greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
An excerpt from a beautiful, beautiful short film/book trailer for one of the best books of 2011, by one of my favorite musicians, and a book that was powerful influence on The Drowning Girl:

Paradoxical Undressing - Trailer (edit) from kristin hersh on Vimeo.



And many of our Providence haunts are glimpsed.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
As I have said in the past, I do not recognize Veteran's Day. Rather, I recognize Armistice Day. This is not just a streak of contrariness. See Kurt Vonnegut for my rationale.

A sunny day here in Providence. Sunny, but cold.

Nothing was written, though there was a lot of talking about the story I was trying to write. In the end, I've decided to put "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars" back on the shelf, and write a somewhat different Martian story. Truthfully, I think I'm not a good enough writer (yet, and maybe I never will be) to pull off what I wanted to accomplish in "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars." If the best I can do is a half-assed job, better I do no job at all. Some will disagree, but in the realm in which my stories are written, I am the sole goddess. So, I have this other story, that I need to make serious progress on. I haven't written anything since finishing Chapter One of The Drowning Girl on Sunday.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you.

I feel as though I have forgotten how to sleep. Last night, Spooky was reading me Kelly Link's "Magic for Beginners," and Hubero came into the bedroom and proceeded to lay on my face and purr. It was all I could do to stay awake. As soon as Spooky finished reading the story, I was instantly and completely awake. Story ideas racing through my mind. (Do not try to solve this problem; this problem is seemingly insoluble, and certainly resistant to any simple remedies). I took Ambien for the first time in months. I slept something like six and a half hours, which is good, the way things have been going. As for "Magic for Beginners," I loved it. The whole thing with The Library made me think of the best sort of bizarre and whimsical television fantasy: Doctor Who, Farscape, etc. The characterization in this story's especially poignant. It has all the awkward innocence and too-often unsuspected depth of youth.

There was an amazing sunset last night. The sky in conflagration. There are photos below, behind the cut. And Spooky went to the Knight Memorial Library on Elmwood Avenue to see Kristin Hersh read from Rat Girl and sing. I wanted to go, but knew I shouldn't. When we first saw a flier for the reading taped to the door of What Cheer, I said, "No, I can't go." Crowds just freak me out too much these days. Crowds and fluorescent lights. Spooky got home about 9:30 p.m., and she said "It's a good thing you didn't come. There were too many people, and fluorescent lights. But she sang 'Fish' and 'Your Ghost,' and read about Fish Jesus, and talked about Betty Hutton." Which made me sorry I'd not gone, despite the fluorescent lights. Again, photos below, behind the cut.

You know, I wouldn't be so annoyed at how WoW and CoX and pretty much all MMORPGs force socialization on their players if there were only a good, Mac-friendly MMORPG that took into account those players who just want to solo. Sure, I enjoy being part of a VG in CoX, put sometimes it would be nice to have the option of going it alone.

I have, in fact, begun to wonder if loners are being systematically weeded out of the population, culled from the world. At least in America. Can loners survive in a world of texting, twatting, and virtual social networking, where you can be alone with a thousand other loners? Where words like "shy" and "introvert" are being replaced by psychological disorders (highly suspect psychological disorders, mostly manufactured by pharmaceutical companies that can then manufacture cures to treat them) like SAD (social anxiety disorder) and AvPD (avoidant personality disorder)? You would think we loners posed a threat. I'd say it's a fear we slow production, but America's no longer about production. We outsourced all that, and now we're a nation of consumers. Maybe there's a belief that people in groups consume more than loners. I see far too little emphasis on individual effort and accomplishment, and far too much focus on teamwork. But I ask, why be a cog, when you can be a whole machine, entire and realized?

Six acronyms in only two paragraphs. But, I prattle on.

Gotta write. Here are the photos:

10 November 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky and I just made a deal, that we would never again both smile at the same time. It was just all kinds of wrong. And we weren't even really smiling. We were sort of grimacing. So, we're really agreeing never again to bare our teeth like that at the same time.

Kind of muggy and sticky and too warm here in Providence.

I just got the artwork from Vince for Sirenia Digest #58 (and I love it). But it seems very unlikely that I'll be able to find time to get the issue out before we leave for Portland. Again I apologize. I hate being late with anything, ever. Tardiness just irks me. I am a punctual beast.

As for yesterday's interesting email from my agent, let's just say that not all unexpected opportunites are good, and so we move on.

I'm trying to be higgledy-piggledy without the --- dividers. Seems more honest.

Still much too much to get done before we leave in the morning. I have a very long list. Yesterday, we drove to South County, to Spooky's parents' place. We have a housesitter for the days we'll be away, but Spooky's mom will be coming up to give Sméagol the malt-flavored prednisone he takes for his plasma cell pododermatitis. So, we took her a key. On the farm, wild grapes and ferns were going yellow with autumn, and there were autumnal bursts of red in a few trees. It was raining and windy, and I thought about the much worse weather in New York and New Jersey and Connecticut. I visited the steamsquid, who's getting along quite well, a year and a half after we rescued himherit. Afterwards, we drove to Warwick, and I looked for a couple of pairs of pants at the thrift store. I have developed an almost religious enthusiasm for thrift stores of late (in spite of garish overhead lighting). Anyway, I found two pairs, including an absurdly large pair of brown corduroys. I almost got a pair of seersucker pants, but it's late in the year for seersucker.

