greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The more I listen to Brown Bird, the more they amaze me.

Two Worlds and In Between, deluxe and trade editions, is now officially sold out.

And tomorrow is the day. But if you get your hopes up so much you think I've been crowned Grand Xena She-Ra, Wonder Woman, Queen of the Known Universe the First, you have only yourself to blame for the inevitable disappointment.

Today, I take...more. And we see if things get better. If I can remain functional. Because, apparently, it's one thing to have irrational fears of How Bad Things Are, and another thing entirely to have rational fears of How Bad Things Are. It's the same shit, either way. The meds just make me care a whole lot less. Well, and it's nice not having the seizures. Also, it's cool knowing that if someone were to try and drink my blood, they would die a horrible death.

"She came by her insanity honestly."

The first half of yesterday was a mad whirlwind of this, that, and the other, attending to various questions and details for various projects until, by, 3 p.m., I was exhausted and still hadn't written a single word. So, it being Samhain, and Hallowe'en, I took the afternoon off. Which was stupid, as I have too much work to be doing that. But I did. Spooky went to the market, and I wasted about a half hour of my life playing RIFT, and...well, that was a dumb idea. Not working, I mean. I took a hot bath before dinner. Spooky brought me a Black Forest cake (my favorite). We carved jack-o'lanterns. There were trick-or-treaters. We watched Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966), and the two new episodes of Beavis and Butthead.

The former was bittersweet and nostalgic, a gentle amusement from an age when lies were better at hiding the ugliness of the world from children (and parents tried a lot harder). The latter was funny as hell, and, as I said last night on Twitter, television has crawled so far up its own (porn, porn, porn, porn, porn) asshole that Beavis and Butthead (porn, porn, porn, porn, porn) actually come off as rather smart kids (porn, porn, porn, porn, porn). Beavis and Butthead on Jersey Shore and LMFAO's "Champagne Showers"? It's pretty incisive commentary on this dear sweet filthy world, kittens.

And we watched John Fawcett's Ginger Snaps (2000). It has aged very, very well. Sure, the final creature effects suffer from budget constraint (though the makeup up until then is brilliant), but it remains one of the very few genuinely good werewolf films. It's perfectly, morbidly, hilariously, grimly, gleefully horrific, and, in the end, an impressive examination of teenage alienation. Of finding oneself in that darkest of dark places, and at that moment you've spent a short life fearing above all others. If you've never seen this film, what the fuck's wrong with you? Oh, you were only ten when it was released....

Yes, if I had a daughter, I truly would name her Ampersand. Well, on the birth certificate it would be listed as & Rose Kiernan, but we'd call her Amp.

Thank you, [ profile] readingthedark. Thank you, The National. You guys rock.

Also, you might be a loony Xtian whackjob, but you go, Anne Rice (at least she wrote three good novels):

Lestat and Louie feel sorry for vampires that sparkle in the sun. They would never hurt immortals who choose to spend eternity going to high school over and over again in a small town — anymore than they would hurt the physically disabled or the mentally challenged. My vampires possess gravitas. They can afford to be merciful...The idea that if you are immortal you would go to high school instead of Katmandu or Paris or Venice, it’s the vampire dumbed down for kids. But it’s worked. It’s successful. It makes kids really happy. And here we are, back at Beavis and Butthead.

It's nice to see Anne Rice fucking grow a pair for an hour. And if you think I just made a sexist comment, grow a pair, please. After all, do you know I didn't mean ovaries? But, wait...wouldn't that also be sexist. Maybe I meant ears.

Oh, there are pumpkin photos from last night (mine was stolen, just like last year):

Jack! )
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A blessed Samhain, and a Happy Hallowe'en.

Comments! Please.

This morning, I fully understand what it means to "wake up on the wrong side of the bed." Not my usual state of affairs. In some ways, this is worse than the dreamsickness. I woke about 10:30 ayem, after getting to sleep about 4:30 ayem. My throat was so dry I couldn't swallow and could hardly breathe, so I went to the kitchen to swallow something wet and rehydrate the raisin that slumber had made of my esophagus. And there in the fridge was a baking dish covered in aluminum foil (I always want to type "tin foil"). I stood there, trying to figure out what was hiding under the foil – without actually having to look. And then I realized it was the remaining two turkey drumsticks (id est, tibiotarsi) from the four Spooky baked on Wednesday evening. In the chaos of the weekend and the freak nor'easter, they'd been forgotten. At least one (and maybe two) turkey's had sacrificed their legs, and we couldn't even be bothered to have the decency not to waste them. I stared a moment, went back to bed, laid there a short while, unable to stop thinking about the wasted turkey legs, hungry people, murdered turkeys, and got up again. See, thing is, we don't waste food. Anyway, that seems to have set the tone for the day.

I was thinking a thought, but now I can't recall what it might have been. Thank you, meds. Really, I could stop taking this toxic shit. But then Spooky would murder me. Thank you, dear sweet filthy world.


And, I REPEAT: Okay, here's some news, so perk up those ears. I've been sitting on a secret for many, many months, and many of you know this. On November 2nd, there will be some manner of revelation, and on November 9th, all will be revealed. That's Wednesday, and then the next Wednesday. The NSA has agreed to declassify the files, and the MiBs will go public. The gag order will be rescinded. Some of you will not hear the news here first. Machineries are in motion that are far greater than am I. But...I believe there will be a lot of happy campers among you, and I think the wait will have been worth it. It's worn me ragged, keeping this secret. Feel free, today, to speculate!


Yesterday, I wrote 1,288 words on "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W." I thought I'd finish it yesterday, but there's more to come. Also, sadly, I'm no nearer to a seeing a human body with lines of latitude and longitude. But...there went my train of thought again. Choo choo. Um. Oh, yeah. Sirenia Digest subscribers will be getting something very strange and special this month. Well, unless you hated Silk, in which case you'll just be getting something...very strange.

By the way, I would so totally fuck Tom Waits. True fact.

Meanwhile, it's not too early to preorder The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. On the other hand, it might very soon be too late order a copy of Two Worlds and In Between. Snoozers are frequently losers. Or they pay too much on eBay. Or settle for crappy Kindle editions.

A great line from The Log of the Sea of Cortez: "An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep." Oh, to ever write a single sentence that sublime.

Also, if you cross the path of Rose Tyler today, do not fucking mistake her for Britney Spears or Christine Aguilera, or lasers will shoot forth from my bloodshot eyes, and those lasers will find you, no matter where you might be hiding. Respect the Companions, or die.

And Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Oh, and here are photos from early, early, early on Sunday, as the nor'easter struck our street (struck, street – cute), and one from the next day (for some reason):

30 October 2011 )

Aunt fucking Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, kittens, it's going to snow 1-3 inches here in Providence tonight, and we're the lucky part of New England. Apparently, Autumn took the year off; I don't blame it. I hear it's snowing in Manhattan right now.

Still, I wish I were at the sea today. I want to watch a heavy snow fall on the olive-green waves.

Okay, here's some news, so perk up those ears. I've been sitting on a secret for many, many months, and many of you know this. On November 2nd, there will be some manner of revelation, and on November 9th, all will be revealed. That's Wednesday, and then the next Wednesday. The NSA has agreed to declassify the files, and the MiBs will go public. The gag order will be rescinded. Some of you will not hear the news here first. Machineries are in motion that are far greater than am I. But...I believe there will be a lot of happy campers among you, and I think the wait will have been worth it. It's worn me ragged, keeping this secret.

And that's what I worked on yesterday, this secret thing. Meanwhile, Spooky attended to line edits on Blood Oranges, using the old iBook (Victoria; the old girl's got a lot of life left in her).


Yesterday evening, as the sun was setting, we arrived at the Steel Yard, for the 6th Annual Iron Pour. A most appropriate post-industrial celebration of Samhain (though, of course, Samhain proper isn't until Monday). Five-thousand pounds of molten steel poured from a blast furnace, molten metal to fill jack-o'-lanterns, a great skull-shaped mold (the skull, weighing hundreds of pounds lifted, glowing, by block and tackle). Hundreds of voices screaming, "Fire." Enormous effigies to be devoured by fire: demons, witches, the head of a goat. A woman with the head and wings of a bat, dressed all in black and on stilts. A chainsaw that belches flames. The burning effigies are revealed to have wrought-iron skeletons. Deliriously eldritch and aharmonic anti-melodies played on violins, saxophones, and coronets. Volcanic showers and liquid iron of sparks filling the air, and raining down almost atop our heads. That's the Iron Pour in Providence. There are pictures behind the cut, below (though, batteries were low, we forgot to change them, and the camera, therefore, acted up).

Do people know about the not-so-secret pagan rites in Providence? Well, more than know about the Big Chair Rites of Moosup Valley.


After my post yesterday, and my mention of seeing The Rapture (1991) again, an analogy occurred to me. It's one thing to call the Judeo-Christian god petty and sadistic. It's another to explain what you mean. So, here's one of a...well, of countless...examples: That whole Garden of Eden thing, Adam and Eve and the serpent. That chestnut. Here's the same story - the very same story – recast in less fantastic language. An unnamed adult (ADULT) places two three year olds, a boy and a girl, in a large room filled with every manner of toy they might ever desire, every sweet confection, a computer with the best games, every imaginable three-year-old delight, and the children are told, "You may play with all these things, and eat whatever you wish, and as much as you wish. see that jar of Watermelon-flavored Jelly-Belly jelly beans over there? You do? Okay, now...that's the one thing you must not eat from. Now, I'm going to leave you to your own devices. Be good, kiddos." (No explanation is offered as to why the beans must be left alone.) And the adult goes away. And the two children have a blast, for days and days and days.

