greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes. I am on a Kate Bush kick.

It's a beautiful autumn-summer day out there, sunny and blue skies, the temperature at 70F. Nice. Have to get Outside today. Getting out of the house is mandatory on a day like this. I'm doing a good job, actually, of not keeping myself cooped up.

At 4 a.m., not sleeping (despite the meds), I was on Rift talking with a friend in Alaska, and he said it was midnight and the sun hadn't set. In Providence, the sky was just beginning to lighten. It was a marvelously surreal moment, especially considering I was doped and half asleep (but only half). By the way, I want to actually calculate the distance across the part of Telara we can see, the size of the landmass north to south and east to west. I don't think many people have paused to think how small it must be. At first, I estimated it might be the size of Rhode Island (37 miles x 48 miles long, 1,214 sq. mi.), but I'm beginning to think it may only be half that size or less. Spooky's worked out a way to get a firm estimate, which we will do this evening (because we are pathetic nerds). A fantasy MMORPG will be truly fucking amazing when it can offer a continent the size of, oh, say Australia.

Where was I?

Yesterday was as tedious as I'd expected. I didn't actually make any progress with the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between (and I'm not going to explain why, because it's a tedious explanation that's all about editing PDFs and Adobe software and me being a psuedo-Luddite). But things did get done. Vince sent me the initial pencils for his "Figurehead" illustration. I did some more tweaking on the ms. for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and sent the Really and Truly Final Manuscript away to my editor. I spent about an hour on the immensely tedious and long guest questionnaire for Readercon 22. I read "Figurehead" and "Untitled 35" aloud to Kathryn, and we marked the pages red. I talked with [ profile] kylecassidy about what ravens who might be nuns would....

Sorry. Lost my train of thought. Spooky and I were talking about Houdini.

Last night, we did Kindernacht with hot dogs and Tom McGrath's Megamind (2010), which was really a lot of fun, but not as good as Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's similar Despicable Me (also 2010). Of course, one is not supposed to talk about whether or not Kid Night movies are any good, so long as they're fun. We picked the DVD up at Acme Video, since it was an excuse to go Outside. Also, Acme Video gives away free atomic fireballs. After the movie, we did, of course, play Rift. Mostly it was rp for me, though there was also a major incursion upon White Fall and the Chancel of Labors by the minions of Crucia, and Selwyn and Miisya helped to repel the bad guys.

Yesterday, I read the title story of Johnathan Thomas' Tempting Providence (Hippocampus Press). To be sure, it's a weird tale, but it's also a poignant travelogue/walking tour devoted to a finer and simpler and far more interesting Providence than has survived to the present day. I also read "A new unintan horned brontothere from Wyoming and evolution of canine size and sexual dimorphism in the Brontotheriidae (Perissodactyla: Mammalia)" in JVP. Speaking of reading, kittens, tomorrow I'll be announcing the June selection for Aunt Beast's Book Club.


On this day in 2007, I wrote:

I have been worrying a lot lately about my writing. It started when I reread Silk and looked through Tales of Pain and Wonder for the first time in ages. Sure, I'm a much, much better writer now, but is what I'm writing inherently better than what I was writing then? More importantly, is it about something more than telling stories? Almost ten years after it's original publication, I see lots of flaws with Silk I couldn't see in 1996 or 1998, and parts of it make me groan, but it has something to say, something it says, and for that I will likely always love it. This is even more true of ToPaW. It's true of The Dreaming. But is the same true of Threshold? Low Red Moon? I think so. And I know it's true of Murder of Angels, but I'm not so sure about Daughter of Hounds, even though I also know it's my best-written novel to date. One may write well — one may write exquisitely, even — and have nothing at all to say. Writing "The Ape's Wife" last month, this all seemed suddenly very important to me again. I fear that in the rush to meet deadlines and write enough to keep all the bills paid, somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten that it is not enough to tell a good story, or even to create characters who ring true. These are necessary accomplishments, but they are surely not sufficient. Art requires more than mere craft, more even than talent. It requires meaning. Heading into The Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey Lafaye, these thoughts will be my Beatrice (so to speak). There's something I feel I might have drifted away from, and I, I need to get back to it again.

So, four years later, I can say I found an antidote for this anxiety and these worries, which was writing The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, no matter how much the effort has exhausted me. Also, it should be noted that, in June 2007, I was still suffering from the trauma of having written that unmentionably shitty novelization for Robert Zemeckis' butchering of Beowulf (2007)*. That Mordorean death-march ordeal (fuck you, Roger Avery) left me unable to write long-form for the better part of a year, until I began The Red Tree in April 2008. By the way, I'm still waiting on The Dinosaurs of Mars to reveal itself to me, and have come to accept that Joey Lafaye will likely never happen. You may always think of Beowulf as the novelization that murdered Joey Lafaye. At least the Beowulf gig sort of paid well. And at least you didn't need 3-D glasses to read the book. Seamus Heaney, forgive me., today.

* And as bad as my novelization was, the movie was at least a hundred times more awful.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I got absolutely nothing done yesterday. Nothing. A headache started late on Wednesday night, and by yesterday morning was a full-blown migraine. There was not even the hope of writing. I spent much of the day in bed, delirious, dozing, nauseous, and all that fun crap. Finally, very late last night, it backed off. I didn't have to use the power drill.

The month is falling away, and I'm not even sure I've got a decent beginning to my Mars story. I still have that to get written, and Sirenia Digest #47, and something proposal-like for Penguin on the next novel. So, yeah, three stories in twenty-three days. Still feasible, but only just, especially given that I'll be in Manhattan on the 27th, and have the Brown University reading on the 24th. And two interviews. I think I'm about forty-eight hours from panic. I can't panic, of course, because then I'll squander what time I have left. It all has to get done, period.

At least I have managed to get The Ammonite Violin & Others to subpress. Oh, and I have an announcement. The cover art and end papers will be done by Richard A. Kirk, the first time we've gotten to work together since he did the illustration for "Salammbô Redux" for the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder.

And speaking of Manhattan on the 27th, I've just gotten word that the launch party/reading/signing for Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft Unbound will be held at the Soho Gallery of Digital Art at 138 Sullivan Street on the 27th (a Tuesday) at 7 p.m., with doors open to the public at 6:30. I'll be there, along with Elizabeth Bear, Michael Cisco, and Richard Bowes.

This is one of those days I just want the world to end. Sorry, but it needed to be said.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Well, first the good news. Peter Straub has selected "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" for Fantastic Tales: American Stories of Terror and the Uncanny, which he's editing for the Library of America. The volume is due out in October 2009. I count this, with the reprint of "In the Water Works (1889)" in S. T. Joshi's American Supernatural Tales (Penguin Classics, 2007), as among my most notable accomplishments thus far. "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" first appeared in an issue of the now-defunct Carpe Noctem magazine, in 1999, and was thereafter collected in Tales of Pain and Wonder.

But, the bad news is that it looks like my plans for a March "vacation" are going to have to be scrapped, as I owe [ profile] ellen_datlow a story, and somehow the deadline, and, indeed, the whole book, had slipped my mind, until she emailed me about it last night. So...I have until March 23rd to get that done, and when you figure in Sirenia Digest #40, the month is pretty much shot. I might be able to squeeze in a week between the story and the digest, maybe.

