greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunny today, Again, I should be in the sea. This is a thing that will not happen, though, because even if it weren't for the writing, I've got a doctor's appointment this evening. Actually, doctor's appointments can be fun, if you go about them the right way. I have found most doctors to be horrified and/or stupefied at the notion that everyone doesn't want every conceivable test for every conceivable symptom which might lead to any conceivable malady.

Doctor: "But you might have X?"

Me: "So what? If I do, I'd rather not know. It's not like I could ever afford the treatments, and, besides, I'm chronically suicidal."

This is not a fiction. I have actually had this exchange. It was lovely. I'm pretty sure it's not a patient response taught at medical schools.

Or! If any cavity probing is involved, only agree to them if the doctor first agrees to say "Good puppy," at regular intervals.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,957 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. The book is moving quickly towards its conclusion. I'm pretty sure an old school bus filled with Swamp Yankee werewolves is involved. Some idiot is going to proclaim this a great "horror" novel. Or say something like, "Finally, Caitlín R. Kiernan has figured out how to write great horror." And me, I'll just sit back and laugh. The hardest part about this book is that most of what is perceived as "horror" became self-parody and comedy long ago, but very few people have figured it out. It's hard to parody a parody. So says the world's only triggerpunk, and she ought to know.

Spooky (on the other paw) went to her parents' place, to visit with her sister, Steph, and nephew, Miles, who are up from Brooklyn. Miles is three and a half, and he likes pirates. And he proclaims, "Brothers are sisters. Sisters are brothers." I wish they taught this shit in school. Anyway, Spooky took photos of a cute kid and a frog (behind the cut, below). I cry foul.

---.

This morning, Bruce Sterling tweeted, "Social media does not exist for you. You are the PRODUCT in social media. That's why it's free." Fucking brilliant. I'm going to have a stencil of that quote made and start tagging everything in site.

---

As for whatever else there was of yesterday...nothing that warrants recording, but I'll record it anyway. A little Rift (I'm trying to get the achievement for killing 250 centaurs in the Droughtlands; see, and you thought I was all like smart and shit). We read more of The Stand (1978 text, accept no substitute). There was some Second Life RP. Oh, furries are annoyingly little shit (just in case you didn't know). "It's not a fetish! It's a lifestyle! Do you think I chose to want to have sex in a fursuit!? I'm a Loony Toon trapped in a human body!" Milk and Cheese! Milk and Cheese!

Sorry. That wasn't nice, was it? I'm channeling Siobahn Quinn.

As for Ridley Scott directing and producing a Blade Runner sequel or prequel...I'm not sure how to react to that.

Hesitantly,
Aunt Beast

17 August 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today is "Let's Make Comments Day." Just in case you'd forgotten.

mis·ad·ven·ture [ˌmɪsədˈvɛntʃə]
n
1. an unlucky event; misfortune
Etymology: [Middle English misaventure from Old French mesaventure, from mesavenir, to result in misfortune : mes-, badly; see mis- + avenir, to turn out (from Latin advenre, to come to; see advent).]*

This being a definition I offer against the memory of yesterday, yesterday having been the very epitome of misadventure:

Do I even have the patience to write this down? Oh, I will say that here, inside the house, the temperature is a marvelously chilly 80˚F. That is, in the middle parlour. In the kitchen pantry, where we now have AC, it's probably 75˚F. The pantry abuts my office. I think you see where this is headed. Which is to say some misadventures may have not-so-unhappy endings.

Yesterday, sweaty and ill, I made my entry, and then we got dressed and headed for a matinée in Warwick. Specifically, the 12:55 p.m. screening of David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt.2). We got a medium-size screen, but at least it was flat. The big screens were, of course, occupied by 3-D, and it didn't help that Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger had just opened. I'm not going to bother people with the details of the film, or get into spoilers. But this I will say: David Yates' film takes the bloated, tiresome mess of Rowling's novel (well, here we're talking about the second half of the last one), and from it he fashions an exciting, eloquent, and heartbreaking film. Scenes that, in the novel, were, at best, cumbersome, and, at worst, absurd, are brilliantly reworked, restyled, fixed. We'd just rewatched Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt.1) on Thursday night, and, as I said last summer, as I suspected, these are truly two halves of a single film, and they are best seen back to back, the second literally picking up where the first left off. Anyway, unless you hate the series on principle or its just not your thing, I strongly, strongly recommend this film. Brilliant. I would not have changed a thing. And I managed to cry only three times. So, ten years from start to finish.

