greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

1. Yesterday, I put nose to grindstone and wrote pages 18-22 of Alabaster #3, and finished the issue. Today, I make a few corrections and send it to my editor at Dark Horse. This evening or tomorrow, I'll begin the new short piece for Sirenia Digest #72, and as soon as that's done, I have to get Alabaster #4 written before my vacation begins on the 15th.

2. And, kittens, please don't forget Question @ Hand #5! Thank ye.

3. As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012:

A Cover That Doesn't Suck! )


And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover (I think I discussed this earlier), it's because my publisher worried doing so would cause "consumers" (shutter quotes!) to mistake the novel for an autobiography. And knowing how stupid most "consumers" (shutter quotes again!) are, I agreed. Thing is, this novel is an autobiography. It's India Morgan Phelps fictional autobiography, which, in large part, is drawn from my actual life, making this (like The Red Tree before it) a very autobiographical book. A complex, fictionalized autobiography. Also, I draw a distinction between consumers, readers, and smart readers, hence the derogatory shutter quotes.

4. By the way, for anyone who really didn't understand what the whole 0.003¢ hoopla was about yesterday, think of it this way: Imagine you have a job that you work at for nine hour a day. But you're only paid for three of those hours. And, on top of that, you're only paid one third of one third of minimum wage. Ergo, the hoopla.

5. There was a spectacular dream this ayem, and one that was very disturbing, even if I can't explain precisely why it disturbed me. First, I was deep in the Everglades, walking along a stone wall that lined green waters, clear as crystal. The water was choked with eelgrass, especially where it met the wall. A woman walked with me, and we talked, but I have no idea who she was, if she were anyone at all. There were gigantic cottonmouth moccasins in the water, and huge fish, and alligators, and a bizarre aquatic species of babirusas. All that life in the water, astounding. And then the cypresses and Spanish moss parted and we walked down onto Moonstone Beach. A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

6. I shall no longer put off the summation of my feelings regarding SW:toR. That is, my feelings as gleaned from my three days at the end of the beta, the impression I was able to form over three days, twenty-plus hours, and 14.3 levels with my Twi'lek Sith, Herazade (the Merciless). And these I will not belabor. If you don't like running, and running a lot, and running a lot over the same ground, this is not the game for you. The running didn't bother me, but that might be that because my first MMORPG was WoW back when you had to make it to Level 30 before you could get trained for a mount and buy one. The only major drawback for me was that the game – while, on the one hand, being generally very friendly to solo players – absolutely requires grouping for "flashpoints" that cannot be skipped (without screwing up your character's progress through the story). And I will never, ever cease to resent and find angrifying the attempt by anyone or anything to require that I socialize. That said, it's pretty simple, grouping for the flashpoints (I only had to do one): you stand outside the instance until someone asks you to be in their group. Even I was able to endure it. Essentially, these are little "dungeons" or episodes on starships. So, that's my One Big Criticism. Difficulty wise, it's a nice balance between, say, the witless grind of WoW and the unfathomable clutter of CoX. And unlike those two games – and this was a big selling point for me – the Sith truly are Evil. They're not the brutish, misunderstood Horde, and they're not a bunch of whining players afraid to get any darker than antihero. You are constantly rewarded (now, this all applies to playing Sith, of course), for being very, very bad. And penalized for the smallest acts of kindness. Though, the game world's techno stagnation still bugs me.

To me, SW:toR plays like a cross between an MMORPG and a good console game. Lots of people have complained about the frequent (interactive) cut scenes – which are present even during those flashpoints – but I like them a lot. Some of this is that the writing and voice acting are both superb, best I've ever heard by far in any MMORPG. As I said before, during these scenes, the animation can fall into the Uncanny Valley, with rubbery faces and all (not in a movie, but in a game), and I was surprised to find that good voice acting can salvage such stiff animation. Actual gameplay animation is quite good, though not as good as Rift**. I had no problems with the UI. That's something else I saw people whining about. Things do get a little complicated when you have to learn to mod equipment and such, but it's pretty intuitive, unlike, say, CoX, wherein forms of convoluted logic unknown to any sentient species are required, and unlike EVE Online, which pretty much requires of its players a Ph. D. in Engineering and Advanced Astrophysics. All in all, I found it a very intuitive game, and intuition is very important to me. I dislike manuals; I like to be able to teach myself. And while SW:toR does require you study the occasional "codex" to learn about this or that, the act of playing is, itself, intuitive. I've only played five MMORPGs, but SW:toR and Rift are, by far, the best of the five. Right now, my plan is to continue spending most of my gaming time on the latter, but to use the former for those times when I need a break from Rift. And that's about all I have to say. I feel like there are people deeply disappointed I didn't hate the game (as I'd expected to), but these are my honest impressions. I had fun. I was delighted. This is the story I've been waiting for since The Empire Strikes back, and I get to play along with it.

And remember, if you're one of the Watchers of the Unseen, tonight is RP night! Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, check your email!

Okay. This has grown much too long, and I have email, and work, and I have to go to the bank today (gag), so the platypus says to shake a leg.

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Chilly day here in Providence, but it's really only the internal weather that concerns me.

No word count for yesterday. Hopefully that will happen today. Yesterday was spent on all the many ways I begin to begin a story. I did find a title, "The Prayer of Ninety Cats."

This is going to be a short entry (no, really), because I slept too late. How often does that happen? About seven good hours. Anyway, here are a couple of photographs of Dancy's cigar box, which will go up on eBay later today, along with Letter X of the lettered edition of Alabaster (illustrated by Ted Naifeh):

Dancy's Box )


A thank you to both "Reverend Margot" and Ben Larson for their help with this project. I'm very pleased with the result. Richard Kirk has compared it to Justine Reyes' photographs of her uncle's dresser drawers after his death, which is high praise indeed.

---

Last night the CoX rp took a rather spectacularly bizarre and baffling turn. In which we learn that if you want to kill a fairy, throwing a Buick at its head might not be the most efficacious strategy. Pretty damn funny, though.

My head hurts (probably, it was the Buick), and I need more coffee....

Boorishly Yours, By Any Other Name,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, a new name for the blog. Names come and names go. They can have no more permanence than may faces. Yesterday, I was seized by the need for a change, so thank you, Elvis Costello. Also, I think I won't much longer feel like "greygirlbeast." I think, in my older years, I may simply become "Aunt Beast" (thank you, Madeleine L'Engle and also Joah). If the shoe fits...but sadly, I don't think I can ever change the name of this account.*

There's a rather marvelous review at Zone-SF.com, one of the best I've read of The Red Tree. I have only one quibble, and it's that the reviewer veers off course near the end by assuming knowledge of authorial intent. I do not see The Red Tree as a book meant to go "raising those hairs on the back of the neck." If it does that for you, fine. But do not expect that effect. I'm not the one who labels me "horror" (or whatever). And yeah, this does matter. If a reader perceives a text as existing within a given genre, then they burden it with the expectations of that genre, shoeboxing it and expecting it to deliver X or Y or Z, when it's very likely the author was going for Q or G. Any book may only fail or succeed on its own merits, not relative to any other book, or based on how well it works when perceived as any given genre.

