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[personal profile] greygirlbeast
Quite cold in Providence today, and colder tonight. Presently 36˚ Fahrenheit, crawling towards a high of 39˚.

Assembly Day #72 went pretty much as expected: not as tedious as many, but still tedious enough to annoy a person who, like me, can't seem to abide even the smallest jot of tedium. Regardless, Sirenia Digest #72 went out last night, well before midnight, and all subscribers should have it by now. I'm especially interested in thoughts on "Another Tale of Two Cities."

Beyond pulling the digest together, which took several hours, there isn't much else to say about yesterday. Work, work, and work. And, in lieu of anything even remotely interesting to say about that work, here are some Reminding Links:

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart

Alabaster

Oh, and if you're into this sort of thing, here's my Amazon wishlist and here's Spooky's. What with Solstice and Cephalopodmas looming dark and gibbous on the horizon. You know, for kids. Distraction is always welcome.

---

Mon monsieur, mon amour, le Comte de Insomnie, made an unexpected return last night. Perhaps something went amiss with the laudanum, a bad batch from the apothicaire. A misplaced dash from a tincture of cocaïne, possibly. At any rate, last night, trying to get sleepy, and so I read Lisa Tuttle's recent short story, "The Man in the Ditch," because Tuttle has written some good stuff, and I liked the title. Sadly, the story is bland, only competent, and infected with an especial sort of bland, formulaic mundanity I'm seeing in a lot of "horror" these days, both written and in film. Couple moves into house, apartment, condo, old farm only to discover that the domicile is haunted by malevolent spirit of X (insert generic EVIL entity of your choice). Family X (which can be nuclear or otherwise, pure or tainted, possessed of children or not, but they are pretty much always heterosexual) soon meets terrible fate at the hands of X, or, more rarely, escapes after the fashion of The Amityville Horror (1977) or Spielberg's Poltergeist (1982); Ryan Murphy is turning this tired trope on its ear with his American Horror Story, by the way, by mocking the various incarnations of X and by making the ghosts sympathetic and the X Family the true monsters/invaders. Point is, these are the sorts of films that when Spooky and I are looking for something to stream from Netflix we automatically skip over, the sorts of books I avoid. Anyway, despite its intriguing title, "The Man in the Ditch" is exactly such a story.

Which leads me to wonder exactly what all these straight couples are afraid of. The intrusion of the Outside, the Unknown, via a supernatural agency? No, I think that's only a metaphor – the ghosts and demons and whatnot. They are merely tiresome phantoms trotted out for more mundane (there's that word again) threats: infidelity, an inability to conceive, sudden infant death syndrome, bankruptcy and foreclosure, children who indulge in drugs or engage in sex or who turn out to be queer or who run away from home, termites in the walls, AIDS and other STDs, bedbugs, and so forth. But instead of writing about those things, it's all dressed up in the metaphor of "horror." And it's dull as small-curd cottage cheese, and it makes me weary. I may miss a beat now and then, kittens, but I promise never to bore you with such painful domesticity. Lisa Tuttle, you can do better than this.

At any rate, the vacation does not begin until the 15th, so I must get to work.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast

Date: 2011-12-11 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] subtlesttrap.livejournal.com
"Another Tale of Two Cities" was a great morsel. I can definitely see the Giger-esque bio-mechanics in there but per usual you really put this bodily stamp on that is all you. "The Builders" also brought Gulliver's Travels and other "little people" invasions to mind, but what made this one so interesting is the welcoming of the invasion and that transformation.

p.s. love the Danielle Dax line, "Big Hollow Man" is one of my all time faves

Date: 2011-12-11 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

"Another Tale of Two Cities" was a great morsel. I can definitely see the Giger-esque bio-mechanics in there but per usual you really put this bodily stamp on that is all you. "The Builders" also brought Gulliver's Travels and other "little people" invasions to mind, but what made this one so interesting is the welcoming of the invasion and that transformation.

Thank you!

I purposefully avoided the use of the adjective "Lilliputian," but yeah, it's there.

Date: 2011-12-11 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trvolk.livejournal.com
an especial sort of bland, formulaic mundanity

For me, such stories (or worse, novels) are like once again encountering the ride-through funhouse I visited dozens of times when I was a kid, only without the nostalgia.

Date: 2011-12-11 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

are like once again encountering the ride-through funhouse I visited dozens of times when I was a kid, only without the nostalgia.

Good analogy, only with Twenty-First Century versions of Ozzie and Harriet.

Date: 2011-12-11 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trvolk.livejournal.com
Now THAT is scary. Just not in the good way.

Date: 2011-12-11 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Just not in the good way.

Bingo.

Date: 2011-12-11 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trvolk.livejournal.com
"So, Rick Perry and his campaign staff move into new headquarters. Unbeknownst to them, the building was a former gay club massacred by a crazed Randroid. Soon, staffers begin hearing strains of Aaron Copland."

Date: 2011-12-11 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
I'd read that.

Date: 2011-12-11 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iterum.livejournal.com
"Ryan Murphy is turning this tired trope on its ear"

It was, in fact, already a tired trope ready for ear-turning when Tim Burton made Beetlejuice nearly a quarter century (yikes) ago.

Date: 2011-12-11 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

It was, in fact, already a tired trope ready for ear-turning when Tim Burton made Beetlejuice nearly a quarter century (yikes) ago.

Agreed.

Date: 2011-12-11 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
Assembly Day #72 went pretty much as expected...

I'm sorry for the extremely late entry for the Q&H, I had actually gotten the deadline date utterly wrong. I'm very embarrassed by the thought that the submission caused any sort of aggravation or trouble, since I know you were asking a long time for submissions.

They are merely tiresome phantoms trotted out for more mundane (there's that word again) threats...

Well, for myself, I can say that bedbugs are pretty horrifying.

Date: 2011-12-11 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I'm sorry for the extremely late entry for the Q&H, I had actually gotten the deadline date utterly wrong. I'm very embarrassed by the thought that the submission caused any sort of aggravation or trouble, since I know you were asking a long time for submissions.

No aggravation at all. In fact, it was by far the best of the lot, transcending the spirit of the challenge. It's a good poem, and I mean to run it next month, if you don't mind.

Well, for myself, I can say that bedbugs are pretty horrifying.

As are termites.

Date: 2011-12-12 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
It's a good poem, and I mean to run it next month, if you don't mind.

I don't mind; if it is a good poem at all, that is probably due to the editorial eye and nudges that [livejournal.com profile] cucumberseed provided.

Date: 2011-12-13 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com


I don't mind; if it is a good poem at all, that is probably due to the editorial eye and nudges that [livejournal.com profile] cucumberseed provided.


I suspected, after he talked about helping someone out. ;-)

Date: 2011-12-12 04:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katesavage.livejournal.com
"Another Tale of Two Cities" was a welcomed diversion.

I like the notion of a valued, mindful city and the triumph of creativity over the impulse to discard what has served well.

I also like the "Question at Hand" story about the freaky quasi tattooing/gene splice.

Date: 2011-12-13 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sillythrombus.livejournal.com
Oh good, I didn't know you had an Amazon wishlist. Transylvanian Dinosaurs headed your way.

Date: 2011-12-14 11:46 pm (UTC)
ext_4772: (Whale fluke)
From: [identity profile] chris-walsh.livejournal.com
Appreciated "Another Tale of Two Cities." Use all parts of the animal, indeed: the Builders seem to get that. The story, short as it is, still feels thorough. And a nice sense of sex, or something approximating sex, as a needed thing.

Plus I learned and re-learned some words, so that's always worthwhile.

How soon into the writing did you know the story would change how it was being told? (Awkward phrasing so as not to give something away, but you probably get what I asked.) Well before you made that shift or right before?

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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