greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
Well, fuck. It's almost 2 p.m. (CaST), and somehow the day is slipping past on filthy little cat feet – fuck you, Carl Sandburg, you sentimental twatwaffle. Okay. Definitely didn't mean to begin this entry that way. But, as Longbaugh reminds me, "I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen."

Yesterday, I wrote nothing. I sat here and thought about things I should have begun writing two days ago. Finding stories. I also made a flaccid attempt at cleaning my office. I decided that if snow is the dandruff of Ceiling Cat, dust is the dandruff of Basement Cat. I stacked up manuscript boxes that need to go to storage (various incarnations of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, typescripts and galleys). I shelved a couple of books, and then I gave up.

I read Jack McDevitt's "The Cassandra Project" (2010) and Vylar Kaftan's "I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You in Reno" (also 2010). Both had kernels of magnificence trapped deep inside. Both were far too short, felt like outlines, and were almost entirely devoid of voice. I'm not sure if it's true that "Science fiction is the literature of ideas" (not sure, either, who first said that, and if you can figure it out for me, you get a banana sticker), but I don't think they meant that all you need is an idea*. At least, I hope that's not what he or she meant. I look back to Philip K. Dick, William Gibson's early work, Ray Bradbury, Jack Vance, Robert Silverburg, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison...long, long list...and there is style. Voice. Good writing. Not this no-style style. From recent samplings, I fear that too much of contemporary science fiction has all the flavour of a stale communion wafer, and is just as flat. Sorry. Gratuitous (but true) Catholic reference. Where are our prose poets? Why doesn't the language used to convey the idea matter? It's not entirely true to say it's completely absent from contemporary sf. We have the brilliance of China Miéville, for example. But for fuck's sake, the short fiction I'm reading...communion wafers.**

I only just learned that Etta James has died.

I think my diet is killing me.

The snow is so bright out there, I had to shut the curtain in my office. It's getting better, though, as the wide carnivorous sky is being decently obscured by clouds. I didn't leave the house yesterday, but Spooky did, and she took photos, which you can see behind the cut (below), along with a photo from the day before of a typical Providence grey squirrel, all of which have become absurdly obese of late, in this oddly snow-free winter. Oh. By the way. Yesterday was National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I shit you not. Let’s hear it for Sciuridae.

Last night, we watched last week's episode of Fringe. A marvelously tangled web. And yeah, it's not great science fiction, but it doesn't claim to be, and, even so, it does have a flavour.

Fat Squirrel + 21 January 2012 )


I Taste the World,
Aunt Beast

* Possibly, it was Pamela Sargent. Or, possibly, she appropriated it from Isaac Asimov.
** Near as I can tell, this has always been the case with "hard" and "military" sf.
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
Last year, after we spent Halloween at the Steel Yard, I promised photographs, and for a solid year, they have been sitting on my iMac's desktop, unposted. Tonight, I chose eight and added them as a postscript to last year's November 1st entry.

By the way, tomorrow night is the annual Iron Pour, gates open at 6 p.m., performance from 7-8:30 p.m. I understand we are going to have bleachers this year.

And I'm feeling a little better. The weekend may not be a loss, after all.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Cause and effect. I was still up and online at 3 a.m., trying to figure out if King Kong is in the public domain, both the 1933 film and the basic scenario. That's cause. The effect is that I did not wake until 11 a.m. and am now very behind. But I believe that I managed to answer the question about Kong, via the case of Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. I am amused that first Universal argued that King Kong was public domain (Universal City Studios, Inc. v. RKO General Inc.) in order that De Laurentis could film his 1976 turkey of a remake, then turned around and argued the opposite to try and stop Nintendo from marketing Donkey Kong.

Anyway, the reason I was pondering this problem at 3 a.m. was that a story idea has occurred to me, a revisionist take on the story in which Ann Darrow is not rescued and remains on the island, though Kong has died. It might be something for Sirenia Digest 17, or maybe 18. I do not yet know.

The reason King Kong was on my mind in the first place was that last night we finally watched the extended version (and deleted scenes) of Peter Jackson's 2005 remake. The extended cut, 13 minutes longer than the theatrical release, is a much smoother film, the Skull Island portion of the story not so choppy and the series of events more comprehensible. Also, we get to see the search party attacked by a charging Ferrucutus cerastes (one of Skull Island's fictional Cenozoic ceratopsian dinosaurs), as well the deleted raft scene in which Driscoll and Co. battle first a hoard of "scorpio-pedes" (Nepapede harpagabdominus) and then an enormous predatory fish, Piranhadon titanus, and we also get a brief encounter with an unfortunate Brutornis (one of the island's fictional giant flightless birds).

We had a good walk yesterday, just before the storms began (heralding a spell of cooler weather). We headed down Sinclair and talked with Daisy the Dog and petted her, and then Spooky placed a four-leaf clover on the head of the Dinosaur of Sinclair Avenue. Shortly thereafter, though, I smacked my head on a dogwood limb and we found a dead brown snake in someone's driveway. Spooky moved it into the grass, and we both got kind of sad, wondering what's become of Drinker in a world where small snakes don't just have to worry about their natural predators, but also domestic cats, leaf blowers, and automobile tires.

I must go write. I've written nothing since March 28th, when I did a measly 575 words on an aborted beginning for The Dinosaurs of Mars, and nothing of consequence since March 12th, when I finished "In View of Nothing" for Sirenia Digest 16. Well, I did write the article for Locus on the 14th, but I'm not sure I should count that. First we had to proofread Silk, which we didn't finish until the 22nd, and then the iBook trouble began on the 29th, precipitating the Coming of the Unnamed iMac and all the distractions that has entailed. Between one thing and another, and with the help of a couple of bad days and Procrastination (one of the Nine Seven Deadly Sins of Writing, you'll recall)...well, that's how it's gotten to be April 4th with nothing of consequence written since mid-March. But it has to stop today. I have to deal with the digest, write a new short story for an upcoming anthology, and get to The Dinosaurs of Mars. And take time for Alabama Bound and then the Frank Woodward documentary at the end of the month. Argh. The platypus says stop typing and start writing, and I must heed hisherits demands forthwith.
greygirlbeast: (cleav2)
First off, congratulations to Christa ([livejournal.com profile] faustfatale) on the sale of her novel Money Shot to Hard Case Crime. Money Shot is slated for a February 2008 release (which will be here much sooner than you think). Very good news, indeed.

Despite my swollen, aching tongue, I decided that what really needed doing yesterday was the proofing of the galleys for Tales from the Woeful Platypus and the chapbook version of "The Black Alphabet." It turned out to be a bit more reading than I'd expected, almost five-hours worth, but now it's done and I don't have to worry about it anymore. Also, my agent got me a two-week extension on the corrections of the galleys for the mass-market paperback of Low Red Moon, which were originally due on December 1st. Thank you, Liz. So, the mountain of proofreading is looking quite a bit less mountainous today.

However, I did not begin The Dinosaurs of Mars. I intend for that to happen this afternoon.

My tongue is much better, by the way, and my thanks to everyone who offered to send a copy of the October '06 Locus yesterday.

A couple of days ago, looking for some reasonable explanation for my exhaustion, I sat down and made a list of what I've written since returning from New England on August 22nd. It looks like this (not in chronological order):

01. "Untitled 23" for Sirenia Digest 10
02. "In the Praying Windows" (coauthored with Sonya Taaffe) also for Sirenia Digest 10
03. "Daughter of Man, Mother of Wyrm" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
04. "The Garden of Living Flowers" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
05. "The Forests of the Night" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
06. "Still Life" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
07. "Excerpts from Memoirs of a Martain Demirep" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
08. afterword for Tales from the Woeful Platypus (discarded)
09. "The Most Beautiful Music I've Ever Read" for the PS Publishing edition of Ray Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever
10. "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad #4)" for Sirenia Digest 11.

Not to mention having proofread Daughter of Hounds. Now, if I can just get The Dinosaurs of Mars started.

Last night, just barely into Mark Z. Danielewski's Only Revolutions, I was seized with an urgent desire to stop and re-read House of Leaves before proceeding any farther. The same sort of thing happened the first time I tried to read Finnegan's Wake: I stopped and read Ulysses for the third time. I think when we're done with Danielewski, Spooky and I will be reading all thirteen of the Lemony Snicket novels, though I'm also suffering a fierce need to begin Cormac McCarthy's The Road and read Moby Dick again.

And, just to complicate things, Final Fantasy XII arrives on Tuesday.

I'm pretty sure this entry has turned into a Wicked Tool of Procrastination, as it's now fourteen minutes past time to make the doughnuts. The platypus just frowned at me. Okay. Right. I know. I'm coming...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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