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: (zoe1)
And as you cross the circle line,
Well, the ice wall creaks behind.
You´re a rabbit on the run.
~ Jethro Tull

Comment, kittens! Comment!

1) Two "BIG" announcements today, and you might get one now and one later, or both now, depending on when and what I hear from my agent. But. I may proceed with Thing #1: Subterranean Press has begun taking pre-orders for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Yes, now. Right now. The book is scheduled for release in Spring 2012. And I'm just going to say this upfront: Order directly from subpress, because Amazon is very likely to fuck you over. Many people who pre-ordered The Ammonite Violin & Others and Two Worlds and In Between had Amazon cancel their orders. So...don't even go there. Anyway, that's the first announcement. The second is dependent on whether or not I hear back from my agent before she goes to lunch (which now seems unlikely).

2) Yesterday was meant to be the day I wrote the next 1,000-1,500 words of "Another Tale of Two Cities." Instead, it was unexpectedly consumed by the need to unexpectedly leave the house and attend to a legal matter, regarding the second announcement I've not yet made, power-of-attorney stuff related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but I cannot yet say what that is, remember? Anyway, most of the day was spent with legalese and a notary public and UPS and the post office (USPS costs ~$65) and I did at least stop into Myopic Books at Wayland Square and once again drool over used copies of Sankar Chatterjee's The Rise of Birds ($15) and Lowell Dingus and Timothy Rowe's The Mistaken Extinction ($30), but was good and did not buy either (again). That was what happened to yesterday. Oh, and traffic.

3) I hate to keep "hating on" (a phrase for morons, hence shutter quotes) Kermit the iPad, but I fear he is the shape of things to come with Apple. Which is to say, the intuitive nature of Apple products, which is a large part of my loyalty, is missing from the iPad. It's like I'm wrestling with mysterious alien tech. What do all those little (unlabeled) pictographs mean? Which microscopic button in the side did I touch that made the screen go black this time? And so on.

4) I know this might have, so far, seemed like a "happy entry." But I am anywhere but at the moment. Lots of reasons. And this is my blog, so here I may bellyache about these matters. A large part of it is that all those years I had to go without healthcare (mostly neurological and psychiatric) did a great deal of damage to my body. And every time I plug one hole, another pops open. I'm beginning to think I'm going to drown in only a year or two. Sure, money's not so tight now, but "not so tight" is a long way from I can afford to have my rotten teeth and gums attended to, for example. Or from we can afford to get Spooky the checkup she's needed for years. And there are days it would scare the hell out of me, were I not so suicidal. By the way, the suicidal hypochondriac, there's a funny one, no? No, not really. But it does embody the true meaning of irony, and it does bring a smile to my face (a rare thing, that). And maybe the next year or two will change all this. And maybe it won't.

5) There is a game I like to play with myself. What if my life had taken a completely different course? It's no secret I do not love writing, no matter how good I might be at it. It's no secret my first love is vertebrate paleontology, and one of the great tragedies of my life was the derailment of my paleo' career in the late '80s by an elaborate combination of factors, too complex to here explain. That the writing career was a fallback (I was lucky to have) that arose from the ashes. I played the game last night. I would post the results here (seven steps were involved), but it would seem too much like self-pity, and while I may pity another, I may not feel pity for myself. We have all been conditioned to believe that's wrong.

6) Three matters I need to attend to, and I'm posting them here because it'll help me not forget (the Lamictal [Lamotrigine] plays havoc with my memory). Firstly, I need to send ReaderCon an updated biography, because the one they have now is very out of date. Secondly, and on a related note, I need to get new bibliographical and biographical data to the Writer's Directory before December 17th. Thirdly, back to ReaderCon, I need to send Rose Fox a list of any programming I'd like as one of the two Guests of Honor, and I need to do it before the end of the month (suggestions welcome).

7. Question @ Hand #5, kittens! Do not disappoint me. We've gotten a couple of good entries, but I need about five more, or Sirenia Digest will be the poorer for the absence of any at all. I'm not asking for great literature, okay? Oh, and don't email me your answer, please. Write them in LJ; this makes my life easier.

8. Spooky and I had a HUGE Rift binge last night, leveling my Eth warrior, Indus (she has a spectral feline companion named River) from Level 32 to 34, and we got Dancy (yes; a Kelari cleric) leveled the same. Please come and play with us (Faeblight shard, guild Watchers of the Unseen). Here is your chance to take part in an interactive story written by "one of our essential writers of dark fiction" (the NYT says so!), and you're letting it pass you by? Inconceivable!

Oh, gods. That's enough.

Spun About,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, you will write a short blog entry! Yes, you will. Probably, no one's reading this thing today, anyway. Much less will they comment, so make it short. [I didn't.]

1) THIS IS IMPORTANT! Read it twice. Steam is offering Rift for a mere $14.99!!! That's 50% off! Plus, you play FREE for a month. Now, the offer will never get better than this, and we had a great RP session last night (thanks, guys). You can join us almost, if not quite, for free.

And really, say that you're here reading this and you don't want to take part in an interactive fantasy story written in part by me? You know you do. So, scoot over to Steam and toss them some pennies, download, sign in, create a Defiant character on the Faeblight shard, start grinding those first few marvelous levels, and join us on Telara. No, NOW. Go. I'll still be here when you get back.

2) Yesterday, I wrote three more pages of Alabaster #3 (though I still felt blegh). I should explain, that when I say I wrote three pages, that's three pages of the comic, which usually comes to about three manuscript pages, sometimes four.

3) I'm feeling much better, but it appears a lot of my exhaustion was a bug of the contagious sort, and now Spooky's caught it (as of yesterday). So, I got to say, "I told you I felt awful." But that's the only upside. She's miserable.

4) I'm not a hypocrite. I just like turkey. We eat it a lot (usually legs). But, yeah, yesterday Spooky made an awesome turkey breast (with cranberries, walnuts, apples, garlic, and onions), and we had mashed potatoes (POH_TAE_TOES?), English peas, homemade cranberry sauce (forget that jellied crap in the can), and apple pie. Days of leftovers. And unholy words were spoken to unspeakable gods while Ozzy Osbourne played in the background, so...none of this counts. Move along. Nothing to see here. Thank you. Drive around.

5) I mentioned this, right? Okay. Just checking.

6) This entry was going to be short, wasn't it?

7) I saw this yesterday, and I (no shit) almost cried: "Alabama’s Wealth of Fossil Dinosaur Feathers." Just read the article (after you've downloaded Rift). Suffice to say, I worked with the paleontologist who first noted feathers in the Eutaw Formation, after I'd spent many years urging collectors to focus on the Eutaw Formation (Late Santonian-Early Campanian) if they wanted to find a Cretaceous terrestrial fauna in Alabama. This is more than I ever dared hoped for.

8) The signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012) will reach me soon, and the signing will commence.