I spent all this morning figuring out fair-use and public-domain questions concerning three quotes used in The Red Tree. Specifically, a quote from Seneca the Younger's Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, one from Hesiod's Theogony, and another from The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe. All these were, of course, translations, and what is at question is when the copyright on the translations I used expired, or if they have not yet expired. Turns out, we're clear on Hesiod (Evelyn-White translation) and Goethe (Saunders translation), but not on Seneca (Gummere translation). Fortunately, [ profile] sovay is very kindly providing me with a new translation of the Seneca passage in question, so I won't have to cut it from the book. That was my extra-tedious morning.

Here in Providence, the day is cold, and the sun blindingly bright off all the snow that isn't melting. Right now, it 29F, but 19F with wind chill factored in.

I'm still looking back over comments I've made regarding sf, and my science fiction, in particular, and there's this interesting bit from March 5th, 2006:

[ profile] matociquala (Elizabeth Bear) and [ profile] cpolk (Chelsea Polk) have coined a literary neologism for a certain sort of sf, a term which I'm finding extremely useful: eco-gothic*. I quote: "We look around at the world and we're fucking scared. There's this underlying idea of the implacability of the universe and the smallness of humanity. We know that there is no guiding, caring force. That life is amazing in its tenacity and persistence, but that ultimately, it's completely pitiless. And if you take it too far, if you unbalance it enough, it will crush you. This idea of the tenacity of life in a pitiless universe. And nobody else seems to fucking GET IT. Because life is tenacious, but humanity is disposable. It's not a tragedy that the passenger pigeon perished. And it won't be a tragedy when we go either...God doesn't care if we persist. We're not special. We're not essential. The universe doesn't love us bestest of all. Because you know, there's this critique that a Black Novel is not Relevant because it's about Blackness, not Humanity. Which upon I call bullshit. Because a human novel isn't relevant. Because it's about humanity. Six point five billion ugly bags of mostly water on a second-class planet in an arm of a barred spiral galaxy. Pretending like Hell that we signify." Click here for the transcript from which this quote was cobbled together.

Certainly, all of my sf would fall into this category of "eco-gothic." The Dry Salvages, "Riding the White Bull," "Faces in Revolving Souls," "The Pearl Diver," "Persephone," "Hoar Isis," "Between the Flatirons and the Deep Green Sea"...all of it. And I think one thing I found particularly intriguing was the suggestion that writers of "eco-gothic" sf may, perhaps, do so because "we were the second-class geeks who took life sciences instead of physics with the hard-line geeks." That's one of my dirty little secrets. Sure, I took chemistry and physics and mathematics in college, but I had no real aptitude for it. It was in the life and earth sciences that I excelled, particularly in paleontology, which is often disparagingly labeled by the math and physics types as a "soft science." Anyway, it's just something I wanted to note, because of the things I said about sf on Friday, and because it's something I want to think about. I have no problem with a neologism or a literary category so long as it is useful and needed and I suspect this one may be both. It is, of course, inherently Lovecraftian, and minor caveats and questions do arise. Perhaps I will come back to those later. Not only does this remind me why I shall never appeal to those sf readers who dislike "dystopian" sf, but also why I shall likely always find myself in a rather minuscule fraction of Wiccans. The gods do not care because, after all, they're only hopeful metaphors for needful humans. Anyway, thank you Bear and Chelsea.

So, it's not surprising that Elizabeth Bear ended up writing an afterword for A is for Alien, an afterword which, in part, explores the idea of the eco-gothic.

Also, it has been one year to the day that I announced in the journal that Spooky and I would be moving from Atlanta to Providence. What an eventful year it has been.

Yes, the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky has duly noted the Earth's recent near-miss by a Tunguska-sized asteroid. Hope springs eternal.

Last night, I stumbled across some bloody frakking idiot, somewhere on the web, who'd referred to Echo (from The Dreaming) as a "Mary Sue" character, and I'm still laughing...

* [ profile] matociquala later found a use of "eco-gothic" dating back to 1996, in a description of Stephen Palmer's novel, Memory Seed.
greygirlbeast: (europa)
Yesterday was a day of mail. Well, yesterday was a day of pleasant mail. A package from [ profile] txtriffidranch, including many things, but the most marvelous bit is a recording from 1966 of Harlan reading "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman" and "A Boy and His Dog." I used to have these recordings, long, long ago, and lost them in one or another move, and I am very pleased to own them again. Thanks very, very much. Almost as cool as the British Museum Dimetrodon. Also, a package from [ profile] mellawyrden, which, among other things, included a copy of Mac Wellman's A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds. And, also, a complimentary copy of the Fall 2008 Dead Reckonings arrived (Hippocampus Press), which includes S.T. Joshi's review of the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder, "A Slow-Moving Tsunami" (though it says "Caitlín Kiernan, Remastered" on the cover). I will now shamelessly post a short quote:

Kiernan has inexorably ascended the echelon of supernatural horror with an array of distinguished novels and story collections that have already led some critics to rank her with such luminaries as Ramsey Campbell and Thomas Ligotti. The comparison with Campbell seems to me particularly apt, for there are few writers in the entire history of supernatural fiction who have simultaneously mastered both the short story and the novel and who have combined such copious productivity with such a high level of meticulous craftsmanship.

And if posting that quotation is self-aggrandizing, so fucking be it. There are precious few rewards, writing what I write, and being ranked, by Joshi, with Campbell and Ligotti is among them. So, yes, a splendid day for mail.

Unfortunately, it was a pretty lousy day, otherwise. Sometime after one, I had one of the worst seizures I've had in a while. I came to on the floor in the middle parlour, surrounded by Spooky and the cats. So I spent most of the afternoon in bed, dazed, feeling like I'd been run down by a truck. Spooky read me Chapter Four of The Red Tree, and I tried hard to pay attention. Mostly, I drifted and stared at the patterns the sun made on the bedroom wall. It was after dinner before I began to feel halfway decent again.

Last night, we watched George Clooney's Leatherheads, in which George Clooney plays Clarke Gable and Renée Zellweger plays Claudette Colbert. Well, no, not really, but pretty close. It was a thoroughly charming, film, despite the fact that football bores me to tears, and felt more like something from the late sixties or early seventies, during the nostalgia boom that spawned movies like The Sting and Paper Moon.

And today I will try, again, to begin the Long Sought Epilogue, because Herr Platypus is not a happy camper. Please take a moment to order A is for Alien, due out next month from Subterranean Press, if you've not already done so. I promise it doesn't suck.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I wrote 2,238 words on Chapter Eight of The Red Tree. And so I have made good on my promise to myself to write at least 2k words on three consecutive days —— Friday, Saturday, and Sunday —— making up for the three days I lost this month (lost for various reasons, all beyond my control, but wasted nonetheless). Indeed, I did better than I expected, hoping at best to manage 6000 words, and getting, instead, 6,545 words. Also, having finished yesterday, I discovered that I'd reached the end of Chapter Eight, and it's not THE END of the novel, as I'd thought it would be. What I mean to say is that I decided that Chapter Eight was going on a bit long, and so there will be a shortish ninth chapter to finish things up ("...and that spells 'moon'!") I've reached that point where I feel as though I am racing towards the conclusion. And, as usual, it brings a peculiar alloy of joy and fear, dread and relief. It absolutely doesn't help to know what's coming. Regardless, I calculate that the book will likely be "finished" on either the 23rd or 24th, on Thursday or Friday.

And there's all this other work waiting....

As for books that I have already sent out into the world to seek my fortune, you can now pre-order the forthcoming trade paperback edition of Alabaster from Subterranean Press. Also, subpress is still taking pre-orders for my first sf collection, A is for Alien, and the third edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder is still available. And, of course, there are all my novels, including the recent mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds.

