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Howard Hughes vs. Inertia

When I made the entry last Saturday, after the trip to Cape Cod, I hoped it was the beginning of a return for me to day-to-day blogging, the way things used to be – as they say. And then a week slipped past without a single entry. And with precious little writing of any sort. I've not left the house since we got home Saturday night.

I've spent the days trying to write and most doing housework, instead, because cleaning house when I should be writing is more productive than doing nothing at all when I ought to be writing. The dust in my room was, in places, so deep it had formed dunes. Spooky got a new vacuum cleaner. The old one was all but useless. Cleaning my office, I found an envelope on which I'd written the following: "The maintenance guy was blasting some rap version of the oompa-loompa song." No date.

I've been watching a lot of television. We watched five seasons of Shameless in about two weeks. Brilliant, marvelous television. I'm talking about the American version. We suffered through the first episode of the original British series, and it was just short of unwatchable. No, I take that back. I was very much unwatchable. We're catching up on Gotham now, which I like quite a lot, especially Robin Lord Taylor's Penguin. There's The Walking Dead, too. This season is, to my mind, the most artful and tense yet. Last night, we watched Velvet Goldmine for the first time in many years.

I really have no more time to waste. Ever. As it stands, I suspect – and this is not hyperbole – that I'm about a year behind.

I'm not well.

No, it really is that bad.

Aunt Beast

Entry #4,455

I'm not going to talk about France. I don't have words for this horror. Understanding the hatred that motivated the attacks is beyond me. It is all beyond me.


Yesterday, we left Providence early in the afternoon, not long after noon, bound for Cape Cod. I needed to see Orleans and Nauset Beach, which appear in "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea." I needed to be there, because I'm tired of cribbing. If I crib, let it be only from my own direct experience.

We followed 195 through southeastern Massachusetts and crossed the Bourne Bridge (1933-1935) over the canal and onto the Cape, then followed US 6 to Orleans and then Eastham. We left the highway, then turned east and took Nauset Road to Doane Road to Ocean View Drive to the edge of the continent. Land's end here is what remains of an ancient glacial terminal moraine, marking the southernmost edge of the Pleistocene glaciation in New England (the line of the moraine can be traced from Long Island through Block Island to Cape Cod), and at Nauset Beach, a thick section of orange-brown sands and gravels has been exposed by the sea. Geologists call these outwash plain deposits, sediments deposited by braided streams and deep, cold kettle lakes at the foot of retreating glaciers, in this instance the Laurentide ice sheet. Fifteen thousand years ago, this is where the ice ended, and mammoths roamed what would someday be Massachusetts.

There are great white sharks in the waters here, a lot of them. They come for the plentiful grey seals.

We parked at the lighthouse and took the wooden stairs down to the beach, then followed the line of cliffs southward. I'm not sure how far we walked. The day was bright and cold, but not frigid, clouds moving in from the southwest. The wind could have been much worse. The air was filled with many hundreds, probably thousands of gulls. White birds beyond counting, feeding on shoals of fish just offshore. The waves were high, and they thundered to shore in great sprays that traced rainbows in their wake. On the sand, there were broken surf clams and the ghostly husks of spider crabs.

Later, before heading home, we stopped at the old Coast Guard house, about a mile below the Nauset Light. The cliff end here, and there's a breathtaking view of Nauset Bay and the expanse of salt marshes stretching down to the sea. If was tempting to stay for the sunset, from the wind was getting bitter. We made it home about 7 p.m., I think. On the way, we listened to Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins; on the way back, we listened to R.E.M. It was a very good day out, the first time we'd visited the Cape since December 2008. There are photos behind the cut, and there will be more photos tomorrow:

13 November 2015Collapse )

Until Tomorrow,
Aunt Beast
Another leaden day. Overcast, foggy, twilight at noon. Currently, it's 48˚F.

Yesterday, I did 717 words on "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea." And I can see this is a day when I simply don't have very much to say here. It doesn't help that I'm not awake. Though at least I got a solid five hours sleep last night, the best I've had since coming off the gabapentin.

Last night, we saw Bill Pohlad's excellent Brian Wilson biopic, Love and Mercy (2014).

Aunt Beast

"I have seen what the darkness does."

An ugly, chilly day, the sky like liquid lead, the air like something found at the back of the refrigerator. Currently, it's overcast and 49, though windchill drops the temperature at 38˚F. The wind is howling over Providence at 23 mph.