9) As I mentioned, great RP last night, the second scene in our rebooted storyline. The cleric Nilleshna called two more Ascendants to the Watchers of the Unseen and the Faceless Man's cause, a Kelari cleric named Emris and a Kelari rogue named Harlakai. And an old member was reunited with the guild, the Eth warrior Anaxakharis. They were all gathered together in a high alpine meadow on the border between Stonefield and Freemarch. Near the end of the scene, one of the guild's more infamous characters, Celinn (Kelari rogue) appeared from the trees and great and terrible weirdness ensued. The game's afoot...again!

10) We're running a Sirenia Digest special. Subscribe now, and you'll get #71 free with issue #72. In fact, if you subscribed any time in November you get #71. This is to be sure people reading the alternate first chapters of Silk will have access to the entire manuscript. So, take advantage of one of my rare acts of kindness. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

And now...the mothmen summon me.

Astounded at Her Pre[science],
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, setting aside for the moment that Kathryn managed to find a Bosco Milk Chocolate Bar (3.5 ounces of all natural pure fun, since 1928), we have had an amazing motherfucking day and night. Oh, yes. Let's not forget the night. But! No one drowned, which is bloody amazing, given we working on a trailer for The Drowning Girl and...well...you'll see.

Sure, it was a rainy fucking day here in Rhode Island. But, everyone arrived about noonish, and as we headed south towards Location #1, Moonstone Beach, we got a break. In the cloud cover that is. The drizzle ceased, and the filming at Moonstone went swimmingly (you gotta thank Geoffrey [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark for having committed that pun, as he was sitting here begging me not to use it, though he's the one that brought it up). Where was I? Oh, Moonstone Beach. Yes, it was one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen at Moonstone, and the novel's climactic scene was a marvel to translate into film. Oh, and there were beautiful mermaid's purses, and omen of a certain, some enormous (by the standards of selachian egg cases), perfectly hatched. Had a great close encounter with a loon (and I don't mean Geoffrey!). The mist was thick, and Block island was invisible in the distance, to the south, across the green, then blue gulf of Block Island Sound. Our actors—Sara (Eva) and Nicola (Imp)—were grand. Kyle played Mary Ellen Mark and shot a billion still photos. I played Werner Herzog, while Brian played Terrance Malick. Meanwhile, Kathryn, Geoffrey (there he is again), and Ryan saved our asses again and again and again. As the clouds parted, we were treated to a Maxfield Parrish sky, all in a trillion shades a blue and grey.

And then we took time to visit the jetty at Harbor of Refuge, which I walked, despite the fact I have no business playing mountain goat. And then, just before dark, we headed to the Point Judith Lighthouse. We watched men fishing in the rocky surf, and a couple of surfers (of questionable intellect) flinging themselves suicidally into the breakers. And the sun set and rain came down.

Hard.

We headed back to Kathryn's parent's farm, to shoot a pivotal scene, which calls for outdoor nudity. And it was shot in the rain. The pouring rain. The hard, cold, you can't hear yourself speak over it rain. Sara gets huge points from me for standing naked in the hard, cold, you can't hear yourself speak over it rain. For, I think, four takes. I only had to be soaking wet in my clothes. I think you could write a short novel about our filming that one scene, Sara and Nicola (who was at least dressed), and the cameras, and the umbrellas, and the automobile serving double duty as a lighting rig. And the rain. And the deer that almost ate Sara. And pizza. And umbrellas. And Spider the cat. And...stop me now.

More to come. Ah, but! There is a sneak peek! Here:

14 October 2011, NOT WORK SAFE, like I give a shit )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I begin to have doubts about my home state when I consider that when, in 1954, either the ruby-throated hummingbird or osprey could have been chosen as the State Bird, voters picked, instead, a chicken.

Um...this is Thursday, right? I thought so. It's actually raining. Started last night, but it's going to be sunny and warm again tomorrow.

Yesterday, I wrote only 953 words, because that's all that was required to reach THE END of "Evensong." It came out not so much a vignette as a very short short story. I think. Why the fuck do we have to categorize, anyway? It's fiction. Leave it at that. Regardless, subscribe! Today, I begin the second new piece for Sirenia Digest #70.

Spooky's having a Premature Halloween Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. Good and spooky stuff. Also, for those who contributed to the Tale of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter, the paintings are almost finished (you now can see these in the project's blog, if you were a backer). I haven't begun on the text yet, but after the LONG delay, the project is chugging towards completion! The Goat Girls live, booya!

Yesterday was dull as the Rhode Island state bird. And that's sort of a good thing. I needed a genuinely dull day. No alarms and no surprises, please. I think the worst of it was the big Rift 1.5 patch. But, hey...those of us who've been there since the start got cool new stuff. And soon we Defiant can buy yarnosaurs! That is, those of us who've been there since the beginning. The rest of you are out of luck. For dinner, we ate the Rhode Island state bird (roasted), then ate Hallowe'en candy, and watched the end of Season Two of Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit. The show seems to finally be wandering farther afield from the rape/child abuse case of the week formula. Someone must have finally realized there are bolder sex crimes afoot. Either that, or the ratings dropped. We read more of The Sundial.

If you ordered Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me: Volume One, it ought to be arriving any day, if it hasn't already. I'm eagerly awaiting my own copies. Also, I have received word that the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has reached my editor at Penguin. The postal goblins didn't eat it.

Excuse me. I'm going to ask the state bird why it crossed the road.

Curiouser and Curiouser,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, so even though I got up about an hour early, I'm running about an hour late, and I blame you, Johnathan Strahan, and you, Gary K. Wolfe. And this Coode Street Podcast, which will have me smiling for days to come. And, of course, now I'm dying to see Gary's Locus review of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One). I was especially pleased with their suspicion that Volume Two is going to be so much better than Volume One (because it will be).

Comments today, kittens! I need them.

---

Yesterday, after I attended to email (Michael Zulli and I seem to have become regular correspondents, which is just too cool), we left Providence, about 3 p.m.. And drove south to Exeter, in the southwestern quadrant of Rhode Island. Throughout Blood Oranges I've been doing something I never do with novels: I haven't spent much time scouting locales. To keep with the fast-pace of the book, I've relied on my memories. But the climactic scene occurs in Exeter, where I've spent very little time. Now, if you're into the weird of New England, or vampire lore, you know all about the Mercy Brown incident (and the related cases of New England "vampires"). I've read Michael E. Bell's superb book on the subject, Food for the Dead, and used the case in several stories. Yet, I'd never visited the grave. Nor had Spooky, which is even odder. So, yesterday we set out to remedy this.