There was a very nice Halloween package from my mother yesterday. Spooky and I now have "wicked" socks.

Last night, I read an article in Science on the discovery of what may prove to be the oldest known rocks (from northern Quebec) on Earth, part of the planet's proto-crust, dating back 4.3 billion years. Oh, and an article on light pollution and the importance of darkness in the new National Geographic. Then, after spaghetti, we watched Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, which remains one of my favourite Halloween films and one of my favourite Tim Burton films.

Then there was WoW. My blood-elf warlock, Shaharrazad, with the aid of her minion and Spooky's blood-elf paladin, Suraa, attacked a dwarf keep and retrieved a certain sword, which is now safely back in the hands of the Horde. Shah also reached Lvl 28, allowing me to return to my Lvl 13 Draenei hunter, Voimakas. I want to get all three of my characters at roughly the same level, so that switching between them is not quite so jarring. Voimakas made two levels last night, reaching 15. I'll play her now until we reach 28, then rotate back to Mithwen, my night-elf fighter, who has been languishing in the Wetlands. Her mail has quite likely rusted by now. Oh, and Shah can now summon a succubus named Drusneth. Dru was clearly created with horny, heterosexual 14-year-old boys in mind, and by people who never even imagined that grown women might play this game. I'd be offended, were it not all so...stupid. At this point, Spooky and I (or Suraa and Shah) are only keeping Dru around because they find her such a useful commodity, her fighting and spellcasting abilities making up for her inherently annoying nature. If I had my druthers, there would be a tad less camp in WoW. The Halloween (er, I mean Hallow's End) decorations and gags and "accomplishments" are driving me to distraction. I do not believe for even a moment that the Draenei would have huge jack-o-lanterns stuck up inside their crashed starship, or that orcs ride flying broomsticks. Whimsy is all fine and good, but at some point, disbelief reasserts itself.

And now I must go. The platypus says so.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Good thing I can type in my sleep. Because this is only a simulacrum of wakefulness. And not a very convincing one. Last night, we managed to get into bed by 2 ayem, and I was awake at 9 ayem (though not out of bed until 9:30), because we are scrambling for more daylight, as the winter rushes towards us like an angry bull yak.

Yesterday, I really needed to go to the sea. I needed to go in the worst way. But I wasn't done with the writing until 4:30 p.m., and sunset was about 6:30. By the time we reached Moonstone or Point Judith, or just about anywhere else worth reaching, it would have been twilight, and very cold. I probably should have gone anyway, but I was so tired and spacey. Maybe this evening.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,261 words on Chapter Eight of The Red Tree. A scene of great importance. An epiphanic moment for Sarah Crowe. And when I was done, and after Spooky had read it back to me, I was terrified that I'd not even come close to saying what I'd tried to say, even after borrowing a few lines from Joseph Conrad and Henry David Thoreau. How do you hope to describe the effect that seeing the "face of a god," any "god" or "goddess" or "divine" or "infernal" androgyne? And, in this case, it's a very, very terrible god-thing, awful in the original sense of the word. How do you tell another person what it has done to your perception of the universe? How do you even tell yourself?

So, I was left fearing I'd not even come close to accomplishing what I'd set out to do.

Fortunately, there was a wonderful, long review by S.T. Joshi of the third edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder waiting for me afterwards. Truly, it may be one of the two or three best reviews I've ever received. It will eventually appear in Dead Reckonings (Hippocampus Press), but I have been told I can quote a few lines here:

Kiernan has inexorably ascended the echelon of supernatural horror with an array of distinguished novels and story collections that have already led some critics to rank her with such luminaries as Ramsey Campbell and Thomas Ligotti. The comparison with Campbell seems to me particularly apt, for there are few writers in the entire history of supernatural fiction who have simultaneously mastered both the short story and the novel and who have combined such copious productivity with such a high level of meticulous craftsmanship.


This fusion of the cosmic and the personal is also a keynote of Kiernan’s work. It is not sufficient to say that she adopts the visionary horror of Machen, Blackwood, and Lovecraft; especially in contrast to the last-named, Kiernan’s work features an intense focus on the shifting and at times contradictory emotions of her characters, and their ability or inability to deal with domestic, social, and sexual——particularly sexual——traumas.


Tales of Pain and the cornerstone of Kiernan’s work in short fiction, and as such may be a seminal and landmark volume in the history of the genre. Kiernan’s career currently spans scarcely more than a decade, but there is hardly a doubt that she deserves a place, and perhaps a lofty place, in the canon of horror literature.

So, yeah, it helped to take the edge off that sense of futility.

Otherwise, yesterday, well...we made it to Eastside Market, and we checked the p.o. box. There was a wonderful "care package" from [ profile] txtriffidranch, which, among many other things, included the Dimetrodon figure from the British Museum's set of prehistoric animals. I began collecting these in 1984, and only the very rare Dimetrodon has eluded me. I got close once, in a gift shop in the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, back in February 1996. But the clerk was mistaken and they'd sold out. Anyway, now, twenty two years after I scored the Elasmosaurus and Pteranodon, my set is truly complete. Oh, and there was also a platypus in the package, which now has a place of pride on my desk, watching over me that I do not stray too far from the path. So, thank you, [ profile] txtriffidranch. You rock. With carnivorous plants, even.

Later, after round two of the wonderful chicken stew, we watched Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in Walter Lang's Desk Set (1957), which was as delightful as I remembered. Unfortunately, afterwards, we watched an episode of Fringe. Yikes. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be The X-Files, but I had no idea it would be unwatchable. The acting was flat. There was no chemistry between any of the characters. I couldn't decide if the show was serious or going for some sort of deadpan black comedy. The script was...well, I'm assuming there was a script. Anyway, yikes. No more, please. Still later, Spooky read me Poe's "MS. Found in a Bottle" (1833), just before sleep, which got most of the taste of Fringe out of my brain.

Oh, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are able and so disposed. Thank you. Now, I go down to the platypus....

Postscript (3:07 p.m.): Let me just take a moment to be appalled that the spell checker for MS Word knows any number of trademarked neologisms, but doesn't know "highjack." Then again, I see that neither does LiveJournal's spell checker.....
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
Dreamsick today. And I'll try hard to make this a short entry. My thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday. They were needed and appreciated. They'll be needed again, today, though I doubt I have anything even half so interesting to say. But please, do not try to engage me in anything even remotely resembling an argument. Trust me. Not today. Anyway, yesterday, I wrote 1,197 words on "Derma Sutra (1891)", which I'd thought, days ago, would be a 2,000-word vignette, but which has blossomed into something like actual short story. You can read it, of course, in the forthcoming issue of Sirenia Digest, which will be #32. It will also include a wonderful piece by Sonya Taaffe ([ profile] sovay), as well as Geoffrey Goodwin's ([ profile] readingthedark) interview with artist Richard Kirk (who, among many other things, provided illustrations for several of my short story collections (including Tales of Pain and Wonder, Wrong Things, From Weird and Distant Shores, and To Charles Fort, With Love). Not too late for new subscribers to get this issue. Just click here.

Now, I have this list, because if I don't do it as a list, I'll forget something:

1) The KGB Fantastic Fiction Auction was an enormous success. I have the press release from Ellen Datlow ([ profile] ellen_datlow), cohost of the monthly Manhattan event, and she writes: "New York, NY (July 29, 2008) – The KGB Fantastic Fiction Raffle was a huge success. Sixty nine highly-coveted prizes were awarded to individuals from all over the world, including winners in Germany and Australia. The raffle has generated enough money to keep the series viable for two years. In addition, the hosts will now be able to pay the readers a small stipend for their participation." My congratulations (and thanks) to Mr. Michael Curry, who won the signed copy of the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder, and also to Mr. Chris Dill, winner of the one-year subscription to Sirenia Digest, plus all 32 back issues. And if you have no idea what the KGB Bar readings are, and happen to live in the NYC area, you should check it out. I read there in May 2001, and will be reading again on November 16th.

2) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Surprisingly, there's still no bid on Alabaster.

3) Don't forget that subpress is now taking preorders for A is for Alien. Yes, this book will very likely sell out before it is published.

4) I'm going to begin a really hard push on the forthcoming mass-market paperback edition of Daughter of Hounds. It'll be out September 2nd, and you can now preorder it from for a mere $7.99 + s&h.

Last night I read more of Fraser's Triassic book, which I've been neglecting and need to finish. Spooky and I unsuccessfully tried very hard to hang a picture, but ran afoul of punky plaster and the weird steel hurricane braces built into the old walls of this place. Maybe we'll have better luck tonight. I had a nap at the feet of Dr. Muñoz. Later, there was Second Life, but really, the less said about that, the better.

Okay. Coffee, Platypus. All set. If I could just stow this dizzying futuredread that's locked onto me like a rabid lamprey. Right now, I choose to blame Generation Why (Or Gen Y, or the Echo Boomers, or what the hell ever you want to call people born in the '80s and '90s), and would like nothing more than to give the whole instant-gratification seeking, peer-oriented lot of them a good attention-span enema. Yeah, sure, I'm getting old. That's a fact. And I'm not happy about it. Another fact. But at least I remember what came before, and I know I'm not entitled, and the world is not here to serve me, or keep me entertained, or hypnotized. For that matter, while I'm at it, I place equal blame on the parents of the Why crowd —— Boomers and Xers —— because, ultimately, they're the ones to blame for this.
greygirlbeast: (Howard Hughes)
This is one of those mornings when I'm not awake, but there are things I need to remember. So, I made a list, and I have to hope I left nothing important off the list. Not a bad day yesterday. I wrote 1,104 words on Chapter Three of The Red Tree. Today may go quite a bit slower, and may yield fewer words, as I have to do some on-the-fly research into Puritanism and Rhode Island in the early 1700s.

Subterranean Press has officially announced A is for Alien and has now begun taking preorders. You guys know how the subpress books tend to sell out, especially the limited editions, so I expect you'll want to act sooner than later, if you want a copy of the book. Each story will include an illustration by Vince Locke, and there is an afterword by Elizabeth Bear. Also, the KGB Fantastic Fiction Raffle began at midnight last night. It includes, among many delightful things donated by many delightful authors, my contributions of a full run/one-year subscription of Sirenia Digest (44 issues total!), back issues to be delivered on CD. Also, I have contributed a copy of the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder (2008). Raffle tickets are only $1 ea. (more tickets you buy, the better your chances of winning), so please, have a look, and support a great reading series. Winners will be announced July 28th.

As for the rest of yesterday, it's already going blurry around the edges. I blame the pills that make me sleep. After the writing, I helped Spooky hang more pictures, and then we drove over to the the Dexter Training Ground and the Armory on Federal Hill, and walked about the park (photos below, behind the cut). She made spaghetti for dinner. Harlan called, but I missed him and need to call back today. Spooky baked a pie with six of the apples from our CSA bag. We watched Michael Haneke's shot-by-shot remake of Funny Games (2007; his original version was released in 1997), and found it impressive. Quite apart from the torture porn of films like Hostel and Saw, Funny Games forces the viewer to confront and consider hisherit's fascination with (and complicity in) violent cinema. The fourth wall is breached repeatedly, and conventions are purposefully violated, keeping the voyeur constantly off balance. The film is even more powerful for consigning almost all the actual acts of violence and most of the gore off camera, sometimes just out of sight, again thwarting and frustrating expectation. It's not often that I find a film almost too grim to endure, but this one comes close —— in a good way. Highly recommended. Though, it still frustrates me to see evidence that Naomi Watts is actually a good actress, leading me to believe she simply wasn't allowed to act in Jackson's King Kong.

Spooky's going to get the eBay auctions going again today, and has asked me to apologize to the winners of the "cephaloflap" and "doodleflap" auctions, whose items still have not shipped. Your packages will be going out today or tomorrow. Blame the chaos that we can't quite seem to shake off. The chaos, it's rather like napalm, or getting gum in your hair.

There was an interesting comment yesterday regarding my roleplay travails (and my improv/method acting approach to rp) in Second Life, which I thought I would repost here, as it also concerns my writing. Chris Walsh writes:

Yes, and I know it's what I'd want my personal ideal RP to be, were I into roleplaying. I can appreciate the skills involved in improv and acting, though I don't have those skills (nor the inclination to develop them; I'd rather write as a creative outlet), and it seems having those skills would make RP inherently more interesting. Out of curiosity, how long have you been into RP? How much had you done before you got into Second Life? I've no idea if you were a D&D type growing up, for instance.

To which I replied:

I've been into rp, of one sort or another, since high school (D&D, etc.), though I'd say that the "pretend" of childhood is the true beginning of all rp (and theatre). So, lots, of one sort or another (and some acting), before SL.

To which he then replied:

Ah, childhood; that was when I would playact, and also when I was vaguely headed towards this writing thing. (I know I'm, at best so far, at the stage J. Michael Straczynski was when he called Harlan Ellison out of the blue asking for his words of wisdom for fledgling fiction writers. Harlan just said, "Your writing sucks. When it no longer sucks, it will sell." Straczynski took that in the spirit it was meant and endeavored to have his fiction Not Suck.)

I've sometimes felt I'm a "behind-the-scenes" performer, kind of like Howard Ashman when he'd record his interesting demos for his songs, as opposed to someone who'd feel comfortable on a stage or in a roleplaying environment. I don't have the in-the-moment ability to become someone different in those environments; I'd be a stiff actor. (Writing, of course, gives you more time to think Now if I were a completely different person than myself, how would I behave here?) What sort of acting have you done? Stage stuff? Filmed stuff? And any of it worth sharing?

And I replied:

Here's the thing (and I think this goes for writing and for rp): You do not think, "What would this person say?" or "What would this person do?" Rather, like method acting, you so completely immerse yourself in the mind of the character that their actions become your second nature, almost your first. Then there are no questions to be asked, no deliberations to be made, no hesitation (unless they hesitate). You can't be stiff, because you are the character in question, and you know how hesheit will react to any given situation, or better still, knowledge is replaced by instinct, and you are free to simply act. Oh, all of it was high school and college. Yes, it's true. I was a drama-club nerd.

By the way, it just came back to me, that this morning I dreamt I was in some sort of post-apocalyptic production of Romeo and Juliet. I have no idea what role I played, but there were blizzards and the most brilliant lightning.

The Armory, July 13th, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
It would seem that the local pyromaniacs shot their wad (so to speak) Friday night and Saturday morning, as last night was quiet. Thank gods. My nerves were not up to Night #2 of the rockets' red glare.

