greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
It isn't bad enough that the few corners of the internet that I love are withering and/or drawing in upon themselves like a startled sea anemone, but the tempo as a whole – that is, the tempo of the internet – is accelerating. And the rate of acceleration appears exponential. So, that which is faster grows increasingly rapid. Attention spans decrease accordingly. Twitter and Facebook replace blogging. News stories become ever less informative. The sound byte (sound bite) is victorious. Analysis shrivels. Thought is compressed. Or, to me, so it seems. But I have a slow, slow and extremely analytical brain. My mind picks and sorts and rehashes and researches and is, above all, patient. I may require months to read a novel, but when I have read it, I can almost recite it. This requires patience. And patience is suffering a mass extinction on the internet.

One hundred and forty characters. Buzz words. Jargon. Texting. The entrenchment of l33t so that it no long signifies elite, and no one using it even recalls how or why it began. Speed. An expectation, beyond the internet, that instant gratification is good and normal and anything less is a failure. I want my ebook and I want it NOW. I want now. Now. Why is my order taking so long? What do you mean "I have to wait"? Waiting is a negative, by definition. Fast food. Overnight delivery. Thirty minutes or you get it free. First in line. Speed and cut me off on the interstate so that, ultimately, your drive is forty-five seconds shorter.

Why so goddamn, fucking fast? You think you'll buy more life, squeeze in a few more moments? Has civilization driven you to the fastest rat race ever? Is it that you believe doing it quicker actually is better than doing it right? Do you think you have no choice in the matter? You can't see the lie? The only thing you're running towards is death.

Slow down, you move to fast.

We used to wait...

And what is the utility of these words? Because the internet is fucking fickle, and, for whatever reasons, even for those few who do still blog, or at least read blogs, LiveJournal has ceased to be the hip place to be seen.

---

All unexpected anger this morning. The anger rarely comes these day, rarely comes with this intensity. Admittedly, I don't think this is irrational anger, for which I have my meds, but its hit me with that same force and with that same glee in its own existence.

---

Yesterday, I sat and stared at the iMac's screen, and after about five hours of that a story occurred to me. It's an ugly story and a beautiful story. It's kind and cruel. Gentle and violent. It needs to be written in a language that is just shy of cut up. As I wrote 7 in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The language I learned from Joyce, Faulkner, et al. And it needs to be written in two days, as I've got Alabaster #4 due on the 15th, and I have to get Sirenia Digest #73 out before then.

Wishing for the Salvation of Summer,
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: (goat girl)
And today, is Ray Bradbury's 91st birthday. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for Mars, Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, bottles of dandelion wine, that foghorn, the Elliot family, and a thousand other wonders.

Sunny and cool here in Providence, thanks to a low humidity and dew point. Very windy.

Turns out, as of yesterday, we're moving the entire shoot for The Drowning Girl book trailer and The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed from Boston the Rhode Island. This happens this coming weekend, so things here will grow increasingly chaotic. [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and crew will arrive on Friday evening, and as we only really have about a day and a half to shoot, it's going to be intense. But, hopefully, fun intense, and hopefully many wonderful things will come of it. Oh, and yesterday Michael Zulli showed me the underpainting of his version of G.P.S.'s The Drowning Girl (1898), and, even at this unfinished stage, it's beautiful. A part of the novel is coming alive and will exist beyond the printed page, and I thank him so much for that.

As announced, yesterday was a "day off." I still spent about three or four hours working, but there was no writing. What we did do, though, is go to Swan Point Cemetery for the first time since the ugly fiasco of the 20th of August 2008. I do not know if it was my post, then Boing Boing picking up the story of the verbal assault against me and Spooky, and the story spreading across the interwebs that led to a major change in Swan Point security, or if it was that combined with other incidents, or if it didn't involve my experience at all. But it has changed, and wonderfully so. There are visitors again, and bicyclists, and the air of oppression has been lifted. For the first time in three years (!!!) we were able to visit Lovecraft's grave. Likely, things have been better there for a year or two, but I've just not been able to return, that incident in 2008 was so upsetting. There was a big gathering on Saturday to commemorate HPL's birth date, but I didn't want to be a part of the crowd, so I waited until yesterday (I don't think the Old Gent would have minded my tardiness). We walked around the beautiful cemetery, me making notes, recording names for future stories and novels, getting mosquito bites, and marveling at trees. We found a huge red oak (Swan Point is also an arboretum) , and I took a single leaf and pressed it in between the pages of my Molskine. The cemetery was so, so peaceful: bird songs, the wind through trees, insects, the Seekonk flowing past to the east, and very little else. It was at least part ways as grounding as the sea.

We saved HPL's grave for the last. There were many a wonderful offering carefully laid above the grave. I left a tiny button in the shape of a black cat; knowing his love of cats, it seemed very appropriate. Anyway, hopefully we are now all free to visit the grave whenever we like, and I can only hope that asshole security guard was fired. Yesterday, I felt like I'd gotten back something very grand and important to me. There are photos below, behind the cut.

Afterwards, we had an early dinner at Tortilla Flats.

And I have a long day ahead of me. Spooky's begun cleaning the apartment in anticipation of the arrival of photographers (and all their gear) and models/actresses on Friday. I have to begin Chapter 8, the final chapter of Blood Oranges, which I hope to make very significant progress on this week and finish early next week.

21 August 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay. I am awake. No, really. Just ask the platypus inserting bamboo splinters beneath my toenails.

First, stuff from Friday:

I wrote 1,308 words of Chapter Six of Blood Oranges, in which a new troll – Otis – makes an appearance. I really do not know what to make of this strange, strange book. It is what it is.

Also on Friday, there was a Telephone Conversation of Great Importance, which I am not free to discuss (and let me tell you, these things I can't talk about are driving me fucking nuts).

I received a package from Stephen Lubold containing, among many other wonderful things, two Penguin Classics collections – Algernon Blackwood's Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories (and LJ can't spell the plural of sorcery) and Lord Dunsany's In the Land of Time and Other Fantasy Tales (both edited by S. T. Joshi) – and Denise Gess and William Lutz' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American Hitsory (2002). I immediately began reading the latter, as the Peshtigo Firestorm (and associated fires on the night of October 8, 1871) have long been an obsession of mine, but I haven't read this book. So, thank you again, Stephen!

The package also included a copy of Huan Vu's (German, 2010) film Die Farbe, which I now know is the most faithful adaptation of HPL's "The Colour Out of Space" that anyone has made thus far. I did not even know of this film's existence. It moves the events of the story from New England to pre-WWII Germany – which works far better than it has a right to work – and the climax to WWII itself (which really doesn't work). That is, the narrator's story is cut in two, and framed by an American searching for his lost father. As strange as all this sounds, and despite what must have been an almost nonexistent budget, most of it works very well. The move to film in black and white was smart (I've always said I'd do "Colour" in b&w), with a very judicious use of a color effect, that was smart. The acting is decent, the casting good, the cinematography so-so, the SFX uneven, but sometimes very impressive. The sound was awful. I don't know if it was a bad transfer to the DVD, or trouble with sound editing. But...if you're a fan of HPL or the story, it should be seen. It is at least a one-hundred percent improvement over the two previous attempts at filming the story – the laughable Die, Monster, Die (1965) and the unspeakably laughable The Curse (1987).

Oh, I'm also adding a photograph of the "pregnant plesiosaur" to yesterday's entry, for posterity (because it's an amazing fossil, and sometimes links go poof). And thank you, [livejournal.com profile] corucia for sending me the full paper from Science.

---

And now...yesterday.

Whoa, David Bowie flashback. No, I'm better now.

More hookey. Inexcusable, I know. No, it truly is. But, and still, Spooky and I went to Moonstone, because how many more days of summer are left? Not many, that's how many. And it rained all June, and we didn't have a car in July, and...anyway, we went to Moonstone. The air temperature was around 80˚F and the water somewhere in the 60sF. I swam. A lot. I've regained so much strength so quickly that I'm sort of astounded. I floated and dove in deep green water. The sky above me was blue with the white brush stokes of cirrus clouds and contrails and with gulls. There is utter peace, only fifty yards offshore. There were virtually no swells, the water was so calm (except when some asshole in a motorboat roared past). The only slightly spooky moment was when I found myself in a riptide that moved me twenty or thirty feet south in just a few seconds. But I stayed calm, swam to the east, and was immediately out of the current. Back on shore, we saw another osprey fishing. Likely the same one we saw back on July 30th.

I so need an underwater camera.

As we were leaving, I spotted the blackened and sun-shriveled remains of a very young dolphin or porpoise – possibly a newborn calf. The dorsal fin had an orange plastic tag that had been attached by researchers from the Mystic Aquarium, and, oddly, what remained of the carcass was tied to a tiny raft made of driftwood. The aquarium's tag noted it had been dead when tagged...which could have been weeks ago, based on the degree of decomposition. The skull, flippers, and tail fluke were missing (not surprising, as these tend to be taken quickly by scavengers). I wanted to take the whole thing away with me for what was left of the skeleton (in excellent shape), but I took only a single anterior thoracic rib. Anyway, there are photographs from yesterday behind the cut:

13 August 2011 )


Also, some decent RP in Insilico last night, as Grendel enters the yakuza.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
It's warmer than expected today, maybe one of the last genuinely warm days of summer. I want to swim, not sit here and write.

Sirenia Digest #68 will be going out to subscribers sometime today. I only just got Vince's illustration. It's one I like quite a lot. Vince's illustration, I mean. But the issue's not so bad, either.

And yesterday was actually very fucking, amazingly, astoundingly wonderful. I am not at liberty to say why, so you're just going to have to take my word for it. You may recall way back on June 9th, when I wrote in the blog "I received NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL, that I may very possibly explode before I'm permitted to spill the beans." Well, yesterday that fabled green light shone down upon all those involved, and it would be difficult for me to explain how pleased I am at this turn of events. It is far beyond awesome. But no, I can't tell you what I'm talking about. There will be an announcement – though it may yet be a month or two away – but it won't be made here, and it won't be made by me. When it happens, someone will surely see or hear it before me. But you'll all know, soon. And trust me, I hate keeping secrets worse than you hate having them kept from you.

I spent the day tweaking #68. That sounds like a line from an SF story, doesn't it?

I can also say, with enormous relief, that the long impoverished period that Spooky and I have spent the last year and a half struggling through has ended. Things will be better now. I won't stop worrying about money, because I never stop worrying about money (and this is a thing I hate more than words can say). But my thanks to everyone who has helped us through that long rough patch, in all the many ways that you have helped.

Relieved,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Better late than never. Well, that's always been a dubious adage, but whatever.

I begin to see a trend. When I was writing The Red Tree I became, in some sense, Sarah Crowe. When I was writing The Drowning Girl, I became India Morgan Phelps. And now that I'm writing Blood Oranges, I find myself becoming Siobahn Quinn. No, this didn't used to happen.

Yesterday, as predicted, was spent pulling the Digest together, writing the prolegomenon etc. Finding the cover image, and the ending for the back page. What the fuck is wrong with LiveJournal that is doesn't fucking know how to fucking spell "prolegomenon"? Anyway, I also took care of some last minute details regarding Two Worlds and In Between, which goes to the printer any day now.

Red Bull and benzodiazepines. Two great tastes that go great together. Oh, look! LiveJournal can't spell "benzodiazepines," either. Ah, the brilliant internet.

Hot Outside, here in Providence. Well, hot for Providence.

Good RP in Rift last night. Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. You guys don't know what you're missing. If we're gonna let these computers ruin our lives, and change what it means to be human, we might as well have some fun with it, right?

---

Just back from a matinée of Jon Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens. And I loved it. Almost unconditionally. You know what I said about how we need B-movies? Well, it's true. But this film unexpectedly transcends a category I expected it to fall within. It's simply a good movie. Maybe not great cinema, but a good movie. And, right now, I'll settle for that. The cast is marvelous, top to bottom: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford (who actually does more than play Harrison Ford), Clancy Brown, Olivia Wilde, Keith Carradine, etc. Someone was mouthing off on IMDb about (Oh, it can spell "IMDb"!) this being the "worst idea for a film ever." It is nothing of the sort. Why assume alien invasions would always come in the present (or, perhaps, the future)? Anyway, as to the central premise, to quote Stephen Hawking:

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.

A point which is touched upon in the film. The Native American bit, I mean. Obviously, the subject of the film is an alien race seeking to exploit the Earth, and willing to commit genocide to do it. Wait. There has to be another word, one for wiping out an entire, particular species to get what you need. Sure, the end result is extinction, but there ought to be a word for the process. Ah. Extermination. That will do.

Anyway, yes. A very, very good, fun, and moving film, working both as a Western and an SF film. I recommend it unconditionally. Unless you're too jaded for the fundamental concept and go into the theatre needing to be convinced. Here we are now, entertain us. If that's your attitude, save the price of admission and stay home. But I give it a solid two thumbs up.

---

I think Frank the Goat is feeling better. Now if someone would just teach him how to spell.

Up to Here,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunday. Sunday means nothing whatsoever around these parts. Here in deepest, darkest Rhode Island. The hinterlands of Federal Hill.

"You'll forgive her," said the platypus. "The heat's been at her. And she's not been sleeping well. She's jumping at shadows." And the dodo, she concurred.

---

I'm trying to get myself ready to go back to work on Blood Oranges tomorrow. Yesterday, we read Chapter Three. And I still like it. It's not in the same ballpark as The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but it was never meant to be. It's in this other ballpark, over here. This book will, I think, be finished, and if it is finished, it certainly will be published. But, back to baseball analogies, it's got a couple of strikes against it. And I can't even explain them all here, because I'd have to bring in People Who Are Not Me. Which is poor form (I am the last good-mannered beast). In June, I had amazing enthusiasm for this odd little side project, this diversion from the course of my writing career. Now, I'm struggling just to be able to write the second half. Nothing whatsoever has changed about the story. This is all about changes in the marketplace that occur so suddenly they can hit you in the middle of a book that you're writing in the absurdly short span of only two months. But I will finish it, because I can't leave a story half told, and it will be published. And the little paycheck will be the small consolation that all paychecks are.

Today, we'll read Chapter Four.

---

The heat continues to batter all in this house, though relief is on the way in the form of cooler weather, and the new window-unit AC has helped a little. Last night, the high humidity made 84˚F feel like 94˚F. I think Spooky and I are both going deaf from the constant whir of fans and the drone of AC units. I've not yet named the new AC unit. Or I did, but forgot the name. Threw away the key. And so it goes. Yesterday, I actually made a little chart in my Moleskinne notebook, the temperature in the middle parlour for each hour. I'm still making entries. I may plot the whole thing on a bar graph once the heat breaks. Cooking doesn't help, by the way, but I was tired of cold food.

---

Last night, we watched the third episode of Falling Skies. It's hard watching something and knowing it would have been so much better had it not catered to – or been forced to cater to – the sensibilities of a low-brow audience. Last night, during the saccharine-sweet scene where the good little Xtian girl who hasn't lost faith – even at the end of human civilization – leads the others in saying grace, I very almost puked. I settled for laughing, instead. But Fallen Skies was playing it safe, playing it dumb, playing to middle America. Middle, in this case, being synonymous with mediocre, and pause to consider the etymology of that word (yeah, I'm on an etymological kick):

"Mediocre: [via French from Latin mediocris moderate, literally: halfway up the mountain, from medius middle + ocris stony mountain]"*

You play to the middle, to mediocrity, odds are somewhat more in your favour that you will, in fact, succeed. And, of course, lots of producers and TV execs are still terrified of playing to any other demographic but the mediocre. Mediocre fiction for mediocre people. No, not people. Consumers. I'd love to see what this series could have been on Showtime.

---

Yesterday, I read two articles in the May JVP: "A new basal ornithopod dinosaur (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia" and "First occurrence of the long-snouted crocodyliform Terminonaris (Pholidosauridae) from the Woodbine Formation (Cenomanian) of Texas."

---

Last night was the first night since...whenever...that it's been cool enough to sit in the office (where we usually game) and play Rift. There was some fine rp at Kelari Refuge, and then at Meridian. We are essentially rewriting Our Story Thus Far, since the guild moved from the Shadefallen shard to Faeblight (where people actually rp!), so things are a little hinky, but it was fine rp, all the same. Oh, and the offer still stands. To quote yesterday's entry:

Spooky and I have ONE FREE copy of Rift, which comes with five free days of play, and we're willing to pass it along to someone who wants to give the game a try. The only catch, you have to sign up on our shard – Faeblight – and join our guild, recently rechristened Watchers of the Unseen. We're looking for players who want to rp, plain and simple. If you're interested, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll send you the access code. And, by the way, a month of Rift costs only $15. About as much as a pizza. Or maybe three cups of Starbuck's swill. Hardly more than a single movie ticket (at least around here). Endless hours of entertainment CHEAP. Please don't email her unless you're serious about giving the game a try.

Come on. I know there are gamers among my readers, among my readers who read this journal via LJ, Facebook, and Twitter. And this is the best MMORPG I've ever played. And it's never going to get any cheaper than this offer. Don't be too cool for school.

Anyway, gotta scoot. Catch you on the flipside, kittens.

Until That Day,
Aunt Beast

* Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
greygirlbeast: (Default)
No sleep yet. Well, about twenty minutes this afternoon. Currently, it's 82˚F inside, and frightfully muggy. I think I'm having New Orleans 1995 flashbacks.

Lying in bed, watching the dark that's already begun to fade, and reading about thylacines. Thinking about all the work that didn't get done in July and has to get done in August. Terrified at how fast summer is slipping past, and yet suffering summer. I've taken all my meds for the night (morning), but still no sleep and still this restless, tumbling mind.

I'm not even sure I'm sleep before dawn. We have, officially, 58 minutes before sunrise. But the sky will be bright in another ten or fifteen minutes. I've always been an alien, but here I am not even attuned to the sky.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today is "Let's Make Comments Day." Just in case you'd forgotten.

mis·ad·ven·ture [ˌmɪsədˈvɛntʃə]
n
1. an unlucky event; misfortune
Etymology: [Middle English misaventure from Old French mesaventure, from mesavenir, to result in misfortune : mes-, badly; see mis- + avenir, to turn out (from Latin advenre, to come to; see advent).]*

This being a definition I offer against the memory of yesterday, yesterday having been the very epitome of misadventure:

Do I even have the patience to write this down? Oh, I will say that here, inside the house, the temperature is a marvelously chilly 80˚F. That is, in the middle parlour. In the kitchen pantry, where we now have AC, it's probably 75˚F. The pantry abuts my office. I think you see where this is headed. Which is to say some misadventures may have not-so-unhappy endings.

Yesterday, sweaty and ill, I made my entry, and then we got dressed and headed for a matinée in Warwick. Specifically, the 12:55 p.m. screening of David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt.2). We got a medium-size screen, but at least it was flat. The big screens were, of course, occupied by 3-D, and it didn't help that Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger had just opened. I'm not going to bother people with the details of the film, or get into spoilers. But this I will say: David Yates' film takes the bloated, tiresome mess of Rowling's novel (well, here we're talking about the second half of the last one), and from it he fashions an exciting, eloquent, and heartbreaking film. Scenes that, in the novel, were, at best, cumbersome, and, at worst, absurd, are brilliantly reworked, restyled, fixed. We'd just rewatched Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt.1) on Thursday night, and, as I said last summer, as I suspected, these are truly two halves of a single film, and they are best seen back to back, the second literally picking up where the first left off. Anyway, unless you hate the series on principle or its just not your thing, I strongly, strongly recommend this film. Brilliant. I would not have changed a thing. And I managed to cry only three times. So, ten years from start to finish.

This was the good part of the day.

By the time the film let out, the blazing sun had pushed the temperature Outside close to 100˚F. Our plan was to return to Moonstone Beach. Back on Wednesday, Spooky and I got swimwear, because, after all, it isn't legal to swim nude at Moonstone. We planned to stay until sunset, before returning to the swelter of home. We only made it as far as Slocum (very rural, about a third of the distance from Warwick to Moonstone) before the van – she of the new engine – began jerking about. The RPM gauge went whackadoole, and then the engine light came on. We pulled over at the edge of a turf farm, across from the Slocum post office. Spooky tried to call the garage, but reception was shit. So, we nursed the van a bit farther, to Kathryn's parent's place. Her dad's in Newcastle, England (after having just returned from the jungles of the Philippines; and I swear he's no anthropologist, but a CIA operative only masquerading as an anthropologist). By this time, the heatsickness I've had on and off for days came back pretty much full-force. And...this story's already boring the hell out of me.

Cut to chase: Spooky called AAA. They came and towed the van back to the garage in Providence. Spooky's mom drove us home (we made it back about 9 p.m.). The temperature in the house was 91˚F. But! Her mother installed a second AC unit (one her parents weren't using) in the pantry window. I'd passed out on the bed. After Spooky's mother (who has an actual name, Carol) left, Spooky made me wake up and eat and drink. I was extremely dehydrated. And the thermostat began to drop. By 3:40 ayem, it was down to 82˚F. We finished watching Season Three of Law and Order: Criminal Intent before finally falling asleep.

So, misadventure. But, we hope to have the van back on Monday, and the house is suddenly pleasant to be in. So, maybe, despite all the sweat and yesterday's misadventure, and despite this fucking heatwave, I can now begin catching up. I've only lost three precious weeks.

I think the most annoying (and embarrassing) part of yesterday was misidentifying a frog in the koi pond at Spooky's parents as a leopard frog (Rana pipiens) when it was actually Rana clamitans melanota, the Northern green frog. Her mother corrected me. Kittens, do not try to show off your mad herpetological skills when your brain is heat-addled.

---

Spooky and I have ONE FREE copy of Rift, which comes with five free days of play, and we're willing to pass it along to someone who wants to give the game a try. The only catch, you have to sign up on our shard – Faeblight – and join our guild, recently rechristened Watchers of the Unseen. We're looking for players who want to rp, plain and simple. If you're interested, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll send you the access code. And, by the way, a month of Rift costs only $15. About as much as a pizza. Or maybe three cups of Starbuck's swill. Hardly more than a single movie ticket (at least around here). Endless hours of entertainment CHEAP. Please don't email her unless you're serious about giving the game a try.

And now I should go. I have a train and a track, a horse and a saddle, and I have to put one and one back together and make two again.

Arithmetically Cooler,
Aunt Beast

* Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
greygirlbeast: (Default)
We've been up maybe an hour. Outside, the temperature 96F, but the heat index is at 108F. Sorry, I'm hiding in the not-quite-scalding bedroom, using Zoe the Asus laptop, and I have no idea how to make the little degree symbol on this keyboard. Anyway, inside it's 87F, about eight feet from Dr. M. Beyond the just-bearable bedroom and the halfway comfortable middle parlour, this place is officially not safe to be in. Shortly, we making a dash for the van and its AC.

We're going to spend the day watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2), and then make for Moonstone Beach. Hopefully, it will be long after dark when we get home.

And the work just keeps piling up. We are told that day after tomorrow it might be safe to be inside again.

We now have an "excessive heat warning."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
About to try to get some sleep, but it's still bloody fucking hot. 79-degrees Fahrenheit Outside, but still 84 in the middle parlour - the coolest room - and I'm guessing that means it's about 89 or 90 in the kitchen and my office. The front parlour, which we shut off days ago, probably well over 90. So, too hot to sleep, but I really don't know what else we can do. There are six fans running, plus Dr. M., which is helping just a little.

Don't know if I have much more to say just now.

I grew up in Alabama, where summer days often hit 100+F, but I lived in houses built to ventilate in the summer, and, sometimes, we had AC (but often not). But this...a house that can actually get warmer at night, a house that is built to hold heat in, it's a new beast to me.

Tomorrow, we will flee to a dark theatre and then to the sea. Until then, we'll try to sleep, and try to stay cool.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Oh my fucking dogs. We didn't get to sleep until 4:30 ayem, then woke at 10 ayem. I woke from a hellish dream (thank you, both of you, you who know who you are, you and that fucking day in October 2005) into the mouth of an overheated water buffalo. More on that shortly. The overheated water buffalo, not the hellish dream or heat-induced sleep deprivation. Our heat index is already 97˚F.

Where was I? No, where am I? Oh, here. Great comments yesterday, kittens. Let's keep it up, through another scalding day.

Just sold "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" to Subterranean Press for Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 3. Nope, don't know the book's release date yet, but I'm very happy with the sale.

As for yesterday, well...other than a LOT of email, the less said the better. Work that should have been done was not done. However, I have devised a way to recover. It calls for me finishing Blood Oranges at the end of the third week of August, instead of at the end of July. Fortunately, there was wiggle room. Now, I just gotta get back on that goddamn horse by Monday.

If you're reading this, Merrilee, I've not yet acquired a second coolerator. The one we needed was out of stock. AC units are crazy out of stock up here, which is hardly surprising. Our windows really aren't conducive to window units, so we need another (and smaller than Dr. Muñoz) portable unit. So, no longer broke, but still broiling.

---

One thing that has occurred to me is how little the "triggery" people actually know about human psychology. Sure, if you've been attacked by a dog and maimed, you're going to have issues with dogs. Obviously. Well, no. Many, but not all, people will react that way. Let us avoid oversimplification. Anyway, point is, there are going to be hundreds or thousands of other "triggers," most of them working on a subconscious level, that you'll never be able to guard against. Which leads to all the "unexplained" anxiety and panic attacks experienced by people with PTSD. Which brings us back to the problem of oversimplified pop psych. Mostly, I think the "triggery" folk are desperately trying to control their lives, when all our lives are, genuinely, all but completely beyond our control.

---

Last night, we watched Colin and Greg Strause's Skyline (2010). When I saw the trailer in the theatre, I was impressed and hopeful. But bad and lukewarm reviews kept me away. In truth, it's a perfectly enjoyable big bug sort of sci-fi invasion flick. Sure, it needs a script in the worst sort of way, and the acting's pretty off key. And talk about "unsympathetic characters," what a lot of sleazeballs. However, this is irrelevant, as the real stars are the SFX, which is how it works with the Bros. Strause. And the SFX and creature design, that part's exquisite. It's just a shame no one hired screenwriters who could, you know...write. Or directors that could direct people, and not just CGI programmes. But, like I said, it was fun to watch – quite a bit more than Battle Los Angeles. And unlike Battle Los Angeles, it had a pleasantly and more realistically bleak ending.

After the movie, we watched the first three episodes of Steven Speilberg's Falling Skies. Well, the two-part pilot and the first regular episode. Not bad, in that TV non-space opera sf sort of way. Watchable. Some good moments here and there. But it does feel like television. Which is to say that it feels constrained, and I don't believe for a minute all those people would be so clean six months after becoming nomadic refugees from an extraterrestrial invasion. Creature design is so-so. I find this sudden bloom of alien menace films interesting. True, it's a nice break from zombies. But I wonder at the cause. Probably just the usual Hollywood clusterfuck, especially given that both Skyline and Battle Los Angeles flopped at the box office. The only truly good film to emerge from this, of course, is Abrams' superb Super 8 (a joy, all round).

---

Two films I'm very excited about just now – excited about their potential – are Andrew Stanton's John Carter (US release date 9 March 2012) and Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (US release date 14 October 2011). I do worry the latter could go horribly awry, but the trailer looks very promising. As for the former, I think I have faith in Stanton to do it right, and I love the trailer. I was a huge fan of Burroughs, and especially the Mars books, when I was a kid. Anyway, here are both trailers:

John Carter:



The Thing:



---

I'm living in an age
That calls darkness light.
Though my language is dead,
Still the shapes fill my head.
-- Arcade Fire

I have no tribe.

Okay...gotta try to be productive.

Hotter Than Hot,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Put on your comment caps, kittens.

The heat in Providence continues to worsen. We have an "Excessive Heat Watch," and on Friday we're supposed to reach 96˚F, with a heat index of 105˚F. Might not sound too scary if you're used to the heat in Arizona or Alabama, but that's just short of a natural disaster in Rhode Island. We're planning to not be in the house that day. A theatre. Something. Anything dark and cool.

Trying to sort my thoughts.

Well, my first thought is that I'm at least two weeks behind schedule. Of course, being a freelance, the schedule is of my own devising. Of course, while that makes it more flexible, a flexible schedule is no less important to adhere to – flexibility – if one is at least to earn checks that might, in theory, one day arrive to keep you going until the next Maybe Check. Um...lost my train of thought again. Oh yes, behind fucking schedule. Blood Oranges was supposed to be finished by the end of the month. It was very important that it be written by then, written and out of the way. Now, having lost most of July to crap and a convention and heat and editing, the best I can hope for is to finish it by mid-August. Which...might work. Possibly. The Great Reluctance to Move Forward that I spoke of on July 7th hasn't actually removed itself from my path. I have to climb over that motherfucker to get back to Quinn and Bad Mr. B and the Bride of Quiet. So, I get farther and farther behind, and lose sight of how to get ahead again. Or just caught up. Caught up would be bloody wonderful.

---

You know, I am aware that if this blog were more – what's the word? Political? Controversial? Confrontational? None of those are the right words. Let's say, more like [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's. If it were more like that, there would likely be many more comments. Well, perhaps. And were I a much younger beast, I might still have the energy to write those sorts of entries. But I'm not, and I don't. More's the pity, I suppose. It's not that I don't have a lot to say on subjects like gender bias in speculative fiction or the problem of "racefail" or the mounting absurdities of copyright law in America. But I can only speak of these things in small bits, small bits at a time. My writing energy, my brainmeats, they have to be reserved, mostly, for the fiction. Sorry, just a stray thought.

---

No writing yesterday, but we did finally finish going over the galley pages for Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, (Volume One). The text is probably as error-free as I can make it, given subpress' publishing schedule (there's that word again). And then we sent the corrections off to Yanni Kuznia, who will pass them along to Gail Cross (who does subpress' design and layout). I also need to send the signature pages back. I've had them here forever.

After I answered the day's emails, Spooky and I fled for Moonstone Beach. I'm getting to a point where I just can't stay away from the sea anymore, and now that we have the van back, it's only a question of gas money and time (not much of either on hand). Well, those two things, plus the guilt of enlarging our carbon footprint by driving so much. We headed south to the beach, it was already 4:30 p.m. or so, and we arrived about 5:30. Perfect day for that spot. There were people crabbing on the little bridge that crosses the connection between Trustom and Card Ponds. There were red-winged blackbirds, catbirds, cormorants, piping plovers, and all the gulls. I could no longer resist the water. I waded in wearing baggy cargo shorts and a grey tank top. For a short time, I only splashed about in the surf, letting the breakers knock me about. And then a couple of BIG waves (4+ ft.) pretty much took my loose clothes off. There was almost no one on the beach, so I stripped and swam out about 10-15 yards***. The water was marvelously cold and buoyant. I floated, hearing only the sea, seeing only sky above me. This is as close as I come to peace. I dove down eight feet, ten feet, and then I was too far out to find bottom (which drops away fast). Spooky (decently clothed) followed me maybe halfway. She never went so far she couldn't feel the bottom beneath her. I can honestly say I'd not been that happy in years. We left about the time the sun began to set over the dog roses and the silvery surface of Trustom Pond, once the air temperature began to drop, about 7:30 p.m. There are photos behind the cut. No, none of me skinny-dipping (by the way, bathing suits are stupid, even if they keep the sand out of places sand ought never go):

19 July 2011 )


Movin’ through rough waters motel boy,
And swimming in your sleep.
How could I be so blind, mis-sighted,
Not to see there’s something wounded deep.
-- R.E.M.

Longing for the Sea,
Aunt Beast

***Moonstone Beach was a nude beach, before it became a piping plover sanctuary.
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)
Someone should really tell whatever moron/s started using "baby bump" that it sounds like a disease. Then again, we are referring to pregnancy.

---

The heat is unrelenting. Yesterday, we were essentially confined to the middle parlour and bedroom, as the temperature in my office exceeded 90F. In the "cool part of the house" the temperature reached 86F. Somehow, in the haze of heat and being too addled to get work done, we stupidly managed not to flee for to a library or some other AC-protected place. We stayed here. All day. And around 7:30 p.m., my body temp went up to 100F, and I stopped sweating, and I started slurring, and...yeah. So, I spent the whole evening cooling my body down as best I could. The fever broke quickly. The meds that make me sensitive to heat were likely responsible. At least we head out to Readercon 22**** tomorrow and get three nights of AC. Also, if you are owed an eBay package, we apologize, but it won't go out until after the convention. Monday or Tuesday. It's just been too hot to pack books and get them to the p.o.

---

A terrible, strange dream just before I woke. I lived in a house at the end of a small lagoon or inlet. I was younger, maybe a teenager. There was a thin and frightening man outside our screened-in porch (side of the house, an old house) speaking Yiddish. I called to my mother, and when he spoke to her, he spoke English with a Russian accent. There were great trees, like pecans and oaks, all around the house. Later, we went somewhere, and when we returned home, and I saw that there were men in the water "walking" dolphins, the way one does with sharks or dolphins, trying to revive them. There was a sort of turn around, and as my mother used it to point the car towards the driveway, I saw more dolphins far up above the shoreline. They were tangled in a fence, though the fence was really fishing net, and the dolphins there were actually ichthyosaurs. Thick underbrush grew all around the netting. I wanted desperately to help. I got out of the car, and, looking back at the inlet, saw that the water had become violent, a great frothing, sloshing mass, churned by the trawling nets of gigantic factory-fishing ships that hardly even fit into the tiny body of water. The snap-on heads of yellow rubber ducks were washing up onto the shore. There was a child greedily gathering them. An orca had stranded itself, and I tried to help it, but was afraid, and never went very near. In the foaming white water, orcas and sharks and dolphins and ichthyosaurs all struggled to stay clear of the nets that were pulling up great mountains of fish. And this is all I can remember.

---

My thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday regarding "triggery." Some were quite good. I was especially amused by [livejournal.com profile] lady_theadora's:

I first saw these trigger warnings when Coilhouse began to use them all the time, as you've previously mentioned, and I think they're pretty damned redundant. I mean, really, you're on the fucking internet people. You're always one click away from porn, snuff, and/or Nigerian royalty. If you haven't figured that out yet, maybe it is time you learned.

Indeed. And the thing with Coilhouse posting those warnings, it was almost enough to make me stop reading the zine; Coilhouse posting "triggering" warnings is like the Sex Pistols apologizing for...well, anything. Absurd. Anyway, yes. I have a story, which I've never told publicly, and which might be too personal and TMI and all that, but I think I need to tell it, as partial explanation, and in response to [livejournal.com profile] lm. Unfortunately, there's not room here to post [livejournal.com profile] lm's entire comment (this is going to be long, as it is), but you can see her/his full comment appended to yesterday's entry. I'm also dropping paragraphs from the quote, to save space (and I apologize for that). There are slash marks where graphs end and begin. In part, [livejournal.com profile] lm writes:

...I have definitely been in a situation where it would have been incredibly helpful to be warned about potentially "triggery" things./Namely, when my mother hanged herself several years ago, I frequently found myself watching films with unexpected scenes of someone being hanged or committing suicide. This was something I was working very hard NOT to picture or think about, and as a result, I basically stopped watching new visual media for about a year - and because my primary social outlet was a film night, this turned me into a hermit, which also really wasn't great for me at the time./I did actually search online to see if there was an online database of non-friendly-to-suicide-survivor films, but there was none./I really didn't expect any handholding through this problem, and the only time I was genuinely annoyed was when people who knew my recent history recommended movies/shows to me that ended up containing said "triggery" material...but on the other hand, I wouldn't have complained one bit if the media had contained a disclaimer!

Okay. Now, that said, here's my story:

On Christmas Eve 1995, five months after the suicide of Elizabeth, the person whom I loved most in all the world, I was alone in the carriage house (where I was living) in Athens, Georgia. I'd spent the evening writing one of the last scenes in Silk. It was an especially graphic and disturbing scene, and I finally said fuck it, I can't do this, not that night, not alone. I drove to a nearby theatre (I was still able to drive back then), and bought a ticket to the first movie on the marquee, which was the vapid Jumangi. When it was over, I still didn't want to return to that empty house, and so I bought a ticket to see the midnight screening of Heat, with Al Pacino, which turned out to be a halfway decent movie. Anyway...

Near the end of Heat, Pacino's character's daughter, played by Natalie Portman, attempts suicide by slitting her wrists in a hotel bathtub. This is precisely the way that Elizabeth had committed suicide (the big difference was that the Natalie Portman character lived). The scene was graphic and well-played and emotionally sort of devastating. Maybe not to everyone, but to me. I watched it. I didn't look away. I cried through the rest of the film. When the movie ended, I went home and went to bed.

Now, was the film "triggery"? Well, yeah. Certainly, in that it put me right there at the moment of Elizabeth's suicide and elicited an intense reaction from me. But was that something I should have avoided? Should I have been furious or resentful (or whatever) that no one warned me? Should I have complained to the theatre management and demanded my money back? Should I have posted to Usenet, warning everyone? To all these questions, my response is an unqualified "no."

Seeing the scene, being forced unexpectedly to confront it, making it real for me in a way it had not been, was the true beginning to my road to learning how to live with a pain that I knew would never, ever go away. Oh, it would dull with age, and with other relationships (though it was almost a decade afterwards before I found myself in a meaningful relationship), but I will always, always be haunted by the event. And, by the way, I'm not a suicide "survivor," because I didn't attempt suicide. I'm a bystander. I'm someone who dealt with the consequences. Maybe that's just a matter of semantics, but I feel it's an important distinction.

In the years to come, I would spend a lot of time in therapy dealing with her suicide. I would spend almost all my writing time writing about it (and I still do); suicide is a primary theme in my fiction, especially the novels. And it was by these means, by persistently and directly confronting the greatest horror in a life that had had no shortage of horrors, that I reached a place where, usually, finally, I no longer wanted to follow her. Not by flinching or avoiding or staying away. By facing the truth head-on. And I'm not an especially strong person. At least, I don't see myself that way. I did what my therapists advised, and what felt right to me, and by happenstance, beginning with accidentally seeing that scene in Heat. Oh, it fucking hurt, yeah, sure. But it was also my path to recovery.

So, my point is simple. I do not - will not - accept that we recover from the tragedies of our lives by avoiding the fact of them. We do it by confronting the fact of them, and art - in all its forms - is one path by which we can do that. I don't see this as a "your mileage may vary" thing, either. You look into the abyss, and the abyss looks into you, and you keep looking and don't dare turn away. You tell the abyss, "You can't have me yet." (to murder and bend the words of Friedrich Nietzsche) You learn to understand and cope. But you don't flinch. You don't look for warning labels so you'll be protected from the truth. You develop calluses, scars, and this changes you forever, and it makes you stronger.

Oh, and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney for this quote from Akira Kurosawa: To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.

And this is long. And that's enough.

Not Ever Flinching,
Aunt Beast

Note: I have requested NOT to participate in an official signing at Readercon this year, so if you want stuff signed (and I'll sign as many books as you bring), I'll be signing after my reading and my How I Wrote Two Worlds and In Between solo talk. And, if you catch me in the hall, that's usually okay, too. Common sense dictates when it's not okay to ask me to sign (restroom, when I'm eating, when I'm having a conversation, when I'm rushing to get to or leave a panel, etc. - yes, all those scenarios have actually been played out).
greygirlbeast: (sol)
The heat inside the house has become almost unendurable. This is not a melodramatic affectation. It genuinely is that hot. Spooky just showed me a map of the country, and I see that much of it is gripped by a heatwave. So, we're going to try to find a cooler place to wait for nightfall.

But a few things first.

My grateful thanks for all the comments yesterday. They're much appreciated.

Several of you suggested I write the entries each day, then post them when I get back. This doesn't work. For one, to keep the promise I made to myself, the entries have to be made on the day they were written, otherwise there will be no entries on those dates. This suggestion would sort of work if LJ would let you backdate entries, but it won't. I'll have no blank spots on the archives calendar. But thanks for the suggestion, regardless.

Also, I'm very glad 1990 was good to some of you, but I don't see where pointing that out to me is in any way productive or considerate.

At this moment I find myself "debt poor." When I was a kid, we'd talk about people being "land poor." That is, they owned a lot of land, but had virtually no income, and couldn't afford to live, much less pay land tax. I'm not "land poor," I'm "debt poor." About half a dozen publishers owe me money, collectively totaling thousands of dollars, and the checks are mostly delinquent. Ergo, "debt poor." NOTE: Subterranean Press is not one of these. They pay me on time. Anyway, I suspect this is true of many freelancers. Increasingly, it seems that publishers feel they can pay authors whenever they finally get around to it, after books have been printed and sold. Oh, and anthology editors are often in the same boat as us freelancers. Until they're paid, we can't be paid. And we are all at the bottom of the food chain, so far as many publishers are concerned. Recall, any food chain collapses if it's bottom (say, zooplankton) collapses. Anyway, not gonna name names, but to quote Malcolm Reynolds (ever quotable Mal), "We're close to gone out here."

Oh, hello acid reflux!

Last night, we finished Season Two of Criminal Intent. We were too hot to move, so we also watched Philip Kaufman's Twisted (2004), which was dull and shot like bad television. This is especially sad, given this is the director who brought us the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1979), as well as The Right Stuff (1983), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Henry and June (1990), and the brilliant Quills (2000). Anyway, afterwards, we watched Jennifer Lynch's Surveillance (2008), which I will, unreservedly, call terrific. The most wonderful film of it's sort since Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects (2005). Trust me. See it. Oh, be warned, it's mighty darn "triggery."

I have declared war on the putrescent neologism "triggery" and all those simpering shits who whine about anything being "triggery" and how they go on about it being the responsibility of OTHERS to protect them from that which they subjectively deem "triggery." I say to them, "Fuck you. Take some responsibility for yourselves, or fuck off." And as I've said, I say this as someone currently on meds for PTSD.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally passed out on the chaise in the middle parlor, which was only hot, and slept for an hour and a half, comforted by the desperate whir of the sadly ineffectual Dr. Muñoz. We all remember how "Cool Air" ends, right? (A hint: it's "triggery.")
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I listen to R.E.M. a lot, and it will always be the music of Athens, GA, though I actually first discovered their music in Boulder, CO many, many years before I moved to Athens.

Spooky says I'm homesick. I'm not sure she's correct. But maybe it's something akin to homesickness.

---

I find myself needing to be tactful, though, no matter how hard I may try, I am never the most tactful of beasts. I get a lot of requests from aspiring writers, requests for me to read their work and/or offer advice on how they can become better writers, find an agent, find a publisher, and so forth. I can't answer all of these requests personally. Not one at a time, I mean. So, I'm answering the most recent batch personally here. And it's a short answer. Or a short set of answers. Truthfully, I can't help you. It's been nineteen years since I began my first novel, and eighteen since I sold my first short story, and sixteen since my first fiction publication, fifteen since I finished Silk, and fourteen years since I sold my first novel. It's been sixteen years since I got my my first agent. Now, the point of all those 'teens is that during the intervening years, publishing has changed, and it's changed in ways I only just begin to understand. For example, I used to type query letters, mail them (in an envelope with a stamp and an SASE enclosed, from an actual post office), and wait weeks for a reply. Back then, books were either paper or recorded on cassette (a few books-on-CD recordings were popping up). I could give a lot more "for examples." But, what's even more important than the changes that have been wrought upon the publishing industry is the simple fact that I'm not a writing instructor, and only a critic in the roughest sense. Sure, you could show me a story, and I could tell you whether or not I liked it. But, for the most part, that's useless to you. My opinion on any given piece of fiction is mostly subjective (aside from correcting grammar and so forth). I might love it. I might think it's a load of shit. A lot of what I think is shit sells like hotcakes, and a lot of what I think is brilliant can't sell for shit. And that should tell you everything you need to know, right there. Finally, I simply don't have time to read your work, not if I'm going to get my own writing done and have some semblance of a life in between. So...I hope you'll accept these answers, and understand them.

---

I'm trying very hard to get myself back into the head-space that will allow me to finish Blood Oranges. But it's not going well. I tried to read Chapter Four aloud on Friday night, and I only made it a few pages in. The reasons are complex. My instinct is to shelve the manuscript and move on to the next project. But that would be ridiculous, if only because the novel is half finished. And it was coming so quickly before this wall.

We fall, or are knocked down, and we get up again. Or we stop calling ourselves writers.

---

Yesterday, Spooky and Sonya and I escaped the broiling confines of the house, and endured truly horrendous touron traffic to cross the Western Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island. Beavertail was dazzling. The sea off the west side of the point was such a dazzling blue gem it might have blinded me. Not my eyes, but other portions of my self in need of blinding. There's been far too much stress, lately. Stress I am ill equipped to cope with. There were more people at Beavertail than I'm used to seeing, but it was still easy to find a relatively secluded bit of phyllite jutting out into the bay on which to spread our blanket. About a hundred yards to the north, a flock of cormorants perched on the rocks. Occasionally one would streak away, skimming just over the surface of the sea. Or one would dive in and fish. There were gulls and robins and red-winged black birds. We fed a gull a cheese cracker. Just north of us was a rowdy lot of college kids, swimming and drinking beer and using watermelon rinds as hats. Spooky and I lay on the blanket. Sonya waded in. We weren't able to stay even nearly long enough, especially considering the the traffic there and back, and how hot sitting in the traffic was (the loaner car has no AC), but Sonya had a 6:27 p.m. train back to Boston. Amazingly, neither Kathryn nor I are sunburned (we did use sunscreen, but still).

Back home, Spooky and I had tuna for dinner. We watched more of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and our Faeblight Rift toons reached level 18. It was a quiet evening, and we mostly managed not to sweat.

I think I'm going to spend the next couple of days sweating and writing something for Sirenia Digst #68.

There are photos from yesterday, but Earthlink is all whack-a-doodle, so I'll have to try to post them tomorrow.

No Sea, So Less Calm Than Yesterday,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Rain today, and the temperature is, presently, only 71F. My office (which still has residual heat from yesterday) is almost bearable. Sure, I'm sweating, but the sweat's not so prodigious that it's dripping onto my keyboard.

No work yesterday, except I had a first glance through the PDF for Two Worlds and In Between, and everything, at first glance, looks shiny, Captain. Mostly, Spooky and I hid in the dark bedroom, the coolest place we could find (temp in the coolest part of the apt. yesterday peaked at 84˚F), and watched episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent until it was time to go to the market, and then pick [livejournal.com profile] sovay up from the train station.

So, yeah, at least I left the house. Small victories. We got takeout from the Palestinian place. And then just talked. We sat up until about four, talking.

For rain it hath a friendly sound...

Sonya made me write down stray lines, because, of course, I'd not recall them this morning. This seemed to be a favorite:

"He called himself a landscaper, but he just moved manure around."

Oh, and "South of articulate, and moving towards something."

Much of the conversation centered on the nature of my erotica, and the meaning of words like obscene and pornographic. I like wicked best. Sonya finally pronounced that it's an eroticism of metamorphosis. Which seemed unnecessarily forgiving (she just said, "That's your residual Christianity talking"). Oh, we also talked about the genius of Terrence Malick, and about books that do not deserve exorbitant advances, and about body modification.

My thanks to everyone who had kind words for Chapter One of Blood Oranges yesterday – and "Down to Gehenna," also. If all goes well, and my resolve holds, I'll be back to work on the book tomorrow, and will try to finish Chapter Five in five days.

Anyway, I should go now. I think we're going to read back over Chapter Four, and pick up last night's conversation where dawn so rudely interrupted us.

Godspeed, Atlantis.

Wickedly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I realized over breakfast – a cold hard-boiled egg with black pepper and salt, accompanied by iced coffee – that I've not left the house since June 28th. I had no idea I'd hit a stretch of inadvertently going shut-in again, nor had Spooky. The last week and a half has been an utter blur of proofreading, Important Phone Calls, heat, internet porn, cat hair, other people's fireworks, Vincent D'Onofrio, car trouble, and Rift. But yeah, today will have been the tenth day, if I don't go Outside. My record is fourteen days...

My dog and fuck me, it's hot in here. 9O˚F? I don't know. I just couldn't deal with typing in the middle parlor again.

Okay, here's the tentative Table of Contents for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance:

Author’s Introduction: “Sexing the Weird”
“The Wolf Who Cried Girl”
“The Bed of Appetite”
“Untitled 31”
“The Collector of Bones”
“Beatification”
“Untitled Grotesque”
“Flotsam”
“Regarding Attrition and Severance”
“Rappaccini's Dragon (Murder Ballad No. 5)”
Unter den Augen des Mondes
“At the Gate of Deeper Slumber”
“The Melusine (1898)”
“Untitled 33”
“I Am the Abyss and I Am the Light”
“Dancing With the Eight of Swords”
“Murder Ballad No. 6”
“Lullaby of Partition and Reunion”
“Derma Sutra (1891)”
“The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade”
“The Belated Burial”
“The Bone's Prayer”
“A Canvas for Incoherent Arts”
“Pickman’s Other Model (1929)”
“The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction”
“Fish Bride”
Afterword (author TBA)

Note that "Untitled 31" and "Untitled 33" will have titles when they appear in the collection. And yeah, the ToC is subject to minor changes. This is a slightly longer collection than The Ammonite Violin & Others.

---

Yesterday, the heat had me feeling ill, and very little work was accomplished. We proofed "Untitled Grotesque," because I'd realized it would be appearing in the collection. I answered some email. I'm on two meds that increase my heat sensitivity. Last summer it was three, so I suppose I should be grateful (but to whom or what?!) that I'm down to two. I did talk to subpress about tiny design details on the Two Worlds and In Between dust-jacket. But, mostly, I lay in bed feeling vaguely nauseous. Whee!

[livejournal.com profile] sovay is supposed to be here this evening. That gives me a focal point.

Do kids these days have any idea of what a telephone operator once was?

Mostly, I need to get back to work on Blood Oranges, and I am beset by a Great Reluctance to move forward. I probably ought not say why. That would be indelicate. So, I'm sweating and spinning my wheels and wasting precious time. Oh, I slept eight hours this morning (beginning at 3:30 ayem). Yesterday morning, I dreamt of excavating an enormous (roughly 90 meter) mosasaur skull from beds of chalky marl (or marly chalk) in central Alabama. I very clearly recall the frontoparietal suture. I think it was of the genus Prognathodon. This morning, I dreamt of Alabama zoos, and subterranean passages beneath zoos that led into vast green rivers, and swimming in those rivers.

Waste is the only sin, and nothing in the world is more precious than time. Someone will tell me love is more precious, but love can be readily reduced to a matter of time.

Sorry, platypus. Not up to sweaty fur today. The dodo will console you. Wait, here's a cool thing: sunrise at Tycho (that's on the moon, yo, located in the southern lunar highlands, named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).

Secluded in My Secret Lair,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Pretty much every single entry I've made to this journal over the past four summers has been made from my office (here in Providence). But today, I've taken the laptop and retreated to the sanctuary of the middle parlor, where Dr. Muñoz is valiantly struggling to hold the temperature at a vaguely comfortable 82 Fahrenheit. I'm sitting on the chaise, working on my laptop, and I know the rest of the world has this whole mobile, toil anytime and everywhere shit down like the heart of a clockwork peacock...but not me. I'm supposed to be doing this at my desk...where it's probably 90 Fahrenheit by now.

Yesterday...

Yesterday, it was hot.

Yesterday, I thought we'd completed proofreading the manuscript copy of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. But I needed to add one more story. I'd intended that to be "Pickman's Other Model (1929)," but then I remembered that Joshi will be reprinting it in Black Wings II next year***, so I really ought not put it in this collection. As in, that would have been inconsiderate and unprofessional. So...now I need another story, which will likely be "Untitled Grotesque, which we'll need to read today. After I print it out, because, unlike that mobile-ebook-loving world Outside my window, I can't proofread text off a computer screen (or read for enjoyment). Anyway, yesterday we proofed "The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction," "At the Gate of Deeper Slumber," and "Fish Bride." In the cool, dark bedroom. And I wrote something I needed to write for a magazine - marginalia, essentially. And I saw to it that Sirenia Digest #67 went out to subscribers (thank you, Gordon!). I hope you have it; I hope you love it. There's some iffy formatting on the last page, and the cover's a bit blurry, so I may actually have that fixed and do a second mailing in the next day or two. But last night it seemed more important that I just get it out. Anyway, comments welcome.

Today, I have to look at "Untitled Grostesque," and if it works for the book, I proofread it, and then Spooky and I check over the PDF of Two Worlds and In Between to be sure that all the corrections have been made, before it goes away to the printer. Last chance to catch errors before it's set in stone (so to speak). So, more tedium! Maybe I will write again, some day soon.

---

After the work, I napped yesterday. It was too hot to do much else. I drifted off on the bed, and Spooky woke me about twenty minutes later for a cold dinner of tuna salad. Oh, before the nap, I read Lucius Shepard's story in Supernatural Noir, "Ditch Witch," which is my favorite from the collection thus far. After dinner, I rolled a new Bahmi warrior on the Faeblight shard, to replace Shaharrazad over on the Shadefallen shard (this is Riftspeak, sorry). Her name is Bataarmaa, which, is a Mongol name. Bataar, masc. "hero" with the fem. suffix maa, so Bataarma. Her big scary cat's name is Sukh, which is Mongol for "axe."

Last night, we watched Byung-chun Min's Natural City (2003). Which is pretty much a South Korean remake of Blade Runner, spiced with dashes of Aliens and The Matrix. Only, it's about forty minutes too long, the action sequences are usually poorly choreographed, and the story is muddy (partly, this is the obviously bad translation for the subtitles). But still, it is a visually stunning film, so when you have no idea what's going on, you can sort of just sit back and admire the cyberpunk eye candy. That said, there are some good moments, and the ending was appropriately poignant.

I got to sleep sometime after four. The sky was growing light.

Okay. Come here, you sweaty platypus.

Unwillingly Mobile,
Aunt Beast

*** Evidence of how heat and med-addled my mind is at the moment. A reader wrote to remind me that "Pickman's Other Model (1929)" was in Black Wings. Actually, "Houndwife" will be in Black Wings II. To quote Mr. Bowie, "It's all deranged."

Profile

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

S M T W T F S
    1 234
56 7 891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 20th, 2017 12:22 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios