greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
I know it's gonna be a goddamn weird day when the first thing I read after crawling (moaning) from bed is an article in The Economist. But, really South Carolina people. Newt Gingrich? Newt fucking Gingrich? That crackpot from the radio? A paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze who's clearly proud of being a paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze. Is anyone actually believing this shit about "open" marriages that he's spouting? But, back to the aforementioned article, I have to quote this bit:

As nuts as it may seem to those of us who belong to smaller, more vulnerable segments of the population, conservatives feel backed into a corner by the broader culture, and they detect in Mr Gingrich's pharisaic diatribes the hopeful will to fight, the promise of punching their way back to uncontested supremacy. That Mr Gingrich is a cartoon of a corrupt demagogue doesn't seem much to matter. Not only do conservatives believe Mr Gingrich feels their pain, they believe he seeks their revenge.

I'm imagining redneck Tea-Partygoers googling pharisaic, because that's a damn fine cup of irony (sorry, Mr. Lynch).

---

Yesterday was pretty much a bust. I wrote a measly 491 words on "The Diamond Friendly," and I think I'm about to shelve it a second time. I could try to explain what's gone wrong, but it would probably amount to a treatise. Having lately read so much dull, flavorless sf, I'd really like to write a bit of sf that, at the very least, can be called neither flavorless nor dull. Thing is, so much of that bad sf I've been reading is bad not because, I suspect, the writers in question are necessarily bad writers. I know that some of them aren't. It's because good sf – especially that of the futuristic variety – requires the author to have a firm grasp of sociology, psychology, linguistics, pop culture, economics, history, politics, and never mind the fields of science and technology relevant to the story at hand (besides sociology and psychology, I mean). You have to know, or at least be able to lay your hands on, all these disparate sources of data if you are to imbue your story with the least jot of authenticity, and then you have to start juggling them, and keep it all in the air while you write (I suppose this is done with the toes, since the hands are occupied), snatching the information you need as you need it. Mixing and matching, splicing and melding.

And here I am, in a crush of deadlines, setting out to write what would be an approximately ten thousand word hardcore "biopunk" (can we please, please, please stop punking?) story, spoken by its interauthor in a quasi-fictional argot I'm devising from a hundred sources for use in the mid 2050s...and...yesterday, I realized I had to step back. I started the story last month, then set it aside. I am going to write this dark, dark story about what [livejournal.com profile] corucia has deftly termed "somajakking." But I don't think I can write it now. Maybe I'm wrong, and by the end of the day I'll have figured it out, how to do this and everything else and not break my brain. I just don't know. A writer knows her life has grown peculiar when she begins to feel guilty about taking the time and energy to, you know, write a short story.

---

I don't like to talk about my infirmities in the blog. I just don't. I think, mostly, because I dislike the inevitable commiseration. "I know just how you feel." That sort of thing. I understand how many human beings find comfort in commiseration, but I don't. Anyway, I'm drifting. Point is, I've had this fucking migraine for eight days, as of today, which beats my old record by three days...and I've been trying to persevere. But I'm starting to slip. The formulation of coherent – never mind artistic – thoughts while this railroad spike is being removed and reinserted into random parts of my skull...I think the appropriate word is maddening. There must be a word for people who can remain articulate while in excruciating fucking pain, but, if so, it escapes me. Or I never learned it. Anyway, please do not commiserate. Mostly, I just wanted this down for the record, so I can remember, some day hence, that I once had an eight-day (or longer) headache.

---

I was going to write about playing too much SW:toR. I was going to write about reading The Dragon Seekers, and how it pains me to revisit the life of Gideon Mantell – the man who, among many other amazing achievements, named the second dinosaur* ever described, Iguanodon (1825) – but died poverty ridden in 1852, as do many paleontologists today. Mantell also discovered and described Hylaeosaurus (1833), the third dinosaur to be described. Instead, I wrote about all that other stuff. And now I have to go try to write that which I am paid to write.

When Evening Calls So Hard,
Aunt Beast

* The term dinosaur was coined in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Comment today, kittens. It'll help.

Three years ago, on December 24th, I wrote these lines:

"Last night, as I tried to find sleep, Spooky and I talked about having a farm. I would give up writing, I said, except for those things I wanted passionately to write, and we would have goats and chickens and an old horse and sheep and bees and rabbits. Orchards of apples and blueberry bushes behind fieldstone walls. We would have an enormous garden. It would be hard, hard work, but we would be as self sufficient as anyone can hope to be in this odd millennium. We'd only need to buy grain and sugar and coffee and such. We'd have a windmill for electricity, and a well. It was a pretty dream, no matter how impossible, to have before sleep and the inevitable nightmares, a dream of dirty hands and sweat and not sitting in this chair every goddamn day, worrying about sales figures."

Three years later, I still resurrect the daydream, now and again. Or Kathryn will. It's not dead.

---

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] mizliz (in response to my second entry yesterday), expressed her confusion over the meaning (to use the word loosely) of Z'omglol. Not wanting to dig too deeply into the politics and semantics of the more asinine denizens of MMORPGs – which would be, depending on the game, 75%-90% of the players – I'll toss out the quick answer, cribbed from that most tiresome of sources, the "Urban Dictionary." To wit:

zOMG is a varient of the all-too-popular acronym 'OMG,' meaning 'Oh My God'. The 'z' was originally a mistake while attempting to hit the shift key with the left hand, and type 'OMG.' Also used in all-caps, 'ZOMG' is generally used in a sarcastic manner, more often than not a humiliating fasion [sic]. It is also used as a device for stating the obvious.

Which is to say, in gaming, it shows up in the "too cool for school" crowd, the faux rebels who believe themselves so above it all (especially the concept of RP) that they choose these ironic names. Even though, for the most part, they couldn't define irony if their weaselly little existences depended on it. Because, you know. When there's no room in hell the dead will walk the earth. You're welcome, kittens.

---

Yesterday, though. I am neglecting yesterday. We'd planned to watch the original Star Wars trilogy, but got started too late and only made it through Star Wars (that would be – ahem – "Episode IV: A New Hope") before dinner (leftover meatloaf with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, Precious). I saw Star Wars when it was first released in theatres back in 1977, thirty-four years ago. I was in eighth grade. And I thought Star Wars was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Until The Empire Strikes Back came along in 1980, a film I loved so much I saw it twenty times in theatres that summer. Looking back at Star Wars (1977) yesterday, it seemed astoundingly quaint. I know that there was an intentional innocence that Lucas was trying to capture, but the quaintness goes far beyond that. And, too, the acting is often terribly wooden, a fact I blame on Lucas, who simply is incapable of good direction. One reason that The Empire Strikes Back is so much better than its predecessor is that the directing reins were passed to Irvin Kershner. Anyway...playing the SW:otR MMORPG, I wanted to revisit. And it was...odd.

I can also say that I have settled on a title for the second "best of" volume (which will not be out until 2014, so please don't ask ridiculous questions about pre-orders). I'm liking Weave a Circle Round Her Thrice: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 2).

Also, I read Wilum Pugmire's rather enchanting "The Fungal Stain." And then, having managed to get into bed before two-thirty a.m. (!), I proceeded to watch an amazingly creepy film, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton's Yellowbrickroad (2010). I know that critics pretty much brushed this one aside, but by the time it ended (about four-thirty a.m.) I was so disturbed I had to switch the light on to get to sleep. I find no shame in admitting such a thing. Yellowbrickroad is clearly very heavily influenced by both House of Leaves and The Blair Witch Project (and were I not writing this, I'd say The Red Tree). It is one of those stories about a Wrong Place. Or...well...the less said the better. It's a slow burn, quiet with sudden moments of horror, whispered impossibilities, and a marvelously surreal ending. The ending (and pacing) are likely why so much of the slasher crowd couldn't wrap their brains around this film. Anyway, this is my recommendation. See it (it's streaming free from Netflix).