It could hardly have been a less appropriate day, if you're the sort who wants some appropriately eldritch atmosphere for such an outing. The sun was blazing, and there's virtually no shade in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery. The temperature must have been in the mid-eighties Fahrenheit, with heat indexes close to ninety. But I think Spooky and I were both happy that we weren't making some cliché goth pilgrimage. We followed Ten Rod Road (Route 102) to Exeter and the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church (behind which the cemetery is located). Mercy's grave is a simple marble marker, unassuming, and unlike that of Nellie Vaughn – another tuberculosis victim that superstitious locals feared was an undead, life-draining revenant (oh look, LJ can't spell revenant) – there's no inscription that could be taken the wrong way. Vaughn's grave, in Greenwich (Gren-itch), reads: "I am waiting and watching you." Anyway, there is at least a large cedar that shades Mercy's stone. As with HPL's marker, people had left tokens on the headstone. I left a small black pebble. There are photos behind the cut.

After Exeter, and all the notes carefully recorded in my Moleskine, we headed over to Newbury Comics in Warwick (War-ick) to kill some time until it was cool enough to make the drive down to Moonstone Beach. And we were Bad Kids, and each bought two CDs. Not being utterly destitute after the long monetary drought, these things happen. And they were all used CDs. I got Death Cab For Cutie's Plans and Placebo's Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004. Spooky got Einstürzende Neubauten's Strategies Against Architecture, Volume 4 and the Swans' Children of God. We were not utterly awful, though; we only looked at the amazing new Depeche Mode boxed set.

After Warwick, we headed south to Moonstone. And, of this beach's many moods, here was another one. One perched at the edge of a tremendous chaos. Already, the waves were dangerously high, at least 3-5' high, and a big yellow sign had been posted forbidding people from walking on even the lower part of the beach. Walking over the dunes, past Trustom Pond, where a few bird watchers were set up (the birds were all in a lather, as the storm approaches), we spotted a beautiful Green Heron (Butorides virescens), a new species for both of us. It was perfectly still at the edge of the pond, fishing. A tiny Piping Plover kept creeping near it, then dashing away again. But no cormorants anywhere, no gulls in the sky. Flocks of pigeons heading inland. A squawking catbird. A strange and ominous ornithology.

On the beach proper, well...I can't do it justice in words. A painter could have done it justice. I'll post photos over the next few days (assuming we don't lose power). There were a few people. We walked a long way (maybe .40 miles, so .80 altogether) as the sun was setting. The wind was chilly, very wet and misty, quite a change from Exeter. We saw all manner of flotsam and jetsam. We spotted the leathery remains of a skate (Family Rajidae, maybe a Thorny Skate), and another beachcomber told us that a Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was stranded at Moonstone on the 9th of the month. Oh, the wonders I miss by not being nearer the shore! Fuck you, motor boats; the turtle likely died from gash in a front flipper, from a propeller. As the sun was giving way to night, beneath a Maxfield Parish sky, we reluctantly headed back to the van. I wanted to spend the night in the dunes, just feeling the storm coming on.

Back in Providence, we stopped by Eastside Market to grab a last minute pile of supplies, readying to sit out what Irene throws our way (I've heard we're getting 18 hours of continuous tropical storm conditions), and we remain under a Hurricane Warning. Anyway, there was a package from an incredibly kind anonymous individual – a first edition (!!!) of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial, sent from The Strand in Manhattan. Whoever did this, a million thanks.

---

Good RP in Insilico, and some of The Stand last night, as Trashcan reached Las Vegas.

---

So, we're watching little but the progress of Irene up the Eastern Seaboard. Terrifying, this storm, and, as I have said, I am honestly more worried about Manhattan than I am about Providence. Regardless, stay safe. Don't laugh this one off. Not since Katrina has America faced such a threat from a hurricane. We've got mandatory evacuations in coastal and low lying areas here in Rhode Island. But regardless of my fear (and I am afraid of this storm), gods, what a splendid expression of sky and sea, this child of Panthalassa. The sea stands up and walks across the land. This has been happening for billions of years, and we're the ones in the way. This doesn't mean I am without concern. It only means I see both sides.

Concerned and Awed,
Aunt Beast

Anyway, here are the Exeter photos:

26 August, Part 1 )


Addendum: This entry took over two and a half hours to compose.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
A crazy, crazy morning. Too many emails and phone calls. But now I'm going to try to calm down and write a blog entry.

Yesterday, I didn't get a lot of work done. I only managed to copy edit two stories in The Five-Chambered Heart, "The Bed of Appetite" and "Untitled 31." The latter will have an actual title in the collection, though I don't yet know what it'll be. It's great to proofread the newer stuff I've written, because, mostly, I'm still in love with it, and I make virtually no changes to the text.

My thanks to "Moto" in San Francisco, whose sending me a first-edition hardcover of Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Remember when email was fast? When you wrote emails, and pretty much everyone responded to them quickly? And this was revolutionary? Lately, it's all iPhones and iPads. I know because it always says at the bottom from what sort of device the message was sent. Now, it seems people would rather speak by "texting." I'm sorry. I'm made the transition from "snail mail" to email in 1994. I'll not be doing it again (she says, knowing full well she will adapt, when it becomes an imperative).

A note to prospective and young writers: Be wary of editors a) offering 1¢/word who b) do not yet have a publisher for their anthology, c) want all sorts of electronic rights straight off, and d) despite the fact they have no publisher, already have a cover design and a marketing strategy involving selling the book as a PDF. Here, we have entered shady, sketchy territory.

Yesterday, as the heat inside mounted, we fled the house and (despite the questionable state of the car and the cost of gasoline) drove down to Moonstone Beach. Our first trip to the sea all summer! That's just...insane. As usual, Moonstone was pretty much free of tourons (you may know them as "tourists"), and we mostly had it to ourselves. I waded into the cold water up to my thighs, and it was wonderful. The sky was full of birds: cormorants (Phalacocorax spp.), both American and fish crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos and C. ossifragus, respectively), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica), piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), grey catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis), and all manner of gulls. We made tiny cairns from granite and slate cobbles, and found those others had made earlier in the day. We stayed until about 6:30 p.m., and headed over to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's (as a marvelous fog rolled in). I think we were back home by 8:45. It was an evening out I much needed. On the way down, and the way back up, I read Book 1 of The Stuff of Legend (written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, drawn by Charles Paul Wilson III). Brilliant comic.

I tried to play Rift for a bit, but got into some combination of a snit and a funk about the state of the guild and the game and players. My apologies to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for yammering my dissatisfaction at him for an hour. But really. On the one hand, I love the potential of MMORPGs. But on the other hand, I often loathe what they actually are. In the hands of most players, an MMORPG is like watching someone shoot marbles* with a particle accelerator. That is the degree of potential being squandered. Anyway, I gave up about 11:30 and wandered away. I'm not saying this is something wrong with Rift (though, in fact, I have a short list of things that are wrong with Rift), but with the whole gamer mentality. Note: I am not a gamer. I am a roleplayer. The game aspect to me is, at very best, secondary. And, please note, I am on what is supposedly an rp shard. Ergo....

Yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Later, kittens.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast

Wait. There are photos from yesterday:

28 June 2011 )


*I have no idea if kids still shoot marbles. Me, it was one of my favorite things as a child. It was a very important playground sport when I was in elementary school (1970-1975). Much of one's reputation was at stake.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
A good day for comments, kittens.

There was a cold front behind the storms, and yesterday, and today and, it seems, the foreseeable future, was, has, and will be a return to autumn. Which is how the weather works here in Rhode Island. A week or so ago, cold enough we had to use the fireplace. Then, all at once, in the space of a single day, it was so hot the house was almost too hot to work in. And now, we need sweaters. At least it hasn't snowed again. At least, it hasn't yet.

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary of our arrival in Providence.

And yesterday was spent, mostly, getting The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ready for my editor. I read over much of the book again.

Today, I have to buckle down (always hated that phrase) and get serious about my corrections to the galley pages of Two Worlds and In Between. This book is such a monster, in more ways than one, and I think I've done as much as possible not to draw its attention my way.

I want to be writing – if I must be working – and I want all this tiresome, tedious editing and proofreading and whatnot to be finished and over with. But I'll likely have it coming and going for a time, at least through the first half of the summer.

I took a break late yesterday afternoon, and I walked with Kathryn, all the way to the farmer's market at the Dexter Training Ground. This was the first week of the market, which runs through the summer. There was a chill in the air – as I said, sweater weather. But the world is green. We bought only ripe strawberries (which we had later over vanilla ice cream), though everything looked wonderful – the produce, the honey and cider, the meat and seafood. There wasn't as much variety as usual, because winter went on so terribly long this year. Behind the cut are a few photos I took yesterady:

2 June 2011 )


Last night, we watched Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland again. Not sure how many times we've seen it now, but I love it a little more with each and every viewing. I know that it's perceived as a sort of anathema for many Carroll purists. But, given the importance of Lewis Carroll to my own work, I don't think anyone could fairly consider my opinion on the film uninformed. I can accept Burton's radical reinterpretation, especially given that the reinterpretation is a sequel to Carroll's two books. Depp's Hatter will, for me, always be the definitive Mad Hatter, and I fall in love with him all over again every time I see the film.

I also read "The first definitive record of a fossil bird from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of the Haţeg Basin, Romania." In the January issue of JVP, that is. Now, on to another day of the tedium which is demanded of all authors, but which is not writing.

Tediously,
Aunt Beast

Oh, and here's a video of the tornado that touched down in Massachusetts on Tuesday. It is an amazing piece of film. The vortex seems all but alive.

greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Monsieur Insomnie, va niquer ta mère. S'il vous plaît. Merci.

-- Tante Bête

It was full fucking daylight before I found sleep. Maybe 7 a.m. The specifics are a little hazy.

Yesterday, it was too warm to stay inside. It was too warm and I was too filled with anger, and so we left the house. We drove. The temperature was in the low seventies Fahrenheit, and the sun was bright. In Providence, the trees are bright with sprays of green and yellow and pink and white. The grass is going green. We drove about College Hill and the Eastside (not to be confused with East Providence, sensu stricto). And then we drove south. I think we meant, originally, to stop when we got to Wickford, but we kept going, all the way south to Narragansett and Point Judith. Driving through South County, the trees (native hardwoods) are still mostly barren. It still looks a lot like winter down there. Ugly and grey and bleak.

But we reached the sea. And maybe it was warm back in Providence, but at Point Judith, it was just shy of freezing. The surf was rough, and there were about half a dozen surfers making the best of it. We also visited Harbor of Refuge, where we fed cheese crackers to several species of seagulls. We saw other birds near the sea and the salt marshes: cormorants, swans, mallards, robins, Canadian geese, and what was probably a raven. The sea was loud and violent, rising and shattering itself against the granite jetty. And the roar and the violence were much appreciated. I dozed most of the way back to Providence, and when I woke, whatever bit of soothing the sea had accomplished was gone, and there was only the anger again.

Oh, we did have the cameras with us. But I aggressively resisted any urge to take pictures. There's too much sharing as it is.

Last night, I needed comfort movies, so we watched Fight Club (1999) and then Death Proof (2007). Marla Singer and Zoe Bell always help, even if only just a little bit. We played Rift. Selwyn reached Level 31. And then...I didn't sleep. Which brings us full circle, as we say.

I should go. There's work to do, and I'm 1/10th awake, so maybe I'll do some of it. Comment if you wish, and I'll probably reply. I'm going to sit here, finish my tepid coffee, listen to Brown Bird, and bask in the chilly air coming in my open office window.
greygirlbeast: (blackswan)
More snow, falling since a few hours before sunrise. All the world out there looks soft and fluffy and oddly inviting, though, in truth, it's a few inches of fresh snow covering sheets of ice and enormous banks and mounds of old snow frozen solid as basalt. No safe place out there to put your feet. Currently, 28˚F, but the windchill means it feels like 17˚F.

Days that begin with film-rights nibbles are inevitably weird (no, I can't tell you anything, sorry). Those days unfurl like a ringing in the ears.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,446 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The manuscript is currently at 50,816 words, which means I'm probably a little less than halfway finished. As I told my agent yesterday, this novel is as different from The Red Tree, in tone and structure, as The Red Tree is from all the novels that came before it. I'm behind, but I'm still trying to finish Chapter 5 by the 24th. Lots of email yesterday. Another phone conversation with Lee Moyer about the cover for Two Worlds and In Between.

Despite the cold and the inclement weather, Spooky and I left the house for Gallery Night at the RISD Museum. Mostly, I needed to do a little more research for the novel, but hardly anyone came out last night, so the museum was quiet and peaceful. We also had to stop at two art supply places looking for violet gels. We finally settled for sheets of red and blue acetate (I'll maybe explain all this later). Anyway, then we stopped by Eastside Market for dinner and enough supplies that we wouldn't have to risk the ice for a couple of days. At the p.o. box, a copy of Emma Bull and Kyle Cassidy's wonderful The Strange Case of the Dead Bird on the Nightstand was waiting for us.

Crossing the Providence River on the way back, the water was black and still as ink.

We saw Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's Despicable Me (2010) last night, and loved it. Really, a hilarious and almost painfully charming film. Steve Carell was perfect. I laughed untiil I hurt, and we've been quoting the movie all morning. I fear this is one we may have to own. Later, there was WoW, Shah and Suraa working through Level 84 towards 85, picking their way through Deepholm. And while I do think it's a beautifully designed region, I have to say that Therazane it one of the most poorly designed creatures in the history of the game. Before sleep, we read more Kit Whitfield, and I read a great article in the new issue of National Geographic about the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs. There's a wonderful opening paragraph I want to quote:

Most of us will never get to see nature's greatest marvels in person. We won't get to glimpse a colossal squid's eye, as big as a basketball. The closest we'll get to a narwhal's unicornlike tusk is a photograph. But there is one natural wonder that just about all of us can see, simply by stepping outside: dinosaurs using their feathers to fly. (Carl Zimmer)

Okay. Gotta wrap this up. But keep the comments coming in, if you would, please. Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy at Top Secret No Longer!
Before there were flocks of dead birds falling from the skies in Arkansas there was a very strange incident in Philadelphia involving a dead bird, a locked room and a fantasy novelist.

Hugo & Nebula award nominee Emma Bull ([info]coffeeem)'s brilliant and fanciful take on the incident is now available in an 8 page chap book designed by comic book creator Lois Buhalis ([info]lois2037). The chap books are $2 each plus shipping and, of course, are signed. I'm really happy with the way these came out. You'll be the coolest kid in the coffee shop reading your limited edition chap book, and they make great gifts.




Clickenzee to go to the store - books are $2 + shipping



First ten people to buy one get a bonus, mysterious something extra.






Add me as a friend on LiveJournal, Add me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
So...the weird news coming out of Arkansas. Or, rather, what we might perceive as the weird news coming out of Arkansas, if we set aside the certainty of coincidence*, and the inevitability of highly improbable occurrences:

1) "More than 500 measurable earthquakes have occurred in central Arkansas since September, and it's unknown if they'll stop anytime soon, seismologists say." (source).

2) "Arkansas game officials hope testing scheduled to begin Monday will solve the mystery of why up to 5,000 birds fell from the sky just before midnight New Year's Eve." (source)

3) "Arkansas officials are investigating the death of an estimated 100,000 fish in the state's northwest, but suspect disease was to blame, a state spokesman said Sunday." (source)

The "bird fall" (to speak in Fortean terms) occurred about sixty miles west of the fish kill. Most (but not all) of the birds that died were of a single species, the red-winged blackbird. All of the fish that died were of a single species, the freshwater drum.

The earthquakes have occurred in the same general area, many north of Little Rock.

These things look odder than they likely are, if we insist upon viewing them as connected. However, the fish kill probably wouldn't have made it past the local news, if not for the "bird fall." Especially given that the fish seem to have died on Thursday night, or earlier that day, well before the birds. And the earthquakes have been being reported for months now, but I feel like I'm the only one who pays attention to geological news, and, near as I can tell, only one crackpot conspiracy website is trying to link the earthquakes to the fish kill and the "bird fall."

But the truth is, these things happen.

There are numerous non-mysterious ways the birds may have died (weather or fireworks are both good candidates). The fish kill clearly isn't the result of a pollutant, or more types of fish would be involved, so it's likely a species-specific contagion (virus, bacterium, fungus, or other parasite; my money would be on a viral or bacterial infection). And the earthquakes...well, while interesting, they need to be viewed in the context of the infamous New Madrid Seismic Zone and the recent discovery of a new fault line, roughly 100 miles east of Little Rock.

Near as I can tell, few have rushed to connect the storm front that stretched from Missouri to Mississippi and caused seven (human) deaths (and passed over central Arkansas) to any of this, even though it's the most likely explanation for the bird deaths.

I think the most curious thing about this— so far —is the connections humans see (myself included).

* Coincidence is a constantly occurring phenomenon with a bad rap. Lots of people treat it's like a dirty word, or something rationalists invoke simply to dispel so-called supernatural events. And yet, an almost infinite number of events coincide during any every nanosecond of the cosmos' existence. We only get freaked out and belligerent over the one's we notice, the ones we need (for whatever reason) to invest with some special significance. Co-occurrence should not be taken for correlation any more than correlation should be mistaken for causation.
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: (Lucy)
A nippy morning here in Providence (though it's almost a nippy afternoon). 62F at the moment. We're thinking we have to do our tour of the autumn leaves this weekend or we're going to miss out on the peak altogether. Before I forget, congratulations to Peter for being awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. Booya!

No actual writing-type writing yesterday. I had a half-assed idea of cleaning house while Spooky worked on the taxes, because [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark is supposed to visit this evening. But that didn't happen. Instead, I tried to work. I did an interview for Jeff VanderMeer's Booklifenow website, about writing "As Red As Red" (in Haunted Legends). And I sent my HPLFF keynote speech to S.T. Joshi, as he wants to print it in the Lovecraft Annual. I also sent him "Houndwife," which will be reprinted in Black Wings II (PS Publishing), and "Fish Bride," which will be reprinted in The Weird Fiction Review. And then, getting back around to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," I reread Stoker's "Dracula's Guest."

Over on Facebook, James Jeffrey Paul made mention of the fact that at least one Dracula scholar has suggested that Countess Dolingen of Graz, the vampire who menaces the unnamed Englishman (?Johnathan Harker) in "Dracula's Guest," might be one of the three "brides" in Dracula— the "fair" woman. Stoker writes: "The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where."

I'm not sure I'm convinced that the two are, in fact, intended to the same character, but it is an interesting possibility, and I may use it.

Other reading yesterday included beginning Chapter Two of Volume One of Joshi's I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft, and also beginning a paper in the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "Osteology of a new giant bony-toothed bird from the Miocene of Chile, with a revision of the taxonomy of Neogene Pelagornithidae." Indeed, Pelagornis chilensis is a marvel, a bird with a wingspan of 5.2 meters! By comparison, the wingspan of the Great albatross (Diomedea) is a mere 3 meters.

---

Regarding various auctions: The auction for the one and only CRK "napoval" ends tomorrow. And there are, of course, the other eBay auctions. Also, check out the raffle to benefit the KGB Reading series (which I have taken part in twice, now). I've made two contributions to the raffle this year: A signed copy of the trade paperback of The Red Tree (I'll also draw a tree on the title page), and a chance to be "Tuckerized" in a forthcoming story. Raffle tickets are only one buck apiece, for a very good cause.

Also, a reminder that I will be reading and signing at the Brown University Bookstore on the evening of October 30th, 2010. Also, it will be a costumed event (optional, of course).

---

My great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yukio20 for bringing a bit of news from Blizzard to my attention (I don't usually follow the forums, so I'd missed it):

Since the release of 4.0.1, more than a few warlocks have noticed that their pets are in fact no longer their familiar demonic servants, and instead appear to be new entities with different names. We’ve been able to pinpoint the cause of the issue, which should be resolved by tomorrow for any warlocks that log in for the first time from then on. We’ve also been able to determine that we will be able to restore any renamed warlock pets to their original pre-4.0.1 names during next week’s scheduled maintenance. For those of you who like your new pet names, we’re working on a feature for a future patch that will allow you to refresh your summons and essentially generate a random pet name without having to level a new warlock.

So...Greezun, Volyal, and Drusneth will be coming home. It appears they only took a vacation to Booty Bay without telling me, and hired these impostors from some infernal temp agency. Speaking of WoW, Spooky and I restructured our talent trees last night, and began trying to make sense of the havoc that Blizzard has wrought to various spells and abilities. Truly, someone needs to tell Blizzard that there's a huge difference between fixing/improving things and simply changing things. Most of Patch 4.0.1 is a sad, confusing case of the latter. I would stop just (barely) short of saying the game is currently broken.