But, eventually, a loudspeaker mounted in one corner begins to whisper sibilantly about those Watermelon-flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans. It whispers, and most persistently, and, kids will be kids, and...when the unnamed adult returns to find the forbidden beans of jelly have been tasted, the two children are shamed with the harshest possible language, then tossed from the paradise of that room. They're thrown out into the cold winter streets, and guards are placed at the doors, that they can never again enter the marvelous room. Because they ate jelly beans that were placed there so that they would be tempted to eat the jelly beans. And there was that voice planted there to help them along, right? Don't think for a moment the adult didn't put that speaker there (whether or not the voice was his or hers, that's another matter). But it gets better, which is to say it gets worse. For having tasted the Watermelon Jelly Bellies, no child may ever again enter the room, and all the descendents of these two children will suffer unspeakable agonies and trials, and die, and face an eternity of torment unless they love the sadistic adult (ADULT) in question, despite this dirty, little trick with the jelly beans and the whispers...and, well, you know the story. And no, this is no more simplistic a parable than the original. Just a tiny bit more honest. And don't give me that "freewill" bullshit. ADULT knew better. He/she knew the nature of the children, she/he made them. The whole thing was rigged. For the Bible tells us so.


Spooky's Hallowe'en Sale isn't quite over, so have a look.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, and then a tiny dash of RIFT. Then we watched last week's episode of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story, was...surprisingly better. It was actually...haunting. A tremendous number of story threads and themes were skillfully tossed about and interwoven and, hell, it would have made a fine last episode. Still that Dark Shadows camp, but elevated just a bit. Moments of genuine chill. I think it's possibly more interested in the problem of hauntings than in ghosts, and that would be a good thing. Oh, and now Zachary Quinto, also known as Spock #2 and My Second Husband (you get to guess who's my First and Third husbands are), has joined the I have to keep watching.

Later, I read Steinbeck's The Log of the Sea of Cortez until I could get to sleep, about four-thirty ayem.

And now, I hear those black panel vans...You know, Tom Waits* needs to write a song entitled "Black Panel Vans."

Aunt Beast

28 October 2011 )

* "Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts."
greygirlbeast: (starbuck5)
One of the things about being a freelancer – and here I mean the sort with nothing resembling a regular gig, the sort who lives hand to mouth, short story to novel to short story and so forth – is that there's a lot of waking-up time. You might have to worry about paying the bills, but you can take three hours to chase the sleep away. But now, because of The Secret, I'm another sort of writer, and I'm having to get used to rolling out of bed and hitting the floor running, frosty, eyes wide, bright and shiny, Cap'n. I'm getting very good at faking awake and articulate.

I actually slept eight and a half hours last night.

Yesterday, I worked. A lot.

I just got word of the Decemberists EP that comes out on November 1, and there's the new Tom Waits next week. Music madness!

This morning, Spooky kindly made me eggs and bacon for breakfast. These days, left to my own devices, my usual breakfast is a can of Campbell's vegetarian vegetable soup. And now I have my sugar-free Red Bull, so all is right and Ceiling Cat is in his clouds, rubbing shoulders with the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I wish I had a good Hallowe'en party to attend this year, But, likely I shall not. Likely, we shall attend the Molten Masquerade, the annual iron pour at The Steel Yard, where over 500 pounds of liquid steel will flow beneath the night skies of Providence. It's hard to think of a better way to welcome Samhain. I mean, hard to think of a better way to welcome Samhain that doesn't involve nudity. And a sacrificial Scientologist.

A favor, please. If you've received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One), please leave a comment to that effect (and your location, if you don't mind). I just like watching my new books spread, like a pandemic.

Last night, after work, after Spooky went to the farmer's market, after meatloaf, we played RIFT for...a while. And then we read more of Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis' Wildwood. While Spooky read aloud, I used astronomy "apps" on Kermit to explore Mars and then the Moon. Ah, and yesterday I also managed to read four (!!!!) papers in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "A new Barremian (Early Cretaceous) ichthyosaur from western Russia," "A Carboniferous emblomere tail with supraneural radials," "The first temnospondyl amphibian from Japan," and "New evidence of large Permo-Triassic dicynodonts (Synapsida) from Australia."

And that was the best of yesterday. And now I will leave you with five more randomly chosen "behind the scenes" photos taken by Ryan Anas during last weekend's shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir trailer. However, these are so random, I think I'll add captions:

Ryan's Behind the Scenes, Part Two )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I wrote only 810 words on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," but I spent hours and hours picking though words from the Great Nothing. The story is, at this point, 6,145 words long, so I'm guessing it'll go to 7,000+ words. This month, Sirenia Digest subscribers, you get no mere vignette, but a full-fledged short story.

Great talk with my editor at Dark Horse yesterday. Details as soon as I may.

No Thanksgiving here today, and if you want to know why I do not observe Thanksgiving, well I wrote this last year, on November 23rd:

This whole Thanksgiving thing came up yesterday. That is, the fact that I do not observe this whole Thanksgiving thing. And various people (including my mother) were like, oh come on, you have a lot of things to be thankful for. To which I can only reply that, in this instance, thankfulness implies that there is someone or something out there to thank. I would say that yes, sure, I am appreciative of many things in my life— Spooky, my mom, Spooky's mom and dad, Rhode Island, being able to mostly pay my bills, the sea, and so forth. But being appreciative does not entail being thankful, in the sense that is generally meant when people speak of Thanksgiving. I am not thankful, not in the Thanksgiving sense, which implies gratitude towards some "higher power," even when you've completely stripped the holiday of its Christian roots and made it just "Turkey Day." I can appreciate turkey any day. I don't need a special day to eat turkey, or cranberries, or that disgusting stuff made of sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows on top. And there's no one for me to "give thanks," other than myself, and Spooky, and my readers, and maybe half a dozen other people. So, I'm not trying to be a wet blanket. I just don't do Thanksgiving. I try to make sure the people in my life to whom I am grateful for this or that know that I am grateful for their kindness and concern. I don't need to set aside a special day for it. To some, it may seem like I'm worrying over semantics and only mincing words. But that's what I do. All day, almost every day. I mince words, in an effort to get to what I genuinely mean. Usually, I choose my words with obsessive care.

That said, as I was too busy and tired to properly observe either Mabon or Samhain, we'll be having a huge autumnal meal to retroactively celebrate both. I am told there will be Brussels sprouts.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A blessed Samhain, and a Happy Halloween.

As it happens, I only got half of what I should have gotten done yesterday done. I made the line edits to "And the Cloud That Took the Form" and "At the Reef." I nailed down the cover image. But then it was late and I had to start getting ready for the Brown reading. So, expect Sirenia Digest #59 tomorrow. It can be the Día de los Muertos issue.

The reading went well last night (photos below). We scored rock-star parking directly across the street from the bookstore. I read "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4)" and "In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection." My thanks to Bob Geake and Barry DeJesu for setting up the reading, and to everyone who came out. It was good to see [ profile] catconley again, and to meet Brian Hauser, winner of the Deep One Award for Best Screenplay, for his Cult Flick, at the HPLFF (he also attended my reading in Portland).

On the way home, we got burgers and Quebec fries from Stanley's. I spent the evening playing City of Heroes and Villains, while Spooky played Lord of the Rings Online. I was in bed a little after two, and Spooky read Kelly Link's superb "Monster" to me. I slept, finally, a good seven and a half hours, the best I've managed for some time. Maybe Quebec fries are a good sleep aid. Or maybe it's Kelly Link.

We did not try to attend the annual Iron Pour at the Steel Yard, not after the mess that last year was. I'm just glad we got to attend in '08, before it became The Hip Hipster Thing To Do. Tonight, we'll stay in and have a misplaced Kid Night, with zombie movies, candy, and a fort built of chairs and blankets.

My thanks to the people who commented (and bid) on the painting yesterday. I'll likely start Black Ships Ate the Sky tomorrow, but it won't be auctioned. It will be for me.

We've been enjoying reading banners and signs from yesterday's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in D.C." I am deeply envious of [ profile] sovay, who actually got to attend. I'm hoping the numbers in attendance, far oustripping Glenn Beck's turnout, will be reflected at the polls.

Okay. Gotta work, to earn this Kid Night. Here are the photos from last night:

Pumpkins and Tentacles )
greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
And here it is November, again.

Much to my surprise, Narragansett Beer has acknowledged The Red Tree. It's a weird, weird world. But weird is my friend.

A quick note to Sirenia Digest subscribers. #47 should be going out to subscribers this evening, only a day late. So, watch your inboxes. And the skies. Always keep watching the skies.

A strange weekend, and the strangeness really had nothing to do with Samhain or Halloween. I was so under the weather all week, and as Friday evening rolled around, I was feeling a bit better. Dusk found us at the Steel Yard, for the annual Iron Pour. But there were far more people than last year, and just as things were getting started, I could no longer tolerate all those bodies and faces and voices. It was impossible to see much of anything, anyway. So we left, got some Chinese takeout, and headed back home. We watched M. Night Shyamalan's Signs (2002) again. This made my third time, and I still think it's a brilliant film (and, indeed, am of the opinion that Shyamalan has made only one less-than-brilliant film, The Happening, and if you should disagree, please do not do so here).

Saturday was the first day in about a week that I really felt like working. That is, that I felt well enough to work. I wrote a rather longish prolegomena for Sirenia Digest #47. Why the hell doesn't LJ know how to spell prolegomena? Godsdamned illiterate program. Anyway, while I was writing, Spooky went to the market. She came home and announced that it was beautiful outside (72F, with 10-20 mph winds), and that I should get out of the House. And, really, it was the first day since last weekend that I'd genuinely felt up to the daunting perils of Outside. So I got dressed, and we drove through downtown Providence to Benefit Street. We walked. We watched RISD students (some in costume, some not) and great swirls of leaves buoyed by the wind. We spent a little time in the Athenaeum (another word LJ can't spell). Oh it can't spell Samhain, either. Anyway...Benefit Street was made for Bradbury Weather.

