greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Skimp on one journal entry, everything piles up. Outside it's very cold. Well, very cold if you're me. 43˚F, and the low tonight will be 22˚F (-5.5 C). This might come out all higgledy piggledy (double dactyl!), but at least it will be a higgledy-piggledy list.

[One-hour pause to install iTunes 10.5.1, which should have been easy, but wasn't.]

1. Yesterday we saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Marvelous. If Ritchie's making Holmes purists uncomfortable, more power to him. A Game of Shadows was at least as smart, and funny, and as fine a box of eye candy as Sherlock Holmes (2009). Oh, and lots of deftly inserted (cough, cough) gay innuendo, so booya. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, I love you. Great chess, too. Eight tentacles up.

2. Last night, late, I finished with Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors. All I had left to go was Robert Shearman's very good Machenesque "A Child's Problem," Dennis Etchinson's pleasantly odd and wistful piece "Tell Me I'll See You Again," and Richard Christian Mathenson's somewhat delightfully sadistic "Last Words." The latter might have served as a fitting bit for Sirenia Digest. I don't read much contemporary horror, but A Book of Horrors is a solid volume (plus, you get my piece, "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint").

3. Thursday evening was cold, windy, and the sky spat rain. That would have been the first day of the vacation, yes? This day is the third. But I sort of did some work during the day, unless I misremember...which is always a possibility. Later, we visited the RISD Art Gallery (and got our nephew, Miles, a very bow-tie book for Solstice), then went out to get supplies (for both Spooky and me) at Jerry's Artarama*, then stopped near Brown and got delicious food from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ for dinner. It was worth huddling under my umbrella for.

4. Yesterday, UPS brought my copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I recreated my Twi'lek Sith inquisitor Herazade and began leveling again. Made it to nine. I really am loving this game. Utterly bow tie, despite my initial predictions and impressions. However, a caveat: Why can game designers not rid us of the ubiquitous MMORPG silly hop? Have they never noted how humanoids jump? Generally, pushing off and up with the ball/toe of one foot, then landing with their opposite/s. Simple anatomy. Hopping up and down with bowed legs looks idiotic, and it's everywhere, except in console games, where a better knowledge of functional anatomy seems to prevail. The standing jump, of course, would be an exception, but, in most situations, standing jumps are rare, and may not serve here as an explanation or excuse.

5. Tonight, we see Brown Bird play at the Met in Pawtucket, and our Honourary Gentleman Caller, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, will be joining us for the musical shenanigans. Gonna rock.

6. Since we'd let our Audible.com credits back up, I downloaded three books the other day: first, Harlan reading his own Edgeworks Volume 1 – which is a delight – William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Paolo Bacigalupi The Wind-Up Girl. The last is the only I've not read, but I have great hopes. Of course, I'm not reading here, but listening, which is a distinctly different experience. Since I was a very, very small child I have savoured having stories and novels read to me. Unlike ebooks, audiobooks are bow tie.

7. Right now, plans are that the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will go live at 12 ayem EST (1 ayem CaST) on January 1st, New Year's Day. It will appear at that moment on my LiveJournal, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. I will ask people to repost and embed it and link to it and spread it far and wide. I need the front page of my website redesigned for this book, but presently have no options. If anyone is willing to offer their web-fu for a FREE signed and inscribed copy of the book, email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work something out.

And that is all! No more words! Vakayshun!

Leisurely,
Aunt Beast

* In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Imp works at Jerry's.
greygirlbeast: (Martha Jones)
Er...yeah. I just wasted half an hour searching for a Martha Jones icon. It's what I do. Well, it's the sort of thing I do. Sometimes. Like this morning.

Yesterday, was a bit like the day before yesterday, only less so. Still mostly the busyness of writing, and too much email, but not as much too much email, and with the added burden of waiting. Few things in the world are as evil as waiting. I'm pretty sure that there's a whole level of Dante's Unabridged Inferno (to be published in 2019) where the damned suffer an eternity of...waiting. Nothing else. Just waiting. Yesterday, the waiting mostly involved Alabaster, and deadlines, and the impending vacation. Oh, and I went through the thirty-second "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, literally frame by frame, then sent a few notes to Brian Siano. He's doing the final editing this weekend. It's almost perfect.

Then, just after dark, Harlan called to thank me for sending him a copy Two Worlds and In Between (he'd called and asked for one), and he went on and on about how much he loved Lee's cover. Which is cool, because I was inspired to go in that direction by several of Harlan's covers which incorporate him as an element of a fantastic scene (see The Essential Ellison, for example). And then he read me the first part of "Rats Live On No Evil Star," and...well, these are the moments writers live for, aren't they? When our literary progenitors, those without whom we would not be, speak our own words back to us, words they helped, without intention, to fashion? Yes, I think these are those moments. Anyway, Harlan was generous and sweet and funny, as always.

---

Demons run when a good man goes to war.
Night will fall and drown the sun,
When a good man goes to war.

Friendship dies and true love lies,
Night will fall and the dark will rise,
When a good man goes to war.

Demons run, but count the cost:
The battle's won, but the child is lost.
~ River Song

Which is to say we watched two more episodes of Doctor Who last night, two more from Series Six: "A Good Man Goes to War" and "Let's Kill Hitler." And I will just say that, wow, "A Good Man Goes to War" redeems Series Six and back again. Damn, that was some good Who. And, as [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme predicted yesterday, I truly am enamored with Madam Vastra and Jenny. But some actual Victorian lesbian lizard-on-human action, please. Unmistakable innuendo is nice and all, but full on...um...I'm losing my train of thought. It is an excellent, excellent episode, as is "Let's Kill Hitler." There might yet be hope for Matt Smith (but not for Rory, who is only Xander recycled).

Also, more Rift last night (as per usual), leveling (Indus to 37) in the Moonshade Highlands. Later, I read a very, very good story, Angela Slatter's The Coffin-Maker's Daughter. I'd never read Slatter, but the story was very good, and was, indeed, about a coffin-maker's daughter, Hepsibah, who was herself a maker of coffins, and also a lesbian. What's not to like? Oh, plus Slatter was inspired by two Florence + the Machine songs, "My Boy Builds Coffins" and "Girl With One Eye." Then I read a new Stephen King story, "The Little Green God of Agony." As I've said, I don't care much for King, but I liked the title. And the story has a certain strength, and wasn't bad, if only the ending hadn't veered off into such clichéd creep-show horrors. If your stories fall apart when the monster appears on stage, stop writing about monsters. I drifted off to sleep sometime after four ayem, watching Frank Borzage's 1932 adaptation of A Farewell to Arms, which really is better than Charles Vidor's 1957 version, and not just because Gary Cooper is cooler than Rock Hudson.

Also, because I was admonished in yesterday's comments by [livejournal.com profile] mizliz13 for using the recently overused and perverted adjective awesome, and admonished rightly so, from here on I shall use "bow tie" in its stead.

---

Today is an assembly day. I must pull Sirenia Digest #72 together, and try to get it out before midnight (CaST). By the way, "Question @ Hand #5" will be the last "Question @ Hand." Indeed, I've half a mind not to run it, but that would be a sleight to the few people who did write pieces (and the one who wrote two!). I think that the decline in replies (#1 had over 30, about a year and a half ago; #5 had 10 responses) is further evidence of the dramatic changes here on LJ.

And now, the platypus.

Don't Get Cocky, Kid,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
This is the unusual, infrequent sort of day when I'd actually prefer to be writing, instead of all the busyness of writing that will consume the day. More and more, it's actually hard to find time to simply write, because there are so many different projects, at so many different stages of production. I imagine this time next year I will look back fondly on November 2011, and I'll think, Wow. I had so much time to just write back then.

---

Day before yesterday, we got the news that Spooky's maternal grandmother, Ann Hanon, suffered a stroke and heart attack. She's ninety-seven and a half, and a recovery is not expected. She's not regained consciousness. She gave instructions she was not to be placed on life support. So, now everyone's waiting. The air is tense with that waiting for news of an inevitability, and with sorrow people cannot help but feel, no matter if a loved one has lived a very, very long and full life. As I said of my own maternal grandmother who, at ninety (almost ninety-one), died in 2005, I can't stop thinking how this amazing person lived through so much time, so much time and so many worlds. So many incarnations of this world. If I live another fifty years...well, I'd prefer not to, but if I did...I cannot even begin to imagine the changes I would see. I think one of the hardest things for Kathryn and her immediate family is that none of them are with her grandmother in Wisconsin, as we have become this nation of latter-day nomads.

---

Yesterday, I began writing "Sexing the Weird," my introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I have grown to strongly dislike writing nonfiction, and especially nonfiction about my own work. After twenty years as an author, I fear I've sunk far too deeply into the bogs of my own work to speak about them...and no, that's not what I meant to say, but my difficulty articulating my thoughts on this subject should serve as an illustration of what I'm trying to say. Nonetheless, I made a good beginning, I hope, and I hope to have the introduction finished by tomorrow evening.

This month, I also still have to get the galley pages for The Drowning Girl back to Penguin (by Monday), write Alabaster: Wolves #2 for Dark Horse, work on promotional material (my publicist just emailed) for The Drowning Girl, and get Sirenia Digest #72 written and out to subscribers. I think the only thing keeping me moving ahead right now, besides the stubborn momentum of life and the pills my psychiatrist prescribes for me, is the determination that I will take two weeks off in December, a sort of Solstice/Cephalopodmas vacation. I've not had a vacation of any sort since December 2008. But other people seem to do it, so why the fuck not me?

---

A very nice interview at SFF Chronicles with Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala), in which she just happens to make a very kindly mention of The Drowning Girl.

---

And here's a particularly articulate bit of commentary on The Ammonite Violin & Others, which I very much appreciated seeing this morning. Towards the end, there's this paragraph I found especially apt:

A note of caution, though, the stories within this book are mostly excellent and there is no denying Kiernan’s ability and distinctive voice. However, if you read a number of these in quick succession, they do start to cloy and the depth and intricacy of the tales can become treacle thick and hinder the progress of the reader. This is something to enjoy in bite size morsels.

Yes. This is true. Well, I think it's true. I can no longer bear to read a great chunk of my own short fiction any more than I can eat more than a couple of pieces of Turkish Delight at one sitting. Or a few bites of baklava. But it's interesting, because of something someone asked in the comments to yesterday's entry, regarding the caveat lector that opens Harlan Ellison's Deathbird Stories. [livejournal.com profile] faffinz asked: "Did your copy of Deathbird Stories come with the warning note from Harlan that it should not be read all at once? If so, did you read it all at once?" It did, as that notice appeared at the beginning of all copies of the book (including the recent superb Subterranean Press edition). The caveat reads:

It is suggested that the reader not attempt to read this book at one sitting . The emotional content of these stories, taken without a break, may be extremely upsetting. This note is intended most sincerely, and not as hyperbole. ~ H. E.

To finish answering the question asked by [livejournal.com profile] faffinz, no, I didn't read the stories all at once. On the one hand, being possessed of only one functional eye, I have always been a rather slow reader. Also, I like to make good books last. But, also, I first encountered the book in 1981, and I didn't take the warning as a dare. I actually did find the stories too intense to be read without several breaks in between. In fact, I had to stop halfway through "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" and come back to it later (by the way, it remains one of my favorite of Harlan's stories). But this was in an age before Saw and its seven sequels. Which may or may not be relevant. But I am always a little disappointed to hear that someone has read the entirety of one of my short-story collections or novels at one sitting.

Yesterday, I left the house for the first time in a week. Just a trip to the market, and a stop at Mama Kim's, a local Korean food truck, for dinner.

Questioning Relevance and Relativity,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
I'm keeping this short, because yesterday was a bad, bad, bad day for Spooky and me both, but more for Spooky. And no, I'm not talking about that endearing gent "Colonel Panic."

A few points though:

1) Yesterday I finished "Ex Libris," an endeavor that required of me the writing of an additional 1,424 words, bringing the story's total word count to 10,555. "Ex Libris" and "The Yellow Alphabet" will comprise The Yellow Book hardcover chapbook offered free with the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (pre-orders coming soon, I think). As for "Ex Libris," I think it was one of those stories where the composition consisted of me trying to pound some offending part of myself to pulp against a granite boulder. Or between two bricks. Whatever. Maybe this story is my way of punishing myself for the ending of "Tidal Forces," or the "happy" ending I gave The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Would I call "Ex Libris" horror? Well, writing it certainly required that I draw a great deal of horror from myself and place it on the page, an amount of horror disproportionate to, say, terror, awe, and wonder. Call it what you want. I'm just glad to have it out of me. Sometimes, I dislike getting such an undimmed view of my psyche. Also, people can either deal with the fact that a large part of one paragraph is in binary code, or they can have a hissy fit. Either way works for me.

2) If you have received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between, please turn to page 300, and if there is some bizarre mutilation to that page please say so here. I have a copy with this defect, as does another person who purchased the book. I mean, a person who purchased the book. Since I didn't. Purchase it, I mean. Anyway, page 300. "The page was flayed. A thin narrow layer of paper was peeled down from the top removing the words, gradually gets wider and ends about 1.5 inches from the bottom of the page. The strip was rolled like a little pillbug." So, now. Look at page 300.

3) I wrote in my November 13th entry:

For Sirenia Digest #72, I want to do another "Question @ Hand" feature, as we haven't done one in quite a while, and I actually have fun with them. Yeah, fun. Imagine that. Anyway, I'm taking requests. That is, it would be great if people had suggestions, as I'm drawing a blank. So, you know, something along the lines of "What if you had me alone for twenty-four hours with nothing but a spork and a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and I was hogtied, and no one would ever know what you did, what would you do to me?" Only more imaginative. That sort of thing, in keeping with the flavor of the digest, which means none of that "I just want to read to you (or let you write) and make you a cup of tea" nonsense. Get your hands dirty. I do it every day.

I'm still taking suggestions. When I have the perfect one, I'll post it here, and all replies will be private and viewable to me and only me. The ones I like best will appear, anonymously, in the digest. This anonymity encourages, I hope, genuine depravity.

4) I spoke with Harlan yesterday afternoon. We played a labyrinthine game of tag until he finally got me on the phone. He isn't well, and last night he was appearing at a gathering honoring his work in television. And if, by the way, you've not read the work of Harlan Ellison, you are to remedy this at once. Deathbird Stories (1975) would be an ideal place to begin, or The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World (1969), I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (1967), Shatterday (1980), or if you can get your hands on The Essential Ellison (1987)...look, just anywhere is a good place to start. But if you think yourself versed in science fiction and fantasy and are not intimately familiar with Harlan's work, you're wrong, and you need to fix that oversight. He is one of a tiny handful of writers without whom you'd not be reading me today. He's never been afraid to raise his voice, a voice filled with furious anger and terrible beauty, and for this I love him. I am determined to find myself in Los Angeles soon, to visit.

Furiously Terrible, By Proxy,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (2:23 p.m. CaST): Also, I want to move to Amherst, to be surrounded again by fossiliferous Mesozoic rocks; but I don't want to leave the sea.
greygirlbeast: (mandarin)
Okay, well. So far this morning, I've had my iMac pull some crazy-ass "Colonel Panic" crash on me, while half the goddamn internet was telling me that I needed to call Harlan. "Calm" has not, thus far, been le mot du jour. But I foresee smoother sailing ahead. And, by the way, I have discovered that during computer crises I have learned to channel Hoban Washburne. Just stay in my seat, flip switches, and tell Spooky, my voice treading that fine line between amused, terrified, and extraordinarily polite, that if we don't get some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn-through this landing is gonna get pretty interesting. Though, I've learned it's best off not to define "interesting."

I am a leaf on the motherfucking wind. The wind just happens to be a hurricane.

Yesterday I wrote a fairly impressive 2,104 words on "Ex Libris." The story's word count presently stands at 9,118 (~10k words were requested), so I'll finish today. One way or the other, with or without that primary buffer panel, and those entry couplings that should have been replaced six months ago be damned. All is bright and shiny. Anyway, yes, I wrote, and Spooky continued the mind-numbing task of rereading The Drowning Girl. Well, mind-numbing is my adjective. She says that she's seen things about the book she never saw before – good things, mind you, mostly structural aspects, that apparent chaos is only apparent, and so forth – because she's having to read the ms. in this tedious fashion. Which is cool. But I couldn't have done it. My solution involved taking a train to Manhattan and...never mind. Anyway, Spooky is finishing that up even as I write, and will likely be finished by the time I complete this entry. 'Cause she rocks.

I have in mind to post a list of all the things I want to do before I die, even though I expect I won't be able to do one third of them (money and time are the most common obstacles). Problem is, I have to write out the list, then whittle it down to, say, ten.

I sincerely hope no one was offended at what I wrote yesterday regarding why the "Tale of the Ravens" project is coming along so slowly, that it's because Kathryn's been having to do so much work for me. In truth, only a single person (out of our seventy-two Kickstarter backers) has said peep. It's just that we're both very frustrated about the project. And...

WHOA

...Spooky just finished the horrid proofreading. Well, her part. I still have to go over it the way one usually goes over galley pages. But, most of the work is done, and she is free to return to the ravens. Tiddley fucking pom.

I should begin wrapping this up.

After all the writing, there was more leftover chili (living large at La casa de Kiernan), and I dozed, and watched an episode of Nova on Kīlauea, and we played a LOT of Rift (the guild is moving back towards RP mode, by the way, so, if you're interested...), then watched the premiere of Season Seven of Deadliest Catch, then played a little more Rift, and I fell asleep watching James Stewart in Billy Wilder's The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), a comfort film. And that was yesterday.

Oh, except, I also I had a look at Star Wars: The Old Republic, at game-play video and cut scenes and whatnot. I even signed up for the Beta, because it does sound interesting, that universe set three thousand years before the "first" gawdsawful movie. BUT! Jesus, the graphics are awful. I mean, Bioware seems to be trying to make the crappy graphics in Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim look good. This valley ain't just uncanny; it's downright butt ugly. Now, if we are to believe that $135 million was spent making this game, more than has ever been spent creating any video game, I'm left asking, "Where the hell did all that money go?" Was it spent on cheese doodles and Mountain Dew? Maybe it went up someone's nose, because it sure didn't go into the game's graphic design. I expect I'll play a bit, regardless. because, like I said, I love the idea.

The platypus says visiting hours are up, and we do not argue with the monotremes.

Shiny. Let's be badguys,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Yes, weird, wet weather. And here we all are, in the aftermath of this somewhat unusual nor'easter. We're lucky; we didn't lose power, though a lot of Rhode Island did (~20,000 as of 7 ayem this morning; power is being restored). Though, honestly, I don't think I've found it as disturbing as have many who've lived here a long time, who seem to perceive it as a singularly peculiar storm. Maybe, this is simply because I don't know the local weather patterns. It was odd seeing the snow on green leaves, and the wind was very loud, and now the ground is strewn with a carpet of dead green leaves; we got possibly two or three inches of wet snow, almost all of which has now melted. Oh, and the worse thing about this storm? The coining of the obnoxious neologism "snowtober."

And my head is in about seventy-five places at the moment.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,131 words on a new piece, "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W." It's a sort of mad tumble, trip-over-itself style. I'm enjoying it, and trying to resist subjecting the finished story to a "cut up" technique before it appears in the Digest. I'm also fascinated that a piece of erotica can bear a longitude and latitude designation as a title (Harlan did this before me, of course, with "Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13" W") and now I want to see the human body drawn with lines of both, mathematically precise, that any point on any given body can be pinpointed. All is need is for a model (who will model nude of course), a geographer, and a mathematician to volunteer. Anyway, this is the story Vince will be illustrating this month, by the way. And again, my apologies that this issue, #71, will be so late.

---

Bitter cold is coming tonight. Forecasts of 26˚ Fahrenheit for Providence. I'm thinking a lot about the Occupy Wall Street protesters, and their resolve, and how they have weathered this. How I'm sure various cities hope the cold will end the occupations:

From the ows website:

It's been dumping snow here in NYC all day, high winds and 3 inches of slush on the ground. With the NYPD and FDNY confiscating six generators on Friday and this unprecedented October snow, those occupying Liberty Plaza in downtown NYC are in need of emergency supplies crucial for cold weather survival (and occupation).

Please note the list of winter donation needs provided. I would be there myself if my health allowed. Fuck the career. I would be there if I would be anything more than a burden. So, from a distance, to quote Peter Gabriel, "I will do what I can do." And, of course, we have the horror stories coming out of Oakland and Denver.

---

Heard new Kate Bush last night. The jury is still out. Mother and I are still collating. Also, we watched the first episode of NBC's Grimm, and as I said of Twitter last night, it is almost not awful. Maybe, in time, it will even be...less almost not awful.

I think that's all for now. I almost fell asleep last night reading The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951). A wonderful book.

Amid Weird Autumn Weather,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
No, I'm awake. I promise. I can even see. Almost. I have even managed to survive the severe upbraiding I have received from Spooky for having awakened her at dawn-thirty because I was awakened by Hubero at dawn-thirty. I don't know why I did it! He does crazy shit, okay?! Crazy-ass cat shit, and usually she knows how to scare him in to calming the hell down. Instead, no, I'm in trouble for waking her up – me, the victim.

But that's cool. No more saving her from sasquatches.

And here it is the First of Hallowe'en, which would be fine, if I hadn't lost the first third of summer to rain, and the second third to...a bunch of dumb shit.

Yesterday I wrote a mere 454 words on "Daughter Dear Desmodus." Then I realized, This isn't a vignette. Or even a "sudden" fiction, or a short short, or whatever the beatniks are saying these days. It's not a short story, and I think it's more than a novelette. Or even a novella. Gods fuck me sideways, I think it's the first few pages of a novel about a "bat girl" in a carnival sideshow and how she grows up to unwittingly become the center of a doomsday cult, and fall in love. You know, like Water for Elephants on LSD.* And that's when I typed, THE END, because if I stopped at the conclusion of the paragraph I was writing, the story would have a happy ending. Okay, not happy. But what Spooky pronounced "sweet." Look, I don't know if it's the pills they give me so I don't flop around on the floor and choke on my own spittle to die the ignominious death of Tchaikovsky, or if I'm just getting old...but I find myself, now and again, wanting to let a character with whom I have fallen in love off the hook just a little. IS THAT SO BAD? Anyway, this is the story Vince will be illustrating, instead of the other story.

Spooky's muttering about washing her hair.

Yesterday, the mail (which only works about half the time) brought me my comp copies of Paula Guran's Halloween (Prime Books), a volume with many fine authors (Ray Bradbury, Thomas Ligotti, Lovecraft, Peter Straub, me, and etcetera) that reprints my piece, "On the Reef" (I found two minor typos; my fault). Oddly, I appear only ever to have written two "Hallowe'en stories": "At the Reef" and "A Redress for Andromeda." More proof I'm not a "horror" writer. You know, people still get hung up on that shit, me refusing to be called a "horror" writer. They take it personally. Seriously. For my part, I look at writers I admire, who had a great influence on me growing up. Ray Bradbury (again), for example. Sure, he writes science fiction, and fantasy (sensu stricto and sensu lato), and scary stories, and non-fantastic lit. Italo Calvino? Ambrose Bierce? Or Harlan Ellison, for example. You could not find an author more impossible to categorize (okay, well maybe you could, but that's not the point). He writes...what he wants to write. Same with Shirley Jackson: ghost stories, insightful stories about insanity and the labyrinth of the American family, and she also wrote some very funny shit. And Lovecraft? You really think "The Colour Out of Space" and "At the Mountains of Madness" are "horror" stories? But...William Gibson's "Hinterlands," that's sceince fiction? Pffffft.

You know, there are an awful lot of quotation marks in the last paragraph.

Today I work on pulling Sirenia Digest #70 together, so that I can send it to be PDF'd as soon as I have Vince's illustration, then Spooky can send it out to all the subscribers (and if you are not one of those, it's NEVER too late...unless you die first).

Some really fine RP in Insilico last night. Thank you, Joah. You've helped to complete the building of the perfect beast. And I read Algernon Blackwood's sublime "The Wendigo" for the umpteenth time, but every time it amazes me all the more.

Anyway...you know what? I consider myself a connoisseur of fetishes. There are few of them with which I am not acquainted. And there are still fewer that don't get me off. Wait...never mind. This isn't about non-Euclidian geometry and larger and smaller infinities, Georg Cantor and his cardinalities, integers vs. whole numbers. Not that math can't be a fetish. It can. But...what was I saying? Oh! Yes! Every now and then I watch the creation of a new fetish right before my very eyes and I know - with perfect clarity - it was created just for me. To whit, Christina Hendricks and her red accordion. I would show you the clip, but YouTube has disabled embedding by request. You'll have to settle for a link to Christina Hendricks playing her red accordion. And really, it's all I need. I could just...sit...and watch...her and...that red accordion...for hours. Without breathing.

Stopping Before Someone Gets Hurt,
Aunt Beast

*A novel I might be able to write by 2014.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A rainy day here in Providence. It's nice.

Kyle and I have been hammering out specifics on the still photography/book trailer project for The Drowning Girl, and it's a stressful affair. Well, if you're me. I can make stress out of thin air. Anyway, the Kickstarter is going extraordinarily well (166%)...and...Michael Zulli has just come on board to do the actual painting, The Drowning Girl, which, in the novel, was painted in 1898 by an artist named Phillip George Saltonstall. Zulli has become our Saltonstall, which is beyond amazing.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,480 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges, and talking through with Kathryn what remains of the story, blocking it (a term I use instead of "plotting," as blocking is much looser), I begin to see that it's not a ten-chapter book, or a nine-chapter book. Probably, it's an eight-chapter book. Otherwise, this becomes gratuitous. And I'll not have that. Regardless, the word count will be somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 words.

Some news regarding Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). The limited edition will include an extra volume (probably trade paperback), containing The Yellow Alphabet and 10,000 words of new fiction (likely in the form of two new stories). And I'll be working with Lee Moyer again on the cover.

---

A thought last night. Actually, a storm of thoughts whirling into a vortex. But, I'll play nice and call it a thought. Singular and calm. And it was just this: In today's subgenre-obsessed market, Harlan Ellison would be tagged a "horror writer." No, really. Go back and read the bulk of his fiction. Usually, he's writing "horrific sf" (as a disparaging Locus reviewer said of The Dry Salvages, "This is what happens when a horror writer tries to write SF"). Ellison's greatest achievements are almost all, at their roots, horrific. They're not about the sailing off into the stars, or the future, or the possibilities of technology, and finding a better world for mankind. Look at, for example, "The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World" (1967), or "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" (1968), or "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" (1973), or even "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" (1967). Though hailed as one of the most important SF writers of the 20th Century (I'd simply say one of the most important writers, period, and dispense with your fucking qualifying adjectives), if time were scrambled and he emerged into today's literary marketplace, a new writer, Harlan would be pegged a "horror writer." Probably, he would never receive all those Nebulas and Hugos. Being labeled "a horror writer" would define him in the eyes of NYC editors, and this would absolutely have a great influence on what he could and could not sell and see published. And this would be a crime of the first fucking order.

Stop thinking inside the genre paradigm, people. By doing so, you destroy art and opportunity. It's fiction, all of it. It's all literature. We need no other words to accurately define it. We need no reductionist baloney.

---

I don't feel right any longer saying, "Last night I watched television," when, in fact, I streamed video files across the internet from Netflix or Hulu. Anyway, last night Spooky and I gave AMC's Mad Men a try, beginning with the first two episodes. And were very impressed. Then we finished Season One of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and began Season Two. At some point I'll maybe be able to summarize my thoughts on all this L&O stuff. After hundreds more episodes. I also read "New unadorned hardrosaurine hadrosaurid (Dinosauria, Ornithopoda) from the Campanian of North America" (very cool beast, is Acristavus gagslarsoni) in JVP. And we read more of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I read more of Denise Gess and William Lutz' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History. We're trying to get our bedtimes back to something sane. Maybe 2:30 ayem, instead of 5 ayem. Last night, I was asleep by four, I think. Baby steps.

Giving Genre the Massachusetts State Bird,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Gods, but I'm no good at trip summaries. There are photos behind the cut.

I'm home, and I almost broke the big toe on my left foot night before last. It isn't broken, just bruised. I jammed it into a step as we (Peter and Susan Straub, Spooky, and I) were going to dinner on Tuesday night. Horrid bruise behind my toenail.

My agent managed to talk me into taking the bus down. When she first suggested it, I said "Ew," but she said "No, really. It's actually pretty nice these days. "But Port Authority!" I declared, but she persisted. So, Monday night I conceded, and we took the bus down on Tuesday morning, the Peter Pan - Bonanza express to NYC, and...it was actually cheap (half the price of Amtrak) and comfortable and quite nice. So, I see a lot of bus travel in our future. Normally, we drive to New Haven, then take the commuter rail to Grand Central Station. Which is a pain in the ass. This was better. Who'd have guessed.

We arrived in Manhattan about three fifteen in the p.m., and my meeting at Writers House was at four. We caught a taxi (usually, I have great taxi karma, by the way) from Port Authority to West 26th Street. I adore the building that houses Writers House. It was originally the bank John Astor's employees used, and it's a beautiful old Guided Age building.

Anyway, a good meeting with Merrilee. She loves The Drowning Girl, and has pronounced the first chapter of Blood Oranges the "most compelling thing I've ever written." And she's persuaded me to finish that book before writing Blue Canary. It was a hard decision, but yeah, I'm switching the two around. I hope to finish the former by the end of July, then have Blue Canary completed by the end of January 2012. So, a very good meeting, and we talked about many other things, but I can't set it all down here.

After the meeting, Spooky (who'd been visiting with her sister, Steph, at the camera store where she works) and I headed uptown to Peter's house. As always, Peter and Susan were grand hosts. We had dinner at Nonna, a wonderful Italian restaurant, pure comfort food. Later, back at their house, much good conversation. There was a rather strange bit of a shock when I realized the last time I visited Peter and Susan was on May 17th, 2001, exactly ten years previously, to the day.

At eleven p.m., Spooky and I went to bed (!) and proceeded to sleep until ten in the ayem, an amazing ten hours (!!). Peter finally woke us via the intercom. Then he made a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toasted English muffins, and double espressos. We said our goodbyes and Spooky and I headed off to the American Museum of Natural History to catch the special sauropod exhibit (I'll write about that tomorrow). While we were in the museum, a deluge commenced, and from the relative cover of a hotel's awning I hailed a taxi back to Port Authority. We left the city about 6 p.m., and were back in Providence by 10:15. Would have been sooner, but the traffic and rain were horrendous. Just about everything was closed, so we had to get a disgusting dinner from McDonalds; I'd not eaten McDonalds since 2004, and Spooky hadn't eaten from McDonalds since the '90s.

Oh, and an aside: If you consider yourself a science-fiction fan, but you don't know who Harlan Ellison is, you've no right to consider yourself versed in sf (you don't have to like Harlan, but you do have to at least know his part in the history of the genre). Otherwise, you're sort of like an expert in Russian literature who's never read Tolstoy.

And I must work, so here are photos:

May 17-18, 2012 (Part One) )


Later this evening, I'm going to post an itemized cost for the trip, as evidence of why I'm not a traveling author: I can't afford to be.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Chilly, cloudy, rain and wind on its way. I just happened across a photograph I took from the front parlour one year ago yesterday. All was in bloom and the trees were going green along the street. I think, this year, we're at least two weeks behind that. It still looks like February out there. Maybe I'm dead, and this is my hell, a world forever poised at the beginning of spring, a perpetually unfulfilled promise.

Okay, that's starting to sound like Bad Goth Poetry.

But still.

Yesterday was, in theory, better than Thursday. I did some of the last tweaking to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir that's going to be done before I send it back to Penguin on Monday. Then I wait for the editorial letter, etc. and etc. Gods, this routine's gotten old. Anyway, I also sort of tore apart the beginning of "Fake Plastic Trees" and rewrote it. Spooky says it's better now. I don't generally rewrite or write in drafts, and it's unnerving when I do. When all was said and done, though hours were required, I had a net gain of only 248 words.


Nothing else to yesterday worth mentioning. I napped on the sofa for five or ten minutes, the best sleep of the last twenty-four hours. I read "A re-examination of Hauffiosaurus zanoni, a pliosauroid from the Toarcian (Early Jurassic) of Germany" in the new JVP. I missed a phone call from Harlan. That was yesterday.

Probably, I should stop now. This isn't going to get any better.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Chilly. Sort of sunny. Sort of cloudy. We're being promised low sixties in the days to come, and I sit impatiently with fingers crossed. Toes. Fingers and toes crossed. All the toes that I can manage to cross. My toes used to be much more nimble.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,313 words on the story for Dark Horse. I'll give you the details as soon as I can. Meanwhile, revel in the mystique of cloak-and-dagger innuendo. But yeah, a good writing day, despite one of my very rare headaches, one so bad it kept me in bed most of the evening.

There was a lot of email yesterday. I've got a mountain of reprints forthcoming in various anthologies. I ought to post a list of them. But not today.

"I just like watching women with bows. It's sexy. No, the horsehair sort. Not the ones with arrows."

Sometimes, context only bogs us down.

I saw a great deal more photos yesterday from the Harvard shoot last Saturday. Amazing to see so many photos of me an like...no, love...more than half of them. Plus there are a couple of me and Spooky together that I'm going to ask [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy if I can post here. Through some odd trick of happenstance, there are virtually no photographs of Kathryn and I together, and certainly none this good.

We have a Rift guild now, finally. If you're interested in joining, we're on the Shadefallen shard, and the guilds is Eyes of the Faceless Man. Defiant, of course. Just send me a tell (try Selwyn, Nilleshna, or Indus), and I'll add you to the roster. We have no guild vault yet, because Rift guilds do not yet have vaults. Concerns over security that have yet to be ironed out. It's become apparent that the game is essentially in live beta. But it still rocks my socks, especially with the graphics set to ultra. Anyway, we're going to be a sort of rp guild (Shadefallen is an rp shard), with rp that concentrates more on the characters and their lives in Telara, than trying to work in the questing and rifts and stuff. That you do on your own.

From the bed last night, bored and in agony, I watched a panoply of weird eighties shit. First, Demi Moore in The Seventh Sign (1988), an awful, awful turd of a biblical horror movie. I'd actually thought we were watching The First Power (1990), but realized about halfway through there was no Lou Diamond Phillips anywhere to be found. Of course, The First Power is also awful, but in a more enjoyable sort of way, and, besides, I've always had a thing for Jeff Kober. Anyway, we followed the movie with the 1987 pilot for Beauty and the Beast. You know, the television series with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton? I'm so pleased to have lived to see a future where technology allows us to torture ourselves like this. Anyway, I'd never seen Beauty and the Beast. But it's gods awful. The only saving grace is Ron Perlman's makeup. The rest, pure shit. Though, I think maybe I've found where at least some of this PR nonsense began.

Also, why are novels today generally and on average so very much longer than older novels? One word: computers. More is "written," because it's so much easier with a word-processing program than a typewriter.** Easier for writers, editors, publishers, everyone. And the reader gets the illusion of getting more for their money (id est, thicker books). This trend will only get worse with ebooks.

The March issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived yesterday.

And I really have nothing else to say. I think I'm killing time. Which is silly, as it dies so well all on is own.

Awake and Regretting It,
Aunt Beast

**Harlan Ellison told me this, over breakfast, in 1995, but I was a moron and didn't believe him. I had to learn for myself, apparently.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
There's sunlight, and cold air, and my head hurts. This time last year, Providence was turning green. Damn you, snow.

There was no work yesterday. No writing, and very little of the busyness of writing. I suppose it was a day off. Maybe. It all blurs together. I begin to fear that the meds are failing me, losing that potency. No, not that. My body developing a tolerance. And oh won't that make life fun? But no, let's not go there.

Regardless, I'm back in that place where there's mostly just the low-grade humming in my skull, which I begin to think is the white noise of the universe.

---

Yesterday was the 33rd anniversary sale of Newbury Comics in Warwick (well, Newbury Comics everywhere, but we go to Warwick...usually...and it's pronounced "War-ick," NOT "War-wick"), and since the check from Suicide Girls had come, Spooky took me out of the house to be bad and spend money I can't afford to spend on things I can live without (but wicked cheap, 25% off everything). In fact, yesterday sort of took this weird nosedive into a day of getting neat stuff. It was like Xmas, if Xmas wasn't a steaming pile of shit. Um, anyway. At Newbury Comics I picked up:

Fever Ray (deluxe three-disc set)
Rasputina, Great American Gingerbread
Rammstein, Liebe Ist Für Alle Da
Rammstein, Sehnsucht
The Pogues, If I Should Fall From Grace With God*
Radiohead, Pablo Honey (two-disc collector's edition)
Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here*

* Only have on vinyl, which is in storage.

If I confess my crimes, I'll only go to the Hell where you're allowed to keep your pornography and drugs. Also, I don't know what to make of the fact that All but one of those albums begins either with P or R.*

Then, at the P.O. Box, there was a very generous CARE package, which added to the guilt load, since I'd just bought all those CDs (though, like I said, 25% off, and most were already used). Thank you, SL. Garona and the fifth volume of the collected Popeye comic strips were especially appreciated. And as if it couldn't get any more absurd, we arrived home to discover a box from Bill Schafer. Mostly, it contained copies of the lettered, boxed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers that he recently discovered buried in the depths of the Subterranean Press stockpile. But ALSO, a copy of the new expanded edition of Unca Harlan's Deathbird Stories, a book that influenced my own writing beyond any ability for me to elucidate, and it's a fucking beautiful edition. I haven't had a copy since the early nineties, when I loaned it to a friend, and he never returned it (I no longer loan books).

Later, dinner at Trinity Brew House (I just had a salad; no appetite lately), and then we went to the Brown Bird show down the street at the Speakeasy at Local 121. This awesome sweaty guy from Chicago opened for them, and then Tik Tok ("sounds like tin pans and chicken bones") played, and finally a very short set by Brown Bird (who are so cool they push the outside of the cool envelope). After the show, I got a copy of Brown Bird's The Devil Dancing, which made it a day of eight cds, but at least this last one didn't begin with P or R.

There were three frat boys in the back of the bar heckling, but you never have a blowtorch and needle-nose pliers when you fucking need them, right? Also, I'm pretty sure all the facial hair in Providence was in attendance last night. Which is cool; these days, too few men have beards.

All in all, it would have been a fantastic day, had it been twenty degrees warmer and had the white noise in my head have been turned down about two-hundred decibels.

---

Today, in theory, I begin the story for Dark Horse (TBA, so don't ask). I'd like to have it finished by Monday evening (if I live that long).

I don't know. I just don't know anymore.

Oh, there are photos from the show, behind the cut:

6 April 2011 )


Pitching and Yawing,
Aunt Beast

* To be fair, we haven't bought a CD, I don't think, since the new Legendary Pink Dots, back in October.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Um. Yeah. Slept until the ass crack of noon, which means I got eight full hours of sleep for the first time in ages. I've been sleeping better in general, which I tend to do when I'm writing a lot. Plus, we were out yesterday and I soaked up a lot of sun, and the Vitamin D never hurts. Those gummy things are good, but they can't match getting it straight from the source.

My grateful thanks to everyone who donated a little or a lot yesterday. You guys really are wonderful. I've paid my SVP dues, dues for my twenty-eighth year in the Society, and I have a small sum left over to put towards the unexpected doctor's appointment on Friday.

Yesterday, I realized the next scene in the ninth chapter couldn't be written unless I visited a cemetery out on Aquidneck Island. I mean, sure, I could have faked it. But I fucking hate doing that. I can never write a real-world place well unless I've actually been there. So, about 2 p.m., Spooky and I left the house, and left Providence, crossing the Jamestown Bridge and then the Newport Bridge to Aquidneck. The sun was bold and brilliant (as Colin Meloy might say), and the bay shimmered like chrome. Still a lot of snow, and Green End Pond, along 138, was frozen almost solid. The graveyard in question— Four Corners Cemetery —is located in Middletown, a little north of Newport proper. It's not one of the state's most photogenic cemeteries, not by a long shot, but it plays a pivotal role in the The Drowning Girl. There was a huge crow perched on a headstone when we entered, and Spooky tried to get his photo, but he wouldn't be still. We didn't stay long, as there was a funeral service beginning, a military funeral with a bugler and uniforms and everything, and it would have been poor form to hang about doing ghoulish writing stuff.

After Middletown, we drove down to Spooky's parents' place, though her mom was out running errands and her dad's in Ecuador. We still got to visit Spider Cat and the chickens. There are photos behind the cut:

22 February 2011 )


Back home, we proofed "Andromeda Among the Stones" (for Two Worlds and In Between), which I wrote in 2002, nine years ago, but it's still a personal favorite. Last night, well...there was leftover meatloaf, and then there was a WoW marathon, during which I had Shaharrazad finish off the quests in Un'Goro Crater and then moved along and did all of Dustwallow Marsh, and got Loremaster of Kalimdor. Of course, now I have to do all of Outland to get the Loremaster title (I already have Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Cataclysm, and Northrend). Nerd, nerd, geek. Later, we read more of White Cat (which we've almost finished).

Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] blackholly and to Uncle Harlan on the occasion of their Nebula Award nominations!

"Comment!" says Herr Platypus!
greygirlbeast: (wray)
1) Snow again this morning, but it's relatively light. A couple of inches at most. Likely, it will be gone in a day or two. Yes, I am sick of this particular winter.

2) Yesterday, I wrote 1,330 words and found the end of the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The manuscript now stands at 386 pages, 87,145 words. And from here I can see how the ninth and tenth chapters and the epilogue unfold. I may have the novel "finished" in only two more weeks. Which is sort of strange to realize.

3) The current Ebay auctions continue. Please have a look. Bid if you are able. Thanks.

4) If you're into MMORPGs and want to play a strong female character, especially a strong female character of color, you no longer have to settle for the racist parodies in WoW. The Kalari and Bahmi women in Rift are amazing, especially the latter. And they're, you know, like actual people. Female characters with dignity and grace and ferocious beauty, instead of, say, Rastafarian caricatures and She-Hulk lampoons. Also, back in WoW, I'm still slogging through my bid for "Loremaster," but beginning to doubt whether or not my will is equal to the task. Last night, I finished with Feralas, which wasn't easy, because there almost weren't enough Horde-side quests. Then I moved along to Thousand Needles, flooded post-Cataclysm and...well...it's just sort of stupid. I found the second worst WoW quest ever— "Pirate Accuracy Increasing." The only worse one I've encountered is that idiotic Joust homage in Mount Hyjal. Anyway...enough nerdy game nonsense.

5) Several comments on my cough yesterday, and some were of the "it might be this" variety, so I'm going to be a little more forthcoming on this than I'd planned. In truth, it's most likely chronic simple silicosis, caused by several years of heavy exposure to chalk and marl dust (which is largely silica particles) in the early years of my paleontology work. I was employed by a small museum in Birmingham (Red Mountain Museum, now defunct), and nobody had a clue about proper safety precautions. I didn't learn this until I went to work for the museum at the University of Colorado, where wearing a respirator during dusty prep work was mandatory. I have all the symptoms, and the cause is there, and a doctor has told me this is likely the problem. But I've never gone through tests for an official diagnosis. My grandfather, who was a brick mason, suffered from a far more severe case of the same disease. Anyway, colds and the flu trigger these bouts of coughing, which is one reason I go to such extremes to stay well.

6) I've promised an in-progress preview of the cover that Lee Moyer is painting for Two Worlds and In Between, and here it is (along with some extras):

Changesonekiernan )


Postscript (1:44 p.m.): My agent and editor both have President's Day off. When did that become a holiday that people use as an excuse to stay home from work? A shame I haven't that option.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Still overcast, but warmer today. Oh, wait. I see a glimmer of sunlight.

Yesterday, I wrote 847 words and found THE END of "At the Reef." I don't know why I've been referring to it as "On the Reef," because that's not the title.

Last night, we were planning to go to AS220 to see Brown Bird play (with three other bands), but after the writing, and a bath, and dinner, I discovered I was too tired to get dressed, much less leave the House. It pissed me off. But I can't be surprised. I just wrote two short stories (or vignettes, I'm not sure) in seven days. Not to mention the usual background writerly work. So, anyway, I wound up in bed, too exhausted to do anything but read and moan about being so old and tired. Oh, and then I slept like crap last night.

At least we can still see Brown Bird in November, when they open for Raspuntina's upcoming Providence show. Maybe I won't be exhausted that night. I am truly in love with Brown Bird. I want to marry this band and have their children.

---

What did I read? Three more stories from [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow and [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid's Haunted Legends: Carrie Laben's "Face Like a Monkey," Gary A. Braunbeck's "Return to Mariabronn," and John Mantooth's "Shoebox Train Wreck." There is a truly sublime line from the latter. "The dead really don't haunt the living. The living haunt the dead." One of those lines I wish I'd written. But I didn't. I can only admire the skill of the author who did.

This anthology's getting some weird reviews, people complaining because, they say, it purports to be a book of ghost stories, but some of the stories aren't ghost stories. Now, to begin with, Haunted Legends doesn't claim to be exclusively a collection of ghost stories (sensu stricto). The theme of the book is actually urban legends. At the very top of the cover is printed "Local legends and ghost stories..." Note that "local legends" comes first. That said, many of the stories actually are ghost stories, more than I would have expected from an anthology for which the authors were asked to write stories based on urban legends, and not specifically ghost stories. Book reviewers who can't bother to read the books they review need to stop reviewing books.

---

Today I wish I could stay in bed. But I need to address the copyeditors queries for "The Collier's Venus (1893)," which will soon appear in [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow's Naked City anthology. And answer email. And read over and correct "And the Cloud That Took the Form" and "At the Reef." So, yeah. Work. The platypus is a harsh mistress.

Congratulations to William Lindblad of Plano, Texas, who won both my items in the KGB readings benefit auction.

As I write this, the podcast poll stands at 97.3% in favor (143 votes) and 2.7% (4 votes) against. The four who voted against did an admirable job of explaining why they voted against my doing podcasts. Most likely, I'll do one at some point in the next few weeks and see how it goes. And then figure out if I'll make a habit of podcasts.

---

Harlan Ellison is selling his first typewriter, a beautiful old Remington. As I said on Facebook yesterday, Harlan has done me many kindnesses and was a tremendous influence on my own work. I consider this typewriter invaluable, but would happily pay five times the $5,000 it has been insured for, if only I had that sort of money. If only I were a wealthy woman. I can only hope it goes to a museum or collector who appreciates its value and will care for it.

---

Last night Spooky pontificated on the relative merits of various brands of pumpkin ale. Me, I don't drink the stuff, but she loves it. She decalres Dogfish Head the best, and Wolaver's the second best, but isn't impressed with Smuttynose (despite the cute seal on the bottle). I think she's indifferent towards Saranac. She says, "It's weak."

A quote now from yesterday's entry: Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, as nothing has changed since yesterday. That is, the IRS hasn't decided we don't have to pay taxes, after all. That is, they haven't sent back the check Spooky wrote. Speaking of Spooky, I reiterate, all those cool Halloween thingumies in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop will be taken down come November 1st.

Last of all (until the next entry), though I love WoW, I'm sickened by the kids (at least, I hope they're kids) who spew "faggot" and "queer" and "gay" and "homo" over the various chat channels, employing these words as though they are the worst imaginable insults. They swamp the chat channels with this shit. It's almost enough the make me quit the game. I've disabled almost all the chat channels, and I mute the individuals. But still. Are gamers today, as a group, really this homophobic?
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
1. I thought, the last couple of days, I was getting to that "pulling myself back together" place, having had two halfway decent nights of of sleep without fucking Ambien. Not enough sleep, no, but no hypnotics, either. Then, this morning, at four-thirty I was still awake, so I took half a pill. At 5:45, still awake, I took another half. I got the sleep around six, but was only able to sleep until about noon (all times CaST). I really cannot take much more of this. I've written nothing all damn month. Oh, and the weather here in Providence is miserable again: cold and rainy and overcast.

2. I managed to work yesterday (largely because I was just coming out of the Ambien haze). I signed the signature sheets for the special edition of The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror: Two Decades of Dark Fiction. They'd already been signed by Clive Barker and Stephen King and Peter Straub, though still have to be signed by Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman. On days like this, when I can't imagine pressing even one more verb against another noun, when my desire to write has dropped away to something very near zero, I try to take solace in the fact that, thanks to my writing, I count four of those five authors as friends, and three as dear friends (I've never met Stephen King). Also, I read back through "Werewolf Smile," seeing as how the book that The Wolf Who Cried Girl is becoming will be built, in part, upon that short story. And I was enormously annoyed to discover I'd missed a metric shit ton of typos when I proofed it for Sirenia Digest #45 (August 2009). I'm considering including a corrected text of "Werewolf Smile" in the March issue of the digest. Anyway, I also answered email and tidied up my file cabinet, which has needed tidying up for the better part of a year. I made notes for two short stories or vignettes, both for Sirenia Digest #52. One may be an indirect sort of footnote to Lovecraft's "The Hound," and the other involves a sideshow and herpetological tattoos. We shall see. I desperately need to get a chapter of the novel written before starting in on the digest.

3. Last night, my blood-elf warlock, Shaharrazad, made Level 78. And it "only" took me 35 days, 21 hours, 7 minutes, and 43 seconds of gameplay (I actually rolled Shah in October '08). I will point out that Blizzard has done snazzy things with the Armory, adding character animation and whatnot. You may note that Shah has allowed her usually close-cropped hair to grow since heading out to Northrend.

4. For what it's worth, my beliefs are not beliefs I hold because I need to hold them. And I did not choose to hold them. I rejected that approach to belief decades ago. Indeed, I have often been frustrated that I cannot alter my beliefs based simply on what my mind needs. I've written about this in the past, especially as regards my approach to witchcraft and magick, and the fact that I remain an atheist, cosmicist, and pessimist*. My beliefs arise from personal observation of the world around me, from conclusions based upon those observations. I believe nothing simply because I somehow need to believe it. Desire or need alone cannot ever lead me to belief. Basing belief upon needs or desires is, to me, no more than wishful thinking.

5. Spooky's latest doll is now available via her Dreaming Squid Dollworks shop at Etsy. We call her Cassandra, for reasons that ought to be fairly obvious.

6. On Tuesday, we saw Tim Buron's Alice in Wonderland for the second time. If anything, it was more delightful than the first viewing (and we still will not debate its merits here).

* I would deny, though, that I am a nihilist, for a number of reasons.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I swear to whichever goddess is presently in the mood to listen, if these weird dreams keep up, I'm going to have our water tested for LSD. This time, I was a high-school student somewhere in the Ozarks, only it was an Asian vampire film involving nanites, a very gory Asian vampire film that just happened to also be a musical (and I blame "Once More, With Feeling"). Most of the twists and turns are now forgotten, lost to me, but it was one of those dreams where you're simultaneously a character and someone watching what's happening, as though it's a movie. The whole thing played itself out twice, except the second time through I realized there were scenes I'd somehow missed the first time. It ended, finally, with the realization that the "vampires" (for want of a better word) could only be killed by running a long silver needle through their left temple and leaving it there. It sounds funny now, but it was truly, genuinely terrifying (and not just because of all the singing schoolgirls and choreography). One detail I recall very vividly, a sort of ad or pamphlet urging graduates to remain in the town after graduation. Drawn in a very 1950s style, it showed three deliriously happy people: a jock in his letterman sweater, a cheerleader, and a very bookish girl.

Meanwhile, because we are apparently in competition at the moment in the surreal dreams department, Spooky was having a dream about stealing absinthe from Harlan Ellison's locker. I asked her if the dream was set in a high school, and she said no, there was just this locker. Anthony Stewart Head was with her (she says he was not Giles), and he could open the combination lock on the safe by listening to the tumblers. There was someone else with them, a third, but she couldn't recall who he or she was. They took the pilfered bottle of absinthe to a cornfield, but the corn had only just begun to sprout, and so didn't make much of a hiding place.

So...now I am awake. I think. No one but Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld are singing, and I take that as a good sign.

Yesterday, I did 1,214 words on "The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean," which I expect to finish today. Also, Tuesday, and again yesterday, I forgot to mention that on Monday I'd done all the requested line edits and a couple of minor rewrites on "As Red as Red," which will be appearing in Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas' forthcoming anthology, Haunted Legends.

Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. I should stress that my personal stock of both The Five of Cups and Tales from the Woeful Platypus (hardback trade editions) is getting very low, and I'll not be offering many more copies of these two books. Your bids will be much appreciated.

By the way, if you're going to make it to my "How I Wrote A is for Alien" solo presentation at ReaderCon 20, I think I'll be handing out sets of the four images by Vince Locke that did not actually appear in the published book. How's that for incentive? Frankly, I have no idea how I'm going to spend an hour talking about writing the anthology, especially given that it was written over a period of four years, as individual short stories, and not as a single volume. But, these things always seem to attend to themselves, so I expect I'll do fine, and great fun will be had by all. And, of course, Henry the Horse dances the waltz.

I'm going to go finish my coffee now. The platypus is giving me the hairy eyeball.

But wait..."Evidence Found for Ancient Mars Lake". A body of liquid water the size of Lake Champlain, which existed 3 billion years ago. Exquisite.
greygirlbeast: (stab)
I have more reasons to love Harlan than I can count, but this is the latest one:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ELLISON SUES STAR TREK

And this line:

"To quote Gandhi: ‘First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.’"

Fuckin' A.
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
Yesterday, I did 1,321 words on "The Bone's Prayer." It's shaping up nicely. I'm aiming for something very compact, here. It's not a vignette, as it occurs over four or five scenes, but it's not a short story, exactly. More like a series of vignettes, but I suppose a lot of my short stories are no more than a series of vignettes. Anyway, I'm liking where it's going, regardless. I hope to be able to have it finished tomorrow afternoon, and to get Sirenia Digest #39 out late on Monday (March 2).

We're still working out the "fair-use" issue regarding a few of the quotes in The Red Tree. In this instance, they're all quotations from authors long dead, but the issue of translation arises. Are the translations I've quoted under copyright? In this case, it's Hesiod, Seneca, and Goethe. We're clear on everything else. Though I'm fairly certain that the copyrights have expired on the translations I've quoted (I became manic about this sort of thing after the Dread Daughter of Hounds/Emily Dickinson fiasco of 2007). Worse-case scenario, I have my own translations done, but I really don't think that's going to be necessary.

Yesterday was almost warm. The temperature reached 50F, but we had a terrible wind (gusting to 34 mph). After the writing was done, Spooky cajoled me into taking a walk with her, as I'd not left the house in so long. So I went. We walked as far as the statue of Ebenezer Knight Dexter (ca. 1832), at the north end of the Dexter Training Grounds. It was good to be out in the sun, despite the blustery chill.

Later, after dinner, we did a bit of the Kid Night thing, and watched The Valley of Gwangi (1969), one of my favorite films featuring Ray Harryhausen's animation. I mean, dinosaurs vs. cowboys. It just doesn't get a whole lot cooler than that. I will forever be grateful to Harlan Ellison for introducing me to Harryhausen back in 1998. Anyway, I first saw The Valley of Gwangi with my mother, grandmother, and sister, almost forty years ago, not long after its release. It seems unthinkable that it's been that long. I was five years old. I was a little disappointed that the cut we saw last night was trimmed from the original 125 minutes, down to 96 minutes. It omitted the cheesy song that James Franciscus sings to Gila Golan. But the dinosaurs are still cool, and I got my cheese fix from the cowboys, and Spooky thought the Eohippus was cute.

Okay, time to make the doughnuts. The platypus is snarling.
greygirlbeast: (europa)
Yesterday was a day of mail. Well, yesterday was a day of pleasant mail. A package from [livejournal.com profile] txtriffidranch, including many things, but the most marvelous bit is a recording from 1966 of Harlan reading "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman" and "A Boy and His Dog." I used to have these recordings, long, long ago, and lost them in one or another move, and I am very pleased to own them again. Thanks very, very much. Almost as cool as the British Museum Dimetrodon. Also, a package from [livejournal.com profile] mellawyrden, which, among other things, included a copy of Mac Wellman's A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds. And, also, a complimentary copy of the Fall 2008 Dead Reckonings arrived (Hippocampus Press), which includes S.T. Joshi's review of the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder, "A Slow-Moving Tsunami" (though it says "Caitlín Kiernan, Remastered" on the cover). I will now shamelessly post a short quote:

Kiernan has inexorably ascended the echelon of supernatural horror with an array of distinguished novels and story collections that have already led some critics to rank her with such luminaries as Ramsey Campbell and Thomas Ligotti. The comparison with Campbell seems to me particularly apt, for there are few writers in the entire history of supernatural fiction who have simultaneously mastered both the short story and the novel and who have combined such copious productivity with such a high level of meticulous craftsmanship.

And if posting that quotation is self-aggrandizing, so fucking be it. There are precious few rewards, writing what I write, and being ranked, by Joshi, with Campbell and Ligotti is among them. So, yes, a splendid day for mail.

Unfortunately, it was a pretty lousy day, otherwise. Sometime after one, I had one of the worst seizures I've had in a while. I came to on the floor in the middle parlour, surrounded by Spooky and the cats. So I spent most of the afternoon in bed, dazed, feeling like I'd been run down by a truck. Spooky read me Chapter Four of The Red Tree, and I tried hard to pay attention. Mostly, I drifted and stared at the patterns the sun made on the bedroom wall. It was after dinner before I began to feel halfway decent again.

Last night, we watched George Clooney's Leatherheads, in which George Clooney plays Clarke Gable and Renée Zellweger plays Claudette Colbert. Well, no, not really, but pretty close. It was a thoroughly charming, film, despite the fact that football bores me to tears, and felt more like something from the late sixties or early seventies, during the nostalgia boom that spawned movies like The Sting and Paper Moon.

And today I will try, again, to begin the Long Sought Epilogue, because Herr Platypus is not a happy camper. Please take a moment to order A is for Alien, due out next month from Subterranean Press, if you've not already done so. I promise it doesn't suck.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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