I read two more stories in Haunted Legends, Steven Pirie's "The Spring Heel" and Laird Barron's "The Redfield Girls." I liked both, but found the Pirie story especially effective. And we finished Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl last night, which is truly excellent, and which I strongly recommend.

I also finished Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age late last night, when I should have been asleep, but was, instead, awake. My opinion at the end is pretty much the same as it was halfway through the novel. Wonderful worldbuilding, an intriguing (if far-fetched) future, an interesting quasi-Dickens pastiche, but not a single act of characterization in sight. The novel is actually more like a long outline for a novel. It's a great mountain of plot and ideas. This happened, and this happened, and this happened. But...we are never allowed to see into the people to whom all this plot is happening. Sometimes, we're told how someone feels, but we're pretty much never shown. Which makes this only one half of a good novel; I can't even consider it finished. It's sort of amazing, that a book can be so devoid of characterization. Anyway, I think I'll read the new China Miéville next. And probably a bunch of other stuff, because I seem unable to read only one book at a time.

This will be my last entry until after Portland, and I feel like I'm forgetting shit.

I read "Pickman's Other Model" aloud last night. It's the piece I want to use for my reading on Sunday. The reading's an hour long, and reading the story at a leisurely pace, it came in at about fifty-five minutes. So, I don't know. I'll either read it, or something from The Ammonite Violin & Others. Oh, and DO NOT FORGET. This weekend is be kind to Spooky weekend. Oak moss and voodoo donuts. I'm serious. Just don't try to hug her, because she bites.

And while I won't be tweeting, or blogging, or facebooking (???) on this trip, I will be taking tons of photos, and will post a bunch of them afterwards.

Now, I think I need a bath.

Oh, fuck! It's National Coffee Day!
greygirlbeast: (white)
As the departure for Portland comes barreling down upon me, it's starting to seem extremely unlikely that I'll be getting Sirenia Digest #58 (September) out until after I get back. I'm waiting on the final art from Vince, and suddenly there are far too many trip related things that have to get done in far too little time. I do apologize, profusely, and I'll get the issue out ASAP when I'm home again in Providence. Your patience is much appreciated.

On the bright side, this means you'll get two issues of the digest in October.

But look! More Throwing Muses, filmed live at the Rocket (later Club Baby Head, and presently Club Hell) in Providence, January 23rd, 1987:



Okay...gotta go figure out what the hell I'm reading on Sunday.

Fish

Sep. 27th, 2010 07:40 pm
greygirlbeast: (Max)
"Fish" by Throwing Muses:

greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
The weather seems to have turned cool again. It was warm enough yesterday in the House that we had to crank up Dr. Muñoz for the first time in weeks.

Almost all of yesterday was spent working on the interview for Weird Tales. How is that possible? Because I have an almost ironclad rule about live interviews, which is simply that I almost never agree to them. Almost. So maybe it's only tinclad. My ability to be articulate has an annoying tendency to wink out when I'm having to answer questions "live." The live interviews I've given over the course of my writing career can likely be counted on one hand. Or two. One, if it has a lot of fingers. There was one I did on the telephone with Publisher's Weekly in, I think, 1996. I was still living in Athens. I did a couple of live radio interviews after Silk came out in 1998, and one to the Birmingham Post-Herald. After that, there's a big gap. In 2007, after much reluctance, I finally agreed to be interviewed for Frank Woodward's documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. But I'm not sure that even counts as live. There were about a bazillion takes, and it took all day to get through it, as I was allowed to get answers just right. In 2008, I gave a live interview to Locus during ReaderCon 19. A month or so later, I gave one to a reporter from the South County Independent about The Red Tree; we met at the Peace Dale Public Library for that one. So, yeah. Not many at all, especially considering I've probably done more than a hundred interviews since 1996 or so.

Today, I go back to work on Sirenia Digest #58. Last night, I saw Vince's first sketch for the illustration he's doing to accompany "John Four," and I loved it.

"Faces in Revolving Souls" will be reprinted in the November 9th issue of Lightspeed. Also, "The Pearl Diver" is being reprinted in a forthcoming anthology of dystopian science fiction, details TBA. "The Melusine (1898)" is being reprinted in a forthcoming anthology of steampunk fiction. Lots of good reprints.

And speaking of my science fiction, I really will be writing The Dinosaurs of Mars, finally, and it's scheduled to be released by Subterranean Press late in 2011. Bob Eggleton is still onboard for the project.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. Also, [livejournal.com profile] catconley, please, please, please contact Spooky about your recent eBay purchases. It's very important.