Back home, we carved a pumpkin, and I made a very simple, but very yummy, beef stew. We also had Dogfish Head "Midas Touch" ale. It's cool stuff actually. Barley, honey, white muscat grapes, and saffron, brewed from a recipe rediscovered by a molecular archeologist who analyzed residue from 2,700-year-old Iron Age drinking vessels discovered in central Turkey. Delicious. We lit candles on the altar, and that was our Samhain feast. Later, we lit the jack-o'-lantern and gave out candy to trick-or-treaters. There are a few photos from the weekend behind the cut (below).

And now it's November, again. And I'm back on Caitlín Standard Time (CST; originally, Caitlín Stabilizing Time), which is to say, for the fifth consecutive year, we're ignoring the end of Daylight Savings Time. I know it's traditional to hate Daylight Savings Time, but I don't. I much prefer it. So, we've lived on it since 2004.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, if you've not already. Bid if you are able and so disposed. I will mention that we likely won't be offering The Black Alphabet again for quite some time. This round of auctions ends tomorrow.

And now, some photos, and I must take platypus in hand and get to work:

30 October-31 October 2009 )

Damn, I just realized I didn't upload photos of our jack-o'-lantern. Ah, well...tomorrow.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
I can still be amazed. For example, how yesterday went from being a perfectly dreadful excuse for a Hallowe'en, to one of the best I've had in recent memory. And all thanks to a suggestion from [ profile] prynnesneedle, who proposed that Spooky and I check out The Steel Yard's annual Hallowe'en iron pour. Which we did, but more on that momentarily.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,340 words on "Metamorphosis C" (and I really have to find a better title). The story is deep in dream. I'm coming to love this one. It's far more concerned with disjointed imagery than coherent, linear narrative. This is, partly, a response to approaching a subject that could easily turn out lurid and flatly pornographic (or worse). Sometimes, we must come at stories sidewise, from some position they are least expecting. We must use tact and strategy. I'm not sure if that's the Royal We or not. Sometimes, we must be abstract, impressionistic, realizing that mere representation is not sufficient to the task at hand. The "shape" of this story is beginning to remind me of Kate Bush's The Ninth Wave (though it's actually being written to David Bowie's Outside). I'm keeping the futuristic trappings to a minimum, and the science is being presented as obliquely as possible. This story returns again to the horror of body and mind, the dread of the prison of flesh, which I am, obviously, never far from. It's a conundrum for me. I am simultaneously mortified and joyous, on the subject of the flesh. I suppose that this story is a return to the problem of morphological freedom. Anyway, yes, it should be finished tomorrow evening, and for those who may have missed the announcement earlier this week, Sirenia Digest #35 will be late. Well, it already is, actually. Finishing The Red Tree on time, there's your culprit. The new issue will go out on November 3rd, which means you get two issues this month.

Also, yesterday, there was some business with Bill at subpress regarding A is for Alien, and more talk with folks from Locus about my interview (look for it in the December issue). I got yet another royalty check from Candlewick Press for "The Dead and the Moonstruck," the story that just keeps on paying (it appears in the YA antho Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales, by the way).

And when all that was done, disgusted with being "at home," we dashed out into the chilly twilight. It's going to be a day or two before I get all our photographs edited, so, until then, a video clip from last year's iron pour will have to suffice. It really was a marvelous evening, and very much suited to the sabat. We sat in the grass, beneath the open sky, only a few feet from the showers of molten steel raining down across the ground, bathed in the heat from the liquid metal and the blast furnace. There were even zombies! And pumpkins flung with a trebuchet. And all this amongst the old warehouse's over on Sims Avenue. The Iron Guild is one of my new favourite things, so, again, thank you [ profile] prynnesneedle. If you will email me your snail-mail address (to greygirlbeast[at]gmail[dot]com), I will send you a signed book, to show my gratitude for your suggestion having saved Hallowe'en/Samhain for me and Spooky.

I should also thank [ profile] tinkbell for kindly inviting us to a big party, with bands, in Olneyville. But I think our mood last night was better served by fire.

Oh, here's the video:


After the pour, and a late dinner, we watched Alfonso Cuarón's adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). It's almost certainly the most artful of the Harry Potter films to date (love the iris shots), and also the best suited to Hallowe'en. And after that, there was a little WoW. Mithwen (my night-elf fighter) reached Lvl 30, the first of my characters to do so, and also got most of her hair cut off. The girl has definite gender issues, but I think she's starting to work through them. She just needs a bigger...sword. So, yes, all that glumness, and it was a truly grand Samhain, regardless.

Now, I write. C'mon, platypus. Oh, and a Hopeful New Year, to all those reading this who mark November 1st as the beginning of the year. Or, at least, I shall wish you a Somewhat Less Grim New Year. That's probably to best I can honestly manage.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Got to admit, I'm more than a little disappointed in how my first New England Hallowe'en is shaping up. No parties. No costumes. No pumpkin patch. Given we're on the second floor, there won't even be trick-or-treaters. My schedule right now didn't even allow me to take today off, which is just...wrong. So, I suppose that Spooky and I will do something together tonight, watch some scary movies, eat something sweet, mark the turning of the wheel and the beginning of a new year, and whatnot. But, yeah, disappointed. Maybe next year.


Yesterday, I did 1,208 words on "Metamorphosis C." I thought this story would have sort of a Cronenberg feel, and, instead, so far, it's entirely different. Filled with a sort of cold, quiet menace. A sort of resignation. More Stanislaw Lem, by way of William Gibson, maybe.

Last night, after a takeaway dinner of hot and sour soup, egg drop soup, and steamed dumplings, we watched Kenneth Branagh's recent production of As You Like It (2006). It was nice, set in 19th Century Japan, and I have a weakness for anachronistic takes on Shakespeare. Later, there was WoW, of course. Voimakas, my Draenei hunter, and Jalokivi, Spooky's Draenei shaman. But for some reason, we took a quest from the Stonetalon Mountains that meant running, running, running south, all the way through the Barrens, into the Thousand Needles, and finally to the eastern border of Feralas. I think we spent an hour and a half simply running. Still, Voimakas made Lvl 29. And got a better sword off a dead harpy. So it wasn't all slog.

I got to bed about 2:30 ayem, and slept an amazing eight and a half hours (this is my brain, telling me it's exhausted).

If you haven't already, please, please, please preorder A is for Alien. I'm quite sure this will be one of my best books to date. Which is to say, I am especially proud of it.

greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
The trick-or-treaters were sort of a bust this year, which means we're stuck with loads of tooth-rottingly sweet, mass-produced, injection-molded high-fructose corn syrup. We get fewer trick-or-treaters every year. Don't know if it's the pernicious influence of evangelical Xtianity or just lazy kids (or lazy parents), but it's a tad disheartening. Me and Byron and Spooky sat on the front porch last night, drinking pumpkin ale, and when all was said and done, we'd aided in the dental undoing of maybe a dozen kiddos. We were prepared for maybe ten times that number. Spoot.

The Second Life Samhain ceremony, on the other hand, went off rather well. It was strange, to say the least, conducting a sabat in a virtual environment. I'm not sure what William Gibson would have to say about it. At some point, I said something to Byron about the irony of practicing a Nature religion in cyberspace, and he unhelpfully pointed out that, in the end, all the materials that make up a computer — from silicon to various plastics to copper and so forth — that it was all just "dirt and rocks." On the one hand, I could not disagree with the reductionist logic, but on the other... Well, regardless, thanks to those who came. In the end, I opted to do the ritual semi-skyclad, with a very fine black cloak, but nothing at all underneath. And no trees had to perish for our enormous bonfire (as long as you don't consider all the trees destroyed directly or indirectly to produce information tech and computers and Second Life and so forth). There was something genuinely magickal about the thing, though, and I have now brought Wicca to New Babbage. It went so well I suspect I will also be conducting a Yule ceremony behind the Abney Park Laboratory. Oh, and on November 5th, you can bet there will be another bonfire at Abney Park, as there is an effigy of President Asshole which must be roasted ever so slowly.

Here in RL, we set out apples and cakes (and a little dry cat food) and ale on our altar.

Entries may be spotty until Saturday or Sunday as our two house guests are incoming — Jada from Little Rock and Garland from Birmingham. I will be very pleased to see old friends, but I am so totally not ready for house guests. And I need to wash my hair, and help Spooky straighten up the place a bit more, so I suppose I should go. Jada will be here at three, and I still have eye boogers. But the coffee has just arrived, and the platypus doesn't look too grumpy, so there's hope.
greygirlbeast: (cleav1)
Not a very Samhain or Hallowe'en sort of sentiment, I know. But it's true, and it's the subject line that popped into my head. Hubero, brawny little fellow that he is, says Byron is his Daddy, so it's all okay.

Lots of chaos and fuss hereabouts, getting ready for our house guests, who will be arriving Thursday from Arkansas and Alabama, and also getting ready for the Trick-or-Treaters tonight. I was so, so brave yesterday. Not only did I go outside, I went to bloody, frelling Target. Because the little bratlings must have candy, though I rather like my idea of handing out tiny packets of salt and black pepper, ketchup and mustard and whatever else we could scarf up for free at fast-food places. I mean, condiments are sort of like candy. Sort of. Alas, Spooky said no, so we went to Target. And I did not scream, though the combo Pizza Hut/Starbuck's was almost more than my mind could endure. Oh, and we carved pumpkins yesterday. There are some photos (behind the cut) of this year's jack-o-lanterns. In the photo of the two together, I carved the uppermost one:

Pumpkolanternia )

Some good thoughts regarding Joey Lafaye yesterday, which is to say that I'm working on the novel, even if I'm not quite working on it at the keyboard yet...