And I should go. Because, even though this is my vacation, I have work to do. January is beginning to look like the worst train wreck in history.

Quasi-Vacating,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Dreams that do not bear repeating; wield spite, and bury a dream in oblivion. Besides, this is one of those days when I have too many things to write about, not too few:

1. We have just passed that "magic" moment, the eleventh second of the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh year of the Twenty-First Millennium. Of course, I would argue to anyone so feeble minded to read any significance into all those elevens, alas, they actually missed the boat back in the year 1111 A.D.

2. With an emotion gently and precariously balanced between horror and bemusement did I, this morning, read the story of how the Corporation for Travel Promotion, via JWT and The Brand Union, and armed with a budget of 200 million dollars (!!!), plan to solve all of America's PR/image ills with a campaign so stupid it sucks the air from your lungs. Hideous logo aside, the resulting slogan — the "United States of Awesome Possibilities" — almost had me squirting sugar-free Red Bull from my nostrils. Did no one stop and consider that the slogan, an abomination in its own right, can readily be rendered as the acronym U-SAP? No, of course they didn't.

3. Yesterday is a day I would rather not write about. But I will write about it, just to carve another notch into the bedstead of stupid I have experienced. The good part of the day (or at least the "goodish" part) was me writing another 1,334 words on "Ex Libris." But Kathryn is checking the galley pages for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir against our photocopy of the CEM (copy-edited manuscript), to be sure that the copy-editor's changes with which I didn't agree had not been made. And...she discovered that someone had, seemingly at random, made NEW changes to the text. Changes in wording, in punctuation, and so forth. Now, this wasn't my editor, and it couldn't have been the copy-editor, so...have you ever seen a warthog with rabies? Well, then you don't know what I was like for an hour or so yesterday. This means, you see, that every page of text, every word, every punctuation mark, has to be read over again twice (galleys against photocopy of the CEM) before the galleys go back to NYC. Recall, I said yesterday they're due back on November 15th. There was a flurry of email and phone calls. When all was said and done, 1) it had been determined that no one has any idea who made the changes or on whose authority, and 2) that it was a horrible thing that had been done to my book (like I didn't know this from the beginning), and 3) that the production manager, being the saintly sort, would extend to deadline to the 21st of November, so that Kathryn has time to read every single page over again, twice. Anyway...yeah. Bullshit. But my thanks to my agent and my editor for helping me through this mess.

Later, after the new deadline had been established, granting me and Spooky those measly four extra days, Spooky and I read through what I've written so far on "Ex Libris." By the way, Subterranean Press will be publishing "Ex Libris," together with "The Yellow Alphabet," in a hardback cloth-bound "mini-collection," The Yellow Book (yes, a nod to Chambers), which will come FREE with the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart.

4) I may have mentioned that the ebook pirates are nipping at my heels again. Well, technically, they're nipping at the heels of my publisher. For my part, I'm ready to wash my hands of this whole ebook fiasco. Let the devil take the hindmost and all that. I just don't care anymore. NMP, because I choose for it not to be. Hey, this strategy is working just fine for the United States of Awesome Possibilities, in their approach to the country's absence of affordable healthcare, and towards the homeless, and poverty, too. So, it can work for me and ebook pirates. NMP.

5) And here we are on Veteran's Day, which I do not recognize. Instead, I continue to recognize Armistice Day, and on that note, as I do every year, I will yield the floor to the late Mr. Vonnegut:

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, "Romeo and Juliet," for instance.

And all music is.


And So It Goes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
In my forty-seven years, I have been around for the breakup of innumerable rock groups. Hell, I can clearly remember when the Beatles called it splitsville – a complicated, litigatious affair, that began in 1970, but was dragged out in courts until 1975 (so, from the time I was six until the time I was eleven). But I don't think I've ever been so affected by the breakup of a band as I'm being affected by the breakup of R.E.M. I came to the band fairly late, in 1986. I was in school in Boulder, CO at the time, and my first R.E.M. album (the first I encountered) was Fables of the Reconstruction, after which I immediately sought out Life's Rich Pageant. Eventually, by the sheerest happenstance, I came to live in Athens, GA in 1994, and running into and speaking with members of the band was a fairly frequent event, if only because we hung out in a lot of the same places. "Buck Berry Mills Stipe" managed to speak of the South in a way that few others ever have, with an authenticity, power, and beauty to rival prose authors such as Faulkner, Williams, and O'Connor. I cannot stress too strongly the influence their words and music has had on my own writing. They said it true. And I think they've now done the right thing. After all, thirty-one years is a long time, and their's is an amicable parting of the ways, and for the right reasons. But I cannot help but feel a pang of loss. And, I should note, if you're in the mood to do some R.E.M. bashing, do it elsewhere, please.

Yesterday was spent adding about eleven thousand additional words to the "Back Pages" section of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And then proofreading them. As Peter Straub said upon reading the manuscript, "I don't think I've ever seen a novel where it was so obvious the author didn't want to stop writing." He was, of course, right on the mark. This book is probably a quarter the length it ought to be, just as The Red Tree was about half as long as it should have been. And yes, publishers do give me word limits, both minimum and maximum. Plus, I have to factor in how long I can afford to spend working on any given book, as paychecks matter, as I was not blessed with, say, a trust fund.

Today, I add a little more. Then I try to take my hands off the thing, and I try to leave them off it, and look ahead.

Speaking of which, looking at my schedule again yesterday, I realized that there's no chance of me taking a "vacation" any time soon. Somehow, I thought there were three free days that don't exist. Probably, this is because I've spent so much time on the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. So, no Maine. So, no unplugging.

---

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] docbrite asked to see a transcript of me poking that Facebook idiot with my pointy stick. I didn't think Facebook logged such things, but I was wrong. You may find it behind the cut. I'm omitting the name of the idiot. Not because I'm nice. Because I'd rather not have some jack-off whining at me. Also, note how this guy began trying to get me to speak to him way back on July 14th (the spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc. is exactly as I received it):

For Billy )

Meanwhile...well, frankly I don't know. How is one expected to follow an act like that?

Radio Free,
Aunt Beast

* I have no friends named Linda. I don't think I've ever had a friend named Linda.

** It is, of course, common knowledge that the day of my birth is May 26th.
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
In the comments yesterday, the matter of Panthalassa came up, the matter of the focus my paganism. And I feel like I ought to explain something – not because anyone offended me – but just to be clear. My relationship with Panthalassa does not involve faith. Indeed, I am entirely lacking (or unburdened by) both religious and "spiritual" faith. Panthalassa, she asks for nothing, and I know I have nothing to give her. What's more – beyond the fact that she is objectively the world ocean – Panthalassa as a godhead exists only as a metaphor, and as a focus for psychologically healthy ritual. Which, if you ask me, pretty much puts her way ahead of Xtianity (or most other patrifocal religions), with its demanding, selfish, judgmental Old Man in the Sky. Or the "son" he supposedly sacrificed for our "sins." What I do, it's not drawing those lines – faith or failure, belief or torment. My meetings with Panthalassa are not about faith. Devotion, yes. And reverence. But not faith. Nor are they about communing with a conscious "higher power," as Panthalassa is not conscious. I am an atheist, and a pagan, and I know that bends some people's brains, but it ought not. I simply stepped outside several paradigms, all at once. Also, I have renounced the mess that Wicca has become.

---

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest 69 ready to go out to subscribers, and if you are a subscriber, you should have the issue by now. If you're not a subscriber, you should immediately follow the link above and rectify this lamentable situation. Thank you. I hope people are happy with the issue, and if they have had time to read it, will kindly comment upon 69 today.

Today I go back to work on The Secret. And I wait for the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I am not waiting with dread, only with mild and time-consuming annoyance. I know there will only be the annoying marks made by the copyeditor that, for the most part, I have to STET. The rest of September will truly be a crunch. I have The Secret, the aforementioned CEM, and we need to read through all of Blood Oranges (though that might have to wait until October).

Someone asked if there were plans for a Subterranean Press hardcover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. No, there are no such plans, but I will be speaking with other publishers, possibly, about this, and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.

---

Kathryn was at the market yesterday and heard a woman actually say "LOL," aloud. That is, "el-oh-el." After I tweeted her traumatic experience, I have discovered from others that this is not an unusual phenomenon, nor one confined to "kids these days." You shame yourselves yet again, Western Civilization. You poop in your own undies.

---

Speaking of poop, last night, for some reason beyond my comprehension, we watched John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (1987), a thing I swore I would never do. And, for fuck's sake, this is a bad movie. Even a weird little role (with no dialogue) by Alice Cooper doesn't help, not one itty-bitty bit.*** At the center of this mess is a pretty neat little idea – evil is a viral being from outer space that arrived upon the earth billions of years ago, and the purpose of the Catholic Church was to fool everyone with religion until science could become sophisticated enough to cope with the swirling green entity in the cylinder. Fine. Very Lovecraftian. But. Carpenter takes that scenario and turns it into a dull, over-lit mess, with no suspense whatsoever. This film is the very antithesis of suspense. It's where suspense goes to die of boredom. There's no acting in sight, except for Donald Pleasence's overacting. The film pauses, now and then, to ramble off a load of nonsensical exposition, which is at least a break from the slog of the story. What the fuck? Had Carpenter spent all his money on blow and whores and had nothing left over to spend on actors, a camera crew, writers, and SFX? In short, stay far, far away from this one. It's actually much worse than In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and that's saying something.

For my part, I say Carpenter had a good run from 1981 through 1986, and then violently bottomed out – with, as it happens, Prince of Darkness. His masterpiece remains, by far, The Thing (released in 1982), and I think that's mostly because he had a number of great things going for him – "Who Goes There," Howard Hawkes' The Thing from Another World (1951), Rob Bottin's brilliant SFX and art direction, Ennio Morricone's wonderfully minimalistic score, the intentional allusion to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and, lastly, a great location. John Carpenter may not be what made The Thing a great film.

But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance. Escape from New York (1981) is loads of fun, as is Big Trouble in Little China (and Kurt Russell is a significant part of what works with both those films). But yeah. 1981 through 1986, and then Carpenter takes a precipitous nose dive. Hell, I might even be generous, and include The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978) – though I don't really like either, they're gold compared with everything that came after 1986. And the plunge from Big Trouble in Little China to Prince of Darkness is almost inexplicable. So, yes. I say it was coke and whores.

Anyway, afterwards, we watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and read more of The Stand. I read two more stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Both were by authors with whom I'd had no previous experience. First, John Horner Jacobs' "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and then Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Flash Frame." Both were quite good, but I especially liked Jacobs' piece. All this helped get the taste of the awful movie out of my brain and eyeballs.

Tonight, maybe some Insilico RP.

Rain today. Chilly. Summer's passing away.

Oh! Photos from Sunday, as Irene was finishing up with Rhode Island (behind the cut). So, these photos were taken the day before the last set of photos I posted.

Chilled,
Aunt Beast

28 August 2011 )


***Spooky says, "The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."
greygirlbeast: (white)
I don't think I have anything in me today worthy of an actual entry, than to note The Day, and perhaps a couple of other minor this or that.

Yesterday, as regards those who are too cool for school, and who, on general principle, cannot possibly enjoy a film like Cowboys and Aliens, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack wrote:

Everyone's too Hip and Cool to enjoy fun any more. It's like the whole world is an uptight teenager trying to impress everyone with how grown up it is, by smoking behind the toilets, looking bored, and mocking everything. Balls to that. I invoke The Law Of Awesome in this place, none of that bullshit here, thank you.

Indeed. Though, the word awesome, overused to a state of wearisome threadbareness, is beginning to grate.

And yes, I came to westerns very early in my life, and I've loved them ever since.

As for that "variant" spelling of Siobhan, it was a typo (which may appear throughout the manuscript, I don't know), though there are very many variants of the name, which is the feminized version of the Gaelic appropriation of John.

Also, I'm discovering I hate MMORPG culture. A lot of immature, ignorant, dick-measuring, pigheaded motherfuckers.

And.

Today marks the sixteenth anniversary of Elizabeth's suicide. She would be 40.

And there's this, which is a song we shared, and which she loved, in a time and place that is gone.

I still have this.

greygirlbeast: (sol)
The heat inside the house has become almost unendurable. This is not a melodramatic affectation. It genuinely is that hot. Spooky just showed me a map of the country, and I see that much of it is gripped by a heatwave. So, we're going to try to find a cooler place to wait for nightfall.

But a few things first.

My grateful thanks for all the comments yesterday. They're much appreciated.

Several of you suggested I write the entries each day, then post them when I get back. This doesn't work. For one, to keep the promise I made to myself, the entries have to be made on the day they were written, otherwise there will be no entries on those dates. This suggestion would sort of work if LJ would let you backdate entries, but it won't. I'll have no blank spots on the archives calendar. But thanks for the suggestion, regardless.

Also, I'm very glad 1990 was good to some of you, but I don't see where pointing that out to me is in any way productive or considerate.

At this moment I find myself "debt poor." When I was a kid, we'd talk about people being "land poor." That is, they owned a lot of land, but had virtually no income, and couldn't afford to live, much less pay land tax. I'm not "land poor," I'm "debt poor." About half a dozen publishers owe me money, collectively totaling thousands of dollars, and the checks are mostly delinquent. Ergo, "debt poor." NOTE: Subterranean Press is not one of these. They pay me on time. Anyway, I suspect this is true of many freelancers. Increasingly, it seems that publishers feel they can pay authors whenever they finally get around to it, after books have been printed and sold. Oh, and anthology editors are often in the same boat as us freelancers. Until they're paid, we can't be paid. And we are all at the bottom of the food chain, so far as many publishers are concerned. Recall, any food chain collapses if it's bottom (say, zooplankton) collapses. Anyway, not gonna name names, but to quote Malcolm Reynolds (ever quotable Mal), "We're close to gone out here."

Oh, hello acid reflux!

Last night, we finished Season Two of Criminal Intent. We were too hot to move, so we also watched Philip Kaufman's Twisted (2004), which was dull and shot like bad television. This is especially sad, given this is the director who brought us the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1979), as well as The Right Stuff (1983), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Henry and June (1990), and the brilliant Quills (2000). Anyway, afterwards, we watched Jennifer Lynch's Surveillance (2008), which I will, unreservedly, call terrific. The most wonderful film of it's sort since Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects (2005). Trust me. See it. Oh, be warned, it's mighty darn "triggery."

