greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, imagine that the entire human population has been decimated by a pandemic. The world's cities have been reduced to rubble and ash. Virtually no survivors remain. But someone makes a "reality TV series" about it. And our survivors all just happen to be amazingly gifted, mostly college-educated professionals, with skills uniquely suited to making it in this post-apopcalyptic wasteland. Well, as long as they have all those other skilled folks on hand. Because, face it. What use is it knowing how to build a solar array to power your blow drier if you don't know how to turn toxic sludge from the LA River into drinking water? Anyway, this is the formula for what Spooky and I found ourselves streaming last night, The Colony. Oh, yeah, it's bad. It's whatever's worse than bad.

Here we are. At the end of the world. In Los Angeles. And there are those roving gangs of bikers from The Road Warrior, only the producers forbid them to hurt any of the "participants," which is a good thing, since California seems to have banned all firearms immediately before the plague hit. Now, want reality? Give me a carpenter, a hooker, a few day laborers, maybe one professional (let's say a CPA), a junky, an orphan, and someone with Alzheimer's, and that would begin to simulate the situation that might arise after The End. Oh, and give them guns and knives and pointy sticks. And screw the bikers. Try roving bands of starving feral (and probably frequently rabid) dogs and coyotes.

I present this oddly watchable train wreck with an F+.

---

Yesterday was a very good day. I wrote 1,403 words and finished "Apostate." I also retitled it "The Transition of Elizabeth Haskings," a vast improvement. Look for Sirenia Digest #74 on Friday.

Meanwhile, I received very good news about closing the deal on Blood Oranges and its two sequels, and I can probably make the official announcement next week (or sooner).

And I'm going to have very cool news regarding both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl, but I can't yet say what it is...except no, we're not talking film. But very, very cool news. It's gonna make a lot of my readers happy.

Oh! And Spooky ordered us a Cookiethulu T-shirt! (It was on sale yesterday). "Coooooookie! Iä! Iä!"

As for today, I'm going to celebrate yesterday going so well by taking a day off. I'll answer some email, but then I'm outta here, kittens. Which is not to say you shouldn't comment. You should. Because, you know, I will be back.

Looking Up,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
1. Dreams give us another reality, realities that are, more often than not, terrible or horrific or surreal. But, always, those dream realities are brilliant. The are radiant, even if they radiate darkness and seethe with violence and fear. Then we awake, and we're back here again. Here, where the world is banal, and all is shit, and there is nothing. (A thought more perfectly realized in the instant of its conception, but, like a dream, it began fading as I tried to write it down.)

2. I have been sitting here contemplating measuring the speed of time as a physical constant. If not in this worldline, then in some other. Light's easy, that c we take for granted, a simple 299,792,458 m/second, but what if time moves? How does one state the speed of time without resorting to circular reasoning?

3. Yesterday, I did only one new page on Alabaster, Page Fifteen, because I realized that I'd set the plot on the wrong pivot (so to speak – pivot, fulcrum, whatever), and the first half #3 was the last chance I'd have to set it straight in the first series, and if I didn't set it right then the wrongness would echo down through many issues to come. Writing comics, plot is one of those things that are first and foremost. When I'm writing prose, I almost always let plot worry about itself. Usually, it accretes naturally out of characterization and mood and theme, those things I prefer to write. Actually writing plot is, I find, agonizing. Like picking buckshot out of your own flesh, then putting it back in another way round, but finding that configuration just as "wrong," and starting over and over and over. Life has characters and moods and maybe even themes run through it, but it has no plot. Which is why a plan is only a list of things that never happen. Like my proposals and synopses for unwritten stories. Anyway, I'll still hit my deadline on #3.

4. Apologies for not posting the "Question @ Hand" last night. Tonight, for sure. I'm dithering.

5. Played more of SW:toR last night (though only about a third as on Saturday), and, as promised, I was going to attempt to explain my thoughts on how it might be that video games make lousy movies, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back (1980). But, [livejournal.com profile] slothman has saved me the trouble:

When you get 3000 years away from the main setting, you can ignore 95% of the issues of continuity with the stories from the films and the vast majority of Expanded Universe fiction. That frees up the creators to tell entirely new stories, using the familiar ingredients of lightsabers and the Force and a hundred sentient species. In my opinion, the best Star Wars work takes place at least 1000 years before the films (the Knights of the Old Republic games and comics), and the second best over 100 years after (the Star Wars: Legacy comics).

Which is essentially what I was going to say.

I'm going to play again tonight, then summarize my thoughts on the beta tommorow. But I am still loving it mightily, but also allowing myself to see the blemishes. The one that bothers me the most (she jumps the gun!) is that SW:toR takes us three-thousand years into the past, roughly three-thousand years before A New Hope, and...all the technology is essentially the same. The starships, the shuttles, the weaponry, the speeder bikes, the droids, and so on. Now, this would be akin to watching technology on earth having failed to evolve significantly since, say, the Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt (roughly 1060-664 BC), or...well..pick another culture – China, Persia, the Mesoamericans, etc. – they all work in this analogy. Maybe, if I were a bigger Star Wars geek I'd know some bit of lore to explain the reason for this technological stagnation spanning millennia. As it is, I find the phenomenon baffling. Were the creators too lazy to fashion a genuine history for this galaxy long, long ago and far, far away? Do they fear fan backlash? It can't be that. Not after LucasArts unleashed Jar Jar fucking Binks on an unsuspecting world. Sure, later we get death stars and light sabers fall out of favour and whatnot, but nothing really changes in the course of three-thousand years.

6. I just got the news that Ken Russell has died. Truthfully, I hated almost all of his films, with the only notable exception of Whore (1991). But still...damn. As Russell said, "“Reality is a dirty word for me, I know it isn’t for most people, but I am not interested. There’s too much of it about.”