Tonight, if you are so inclined, you are invited to join me in the Second Life steampunk milleau of New Babbage for a Samhain bonfire behind the Abney Park Laboratory. The Professor will be making a brief appearance, just long enough for the ceremony, as she has been busy elsewhere recently...on an extended cuttlefishing expedition. Well, that's the cover story, should anyone ask. I do not have a hard-and-fast time for the event, but the bonfire will be sometime between 9:30 and 10:30 EDT, probably. I may post an update later with a more precise time. As for how to find Abney Park, if you teleport into Babbage Square, the good Professor's laboratory is the first building east of the train depot. I'm trying to decide whether or not I can get away with doing it "virtually" skyclad. Sheesh, last year I celebrated Samhain in the woods around a real bonfire, getting real bug bites in unmentionable places because I was not merely virtually skyclad. The invitation came again this year (thank you, once more), but there was just too much going on to get away. Here's a quote regarding my experience last year which I came across this morning, a response to a question as to why I found working skyclad so liberating:

To put it as simply as I can, I suspect that the reason I found the experience so very positive arose mainly from the knowledge that I stood there before the whole universe, that vast and largely unfathomable cosmos, and nothing stood between me and it. No clothing, no walls, no rooftops. The star-dabbed wheel of the sky, the brilliant waxing quarter moon, our chants, the cold air, the crackle and smoky smell of the bonfire, the knowledge that I stood as all creatures throughout all galaxies have ever stood, naked in every sense, in every way, as perfectly devoid of barriers as I am presently able to be. There was a grand giddiness, an ecstasy. For me, ecstasy is at the heart of Neo-paganism. Ecstasy and celebration and communion, and Saturday night was my most...what word, what most complete experience of all three to date.


One of the weird emails from Monday morning was someone wanting me to grant them a "free option" to adapt "Bela's Plot" to the screen. I dutifully passed the request along to my lit agent, Merrilee, and my film agent, Julien, though I knew the default answer to all "free option" inquiries is a polite "no." Here's the deal: If you can scrape up the money to make a film, even an ultra low-budget one, you can also scrape up the cash to pay the author some pittance upfront for your use of the source material.

I'd still love to hear more thoughts on Sirenia Digest #23. My thanks to [ profile] setsuled for this bit yesterday:

Both stories seem concerned with unspoken communion. I was reminded of the Japanese aesthetic concept of Yugen, the idea that certain concepts or emotions can only be transmitted without words. Obviously the "voiceless communion a hundred million years older even than the coming of mankind" in "The Bed of Appetite" would remind me of yugen, but it's also in the mysterious objects left by the ghosts in "The Madam of the Narrow Houses," and the peculiar explanation the ghost offers for the protagonist's state of health.

Both stories deal with characters unmoved or irritated by false affections; the character in the first story is contrasted with the people who don't really care for their own children, yet nonetheless wonder why she doesn't marry. A character is described in the second story as never casually handing out praise. Both characters seem to seek transcending the false world by strange avenues. That the second story is concerned with art is significant, as is the fact one character insists that he doesn't attempt to find a publisher for his writing because he writes for himself. One might say the purpose of art is to find means of expressing what's otherwise inexpressible.

Okay. The year is turning, and there's mischief to be made. Come on, platypus. Let's get to it...

Postscript (5:44 p.m. EST): My modest Second Life Samhain ceremony in New Babbage will begin at 10:30 p.m. EST (which is 7:30 SLT/PST). Hope to see you there.
greygirlbeast: (mirror)
I think this may be a Day of More Than One Entry. It feels that way.

A good Samhain and a good Halloween. But we had a lot less trick-or-treaters than last year, which was kind of annoying, as last year we had too many trick-or-treaters and almost not enough candy, so this year Spooky stocked up on the candy, and Hannah brought even more, and now we have a great surplus of confections that neither I nor Spooky can be trusted not to consume. Argh. Damned brats! Maybe we'll take it to over the Junkman's Daughter or A Capella Books. Those poor people need candy much worse than we. Which is to say (glancing at my belly), I need it not at all.

We spent much of the day decorating the porch and carving pumpkins and getting dressed and made up and other such endeavors as are appropriate to the day. I did the elf thing again. I think a definite character is beginning to emerge from my flirtations with elfinesss. At some point last night, a rather drunken woman, dressed as a "soccer mom" and ushering a herd of children about, made a show of trying to remember the name of the elf she thought I was supposed to be — "You know, from that movie." In her state, she could not recall The Lord of the Rings, much less the names of elves. Finally, I let her off the hook, because she was really becoming annoying, and said, "Arwen Evenstar." And she was delighted she'd guessed correctly, even though she hadn't technically guessed anything. Then I turned to Jim and said, "But I'm not Arwen Undómiel. I'm the bitch who took the one ring when Galadriel wouldn't. And there will be Wal-Marts in Gondor!" It was that sort of evening. Spooky had let her horns grow all week. She usually keeps them filed down to nubs. She tried to convince Jim and Hanah and Byron that she was only in "costume" as a demon of some sort, but we all know better.

After the trick-or-treaters died off to a trickle, we went inside for Vincent Price on TCM. What a glorious, campy mess is Roger Corman's Masque of the Red Death (1964). Later, when our company had taken their leave, I ate leftover candy and watched The Fall of the House of Usher (1960), probably my favorite Vincent Price film ever, and the end of a Blue Man Group concert on Georgia Public Television. The latter would have been better had not some utterly horrid woman kept interrupting to ask for pledges. Someone out there needs to show these botox- and plastic-surgery addicted fiends a photograph of a Scarran and ask if the similarity is intentional. Oh, and there was some Samhainy stuff after that, and then bed, and I tried to read but fell asleep almost immediately.

Thanks to Christa ([ profile] faustfatale) for pointing me towards Emerson LaSalle's wonderful, wonderful rant about "reviews" and "reviewers," which you can read here. I was especially pleased with his proposal for the model "review":

"Thanks. You worked hard to write a book. I'm impressed. I could never do that in a million years because I'm still trying to understand the difference between imply and infer."


So, anyway, as mentioned earlier, yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the first performance of Death's Little Sister. A whole damn decade. How frelled is that? It seems entirely impossible that so much time has passed and so much has transpired since that freezing night in Athens, Georgia. There were two other bands playing Galaxy 500 that evening, La Guano and Static Lounge, and I cannot remember even the first thing about either of them. I can't even recall the order in which we played. But I was somewhat drunk and sleep deprived and pretty sure we'd get booed offstage. We brought jack-o'-lanterns, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was projected onto the wall behind us while we played. Our asshole drummer tried to set the stage on fire (he skipped out on us right after the show and was never seen again). After we played, I got about an hour's sleep before driving to Atlanta and flying to Chicago for the '96 World Fantasy Convention. Those were the days. Anyway, here's a gothedy band photo to commemorate the date (behind the cut; the asshole drummer is not in the photo), courtesy Matthew C. Grasse (wherever you are):

A long time ago... )

Okay. Time to write. I'll post a few photos from last night sometime later today, because [ profile] stsisyphus was promised pix of me with pointy ears. Meanwhile, any feedback re: Sirenia Digest 11 is, of course, welcomed. Oooh. My ears are still messy from the metamorphosis. Yuck.
greygirlbeast: (mars)
I was up until 3 a.m. (CaST) working on Sirenia Digest 11, and Franklin's interview with Vince came in this morning, and even as I type this long sentence, Gordon is busy PDFing the whole thing, so you should have it in your inboxes in only another hour or two. Again, my apologies for this issue coming so late. I will strive to do much better next month.

I think the most interesting part of working on this issue of the digest was reading over "Lafayette (Murder Ballad No. 2)" for the first time in five or six years and discovering that I still like the story a great deal. It still works. I'd pretty much forgotten all about Sticky and Harper. I did permit myself to make quite a few changes in the text, mostly grammatical stuff, so the version that appears in Sirenia Digest this month is a bit different from its original published form.

The table of contents for Subterranean Magazine #6 have been posted. It will include not only my new sf story "Zero Summer" (formerly "Night"), but also “Limerent” by Elizabeth Bear, “The Tenth Muse” by William Browning Spencer, and “The Long Dead Day” by Joe R. Lansdale. Good stuff. Order a copy ere they're all spoken for and gone.

Final Fantasy XII is released in the US today. Huzzah! I think Spooky's going to EB Games to pick up our copy as soon as she finishes carving pumpkins (which she's doing right now).

This morning, [ profile] tagplazen posted some gorgeous photos of the exquisite glass undersea creatures created by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the 19th-Century. Spooky and [ profile] sovay and I were lucky enough to see many of these at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology when we visited Cambridge back in August, along with the thousands of glass botanical replicas. Wonderful things.

This has turned out to be another rambly post. Ah, well. Curlicues and Golden Curves.

Last night, a reader asked if I would be comfortable talking about why I found working skyclad at Saturday night's Samhain celebration to be a wonderful experience. I said I'd think about it. And I have, and I suppose I am not uncomfortable saying just a little more (though it has occurred to me that perhaps I should set up a paganism/Wicca/magick filter for those who aren't interested in these things; for the moment, a cut should suffice).

Samhain thoughts )

Spooky just brought in the first jack-o'-lantern for me to see. I need to wrap this up and get a bath. We're having Hannah and Jim and maybe Byron over this evening to help us dole out unhealthy treats to the neighborhood children. And TCM is showing Vincent Price movies all evening. Superb!


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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