I have declared war on the putrescent neologism "triggery" and all those simpering shits who whine about anything being "triggery" and how they go on about it being the responsibility of OTHERS to protect them from that which they subjectively deem "triggery." I say to them, "Fuck you. Take some responsibility for yourselves, or fuck off." And as I've said, I say this as someone currently on meds for PTSD.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally passed out on the chaise in the middle parlor, which was only hot, and slept for an hour and a half, comforted by the desperate whir of the sadly ineffectual Dr. Muñoz. We all remember how "Cool Air" ends, right? (A hint: it's "triggery.")
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Today, kittens, would be a fine day for comments.

Spooky and I are on the guest list for the Brenden Perry and Robin Guthrie show at the Paradise in Boston tonight. BUT. There are thunderous hellstorms barreling down on New England. And my feet are swollen (and I might have to stand at the show). And the car's acting goofy. And parking's always dodgy in Boston, which means walking on the swollen feet I might have to stand on for two hours. And I'm waiting on checks that haven't come, so money's tight (and gas is exorbitant). And there's work needs doing. And I already took yesterday off. And...you see? When I was thirty-seven, I'd have said "Fuck it all. We're going." Now, I can't stop chewing over the cons, and the pros shrink away. But Brenden Perry and Robin Guthrie.

Brenden Perry makes this fluttery feeling in my belly.

Anyway, decision made. Staying home and working. Or something of the like.

---

I awoke yesterday - after that paltry and feverish five hours of sleep - to a barrage of Very Important Email, which halfway thwarted my day off. But only halfway. Spooky and I escaped the sweltering house about three-thirty p.m. There had been plans to head down to Moonstone Beach, but I think we were both just not up to the drive (and back to the cost of gas). Instead, we crossed over to College Hill, and spent about an hour at India Point Park, where the Seekonk River drains into Narragansett Bay. The sun was hot, but there was a cool wind off the bay. I lay in the grass, and thought about Blood Oranges, and found a squirrel femur lying beneath a tree. There are photos below, behind the cut (oh, and one of me from back on May 19th, signing the signature sheets for the limited of Two Worlds and In Between).

Then we had an early dinner at Tortilla Flats on Hope Street (at the same intersection where we threw the hubcap on Monday night). I ordered a margarita, though my meds and drinking are a no-no. I did it, anyway. And delivered unto me was the Mother of All Margaritas. No, seriously. Must have been five shots of tequila in the thing. So, Spooky helped me drink it. Gods, I miss the taste of tequila. And after that, we headed back to the house. So, that was my semi-day off.

Last night was mostly just Rift, which was mostly me and Spooky level grinding in Iron Pine, then very good rp (thank you, T!) at Lantern Hook. Spooky's cleric, Miisya, made 44. By the way, here's an offer to people who might want to try Rift and join our guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man. Do the free trial, and if after those seven days, you decide to stick around, the guild will pay for your first mount (horse or vaiyuu). That 2.5 platinum, which, by the way, is hard as hell to make in the lower levels. The guild is beginning to come together, but the more the better. If you want to take us up on this offer, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll add you to the list and answer questions and whatever. And remember that we're on the Shadefallen shard, Defiant side.

---

The idiotic #FuckPlanB thread on Twitter was brought to my attention this morning, and I sort of wish it hadn't been. It goes something like this: "If you have a fallback plan, a Plan B, in case Plan A doesn't pan out, then you're not really trying." And this is utter bullshit, and advising any would-be artist to adopt this philosophy as valid is the height of irresponsibility. The road to oblivion and homelessness is paved with those who could not (or would not) adapt. Hell, I wouldn't even be a writer if I hadn't had a Plan B, as Plan A was vertebrate paleontology! Yeah, life isn't fair, and settling for less than "your bliss" can suck, but it's better than the alternative. Unless you're so privileged (trust fund, whatever) that you can actually afford the sort of failure that derives from not having a Plan B (and C, and D), this attitude is, simply, self-destructive. Consider Sirenia Digest. That was a Plan C. Anyway, this whole thing has made me rather ill. If you want to read a very cogent take on this, read what [livejournal.com profile] bethofalltrades has to say on the matter in this post.

---

Also, I'm very pleased to see the return of [livejournal.com profile] acephalemagic to LJ. He's one of my favorite bloggers and one of My Favorite People I've Not Yet Met.

Now, kittens, I face the storm.

Plan Ahead,
Aunt Beast

31 May 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The tree outside my office window is finally greening.

It's Saturday, and I'm locked inside. Please comment.

And this is one of the days when I chafe at the tyranny of my pill bottles and boxes. I'd like to open the window and drop them out. Fuck you, defective brain chemistry. Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces. Not a pharmaceutical hybrid always telling me that's my face in the mirror, when I know better.

Fuck you, 47.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,599 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. My plan is to have the first chapter finished by Wednesday, and then set the book aside until September. Which is, I know, a weird way to write a book, but another book needs to be written in between. And maybe when I come back to Blood Oranges at the end of the summer, I'll have figured out everything that happens after Chapter One.

---

I've made it almost all the way through the latest JVP, articles on Cenomanian squamates in France, the skull of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion, saber-toothed cats from the Pleistocene of Venezuela, the therapsid Promoschorynchus, and a new Lower Carboniferous xenacanthiform shark from Australia.

---

Night before last, we watched Tony Scott's Unstoppable (2010), which is the other movie about trouble with trains he made, immediately after having done the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009). Both, of course, star Denzel Washington. Anyway, Unstoppable is good, and Washington is always a joy to watch. But, Chris Pine is dull as engine sludge, and it's a different sort of film than The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As much as I enjoyed Unstoppable, I found myself wishing for the electricity that had sparked back and forth between that film's antagonist and protagonist. But the presence of Rosario Dawson (who played Abernathy in Death Proof) helped.

Last night, we watched two "horror" movies. The first was an entirely enjoyable and stupendously ridiculous Joel Schumacher film, Blood Creek (2009). Rednecks in Virginia fight a zombie demon Nazi occultist in a big scary house where time has stood still since 1940. And there's a zombie horse that, honest to fuck, is one of the scariest things I've seen in ages. I expected nothing from this film, and liked it a lot. It's much more artful than it has any right to be. See it.

We also watched Kevin Costner in Luis Berdejo's The New Daughter, which is very remotely based on a short story by John Connolly. All that said, it really isn't very good, which should surprise no one, as Kevin Costner hasn't, to my knowledge, been in a good movie since 1993 (A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood). However, the sad thing is, The New Daughter has a lot of isolated effective moments, and it could have been brilliant. But the pacing's off, the film's about half an hour too long, is filled with actors who can't act, and feels like it wants to be a television mini-series. In fact, the uninspired cinematography absolutely screams old-school network TV mini-series. Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story. But it fails to mine the riches of that fictional territory (if, indeed, the film is even that aware of it's fundamental nature). The archetypes and opportunities are left to die on the vine while Kevin Costner flails about and pouts and fails at being a single helicopter parent. A bright spot, however, is Ivana Baquero (Pan's Labyrinth), who makes the best of a bad situation and rocks the fuck out of what little she's given to work with. The film's final shot might have been brilliant, but it gets mucked up by ham-fisted "horror" clichés. See this one if you're bored, or enjoy picking apart bad films that ought to have been better.

