greygirlbeast: (white2)
Choice comments to recent entries. First, regarding the accelerating acceleration of life at the dawn of the Twenty First Century [ profile] lady_tigerfish writes:

You just can't Tweet Big Thoughts; they take more than 140 characters. I resent any format that demands my thoughts be small.

– and also –

Making the time--for anything--seems to be a thing of the past. Nearly everyone I know describes themselves as lazy, but as far as I can tell, "laziness" seems to translate to nothing more than "not spending every waking hour doing something." There's an almost Puritanical bent to the way we seem to need to be busy every hour of ever day, to the way stillness is demonized as sloth. Like if we stop moving for two seconds, the devil himself will descend to make use of our idleness. We certainly treat each other that way whenever one of our own dares to step outside the regimen and, say, turns off the cell phone for awhile. Funny, since (as other commenters have pointed out) this pace actually makes us less productive in the long run.

And [ profile] mrs_ralph writes, of writing and this blog:

I don't think that's what people are looking for when they follow a writer. I can't speak too much for other people but I think I was looking for the deep, dark secret of how to. Turns out there is no deep, dark secret or if there is one it is 'nose to the grindstone, shoulder to wheel and get on with it already!' or as so many writers say 'just write.' The magic isn't something you can beg, borrow, bottle or steal, it is what happens when a person with a unique mindset and a way with words sits down, writes a story and then lets the rest of the world read it.

Thank you both.


Yesterday, I wrote 1,608 words on the piece that is still called "Blast the Human Flower," but which really needs a different title. I wrote 1,608 words, and found THE END sometime after sunset. It's the sort of story I think of as the biological equivalent of "nuts and bolts" SF, that manly technopron that puts me to sleep. A couple of years back, I was on a panel at Readercon that asked why Darwin has been less of an inspiration to science fiction than, say, Einstein. Or, put another way, why sf authors are usually more concerned with, say, astrophysics, engineering, and robotics than they are with zoology, botany, and geology. It was a good panel. Dune was offered up as an especially good example of science fiction in which biology is the cornerstone of the tale. The sort there needs to be many more of, stories at least as concerned with life and earth sciences as with technology. Oh, and there's the matter of anthropology/sociology/psychology, too – which also seem frequently ignored or frowned upon by the self-appointed gatekeepers of the genre. I could get into the whole Apollonian sf vs. Dionysian sf thing, so-called "hard science" vs. so-called "soft science," writers and readers who don't have the stomach for flesh and sex (sex being, after all, the driving force of evolution)...but I won't.

In the end, of course, it's all matter, viewed at different levels and in different states and configurations, perpetually recycled. So, there. Science fiction, like all literature, is the literature of matter. Distinctions dissolve, as well they ought.


Since late Friday afternoon, a migraine has been eating at me. I can't tell if the anger's still here, or if my awareness of it has been eclipsed by the headache. Sometimes, my mood swings and chains of angry days would portend a seizure. Now that the meds have those in check, for the most part, I begin to suspect the same anger and mood swings portend the headaches (there's a lot of interesting data drawing parallels between migraines and certain sorts of seizure disorders, and vice versa). Anyway, I think I like the anger better.

Today is an assembly day. I hope to have Sirenia Digest #73 out to subscribers before midnight. This month you get the new vignette I was just discussing, plus part one of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" (with a great Vince Locke illustration), and the second chapter of the original and eventually very reworked text of Silk.

Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Wicked hot here in Providence. Summer finally arrived with a vengeance. We spent most of yesterday hiding in the middle parlor and the bedroom, the two cool rooms. Fortunately, you can proofread anywhere. Right now, it's 85˚F Outside and 81˚F in the cool part of the house. Here in my office, it's probably as warm as Outside. And...Spooky's about to leave to take the ailing automotive vehicle to the mechanic, after which she'll have to walk back in the heat. I made sure her stillsuit was in good repair.

Yesterday, more proofreading on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: "Derma Sutra," "The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade," and "A Canvas for Incoherent Arts." It is my intention that we'll finish the proofreading today. Then I can post the ToC. I think.

Last night, I got the final PDF for Two Worlds and In Between, the probably-final layout with all my corrections. The book is getting very close to publication. We're just a few weeks shy of the first anniversary of the day Bill Schafer asked if I wanted to do the book. My thanks to everyone who has, or will, preorder.

Spooky has left the house and wandered away into the bled. May Shai-Hulud have mercy upon her.

Today, is assembly day for Sirenia Digest #67, and subscribers should have the issue this very evening. This issue includes the new vignette, "Down to Gehenna," along with Chapter One of Blood Oranges.

And! Today is the official publication date for two new anthologies edited by [ profile] ellen_datlow: Supernatural Noir and Naked City. The former includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn," and the latter another of my stories, "The Colliers' Venus (1893)". It should be noted, by the way, that when you read "The Maltese Unicorn," you have to hear a young Lauren Bacall as the narrator.

Last night...well, I braved the heat and, as a nod to the holiday, made BBQ chicken with corn on the cob and potato salad. We only almost perished of the heat in the kitchen. We ate in the parlor, which our coolerator droid, Dr. Muñoz, is doing it's best to keep tolerable (see graph 1, above). Then more Law and Order: Criminal Intent, then more Rift on the Faeblight shard while local hooligans celebrated Independence day by trying to blow up the neighborhood. The cops finally showed up, and things got quiet sometime after two. I got to sleep far too late. 5 ayem, and awoke at 10:30 ayem. Too hot to sleep much.

And to hug a sweaty platypus. Comment, kittens!

Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
Only five hours sleep last night and the night before, and I'm feeling it. Add to that the fact that winter ended just last week and we've now fast forwarded to July, so my office is sweltering, and I presently feel just a little bit crappy. And sweaty. And sleepy.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,697 words, beginning and completing the second piece for Sirenia Digest #67, which is called simply "Untitled 35." By the way, "Untitled 35" is the 90th piece of short fiction I have written specifically for the digest. Which sort of blew my mind, when I did the math. Anyway, the vignette gets back to the roots of the digest. In fact, this whole issue does. Anyway, Vince is currently working on an illustration for the other story appearing in #67, "Figurehead."

I'm making this entry on the Asus laptop, Zoe, as I've never written anything on her before, and I'm curious to see if I'm as clumsy with this keyboard as I feared I would be. So far, I'm fine.

I have a number of almost, but not quite completely, edited projects piled on top of me that have to be attended to as soon as the digest goes out, before I get back to work on Blood Oranges. The changes to the galley pages of Two Worlds and In Between, and the Crimson Alphabet chapbook. And there's The Drowning Girl, which needs a couple of tweaks. And...stuff I'm too groggy to remember. But it all has to be taken care of ASAP.

Some email yesterday with [ profile] kylecassidy regarding our impending work on the visual accompaniments for The Drowning Girl. We spoke of crow masks and nuns.

Spooky spent almost the entire day having new tires put on the automobile, and returning overdue library books to the Athenaeum. Well, almost all day on the first thing. The belated book return was, I expect, quick by comparison to sitting at the tire place for three or four hours.

Oh, did I mention it was hot? If not, well, it is. Hot. Here. Which is mostly just funny, because we were having to use the fireplace about a week ago.

Last night, about 10:30, we escaped the sweltering house, crossed the river, and then drove willy-nilly about College Hill, and all the way over to the southern end of Gano Street, where I'm setting part of Blood Oranges. I needed to see it at night. Now, I need to see it at twilight. The interstate looms above it there, and tawdry houses crouch in ominous shadows. Sorry. Just had an attack of Lovecraftitis. All over College Hill, the sidewalks were littered with the crap the deserted apartments of college kids excrete at the end of each school year. We saw two girls wheeling enormous wheeley bin things down the road, evidently cleaning out studios at RISD. On Benefit Street, we saw a very tall boy in a dress, attired rather like Dame Darcy. As Spooky said, he didn't look bad in a dress, but it was a curious sight, there beneath the streetlights. And then, a few minutes afterwards, we threw a hubcap. I assume there's no connection between the Dame Darcy boy and the throwing of the hubcap, but, rather, that someone at the tire place did a poor job of putting the thing back on. Anyway, Spooky managed to retrieve it, so all's well that ends well. It was wonderfully cool Outside, and the air smelled clean (though I expect it wasn't).

In Rift, there was more very good rp. Enthlye, Artemisia, Celinn, and Selwynn, at Lantern Hook in the Droughtlands. Lantern Hook, as I may have mentioned, is essentially a sietch, down to the reservoir. Anyway, the Order's future was discussed, as was Selwyn's sudden change of gender. But, yes. Loving the rp. I've not cared as much about an rp character as I do about Selwyn in quite some time. And it's amazing how Telera lends itself perfectly to rp, whereas Azeroth simply doesn't. Mostly, I think it's a matter of Rift being willing to take itself seriously. As someone said last night in general chat, "It's like WoW, without the suck and fail."

And I read "A new enantiornithine bird from the Lower Cretaceous of western Liaoning, China" and "The osteology of Chubutisaurus insignis del Corro, 1975 (Dinosauria: Neosauropoda) from the 'middle' Cretaceous of central Patagonia, Argentina," both in the January JVP. And tried not to think about sunrise.

Okay, make an end to this entry. Later, kittens.

Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Very much not awake right now. And in four minutes it will be noon.

Yesterday, I managed to find what I hope is a very good idea for an sf vignette for the next Sirenia Digest, but then discovered I was nowhere near the right head space to start writing it.So, instead, I proofed two more stories from The Ammonite Violin & Others. One of them just happened to be "The Ammonite Violin," and the other was "The Lovesong of Lady Ratteanrufer." These are, I think, two of the very best stories I have ever written, though, so far they really haven't been read by anyone who isn't a Sirenia Digest subscriber. There is an easy simplicity to the language, and the stories both proceed so naturally. And I have no idea how I did it, in either case. Also, yesterday the postman brought my contributor's copy of By Blood We Live, which reprints one of my pieces, "Ode to Edvard Munch," which also first appeared in Sirenia Digest. Oh, and hardback copies of Herbert's Dune Messiah and Children of Dune.

During Thursday night's reading in Boston, I was asked a question. My general attitude at such things, when it comes to Q&A, is everything's fair game, especially if it's something I've already talked about here or in my fiction, which is almost everything in my life. So, it's hard to hit me with a question that takes me by surprise, catches me off guard, whatever. But Thursday night, I got one. I was asked, since I have stated that The Red Tree is heavily autobiographical, and since Sarah Crowe (the novel's narrator) makes self-deprecating comments about her own writing, which include calling it "genre drivel," does this mean I hate the genre I'm writing in. And yes, I was taken by surprise, which, I can't help but feel is how I was meant to be made to feel by the question. Here I am, sitting in a bookstore that specializes in fantasy and science fiction (and gaming), and the Big Question is thrown down before me like some kind of gauntlet.

The truth, of course, is that I most emphatically do not hate the "genre." And Sarah Crowe isn't saying that she hates fantasy, either. And the book makes this quite clear. I don't entirely recall how I answered the question Thursday night. I was tired and hoarse and busy signing books. But I've thought about it for three days now, and here is my considered answer. Obviously, I do not hate fantasy. Or science fiction. Or dark fiction. Many, if not most, of my favorite novels and short stories fall within these categories. And that's easy to see from looking back over the blog and various interviews. Not the sort of thing I can fake, a posteriori, to try and save face. You come into my office, and you'll see that most of the hundreds and hundreds of books on the shelves are fantasy, sf, weird fiction, magical realism, etc. I idolize men and women like J. R. R. Tolkien, William Gibson, Angela Carter, Shirley Jackson, Harlan Ellison, Madeleine L'Engle, Richard Addams, Ray Bradbury, Mark Z. Danielewski, Peter S.'s a very, very long list. So there can be no doubt that I do not "hate the genre I write in." I read very little else. Well, except non-fiction.

I think this question arose from a misreading of Sarah's sentiment. She is characterizing her impressions of her writing, not a genre. I could give numerous examples from within the novel where it's obvious that she likes sf and fantasy a great deal. It's the literature she goes to for comfort. Now, what I would say is that I hate the crap, and most of what lines bookstore shelves is crap, whether we're talking genre nor non-genre literature. I especially hate the formulaic crap, and dishonest writing. But that has nothing much at all to do with f and sf. I could just as well point a finger at romance, or mystery, or crime novels, or westerns, or whatever. I do not exclude any field of literature from that which I might love. I only exclude sloppy, lazy writers, or writers who clearly try to cater to the whims of their readers. But that's a very different thing than hating a "genre" (a term I do, in fact, hate).

I'm not sure whether or not this has clarified anything, or only muddled matters more.

Last night, well...not much to last night. I was exhausted, for no reason I can quite put my finger on. The stress of the past week, I suppose. We played some WoW, and watched three more episodes of Space: Above and Beyond. That was about it.

And now, I should go. If you've not yet picked up a copy of The Red Tree, I hope that you will do so today. Thanks.
greygirlbeast: (Vulcans)
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
Summer is almost upon us. A very hot day in the house yesterday, and the inside temperature reached 84F, I think, and was still at 81F when I finally got to sleep around 4 a.m. Today, however, it's cloudy, and there was rain. Today's high will only be in the 70s.

Despite the heat, I managed my best day yet (in terms of word count) on "Galápagos." I wrote 1,289 words. I might have written more, if I'd not had to spend so much time reading and researching and answering questions about astrochemistry,spectroscopy, exogenesis, organic chemistry, and South Korean history. But, yes, heat or no, a good writing day. The story is presently 5,836 words long, and I suspect will go near 10,000 before it's done. This story is helping me to remember how to write at a more leisurely pace, and that's a good thing.


It's been more than a month now since I left Second Life (31 days as of Thursday, May 21st). I think this time it's going to stick. Not only have I gotten back an enormous portion of my life that was vanishing into that time suck, I've also been freed from the never-ending stress, drama, and idiocies that are part and parcel to trying to wring good rp from SL. Next Sunday (the 31st) would have marked my second "rez day" (two years in SL), and I am very glad to say I won't be there to celebrate. We've also managed to scale way back on the amount of time going into WoW. Suddenly, there's time for, you know, life. Oh, and I am actually very relieved to hear that there's a mandatory update coming to SL, and that my iMac's OS doesn't meet the minimum requirements. This means there's no danger of backsliding. So, screw you, SL, and screw all the whiners and asshats that have made of it such a nightmare. Now, if only I could take back all that lost time. Though, I am grateful for my memories of Dune, while it lasted. And my time in New Babbage, before the furries invaded. Nothing on earth kills the illusion of a NeoVictorian steampunk dystopia quicker than candy-colored anthropomorphic rabbits and foxes who can't be bothered to stay in character or speak anything but l33t.


Last night, we got in some WoW for the first time in days, and Shaharrazad and Suraa quested in Nagrand and both reached Level 69. Of course, this means we have only one level remaining until we reach the cap for "The Burning Crusades" (though we still have hundreds of quests left to do in that expansion), and I doubt we'll be picking up "Wrath of the Lich King" for at least a couple of months. Which means we'll be spending a while at Level 70, but that's cool. We still have to go back and garner reputation and do all the lower-level dungeons on Azeroth that Blizzard makes impossible for solo players and duos to do at the levels when it's actually appropriate to do them.


Spooky has listed new stuff, including a fine green cat, over at her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks. Please do have a look.

Also, if you don't yet have a copy of Alabaster, remember that the new trade-paperback edition is now available from subpress, and includes all Ted's artwork from the hardback, including the gorgeous wraparound cover.

* Translated from Baegu, "Though you are crying and crying, who else will carry you?"
greygirlbeast: (blood)
I absolutely refuse to believe that the Forsaken undead of Undercity celebrate Xmas. The Halloween thing, while annoying as hell, at least sort of made some cockeyed sense. But I draw the line at Xmas. I can only imagine what Silvermoon City must look like right now. Maybe I can force myself to avoid WoW until after the "holidays."

So...the tooth is not being pulled today. My cough, which I've had since early November, has become a complication. What if I cough during the extraction? What if I cough out the blood clot? Etc. The dentist prefers to postpone. So, I'm having to wait and hope the cough clears up before the pain does me in, or the pills for the pain. And I have to get back to work, because this weekend was an utter loss. Sorry to dump health shit into the blog. Right now, it's hard to get around it.

Yeah, anyway. Nothing to say about writing, because I haven't been working.

I did want to mention that, this weekend, we saw Peter Berg's Hancock. The previews caught my eye, but it came and went in theatres with little fanfare, and I forgot the film. Then it wound up on our Netflix cue, and so we saw it. And wow. What starts out as a comedy with the potential to very quickly lose its momentum manages, instead, to go unexpected and delightful places. Indeed, I would even say this is one of my favourite films of the year. It's not perfect, but it's a damn interesting take on "superheroes" (and "gods") and delivers much more than what the trailers promise. Will Smith and Charlize Theron both give great performances. It's not the film I thought it would be, and that's a good thing. I'm also intrigued that Berg is directing a remake of Dune, scheduled for 2010. Maybe someone will finally do it right.

Last night, we watched the last four episodes of Series Four of Doctor Who. Again, wow. "Midnight" joins "Blink" as one of my all-time favorite stand-alone episodes. Marvelously chilling and unresolved. And what a geekfest of a series conclusion. I won't say much more, because I expect a lot of people out there who want to see the episodes haven't yet. "Turn Left" was great. But, as for my Donna Noble/Catherine Tate problem, what I will say is that the conclusion manages to transform her into someone I could care about, but, unfortunately (for the character, not the story), those alterations are revoked, and, in the end, she's that same shrill, annoying person she starts out as. I'm pleased with how the character was employed, but I'll also be glad to see her go.

It's warmer here in Providence, but more cold is on the way.

Today, I'll try to get through my edits on "The Colliers' Venus (1893)", and begin looking towards Sirenia Digest #37. I hope to write two new vignettes for this issue. Also, I need to talk to my agent. So, there's my day, the day I will have instead of the dentist and the removal of this blasted, rotten tooth. Right now, though, I need to go write a "thank you" note that the Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at President Asshole, and ask why he didn't throw stones, instead.

Also, "World's oldest spider web found." Well, the oldest until an older one is found, which is inevitable.
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
I'm going to try to make this a short entry, because I woke late (inexplicably, as I actually got to bed at a decent hour last night), and the day has sort of gone off the rails.

A good writing day yesterday. 1,171 words on Chapter Four of The Red Tree. The Shirley Jackson helped, after all. And my thanks to [ profile] wolven for making me realize I need to read Borges' "The Garden of Forking Paths" again.

Also, yesterday there was more talk with my editor at Penguin about the book's flap copy, and I got my first look at some of the possible cover layouts for A is for Alien, featuring gorgeous artwork by Jacek Yerka. Spooky spent part of the day considering potential artists to be interviewed by Geoffrey Goodwin ([ profile] readingthedark) for the next few issues of Sirenia Digest. All the good stuff seems to be coming out of Russia and Japan these days. Oh, and there was also a conversation with Anne (my editor at Penguin) regarding the cover art for The Red Tree.

I know I have a goodly number of German readers, so here's the link to the page for the forthcoming German-language edition of Threshold, entitled Fossil. I am really quite fond of that cover.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are so able and inclined. Thank you. Also, don't forget to pre-order the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds.

Last night, Chinese takaway for dinner (beef fried rice, steamed dumplings, hot and sour soup), and then we watched Jet Li and Jason Statham in Philip G. Atwell's War (2007). It struck me as a nod to old school Hong Kong action films, right down to the absurdly over-the-top twist ending, and I found it thoroughly entertaining.

This morning, we placed the order for the Howards End sim with Linden Labs. It may be delivered as soon as this afternoon or tonight, though it will be quite some time yet before we open the sim. First, the designated terraformer on our build team (we now have, I think, four builders, not counting me and Spooky) will get to work on the topography and warrens, the train tunnel and sea cliffs. All that has to be done before the landscaping and construction of the city itself begins.

There is something I wanted to mention regarding the sim, that I probably should have mentioned earlier. You might call this "Yes, you do have to read." Way back last November, just after the Dune: Apocalypse sim opened, I attended a meeting led by one of the sim administrators, and he actually stated that it was not important that potential players read Herbert's books (or even those written by Herbert's son and Kevin J. Anderson). Indeed, it was stated that the sim owners did not want to "scare people off" by expecting them to know the books. I found this position unthinkably wrongheaded (and said so), and I suspected then, that early on, that the sim was in trouble. Of course, it died a messy death in February, brought about largely by the ignorance on the part that same administrator of the universe in which the sim was set. Though he had been appointed "Canon Keeper," he, inexplicably, seemed to know very little about Dune. Anyway, I am getting to the point. Simply, I do expect the "players" to have a reasonable familiarity with the source material, which would be, primarily, Low Red Moon, Daughter of Hounds, the works of Lovecraft, and a number of short stories ("So Runs the World Away," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," "Night Games in the Crimson Court," "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles," and all the stories collected in Alabaster). The short stories I will likely put on note cards that will be free to players, and all the Lovecraft can be found free online. Frankly, we want literate "players," and if you cannot be bothered to read the stories that have shaped the rp, you aren't right for this. And, fair warning, faking it will be hard. It is not my desire to drive anyone who might be interested away, but the thought that someone would want to be part of the rp, but has no desire to read my work upon which it is based, is insulting, and letting such people in would only gum up the works. Plus, since the sim likely won't open until late October or early November, there's lots of time to play catchup. As we are not looking at this sim as a for-profit venture, it really has only two reasons for being: first, as something for my readers to enjoy, and, secondly, as something for me to enjoy. That's not possible if we end up with members unfamiliar with the books and stories in question. As of last night, we had about half the 25-30 members I'm looking for, which puts us far ahead of where I expected to be at this point.

Time to make the doughnuts....
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I'm going to start this off with a very nice email I received yesterday, because, right now, I need something very nice. Matt Stagg writes:

I rarely do this, but I wanted to email you and express how much I admire your work. Discovering your short stories was a revelation for me: I love the way that they flitter back and forth between the sublime, the horrific and mundane. Your novels equally thrill me. How you so easily and successfully weave the disparate elements of genres as diverse as crime fiction and Lovecraftian weird tales will forever escape me; I must satisfy myself instead with the knowledge that some things are both beautiful and unknowable. Such is your fiction.

Thank you, Mr. Stagg. That sounds rather grimly sexy doesn't it? Thank you, Mr. Stagg.

Now. On to yesterday. As you know, we fled this sweat-box, and ended up at the Peace Dale Library in South County (which is actually in Washington County, for them what do not know). I sat in the wonderful air conditioning, not baking for the first time since Friday night, and oil portraits and marble busts of Mr. Rowland Hazard (1855-1890) beamed approvingly down upon me. But...after ten or fifteen minutes, I grew antsy, restless, worried about Hubero, whom we'd left back in the heat (with a bowl of ice water), worried about my writing deadlines, and so forth. But. The library had a copy of To Charles Fort, With Love, which pleased me inordinately. But it depressed me that they had all of the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson Dune books, but none of Frank Herbert's originals. I tried to do some actual work, reading from books on the history of Rhode Island architecture, the great New England hurricane of 1938, and local sea life. Spooky found Clive Barker's Mister B. Gone (2007), which is a gorgeous, gorgeous book. Honestly, I lost interest in Clive's work somewhere around Galilee (1998), so I'd not seen it. I've not read the Abarat books, either. But I might give Mister B. Gone a try, as it sounds quite good. Anyway, my restlessness increased, and we ventured back out into the heat for lunch. Lunch and tourists. We drove from Peace Dale through Wakefield to Narragansett, and then, after we ate, back to the library. Oh, Spooky took me to a pet store she used to frequent as a child, and they had a gorgeous California kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus californiae) and also a cornsnake (Pantherophis guttata guttata) that I never got a good look at. I reread the first few chapters of Moby Dick. I always forget how much I adore Melville when it's been a while. Spooky read the first half of Kathe Koja's Stray Dog (2002).

About six pm, we headed over to Spooky's parents' place, because her mother had unexpectedly and kindly acquired for us a portable air-conditioning unit. A Sony CB-10NH, actually, which looks a bit like a shiny black Star Wars droid. We visited briefly, and I hugged Spider the Giant Cat (photo below), then headed back to Providence. Turns out, yesterday set a record high for that date in this city, 98F. It was 8:30 pm when we got home, and the thermostat was reading 93F in the house! Hubero looked utterly pathetic. We hastily set up the portable air conditioner (it needs a name), in the central room. At first, the temp dropped rather rapidly, down to 90F in about fifteen minutes, but then it refused to budge any farther. We sat in front of the AC and ate a late dinner of cold pastrami and Swiss, and sulked and sweated and grumped. Afterwards, I retreated to the swelter of my office, and tried to get into a bit of Second Life rp. Thank you, Gloriana, Pontifex, and Merma/Ardere.

Honestly, I am rethinking Second Life a lot these days. I think all the time away from it moving gave me some perspective, and I see that I abused it the last year, because I was so miserable in Atlanta and just wanted to be anywhere else but there (well, no, not anywhere, but New Babbage, Arrakis, and Toxia were all a step up). No, I'm not about to give it up or anything. But. I can't sink so much time into it. I'd already cut way, way back before the move. It's a tool, a wonderful tool that has helped me write several very good stories, but there's so much else to be done, in this First Life. One reason I make a shitty transhumanist. I fall for the real sand and sky and sex almost every goddamn time. I will say that I am deeply frustrated at the inability to construct stable rp in SL with more than three or four people, and at the plethora of illiterate, immature, ill-mannered, attention-deficit morons clogging up the works. Yeah, well, anyway. Just thinkin' aloud again.

When I went to bed at about 2:25 am, the thermostat was still hovering stubbornly in the high 80s. This sort of heat can drive you to murder your beloved. Or cut off another toe. Or alphabetize all your CDs in reverse order, Z-A. I lay in bed, mine and Spooky's sweat commingling, and watched the first part of Alien while I waited for the Ambien to take effect. Space looked so wonderfully, wonderfully cold. The corridors of the Nostromo never looked so inviting. They say this is the last day of the heatwave. But they were wrong yesterday, and I say meteorologists are going to have to bleed and suffer and die, in vast numbers, to appease Helios. We'll take the meteorologists who don't plan to vote Obama first.

Oh, I think I've found the new "art correspondent" for Sirenia Digest. Thank you all.

Oh, yeah. Photos. A bunch of photos, some of yesterday, and some that are just shots of the new place, because I'm not the only crown-molding whore out there (behind the cut):

Home and Last Yesterday )
greygirlbeast: (whitewitch2)
As I type this, Sirenia Digest #27 is being PDFed, so subscriber's should expect the February issue to be showing up in their inboxes this evening. And if you are not a subscriber, turn not pale, beloved snail, for it's not yet too late to get this issue and all those to come. Just sign up today. Back issues are also available, upon request.

Good riddance, February. Usually, February is the month when I begin to feel hope, as the grey veil of winter finally begins to lift. Usually, February is the month I look forward to, after the long night of December and January. This year, however, I think February has tried to fucking kill me, and I can be done with it not one moment too soon. So, go, February. Get out. Enough already.

Yesterday I received the very, very good news that Anne, my editor at Penguin, has extended my deadline on Joey Lafaye from June 1st to September 1st, which is far more than merely a great relief. The recent...shall we say, hindrances...had made it impossible for me to make the previous deadline (and this, actually, is a deadline that had been extended once already). Now, I find myself given the time I need to write the book. But there is not time to lose another month to hindrances. I will be guarding against them with all the powers at my disposal.

Not much else to say about yesterday. We're dealing with the tedium of having the IRS prove to the German government that I'm an American citizen, so that my German publisher (for Low Red Moon and Threshold) can pay me without my having to turn over sizable portions of the advance to Germany for taxes. I went through this with the Italian edition of Threshold, and now I'm going through it again, and it just sort of pisses me off. Today, we finished deciphering Form 8802 and got it in the mail, so that they'll send me Form 6166, so maybe, someday, I can get paid.

I've mostly been staying clear of Second Life the last couple of weeks, as the Dune sim in which I'd invested so much energy crashed and burned and, finally, mercifully, ceased to exist, because the Fremen faction refused to submit to the idiotic whim of the "Council" and become pacifist hillbillies (long, long story). Having disentangled myself from that shameful mess, I just wanted to step back from SL for a bit. But last night, I ventured back into the Toxia sim, the city of demons and angels where I play the parthenogenically spawned offspring of a cyborg and a Nephilim. I spent most of the evening (as a member of the Omega Institute, which is a bit like the Talamasca, I suppose) pursuing a strange albino girl named Diva, who has a curious penchant for polka dots (which she is convinced protect her from sunlight). There are even a couple of screencaps (large ones), behind the cut. Later still, in the city morgue, Nareth freely surrendered her eyes to one of the Omega praetors, a demon named Lorne, to serve as a physical component in a complex protective ward that is being woven to protect the library from hostile incursions. It was the first good rp I've had since early February.

Nareth and the Girl from the Circus )

But yes, Sirenia Digest #27 will be along shortly, and now Spooky is calling me away for dinner and Kindernacht. Oh, and I almost forgot. Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you!
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A strange barrage of dreams just before waking this morning, or a barrage of strange dreams. More likely the latter. The dreams were stranger than the barrage itself. You were there, [ profile] sovay. A staircase that seemed to lead unexpected places, places that it should not. A five-and-a-half-minute staircase. I really wish I could remember more of it.

I have fallen off the horse, as they say. Between the sickness, worrying about the sickness and the bills it has spawned, the exhaustion, the winter, and the easy distractions of technology, I have fallen off the horse.That is, I am not writing. I have not written since the 30th, and I have more dental surgery on Wednesday, which is helping to keep me from getting back on the horse. But...the horse is all that matters. I am now dreadfully behind on this novel — behind in the sense that it has a due date, and I can only write so fast, and I will not rush it. Regardless of my health, regardless of uncertainty, I have to start writing again. As soon as possible or sooner. It does not matter if I only want to go back to bed every day. It matters that Joey Lafaye is written and written well, as I am a writer, and a writer who does not write is no longer a writer. I suppose this is what they call a "pep talk." From me to me and aimed at no one and nothing else.

And now, that I have been shown so much generosity, and now that at least the financial worries have been greatly lessened, that's an excuse I can't use to justify the fact that I am not writing. Since I became a writer, or rather, a published author, I have written through illness and chaos, through pain and doubt, and that's all I have to do now. Something I have done plenty enough times before. What I will do so long as I am alive.

And yes, I am rather saddened by the news of Roy Scheider's death. And despite all the unfortunate films he took part in, he also made some very fine films — Jaws, All That Jazz, Sorcerer, Marathon Man, etc..


The eBay auctions continue. Also, if you can, please consider a subscription to Sirenia Digest. Or pick up one of the new mass-market paperback editions of the novels. Once again, here are the links to the correct Amazon pages:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

I think that I am beginning to favor A is for Alien for the title of the sf collection. That was my original title, and I only began to consider others because Neil released M is for Magic last year, and I sort of felt that I'd been beaten to the punch. I was probably being silly.


Not much else to say about yesterday. There was a walk that should have been longer, but the wind made my teeth and ears ache, so we didn't get very far at all. Last night, I tried to watch a National Geographic channel documentary on the consequences of global warming, but it was one of those cases where things had been dumbed so far down and were being stated so poorly that I gave up after an hour. We watched another episode of Angel ("The Shroud of Rahmon"). We went to bed.

Oh, and once again, the link to the transcript from Shahrazad's Water of Life ceremony, which I finally finished and posted. I tried to make this one less like a transcript, more like prose, where possible. It's sort of like writing.

And lastly, a rather nice review of the Beowulf novelization at "The Book Swede and his Blog."
greygirlbeast: (Shai-Hulud)
I forgot to post a link to the transcript from Shahrazad's Water of Life ceremony, which I finally finished and posted. I tried to make this one less like a transcript, more like prose, where possible.
greygirlbeast: (bear on ice)
Another very excellent day off yesterday, and I hardly ever get two very excellent days off in a row. Today it is back to the word mines, but at least I am rested. More than eight hours sleep again last night, so I'm feeling considerably less zombiefied. The warm weather helped (60sF), though it turned rather blustery yesterday, and then we had rain last night.

As for yesterday, first I spent three and a half hours editing a Dune: Apocalypse roleplay transcript from Monday night. I know that doesn't sound like the sort of thing that a writer would do on her day off, but I find editing rp transcripts oddly relaxing in their need for precision and patience. And this was just such a great scene. You can read the transcript here. Anyway, when that was done, I got dressed and we finally made it over to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. I think we got there about 4 p.m. (CaST). I've been reading the description of a new species of Carcharodontosaurus (C. iguidensis) in the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and there were some features on the Gigonotosaurus mount I wanted to see again up close (Gigonotosaurus is a close relative of Carcharodontosaurus, both part of a radiation of giant allosauroids during the Cretaceous Period). The staff was setting up for a banquet or some such, which always seems to be the case when I visit, and it hampered my access to the skeletons just a little, but not so much to have made the trip a waste. Afterwards, we just sort of wandered about the museum, visiting "old friends." There are photos behind the cut:

Fernbank stuff )

After the museum, we got noodle bowls at our favourite Thai restaurant. Later still, we watched two more episodes from Season One of Angel ("Under Your Skin" and "Prodigal"), and then I did a little light rp on Arrakis, but nothing to match Monday night. I was actually off SL before one a.m., and in bed before two a.m. Small miracles.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. I really do have to find some alternative to eBay for selling my comp/PC copies, as they've just announced another hike in the cut they take, and it has become unacceptable. No, etsy won't work, as it does not permit auctions. And now I remember there was actually a little bit of work yesterday, as I had to approve the final cover layout for Tales of Pain and Wonder, and send a updated biography for the back cover flap.

Anyway. The platypus says shut up and get to work, so, here we go again...
greygirlbeast: (Shai-Hulud)
This blasted cold. The meteorologists promise warmer weather this weekend and next week. But it's winter, winter in a temperate zone, and, in winter, Georgia is supposed to get a bit cold. My desire for warm weather is really neither here nor there, only a subjective matter. But as Thom Yorke wrote, "It wears me out."

A writing day yesterday, but not one I should crow about. I did a meager 560 words on Chapter Two. I understand this chapter now, and that has lead to understanding much about the novel that, previously, was misunderstood. But it is also a bit of a course change, and this is a big story to steer. It does not turn on a dime. It's rather more like turning an ocean liner, I suspect. All I need are 30 or so degrees to starboard, but that's gonna take some effort and time. The latter commodity is especially scarce. And I had to call the pyrotechnics crew I didn't think I'd need for this book and inform them that, not only do I need them, I need them in Chapter Two. My goal is to do twelve hundred words today. There is not time for this silly fumbling about in the dark.


The dream was back last night (other dreams, too, but I'm only sharing or inflicting this one). Last night or this morning, I am not exactly sure. A long conversation with the orange man, and now I know he has a name, but I cannot recall what it is. Most of the conversation is also lost to me, as too much has faded. But I think, in the dream, he was once my lover, though I suspect I may have only been using him in some sort of set up I have yet to fully comprehend. He kept telling me how tired I look, how thin. I know this part happened after he was shot, because he isn't wearing a shirt, and there's a large bloodstained gauze pad taped across part of his right shoulder. And later, I was in a very narrow plastic shower stall, in my cabin on the balloon, I think, and I was crying and couldn't stop. I sat down in the lukewarm spray from the shower head, and my hands were shaking, and somewhere there was something like an alarm sounding, but the noise was made muffled and indistinct by the shower and the walls.


I have an official date now for my upcoming appearance at the O'Neil Literary House at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. It will not be in April, but rather March 21-22 (Friday and Saturday). And I am also very pleased to report that I will be joined by Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi. It should be grand.

I am also happy to report that Shahrazad al-Anwar's Water of Life ceremony went extremely well last night. It was really an amazing thing, and I can't believe we pulled it off, and I'll post some screencaps later today, after the writing.

Now the platypus is glaring at me with a baleful eye, telling me that Ceiling Cat will not be pleased if I don't "get cracking," and, besides, I must have coffee. More later...

Postscript (1:44 p.m.): Klaus Nomi would have turned 64 today.
greygirlbeast: (Shai-Hulud)
Winter finally came with a fucking vengeance, and right when I began having the inevitable trouble with Joey Lafaye. Or there is no coincidence here at all, and the cold weather has brought the difficulties. Bitter cold for Atlanta. And wet and just vile. And this house is a sieve, not good in weather of this sort, no insulation to speak of, so hot baths are the only genuine way to escape the cold for a little while. But, it looks as though we have sun today, which should warm things up a little (even if it also means bottomless carnivorous skies).

As I have said before, I can only write, "Yesterday I did not write" so many times before I start wanting to gouge my eyes out with rusty grapefruit spoons. That's why there was no entry yesterday. But yesterday I think I finally found What Happens Next, which was nothing at all like what I thought would happen next, and if I am right and this is the scene I've been looking for, it will violently change the tone of this novel. It'll also mean I have to do a slight rewrite on the prologue. But, so far, it feels like what happens next. We shall see.

On Saturday, the post brought me six copies of the Italian translation of the Beowulf novelization, and I discovered that in Italy it was printed as a hardcover. Then, yesterday, the post brought a big box from HarperCollins with copies of the Portugese, Korean, and Polish translations. All three are trade paperbacks, and all three are more attractive than the little American mmp edition. But the Korean edition, which does not use the movie poster art for the cover, is absolutely beautiful. It even has glitter on the spine! And no, I have no idea what the hell glitter has to do with Beowulf, but damn it's a pretty book. I should also note that the Korean publisher was the only one who bothered to consult with me during the translation, and that there is, of course, irony in that the book recently had that very vocal Korean detractor on I've never had any American edition of any of my novels look half so wonderful as this Korean translation (excluding, of course, the beautiful subpress editions). So, yeah, that was a welcome diversion, the novelization in all these many languages. I really want to see it in French and German now.

Last night, Spooky dragged me out into the cold, because I'd not left the house since Friday, before the coming of the snow. We had marvelously hot Thai food, and that helped, and then she drove me past the gargantuan snowman someone built in Freedom Park, which will likely take another week to melt.

Tonight is a big night for me in Second Life, as it is the night that my Dune character, Shahrazad al-Anwar, Fremen Naib, has her Taud, her Water of Life ceremony, entering the Sayyadina, undergoing the spice agony, changing the water for the spice orgy, and so forth. I am actually nervous. Like, stage-fright jitters. Plus, assuming Shah survives, she will have become the first Naib who is also her tribe's Reverend Mother (she's already the first female Naib). And there's all sorts of intrigue and weirdness, and all the factions (as observers) and Fremen from the other two Dune sims are, yeah, stage fright. So, a big night for Dune:Apocalypse this evening, and hence the Shai-Hulud icon for this entry. The ceremony begins at about 7 p.m. SLT, which is 11 p.m. CaST, so I have about ten hours and twenty minutes until the curtain goes up. I think someone's going to shoot video for YouTube, so hopefully I can link to that eventually.

Note that we have eBay auctions ending today, so please do have a look. Thanks!

Coffee's getting cold, so that's all for now. I must make the words. I must stop second guessing myself and write the words. Meanwhile, may Shai-Hulud clear the path before you.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
As I type, it is snowing here in Atlanta. Snowing again. The rooftop next door is white, and the tree outside my window is white. Despite my dislike of cold, there is a comfort in falling snow, the whispering sound it makes, and here we've had heavy snow twice in a week. It may get nasty as the day goes on, so Spooky has made a run to the co-op for foodstuffs.

I think my brain is still firmly lodged in Cloverfield.

Despite the headache (now blessedly gone), I managed to finish proofing the final-pass galleys of Tails of Tales of Pain and Wonder, and I sent those off to subpress. I did the cover on this chapbook, by the way, as has become the rule, it seems, with my chapbooks. I am especially pleased with this cover. Today, I have to get back to Chapter Two of Joey Lafaye and also go over the pages for Tales of Pain and Wonder one last time before it goes to the printer.

I love these lines here. They are actually from Guy Maddin's superb film Archangel (1990), but they're in my head right now because the Decemberists used them in "California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade" (on Castaways and Cutouts, 2002):

I've heard of ghosts. Good ghosts who wander the battlefields at night, guiding soldiers out of danger. You can see them almost anywhere, always warning of stray bullets and lurking enemies. If I was such a ghost, I would stay so close to you, you could feel my breath on your cheek.

Sorry. I just needed to write that down.

After the movie and work and dinner yesterday, we watched the first four episodes of Season One of Angel (1999), which neither of us had seen. I was much more fond of Angel than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but only started watching in the Fourth Season. So, we'll be binging on Angel for a while (thank you, Jada). Later still, I did a yet another pivotal scene in the Second Life Dune sim, Dune: Apocalypse. I meant to get some screencaps, but I forget that sort of thing when I start rping. My character, the Fremen Naib Shahrazad al-Anwar, who is presently on her deathbed, was visited by Joylia, a Bene Gesserit mentat from House Corrino, who managed to sneak into the sietch and into the Naib's chambers. It is not easy to rp a scene when one is hardly strong enough to lift one's head (in character). After that, there was another scene in that other sim, with my razor-wielding, sadomasochistic Nephilimic clone, and she learned about jealousy and rage, and that there is no end to her rage, and that when she gets the carpet in the library all bloody, she has to clean it by hand, no hocus-pocus. So yeah, that was yesterday. Oh, except, also, the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology came in the mail, and there are many wonderful papers this month, including a description of a new carcharodontosaurid theropod from Niger, a new lambeosaurine hadrosaurid (Velafrons coahuilensis) from Mexico, and a revision of the centrosaurine ceratopsid Styracosaurus.

Here, it's still snowing, and I must find coffee....
greygirlbeast: (golden compass)
The last two days have been "days off," after eleven days without a day off, and I think I've slept more over those two days than in the two weeks preceding them. Or so it feels. But now it's time to go back to work. Now I go to stand again at the precipice, which is how it so often feels to me, this writing life.

I stand at the edge of a great bluff, and step off.

I'm quite certain I have made this analogy before. It's almost always apt. This morning, the precipice is the knowledge that I now have a month open to do nothing but work on Joey Lafaye, which I've fallen horridly behind on, even when I factor in the deadline extension my publisher gave me in December. I am afraid I am not writing a book that I was "meant" to write. I so despise teleological language. Of course, I have never been "meant" to write any book. So, I shall rephrase that. I am not sure I can write this book. It does not help that I have been sitting on it for more than two years. Way more, actually. And now I have a contract, and now it has to be written. But here I am at the precipice, stepping off. I have a prologue and a chapter, and it's all so very damned odd, this book. Caitlín R. Kiernan writes a novel-length fairy tale. I miss Soldier and Emmie, Deacon and Dancy, Niki and Daria. All those characters I comprehended, because they were only pieces of me. I have to find how it is that these characters, the new ones that must populate Joey Lafaye, can be only pieces of me, for there is nothing else they could be.

The real story here is a girl named Addison Lynch and her missing twin sister, and I have to not lose sight of that, even though half the novel is the carnival and the Barker and Joey and Sweet William and Ignatius and all the rest. I think maybe I know what the book is about. Maybe this time someone has to push me off the precipice. Too rarely do I use this journal to write about how hard writing is for me. Too often, I use it for a hundred other things.

Anyway, Spooky has made another doll, Cecil, who you may see here. I quite love Cecil, in his swimming trunks, and I named him, but if we kept every doll that Spooky made we'd have no room to keep all the blasted books I write.

I'm still relieved at the Publisher's Weekly review of Tales of Pain and Wonder, which you may read in yesterday's entry. Yesterday, I sent all the corrections off to subpress. It is out of my hands, more or less. I think the book is due out in March. There really isn't much to say about yesterday, as it was a day off. There was some decent rp in the Dune sim on Second Life, but the scene was a rather sorrowful affair. And I forgot to take photos. But here's the link to transcripts from the rp (not last night's scene, but the rp in general). I play Shahrazad al-Anwar Godeater, a Fremen Naib. I also post under that name on the forum. Some of it makes for good reading, especially if you are a fan of Herbert's work. Our story assumes that Paul died during his fight with Feyd-Rautha, that an atomic attack on Arrakis followed, and almost a century of civil war. Only now is the Empire beginning to allow various royal houses and factions to return to the planet. I could tell you a lot more, but it would spoil the plot. By the way, if you are on SL and would like to become a part of this Dune story, just IM me (Nareth Nishi), and/or we can talk about it here.

Oh, and "The Ape's Wife" was voted most popular short story of the year at Clarkesworld Magazine. That is, the most popular of those published in 2007 by Clarkesworld Magazine. You may see the poll results here.

Well, here's the coffee, and I should try to at least think about the word mines....
greygirlbeast: (white)
As some of you may have already noticed, if you've been hanging about the Subterranean Press website, the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder has received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly. This is a Good Thing, naturally, and I am pleased, and my agent is pleased, and Bill Schafer is pleased. If you've been straddling the fence on whether or not to order the collection, possibly this review will sway you to preorder today:

"Tales of Pain and Wonder
CAITLÍN R. KIERNAN. Subterranean, $35 (345p) ISBN 978-1-59606-144-6
Each story in this "definitive" third edition of Kiernan's loosely linked collection stands alone as a visceral slice of life. While "Anamorphosis" and "To This Water" rely on the overdone menaces of pedophilia and rape, "Bela's Plot" establishes a delicate balance between the romance of decay and deliberately undercutting characters' gothic pretensions. "Glass Coffin," "Salammbô," "Salmagundi," "...Between the Gargoyle Trees" and the previously unpublished "Salammbô Redux" relate the history of sisters Salmagundi and Salammbô Desvernine and their disturbed and disturbing extended family. "Paedomorphosis" and "Rats Live on No Evil Star" approach closest to classic horror, driven by revulsion and fear of the alien, while in "Estate," a human terrorizes a supernatural creature, and "San Andreas" relies on pure human nature for its shuddery effect. Together, the impact of these stories is stunning: glancing collisions between psychics, runaways, junkies, artists and whores (who, as in Kiernan's Silk, function as a loose alternative to a family) add up to a portrait of something broken and beautiful. (Mar.)"

I love that line..."something broken and beautiful." That's really all I have ever been trying to say, in my fiction. Something broken and beautiful. Oh, and I do agree that dark fiction relies too heavily on the "overdone menaces of pedophilia and rape," but hey, I'm cutting myself some slack, as I wrote those stories way back in 1994, almost fourteen years ago.


The "space balloon" dream returned night before last, or, more accurately, yesterday morning. Not this morning, though. Anyway, as I did not make a proper journal entry yesterday, many of the details have been forgotten. I was lying in the upper berth again, and the orange man was talking. I do recall that he said, "Nothing like what they think," more than once, and that, later, I was standing in the corridor, watching the glittering Indian Ocean far below, and someone standing near me was talking about Stalin, the Politburo, and the "Great Purge." There was more, but I didn't write it down, and it now seems lost to me, which is probably for the best.


There have been some movies. Saturday night, Byron came by, and after dinner at the Vortex at L5P, the three of us watched Jeff Broadstreet's Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006). Of course, we watched it in 2D, as it was the DVD, and that's fine, cause I think 3D is a dumb gimmick, and given that I have only one functioinal eye, I can't see it, anyway. Sort of fun, in a campy sort of way. But I suspect had it not been for Sid Haig as a shovel-weilding mortician, I might not have found anything much to redeem it.

Last night, we watched the entirety of Greg Yaitanes' adaptation of Children of Dune (2003) mini-series, which originally aired on the SF Channel and is actually an adaptation of both Herbert's Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. I was very pleasantly surprised. Despite various departures from the novels and uneven SFX, I found the film thoroughly enjoyable and true to the feel and spirit of the novels, which is far more than can be said for the Lynch adaptation of Dune (1984) — and I say that as an admirer of pretty much everything else Lynch has ever done. Children of Dune benefited from a couple of excellent casting decisions, most notably Alice Krige as Jessica Atreides and Daniela Amavia as Alia.


I think that's about it for now. I'll toss in some Second Life stuff tomorrow, maybe some more screencaps (since those seem to have been a hit), maybe links to some of the transcripts from our Dune roleplay. The latter seems most relevant, as I did have a hand in writing them. But right now, I must find coffee.

Oh. and thanks to the [ profile] lomer, who wrote, regarding JediMa Katscher's homophobia, "You should warn the homophobes, 'every time you make a homophobic comment: a straight girl goes bi.'" Oh, indeed. Though, "...a straight girl goes lesbian" might carry more threat.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Yesterday was almost entirely spent on Sirenia Digest #24, and I didn't even get to the layout. I did write a longer than usual prolegomena (658 words), and most of the rest of the afternoon was spent proofreading and editing "The Wolf Who Cried Girl" and "The Pearl Diver." And I got through some of the galley pages for the Subterranean Press edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. So, yes, a long and tedious day of proofreading. And I got up this morning to discover I'd not gone over the cover copy for the mmp of Daughter of Hounds, and I had to do that before making this entry, because my editor at Penguin has already been very patient with me. Oh, and Vince sent me a very good sketch for his illustration for "The Wolf Who Cried Girl," and I need to email him back about it.

Thanks and welcome to the new subscribers who signed up for Sirenia Digest yesterday. It occurs to the platypus, who always tells me these things, that today is another very good day to subscribe.

Is it really Wednesday?

A decent walk yesterday, as far west down Sinclair as the dinosaur. Then last night, Spooky and I watched Luc Besson's Nikita (1990). Somehow, I'd managed never to see this film, despite the fact that I'm a great admirer of Besson's, and also despite the fact I was rather fond of the American remake, Point of No Return (1993). I was pleased (but not surprised) to see that Besson's original is the smarter and more complex of the two. And you get Anne Parillaud, in the bargain. Later, there were two very intense rp scenes in the Second Life Dune sim, much more than I'd bargained for, really. They left me sad and tired and just wanting to lie down. So, later still, Spooky read me the seventh chapter of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. That was yesterday, pretty much.

Because [ profile] stsisyphus asked yesterday, here's the link to my wishlist, and here's the link to Spooky's. We do not observe Xmas, but we do observe Solstice/Yule (not to mention Cephalopodmas), and books and DVDs are always a welcomed distraction.

Only coffee can save me now.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
No, I did not write yesterday. Spooky and I sat here and talked about Joey Lafaye, about how it might begin, but there was no actual writing. The day sort of spiraled away from me afterwards, because I have reached that point where the next novel must be written, regardless, and every day when it does not begin is a day added to the weight and struggle of finishing it by my deadline. This morning, I went back through the blog (something I do not often allow myself to do anymore) looking for the entries immediately before or at the beginning of the last two novels — Daughter of Hounds and Murder of Angels. And I have these two quotes, the first from October 9, 2004:

Yesterday, I spent three hours "writing" and wrote only 252 words, crawling through what might be page four of Daughter of Hounds. This book just isn't beginning. There's something I don't know, or many, many things I don't know, that are preventing me from moving forward. In a lot of ways, beginnings can be the worst part of writing. Beginnings are where we begin to eliminate possibilities. Every page I write, I eliminate that much possibility. Anyway, I'm so disgusted with this that I'm not touching it again until Monday. Maybe two days just trying to think about the book will help me figure something out. And then I can kill possibility with more efficiency.

And I have this quote from December 27, 2002, when I was trying to begin Murder of Angels:

To stand, again, at the starting point, that steep drop off the edge down to nothing at all, nothing to catch me or break the fall until I make it. The beginning of the quest for The End. One of the most difficult things that I've had to reconcile myself to, as an author, is the way these quests have to continue, one after another, forever, until I die, because that's what writers do. There is no, "And then, having survived the trials of the journey, our hero arrives at last at the fabled The End and there she lives happily ever after." Because there is always another quest waiting. For all my forever. If I look at it that way, though, it can crush me. I have to try to keep my eyes on the next book, not the necessity of all the books that are waiting in my future. Just the next book. That's more than enough. And now it's time to make it start happening, no more excuses, no more back-patting, no more "yeah, but, really, there's been so much crap to deal with," nothing but getting down to the business of writing, taking the first step, falling and having faith I remember how to write the Very Soft Place at the bottom. That is what writers do. The rest of it, the rest of it is just the space in between.

There is also the Anne Sexton quote, which seems spot on: "All I am is the trick of words writing themselves."

I will do my best to find the beginning of Joey Lafaye today. There's little more than that to be said.

Last night, Byron came for dinner, and then we watched two episodes of Torchwood. I think I'm very off balance after the departure of the house guests, as it served to underscore the isolation I have inflicted upon myself the last couple or three years. Anyway, after Byron left, I was on Second Life for an hour or so, on Arrakis, trying (with no success at all) to hide from the Prime Actuality. And Spooky and I finished our drawn out re-reading Dune.

And that is really all that needs to be said of yesterday. A day to bury deep and then sow the ground with salt. Somehow, I have to at least try to make something more of today.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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