greygirlbeast: (Default)
If I don't leave the house today – and I know that I won't – it will have been ten days since last I left the house. Doesn't help that it's cold as an Xtian's tit out there, currently 27˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote pages 11-15 (manuscript pages 19-26, 1,433 words) of Alabaster #4. Not leaving the house is great for productivity. Just fuck all for everything else. With luck, I can finish the issue today, but by tomorrow evening for certain.

If you haven't already, please preorder The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Thank you.

Meanwhile, the auction for an ARC of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir continues. Two days, eight hours remaining. Also, claims to have 17 copies of Two Worlds And In Between in stock, even though it's supposedly sold out, and, previously, Amazon cancelled peoples' orders because they couldn't get the book, etc. No, I have no idea how this happened, but it makes me angry.

Last night, after dinner, I washed my hair. Yes, well. we take our excitement where we can get it.

I suppose I can mention SW:toR and making level 29 and getting my first Legacy level (though I've not yet unlocked Legacy by reaching #30, so it doesn't really make sense). Or that there was stupendously good RP. But I know that's lame nerd shit. Not like saying, hey, last night David Bowie and Cormac McCarthy came over and we dropped acid and played dominoes in the nude. Yeah, I might be a goddamn nerd, but I have perspective, okay?

I watched half a new documentary about pterosaurs. It was National Geographic, but I was disappointed to see that, these days, National Geographic documentaries are only somewhat better than those on the Discovery Channel. The CGI was, at best, so-so. You know, back in 1999 television did this brilliant, beautiful Walking With Dinosaurs thing, bringing Mesozoic beasties back to life with CGI. And it's all been downhill from there. More CGI, lower production values, lousier visuals. Sloppier science. Facts ever more dumbed down. Thirteen years, and we're still moving backwards.

I read "New information on the protosaurian reptile Macrocnemus fyuanensis Li et. al., from the Middle/Upper Triassic of Yunnan, China." I also read "Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back" by Joe R. Lansdale (1986), sublime nuclear apocalypse.

And that was yesterday. Comment, if you dare.

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 [ 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. 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: (white)
1. I realized, day before yesterday, that I'd miscalculated* how many days I'd not left the House, by including the last day Out in the tally. Which means that today, not yesterday, is Day 12. Yesterday I set the record, today I break it. Then, says Spooky, I have to leave the House.

2. Talking about the Oscars yesterday, I neglected to say that what I personally consider to be the best and most important film of the year, John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Raod, was snubbed and completely shutout. In part, I blame the Weinstein Company's half-assed release of the film. But it's all rather inexplicable, since pretty much everyone in the Academy would have had access to the film, regardless of a general release. In the end, I chalk it up to the film hitting a little too close to the mark, being too true, saying too much that people didn't want to hear. And I'm sure all sorts of crazy politics of which I am not aware are at play here. But yeah, it's sort of hard for me to take the Oscars seriously this year, and their failure to recognize The Road is the biggest reason why.

3. Yesterday evening, Sirenia Digest #50 went out to subscribers. By now, you should have it. I never, ever imagined the digest would make it to fifty. Well, technically, fifty-one, since the first issue, in November '05, was #0. My thanks to Gordon Duke ([ profile] thingunderthest) for being patient with my annoying requests last night, as I tweaked this and that and the other. Anyway, I do hope everyone enjoys it. I'm very pleased with "Hydrarguros." But yeah, fifty issues. Wow, and as I said in the latest prolegomena, thank you to all the subscribers:

4. [ profile] jacobluest asked: Out of curiosity, because you've written so freaking much: I'm seeing your stuff with anthologies that are invitation-only for Eclipse is now. I'm trying to build a cosmology here, so I know where to build my ladder. Is it normal practice to get to a point in your career where people are approaching you as a successful writer more than you need to approach them for publishing short stories? Does that wheel ever start turning the other way?

I've been writing almost exclusively for invitation-only anthologies since the very beginning, in 1993 and 1994. I virtually never send someone an unsolicited manuscript, and I haven't in...about fifteen years, I think. How it happened that way, well, I just got lucky, truth be told. But a lot of this is about networking and getting your work seen by the editors and publishers who produce those anthologies. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, I'm not sure how to answer this question, as my path to becoming an established author was a bit odd. I don't have much in the way of useful advice, especially when you factor in that the publishing industry today is so greatly changed from that of the early '90s.

5. Last night, Spooky and I watched Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds for the second time. I think I was actually more amazed by it the second time through. Truly, this is Tarantino's masterpiece thus far. Before the movie, Spooky made a very yummy dinner of roast chicken and potatoes (with lots of onion and garlic), and also brussels sprouts with chestnuts. I ate until I thought I'd burst.

After the movie, I tried to play a little WoW, but coming on the heels of a week of rp in Insilico, I was completely unable to get back into the game. Everything seemed so very, very silly. And I think I realized that, at this point, what I am after— aside from intelligent rp —is immersion that offers me unique and unrepeatable experiences. Everyone who plays WoW, they get essentially the same experience. It's like a theme-park ride on rails. Sure, if you play a blood elf instead of a human, or a troll instead of a gnome, the ride will be a little different, but only a little. And at this point, I've played seven of the races (nelf, belf, human, troll, Draenei, undead, and dwarf + death knight Draenei and belf). Maybe I'll be able to get back into WoW at some point, but last night was so dull I gave up after about an hour.

6. Lastly, I want to remind you that you may now preorder my next short story collection, The Ammonite Violin & Others (Subterranean Press). And, by the way, if you've only bought one copy of The Red Tree, that's easily remedied.

Postscript (3:02 p.m.): This is sort of funny. Turns out, I mis-miscalculated. Today is day 13 after all, not day 11. I'd gotten it in my head that my last day out was the 23rd, but Spooky just pointed out that it was, in fact, the 22nd.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)

Well, I learned that December is Cthulhu month at, and [ profile] ellen_datlow has included both Threshold and The Red Tree on a list of selected Lovecraftian fiction (you can get a discount on the books via, I think).

Also, Sirenia Digest #48 went out to subscribers late last night. Comments welcome (mostly).

But yesterday was mostly an unexpected trip to Boston. For a week or so, we'd been planning to see John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road on December 1st. Little did we know that immediately before the November 25th release date, The Weinstein Company decided to radically scale back the number of theatres where the film would be screened. There's all sorts of confusion, apparently, about what's happened. But what it amounts to is that instead of getting a wide release, as planned, it opened in only "31 markets" across the US. And none of those were in Rhode Island. Yesterday morning I discovered that the nearest easily accessible theatre to us showing the film is Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

So...yesterday we went to Boston.

And I am not sorry that we went to such trouble to see The Road on a big (well, biggish) screen. All last night, I tried to decide how to write about the film, but I don't think I can say anything that will do it justice. I can say that it does McCarthy's novel justice. It is far more faithful to the book than I'd expected. It is, possibly, a perfect adaptation. Perfectly cast, perfectly acted, perfectly scored (by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis), just damned near perfect all the way 'round. It is one of the most terrible, beautiful, and true films I've ever seen. And no, I'm not ashamed to say that I was in tears through most of The Road. Viggo Mortensen (Man), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Boy), Charlize Theron (Woman), Robert Duvall (Old Man) all give pitch-perfect performances. Indeed, there is no miscast actor in the film. Hillcoat has translated McCarthy's film...well, I just don't have the words. I said that much at the start. You need to see this movie, not hear me talk about having seen it, even if seeing it means you have to go out of your way. It is not just art. It's important art. We should not be reluctant to inconvenience ourselves for important art. In this film, man confronts the face of all gods, which is Mortality and Extinction, Loss and Despair and Endurance. This film will hurt you, if you're still alive, and it will remind you that the best art does us harm, in one way or another. Harm we need to feel to know that we're alive, and to understand, fully and without reserve, how brief life is, and how frail.

As we left the city, the almost-full moon rose over the Charles River, and it looked as cold and empty and distant from the world as I felt.