This was the good part of the day.

By the time the film let out, the blazing sun had pushed the temperature Outside close to 100˚F. Our plan was to return to Moonstone Beach. Back on Wednesday, Spooky and I got swimwear, because, after all, it isn't legal to swim nude at Moonstone. We planned to stay until sunset, before returning to the swelter of home. We only made it as far as Slocum (very rural, about a third of the distance from Warwick to Moonstone) before the van – she of the new engine – began jerking about. The RPM gauge went whackadoole, and then the engine light came on. We pulled over at the edge of a turf farm, across from the Slocum post office. Spooky tried to call the garage, but reception was shit. So, we nursed the van a bit farther, to Kathryn's parent's place. Her dad's in Newcastle, England (after having just returned from the jungles of the Philippines; and I swear he's no anthropologist, but a CIA operative only masquerading as an anthropologist). By this time, the heatsickness I've had on and off for days came back pretty much full-force. And...this story's already boring the hell out of me.

Cut to chase: Spooky called AAA. They came and towed the van back to the garage in Providence. Spooky's mom drove us home (we made it back about 9 p.m.). The temperature in the house was 91˚F. But! Her mother installed a second AC unit (one her parents weren't using) in the pantry window. I'd passed out on the bed. After Spooky's mother (who has an actual name, Carol) left, Spooky made me wake up and eat and drink. I was extremely dehydrated. And the thermostat began to drop. By 3:40 ayem, it was down to 82˚F. We finished watching Season Three of Law and Order: Criminal Intent before finally falling asleep.

So, misadventure. But, we hope to have the van back on Monday, and the house is suddenly pleasant to be in. So, maybe, despite all the sweat and yesterday's misadventure, and despite this fucking heatwave, I can now begin catching up. I've only lost three precious weeks.

I think the most annoying (and embarrassing) part of yesterday was misidentifying a frog in the koi pond at Spooky's parents as a leopard frog (Rana pipiens) when it was actually Rana clamitans melanota, the Northern green frog. Her mother corrected me. Kittens, do not try to show off your mad herpetological skills when your brain is heat-addled.

---

Spooky and I have ONE FREE copy of Rift, which comes with five free days of play, and we're willing to pass it along to someone who wants to give the game a try. The only catch, you have to sign up on our shard – Faeblight – and join our guild, recently rechristened Watchers of the Unseen. We're looking for players who want to rp, plain and simple. If you're interested, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll send you the access code. And, by the way, a month of Rift costs only $15. About as much as a pizza. Or maybe three cups of Starbuck's swill. Hardly more than a single movie ticket (at least around here). Endless hours of entertainment CHEAP. Please don't email her unless you're serious about giving the game a try.

And now I should go. I have a train and a track, a horse and a saddle, and I have to put one and one back together and make two again.

Arithmetically Cooler,
Aunt Beast

* Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
It's Rhode Island. A week ago, we had highs in the 60sF. Today, the high will be in the 80s. Tomorrow, the 90s. A few days, back down in the 60s. It's Rhode Island.

All the expected tedium of yesterday was delivered, with a free side of frustapation. That's a Popeye word, frustapation, and I love it. We proofed "Fish Bride" (three minor corrections), I dealt with contracts, and an author's note and bio I should have sent away to an editor days ago, and then we got around to working on the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between.

Oh, and the discovery that a check we've been counting on arriving this month might not arrive until next month. Yes, to paraphrase Nick Mamatas ([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid), the one thing we may count on as a professional freelance author, the check will always be late. More on this in a moment.

Anyway, we finally headed off to my doctor's appointment...in Cranston...only to discover that it had been moved to next Monday. And no one had called to tell me. I like my doctor. I truly do. I was very lucky to find her. But there I lost a couple of hours I could have spent editing the collection. So, we headed back to Providence, and we took the DVDs back to Acme Video (free Atomic Fireball, which at least helped with the cigarette craving I was having), and then returned home. And had leftovers. And I did a little more work, just beginning to compile the table of contents for the next short-story collection, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (publication date TBA). And I read an article in the January JVP, "A new helmeted frog (Anura: Calyptocephallidae) from an Eocene subtropical lake in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina." And we played Rift, and both Selwyn and Miisya reached Level 45.

I have a couple of Rift screencaps, which I've left at their original size, because shrinking them does them an injustice. Does the beauty of the game an injustice.




An impromptu gathering of Kelari mages in the halls of Lantern Hook (left to right: Enth'lye [foreground], Selwyn, Celinn, and Artemisia). Kelari women have a very strict protocol as regards sitting, by the way.



Selwyn and Celinn astride their vaiyuu in the snowy wilds of Iron Pine, the gates of Stillmoor looming in the near distance (Selwyn front).




So...yes. Wanna be a freelance writer? Wanna say #fuckplanB and throw caution to the winds? Then prepare for the fact that the check will always be late. Now, almost usually, you will be paid. Eventually. When someone gets around to it. When payroll can be bothered, etc. But there's no relationship between when you'll need the money for, say, clothing, rent, or an upcoming convention, and when it will actually arrive. No, no one cares. This is simply how it is. It's how its always been. Anyway, because the check will always be late, and because I have a commitment to attend Readercon 22 July 14-17th (if only because I'm nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award, and have agreed to take part in various bits of programming), we're beginning a BIG Damn eBay Sale (it's still small just now). There's the need for new clothes (I last bought clothing in September) and, of course, moolah to cover all the con expenses (which are not inconsiderable). We'll make the money, or I'll cancel. Honestly, I'm so tired of all this, I only just barely care which.

It's not as if we live an extravagant lifestyle. Our monthly "entertainment" expenses might come to $30-$50 dollars, max. I hardly ever even leave home. We virtually never eat out, or buy books or CDs or DVDs, or, heavens forbid, travel. Mostly, there's rent and medical bills. We're going to see a movie today*, at a matinée, and I am wracked with fucking guilt. Anyway, I'm emphatically not whining. I'm just saying, soberly, 19 years into this "career," saying to you out there who would be writers, steel yourselves for this. And do not think that any measure of critical success protects you from poverty. Not ever. Nor should you be so deluded as to believe celebrity equals financial stability (and fuck wealth). No, this is how it is, almost always, very few exceptions. Anyway, yeah...eBay. Please bid if you are able during the next few weeks. Cool, rare, and one of a kind items will be offered. We have set a goal of making $1,000.

Tomorrow, I go back to work on Blood Oranges. I have three chapters to write this month.

Now, make the doughnuts.

Living the Life,
Aunt Beast

* The expense will be offset by a couple of days of egg salad.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Raining here in Providence. I think we might have had three consecutive days without rain. But this is a steady, gentle sort of rain, and I don't much mind. It would hardly matter if I did, of course.

The anthology's editors loved "The Sea Troll's Daughter," which was a huge relief. I'll give the book's title and release date as soon as I can. One of them emailed to say, "I felt I'd read 'Beowulf: The Truth Behind the Myth,'" which was sort of the cherry on top of the sale. So, yes, two long weeks after I began writing the story, I can say that went well.

I have my final schedule for ReaderCon 20. Here it is (with panel descriptions):

Friday 4:00 PM, VT: Group Reading

Lovecraft Unbound Group Reading (60 min.) Ellen Datlow (host) with
Laird Barron, Michael Cisco, Caitlín R. Kiernan

Readings from the anthology of Lovecraft-related or inspired fiction
edited by Datlow and forthcoming in October from Dark Horse.

