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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

"Motel sprees, and I'm singing."

The perpetual daylight hangs on, but after the weeks of UV hell, it's a relief. A good long rain last night. A solid week of that and our drought would be lessened. Currently, it's 67˚F in Providence.

Yesterday was another day spent mostly pulling together the last bits of Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. I chose the pages from Alabaster that will appear in the limited edition, and Kathryn got high-resolution scans from Steve Lieber. So, I have pretty much all the artwork on hand. My absolute deadline for everything that will appear in the book is the 15th, so it's gotten a little hairy here at the end. We still have to get the author's photo taken.

In the evening, Josh Boone called and we spent an hour or so talking about the screenplay for The Red Tree (and a small bit about The Drowning Girl). As I said last night on Facebook, during the conversation I distilled The Red Tree into one sentence: "A haunted woman learns the secret history of a haunted place." In a nutshell. I've pretty much tossed out everything I've done on the screenplay so far, and I'm starting from scratch. This is pretty much terra incognita.

It looks as if we'll be heading back to Woodstock for two weeks, the second half of October. Hopefully, I'll have the first draft of the screenplay finished by then. Oh, yeah. This is something I have to write in drafts. Another first for me.

Last night we watched Solaris (2002) and Jacob's Ladder (1990). I'm revisiting some of my favorite films. Tonight, I think I'll go with Miller's Crossing (1990) and Blue Velvet (1986).

“There is no such thing as ‘was’ - only ‘is.’ If ‘was’ existed, there would be no grief or sorrow.” ~ William Faulkner

Aunt Beast

"I live like a worm."

Cloudy and cooler today. The last couple of days have been brutal. Yesterday, the temperature in the middle parlour reached 86˚F. And the temperature in Providence on Tuesday climbed to 97˚F, with a heat index well over 100˚F. There was a little rain last night, but the drought continues.

I've sorta been working. Yesterday, I typed up a bunch of the corrections to the ARC of Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea, but stopped when the heat in my office made me woozy. A wonderful word, "woozy." And there's been email. And talking through screenplay stuff. And this afternoon I'm talking with Josh Boone before I make the big push to immerse myself in The Red Tree again. I just emailed my agent to tell her that we need to talk very soon about Interstate Love Song, because, as I said to her, I'm getting very anxious that it's been more than three years now since I've released a novel under my own name.

Night before last, swamped by a sudden fit of nostalgia, I logged into World of Warcraft for the first time since May 5, 2014. A rolled a new character, a blood elf warlock named Nillishna, and so far I've played her to level seventeen. There's nine hours I'm never getting back. And so it goes.

From Facebook:

I just heard the news that National Geographic has been sold to Rupert fucking Murdoch. I've been a subscriber since 1996. I'll not be renewing my subscriber. What the fucking fuck? (September 9)

~ and ~

Dear Blizzard (World of Warcraft): Please note that "Enable Twitter functionality" and "Enable Twitter" mean EXACTLY THE SAME GODDAMN THING...and the latter avoids an utterly odious "word." (September 9)

~ and ~

I can't help but feel that, in a very real sense, prose fiction is dead, that the 20th Century was its glorious last hurrah. And now we're all writing eulogies and footnotes. (September 9)

~ and ~

So far, the most difficult part of adapting The Red Tree as a screenplay might be my longstanding, strong disdain for reading my own work. Over and over. And over. And over.

~ and ~

“I never reread what I've written. I'm far too afraid to feel ashamed of what I've done.” ~ Jorge Luis Borges (September 9)

~ and ~

Honestly, I don't know if I can possibly survive another trip through horrid The Red Tree audiobook. I truly hate it. Sarah sounds like Pam Swynford de Beaufort and Constance is vapid and chipper. THIS is why audiobooks should be read, not dramatized. (September 7)

And then...

Aunt Beast

"...because rust never sleeps..."

The heat is back. Currently, it's 92˚F in Providence, with a heat index of 102˚F. The humidly is at 43˚F.

I'm trying to punch my way back into the screenplay for The Red Tree, which means, it turns out, tossing out some of what I've already done. Belatedly, I realize that the proper way of doing this may be setting the novel aside. The film cannot be the novel. The film will be a reimagining, as they say, and while it will very closely follow the narrative of the novel, it has to be allowed to become it's own thing. For example, most of the dialogue in the novel won't, I think, work onscreen. And there actually isn't that much dialogue in the book. So, one of the tricks here is to go coax new conversations from Sarah and Constance.

We're trying to decide if we're going to tough out the heat in the house today, or it we're going to head for the John Hay Library. I wouldn't be able to write there. I'd have to settle for proofreading Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales. If we are going, I need to spend an hour of so beforehand making the final decision about which Vince Locke illustrations that will be appearing in the limited edition of Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. There will be ten, along with two by Rick Kirk and a few pages by Steve Lieber (from Alabaster).

It's kinda warm in my office. I need to go splash water on my head.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes and the Big Nothing

Probably the worst pain day I've had in quite a while. The Vicodin* supply is low, so I'm settling for Tylenol. I hardly slept. I have to try to wake up and clear my muddled head. Right now, the pain is a sheet of wet cheesecloth covering my face. I think it's wet with gasoline.

I've not been working. I've been dithering, fretting, worrying, wasting. Wasting time and everything else. It has to stop, and it has to stop today. There's a mountain of work in front of me. The screenplay has to be written. There's all manner of editing to be done. There's no time for this.

The days have smeared together.

I have a few notes from Facebook:

And suddenly I am very much wishing to visit Dublin again. I haven't been since April 1996, when Billy and I spoke at Trinity College. I'd spend a week eating, drinking, and buying sweaters.

~ and ~

There are few things more frustrating than having a great title and no story that fits it. This happens fairly often.

~ and ~

Far too much of my work the last three years seems to come down to stunt writing. Jumping through hoops. Pulling rabbits out of hats. Gimmickry. Et cetera. This is what has to end. Well, one thing that has to end. (And FB doesn't know how to spell "et cetera.")

~ and ~

Honestly, "Interstate Love Song," written last July (or June?)** is the last thing I wrote that was worth a damn.

I loathe Facebook. I genuinely do. I loathe the way I've begun to transplants the brief comments I make there to here, often in place of attempting a more thoughtful entry consisting of, you know, paragraphs. It's lazy.

And speaking of FB, here is the most perfect example of one sort of Scary Fan, posted to Nic Pizzolatto's page:

Hello Mr. Nic Pizzolatto, I would love to share my idea with you about a possible season 3 of True Detective. I'm a huge fan and I think some fan suggestions could help you with the creative process. It won't be a long message just a suggestion on a possible location. I don't want any credit if you like the idea or anything like that. I would love to help in anyway I can so you and your crew can put a compelling show together once again.

You can't make this shit up. Well, you can, but why bother when it already exists.

Also, I'm fairly certain I want to title my next short story collection Nothing I Have Is What I Want.

Aunt Beast

* Please don't advise me on medication. Thank you.
** It was, in fact, written in June of 2014.
I'm fighting the worst headache I've had in a long times. So, perhaps this will be coherent, and perhaps it will not. It's rare that a headache keeps me awake and then wakes me. I blame the sudden temperature change.

Trees in the park are beginning to turn.

The last few days, there's been no work to speak of, not beyond little bits and details, emails, snippets of proofreading, and so forth. That has to change today, headache or no headache. There's no time to be lost, and yet I'm losing time. I "finished" editing Agents of Dreamland on Monday, and apparently I thought that entitled me to some sort of goddamn vacation. I mean, in a fair world it certainly would have, but there is nothing fair about this world.

There's is so little about the last four days worth mentioning that I'm having trouble even recalling them, dividing one from the other. On Tuesday we drove down to South County, which was exactly the wrong thing to do. The crushingly low sky, the stunted trees, the smell of brackish water, the flatness of the land – all of it came together as a perfect engine for anxiety and vertigo. A claustrophobia borne not of tight spaces, but of exposure. A fear of falling up. We made it almost as far as Narragansett before turning back for Providence. Spooky has no patience with me when I get like that. I don't blame her.

On this date a year ago, we were spending our last day in Leeds before boarding the train back to Providence. God, but I'm homesick.

A few notes from Facebook:

If you haven't yet seen Fear the Walking Dead, you very much need to change that. It's marvelous. Frank Dillane is great. (August 31)

~ and ~

And so ends Hannibal, with the single most artful hour of network television ever. Fucking brilliant. Quentin Tarantino must have cum when he saw that. I believe I almost did. Blood-soaked and passionate. I always knew it was a love story. (August 31)

~ and ~

I just saw someone on GoodsReads refer to "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)" as "immoral." And it probably pleased me more than it should have. (September 1)

~ and ~

I do not write gay and trans characters (or, for that matter, straight and cis characters) from a need to appease someone else's political agenda. My characters are who they are because I am who I am. I create the characters I need to tell any given story. Period. (September 2)

~ and ~

Every day it seems a little more certain that I'll be stuck in Rhode Island for yet another winter, and I'm starting to panic. Which makes it harder to work. And my work schedule is the main reason that I'll likely be stuck in RI for another winter, because I don't have the month or two needed to arrange (and recover from) the move. Which means I'll likely be stuck here another winter. The thought of which makes it harder to work. Around and around and around. (September 2)

~ and, finally ~

I want a home with a small, small sky. (September 2)

Now, I need to at least try to be productive.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes and the Nice Men in White Coats

It's going to be hot in here today. Currently, it's sunny and 85˚F outside. In the middle parlour, it's already 81˚F. We should probably head for the library or somewhere else that's cool, but work may make that impossible.

You wouldn't believe that someone could proofread a six-hundred page collection and then forget they'd done it, but I did. I actually proofed Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea way back in December, while I was in Woodstock (the first time). On January 23rd, I sent all the corrected pages to subpress*. And then I forgot that I'd done it. On the one hand, well, that's a huge relief. On the other hand, what the fuck?

Yesterday I pretty much finished proofreading Agents of Dreamland. Which isn't the same as genuinely being finished, but it's close.

From Facebook: No one yet knows for sure if the end of the third season of Defiance was the end of the series, but if it was, it's a beautiful, sad, sweet, perfect ending.

~ and ~

What makes proofreading such a nightmare for me is that when I say proofreading what I actually mean is a sort of tedious sentence-level micro-revision. I consumes vast amounts of time, and it can't be done by anyone but me.

Aunt Beast

* At a cost of $42.

Howard Hughes vs. the Big Blue

Today is still autumn. They say tomorrow will be summer again. Currently, it's 77˚F and sunny, with the humidity at 44%.

And Alice B. Sheldon (aka James Tiptree, Jr.) was born on this day, 100 years ago.

Yesterday was spent at the John Hay Library, proofreading "Agents of Dreamland." But I only made it through 48 out of 76 pages. I'll need to finish the remainder today. I also have to work on choosing the artwork for the limited edition of Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. I've discovered that I have a very, very short time to get through the proofreading on that collection (the ARC comes to 603 pp.). I'm not precisely sure how I'm going to manage that, but it's plain now that I made the right decision when I chose not to attend Necronomicon. I have to get through all this and go back to work on the screenplay, which is (and has to be) my first priority until it's finished.

My favorite barbecue place on earth just happens to be named Dreamland (Tuscalooa, Birmingham).

And that's it for today.

Aunt Beast
Yesterday was autumn. I think today will be, too. Tomorrow, summer may make a special encore appearance. There's never anyway of knowing, not here. I do not know the erratic, perfidious rhythms that the seasons dance to in New England. I half suspect no one does.

Sirenia Digest #115 went out yesterday, with a preview of Agents of Dreamland. At least one person likes it. On his Facebook, Johnathan Strahan writes:

Just read a chunk of Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan's novella 'Agents of Dreamland', which comes on like some parched, hypnotic, sage-soaked amalgam of Lovecraft, Tom Robbins and every X-Files nightmare you ever had. Practically poetry. And certainly a fine sight. Can't wait to see what happens next in Winslow.

~ and ~

I read the whole thing aloud, and it's like that moment where you hear Jack Palance on Roger Waters 'The Pros and Cons of Hitchiking' talk about 'the body on the plain', but it goes on for pages....

You want to get on my good side? Compare me to Roger Waters. Anyway, I'm going to be proofreading the whole thing today, and maybe these words will make the process a little less painful. Maybe it will make me go a little less harshly with my mean red pen.

Yesterday I also answered the sorts of questions that writers occasionally have to answer, some for John Joseph Adams and some for Ellen Datlow. The former, I was being asked about "Rats Live On No Evil Star," which I wrote in 1997. Or maybe 1998. And I'm being asked what inspired it, what I was thinking at the time, etc. And fuck if I know. That was eighteen years ago, and I've written almost two hundred short stories and ten novels since then. I do good to remember my own birthday. There might have been a time that I enjoyed talking about my own work, but that was long, long ago. This is why I no longer give interviews.

Yesterday, the ARCs for Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Me (Volume Two) arrived. And it's a strange thing to hold in my hands. Now I have that to proofread, as well. And I'm scrambling to get the artwork together for the limited edition. Very behind schedule. Very.

I know that my life has reached some fucked-up low point when I can enjoy two straight hours of Naked and Afraid, which has to be approaching the nadir of reality TV, at least in terms of the pleasure we can derive from watching others suffer. For fuck's sake, Kiernan.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes dreams of Florida

Fuck, I need a vacation. I should be putting photos in this entry, but I'm not, and I think that I'll blame my need of a vacation for my not bothering to do it. There's some talk that we may take the bus down to Manhattan for a couple of nights. That might be mildly vacation like, if we do.

It was very hot in the house yesterday, and day before yesterday, but I wrote, regardless. yesterday, I managed 1,500 words and came, unexpectedly, to THE END of Agents of Dreamland, two days before I'd expected. This is a huge relief. It still has to be proofread, and line edits have to be made, but it's done. This means that Mythos Tales (I may actually drop Houses Under the Sea and make the subtitle the full title) is now a complete manuscript. I began the novella on July 12th. It ate most of the summer.

And it means I can take a very short respite, and then turn my full attention back to The Screenplay for The Red Tree.

Tomorrow, I'll be putting together Sirenia Digest #115, and it will feature a 5,400 word sneak preview of Agents of Dreamland.

On Monday night we watched the pilot episode of Fear the Walking Dead, and I for one loved it. Fuck the naysayers (again). I always love Kim Dickens and Cliff Curtis, so I've been looking forward to having them both in a new series, but Frank Dillane comes as a wonderful surprise. I was especially impressed with the pacing and by Atticus Ross' superb score, which built tension from a low throb and holding us seconds from climax for over an hour. And the bleak Los Angeles landscape – which needs no zombies to rate post-apocalyptic – loomed as effectively as ever it has loomed. Two thumbs up.

I'm taking today off. Mostly.

Aunt Beast
I have a vicious sinus headache that's been with me since I woke up yesterday, and last night I accidentally left the refrigerator open, and pretty much everything has to go. So, pain and annoyance. And wasted food.

It's sunny today, and the temperature is currently 82˚F. Someone on Twitter was wondering why I'm so "obsessed" with the weather. Why wouldn't I be? I do not exist independently of the weather. My head is jacked directly into it. My moods swing in almost perfect synchronization with the weather.

Yesterday, despite the headache, I actually managed to write 2,084 words on Agents of Dreamland. I'm now a mere 3,331 words from THE END. In theory, I could finish by tomorrow evening, if I could have another day like yesterday. However, I don't expect to. I expect the end to be difficult. But I shouldn't have any trouble finishing by Thursday evening.

I'm relieved, perhaps a little prematurely.

Yesterday, one year ago, we arrived in Birmingham. It's hard to believe it's been a year since I was in Leeds. I'm so very homesick. And to compound that we're talking about possibly remaining in Providence another year. Another year means another winter, and I simply don't know how I'll manage that.

Both comments and overall traffic to this journal are at an all-time low.

Time to work.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes thinks sleep is overrrated.