Only about five hours of sleep last night. I've not had a genuinely good night's sleep in a week. It seems the gabapentin played a larger role allowing me to sleep than I gave it credit for. So it goes. I'm just coming out of one of my worst headaches in months. It began on Monday and made yesterday a red fog. It may or may not be connected to the withdrawal. Who the fuck knows.

Yesterday, I set aside "The End After the Beginning of the End" and began work on "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea."* I'll come back to the novella in December. Well, I don't consider it a novella. I'll consider it a long short story (~10k words); the editor is calling it a novella.

Two very excellent films in only two nights. First, on Monday we saw S. Craig Zahler's Bone Tomahawk (2015), an absolutely delight. To quote one reviewer, "...Bone Tomahawk is what you might get if you crossbred The Searchers with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, or maybe Cannibal Holocaust." And it's funny as hell. Then, last night, we saw Olivier Assayas' Clouds at Sils Maria (2014), which might be the single best film I've seen all year.


You may or may not have heard that the World Fantasy Committee has voted to change the design of the World Fantasy Award from Gahan Wilson's bust of Lovecraft, which has served as the award since it was first given out in 1975. No, I don't approve. I don't believe this was the appropriate course of action. I'm saddened by this lamentable turn of events, and I'm glad that I received my two World Fantasy awards in advance of this change. How long, now, before the Mystery Writers of America are pressured to abandon the Edgar Award? When we set this sort of thing in motion, where does it end?

Aunt Beast

* This title is borrowed from a 1963 episode of Route 66, scripted by Frank Pierson.
This has to be fairly quick, as it's already 12:40 p.m., so look sharp, Beast. Out there, beyond the windowpane, it's overcast and 55˚F. At least this means the house painters can't work today, as, likely, it will rain.

I've passed through the worst of the gabapentin withdrawal, with the aid of Spooky's patience, and a lot of magnesium and Vitamin D. I'm dealing with some pretty grim insomnia, though. It would be nice to think it's related to the withdrawal (insomnia is a symptom), but I fear it's just my usual winter inability to sleep, which isn't all that different from my difficulty sleeping the rest of the year. Night before last, I slept only about two hours.

Anyway, I've lost about ten days to this mess, and now I have to get two short stories written before December 1 (one for an Ellen Datlow anthology, one for Sirenia Digest). I've set the screenplay aside until, probably, after the first of the year. With luck, I'll finish it in January.

We had a nice walk yesterday morning, me trying to escape all the dust and shadows in the house. It was warmish and sunny. Kathryn and I both took photos, including shots of the ugly, decaying mugs of our lingering jack-o'-lanterns:

9 November 2015Collapse )

Aunt Beast
A blustery day out there, one of the last spates of Bradbury Weather this year, I expect. Winter is pressing in close, preparing to sweep away the dregs of October. "Here in November, in this house of leaves we pray." Currently, it's overcast and only 62˚F. The wind is 12mph from the west.

On Wednesday, I decided it was time to get off gabapentin, which I've been taking since April 25th, 2011. I'll explain all the whys farther along. For now, I'll just say it was necessary. But I did it the way I tend to do things: all at once. I'd been advised to taper. I didn't. And I'm pretty ill, but getting better. Weak, aching, sweating, too tired to sit up for long stretches at a time, unhappy innards, shaking hands, and so forth. If I'd tapered, I might have missed a lot of the withdrawal symptoms. But not definitely, and this way it's done. I'm off the drug.

I have some photographs Spooky took yesterday, late Autumn on the West Side of Providence:

6 November 2015Collapse )

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast
I would not have thought that today's sky could be worse than yesterday's, but that just goes to show what I know. I suppose this is beautiful New England autumn day. I suppose this is what people would mean were they to use that phrase, those words in that order. It's sunny and 63˚F.

It's horrifying the way this year evaporated. It all made sense up until late April or early May, and then the whole thing went to shit. And the days raced past. And now we're here, in the death knell of 2015.

I didn't write yesterday. And I didn't write the day before.

I have five photographs that Kathryn took yesterday:

3 November 2015Collapse )

Howard Hughes vs. the Future

Kathryn's making black-eyed peas, so all day long I'll be smelling them and salivating.

It's sixty degrees out there.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,047 words on "The End After the Beginning of the End."

Aunt Beast
And here it is November. My fifty-first November. My eighth in New England. The day is chilly, and the sky is a muddy shade of lead. This is death cracking down, winter letting its intentions be known. Autumn is only a shoddy opening act. It's only 57˚F out there, and all the smart-money birds have gone south.

Freelance writers are probably the only people on earth for whom the penny is still a meaningful unit of measurement.