Still, a really good review. And I hope I don't sound ungrateful, because I don't mean to. But the Constant Reader will recall what a sore spot this is for me.

---

Now, the Mars story. It would seem that I was asking one too many stories of myself this autumn. And the story wasn't coming...again. Even after I reshelved "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars" and began "On a Lee Shore." I lost a week staring at the screen, and staring, and not writing. Fortunately, the anthology's editor (both TBA) has accepted "Tidal Forces" in lieu of a Mars story. So, all's well that ends well (even though I did lose that week). Now, I just have to get Sirenia Digest written, and get back to work on The Drowning Girl. Oh, and pull together the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between for subpress. That's not so much...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are able and so inclined. Still recovering from the joys of income taxes. Thanks.

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So...Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The highlights. Well, on Friday, I tried to write a Mars story, but I've covered that already. I also got a really big box of Mike Mignola books from Rachel Edidin at Dark Horse Comics, who it seems may soon be my editor. I've already devoured the first two "library editions" of Hellboy. "Pancakes" is sheer brilliance. The books were the best bit of Friday. Reading the comics, I'd swear Mignola wrote the character with Ron Perlman in mind.

On Saturday, it became obvious to me the Mars story wasn't happening any time soon, and I contacted the aforementioned editor. Also, we watched the latest episode of Fringe, which was especially good.

Yesterday, we left the House. I'd not been out since the 9th, and the weather was good (today, it's not). We just wandered about town, east of the river. There were antique shops on Wickenden Street, and another trip to What Cheer at Wayland Square. There was an exquisitely embellished old car. There was an Indian grocery on Hope Street. We saw a sad clown driving a car. There were late splashes of autumn. There were two wonderful toy shops. We were good kids, and bought nothing. So, a good day, despite my agoraphobia, despite my ouranophobia. I kept my eyes on the ground, and all was well. Okay, not the entire time. I had to look up the three times Spooky spotted sundogs. But sundogs do not inspire dread or unease. It was a good day.

Back home, there were deli sandwiches, and I spent most of the evening with City of Heroes and Villains (while Spooky played LOTR Online; it's weird, us playing two different MMORPGs). My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for giving me a lot of help last night actually learning how to play the game. Verily, he has the patience of a glacier. And thanks to "Sekhmet" and "Enth'lye" for very good rp later on. Lizbeth, who is Erzébetta from the future, is regaining her glamour, even as she realizes she's not from the same timeline as this Erzébetta. Mistakes were made, which is why you should never try this at home, that whole fiddling with time thing. You never know which of the multiverses you'll land in...or create. Oh, very good rp on Saturday night, which was mostly Erzébetta and Sekhmet reliving the horror (yes, here the word applies) of a long ago night at Castle Csejte (near Trencín, Hungary), what really happened.

I will not thank Monsieur Insomnia, who kept me awake until after 5 ayem (CaST).

Sincerely Yours, By Any Other Name,
Aunt Beast

...I am a goat girl.
Thinking goatish thoughts, dreaming goatish dreams,
Digging up tin cans, and chewing on your sleeve.
—— Tanya Donelly

14 November 2010 )


* I see that "auntbeast" is taken, but "aunt_beast" is not.
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
Chilly and bright Outside the House. 52F at the moment.

Not much luck with the story yesterday. The story I'm writing about Mars instead of "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars." I was still in that finding the way in part of writing the story. I may or may not still be there today. I did find the title: "On a Lee Shore." Also, I read Bradbury's "Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed," originally published in 1949. It's always been one of my favorite Mars stories, and yesterday it helped me understand the story I'm not trying to write.

"On a Lee Shore" takes place on the western edges of the Nereidum Montes, at the northwestern rim of the great Argyre Planitia. In fact, it occurs in the 1,000-meter wide bit of desert in this image (Lat. -40.5 ° [centered], Long. 309.9 ° [east]), in these dunes:



What wonder, that I can say that I'm writing a story set on a planet where a human has never walked, a place hundreds of millions of kilometers away from Earth. And here's so clear an image, taken at a height of 274.5 km (171.5 miles) above the planet's surface (on May 9, 2009, at 3:22 p.m., Local Mars time).

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, and also at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks Etsy shop (she's making some really exquisite necklaces lately). Thanks.

We're talking about doing a very short little story together, about a girl who's a goat, or a goat who's a girl. Spooky will draw several pictures, and I'll write the story, and it will appear first in Sirenia Digest. We've never really done anything together before.

Not much else to say about yesterday. I did my exercises, brushed my teeth, answered email, tried Left Hand's milk stout for the first time, got some work done on the Dancy Box, played a little WoW and a lot of CoX (some great rp last night with my new changeling character, Lizbeth Gevaudan, whose actually a 24-Century incarnation of my vampire character, Erzsébetta Bathory), managed not to take a nap, and made it to bed about 3 a.m.

Now, back to Mars.
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.

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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.

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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: (Default)
Cold and gloomy Outside. I've not left the apartment since October 30th. When I finish Chapter One (1) of The Drowning Girl, then I can leave the House, and bathe, and whatnot.

Yesterday, I rallied, and wrote 1,770 words on The Drowning Girl, the scene in which Imp (India Morgan Phillips) meets her girlfriend, Alexis. I suspect the chapter has only one scene remaining, which I should be able to manage today and tomorrow. Then I might allow myself one day off before I set the novel aside for three weeks. I don't want to do that— set the novel aside —but it's necessary. This is, by the way, not the novel as I originally conceived of it late last summer, when it was titled Blood Oranges. It's not exactly the novel as I reworked it back in the winter, when it was called The Wolf Who Cried Girl, though it's still close to that incarnation. This novel, it seems, has something of a sense of humor, which is something I've never done before. It also has a first-person narrator who's pretty much incapable of linear storytelling, which I'm sure is going to piss off all sorts of people. I don't care. It no longer matters. This is the book I'm writing. Too much time was wasted trying to figure out how to write a book people would want to read, when I don't even actually care what people want to read.

Sometimes, it shocks or annoys me that I'm so utterly out of touch with the world as it currently exists. Then, other times, I'm relieved. For example, I have no goddamn idea who the Kardashian sisters are, nor do I care. Not even enough to Google. It helps knowing that pop culture is only about as deep as a wading pool, and if I ever need to catch up again, all I'd have to do is spend an afternoon reading magazines that are mostly advertising.

Has anyone else noticed how most software updates have nothing to do with making things better, just different?

Last night, we watched Fringe, and I had some extra amazing rp in CoX. My rp there has very little to do with the whole superhero thing, by the way, in part because I'm pretty much forgoing actual gameplay. I just wish that I could have found CoX three years ago, and not wasted so much time and energy trying to wring good rp out of the moronic cesspool that is Second Life. Later, we read more Kelly Link, "The Cinderella Game," "Surfer," and "The Wrong Grave." The last of those three was especially wonderful, one of my favorites so far. And that was yesterday.

There are still a couple of ongoing eBay auctions. Please have a look.

That seems to be everything for now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Hard rain last night, rainy today.

Yesterday is the day I've feared. After three fantastic writing days, yesterday The Drowning Girl sputtered and hit a speed bump. I did only 595 words. Even emptying the Word Bank, I was still 234 words short for yesterday. Today, I have to do much better and get back on track. I'm giving myself until the 7th (instead of until the 6th) to finish Chapter One (which, in the book, is just 1).

Spooky had to go out to get her new glasses (which look great), and when she got back home I was pretty panicked and flustered. But there was much good mail, which rather helped my spirits. Best of the lot was a Lovecraft pin, sent to me by my editor, Anne Sowards. The administrators of the World Fantasy Awards present each nominee with one of these pins, which are miniatures of the actual award (designed by Gahan Wilson). It made me very happy, and helps me feel better about The Red Tree, and now I shall always wear it on my lapel, whenever I have a lapel on which to wear it. There's is a photo behind the cut (yeah, my nail polish is looking rough):

Because I Done Good )


My thanks to everyone who bid on Study #2 for Yelllow, and to the winner of the auction. Likely, as mentioned already, it'll be at least a couple of months before I offer another painting. There's a large canvas I want to do next, and I don't intend to sell it.

Other good mail yesterday included my Shaharrazad mousepad. I've used the same mousepad since...forever. It's an Emily Strange mousepad I got when I was still living in Athens, round about 1996 or '97. And finally it had worn smooth and needed replacing. But getting thirteen or fourteen years out of a mousepad is surely to be counted as a good deal. Also, thanks to Steven Lubold, who sent us a copy of Current 93's Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain, which I'm listening to at this very minute. The mail also included my contributor's copy of Steampunk Reloaded (edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer), which reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)."

Last night, after dinner, we began the annual November reading of House of Leaves. This will be reading #5 or #6, I suppose. We also read Kelly Link's hilarious and charming "The Fairy Handbag" and her absolutely brilliant "Pretty Monsters." I cannot stress how much I adore "Pretty Monsters." The structure of the narrative is a trick I wish I'd thought of first, and the characters are so perfectly executed (make of that verb, executed, what you will). And these lines, from near the end, are wonderful:

Except you can't judge a book by its cover. Whether or not this story has a happy ending depends, of course, on who is reading it. Whether you are a wolf or a girl. A girl or a monster or both. Not everyone in a story gets a happy ending. Not everyone who reads a story feels the same way about how it ends. And if you go back to the beginning and read it again, you may discover it isn't the same story you thought you'd read. Stories shift their shape.

I also got some very, very good rp in CoX (thank you Sekhmet and Enth'lye). I've just about decided to cut all the Lovecraftian out of Erzébetta's backstory, and just avoid bastardized HPL whenever it crops up in the game. This is not the sort of thing about which I can compromise. I'm not even willing to try. Do it right, or do not bother, because doing it wrong is an insult to the source material. Oh, also, [livejournal.com profile] darkarmadillo managed, in yesterday's comments, in only three words, to perfectly summarize the essence of Lovecraft's cosmicism:

Nobody saves nothing.

Damn straight.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Overcast and dreary here in Providence.

Another very good writing day yesterday. I did 1,670 words on The Drowning Girl. Keeping this book's voice on course is a matter of always having to remind myself that I'm writing a book by a schizophrenic, not a book about a schizophrenic. At any rate, the Word Bank grows.

Nothing spectacular about yesterday. It was just a decent day, and those are always welcome. We lit the fireplace for the first time this year. There was a problem with the oven not lightning, but the repair guy came and fixed it. Spooky made corn muffins to go with the second night of chicken and andouille stew. Lately, I love days strewn with mundane events.

---

Before anyone else gets this wrong, I need to clarify the matter about Rhode Island electing its first independent governor. Lincoln D. Chafee is not a Libertarian, sensu the Libertarian Party. He is a civil libertarian, but that's another thing altogether. I would imagine he's many of the things Libertarians hate. For instance, he opposes eliminating the federal estate tax and, on November 17, 2005, was the only Republican to vote in favor of reinstating the top federal income tax rate of 39.6% on upper-income payers. Moreover, I am not a Libertarian. Moreover, I detest the Libertarian Party and have since college. Were I to categorize myself politically, I'd probably say I'm a far-left leaning Democrat. So, hope we're all clear on that now.

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I've been playing lots of City of Heroes and Villains lately. Too much really, which is what happens when I'm having too much fun. I'm not so much crazy about the game part of the game, which I find clunky and unnecessarily tedious. What I love is the huge pool of actual roleplayers who know how to, you know, roleplay. But there is one thing that's begun to wear on me, and it came up again last night, for about the umpteenth time (LJ can spell "umpteenth," but not "LJ"?). When I created my character, I wrote some very particular Lovecraftian stuff into her background. What I did not realize was how much CoX players rely on the "Call of Cthlhu" rpg for their understanding of Lovecraft, rather than relying on Lovecraft's actual writing.

The problem with this is that the rpg is drawn from the "Mythos" invented by August Derleth, and not from HPL. Yes, Derleth likely saved Lovecraft from oblivion, but in the process he managed to mangle the basic Cosmicism if HPL's work. I'm not going into all the whys and wherefores right now, though I'm thinking of devoting a post to it later on. I would refer people to Richard L. Tierney's essay, "The Derleth Mythos," only it's pretty much impossible to find****. I'd refer people to S.T. Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, only few people are going to take the time to read what is, essentially, an entire book on the problem of what Lovecraft actually wrote vs. how Derleth rewrote Lovecraft, and how it's the revisionist stuff that has embedded itself so deeply in pop culture (including the "Call of Cthulhu" rpg).

But no, you cannot ward off Nyarlathotep with an elder sign, any more than you can fend off a cometary impact with a Hostess Twinkie. No, elder signs are not like Raid to the Old Ones. No, the Lovecraft Mythos (as opposed to Derleth's "Cthulhu Mythos") is not a battle between "good" and "evil," which is, to quote Derleth, "basically similar" to the Christian Mythos. No, the "Elder Gods" (mostly invented by Derleth and successors) are not powers of "good" at war with the "evil" Great Old Ones. And so on, and so forth.

Mostly, it's becoming clear to me (and Joshi points this out in the aforementioned book) that many who utilize various elements from Lovecraft's writing have never actually read Lovecraft. They've come by his "gods" and various entities and elements and fictional texts secondhand, via such wrongheaded sources as "The Call of Cthulhu" rpg or writers who followed Derleth (such as, ugh, Brian Lumley). Now, I can be very naive, I admit, and this comes as a shock to me. And I will not rp pseudo-Lovecraft. It squicks me out. But I love CoX, and pseudo-Lovecraft is everywhere...so...I don't know. Maybe I'll just drop all the HPL elements from Erzsébetta's backstory and steer clear of the silly stuff.

I don't want to be off-putting to other players, almost all of whom I've enjoyed rping with, but also can't, in good conscience, as a writer, Lovecraft devotee and HPL scholar, take part in the propagation of the bastardized ideas I've spent so much energy trying to dispel.

I imagine maybe five people who read this blog will give a give a rat's ass about all this. I just had to vent.

---

Anyhow, donuts and all...

**** My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jreynolds for pointing out that Tierney's essay is, in fact, online, so it's not hard to find, and you may read it if you so desire.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather has finally turned genuinely cold here in Providence.

I suppose I can write the entry I meant to write yesterday, given I have not yet today been jabbed in the eye with the pointy stick of a homophobic "review." Maybe that happens later, late this afternoon, or tonight.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which include Study #2 for Yellow. [This entry was just interrupted by the discovery of a mouse in Spooky's workroom...time for humane traps, as the mice are bold and apparently the cats can't be bothered].

Two good nights sleep in a row, so I suppose only getting four hours last night was to be expected.

Yesterday, I wrote an impressive 1,664 words on Chapter One of The Drowning Girl. This is the first time I've had the nerve to go back to work on the novel since August 4th. I scrapped everything I wrote this summer and started over again. But, I think I have finally found the voice of this novel. It's a new voice, another first-person narrative, but quite distinct from Sarah Crowe (though India Phelps is another goddamn lesbian, so buyer beware). Anyway, here's hoping the third or fourth time's the charm, because I've gotten the third extension of this novel's deadline, and I need to have something coherent for my publisher come March. I have set a goal of writing at least 1,500 words a day, every day, at least for the next month, a thing I've not attempted since early 2007, and which I swore I'd never inflict upon myself again.

Sirenia Digest #59 went out to subscribers last night. Two new stories, which I hope readers will enjoy.



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A fine Halloween this year. I worked on the digest, but afterwards I read the first volume of Kirkman and Moore's The Walking Dead ("Days Gone Bye"). I followed that with Thomas Ligotti's "The Medusa." As we'd declared Sunday night a Kid Night, we had hot dogs and candy (too much candy) and watched "scary" movies (I use the quotations because I rarely find "scary" movies scary, which is okay, because I enjoy them on many other levels). In fact, we made is a quadruple feature! We began with Jon Harris' The Descent: Part 2 (2009), which wasn't as good as the first film (not as atmospheric, and we see the monsters far too clearly this time), but was still a decent sequel. There are some interesting parallels between The Descent/The Descent: Part 2 and Alien/Aliens. Next up, we watched Jim Mickle's Mulberry Street (2006), a surprisingly effective low-budget affair which did a much better job of portraying NYC than most big budget films set in NYC manage. We followed that with Mark A. Lewis' The Thaw (2009), which was better than it should have been, given how much it borrows from Carpenter's The Thing and a particular episode of The X-Files ("Ice," Season 1, Episode 8). Finally, we finished up with the astoundingly ridiculous Vampires: Los Muertos, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (2002). John Bon Jovi is a freelance vampire hunter with a surf board; the only thing this film really had going for it was Arly Jover's performance as a blue-eyed, sexy vampire (Jover also played a vampire in 1998's Blade). So, yeah. A pretty damn good Halloween.

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Last night, we saw the first episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, adapted from the aforementioned graphic novel of the same name. I was impressed. Not only was the first episode extremely faithful to the source material, it brought a new depth to the story. And it's pretty cool seeing a post-apocalyptic Atlanta. However, I will say that I'm dangerously near total burnout on zombie films, good or bad or otherwise. I think we've reach that point with zombies that we reached with vampires in the early '90s. I fear it's time to step away from the zombies for a while (though, of course, the cultural fascination at work here is rife with potential insight).

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After The Walking Dead, I played CoX, and got Erzsébetta from Level 29 to Level 38. Plus, there was some good rp.

Okay. Time to write.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
My insomnia's been getting worse again, which drags everything else down the shitter, of course. My work habits. My mood. My ability to tell if Drug X is dealing with Symptom Y. My ability to remember if I've taken Drug X. My appearance. I do not sleep, it all goes to Hell in a little rowboat.

And I have a reading in six hours. Before the reading (six o'clock p.m. at the Brown University Book Store; at least I get to wear a mask), I need to wash my hair, let it dry (NO BLOW DRIERS), make edits for the two stories for Sirenia Digest #59, layout the issue (including cover), and...stuff. Lots of stuff. How this is going to happen, I don't know.

Yesterday, what? Oh, yeah. Yesterday, I wrote the prolegomenon for #59, which went a bit long. And I read over and made line edits to "And the Cloud That Took the Form" and "At the Reef."

I consume virtually no caffeine.

I think my body has spent a decade forgetting how to sleep.

My thanks to the reader who sent me Richard Kaczynski's Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley, so now I can be reading about six books all at once.

Really excellent rp in City of Heroes and Villains last night, and I wanted to say thank you to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, Mel, Enth'lye, and Blair. Yes, it would seem that ecsedi Báthory Erzsébet and La Bête du Gévaudan are one and the same, who now exists as an insane super villain with freezy powers, after being enslaved by Vlad Tepes who wanted to use her undead womb as a vessel to allow Nyarlathotep to be born into the world! Yeah, I know. Wacky. I'm waiting for the zombie unicorns to appear.

Here are four photos of Study #2 for Yellow. The painting will go up on eBay later this afternoon. The platypus is giving me the finger, so...later...

Study #2 for Yellow )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Sleep went disastrously wrong last night. I crawled off to bed about 3:30 a.m., but couldn't sleep (let's not go there). So, I got up, and didn't go back to bed until 5:30. Then I began waking around 9 a.m., and finally got up at 11:15. How the hell do people "sleep in"? I'd even taken a Sonata. So, this morning I am more than half asleep and almost every joint in my body (but especially the knees down) is screaming. These little reminders that I am not a kid anymore. Spooky hardly slept any better than I did, or than did I, or what the fuck ever.

Yesterday was mostly spent reading over "The Colliers' Venus (1893)" for the first time since I finished it almost two years ago, at the end of 2008. I remember not being happy with how the story turned out, but reading over it again yesterday I liked it quite a lot. It's one of the four Cherry Creek stories, set in an alternative steampunkish history, and Denver is, instead, a city named Cherry Creek. And people dig too deeply. I had a lot of questions from the copyeditor, and the only way I could answer them was to read the story. So, I read the story, and then I answered the questions.

We continue to work on Dancy's cigar box. In the meantime, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. And Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries Etsy shop. The whole tax thing really did a number on us this year, and I feel like no amount of work can compensate. I wrote two stories between October 18th and October 24th, and I still feel like a slacker. After all, what about all those hours I was awake when I could have been writing more.

I'm not leaving the House enough, even though I'm leaving it more than usual.

Oh, yesterday I also backed up almost everything on my iMac to Spooky's Toshiba 250 gig external hd. That meant, among other things, removing almost exactly 10,000 photographs from my Mac, and, to no one's surprise, it's running much better now.

My thanks to Steven Lubold for the marvelous packages that arrived yesterday.

In theory, today is a day off. Though, I'm told I have to work on the painting I set aside more than a month ago. Study #2 for Yellow.

Some very good rp in CoX last night (and a little bit of leveling). Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus.

And now...well, we'll see.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold and windy here in Providence.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, Spooky has some very cool Halloween goodies up in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries, and they're only available until November 1st. C'mon, guys. How can you resist the pumpkinhead hangy ghosts? A hand-made Jack O' Lantern figurine? You can't, that's how! Finally and also, recall I've donated two items to the KGB Reading raffle, a very good cause, and raffle tickets are only $1 each.

Yesterday, I wrote a measly 614 words on "At the Reef." But they were good words. Gods, I miss the time, pre-2002, when my daily writing word limit was a mere 500 words. At some point, it got jacked up to 1,000 per day, though, truthfully, I feel guilty if I do less than 1,200. Anyway, I'll be able to finish the vignette on Saturday. Think Innsmouth, with sex. Okay, Innsmouth with overt sex. I established sometime back that "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is pretty much a story about interspecific sexual shenanigans.

Today, Ursula K. LeGuin is 81 years old.

Last night was gallery night at the RISD Museum, and we went to hear Brown University planetary geologist Carle Pieters and artist Tristin Lowe discuss the moon in front of Lowe's Lunacy, a huge white felt version of the satellite, currently on view. And we stayed for student films, which were mostly wretched. Or whatever is worse than wretched. There were two or three good animated pieces ("The All-Mighty Bearfish!"), but mostly, if you're making a student film...please...think about cinematography and sound, imagery, the basics...don't try to make the Next Great Supernatural Thriller or a Gut-Wrenching Melodrama About Pressing Social Issues Starring All Your Friends Who Can't Act. Because you'll fail horribly, and fail to impress. But, yeah, the Bearfish ruled.

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Last night, we played WoW, and did the Magister's Terrace mission, defeating Kael'thas Sunstrider at Quel'danas. It was a right bitch, even with two level 80s, and I have resolved to make our guild, Eyes of Sylvanas, a genuine guild. It's always just been me and Spooky. We started the guild to have extra storage space, and because we wanted a cool name and tabard. Last night, I got so pissed that I resolved to add a number of players to the guild. So...if you have a Horde toon on the Cenarion Circle server (or want to move an existing toon to Cenarion Circle) we'd love to have you. You even get a cool tabard. We're especially interested in players Level 65-80, but we'll accept lower levels, and will probably even help you level from time to time. If you are interested, please send Spooky an email at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, letting us know your toon's name. And please comment here, so I'll know you're interested.

And, yeah, I'm still rping on CoX. But mostly, only rping.

---

By the way, people are dumb. No, seriously. This is not an Onion story. This is for real:

Plane Crashes After Crocodile Escapes, Causes Panic

The panicking fight attendant. The passengers who went ape-shit and freaked out over a small and mostly harmless croc. The moron who smuggled a crocodile onto an airplane in a carry-on bag. The asshole who killed the croc (the reptile was one of two survivors) with a machete after the crash. It's a proper fucking parade of idiots.

Speaking of which, Gustavo Bondoni is also a fucking idiot and an asshole. That's two for one.

On that note, I should probably go. I've got an interview to finish...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
In a somewhat dark place this morning. It's cloudy and cold and windy, the Outside reflecting my internal weather, or, to be more precise (and less egocentric), my mood reflecting the dismal weather Outside my office window.

Yesterday was one of the frustrating sorts of writing days. I spent over an hour searching for a title. I read through T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets" for about the hundred billionth time. I found a very appropriate epigraph in an Oscar Wilde essay, and then I realized the vignette's title was "At the Reef." I read long passages of Joseph Campbell, Jung, and a book on Byron and Romanticism. It was after four p.m. before I finally started writing, and I got only 502 words done. Today, I have to hope I wrote well yesterday. My plan had been to finish this piece today (yes, two vignettes in four days), but now I see it's time to revise the plan. I'll push forward with "On the Reef" today, finish a long interview tomorrow, then finish "On the Reef" on Saturday, which will take care of most of Sirenia Digest #59. Maybe take Sunday off. Then, next week, try to get back to The Drowning Girl, as the novel has sat neglected since August (and even with the second deadline extension, it's expected in March). But November will be spent on a short story and the contents of Sirenia Digest #59.

The truth is, if I had about a hundred more subscribers to Sirenia Digest, and believed that the subscriber base was reasonably stable, I'd stop trying to write novels. I'd write my vignettes and short stories and maybe the occasional novella, and that would be just fine.

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For a sobering look at what's being done to the planet, have a look at the NASA/JPL/Cal Tech Climate Time Machine. Just don't tell the teabaggers. They're pretty sure all this talk of global warming is really a communist/Islamic plot to deprive them of Wal-Mart and the NFL.

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I've grown very accustomed, thanks to the Lamictal...a wondrous, merciful drug I wished I'd had twenty years ago...to not having to cope with Angry Caitlín. But, even now there are rare days, like today, when she finds her way out into the world.

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Thanks to everyone who's voted in the podcast poll (if you haven't, please do). Speaking to those who have expressed concerns that, were I to do this, I would only be adding one more thing to a plate that is far too full, that it would give me yet another deadline to worry over, here's my reply. No, it won't. For one, as it's free, I'd plan it once a month, but if I miss a month, whatever. No big deal. For another, my end of the thing would consist of me sitting at my desk reading a vignette or short story into the tiny little microphone (DO NOT DARE SAY "MIC" WHEN YOU MEAN "MIKE," thank you), and then emailing it to the person who would a) turn the sound file into something that could be downloaded and b) post it to be downloaded. So, each reading would require about an hour of my time. As for copyright issues, the audio files would be released under Creative Commons, though I would reserve all other rights on the stories. So, that's not an issue, either.

The only real concern is the one I've already stated, my own dislike of my voice. And that's something only I can overcome (or not).

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Too much time has been going to MMORPGs lately. But...how is that any worse than watching television or hanging out in bars or playing endless rounds of Scrabble? True, I ought to be spending all that time reading. I know that. But, at the end of the day, I'm usually too tired from writing to read.

Anyway, still having a lot of fun with WoW, and eagerly awaiting the Cataclysm expansion. But most of my gaming time the last couple of weeks has gone into City of Heroes and Villains. It's kind of funny, because I've never cared for superhero comics. Last night, though, I pretty much resolved to stop playing CoX as a game, and just go to it for rp. The game's engine is just too clunky and the game architecture too cryptic and tedious. Plus, my 2007 iMac's not quite up to Cox and I get serious latency issues. Load screens take for fucking ever. And I've never played a game with so many load screens. Add to this the impossibility of soloing (i.e., enforced socialization), and also my being blind in one eye, which makes it pretty much impossible for me to track the insane rate of combat in the missions, and I'd just rather stick with WoW as for as actual gaming goes. I've leveled my villain to 25, but can't seem to find any interest in leveling her farther. So, I'll rp in CoX, which is really what I need from it anyway, because I can't get good rp anywhere else (though, I very much look forward to the release of CCP Games' World of Darkness MMORPG, which has the potential to be exactly what I've been looking for since, well, forever).

Meanwhile, Kathryn's been playing a lot of Middle Earth Online. While I still think the avatars look like action figures circa 1976, she's enjoying it a great deal. And, I will admit, the environments are pretty amazing (just don't get me started on the horses). I geeked out over seeing the Party Tree in Hobbiton. From what I can see, Middle Earth Online takes it's basic design from WoW, but I am disposed to look upon it a bit more kindly now, if only because Spooky's enjoying it so much.

And the Platypus is cutting me off....
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence, autumn seems to have come to stay. Trees are going red and yellow. Spooky and I are talking about driving up the Blackstone River valley in a couple of weeks, into Massachusetts, and maybe as far as Vermont, just to see the trees. And, by the way, I'm guessing there aren't many people who dream about finding the axis (2nd) vertebra of a Triceratops, but I did last night.

No writing yesterday. On Monday, I went back to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," abandoned in December 2008, and began from scratch. I did only 646 words. The prose is dense. And I spent a great deal of time with research. Like becoming obsessed with Romanian words for "whore" and "lover" and "wife." And whether Castle Poenari is on the north or south bank of the River Arges. And Rome's role in shaping the culture of Moldovan and Wallachian culture in the 15th Century. So, that was Monday. Today, I need to screw up my courage (an odd turn of phrase) and go back to work on the piece. But it's as intimidating as it was two years ago.

Only two days remain on the "napoval" auction. One of a kind, people. One of a kind. A piece of my personal history. Also, there are the other eBay auctions.

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The winner of the signed copy of Silk, commemorating seventeen years since I began writing it on October 11th, 1993, is [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme. The winner was determined by rolling polyhedral dice. If you are the winner, please send you snail-mail address to Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, and we'll get it in the mail to you. My thanks to everyone who left comments on Monday. They were great, all those stories about first encounters with the novel. Oh, and also, we're a little behind shipping eBay packages, what with the HPLFF and the taxes and everything else, but they'll be going out very soon, promise.

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Yesterday, for the first time since coming home from the airport on October 5th, I left the House. We drove down to Warwick for a matinée of David Fincher's The Social Network. It's a brilliant film, and Fincher deserves an Oscar nomination this year. Wonderful performances all the way 'round. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score (which I downloaded weeks ago) is superb. Parallels are being drawn between this film and Citizen Kane. They're not inappropriate. Highly recommended.

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Ahem.

Spooky and I have been eagerly awaiting World of Warcraft's next expansion, "Cataclysm," due out December 7th. Yesterday, Blizzard rolled out patch 4.0, and we were excited about that, too. But my excitement came crashing down when I discovered that, among many other inexplicable and fundamental changes to gameplay (some of which I knew were being implemented), most warlocks have lost most of their minions, and had them replaced with...well...impostors. That is, Shaharrazad's succubus, Drusneth is now some hooven slut named Angxia. And her imp, Volyal, has been replaced with a much less agreeable imp named Voltuk. And her beloved felhound Greezun (who was the Reason) has been replaced by some mutt named Bheethun. Only her voidwalker, Zhar'los, was spared the purge. I'd had those minions for two years. Some players had the same minions for five years. And...gods...by the sword of my Dark Lady...I'm pissed about this. There was no sense in it. None at all. It's almost enough to make me give up on WoW. Yes, I know this sounds bloody ridiculous to all you non-warlock, non-WoW addicts. But there you go. The WoW bulletin boards are awash in 'lock sorrow, as we all join in grieving for our stolen minions, and as we futilely beg Blizzard to give us back our rightful minions, to whom we were soulbound. There's this poem, posted last night by a fellow Sin'dorei warlock, Myri (Sisters of Elune):

Ode to a Lost Voidwalker

Twas the night before Cata
and all through the land
Not a player was stirring,
their realms all unmanned.
The warlocks were nestled in Stormwind and Org,
Dreaming of chaos bolts, corruption and more!
Their minions all banish'd, soul shards fully stocked
waiting for Deathwing and his dragon flock.
Then suddenly, out of the gloom came a cry!
Our demons are missing! We have to know why!
In their places are strangers, our friends can't be found
From Icecrown to Stratholme we've scoured the ground.
They left us no messages, no clues to follow
and here we are lost, feeling lonely and hollow.
Oh where have they gone, our faithful fel pets...
A better companion, we haven't found yet.
So begone, all you mages and your elementals
Death knights and ghouls? Hardly sentimental.
The warlocks all sigh, downcast, brokenhearted
For a lock and her demon should never be parted.