---

You know, I really do love Rift. In terms of a fantasy MMORPG, it's the best there's ever been. It's beautiful to look at, usually fun to play, and all that. It's even queer friendly. But the more I play, and the more the shiny wears off, the more I see how much better and smarter it ought to be. Look, here's the thing. I've said it before. Trion, are you listening?

Writer's work cheap.

Especially fantasy writers. We very often do our best work for a few pennies a word. It's obscene, but true. And it's entirely relevant here, Trion, because you didn't have to do this wrong. The plot holes, almost complete lack of internal logical integrity, faulty world-building, and so on and so forth, all that stuff could have been avoided. And you wouldn't have to be posting what is essentially poorly written fan fic to your website, mucking things up even more. You could have done this right, Trion, and either you were ignorant of that fact, or you just didn't give a shit. But it's not about money. Because, like I said (REPEAT AFTER ME), writers work cheap. And even moderately incompetent hacks who never aspired to write anything more ambitious than a twelve-volume epic – following the adventures of a Drow anti-hero with a name that makes me laugh – can do better.

This is my message to the whole goddamn world right now: You can do better. Yes, you can. And if you know this, and you continue on about your sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways, well...people will love you and shower you with riches and you'll win awards. Because this is the way the world works.

But some days it makes me more nauseous than others.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Venting Spleen,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (kong2)
Here's the thing. If you're going to fake a bigfoot sighting, at least make sure that the gorilla or bear or wookie costume fits the idiot who'll be wearing it. Also, rednecks will shoot at anything.

greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Just back from a day at the shore, but I'll write about that tomorrow, and there will be photos.

The post-novel depression hit full force while I was sitting there watching the sea. It's a couple of days overdue, but I was still writing even as the editing began, hence the delay. And here I am, back at that place where I want no one to read the novel. I sure as fuck don't want it read and reviewed and "reviewed" and have to watch the sales figures and all that shit.

And that sort of brings me to thing number next:

As we finish up Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, the part of Katniss Everdeen has been cast for the forthcoming film/s. She will be played by Jennifer Lawrence. And yesterday Spooky alerted me to the great mewling outcry from the books' community of "fans." YA boards and communities were abuzz (and likely still are) with outraged cries of "racebending" and "whitewashing" and all sorts of other nonsense. I wish to state a few thoughts, which I'll put forth as bullet points, as this lamentable format seems so popular these days:

1) Race: Katniss Everdeen has dark hair and olive skin, yes. But she is Caucasian. Indeed, her mother and sister are blondes. Near as we are told, the people of the Seam are mostly, but not all, white. Peeta Mellark has blond hair. People of the Seam often have grey eyes. All this is hardly surprising given that it seems that District 12 is located somewhere in the West Virginia/Pennsylvania region of the Appalachians. So, cries that the casting is racist are...well...it makes me wonder if the people who read the book, you know, read the book. Let us wait to see how Rue is cast before we howl about "whitewashing."

2) Can Jennifer Lawrence play Katniss Eberdeen? How about this. Watch the trailer for Debra Granik's Winter's Bone:



Truthfully? You ask me, this looks like Lawrence having a trial run at playing Katniss. I say she's damn close to perfect.

3) Does the author approve of the casting choice? Yes, very much so. To quote AccessHollywood (there's a first in this blog):

In a statement released by the studio, Author Suzanne Collins and director Gary Ross expressed their excitement at having Jennifer join the cast.

“Jennifer’s just an incredible actress. So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. I never thought we’d find somebody this perfect for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it,” Suzanne said.


Now, for my part, points one and two aside, this ought to shut all the naysayers the fuck up. It won't, of course, but it should. These books do no belong to the fans, not matter how devoted and no matter how much they might believe otherwise. They belong to the author, that person whose name follows the © symbol. Everyone else has the pleasure of reading the books, and may own copies, but the novels belong to the author. And if she's happy with the choice, that's good enough for me.

More and more, I realize there's this great mass of humans who squat in waiting on the internet, just waiting for an opportunity to be offended. The chance to whine and bellyache and point fingers and pull the holier-than-thou routine. And, usually, a chance to be utterly wrong. This is, of course, their right. But they're only embarrassing themselves.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
These days, thanks to better sleep and meds, dreamsickness is rare. But I'm wrestling with a nasty bout this ayem. I woke three times from the same fucking nightmare, only to fall right back into it when I went to sleep again, continuity intact.

---

Another day of proofreading yesterday, but it seemed much, much shorter than did Thursday. Spooky read the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters aloud (109 pages, 24,727 words) over the course of about three and a half hours. Yeah, not nearly as bad as Thursday. Though, 7 is sort of a long demonic yowl that pretty much has to be read in a single breath. Still, not as bad the day before, and today should be about the same as yesterday. And today, we'll finish this first pass. Only minor line edits and the very few continuity errors have been corrected, along with two or three sentences I yanked out altogether

The Red Tree is likely a more straightforwardly autobiographical novel, but The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is somehow much more personal. Yesterday, I kept thinking, I wrote this thing. I shouldn't have to hear it read.

And I keep finding things I want to go back and work into the book, like Billie Holiday (and Diamanda Galas) singing "Gloomy Sunday," and wordplay with Styx and sticks.

Spooky and [livejournal.com profile] sovay will spend the weekend making corrections to The Drowning Girl, while I work on the corrections on Two Worlds and In Between (because, yes, I am editing two huge books at once).

I believe that, yesterday (or the night before), I found the name of my first YA novel, Blue Canary. Regardless, that's what the project will be called, and not one word of the plot will be leaked until the ms. has been sold. Yes, lately, Howard Hughes is extra paranoid.

---

Last night, we were both so exhausted. Spooky warmed up leftovers. I had a hot bath that, of course, made me more tired. I played an hour or two of Rift while she watched trashy television. Literally! She's become addicted to something called American Pickers. But anyway, I leveled an alt, Nilleshna, my Kelari cleric (inquisitor/cabalist/purifier) to Level 7, and read a lot more of the game's lore. The deeper I get into Rift, the goofier WoW seems. And it's weird, because I went into WoW knowing it was goofy. I remember my first time in the b'elf starting area, and excitedly describing it to Spooky as "Disneyland on acid," and also comparing it to Final Fantasy X-2. But at some point I forgot it was all so dumb and goofy, and when I eventually remembered, it really pissed me off. The whole affair is inexplicable.

I continue to see most, by far, Rift players on our RP-PVE server using world-appropriate names, though last night I spotted Slyce, Inkognito, and Jhaded. I figure some of these players learned everything they know about naming fictional characters from reading superhero comics...which would be fine, if this were CoX. As for Jhaded (Jaded was taken, of course), that's just some jackass who's too cool for school. I see a lot of that in MMORPGs. gamers who feel they're simply too worldly to "pretend." And all I can do is wonder, then, why chose an rp server, when they had plenty of non-rp servers from which to choose? I am forced to draw the conclusions that they mean to be disruptive, and I loathe them on principle.

Later, we read Catching Fire, which we've almost finished.

---

And this is today. Fuck you, day.
greygirlbeast: (Humanoid)
If gaming shit bores you, skip this. I won't be offended. I'm mostly writing it for me.

Setting aside the recycled cover fiasco with The Red Tree for a moment, I want to talk about World of Warcraft, and how my time with the game is growing short. I'll be playing for about another six weeks, then leaving WoW.

I've worked out an exit strategy. I'll finish getting my Loremaster title, and then that's it. And, by the way, as most of this entry will be devoted to how WoW has worked so hard the last couple of years screwing the pooch, I'll point out that Spooky and I were both within a hair's breadth of having Loremaster, when the Catacylsm expansion essentially undid all our progress, forcing us to start over. That's hundreds of hours each spent working towards the title (which is a pathetic example of time displacement, I am well aware).

I'll be going to Rift and LoTRO, as soon as I (hopefully) have a laptop later this spring. Spooky's on the Rift beta, and has been playing LoTRO, and they both look far superior to WoW. Rift is blowing my mind.

I did want to post a list of the particular things that have driven me, after three years of intensive WoW play, to jump ship. So, here goes:

1) Blizzard has chipped away at class abilities. Warlocks have lost a lot. Paladins even more. And it's still happening. Just last week, warlocks lost mana drain, a very important defensive spell for a class stuck in cloth armor. And, perhaps even worse than the chipping away, has been the inexplicable reorganization of abilities. Old spells have new names. It's beyond confusing.

2) Changing the talent specialization system. Now, you're forced to place all our talent points in one specialization, until you've spent 30 points, and only then can you place points in other specializations. The old ability to create hybrids has been severely hampered.

3) WoW, which was never a very bright bulb, is increasingly, pandering to the lowest common denominator. This has gotten so bad with the release of Cataclysm that I've come to think of it as the Beavis and Butthead of MMORPGs (and really, that should just be MMOG). It's an endless barrage of lame National Lampoon-style pop-culture satire, faux wit, and endless poop and fart jokes. WoW is now a game for fourteen year olds and forty year olds who never matured beyond fourteen. WoW is sunk almost as low as Second Life. And the game just gets easier, and easier, and easier...and easier. Mounts at Level 20, maps that hold your hand all the way to quests objectives, etc. I'm not even going to get into examples of racism and homophobia.

4) The homophobic hate speech in chat is only getting worse, and if anyone's trying to stop it, there's no evidence of that effort.

5) The game's penchant for forced socilaization and it's disinterest in solo players (or even groups of two or three) is worse than ever. It's aggressive. Sure, we have the random dungeon finder now, which is fine, if you want to take your chances on winding up with a bunch of teenage dounchebags.

6) Dungeons are essentially closed to solo players and small parties. You must be many levels (and sometimes entire expansions) beyond the dungeon's level to run them. And endgame is essentially closed to us.

7) The game has abandoned any pretense at being immerssive (see 3), if, indeed, it ever tried.

8) With Cataclysm, the last vestiges of a coherent ingame timeline has been lost. And the game's lore is, and has long been, utterly incoherent. It's Tolkien, Moorcock, Howard, etc. perverted to utter fucking nonsense. Contradictions are rife.

9) The obsession with mindless "achievements" is truly clogging up the gaming experience, and is one of very many transparent attempts to keep players online long after there's any truly engaging reason to play. I'd say it preys on the human propensity for obsession...but...no, I will say that.

10) WoW's barrage of holiday nonsense, which has never made any sense inworld, and which just keeps getting worse.

11) Watching Spooky play LoTRO, I see a much greater level of maturity among players, but this goes back to item 3.

12) One word: mini-games.

In short, I need a game that takes itself seriously. A joke here and there, fine. But WoW has become a really badly written spoof of sword & sorcery. I adore my main, Shaharrazad. I've been with her, as of this moment, 55 days, 15 minutes, and 35 seconds, since September 27th, 2008. I've invested a lot, in money and time. It's hard to let go of her, but I just can't take the idiots anymore, or the idiotic mess Blizzard has made of the game. Likely, I'll come back for expansions, for two or three week intervals, but that's it. Blizzard could have made it all right with Cataclysm; they did the exact opposite.

Shaharrazad, self-exiled Sin'dorei, servant of Sylvanas and Thrall, veteran of the war against the Burning Legion, the struggle against and defeat of Arthas and his Scourge, and the rise of Deathwing, is exhausted, and sees the world she fought for fall into the ruin and chaos. She will retreat soon to the peace and splendid cold of the Howling Fjord, and make a solitary life for herself in Northrend.
greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
No, The Red Tree didn't win the World Fantasy Award, but that in no way diminishes my pride and my joy at having been nominated. And my congratulations to all the winners. And my thanks to Peter, who would have accepted for me, had I won.

Here is it, Día de los Muertos*, and me without calaveras de azucar. Truthfully, I've never had a sugar skull, but would love to someday.

Sirenia Digest #59 should be going out the subscribers this evening. There were a few problems with the first PDF that are being corrected, and we'll get it out to you as soon as everything is just so. Yesterday was spent on the issue's layout. Today, I have to go back to actually writing, and, truthfully, it's a sort of relief.

---

I really dislike getting angry first thing in the goddamn morning. Or, well, early afternoon. For that reason, I try to avoid reader comments about my books on Amazon.com. This morning, I slipped up, and found this, posted anonymously two days ago by "R.M.B." (I've not bothered correcting R.M.B.'s misspellings):

I was very intrigued with the reviews of this book. It sounded great and I couldn't wait to read it. I was very dissappointed and quit after about five chapters. As is mentioned by other reviewers, the main character is very foul-mouthed and difficult to like. Also, and forgive me if this is a spoiler, in all the reviews and the synopsis I saw on this book nowhere is it mentioned that there is a very heavy gay/lesbian story-line. It's certainly not the first (nor I'm sure the last) book I've read that contains this element, but as that is not my taste and certainly not what I thougt I was getting here, I felt like that little detail was hidden. Frankly I feel a little mislead and wish I could get my money back. I can overlook some of these issues in some books, but this one was'nt one of them.

So, yeah, here's some angrifying shit (thank you for that word, Kristin Hersh). And suddenly I'm having flashbacks to that last (and horrible) Readercon 21 panel this past July, during which I had to listen to people complain that books ought to come with warning labels. Is it wrong for writers to respond to critics? No, not in the least, and I don't know who thought up that tiresome old chestnut. Regardless, I want to be clear that what I am responding to here is not the fact that the reader disliked the novel, as a novel, but to the reader's homophobia and sense of entitlement.

To start with, had she or he actually read "reviews of this book," he or she would have known that Sarah and Constance were lesbians. Few reviews fail to mention Sarah's sexuality, or the fact that she becomes involved with Constance. Ergo, the "reviewer" is either lying and didn't read reviews, or means cover blurbs when he or she says "reviews." Secondly, it is no one's responsibility— not mine and not my editor's and not my publisher's and not Amazon.com's —to inform anyone "that there is a very heavy gay/lesbian story-line." Does R.M.B. think books should notify their readers when there are very heavy straight plots? Of course not, because, remember, heterosexuality is normal and to be expected. It's a given that straight characters will suit the "tastes" of most readers, so this sort of warning would be silly. Obviously. So, never mind the disgust that betrays this reader's homophobia, there's the entitlement issue, that she or he has a right to be informed of queer characters, so such characters can be safely avoided. Same old shit, different goddamn day.

Is this worth me getting upset over? Yes. Maybe it wouldn't be, if gay men and women were accorded the same legal rights as straight men and women. But we are not. We are targeted as deviant. We are shat upon. We are relegated. We are shunned. We are threatened and murdered for loving those we love, and, ironically, told we cannot die in war. We are told we are sick and need to be cured. Even were all this not true, I would find the expectation that a book about us ought to come with a warning utterly abhorrent. So, yes. Sarah Crowe is a lesbian, and she's also "foul-mouthed," and if that gripes your ass, don't read my goddamned novel. If your sensibilities are so easily assaulted, do some research before you buy a book. Don't publicly whine after the fact, because the world can't be bothered to hold your little hand and cover your little eyes and keep you safe from all you find distasteful. And if you are going to publicly speak your opinion about a book, criticize the actual book, instead of using it as a platform for your loathing of queers. Want to review a book? Then review the fucking book, asshole.

There were other things I was going to write about in this entry, but I'm too angry. The whole goddamn world is falling into ruin, and people have time to be offended at queers. This shit has to stop somewhere. To quote Malcolm Reynolds, my favorite space cowboy, "So here is us, on the raggedy edge. Don't push me, and I won't push you."

* My mistake. Día de los Muertos is November 2nd. Surely, I knew that.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
1. Sooner of later, I will stop numbering the items within my entries. Any day now, my mind will cease to be so disorganized.

2. My thanks to everyone who reported "Blue Tyson's" Amazon.com "review" of The Red Tree. Hopefully, it'll come down soon. Near as I can tell, this guy's Australian, and he got his knickers in a twist because of Kindle limitations ("georestrictions"). So, he did the rational thing, and took it out on the one person who has absolutely no say in whether or not her book is available in Australia. The person who wrote the book. Mostly, I want to say to him, dude, buy a fucking copy of the book. An actual hard copy. If you really want to read it, I mean. Stop expecting the world to be what you think you need it to be. Stop being a whining fanboy. Lately, my tolerance for whiners has fallen near zero.

3. Last night, Richard Kirk sent me the artwork for the endpapers for The Ammonite Violin & Others. It's based on "Bridle" (Sirenia Digest #3, February 2006), which a few of you might remember, the kelpie story. Anyway, the art's beautiful. I'll post it here later on, in a few days.

4. Nothing was written yesterday, and, at this point, I am near to a full-on crisis, as far as The Wolf Who Cried Girl is concerned. I should be at least a couple of chapters in by now. I have a prologue. And a deadline. The time has come to find some way to stop fucking around and write the book. I have maybe a week, at best, before I have to set it aside and pull Sirenia Digest #50 together.

5. Last night, we watched Christine Jeffs' Sunshine Cleaners, which was really very good. I'm starting to think of Amy Adams as the new Nicole Kidman. We also watched the first episode of Primeval, which was goofy, but sort of fun. The paleontology was better than average, and I only cringed and rolled my eyes a few times. It was neat that they used creatures from the Permian Period (a gorgonopsid, a pareiasaur, and what appeared to be an oversized coelurosauravid named "Rex). And speaking of movies, I was very pleased to learn that Avatar won best picture at the Golden Globes, and James Cameron best director. Oh, and that Robert Downey, Jr. got best actor for Sherlock Holmes.

6. No Montauk Club photos today. Sorry, there wasn't time this morning to edit and upload them. Tomorrow, perhaps.

I can't accept and won't concede,
In aftermath we find redemption.
The causes that are seized
And disguised as revolution.

Quell the rage that deeply seethes,
The extremes of these devotions.
Dismantle the machine,
The device of their creation.

I can't accept and won't concede
That this is who we are....
(VNV Nation, "Sentinel")

"Mary Sue"

Jun. 16th, 2009 10:31 pm
greygirlbeast: (stab)
So, a while back, I came across a nitwit somewhere online who described Echo, a character I wrote in The Dreaming, as a "Mary Sue." Previous to seeing this particular comment, my familiarity with the phrase was extremely limited. Indeed, I only had some vague impression that it was used by writers of fan fic who wished to complain about characters written by other writers of fan fic. Last time Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) stayed over, we talked about this, and she was surprised (and annoyed) to see the term has apparently escaped the realm of fan fic and is being applied to non-fan fic characters. Myself, I thought it was a dubious concept to begin with, so, mostly, I was just baffled.

According to Wikipedia, a "Mary Sue" is defined thusly: "A Mary Sue (sometimes just Sue), in literary criticism and particularly in fan fiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors or readers. Perhaps the single underlying feature of all characters described as 'Mary Sues' is that they are too ostentatious for the audience's taste, or that the author seems to favor the character too highly. The author may seem to push how exceptional and wonderful the 'Mary Sue' character is on his or her audience, sometimes leading the audience to dislike or even resent the character fairly quickly; such a character could be described as an "author's pet". (Note that Wikipedia has tagged this article for a lack of cited sources, verifiable claims, etc.)

Now, tonight I see that Poppy ([livejournal.com profile] docbrite) has come across this Mary Sue Litmus Test thingy and applied it to two of her characters. So, I thought it might be interesting to try it myself, using Sarah Crowe from The Red Tree.

Not surprisingly, the test is stupid as hell. No, really. Big-time, ginormous, Godzilla-sized stupid. But regardless, Sarah only scored an 18. The author of the Mary Sue Litmus Test writes, "11-20 points: The Non-Sue. Your character is a well-developed, balanced person, and is almost certainly not a Mary Sue. Congratulations!" So, I guess that's a relief. One thing I can stop losing sleep over. Keep in mind, by the way, I have repeatedly admitted that Sarah Crowe is my most autobiographical character to date, though I'm not precisely sure how that admission fits into this mess.

There are so very many things wrong with the basic concept of a "Mary Sue" character, I'm not about to undertake a point-by-point critique. It's just dumb. By this definition, Tom Sawyer is likely a Mary Sue. I could make a very long list of famed literary characters who would fall into the Mary Sue category. And why the hell should we accept that the person who fashioned this test is any sort of authority on anything?

Obviously, this all begs the question of whether or not Echo might be considered a Mary Sue (by the standards of the person who wrote this dumb test). Maybe some other time I'll take it again, for poor Echo, but first I'd have to read back over a bunch of issues of The Dreaming, none of which I've read since 2004.

Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling.
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Trent Reznor has decided to leave Twitter. You may read his reasons here. I'm mostly posting this because a) I'm a fan of NIN and b) I've now lost count of the people who've listed him as one of the three or or four people whose "tweets" I absolutely MUST start following or risk death by explosion or some such, and c) it articulates some of my own observations about the failure of social-networking sites.

Kudos for this quote: "Cutter's tip for my friends there: remember to cut along the length of vein, not across. Bigger payoff."

Also: "Anyway, we're in a world where the mainstream social networks want any and all people to boost user numbers for the big selloff and are not concerned with the quality of experience."

And this whole thing got me to thinking again, not so much about Twitter, but about how artists are perceived by fans, whether the artists in question are musicians or writers or whatever. I've reached the point where some people read Silk, which I wrote between 1993 and 1996, and they expect me to still be the person I was back then, still writing in the voice I wrote in back then, and, what's more, to resemble, in real life, various characters from the novel (usually whoever happens to be hisherits favorite). They learn I'm someone else, instead, and they get...weird. Or angry. Or bitter. Because, you know, writers and musicians and painters and dancers and what-the-hell-evers, we're all supposed to be bugs in amber, waiting patiently for someone to find us and identify with us, so that we may validate their existence.

Admittedly, near as I can tell, these folks are in the minority of my readership, thankfully, but they have megaphones.
greygirlbeast: (Eli3)
Too much sleep last night, and how often do I get to say that? I'm groggy, but from sleep, not insomnia.

