greygirlbeast: (river2)
Cold and sunny here in Providence. Tonight, we are promised it will be colder, but still mostly clear, for the Steel Yard annual iron pour. Meanwhile, we have a winter storm watch set to begin tomorrow at five p.m. and run until early Sunday morning. The first nor'easter of the year, and early. Looks like most of New England's going to get hit, but it also looks like we're in a narrow band that will escape the worst of the weather. Yay, us. I'd really like to have another six weeks or so until I have to worry about the blizzards. Anyway, as long as weather predictions are being made, I predict this is going to be a long and bad, bad winter.

Yesterday, we made it through the last two chapters of Blood Oranges. What a weird book. But, also, what a funny book. How did I do that? It's pretty much Buffy the Vampire Slayer directed by Quentin Tarantino. I think maybe the more interesting question is why did I do that? Was I trying to purge the deleterious effect that writing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir had upon me? That seems to be the popular opinion, but I can't say for sure. But it does hold up, and that's a great relief. I shall think of it as a belated tonic against the waning ParaRom market. I won't even dignify "ParaRom" with the sobriquet "genre." Not even "subgenre." It's just a market. You know, like varieties of porn. No, wait. I like porn. Porn is useful, and has dignity. Especially the creepy stuff from South Korea.

Oh, and I'm thinking of calling the obligatory sequel Fay Grimmer. No one will get the Hal Hartley reference who isn't meant to get it.

Today, it's back to work on Project Arrowhead for the MiBs at No Such Agency. As I said to Spooky, it's going to be the first long day of a long weekend at the beginning of a long winter.

Last night, in the rain, sleet, and snow, we went forth into the darkness to run errands. I got two new (and badly needed) pairs of shoes for the winter. I went all last winter in my Cros, coupled with New Zealand bedsocks. Which is really no fit state of affairs. Anyway, and the cat food/litter place, we had to go there, too, and also get dinner, and it must have been nine p.m. by the time we got home.

After dinner, there was RIFT. Mostly, dailies and world-event stuff, and then we watched Michael Tolkin's The Rapture (1991). I'd not seen it since the video release in 1992 or whenever, but after seeing Red State, and discovering that Spooky had never seen The Rapture, I very much needed to see it again. Well, I could have done without David Duchovny's mullet. But the rest of the film has aged very well. There are few better examples of the "Christian horror film." It's sort of Red State turned inside out, and the horror isn't so much what people are willing to believe (though that's bad enough). The horror lies in the objective existence of a sadistic "god" who demands it be loved, like a spoiled child demanding attention. It will be loved, or you will be damned. It will be loved, and you will destroy yourself for it's love, or you'll spend forever alone. Even if you are a "good" person, it will still damn you, unless you love it. In the final moments of the film, the film's protagonist redeems herself by finding her own salvation simply by telling the Bully in the Sky that no, she won't love it. "Who forgives God?", a question asked moments before the climax, is especially apt. So, yes, this is a keeper. A film which doesn't so much question the cartoonish Biblical eschatology, as it questions the ethics of a omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who would subject its creations to a living hell, just to get its ya-yas off. You know, just because. Like any shitty parent or schoolyard bully. See it, if you've not already. And if it sounds like the sort of film that would piss you off because you're a good Christian, then you especially need to see it. If you're that sort of person, this film was made for you. It won't change your mind. But, nonetheless.

We read more of Wildwood.

And now, I see the black van has pulled up outside.

Off to the Airbase,
Codename: Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
1) I slept eight hours, and I'm still not exactly what passes for awake.

2) We've laid in supplies. The snow is coming. It should arrive around midnight tonight. Heavy, heavy snow. If I were still in Birmingham or Atlanta, this sort of snow would spell the beginning of a week or two of havoc. Here, we may be unable to leave the house for one day, maybe. By "leave the house," I only mean get the car out of the driveway.

3) Yesterday, I wrote 1,142 words on Chapter 4 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm starting to suspect I'll finish the chapter on Thursday. I'm on manuscript page 162. But, even as I begin this seemingly marvelous progress, the insecurity mounts. The fear that I'm not even half smart enough to write this book, and that there's no audience who wants to read a novel of this sort. I have begun heavily second guessing the reader.

Fuck the so-called wisdom of writing workshops, of instructors, and fuck all that shit about reader/writer contracts. This sort of anxiety is poisonous to good fiction. One does not write for an audience, unless one only wishes to pander. One writes. The worth of a novel is not determined by the opinions of those who read it, collected and averaged to yield an objective rating that may be expressed in stars given and stars withehld. It's all a lonely mess. The book's "worth" lies in the mind of the author, and in the mind of each reader. Each is alone with the book, and everyone who reads it is subject to their own unique experience. Nothing is generally true. That said, I sit and try to just let Imp speak and tell her story, but I begin to hear the complaints to come. The shitty Amazon and blog "reviews" it may receive in 2012. These things shouldn't occur to me, and certainly they shouldn't give me a moment's pause, but they do. "It takes forever before anything actually happens." "It's slow." "It rambles." And so on and on and on and so forth.

4) Yesterday, after the writing, we had to go to our storage unit in Pawtucket. Outside, the world was bitter cold, scabby, too sharp around the edges. Anyway, we needed to drop off those files I mentioned having boxed up back on the 7th. That was the easy part. I also needed to find the missing files for The Dry Salvages, which I'm revising a bit before it's reprinted in Two Worlds and In Between. The files weren't in my cabinet, or anywhere in my office, or in the house. So, it stood to reason, we'd find them in the storage unit, where most of my old manuscripts and notes are kept. Nope. They may be there, but we didn't find them. Which is going to make revising The Dry Salvages much more difficult. I'll say more on this later.

It was depressing, seeing all my paleo' stuff, my Lane cabinet and all the rest. Things that have been in storage since August 2001, when I only thought I was briefly putting my paleo' work on hold.

5) Few things are so capable of filling me with despair as the paperback rack at the market. Who actually reads this crap? I mean, clearly lots and lots and lots of people do, because every one of those books has some bestselling pedigree slapped across its foil embossed cover. These are the forgettable books that everyone reads. Maybe not me, or you, or you, but everyone else. They all seem to amount to little but a combination of fourth-grade reading-level prose and woozy melodrama with bland, idealized characters. They are not meant to be good books. They are meant to be easy reads. Good reads (a phrase I loathe, a dismissive, backhanded slap of a compliment). They are meant to be consumed and then disposed of, like all the best products of this society. I know the money would be heavenly, but I don't think I could sleep at night. Okay, touché. I already have trouble sleeping.

6) I'm starting to think I'm sitting in a great empty room, talking to myself, listening to my hollow voice echoing off the silver walls.

7) Last night we watched Michael Winterbottom's excellent The Killer Inside Me (2010; based on Jim Thompson's 1952 novel). A few lapses in logic aside, I liked it quite a lot (and the lapses are only problematic if we assume the characters are especially bright people, and mostly they don't appear to be). Western noir set in the 1950s. It felt a lot like what you might get if the Coen Bros. and David Lynch made a film together. As usual, Winterbottom doesn't pull his punches, and so the brutality and loss rings true. Casey Affleck delivers a chilling performance as a small-town sociopath who also happens to be a deputy sheriff. Highly recommended.

8) I ordered my new iPod Classic yesterday. My thanks to Steven Lubold, who made it possible for me to get a new iPod. I've been trying to decide what I'll name it. My first iPod (the one from 2005 that recently died) was Moya. This one may be Inara. I always name my computers. Anyway, right now I see it's in Shanghai, because, you know, that makes sense. My iPod and the ramen I had for breakfast have traveled more than I ever will.

9) Last night, Shaharrazad reached Level 83.

And that's more than enough for now.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Supposedly, today will be a little cooler than yesterday. Here in Providence, the temperature reached about 87F. That was Outside. Inside the House, the temperature reached 86F and stayed there for several hours after sunset.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,459 words on "Tidal Forces." I wrote one of the few intentionally frightening scenes I've ever written. I realized, as I began it, that I meant it to be frightening, and I didn't shy away from my intent. This story will be included in Sirenia Digest #55. I think it has a sort of Theodore Sturgeon meets Shirley Jackson feel, but I might be mistaken.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Some stuff we've not auctioned in a while, including a copy of Trilobite: The Writing of Threshold, which I don't think we've auctioned in years. Thanks.


Yesterday was Litha, Summer Solstice, but we did not go to the sea. I simply could not bring myself to do it. The continuing BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster has made me increasingly reluctant to face the sea. And yesterday, it came down to a story about BP stopping boats that had been dispatched to rescue Kemp's Ridley sea turtles from the oil, about the boats being turned away by BP, who then set the oil ablaze, knowingly burning turtles alive. My anger and guilt and sorrow has surpassed my ability to articulate these emotions. Yesterday, at first I thought we would go to Moonstone beach and spend the evening cleaning plastic debris off the beach. But then I thought about the gasoline we'd have to use to go there and back, forty-five minutes or so each way. Could we possibly pick up enough plastic to justify the gallons of gasoline we'd burn to get there, the CO2 and other emissions, the oil? In my head, I went round and round and round. So we stayed home. There's no way not to be complicit in the present worldwide "petrocalamities," from the Gulf of Mexico to the Niger Delta. Every time I flip a light switch, or brush my teeth, or go to the market, I am a part of the problem. Sitting here writing this blog entry on a computer composed primarily of petroleum byproducts, a computer that was shipped to the store where I bought it using gasoline and oil and diesel (and I drove to the store), a computer run on electricity generated (at least in part) by the burning of fossil fuels, blogging while I sit in a mostly plastic chair...I am part of the problem. And the only way out of the problem, in truth, the thing that no one wants to believe, is to bring about a world with drastically fewer people. To stop having babies. But that's not going to happen, not ever by choice— because we are greedy and lazy, selfish and ignorant —until the compounded actions of humanity and limitations of the biosphere force it to happen.

The US uses more oil than any other nation on earth, something like 20 million barrels per day, with China lagging a distant second with about 7 million barrels per day.

And, for me, it all comes down to sea turtles being burned alive.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I think I'm reaching that place where exhaustion is replaced by an abiding desire to simply punish this meatsack and the consciousness it has spawned, see how much the whole wet, bloody mess can take before it begins coming apart at the seams. Kick it until it doesn't even try to crawl.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,146 words. And that makes yesterday the second "best" day of this goddamned Forced March to THE END.

There was a question from the comments to yesterday's entry, and it was a good question, so I'm reposting it here. [ profile] anthologie asked:

Caitlin, you have said you are a slow writer, that writing as much as 1,500 words in a day is a real struggle. If you'll forgive the question, I was wondering something: How long are your workdays, roughly? Eight-ish hours? I was wondering this because I am a fairly quick writer — 1,500 words takes me two to three hours, which feels a little slow to me, but really isn't. However, even if I have a whole day to do nothing but write, I can't really squeak out more than 2,500 or 3,000 words because once I start going beyond that, the writing starts being really shitty, I start making lots of typos and mistakes — all signs that my brain is completely done. That's frustrating because I have all those hours left in which I could write more, but it just won't come out.

Over the years I have become a faster writer, in the sense that it takes me less time to write X amount of words. But the only significant increase in my daily average word count occurred sometime in 2002, while I was writing Low Red Moon, I think (this could be falsified or confirmed by scanning old blog entries, an effort which is presently beyond me), when I went from about 500 words a day to 1,000. To this day, I doubt I've ever written more than 2,850 words in a day. But, what I wanted to say is that yes, I know what you're talking about, precisely. These days I may write faster, but it feels like I'm simply compressing the same amount of work into an ever smaller space. It seems to have more to do with how much I write than how long I spend writing it. Ignore the Forced March. The Forced March is an aberration. On a normal writing day, when I do 1,000-1,200 words, I usually start writing about 1 p.m. and finish any time between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. So, on average, I'd say I write 4-6 hours a day. Sometimes the words come all in a great rush (those are the good days), and I might do that 1,000-1,200 in only two or three hours. Sometimes, it takes me six or seven. And lately, there is so much work that needs doing, so much that needs writing, I wish I could use every waking hour, as almost every hour in any given day is a waking hour. But most of them feel "wasted." Last night, after dinner, after a very hot bath, I wanted so badly to go back to work. And I tried. But that 2,146 words, written in only about three hours, that was all I had for yesterday.

Gods, this is dull stuff to be writing down.

I have agreed to write a short piece for a forthcoming issue of Weird Tales, just 800 words or so; details to follow.

I did go outside yesterday, very briefly. Just long enough to cut a couple of Narcissus for the altar table, because there should be flowers for Imbolc, and the cold has not yet killed the Narcissus. I stood out front and breathed in the cold air, trying to feel clean, and stared up at the waxing moon, white in the blue sky. Last night, when I had at last given up on getting any more work out of me, I collapsed into a useless lump in front of the television, played a bit of Final Fantasy XII (trekking from Balfonheim Port northwest to the Cerobi Steppe, then west to the Tchita Uplands, then southwest, ending up at the save crystal where the Phon Coast begins), then watched a new ep of Miami Ink and then a documenatry on the Science Channel, Voyage to the Planets and Beyond, a rerun from 2005 I'd somehow missed the first time around. It originally aired in the UK as Space Odyssey. At some unspecified future date, five astronauts attempt a seven-year "grand tour" of the solar system aboard an ESA ship called the Pegasus. The science was a little wonky here and there, and naturally the planetology was already out of date (especially as regards Mars and Titan). But I still thought it was actually pretty good. It's heart was definitely in the right place. It really should have been four hours long instead of two.

I made it to bed sometime after two. I found sleep (or it found me) sometime after four. I woke at 10:30 a.m., more tired than when I fell asleep, with a song from 1994 stuck in my head, Billy Pilgrim's "Insomiac." I'm putting the lyrics behind a cut:

Insomniac )

Oh, and the offer of a FREE signed copy of Silk to new Sirenia Digest subscribers expires at midnight tonight. If you sign up today, your subscription will begin with issue #14.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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