7. Part of last night was spent catching up on "television" (id est, streaming via Hulu). Very good episodes of both Fringe and American Horror Story. And I read chapters Five and Six of Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex before sleep, which didn't come until about four ayem. I was in bed at two, but my mind (despite a literal handful of pills) had other plans.

Here For Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (dr10-1)
After the nightmare that was today, I so need this:



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

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

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

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

---

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

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

---

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

Clandestine,
Aunt Beast

28 October 2011 )


* "Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts."

1984

Oct. 6th, 2011 11:14 pm
greygirlbeast: (apple)
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Cloudy and chilly today here in Providence. There's rain coming, and it may not let up until next week sometime.

Yesterday, we made it through chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Yes, we are proceeding at a painfully slow pace, a fact that does not make my editor or me or Spooky happy campers. And this is because my method of approaching a CEM is, admittedly, odd, compared to the way most writers work through a CEM. It goes like this: I read the CEM aloud, while Spooky follows along on a hard-copy or on a laptop. There are pauses every few minutes to deal with this or that question from the copy-editor. Sometimes, these are lengthy pauses. Obviously, this is a somewhat grueling and, clearly, time-consuming process. Why do I do it this way? Because, I am blind (since birth) in my left eye, and I cannot easily scan from, say, the CEM page to the page of my computer. And immense and prohibitive frustration arises, and it actually takes longer than the unconventional method I have just described. Oh, and the copy-editor aside, I have my own changes I make, my own edits. The CEM is the last chance an author has to make substantial changes to the ms. (so far, I have made no substantial or lengthy changes to this manuscript).

However, I'm sick of the CEM, and still have a lot of polishing to do on the ms. after we address the copy-editors comments, and it's supposed to be back in NYC on Friday (Monday is more likely). So, today we mean to make a mad push to THE END, which would mean we'd have to make it through "Werewolf Smile" and chapters 8-10 and the "Back Pages" section (yes, that's a Bob Dylan reference). I know we won't pull this off, but the Herculean push will mean that we'll finish with this read through tomorrow.

So, that's yesterday's work and today's.

Then we have a short vacation (three days, two nights, probably to Maine), my first in years, and then I have Sirenia Digest #70 (woot), and then October will be here, and I have to read through Blood Oranges and get it to my agent, and go back to work on my kinemassic field generator (there are issues with field propulsion independent of reaction mass to be worked out), and then I'll have Sirenia Digest #71 to write.

Today, the contracts for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart went back into the mail to Subterranean Press, along with a huge box of my books bound for Michael Zulli.

Coming soon: a new round of eBay auctions! (Spooky goes woooooohhoooooooo)

---

Last night, after work, Spooky warmed up leftover chili. I had RP in Insilico. Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene (Xiang 1.5), my Level V (highly illegal) AI in a non-AGIS clone body (now highly illegal) has been promoted within our futuristic yakuza to the level of wakagashira, First Lieutenant to Inara Nasenyana, the oyabun. Which is really pretty cool. She carries a bad-ass katana with a laser running along the cutting edge.

Later, we watched a couple more episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. But we're almost to the end of Season Two, and, frankly, the series has grown dull as hell. At this point, we're only watching it for Richard Belzer. The "rape of the week" storylines are unbearably unimaginative. I mean, come on, seriously, I could think up dozens of sex-related crimes, but no, all we get is rape, rape, rape, rape. I imagine this is because rape and the rape-variant, the sexual abuse of children, is the best that could make it onto prime-time network television. We'll watch to the end of this season, then switch over to the far-more-deserving of our attention Mad Men.

And, just before sleep, I read Elizabeth Bear's ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) "Shuggoths in Bloom," which I shamefacedly admit I'd never before read. But I think that's it for me and The Book of Cthulhu. Still, sixteen out of twenty-seven stories, that's not so bad (seventeen, if you count the T. E. D. Klein story, which I read in my twenties). The rest looks like parody and/or slog, so I'm moving along to revisit the collected works of either Lord Dunsany or Algernon Blackwood.

I should really go now, brush my teeth, then exercise, and get to work. A long, long day stretches out before me.

Stretched,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Both my feet feel like blocks of wood this morning. Since I began taking Gabapentin, and the neurological problems in my feet began to improve, this doesn't happen so often. Only sometimes. Regardless, it's a very unpleasant sensation (or lack thereof), and can make walking tricky (which is why I used a stick for so long).

A great comment to Wednesday's entry, which was largely concerned with the decline of LJ, care of [livejournal.com profile] opalblack : "It's (LJ's} drawing me back more and more because it isn't so instant, and many of the smaller minds have drifted away for shallower waters." Smaller minds and shallower waters, that's the bit I like.

---

Sort of chilly this morning. Storms passed through Providence yesterday, in advance of the cold front, and now it feels nothing at all like summer.

---

Yesterday, there were some last-minute adjustments to the flux capacitor, which was only managing a paltry 1.02 gigawatts, when 1.21 are required for optimal performance. But, as soon as that was dealt with, I finally opened the envelope containing the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (which actually arrived here on September 8th), and we made it through Chapter One. We'll do Two and Three today. Which seems, at the moment, a lofty fucking goal. But I will say this. With The Red Tree, I got the best copy-editor I'd ever had, one who didn't try to rewrite, and who actually caught genuine errors I'd missed. I seem to have lucked out again, or – though it seems unlikely – NYC's standard for copy-editors has gone up. (And yes, I think "copy-editor" ought to be hyphenated).

Oh, and I answered far too much email yesterday.