Oh, and we also watched the new episodes of Glee and Caprica last night. I am very pleased that Glee appears to have redeemed itself for last week's god-bothering episode, and I think it's only a matter of time before Brittany comes out. Also, how cool is it that the new kid, Sam, speaks Na'vi? Great, great episode of Caprica.

---

And here's the next set of photos from the HPLFF. The festival put us up in a grand bed and breakfast, the White House (built in 1911). We had the balcony room. The house is watched over by an elderly albino Scottish Terrier named Prescott. We couldn't help but take a ton of photos of the place:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 7 )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
And here it is Friday, and only seven days until we leave for Portland (and that's counting today). So things are getting weird and hectic. I've never been to Portland, but Spooky lived there for three years, 1996-1999, and has tremendous trepidation about returning. So, we're coping with that, too. But I am not a traveling writer. There seem to be so many traveling writers these days. By "traveling writer," I mean writers who spend a lot of time on business-related trips (i.e., workshops, conventions and conferences, expos, and book tours). I love to travel, if it's purely for the sake of traveling, but I'm really not one for writing-related travel (except in the sense that any given trip may inspire stories). So, this sort of thing is rare for me. And it makes me very anxious.

I also don't know how writers who spend so much time engaged in writer-travel get anything written. I wouldn't be able to get anything written.

I was wondering, the other night, why people seem resistant to the idea of writers having public personae. It's perfectly normal (and common) for actors and musicians. But with writers it seems to piss people off (including other writers), or at least annoy them. I sort of have a public persona. The person you see at a con isn't precisely the person I am in private. I found it necessary a long time ago, both to alleviate my anxiety about public appearances and because the person I am in private is terribly anti-social. So, for cons and signings and readings I have this other Caitlín persona I put on. I wear her (though she's changed over the years). Trust me, she's much nicer to be around.

---

Yesterday, I decided, we needed one last day off before the mad rush to the trip. One last day just for me and Spooky to be calm. So, about three p.m. we headed to Conanicut Island (the right way round), out to West Cove, our favorite beach for sea glass. When we arrived, there was a large group of scuba divers. It's a popular spot for scuba, but I'd never seen so many at once before. Most left shortly after we arrived, but some lingered in the cove, occasionally rising to the surface like strange aquatic hominids. The weather was good, warm and only a few clouds. We found some good glass, but some really spectacular bones. West Cove is also a good bone beach, mostly bird bones. Yesterday, I we found an assortment of wings bones and vertebrae from cormorants, gulls, and other birds, and I also found a spectacular gull jaw, complete with yellow-orange keratin sheath. Really gorgeous. I also found three bones I'm fairly certain belong to a seal, which is a first.

I've often imagined, while at West Cove, carrying out a weird sort of "future paleontology" study there. I mean, imagining what the sandy, pebbly deposits there would be like ten or fifteen million years from now. And trying to reconstruct the local fauna, assuming the bones I'm finding would be preserved as fossils. A diverse avifauna would dominate the assemblage, with lots of fish and very rare mammals.

Yeah, I'm a science nerd.

Anyway, we stayed until it was almost dark, and the tide was coming in. We watched two mallards, and a sad sort of sea gull that seemed to be following them around. We tried to decided if a cross between a gull and a mallard would be called a "gulk" or a "dull." We finally, reluctantly, headed back to the van about six-thirty p.m. I wanted to stay all night, listening to the lapping waves and watching the sky and hearing the birds. There are photos, at the end of this entry, behind the cut.

Oh, I read Richard Bowes' short story, "Knickerbocker Holiday" (from Haunted Legends), on the way down to the island.

---

I think I have to do an interview for Weird Tales before we leave.

---

In all this discussion of eReaders, one thing in particular strikes me as absurd. And I'm honestly not trying to pick on anyone, I'm just being honest. What strikes me as especially absurd are the people who tell me they absolutely could not live without their Kindle or Nook or whatever. They are fervent in this claim, and I assume they truly believe what they're saying. I'm just not sure they've thought very much about what they're saying. I mean, they got along just fine without these devices a year or two or three ago, right? And now they can't live without them? I kind of have to assume this is hyperbole, that they're very enthusiastic and overstating their case. Because, otherwise, it's absurd, and I like to think people aren't absurd (though clearly most are).

I think about recently acquired tech that is very dear to me. Say, my iPod (I'm still using a sturdy old fossil of an iPod from early 2005). Or my very low-tech mechanical pencils. Or the PlayStation 3. Our digital cameras. Or certain programmes, like Second Life and World of Warcraft. These things are dear to me, to varying degrees, and I use them a lot. But can I live without them? Sure. I did just fine before they came along. So, it's hard for me to imagine these eReader users keeling over from shock or wasting away if they were ever suddenly deprived of their Nooks. Or Kindles. Or whatever.

When they say, "I can't live without my eReader," they must surely mean, "I don't want to live without my eReader," or even "I can't imagine living without my eReader."

Rarely does it help an argument to overstate your case.

---

At Eastside Market, I saw a book with the excruciatingly embarrassing title Wuthering Bites, and a cover that was clearly meant to look like one of the Twlight covers. And the book's exactly what it sounds like, Emily Bronte's novel rewritten with vampires. Can we please stop doing this? It was never very funny, and at this point these parodies seem like parodies of parodies. Which is to say the gimmick is on beyond tired. Stop milking it. Please.

---

I almost forgot, there's a very nice review of The Ammonite Violin and Others at The San Francisco Book Review (review by Ariel Berg). I love this bit: "Those whose imaginations flourish best in the dark will find a great deal to love in The Ammonite Violin."

Okay. Here are the photos. I need to get to work, and Spooky has to go to the post office.

23 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
This will probably come out all higgledy-piggeldy. this journal entry. But I will persevere, nonetheless. Any day that begins by reading a report of new fossils of the Early Miocene-aged bird Pelagornis chilensis, confirming that it had a wingspan of 5.2 meters (about 17 feet), can't be all bad. That's a wingspan roughly double that of an albatross.

And yesterday was a good writing day, thanks to having slept. I hear people who seem to boast about their insomnia. "Oh, hell. I haven't slept since 1979!" You know, like it's a point of pride. Maybe they're just scrabbling for a silver lining, but it never feels that way to me. Anyway, I did 1,319 words on my piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. I should finish it today. It doesn't really have a title yet, but concerns a very grim artifact known to some as the "Castleblakeney Key," and it's written entirely in excerpts from letters, scientific and other academic journals, books, and the like. I think I like it a great deal. It's just been a bitch to write. Not sleeping hasn't helped.

