greygirlbeast: (Default)
Please comment, kittens. I just spent almost three hours on this bloody entry.

"Deny your pettiest of foes the satisfaction of defeat, or even of recognition, by consigning them to oblivion." – Old Sith Proverb (even though I just now made it up). Then again, as Brown Bird reminds us: "We file down our fangs on the bones of our foes." It's a damned conundrum, it is.

This is going to be a long entry, I think. Because, firstly, there's yesterday, and then, secondly, there's Ridley Scott's forthcoming Prometheus.

Yesterday, we finally left the house about two p.m. (CaST), and headed south and east to Conanicut Island and West Cove (~41°28'46.27"N, 71°21'40.50"W), nestled in amongst the ruins of Fort Wetherill. Longtime readers will recall this is one of our favorite destinations. It seemed a fitting place to spend Yuletide. Speaking of tides, as the new moon is Saturday, and we had a storm on Wednesday night, the last high tide had been very high, indeed. All the way back to the treeline. Therefore, all manner of interesting things had fetched up on the shore. When we visit West Cove, we're always most interested in mermaids' tears (beach glass) and the bones of gulls, cormorants, and other birds (and mammals, but mammalian bones are rare). I try to ignore the profuse plastic litter, mostly left behind by the summer people. I try to imagine the shoreline pristine, but it's hard when you know:

Around 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year of which about 10 percent ends up in the sea. About 20 percent of this is from ships and platforms, the rest from land.

- or -

Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and may persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Anyway, by my admittedly casual estimation, the tide must have stranded hundreds of rock crabs (Cancer irroratus), along with all manner of other Mollusca and Crustacea, many of which I've never before seen at West Cove. There were the remains of numerous genera of crabs and lobsters (including Limulus, Homarus, Libinia, and the aforementioned Cancer), pelecypods (including Mytilus, Ensis, Aequipecten, Mercenaria, Spisula, Crassostrea, and an as yet unidentified cockle), and gastropods, mostly slipper shells and periwinkles. I found a few interesting bird bones, and we collected some nice bits of glass. The sun was brilliant off the water, until banks of low clouds rolled in towards sunset. It was warmish, in the fifties Fahrenheit, except in the shadows. When the sun slipped behind the clouds, the temperature dropped into the low forties within minutes. I sat and listened to bell buoys and the slap of the surf, trying to calm myself for many days to come. As soon as we'd arrived, we climbed a large granite promontory and tossed a single sprig of yew into the dark waters of the cove as an offering to Panthalassa. We saw three ravens and a very large murder of crows, but, oddly, only a few seabirds, a few gulls that swept by overhead. Despiute the fact that I took a pretty hard fall in the rocks (and have the bruises and aches to show for it), it was a good (indeed, a bow tie) day at the sea. We headed home about 4:56 p.m., and I dozed all the way back to Providence. Winding up our celebration of Cephalopodmas, we watched the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's excellent adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu (2005) and Robert Gordon's It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955).

At least the first day of winter has come and gone, and now the days will grow longer.

Yuletide 2011 )


---

Yesterday, I saw the first official "teaser" trailer for Ridley Scott's forthcoming Alien (1979) prequel, Prometheus, to be released in June 2012:



It must be understood that I've been waiting for this film for many years, even before Ridley Scott ever decided it would be made. Perhaps before he even considered it might ever exist. Few mythologies are more important to me than the Alien mythos (excepting those silly AvP tie-ins), so...well, it's gorgeous, this trailer, and the cast sounds brilliant, and I was pleased to hear that Giger was consulted and at least marginally involved with the production, and the news that Marc Streitenfeld has scored the film. That said, Scott's decision to shoot the film in 3D is abominable, and has left me deeply disappointed and a little sick about it all. Yes, he's following some of the processes used in Avatar, a spectacle that manages to be marvelous in 2D, and I can only fucking hope that the same will be true of Prometheus. It's not like I can boycott this film. But, like Scorcese's decision to do Hugo in 3D, I can only shake my head in disbelief and say that Ridley Scott knows better. Even watching the trailer, you can see those "coming at you," pandering-to-3D shots that so compromise good (and great) cinematography.

It is, at best, a wait-and-see situation. But it's one I await with regret and a heavy heart. When our greatest directors resort to gimmicks beneath them, what are lovers of film to do? Turn away from the future of cinema and be grateful for its glorious past? In this instance, and despite what Scott may be saying, the decision to go with 3D was almost certainly one based on heavy pressure from 20th Century Fox. We'll wait and we'll see.

Dreadful,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
The thing about those bow-tie HPLHS Solstice CDs is you gotta be in the same room with them, hearing the lyrics, or they just start sounding like the putrescent Xmas Muzak we must suffer if we are to have groceries. We went out to the market last night, and there was actually Shirley Fucking Temple! No, really. I swore that next November we're laying in supplies.

And here we are, on that shortest day of the year (well, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere; if you're below the Equator, strike that, reverse it), and, to those who wish to be wished such, Happy Yuletide. Or Midwinter. Or what have you.

There was a dream about changelings. I almost typed, "and not the good kind of changelings, either," but then reminded myself how the world and I often have different operative paradigms about things like changelings. Regardless, first they were Italian, then Greek. Dead chickens were involved.

Yesterday, there were errands (aforementioned grocer, liquor store, and chemist). We decorated our Cephalopodmas tree (photo behind the cut, below!). We had the last of Sunday's chili with Annie's mac and cheese. I took two naps in the middle parlour; I blame the fireplace. And – sorry, changing the subject a moment – it just occurred to me how much The National sound like Roy Orbison. Anyway, last night there was rain and much wind, and too much SW:toR, and I slightly over "self-medicated," which is probably why I was visited by Greek changelings with dead chickens.

For dog's sake, I fucking hate December. I am July.

But, today we are going to the sea.

And here are photos – the Cephalopodmas tree, Cephalopodmas cookies, and – just because – Idumea, still a work in progress:

22 December 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Quite cold in Providence today, and colder tonight. Presently 36˚ Fahrenheit, crawling towards a high of 39˚.

Assembly Day #72 went pretty much as expected: not as tedious as many, but still tedious enough to annoy a person who, like me, can't seem to abide even the smallest jot of tedium. Regardless, Sirenia Digest #72 went out last night, well before midnight, and all subscribers should have it by now. I'm especially interested in thoughts on "Another Tale of Two Cities."

Beyond pulling the digest together, which took several hours, there isn't much else to say about yesterday. Work, work, and work. And, in lieu of anything even remotely interesting to say about that work, here are some Reminding Links:

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart

Alabaster

Oh, and if you're into this sort of thing, here's my Amazon wishlist and here's Spooky's. What with Solstice and Cephalopodmas looming dark and gibbous on the horizon. You know, for kids. Distraction is always welcome.

---

Mon monsieur, mon amour, le Comte de Insomnie, made an unexpected return last night. Perhaps something went amiss with the laudanum, a bad batch from the apothicaire. A misplaced dash from a tincture of cocaïne, possibly. At any rate, last night, trying to get sleepy, and so I read Lisa Tuttle's recent short story, "The Man in the Ditch," because Tuttle has written some good stuff, and I liked the title. Sadly, the story is bland, only competent, and infected with an especial sort of bland, formulaic mundanity I'm seeing in a lot of "horror" these days, both written and in film. Couple moves into house, apartment, condo, old farm only to discover that the domicile is haunted by malevolent spirit of X (insert generic EVIL entity of your choice). Family X (which can be nuclear or otherwise, pure or tainted, possessed of children or not, but they are pretty much always heterosexual) soon meets terrible fate at the hands of X, or, more rarely, escapes after the fashion of The Amityville Horror (1977) or Spielberg's Poltergeist (1982); Ryan Murphy is turning this tired trope on its ear with his American Horror Story, by the way, by mocking the various incarnations of X and by making the ghosts sympathetic and the X Family the true monsters/invaders. Point is, these are the sorts of films that when Spooky and I are looking for something to stream from Netflix we automatically skip over, the sorts of books I avoid. Anyway, despite its intriguing title, "The Man in the Ditch" is exactly such a story.

Which leads me to wonder exactly what all these straight couples are afraid of. The intrusion of the Outside, the Unknown, via a supernatural agency? No, I think that's only a metaphor – the ghosts and demons and whatnot. They are merely tiresome phantoms trotted out for more mundane (there's that word again) threats: infidelity, an inability to conceive, sudden infant death syndrome, bankruptcy and foreclosure, children who indulge in drugs or engage in sex or who turn out to be queer or who run away from home, termites in the walls, AIDS and other STDs, bedbugs, and so forth. But instead of writing about those things, it's all dressed up in the metaphor of "horror." And it's dull as small-curd cottage cheese, and it makes me weary. I may miss a beat now and then, kittens, but I promise never to bore you with such painful domesticity. Lisa Tuttle, you can do better than this.

At any rate, the vacation does not begin until the 15th, so I must get to work.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
But I won’t follow you into the rabbit hole.
I said I would, but then I saw
Your shivered bones.
They didn’t want me to.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

0) We must have slept a little more than eight hours. This almost never happens. Now I'm achey and stiff and disoriented and dreamsick, but later I suppose I will be glad for the rest. Oh, and the Starbuck icon; I think I'm slowly working my way through my space-opera heroines.

1) Yesterday, work, work, work. I spent two hours signing signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I might have killed a pen. And those things – pens, I mean – don't grow on trees, you know. But now they are all signed and will go back to Subterranean Press on Monday (lots of mail going out on Monday, so watch out, you postal folk). And then the day was slipping away so fast, and Spooky and I had planned a full-on Kid Night, and I didn't want to work after dark (not that I ever do; it squicks me out, working after dark, which makes the winters hard). So, I could choose to work on the short story about the two women who become cities, or I could choose to work on the third (and very, very, very different incarnation of "Sexing the Weird"). Having already gone over the inked Alabaster pages, I chose "Sexing the Weird," though I'm sort of chomping at the bit to get the story (or vignette) written. And I have only thirteen days until The Vacation (!!), and by then I need to have Sirenia Digest #72 finished and out to subscribers and write Alabaster #4 before the vacation. Also, Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) is finishing up her afterword for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, which I am very much looking forward to reading.

2) A pretty damn cool article, one that Spooky just brought to my attention: "Lobster pot tag washes up across the Atlantic 2 decades after 'Perfect Storm.'" Ignore how badly written that headline is, that it ought to be "Lobster Pot Tag Washes Up Across the Atlantic Two Decades After 'Perfect Storm.'" Point is, a lobster tag lost twenty years ago traveled 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, from Cohasset in southern Massachusetts to Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland. Very cool. Except for the fact that people are forgetting how to write headlines.

3) Writers exist, in part, to remind people of things they might otherwise forgot. For example, Question @ Hand 5. Get those answers in!

4) Look for a new round of eBay auctions before Solstice/Cephalopodmas. These will all be souvenirs from our three-day shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir book trailer, and will also include an ARC of the novel. And a moonstone signed by the whole cast and crew. And clothing that Imp (Nicola Astles) wore in the trailer. And...stuff. We hope to shoot a little more footage this winter in Philadelphia, but money will be needed, and that's what this auction will help to fund.

5) A truly grand Kid Night last night. After a Kid Meal of fish sticks, mac and cheese, and tater tots, we ate cupcakes and watched The Goonies (1985), followed by our second viewing of Super 8 (2011). When The Goonies was first released, I was in college, twenty-two, I think. And I was on beyond unimpressed. I remain unimpressed. What a silly, silly movie, but it made Spooky smile. Super 8, on the other hand, is bloody fucking brilliant. By the way, when Steve Lieber asked me who my dream casting for the role of Dancy in a film version of Alabaster would be, I did not hesitate to name Elle Fanning. And he got it so right, that now it sort of creeps me out watching her.

6) After Kid Night wound down, Spooky used the iPad to watch episodes of Art:21 on PBS, while I read Chapter Ten of the Barnum Brown biography I'm reading.

7) And now, I leave you with a photograph Spooky took while I was signing yesterday. I am not at my most glamorous (I rarely am these days), still in my pajamas, wearing my Jayne Cobb hat and Imp sweater and chewing a pen:

2 December 2011 )


Feelin' Scruffy,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
This is the unusual, infrequent sort of day when I'd actually prefer to be writing, instead of all the busyness of writing that will consume the day. More and more, it's actually hard to find time to simply write, because there are so many different projects, at so many different stages of production. I imagine this time next year I will look back fondly on November 2011, and I'll think, Wow. I had so much time to just write back then.

---

Day before yesterday, we got the news that Spooky's maternal grandmother, Ann Hanon, suffered a stroke and heart attack. She's ninety-seven and a half, and a recovery is not expected. She's not regained consciousness. She gave instructions she was not to be placed on life support. So, now everyone's waiting. The air is tense with that waiting for news of an inevitability, and with sorrow people cannot help but feel, no matter if a loved one has lived a very, very long and full life. As I said of my own maternal grandmother who, at ninety (almost ninety-one), died in 2005, I can't stop thinking how this amazing person lived through so much time, so much time and so many worlds. So many incarnations of this world. If I live another fifty years...well, I'd prefer not to, but if I did...I cannot even begin to imagine the changes I would see. I think one of the hardest things for Kathryn and her immediate family is that none of them are with her grandmother in Wisconsin, as we have become this nation of latter-day nomads.

---

Yesterday, I began writing "Sexing the Weird," my introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I have grown to strongly dislike writing nonfiction, and especially nonfiction about my own work. After twenty years as an author, I fear I've sunk far too deeply into the bogs of my own work to speak about them...and no, that's not what I meant to say, but my difficulty articulating my thoughts on this subject should serve as an illustration of what I'm trying to say. Nonetheless, I made a good beginning, I hope, and I hope to have the introduction finished by tomorrow evening.

This month, I also still have to get the galley pages for The Drowning Girl back to Penguin (by Monday), write Alabaster: Wolves #2 for Dark Horse, work on promotional material (my publicist just emailed) for The Drowning Girl, and get Sirenia Digest #72 written and out to subscribers. I think the only thing keeping me moving ahead right now, besides the stubborn momentum of life and the pills my psychiatrist prescribes for me, is the determination that I will take two weeks off in December, a sort of Solstice/Cephalopodmas vacation. I've not had a vacation of any sort since December 2008. But other people seem to do it, so why the fuck not me?

---

A very nice interview at SFF Chronicles with Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala), in which she just happens to make a very kindly mention of The Drowning Girl.

---

And here's a particularly articulate bit of commentary on The Ammonite Violin & Others, which I very much appreciated seeing this morning. Towards the end, there's this paragraph I found especially apt:

A note of caution, though, the stories within this book are mostly excellent and there is no denying Kiernan’s ability and distinctive voice. However, if you read a number of these in quick succession, they do start to cloy and the depth and intricacy of the tales can become treacle thick and hinder the progress of the reader. This is something to enjoy in bite size morsels.

Yes. This is true. Well, I think it's true. I can no longer bear to read a great chunk of my own short fiction any more than I can eat more than a couple of pieces of Turkish Delight at one sitting. Or a few bites of baklava. But it's interesting, because of something someone asked in the comments to yesterday's entry, regarding the caveat lector that opens Harlan Ellison's Deathbird Stories. [livejournal.com profile] faffinz asked: "Did your copy of Deathbird Stories come with the warning note from Harlan that it should not be read all at once? If so, did you read it all at once?" It did, as that notice appeared at the beginning of all copies of the book (including the recent superb Subterranean Press edition). The caveat reads:

It is suggested that the reader not attempt to read this book at one sitting . The emotional content of these stories, taken without a break, may be extremely upsetting. This note is intended most sincerely, and not as hyperbole. ~ H. E.

To finish answering the question asked by [livejournal.com profile] faffinz, no, I didn't read the stories all at once. On the one hand, being possessed of only one functional eye, I have always been a rather slow reader. Also, I like to make good books last. But, also, I first encountered the book in 1981, and I didn't take the warning as a dare. I actually did find the stories too intense to be read without several breaks in between. In fact, I had to stop halfway through "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" and come back to it later (by the way, it remains one of my favorite of Harlan's stories). But this was in an age before Saw and its seven sequels. Which may or may not be relevant. But I am always a little disappointed to hear that someone has read the entirety of one of my short-story collections or novels at one sitting.

Yesterday, I left the house for the first time in a week. Just a trip to the market, and a stop at Mama Kim's, a local Korean food truck, for dinner.

Questioning Relevance and Relativity,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Outside, it's 80F and feels like 81F. Inside, 80F. Balance, kiddos.

The last thing I recall saying before I fell asleep this morning is, "Only a dyke would have a crush on Charlie Brown." This is, in fact, a reference to Peppermint Patty. Let's just say I was very tired. Though, that's often when I speak the truth.

This morning, I dreamed I was in some weird sequel to Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space." Pretty much all detail is lost to me, but I can assure you it was not the least bit pleasant. The sense of uncleanliness, that it was unsafe to touch, drink, or eat anything, or even to breathe. It reminds me how "The Colour Out of Space" is a perfect parable for environmental degradation.

Yesterday was spent editing Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and the first four chapters Blood Oranges, finding as many errors in the latter as possible and correcting them. This afternoon, it goes to my agent. Booya. I now know that I'll write an introduction for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart called "Sexing the Weird." I'm going to ask another author to write an afterword, and I hope to include a lot of illustrations by Vince Locke

Couldn't sleep last night. When I can't sleep, neither can Spooky. So our insomnias align. She read me the first three sections of William Burroughs' Junky (which I've not read since the summer of 1994). Then she turned off the light, about 4:30 ayem. The sky had grown very bright, there on that shortest darkness of the year. I sat at the kitchen table eating leftover pasta salad and watching the dawn. Finally, the pills kicked in, and I crawled away to bed and sleep.

Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] faustfatale!

Our thanks to Stephen Lubold for the latest care package: Brown Bird's EP "The Sound of Ghosts," and three books: Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and the first two volumes of Mike Raicht and Brian Smith's amazing The Stuff of Legend. As it happens, he also won yesterday's ARC auction.

Good Rifting and rping last night. Thanks to everyone! The guild grows.

And yes, it's Soltice, Midsummer, Lithia, Litha. It is a day that Kathryn and I observe. If you do likewise, I wish you a happy Litha. I won't say blessed. Not sure I believe much in blessings, and even if I did, I would be unable to bestow them. The wheel turns. The shortest night, tonight.

We'll go to this evening to observe the day. We've talked about staying at the shore all night, maybe watching the sunrise over Narragansett Bay. But first I have a lot of work to do.

Comments, kittens!

Traveling the Circumference,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)


greygirlbeast: (Default)
It's easier if I quote my blog entry from Solstice '08:

And now it is Solstice, and the days will grow longer. And that is a great relief. The rebirth of the "Great God," if only metaphorically. Though, truthfully, a metaphorical Cernunnos or Pan is as useful to me as would be one whose reality were less subjective. Here it is truth that applies, not fact. The wheel turns, and the Horned God wakes again. The long night of winter will end soon enough. A happy and/or blessed Solstice/Yule/Midwinter to all those who wish to be wished such.

And, of course, today is Cephalopodmas. Be grateful for the tentacles in you life.

[livejournal.com profile] readingthedark just awoke, so I'll make this short.

Yesterday we saw Aronofsky's Black Swan, a glorious examination of repression, freeing oneself from repression at all costs, and the drive for perfection in one's art. Possibly my favorite film of the year. See it. Now.

Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One) preorders contine to go extremely well. More than half the print run for the limited edition has sold out in two days. Subterranean Press has decided to increase the limited from 400 copies to 500 copies, given the demand. And the limited's still on sale for $40 (regular $60).

Later!
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Hot now in Providence. Summer arrived (again) a couple of days back, and here in the House, we are sweltering. Dr. Muñoz tries to keep us coolerated, but he is such a very small droid and it's such a very large old House. But, still, I am glad for the heat. All that rain and belated March was wearing me more ragged than my usual raggedness.

And here it is Litha, so this evening we'll go down to the sea. It won't be anything elaborate, but at least it will be the sea. I have to admit, I find myself reluctant to go to the shore. And I know it has something to do with what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico, and with my own complicity in that horror. When the sea is your goddess (even if she is a nonconscious goddess) and your species continues to befoul her at every turn, slowly transforming her into a corrupted morass of petrochemicals and floating plastic debris and dead zones and sewage and fertilizer runoff, the shame has to be embraced, not denied. The sea will, in time, when humans have gone, cleanse herself, but that will be a long, long age from now.

---

For the past two days I've been working on a new piece for Sirenia Digest, "Tidal Forces." It actually has nothing much to do with the sea, despite the title. I refer here to other tidal forces. More sorts than one, really. Saturday, I wrote 1,051 words, and another 1,005 yesterday. And yesterday I read it to Spooky, and she likes it.

Night before last, we watched Rowan Woods' Little Fish (2005). It's a very, very good film, though it's also a hard film to watch. Cate Blanchett is excellent, but Hugo Weaving steals the show in what might be his finest performance that I've seen so far. I haven't been reading much, mostly comics and paleontology stuff.

Spooky's begun a new round of eBay auctions, if you'd be so kind as to have a look. Thanks.

And a very happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] faustfatale!

I need to wrap this up and get to work. But I did want to mention that the demolition of the old overpass, where Point Street becomes Wickenden (or thereabouts), has resumed. I noticed a few nights back. Last night, on the way to the market for dinner, I got a couple of photographs of what remains of the southside of the mural (behind the cut):

20 June 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Cold and sunny here in Providence.

Yesterday, the Amazon.com sales ranking for The Red Tree went at least as high as 2,115, which is the highest I've ever seen a book of mine (they may well have gone higher without my seeing). This beats the previous record— 2,962 —set by The Red Tree on December 20th.

These little benchmarks keep me moving forward. Or, at least they present some rough illusion of forward momentum into which I am willing to buy.

No actual writing yesterday. That is, no word count. I spent the afternoon sitting here looking for a story, which I think I have found. Back at the beginning of the month, I started a sort of zombie story, "(Dead) Love Among the Ruins." Then I set it aside to write "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." Then I wrote "Untitled 34." And I'd actually forgotten the zombie story until I stumbled across it yesterday. Anyway, as I sat here pondering its viability, it changed into a completely different story. That happens, and, usually, I allow it to happen. Today, I will try to write the story it has changed into. And a note to Sirenia Digest subscribers: I'm running late this month, and I'm thinking #49 will be out a day or three late, say sometime between January 1st and 3rd. Vince is working on the illustration for "Untitled 34," and I still have the second story to write.

My thanks to those people who sent Solstice/Cephalopodmas gifts: Adam Fish, Edward V. Helmers, Michael J. Boley, Karen Mahoney, David Szydloski, my Aunt Joanne (who is celebrating her 75th birthday!), and my mom. All gifts have been (and will be) greatly appreciated.

In yesterday's entry I wrote "...and there's a popular delusion, that turning a calendar page, or changing calendars, will lead to better times." And someone on Twitter replied, "...turning the calendar page is Hope." Perhaps it is for some. For me, though, it's really just what happens next. More days. The idea of a tomorrow does not, for me, inherently suggest that anything will get better in any way. I listen to the past, and the past suggests exactly the opposite. But, you know how it goes. Your mileage may vary. Right now, I can only take solace in the fact that, at least, the days are growing longer again, bit by bit.

We went to the market just before dusk yesterday, and there was the most beautiful sunset. I usually take the camera along whenever I leave the House, but yesterday I'd forgotten. But it was an amazing, fiery sunset.
greygirlbeast: (tentacles)
A few minutes ago, Spooky said, "I think if the Crawling Chaos offered me an apple, I'd have to run the other way." Which makes quite a bit more sense if you've seen my "Miskatonic Valley Yuletide Faire" T-shirt (thank you, Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs), and I know you probably haven't.

Merry Cephalopodmas, one and all.

Yesterday, I read "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics" to Spooky, and then tended to an awful lot of line edits. I think it's as good a story as it's ever going to be, so today I'll be sending it to subpress. By the way, this story will appear in an anthology of short stories inspired by the works of Robert Silverberg, edited by Gardner Doizois and Bill Schafer. Not sure of the publication date, but I'll post it when I know. My piece is a sort of "prequel" to Silveberg's Nightwings (1968, 1969). Also, yesterday I received the finished cover art for The Ammonite Violin & Others from Richard Kirk, and I'll post it here sometime in the next few days. It is truly, truly gorgeous. This is going to be a marvelous volume.

When work was done yesterday, Spooky and I bundled up and ventured out into the snowy world. Mountains of snow everywhere. We made it as far as the house at 599/597 Angell Street that was Deacon and Emmie's house in Daughter of Hounds. I'd not visited it since we moved here last summer, and, indeed, not since June 28th, 2004, when Spooky and I first happened upon it while I was researching the novel. It sits directly across the street from 598 Angell Street, where Lovecraft lived from 1904-1924. And after I took a few photos (below, behind the cut), we stopped by the market, then headed back home as the sun was setting.

Last night, we snacked on strawberry hamantashen and fresh Mandarin oranges and a huge tin of chocolate cookies, and watched a couple more episodes of Fringe. I rather enjoyed "August," no matter how blatantly the "observers" are ripped off from Dark City. And after that, there was WoW. We're fifty quests into the Borean Tundra (out of one hundred and fifty), and I really, really hate the region. After questing at Vengeance Landing and Dragonblight, it's just too disjointed and garish and noisy and hokey, too much like Outland, and I just want to be finished with it and get back to Dragonblight, which actually feels like a place. We both made Level 73. Shaharrazad has let her hair grow longer, what with the cold and all.

Sadly, there was very little in the way of Soltice ritual. I'm afraid that the whole "solitary practioner" thing just isn't working for me (I've been at it for five years now), and in the coming year I am going to make an earnest effort to either find or found a coven. I may even resort to WitchVox. There has to be at least one good GLBT-friendly coven in the area, one that isn't all fluffy bunnies and white-light nonsense.

Anyway, here are the photos from yesterday:

21 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
And, already, it is Solstice, and finally the days will begin to grow longer again.

Yesterday, I did not go out and marvel at the snow. I sat here and wrote, 1,609 words, and early in the evening I managed to finish "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." It may be a good story. I honestly could not tell you. It needs a bit of polishing, and then I'll send it off to the anthology's editor (I'll announce the book a bit later). And then I've got to get to work on Sirenia Digest #49. Though, truthfully, the last thing I want to be doing is writing.

I didn't leave the House yesterday, so I've not been out in the snow. I don't think it's going anywhere, not any time soon. The temperatures here in Providence will be below freezing until the weekend, I think. Spooky went out briefly yesterday, just a short walk, and took some photos (behind the cut, below).

Last night, we watched David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), which I somehow missed last year. I am pleased to see that it won three Oscars, as I enjoyed it a great deal. Fincher remains one of my favorite directors.

And I don't really think there's much else to say about yesterday. It was mostly writing and a movie and looking at the snow through windows:

20 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
The snow found us sometime after 11 p.m. last night, and it's still snowing, though only lightly. It was a wild night in Providence last night, something I'd never seen before. So much wind with the snow. So, that's what happens when we get a blizzard warning. But it's beautiful. All the ugly, sharp edges of winter smoothed away for the time being. And what's sort of neat, the first big Providence snows of both '09 and '08 arrived on the same date. We'll have snow for Solstice. It's currently 21F, but with the windchill it feels like 8F. Spooky's reading me official snowfall reports of 18" in North Kingstown and 22" in West Greenwich. So we may actually have a foot or so here in Providence.

---

There were so many distractions yesterday, I got precious little written. I did 563 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." Today, I have to finish the story. The month has grown perilously short. I still have an issue of Sirenia Digest to produce, and I've not even begun work on it.

This morning The Red Tree had an Amazon sales ranking of 2,962, which is the highest I've ever seen for any of my books, since Silk debuted in May 1998.

---

I'm still in awe of James Cameron's Avatar, and wishing I had time just now for a second viewing. I know there was so much I didn't see. The eye can only take in so much in any given moment, and the brain can only consciously process just so much of what is seen. There's a good deal more I want to write about this wonderful film, but I don't have the time this morning, not to get into any depth. Maybe tomorrow. I am very pleased to have seen it score the third best December opening-day box office ever, and to have watched it's imdb rating go from 8.7 on Friday to 8.9 yesterday. So, yeah, more on Avatar tomorrow...or the next day. But you should see it, if you can. Definitely one of the finest movies of 2009.

---

Not much else to say about yesterday. We watched the Season Two premiere of Fringe last night. We tried, months and months ago, to watch this show, and it was too awful to enjoy on any level. But it's improved a great deal. If it survives another season, it might actually be good. I'm especially taken with the character of Walter (played by John Noble).

We played some WoW, finishing up at the Howling Fjord, then spending some time in Dragonblight before taking a Tuskarr ship west to the Borean Tundra and Warsong Hold. I have these observations:

1) If I ever do get around to writing a Big Epic Fantasy Novel, I sure as hell best do better than to name a walrus-like humanoid race the Tuskarr and a wolverine-like humanoid race the Wolvar. That's just fucking lazy. That said, both these races are beautifully designed, and I'm especially fond of the Tuskarr, I just wish someone had taken more care naming them.

2) I was much, much more impressed with the design and gameplay in Howling Fjord and Dragonblight than I am with what we've seen of the Borean Tundra (and we've seen quite a lot, having come by way of Moa'ki Harbor, rather than a zeppelin from Orgrimmar). To me, the Borean Tundra (another example of lazy-ass naming) feels a lot more like older regions of the game. I'd head back to Dragonblight, but I don't want to pass up however many quests are set there. I think, in the story I cannot help but build as I play, Shaharrazad desires to eventually settle at Vengeance Landing. She's growing weary of war, and now feels more at home among the Forsaken than she does the Sin'dorei. She felt an odd lack of enthusiasm upon entering Warsong yesterday; she's always had great admiration for the orcs, but it just wasn't there.

---

Okay, I have one photo from the storm last night. Time to make the doughnuts.

19 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
It seems impossible that this can be the Summer Solstice already. We've hardly had a whiff of summer in Providence. Hardly a whiff. And I'm so weighted down with the Tired and with deadlines that we've not had time to plan a ritual for this evening. Last year, we had such a wonderful Solstice on the rocks just north of Beavertail. I was hoping for a repeat this year. Anyway, one of the advantages of venerating all the nonconscious aspects of the Cosmos is knowing how indifferent the universe is to our little observances, and how it will take no notice whatsoever should we miss one, here or there. Panthalassa will not frown. Ur will not look askance. But I'll miss the ceremony, as it so helps my mind and my sense of the passing of time, ticking off these points along the wheel of the year. I do wish a fine Solstice to those who observe the day.

Anyway...

No writing yesterday. Not on four measly hours of sleep. Instead, we drove up to Boston. Ostensibly, to look for the tree that will be the Red Tree in the book trailer for The Red Tree. But, in fact, we mostly just wandered up and down Newbury Street and across Boston Commons and the Public Gardens. It was all rather splendid, a part of Boston I'd not seen. A place I wish I could live, where the past does not seem so entirely past. There are still vestiges of civilization showing through the grime of modernity, there on Newbury Street. You just have to peer past the people and the trendy shops and the trendier cafés. We overheard someone talking about rent on Newbury, $2600 (!!!) a month for an apartment. Only the rich can afford those particular vestiges. I shall have to be content with my rooms in this 1875 house here on Federal Hill. Yesterday, the weather was curious. The sky threatened thunder storms all day, but there wasn't even a drop of rain. Muggy, but no rain. An old man on the sidewalk played "All Along the Watch Tower" on an electric guitar, and it was wonderfully eerie. On the Commons, we watched squirrels and birds, and found a "dawn redwood" (Metasequoia) growing among the willows. In that city of overpriced everything, I was pleased to see that the boat rides (the swan boats that first began running in 1877), were only $2.75. We didn't go, though. Maybe next trip up. After Newbury Street, Spooky drove up to Cambridge and Harvard Square, and I saw the little cemetery that's mentioned in "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)," but we were too tired to stop.

Truthfully, my goddamn rotten feet made the whole day rather miserable, despite the wonderful sights. I'm reaching the point where the walking stick isn't sufficient, and may soon be resorting to a wheelchair for such things as wandering around Boston for hours at a time (almost three miles). I miss the days when I could walk and walk and walk, with hardly an ache at all. I miss dancing even more. I don't think I've really danced since November 2004. Between my feet and the seizures, I feel I've aged twenty years in the last five. There is no romance in invalidism, and I do not welcome this weakness. Anyway, we made it back home by about 8 p.m. We watched a couple of episodes of The X-Files and Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday (1940).

There are photos from yesterday (behind the cut):

20 June 2009 )


---

Cliff Miller writes, "There was a fire at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, causing heavy damage. I wondered if you had any memories of that place from your days in Athens that you might wish to share on the LJ?"

I heard about the fire at the Georgia Theater a couple of days back, and it saddened me enormously. I spent a lot of time at the Georgia Theater between 1994 and 1997. It's here I heard Concrete Blonde play, and met Johnette Napolitano (the same weekend I met [livejournal.com profile] docbrite). Death's Little Sister once played there, opening for someone (though I can't recall for whom). I'm glad to hear they plan to rebuild, but, of course, it'll never be the same.

---

I've begun tweeting the micropreview of The Red Tree over at greygirlbeast. The plan was to post a sentence a day, until the book is released on August 4th. Of course, I immediately realized that 140 characters won't accommodate many of those sentences. Today, for instance, I was only able to post the first three quarters or so of the first sentence. So, this is going to be a strange affair, indeed.

Please, if you haven't already, have a look at the current eBay auctions, all proceeds earmarked to help offset the cost of my attending ReaderCon 20 in July.

And, with that, the platypus says its time to get my skinny ass to the word mines....
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
The snow is falling hard again. Hubero is sitting on my desk, watching as the white world gets a little whiter. I have promised him that it will be at least Wednesday before the weather forces us to eat the cats. Hubero replies he is grateful to now live in the world of corner stores.

Bad insomnia again last night. But I did manage to get to sleep before 5:30 ayem. While Spooky was reading to me from The Historian, I could hardly keep my eyes open. As soon as she stopped, I was wide awake. This is no reflection on the book.

No writing again yesterday.

Yesterday, the mail brought my contributor's copies of the new PS Publishing edition of Ray Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever (originally published in 1958), which includes my introduction, "The Most Beautiful Music I've Ever Read." At this point, depending what one does and does not count, I've written and published upwards of seven novels, something like a hundred and fifty short stories, novellas, and vignettes, dozens of comic scripts for Vertigo, won a few awards, and so forth. But, honestly, I think I've never been half so proud of anything as I was of seeing my name on the title page of The Day It Rained Forever ("Introduction by...."). It completes a sort of circle, as Bradbury was such an enormous formative influence. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity. Among my comp copies was the deluxe boxed set, which includes the PS Publishing editions of both The Day It Rained Forever and A Medicine For Melancholy. Almost, but not quite, the same collections. There are four stories in the former that were not included in the latter, and vice versa. Essentially, The Day It Rained Forever was the UK edition of A Medicine For Melancholy.

I desperately needed to get Outside yesterday, if only to see Providence blanketed in all this snow. It took us about half an hour to dig out the van, so we could escape the driveway. I brought a yardstick down, and measured the snow depth in a number of undisturbed spots. An average of 9 inches, with drifts well over a foot. We drove (very slowly) from Federal Hill, across the river to College Hill. The roads were slushy and brown, and not as many people were out as I'd expected. This was already late in the day, after four thirty by the time we reached Wickenden Street. Eastside Market was open, and we stopped for a few things, then headed back towards Benefit Street. There are photos below. The sky had gone the color of blue-grey clay, and it was snowing hard. We followed Angell Street west, then ended up on Congdon headed south. By fits and starts, we reached Benefit Street. I saw Lovecraft's "Shunned House" (the "Yellow House" of my own stories) in the snow, which made it look quite a bit more imposing. I glimpsed the Fleur-de-Lys House (from "The Call of Cthulhu") through the storm. We headed back across the Point Street Bridge, and stopped to take a few photos of the Providence River and snow-shrouded College Hill. The river was like slate, and the waves seemed more like chips in stone. The old wharf that, in the summer, is usually covered with gulls and cormorants, was buried in snow and ice. And that clay sky above it all. We made it back home just before sunset.

And now it is Solstice, and the days will grow longer. And that is a great relief. The rebirth of the "Great God," if only metaphorically. Though, truthfully, a metaphorical Cernunnos or Pan is as useful to me as would be one whose reality were less subjective. Here it is truth that applies, not fact. The wheel turns, and the Horned God wakes again. The long night of winter will end soon enough. A happy and/or blessed Solstice/Yule/Midwinter to all those who wish to be wished such.

Yes, this entry is wandering a bit, isn't it?

A reminder that the current eBay auctions are ongoing. Please do have a look. Now, the photographs from yesterday:

Saturday, December 20, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
The sky is a deep grey-white, with the faintest hint of that shade of purple that I still know of as "periwinkle," because that's what it was called in my box of 100 Crayolas, when I was a kid. The old power pole outside my window looks like a driftwood crucifix. Most of the snow has melted. It didn't amount to much.

I'm trying to get back to work —— rotting, unpulled tooth or no. That first week of December, the week off during this two-month semi-vacation, it was wonderful. I think the most wonderful and unexpected thing about it was the way that time seemed to stretch. For that span of time, my days did not consist of getting out of bed, sitting down at the computer, having a meal somewhere in the day or night, and then wandering off to bed at 2:30 ayem. I got out of the house. Outside, even though it's not a place I'm generally comfortable being these days. I went as far north as the tip of Cape Cod, and as far south and west as New Haven, Connecticut. There was the ocean, the wreck of a 19th-Century schooner, Pleistocene clay, good movies, the dolls of Elizabeth King, dinosaurs, cities, dunes, small towns, forests, the grave of O.C. Marsh, Yale University, and the Peabody Museum of Natural History. The days were longer, seeming to expand to accommodate these experiences, and somehow spaced farther apart from one another than usual. And it's made getting back into the habit of this chair, this keyboard, this screen, and all the things that go along with writing, it's made that return to the normative state of my life difficult. But, at the beginning of January, I get another week that will be experience, not writing. It's something to look forward too, over the next two weeks.

Solstice is near. The days will grow longer.

It was almost impossible to work yesterday, but I worked. A little. Enough that I only felt guilty. Today I have to do a lot better. I have to find the first vignette for Sirenia Digest #37. I think it will be something wintry. And it occurs to me. It's very odd that I've never really written a story about a cat. They've always been such a part of my life, but, aside from an issue of The Dreaming ("The First Adventure of Miss Catterina Poe"), I've never much written about cats. Not on purpose. It's some weird blind spot in my fiction.

Here is a stack of books I want to read this winter, that I mean to read this winter: Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer, a collection of Nabokov, Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and Moonchild by Aleister Crowley. I haven't started any of them. I give myself over to the easier distractions of the internet. I sit in this chair.

The days taste like Ambesol and ginger ale, coffee and dust.

And now it's time to make the doughnuts.

Thanks to everyone who's bid on the current eBay auctions. More items will be going up today.

Midsummer

Jun. 21st, 2008 10:00 am
greygirlbeast: (Late Cambrian)
Monsieur Insomnia has a talent for finding me at the most inopportune times. I've been sleeping marvelously since coming to Rhode Island (21 days ago now!), until night before last...and last night. I'm no longer 20 or 30, and, alas, I cannot function very well on 6 hours sleep. Which is about what I got last night. Oh, and a very peculiar set of dreams, which I shall not here recall.

Since I began practicing Wicca in 2005, something has felt wrong during mine and Spooky's rituals. We'd have the words. All the material components. Our hearts were in it, our minds focused. And yet, still, something felt wrong. And now I know, for sure, what. Wicca cannot be practiced in a crowded back room that is generally used for dollmaking. It must be practised beneath an open sky. This is to say, the Midsummer ritual last night was exquisite, one of the most remarkable hours of my life. And I know now that my suspicion that the missing element in our rituals was environmental was spot on*.

We left Providence about 4 pm, because we needed to swing by the Kingston Free Library to drop off 5 more boxes of books. We'd already donated 2, so that's a total of 7 we've given for their forthcoming book sale (by the way, no idea why I'm typing numbers as numerals instead of words today...they're just coming out that way). Maybe 200 books, all told. I should have parted with 3 times that number, but, you know, baby steps. After the library, we drove up to Spooky's parent's farm in Saunderstown, because her father has finally returned from his latest anthropological sojourn to some exotic clime or another (I forget just where, somewhere in South America). We must have gotten there about 5 or 5:30, and it was so much cooler in South County than in Providence, with the wonderful breeze. They showed us their new pitcher plant (sorry, don't recall the species), and we talked by the koi pond her mother, Carol, is working on. They're about to install a biofilter, to help keep the water a little cleaner. I think the pond has about 50 koi at this point. Her mother trades the babies for fish food. We played with Spider, talked about birds, and my bad eyes, black bear sightings in South County, and summer, and graduate students, and back doors. A taillight on Spooky's car was fixed by cannibalizing the old blue van. It was a good visit.

About 6:30 or so, we headed east to Beavertail, across the Jamestown Bridge to Conanicut Island, and then south to Beavertail. The sun was beginning to set, and the wetlands and thickets of beach roses and other assorted flora were teeming with wildlife. Deer, rabbits, egrets, robins everywhere, all manner of sea birds. We circled back behind the lighthouse, to a more secluded place we found in 2004 (about 1,200 feet northeast of the lighthouse). I'd packed about half our altar for the trip, trying to keep in mind the wind and that the ritual should not be overly complicated or ruined by things one cannot do while clinging to a rocky sea cliff in a strong wind. It was actually cold when we got out of the car, and I put on my sweater, my arm socks, and my cloak, and followed Spooky down the steep erosional ravine leading to the rocks (carefully skirting the ubiquitous poison ivy). There were very few people nearby, mostly fishermen, and the people who were there kindly left us alone. We must have gotten started about 7 pm, and the tide was coming in**, consuming the shore in great foaming mouthfuls. Spooky spotted crabs in a high tide pool. There were bits of dried seaweed scattered about. There were a few gulls, and cormorants just offshore (Phalacrocorax spp.). Spooky said, "They look like little Nessies." There were seabirds I did not recognize. The sky had gone a wonderful assortment of blues, greys, and pinks. To the south, the lighthouse flashed at its regular intervals. I cast the circle, started a small fire in our cauldron, and we set to work. Well, work's the wrong word, I think. It was too delightful to call work. Recall my definition of magick as the "willful invocation of awe." It was that. I adapted Starhawk's Litha ceremony, substituting some of my own phrasing, and tailoring it for only 2 people, instead of a full coven. A handful of salt to the North, a feather to the East, a garlic clove to the south, two fern fronds to the West. The wind and the sea were wild, and this was the wild magick I've been seeking for three years.

About halfway through, we paused to eat the bread we'd brought along and have some of the wine. We were joined by a young gull, who seemed hardly the least bit afraid of people. He landed inside our circle, and Spooky fed him. A Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus), the largest species in the North Atlantic, with wingspans up to 65". This fellow was no more than three winters old. As the breakers crashed over the craggy black and grey rocks (Jamestown Formation, Middle Cambrian age) and rushed noisily into deep places between the rocks, the lone gull added a note of humour to the whole affair. Soon, though, a second, larger gull arrived and swooped over us a couple of times, then sat a short distance away, seeming to caw angrily at our visitor. The two finally left together, and we continued. I finished the ritual and opened the circle. It was getting dark by then, and we had to pick our way carefully along the cliffs back to the ravine. Within sight of the path leading back up the to car, we stopped, stealing a little more time with the sea. Spooky arranged stones in her impromptu mandalas, and I stood on a high promontory jutting out over the rough waters of Narragansett Bay. I closed my eyes and spread my arms, just listening — the birds, the wind, the sea, a bell buoy, a distant foghorn. There was a moment that seemed to stretch on forever. As Einstein said, "People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."*** I know there was time in that moment, but I also felt, with perfect clarity, its relativity to my perceptions of it. Beneath my feet, the metamorphosed sandstones and shales were still being laid deposited in trilobite-haunted seas, still being heated in the orogenies that formed Avalonia, crosscut with plutonic intrusions during the Ordovician and Devonian. Offshore, it might have been 500 AD, or 1649, or sometime in the 19th Century. I was unstuck. It was a million years from now, and storms and the tides had washed away those cliffs entirely. I opened my eyes to a distinct sense of vertigo, as I seemed to snap back into the matrix of the moment, and there was the sense that something I'd called up in the circle had trailed after us, lingering there with me on the cliff. But. It tattered and came apart in the salty wind, and I saw the designs Spooky had made on the rocks. She said we'd best be going before it got any darker, and I admitted, reluctantly, she was right. I didn't want to leave the sea and head back to the city. I wanted to sink back into that mental space I'd found, unfixed in time, that place where all the thousand petty concerns of my day-to-day life, all the noise that adds up to Me, was shown to be so perfectly insignificant before the business of this vasty universe.

I should cut this off now. [livejournal.com profile] sovay will be arriving on the 1:45 train from Boston, and I should really try to straighten up the mostly unpacked house just a little more. There are a few photographs from yesterday evening (behind the cut):

Midsummer 2008 )


* No, this wasn't my first outdoor ritual — there was the skyclad one a couple of years back, for example, but it had been a while.
** High tide at Beavertail at 9:46 last night.
*** From a letter (March 1955) printed in the posthumously published Science and the Search for God Disturbing the Universe (1979).
greygirlbeast: (white)
My obsession with these things is absurd. Anyway, yeah, here's another 150 words of Chapter One of The Red Tree reduced to a "wordle." Click the image for the full-sized version. I really like this one. Looks like an edgy late '50s movie poster. Something directed by Stanley Kramer or Elia Kazan that beatniks would watch.



A wonderful Solstice ceremony, but I'll write about that tomorrow. Right now, the Triassic awaits me.
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
The world was deprived of no great entertainments that I posted no entry yesterday. It all goes back to the book I agreed to review for Publisher's Weekly. And the fact that I never do today what I can put off until next month. So, Wednesday was reading, reading, reading — and then I finally wrote the review yesterday. After this, I send it to my editor at PW. But. I was not meant to be a book reviewer. I don't know who would want to be. We'd all be better off without book reviews. And the pay, even when it's good, is for shit. So, yeah, likely I shall not do that again. I have no business mouthing off — in print — about an author many, many years my senior who has written and published far more than have I, and has awards out the wazoo, and so forth. And getting paid for it. But, you know. I'll try anything once...or twice, if it leaves a nice scar.

Congratulations to the winners of the "cephaloflap" and "doodleflap" auctions. They ended while I was looking the other way.

Er...yesterday. Well, besides finishing the novel I had to review, I moved the CD shelf, all the hundreds and hundreds of CDs (and no one should own hundreds and maybe thousands of CDs) from the "middle parlour" to the kitchen. More unpacking. After 5 pm, Spooky and I went to the little farmer's market at the Dexter Training Ground, to pick up our weekly bag of produce (it's a local farmer's support thingy), and this week we got apple butter, a mescaline salad mix, three tomatoes, apple mint, a cucumber, strawberries, and sugar snap peas. And then we went to Whole Foods, and East Side Market. Providence is at its most stunning in the late afternoon sunlight of summer. I'm going to have to walk out onto the Point Street Bridge soon, late in the day, and take some photos. Many boxes were broken down and carried to the street yesterday, as this morning the recycling truck came. No, they're not yet all unpacked, the boxes from Atlanta, but we're at least 90% of the way there. This is coming out all higgledy-piggledy, my recollections of yesterday, but who cares, eh? Late, late, I did some ritual work and also some writing in my Book of Shadows for this evening's seaside Solstice ceremony. Spooky and I took a very short walk about 2:45 ayem (I stayed up too late), and the moon was full (well, one night past) and beautiful hanging over all these old Victorian rooftops. Spooky trimmed my hair, which badly needed it after the ravages of the move. The postman brought the June 2008 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and it looks to be a great one, lots of dinosaurs and non-archosaurian herps. Oh, and I got a package from Writer's House (the lit agency that handles me), with half the advance for the German-language editions of Low Red Moon and Threshold, and that was a welcome sight (Amazon.com has gone back to making it a pain in the eema to find the new mmp of the former, by the way). For dinner, Spooky made bow-tie pasta with an arugula pesto and spicy Italian sausages. I read more of Fraser's book on the Triassic (I wish I were being paid to review that). And, give or take, that was yesterday.

Oh, I've made another "word cloud," this time from three paragraphs near the middle of Chapter One of The Red Tree. Also, this one uses two hundred words, whereas the last one used only one hundred and fifty (just click to see the larger version):



Today, well...there's some work, though there likely won't be much. We're getting ready for Solstice tonight and for [livejournal.com profile] sovay's arrival tomorrow afternoon. Monday, though, I make one more trip over to Moosup Valley, and on Tuesday I nail myself inside this office and don't come out until The Red Tree is written (fortunately, there's an entrance to the bathroom from my office). I have lost far too much time, and have far too little time until the book is due. And I know it will refuse to be rushed, even if I had the will to rush it, which I don't.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] nullmode wrote: Having been involved with wicca some years ago and being disappointed by the fro fro nature of what I found there I gave up on it. However, reading your blog and the comments of some of your readers I find myself inspired by the fact that there are intelligent people out there practicing in a meaningful way. So, although I know that discussion indicates that there are not many great books out there, do you have any recommendations? I'd like to re-explore a bit and I was wondering what you've read and liked.

And I replied: I have found very, very few.

First, and foremost, I would recommend Ronald Hutton's
Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft (Oxford; 1999). Also, something of a classic and slightly dated (but maybe good for that reason), Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshipers, and Other Pagans in America Today (Penguin Compass; 1979, 1986). Those are, by far, the two best that I have found. Starhawk's The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess (HarperSanFrancisco; 1999), in its 20th-anniversary incarnation, is not so bad as many who disparage "fluffy-bunny" Paganism make out. Sure, Starhawk is still full of it as regards buying into Murray's ideas about there having once existed a universal goddess religion and a race of Pictish dwarves and all that, and she can go a bit twee at times, but she has a poet's ear. Too many Wiccan books read like bad goth poetry. Starhawk also gets points from me for at least trying to embrace science and rationalism, for her ecological emphasis, and for generally seeming to regard magick as a matter more of psychology than of manipulation of cause and effect and matter.

Anyway...those are the three I'd recommend at this point. Hutton is the best. Adler shows us what Paganism in America was like before the Coming of the Fluffy Bunnies and the subsequent loss of diversity, before wishful thinking overtook common sense.


Okay. Gotta go. Merry Litha, to thems what observes it. Miles to go before I sleep, and all that rot.
greygirlbeast: (white3)
Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,531 words, finishing "The Melusine (1889)," which weighs in at a total word count of 5,099 words. Together with "Unter den Augen des Mondes," this means that Sirenia Digest subscribers will be getting over 7,500 words-worth of new fiction from me this issue, plus the new "weird artist" of the month profile feature by Geoffrey Goodwin. It was a long writing day yesterday, and the story took a slightly unexpected and, for me, unusual, turn. It rather knocked the wind from me, I think. When "The Melusine (1889)" was done, I was left with that depression that completing a piece usually brings — though that mood usually has the decency to wait until at least the next day to hit me. It was compounded by the fact that it seemed I'd played an even crueler trick than usual upon the story's protagonist, Cala Mornroe Weatherall. It's a brick wall, the end of that story, and you hit it at fifty miles an hour. If I believed in gods who passed judgment on "sinners," I'd envision a special hell for authors, for the lifetimes we spend breaking the lives and minds of our characters, trapped there in their sooty little universes.

When I was done, I just wanted to lie down and cry or something, but Spooky made me get dressed, instead. She took me down to Narragansett, to Iggy's, for dinner. We got our food, then went to the Point Judith lighthouse to eat. The wind was cold, but bracing and filled with the smells of the sea. On the way down, we saw a doe grazing. And a crow pursued by an angry mockingbird. I ate far too much — fried cod and chips, clam cakes, Manhattan-style clam chowder, cole slaw, root beer — and afterwards we sat by the sea and watched the lights on passing boats, the low waves crashing against the rocks. And I began to come back to myself.

Back home, unpacking, always with the unpacking. The big display case is mostly sorted out, and I got the altar set up again. I need to go to a shop over in Tiverton and get a new athame. There's one there I like. An athame, I mean. Later still, I had a date on Second Life for rp with the Omegans, and my thanks to Larissa, Abigel, Pontifex, Bellatrix, Joah, Merma, Omega, and Denny for a great scene (or, rather, series of interconnected scenes). It was late before I got to bed, just before 4 ayem. The damned birds had started singing.

Spooky's looking at local Pagan gatherings associated with the Solstice. Part of me wants to become involved with a nearby coven or circle — I've never liked the solitary practitioner thing — and part of me knows it would just be asking for trouble. All this foolish nattering about "dispelling negative energy." Whatever happened to paganism as a road to balance? Never mind that the word "energy" should be forever stricken from the pagan lexicon, for the perpetual abuse and complete lack of definition it endures. One reason I came to Providence was to find like-minded pagans, hopefully Wiccans, but I fear they'll all think I'm some spooky left-pather, a bête noire to be avoided lest my "negative energies" taint their rituals "of light and purification." Pfft. Sometimes, it seems to me so many American Wiccans are devolving into happy-crappy, pseudo-Xtianity, afraid of their own shadows, struggling to recreate the religion that drove them to paganism to start with. But I rant. Don't fear the darkness, kiddos. It's one half of the equation. Without it, there can be no balance. And balance, I believe, is the key, here.

Anyway, the "Cephaloflap" and "Doodleflap" auctions are off to a grand start. Keep in mind, these are the first monster doodles I've offered in something like two or three years, and they're the largest I have ever offered. And they're part of HISTORY, my Grand Transmigration from the South. All proceeds will likely go towards a birthday present for Spooky. Speaking of which:

My Amazon.com Wish List


Anyway, I've declared today an unpacking and hygiene day, because I'm sick of these boxes, and writers must bathe, too. And after "The Melusine (1898)," I need a day away from making words. I need a day away from unpacking, too, but that's not going to happen for at least another week or so.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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