---

Please have a look at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. The Halloween stuff is up, as it's that time of year again (well, sort of). And a couple of wonderful new necklaces.

---

Last night we played Rift, wandering about Gloamwood on our najmoks, working on achievements for the region. Then we watched the last couple of epsiodes of Season Five of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, which means we'll now have to "resort" to the mail for Season Six (perhaps the Athenaeum, if they have it), or go back to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. When all is said and done, the latter is actually the better of the two, even without Vincent D'onofrio. But the "rape of the week" plot template gets old fast. Still, there's Richard Belzer. Anyway, then I read a couple more stories from The Book of Cthulhu, Michael Shea's "Fat Face" and Brian McNaughton's "The Doom that Came to Innsmouth."* Shea does a great job of capturing a particular and especially seedy side of LA. McNaughton's story is good, but would have been a lot better if he'd turned the volume down just a little near the end. A little goes a long way, a lesson it has taken me the better part of twenty years to learn.

Platypus, what's wrong with this picture? Where's my sugar-free Red Bull!

In the Gloaming,
Aunt Beast

* An interesting note. The antagonist of McNaughton's story is named Dr. Isaac Mordecai Saltonstall. And in The Drowning Girl, the painter who painted the titular painting is named Phillip George Saltonstall. For the record, before last night, I'd never even heard of "The Doom That Came to Innsmouth" (which originally appeared in Tales Out of Innsmouth, 1999, Chaosium Inc; oddly, I don't even own that anthology). I found the name in a Rhode Island or Massachusetts cemetery, where I often find names. I'm combing through my Moleskines, trying to figure out which cemetery it was. Anyway, only a curious coincidence.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A rainy day here in Providence. It's nice.

Kyle and I have been hammering out specifics on the still photography/book trailer project for The Drowning Girl, and it's a stressful affair. Well, if you're me. I can make stress out of thin air. Anyway, the Kickstarter is going extraordinarily well (166%)...and...Michael Zulli has just come on board to do the actual painting, The Drowning Girl, which, in the novel, was painted in 1898 by an artist named Phillip George Saltonstall. Zulli has become our Saltonstall, which is beyond amazing.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,480 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges, and talking through with Kathryn what remains of the story, blocking it (a term I use instead of "plotting," as blocking is much looser), I begin to see that it's not a ten-chapter book, or a nine-chapter book. Probably, it's an eight-chapter book. Otherwise, this becomes gratuitous. And I'll not have that. Regardless, the word count will be somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 words.

Some news regarding Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). The limited edition will include an extra volume (probably trade paperback), containing The Yellow Alphabet and 10,000 words of new fiction (likely in the form of two new stories). And I'll be working with Lee Moyer again on the cover.

---

A thought last night. Actually, a storm of thoughts whirling into a vortex. But, I'll play nice and call it a thought. Singular and calm. And it was just this: In today's subgenre-obsessed market, Harlan Ellison would be tagged a "horror writer." No, really. Go back and read the bulk of his fiction. Usually, he's writing "horrific sf" (as a disparaging Locus reviewer said of The Dry Salvages, "This is what happens when a horror writer tries to write SF"). Ellison's greatest achievements are almost all, at their roots, horrific. They're not about the sailing off into the stars, or the future, or the possibilities of technology, and finding a better world for mankind. Look at, for example, "The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World" (1967), or "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" (1968), or "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" (1973), or even "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" (1967). Though hailed as one of the most important SF writers of the 20th Century (I'd simply say one of the most important writers, period, and dispense with your fucking qualifying adjectives), if time were scrambled and he emerged into today's literary marketplace, a new writer, Harlan would be pegged a "horror writer." Probably, he would never receive all those Nebulas and Hugos. Being labeled "a horror writer" would define him in the eyes of NYC editors, and this would absolutely have a great influence on what he could and could not sell and see published. And this would be a crime of the first fucking order.

Stop thinking inside the genre paradigm, people. By doing so, you destroy art and opportunity. It's fiction, all of it. It's all literature. We need no other words to accurately define it. We need no reductionist baloney.

---

I don't feel right any longer saying, "Last night I watched television," when, in fact, I streamed video files across the internet from Netflix or Hulu. Anyway, last night Spooky and I gave AMC's Mad Men a try, beginning with the first two episodes. And were very impressed. Then we finished Season One of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and began Season Two. At some point I'll maybe be able to summarize my thoughts on all this L&O stuff. After hundreds more episodes. I also read "New unadorned hardrosaurine hadrosaurid (Dinosauria, Ornithopoda) from the Campanian of North America" (very cool beast, is Acristavus gagslarsoni) in JVP. And we read more of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I read more of Denise Gess and William Lutz' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History. We're trying to get our bedtimes back to something sane. Maybe 2:30 ayem, instead of 5 ayem. Last night, I was asleep by four, I think. Baby steps.

Giving Genre the Massachusetts State Bird,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I have got to start going to bed earlier. Or later, but before "almost dawn."

Yesterday became an unexpected day off. Before returning to work on "The Granting Cabinet" for Sirenia Digest #68, I needed to clear my head. So we headed down to Moonstone, for a late afternoon of swimming. The temperatures were hovering just below 90˚F. The shadows below the trees along the South County back roads were cool. Yesterday, was the annual "blessing of the fleet," a nightmare of drunken tourists, but we managed to skirt all that. When we reached the beach, sometime just after 5 p.m., there were people crabbing off the bridge between Trustom and Card ponds. White buckets filled with restless blue crabs.

This time, we came dressed to swim, and I was in the water almost at once. The farthest I swam out was about a hundred yards. The water gets deep fast in Block Island Sound off Moonstone Beach, but I have no way of knowing how deep it was beneath me. I managed to find bottom at about ten feet, but I swam quite a bit farther out after that. Spooky swam out farther than before, than our last visit. I never feel half so free as I feel when I'm in the water, salt or fresh. Water the color of the brine inside a jar of olives buoyed me up and down again, long, slow swells that were breaking against the shore in waves that were two or three feet high. Ochre-colored water, filled with bits of silt, detritus, and seaweed. I almost got wrapped in a huge strand of kelp. The water was clear enough I had no trouble keeping my feet in sight. The air was also clear, thanks to low humidity, and Block Island stood out against the southern horizon. We watched an osprey dive in just offshore, and pull out a sizable fish. It flew away to the east, towards Narragansett, with the fish wriggling in its talons.

Spooky checked the water temperature before leaving home; it was 69˚F. But after the initial shock, I was fine. I floated and stared at the sky. Weightless. Nothing above, and nothing below (no matter how false that statement might be). I only wish we could have stayed a couple of hours longer. We left about 7 p.m., and, on the way home, stopped to see Spooky's parents. Her dad, International Man of Mystery, has just returned from Newcastle, UK. We stayed just a little while, too tired from swimming and half starved, before heading home. On the way back to the van though, we spotted another frog by the koi pond. If I'd had my meds with me, we'd have stayed all night. We'd have laid out beneath the stars (which are still visible from South County), listening to crickets and katydids. Anyway, for those with the stomach for beach porn, there are photos below, behind the cut.

---

Back home, after dinner, after showers, there was a little Rift. No RP, just leveling Otamisia (Spooky's Kelari mage) and Nilleshna (my Kelari cleric).

Afterwards, we watched Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch. I'm still trying to figure out what I thought of this film. No doubt, it's dazzling. The steampunk WWI battle scene was amazing. If I were only rating it on it's value as eye candy, Sucker Punch would score a 10 out of 10. What I can't quite decide is how I felt about the rest of the film. This quote from a Salon review by Andrew O'Hehir seems true enough (cribbed from the film's Wikipedia entry), "If you want to understand Snyder's central narrative gambit, it's right there in the title. He gives us what we want (or what we think we want, or what he thinks we think we want): Absurdly fetishized women in teeny little skirts, gloriously repetitious fight sequences loaded with plot coupons, pseudo-feminist fantasies of escape and revenge. Then he yanks it all back and stabs us through the eyeball." But I'm still sorting out various aspects of the film, and trying to decide if it's even the sort of film that merits so much thought. I enjoyed it, undoubtedly, but something keeps nagging at me. Still, I think it got a bad shake from critics, and should be seen by more people than it has. It can't be dismissed as outright mysogyny, anymore than it can fairly be praised as an empowering piece of girl-power propaganda (though it's been called both).

And that was pretty much yesterday.

I forgot, yesterday, to mention Friday night's eight-episode Law and Order: Criminal Intent binge, the beginning of Season Four.

MTV is about to turn thirty years old. How weird is that? August 1, 1981. I was about to begin my last year of high school. The Empire Strikes Back was in theaters. And MTV showed nothing but...you know...music videos. You younger sorts might have heard of those.

Oh, thanks to my having gotten so behind this month (heat, convention, insane fucking car, etc.), Sirenia subscribers will, this month, get the new story, "The Granting Cabinet," plus Chapter Two of Blood Oranges, "Songs For My Funeral" (Yeah, like the Snakefarm album). I do hope you will enjoy.

And now, the photos! (Wait, my webhosting service is doing something really fucking weird. I'll get the photos up tomorrow...I hope. Apologies.)
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)
Chilly. Sort of sunny. Sort of cloudy. We're being promised low sixties in the days to come, and I sit impatiently with fingers crossed. Toes. Fingers and toes crossed. All the toes that I can manage to cross. My toes used to be much more nimble.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,313 words on the story for Dark Horse. I'll give you the details as soon as I can. Meanwhile, revel in the mystique of cloak-and-dagger innuendo. But yeah, a good writing day, despite one of my very rare headaches, one so bad it kept me in bed most of the evening.

There was a lot of email yesterday. I've got a mountain of reprints forthcoming in various anthologies. I ought to post a list of them. But not today.

"I just like watching women with bows. It's sexy. No, the horsehair sort. Not the ones with arrows."

Sometimes, context only bogs us down.

I saw a great deal more photos yesterday from the Harvard shoot last Saturday. Amazing to see so many photos of me an like...no, love...more than half of them. Plus there are a couple of me and Spooky together that I'm going to ask [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy if I can post here. Through some odd trick of happenstance, there are virtually no photographs of Kathryn and I together, and certainly none this good.

We have a Rift guild now, finally. If you're interested in joining, we're on the Shadefallen shard, and the guilds is Eyes of the Faceless Man. Defiant, of course. Just send me a tell (try Selwyn, Nilleshna, or Indus), and I'll add you to the roster. We have no guild vault yet, because Rift guilds do not yet have vaults. Concerns over security that have yet to be ironed out. It's become apparent that the game is essentially in live beta. But it still rocks my socks, especially with the graphics set to ultra. Anyway, we're going to be a sort of rp guild (Shadefallen is an rp shard), with rp that concentrates more on the characters and their lives in Telara, than trying to work in the questing and rifts and stuff. That you do on your own.

From the bed last night, bored and in agony, I watched a panoply of weird eighties shit. First, Demi Moore in The Seventh Sign (1988), an awful, awful turd of a biblical horror movie. I'd actually thought we were watching The First Power (1990), but realized about halfway through there was no Lou Diamond Phillips anywhere to be found. Of course, The First Power is also awful, but in a more enjoyable sort of way, and, besides, I've always had a thing for Jeff Kober. Anyway, we followed the movie with the 1987 pilot for Beauty and the Beast. You know, the television series with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton? I'm so pleased to have lived to see a future where technology allows us to torture ourselves like this. Anyway, I'd never seen Beauty and the Beast. But it's gods awful. The only saving grace is Ron Perlman's makeup. The rest, pure shit. Though, I think maybe I've found where at least some of this PR nonsense began.