Nothing lasts forever
That's the way it's gotta be
There's a great black wave in the middle of the sea
For me
For you
For me

("Black Wave," Arcade Fire)
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
It is with some considerable pleasure that I can say that Chapter One of Joey Lafaye is finished. I did 1,280 words on Sunday, then another 1,550 words yesterday. And never mind that my 5,000-word chapter actually comes to 7,357 words. A chapter in only five days is remarkable (for me), and now my foot is the door. I think I'm very pleased with the first chapter. There's a darkness there, but only an idiot would call it "genre horror." Now, of course, I have to turn my attentions to Sirenia Digest #24. This month, if you are a subscriber (the few, the proud, the polymorphously perverse), you'll be getting the reverse lycanthropy story and something about zombies. I think.

Oh, and Spooky found another story about my Second Life BBC2 interview, which you may read here.

Now, a question sort of thing re: Tuesday's journal entry from [ profile] pwtucker:

You're eschewing your prologue? Interesting. I've been wrestling with this issue ever since reading Elmore Leonard's 10 Writing Rules or whatever in which he states that prologues are just back story, and should be inserted into the body of the text. But then a week ago or so you said that prologues help set the tone and mood, and I liked that, I agreed with it, which is why I wrote one for the thing I'm working on.

But now you're cutting the prologue. I understand that you had a false start on it, but why drop it altogether? Is this due to the character of this particular novel, or have you begun to distance yourself from prologues in general?

Elmore Leonard is a fine, fine writer, but "writing rules" are pretty much always a bad idea, or something even worse than a bad idea. That said, yes, I'd decided to drop the prologue, because it just wasn't working. And I decided to drop it altogether because, at the time, I'd decided it was unnecessary. However, since then, having finished Chapter One, I see how a very short prologue may work after all (though an entirely different one from what I was trying to write before). Basically, what I'm saying is that a writer must remain almost infinitely flexible, which is one (but only one) reason that trying to follow someone else's "writing rules" is generally a bad idea. Even when following my own writing rules, I never view them as anything more than possibly helpful suggestions which may be disregarded should the need arise. Do not do a thing because a writer you admire made it sound like a good idea. Do it because you need to do it.

Also, this question from "The Brain" via MySpace:

I assume you may get approximately 100,000 of these questions a day, and if you have a scripted answer that's fine, but anyway: What advice would you give to a fledging writer coming from a background not too dissimilar from yourself?

I only get about a hundred of these a day, and I have no ready answer, if only because the question is too broad. The first answer I thought of was stay in school for as long as possible. Not because creative writing courses can teach you to write, because they can't, but because a) it buys you time to find your voice, and b) there's no course you can take in college that won't prove useful at some point when you're writing. However, if you have to run up huge student loan debts to attend college, given that most writers don't make enough to eat, much less pay back student loans, the whole college angle becomes a very bad idea, unless you get a degree in something that will actually allow you to make a living when it becomes obvious, as it almost inevitably will, that you do not wish to spend your life as a writer. The first rule of writing is: There are no rules. The second rule of writing is: There are no rules. The third rule of writing is: What works for me almost certainly won't work for you. Sure, I can say that you won't get anywhere if you don't have perseverance, and you shouldn't get anywhere unless you have talent (though many do), and a solid knowledge of grammar and spelling helps, but these things should be obvious. Beyond that, I have no advice.

And speaking of LiveJournal (well, I was, a few paragraphs back), I've been doing less of it, having discovered that the entries are more interesting if I allow a day or so between them.

Last night, we went with Byron to see No Country for Old Men, which is definitely one of the best films of the year. Tommy Lee Jones better get an Oscar nomination. There has yet to be a film by the Coen Bros. that I did not like, and most of them I love, but it's good to see them do something grim again. And No Country for Old Men is unrelentingly grim, which is the very least one should expect from a film based on a Cormac McCarthy novel. See it, but don't expect resolution or justice, because you're not going to get either.

There are two novels on my "Must Be Read" list that have been languishing for some time now, and I resolved yesterday to try to get through them before January 1st. One is Neil's Anansi Boys. The other is Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I will try. We shall see.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I was extremely pleased to learn that Cormac McCarthy has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for The Road, despite Oprah Winfrey having inexplicably associated herself with the novel. I guess that just goes to prove the adage about there being no such thing as bad publicity.

I was also very, very glad to find out that an honorary Pulitzer was awarded to Ray Bradbury, who, as far as I know, has been fortunate enough to escape the ravages of Winfrey.

begin again

Jan. 1st, 2007 10:45 am
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I made the grave mistake yesterday of allowing my mind to wander, to reflect, and so lost the day. At least, I lost the work that needed to be done. Though I'd awakened in good spirits, by one thirty p.m. or so (CaST), my mood had soured to such a degree that I could not even imagine sitting in this chair all day, pecking at this dratted keyboard. It had become unthinkable, which is what happens on those days which are not "days off," but on which I cannot write. Writing becomes an unthinkable chore.

But we did get Sirenia Digest 13 (59 pp., as it turns out) e-mailed to all the subscribers. Thank you, Spooky; thank you, Gordon. And hopefully it is being read and enjoyed. Feedback is welcomed, please, as always. Better here, as comments, than by e-mail. I've gotten quite behind with my e-mail.


I think this "new book" thing would not continue to be so weird, and would not seem weirder each time it happens, if each new book did not seem to come and go with so little fanfare. Were I the sort of author lucky enough (and it is a matter of luck) that I enjoyed nationwide publisher-sponsored book tours, actual publicity, reviews in the New York Times Book Review, bestselling status, and so on — if these novels were, as they say, celebrated — I think it would not seem so odd. Because then a novel would be finished, after two or three years of diligent work on it, and there would be this period following publication where it was noticed for a time, before I had to sit down and begin another. Instead, they just come and go. They accumulate like dead leaves. With luck, they sell well for a month or two, get a few good reviews here and there, and then, for me (and most everyone else), they are forgotten. I have to quickly move along to the Next Thing. I have to find the Next Thing, because the Last Thing certainly won't be paying the bills. And so it just seems weird, that there is this book, again.

My thanks to Catherine M. Diedrich for the first Daughter of Hounds fan letter of 2007.


This freakishly warm weather. Last night at midnight (EST), I went out on the front porch pretty much undressed. I do that sometimes at night, when I'm fairly certain no one is watching. It always gets a moan from Spooky, which only tends to encourage me. Anyway, the fireworks started up at midnight, and I walked out onto the front porch. And despite the rain, it felt as though I'd stepped from the house into an early June evening, not a January evening. It is disquieting.

And speaking of disquieting things, a new poll by Associated Press-AOL News found that an unfathomable 25% of those Americans polled believe that the Second Coming of Jesus will occur in 2007. I am going to pretend that the poll is simply flawed beyond all measure (consider the source), as it's much preferable to believing that one in four Americans — people who are allowed to vote and breed and take up space that might otherwise be occupied by trees — is that delusional


Today, as it is New Year's Day, and as I have not entirely abandoned all tradition, we'll be having collards, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, and cornbread.


Yesterday, having realised there was no hope of work and not wanting to spend the day wallowing, I asked Spooky to begin reading me Cormac McCarthy's The Road. And she did. And by about eleven last night (CaST), we'd finished the novel. It is sheer and utter brilliance. If I could but write a novel half that powerful. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried, in a number of places. It's a heart-breaking book, filled as it is with such terrible loss, with the uttermost end of loss. It is not a novel about finding hope or beauty in despair. It's a story about The End. About survival when survival is its own end, when it has become little else but some burdensome biological imperative. But it's also about love, in a way that too few authors today are able to write of love. McCarthy never relents from the bleakness of his vision. His language is extraordinary. I am quite certain this is the best book I've read since House of Leaves. I suspect one would be better off, emotionally, not reading the whole novel in a single day, though, on the other hand, setting the book down and interrupting the narrative with the events of the everyday, the mundane, would likely weaken the blow. And the blow should not be weakened. The blow should be suffered. It is a blow, The Road, a blow to the illusion that this world is not a thing as fragile as spun sugar, as precious as sunlight and green grass and white snow and a blue sea. Books only rarely bring me to awe, but this one did, and for that I am grateful to its author.

And here we are, and the sky is blue, and the sun is bright, and the only ash is in my cluttered mind. And the platypus says it's 11:53, and we need to get to it.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

    1 234
56 7 891011


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 24th, 2019 04:31 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios