greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
On this day, sixty-five years ago, the dismembered body of Elizabeth Short was found in Leimert Park, Los Angeles.

Bitterly cold (but no snow) here in Providence. We had single digits last night, and the temperature Outside is currently 15˚F.

Here's a link to the full text of the starred (!) Publishers Weekly review of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Also, my thanks to Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) for the very kind things she said about the novel a couple of days ago.

Yesterday, I realized that I'd done a very peculiar thing Friday while working on Albaster #4. I'd written pages five, six, and seven. But...this is going to sound so stupid...with seven I'd jumped ahead to a spot very near to the end of the book, only a few pages from the end. It was strange, yeah. I always write from "beginning" to "end," in a straight line, so it was a very odd thing for me to have done. Anyway, yesterday, I set that seventh page aside (I'll use it at the appropriate time), and wrote a new page seven, along with eight, nine, and ten (manuscript pages 14-19, 1,403 words). I stopped in the year 1864 – November, to be precise. I'll resume there today. Oh, it'll all make sense, trust me.

After the writing, I used the iPad to stream a rather dubious documentary about the Snowball Earth hypothesis. I don't mean to say that the hypothesis itself, though still somewhat controversial, is dubious. It's just that the Discovery Channel (I can't believe they haven't shortened the station's title to Disco) seems incapable of making coherent, accurate documentaries that don't drag everything down to the level of "Bat Boy" and the Weekly World News (By the way, you know you're old when you remember the days when the Weekly World News took itself seriously.). The documentary almost managed to reduce a respectable (and very likely) scientific model to nothing more than the latest Roland Emmerich blockbuster.

Later, we played SW:toR, forgoing RP in favor of leveling. We both reached Level 28. And then we watched Craig Gillespie's remake of Fright Night (2011). Now, given the fact that I'm an admirer of the original (1988) and the fact that I hate 3D, I will admit I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder going in. But I was quickly won over. Yeah, the 3D is gimmicky as fuck, and annoyingly intrusive at times (Oh! Look! Blood spurting at the film! Scream!). But the film is both a lot of fun and filled with genuine menace. Most of the casting is superb – Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell (I never would have believed it), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and (drum roll) David Fucking Tennant. The show really belonged to Tenant and Farrell. I do wish a little more care had been taken casting female roles. Imogen Poots? That was supposed to be an in joke, right? And Toni Collette....well, we know she can act, but I guess the fact that she's comatose for the second half of this film meant she didn't have much incentive to try during the first half. I was disappointed that we didn't get some of the wonderful creature effects from the original – the werewolf and the amazingly creepy bat thing – but still, very good and highly recommended. Even with the annoying 3D shots trying to jump out into you lap. Oh, it also scored points for mentioning Farscape.

After the movie, I read Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Silence of the Asonu" (1998), a fine bit of SF anthropology (also collected in Lightspeed: Year One). And then I finally slept.
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
Bitter fucking cold here in Providence this afternoon, and tonight's going to be so nasty – 6˚F, with 22 mph winds - that Spooky and I are likely cancelling our plans to drive down to Point Judith and watch the brief Quadrantid meteor shower.

Yesterday was the most tedious sort of work day. At least if you're a writer who happens to be me. Which I am. Yesterday, we went back through about a hundred line edits that Kathryn couldn't make when she was editing the ms. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book back in December (based on notes/proofreaders marks we made fucking months ago), the ones that required I decide if a word was to be changed, or a comma deleted or inserted, or a sentence restructured, or an adjective added...and so on. We were at it all day, until, I think, about 6:30 p.m. My nerves were raw and bloody by the time we were done, but then I sent the files off to Subterranean Press. By then, I wanted stab myself in the nethers with a fork.

But I didn't. Instead, after dinner, I did some work on the process of revamping the website in preparation of the release of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir on March 6th. I chose one of [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's photos from back in mid-October, during the shoot for the book's trailer, to be used as the background. My intent is that we'll be swapping the background images out on a regular basis, but for now I just want to get the "teaser" up on a page devoted to the novel. It may be up as early as tomorrow morning (so thank you, Brian, Kyle, and Chris). Also, I'll be posting more behind-the-scenes stills from the trailer shoot this week.

I got preliminary pencils – gorgeous – for Vince's illustration for "Part the First" of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #73 (look for it by week's end).

---

Some people say we haven't lost.
But they're afraid to pay the cost,
For what we've lost.
~ Arcade Fire, "Half Light II (No Celebration)"

---

Someone wrote me (via email) a few days ago, inquiring about my blind left eye. Not the usual sort of email I receive, so it stuck with me. And it was actually elicited by something I said on Facebook, and email resulting from FB is even more rare. Anyway, the person wrote wishing to know more about my useless left eye, as he'd recently lost 30% of his vision in one eye. Specifically, he was curious how it affects my ability to read. To which I can only say, it doesn't really. Except that my eyes get tired very quickly when I read (though not when I'm writing or gaming, and I have no explanation for that), and only in the last ten years has that even begun to be an issue. But the difference here is that I was likely born almost 100% blind in my left eye. I never had any depth perception (binocular vision) to start with, and my field of view (my FoV is only about 90˚-100˚, instead of the usual human 180˚-200˚) was always seriously impaired. I taught myself to read when I was four, well before I began school, so clearly it was never a significant impediment to my fundamental reading ability. Except, I read very slowly. Also, it means that I have a lot of trouble if there's text over on my left that I need to read while also attending to anything on my right (this is a huge problem with text in console games and MMOs). And I was finally forced to stop driving about ten years ago (how I drove before then, and how I passed my original driver's test...long story, or not). So, anyway, short answer, my partial blindness has never caused me any significant difficulty as a reader, or as a writer. But that may be because I was born that way; no one even figured out anything was wrong until I was in fourth grade, and the extent and probable cause – in utero toxoplasmosis that scarred my left cornea – until I was in college. Anyway, there you go.

Now, I find a story.

Searching,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
This is one of those rare mornings when I wake freezing, shivering, headachey, just shy of full-blown hypothermia, somehow having divested myself of all the blankets in the throes of this or that bad dream. And then I need two hours to get warm. Only, according to Spooky, I was actually being a bed hog, and if I'm cold it's my own damn fault.

Yesterday, I did an interview. An important interview. But I cannot yet say for whom or where it will appear. I will tell you as soon as I can. But it ate up more of the day than it should have. Also, I've gotten bloody sick of talking about myself. It's a little easier to talk about Imp or Sarah or Dancy, and almost as accurate since they're all overlapping aspects of me, anyway. To all prospective interviewers and would-be biographers of Me, I say to you, the only biography that's worth a good goddamn, the only truth-be-told, must first be filtered and fictionalized. You reduce the lives of women and men down to mere fact and history, and mostly you'll be left with the banal; if you're lucky, you'll get monotonous tragedy. Mythologize, though, and at least tragedy will seem noble, and even mundanity may be transformed and redeemed.

I am a writer, and my lot in life is to lie constantly, all the while never failing to tell the truth.

Today, I go back to work on "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," and hopefully finish it. It will come in Sirenia Digest #73, with a great illustration by Vince Locke, plus Chapter Two of the original (scrapped) attempt to write Silk, plus (!, I hope) a new science-fiction story. I hope. Maybe.

Yesterday, I saw the colored pages for one of the Alabaster stories, colored by Rachelle Rosenberg, and wow.

An announcement. Every morning, or early afternoon, or mid afternoon, I spend anywhere from one to three hours on this journal. An hour and a half is about average, but let's say an hour, because round numbers are easier. That means I journalize seven hours a week, twenty-eight hours a month, three hundred and sixty-five hours a year (or about 15.2 days; and, in truth, a considerably larger sum). Think of all the stories or vignettes or work on novels I could get done in that time. And I've been doing this for more than eleven years, almost every single day! So, I'm thinking that after March, after the release of The Drowning Girl, I'm going to cease this every-goddamn-day blogging thing, this wearisome cataloging of the humdrum events of my humdrum life, and reserve the LJ for news of forthcoming books and of occasional interesting trips, saving untold hours that can be devoted to work, waking up, staring out the window, reading the day's news, et aliae. It's unlikely I'll change my mind.

It's looking now like the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl will go live until January 3rd, due to web-design issues. We have everything in place, it just has to be assembled. The new front page of my website, that is. The thirty-second trailer is edited and ready to post (thank you, Brian!).

Yesterday, well, not much else to tell. I read a pretty good story by David Barr Kirtley (whom, I admit, I'd never heard of before), and before bed I read Stuart Moore's graphic-novel story loosely based on Thomas Ligotti's "The Last Feast of Harlequin (2007), as illustrated by Colleen Doran (I worked with her on an issue of The Dreaming, but, offhand, I can't recall which one). I napped. I watched a PBS documentary on the AZORIAN Project and the 1974 attempt to raise the sunken Soviet submarine K-129. I played Star Wars: The Old Republic. And there was other stuff.

And now, I go forth to think on bivalves and cephalopods.

Warm Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (river2)
Cold and sunny here in Providence. Tonight, we are promised it will be colder, but still mostly clear, for the Steel Yard annual iron pour. Meanwhile, we have a winter storm watch set to begin tomorrow at five p.m. and run until early Sunday morning. The first nor'easter of the year, and early. Looks like most of New England's going to get hit, but it also looks like we're in a narrow band that will escape the worst of the weather. Yay, us. I'd really like to have another six weeks or so until I have to worry about the blizzards. Anyway, as long as weather predictions are being made, I predict this is going to be a long and bad, bad winter.

Yesterday, we made it through the last two chapters of Blood Oranges. What a weird book. But, also, what a funny book. How did I do that? It's pretty much Buffy the Vampire Slayer directed by Quentin Tarantino. I think maybe the more interesting question is why did I do that? Was I trying to purge the deleterious effect that writing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir had upon me? That seems to be the popular opinion, but I can't say for sure. But it does hold up, and that's a great relief. I shall think of it as a belated tonic against the waning ParaRom market. I won't even dignify "ParaRom" with the sobriquet "genre." Not even "subgenre." It's just a market. You know, like varieties of porn. No, wait. I like porn. Porn is useful, and has dignity. Especially the creepy stuff from South Korea.

Oh, and I'm thinking of calling the obligatory sequel Fay Grimmer. No one will get the Hal Hartley reference who isn't meant to get it.

Today, it's back to work on Project Arrowhead for the MiBs at No Such Agency. As I said to Spooky, it's going to be the first long day of a long weekend at the beginning of a long winter.

Last night, in the rain, sleet, and snow, we went forth into the darkness to run errands. I got two new (and badly needed) pairs of shoes for the winter. I went all last winter in my Cros, coupled with New Zealand bedsocks. Which is really no fit state of affairs. Anyway, and the cat food/litter place, we had to go there, too, and also get dinner, and it must have been nine p.m. by the time we got home.

After dinner, there was RIFT. Mostly, dailies and world-event stuff, and then we watched Michael Tolkin's The Rapture (1991). I'd not seen it since the video release in 1992 or whenever, but after seeing Red State, and discovering that Spooky had never seen The Rapture, I very much needed to see it again. Well, I could have done without David Duchovny's mullet. But the rest of the film has aged very well. There are few better examples of the "Christian horror film." It's sort of Red State turned inside out, and the horror isn't so much what people are willing to believe (though that's bad enough). The horror lies in the objective existence of a sadistic "god" who demands it be loved, like a spoiled child demanding attention. It will be loved, or you will be damned. It will be loved, and you will destroy yourself for it's love, or you'll spend forever alone. Even if you are a "good" person, it will still damn you, unless you love it. In the final moments of the film, the film's protagonist redeems herself by finding her own salvation simply by telling the Bully in the Sky that no, she won't love it. "Who forgives God?", a question asked moments before the climax, is especially apt. So, yes, this is a keeper. A film which doesn't so much question the cartoonish Biblical eschatology, as it questions the ethics of a omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who would subject its creations to a living hell, just to get its ya-yas off. You know, just because. Like any shitty parent or schoolyard bully. See it, if you've not already. And if it sounds like the sort of film that would piss you off because you're a good Christian, then you especially need to see it. If you're that sort of person, this film was made for you. It won't change your mind. But, nonetheless.

We read more of Wildwood.

And now, I see the black van has pulled up outside.

Off to the Airbase,
Codename: Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
And today is the birthday of Spooky! And, therefore, I am only attending to a small bit of work and having most of the day off (though, having slept almost until noon, as I didn't get to sleep until 4:30 ayem, that's not as much of a threat as it might seem).

Here in Rhode Island, we're having a marvelous March. High today, 67˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,554 words, beginning and completing "Down to Gehenna," the new piece for Sirenia Digest. It will be appearing, long with Chapter One of Blood Oranges, in #67.

Also, yesterday, I spoke with my agent and editor regarding The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and with my agent regarding Blood Oranges. She's reading the first half of the manuscript this weekend. And, very late, I spoke with Bill Schafer (of Subterranean Press) about Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and told him he'd be receiving the initial manuscript sometime in the next few weeks.

I've not been Outside for three days, not since Tuesday, which is a little unusual for me of late. But I blame this shitty weather, the cold and the wet.

This morning I had a very vivid dream. I was having my face tattooed. I have no memory whatsoever of what the tattoos actually were.

Last night, well, that's fairly predictable, isn't it? There was Rift. We finally got a guild vault, thank Tavril. And I'm slowly, slowly, inching my way towards the level cap at 50. Then I'll start leveling Shaharrazad (my Bahmi warrior). Oh, but before that, because it was almost Spooky birthday, we watched Pixar's Ratatouille (2007) again, because it's a favorite of hers (and of mine, too). After Rift, we read more of Junky, and that was yesterday.

Now, I go to handle a few things that cannot be put off, and then I bake Spooky a cake.
greygirlbeast: (Tuojiangosaurus)
This morning (technically, this afternoon), I'm a little taken aback at otherwise sensible people who are feeling sorry for the disappointed, depressed, and down-at-heel followers of Harold Camping. As kids these days are wont to "say," o.0.

Here we have these cowardly fuckers who were hoping to be yanked away to some heavenly playground where they could wallow in eternal bliss, while 97.1% of humanity endured unspeakable horrors and fire and everlasting torment. And I'm supposed to feel empathy or sympathy or whatever for the idiot cult of Harold Camping, because they didn't get their wish? Hah! I admit that I have no especial love of humanity, and I've often thought total annihilation might not be such a bad thing, BUT at least I include myself among the annihilated. My doomsday is utterly indifferent and doesn't discriminate. I don't imagine some Old Man in the Sky who passes judgment. Who picks and chooses, and is willing and eager to spare you infinite agony if you'll get down on your knees and kiss "his" feet and stroke "his" ego and tell "him" you love no other god but "him."

So, no. The followers of Camping will get no sympathy from me. Let them weep. Let them gnash their teeth and feel the weight of the godless universe upon their cowards' shoulders.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,529 words on Chapter Two of Blood Oranges. And Spooky had trouble reading it, because she kept having to stop to laugh. She tells me that's a good thing, and I hope she's right. This is strange new territory for me.

The day is overcast, and it's only 54˚F out there. Hello, pretender to the throne of May.

Spooky has listed a new necklace in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Esty shop. You should buy it. Spooky's necklaces are grand.

Last night, I revisited Gregory Hoblit's Fallen (1998), which I think is somewhat underrated. Spooky had never seen it before. And we played Rift. And read Under the Poppy, which I hope you're reading, too. Also, I read two articles in the January issue of JVP: "New information Wumengosaurus delicatomandibularis Jiang et al., 2008 (Diapsida: Sauropterygia), with a revision of the osteology and phylogeny of the taxon" and "A small alvarezsaurid from the eastern Gobi Desert offers insight into evolutionary patterns in the Alvarezsauroidea."

Proudly Unraptured,
Aunt Beast

Oh, and dinosaur (etc.) photographs:

May 17-18, Part Three )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A very bad day, yesterday. Which I saw coming when I made yesterday's entry, though, at that point, I was still trying to make with the stiff upper lip and all. By late afternoon, all pretense was shed. And the day was simply shitty. So far, shitty again today. It doesn't help that here we are at the Vernal Equinox, Ostara...and it doesn't mean anything to me at all. And it doesn't help that spring's at least a month off here in Providence. Genuine, true, warm green spring.

---

No, sorry. This isn't the happy blog entry.

---

The feeling that I need to protect the new novel from the world and everyone in it persists. To the point that I spent part of yesterday – seriously – trying to figure out how to make it financially without allowing the book to be published. At least this should stand as evidence that I mean what I say when I say I only write for myself.

---

Didn't leave the house yesterday, and likely won't today.

I finally finished the mammoth tome that is Suzanna Clarke's Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Still forming first impressions. It is, indeed, a very good book, and quite an achievement. I think I may admire it most for insisting so fervently that it is a book. This novel will never be a movie. It's a book. I've read online that in 2005 Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) finished a screenplay, and that the film was supposed to begin production in 2006. But it has no IMDb page, so I'm assuming someone realized the folly of their ways. Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has some marvelous moments, is often very funny, occasionally moving, but doubtless too long. I have nothing at all against very long books. Moby Dick, Ulysses, and The Lord of the Rings all number among my favorites. I think Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell suffered tremendously from hype. Indeed, that's why it took me three years to buy a copy, and five more years to get around to reading it. But, I very much liked the last few pages.

And on the subject of books, we're almost done with Mockingjay, and, at this point, I think if anyone were to ask me about this trilogy, I think I'd say, read The Hunger Games and skip the rest. Which is to say I'm underwhelmed. I suspect the films may actually improve upon the second and third books (this was the case with some of Rowling's books). I suspect there should only have been two books, at most, and that Mockingjay should have been the second. But even this solution doesn't address all the problems. More when I'm completely finished.

See? It's assholes like me that books need protecting from.

--

The moon, the trumpeted perigee-syzygy, was beautiful last night, even through the light pollution of Providence.
greygirlbeast: (white)
The cold hangs onto Providence with a death grip. At least the snow is gone, and there's sun.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,223 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And realized that I'm much nearer THE END than I'd guessed. It could be finished today and tomorrow. Maybe three days at the most. And the realization is disorienting, to say the least. Also, it occurred to me this morning that one important thing that sets this book apart from my previous novels is that place has never been so unimportant. There is a sense of place, of Providence (and mostly the Armory district), of the RISD Museum on Benefit Street, and the Athenaeum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and, most especially, of the Blackstone Gorge and Rolling Dam at Millville, Massachusetts. The book also weaves in Boston, Manhattan, and LA, and other places. But almost all of it takes place in Imp's apartment in the Armory. The Drowning Girl: A Memoir could almost be adapted as a stage play with two, maybe three, sets: Imp's apartment, the RISD Gallery, a seashore. Curiously, I didn't include the Blackstone River, the novel's most important locale, outside Imp's home, on that list of potential sets.

I'll write on it today, and tomorrow, and maybe on Monday...and then I'll probably have found THE END.

Also, yesterday we proofed "Hydraguros," which is being reprinted in Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2. I wrote this story a year ago, and I'm still in love with it. It's my best sf since I wrote "In View of Nothing" and "A Season of Broken Dolls" in early 2007. And after the proofreading, I printed out exactly 25 copies of "Atlantis," the poem I wrote in August for everyone who donated to Spooky's birthday fund. Each copy is printed in Garamond on Crane's Crest Executive paper, 100% cotton, premium weight (28 lb.). Each is signed and numbered. There will be no more. These will go in the mail on Monday.

I printed and signed a new set of contracts for Two Worlds and In Between. Because one of Bill's cats barfed on the originals. Sorry, Bill, but I had to tell that story. It's just too funny (and I, too, live in constant fear of the wages of cat barf).

I got Vince's illustration for Sirenia Digest #63, and, honstly, it's one of the best he's ever done. It'll appear as the cover. Today, I'll assemble the issue, and subscribers should have it tonight or tomorrow.

So, that was yesterday.

---

After dinner last night, we began reading Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, the next book after The Hunger Games. Though it was no small feat, Shaharrazad found the last few quests needed to complete the "Into the Nether" achievement. Seriously, I needed almost an hour to find the last four quests I needed. They were hiding in "Area 52," with this Consortium ethereal fuck who looked like he only had dailies (big blue question mark floating above his head), even with low-level quests turned on. In truth, he has a whole string of quests! Thank you, Spooky and WoWhead. I never would have found those on my own. So, now I go back to Shadowmoon Valley and Nagrand, try to finish up Outland, and get the Loremaster title.

I played a couple of hours of Rift. I'm sure everyone's getting tired of me gushing over the game. I'll just say I got Selwyn to Level 17. Oh, and I'll say this, too. It's hard to ignore that in advertising for the game Trion is relying almost exclusively on the "human" Ethian and Mathosian races. In ads, in the quick-start guide, on the cover of the box, almost everywhere...we see Ethians and/or Mathosian (physically, they're pretty much interchangeable). And I call this a pernicious sort of speciesism/racism. There are six player races in Telara, and many of us are not Ethian and Mathosian. Never mind that I see more people playing Bahmi and Kelari than anything else (I have no idea how things look on the Guardian side). And I just heard that the two RP/PVP shards must be filling up fast, as Trion opened a third today, Estrael.

Oh, while I gamed, Spooky streamed The Secret of Kells and the Mythbusters episode about duct tape (I'm sort of sorry I missed the latter).

---

Whatever I'm forgetting can wait until later.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
I've just been told that Twitter has taken credit for the Russian Revolution.

Today is Darwin Day.

Here in Providence, the smallest fraction of snow has melted. The cold hangs in the air, thick as soup. In the the house, the house I do not leave, I suspect the humidity is in the single digits. The air is crisp, and it crackles when I walk through a room. A migraine came to visit yesterday, and I'm better this morning, but it's still very close.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,281 words on the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, despite the headache. Later, perhaps because of the headache, the final fifth of the novel occurred to me with almost perfect clarity, pieces falling into place, blindsided by revelation. Solutions to problems, problems I was not even sure existed. And this is why I detest proposals and outlines. This is how I discover a story, by writing it. I never could have imagined the end of the novel, because to learn that end I had to blindly travel the road of the book.

After the writing, we proofed "Night Story 1973," for Two Worlds and In Between. I wrote the story with [livejournal.com profile] docbrite back in 2000.

Answers to the current Question @ Hand— If you were to make of me— of my actual, physical body —a work of art, what would it be? —have almost all involved my death, a procession of postmortem art crimes. And that's entirely cool. But I'm beginning to wonder if I left readers with the impression that my death was a necessary part of their answers. It's not. You may actually work with the living flesh. Go ahead. I won't bite...

Last night, we watched Antti-Jussi Annila's Sauna (2008), and oh my fucking dog what a brilliant fucking film. I has been a long time since I've been genuinely disturbed by a film on the level that Sauna unnerved me. It's an exploration of the Wrong Thing, of the limits of human comprehension when faced with the unknowable. That which hides behind the back of God, to paraphrase the film. The cinematography is exquisite. There are five-second shots that communicate more dread and awe than most "horror" films manage in their entirety. Every frame of film is invested with quiet tension. Seriously, see this. If I made movies, it's the sort of film I'd be trying to make.

We also read the first six chapters of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's White Cat. Actually, some time back, Spooky listened to the audiobook, read by Jessie Eisenberg, so she's already "read" it, but it's new to me. Very good so far.