I've decided that the trip to Manhattan needs to be postponed until after the HPLFF. So, early or mid October. I spoke with my agent yesterday. Now I need to get in touch with Peter, and with my editor at Penguin.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, if you've not already. Some of the auctions end tomorrow. Also, Spooky has begun making Halloween decorations, so you may want to have a look at her Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries shop at Etsy.

---

When I was in my late twenties and still living in Birmingham, I ran in certain circles. Circles within circles, for that matter. High society for Southern drag queen débutantes and grande dames, a coterie of queer druggies and hustlers and bartenders. Lesbian bouncers and pool sharks. The day began at sunset and ended at dawn (so winters were preferred). It was another time and another place. It was vile, and it was degrading, and it was beautiful. I find I am capable of being both nostalgic for those circles, and grateful I lived through it all. Many of my friends didn't. They died of one or another of the inevitable hazards of being part of those circles. We all thought we would live forever, and we thought that world would last forever.

There was a man who went by the name of Rocky. I have no idea what his real name was, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Rocky. I thought he was handsome as hell, and I had a crush on him. He wore leather bomber jackets and styled his hair in a pompadour. He drove these antique Mercedes-Benzes, so I imagined he was wealthy. Turns out he wasn't. He was a chauffeur and a heroin dealer. But I still had a crush on him.

Our paths finally crossed one night, because someone told someone who ran with Rocky that I had a crush on him, and I suppose it amused him. I won't be so arrogant as to imagine it flattered him. So, that night, he drove me around the Southside of Birmingham in one of those beautiful old cars. I was wearing this ridiculous, tattered wedding dress I'd found in a thrift store called Memory Lane. After the drive, we went back to his apartment, and I shot heroin for the first time. It was also the last time, because it was so good, so utterly better-than-sex good, that I knew if I ever did it again, I'd wind up addicted. And I was already on pills and booze. Anyway, I threw up, which wasn't very ladylike, but Rocky was cool about the whole thing. I sat in the same chair for hours, numb and thrumming and staring at the city lights, flying on that dose of smack. Rocky was a gentleman. I can't remember a single goddamn thing we talked about.

I have all these memories in my head, and I think I want to start writing them down. All these people and places that I've hinted at in my books, that I've fictionalized, But at forty-six, I begin to feel the tug of mortality, and I think of those memories being lost forever. I think of what Roy says at the end of Blade Runner, just before he releases the dove: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.

Yeah, sounds pretty sappy. But still. I think I'm going to start writing those things down here, from time to time. I hope I don't embarrass my mother too much. Though, it's hard to imagine that's even still possible these days.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Last night I got to sleep at the very decent hour of 3 ayem (though not so decent, I admit, as 2 ayem). And then, for no reason I have been able to discern, I awoke at 7 ayem, and couldn't get back to sleep. I finally gave up and got out of bed at 8:30 ayem. And then I set about doing something with the two and half hours until Spooky would get up. I rearranged and dusted a bookshelf. I downloaded Gimp, to replace Photoshop 7 (rendered useless by the OS X 10.6.3 upgrade). I doodled (monsters and dinosaurs). I dusted ( a little). I read. I chewed Rolaids. And the time passed like cold molasses.

And I am not awake.

I've made a list of everything I have to get done in September. I have to write and produce Sirenia Digest #58. I have to write my story for Jeff and Ann VanderMeer's The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. I have to make a trip to NYC to meet with my editor, agent, and to visit with Peter Straub. All the paperwork for my passport renewal went away to Philadelphia yesterday, and I found the form a thoroughly harrowing experience. But at least it's done now, and that's part of my preparation for the trip to Portland, Oregon at the end of the month for the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon. Oh, and since I'm Guest of Honor, I need to write a fifteen-minute keynote address. I also need to make some serious headway editing Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One) for Subterranean Press. That's what I have to do in September.

And to do all that stuff, I have to be able to sleep.

---

As for yesterday, we didn't get up until noon thirty, as I've mentioned, and by the time I'd finished answering email, it was 3:30 p.m. The day Outside was so inviting, I said fuck it, and we drove down to Moonstone Beach. The surf was much rougher than usual for Moonstone, and the beach was covered with cobbles and pebbles fetched up by Hurricane Earl. We only found two pieces of beach glass, neither of which was worth keeping. We watched at least three species of gull: Herring gulls (Latrus argentatus), Great Black-backed gulls (L. marinus), and Ring-billed gulls (L. delawarensis). Spooky spotted a fourth and smaller species, but was unable to identify it. There were Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) and a few Piping plovers (Charadrius melodius). I found an old brick and considered bringing it home for my brick collection (yes, I have a brick collection, as impractical as that may sound, which I have been gathering since 1989). Instead, I gave it back to the sea.

A small and rather battered looking sailboat was anchored maybe a hundred yards off shore, in the choppy, shallow water. It rolled precariously. I watched through the binoculars, but could see no sign of anyone aboard, and thought briefly about calling the Coast Guard. There was a big three-wheeled bike lashed to the bow. The tide was advancing, and as it rose, the waves grew higher, some three or four feet high (I think six inches is probably average for Moonstone). The beach began to grow very misty.

As the sun was setting, we headed back to the van and drove to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's. Now that the summer people have mostly gone back to Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts, it's possible to have a pleasant dinner at Iggy's. I had Manhattan-style clam chowder. We had half a dozen doughboys for desert, then drove back to Providence.

Last night, I went back to WoW. I've decided, no matter how fun it might be, I simply haven't the time or the money to take up another MMORPG, so I'm forgoing City of Heroes and Villains. I was starting to feel as though my alter-egos were devouring my prime ego. We did the very first quests leading up to the Cataclysm expansion, helping Vol'jin, leader of the Darkspear trolls, retake the Echo Isles from Zalazane. Gotta admit, the battle was pretty cool. A good bit of reading yesterday: Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos (very amused at Joshi's comments regarding Brian Lumley), Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, and Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl.

Here are photos from Moonstone:

7 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
Here it is 1:21 p.m., and I'm only just now sitting down to make a blog entry, which means I'm running about two hours behind what I might laughingly refer to as my "routine."

Last night, we realized that one of Smégaol's paws has developed a pad infection...again. More complications from his plasma-cell pododermatitis. So, he goes back to the vet today.

As for yesterday. I got a package from London, from Steve Jones, containing two books. One is the Russian edition of The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women. So I can now say that "So Runs the World Away" has been translated into Russian, and I've always loved to stare at my words in Cyrillic, even though I have only the faintest idea what any of it means. There ought to be a word for that: being unable to read something you yourself have written because it has been altered in such a form that, while it retains its essential meaning, it is no longer recognizable by its author. The same package contained the Polish edition of an anthology that doesn't actually contain anything written by me, so that one will remain a mystery.

Sonya arrived on the 2:20 train from Boston. We picked her up, then swung back by the House before heading south to Beavertail. The day was overcast and, once we reached the sea, a little chilly. We climbed down onto the rocks about .16 miles northeast of the lighthouse. There were the usual gulls and cormorants, and some small species of Calidris (possibly a plover or stint) that we weren't able to identify. The surf was rough, and there was a mist rolling in, with a storm not far offshore. My ankle's still giving me trouble, and I was frustratingly clumsy, so we didn't do much clambering about. We located a bit of 19th-Century graffiti we first spotted on June 23, 2008. The sun came out, and we sat a while, just watching the birds and the sea.

Later, we headed over to West Cove at Fort Wetherill. It's our favorite spot for gathering sea glass, and we found some spectacular pieces yesterday. We also saw three specimens of Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia), a species neither Spooky nor I had spotted before. We headed back to Providence about 7 p.m. We stopped at Fellini's for a pizza. Back home, Sonya and I watched Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (my third time to see it) and James Cameron's Avatar (also my third time time to see it), because Sonya hadn't seen either. I was up far too late, and didn't get to sleep until about four thirty. We talked about everything from mass extinction events to the novellas of Ursula K. LeGuin. Spooky took Sonya back to the station today for a noonish train back to Boston, before I was really even awake. It was a good visit, but far too short.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Unexpected expenses seem to be raining from the sky, lately. You might also find something you like at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries shop at Etsy. Thanks.

Here are some photos from yesterday:

16 August 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday was a loss, so far as work goes. Yesterday earns an L, so far as work goes. I was too hot, and hadn't left the House in over a week. So, about three p.m., we departed for the beaches along South County. Yesterday was not a loss, so far as just being alive goes.

I'd never been to East Beach, which lies along the narrow string of barrier dunes between Block Island Sound and Ninigret Pond. This is about six miles southeast of Moonstone Beach. Ninigret Pond, like many along the southern cost of Rhode Island, was formed during the retreat of glaciers at the end of the last "ice age," some ten to eleven thousand years ago. Past the dunes, studded with conifers and dog roses, poison ivy and various grasses, the beach is wide. When we arrived, the sun was still high and hot, but it felt good on my skin. I've wasted far too much of this summer indoors.

Mostly, I sat on the blanket and made notes, watched the waves and listened to the surf, while Spooky looked for bits of this and that in the sand. There were a few people fishing. A man near us hooked a sea robin (Family Triglidae), and promptly got stabbed by one of the spines as he tried to get it off his line. He bled, and wrapped his hand in a towel. We saw gulls, cormorants, piping plovers, and what we're pretty sure was a female Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). Small fish (four or five inches long) jumped from the waves, and those that weren't eaten by the gulls we scooped up and returned to the water.

A little after seven, we headed back to the car, but walked through the trees to the edge of Ninigret Pond before leaving. It's wide and flat, that water, and warm. There were countless small jellyfish washed up along the edge. I assume the species was not espcially toxic, as a small, naked child playing in the water nearby was picking them up. "Say goodbye to the jellyfish," her mother told her, and she did, and dropped it back into the pond.

On the way home, Spooky got a call from Best Buy, that her laptop was back from repairs. It had been the motherboard again. HP has acknowledged that this model has a flawed motherboard, but will only replace them with the same motherboards. At least it was still under warranty. We got home late, and had tuna sandwiches for dinner. It was in the high 80sF in the House. We hid in my office with Dr. Muñoz. I created a new avatar for Insilico rp, and Spooky played WoW (her night-elf driud, Syllhar). My insomnia's come back, and I didn't get to sleep until about five a.m.

That was yesterday.

Today, I have to try to finish up with the preliminary table of contents for the "Best of" volume. I've ironed out some details with Bill Schafer at subpress, which will make doing this much easier. Also, the lettered state of the book will include a special section with illustrations by various artists I've worked with over the years, which I think is very, very cool. The book will be subtitled Volume One, as I felt very weird doing a "Best of" at age -6. I'll do Volume Two -46 years from now...or maybe I'll do it sixteen years from now. The latter seems more prudent.

Okay...time to make the doughnuts. Here are photos from yesterday:

10 August 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Today is the fifteenth anniversary of Elizabeth's suicide. She would be almost forty, had she lived. Yeah, it's a grim way to begin an entry, but it was a grim way to begin a day, and to go to bed last night, and I at least try to tell the truth here. It seems impossible, utterly impossible, that time can have swallowed so much distance between me and that day in 1995. Between me and her. But it has. And I have gone on to have this life. I spent seven years or so doing very little but grieving. And then I found Kathryn, and I began to heal. There will always be a hole where Elizabeth once was. But life continues. Until it doesn't anymore.

---

Yesterday was a good day off. Even if it did begin by having to take Spooky's laptop to the Geek Squad at Best Buy in Warwick (and, so, having to delay a visit by [livejournal.com profile] sovay). It'll be two weeks before she gets it back. Neither of us are happy about that, but there you go. Anyway, we figured that as long as we'd driven to Warwick, we might as well drive on to South County. First, we stopped by Spooky's parents' place. Her dad was out, but her mom was home. We picked apples. We missed picking the blueberries this year. Spooky's mother also gave us yellow tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, blueberries, and eggs. Vegetables fresh from the garden, apples fresh from the trees, blueberries fresh from the bushes, and eggs fresh from the butts of the chickens. We visited with Spider the Enormous Cat.

And then we headed farther south, to Moonstone Beach. As I was getting out of the van, four swans (Cygnus sp.) flew by low overhead, honking loudly. I'd never seen flying swans up close before. They were amazing. We walked over the dunes to the beach. There were a few people, but not so many we couldn't find a quiet spot. I sat and watched the waves, wrote in my notebook, and took a few photos. The sun was still high and hot, but the wind was chilly. Spooky spotted an osprey in among the gulls and cormorants, and saw it swoop down to snatch a fish from the sea. About six p.m., we walked back to the van, and headed to Narragansett for dinner.

Unfortunately, there were so many tourists crowding Iggy's, that we had to settle for George's, over in Galilee. Still not bad. We ate fish sandwiches and watched the Block Island Ferry coming and going. Then we headed back to Spooky's parents, to pick up our produce and eggs (which we'd not taken with us to the beach, because we didn't have the cooler). Her dad was home. I wanted to stay the night, there in the cool and quiet, among the trees and chirping insects. But we'd left my meds at home, so back we drove. It must have been close to nine p.m. by the time we got home.

There are photos below, behind the cut.

I had some good rp in Insilico (thank you, Joah), while Spooky painted. Later, we watched three more eps from Season Two of Nip/Tuck. Before bed, I started reading "Madonna Littoralis." I pretty much never read my own stuff after it's in print. But I've been reading The Ammonite Violin & Others (which is now officially almost sold out, by the way), and enjoying it. It's good to see a book in print, and have so few regrets.

And that was yesterday. I get one more day off, today, and then it's back to the word mines. This afternoon, I'll finish a painting, wash my hair, do a little house cleaning, stuff like that.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. Thanks.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

2 August 2010 )

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