Yesterday, I begun a new story, maybe a novella. It's the first new piece of prose fiction I've begun since I started work on Agents of Dreamland way back in July. The story is titled "The End After the Beginning of the End," and it's my story for Dark Regions Press' I Am the Abyss. Here's the pitch for the book:

This anthology is based on the notion that reality expands far beyond human ego; that no predetermined metaphysical space awaits us when we die, but instead we are plunged into the inner workings of our own minds. Here you will find subconscious shadows of your dead loved ones. You will find manifestations of your deepest desires and darkest fears only experienced in your dreams and nightmares. It is the inversion of your consciousness from perceiving the shared observable reality into perceiving only the subconscious thoughts and memories that define you.

Given that I don't believe consciousness survives death, this is, for me, fantasy in its purest form, and, indeed, what I'm actually doing is not writing a story about the "afterlife," but about the perception of time in the final seconds of life, as the brain dies. I did 1,183 words.

I think I might be getting a headache.

2015 marks the eleventh year since I've refused to "fall back," remaining of Daylight Savings Time all year long. I simply cannot deal with darkness coming so early.

Last night, we carved jack-o'-lanterns, ate too much candy, and watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) and Beetlejuice (1988). It wasn't such a bad Halloween. Better, I think, than last year.

Aunt Beast
Chilly and sunny here in the United States' 20th most overpriced city (according to Forbes). Currently, it's 50˚F. I need to get the space heater out and set it up. The air's thickening with the cold, and far too much of my energy is being spent dreading winter.

No writing yesterday. No writing in over a week.

On Wednesday, we saw a matinée doube feature of Tod Browning's Dracula (1931) and George Melford's Drácula (1931, aka "the Spanish Dracula"). To be honest, I have always found the Browning film laughable. I cannot for the life of me take Bela Lugosi seriously, and I have the distinct feeling that – unlike the James Whales Frankenstein films – the campiness is unintentional. For me, it's a painful, dull film. Stiff and lifeless. Melford's Drácula is very much better, in every way, from the cast to lighting, from set decoration to pacing to editing. What makes this remarkable, of course, is that the films were shot simultaneously, with Melford's version intended for a Spanish-speaking audience. Browning filmed during the day, Melford at night. The latter undoubtedly benefited from being able to watch the former's rushes, but, truthfully, Melford is simply the superior director. Pablo Álvarez Rubio steals the show as Renfield, in a performance that undoubtedly influenced Tom Waits' turn as the same character in Coppola's 1992 adaptation. And this reminds me that, sometime back, I made list here of my favorite vampire films, and given this is Halloween I think I'll repost it:

01. Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
02. Drácula (1931, "the Spanish Dracula")
03. Vampyr (1932)
04. Dracula's Daughter (1936)
05. The Brides of Dracula (1963)
06. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
07. Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1975)
08. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
09. The Hunger (1983)
10. Fright Night (1985)
11. Vamp (1986)
12. The Lost Boys (1987)
13. Near Dark (1987)
14. Vampire's Kiss (1989)
15. The Reflecting Skin (1990)
16. Innocent Blood (1992)
17. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
18. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
19. Nadja (1994)
20. The Addiction (1995)
21. Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)
22. Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
23. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (2002)
24. 30 Days of Night (2007)
25. Låt den rätte komma in (2008)
26. Stake Land (2010)
27. Priest (2011)
28. Byzantium (2012)
29. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
30. From the Dark (2014)

Aunt Beast

"Mary, carry your shame."

This will be short. It's already 12:28 p.m., and I've lost more days than I care to count. I've damn near lost an entire year. The day is bright and clear, and my curtains are all drawn. It's 59˚F. In Minsk, that's summertime.

I have three stories I need to be writing, a novella and two short stories. A very short novella and two short stories. No way I'm wandering into another 20k-word thing, not any time soon. And I should have had the proposal for Interstate Love Song written six months ago. Few things are more soul destroying than being forced to write a synopsis for an unwritten book. I might as well try to draw a road map to a country I've never visited. This is what publishers expect, even after thirteen novels. They want to see a beginning, a middle, and an end. They want to know exactly what they're spending those precious few pennies on.

I swore I'd never write another Lovecraft story. I'm about to write two. Such is the strength of my resolve.

I'm queasy and tired. Yesterday was an utter nightmare, mostly because I'm shitty at keeping my insides inside.

I should stop this, before I get angry all over again.

Aunt Beast
In the night, the wind stripped all the leaves from the tree outside my office. No more green, no more pretending summer isn't dead and winter isn't looming. No more leaves to help hide the sky. Time to close the curtain and leave it closed for another six months.

Things aren't good here. But they've been worse.

It's warm today, currently 72˚F and sunny. We have that sky. You know the one. Not a cloud in sight.

I need to begin work on a story for Ellen Datlow, and there's a novella I haven't started.

Aunt Beast

Entry #4,444

That's a number you can get behind.

The wide, carnivorous sky is back (until the end of my days, I have to live with people thinking that's some sort of John Langan reference, and this is irony). Which means the sunlight is back. The latter is appreciated. The former can blow me. I've been cold all morning. A bath should warm me up. Currently, it's 53˚F here.

My tree is still mostly green.

Truthfully, I haven't much to say today. So, there's that, and then the depression, and those two things really don't make for bracing blog entries. Probably, they play better to the Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr "tl;dr" crowd.

"She was kinda delightful when she was young. Shrill and often obscenely histrionic, true, but there was something there. However, when she got old, well, that bitter 'get off my lawn' schtick got tired fast."

Absolutely. "I've been there. I know the way."

Aunt Beast
I'm probably not much for blogging today. I'm a bit dreamsick. The sky out there is as dreary as a sky can get, but at least there are, for today, still green leaves on the tree outside my office window. I don't know what sort of tree it is, even after living with it for eight summers now. Eight summers in New England. That scares the shit out of me. It's an icicle in my bowels. I've gotten old here. Right now, it's 60˚F out there, and there's no sign anywhere of the sun.

These lines from Crimson Peak really put the hook in me:

"But the horror? The horror was for love. The things we do for a love like this are ugly, mad, full of sweat and regret. This love burns you, maims you, twists you inside out. It is a monstrous love, and it makes monsters of us all." ~ Lady Lucille Sharpe

Yesterday, my contributor's copy of Ellen Datlow's The Monstrous arrived. It includes "The Beginning of the Year Without a Summer," one of the few decent pieces of fiction I've written in the last three years. Check it out.

We didn't go to the Tenth Annual Iron Pour last night. I wanted to, but the weather was shitty, and the last few times we've been the crowds have made the event unendurable.

Maybe I'll wake up by seven p.m. or so.

Aunt Beast


I awoke late, and so this will be a short entry, not the entry I'd hoped to write. It's cold and cloudy today, currently only 48˚F. In Birmingham, it's 79˚F.

Yesterday, Bill Schafer informed me that Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 2) has revived a starred review in Publisher's Weekly:

The 28 stories and one poem collected in Kiernan’s second “best-of” compilation (after Two Worlds and In Between), selected by the author as her best work written between 2004 and 2013, rise above other works of dark fantasy, distinguished by their creative range and the diversity of their treatments of fantastic themes. “Bradbury Weather,” set on Mars, examines the troubled relationship between a diplomat and her lover, who has been seduced by an ancient mystical cult. “The Ape’s Wife” explores a variety of alternate fates for Ann Darrow, the character played by Fay Wray in the movie King Kong. The short novel “Black Helicopters” evokes T.S. Eliot, and especially H.P. Lovecraft, in its depiction of a postapocalyptic wasteland teeming with cosmic horrors. Although these tales abound with nods to Lovecraft, Lewis Carroll, and other touchstones in literature and popular culture, Kiernan’s innovative approach to fantastic ideas shows a refreshingly original synthesis of her influences. Her best stories are also some of the best fantastic fiction of the past decade.

I certainly can't complain about that. It's comforting knowing that I have at least one book coming out this year of which I can be proud.

I've heard that a local group has been given permission to erect a full-size Lovecraft statue in downtown Providence. That's pretty much all I know. If it happens, I hope to fuck they have the good taste to forego tentacles.

I talked with some twenty-five year old kid yesterday who had never heard of the Police. Seriously. I'm not making that up.

Aunt Beast

Too Blue, Too Low

It's become strange, somehow, sitting down to write here. After so many thousands of entries, how can it seem anything but familiar?

The sky is wide and carnivorous this afternoon. Currently, it's only 52˚F, but at least the sun is shining. Though, if there were clouds at least I wouldn't have to see that sky, and it wouldn't be watching me.

There's an entry that I need to make about how bad things have gotten, how everything got so horribly off track back in the late winter of 2012 and has stayed off track. I've lost an awful lot of the last three years. I've written only a fraction of what I ought to have written during that time, and an awful lot of what I did write was far, far below the standards to which I hold myself. I want to write an entry about that, but it won't be this morning. This morning I'm not quite awake. But now you know it's coming.

