greygirlbeast: (fry1)
Using my Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) icon today because about 4:15 a.m. I finally fell asleep watching Pitch Black for the umpteenth time. I drifted off not long after the crash of the Hunter-Gratzner. Which means the film worked. My comfort films usually do. Work to put me to sleep, I mean. Fortunately, Pitch Black is streaming from Netflix, so I could get it via the iPad. By the way, that's about the only use for Kermit the iPad that I've found, streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix.

---

I just received word from Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press that The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has earned the coveted starred review in the new Publisher's Weekly. I won't post the full review for a few days, but I will excerpt this line (the rest is mostly synopsis, anyway, the last thing any book review should be concerned with):

Kiernan evokes the gripping and resonant work of Shirley Jackson in a haunting story that’s half a mad artist’s diary and half fairy tale.

I can live with that. Momentarily, I don't feel misunderstood. Though I'm sure that's just illusory and will pass shortly.

And speaking of Subterranean Press, if you've not already preordered your copy of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, you might want to do it before much longer. Remember, the limited comes with the FREE hardbound chapbook, The Yellow Book ("The Yellow Alphabet" + a new short story, "Ex Libris").

---

Yesterday, I only managed to write pages 5-7 (ms. pages 10-15, 1,256 words) of Albaster #4. Maybe I can write five today, and make up the difference.

The auction for The Drowning Girl ARC continues.

---

There was some good RP in SW:toR last night, and I read two stories, Tanith Lee's "Black Fire" (2011) and Julie E. Czerneda's "The Passenger" (1999). Both were quite excellent, but I was especially taken with the Tanith Lee piece*. These are collected, by the way, in John Joseph Adams' Lightspeed: Year One. I have a story in there, too. I just wish Orson Scott Card's name wasn't splashed across the cover of the book. I feel like I should wear gloves when I handle it.

Seven days have passed without my leaving the house (and I won't today, so make that eight), and its beginning to bother me again. I blame the weather. That sky. Getting to bed too late, waking too late. Having only five hours of daylight (or thereabouts), and needing three of them to wake up. This is my first (of four) profoundly shitty New England winters, and the workload isn't helping.

Snowed Under Without Snow,
Aunt Beast

* Though it's the Czerneda story that ends with this exquisite sentence: For like that precious bird, kept until death in a glass cage for all to see, wasn't he the last passenger of Earth?
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Ugh. Yeah, we're awake now, right? I've been chattering away like Robin fucking Williams for an hour, and I think Spooky's ready to murder me. But, then, she usually is. Ready to murder me.

Hey, let's get off on the right foot. Here's some depressing-ass shit: "Police Seek Escaped Exotic Animals in Ohio." And while we're at it, since when is it acceptable to only capitalize the first word of a headline and any proper nouns? Who decided that? It's fucking idiotic. I think I only noticed this about a month ago, but it seems to be a New Internet Rule. I'm sure some bunch of cocksuckers are responsible, like the authors of the The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style, who have to keep making up "new rules" so people have to keep buying new copies. Linguistic evolution by way of capitalism, yes! Anyway, the proper way to write a headline...oh, never mind. World, meet hell in a hand basket, and you kids get off my lawn.

Yesterday, I worked. Can't say how or on what. I am told the beans will be spilled in only a few more weeks, you will all be happy, and I can stop keeping this particular SECRET.

Also, [livejournal.com profile] sovay reports having received her copy of Two Worlds and In Between, so folks who wisely pre-ordered (even the trade hb edition is almost sold out now, less than fifty copies remaining) should be getting it this week and next.

---

I was going to talk about Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). Yes, I was. I said that yesterday. First off, the pros. This is a good movie, and remember, I may have seen the Carpenter film more times than any living being (easily a hundred times, start to finish). It's a terrifying, fun, awe-inspiring tribute to the Carpenter film and, for the most part, it gets it right, because the filmmakers had the proper respect for the original and convinced the studio/producers to permit them to make a prequel instead of a remake. Though we do not need to know what happened before Carpenter's film, or what happens afterwards (this is part of the film's genius), the prequel doesn't provide some sort of infodump that ruins the original. Oh, and no SPOILER WARNING; if you don't want to read this, then avert thine eyes. However, rather than fawn over the good points (which are many), I'll point out those things I found annoying or disappointing. You know, like any good internet "reviewer." Overall, Heijningen gets the continuity with the first film right, and his scientific gaffs are minor (no one has ever found a prehistoric carnivore preserved in tundra, though we're shown Mary Elizabeth Winstead's paleontologist, Dr. Kate Lloyd, examining what appears to be a frozen Homotherium near the beginning of the film). I loved the microscope view of the alien cells consuming human cells and converting them, and the understanding that the alien was single-celled virus capable of acting as a multicellular organism. Wait, I'm saying good things. What kind of internet reviewer am I?!

Anyway, the delightful isolation of the first film is broken when we cut to Lloyd's lab at Columbia University, whereas maintaining that sense of claustrophobic isolation was crucial to the film's success. Bad filmmakers. Also, this film isn't nearly as quiet or as slowly paced as the 1982 film, but if it were, 2011 audiences would probably walk out, having been trained for constant, unrelenting action. One thing I love about the Carpenter film is the pacing, which took a cue from Alien (1978). Also, while the special effects and creature design were very good, I still prefer the analog effects in the original. Give me latex and methylcellulose over pixels any damn day of the week. I liked how we were shown the alien's ability to absorb and replicate via ingestion, but also it's ability to infect and slowly convert a human. I loved that we are shown so much of the inside of the alien ship, but was annoyed that the original means of its discovery wasn't preserved. The prequel does a pretty good job of being set in 1982 (thank fuck it wasn't updated), but I missed seeing 1982 computer technology. That would have been charming in the right way. There are too many characters, and except for Lloyd, they have a tendency to bleed together (no pun intended), one into the next. A wonderful thing about the first film was its carefully delineated characters.

The ending is handled well. I very much like the sense that we're given the impression that Lloyd, despite having survived, knows it's best if she sits there in that snowcat and freezes to death. Ultimately, we're left with the ambiguities and fatalism of the original, the sense of impending apocalypse, and you better stay for the credits, because that's where Carpenter's and Heijningen's fuse seamlessly together (no pun intended), with footage from the 1982 version. Again, DO NOT LEAVE WHEN THE CREDIT ROLL BEGINS, or you'll miss where 1982 meets 2011. Tentative final conclusion: I'll give it 8 out of 10; definitely worth seeing in the theaters.

---

We finished Shirley Jackson's The Sundial last night. It's a wonderful novel, with multiple interpretations and a marvelously inconclusive ending. I learned so much from Jackson. Is this a statement on the Catholic Church (the Halloran House) and Protestantism (the inhabitants; remember that Jackson was an atheist)? On human idiocy in general? The hysteria of crowds? Jackson's strong dislike for insular New Englanders (which she repeats again and again in other works)? We have to draw our own conclusions, or draw none at all. And now, I will announce (though I may have already beat myself to it) that the next Aunt Beast Book Club book is Collin Meloy and Carson Ellis' Wildwood. Note that this is a beautiful hardback, and if you purchase it as an ebook, you're shooting yourself in the foot and will miss at least half the pleasure. Also, last night I read Peter Crowther's "Memories." And played some Rift. I miss the house guests. I need more of them.

Speaking of whom, here are some crappy, blurry shots I took on Friday night at Spooky's parents' farm in Saunderstown, before we stepped out into the torrential fucking downpour to get the first round of nude shots of Eva, when Imp finds her at the side of the road. We were ordering pizza (thank you Spooky and Geoffrey) and playing with Spider cat, the feline basketball:

14 October 2011, Part 2 )
greygirlbeast: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (white)
No, I'm awake. I promise. I can even see. Almost. I have even managed to survive the severe upbraiding I have received from Spooky for having awakened her at dawn-thirty because I was awakened by Hubero at dawn-thirty. I don't know why I did it! He does crazy shit, okay?! Crazy-ass cat shit, and usually she knows how to scare him in to calming the hell down. Instead, no, I'm in trouble for waking her up – me, the victim.

But that's cool. No more saving her from sasquatches.

And here it is the First of Hallowe'en, which would be fine, if I hadn't lost the first third of summer to rain, and the second third to...a bunch of dumb shit.

Yesterday I wrote a mere 454 words on "Daughter Dear Desmodus." Then I realized, This isn't a vignette. Or even a "sudden" fiction, or a short short, or whatever the beatniks are saying these days. It's not a short story, and I think it's more than a novelette. Or even a novella. Gods fuck me sideways, I think it's the first few pages of a novel about a "bat girl" in a carnival sideshow and how she grows up to unwittingly become the center of a doomsday cult, and fall in love. You know, like Water for Elephants on LSD.* And that's when I typed, THE END, because if I stopped at the conclusion of the paragraph I was writing, the story would have a happy ending. Okay, not happy. But what Spooky pronounced "sweet." Look, I don't know if it's the pills they give me so I don't flop around on the floor and choke on my own spittle to die the ignominious death of Tchaikovsky, or if I'm just getting old...but I find myself, now and again, wanting to let a character with whom I have fallen in love off the hook just a little. IS THAT SO BAD? Anyway, this is the story Vince will be illustrating, instead of the other story.

Spooky's muttering about washing her hair.

Yesterday, the mail (which only works about half the time) brought me my comp copies of Paula Guran's Halloween (Prime Books), a volume with many fine authors (Ray Bradbury, Thomas Ligotti, Lovecraft, Peter Straub, me, and etcetera) that reprints my piece, "On the Reef" (I found two minor typos; my fault). Oddly, I appear only ever to have written two "Hallowe'en stories": "At the Reef" and "A Redress for Andromeda." More proof I'm not a "horror" writer. You know, people still get hung up on that shit, me refusing to be called a "horror" writer. They take it personally. Seriously. For my part, I look at writers I admire, who had a great influence on me growing up. Ray Bradbury (again), for example. Sure, he writes science fiction, and fantasy (sensu stricto and sensu lato), and scary stories, and non-fantastic lit. Italo Calvino? Ambrose Bierce? Or Harlan Ellison, for example. You could not find an author more impossible to categorize (okay, well maybe you could, but that's not the point). He writes...what he wants to write. Same with Shirley Jackson: ghost stories, insightful stories about insanity and the labyrinth of the American family, and she also wrote some very funny shit. And Lovecraft? You really think "The Colour Out of Space" and "At the Mountains of Madness" are "horror" stories? But...William Gibson's "Hinterlands," that's sceince fiction? Pffffft.

You know, there are an awful lot of quotation marks in the last paragraph.

Today I work on pulling Sirenia Digest #70 together, so that I can send it to be PDF'd as soon as I have Vince's illustration, then Spooky can send it out to all the subscribers (and if you are not one of those, it's NEVER too late...unless you die first).

Some really fine RP in Insilico last night. Thank you, Joah. You've helped to complete the building of the perfect beast. And I read Algernon Blackwood's sublime "The Wendigo" for the umpteenth time, but every time it amazes me all the more.

Anyway...you know what? I consider myself a connoisseur of fetishes. There are few of them with which I am not acquainted. And there are still fewer that don't get me off. Wait...never mind. This isn't about non-Euclidian geometry and larger and smaller infinities, Georg Cantor and his cardinalities, integers vs. whole numbers. Not that math can't be a fetish. It can. But...what was I saying? Oh! Yes! Every now and then I watch the creation of a new fetish right before my very eyes and I know - with perfect clarity - it was created just for me. To whit, Christina Hendricks and her red accordion. I would show you the clip, but YouTube has disabled embedding by request. You'll have to settle for a link to Christina Hendricks playing her red accordion. And really, it's all I need. I could just...sit...and watch...her and...that red accordion...for hours. Without breathing.

Stopping Before Someone Gets Hurt,
Aunt Beast

*A novel I might be able to write by 2014.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I begin to have doubts about my home state when I consider that when, in 1954, either the ruby-throated hummingbird or osprey could have been chosen as the State Bird, voters picked, instead, a chicken.

Um...this is Thursday, right? I thought so. It's actually raining. Started last night, but it's going to be sunny and warm again tomorrow.

Yesterday, I wrote only 953 words, because that's all that was required to reach THE END of "Evensong." It came out not so much a vignette as a very short short story. I think. Why the fuck do we have to categorize, anyway? It's fiction. Leave it at that. Regardless, subscribe! Today, I begin the second new piece for Sirenia Digest #70.

Spooky's having a Premature Halloween Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. Good and spooky stuff. Also, for those who contributed to the Tale of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter, the paintings are almost finished (you now can see these in the project's blog, if you were a backer). I haven't begun on the text yet, but after the LONG delay, the project is chugging towards completion! The Goat Girls live, booya!

Yesterday was dull as the Rhode Island state bird. And that's sort of a good thing. I needed a genuinely dull day. No alarms and no surprises, please. I think the worst of it was the big Rift 1.5 patch. But, hey...those of us who've been there since the start got cool new stuff. And soon we Defiant can buy yarnosaurs! That is, those of us who've been there since the beginning. The rest of you are out of luck. For dinner, we ate the Rhode Island state bird (roasted), then ate Hallowe'en candy, and watched the end of Season Two of Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit. The show seems to finally be wandering farther afield from the rape/child abuse case of the week formula. Someone must have finally realized there are bolder sex crimes afoot. Either that, or the ratings dropped. We read more of The Sundial.

If you ordered Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me: Volume One, it ought to be arriving any day, if it hasn't already. I'm eagerly awaiting my own copies. Also, I have received word that the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has reached my editor at Penguin. The postal goblins didn't eat it.

Excuse me. I'm going to ask the state bird why it crossed the road.

Curiouser and Curiouser,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (grey)
Though I slept eight hours or so, I feel like I didn't sleep at all.

And there's so much sun Outside. If I didn't mind a little chill–and I don't–I could spend the day swimming at Moonstone Beach. Same for yesterday. It was "supposed" to rain yesterday and again today. And the rain keeps running away from us. I think I'm going to write a paper titled "Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and New England Weather."

Yesterday, the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir was sent to my publisher from the Jamestown post office out on Conanicut Island. It should be in Manhattan by Wednesday. For the most part, it's now out of my hands.

We spent the afternoon, at West Cove, mostly beach combing. The water was very calm, only a few scattered clouds in the sky. When we arrived, there was a great deal of plastic litter (mostly old Clorox bottles–often used for floats on lobster pots–and soft drink and water bottles) along the shoreline. Spooky and I hauled a great deal of it up above the surf line, and then later someone else came along and gathered up still more. Lots of things wash up in West Cove. Sadly, a lot of it is refuse. It's hard to enjoy being at West Cove after such a futile task.

But we found some good beach glass. I only found one nice bird bone, which was unusual. There were kayaks, canoes, sailing ships, and other boats. We took a lot of photos, and I'll post some of them tomorrow. Just not up to the chore of Photoshop and ftp today.

Back in Providence, we dropped by the p.o. There was a box of antique porcelain doll heads Inzell, Germany for Spooky, and comp copies of the Lovecraft Annual (No. 5) were waiting for me. This issue reprints the Guest of Honor speech I gave at the HPLFF in Portland, Oregon last October. Oh, and there was also a resin cast of a raven skull for Spooky. Such is our mail.

There was pizza from Fellini's for dinner. As days off go, I've had worse. We did get more of The Sundial read, and finished Season Two of Mad Men.

---

Seems like I had more thoughts on The Stand, things I forgot to say yesterday, but now I've mostly forgotten them all again. I know I was going to mention how poorly paced the book is. Having read it again, I'm more amazed than ever that King released an "extended" version. The original is already too long. He could easy have cut out half the stuff in the Boulder Freezone, and it would have only helped. The novel all but grinds to a halt in the middle.

This is what a blog entry looks like when I really can't seem to muster the resolve to write a blog entry.

Anyway. I'll be over here, talking to myself.

Weary of the World,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
I've been sitting here for half an hour trying to wake up enough to write a blog entry. I had my breakfast of goat food and milk, and I'm still working on the morning Red Bull (coffee truly is for pussies). My body visited eight hours of sleep upon me last night, rather unexpectedly. I suppose it was needed. I am becoming hypnophobic, I think. That is, sleep frightens me. It took me a bit to puzzle out the why. Sleep has been intensely unpleasant for a long time – because of the dreams that are too vivid – but now I have pills that dim the dreams from three-color Technicolor to the older, kinder two-color process. But, I digress. Maybe. Anyway, no. It's not the dreams. It's the amount of time that sleep deducts from my conscious life, from what I have remaining of it. This is, of course, a Land of Unknown Variables. Life remaining to CRK might = N, let's say, and time deducted by sleep during N might = n, but...never mind. I'm too sleepy for algebra, I think you'll get the picture; time is always running out.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,829 words in the Mars story that is now known as "The House of Glass Coffins." It began as an idea for a vignette, and grew into a full-fledged short story, though...I think it wanted to be a novella. Today is assembly day for Sirenia Digest #69, which may, if we're all lucky, go out to subscribers before midnight EDT.

Oh, look. Now LJ's preview feature isn't working. Surprise! I've got to find some place to move this blog before the Russians, or whoever-they-ares, destroy LJ completely. I don't want to leave, but once the rats have all gone (and, mostly, they have), you gotta start making contingency plans. I'm considering both WordPress and TypePad. Equally stupid titles, but no worse, I suppose, than LiveJournal (though LJ is at least accurately descriptive). And before you suggest it, Dreamwidth is no longer an option, as I've learned much too much about the fascists who run it.

Where was I before I tried to preview this entry?

Oh, yes. This month's book of the month. After completely making an utter mess of things last month with Carrie Ryan's (so I quickly learned) laughably lousy The Forest of Hands and Teeth, this month I'm staying on firmer, more familiar ground. I kept meaning to create a graphic and post it, the cover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth with a red circle and slash around it. Anyway, this month's selection is Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (1958). It's one of Jackson's less well-known works, and I hope you'll join me in reading it. The novel has become hard to find, and if you can't find a copy to purchase (new or used), try the library (remember those?), or an ebook (I'm going to the Special Hell for that last suggestion, that anyone dare read a Shirley Jackson novel as *shudder* an ebook)*:



And that brings us to the Kickstarter for mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. The Kickstarter has only four days to go, and we're at $2,846 pledged (or 237% funded), which is rather impressive, considering we were only aiming for $1,200. However, wouldn't it be a shame if we came this close to $3,000 and missed that nice round number by a mere $154? And it's not like we won't put the money to good use. So, consider a donation, if you haven't already. I wish I had more signed copies of the book to offer as rewards. Wow. Now I know that, if necessary, I can sound like a televangelist begging for money in the name of Jay-zus.

And now, kittens, it's time for you to comment, and for me to make a virtual digest out of its constituent pixels. Come on, platypus.

Hypnophobically,
Aunt Beast

* I am relieved to see that The Sundial is not available on Kindle.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, no Great Trailer & Photo Shoot for The Drowning Girl this weekend. Thank you, Hurricane Irene. Early last night, watching the grave weather forecasts, Kyle and I made the decision to postpone the whole affair. Which means postponing it until early October. Even if we could have reached Moonstone Beach (the area will likely be evacuated), I'd have never asked Sarah (who plays our Eva) to walk towards that surf, much less into it. So, there you go. But I do not argue with forces of Nature. They were here first, and will be here long afterwards. Forces of Nature have seniority.

But yeah, it's looking pretty bad here in Providence, and we'll spend part of the day laying in supplies for the impact. Fortunately, we have storm windows, and the walls of this old house were built with a crisscrossed lattice of steel to protect against this very thing (though it makes hanging pictures a bitch).

I got virtually nothing written yesterday. There was far too much commotion. Confusion. Calamity. All those good "c" words. Mostly, having to figure out, at the last fucking minute, what to do about the Great Trailer & Photo Shoot. Thus, I only managed to write a paltry 698 words on Chapter 8 of Blood Oranges. Nonetheless, I intend to have the book (plus epilogue) finished by the end of the day Tuesday (August 30).

I now have both of Vince Locke's illustrations for The Drowning Girl, and they're marvelous. Sirenia Digest subscribers have seen the first of the two, but no one (outside my publisher's offices) gets to see the second until the book is released next year.

Yesterday, my contributor's copy of The Book of Cthulhu arrived. As did the very beautiful edition of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial I'd ordered. Also, a care package from Madison Colvin in Savannah, Georgia, which included, among many other things, a copy of Angela Carter's Love (one of the few books by her I didn't own). So, thank you, Madison. Very, very sweet of you.

Last night, once the dust of difficult decisions had settled, there was some not exactly very good RP in Insilico, but it had a Season Five Dexter chaser, so everything worked out well. And I think the problem that caused the not exactly very good RP has been identified, so that it won't happen again. Then Spooky read The Stand, and I listened. We reached Chapter 38. And, for fuck's sake, I hate Harold Lauder. Sociopathic, maladjusted, plain ol' disgusting behavior aside, he makes me want to bathe. Oh, back to Dexter, Peter Weller is becoming William Burroughs. Has anyone else noticed that? Meanwhile, Deb Morgan is my latest profanity crush (I know most people don't get those, but I definitely have a profanity fetish; my last profanity crush was Al Swearengen). To wit:



And that was yesterday.

Battening Down the Hatches,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
I'm almost awake.

Today, 121 years ago, August 20, 1890, 9:00 a.m., Howard Philips Lovecraft was born in his family home at 194 Angell Street here in Providence.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,206 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. It is remotely possible that I could finish the chapter today, if I can push to 2,500 or 3,000 words. Or unless there's a lot less remaining of the chapter than I think (this seems unlikely). But if I could do this, I would have written a chapter in a mere four days.

Someone commented, a couple of days back, that they thought Blood Oranges might be a "game changer" for me (I think it was [livejournal.com profile] opalblack ; if I'm wrong, please correct me). And I have to say no. No. It's a momentary diversion, something mostly fun to write, and a little bit of insurance. Truthfully, it's The Drowning Girl: A Memoir that we're all counting on to be the game changer. It's the novel that matters. Blood Oranges is just a bit of whimsy sparkling at the side of the road. Metaphors have been mixed here, I'm quite certain.

Email from Michael Zulli yesterday, which I need to answer before I begin writing today.

Last night was a bit saner than the night before, in terms of post-writing recreational activities. We played a couple of hours of Rift (mostly in the Droughtlands and Stillmoor), then watched Vincent Ward's adaptation of What Dreams May Come (1998; from the 1978 novel by Richard Matheson). For all its schmaltz and smarm, I gotta admit I have a very soft spot for the film, which I'd only seen once before, during its theatrical run. On the one hand there are the astounding visuals, and...on the other...well, sometimes, we don't have to explain ourselves. We just love a thing for what it is. Period. "It's a beautiful dream. But it's only a dream" Even as a pagan atheist, it gets me, on the level that any good fantasy hits me. Also, there's the Werner Herzog cameo. After the movie, we read more of The Stand, and I think I got to sleep about 4 ayem.

I'm going to go ahead and announce next month's book early (and I'm still trying to live down that business with Carrie Ryan; many hours of self-flagellation with a dead cat have been involved). Next month will be Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (1958), which I hope won't be too hard to find. But I wanted something I know is brilliantly written, and that a lot of readers here might be unfamiliar with.

And now...I should go. Many words to write before Insilico and Telara and Captain Trips.

Have a kindly thought for the Old Gent today. Tip your hat to a night gaunt.

Squamously,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Thanks for yesterday's comments. Let's see if we can do that again. I like to see Frank the Goat all smiling and happy.

Sunny, and warm (high of 84˚F forecast) here in Providence, and I should go to the sea. Instead, I'll write.

So, after I propose a book as the month's selection, and after I discover it's a steaming pile of pink giraffe dung, then people step forward to tell me that it was a baffling choice. Better yet, that my choice of Ryan's book led them to doubt my sanity and the very fabric of time and space. Helpful lot, you are. Anyway, so I officially decry The Forest of Hands and Teeth as the waste of a wonderful title and a lot of paper, and move along. Yes, you heard me. I am breaking with my neurosis and not even finishing it. And there will be no other choice for the "book club" this month. Me, I'm reading The Stand (the original 1978 text) for the first time since the 1980s. And this be a lesson to you all. Even aliens fuck up sometimes.

Seriously, how does someone get to be an adult-type person and have such a dopey, sugary view of the world as Carrie Ryan? How is it that their ideas of human relationships remain so firmly rooted in the ninth grade?

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,349 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. Yes, I finished Chapter Six on Monday without having realized that I'd done so. I am approaching the book's climax. It's a very, very peculiar book. It's me taking a vacation. But, regardless, I can assure you that – whatever it might be – it's at least 1,000% better written than The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

---

I was very pleased to see this bit in John Clute's review (at Strange Horizons) of Ellen Datlow's Naked City:

And Caitlin R Kiernan's "The Colliers' Venus (1893)" (in a steampunk Denver here called Cherry Creek) is an engrossingly indirect narrative at the climax of which the eponymous figure—who is Gaia in bondage—turns to holy ash, which is coal dust that fills the lungs, which is to say she imprints us with our fate.

But the entire review should be read, as it speaks to the sad mess that has been made of the once respectable and promising label "urban fantasy." Seriously, if you value my fiction, or my opinion of fiction in general (the Carrie Ryan gaffe notwithstanding), you should read this whole review. But I will quote two passages:

"If it's the same story wherever it happens to be set," I wrote, "it isn't Urban Fantasy."

– and –

The best stories in both anthologies, being about our world, do not pretend to tell us that all will be well, that all things will be well if we listen, down to the last sweet-tooth detail, to the child inside. Paranormal romances told by sweeties no longer feed us joy or terror, not any more. They are yesterday's newspaper. If it is our fate to breathe dust, then let it be the dust of the world we live in.

Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes. Where have all our John Clute's gone?

---

So, as I was saying, casting about for something reliable to read last night, we settled on the original text of The Stand (1978). The 1990 revision/extension/updating, in my opinion, was mostly nonsensical and all but ruined the novel.* I'd actually wanted to read Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (1958), but couldn't find my copy anywhere (and fear it was lost on a move [dash] book purge). So, yes. The Stand. I was afraid we'd start, and this book I'd loved so much during my teens and early twenties that I read it pretty much once a year would have lost everything that made it dear to me. Kathryn and I re-read King's 'Salem's Lot back in 2004, and, frankly, I found it embarrassing. That is, I was embarrassed I'd ever admired that novel. Anyway...

Last night I was very pleasantly surprised to find that The Stand is still, to me, an enthralling, well-written book. Which means King's writing improved considerably between 'Salem's Lot and The Stand, between about 1973 and 1977 (approximate composition dates, not publication dates). I entirely stopped reading him after '89 and '90's supremely disappointing The Dark Half and the reworked edition of The Stand. For me, the high point had been Pet Sematary (1983), and I knew the party was ending when I read the atrociously bloated and silly It (1986). I've drifted off the point. So far, after the first five chapters and the first fifty pages, The Stand is what I remember it being. I'm just glad that I have a copy of the original text, and not the later, longer, and lesser edition.

And I should go. There's an impatient platypus.

An Old-School Urban Fantasy,
Aunt Beast

* Much like what Clute says about urban fantasy stories being about the places they're set in, and ceasing to be those stories if moved to a new place...a good novel is about its time, no matter how "timeless" the basic elements may be, and cannot simply be bumped ahead in time to make more money for publishers and authors. Just look at the mess that has been made of Lovecraft on film, because no one understands these are now period stories. Now, from here, The Stand is a story about the world thirty-one years ago (it's set in 1980).
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Because I really didn't want to title this Readercon 22 (III), and I've just awakened from a nap of cataclysmic proportions, despite having slept in the broiling car on the way back from Burlington to Providence. If title must be explained, that's why. I am home, with another Shirley Jackson Award stone to sit upon my shelf. But what matters is I am home.

Shirley Jackson understood the importance of coming home. Eleanor and Merricat, they knew how precious is home.

Still, it was good to see so many people I so rarely get to see, those other authors, those editors and publishers, those others who are dear to me and whom I so very rarely ever get to see. You know who you are. That said, I am no person for crowds. Likely as not, I could go many more months and never find myself in another crowd of human beings and be pleased. I am exhausted, and I need to be alone, just me and Spooky, and, occasionally, the visitation of a friend or two.

I was good this year, and bought only three books: two used hardbacks – Herbert's God Emperor of Dune and LeGuin's The Compass Rose: Short Stories – along with a copy of Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners. Even so, and even though we were frugal, the cost of the con (I kept a careful tally), came to $606.49. My thanks to Stephen Lubold and Cliff Miller, without whose generosity we couldn't have attended.

Though I did three panels this year, I'm fairly certain the first and the third (this afternoon) were precisely the same panel. Certainly, we said most of the same things this afternoon that were said on Friday.

Regardless, I am home, where there is no AC, and only two bearable rooms (and I am not writing this from either of them). I am facing a mountain of work that should have been done two weeks ago, and which must be done despite the heat. The weathermen say this coming week will be the hottest of the summer for us. But, even so, I'm glad to be home.

Here again,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Sitting here in the business centre, determined to keep my vow to make at least one entry a day for six months. Booya.

Here's one of the secrets I've been having to keep for a while. Not the BIG COOL news, but news that is both big and cool. Along with Peter Straub, I have been chosen to be Guest of Honor at next year's Readercon, which will be Readercon 23. Peter, from the beginning of my career, has been a great friend and an invaluable mentor, and not only am I honoured to have been chosen to be Geuest of Honour next year, I'm honoured all the more to have been chosen to be Guest of Honor with Peter. Because bow ties are cool. Actually, I'm not sure Peter wears bowties, but I would, if I had one. Anyway, it fell to Peter and me to choose next year's Memorial Guest of Honour, and we chose Shirley Jackson. It would have been almost impossible to have chosen anyone else.

There much else to report. There was an impromptu reading of 7 from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir in mine and Spooky's room late last night, and almost everyone who, at last year's Readercon, helped me to work out the novel and save it from my frustration, was present: Sonya Taaffe, Greer Gilman, Geoffrey Goodwin, Michael Cisco, and Gemma Files. It was a practice reading for my actual reading at 11 ayem today.

Usually, of course, I'm still asleep at 11 ayem. So, it was a challenge to get up and dressed and conscious in time. The greater challenge was putting myself in the emotional space to read a very emotional chapter. But it went very, very well. I used my iPod to listen to Death cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" - to which so much of the book was written - and it took me back to Imp. It was, for me, one of the most intense readings I've ever done. It almost felt as if I were acting.

Anyway, I ought to sign off. Please forgive any typos. I'll fix them Sunday night, perhaps.

In Burlington,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
It's Rhode Island. A week ago, we had highs in the 60sF. Today, the high will be in the 80s. Tomorrow, the 90s. A few days, back down in the 60s. It's Rhode Island.

All the expected tedium of yesterday was delivered, with a free side of frustapation. That's a Popeye word, frustapation, and I love it. We proofed "Fish Bride" (three minor corrections), I dealt with contracts, and an author's note and bio I should have sent away to an editor days ago, and then we got around to working on the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between.

Oh, and the discovery that a check we've been counting on arriving this month might not arrive until next month. Yes, to paraphrase Nick Mamatas ([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid), the one thing we may count on as a professional freelance author, the check will always be late. More on this in a moment.

Anyway, we finally headed off to my doctor's appointment...in Cranston...only to discover that it had been moved to next Monday. And no one had called to tell me. I like my doctor. I truly do. I was very lucky to find her. But there I lost a couple of hours I could have spent editing the collection. So, we headed back to Providence, and we took the DVDs back to Acme Video (free Atomic Fireball, which at least helped with the cigarette craving I was having), and then returned home. And had leftovers. And I did a little more work, just beginning to compile the table of contents for the next short-story collection, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (publication date TBA). And I read an article in the January JVP, "A new helmeted frog (Anura: Calyptocephallidae) from an Eocene subtropical lake in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina." And we played Rift, and both Selwyn and Miisya reached Level 45.

I have a couple of Rift screencaps, which I've left at their original size, because shrinking them does them an injustice. Does the beauty of the game an injustice.




An impromptu gathering of Kelari mages in the halls of Lantern Hook (left to right: Enth'lye [foreground], Selwyn, Celinn, and Artemisia). Kelari women have a very strict protocol as regards sitting, by the way.



Selwyn and Celinn astride their vaiyuu in the snowy wilds of Iron Pine, the gates of Stillmoor looming in the near distance (Selwyn front).




So...yes. Wanna be a freelance writer? Wanna say #fuckplanB and throw caution to the winds? Then prepare for the fact that the check will always be late. Now, almost usually, you will be paid. Eventually. When someone gets around to it. When payroll can be bothered, etc. But there's no relationship between when you'll need the money for, say, clothing, rent, or an upcoming convention, and when it will actually arrive. No, no one cares. This is simply how it is. It's how its always been. Anyway, because the check will always be late, and because I have a commitment to attend Readercon 22 July 14-17th (if only because I'm nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award, and have agreed to take part in various bits of programming), we're beginning a BIG Damn eBay Sale (it's still small just now). There's the need for new clothes (I last bought clothing in September) and, of course, moolah to cover all the con expenses (which are not inconsiderable). We'll make the money, or I'll cancel. Honestly, I'm so tired of all this, I only just barely care which.

It's not as if we live an extravagant lifestyle. Our monthly "entertainment" expenses might come to $30-$50 dollars, max. I hardly ever even leave home. We virtually never eat out, or buy books or CDs or DVDs, or, heavens forbid, travel. Mostly, there's rent and medical bills. We're going to see a movie today*, at a matinée, and I am wracked with fucking guilt. Anyway, I'm emphatically not whining. I'm just saying, soberly, 19 years into this "career," saying to you out there who would be writers, steel yourselves for this. And do not think that any measure of critical success protects you from poverty. Not ever. Nor should you be so deluded as to believe celebrity equals financial stability (and fuck wealth). No, this is how it is, almost always, very few exceptions. Anyway, yeah...eBay. Please bid if you are able during the next few weeks. Cool, rare, and one of a kind items will be offered. We have set a goal of making $1,000.

Tomorrow, I go back to work on Blood Oranges. I have three chapters to write this month.

Now, make the doughnuts.

Living the Life,
Aunt Beast

* The expense will be offset by a couple of days of egg salad.
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
No, really. And I blame you, Holly Black.

Speaking of whom, a great quote from her short story, "Virgin," for all the New Age airy-fairy twits who somehow have it in their head that fairies are all about the "positive healing energy":

"Let me tell you something about unicorns— They're fairies and fairies aren't to be trusted. Read your storybooks. But maybe you can't get past the rainbows and pastel crap. That's your problem."

---

And here's something nifty. "Your Age on Other Worlds." Not sure which I take more comfort from, that on Mars I'm 24.7 years old or that on Jupiter I'm 41,479.3 years old.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 2,035 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And made it through a scene I'd been dreading. With luck, I'll finish Chapter Three this afternoon. This is such a very different book for me, vastly different from everything before The Red Tree, but different, also, from The Red Tree. It might almost be YA. It's the nearest I've ever come to my Shirley Jackson roots, and quite a bit distant from the influence of Lovecraft.

As for the rest of yesterday, there was more Miéville and Susanna Clarke, and at bedtime, we read two stories by [livejournal.com profile] blackholly, "Virgin" (quoted above) and "In Vodka Veritas." Both delightful.

---

I'm sleeping somewhat better, now that I'm taking the Lamictal at noon instead of midnight. Not great, but better.

--

Because my terrifying nerdiness knows no decent bounds, last night Shaharrazad (my blood-elf warlock), earned the title, "the Seeker" in WoW. Which means I've done 3,000 quests. Which took a total of (in game play) 49 days, 19 hours.

---

After dinner last night, I had a grim talk with Spooky about the current state of my career, and my life, in general. Sometimes, we must have grim talks, if only to keep us honest.

It's time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
Bye bye long day,
I need to sleep so much.
You shine on me.
Too much is not enough.

On the sheets and pillow case,
In my bed for heaven's sake,
The devil's dancing until late in my head there.
But I could sleep with you there.
I could sleep with you there.

Always.
Always.

Bye bye long day.
I need to sleep so much,
Nineteen hours straight.
Too much is not enough...
— Catherine Wheel

I wrote a great deal of Silk to that album, which always surprises people, because they imagine that me as some goth-punk cliché. Like I wrote the damn thing holed up in a dark room listening to nothing but Bauhaus and Joy Division.

I did. Listen to Bauhaus and Joy Division when I was writing it, I mean. But I also listened to Catherine Wheel. The girl who used to cut my hair was dating the vocalist, though she lived in Georgia and he in London.

I'm awake and babbling. I start to think I will never sleep normally ever again. I'm annoyed because I meant to be reading Shirley Jackson's The Sundial, but discovered I am, instead, reading Shirley Jackson's The Bird's Nest. Which is a fine novel, just not what I meant to be reading.

I was telling Spooky, earlier, about living in Athens, and getting to know Michael Stipe. Because we bought our comics in the same comics shop, and drank at the same bar. How he gave me permission to quote a line of R.E.M. lyrics in an issue of The Dreaming: "It's a Man Ray kind of sky." But then the record label started making trouble, and we didn't have time to get it sorted out. So, I changed the line to "It's a memory kind of sky."

I am exhausted. My eyes are on fire. And I can't sleep. And one of the worst things about insomnia is that everyone has advice. They're well meaning, I know. Well intentioned. But I do so tire of the advice. It's hard to convince people you've heard it all, tried it all. Even when you say, "It's one reason I'm seeing a psychiatrist, and I have meds, and whatnot." They still talk about warm milk and hot baths. I do not want advice. I want sleep.
greygirlbeast: (moons books)
I meant to post this about a week ago, but things have been so hectic and hot around here, I'm only just now getting around to it:

Cool Stuff I Brought Home From Readercon 21 )
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Cloudy and cold this morning in Providence. The temperature is hovering somewhere in the '40sF. The same is forecast for tomorrow.

And now I can announce (drum roll) that The Red Tree has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. The nominees were announced yesterday. The older I get, the less interest I seem to have in awards, especially awards that are decided by popular vote (as opposed to juried awards). The Jackson Awards are one of the exceptions to my disinterest, as I have said before. I am greatly honoured to be nominated. In a way, I have that "my work here is done" feeling, a feeling I do not often experience. So, yeah. Pretty goddamn awesome. I don't even care much whether I actually win or not. I've been nominated. The Red Tree has been noted. I will be at the awards ceremony, which will take place during this summer's Readercon.

Ellen Datlow ([livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow) has posted her honourable mentions list from Best Horror of the Year (Vol. 2). I received four mentions, two from Sirenia Digest:

"The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade," Sirenia Digest #38, January '09
"At the Gate of Deeper Slumber," Sirenia Digest #41, April '09
"The Belated Burial," Subterranean, Fall '09
"Galápagos," Eclipse Three

Finally, "The Bone's Prayer" (Sirenia Digest #39, February '09) has been selected for The Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2010 (edited by Paula Guran, Prime Books).

---

Matt Stags asked my opinion on Batwoman (who's been a dyke since at least 2006) getting her own monthly title, and what I think his may mean for the acceptance of GLBT characters in mainstream pop culture. This was for Random House's sf blog, Suvudu.com. My reply was not particularly optimistic. You may read it here
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
A sunny morning here in Providence. The office window (well, one of two) is open, and there's a Siamese cat sitting on my desk, watching whatever there is Outside to watch.

Today will be a day on which I make a new beginning for the Next Novel. That's my hope.

Yesterday, conversation about The Wolf Who Cried Girl, and I answered a great mass of accumulated email, and agreed to do an interview for Clarkesworld, and I bowed out of two anthologies (because, presently, there's only time for the novel and Sirenia Digest), and I lay on the bed with Hubero while Spooky read me the first chapter of Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962; one of the most beautiful books I know).

This morning, I am weary of modernity.

And I'm wondering how the new crop of teens and twentysomethings became so afraid of emotion and the expression thereof.* Did their parents teach them? Did they learn it somewhere else? Is this a spontaneous cultural phenomenon? Are they afraid of appearing weak? Is this capitalism streamlining the human psyche to be more useful by eliminating anything that might hamper productivity? Is it a sort of conformism? I don't know, but I could go the rest of my life and never again hear anyone whine about someone else being "emo," and it would be a Very Good Thing.

Could anything be more inimical to art than a fear of emotion, or a fear of "excessive" emotion, or a reluctance to express emotion around others? No, of course not. Art can even best the weights of utter fucking ignorance and totalitarian repression, but it cannot survive emotional constipation.

I want a T-shirt that says, "Art is Emo." We live in an age where people are more apt to believe a thing if they read it on a T-shirt.

Last night we watched the new episodes of Fringe and Spartacus: Blood and Titties. Very enjoyable, on both counts.

Now, the platypus calls my name. Here are three photos from Thursday:

1 April 2010 )


*The suggestion has been made that they are so much expressing fear as contempt, and I am open to that possibility, though fear and contempt often go hand in hand.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Today is the 84th anniversary of the birth of Edward St. John Gorey.

I really am tired of writing about editing The Red Tree. Fortunately, today is the last day of it. Until the CEM, anyway. Yesterday, I wrote an editor's postscript, which is actually an excerpt from A Long Way To Morning, one of Sarah Crowe's novels. That came to 683 words. The scene occurred to me on Friday, while I was lying in bed, getting over the exhaustion thing. After the postscript was written, I finally got around to the part of this process I've been putting off as long as possible, compiling a complete list of all authors and works quoted in the text, and demonstrating for Penguin's legal sorts that all the quotes are either a) examples of fair use or b) quotations from works that are now in the public domain. Which meant juggling a PDF from Cornell University with a document from the lawyers at Penguin, and tracking down dozens of death dates and publication dates. Tedious to the nth degree.

Today, I finish writing the author's notes/acknowledgments, and we read chapters eight and nine over again. And that's that. Tomorrow, it goes back to Manhattan.

It's a cold grey day here in Providence. Spring seems like it's at least a year off. I've not left the house since Wednesday.

If you haven't already, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. And, for those who may not know, I will point out that my author's photo on the back of the dust jacket of The Five of Cups is from a nude photo shoot I did in 2003. That's called "extra incentive."

I will also remind you of the lottery to benefit the Shirley Jackson awards, which ends tomorrow. I have donated a signed set of the mass-market paperback editions of my novels, including Silk, Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, and Daughter of Hounds, and it only costs $1 to buy a chance to win them.

It occurs to me that I'm watching far too much mediocre television. Well, actually, as we no longer have cable, I'm watching too much mediocrity intended for television, which we're streaming via the internet. Last night began with Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, an okay episode, but they really can do a lot better. Then we watched the second episode of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. And I still am not impressed. And that sucks, because I want to be impressed. At least I'm beginning to figure out some of the reasons the show is falling flat (for me, at least). To start with, Eliza Dushku simply isn't a good enough actress to pull off the role of Echo convincingly. Instead of seeing her as different people, transformed by the imprints, we see her as Eliza Dushku transformed by wardrobe. Last week, Librarian Eliza. This week, Action Eliza (with Kung-Fu grip!). Too bad the part of Echo didn't go to Amy Acker. And I loathe the character of Topher. He's like a lazy caricature of a Joss Whedon character, primarily Wash from Firefly and Serenity, but missing everything that really made Wash work. So, low marks for the second week. I find it hard to believe this series will survive even a whole season. Finally, we watched Jon Avnet's Righteous Kill, which was dull despite Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Also, "50 Cent" needs to stick to whatever it is that people pay him to do that isn't acting.

At any rate, the coffee's getting cold. The platypus says wrap it up.
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
Up since 7:30 ayem, which might not have been so bad, except I didn't get to sleep until sometime after three, probably more like four.

There was snow in Providence yesterday evening, but the ground wasn't frozen, and it didn't stick. In the night, it changed over to rain.

Sometime just before I awoke, I dreamt of collecting fossils on Mars. I very, very frequently dream of collecting fossils, but usually the terran variety. In this dream, however, I was on Mars, in a very lightweight spacesuit. There was someone with me, but I can't recall now if it was someone I know in my waking life or not. We were walking a long river valley, a sort of braided river valley, which ran north to south (and the Ares Vallis comes to mind). Anyway, the ground was a very light grey, almost purple in places, a weathered clay or mudstone or siltstone of some sort. I came upon a small rise in the old riverbed (or flood channel) where an amazingly rich bone bed was exposed. The fossil bone was almost the same color as the stone, though I recall the unweathered parts being purplish and the more weathered surfaces being almost white. All the bones were disarticulated, but looked as though they'd come from Martian analogs of Late Paleozoic sarcopterygians and temnospondyls. Mostly, there were isolated skull bones: frontals, parietals, postorbitals, squamosals, parasphenoids, jugals, etc. I was elated to have come so unexpectedly upon such a wealth of bones, and was bagging them as quickly as possible. Whoever the person with me was, he or she was trying to get me to hurry, as we'd been away from the habitat too long, and there was concern about cosmic rays. Something like that. Still, I managed to fill two specimen bags. Marvelous dream. Maybe this is my subconscious telling me to get back to work on The Dinosaurs of Mars.

---

The last two days are a blur of editing The Red Tree. The good news, though, is that the ms. has to be back in Manhattan by Monday, so this can only possibly continue another four days, at the worst. Though I hopefully suspect that there's only two days work left to be done. I just got an email from Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), who very kindly went through and found all the quotes within the text, quotes from other works. They're all either "fair use" or quotes from works in the public domain (and most are the latter), but I have to provide documentation for each quote for legal at Penguin. Writing all that up will likely require a day. Yeah, see what fun shit authors get to do? And that will be that, at least until the CEM. But, this time, Spooky will be handling the CEM for me, mostly, so that's a relief. She can write "stet" as well as I can ("stet" is a proofreaders mark, Latin for "let it stand," and when one wishes to disregard a copyeditor's mark, one writes "stet" in the margin of the page. My CEMs get hundreds and hundreds of "stets").

The eBay auctions continue. Thanks to everyone who has bid thus far. Take a look. Bid if you are able and interested.

---

One of the many things that needed doing in this round of editing The Red Tree required that I read Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear" again. It's really one of the most atrociously written of HPL's stories, and a testament to how stupendously his writing improved from the early 1920s to the early and mid-1930s. Anyway, yeah, I had to read back over the story on Tuesday, because there's a line from it that I'd been trying to recall, that I wanted to use for one of Sarah Crowe's novels (Sarah is the protagonist of The Red Tree). I last read the story back in June, when we were driving up from Atlanta; while we were driving through the Catskills, in fact. And I found this one line, and I thought, That would make a great title for one of Sarah's novels. But, I didn't mark it. Hence the need for a re-read. However, halfway through the story on Tuesday, I could take no more, had not found the line, and decided that The Ark of Poseidon would remain The Ark of Poseidon. I did, however, rediscover a very interesting thing.

I have argued in the past that Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (1959) owes a considerable debt to Lovecraft, in particular to "The Dreams in the Witch House." But I can also point to a passage in "The Lurking Fear." At the end of Chapter Five of The Haunting of Hill House, Eleanor and Theo experience another harrowing visit to their bedroom by the entity that "walked there" in Hill House. In her terror, Eleanor reaches out and takes Theo's hand, and she squeezes it tightly. At the very end of the chapter, however, the lights come up, and Nell discovers that she couldn't have been holding Theo's hand, after all, as Theo is still across the room in her own bed. Jackson writes:

"What?" Theodora was saying. "What, Nell? What?"
"God god," Eleanor said, flinging herself out of bed and across the room to stand shuddering in a corner, "God god — whose hand was I holding?"


In "The Lurking Fear," HPL's protagonist has an almost identical experience when he and two companions spend a night at the Martense mansion on Tempest Mountain. Three men fall asleep in one bed. The narrator is in the middle. Though in a sort of fever dream, he is distinctly aware that one of his companions, at one point, throws an arm across the narrator's chest. Then he awakes to find both men dead and horribly mutilated. HPL writes:

Something had lain between me and the window that night, but I shuddered whenever I could not cast off the instinct to classify it. If it had only snarled, or bayed, or laughed titteringly — even that would have relieved the abysmal hideousness. But it was so silent. It had rested a heavy arm or fore leg on my chest...

---

Last night, Spooky and I watched Ridley Scott's Body of Lies, which I wish I'd been able to see in the theatre. I thought it was splendid. And it occurred to me that, unlike the Vietnam War, the great movies about America's war against Middle Eastern nations are being made right now, while the events are still unfolding. Which is an interesting state of affairs. Of course, history could always prove me wrong. Maybe the Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan Apocalypse Now won't be made until 2020 or so.

There. A nice long entry of substance, despite the insomnia. Screw you, "micro-blogging."

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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