I got maybe five hours sleep last night, and was awake until about 7 p.m. My goddamn rotten feet. Then Spooky let me sleep until noon. And here I am. With a headache.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,106 words on Agents of Dreamland. Today, the plan was to do 2,000 words. Despite having not slept, I mean to do it, anyway. I want this thing out of my life.

And really, I'm about half awake. So, that's just going to have to pass as a journal entry. Oh, wait. While I was sleeping this morning, the option check arrived. I'm actually not broke. It's been a while. I'm kind of disoriented. I was first approached by Josh Boone on November 12, 2014. More than nine months later, booya. Thank you, Josh.

Aunt Beast
The heat has broken for now, but the humidity is murder. And I only slept about four and a half hours last night; I'm having trouble focusing my eyes. Currently, it's it's 76˚F and cloudy.

On Friday, I only managed 573 words on Agents of Dreamland, but yesterday I did 1,106. I'm still hoping to finish by Thursday evening. I just want this damn thing finished.

From my Facebook yesterday: Sometimes, the worst sort of pressure in the world is the weight of all the people who are convinced that you can do something, just because you've done it before.

And from day before yesterday: And then I hit that place, two thirds of the way to THE END, when I simply have no idea what the fuck happens next.

I should be in Alabama right now. We were supposed to have moved by now. And speaking of the move, Writers House has cut the check for the option and FedExed it to me. I don't have it yet. Probably Monday. The downside, of course, is that one third of it's going straight to the 2014 taxes. As I said when I first announced that the two books had been optioned, I seriously hope no one mistakenly believes that I'm suddenly free of financial worries. It was a generous advance, and much higher than the average. But people seem to think that optioning your book equates to riches. It doesn't.

Where I am right now, optimism is the worst irritant. Where I am, words of encouragement strike me as gibes.

I think it was very fortunate that I didn't go to Necronomicon this weekend. There's no way on earth I could have been pleasant to be around. Likely, I'd have spent the whole weekend hiding in my hotel room. But I am sorry I missed Joshi. And I am sorry I missed Ramsey.

Last night we finished Season One of The Leftovers. It's a strange, strange show. It has a lot of trouble pulling free of the formulaic devices of what I call Old Television. A couple of episodes focus only on a single character, and that's when The Leftovers truly shines. Other times, it can become seriously lost in the huge number of characters it's juggling. But it's intriguing. And the creators wisely choose to preserve mystery, offering no solution to the events of October 14th. For now, the inexplicable remains unexplained. And yeah, I find myself looking forward to Season Two. This isn't great television, but it's worth my while.

Aunt Beast
Currently, it's 81˚F and partly cloudy here in Providence, but the humidity is high, 73%, and the whole house feels sticky to the touch. Tacky, like drying paint.

Yesterday, I wrote 763 words on Agents of Dreamland. If I can just manage 1,100 words a day, I'll be done by Thursday evening. By the way, if you're a Sirenia Digest subscriber, you'll be getting a sneak preview of the novella in #115.

I've now owned an iPhone (my first "smartphone") since July 28, almost a month, and I've spoken to no one on it. I've called no one, and no one's called me. Which is probably while it took me so long to retire the old phone (circa 2004). I just don't use the phone. Most of my business communication is done via email, as I'm far more articulate when I write, and because I loathe my voice. And as for non-business phone calls, well, those just don't seem to happen. I once was a social beast, but that was long, long ago. I have noted that the iPhone's design does not seem to take into account the shape of the human hand or face. It makes a 1957 Bakelite rotary telephone look positively ergonomic. Give me a handset, please. I'm not impressed. Fortunately, it only cost me $1 (well, and a more expensive plan with Sprint).

From Facebook:

Truism: Assuming anyone to be racist because of their race is, as it happens, racist.

~ and ~

HD did nothing good whatsoever for Spock's ears.

~ and ~

"Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope."—Freewheelin' Franklin Freek

Last night, we watched the first three episodes of Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers. I was hesitant because I absolutely hated Lost and also because the whole "Rapture" thing was one of the most terrifying (and absurd) bugaboos of my childhood. Who needs monsters when you have the eschatology of evangelical Christianity? Anyway, the first two episodes left me on the fence, but the third was very good, so I'll be sticking with it for a bit. It helps, of course, that there's absolutely no reason for the characters to believe that the event of October 14th was Jesus whisking the best folks off the Heaven, if only because a lot of perfectly rotten people were taken and a lot of innocents were untouched. "They're not our dogs anymore." What a great piece of dialogue.

I should get to it. I'm burning daylight here.

Aunt Beast
Yesterday I informed the organizers of Necronomicon that I won't be attending. There's just too much work, and I lost three days to the heat. My apologies to anyone who might have wanted to speak with me or have a book signed or – whatever. Apologies. The deadlines have backed me into a corner.

And today is the 125th birthday of Lovecraft's birth. I'd go to the grave this evening, but there will likely be a crowd.

Yesterday was mostly wasted walking around the Providence Place Mall, because there was AC there. I fucking hate malls. I also hate seeing how anything that enjoys a little popularity gets merchandised to death. It's the silver lining to Alabaster having failed to become the huge hit that Dark Horse thought it would. I don't have to step in Newbury Comics and see Dancy shot glasses and thongs. I don't have to watch the characters and stories drained of all authenticity.

Today, the weather's a little cooler (but humid as hell), and I'm writing. I mean to finish Agents of Dreamland on Thursday evening, at the latest.

Aunt Beast

And then....

No writing again yesterday. At about 2:30 p.m., the temperature hit 94˚F in the front parlor, and so we headed for the Hay. Where I managed to get nothing done. I did get an early look at the new exhibit, "The Influence of Anxiety: Lovecraft, Bloch, Barlow, et al." It runs through January, and while small, it's well worth a look.

Currently, it's 83˚F in Providence, and they say we're going to 88˚F.

We stayed at the Hay until they closed, then headed over to the Cable Car on South Main Street to see Stevan Riley's Listen to Me Marlon (2015), a really excellent Marlon Brando documentary.

Last night we finished Season One of The Knick. Were it not for the two seasons of True Detective, I'd say The Knick is the best television since Deadwood.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes sweats.

No writing yesterday. I went to the mall to buy clothes for a convention I genuinely do not have time to attend. I'm considering only going Saturday and Sunday, instead of Thursday through Sunday. I simply don't have the time. As it stands, I have 9,031 words left to write on Agents of Dreamland. That means eight good writing days, maybe only seven. And with all the deadlines, every single day matters. And this heat is threatening to force us to the Hay today, which means I'd lose toady and make losing four days to Necronomicon even more untenable. I honestly wish I were the sort of writer who could afford the luxury of losing a writing day so that I can do a forty-five minute reading for an audience of thirty people. But I'm not.

After the shopping, we headed down to South County, where is was cooler. We spent an hour or so at Moonstone, sitting on the sand watching least terns (Sternula antillarum) flitting above the waters and diving for fish. We've only been to Moonstone twice this summer. Indeed, we've only been to the shore twice this summer. Anyway, there are a few photos (the first photos I've posted since July 12th):

17 August 2015Collapse )

Did I mention how much I love Steven Soderbergh's The Knick? The fact that Cliff Martinez is responsible for the score only makes it that much more wonderful.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes should have stayed in bed.

It's already too hot in the house, and we're leaving shortly. I need to shop for a few new articles of clothing for Necronomicon, anyway, and the mall will be blessedly air conditioned. Afterwards, I think we're heading down to South County and the shore. Currently, it's 83˚F in the middle parlor, problem near 90˚F in the front of the house. Outside it's 89˚F, with a heat index of 96˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,341 words on Agents of Dreamland.

The last two nights, we've taken very pleasant evening walks in the park. It's a questionable thing to do in this sketchy neighborhood, but I'm sick of being inside. Trees on a summer night. Streetlights. Night birds. If only there were still lightning bugs. I wish we'd started this in June.

Last night we watched the first two episodes of David Simon's excellent Show Me a Hero. And then we saw the first two episodes of Steven Soderbuergh's The Knick, which is absolutely wonderful. The show's on Cinemax, but HBO has all of Season One up through early October.

Aunt Beast (Madame Hughes)

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October 2015


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