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)
An excerpt from a beautiful, beautiful short film/book trailer for one of the best books of 2011, by one of my favorite musicians, and a book that was powerful influence on The Drowning Girl:

Paradoxical Undressing - Trailer (edit) from kristin hersh on Vimeo.



And many of our Providence haunts are glimpsed.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I'm haunted,
By the hallways in this tiny room,
The echos there of me and you,
The voices that are carrying this tune,
Ba da pa pa...


Yesterday is what happens when chaos and the best of intentions square off and have a good ol' Godzilla versus Gamera boxing match. We're having a couple of moderately warm days here....

WAIT

Yes, in a few more hours, Dark Horse will spill the beans, and the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. Soon. We're almost there. On the cusp, as it were.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Warm weather. High sixties. So, I'd planned to play hookey yesterday, and slip away to Beavertail, even though I sure as hell haven't the time for such luxuries. I ought to be doing nothing but working on "Ex Libris." But then there was the long conversation with my editor at Dark Horse early in the day, and, afterwards, I realized I needed to have a long conversation with my lit agent (on entirely unrelated matters). But she was at a lunch meeting, and it would be about 45 minutes before she got back into the office. There was no way there'd be enough time to make it to Conanicut Island. So...not wanting to see the day become a total loss (I was far too higgledy-piggledy to get any writing done). So, bored and without especial focus, yet possessed of some odd motivation, I proposed we begin "remodeling" my office, which we've only been meaning to do for about...two years.

(Why does Microsoft Word discourage the use of contractions?)

One shelf and a shelf's worth of books went to the middle parlour, where, I must admit, they look quite handsome. I'd had my doubts.

Merrilee called and we talked, and talked, and talked. Fine things. Over time, I will tell you of these fine things.

There's enough to look forward to on this day. I'll make another post in a few hours. Patience, kittens. OH! Look! I just got a royalty check for $10.36 for the German edition of Threshold (id est, Fossil). Wow. Party time. Yes, the writing will make you rich, Bill Murray!

Anticipatory,
Aunt Beast

UPDATE (1:44 p.m.): Just got word the announcement from Dark Horse should come about noon PST, three EST, 4 CaST. Fuck it, Dude. I'm going to get nachos.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'm glad Lindsay Lohan's community service gig at the LA County Morgue is working out so well, because it doesn't seem like jail's willing to keep her even five hours. But, really, here's my thing: who gives a shit? Everywhere I go on the goddamn internet this morning, there's Lindsay Lohan skulking about, and it's not like I felt so fucking great when I woke up. I have to get Lindsay "I don't want to classify myself" Lohan, too?

Hell in a handbasket.

Yesterday, I sat here and tried to think of an idea for a 10k-plus word short story/novelette/novella sort of a thing (requests welcome), and....nothing. People think writers are bottomless wells of Ideas. And maybe some writers are. But speaking as an insanely productive author, occasionally you go to the well and there's nothing down there but dust and old spiderwebs. So, I sat and I stared at the screen, and I typed in a title, stolen from Milton, that I almost certainly won't use. It just sounded good. And there is not a single spare day this month (those so-called weekends) included for me to be not writing. Today, though it's in the list of the Last Ten Things I Want To Be Doing, I'll sit here and stare at this fucking screen again. How hard can it be? It's not like real work, right?

Speaking of which, I finally gave up about 5:30 p.m. (CaST) and loaded the van with about a hundred pounds (no, really; I checked) of books, mostly my comp copies of Two Worlds and In Between and carted them away to Pawtucket, to our second, and supposedly temporary, storage unit. The place was like a fucking icebox.

Please, I know it's hard to believe...

And I'm not even going to get started on how I couldn't get my fountain pen to work.

Last night, we read more of House of Leaves, to that wonderful line where Karen Navidson screams. I read more of The Log From the Sea of Cortez. I might have slept, because I might have dreamt. And fuck you, LJ, for not knowing how to spell dreamt.

Also, please, if you pre-ordered your copy of Two Worlds and In Between and you've not yet received your book, understand that telling me won't help. The book will come. I can't speak for Amazon.com, a company that's making a mint ripping people off (authors included), but I can speak for Subterranean Press. You will get your book. Be patient. Pre-ordering doesn't mean you get a book early, or at the same time as everyone (or anyone) else; it means you'll get a book.

Not Daring To Hope For a Better Day,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The Book has landed. Late yesterday afternoon, early yesterday evening, on my backdoor steps. It's a beautiful book, and I'm very happy with it, and can say that, in terms of "booksmithing" alone, it's of the most beautiful editions I've ever produced with Subterranean Press. And yet, it's sort of terrifyingly daunting to be 47 years old and looking at Volume 1 of the "Best of" your life's work. So, this book makes me want to hug it, but it also makes me want to run screaming, both at the same time. The second reaction, however, is of no concern to anyone but me, and if you've not bought a copy, it's still not too late (well except for the limited edition, and fuck, the art section looks good). I assume your copies should be arriving (unless you didn't order, in which case they won't).

I hope that as the mass-media & publishing industries, along with various associated symbiotes and parasites and whores, continue to play circle jerk with ebooks and reader thingies and whatnot, and pat themselves on the back for embracing the cold, soulless, plastic Brave New (& Ever So Much More Practical) World of the Insubstantial, that it makes way for a "booksmithing" renaissance. The disease could be the cure. I'll suffer Kindles and Nooks and Schnooks and whatever, as long as real books (which are more than pixel words on a screen, in sixteen shades of grey) survive and thrive, even if only in a marginalized niche. I embrace marginalization. It's all I've ever really known, anyway. Also, fuck the world's bullshit desire for convenience. Art is not meant to be convenient, any more than it is meant to be easy to create or interpret.

Anyway, yes. I am happy with Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me. In fact, I went to bed snuggling it, as you can see in this photo (Spooky says it looks like I'm eating it):


Photographs Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn A. Pollnac
Cover art Copyright © 2011 by Lee Moyer.


Work yesterday. But I can't tell you what. I cannot even hint. There was a long teleconference, but that's all I can say. Next.

In fact, all of yesterday pales in comparison to the arrival of The Book, so...there's not much else to say.

Tomorrow, noonish, Spooky and I will be picking up a gaggle of folks at the train station in Providence, and the next three days will be spent filming (and right after that, I'm supposed to be in Northampton, Massachusetts...Tuesday, maybe) and photographing and such, from one end of Rhode Island to the other, getting material for [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's series of still photos based on The Drowning Girl and material for the book trailer, which is being shot by Brian Siano. There will be reports all weekend, in theory, behind the scenes nonsense, if I have the time. I know Kyle will be tweeting and whatnot, using all that newfangled gadgetry the kiddos are so proud of these days. It's going to be an intensely weird three days, and we'll be having thunderstorms on at least the first of those days...which sucks. But there you go.

Sucking As She Goes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caveat: No one is going to read this, and no one is going to comment. (This is an expectation, not a command).

Bright outside, and warm. I'd be on my way to Moonstone for a day of swimming, if the passing of Katia (the hurricane that's taking a Norwegian vacation) hadn't left the whole Eastern Seaboard with dangerous rip currents. So, instead, I will sit and work. Weekends are for...people who aren't writers. Just like vacations (I'm looking at you, Katia), retirement, and health insurance.

And I had dreams that are nagging at me, even though I can't remember them. And I have a headache I've had since last night. But other than that, hey man, as far as I know, the motherfucker's tiptop.

I don't get a lot of headaches, and they make me extra not right. Sorry.

Yesterday, I worked. Let's be safe and leave it at that. Oh, I will add that I needed Spooky to help me, and she displayed magnificent restraint and didn't kill me.

No matter how much time I spend on the internet (and it's a shameful LOT of time), I have a fairly low opinion of it. But every now and then someone has a good idea, and that good idea actually works. This is the case with Kickstarter, which has made crowdsourcing a practical option for many of us who often cannot find a traditional, conventional source for funding this or that project. The success of mine and Spooky's Tales of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter astounded me. I never thought it would work. But we not only met our goal, we received 212% of what we'd hoped for. And now, with mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed, as I write this we are in the Kickstarter's final hour, and its funded at 298%. So, not only will Spooky and I be producing this wonderful little book based on her raven paintings, but Kyle and I will be creating a set of photographs and a short film based on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A couple of years ago, none of these things would have happened. So, thank you, Kickstarter, and thank you donors. We will not let you down (though we may be slow as fuck).

---

Last night, rather impulsively, we decided to drive over to the Providence Place Mall (we avoid this place like all bad things that are to be avoided), because there's a Borders there. I sort of felt an obligation to see the end of Borders firsthand. And...it was sort of horrifying and sad and, yet, peculiarly gratifying. Looking at what seemed like, in some parallax trick, to be miles upon miles of empty shelving, it became clearer than it has yet been that we stand at the end of an old age of publishing. I don't want to admit it, and I have no idea what the next age will look like, but there's no denying this is a transitional event. The horror and sadness, that came from seeing books that had, essentially, been reduced to worthless chunks of paper, devalued, stripped of their supposed, inherent merit, 70%-90% off. The peculiar gratification (and I know this is petty), that came from seeing the fall of one of the monoliths that took out so many small and extremely valuable bookstores over the last two decades. What goes around...

But there was, of course, this other thing. This other thing, that was fear. I am a writer, and here is my livelihood, in part, here in the store, and it's dying. No, it's dead, and we were just hanging with the last round of vultures (the lions, hyenas, and jackals left days ago), as the maggot-riddled carcass was picked clean. Oh, I know my career will survive, however the presentation of the art I create might eventually be altered, whatever form it might take. But I'm 47, and bookstores, that sell actual fucking books, that's what I've known all my life. I didn't grow up wanting to write data, ones and zeros, for Kindles or what-the-fuck-ever ugly hunks of plastic. I wanted to make books. And, no matter how much of my income eventually is derived from ebooks, I will, always hate that format, and always cling to the past, which is my present. The book: which is an object with covers and binding and pages, something tactile, something with a wonderful odor, born of ink. This will all likely be swept away in a few more decades or less, excepting small specialty publishers catering to the antiquarian tastes of people like me. But I'll keep writing, and people will keep reading.

And Borders had it coming, just as Barnes and Nobles has it coming. Just as Amazon has it coming. In time, they all fall, because everything does. Because greed is an absolute with a single inevitable outcome.

Anyway, eulogies and nostalgia aside, there really wasn't much left to buy, which made it easy to be good kids. Oh, there were veritable fucking mountains of celebrity bios, especially books about Sarah and Bristol Palin. It was satisfying seeing how many of those were left. There were sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks that had no business having been published in the first place, and tons of YA vampire dreck. "Literature" was gutted, as was "Science," except for theoretical mathematics. We must have been there about an hour (it was very hot, and the fluorescent lights were making me woozy), and we spent about $45, picking those bones, and came away with:

The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars (2009), Christopher Cokinos
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must (1996, 2011) by Robert Zubrin
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks (2011) by Juliet Eilperin
The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created Alice in Wonderland* (2010) by Jenny Woolf*
Katharine Hepburn: A Life in Pictures (2009) Edited by Pierre-Henri Verlhac**

...and one DVD, the only one left worth a cent, the two-disc special edition of Tony Scott's True Romance (1993).

---

I'm oddly homesick.

---

Later, I had some decent RP in Insilico. I read Joe R. Lansdale's "The Crawling Sky" from The Book of Cthulhu. Now, understand – Joe is brilliant, 99 times out of every 100. I once had dinner with him on the Thames, a Chinese restaurant on a huge boat, restaurant with some fucking absurd name like the Floating Lotus. Anyway, that's a story for another time. But "The Crawling Sky" is one of those rare cases where a funny Lovecraftian story works. First off, understand that this is like Cormac McCarthy writing a Lovecraft story, filmed by the Cohen Bros., starring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn. Now, understand that, no matter how fucking funny the story may be, the "mythos" elements weren't being spoofed, but were taken pretty seriously. Anyway, yes. One of the anthology's gems. This line, I must quote: "He had the kind of features that could make you wince; one thing God could do was he could sure make ugly." Lansdale is, among other things, to be lauded for keeping the "weird western" alive.

Gods, what a fucking long blog entry! Gotta work!

* Winner of the Most Absurd Subtitle Award.
** A beautiful "coffee-table" book. How will Kindle fill that gap? How will we have beautiful coffee-table books on iPads? Maybe we'll stop having coffee tables. They seem a holdover from some more civilized age, anyway.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, no Great Trailer & Photo Shoot for The Drowning Girl this weekend. Thank you, Hurricane Irene. Early last night, watching the grave weather forecasts, Kyle and I made the decision to postpone the whole affair. Which means postponing it until early October. Even if we could have reached Moonstone Beach (the area will likely be evacuated), I'd have never asked Sarah (who plays our Eva) to walk towards that surf, much less into it. So, there you go. But I do not argue with forces of Nature. They were here first, and will be here long afterwards. Forces of Nature have seniority.

But yeah, it's looking pretty bad here in Providence, and we'll spend part of the day laying in supplies for the impact. Fortunately, we have storm windows, and the walls of this old house were built with a crisscrossed lattice of steel to protect against this very thing (though it makes hanging pictures a bitch).

I got virtually nothing written yesterday. There was far too much commotion. Confusion. Calamity. All those good "c" words. Mostly, having to figure out, at the last fucking minute, what to do about the Great Trailer & Photo Shoot. Thus, I only managed to write a paltry 698 words on Chapter 8 of Blood Oranges. Nonetheless, I intend to have the book (plus epilogue) finished by the end of the day Tuesday (August 30).

I now have both of Vince Locke's illustrations for The Drowning Girl, and they're marvelous. Sirenia Digest subscribers have seen the first of the two, but no one (outside my publisher's offices) gets to see the second until the book is released next year.

Yesterday, my contributor's copy of The Book of Cthulhu arrived. As did the very beautiful edition of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial I'd ordered. Also, a care package from Madison Colvin in Savannah, Georgia, which included, among many other things, a copy of Angela Carter's Love (one of the few books by her I didn't own). So, thank you, Madison. Very, very sweet of you.

Last night, once the dust of difficult decisions had settled, there was some not exactly very good RP in Insilico, but it had a Season Five Dexter chaser, so everything worked out well. And I think the problem that caused the not exactly very good RP has been identified, so that it won't happen again. Then Spooky read The Stand, and I listened. We reached Chapter 38. And, for fuck's sake, I hate Harold Lauder. Sociopathic, maladjusted, plain ol' disgusting behavior aside, he makes me want to bathe. Oh, back to Dexter, Peter Weller is becoming William Burroughs. Has anyone else noticed that? Meanwhile, Deb Morgan is my latest profanity crush (I know most people don't get those, but I definitely have a profanity fetish; my last profanity crush was Al Swearengen). To wit:



And that was yesterday.

Battening Down the Hatches,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Outside, it's 80F and feels like 81F. Inside, 80F. Balance, kiddos.

The last thing I recall saying before I fell asleep this morning is, "Only a dyke would have a crush on Charlie Brown." This is, in fact, a reference to Peppermint Patty. Let's just say I was very tired. Though, that's often when I speak the truth.

This morning, I dreamed I was in some weird sequel to Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space." Pretty much all detail is lost to me, but I can assure you it was not the least bit pleasant. The sense of uncleanliness, that it was unsafe to touch, drink, or eat anything, or even to breathe. It reminds me how "The Colour Out of Space" is a perfect parable for environmental degradation.

Yesterday was spent editing Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and the first four chapters Blood Oranges, finding as many errors in the latter as possible and correcting them. This afternoon, it goes to my agent. Booya. I now know that I'll write an introduction for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart called "Sexing the Weird." I'm going to ask another author to write an afterword, and I hope to include a lot of illustrations by Vince Locke

Couldn't sleep last night. When I can't sleep, neither can Spooky. So our insomnias align. She read me the first three sections of William Burroughs' Junky (which I've not read since the summer of 1994). Then she turned off the light, about 4:30 ayem. The sky had grown very bright, there on that shortest darkness of the year. I sat at the kitchen table eating leftover pasta salad and watching the dawn. Finally, the pills kicked in, and I crawled away to bed and sleep.

Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] faustfatale!

Our thanks to Stephen Lubold for the latest care package: Brown Bird's EP "The Sound of Ghosts," and three books: Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and the first two volumes of Mike Raicht and Brian Smith's amazing The Stuff of Legend. As it happens, he also won yesterday's ARC auction.

Good Rifting and rping last night. Thanks to everyone! The guild grows.

And yes, it's Soltice, Midsummer, Lithia, Litha. It is a day that Kathryn and I observe. If you do likewise, I wish you a happy Litha. I won't say blessed. Not sure I believe much in blessings, and even if I did, I would be unable to bestow them. The wheel turns. The shortest night, tonight.

We'll go to this evening to observe the day. We've talked about staying at the shore all night, maybe watching the sunrise over Narragansett Bay. But first I have a lot of work to do.

Comments, kittens!

Traveling the Circumference,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
Maybe it was premature of me to say that Providence has made the transition from Cold Spring to Spring Proper. Or, it may be that there needs to be a third and intermediate formal subdivision: Green Spring. That is, May, when it's finally fucking green out there, but people think it's warm when the temperature rises into the high sixties. Like today. Tomorrow, back into the fifties.

At least there's sunlight today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,662 words on Blood Oranges. I know how the chapter ends now, and should be able to finish it by tomorrow evening.

If you're a Sirenia Digest subscriber and haven't voted in the "Question @ Hand" Poll, please do, and thanks.

I've been trying to manage more reading and less gaming. There's Under the Poppy, and the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Yesterday, from the latter, I read "Nuralagus rex, gen. et. sp. nov., an endemic insular giant rabbit from the Neogene of Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)." Imagine a rabbit ten times the size of modern cottontails, only it doesn't hop and doesn't have long ears. Also, reading Curt Stager's Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth and Jane P. Davidson's A History of Paleontology Illustration. But also gaming. Last night, we neglected Selwyn and Miisya, and played our Guardian high elves. Though the godbothering is fierce, I have in mind a storyline for our guild that involves making contact with a group of Guardians who have grown distrustful of their leaders and who doubt the Vigil, and who suspect they're not being told the truth about a lot of things, including what happened in Scion. So, I need characters of sufficiently high levels to reach areas where interfactional rp can occur.

Yes! Cross-faction rp. Which you can actually do in Rift. It's just a shame the game designers didn't allow for a far more realistic and inevitable scenario involving defections from one side to the other (only on RP servers), and also a loose confederation of the Undeclared, consisting of those who won't take a side. Would have been much more interesting. Anyway, yes, we have a guild, "Eyes of the Faceless Man," Defiant side, on the Shadefallen Shard. We'd love a few more members, and I know some of you game, and you should know Rift as good as it gets in terms of high fantasy/S&S MMORPG. Whatever faults it may have, Rift leaves WoW in the dust.

---

Last night, was apparently devoted to creepy movies from 1987. First, we watched Alan Parker's Angel Heart, which, somehow, I'd never seen. It's a beautifully shot and acted film, but I think the ending gets heavy handed. We didn't need the yellow contact lenses. We also watched Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark, which, of course, I've seen about a hundred times, though in about twenty years. There are still some marvelous moments in the film, and Lance Henriksen is wonderful. But it falls apart as a whole, and I'm starting to think I should stop watching eighties horror films, which rarely ever measure up to my memories of them.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. Also, Spooky's made a really marvelous new necklace, which is up in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop, and which you can see here.

And now, words.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I used to write,
I used to write letters. I used to sign my name.
I used to sleep at night,
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain.

But by the time we met,
By the time we met the times had already changed...
(Arcade Fire)

No, nothing special. Just sort of where I am right now. But, have you noticed? I mean, how it's much easier to find people with insomnia than without? See, it didn't used to be that way. I remember.

---

Yesterday was an assembly day, as I predicted. And Sirenia Digest #65 has gone out to subscribers. I very much hope you enjoy the issue. Thanks again to everyone who answered the most recent Question @ Hand.

Today, I need to do a small bit of editing/reworking on "Fake Plastic Trees," following questions from the editors. And I need to finish the updated FAQ for the new Sirenia Digest page. And answer email. And just maybe have energy left to start thinking hard about the two projects that need to be consuming May.

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

---

For months now I've been pondering something I usually call "virtual transgenderism." I started thinking about it a lot right after I started playing City of Heroes back in October (I stopped playing in January or so, for various reasons). I was part of a very good rp group, and most of the characters were ostensibly female. But after about two weeks, I put two and two and four and six together and, with a little help from people who'd been playing for years, realized that almost every one of our "female" players were guys, including lots of guys in the military. Like, you know, GUYS. At first, I was sort of baffled, the way you're baffled when someone plays an especially clever joke on you. But then, then I thought, "Hey, this is really fucking cool." And I thought that because, you see, all these guys were very good a playing women. All sorts of women (most of whom just happened to have super powers), from insecure, nerdy twenty-somethings to smugly confident queens of Faerie. They weren't playing caricatures of women. They were playing women. I was amazed.

See, I can be naive and slow on the uptake. I'm old. When I was in my twenties, we had video arcades with shit like Galaga and Joust and Pac-Man, coin slots and joysticks. We didn't have gaming technology that allowed people to, virtually, become other people. People of other sexes, genders, sexual orientation, races, species, etc. So, it takes some getting used to. But, of course, a large number of the female characters in WoW and Rift are male, and, I'm willing to bet this is true of all MMORPGS. On Second Life, I'm pretty sure 95% of women are actually men. And I'm sure a lot of this is simply guys who think their chick toons are hot and a lot more interesting – but, even then, we still have teenage boys and grown men playing with virtual paper dolls. Many of these guys, though, they're acting out female characters. I just think it's very cool. I think it's a step in the right direction. Maybe a very small step, but a step, all the same. It says something if guys can get together online and openly pretend to be girls. Last night on Rift I was thinking, It's like Fight Club for the trans-curious. This is why it's called roleplaying. You play a role that is not you. You step into someone else's shoes and look through their eyes.

I'm not even going to get started on how this leads to guys' female toons hitting up other guys' female toons (or male toons hitting up "female" toons) for erotic rp. Someone needs to write a Masters Dissertation. Actually, I'm sure several people have already done so.

Anyway, yes. I wholeheartedly approve. I also approve of the women playing virtual males, though I suspect that's a rarer phenomenon.

---

I think I might have given the wrong impression when I started this Aunt Beast's Book Club thing. I don't expect people to read these books on pain of public humiliation or something of that sort. These are just books I want to promote. And, too, it's a way to push myself to finish novels I start. That's all. No one needs to explain to me why he or she isn't reading one of the selections. It's entirely and utterly casual, optional, and so forth.

Over and Out,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
There's sunlight, and cold air, and my head hurts. This time last year, Providence was turning green. Damn you, snow.

There was no work yesterday. No writing, and very little of the busyness of writing. I suppose it was a day off. Maybe. It all blurs together. I begin to fear that the meds are failing me, losing that potency. No, not that. My body developing a tolerance. And oh won't that make life fun? But no, let's not go there.

Regardless, I'm back in that place where there's mostly just the low-grade humming in my skull, which I begin to think is the white noise of the universe.

---

Yesterday was the 33rd anniversary sale of Newbury Comics in Warwick (well, Newbury Comics everywhere, but we go to Warwick...usually...and it's pronounced "War-ick," NOT "War-wick"), and since the check from Suicide Girls had come, Spooky took me out of the house to be bad and spend money I can't afford to spend on things I can live without (but wicked cheap, 25% off everything). In fact, yesterday sort of took this weird nosedive into a day of getting neat stuff. It was like Xmas, if Xmas wasn't a steaming pile of shit. Um, anyway. At Newbury Comics I picked up:

Fever Ray (deluxe three-disc set)
Rasputina, Great American Gingerbread
Rammstein, Liebe Ist Für Alle Da
Rammstein, Sehnsucht
The Pogues, If I Should Fall From Grace With God*
Radiohead, Pablo Honey (two-disc collector's edition)
Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here*

* Only have on vinyl, which is in storage.

If I confess my crimes, I'll only go to the Hell where you're allowed to keep your pornography and drugs. Also, I don't know what to make of the fact that All but one of those albums begins either with P or R.*

Then, at the P.O. Box, there was a very generous CARE package, which added to the guilt load, since I'd just bought all those CDs (though, like I said, 25% off, and most were already used). Thank you, SL. Garona and the fifth volume of the collected Popeye comic strips were especially appreciated. And as if it couldn't get any more absurd, we arrived home to discover a box from Bill Schafer. Mostly, it contained copies of the lettered, boxed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers that he recently discovered buried in the depths of the Subterranean Press stockpile. But ALSO, a copy of the new expanded edition of Unca Harlan's Deathbird Stories, a book that influenced my own writing beyond any ability for me to elucidate, and it's a fucking beautiful edition. I haven't had a copy since the early nineties, when I loaned it to a friend, and he never returned it (I no longer loan books).

Later, dinner at Trinity Brew House (I just had a salad; no appetite lately), and then we went to the Brown Bird show down the street at the Speakeasy at Local 121. This awesome sweaty guy from Chicago opened for them, and then Tik Tok ("sounds like tin pans and chicken bones") played, and finally a very short set by Brown Bird (who are so cool they push the outside of the cool envelope). After the show, I got a copy of Brown Bird's The Devil Dancing, which made it a day of eight cds, but at least this last one didn't begin with P or R.

There were three frat boys in the back of the bar heckling, but you never have a blowtorch and needle-nose pliers when you fucking need them, right? Also, I'm pretty sure all the facial hair in Providence was in attendance last night. Which is cool; these days, too few men have beards.

All in all, it would have been a fantastic day, had it been twenty degrees warmer and had the white noise in my head have been turned down about two-hundred decibels.

---

Today, in theory, I begin the story for Dark Horse (TBA, so don't ask). I'd like to have it finished by Monday evening (if I live that long).

I don't know. I just don't know anymore.

Oh, there are photos from the show, behind the cut:

6 April 2011 )


Pitching and Yawing,
Aunt Beast

* To be fair, we haven't bought a CD, I don't think, since the new Legendary Pink Dots, back in October.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I suppose I ought to start a journal entry now, having spent the last half hour instigating fights on Twitter and Facebook (but mostly on Twitter, from which I aspire to be banned for championing the English language, or any language, over that ZOMGWTFLOL shit). No, "lolspeak" isn't The End of the World®, but it does make you look like a moron.

Um...yesterday. Well, I'm still trying to get Sirenia Digest #64 out. By late this evening, for sure.

I wrote and edited, edited and wrote, formatted, wash, rinse, repeat.

There were very many wonderful comments, and I might have blushed a time or two. I think Martians blush, but I've lost the user's manual, so I'm not entirely sure. More wonderful [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy photos to come.

Anyway...here we are on Tuesday, April 5th in the year 2011, and it's time to announce the next book in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club thingy. This month, it's Markus Zusak's The Book Thief (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). I'm not going to go on about how very good it is. But it is. Even though we're not finished reading it yet. It's a good, and true, and important book, and there are too few of those. So yes, the official selection of the month:



READ THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK

---

I look at the few wind turbines we have here in Rhode Island, and I can't help but be amazed at how humanity has a sky full of wind and sunlight. But, instead, we drill holes in the ground for hydrocarbons and build nuclear reactors that release isotopes that will still be deadly hundreds or thousands of years from now. Instead, we dam rivers and destroy habitats.

---

paranormal (par·a·nor·mal): Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.

paranormal ≠ PR ("paranormal romance"), exclusive of all other applications of the word, no matter what "teh internets" might imply. For example, "reviews" on Amazon declaring that, say, Turn of the Screw isn't paranormal, because it isn't part of the current shitwit PR craze (even though it is, in fact, a novel exploring both paranormal and romantic themes).

---

Just the fact that people seem to be getting dumber and dumber. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four-figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratize us, but all it’s really given us is Howard Dean’s aborted candidacy and 24-hour-a-day access to kiddie porn. People…they don’t write anymore - they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it’s just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people in a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King’s English.
— Hank Moody

Sad thing is, not many even blog anymore. Blogging takes too much time and energy, so there's Facebook and Twitter. You know, for kids.

Yeah, well. As Quentin Crisp said, "It'll get worse." And it has. And it will again.

Think Only Happy Thoughts,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (blackswan)
1. The cat's out of the bag. Yes, the work that I've been doing for SuicideGirls.com consists of being part of a development team creating a steampunk sister site, UnsavoryTarts.com. Not sure about the launch date. But I think the new site goes live in a few months.

2. Also, finally I can announce that the Alabaster film is in preproduction. Getting David Fincher on board as Executive Producer was entirely cockblocking the production, but now that he's agreed, Lion's Gate's announced that the project's greenlit. Yes, I'm very happy. In fact, I could hardly be happier, considering they've managed to sign Elle Fanning for the part of Dancy Flammarion. Also, Sid Haig will play the Bailiff, and Anne Hathaway has been cast as Aramat Drawdes (which, yes, gives away the fact that In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers forms part of the film). Wayne Barlowe will oversee creature design...and...I wish I could say more (the director, for example), but I can't. Except, maybe a summer 2014 release date.

3. Yesterday, no actual writing. Tons of email, though. Really. I weighed it.

4. I managed to get out of the house. We braved the shitty weather to make a trip to the Athenaeum. Just as we parked, it began to rain. By the time we left, it was snowing. By the time we got back to the house, it was snowing heavily. Fortunately, the ground was too warm for accumulation, so fuck you, Mr. Snow. At any rate, a good and productive trip to the library. There are photos below, behind the cut. But the coolest part by far was Spooky coming across a copy of Dashiell Hammett's 1931 anthology of macabre and suspense stories, Creeps by Night (The John Day Company). The book includes Lovecraft's "The Music of Erich Zann," and was one of the very few times in HPL's life that his fiction appeared in print outside the pulps, and one of the best pay checks he ever earned. Lovecraft was paid $25 for reprint rights. In 2008 dollars (best I could come up with), that's equivalent to about $317. This was two years after the beginning of the Great Depression. Anyway, I sat holding the volume, knowing that Lovecraft almost certainly held the very same copy at least once. The book was accessioned by the Athenaeum on September 27, 1932. Also, read Galway Kinnell's The Book of Nightmares (1971), which is on beyond beautiful.

5. Back home, I ripped off my left thumbnail. No, not on purpose.

6. I got to thinking yesterday about how my novels always wind up with theme songs. That is, one song usually gets associated, in my mind, with any given novel. With The Drowning Girl, it was Death Cab For Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark." With The Red Tree, it was Poe's "Haunted." With Daughter of Hounds, it was R.E.M.'s "You Are the Everything" (I think).

7. After the library, we stopped by the p.o., and there were a couple of packages waiting for me. [livejournal.com profile] hollyblack sent me a copy of Red Glove, which is now next in the to-be-read queue, after The Book Thief and Tender Morsels. There was also a package from Paul Riddell, which held many things, including a copy of Chuck Jones' Chuck Amuck. Books in the mail are a good thing. Yes, Precious.

8. Lying in bed last night, listening to Kathryn read Markus Zusak's brilliant, heart-breaking The Book Thief, this thought came to me: I could very well write a novel that offended no one, that was correct from every imaginable social and political perspective, and that wasn't, in any way, "triggering." Yes. I could do that. And it would be as bland as a mouthful of unsalted crackers, and it would be shit, and it would be of no worth to anyone. But I could do it. I could set aside all that "art is a hammer" nonsense. I could be safe and sterile and no one would ever have to worry that what they read between the covers of my books would cause them any discomfort of any sort.

And I made Spooky promise she'll take away my crayons and paper if i ever fucking do this.

9. No, I do not approve of Shopping-Enabled Wikipedia on Amazon. No, not even if it sells more of my books. No, not even if it makes our lives more convenient. It's still loathsome.

And now, photos:

31 March 2011 )


All photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Just back from a day at the shore, but I'll write about that tomorrow, and there will be photos.

The post-novel depression hit full force while I was sitting there watching the sea. It's a couple of days overdue, but I was still writing even as the editing began, hence the delay. And here I am, back at that place where I want no one to read the novel. I sure as fuck don't want it read and reviewed and "reviewed" and have to watch the sales figures and all that shit.

And that sort of brings me to thing number next:

As we finish up Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, the part of Katniss Everdeen has been cast for the forthcoming film/s. She will be played by Jennifer Lawrence. And yesterday Spooky alerted me to the great mewling outcry from the books' community of "fans." YA boards and communities were abuzz (and likely still are) with outraged cries of "racebending" and "whitewashing" and all sorts of other nonsense. I wish to state a few thoughts, which I'll put forth as bullet points, as this lamentable format seems so popular these days:

1) Race: Katniss Everdeen has dark hair and olive skin, yes. But she is Caucasian. Indeed, her mother and sister are blondes. Near as we are told, the people of the Seam are mostly, but not all, white. Peeta Mellark has blond hair. People of the Seam often have grey eyes. All this is hardly surprising given that it seems that District 12 is located somewhere in the West Virginia/Pennsylvania region of the Appalachians. So, cries that the casting is racist are...well...it makes me wonder if the people who read the book, you know, read the book. Let us wait to see how Rue is cast before we howl about "whitewashing."

2) Can Jennifer Lawrence play Katniss Eberdeen? How about this. Watch the trailer for Debra Granik's Winter's Bone:



Truthfully? You ask me, this looks like Lawrence having a trial run at playing Katniss. I say she's damn close to perfect.

3) Does the author approve of the casting choice? Yes, very much so. To quote AccessHollywood (there's a first in this blog):

In a statement released by the studio, Author Suzanne Collins and director Gary Ross expressed their excitement at having Jennifer join the cast.

“Jennifer’s just an incredible actress. So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. I never thought we’d find somebody this perfect for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it,” Suzanne said.


Now, for my part, points one and two aside, this ought to shut all the naysayers the fuck up. It won't, of course, but it should. These books do no belong to the fans, not matter how devoted and no matter how much they might believe otherwise. They belong to the author, that person whose name follows the © symbol. Everyone else has the pleasure of reading the books, and may own copies, but the novels belong to the author. And if she's happy with the choice, that's good enough for me.

More and more, I realize there's this great mass of humans who squat in waiting on the internet, just waiting for an opportunity to be offended. The chance to whine and bellyache and point fingers and pull the holier-than-thou routine. And, usually, a chance to be utterly wrong. This is, of course, their right. But they're only embarrassing themselves.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
So, today is Imbolc. And here we are, halfway to the vernal equinox. Which really can't come soon enough. The threat of more snow has dissolved into drizzle and a skim of slush atop the mountains of snow. We'll have a fresh glaciation when the sun goes down. I haven't seen the sea since, I think, October. Today, there's a parking ban in effect in Providence (no street parking).

Our thanks to everyone who dropped by Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries yesterday. And since someone bought the mermaid necklace, I have to point you towards my other most favorite, her Someday antique key necklace. FREE shipping until Valentine's Day. Please do have a look. The platypus says so, that's why.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,760 words and finished the sixth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Given I only just finished the fifth chapter on Sunday, that might sound sort of strange. So, I should explain that Chapter 5 was very, very, very long, and I decided to split it. So, the second half of 5 is now 6 (plus what was written yesterday).

Anyway, yesterday I passed the 300th manuscript page, and the total word count stands at 67,537. Last night, I sent the entire manuscript to [livejournal.com profile] sovay, because I'm losing all perspective. She says I'm still on track. I expressed concerned about some of the structural similarities between The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. To which she replied, "I think any questions of repetition should be mitigated by the fact that the narrative also includes a five-act play; it's by its own acknowledgment, like any memory or storytelling, a collage." Which helped allay my worries, though nothing's gonna make them actually go away.

There's a nice write-up at io9 on Jeff and Ann VanderMeer's forthcoming The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, being a most sublime and unusual collection to which I contributed "A Key to the Castleblakeney Key." The book will be out June 21st.

Also, Dark Horse is talking up Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, the collection that includes "The Maltese Unicorn," the only short story I've ever written about a Depression-Era lesbian private eye in the employ of the madam of a demon brothel trying to recover an ancient and magical dildo carved from unicorn horn. I'm very pleased to see that Supernatural Noir got a really beautiful cover. I pretty much don't expect those anymore. The collection will be released June 22nd.

The good word count and kind words from Sonya aside, yesterday was sort of crappy. And included disquieting computer shenanigans and a fall in the bathtub that could have been a lot worse than it was (I got off with a bruised arm). Still, last night wasn't so bad. We watched two episodes of American MastersThe Greely Expedition and Into the Deep: America, Whaling, and the World. Later still, I briefly left the house and wandered Outside, into the snowbound street.

And here's a photo of an icy window, dendrites and ice and filigree, taken early yesterday from one of my office windows:

Looking Out Through Frost )
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.

4:03 ayem

Nov. 11th, 2010 04:11 am
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, Spooky was reading me Kelly Link, and I could hardly stay awake while she was reading, because Hubero was purring on my head. But as soon as she stopped I woke up, and started straight away thinking about Mars, far, far, far in the future, and towering sand dunes with the skeletons of enormous genetically engineered (but now extinct) animals weathering from them, and pilgrimages to temples...and I'm awake and making notes.

Oh, and Spooky says buy our stuff on eBay so maybe we won't starve, but I will admit, she was being ever so slightly melodramatic, as we still have eggs, grape jam, and Ramen (and fuck you, Mr. Monster).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I have this quote from yesterday, from Aleister Crowley's autobiography (1929):

As long as sexual relations are complicated by religious, social, and financial considerations, so long will they cause all kinds of cowardly, dishonourable, and disgusting behaviour.

---

Happy 50th birthday to Neil, and I'm really sorry I couldn't make it down to New Orleans for the party to end all parties, but I'm there in spirit, as they say. My spirit will get shitfaced and roam Bourbon Street looking for trouble. At least my body won't have to feel the hangover. Today is also Holly Black's birthday, so have a good one, Holly.

---

Cold and cloudy here in Providence, just like yesterday, and the day before.

But, I did finally leave the House yesterday. So, that's only nine days indoors (my record, set this past winter, is fourteen). Yesterday, I went to the Athenaeum to read and think about the story I need to begin today. But first we went to the Bell Gallery at Brown University, to see the Pictures from the Hay exhibit, a display of books celebrating the 100th anniversary of the John Hay Library at Brown University. The exhibit is a veritable orgy for book sluts. I read Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" written in Whitman's own hand (from 1887). I saw needlepoint from 1802, and a Brown diploma from 1769. There was an amazing accordion book by Angela Lorenz (1999)— etching, watercolor, letterpress, and mica —titled The Theater of Nature, or Curiosity Filled the Cabinet. I saw an original Arthur Rackham illustration, "Where is Peaseblossom," from Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare (1889) and thought of [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving. There was a schematic from a book on fireworks dating to 1635, detailing "How to represent St. George fighting the dragon." I saw Crimean War photos from 1855, a clay Iraqi cuneiform tablet from Uruk (now Warka) dating back to 1850-1800 BCE, and French editions of Poe from the 1920s. Paper dolls from 1811, titled The Protean Figure and Metamorphic Costumes. Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543), plates from Mark Catesby's The Bahama Islands: containing the figures of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, insects, and plants (1729-1747). So much amazement in a single room. Does anyone seriously believe that three hundred years from now people will marvel at Kindles and the layout and typography of eBooks? Books have almost (but not quite) ceased to be objects of art in and of themselves, and merely become shoddy information and entertainment delivery devices. Their artistic and archival importance is all but lost.

It was a blustery late autumn day on Benefit Street, not too cold if you were dressed for it. Bradbury weather. We left the Athenaeum about five p.m. (CaST, = EDT + 1 hour), stopped by Eastside Market, then headed back across the river and home again.

---

We have almost everything we need to assemble the Dancy Box. This is a box that Dancy carried with her from the cabin in Shrove Wood to the sanitarium in Tallahassee, where it was confiscated. She never got it back. At least, that's how it seems right now. It'll be going up on eBay as soon as we're done, along with one of the lettered editions of the book, an edition that was not offered to the public (they were split between Bill Shafer and myself). This has gone from a lark to a pretty obsessive piece of...what? It's an artifact from a fiction, a prop from a movie that will never be made, a multi-media sculpture.

---

There's not much to say about Monday. After seven consecutive days of writing like a fiend, and the insomnia on top of that, I ended up spending much of Monday in bed. We watched the second episode of The Walking Dead (still promising) and also Daniel Alfredson's Flickan som lekte med elden (2009). Last night, we saw Paul Scheuring's The Experiment (2010), with Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker. I've been reading Richard Kaczynski's biography of Aleister Crowley. The rp in CoX has taken a turn for the very weird, with Erzsébetta's future self (become more faerie than vampire) traveling back from 258 years in the future to try to stop Something Awful, something that's her fault. Sekhmet has deemed her "...the worst thing that ever happened to the world." The rp has been especially cathartic, and it's sort of wonderful acting it out in an absurdist milieu of supervillains, because nothing's too ridiculous to ring true.

Today...I have to try again to write "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars," a story I tried to write last fall and shelved. But I want to do it. It's a story I need to do. So, we'll see.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

9 November 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (fight dinosaurs)
Hold on for Round Three of higgledy piggledy.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,413 words on "John Four," and found THE END. It's a strange story, maybe even strange for me. Maybe even grim for me, right down to the irony in the Biblical allusion of its title. I wrote yesterday's pages to the Swans' My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. It was the perfect soundtrack to the story. The last couple of hours of writing yesterday were pell-mell, a dizzy rush through black words. I almost felt as though my brain was tripping over itself. If this story has a moral, it must be that the end of the world is only merciful if it really is the end of the world, and not the beginning of another. Anyway, the vignette will be included in Sirenia Digest #58, along with reprints of most of my Lovecraft Mythos fiction. I felt I should do a Lovecraft issue, since I'll be heading off to the HPLFF next week, so that's what I'm doing.

---

I woke this morning from the most remarkable dreams, though sadly only random shreds remain. But the shreds are dazzling. I was living out a fourth book in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and somehow Saruman's industrial revolution had occurred after all. The landscape was at first Stalin's Russia, then New York City in the Great Depression. I only saw hobbits and humans. The elves would be gone, of course, but there should have been orcs and dwarves. There were refugees in boxcars in a barren snowy place. At one point, there was a frantic climb through the freezing waters of an enormous dam's spillway. There was a climactic showdown in what seemed to me a bank, and it was very Miller's Crossing somehow, only with swords instead of guns. And I woke from this dream wanting so badly to write a fantasy novel set against the backdrop of the first three decades of the 20th Century.

--- (These divisions, in my mind, make an entry less higgledy piggledy.)

Thanks for all the comments yesterday, mostly as regards ebooks and eReaders. Truth is, on the one hand, I don't care if people are using eReaders. If that's how you want to read, it's sure as hell not my business. I can't do it, because for me a book consists of two parts: 1) the experience of reading it (which includes tactile sensation) and 2) the physical object itself. These things are, for me, indivisible. I'm not looking for a "good read," because the process of reading a book cannot be reduced to mere action. But that's me. I think the only thing that scares me about all this is that I feel fairly certain that if the trend continues, we'll reach a point where what remains of New York publishing will ditch most hardcopy books, especially the midlist. It will be far cheaper to rely on ebooks, as they have so much less overhead (especially since the publishers aren't manufacturing the eReaders). The two greatest expenses in publishing would be eliminated: warehousing and distribution. Sure, there will still be hardbacks for best sellers, and also from specialty houses like Subterranean Press, but most authors won't have access to such luxuries. The midlist author will be consigned to ebooks. And if that happens, I'll stop writing. I'll just stop. Because half of my reward for having written is that tangible object, which to me is a work of art— the book —which can never be reduced to zeroes and ones.

Also, books don't usually break when you drop 'em.

I'm not going to get started on the horror that introducing social networking to the act of reading represents for me. No, I never belonged to book clubs, and I hated literature classes. For me, reading is inherently solitary.

---

Last night we saw Neil Jordan's Ondine (2009). I am a long-time admirer (that's probably putting it too mildly) of Jordan's films, and this one was everything I'd expect. Brilliant, beautiful, and sublime. Fairy tale and mythology are always there, even when they aren't. Fantasy (truth) is inseparable from reality (fact). It's probably the best film about a selkie ever made, regardless of whether or not there's actually a selkie in it. Yes, even better than The Secret of Roan Inish (1994). Filmed in Cork County, Ireland, the landscape is shades of green and grey and blue that are, at once, perfectly solid and yet too exquisite to have ever existed outside cinematography. Great performances from Colin Farrell (Syracuse), Alicja Bachleda (Ondine), and Alison Barry (Annie). Oh, and how can I not love a film about selkies in which Sigur Rós are integral to the plot! If you ask me, this is a must see.

(We also saw the new episode of Glee, which still rocks.)

---

I sat down yesterday and started reading through "As Red as Red" (in Haunted Legends; I don't know why I've started reading my stories in print; I never used to do this). I reached page 80, where the protagonist travels from Providence to Aquidneck Island and Newport. Only, this is what it says:

I made the commute from Providence to Newport, crossing the East Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island and then the West Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport.

This is, of course, backwards. It's akin to being in Manhattan and saying you're going to travel east to New Jersey. It's that wrong. It should read, "I made the commute from Providence to Newport, crossing the West Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island and then the East Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport." But somehow I wrote it down backwards, and, somehow, despite all the times I read it during editing, the mistake was never corrected. I've made this "commute" more times now than I can recall, and this is just a dumb mistake, one that made it into print. Odds are most readers will never catch it, not unless they're familiar with Rhode Island geography. But I had to point it out, if only in the hopes that the embarrassment will make me more attentive in the future. It was a depressing thing to find.

Okay. That's it for now. How can it already be Thursday? Yeah, I know. Because yesterday was Wednesday....

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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