Days off, I end up with all this random crap, instead of actual journal entries. Day like these, my journal entries must consist of the random crap that floats through my days, or they will consist of nothing at all. To wit:

Yesterday, I read back over "Ode to Edvard Munch," before sending it off to the editor of By Blood We Live, a vampire anthology from Night Shade Books that will be reprinting the story. Reading it again, I realized (again) that sometime between the writing of Low Red Moon and Frog Toes and Tentacles —— so between 2002 and 2005 —— I quite suddenly became a much better writer. I don't know how it happened. I didn't do it on purpose. I followed no conscious agenda of change. It just happened. My style was greatly pared down. My voice simplified. My descriptions became more precise. My dialog became sharper. I learned to do much more with much less. It seems to have just happened.

Also, yesterday, while reading through "Ode to Edvard Munch," Spooky found a royalty check for $300 tucked inside a comp copy of The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance. The check is dated August 18th, 2008. And this, kiddos, is why I have to have a keeper, and why I cannot manage my own finances. I wonder how many checks I've mislaid over the years. A very small fortune, probably.

---

Friday evening, I was listening to WBRU, the college-rock station out of Brown University. The music's pretty good, but the DJs are insufferable. Anyway, Friday evening I heard two of them —— one male, one female —— trying to figure out what the word cretin means. Finally, after much debate, they achieved consensus on a definition. Cretin: a small, horned demon, sort of like an imp. And no, they were not trying to be funny. That much was obvious. And I thought, This is fucking irony.

---

Lots of "television" last night (which is to say, shows streamed via Spooky's laptop). The latest episode of Battlestar Galactica, "Someone to Watch Over Me," was very, very good, though I wish it could have ended on the scene with Starbuck at the piano, just after she played the bit of "All Along the Watchtower." I can't believe it's almost over. Well, it's not, really. The feature film is slated for a 2011 release date. We also watched a decent episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It was good to get back to Cameron, though I can do without that horrid kid that plays John.

And after that, we played WoW, killing alien bugs in Silithus for the druids of Cenarion Circle, which just feels all sorts of wrong to Shaharrazad. Working for night elves, I mean. I've been sitting at Level 62 for...I have no idea. Let me check. Since February 19th, as it happens. I haven't been playing much WoW. And when I have, I've mostly been mining. Indeed, after giving Shah a second profession, mining. I discovered that I was enjoying "the mining game" much more than all that questing and leveling nonsense. Last night, my blue bar moved for the first time since the 19th, I guess. Anyway, the bugs in Silithus were so obviously modeled after the bugs in Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997), it got me to wanting to see that ridiculous film again. So we stopped playing WoW and streamed it from Netflix. Quite an odd film, odder even than I remembered, though the creature effects have aged well.

---

I have resolved that I will now cease to read reviews of my writing. And I mean not only "reviews" (that is, readers "reviews" on Amazon, "reviews" in blogs, and so forth), but, also, actual, professional, published reviews. They almost always annoy me, even the positive ones. I cannot hope to make everyone happy. Hell, most times, I can't make me happy. Reading those reviews never changes the way I do what I do even in the least, with the exception of the review in Locus of The Dry Salvages that almost made me stop writing sf forever. So, I'm going to spare myself a lot of grief and stop reading all reviews of my work, period. No exceptions. Not if I can help it. So, please do not send me links to them online, or point me towards them, or whatever. I am cultivating disinterest and detachment. I am trimming away stress.

And I think that's all for now. It's warmish Outside, and Spooky says I can't stay in all day.
greygirlbeast: (white)
An odd day yesterday. After breakfast, I sat down and did my journal entry. I emailed my editor at Penguin, and I emailed Andrew Migliore about the Lovecraft Film Festival. And then, suddenly, I felt as though I was coming down with the flu. Within half an hour, I was aching and could hardly sit up, much less think clearly enough to write and/or edit. Which was all rather terrifying, given what is left to be done on The Red Tree , and given it has to be back in NYC by the end of the work day on Monday. And that I immediately have to get Sirenia Digest #39 written and out to subscribers. No time for the flu. Or anything else virulent. So, I loaded up on elderberry and used zinc swabs in my nasal passages, then went to bed, hoping desperately to stave off whatever might be happening.

Spooky read to me from Let the Right One In. I dozed. And by late in the day, just before dark, I felt quite a bit better. I began to suspect it was only exhaustion, the way I've been pushing myself the last week, the stress, the insomnia. I sat up and tried to clear my head by doing some Tarot work (mostly with the Fool, the Magician, and the High Priestess). But I dozed again, and Spooky woke me just before dinner. I felt much, much better. We had a proper Kindernacht, which has been so neglected of late. Hot dogs for dinner, then two movies. The first, a Spanish film directed by Isidro Ortiz, Eskalofrío (2008; English title, Shiver). A murderous feral child story, that had a great deal of potential, hints of Angela Carter, and was almost a pretty good movie. But it kept stooping to horror-film clichés, including a dumb, tacked-on final scene to remind you it really was a scary movie. Still, worth watching. However, our second film was the direct-to-DVD farce Species III. Now, I hated Species, and I loathed Species II, and I only watched the third film out of a dim, misguided curiosity. It was even worse than the first two. If you can't make alien sex sexy, especially when you have Giger designs to work from, you should just pack it, forget about film making, and get a job flipping burgers or something. Lots of nudity. Lots of very mediocre alien effects. Actresses who delivered their lines with all the conviction of porn stars. Now, I have to watch Species IV, just to see how much worse it can get.

Anyway, I feel pretty much okay today, which leads me back to the exhaustion theory.

After the movies, there was about an hour of WoW. And there was one good moment, when the head of our rp guild ejected someone seconds after he or she or it had joined. Some bozo who asked in guild chat, in which we are only permitted to speak ic, "So what the !@#!*@ does rp mean? lol" Now, this is an rp guild, on an rp server. Our guild master then asked this person, named "whydoilive," why hesheit had signed onto an rp server, before bothering to understand rp. "My buddies told me to come." To which our guild master replied, "Wrong button," and immediately ejected whydoilive from the guild. Very satisfying, that. And, while we're at it, I begin to suspect that "lol" is becoming a new punctuation mark. Increasingly, I see it ending chat messages, whether the line calls for "laughs out loud" or not. In place of a period or exclamation point, there's "lol." I almost begin to believe it's some defense mechanism for an irony-obsessed generation incapable and afraid of taking anything serious. "My cat died lol" "onoes! i left teh baby in teh car like 7 hrs ago lol" Yeah, whatever.

Oh, and I finally bothered to pick up "Professional Master" in skinning.

Speaking on language abuse, tyransitiuon is now an official, full-fledged neologism. Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for defining it:

tyransitiuon: (noun) An object which steadfastly refuses to be dislodged, moved, or otherwise displaced from its established geographical, geological, or astronomical location, and in fact manipulates events and causality in communal non-consensual time-space as to actively prevent removal or disturbance. Certain esoteric sects and psuedo-scientists place considerable importance upon these rare objects, occasionally manifesting in hysterical and apocalyptic cults. Creation of a tyransitiuon on the subatomic level has been posited as one of the possible applications of supercollider technology.

Okay. Gotta get back to The Red Tree, as the clock is ticking. But, I will remind you to please have a look at the eBay auctions, if you have not yet done so.
greygirlbeast: (Blood elf)
If you're playing an Orc named Bigg, then you obviously can't be bothered. Or maybe you're some sort of rap-star wannabe. Or, more likely, your imagination never made it out of the birth canal.

Can we all please stop being ironic now? Or post-ironic? Or whatever the hell this silly ass early 21st Century default setting is? It was already old ten years ago.

Profile

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

S M T W T F S
    1 234
56 7 891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 21st, 2017 03:46 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios