finally began to come again, and I did 851 words (all written to I Megaphone) on a new vignette, "Ode to Edvard Munch." It's an interesting little piece that I'm liking a great deal. I've been reading a little Saki and Virginia Woolf, and that might be showing through. That's always a danger, and why I usually avoid reading fiction while writing novels. In the introduction he wrote for Harlan's Stalking the Nightmare (1982), Stephen King discussed a phenomenon that many young writers experience, the tendency to write like whoever they're reading at the time. "Imitativeness," he calls it. He goes on to say:

The imitativeness shakes out, and we become ourselves again. But. One never seems to develop an immunity to some writers...or at least I never have. Their ranks are small, but their influence...has been profound. When I go back to them, I can't not imitate them. My letters start sounding like them; my short stories; a chunk of whatever novel I'm working on; even grocery lists.

I think not even my harshest detractors would argue that I lack my own voice, but I have to admit that, even now, at almost -2, I am particularly vulnerable to this problem of "imitativeness." And yes, certain writers are murder to read and keep out of whatever I'm doing. Bradbury. Harlan. Hemingway. Shirley Jackson. Kathe Koja. Faulkner. And Saki. And Woolf. So, yeah, you might detect them in "Ode to Edvard Munch." Or you may not. We shall see. Oh, and perhaps more than a hint of Portrait of Jenny, as well. The 1948 film, more than the Robert Nathan novel. I hope to finish the vignette this afternoon. I hope. I'm soooooo far behind (thank you, Editing Monster).

Yesterday, I printed out Chad Michael Ward's artwork for the new paperback edition of Threshold and noticed something wrong right off. I got out the magnifying glass to be sure. Dancy has Sadie's blue-white eyes. I e-mailed Liz, my editor, immediately and asked if it's too late to fix this, to made the blue-white pink. She hasn't written back yet. But I'm hopeful, so, once again, we shall see. Other than the eye-colour problem, I still love the artwork (which I'll post as soon as posting is permitted).

Spooky spoke with her mother yesterday, and I have a tentative ETA for the trip to New England this summer. It will probably be late July through mid August. I want to be back in time to get ready for Dragon*Con, the first week of September. Anyway, as soon as I have the exact dates, I can set up the reading/signing in Boston, and then I'll post the date, etc. here. It shouldn't be too much longer. I am very much looking forward to this trip, even if I will have to get a lot of writing done while we're gone. I'm eager for the train ride up, the beaches, the lighthouses, Del's lemonade, and about a hundred other things. Fortunately, we've found someone to housesit for us, which relieves some of my concern about being gone so long. However, our housesitter isn't up to dealing with Sophie and her injections and attitude, so she will be boarded the entire time.

It occurred to me yesterday that sheheit might make a nice gender-neutral pronoun. I detest hir, and it amuses me that sheheit sounds like shit in Southern Redneckese.

The Imogen Heap show last night was superb. I stopped writing at exactly 4:28, and the show wasn't until 8:30, but we needed to be there at 7 to get a good seat. After the writing, my mood wasn't such that I felt like being rushed, and I grumped about and wasted time, so much so that there wasn't time for dinner. Still, I'm glad that Spooky didn't allow me to back out. Zoe Keating opened, and she never fails to amaze. She was having some computer trouble, the box not responding to MIDI commands, and had to reboot after the first song, and this had something to do with her having just returned from France, but I wasn't clear what. Imogen Heap was absolutely wonderful. I am entirely seduced by her charm and her voice and her geekiness and her iBook. Oh, she also had to reboot after the first song or two. This is how I know I live in the Future.

While rebooting, she told about getting all "Jägermeistered-up" in Knoxville and letting Ryan Obermeyer talk her into stealing a cookie jar at the Hampton Inn where they were staying and almost getting arrested the next day. At this point, I realised that Ryan was out front at the merch table. I said hi on the way out. The constant reader will recall that Ryan did the beautiful covers for the The Dry Salvages and To Charles Fort, With Love, as well as the cover and endpapers of the subpress edition of Low Red Moon. So yes, all in all, a wonderful night. And even with the show, we still managed to get home in time to see Dr. Who at midnight, which rocked. Christopher Eccleston, you know. Though, afterwards, while searching for the misplaced remote, I was subjected to a few moments of Stargate: SG-whatever, and there was John Crichton, only he wasn't, and there was Aeryn Sun, only she wasn't (and she was dressed horridly), and it was all sorts of wrong. I almost had a seizure before I found the remote. Anyway, there are a few of the 85 photos we took at the show behind the cut:

Zoe and Imogen )


Those frelling naysayers at NASA have gone and lowered the odds of asteroid Apophis impacting earth in 2036 from 1 in 6,000 to 1 in 24,000. Naturally, the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky looks askance at this change in forecast and suspects conspiracy. You know, to keep the panic to a minimum. We shall continue to hope for the best. And even at 1 in 24,000, those aren't such terrible odds. I mean, the odds of someone in America being struck by lightning in any given year are a whopping 1/700,000 (!) and all sorts of people do get struck. We must remember that that which is improbable is not impossible. Indeed, that which is improbable may often be inevitable, given enough time. By the way, I think I'm getting a permanent tongue-groove worn into my left cheek...

The platypus says that I should mention that wishing thing on Amazon again, what with only a week remaining until the dread -2, but I fear that would be poor form. The platypus cares not about poor form. Just look at sheheit...all webbed feet and fur and duck-bill...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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