---

Fortunately, I have a new MMORPG obsession, City of Heroes and Villains. In fact, I have become so obsessed with the game that, after last night, I'm forcing myself to step back from it for a couple of days. But...my magic corrupter, a vampire named Erzsébetta Bathory (yes, you read that correctly), has reached Level 23 and earned her first cape...and I just adore the game. Yeah, the controls suck, badly. But the game is still sort of wonderful, and almost everyone actually fucking roleplays. That's a fact I can't seem to get over. What I did not find in Second Life and WoW I have found in CoX. But I've played about twenty-one hours over the last three nights alone, and that's far too much, so I'm giving myself a short time out. Just until Friday.

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And now...another set of photographs from the trip. While wandering the empty Minneapolis airport on the night of the 4th and the wee hours of the 5th, we happened across a number of stone-inlay murals set into the airport floor. I have yet to determine when or by whom they were created, but they are beautiful. Photos below. Oh, and we also discovered that portions of the airport floor are paved with Solnhofen Limestone (from whence comes Archaeopteryx), from the Jurassic of Bavaria, including the floor around the murals. Spooky and I spotted fossil sponges and ammonites in polished cross-section. I imagine few of the tens of millions of people who pass through the airport ever how often tens of millions of people pass through the airport ever realize they tread on the remains of ancient reefs and lagoons. Anyway, photos:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 6, Floor Murals )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
There will be no photos today, because Spooky has been editing and uploading them for me, because, as I mentioned, Gimp sucks gangrenous donkey balls. And, by the way, while I know that Gimp is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program, it's still a very poor choice for a software programme, especially one that only limps, at best.

No photos today. Photos from Portland will resume tomorrow. Today, I write, and Spooky goes to her parents to see her brother, whom she's not seen in eight years (he's a biologist living in Bozeman, Montana).

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What did I do yesterday, you ask? Well, since you asked so nicely, I spent almost all of it trying to write the introduction for Two Worlds and In Between. Which, it turns out, is a crazy-hard thing to do. Although I really want to do this myself, right about now I'm sort of wishing I'd asked someone else. But I did calculate yesterday, in the course of struggling with the introduction, that since 1992, I've written, sold, and published about one hundred and eighty-two short stories, novellas, novelettes, and vignettes, along with nine novels (including one movie novelization and a ghost-written novel), fifty comic-book scripts (all for DC/Vertigo), and various and sundry chapbooks and non-fiction odds and ends. Somehow, that's terrifying. So, just don't ever dare say I ought to write more.

I also continued trying to restore my office to some semblance of organized. I'm boxing up books that are going to be donated to a local library. We cannot keep all the books we have forever, not in such close living spaces.

Spooky is reading to me about Condylura cristata, the star-nosed mole. Amazing beasts. Spooky saw one at her parents in 2006, wresting in dead leaves with a huge millipede. It made a deep impression upon her.

Where was I? Oh, the office. So far, most of the books I'm jettisoning are by Stephen King (I'm keeping the ones I really like). I'm also boxing up some toys and doodads, because I have too many, and they are threatening to tumble down upon my skull and squish me.

Oh, and it occurred to me that there are a couple of people I should thank, people who did kind things at the HPLFF but whom I neglected to thank in the madness of last week. For example, Edward Martin III, who writes flash fiction, and who, during the HPLFF, wrote a story about me called "Maturation." It involves medical experiments and nanites. I may include it in a future issue of Sirenia Digest. Also, thanks also to Taylor Haywood and his girlfriend (I've forgotten her name, dammit), who gave me all sorts of cool stuff and a very sweet card.

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I think today will be Talk Like Hugo Weaving Day, Mister Anderson.

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If you were very sad about missing out on The Ammonite Violin & Others, you may cease to despair. Subterranean Press still has copies, after all. It was a false alarm, the sell out. And there are also still copies of A is for Alien, which you need, no matter what your opinion of science fiction. Yes, you do, too. Do not argue with the crazy writer lady.

Yesterday, Spooky began an eBay auction for my one and only "napovel" (napkin + novel; it is an odious portmanteau, and I apologize). To my knowledge, it is the first and only napovel in existence. An entire novel written upon a napkin, with the aid of Caribou Coffee. It's one of the many things I did to occupy my mind while we were trapped and sleepless at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport for those twelve long hours last week. Truly, this is a part of history. Actually, I'm amazed it already has bids. My napovel is either deeply Kafkaesque or just "emo." Or maybe Kafka was emo. All proceeds go to help me pay my income taxes this year. Oh, and there are other ongoing auctions, as well. For normal books.

---

We saw the new episode of Fringe last night, which I thought was especially excellent. Part of me wishes this series could go on forever, the selfish, greedy part of me that keeps eating long after she is full. But the other part of me, the reasonable and prudent part, recognizes that it has, at most, another good season in it, and the creators should wrap it up while the show is still this marvelous, terrible, funny, beautiful thing. Please, finish before cancellation makes necessary a godsawful movie to wrap up all the loose ends (Farscape: The Peacekeeper War comes to mind).

Later, I played far too much City of Heroes and Villains. Erzsebétta has either fallen in love or been seduced by a hot demon chick named Begin, and Sekhmet is not happy. Also, sort of brushed shoulders ingame with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, which was cool. I was up until 4:30 a.m., like I was a geek of only twenty-five or so. Stupid me. I'm paying for it this morning/afternoon.

Ah! The new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology just arrived. Okay. Time to make the doughnuts (or donuts, if you prefer).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
On the eleventh, only three days from now, it will have been seventeen years since the day I sat down and began writing Silk. I want to commemorate the day by giving away a signed (and probably scribbled in) copy of the novel (fourth edition mmp), but I can't think of a contest-type thing. Suggestions are welcome. And that reminds me, I owe everyone who chipped in on Spooky's birthday present a poem. Well, it's been written, and now we have the paper and envelopes, so those will go out very soon. You have not been forgotten; I'm just slow as slug juice.

Yesterday was spent on email, and cleaning the sad wreck I'd let my office become, and shelving books, and stacking books along the walls, and, finally, beginning to assemble the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between for Subterranean Press. This is how today will be spent, on the manuscript, as I need to get it away to Bill Schafer ASAP. And that means I also need to write the introduction. It will be a short introduction, but it's still intimidating as all get out (I think that's an idiomatic phrase confined to the Deep South, but I might be wrong). A summing up. A taking of stock. Anyway, that's what I'll be doing today, and maybe taking a phone call or two related to the SECRET.

Last night, we watched the first episode of Season One of Caprica. I love this show, and was relieved that it wasn't canceled. However, I did not appreciate having to sit through some gods awful commercial for a pair of paranormal romance novels, Covet and Crave (shudder), by someone named J.R. Ward. Have you noticed how so many of the women cranking out this PR shit a) have oddly masculine sounding names, usually involving initials, and b) present themselves as Beverley Hills glam, but only manage to look like tarted-up nerds whose clothes are wearing them? Anyway, good episode. Later, I played City of Heroes and Villains, which is my new vice. I did the free trial awhile back, and some kind soul recently gifted me with a copy of the game (and a month of free play). So, yeah. Imagine Countess Elizabeth Báthory as a super villain (cough, cough), and you'll get the picture. It's big goofy fun. J.R. Ward could probably squeeze a series of novels out of it, except that Erzsebétta is a lesbian, in love with her ancient Egyptian blood mother, Sekhmet, and PR is generally a'feared of the lesbyterians (except for the pretend ones who really just do it because men like to watch). So, yes. Super villains. And later I read the first bit of Tom Griffiths' book on Antarctica.

I'm also reading Luis Chiappe's Glorifed Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds, and, as I mentioned, China Miéville's The Kraken, because one book at a time is apparently never enough.

Oh, and I joined Cat Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) on Twitter yesterday, for an impromptu dialogue on how Only Men Are Allowed To Write Hard SF. Because, you know, men say so. But that's okay, because us girls, we are allowed to write fantasy. We get all the sparkly unicorns and double rainbows. Because the men say so.

---

The last couple of nights, I'll think of a bunch of neat stuff from the HPLFF that I want to write down, but then, in the morning, when I sit down to make an entry, I've forgotten it all again. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow. There are some photos at the end of this entry, though, from the reception on Friday for Lovecraft Unbound that Dark Horse hosted at Hollywood Wine and Espresso, which is located catty-corner from the Hollywood theatre (and this sentence is far too long and I should really make it stop now). They're all in sepia, because Spooky was on some sort of mad sepia kick that afternoon.

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I'm not sure, but I think maybe the trade hardback of The Ammonite Violin & Others is pretty close to being sold out again. If you mean to order a copy, best do it now (unless it's already too late).

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 3 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Last night I got to sleep at the very decent hour of 3 ayem (though not so decent, I admit, as 2 ayem). And then, for no reason I have been able to discern, I awoke at 7 ayem, and couldn't get back to sleep. I finally gave up and got out of bed at 8:30 ayem. And then I set about doing something with the two and half hours until Spooky would get up. I rearranged and dusted a bookshelf. I downloaded Gimp, to replace Photoshop 7 (rendered useless by the OS X 10.6.3 upgrade). I doodled (monsters and dinosaurs). I dusted ( a little). I read. I chewed Rolaids. And the time passed like cold molasses.

And I am not awake.

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

Here are photos from Moonstone:

7 September 2010 )
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Spooky and I are still battling Monsieur Insomnia. I got a good night's sleep night before last, then was back to the Ambien bottle last night. It was sometime after five before I got to sleep. It's not just going to sleep, for both of us. It's staying asleep. Spooky seems especially sensitive to Outside noises. They don't bother me so much. But we're both waking a lot. I'm not sure what triggered this cycle, but it's been going on at least a month now, and it's taking a toll.

Yesterday, I helped with housework. Mostly I tried to make less of a mess of my office. I shelved a lot of books, though we have officially been out of shelf space for quite awhile. The time has come to divest myself, once more, of books I know I will never read again. Like 75% of my Stephen King hardbacks. I've actually taken to stacking books on the floor, against the walls. [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving assures me this is an old Yankee trick for keeping one's house well insulated. So, yeah. Housecleaning. I also spent about an hour clearing stuff off my iMac's hard drive. I made it through quite a bit more of Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, which I'm enjoying much more than I thought I would.

---

A dream from last night. Recently, the dreams have been more vivid than ever. I suspect the Lamictal is the cause of that. They play like slumbering movies, whenever I shut my eyes. There is no way to distinguish them from waking reality, not while I'm inside them. No amount of deviation from waking reality ever tips me off. Back to my inability to dream lucidly. Sometimes one will recur for days; sometimes not. Anyway, one last night was especially distinct, and I thought I'd write it down here. I haven't written my dreams down here in a long, long time. There's a line from a movie I saw recently, and I cannot now for the life of me recall which one (I see a lot of movies). "No one ever remembers the beginning of a dream." Is that from Inception?

I don't know how this dream may have begun. I was older than I am now, and seemed somewhat more masculine. And yet hardly particularly masculine. I was wearing a finely tailored suit made from silk that seemed both red and black, depending on the way the light struck it. I had a tie that seemed made of the same silk. I was barefoot. I had a walking stick carved of bone, inlaid with something like ebony or jet.

I was walking along a wide quay, and there was a great assortment of ships docked all around me: old sailing ships, new sailing ships, barges, fishing boats, doggers, schooners, dorys, boats that seemed constructed all of rusted gears, boats of sleek chrome that almost blinded me if I looked at them too long. There was a very young Asian girl scattering yellow rose petals across the quay, and I understood she was paid to do this, but that it was also a sort of sacred duty. So, I walked on yellow rose petals between tall ships. People passed me, and either they were dressed like me, or they were women in elaborate dresses that made me think of the thirties and forties, though these were not simply dresses from those decades. They were at home in that time and place, and were of that time and place. There were crisp uniforms and raggedy men and women whom I understood, instinctively, were various sorts of sailors and fishermen.

The girl with her basket of rose petals passed near, and I tipped her, the way I'd seen other people doing. I know I was not of this place, that I was only visiting from somewhere else. No one stared, though. I didn't seem to stand out in any way.

I came near the end of a dock and stood watching as a ship's cargo hold was being loaded with enormous steel containers. A crane lifted them from the dock and set them onto the deck of the ship. The sea sloshed loudly against the stone foundations of the dock. A pretty young woman came and stood next to me. I can only recall a single line of dialogue for certain. She said, "You take such a long time to get anywhere at all."

She was wearing a cloche, and her hair was blonde. Like my suit and tie, her lips were either black or red, depending on the angle of the light. Her eyes were a dark, dark green. I think she was wearing a long fur coat. She wasn't as tall as me (but few are). We stood there, talking, watching the ship being loaded. Back towards the shore, I could hear a brass band playing. Men led a procession of camels and llamas past us, and we turned to watch.

It was a quiet dream, and it seemed to be leading somewhere. But like its beginning, which I can't remember, I can't recall where it might have led. I have this snapshot.

---

We played more City of Heroes and Villains last night. We created new characters so that we could play villains in Mercy Island. Most of the missions consisted of fighting a race of humanoid serpents, pretty much what WoW calls naga. I do like this game, but am having a hard time imagining how I can juggle two MMORPGS and the SL rp, and still have anything remotely resembling a real life.

This evening I have to have my passport photo taken, and I look like shit. At least I can wait until early this evening to have it done. By then, maybe the bags under my eyes will no longer have bags of their own.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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