Friday 5:00 PM, RI: Talk (30 min.)

How I Wrote A is for Alien. Caitlín R. Kiernan

Breaking with Readercon tradition, Kiernan talks about writing the stories
that make up her first sf collection.

Friday 6:00 PM, Salon E: Panel

Reality and Dream in Fiction. Jedediah Berry, Michael Cisco (L), Caitlin
R. Kiernan, Yves Meynard, Patrick O'Leary, Gene Wolfe

[Greatest Hit from Readercon 9.] "It seems almost like a dream that has
slowly faded." "Not to me," said Frodo. "To me it seems more like
falling asleep again." Some books create a world so engaging and
convincing it seems more real than reality. Others (e.g., Gene Wolfe's
There are Doors) seem like dreams from which we awaken. What elements in
fiction create these disparate effects? Are they mutually exclusive?

Friday 7:00 PM, RI: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

You Never Can Tell What Goes on Down Below: Reading Dr. Seuss as Weird
Fiction. Caitlín R. Kiernan

Few would consider Dr. Seuss a master of weird fiction, but most of us
knew about the strange denizens of McElligot's Pool long before we were
introduced to those of Innsmouth. We met the Lorax before Great Cthulhu,
and shuddered at the Joggoons long before we ever met up with our first
shoggoth. Join us for a review of the strange worlds of Seuss (and other
"children's authors") and a discussion of how the surprisingly
sophisticated oddities we meet as kids shape us as aficionados of fantasy
and science fiction.

Saturday 12:00 Noon, Salon F: Autographing

Saturday 2:00 PM, Salon E: Panel

Is Fiction Inherently Evil (and If So, What's My Job)? Michael Bishop,
Caitlín R. Kiernan, James Morrow (L), Peter Straub, Gene Wolfe

[Greatest Hit from Readercon 8.] Simone Weil (in "Morality and
Literature") argued that fiction is inherently immoral because it reverses
the truth about good and evil: in reality, good is "beautiful and
wonderful" and evil is "dreary, monotonous," but in fiction, it is evil
that is "varied and intriguing, attractive, profound ..." while good is
"boring and flat." Certainly we can all think of counter-examples (To
Kill a Mockingbird
gets it right), but this is a problem as old as Milton.
Does a writer have an obligation to try to make goodness interesting, and
to show the banality of evil? How does doing so affect the fiction?

Saturday 3:00 PM, Salon E: Panel

Is Darwinism Too Good For SF? Jeff Hecht (L), Caitlin R. Kiernan, Anil
Menon, James Morrow, Steven Popkes, Robert J. Sawyer

This year marks the sesquicentennial of the publication of The Origin of
Species and the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth. Considering the
importance of the scientific idea, there has been surprisingly little
great sf inspired by it. We wonder whether, in fact, if the theory has
been too good, too unassailable and too full of explanatory power, to
leave the wiggle room where speculative minds can play in. After all,
physics not only has FTL and time travel, but mechanisms like wormholes
that might conceivably make them possible. What are their equivalents in
evolutionary theory, if any?

Sunday 2:00 PM, NH / MA: Reading (60 min.)

Reading from The Red Tree.

Also, note that I was originally scheduled to be a participant in the "How Acting Techniques Can Enhance your Writing" workshop, Friday at 1 p.m., but I asked to be dropped from it, as I'm not feeling physically up to anything that asks you to wear "comfortable clothing." Also, I won't be arriving at the con until Day 2, Friday, contra my original plans.

---

Yesterday evening, we had to drive down to Saunderstown, because Spooky's mum and dad are in Montana, and we're looking after the farm in their absence. It was, as usual, nice to get out of the city. Spooky collected eggs from the hen house. I tested to electric fence that keeps the deer at bay, to be sure it hadn't shorted out or anything. We fed the koi. We let Spider Cat out for a while and played with him. The blueberries aren't quite ripe yet, but soon will be, which means we'll be picking them before her parents get back. On the way back to the car, we spotted a Fowler's Toad (Bufo woodhousii fowleri). There are photos behind the cut:

June 6, 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
A very fine day off yesterday. It doesn't usually go that way. But yesterday, Spooky made me get dressed and get out of the house. First we visited the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, mainly because the "Frogs" A Chorus of Color" exhibit is back (by popular demand, one supposes). This exhibit is pretty much what got me through winter before last. Despite the omnipresent reminders of the ongoing Anuran mass extinction (which the exhibit would be pretty pointless without), seeing all those frogs buoys my spirits. The tiny Golden Mantella Frog (Mantella aurantiaca) is still my favorite. Also, I visited with the Argentinosaurus and Giganotosaurus and the Louis Paul Jonas Stegosaurus model. Oh, and a marvelous photographic exhibit, "Nature's Jewels: Butterflies and Other Insects", all photos from the southeast and Mexico. That was wonderful, too. Afterwards, we got smoothies at Arden's Garden in Midtown (I had pineapple, mango, and ginger), then came home and read more of Dune. Then went out again for sushi. Then had a walk through Springdale and Virgilee parks along Ponce de Leon (and saw bats and the huge yellow-orange moon, just two nights from full). So, yes, a very good day off, and I slept an unbelievable eight and a half hours last night and feel much refreshed today.

Which is good, because now I have to go back to "Little Conversations" and expand it into "Salammbô Redux," which is going to be an odd, grim endeavor.

Also, I was under the impression (because it's what my editor at HarperCollins told me) that Beowulf was being released October 1st, but now Amazon says it was released on September 25th, yesterday. So, I really have no idea. I have yet to receive my author's copies (which comes as no sort of surprise whatsoever). Maybe it's already in bookstores. So, you can probably find a copy somewhere out there. It's only $7.99 from Amazon.

And I should remind you of the Threshold auction.

A note to all Sirenia Digest subscribers: this month's issue (#23) is running a little late, because Vince has been really weighted down with deadlines on other projects. But it will be along soon.

And I think that's it for me now. Where's the coffee?
greygirlbeast: (mirror2)
Just some news items and links, because, you know, it just keeps getting more absurd. I think it's healthier, for me, to say absurd, when I mean worse. And it is. Absurd. Worse and absurd.

The thing about Charles Rangel repeatedly calling for a reinstatement of the draft is more than slightly old news, but I believe that Congress was supposed to convene to debate the bill today. There's no chance of it passing, of course, if only because it calls for mandatory service for men and women ages 18 to 42. Part of me thinks, yeah, maybe this wouldn't be such a bad thing. Maybe a draft would finally galvanize a serious resistance against President Asshole and Co. Especially if all those good Republican and "Democrat" moms were to suddenly find themselves having to pack their daughters off to Iraq.

Likewise, we'll not the see the anti-gay marriage amendment passed. Now, is it odd that I find no comfort in this? Whether it passes or not, whether there's a draft or not, the men and women running this nation would have things that way if they could. And consider this CNN poll on the question of an amendment to ban same-sex marriage. 50% of those who responded support such an amendment. 50%. I live in a country where perhaps half the populace would deny me the right to marry the person I love because we're of the same gender. I live in a country where, perhaps, half the nation so loathes who and what I am that they will openly and freely admit that I should be denied simple civil rights. Because, they say, I'm a threat to cisgendered heterosexual marriage, which we apparently need, because their god said so and, hey, there are only 6.5 billion people in the world.

Sometimes, the anger gets out. It's unseemly. But there you go.

How about a tiny and more or less irrelevant bit of "good" news to put things in perspective? The Santa Marta Harlequin frog and the San Lorenzo Harlequin frog, both native to Colombia, aren't extinct after all. Well, aren't extinct yet. I think the thing that always astounds me most about what humans have done to amphibians is that these guys have been around since the goddamn Palaeozoic. They've survived megavolcanoes and ice ages and global droughts and cometary/asteroid impacts. They survived the extinction of the dinosaurs. But they probably won't survive Homo sapiens very much longer. I mean, isn't that genuinely fucking astounding? Too bad no one's keeping score out there...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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