greygirlbeast: (Aeryn and Pilot)
00. I'm not feeling very bow tie this afternoon. Comments would be nice.

01. Yesterday there was email, and Subterranean Press needed some stuff from me for The Yellow Book, which, you may recall, is the FREE hardcover chapbook that accompanies the limited edition (but not the trade) of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Little odds and ends, nothing major. And I was still waiting to hear from an editor, so I proposed to Spooky that we proceed with a long, long delayed office renovation. We spent about an hour moving a shelf and books and stuff, then spent two hours realizing that the table we wanted to put in my office would never fit (this involved Spooky calling her Mom in South County to remeasure Spooky's sister Steph's old table out in the barn). Nope. No dice. So, I have resigned myself to being stuck in an office even smaller than my last (Mansfield Avenue, Atlanta, GA), which was, at best, a third as large as my office before that (Kirkwood Lofts, Atlanta, GA). A few years from now, at this rate, they'll have me writing in a restroom stall. Ah, well. At least then I'll never have an excuse to stand up. Anyway, in the end (no pun intended), yesterday was mostly a sadly and exhausting wasted day. Though, I did leave the house for the first time in five or six days.

02. In list of weird books to give the weird people in your lives for the holidays (that would be Solstice and/or Cephalopodmas), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, over at the Weird Fiction Review website (virtual sister of the Centipede Press print digest of the same name), in their listing Two Worlds and In Between, write:

Standing as one member of the Triad of Infernal Weird – the three who clearly have signed pacts with demons to keep the quality of their story forever elevated – that also includes Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco, Kiernan has emerged since the 1990s as a master of the weird tale.

Clearly, we haven't been keeping those meetings secret enough. Regardless, the VanderMeers strongly recommend the book ("This collection from Subterranean only confirms her brilliance."), along with several other very wonderfully weird titles (kittens, the word horror, when used to denote a literary genre, is so very not bow tie; parentheses are, though – trust me).

03. Today will be spent writing a very whimsical piece for Sirenia Digest #73, "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea." Think Victorian flower language (id est, floriography) and you're halfway there. I intend to enjoy writing this.

04. A point of etiquette (unless you happen to wish to seem a douchebag):

a) When a kerfuffle is made over a company publicly insulting transgender persons, and there is outrage, and said company wisely apologizes (though, note, I don't consider an apology an exoneration), and a somewhat prominent transgender author notes that at least this is evidence that change is coming, even if it's coming very, very slowly, do not

b) post in that authors' Facebook that, while you sympathize, you also find the insult funny, and then

c) when said author explains why it's not fucking funny do not

d) dig in your heels and go on about how some people take themselves too seriously, or

e) you will find yourself banned from that author's Facebook, Matthew Baker. Because admitting that you find a joke at the expense of transgender people funny, but also understanding it hurts them, but you still find it funny, makes you a hateful and transphobic (here's that word again) douchebag. I'll not dwell on the coincidences that you are also male, white, and cisgender. Also, definitely do NOT begin emailing the author afterwards to call them names, because then you'll have graduated from douchebag to troll.

05. Last night, after sandwiches from the Eastside Market deli, we watched Scott Crocker's documentary on the mistaken resurrection of the (almost certainly) extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Ghost Bird, with music by the amazing Zoë Keating. Ghost Bird is an exquisite film, not only because it documents this episode in the history of humanity's thoughtless elimination of other species, but because it serves as a case study of how science works: the theory, the methodology, responsibility, the politics, publishing, personal conflicts, and the perils of wishful thinking. See it; for the moment it can be streamed from Netflix.

After the film, there was Rift (which is to say, my social life), and Indus reached Level 40 (only ten to go). Then I read a rather good story by Ramsay Campbell, "Getting It Wrong," who needs no one to tell him how the Plight of Family X can, and usually does, make for a truly dull story. By the way, one day soon, I'll explain why several books, including Danielewski's House of Leaves, Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door, my own The Red Tree, and a few others, emphatically do not fall into the dreaded subgenre trap of "Family X Move Into the Bad House and Have Their Normative Domestic Bliss Wrecked by an Inconvenient Intrusion from Outside." The answer is surprisingly simple, though extraordinarily complex.

And now, the words.

Simply Complex and Complexly Simple,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:34 p.m.): Word from my editor at Penguin that the final and corrected cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
I'm sitting here composing, in my head, a Tom Waits song that Tom Waits will never compose, much less record. But it's about not sending "wish you were here" postcards to nightmares.

Someone said something. I won't say who or where the comment was made. The "You're a horror writer" thing. No, I'm not. But. If you insist, maybe it's simply that my definition of "horror" and yours are so vastly different that we possess incommensurable worldviews and can't actually communicate on the subject in any mutually intelligible way (by the way, if you grew up without phonetics/phonics, you're screwed; then again, I guess that's why we have "l33t," "texting," and online dictionaries).

Why no, I'm not in a good mood. Not at all. Not after those dream worlds. And given the fact that there's no way for me to conclusively demonstrate to myself that they're any less objectively "real" than this waking world wherein I'm typing this LJ entry (never mind the world wherein you're reading it; I'll not open that can of worms). Still, this mood has to be bent far enough in that direction that I can get "Sexing the Weird" finished today. I have to be productive. No option, even if there's a hypothetical option.

Problem is, I have this thing I thought would take me two days to write, and today will be day four...I think. I spent yesterday navigating my way through the original and expurgated texts of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and then it was Machen's "The Great God Pan," and finally that got me to the central focus of Part One of the introduction, which is simply that Lovecraft wrote a LOT about fucking. I began with "The Dunwich Horror," a lamentably silly, sprawling tale that I sincerely wish were not thought of as one of HPL's best. But, nonetheless, it is a tale of interspecies and interdimensional sex, and therefore serves my purposes. Today, onward. The thesis statement is remarkably simple: sex (and especially "deviant" sex) has often been at the heart of weird fiction, all the way back to the Gothics. Though...I only go as far back Le Fanu, and if anyone wants to go farther back, well...the path is marked. And yeah, I see the repetitive nature of two of those sentences. Let's pretend I did it on purpose.

---

Today is the 13th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. The whole thing is explained here, for those who need an explanation. I'd like to think that no one does need an explanation. Transgender people live with the constant threat of physical and psychological violence, and even death, every single hour of our lives. No matter who you become, that threat, and the fear it engenders, never goes away. Even when you might actually be genuinely safe. Because too many times you haven't been, and you know what might happen if you're not careful and can't figure out how to cheat all the immutable pink and blue rules of a cisgendered world (and you can't). Me, I have about a hundred tales. Someday, maybe I'll tell one of the closest calls I ever had, which concerns three drunken Athens, GA frat boys bearing down on me as I gripped a can of pepper spray. Playing chicken with hate, as it were. No one can count the dead, but we can remember a few who must serve, in these grim mathematics, as the symbols for an unknown (and unknowable) number.

---

Last night a new episode of Fringe, "And Those We Leave Behind," and it was so good I cannot imagine how this series is still on the air. It just keeps going to stranger places. We all do this at our own risk, going weird places, if we expect anyone to follow. And storytellers tend to have to wish for followers. Elsewise, we're only talking to ourselves. Not that there's anything wrong with talking to ourselves. Me to myself. You to yourself. Unless you need to make a living telling stories (an awful, awful situation). Anyway, a fine episode, and I think they finally made me care about Peter Bishop, who has almost always felt like a great slab of nothing interesting. I just hope that the series either a) wraps things up this season or b) doesn't lose it's following and is permitted another season. Were it me, I'd have taken this season to end the story, especially considering how this season almost didn't happen.

The platypus shakes the word basket, and I reach inside, hoping this isn't one of those days the platypus is being cute and has slipped in a few razorblades just for shits and giggles.

Remembering,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
It's Friday, kittens. Comment, as evidence that LJ isn't about to fade away.

A beautiful, beautiful sunny day out there. But I will be "good," and not run away to the seashore when I ought to be writing. My window's open, and for now that's just going to have to suffice.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,517 words on a new piece, for Sirenia Digest #65, "The Carnival is Dead and Gone." It sort of feels like it's happening in the same near future Manhattan as "A Season of Broken Dolls," and was inspired by all the talk about sideshows and freaks. So, a very good writing day. May there be another today.

---

I was just reading yesterday's [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse report on the assault of transwoman Chrissy Lee Polis and its aftermath. On the one hand, it's heartening to know that "Over 135,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the McDonald’s Corporation holds its employees accountable for the assault." And seeing hundreds of people show up for an anti-hate rally outside the MacDonalds where the attack occurred, that doesn't hurt, either. However, as the [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse article notes:

"Coverage of the story on the web has been as painful to watch as the footage itself. It was awful to witness the first wave of discussion, which appeared almost exclusively on white supremacist blogs, with transphobia piling on top of racism as details about Polis’ identity emerged. It was painful to watch mainstream, high-traffic blogs use the word 'tranny' in their coverage (the best example of this being, if memory serves correctly, Time-Warner-owned blog Smoking Gun, though their posts appear to have now been scrubbed of the slur). And it was painful to watch Polis’ own twin brother continually refer to her as 'my brother' and pointedly use male gender pronouns at her support rally. All around, a damning look at the country’s state of gender awareness, or lack thereof."

Lots of people aren't going to understand that thing about tranny. But just imagine Smoking Gun using words like nigger and faggot in articles reporting violations of African American and gay male rights. Yeah, it's like that. Doesn't mean you won't hear it used by transgender people, but...well, I'm going to assume I don't have to explain how an oppressed minority reclaims or appropriates denigrating language and, in so doing, gains strength from a thing that was meant to cause them harm.

---

Last night, we watched Robert Rodriguez' Machete (2010). We've actually had that particular Netflix envelope, unopened, since early February (!!!). Mostly, I was afraid that what made a very funny 30-second faux movie trailer couldn't be sustained for 105 minutes. But, I was wrong to worry, I'm happy to say. And fuck all, but Michelle Rodriguez just keeps getting hotter and hotter.

Later, Spooky and I finished reading Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. And what a brilliant and beautiful novel it is. Truly and genuinely. I'm lousy commenting on books, because I usually find myself relying on words that come off trite and come nowhere near expressing how I actually feel. Just because someone can write a book doesn't mean she can review or commentate on a book. It took me a while to figure that out. Regardless, yes, if you didn't read this one for the AB Book Club, please get around to it eventually. I struggle every day to achieve such simple, splendid poignancy as Zusak displays in this novel, and I think I've never yet come anywhere close. So, buy a copy or get it from the library. Listen to the audiobook. If you must, read it on your Kindle (shudder). Just read it.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
At the moment, I'm just a tiny bit more disgusted with humanity than usual. Well, generalizations are never fair, but there you go. And a new word is needed, what with humanity's default setting seeming to be rather inhumane.

More "good" people than "bad" people?

Really?

You think?

Oh, yeah. Right. Easter fucking Sunday.

Were you in church this morning, Vernon Hackett?

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,181 words, and finished "Fake Plastic Trees," and today I'll send it to the book's editor.

It's warm today. I should be Outside.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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