Yesterday, Kathryn and I saw Guillermo del Toro's beautiful Crimson Peak. My gods, what a feast for the eyes! This film is sexy on every level. A great cast and a world that leaks across the screen like bloody red clay and butterfly wings, like cold air and fallen leaves. Imagine how Angela Carter might have crossed "La Barbe bleue" with "The Fall of the House of Usher" and you're partway there. Truly, I loved this film. No, it's isn't startlingly original. It isn't meant to be. This is a story that must be familiar on every imaginable level: the fairy tale, the Gothic novel, the murder ballad, and grisly folklore. It's all been said before. All we can do is continually move the pieces about. And with Crimson Peak del Toro has found a startlingly powerful configuration. See this film, if you can.

Oh, and night before last we watched Robert Zemeckis' Back to the Future, which I'd not seen since the summer of 1985, the month it was released. The film holds up much better than I'd expected, though poor Marty McFly manages to be the least interesting character in the film. Christopher Lloyd steals the show, as he always has and always will. Anyway, Kathryn and I figured if NASA could take time out to tweet about Back to the Future, the least we could do is mark October 21, 2015 by seeing it again.

Issue 117 of Sirenia Digest went out to subscribers last night. I hope you enjoy (if you're a subscriber).

Here are a few bits from Facebook:

It's clear that the racist dickbags who howl about "white genocide" have no idea what the word "genocide" actually means. (October 22)

~ and ~

Currently, there are people doing their best to ruin the words "conversation" and "narrative" for all future generations. (October 21)

~ and ~

I have just learned what "sideways cowgirl" means. Kids these days. (October 20)

~ and ~

I must have known, once upon a time, how rare green eyes are. At only ~2.0% worldwide, they're the least common human eye color. I have green eyes. (October 20)

~ and ~

I have spent seven long years learning the unforgiving lessons of latitude. (October 15)

And that's enough for now.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

Entry #4,440

My intent was to write a genuine entry today. However, the world is conspiring otherwise. I'll try again tomorrow. In the meantime, this from my Facebook (October 19th):

For a long time now, since at least the summer of 2012, I've been the animal in the trap that's willing to gnaw its own leg off to be free. That's my "spirit animal." The beast in the steel-jaw trap, very aware that I can get by with only three legs.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast
After a day of sun, the clouds are back. Currently, it's overcast and 59˚F.

And the object of this entry is not much more than to say that I've discovered that, for various reasons, the process of writing the screenplay for The Red Tree is proving resistant to blogging. So, the LJ is going on semi-hiatus until the first draft is done, which, I hope, will be about three weeks from now. I may post news bits and whatnot, but nothing much.

See you when I get there. Have a nice October.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

"Crank, my dream complete."

After a chilly, cloudy, wet week, the sun is back today. We last saw it here on Sunday, September 27th. Currently, it's 58˚F. And we were all lucky here, as regards Joaquin.

It's been a chaotic six days, and today I settled back down to once more focus exclusively on the screenplay for The Red Tree. I need to do at least three pages a day if I'm going to finish a first draft by the 21st, which is a moderately arbitrary, self-imposed deadline. With luck, I can manage more than three pages a day.

This is one of those times when I sit down with a more or less fully formed blog entry in my head, then throw the whole thing out. Well, not the whole thing. I'm keeping this bit from Deep Space Nine, from a conversation between Quark and Elim Garak:

Quark: Take a sip of this.
(Garak looks skeptically at the drink.)
Garak: What is it?
Quark: A human drink. It's called root beer.
(Garak eyes it suspiciously.)
Garak: I don't know...
Quark: Go ahead. Aren't you just a little bit curious?
(Garak hesitates a beat, but then takes a sip. He immediately makes a face.)
Quark: What do you think?
Garak: It's vile.
Quark: I know. It's so bubbly and cloying and...happy.
Garak: Just like the Federation.
Quark: And you know what's really frightening? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it.
Garak: It's insidious.
Quark: Just like the Federation.

If only more of the show had been half so marvelous of that exchange. Though, actually, the exchange comes from one of the series' better episodes, "The Way of the Warrior" (Season 3), which manages to work despite Avery Brooks' painfully stilted acting and the dithering, fretting antics of Worf, the Emo Klingon. The episode certainly has one of the best television Star Trek battle sequences.

Anyway, off to the word mines.

Aunt Beast

"These are the things I can do without."

Dismal. That's the word that best describes Providence this afternoon. Currently, it's 57˚F and feels like 51˚F. There's no evidence of the sun. We're waiting, like the rest of the Eastern Seaboard, to see what Joaquin is going to do.

And I'm not working.

Aunt Beast
Low seventies right now, almost no clouds. A gorgeous day. I'm not about to spend it sitting here all damn day. We may run errands. We may say fuck it all and head for the shore. I did go out yesterday, as far as the park, which is the most Outside I've had since the 14th.

Yesterday I pulled Sirenia Digest #116 together, and it should go out to subscribers this evening. Last night, I talked with Josh Boone. I've sent him the first 27 pages of The Red Tree screenplay, and now I'm waiting on notes from him and two producers. It's a very strange thing.

The forecast clouds did not appear last night, and we were afforded a beautiful view of the eclipse out the windows of the front parlour. Spooky took some photos, though she was shooting through two panes of glass (window + closed storm window). Here's one, as the eclipse neared maximum:

And now I should go and attend to some business stuff, so that we can leave the House.

Aunt Beast
Currently 66˚F and partly cloudy here in Providence.

I did at least leave the house for a few minutes yesterday. I walked down the backstairs, out into the drive, and stared up at the sky. I said, "Hello, Sky. I haven't seen you in a while."


A pretty good day on the screenplay yesterday. Not quite as good as Thursday was, but good. Sarah's indignation and Constance's detached watchfulness. I have twenty-five pages, which seems like an awful lot.

And I'm afraid that's all I have for now.

Aunt Beast

"And I could make you fly away..."

Sunny, a few clouds. Currently 69˚F. I haven't left the house since Monday the 14th. What the fuck, Kiernan?

It's all been work and thinking about work, with a bunch of insomnia and sick thrown in.


A very good writing day yesterday. The screenplay has reached page 23 (out of a projected 80 pages). Sarah has just met Constance, approximately, I estimate, thirty minutes into the film. In some ways, the screenplay is considerably more impressionistic than the novel. In the absence of Sarah's growly narrative voice, surrealism blooms.

From Facebook:

Every now and then there's a disorienting moment when I stop and think, "Fuck, I'm actually writing a screenplay for The Red Tree that I've been hired to write." And it freaks me the fuck out. Then I have to get my wits about me again and go back to work on it. (yesterday)

~ and ~

Sometimes, the ideas come so hard and so fast that they're as good as a stone about my neck. (yesterday)


Way back last winter (or autumn, I can't recall), I began working my way through all of Star Trek, all five series. And I've pretty much finished. There have been some surprises. The greatest is that Enterprise* emerged as my favorite of the bunch, despite the fact that I hated it during its original run. Another surprise is how incredibly uneven and often awful Deep Space Nine is. I used to believe that DS9 was the best of the lot, and it's often cited as the most critically successful Star Trek series. But the acting, direction, and writing is frequently abysmal. I find Avery Brooks almost impossible to watch. It isn't difficult to figure out why Benjamin Sisko found himself assigned to the ass end of the Alpha Quadrant. Terry Farrell is almost as bad, and Dax is painfully chipper. Even her hair annoys me. And to think I used to find those spots sexy. The actors who carry the series, curiously enough, are those in the heaviest alien makeup. Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Armin Shimerman (Quark), and Andrew Robinson (Garak). Oh, and Jeffrey Combs' splendid Weyoun is likely the best performance of the series. Likewise, Combs' turn as the prickly Commander Shran is the highpoint of Enterprise.

Oh, and the new Muppet Show stinks. In half an hour, I laughed twice. It's a sad, sad thing, the new Muppet Show, and I can only pray it dies a quick, unnoticed death.

Never say I don't wear my nerdiness on my sleeve.

Aunt Beast

* Despite having one of the worst theme songs in the history of...anything.

Howard Hughes vs. Microbial Scum

I feel much better than I did yesterday. Whatever this bug was, it was a quick burn. Thank fuck. I lost two days. That's 3-7 screenplay pages, and I can't afford to get any farther behind than I am already. So, hopefully today will be productive. We get our flu shots sometime in the next week. I can't risk anymore time lost to illness until after this project is done.

And I realize I pretty much have nothing to write about today, as yesterday mostly consisted of lying in bed.

And snotty Kleenex.

That's really not much to work with.

Aunt Beast


Kathryn and I have come down with something. A cold or something. I don't know. I seem to be feeling a little better, but I'm still wiped out. I lost all of yesterday, spent the whole day in bed. I fucking hate that. I cannot stand feeling so useless. Hopefully, today will be better.

And here it is autumn. I was supposed to be back in the South by now. Instead, I'm bracing for the nightmare of another NE winter. In a decent world, the first day of autumn would not arrive until at least mid-October.

My eighth.

Obviously, no work yesterday. Day before yesterday, I got through a couple more pages on the screenplay. At the moment, 2-4 pages a day seems the best I can manage on the screenplay, which seems ridiculous. This is, truly, so much more difficult than writing prose. I'm working with my hands tied behind my back. Anyone who thinks writing a screenplay is easy needs to be faced with actually having to write one.

From Facebook:

Yesterday, I had 18 pp. of screenplay. Today, I have 17. I'm going backwards. At this rate, I'll be back at p. 1 by the end of the week. (September 21)

~ and ~

"Craft" is a word a consciously avoid when I talk about my work. If nothing else, "craft" would imply that I know how I do what I do, and the truth is I have no idea whatsoever. For me, there is no craft to writing. For example, in The Drowning Girl, most of "7" was written in a single day with a high fever, and there were no revisions to it. No craft there. It just happened. I might even say, I have a sort of method, or methods, but I'd never say there's a craft to it. (September 21)

~ and ~

That'll do, pig.

Aunt Beast

Entry #4,431

The last thing before I woke, I dreamt it was raining brandy. Just a light mist. It's cool here today, currently 69˚F, and nothing's falling from the sky. It's that sky. You know the one. In the South, it rarely made appearances except in the autumn. Here, it's welcome all year round. Tie down your beds. Secure the roofs.

I pretty much lost yesterday to the aftereffects of insomnia. I sat here and tried to work on the screenplay, despite the wooziness, sweating, and heart palpitations (oh, but that sounds melodramatic). I revised a conversation that wasn't right, that didn't feel natural. "When Sarah Met Amanda." So much of the dialogue in The Red Tree could be so much better. Anyway, I was so woozy it was hard to concentrate. About 4 p.m., Kathryn came back from the market and I lay down for an hour or so. But couldn't nap. I finally got to sleep sometime after 4:30 a.m., thanks to the Mean Peach Pill.

And dreamt of brandy rain.

Today, I'll be combining two scenes – Sarah meeting Amanda at a party, Sarah and Amanda in Amanda's loft, discussing her art – into one scene – Sarah meeting Amanda at a gallery showing of her art.

Last night, I had a baloney sandwich for dinner, and then we watched David O. Russell's American Hustle (2013), a film that earned ten Oscar nominations and somehow won none. Stellar performances from Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. Bale put on forty pounds for the part, which is almost as alarming as when he lost sixty-two pounds for the title role in The Machinist (2004). Afterwards, we watched Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra and were amazed by Michael Douglas' portrayal of Liberace. I mean, wow. Douglas received an Emmy, a SAG, and a Golden Globe for the role, and rightfully so.

And that's all I have for today.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes vs. the Insomnia Beast

Right now, I'm doing my best not to go back to bed. Three nights of insomnia have me pretty much wrecked. That's probably one reason I've not been making entries. Not the only reason, but certainly a contributing factor. I'm a tuatara, out here. A horseshoe crab. A lingulid brachiopod. That is to say, a living fossil, as regards my blogging. Not many of us do this anymore. Try to keep an online litany of our day-to-day travails. Times have changed, and they keep on changing. And I continue to grow less adaptable.

I was once supremely adaptable. Now, it's all Galápagos.

I'm making progress on the screenplay for The Red Tree. I've pared the book down to the bone. I'm allowing myself to think about almost nothing else, so far as writing is concerned.

We had a few more "hot" days, but today seems autumnal again.

At night, I've been playing WoW (Shaharrazad finally made Lvl. 90) and watching movies. There are a few worth noting. Last night, for example, Scorcese's The Wolf of Wall Street. Absolutely brilliant and unexpectedly hilarious. In many ways, the film parallels Scorcese's Goodfellas (1990), only the sleaze and depravity of the Stratton Oakmont crowd makes the Mafia look like choirboys. Also, we saw Gilles Paquet-Brenner's Dark Places (2015), a film that might have come off painfully so-so if not for the performances therein, which helped to elevate it above "movie of the week" fare (there's a dated reference for you). Finally, there was Terry Gilliam's masterful The Zero Theorem (2013), which I am appalled to see has been so poorly regarded by critics. It's quite probably one of his best films. Christoph Waltz deserved an best actor Oscar nomination.

Tiddley pom.

I need to go back to bed.

Aunt Beast

"The Armies of Night"

I haven't posted lyrics in a while. These are really working for me right now:

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique,
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see.
And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me.

But I don't, I don't know what that will be.
I'll get back to you someday soon, you will see.

What's my name? What's my station? Oh, just tell me what I should do.
I don't need to be kind to the armies of night that would do such injustice to you.
Or bow down and be grateful and say "Sure, take all that you see,"
To the men who move only in dimly-lit halls and determine my future for me.

And I don't, I don't know who to believe.
I'll get back to you someday soon, you will see.

If I know only one thing, it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak.
Yeah, I'm tongue-tied and dizzy, and I can't keep it to myself.
What good is it to sing helplessness blues? Why should I wait for anyone else?

And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf.
I'll come back to you someday soon myself.

If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm raw.
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore.
And you would wait tables and soon run the store.

Gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn.
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore.
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore.
Someday, I'll be like the man on the screen.
~ Fleet Foxes, "Helplessness Blues"

Captain Kitten and the Trohlmaster Ride Again

I should try to write an entry, since I didn't yesterday. And time smears and blurs together unless I watch it every goddamn minute of every goddamn day. Hours become years, behind my back.

It's autumn today. Currently, it's 68˚F (and feels like 68˚F) here in Providence, getting cloudy.

And I am finally done with all the proofreading and editing and gathering together of ephemera for The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan: Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea (Volume 2). All the files were sent away last night to Yanni and Gail, and I am free of it. A journey that began on July 1, 2010, is pretty much finished. Five years. Wow. Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea will be released November 30, 2015, and if you've not yet preordered, please do.

And now, there's very little preventing me from devoting my full time to the screenplay. Everyone's waiting on me. And I hate that feeling.

Alas, a scheduling conflict means we'll not be returning to Woodstock until at last late November.

No movie last night, because I was tired and wanted to do something perfectly mindless, so I played WoW (which is about as mindless as it comes). Shaharrazad, my b'elf warlock, and my main, is working her way through all that Panadaria nonsense. Anyway, night before last I watched Miller's Crossing (1990) for the umpteenth time. I've probably said this before, but I have a feeling I'm the only person whose favorite Coen Bros. film is Miller's Crossing. But it's just such a wry and perfect film. Jesus, the dialogue gives me chill bumps.

The breeze through my window is chilly, but after the long burn of August, it actually feels good.

Aunt Beast

"...haunted by American dreams."

Sunny today, after two cloudy days. The clouds began breaking up yesterday, leaving us with a taste of autumn. And, though I am loathe to say it, after the broil of August – stuck in this stifling house with no AC – it comes as an odd sort of relief. I think August almost burned me down, in more ways than just the heat. Currently, it's 72˚ here in Providence.

I'm composing this on a new Mac, a MacBook Air that I've yet to name. I had no actual wish to buy a new machine, as I'm actually rather sick to death at the moment of machines, and with the taxes due I surely didn't have the money. But Lúthien (my iMac) has been acting peculiar for months, and the past week it's crashed twice. So, now I'm setting it aside as an emergency backup, and I have this odd little thing. I was cheaper than buying a MacBook, and it seems just as useful to my needs (even if it doesn't have a disc drive). Of course, now we have to crank up eBay again, because (option money or no) we were hardly in a place to weather unexpected expenses of that magnitude. Keep watching the skies. There will be auctions very soon, including copies of The Ape's Wife and Other Stories.

For one reason and another, we've set the move aside until...well...I'm not even sure until when. The deciding factor was my workload, though money also played a significant role in the decision. I simply couldn't sacrifice two months to a move, not now. I'm trying not to think too hard on what this means – another winter in the Northeast. I just have to get through it. I have to write my screenplay and find a way to start Interstate Love Song and trust that in 2016 I'll have another chance to leave Providence. I cannot call this decision a mistake, as, truthfully, I didn't genuinely have a choice. Necessity is the mother of the unthinkable.

Today I need to finish my work on the ARC of Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea, and then I need to send the corrections and all the illustrations to Subterranean Press. And that will be done. And a huge fucking weight off my back. Oh, wait. It'll be done except for going out tomorrow to take the author's photo. When that is sent in, then it will be done.

Last night, instead of the planned double feature of Miller's Crossing and Blue Velvet, I watched Alex Proyas' Dark City (the director's cut and one of my all-time favorites) and, before it, Jordan Scott's Cracks (2009). My god, what a beautiful, sad, terrible film, all wrapped up in adolescence, insanity, and sexual repression. It treads the same territory as, say, Picnic at Hanging Rock and, to a lesser extent, The Children's Hour. Eva Green is, as always, marvelous. Same with Juno Temple. The director is the daughter of Ridley Scott by the way. I strongly recommend this film.

And now, I need to work.

Aunt Beast

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November 2015


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