---

Here's a picture I took of Jupiter and the Moon back on Wednesday night. I've been meaning to post it, and kept forgetting. But here it is. It's all a blur, because our camera sucks for this sort of thing. With my naked eye, the moon was the moon, and Jupiter was clearly a planet. But at least the smudgy lights are pretty. That's the closet Jupiter's been to Earth since 1951, a mere 368 million miles (592 million kilometers) away. It won't be this close again until 2022.

Jupiter and the Moon )


---

No Insilico roleplay last night. Instead, Spooky and I did two Outland dungeons, both in Terokkar: the Mana-Tombs and Auchenai Crypts. It was good to switch off the brain and be Shaharrazad. I know the armory page says she's Shaharrazad the Diplomat, but that's really just a way of catching people off their guard. Last night, she rained fire upon the heads of ornery Dranei necromancers. After WoW, we read more of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl. Recording the first 4AD album, vicious dobermans, Liverpudlian sound engineers, preganancy, and Betty Hutton. We're coming to the end of the book, and I'm not wanting it to be THE END.

Anyway. Those doughnuts won't make themselves, and the mothmen are casting a baleful eye my way. Yeah, just one eye. They're sort of stingy. Or maybe they're mocking me.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Here we go with the higgledy-piggledy again. It's a coolish day here in Providence, but sunny. After the anticlimax of Hurricane Earl, summer collapsed like a leaky balloon. Now it's sweater weather again.

I love that William Gibson tweeted "Johnette Napolitano is my Anne Rice. Seriously. Wonderful writer."

Yesterday, I finished writing my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, though it still doesn't have a title. Which, I suppose, means that, technically, it's still not finished. I wrote 1,171 words yesterday. This story has been tedious to write, but I like the end result. It has required the constant consulting of texts, on subjects as diverse as pop culture, bog mummies, Arabian mythology, Irish and French geography, owls, early 20th-Century occultism, X-ray microtomography, the chemical composition of claw sheaths, weird fiction in the 1980s, rogue taxidermy, social constructionism, and Parisian ossuaries.

My new passport came yesterday, so no more worries about photo ID. This new passport is oddly high tech. I know it's being used to track me by satellite. It won't have to be renewed again until I'm fifty-six, and I imagine by then the world will hardly be recognizable.

---

Still reading Kristin Hersh's memoir, Rat Girl. There's a bit I want to quote. She's writing about writing music, but it applies (for me) equally to writing prose:

Music's making me do things, live stories so I can write them into songs. It pushes my brain and my days around. A parasite that kills its host, it doesn't give a shit about what happens to a little rat girl as long as it gets some song bodies out of it. It's a hungry ghost, desperate for physicality.

I'm not writing songs anymore; they're writing
me.

♋ close your eyes

i'm sliding really fast
my hands are full of snow

i don't understand
i don't understand puzzles

And every time a song is done, you can go now...you aren't needed anymore.
-- Kristin Hersh

I like to lie about writing being like this for me. I've often declared that writing fiction is, for me, nothing like this.

---

Still reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. And I'm also still thinking about the problem posed by A is for Alien, how it didn't do as well as all my other subpress books (i.e., it hasn't sold out). And between the reading and the pondering, something has occurred to me, and maybe it should have occurred to me before. Stephenson's book is, undoubtedly, marvelous. The worldbuilding is first rate, from the tech to the sociology (even though I think he's slightly too optimistic). And he truly has written a post-cyberpunk pastiche of a Charles Dickens novel. But, I find the book oddly lacking in emotional content and depth. The characters aren't precisely flat. But there's very little insight into how they feel about the world about them or about each other or about themselves. At times, they seem to exist in order to show us the book's technology and history and so forth. They're almost no more than plot and setting delivery devices. I feel like they're all living out a tragedy they're never allowed to recognize as such.

I have often heard it said that science fiction is the literature of ideas. Fair enough. But I don't think it ought to be the literature of ideas to the exclusion of exploring pathos, delight, fear, and so forth. And it certainly didn't used to be. But I haven't read much sf after the cyberpunks of the '80s. So maybe things have changed. Or maybe I'm placing too much weight on a single data point (though that matter of "mundane sf" rears its head). Anyway, my sf is primarily concerned with human emotion, with the characters, and only secondarily concerned with science and technology. Often, the science it is most concerned with is psychology, and I'm just wondering if that's part of what I'm trying to make sense of here. I recognize I may be barking up the wrong tree; but I need to check all of them, all these trees.

---

Good rp in Insilico last night. And an interesting ooc conversation right before I logged of SL, a conversation with Blair (the person I'm mostly rping with these days) about living vicariously through our roleplay characters. We both acknowledge that's what we're doing. Me, I'm exploring various issues of identity by having an android pass through various incarnations, becoming progressively human. Anyway, it's mostly interesting because I've known a lot of people who are very resistant to the idea that rp involves this sort of therapeutic vicariousness. But I think it's where the true value of rp lies, in allowing us to explore secret parts of ourselves. Now, admittedly, it can also allow us to view the world through alien eyes, through minds not our own, and try to become people we aren't. But the best we can ever manage in those situations it to try, because all our characters will always only be splinters of us.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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