A much appreciated package from Steven Lubold yesterday, which included a biography of Mary Anning, the most recent Mouse Guard hardback, and the new Decemberists album, The King is Dead. I already have a favorite track— "Don't Carry It All" –though I expect that by tomorrow I'll have a new favorite track off the disc. A box can brighten a day. Thank you, Steven.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1. More snow. And still more on the way. We should have gone to the market last night and we didn't, so somehow we have to manage that trick today, though the driveway hasn't been shoveled. By the way, in the comments to yesterday's entry— after my quip about it being colder in Antarctica than Providence— [livejournal.com profile] amandakcampbell noted "According to the Weather Channel's website, McMurdo [Station,] Antarctica is 12˚F today, with a windchill of -5˚F." Admittedly, it's presently summer in Antarctica, but still.

2. Yesterday, I wrote 1,139 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and reached the far side of the very difficult and pivotal scene. This morning, I feel sort of ambivalent about the scene, and I have no idea whether or not I did it right. But today I will proceed to the next scene. Also, yesterday, my editor and I spoke about the novel, via email. The tentative release date is March 2012. The title is now set in stone.

3. And now, without further adieu: Spooky and I have embarked upon our very first experiment with crowd-sourcing. For a long time, we've been talking about doing a picture book sort of thing based on her raven dolls and paintings. Hopefully, with the help of Kickstarter and your participation, we can make it happen. To learn all the details about The Tale of the Ravens Project, follow this link. It's all pretty self-explanatory, but I'll gladly answer any questions you may have. I've been very impressed, seeing what can be done with Kickstarter, and if this works, there's a second and more ambitious project, a non-publishing project, I hope to be able to fund for 2012, but only if this first effort succeeds. So, please do have a look. Give us all your money, and we'll make something marvelous for you in return.

Note that your card will not be charged until and unless the project is completely funded. Regardless, you won't be charged until on or after March 26th. You also have to register at Kickstarter to donate.

4. The plan had been for [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark to drive down from Framingham tonight for a visit, but I think this weather is going to prevent that.

5. After dinner last night, I proofread the text for the Kickstarter page, so Spooky could hit the launch button. Also, I watched the first ten minutes or so of Jaws, as it's relevant to the next bit of The Drowning Girl, to what I'll be writing this afternoon. I'd forgotten that the first attack takes place at sunset. I remembered it happening at night. Which is why we research.

6. Last night started with WoW, and, after about two hours, Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, reached Level 85*. Suraa reached 85 night before last. Anyway, booya and all, but it was a bittersweet sort of achievement, as it occurred during the idiot "Harrison Jones"/Goblin Hitler fiasco. There were a couple of comments yesterday that I thought did a pretty good job of touching on why I've lost patience with Wow. [livejournal.com profile] laudre wrote:

I mostly enjoyed the Raiders pastiche, but the things that I didn't like, I really didn't like; by the time I went through it with a second character, I was sick of the nigh-constant deprotagonization and the endless cut-scenes. My characters -- one, a green-skinned dervish of elemental fury, and the other, a shapeshifting master of natural power who stands and holds the line against endless waves of enemies, who have faced down giants, dragons, demons, and eldritch horrors that would shatter lesser minds -- would not cower in fear of a self-important, pissant goblin with a fucking rocket launcher. Let alone need to be "saved" by Harrison fucking Jones.

And [livejournal.com profile] lee_in_limbo wrote:

I haven't progressed very far in it, but I find I rather like LoTRO. It's not quite as addictive as WoW, but at the same time, it seems to move at more my speed (something my wife isn't as keen on), and I haven't run into the kind of uber-jock mentality that was putting me off high-end WoW content. I'm sure it's there, but there's less drive to reach end game content in LoTRO for me, because I don't know anybody there, and don't particularly care at this time. I just want to be immersed in an interesting environment with interesting storytelling. WoW keeps almost getting there, but then smirks and ruins the whole thing. I love humour, but this cheeky NatLamp attitude loses its appeal.

The comparison with National Lampoon is apt, as is the "uber-jock mentality" bit. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm isn't a heroic fantasy MMORPG, but an MMORPG that has become, at best, a crude low-brow spoof of heroic fantasy. There's a whole essay in this, about, among other things, the inability and unwillingness of gamers to suspend disbelief and about those who cater to the lowest common denominator. But it'll have to wait for another time.

Anyway, after WoW, I had a few good hours of rp in Insilico, with yet another incarnation of the Xiang AI, who's run afoul of a bounty hunter (thank you, Tracy). Molly and Grendel have, for now, returned to London.

And now...doughnuts (no, not literal doughnuts).

Today's a good day for comments.

Yours If You Can Stand Me,
Aunt Beast

* Total actual time played to reach Level 85: 52 days, 19 hours, 36 minutes, and 18 seconds.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today needs a list. Or, rather, today my disordered mind requires a list:

1. I think this will be one of the coldest days I've ever lived through. In the Great White Outside, the temperature's currently 8˚F, with a windchill of -6˚F. The forecast high is 13˚F. There's a windchill advisory, which makes me wonder when or if they'd ever bother with an actual windchill warning. And yeah, it's much colder other places. Like Antarctica. But I'm not there, am I?

2. Yesterday, I wrote 1,200 words on Chapter 5, and reached manuscript page 250. But I wasn't terribly pleased with the results, so a good bit of today may be spent reworking what I did Sunday. I feel as if I've hit another speed bump, or a wall, or something equally unhelpful. It may only be the dread and misgiving that usually accompanies pivotal scenes.

3. Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. As I mentioned on Saturday, we've listed a copy of the original On the Road to Jefferson chapbook (2002), my very first chapbook with Subterranean Press. It's also the first time I did the cover art for one of my own chapbooks. We have only five or so remaining, and haven't offered a copy in years.

4. Free fiction. "The Melusine (1898)," which first appeared in Sirenia Digst #31, has been reprinted in the Winter '11 issue of Subterranean Magazine.

5. Spooky and I are going to be holding off at least a couple more days on the announcement I alluded to on Saturday. I apologize. There were many more loose threads remaining than I thought. I mentioned the project prematurely. Ah, well. Let the suspense build.

6. Last night, we watched Mike Newell's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010). I never go into movies based on video games expecting much, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying Prince of Persia. Generally, it seems more interested in being a film with it's own story to tell than trying to recreate the experience of the game, and, at the very least, it's great eye candy. There's something pleasantly old-style Hollywood about it.

7. I fucking swear, every time I begin to think WoW's done something really wonderful, it shoots itself in the foot. Case in point: Uldum. Possibly the most beautiful environment the game has ever created. And the quest chains were going very well, but last night the whole affair devolved into a spoof of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Really, really fucking dumb. Nazis in Azeroth. Out of nowhere. As Spooky asked on Facebook last night, "Uldum was so great, until it got stupid...what is with this expansion taking a joke and wearing it out and then dragging it limping along until you want to scream?" For me, this might be the final straw. As soon as (or if ever) I can get my hands on a decent PC laptop, I'm thinking I'll make the switch to LoTR Online. At least it's capable of taking itself seriously. WoW builds mood only to subvert it with mood-shattering jokes and an increasing number of tedious mini-games. It grows ever less immersive, and so ever less interesting.

Of course LJ doesn't know how to spell immersive.

8. I left the house about twilight last night, because I hadn't been out since Thursday evening. But it was just a trip to the market. I got pears and an avocado. Still, I'm holding to my New Year's resolution to stop being such a shut-in.

Anyway, there's email to me answered and doughnuts to be made. The day promises to be long and fractious. Your comments can only help.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Ah, the weather. I should be taking photographs. I seem to post many fewer photos than I used to. I think it's because loading OS 10.6.3 meant losing Photoshop 7, and now Spooky has to edit all my photos, because Gimp is a piece of shit. Anyway, the high today will only be 23˚F, with a low tonight of 8˚F. Of course, if you look at tomorrow night's forecast low of -5˚F (with a -20˚F windchill), that doesn't look so bad. Everywhere out there is white, and the sun is so bright I keep the curtains pulled shut.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,896 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but still didn't find the end of a long conversation. Hopefully, I will today.

I had a very, very encouraging conversation with my agent yesterday. Which was sorely needed, the way things have been the last few weeks, or months, or whatever. Perhaps things are looking up. I think I was most pleased to hear her say "Silk was way ahead of its time." At some point, I'll get this time travel thing right, and my books will appear in the optimum years.

I'm thinking that Sirenia Digest #62 will consist of an advance (very advance) look at The Drowning Girl: A Memoir— all of Chapter 1 —along with a couple of extras. There will be an illustration by Vince for the chapter. Does that work for everyone? I was going to hold off and include the excerpt in #63, but my schedule will suffer less disruption if I move it forward to the January issue. The novel's eating time like mad. In the last month, I've had to bow out of three anthologies, and turn down a number of others. Turning down paychecks, even small ones, drives me nuts. Oh, and if you're not a subscriber you can get an idea (for free) of what subscribers get each month by reading "The Melusine (1898)," which first appeared in Sirenia Digst #31 and is now reprinted in the Winter '11 issue of Subterranean Magazine.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We've listed a copy of the original On the Road to Jefferson chapbook (2002), my very first chapbook with Subterranean Press. It's also the first time I did the cover art for one of my own chapbooks. We have only five or so remaining, and haven't offered a copy in years. Speaking of eBay, during the last round, a bidder in Tasmania won a copy of Tales of Pain and Wonder. This will be one of the farthest south book shipments we've ever made (rivaled only by a shipment to the south island of New Zealand).

Also, tomorrow I'll be announcing a collaborative project between Spooky and I that's been so very secret this is the first you're hearing of it, even though its been in the works for about two or three months. You'll see.

Last night, lots and lots of WoW. Shah and Suraa finished Deepholm and moved along to Uldum. Which, by the way, is one of my favorite Azeroth regions ever. And we read. And, eventually, we slept.

Now. Doughnuts.

Yours in Providence, Bitterly Cold,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
The snow isn't going anywhere at all. Outside, it's 19F and feels like 10F. Tomorrow, the high is only forecast at 30F. There was a minuscule bit of melting yesterday, but it all goes right back to ice as soon as the sun sets. And FedEx never showed with the iPod, and supposedly it's out for delivery again today. I can imagine deliveries must be somewhat backed up.

Yesterday, instead of leaving the house to photograph graveyards in the snow, I wrote 1,668 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. When I started this book, I vowed to myself that there would be no dream sequences. This goes back to my sometimes feeling like I'm working on autopilot. Dream sequences are a great tool, and allow the narrative to go places it cannot otherwise go. But I wanted to make it through a novel-length narrative without recourse to a dream. That is, I wanted to write a fully waking book. But, I haven't quite succeeded. Yesterday was a list of dreams Imp dreamt between July 9-15th, 2008, with annotations, and it wasn't quiet the same thing as writing actual dream sequences, but still. I think my mind exists always too near that limen, where dreams and wakefulness bleed together.* It was a dumb vow to vow, vowing I'd steer clear of dreams.

Thanks for all the comments the last three days. It helps to hear other voices, and answer. I'm feeling too disconnected these days. There is the world, out there, and there's me and Spooky, in here, and then there's me, in here. And, mostly, I feel stuck in the latter, looking out.

I've started working with Lee Moyer, so he can get started on the cover art for Two Worlds and In Between. We'll be talking later today.

I'm feeling frazzled. This will be day ten without a day off. Maybe tomorrow.

We've begun a round of eBay auctions. Please have a look. Books, people. Books.

I was too tired for much of anything but television last night. Well, DVDs and streaming from Netflix. What passes for television here in the future. Spooky and I have a guilty love for Jeremy Wade and River Monsters (which I think airs on Animal Planet), and we streamed a couple of episodes last night. I have a feeling all the other ichthyologists make fun of Jeremy Wade behind his back. Then we watched del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army again. Having made it through Blade II a few nights back, we wanted to see one of del Toro's better movies. And I see that my thing for Anna Walton as Princess Nuala hasn't waned. Later, we read more of Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters.

Okay. Here come the doughnuts.

* Which may be why I'll never have a bestseller and am doomed to die in poverty and squalor, a junky stranded on the banks of a shantytown deep in the Amazon....
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
I think this is what is meant by being between a rock and a hard place.

Yesterday, insomnia and another migraine prevented me from getting any work done, and so I still have not begun Sirenia Digest #47, and I'm running out of month. Plus, I have to be in Manhattan on the 27th, and I have the Brown reading on the evening of the 24th. The interviews are mostly out of the way. At least that's something.

I don't think I've blown a month this badly in...well, a very long time.

If you've not already, please have a look at this round of eBay auctions. There's some stuff we've not offered in quite a while, and one or two things we may not offer ever again. Thanks.

I was amused (I think that's the word) to discover a quest in WoW, something with the Night Elves about rejuvenating the "Staff of Equinex." The n'elfs are moon-worshipping "Druids," but there's often this sense that Blizzard is not entirely comfortable with the paganism they've interjected into the game. There are these half-hearted attempts at disguising it, such as this "Staff of Equinex" quest, wherein not only is the word "equinox" misspelled, but so are the four sabbats that are the subject of the quest: "Samha" (Samhain), ""Imbel" (Imbolc), "Byltane" (Beltane), and "Lahassa" (Lammas, Lughnasadh). Of course, maybe this is supposed to be funny, and I simply failed to appreciate the joke. To be fair, all the Christian holy days referred to in the game also have their names disguised and are watered down to their secular aspects.

I wish there were a time store. I need to buy one week. Maybe two.

It rained all day yesterday, here in Providence. Cold, cold rain. But, further north, in Boston, there was snow, so I figure we were lucky. I do understand that there has already been snow in Rhode Island this year, in Cranston. Today, the sun is out, and the day is bright, but still cold.

We finished Season Four of Weeds night before last. I love this show. Not quite as much as I love Californication, but I do love it. Both are brilliant in their satire of the mess that is America in the early 21st Century. Both use comedy not as a mere distraction, but social satire. In Californication, we have a debauched womanizing writer who seems to be the only man (or woman) in Los Angeles who isn't a misogynist, and in Weeds, which exposes all the ugliness and hypocrisy of suburbia, a pot-dealing Nancy Botkin turns out to be a better mother than most. Both shows make skillful use of inversion, presenting "dysfunctional" as the norm and the "American dream" as a nightmare we can't wake up from, no matter how hard we try. But, most importantly, they're funny and very well-written shows. And, I have to admit, I love it when the hopeless fuck-ups are the "good guys." Thank you, Showtime.

Time to try to make the doughnuts.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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