As for yesterday, no library, because they were all closed. So I made do with the internet, which was barely making do at all. However, there was a significant plot breakthrough, the sort of thing that never occurs to me when I'm actually writing. Also, Spooky had unearthed a rather dubious nugget regarding Lovecraft's paternal grandfather (and the man who was, essentially, the closest thing HPL ever had to an actual father), Whipple Van Buren Phillips (1833-1904). There was a bit of something posted to a UFO-related website, describing WVBP as "a notorious New England occultist." While intriguing and grist for the novel, this seemed, to me, just a bit unlikely, and I emailed Joshi about it. He agrees there's nothing to it, that it may all stem from a tongue-in-cheek introduction that Colin Wilson wrote for George Hay's Necronomicon (1977) hoax. Yes, Phillips was a Freemason, but then so were half the men in my family (okay, that's an exaggeration). Yes, Phillips fostered HPL's childhood fascination with the Weird, but my mother did the same with me, and she's a fairly conservative Xtian. In other words, dead end. However, HPL does have ties to the Moosup Valley region of Rhode Island which I may play off of in The Red Tree. Spooky and I went through a great deal of Rhode Island history yesterday, the Colonial Era through the 18th Century, and then she read me everything that has so far been written on Chapter Two, which, maybe, I'll be able to finish today. The more I learn of Rhode Island's early history, the more I think the state motto should be "Biggest Little Troublemaker."

Not much else to yesterday that's fit for public consumption. I did get some pretty good SL roleplay late last night (thanks to Joah, Cerdwin, and Bellatrix), and yes, that call that went out to the nascent "Sirenia Players" group is still good. Come to Toxia and play a rabid lunatic devotee to Labyrinth. IM me for details, or just show up, because confusion is appropriate when answering the call of Eris Discordia. [ profile] blu_muse got some nice screencaps from last night, which you may see here. Labyrinth's new exoskeleton is coming along nicely....

Something I've not done in a while, which I'll do now, is post links to all those books of mine currently in print, the particular editions that need to sell for my publishers to continue to publish books by me. Please grab one or two (or three). And, no, sadly buying "used" copies doesn't help. Thanks:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

And, of course, there's always Sirenia Digest.

One more thing for now, apparently some very kind and generous individual purchased the complete Angel DVD collection for Spooky, from her Amazon wish list (it vanished from the list), but it has yet to appear, and she's worried that this kindly, generous someone might have spent their money for naught, if the package has been lost in the mail. So, if you're reading this, and you were the giver, you might want to look into it. She says thanks.

Postscript (5:23 p.m.): I have just learned from [ profile] ellen_datlow of Thomas M. Disch's suicide on the 4th. She writes, "I'm shocked, saddened, but not very surprised. Tom had been depressed for several years and was especially hit by the death of his longtime partner Charles Naylor. He also was very worried about being evicted from the rent controlled apartment he lived in for decades."
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
How bad can a day possibly be, when it begins by finding a note you left to yourself five years ago, so that you would once again discover the mind-shredding joy that is the Spongmonkeys? And I love that the dorks over at the Modern Humorist deemed the Spongmonkeys "what you see before you die." Indeed. Yippie ki yay, motherfuckers.

Which is to say, yesterday — despite my great empty office — I did an exceptional 1,751 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree and found THE END of the chapter. I think I stopped writing about six pm, but then I went back a little after nine and worked on the chapter's seven footnotes until almost eleven. I think the footnotes work. Of course, what sucks walruses through drinking straws is that now that I am in that space the story occupies, now that I have found the character, I have to set it all aside until after I reach Providence a couple of weeks from now. I should be horsewhipped. But there you go. The packing must be done, and I'll just have to get back into The Red Tree ASAP once we've moved.

Not much to last night. A fairly bad seizure yesterday. More packing. More Millennium ("The Pest House," "Owls," and "Roosters."). Half the day, my stomach was a roiling cramp fest, thank you doxycycline, thank you Miss Tick. Really, I just don't handle antibiotics very well. My digestive system's enough of a mess to start with. And my frelling face still hurts, even though the dentist couldn't find anything (admittedly, she didn't actually open the Bad Tooth). But these are, of course, small, small pains. Did I mention the Spongmonkeys? Oh. Okay. Well, anyway, no Second Life last night. Nary a single moment spent in the metaverse. Late, after Millennium, Spooky read to me from House of Leaves — much of Chapter XVII, which not only deals with the three psychological models seeking to explain why Navidson returned to the house on Ash Tree Lane (the Kellog-Antwerk Claim, the Bister-Frieden Criteria, and the Haven-Slocum Theory), but also includes the letter he wrote to Karen prior to Exploration #5, so much of which goes into Poe's song, "Haunted."

Don't cry,
There's always a way,
Here in November in this house of leaves
We'll pray.
Please, I know it's hard to believe,
To see a perfect forest
Through so many splintered trees.
You and me,
And these shadows keep on changing

I think I'm trying very hard not to think about the impending move. I do not fear it, and I know we'll be ready, but the anticipation is getting to me. Counting today (midnight on the 19th to midnight on the 28th, which is in no way actually accurate), we have only ten days remaining, 240 hours, 14,400 minutes, or 864,000 (or so) seconds. Time approximate, at best. I do dread the long drive (well, I don't drive, so the long ride), with Hubero, who is most emphatically not fond of cars or trucks. I think Spooky is much more nervous than am I, and for her, this is simply going home.

I've not listed the books in print in a while, the ones I need to sell well (new copies, not the "used" copies Amazon gets kick-backs on), in order to remain a publishing author. So, here goes. Please, if you haven't, pick them up. Thank you.

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

Now, platypus. Where the frak's my coffee?
greygirlbeast: (Late PreCambrian Earth)
So, even though there is absolutely no time for being sick, I'm sick. Hard to tell yet just how sick, but sick enough. It started off yesterday morning as a scratchy throat. Thing is, Spooky's been sick for almost a week, and every time I'd ask her about it, she'd tell me it was just allergies caused by the dust we're stirring up packing. To me, she looked sick, not allergic, but hey, she ought to know. So I didn't worry about catching it. But now I'm sick. Last night, fevers and chills. We have to hope this fucker is short lived, because here it is May 6th, and we leave Atlanta on Thursday, May 29th for Providence. And there is all the packing, and a mountain of work, and deadlines and scheduling that simply can not be Put Off Until Later. I used up all my sick time, back in February. And, possibly the worst problem here is that colds and flu often (since the mid '80s) leave me with a severe cough that can last, literally, for months. After I had the flu in February, I coughed an additional six weeks. And the bad tooth cannot be pulled if I'm coughing, because then it won't heal properly. So. Yeah. It's sort of a disaster.

Yesterday. We spent eight hours (1-9 pm) working on the corrections to A is for Alien, and we're still not done. So, that will be today. We also need to take books back to the Emory University library, but that may have to wait until tomorrow. Today, I get more misplaced or missing commas, fact checking, clumsy word repetitions, and other assorted tedium. Oh, and a good example of why sf writers should worry only just so much about the science in their sf stories. When I wrote "Zero Summer" in the summer of 2005, Saturn was believed to have 43 moons, but now, revising the story in 2007, I know that Saturn has more than 60 confirmed natural satellites. But the story is set in the nearish future. By then, we may know that Saturn has 80 moons. Do I stick with 60, knowing that astronomers consider that number provisional? Do I "guesstimate" ahead? Do I revise the story again in a few years? Frankly, the facts are hardly relevant to the truths of the story, so screw it.

My thanks to [ profile] robyn_ma for pointing out that I can now actually see Isabella Rossellini's "bug porn" (Green Porno) at the Sundance Channel website. Yesterday, the site wasn't letting me in; today it is. Oh, and yes, I have downloaded the new, free NIN, and I'm listening to it now.

At some point yesterday, I left Spooky alone to work on the corrections to A is for Alien. I lay down on the sofa, thinking I could at least read the next chapter of Chris Beard's book on primate origins, but, instead, the best I could manage was an hour of being half asleep, dreaming though I was partly still awake. Later, late last night, Spooky read me more from House of Leaves, the terrible scene on the staircase, Navidson trapped alone at the bottom when it suddenly grows to impossible proportions, Tex's story of the sinking of the Atrocity. Not the perfect thing before bed, so then she read me Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder (1957), which won a Caldecott Medal and is one of my all time favourite children's books. "Where do hummingbirds go in a hurricane?" Beautiful.

I got the following from Alan S. Montroso, via email, "...As was your story "Concerning Attrition and Severance"; its imagery and majesty have haunted me through the weekend. I understand why you felt it belonged in the obscurity of a closed drawer, but I am also grateful such a cruel creature has been unleashed." Thank you, Alan. It's good to see these reactions, because the story's out there now, and there's no pulling it back in. Comments on Sirenia Digest #29 are still welcome, by the way.

I haven't given the list of books in print in a while, so here it is again. And, though it might be cheaper and the "green" thing to do, buying used copies of my novels from Amazon, sadly, in no way helps my sales figures. Sadder still, I have to actually think about shit like sales figures:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

And here's the Amazon wish list, because, after all, this has been declared my Royal Birthday Month and -04 is a mere 20 days away.

There's a lot more of substance I wanted to write about this morning, but I feel like unto butt, and somehow I have to make it through the remainder of the corrections to A is for Alien.
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
So, yes, Sirenia Digest #29 (April) will be going out to subscribers this evening. That said, there has been a last minute change to the line up this issue. It will actually be comprised of two pieces by me this month, instead of one — "Flotsam" and "Concerning Attrition and Severance." The latter is the especially "brutal" piece I was fretting over so much a few days back. It was originally intended for Sirenia Digest #30 (May). However, Sonya ([ profile] sovay) needed more time on her new piece, and I absolutely cannot stand to rush another author. So, next month, #30 will include the new vignette by Sonya and my "Rappaccini's Dragon" (which I hope to finish writing tomorrow). Also, there will be no illustration from Vince this month, due to a death in his family. However, he'll be back next month. I hope that was something like coherent, because I am nothing like awake.

I received a very nice email yesterday from Mr. Robert Feldman of Manhattan, the sort that keeps me from taking a claw hammer to my skull:

Ms. Kiernan,

I write to you from the dank, dark, and foreboding depths of the New York Public Library (yes, we do have ghosts and they do wear roller-skates!) where I am currently cataloging the new edition of your
Tales of Pain and Wonder. I've read Alabaster and your contributions to Wrong Things and am very much enjoying the stories in Tales.... The Salmagundi and Salammbo stories are truly blowing me away because I attended the Storm King School (1971-74) and am very familiar with that part of the Hudson Valley. Your Pollepel Island is obviously your take on Bannerman's Island with it's spooky ruined castle right near Storm King Mountain. I climbed that mountain many, many times, and slept out overnight there; it is very creepy around there and a perfect setting for your stories. The Hudson Valley has many many places like this, certainly Sleepy Hollow inspired Washington Irving to write his tale of the headless horseman. A bit further north there is an island off the town of Staatsburg where wicked old Uncle Aleister Crowley spent the summer of 1918, supposedly writing "Do what thou wilt" red paint on the rocks for passing ships to see. Then there is the town of Tivoli, much gentrified now but an extremely haunting place in the '70's when I attended Bard College just down the road from there. Thanks for reminding me of these places; they have an atmosphere that's very misty and otherworldly and I have many memories of them. I am enjoying your work very much and am looking forward to reading more. I've cataloged at the Library for twenty years now but this is the first time I've contacted an author. This is a good day job for an old Punk Rock/Goth guitar player and the perks are I get to discover writers like you and Poppy Brite while I'm working. Best wishes and I'll be looking forward to reading more of your work.

It makes everything just a little bit easier to take, knowing there's a copy of Tales of Pain and Wonder at the central branch of the NYC Public Library, where once I climbed a stone lion. Thank you, Robert.

I did 1,189 words yesterday on the new story, the aforementioned "Rappaccini's Dragon." I'd really hoped to finish it this month, but the mess that was Monday made that impossible. Then I packed four very heavy boxes of books, and Spooky washed more dinosaurs (photos here in her LJ; [ profile] humglum), including my set from the Royal Ontario Museum and the Boston Museum of Science. Just now, she was making a joke regarding "Bathosaurus," and I checked, because I figured there was surely a "Bathysaurus," and there is, though it's not a reptile, but the Deepsea Lizardfish, Bathysaurus ferox. Anyway, after the packing, we read over "Flotsam" and "Concerning Attrition and Severance" for the sake of line edits. I think we finished that up at 7 pm, then had leftover chili for dinner. I looked over the new National Geographic, which is largely devoted to China and the ecological catastrophe that is China (fully 50% of the Yellow River [Huang He] — the sixth longest in the world — has been declared "biologically dead").

More Millenium last night, episode #9 from Season 1, "Loin Like a Hunting Flame." And then the new episode of Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel. And why the hell do I write all this crap down? Some odd compulsion to record.

Tomorrow is Beltane. Already.

I really am loving the new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds disc. After last years Grinderman solo project, I had a feeling they'd be headed back this direction after the low point of Nocturama (2003). Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! feels a lot more like Let Love In with smatterings of the earlier albums.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Yes, I am disappointed by the results of the Pennsylvania primary. I don't think that either Clinton or Obama have much of a chance of winning the presidency, and I'm not one of those who sees Obama as some sort of panacea for the ills of this country, but, still. I've been trying to hope.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on a new piece for Sirenia Digest #30. It has no title, and I'm really not sure, yet, how to describe it.

While I'm thinking of it, here's that list again, those of my books in print, the ones that need to sell, the editions that need to sell (new, not used copies), etc.:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

Not much else to say for yesterday. I read a bit of Justine by the Marquis DeSade before I started writing. Last night, I watched two episodes of Deadliest Catch (despite the Bon Jovi theme song), a series I have a peculiar fondness for. My thing about the sea, I suppose. Hauling things up from the sea. The bleak beauty of the Bering Strait.

I think I need intravenous Red Bull this morning... (and it's not even really morning now, as of seventeen minutes ago).
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
First, an apology, of sorts, to the people who read this journal via MySpace. A few days back, MySpace mysteriously jettisoned the login cookie that prevents me having to remember my password and which email account I use for MySpace, and because I do actually rather hate MySpace, it was this morning before I could be bothered to try and remember what was what.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,267 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree. And I think that I have decided that there will not be footnotes, because too many people complain that footnotes break up the flow of the text. Instead, there will be endnotes for each chapter, which are really the same thing as footnotes, only they come at the end of the chapter instead at the foot of each page. Yesterday, I completed the first section of the chapter, and today I will begin the second.

It's that time again, time to point you to the places where you can easily acquire copies of all of my novels, and one of the short-story collections, so that no one has to utter those dreaded words, "I can't find your books." (shudder)

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

Not a bad day yesterday. I was done with the writing by 4:30 p.m. or so, and it was one of those perfect spring days outside. All those shades of fresh green bursting forth against the blue sky, and the sun so white and dazzling. I left the house for the second day in a row. We walked to Videodrome to return Enchanted (which I still name grotesquely charming). Then we got Thai for dinner, and then we watched the first two episodes of Millennium (now that we're done with Angel). Though I truly loved the second season, I missed most of the first. I think Millennium might have been Chris Carter at his creepiest, and I'm just glad it didn't show up on television until more than two years after I'd written my first Deacon Silvey story.