Also, why are novels today generally and on average so very much longer than older novels? One word: computers. More is "written," because it's so much easier with a word-processing program than a typewriter.** Easier for writers, editors, publishers, everyone. And the reader gets the illusion of getting more for their money (id est, thicker books). This trend will only get worse with ebooks.

The March issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived yesterday.

And I really have nothing else to say. I think I'm killing time. Which is silly, as it dies so well all on is own.

Awake and Regretting It,
Aunt Beast

**Harlan Ellison told me this, over breakfast, in 1995, but I was a moron and didn't believe him. I had to learn for myself, apparently.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Sick as a dog. As a sick dog, I mean. I've never understood the whole "sick as a dog" thing, as though the normative canine state is sick. I've also never much understood football, but mostly, these days, I keep my mouth shut about it. Lots of people who get wet over touchdowns can't begin to appreciate the importance of a warlock's staff having +200 to shadow damage or why cool downs are such a bummer. So, live and let live. However, I wake up— not to news that the Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 (I actually had to google that) —but to a slew of articles analyzing and rating the goddamn commercials. And what's more baffling still, a whole bunch of Sturm und Drang about Christina Aguilera screwing up "The Star-Spangled Banner." Are you really surprised? She's Christina Aguilera. You let her sing a song with actual words, bad shit will ensue.

Anyway.

Yeah, sick. Bad night. Worse dreams. Feverish. Achy. Mucus in places mucus ought never be (a few sex-with-aliens scenarios aside).

Yesterday, I wrote 2,155 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The book grows ever more peculiar. And today, I've set for myself a challenge. Even though I'm sick as a sick dog. Today I mean to write 3,000 words, which is a thing I've never done. Not in one day. My personal best is 2,800+, but never 3,000. I'll probably fail, but I'm going to try. That way, if I'm too sick tomorrow to sit up straight, I won't have to feel guilty about not sitting up straight. I can lie in bed and moan and make Spooky's life miserable with a minimum of guilt.

Last night, Spooky made quadrupedal chicken stew. I don't know where she finds these four- and five-legged chickens, and I don't ask. We watched Fringe and the satisfying pornographic spectacle that is Spartacus. Then I logged into Insilico and spent three hours as a hopelessly broken droid caught between the godlike AI that created her and a human sadist into who's hands she's been delivered. Way more fun than football.

We went to bed and Spooky read to me from Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps. Which was a bad idea, what with being sick and the inevitable nightmares. My bad dreams are bad enough without fucking junkie hobo vampires coming along for the ride.

Time to make the doughnuts. Or dissolve in a puddle of my own phlegm. We'll see. But comment. Cheer me on. Jeer. Whichever.

In Misery and Chagrin,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was yesterday. Today isn't.

Which ought to be obvious, but there you go.

People do nice things for me, and it will never cease to amaze me. All I do to deserve this is make shit up.

Yesterday, as I was saying, we did some housecleaning. It was, theoretically, an off day. We went to the market and drugstore ("chemist" just sounds so much cooler, but I bow to regional convention). We stopped Outside of White Electric Coffee on Westminster and bought a marvelous green ceramic bowl from Unkle Thirsty's Cups. They'd set up a couple of tables on the sidewalk in front of the coffeehouse, and it was so bitterly cold...and I needed a good ceramic bowl for the gull and cormorant bones from West Cove and Moonstone. They were playing music and dancing around trying to stay warm. The sky was slate.

Back home, I did more work on my next painting, my painting in progress, Black Ships Ate the Sky, and yes that's a direct reference to the Current 93 album. I used a great quantity of Napthol Crimson and not much else. Thus far, it's about the only color I've used on the painting.

There was more of Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Kraken: An Anatomy, reading and listening. Someone wanted to know if the footnotes are included in Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell; they are. After dinner, we watched more of the most recent season of Deadliest Catch. We're taking this season slow, knowing what's coming. I don't think of Deadliest Catch as "reality television." It's much more like an ongoing documentary. Which raises interesting questions, which are probably easily solved. Still later, there was very good rp in Insilico. Grendel is moving towards what may be a very terrible moment or may be her salvation, and only time will tell. She's trying hard not to bolt and run, which is what she's always done before. But before she was never pregnant with a human child. And after the rp, because Spooky and I are bad kids, and because I never want to ever sleep (except I do), we played WoW, and Shaharrazad and Suraa reached Level 82.

Today, I have to work.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,012 words, and so began "The Prayer of Ninety Cats." I think this story will rather blatantly and unrepentantly owe something to Angela Carter's "John Ford's 'Tis A Pity She's a Whore." Slowly, I have come to realize this, and I may as well admit it upfront. The similarity doesn't stem from any commonality of subject matter, but from structure.

Please do not spin in your grave, Angela Carter. I love you too much to cause you such unease.

I really need to wash my hair.

Last night we finished Season Three of Californication, and that last episode was fucking devastating. The series remains one of the most brilliant things to be had from television, but I can't imagine how I can wait until the next DVD release, a year from now, to know what comes next. There are cliffhangers and there are these plunges into the abyss.

Also finished the first volume of the collected Farscape comic last night, The Beginning of the End of the Beginning. I approached it with mixed feelings, unsure how to react to to the whole thing. And, at first, the reading was very odd. In part, that's because the comic picks up immediately after the two-part The Peacekeeper Wars that was supposed the wrap everything up by cramming all of what would have been the 22-episode/22 hour Season Five into four hours. Mostly, the movie was a sad mess. About the only part that rang true was the last half hour or so, when John gives Scorpius what he's been asking for and we see what a wormhole weapon can do. Anyway, also I'm not utterly crazy about Tommy Patterson's artwork, so yeah. I had reservations. But about halfway through the collection, the book won me over. The writing gets the characters spot on (well, Jothee is still the same confusing muddle, D'argo Lite, but you can't really blame that on the comic). So, I'll keep reading, because people are kind enough to send me books.

Yesterday, I sat down to remember all the titles my online journal has had since it began in November 2001. Here's what I have:

1. Low Red Moon Journal (November '01-sometime in '04)
2. Low Red Annex (original LJ mirror title, from April '04-later that year)
3. Species of One: Confessions of a Lady Writer and Alien Malcontent (sometime '04-early '07)
4. Hughes, Mericale, Scheheraz'Odd & Touchshriek, Inc. (early in '07-Autumn '09)
5. Unfit for Mass Consumption (Autumn '09-November '10).
6. Dear Sweet Filthy World (November '10-)

Maybe I can get the dates better later on. I haven't felt like prowling through old entries to try and figure it out precisely.

And now, the platypus says it's time to make the doughnuts.

Mostly yours,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Lucy)
A nippy morning here in Providence (though it's almost a nippy afternoon). 62F at the moment. We're thinking we have to do our tour of the autumn leaves this weekend or we're going to miss out on the peak altogether. Before I forget, congratulations to Peter for being awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. Booya!

No actual writing-type writing yesterday. I had a half-assed idea of cleaning house while Spooky worked on the taxes, because [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark is supposed to visit this evening. But that didn't happen. Instead, I tried to work. I did an interview for Jeff VanderMeer's Booklifenow website, about writing "As Red As Red" (in Haunted Legends). And I sent my HPLFF keynote speech to S.T. Joshi, as he wants to print it in the Lovecraft Annual. I also sent him "Houndwife," which will be reprinted in Black Wings II (PS Publishing), and "Fish Bride," which will be reprinted in The Weird Fiction Review. And then, getting back around to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," I reread Stoker's "Dracula's Guest."

Over on Facebook, James Jeffrey Paul made mention of the fact that at least one Dracula scholar has suggested that Countess Dolingen of Graz, the vampire who menaces the unnamed Englishman (?Johnathan Harker) in "Dracula's Guest," might be one of the three "brides" in Dracula— the "fair" woman. Stoker writes: "The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where."

I'm not sure I'm convinced that the two are, in fact, intended to the same character, but it is an interesting possibility, and I may use it.

Other reading yesterday included beginning Chapter Two of Volume One of Joshi's I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft, and also beginning a paper in the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "Osteology of a new giant bony-toothed bird from the Miocene of Chile, with a revision of the taxonomy of Neogene Pelagornithidae." Indeed, Pelagornis chilensis is a marvel, a bird with a wingspan of 5.2 meters! By comparison, the wingspan of the Great albatross (Diomedea) is a mere 3 meters.

---

Regarding various auctions: The auction for the one and only CRK "napoval" ends tomorrow. And there are, of course, the other eBay auctions. Also, check out the raffle to benefit the KGB Reading series (which I have taken part in twice, now). I've made two contributions to the raffle this year: A signed copy of the trade paperback of The Red Tree (I'll also draw a tree on the title page), and a chance to be "Tuckerized" in a forthcoming story. Raffle tickets are only one buck apiece, for a very good cause.

Also, a reminder that I will be reading and signing at the Brown University Bookstore on the evening of October 30th, 2010. Also, it will be a costumed event (optional, of course).

---

My great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yukio20 for bringing a bit of news from Blizzard to my attention (I don't usually follow the forums, so I'd missed it):

Since the release of 4.0.1, more than a few warlocks have noticed that their pets are in fact no longer their familiar demonic servants, and instead appear to be new entities with different names. We’ve been able to pinpoint the cause of the issue, which should be resolved by tomorrow for any warlocks that log in for the first time from then on. We’ve also been able to determine that we will be able to restore any renamed warlock pets to their original pre-4.0.1 names during next week’s scheduled maintenance. For those of you who like your new pet names, we’re working on a feature for a future patch that will allow you to refresh your summons and essentially generate a random pet name without having to level a new warlock.

So...Greezun, Volyal, and Drusneth will be coming home. It appears they only took a vacation to Booty Bay without telling me, and hired these impostors from some infernal temp agency. Speaking of WoW, Spooky and I restructured our talent trees last night, and began trying to make sense of the havoc that Blizzard has wrought to various spells and abilities. Truly, someone needs to tell Blizzard that there's a huge difference between fixing/improving things and simply changing things. Most of Patch 4.0.1 is a sad, confusing case of the latter. I would stop just (barely) short of saying the game is currently broken.

Oh, and we also watched the new episodes of Glee and Caprica last night. I am very pleased that Glee appears to have redeemed itself for last week's god-bothering episode, and I think it's only a matter of time before Brittany comes out. Also, how cool is it that the new kid, Sam, speaks Na'vi? Great, great episode of Caprica.

---

And here's the next set of photos from the HPLFF. The festival put us up in a grand bed and breakfast, the White House (built in 1911). We had the balcony room. The house is watched over by an elderly albino Scottish Terrier named Prescott. We couldn't help but take a ton of photos of the place:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 7 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
First things first. Gimp sucks gangrenous donkey ass. Really, I spent half of yesterday fighting with it, trying to finish up the layout on Sirenia Digest #58. Not a speck of intuitive design anywhere in the goddamn programme. Not a whit. I so miss Photoshop 7 (which, you will recall, was rendered useless when I updated to OS X 10.6.3).

So, I'll likely be buying the dumbed-down version of Photoshop, as soon as I am able.

Anyway...on the subject of Sirenia Digest, thanks to Gordon Duke for helping me get it out last night. I swear this issue was cursed. But, by now, all subscribers should have it. Comments would be lovely. Thanks.

Yesterday is a veritable blur. Something very, very cool happened. Potentially very cool. But right now it's a Secret. There was a very cool phone call, and I'll talk about it whenever I am able. There was also a lot of email. No, more than that. A lot a lot. The phone call and all the emails and fighting Gimp to get the digest out. That was pretty much yesterday.

Oh, and did I mention I had a great meeting with an editor from Dark Horse during the HPLFF? Well, I did. More on that as it develops.

I did also pause to take stock of how many short stories I've been commissioned to write between now and the end of 2011. I'm going to be very busy, but very busy is good. And I have to get the Next Novel written. I've asked that the deadline be extended again. I think this is the third extension. I'm losing track, and I'm losing patience. Fortunately, my agent and editor seem a little more patient with me than I am. So, the deadline for Whatever The Next Novel Will Be Called is now March 1, 2011, which means the earliest you can expect it in bookshops is probably late autumn 2011. We call this optimism, the mothmen and I.

I was going to write more about Portland, but it's getting late, so that's going to have to wait until tomorrow. Hopefully, the impressions won't fade. And there are more photos below, behind the cut.

Oh, and a big thank you to Steven Lubold for another wonderful package, which included a copy of Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica (Harvard University Press). Which I intend to read as soon as I finish China Miéville's The Kraken. Which I am loving, by the way.

---

We watched the new episode of Glee last night, and, well, it was troubling. These guys have probably said it all better than I will, but here I go anyway. The series has always teetered on the edge of smarm. Somehow, that's usually part of its wonky appeal. But last night, not only did it cease to teeter and plunge head first into insipid greeting-card sentimentality, it also spent an hour hassling atheists. Or, as the Brits say, god bothering. I love that term. Finn sees Jesus in a grilled cheese, and embarks on a journey into magical thinking. And, somehow, this is a set up for an episode that does it's best to convince us that we should all believe in "god" because it makes life easier than it is when you don't believe in god. Yes, it was that stupid. Also, I have to point out that— despite the fact that Ryan Murphy is gay, and one reason I love the show is that it's so queer friendly —there's something disturbing about the episode's choice of atheists. Kurt, a gay character. And Sue Sylvester, who's played by an openly lesbian actress. Now, I'm almost certain the creators of the show didn't intend to send the message that gays are godless infidels who need to be prayed for and saved and all that crap, but that's still the message that the episode sends. That, and how religious harassment is acceptable, and the separation of Church and State is repressive, and it's okay for school councilors to preach to students, and...well, lots of this sort of shit. The episode stopped just short of forcing Kurt to recant his atheism, but, for fuck's sake, that horrid scene between Sue and her older sister. It was superficial and nauseatingly insincere. Also, while Glee usually bends over backwards to be multi-cultural, only Judeo-Xtianity seems to be acceptable brands of spiritualism. There was a Sikh woman, the acupuncturist treating Kurt's dad, but she was sort of treated as a quack.

It could have been an interesting episode dealing with belief and the lack thereof. It could have looked at both intelligently without condemning or proselytizing. It failed miserably on both accounts. I love this show, but last night's episode was almost enough to make me stop watching.

---

And to end this entry on a less sour note, here are more HPLFF photos, shots of the Hollywood Theater and of some of the slides that appeared before the films. Oh, and one from my keynote speech. By the way, clips from Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown were shown each night, and it's weird as hell seeing myself projected twenty-feet high:

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 2 )
greygirlbeast: (Blood elf)
Monsieur Insomnia is back with a vengeance, and has been for at least the last week or so. Many factors are likely at play here. My having stopped taking Prazosin. Never leaving the house. Not getting sufficient Vitamin D. Taking the Lamictal at midnight, instead of earlier in the day. Stress. And, well, the fact that I've suffered from insomnia on and off my whole life. Anyway, I feel like ass this ayem (no, wait...it's already peeyem). Laid down about 3 ayem last night. Got up again at 3:30 ayem. Took an Ambien. Went back to bed about 4:40 ayem. Got to sleep around five. Up at about 11:15 ayem. Not much more than six hours. Mostly, I worry about all this not sleeping setting off seizures.

Anyway...

Yesterday, I shelved "Deep Ocean Vast Sea" and wrote 1,027 words on a very, very strange and peculiarly whimsical piece that presently has no title. I'll go back to "Deep Ocean Vast Sea" next month, when I have a little more time, as it means to be a longer story. Maybe it will appear in Sirenia Digest #58. I'm hoping that #57 will go out to subscribers on the last day of August.

And there's so much else that has to get done over the next couple of weeks, my head spins.

A brief (but good) bit of rp in Insilico after the writing yesterday (thanks, Ann). Later, Spooky and I caught the first two episodes of Season Three of Californication. Gods, I love that show. It's such a grand "fuck you" to...well, lots of stuff that pisses me off on a daily basis. It's gritty, nasty, raunchy, sexy, hilarious, rude, and unrepentantly perverse (but with a heart of gold).

Also, Spooky and I managed our final five quests in Icecrown last night. My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] brimstone, Redearth, and their guild, Ishu Por Ah, for offering to assist. But, as it happens, we pulled it off on our own. Now, I suppose we'll go back and do all the Outland dungeons we couldn't do at level 70, while we wait for the "Cataclysm" expansion. Spooky says, "Booya!" (But she said it very demurely.)
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I was still awake last night— no, this morning —at five a.m. I finally took an Ambien (which I'm not supposed to be doing anymore) and got about six hours sleep. Which is better than nothing.

Yesterday, I did 1,020 words on a new story (for Sirenia Digest #57), "Deep Ocean Vast Sea." Yes, the title was taken from the Peter Murphy song. Anyway, today I have to figure out if I have time right now to write the short story this piece wants to be, or if I should shelve it and do a vignette, instead. There was also a mountain of email (which at least include writing a few very cool people, like Peter Straub and Kyle Cassidy).

Last night, we watched the last episode of Season Four of Dexter, and gods, what a beautifully brutal hour of television. The ending actually left us shaken (no mean feat). This has definitely been my favorite season so far, in large part because of John Lithgow's brilliant performance as the "Trinity Killer." I was extremely pleased to learn that he received an Emmy for the role.

---

Here's an email I got a from a reader, David Parker, three days ago:

I've read much of your stuff, with pleasure and admiration. Every few months I return to your LiveJournal and read up. Much of your experience of things as you narrate it is at least vaguely analogous to mine. And every time I remember how even more than your work I admire your hard working and your bravery: your...what...the way you keep on keeping on, I guess. Is there a secret? What is your fuel? Is it some fortunate gene that I lack? How the eff do you do what you do, work your ass off to put it bluntly, day after day? Can you bottle it and can I get some?

You're some Ishmael who does not fade into any background, a Pierre who isn't stupid. I wish I'd read more so that I could think of women (prot?...)agonists to compare you to. A great dark exemplar, you're one of those who make it all livable.


Those are kind words, and I am grateful for them. But I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of answers to these questions. I work my ass off day after day because that's what it takes, no matter how grim the circumstances, for me to make a living as a writer (and the same is true for most working writers without "day jobs"). You do it, or you fail. And I won't fail. So, I do it. If there is a secret, I don't know it. There's no secret to perseverance, self-discipline, necessity, and resolve. These are simply the things you have to develop and maintain, in abundance, if you're going to survive as an author. That's always been true. My "fuel" is a weird cocktail of very pragmatic, mundane desperation (the bills have to be paid, and this is the only way I can do it), my old fear of being perceived as a slacker, and the knowledge that if I don't write these particular stories, no one else ever will. And really, that's pretty much all there is, so far as questions of work habits and determination are concerned.

---

HELP!


Last night, Spooky and I tried to finish up Icecrown with our blood elves— Suraa (paladin) and Shaharrazad (warlock), respectively —only to be thwarted with only five quests (out of one hundred and forty) remaining to complete the region. Which, I will admit, left me very pissed at Blizzard. Their continued insistence that one must socialize and cooperate in order to gain access to all the game's content leaves me exasperated and seething with nerd rage.* Anyway, we're going to make another attempt on those final five quests tonight. Two of them involve especially daunting bosses, meant for groups of five players (fuck you, Blizzard). If you are into WoW and have Level 77-80 characters on the Cenarion Circle server, we would dearly love some assistance. I don't even care if your character isn't Horde. As long was we begin the fight, Alliance players would still be useful. If you'd like to help, just leave a comment and we'll work something out. All we need is two or three players, and I'd rather try to do it this way than attempt to assemble a "pug" inworld. Thanks.

And now...it's time to face the venomous spurs of the platypus.

* Our main Alliance toons are in a very good guild, but our Horde characters, which are like our main mains, have always been loners.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Insomnia last night, and I finally had to give up and take an Ambien about 4 a.m., so I'm still swimming against that current. It's like a riptide through consciousness and unconsciousness, that damned drug. When this bottle runs out, I will have no more of that shit near me.

But a good writing day yesterday. I did 1,467 words on "The Yellow Alphabet." I was sort of annoyed by having finished I, only to realize that the letter I should have been "I is for Iphis and Ianthe." But I wasn't about to go back and toss out what I'd already written. I may feel differently when I've finished "The Yellow Alphabet," if there's time to spare. So, we'll see. Today, I do L and M, and finish Part One.

So, if you haven't heard, Anne Rice is making a big, fat, hairy deal of not being Xitian anymore...except she obviously still is. Whatever. Maybe her silly-ass Jesus books weren't selling very well, and she's feeling the heat from such literary giants as Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris. In case you missed the sarcasm there (after all, I did not end the sentence with "lol"), I will add that at least Rice did write three good books (Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and The Queen of the Damned) before drinking her own purple Kool-Aid and devolving into utter nonsense. Which is far more than can be said for Hamilton or Harris, who were pretty much purveyors of nonsense from Day One.

Sorry. Just needed to get that out of my system.

Spooky has started a new round of eBay auctions. Also, check out the very wonderful things in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries Shop on Etsy. Really. Cool stuff. Check it out.

Sméagol has another vet visit today, just a check up, to see how his plasma-cell pododermatitis is doing.

More rp in Insilico last night, interesting stuff with Molly, who is no longer Molly, but the Mouse (or so she says). It's sort of fascinating, going away for more than three months and coming back and seeing how all these little plot threads have woven and unwoven, how characters have evolved. Also, so long as Spooky and I have been indulging in Fairly Ridiculous Television (24, Nip/Tuck), we decided to try some Truly Ridiculous Television, and watched the first four episodes of Sanctuary last night. And I don't know. It has a certain lopsided charm, like Tom Baker era Doctor Who meets Torchwood meets The X-Files meets a bunch of other stuff, all smushed together the wrong way round. Sometimes, Bad Television can be unexpectedly entertaining.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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