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

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

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

Slow down, you move to fast.

We used to wait...

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

---

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

---

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

Wishing for the Salvation of Summer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
A day when you wake up two hours later than planned, well, there's not a lot you can do to salvage a day like that. Funny fucking thing is, yesterday I had a sort of panic & epiphany combo meal, realizing it was idiotic for me to think I could take a vacation from December 15th to January 3rd. That I thought the work would wait, or that I wouldn't be overwhelmed as soon as my playing hookey ended. So, I resolved to scrap the plans we had for this week (which included a trip to Yale and a trip to Marblehead, Mass.) and get back to work today.

And then...I didn't wake up until 1 p.m. (CaST).

Which sort of shredded my plans for today good and proper, and which is why it's 2:29 p.m. (CaST), and I'm only just starting my blog entry. I was going to get back to work on "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," but now I'm thinking, instead, I'll be lucky to deal with a bunch of email (one of the things I did yesterday, post-epiphany), then sign the signature sheets for the limited edition of A Book of Horrors (to be released by P.S. Publishing). But, in case you're curious (casually or otherwise), below is a list of what I have to have done between now and the end of January, and it ought to be enough to convince you of the folly of the "much-deserved vacation":

1. Produce Sirenia Digest #73, which means finishing "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" and writing another and as-yet-untitled science-fiction tale.
2. Editing Alabaster #3, as soon as I have my editor's notes.
3. Writing Alabaster #4
4. Keep track of the pages for Alabaster #2 as they're drawn and inked and colored.
5. Finishing making corrections to the mss. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book (about three weeks overdue, at this point).
6. Travel to Philadelphia sometime in the second half of January to finish up filming the trailer for The Drowning Girl.
7. Get the front page of my website revamped for the release of The Drowning Girl, and get it done ASAP.
8. Compile a list of suggested panels and other assorted programming for Readercon 23 for Rose Fox.

I mean...what the fuck was I thinking! That I was tired? Sure I'm fucking tired, but that's no excuse. Last week, my psychiatrist was trying to convince me to "drop something" to reduce my workload, and I think I did a pretty unconvincing job of explaining why I can't drop anything, not without...

It's like this. Lots of people have a lot of trouble understanding what it's like to be a "famous writer" who is only just managing to squeak by financially. In this economic climate, you'd think it would be an easy enough matter to understand. But yes, the vacation is over, and I just have to hope there wasn't too much time frittered away.

As for yesterday, there was prune hamantashan, a trip to our storage unit in Pawtucket, a clove cigarette (actually, these days they're clove cigars, technically), short fiction by Norman Partridge, William Browning Spencer, and Michael Marshall Smith. Partridge's "Lesser Demons" is an interesting new take on the tiresome zombie trope, and Smith's story, "Fair Exchange" is just about the funniest Innsmouth story I've ever read. Normally, I don't like funny in my Lovecraft. Normally, I'm violently opposed to it, in fact. But if you read this story, and hear the narrator's voice as Jason Statham, from the days of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, it's a fucking hilarious story. Yesterday, the cold sky over Providence was so blue it was murderous – that wide carnivorous sky of which I've been speaking of for years.

Carnivorous,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (river3)
Don't forget, kittens, today is Krampus Day. Behave accordingly.

Bodies, can't you see what everybody wants from you?
If you could want that, too, then you'll be happy.
~ St. Vincent, "Cruel"

Yesterday, I wrote 1,241 words and so began "Another Tale of Two Cities" for Sirenia Digest. I'm hoping very much that it will be finished on the evening of the 7th, at the latest. It might be called science fiction, but I'd rather just call it weird erotica. And speaking of the evening of the 7th, I'm very much hoping to see more replies to the Question @ Hand #5 by then.

Last week, I stopped myself from buying an iPhone, though I seem to need one. In part, I stopped myself out of fear of another wave of "buyer's remorse," such as experienced recently, immediately after purchasing Kermit the iPad. Which I seemed to need for work. Since that purchase, by the way, I have found about fifty wonderful uses for Kermit the iPad...but not a single one of them has been work related*. Sure, endless mobile Japanese porn – no denying that rocks – but not exactly what my editors mean when they speak of "increased connectivity." In the Elder Days, by the way, we just said "easier to contact." Anyway, I didn't buy the iPhone, because (even though my cellphone is a pile of bantha dung), near as I can tell the iPhone and the iPad do exactly the same thing. Only, the iPhone has a vastly smaller screen and keys (and the virtual keys on my iPad are already too small for my admittedly large fingers), and I'll be damned if I can figure out a single useful thing the iPhone does that Kermit the iPad doesn't already do. Well, except make phone calls. And I hate making, and receiving, phone calls. Besides, technically, the iPad does permit video calls, all Jetson-like, using either FaceTime or Skype. Of course, the thought of a video call terrifies me beyond words. It's bad enough that callers can hear me. Let them see me, too? Anyway, point is, other than the fact that the iPhone is much smaller, and therefore even more mobile...why bother? And, by the way, you know, I hope, that all this increased connectivity nonsense, it's nothing but a) a means for the CIA, NSA, BTFA, DHS, and aliens from Planet X to keep track of you, and b) is being sold to us so that we never have a moment free of the grinding machine of capitalism (yes, excessive socialization aids and abets the agenda of the New World Order).

Damn, that's a long paragraph.

Probably, I ought to stop now. Only, I'll first point out that – following this thread – ebooks do the same thing as books, only not as well, and the ones you buy today will PROBABLY be inaccessible in a few years, and you can't donate them to libraries, or leave them to anyone. Meanwhile, my hard copies might well be accessible five hundred years from now, and can be bequeathed to loved ones. However, "we" are increasingly a selfish and short-sighted species (this makes my life easier = this is good), now more than ever before, so none of this is relevant. But I'm beating a dead horse. Whack, whack, whack.

Staring at Kermit,
Aunt Beast

* Spooky says this is not true, as all of Blood Oranges was proofed on the iPad. I will qualify, and say that actually she only used it to read along while I read the hard-copy ms. aloud and made marks on it. Still, I suppose she has a point.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
But I won’t follow you into the rabbit hole.
I said I would, but then I saw
Your shivered bones.
They didn’t want me to.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 December 2011 )


Feelin' Scruffy,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Happy birthday to Neil, Holly, and Spooky's sister, Stephanie! Also, happy forty-second birthday to Sesame Street, which first aired on this date in 1969! And I was there*. No, really. I watched the first episode the day it was broadcast. Yes, I am getting old. But Kermit's even older. And now he's even older. And now he's older still. Me, too. Neil, Holly, and Stephanie, too. Funny how that works.

---

Now that I've returned to the wider, stranger arena of mass media, I'm having to remind myself how careful one has to be during interviews. I already have "a for example". This morning, Digital Spy is reporting:

Kiernan previously wrote for The Dreaming and other Sandman spinoff titles, which she described as "a very unpleasant experience" and "creative nightmare".

What I actually said, as accurately reported yesterday by Comic Book Resources, was:

Most of the time I was working for DC/Vertigo, it was a very unpleasant experience. Sometimes, pretty much a creative nightmare.

Context and subtly, people. There were some grand and wonderful moments working on The Dreaming, some gleaming moments, even. Just not enough of them to redeem the whole. But the first three story arcs, then getting to work with Dave McKean and John Totleben, all the stuff I learned from Neil, Goldie the Gargoyle, "The First Adventure of Miss Catterina Poe"...it was not all bad, as the Digital Spy article would have you think I said. Neil recently said to me, "The Dreaming taught you to be a professional," which is the truth. Anyway....if, somehow, you missed the announcement yesterday, here's last night's blog entry. Yes, there is going to be a Dancy comic.

---

I think one of the most frustrating things about being unable to talk about working with Dark Horse has been being unable to explain just how much work I'm juggling at the moment. Here's this month, November 2011 (the next twenty days), as "a for instance" (which is pretty much the same as "a for example"):

1) Write "Ex Libris" (~10k words) for chapbook to accompany Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance.
2) Finish with the galley pages of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, have them back in Manhattan by November 15th.
3) Write Alabaster: Wolves #3.
4) Write introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance, "Sexing the Weird."
5) Plan Sirenia Digest #72 (though it will likely be written in very early December).
6) Finish up the last of the edits on Alabaster: Wolves #2 (and comment on and approve and etc. and etc. the incoming pages from #1, endless brainstorming!!!!).

And actually, there's other stuff. But this is the work that's easy to categorize. "Bullet point. " Whatever. We're also working on selling Blood Oranges, for example, and there are new ebook pirates just off the coast, and more Dark Horse-related interviews on the way, and working with [livejournal.com profile] briansiano and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy on the trailer for The Drowning Girl, and...you get the picture. Oh, and if anyone with very good web-design fu is willing to revamp my main website for...um...free books, please contact me immediately. There's enough chaos in my life at the moment that my agent has actually started recommending meditation; I think my panicked phone calls are freaking her out.

Gagh. I should go. The platypus is gnawing on my goddamn toes. Platypus slobber is disgustipating. But, here's a rather random assortment of very lousy photos I took last night (after Kyle, every photo I take looks lousy):

9 November 2011 )


*Spooky was only a zygote.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I'll make no apologies for the tone of yesterday's post. There are no regrets. I will only offer an opaque excuse, that I have been made a party to what is, in my estimation, a sickening tragedy. One that could have easily been prevented. One I tried to prevent. And now I will carry the fact of it in my head for years.

And so, yeah, the fury's going nowhere soon. So, do not attempt to console me. It's amazing how many people on the internet are unable to comprehend that trying to calm a rabid animal only gets them bitten. Oh, and then they whine about how unfair it is they've been bitten. Poor fucking idiots.

---

Today there is work, which part of me needs badly. Never mind my having finished a novel day before yesterday. It's not that I love the work; it's that the work keeps me sane by filling a void. So, yes, work, important work, then my psychiatrist before dinner. There's a prescription.

And speaking of work, I have begun to realize there's presently confusion over the two books I've written this year, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Blood Oranges. The first – The Drowning Girl: A Memoir – took me about a year and a half to write, and is, by far, my best novel to date. The second – Blood Oranges - took me forty-five days to write, and if you think of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as, oh, let's say a gourmet meal, then Blood Oranges is the tasty, but fluffy and insubstantial, desert that comes afterwards.

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will be out from Penguin in March 2012.

Blood Oranges hasn't yet sold.

And while I'm at it:

Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be out, I think, in September (or maybe October) from Subterranean Press. If you've not ordered, you need to do so.

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be released by Subterranean Press sometime in 2012.

And there's a lot more, and it's awesome, but if I told you, I really would have to kill you. No joke.

---

Yesterday, I read two stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Used to be, I never read the anthologies my stories appeared in. Don't know why. I just never wanted to do it. But, the last year or so I've been reading some of the books with my stories. Anyway, yesterday I read two of the twenty-seven (I think it's twenty-seven) stories in The Book of Cthulhu. The first, John Langan's "The Shallows" is actually quite brilliant. It's unexpected, and fresh, and comes at you sideways. It's not what you think it is. These are all good things. The other was Thomas Ligotti's "Nethescurial," a very Ligottian take on the Lovecraftian found manuscript and the Lovecraftian malign artifact. And of course it was brilliant. It was Thomas fucking Ligotti.

But I fear there's a lot of this book I'm not going to like, stories I'll skip over. Because the author has chosen to use parody in her or his approach HPL, and that's just not my thing.

---

Yesterday, after a lot of work and email, the "day off" began about three p.m. We drove south and west almost to the Connecticut state line, to Westerly and on down to Watch Hill. To the lighthouse at Watch Hill. We took the narrow, winding road out to the lighthouse, and sat on the sea wall. To the west, the protected waters of Little Narragansett Bay were still and quiet. A flock of cormorants sunned themselves on rotting pilings. On the east side of the point, though, the waves were still wild. Now and then, the sun through the spray off the tops of the waves created the briefest of rainbows behind them. We watched surfers a while, then drove east to Moonstone Beach.

As I've said, Moonstone has many moods. And I saw another new one yesterday. I'd expected piles of pebbles and all manner of unusual strandings and flotsam. My expectation is irrelevant. The beach looked stripped raw. I can think of no other way to describe it. There's been a tremendous amount of erosion during the storm. The tide was coming in, and there were odd sandbars and eddies, and the crashing waves – some easily six to eight feet high – were coming in from the west, the east, the southeast, the southwest, in no discernible (gods, the English language is retarded) pattern. The air reeked overwhelmingly of dead fish, though not a dead fish was in evidence. The usual cobbles were almost entirely absent. The waters in the breaker zone were an ugly greenish black, loaded with sediment and all manner of...well...dead things. Mostly plant matter. Only the Piping Plovers seemed to be happy with the state of things, dashing about madly at the water's edge. I could see that the waves had overtopped the dunes and the sea had reached both Trustom and Card ponds. It was the sight of a place you trust as being the incarnation of calm, seen after terrible violence has occurred. But the error is mine. Panthalassa has no interest in my moods, impressions, or needs, and if I thought otherwise, I'd be a fool. Moonstone will heal, in time.

Between the ponds, there were birdwatchers, and we had our monoculars with us. We spotted a Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) and three Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus), both new to us.

We drove on to Narragansett, but there was no power. So we couldn't get dinner at Iggy's or at George's (which is actually in Galilee). We did manage to piss at a Cumberland Farms. Their power was out, but they let us use a Bic lighter. It's amazing how dark a women's room can be. At sunset, we drove past Scarborough Beach, and Narragansett Beach. The surf was heavy at the latter, but not as heavy as I'd expected. There were dozens of surfers in the water, most seeming a bit disappointed. All in all, we saw far less damage than I'd expected. And then we came home.

And that was yesterday. Oh, except for three wasted hours in Second Life. If you tell me you like it dark, and then bale when it gets rough, and without so much as a "good night," you're a simpering weasel, and it's really as simple as that.

Wrathfully,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
About twenty minutes ago, I finished Blood Oranges. For those who like numbers, I did 2,831 words today. I aimed for a word count of 70,000 words, and the manuscript came in at 70,024. I conceived of the book in April, and began writing it on May 5th. To put it all down on paper, only 45 actual writing days were required.

Hurricane Irene, I believe, was my midwife.

Never, in my twenty years as a writer, have I finished two novels in one year (never mind having also edited two collections of my short fiction).

I get one day off before I begin again.

Now, I'm going to lie down. Or look at the windblown streets....
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, the results of my experiment were interesting, though not especially dramatic. I was up until sometime just after five. The sky was swiftly brightening, the way it does here. Almost like someone throws a switch. And just after five, I finally lay down. I hadn't expected to fall asleep. I was lying in bed, listening to Brendan Perry, and drifted off. Partly, I suspect this was the result of my overwhelming exhaustion, partly the result of my efforts not to get anxious about sunrise, and partly because I spent half an hour reading cosmology.

Regardless, I slept. Until 10 ayem, when a very noisy landscaper, turning green space next door into a vast field of gravel, awoke me with a cacophony of ungodsly scrapey and drilly sounds. Spooky had already yelled out the window at the guy, "Get off your damn cellphone," or something of the sort. So, she was up. I grumped about a bit and returned to bed, where I managed to sleep until almost noon. I'm guessing a total of 6.5 hours. Not bad at all, and no nasty hangover. Too bad it won't last, but then nothing ever does.

---

They will write of her, "She was one of the last great voices on LiveJournal."

---

Yesterday, despite the fact I was too strung out to get anything done, I proceeded to answer Two Important Emails. Then I did line edits on "Fake Plastic Trees" for [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow (and Terri Windling). And then, kittens, I wrote 1,443 words on "Figurehead" for Sirenia Digest #67. Oh, and then I sent enough of the piece to Vince that he could go ahead and get to work on an illustration before I actually finish the story (which it has become, as it clearly had no desire to be a vignette). I have proven zombies can be productive writers. Whoosh!

After that, um...wait. I'll remember. Oh, yeah. Spooky made chili while I had a half hour nap. After dinner, we told Rift it could live without us One Damn Night. So, we watched James Cameron's Terminator (1984) and the director's cut of Terminator 2 (1991). The former holds up well, despite all the ridiculous eighties clothing and hair and some laughable animatronics. It's sort of funny seeing a baby Bill Paxton right at the beginning (he shows up in the credits as "Punk Leader"). Anyway, seeing the two films back to back set me to thinking about how my favorite Cameron films almost always have director's cuts, which I usually like better than the theatrical releases: Aliens, Terminator 2, and Avatar. Admittedly, these are long films made longer, but like the director's cuts of Jackson's LotR films, the editing and pacing in the director's cuts is always vastly smoother and more logical.

And that was yesterday.

The month is almost over, and it's almost time to announce the next book in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. I hope at least some of you have read and appreciated Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy. In a perfect world, I'd send out merit badges for each book completed.

It's warm here in Providence. Beginning to get hot here in the house. I need to go to the shore. But not this weekend. Memorial Day and Brown Graduation and all. A shame we were not able to make a few good trips down before tourist season began, but until about four days ago it was still winter.

Pretty Much Awake,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy, cold. Green. Green Spring, but not spring. Not spring sensu familiari. Sonya, please correct my Latin if it's too atrocious. Or my English, for that matter. I'm only a poor juggler of words. I squeeze them, and various sounds are released: melodious, hideous, alluring, repulsive, alarming, discordant, anti-harmonic, mucosal, beatific, soothing, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, and so forth, and on and on and on. Meow.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,392 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges and found the chapter's end. Which should not be mistaken for THE END. Today, Kathryn and I will read back over the whole of it, I'll do a quick polish, then send it to my agent. That's a complete chapter in a mere six days. 9,546 words. Immediately after finishing "The Carnival is Dead and Gone" and getting Sirenia Digest #65 out to subscribers, which I did immediately after finishing "Fake Plastic Trees," which I wrote immediately after the story for Dark Horse, which happened almost right after getting Sirenia Digest #64 out, which came on the heels of the Great Four-Day Editing Marathon of 2011 (involving both The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Two Worlds and In Between), which happened almost as soon as I'd finished writing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Which takes me back to...Monday, March 7th. Yes, after today, I think that I should take a few days off. Of course, I'll likely spend them cleaning, because when all I do is work – and Spooky, too – the place becomes all shamblefied. Well, it ought to be a word.

The "Question @ Hand" poll is now closed. There were 39 "yes" votes (88.6%), and only 5 (11.4%) "no" votes. So, I suppose I'll give it another shot. This is a very small sampling of the subscribers, and the results are in no way "scientific." But, there you go. I'll probably pose the next Question @ Hand in July, I'm thinking. Beforehand, I may ask for suggestions.

Yesterday, I read one article from the January JVP – "Three-dimensional pelvis and limb anatomy of the Cenomanian hind-limbed snake Epodophis descouensi (Squamata, Ophidia) revealed by synchrotron-radiation computed laminography."

The cat from downstairs came calling, unexpectedly, last night. Hubero is only just recovering.

Last night, we watched Pieter Van Hees' Linkeroever (Left Bank, 2008). It's a film that had tremendous potential. It has moments – entire scenes – that rank up there with, say, Låt den rätte komma in or Sauna. And, as someone mentioned, there's some undeniable overlap with The Red Tree. Ultimately, though, it falls apart, largely in the last few minutes. I can forgive the paganophobic crutch, the one that was so commonly employed during in the 1970s (think The Wicker Man or Harvest Home), but the Linkeroever's last scene – the childbirth scene – makes literal what should have remain implied. All mystery is destroyed. Explanation undoes the inexplicable. Truthfully, if the film had chosen to eschew the scary pagans trope, and if we'd only been left with the problem of an apartment building with a secret history and a Very Bad Place for a cellar, the film might have been brilliant. There was some remarkably disturbing imagery, some of it subtle, some of it not so subtle, but all of it struggling against the rather silly nonsense about the archery lodge and ancient Celtic blood sacrifices, and then all of it shot in the head by that ridiculous final scene. I do recommend you watch this film, but I also recommend you switch off the DVD as Marie is struggling to escape the cavern, as she screams and the light seems to be taking her apart. Stop it. Right there.

And we did some rp in Rift, a scene with four players, which is proving that patience and skill can spin good roleplay from the game. So, that was nice. Oh, and now there's a FREE trial (which Trion should have had from the start).

CASSIE: Hey. Good dream? Let me guess. The surface of the sun. Only dream I ever have. Every time I close my eyes, it's always the same.

Off to do the word thing.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
The snow and ice are here to stay. What little melting takes places during the day freezes solid as soon as the sun sets. I'm not kidding about glaciers. I may have to do a driveway glacier photo essay. The low last night was something like 9˚F.

Today, your comments would be most appreciated. Fridays are always slow.

I tried, yesterday, to take a day off, and failed. At this point, there's not been a day without work since Monday the 17th, and there have been seventeen days of work since. Today will make eighteen. Starting to feel thin, but the work is piled on top of the other work. I've got to get through chapters 7 and 8 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir this month, and finish up the editing and layout (and other stuff) for Two Worlds and In Between, and get Sirenia Digest #62 out to subscribers (the latter should happen tomorrow).

Yesterday, I tried very, very hard not to work. We made it through chapters 33-35 of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which seemed a good way to begin a day off. Only, then there was some sort of anxiety storm, that ended with me working on the layout and editing for Two Worlds and In Between, and realizing I hate the introduction I wrote, and that I have to write a new one today. And answering email. Oh, and the page proofs for "Hydrarguros" arrived in the mail yesterday. The story's being reprinted in Subterranean 2: Tales of Dark Fantasy.

Day before yesterday was spent trying to talk myself over the wall that has suddenly appeared between chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Like magick. As soon as I realized the novel would take a different shape, and that Chapter 5 was actually chapters 5 and 6...boom...the first real wall I've encountered since the novel started gathering momentum back in November. I have to find my way over the wall by Sunday morning, at the latest. Anyway, yeah, work is presently a higgledy-piggledy twilight sort of place, too many things happening all at once and no time to stop and take a breath without worrying I'll drown. The weather isn't helping.

I was pleased to see that The Ammonite Violin & Others made the 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List.

--

Last night, we finished reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which was quite good, and I recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered at the direction European history might have taken if all the kings and queens (except in Switzerland) had been half-mermaid. There's a passage I want to quote from pp. 321-322, a "deepsman's" thoughts on Jesus, the Second Coming, and death, just because I love it:

A man might come back after three days hiding; it was not impossible. But the landsmen seemed to think he'd come back again, some day when the world ended— a thought that, in itself, was inconceivable. Creatures died; the world was what creatures died in. A broken back or a gouged throat created not a shiver of notice in the world, in anything except the dying creature. The world was what happened before you were born and kept happening after you died; there was no need for some dead landsman to come back and have everything living die at the same time and tear up the world while he was at it. Everyone would die anyway if they waited. It seemed to Henry that the landsmen were confused, that they hadn't seen enough dead things to know how easily the water kept flowing after a death, that however much you dreaded the end nothing stopped the tides. And no landsman could destroy the world, anyway, however clever he was at dodging in and out of seeming dead.

Also, we began Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps last night, and I'm already amazed. Also also, it has one of the few truly good and artful book trailers I've ever seen.

---

Two good movies over the last couple of nights. Wednesday night, we finally got to see Gareth Edwards' Monsters. And wow. I'm fairly certain that, after Inception, this is the second best science-fiction film of 2010. I'm appalled it got such a limited release. For an alien-invasion film, Monsters is superbly soft spoken, a symphony of whispers rising, at last, to a distant rumble of thunder. The climactic encounter between the protagonists and two of the aliens invokes not terror, but awe, arriving at that moment of transcendence when eyes are opened and "monsters" become something else entirely. Highly recommended. This is a must see, now that it's finally on DVD and the vagaries of film distribution are no longer holding this masterpiece hostage.

Last night, we watched Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon (based on Cressida Cowell's book), and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd not been particularly enthusiastic about seeing it, perhaps because of all the 3D nonsense. But it's sort of marvelous. Sweet without going saccharine. Beautiful animation. And it all ends with a song by Jónsi. Very, very nice.

---

At this point, the Tale of the Ravens project is 160% funded (!!!), but it'll be open to donations, however large or small, for another 49 days. Please have a look. Spooky and I are both excited about this, our first collaboration and the beginning of Goat Girl Press. Please have a look. Oh, wait. I said that already.

And speaking of big black birds, here's the cover (behind the cut) for Ellen Datlow's forthcoming Supernatural Noir (due out from Dark Horse on June 22nd), which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn":

Supernatural Noir )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Last night I got to sleep at the very decent hour of 3 ayem (though not so decent, I admit, as 2 ayem). And then, for no reason I have been able to discern, I awoke at 7 ayem, and couldn't get back to sleep. I finally gave up and got out of bed at 8:30 ayem. And then I set about doing something with the two and half hours until Spooky would get up. I rearranged and dusted a bookshelf. I downloaded Gimp, to replace Photoshop 7 (rendered useless by the OS X 10.6.3 upgrade). I doodled (monsters and dinosaurs). I dusted ( a little). I read. I chewed Rolaids. And the time passed like cold molasses.

And I am not awake.

I've made a list of everything I have to get done in September. I have to write and produce Sirenia Digest #58. I have to write my story for Jeff and Ann VanderMeer's The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. I have to make a trip to NYC to meet with my editor, agent, and to visit with Peter Straub. All the paperwork for my passport renewal went away to Philadelphia yesterday, and I found the form a thoroughly harrowing experience. But at least it's done now, and that's part of my preparation for the trip to Portland, Oregon at the end of the month for the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon. Oh, and since I'm Guest of Honor, I need to write a fifteen-minute keynote address. I also need to make some serious headway editing Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One) for Subterranean Press. That's what I have to do in September.

And to do all that stuff, I have to be able to sleep.

---

As for yesterday, we didn't get up until noon thirty, as I've mentioned, and by the time I'd finished answering email, it was 3:30 p.m. The day Outside was so inviting, I said fuck it, and we drove down to Moonstone Beach. The surf was much rougher than usual for Moonstone, and the beach was covered with cobbles and pebbles fetched up by Hurricane Earl. We only found two pieces of beach glass, neither of which was worth keeping. We watched at least three species of gull: Herring gulls (Latrus argentatus), Great Black-backed gulls (L. marinus), and Ring-billed gulls (L. delawarensis). Spooky spotted a fourth and smaller species, but was unable to identify it. There were Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) and a few Piping plovers (Charadrius melodius). I found an old brick and considered bringing it home for my brick collection (yes, I have a brick collection, as impractical as that may sound, which I have been gathering since 1989). Instead, I gave it back to the sea.

A small and rather battered looking sailboat was anchored maybe a hundred yards off shore, in the choppy, shallow water. It rolled precariously. I watched through the binoculars, but could see no sign of anyone aboard, and thought briefly about calling the Coast Guard. There was a big three-wheeled bike lashed to the bow. The tide was advancing, and as it rose, the waves grew higher, some three or four feet high (I think six inches is probably average for Moonstone). The beach began to grow very misty.

As the sun was setting, we headed back to the van and drove to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's. Now that the summer people have mostly gone back to Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts, it's possible to have a pleasant dinner at Iggy's. I had Manhattan-style clam chowder. We had half a dozen doughboys for desert, then drove back to Providence.

Last night, I went back to WoW. I've decided, no matter how fun it might be, I simply haven't the time or the money to take up another MMORPG, so I'm forgoing City of Heroes and Villains. I was starting to feel as though my alter-egos were devouring my prime ego. We did the very first quests leading up to the Cataclysm expansion, helping Vol'jin, leader of the Darkspear trolls, retake the Echo Isles from Zalazane. Gotta admit, the battle was pretty cool. A good bit of reading yesterday: Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos (very amused at Joshi's comments regarding Brian Lumley), Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, and Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl.

Here are photos from Moonstone:

7 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Fran)
Yesterday started out off kilter, weighted a bit to one side by the wonkiness of Monday. But there was a recovery, a successful saving throw, you might say (if you're a big geek, like me), and it ended up being a moderately productive day. After breakfast and the blog entry, we walked over to Freedom Park. The air was cold, and there was a bitter wind, but the sun was warm and bright to the south. We found raccoon tracks in the mud. I climbed to the top of the hill, in amongst the oaks and pecans, and did some ritual/meditation work for a bit. I think that was a big part of saving yesterday from the chaos of Monday, from the chaos in my head. The cold is still with us today (and there's a huge storm just east of here), but we've been promised a high of 67F for Thursday. A veritable heatwave, kiddos!

Back home, there was a lot of writing-related e-mail, and reading to be done, and then most of the evening was spent on Sirenia Digest 12. A good deal of it went into tweaking "The Lovesong of Lady Ratteanrufer." I dealt with the three "For a moments," only to discover four uses of "At first" on three pages (8, 18, and 20). So I fixed those, too. Proofreading and the correction of dumb repetitions is much, much easier when one's head is not filled up with bees. I helped Spooky with the photo-illustration for "The Lovesong of Lady Ratteanrufer," which was actually kind of fun. A black and white version of the photo will appear in the digest, linked to a full-colour and larger version online. I also wrote the prolegomena, and tinkered with this or that part of the SD 12 until almost 10:30 CaST last night. It's going to be a good issue, I think. Expect it sometime on Friday (the 24th). Sirenia Digest goes quite well with leftover turkey bird, or so I am told.

After work, I played a couple hours worth of Final Fantasy XII, during which time I managed to vanquish the beast Nidhogg (No, not that Nidhogg) in the Lhusu Mines on Bhjerba, then spent quite a long time with Fran and Ashe, wandering through a dust-storm in the Dalmasca Westersand. Back in Rabanastre, I moogled over to the Sandsea and accidentally sold all but one of my teleport stones. Oh, and I spent a lot of gil on a cypress staff for Fran, only to discover she can't yet use it. I'm a little more than twenty hours in, I think. Later, I read more Pynchon and then Book III, Chapter VI of The Two Towers, "The King of the Golden Hall." And that was yesterday.

As of today, it was been precisely one year since Chiana the winter-white dwarf hamster (also known as Unca Harlan's Bane) came to live with us. And that's quite a long time for a dwarf hamster, as they have a life expectancy of only 1-3 years. She should be just a little more than a year old at this point. And still going strong.

After Final Fantasy XII, but before reading, I went through more old photos last night. I do mean to post more of them, I just have to find the right ones. I'll probably post a few tomorrow afternoon or evening.

There are other things I was going to mention — why we're moving the office, a redesign and relaunch for my website, etc. — but I this entry is running long. Maybe I'll make a second entry later today. Please, if you have not yet pre-ordered Daughter of Hounds and you want to help insure that there will be future novels by me, please consider pre-ordering today. Just $11.20 from Amazon.com for the trade paperback. Be the first on your block and all that jazz. Thanks. Okay. Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (chi (intimate distance))
Slowly, bit by bit, things around here are getting back to our odd version of "normal." The old rhythms are gradually resuming in Sophie's absence. But still, that absence is always felt. Small sounds that are no longer here. I keep expecting to look over my shoulder and see her lying on my office threshold or sitting in the hallway watching me. I catch myself speaking to her. And Spooky's having a much worse time of it than I am. That damned cat-shaped hole in our world. But. Things go on. Things always, always go on in the absence of those we love, even when we can't imagine their not being here.

This morning, for example, I went straight from bed to writing a Wikipedia article on the basal ornithomimosaur Harpymimus oklandnikovi. It felt like a very "normal" thing to do. Work is ever my salvation.

Yesterday was a good work day. I did the prolegomena for Sirenia Digest #7 and attended to various other things that needed attending. I didn't get to the illustrations for "Night" (a new sf story which will be appearing in a future issue of Subterranean Magazine). But Spooky spoke with Bill Schafer and confirmed that I need to do three illustrations for the piece. They'll be Photoshop montages, I suspect. I need to read over the story again this morning, as I don't believe I've read it since I finished it last July. It's shares some thematic elements with The Dry Salvages, "Bradbury Weather," and "Riding the White Bull," and centers on a mission to the Saturnian moon Mimas, strange artefacts in Antarctica discovered after the melting of the south polar icecap, and mental clones. Today will be a Photoshop day.

Yesterday, I discussed with Spooky the possibility of taking a shortish vacation as soon as this issue of Sirenia Digest is mailed out. Perhaps, I suggested, Wednesday, the 21st, until whenever the CEM of Daughter of Hounds arrives (most likely on June 30th). But she pointed out that I have 10,000 words of new fiction to write for Tales from the Woeful Platypus, plus July's issue of the digest, and we're leaving for Rhode Island sometime around July 27th-28th. Which makes such a short vacation entirely irresponsible. But maybe I can steal one day. Maybe I can even steal two days. It would be nice to spend a day in bed reading, maybe visit Fernbank or the Georgia Aquarium or take in a matinee. I still haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth.

we're touring too much and the show is starting to suffer, my voice is starting to sound like it's being ripped apart by the middle of every set.

Anyway...

Speaking of movies, I've been meaning to mention here that Serenity will be back in theatres in Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, and the United States, as a benefit for Equality Now. The Atlanta screening is on the 22nd at LeFont Plaza on Ponce.

Please have a look at the new eBay auctions. A copy of From Weird and Distant Shores (out of print since sometime in 2002) has been added. I only have about five of these remaining, so your chances to buy them directly from me are running out fast. Thanks.
greygirlbeast: (blindchi)
Nothing like a very, very long dream in which I watch, among other things, Manhattan consumed in a roiling thermonuclear fireball to get me ready for the day ahead. Nothing in the whole wide world like waking up from apocalypse.

Yeah, well. Anyway...

Yesterday was sort of a mess. I did the Blog/LJ entry, then sat here, and sat here, and sat here, staring at the screen and the window and the books on the shelves, trying to find whatever it is that I'm going to write next. The next vignette for Sirenia Digest or the short story I hope to have time to write during the second half of June, before the arrival of the Daughter of Hounds CEM. At 3:00, I was still sitting here, still staring, and not one word had been written. So I wandered over to Wikipedia and spent the next four hours writing an article on the new dwarf macronarian sauropod, Europasaurus holgeri. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] corucia, I had the article from Nature, so I could at least do a thorough job of it. But...

Well, it wasn't work. Never mind that distilling a three-page technical paper is considerably more difficult than my usual sort of writing, and never mind that I was at it nonstop until after seven. Because no one's paying me to write Wikipedia articles on dinosaurs. And if no one's paying me, I just can't seem to convince myself that it's work. And if it's not work, then, my conscience reminds me, it's really just goofing off. I believe in Wikipedia. I truly do. If I do say so myself, you will find no news article online annoucing the discovery of Europasaurus which is even half so informative and accurate as the piece I wrote yesterday. Once upon a time, layreaders and even avocational paleontologists and science nerds might have had to wait weeks or months to get detailed information on new taxa. Wikipedia is one of those things that redeems the white-noise chaos of the internet. It's a good thing to devote one's time to. It has the potential to make this ignorant world a little less so. But it's still not work. I find no end of irony in the fact that I would now feel far less guilty about not having written salable prose yesterday had I wasted the whole afternoon sitting here staring at the screen of my iBook and the tree outside my window and the books on the shelves instead of doing the useful and worthwhile thing which I did instead. Because one thing is "work" and one thing isn't.

Tiddley frelling pom.

Spooky made delicious vegetarian Indian food for dinner, and then we managed to get in a decent walk at twilight. No bats, and not many lightning bugs. And then we read and read and read, because I needed to fill my head with words. And then I did some editing on the aforementioned Europasaurus article and added two images. By then it was long after midnight, and I lay on the sofa and watched the middle part of Jackson's King Kong, all the Skull Island stuff, because having filled my head with words, I needed to fill my eyes with something lush, and that primordial "green hell" was just exactly what I craved. Kong and giant insects and all those marvelous neverwere dinosaurs, Vastatosaurus and Ferrucutus and Venatosaurus and those grand retro sauropods — "Brontosaurus," he calls them. Oh, and also Foetodon and the skin-birds. But I digress. I'm very, very good at digressing, especially when I'm only half awake and the nightmares still seem more real that the daylight on the floorboards.

Roger Ebert loved The Proposition as much as I did. He seems hit or miss to me these days, but this time I think he's spot on. I would have said a lot of what he said, if I were any good at writing movie reviews. And here's the official website for the film again.

By the way, Spooky has a birthday coming up on the 24th, two weeks from tomorrow, and she also has a wishlist. You know, for kids.

I suppose I'm duty bound to mention that the Senate killed President Asshole's latest attempt to write bigotry into the Constitution. I mean, since I brought it up the other day. I love this quote from Senator Sam Brownback, regarding the GOP's intention to keep pushing for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage — "We're making progress, and we're not going to stop until marriage between a man and a woman is protected...protected in the courts, protected in the Constitution, but most of all, protected for the people and for the future of our children in this society." Er...excuse me, but protected from what? No, really. Do these hysterical bigots actually believe, in their heart of hearts, that gays and lesbians could somehow make a bigger farce of the "sacred instuition" of marriage than heterosexuals have already managed to do? Do they think, perhaps, that legal marriages between gays will so repulse poor, unprotected heterosexual couples that they all decide to live in sin, rather than risk being mistaken for queers by getting married? I just can't figure it out.

And right now, I'd rather not try. Coffee, please and thank you...
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
Sirenia Digest #5 (Vol. 2, No. 4) has gone out. I do hope people are pleased with it. This was a hard one, for a number of reasons, none of which I quite feel like saying aloud. As always, comments are welcome. And it's not too late to subscribe and get this month's issue. In fact, subscribe today and you will get a free copy of the trade paperback of Silk, signed and, if you so desire, inscribed to you (or someone else). Also, on the last day of April, I'll draw one name from April's new subscribers and that person will win a signed copy of the Italian edition of ThresholdLa Soglia. Just click here, read the FAQ, and then subscribe. Thanks.

We had storms last night, and the day is grey and damp. The leaves glow, anyway.

There really isn't much to say about yesterday. I worked all afternoon on Sirenia Digest. I didn't leave the house. It's been a while since I let a whole day go by without stepping outside. Today, I have last minute layout work on Alabaster to attend to, and there are some e-mails I should answer. Beyond that, I don't know. The taxing situation, alluded to earlier, was resolved yesterday. It's much too early to say whether or not it was resolved for the best, but it has left me with work that has to be done by Monday. I need to start the Dancy vignette, too.

I don't know yet whether or not the print-run on the Alabaster limited will be extended. I'll let you know just as soon as I do.

At midnight last night I was getting ready for bed and noticed that Patton (1970) was just starting on FMC, so I was up until three a.m. And then there were strange dreams I can't now recall.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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