I passed much of the remainder of the evening in Second Life, rping with the Omegas in Toxian City. Really, it was all too complex and wacky and peculiar to try and recount, though Nareth's victorious battle against the sentient interstellar fungi that had infected her thrall's brain was quite invigorating. Later, Spooky read me more of House of Leaves. "Which is exactly when Karen screams." Such a sublime line. Oh, there was a very brief "absence" seizure following dinner, but I think I'm actually getting used to those little ones. So yes, a fine yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Slowly retrieving some of that lost sleep from last week. A full eight hours last night. I'm feeling much, much better, thank you. Sleep deprivation is one of the worst things for me just now, and I've made a new resolution to be in bed by two ayem every night. I may not be asleep, but at least I'll be in bed.

Today, with luck, I will begin writing The Red Tree. I now have four and a half months to write the novel, and I'll easily lose two weeks of that to the move. Yesterday, I finished Michael E. Bell's Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires (2001), a really excellent book treating the folklore of the tuberculosis-related cases of "vampirism" from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc. I first encountered the book at the Peace Dale Public Library (one of the most beautiful libraries in South County) in August 2006, while doing research there, and I scarfed a used copy of the book somewhere or another, but it's taken me this long to get around to reading it.

Yesterday, I also read "Ichnotaxonomy* of bird-like footprints: an example from the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic of Northwest Argentina" in the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. After dinner (Spanish rice with chicken, pintos with jalapeños, fresh avocados and tomato), I did a nice bit of rp with Lorne, Brit, Nicholette, and Artemisia (er...Spooky) in the library in Toxian City. Then Spooky and I watched Danny Boyle's Sunshine for the fourth time. Later still, I organized the hard-drive on my old iBook (Victoria Regina) while she read me a couple more chapters of House of Leaves (this will be our third time through). That was yesterday, pretty much.

Most of the stress during the last couple of weeks has derived from our trying to find a place to live in Providence, a living space suited to our particular needs and my particular aesthetic. We thought we'd found something good in Elmwood, but it turned out not to be so good after all. Don't even get me started on the three front doors. But yesterday, Spooky's mother looked at an apartment near the Armory District, which we think is going to be the place. It's perfect. So, the stress level has lessened considerably. Now, I just have to contemplate the nightmare of packing and making the actual move. We'll likely leave Atlanta sometime between mid and late May, so, not much time left at all.

I've not left the house since we got back from the Colin Meloy show on Thursday night, mostly because the weather turned cold after the thunderstorms on Friday. The warm-up is coming slower than predicted. It's been a chilly spring. I don't think we've had a single day in the '80s (Fahrenheit) yet. Right now, it's 48F, but feels like 42F with the wind chill.

My thanks to David Kirkpatrick ([ profile] corucia) for the following photo (behind the cut), taken in a local (for him) Barnes and Noble in Minneapolis. I've always been annoyed at authors who measure their success by how many inches their books take up on the shelves of a bookshop, but, after most of these novels went out of print two years ago, seeing them back, seeing that I presently have five novels and a novelization on the shelves (and that they appear to be in the "science fiction and fantasy" section, not "horror"), is somewhat reassuring, I must admit.

Shelfage )

Oh, and I have this comment from [ profile] reverendcrofoot, regarding the age of the narrator in The Red Tree: "See, the thing with age is unless the author says it directly it's really hard to tell. I would have never guessed Dancy's age if you hadn't told me...Make her whatever age you want, but just don't tell us how old she is...avoid it. It would be interesting to see the ages people guess."

It would be interesting, perhaps, but I am far too visual and specific in my writing to allow the age of a central character (or most minor ones) to go unstated. How Sarah Crowe will face the trials of the novel, who she is, and so forth, all that stems from the sum of her life experiences, which can be measured, in part, by her age. A twenty-year-old woman would very likely not cope with these experiences the same way that a forty-four-year-old woman would, and much of what concerns me as an author is how a character acts or reacts (truthfully, I would argue action and reaction are synonyms) in any given situation. That was one of the joys of writing "Salammbô Redux (2007)" for the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder, having the opportunity to go back and look at a character I first wrote as a preteen, now in her forties. So, interesting idea, but it would never work for me.

Oh, and I think today is the last day to vote in the 2008 Locus Poll & Survey. Many of my short stories are eligible, and Daughter of Hounds made the drop-down menu in the "Best Fantasy Novel" category.

Okay. Time for the juice of the bean.

* An ichnotaxon is a taxon — a family, genus, or species — based solely on evidence derived from fossil footprints (or other traces, such as the burrows left by marine animals). When I lived in Birmingham, back when I was still doing paleontology, I was often aided by Andy Rindsberg, a friend and inchologist, Curator of the paleontological collections of the Alabama State Geological Survey.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I'd not heard that Oakland Cemetery was damaged in the tornado of March 14th, the one that hit downtown Atlanta and the Fulton Cotton Mill lofts. The cemetery is directly west of the lofts, and, I know now that part of my mind has been trying hard not to consider the possibility that Oakland was hit. Of course, we haven't driven over there, because I didn't want to know how bad it was. Look at me, sticking my head in the sand. But last night I got email from Mike, one of my readers on MySpace, that Oakland was, indeed, hit and badly hit. This is the cemetery where I was interviewed last April for Frank Woodward's forthcoming Lovecraft documentary. Margaret Mitchell is buried there, along with various governors and Civil War veterans. I've read that eighty-six trees were uprooted as the storm passed through Oakland, including crape myrtles, magnolias, and oaks. Some of the trees were at least a century and a half old. And there are not many places in Atlanta that have ever made me feel any sense of peace, that even feel like places, but Oakland is one of them. Back when Atlanta still had a goth scene, lovely Victorian picnics were held at Oakland. It was one of the few reminders of history in a city that has worked so fervently to forget its history. So, I was horrified at the news. And yet, I thought, at least it wasn't the zoo that was hit, or the aquarium, or the botanical gardens. But still. Below is a photograph Spooky took last spring. I do not know if any of those trees are still standing. The cemetery is now closed, indefinitely, to visitors, and an evaluation is underway to determine what will be required for the restoration.

As for yesterday, I wound up going outside after all, chilly weather or no chilly weather. I needed to get over to Emory University to find a couple of books I want to read again before writing my afterword for A is for Alien, including John J. Pierce's Odd Genre: A Study in Imagination and Evolution (1994) and Slusser and Rabkin's Aliens: The Anthropology of Science Fiction (1987). At least there were no civil-defence sirens this time. We did hear a chickadee, as we were leaving, but never spotted it. Also, yesterday, I sent a copy of the new edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder to Jeff VanderMeer. Well, actually, Spooky's the one who made the trip to the p.o., not me. She also sent the "typescript" of A is for Alien to Sonya ([ profile] sovay) and the signed contracts for the same book to subpress. A new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived. Really not much else to say for yesterday.

A small seizure last night. Not one of the big tooth-cracking ones. I just went somewhere else for thirty seconds or a minute or so. Still, it scares the hell out of me and Spooky both. I'm not sure if I'm going to continue mentioning the fits here. The seizure days.

I have a phone call from my agent at four p.m., and I'm hoping to do some writing first, so I should wrap this up. I have something in mind, a very short piece to accompany "Pickman's Other Model" in Sirenia Digest #28. So, time to gather up my platypus and get to it.

Postscript (3:26 p.m.) — A contest. I'm taking requests for the short second piece, a vignette (approx. 2,000 words), for this month's issue of Sirenia Digest. Something overtly erotic, something sharp, something nasty*. Please leave your suggestions here or email to greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com, suggestions, requests, whatever, and should I choose your request/suggestion, I will send you your choice of either a signed and personalized copy of the Beowulf novelization or the new mmp of Murder of Angels. C'mon, people. Challenge me.

* "nasty" sensu "malicious; spiteful" and/or "painful or dangerous; grave" and/or "morally offensive; indecent."
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died. From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Childhood's End, a notable influence on my own writing, on themes addressed in my own sf, and a remarkable human being.


We made it all the way through the proofreading of "Pickman's Other Model" yesterday (44 ms. pp.; for Sirenia Digest #28). But between my cough and Spooky aching ear, we did not get to "The Ape's Wife" or begin reading the A is for Alien ms. That'll be today.

And, again, here are the links for my books, those presently in print, the most recent editions, the ones I have to worry about sales figures for:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder


There resides in our freezer the remains of a Peep that we began either experimenting upon or torturing (take your pick) way back in either 2003 or 2004. It's been subjected to microwaves and repeated freezing and thawing, over four or five years now. Amazingly, you can still see its "eyes." It stands as my salute to Corporate Xtian Holidays Stolen From Pagan Sources©. And as proof of the durability of certain supposed foodstuffs. There are two photos (warning — nasty) behind the cut, which Spooky took day before yesterday:

not food )


Ostara is upon us again. If she's up to it, Spooky and I will observe the sabbat Friday night.

And there's really not much else to be said for now. It's grey and dreary out, not quite cold, not quite warm, and I'm wishing I were anywhere but here; okay, well, not anywhere....
greygirlbeast: (kong2)
I've just gotten word that Steve Jones is taking "The Ape's Wife" for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (#19). This will mark my ninth appearance in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror since 1998. And I love this particular story so much, I'm very glad to see it make the cut.

And, in case you've not already figured it out, no, the tornado did not suck us away to Oz last night. But we did lose power for a while. Most of the damage was downtown and to the west, south and east of us. We got a terrific thunderstorm, with hail. Even as I type this, a new line of storms is bearing down on the city, but hopefully nothing like what came through last night.

Not much to report about yesterday, except that my hair is all red again. And my editor is as baffled as I as to why you cannot yet order the new edition of Murder of Angels from, and she's looking into it (but, hey, that's why we have Barnes & Noble). Oh, and last night we watched Alison Chernick's documentary, Matthew Barney: No Restraint (2006), about the making of Barney's Drawing Restraint 9 (2005). Fortunately, one of the iBooks had enough juice to play a DVD, so we did not perish of boredom.

On Thursday, well, tons of the busyness of writing, including an interview for the Fearzone website. The uncorrected draft of "Pickman's Other Model" was sent to Vince to illustrate for Sirenia Digest #28. I think the rest was too dull to bear mentioning, no matter how much of it there was.

And if you're an SL steampunk, do not forget that Monday is Air Kraken Day. Don't worry. I'll take pictures.

Okay, well, Spooky says I need a bath, and she's willing to help, so shut up, Herr Platypus, it'll all still be here waiting for me afterwards...

Here are the links to the latest editions of all my books, the ones I need to sell so that there will be future books:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder
greygirlbeast: (mucha)
Yesterday was a decent enough writing day. I did 1,125 words on "Pickman's Other Model" and finished the third section of the story. HPL never gave first names for either Eliot or Thurber, and after looking into names that were popular in the late 19th Century, when Thurber (narrator) of "Pickman's Model" would have likely been born*, I have settled on William Thurber, who, it turns out, had an older sister named Ellen (I think).

Have I mentioned how much I love the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. I do not generally tend to look at my books very much once they are published, but I'm making an exception with this one. It's been such a long road, turning this collection into a book I'm happy with, I feel I should try to savor it. This edition more than makes up for the mess that Meisha Merlin foisted upon me (and everyone who bought the book). This is probably as near to what I'd originally intended it to be as I can ever hope to come.

Byron dropped by last night, and we did dinner at the Vortex, and broke the news to him about the move to Rhode Island. I'm going to make a very short list about the things in the South I will miss, and Bryon is on that list. He took it well. Of course, I wish we could just haul him north with us. Anyway, after dinner, we watched Austin Powers (1997), which I'd never seen, and Spooky had only seen while stoned. I fear I was not impressed. I tried to be impressed, but it just seemed like the same only faintly humorous line delivered again and again. For spoofs of sixties spies, I'll stick with James Coburn and Lee J. Cobb in Daniel Mann's Our Man Flint (1966). After the movie, we happened to catch the infamous scientology episode of South Park (which I'd only seen once), and I swear, that one episode is such a tremendous service to mankind that Trey Parker and Matt Stone deserve a Nobel Prize.

Sometime back, I decided it was best for this blog to steer clear of politics, but Hilary Clinton's behavior the last couple of weeks has finally pushed me to break radio silence on the subject of the 2008 US presidential election. Specifically, her bizarre attempt to convince voters that, if worse comes to worse and she doesn't get the Democratic nomination, that the Republican's McCain would make a better President than would Barack Obama. Has any Democratic candidate ever made such a twisted, desperate bid to sway an election? It's very hard to listen to her campaign rhetoric and not come away with the impression that what she's really saying here comes down to, "Yes, McCain's the enemy, but at least he's white." So, though I hate sounding like a reactionary, I have chosen what is, in my opinion, the lesser of two evils, or, more specifically, Hilary Clinton's actions have made the choice for me. The Obama sign goes up in the front yard next week. Besides, he's kind of cute, and we surely can't say that about McCain or Clinton, and I think he's more likely to get the country out of Iraq than is the somewhat hawkish Hilary Clinton. As usual, Olbermann does not mince words:

Anyway, don't forget that Sunday everyone switches back to Caitlín Standard Time (which is sort of annoying, as I will no longer be early for everything).

* I draw this conclusion based upon Thurber describing himself as "middle-aged" and the assumption that the story is contemporaneous with the time that HPL wrote it (September 1926; published October 1927).
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I was up a wee bit too late last night (but thank you Lorne and Larissa), and then there were the nightmares, so I'm presently somewhat dazed and disoriented. I'm awake, I'm just mostly elsewhere.

Yesterday, I did 1,070 words on "Pickman's Other Model." The writing started out slowly, but then built up some momentum. A much better day of it than I had on Wednesday. If it'll just all hold together, in terms of the story's historical authenticity, I think I'm going to like this one.

I want to say again how happy I am with the Subterranean Press edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. My thanks to everyone who has ordered a copy thus far.

After about half a dozen people expressed an interest in participating in the Second Life "Sirenia Players," I went ahead and established the group yesterday evening. At this point, four people have been invited in, three have accepted. More invitations will go out this evening. We'll probably have an informal get-together in a few weeks, to talk through the basics, lay some ground rules, and so forth. If you're interested, I need your SL username, otherwise I can't find you to send you an invitation, and the group is invite-only.

A good walk yesterday, down Sinclair Avenue to talk to Daisy Dog and the dinosaur. The Narcissus and camellias are blooming. I'm going to miss these Southern springs, but I figure it'll be more than fair, the trade off. Speaking strictly in terms of climate, it's a bloody shame the great industrial (and cultural) centers of this country were not founded in the southeast, instead of the northeast. Oh, fickle fucking happenstance. Anyway, after dinner, another two episodes of Angel. I enjoyed "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," but "Supersymmetry" was just a little too something.

And really, I think that's all for now. Time to dance with the platypus in the pale moonlight (


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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