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Hot in Providence today. Currently, it's partly cloudy and 88˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,027 words on "Dry Bones," which I should be able to finish today.

And the iPhone arrived. My first smartphone, which I only got because there was this deal at Sprint, if I upgraded my service I got an iPhone for $1. So, I did. And it's an odd little machine. Mostly, I'm not sure what to think about it, but I will say that I've sorta fallen in love with Siri. If nothing else, a voice-activated AI that can tell me how to spell Afghanistan is pretty useful. And now, I retire the phone I've used since 2004, after its eleven years of service.

There are few things I find more upsetting than an unexpectedly wonderful film that totally blows it in the final few minutes. Which accurately describes Joseph Baker and Tom Large's indie SF film, Beyond (2014). I'm not one of those people who insists that a bleak story must have a bleak ending, but the ending can't abruptly contradict scientific principles the filmmakers have already taken care to establish.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
Kind of an especially lousy night, and it's going to actually be summery today. And I have to manage to work through the oncoming stifling weather that this house creates for itself, any time the temperature outside rises about 82˚F. Currently, it's 83˚F with a heat index of 96˚F (according to Accuweather; the Weather Channel says 83˚F with a heat index of 87˚F, which is more believable). We have our own Ash Tree Lane trick, a house that's hotter on the inside.

Yesterday, I wrote another 1,062 words on "Dry Bones." I expect to finish the vignette today or tomorrow. Today would be good, as tomorrow may be hot enough that we need to flee to an air-conditioned library where all I'll be able to do is edit Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales. And I'm working on the idea for the vignette that I'll write immediately after "Dry Bones." Meanwhile, Agents of Dreamland is really coming together in my head, and I need to get back to it.

From Facebook:

I'm told that if I write only characters of European extraction I'm "white-washing." I'm told that if I write African, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American characters, I'm committing "cultural appropriation." Which is it gonna be, people? You can't have it both ways.

~ and ~

I've never been good with silliness, really. It may hit me unexpectedly, on occasion, and usually in private. Silliness usually pricks at the back of my neck and the pit of my stomach. Habitual silliness angers me. No, I don't know why. It's extremely inconvenient, my discomfort with silliness. But it explains my ongoing quarrel with 90% of the internet. This is not to say I don't appreciate comedy. I very much do. But in smallish doses and certainly not 24/7/365.

---

Last night, we watched the new Halt and Catch Fire and then the two most recent episodes of Hannibal. Such an amazing thing to have ever made it to television, Hannibal, and it depressing watching the third season unfold knowing there won't be a fourth. Anyway, then we watched a so-so "found footage" horror film called Mr. Jones (2013), directed by Karl Mueller, that I really wish had been just a little better. It had more potential than was realized, partly because the acting or the directing or both were so ham-fisted. After that we watched David Gregory's Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau (2014), which explains how John Frankenheimer's disastrously awful 1996 The Island of Dr. Moreau began life as a Richard Stanley film. It was a painful affair, this documentary, seeing (again) just how fucked-up fucked-up can get when we're talking Hollywood.

And, with that, I should get moving.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
Currently it's overcast and 70˚F. But there's heat coming.

Yesterday, I set Agents of Dreamland aside and began work on "Dry Bones," a piece for Sirenia Digest #114. I did 1,014 words. Another good writing day, but it was hard stepping away from Agents of Dreamland.

There was thunder and lightning last night, storms passing near Providence.

A really stellar episode of True Detective last night. I was especially impressed by the score towards the end, and Rachel McAdams was really superb.

And that's all I have for this afternoon.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
Yesterday's LJ entry apparently was among yesterday's 25 most popular. LJ told me so. How weird is that?

Outside, it's March. Only 71˚F and cloudy and 81% humidity. Shit weather. And how come no one told me there were new Bloom County strips? Bad humans.

Yesterday was a good writing day. I did 1,287 words and finished the second section of Agents of Dreamland. Now, hesitantly, I set it aside to write pieces for Sirenia Digest 114 and 115 (July and August).

Because people think things, there's something I should explain. On the one hand, the movie options and my doing a screenplay, this is really, really good news. On the other, it doesn't mean that suddenly I'm wealthy. Indeed, it means nothing of the sort. Most option deals are for only a few thousand dollars per book. I was lucky and got a bit more than average. I think it would be crass to reveal the actual sum, so I won't. Anyway, assuming that the films are made, and that my screenplay is indeed used, I'll make enough that I can relax just a little for a few years. But I still won't be wealthy. Hopefully, the buzz generated by the option will help my lit agent get me a better deal on Interstate Love Song, and if the movies are made, my books might sell a little better, and maybe other directors will be interested in my material. Incrementally, this could all, eventually, equal a substantially better income. But that's all a big maybe. I just wanted to say this, because in the months to come I don't want people wondering why I'm still putting out the digest and doing eBay and begging for pennies on the street corners when I could just kick back and swim around in my money like Scrooge McDuck.

I think that counts as a public service announcement.

Datak Tarr, you're a son of a bitch, but you're still a righteous dude.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
It's a decent enough early spring day out there, 72˚F and partly cloudy.

Yesterday, the long-awaited announcement was posted to Facebook at 4:30 p.m. I'll repost it here:

(quote) "Josh Boone's Mid-World Productions has optioned both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl to develop into feature films. I'm writing the screenplay for The Red Tree. Josh will be writing The Drowning Girl. Judy Cairo will be producing. Josh is known for The Fault In Our Stars and is currently directing Stephen King's The Stand (in pre-production) and the reboot of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles.

Hurrah. An official press release will follow soon. I've been sitting on this since November." (end quote)

November 12th, to be precise. Contract negotiations took more than eight months.

Later in the evening, I posted:

"A few people have asked questions about the films and preserving the queerness of the novels. This is something you do not have to worry about. Also, though no details can be released yet and nothing is certain, the hope is that we can cast a transgender actress as Abalyn Armitage."

And, really, that's currently all I'm at liberty to say. Pretty much. I was fairly amused that of all the guesses people made as to what the "secret" was, virtually no one guessed that it involved my own work being adapted into film. Mostly, people seemed to think I was being hired to write for television, adapting someone else's work. as of right now, the announcement has garnered 512 likes and 133 comments.

So, there you go!

---

Yesterday, I mentioned the list I posted here June 27th, the "what I need to do before the summer's over" list. This morning, I pruned it. As much as I was able, because really, I have far, far too much work, and something has to go. Here's the updated version, in late July (call this now through the end of September):

1. The screenplay for The Red Tree
2. Stories or vignettes for Sirenia Digest #114 and #115
3. Editing/proofreading Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales (Centipede Press, 2016)
4. The juvenilia volume, (Subterranean Press, 2016), title TBA.
5. Line edits left to do on Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Vol. 2) (Subterranean Press, November 2015)
6. 25k-word novella for Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales (Centipede Press, 2016), to be written in July, Agents of Dreamland
7. Proposal package for Interstate Love Song (next novel)
8. An introduction for Brian Evenson's The Open Curtain

It's a little bit shorter, eight items instead of eleven. The way things look right now, I'm going to finish the second section of Agents of Dreamland today, the set it aside while I write stories for Sirenia Digest Nos. 114 and 115. Then I'll finish Agents of Dreamland during the first half of August. Then I work on the screenplay until it's finished, with as little distraction as possible, and I hope it will be done before the end of September. all the editing and proofreading and stuff, that will go on in between the actual writing – somehow.

So...the days are just full.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

"Change will come to those who have no fear."

Sunny and cooler today. Currently, it's 80˚F, feels like 85˚F.

Yesterday was a good writing day. Probably the only good writing day I've had so far with Agents of Dreamland (excepting maybe the day I began it). I did 1,231 words. Yesterday, at least, I heard the music.

I am so far behind. Remember that list I posted here back on June 27th? All the shit I needed to get done this summer? Well, I've done almost none of it.

Lists are never a good idea.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
No, I didn't write yesterday. But thanks for asking.

Here in Providence, we're coming the end of the Heat Blip, as we head towards the end of the second third of summer. Currently, it's 80˚F and feels like 84˚F, sunny, the sky a little less and wide and carnivorous than yesterday. Yesterday's sky was a fat, hungry sky cat. I didn't dare go outside, not even to smoke. Those cloudless blue autumnal skies will eat bat us about and then crack our skulls like the tiny white mice we are. Word to the wise. Keep watching the skies. They're watching you.

The second section of Agents of Dreamlands, "Words Written Backwards (June 29, 2015)," wants me to begin it today. But I also need to make the final decisions about which illustrations will appear in the lettered edition of Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. And I have a mountain of eBay books to sign for Spooky. Well, it always feels like a mountain. Though after the 760 signatures of Tuesday, they're hardly a molehill. Anyway, in two or three days I have to stop and write something for Sirenia Digest #114.

Anyone know where I can get a pair of ruby slippers, on the cheap?

At 3:43 a.m. on Wednesday, there was a magnitude 2.3 earthquake in Rhode Island. The epicenter was only three miles from our house, at Fields Point. I was awake, but I felt nothing. Many did.

Notes from Facebook:

Yes, it's still godbothering if you're pagan. In fact, some of the worse godbotherers I've ever met have been pagan.

and

It is close to impossible to get a good hamburger in Providence, in part because of the obsession with "craft burgers" and general shi-shi crap. Just a good burger on a plain ol' hamburger bun, please.

and

Whoever said cleanliness is next to godliness, I'd like to know which god they meant.

and

In 2013 I got rid of ~500 books. That was maybe a quarter of what's cluttering up my house. Because we move back to Alabama (or Georgia) this autumn, I mean to get rid of another ~500, more if possible. It's about quality of life.

and

“Pure art and pure science are the pinnacles of human endeavor. You can add love to that if you like. So much of what we do is for money, power, or advancement, but pure work is important because it stands apart from the things that we do for survival and extends the range of human consciousness.” ~ Brian May, astrophysicist and founding member of Queen

and

It is a fact that I have never texted (and that my cellphone is ca 2006).

and (just one more)

maybeitstimeiritemynovel4millennialz♥w/allthosefancynewtotesadorbswordzlikestaycation&sexting&stuffexceptitwould blikealltl;drbecausememes&tropes!!! :-(amirite LOL♥♥:-) y so serious!


There. You may go now.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

"Wild Creatures"

"When you catch the light
You look like your mother.
It crushes me some,
Just right from the side

When you catch the light
There's a flash of wild creatures,
Before the Stone Age of the preachers,
And the husbands, and the wives.

When you catch the light
The flood changes direction
And darkens the lens
That projects my disguise.

As you fight along-side,
You'll discover my weakness.
I'm not fighting for your freedom,
I am fighting to be wild.

"Hey, little girl, would you like to be
The king's pet or the king?"
"I'd choose odorless and invisible,
But otherwise I would choose the king.
Even though it sounds the loneliest...
And my brother's hands would poison me."

"Hey, little girl, would you like to be
The king's pet or the king?"
"I'd choose odorless and invisible,
But otherwise I would choose the king,
Even though it sounds melodious...
There's no mother's hands to quiet me." ~ Neko Case
Yesterday was one of the most unabashedly shitty days I've had in a long time. Today, I'm in the the stunned silence after the blast, my ears ringing.

No writing. No writing since July 18th.

I sat in the reading room at the John Hay Library and signed the signature sheets for Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. I signed my name 760 times. Two hours. Mindless, robotic. But at least there was air conditioning.

Providence is having it's annual few days of hot weather, and this house – no AC, except one all but pointless window unit – is an oven. On Monday, we sat here and baked. Yesterday, we got out. I didn't work on Monday.

...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
~ Fleet Foxes.

Sunday's episode of True Detective, brilliant. I have no idea how they're going to wrap this all up in only three more episodes, but, then, that's another thing about noir, the abrupt ending.

There's a film I must recommend in the strongest possible terms, Zak Hilditch's These Final Hours (2013). You'll recognize some of On the Beach (1959) and some of Sunshine (2007), and you will see a smart, sorrowful, deeply humane film that gets the "world will end in fire" scenario right. It's streaming on Netflix. See it.

We also saw Tom Green's Monsters: Dark Continent (2014), a film with no notable weakness aside from it's unfortunate title. It's a sequel to Gareth Edwards' very excellent Monsters (2010). The mundane nightmare of war in the Middle East punctuated by cosmic awe. This one's also streaming on Netflix.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
It's going to be hot today, maybe as high as 90˚F. It's already 83˚F with a heat index of 96˚F. Geoffrey's heading down from Boston.

I've not had the stomach for this journal for the past week or so. The words are hardly coming. Yesterday, I finally unlocked enough to write about 740 words and finish the first section of Agents of Dreamland. In December 2012, I finished the first section of Black Helicopters in one day. I needed eight days for the first section of Agents of Dreamland, and that comparison says everything about where I'm at right now. And it's terrifying. Last May, I wrote "The Beginning of the Year Without a Summer," and with that story I began pulling out of a slump, probably caused by those silly fucking Quinn books. I wrote three more good short stories after that, and then, last September, I had to set everything aside to write Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird, which, truthfully, I didn't want to do. I lost about five months to the comic, and when it was over I was exhausted.

Right now, I can't hear the music, and it's the scariest thing in the world.

---

Thursday and Friday, I started and finished Nic Pizzolatto's Galveston (2010). Fucking excellent novel, a hard dose of East Texas/Louisiana noir, 1987 and 2008. I've started his collection, Between Here and the Yellow Sea: Stories (2006).

---

From Facebook:

One of my few "rules" for writers: Do not make characters say dumb-ass shit just to forward the story or provide exposition.

and

Dear audiobook narrators: The word is pronounced "kŭdzū," not "kūdū." First syllable as in "cud," "mud, and "crud." I keep hearing this mispronounced, and as a Southerner, it drives me nuts (especially when the reader is faking a Southern accent).

and

Someone asks me questions about a story I wrote 1998, what I was thinking when I wrote it, and so forth, as if I can actually remember such a thing.

and

On February 5th, while staying in Neil's magical mystery cabin in the mountains, I dropped a fire poker on my left big toe. The toenail just - finally - came off. Today shall forever be Toenail Day.*

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

*July 16th
Originally posted by grrm at The Horrors on Pluto
Mordor is on Pluto! Who knew?

Okay, got to admit, I think it is really cool that some of the features New Horizons is finding on Pluto (our ninth planet, dammit!!!) and its moon Charon are being named Mordor and Cthulhu. Who says science fiction and fantasy haven't arrived? J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft have entered realms previously reserved for Greek and Roman gods.

Those ice mountains they've found are very cool too, and clearly need to be named the Mountains of Madness. And of course when New Horizons sails on, deeper in the black realms beyond the solar system and finds a sinister tenth planet, we MUST name it Yuggoth. Especially if it is covered in fungus. (Which would be mind-blowing).

I am disappointed that no alien ruins or black monoliths have turned up yet, but I don't suppose you can have everything.

So hurrah for JRRT, hurrah for HPL, and hurrah for NASA and JPL. Nice to know they're fans.
A dark and evil morning. I'll make this quick.

Yesterday, I wrote about 780 words on Agents of Dreamland. On Monday, the word count was about 560 words. This is, obviously, unacceptable.

I've been told that the ARCs for Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 2) will be going out soon and that the signature sheets are on their way to me.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
Summer finally found Providence. It's currently 80˚F, with a heat index of 87˚F. And we're having the usual trouble keeping the house cool enough for habitation.

And yeah, it's been a few days. But I've been through a rough patch, trying to work, not being able to, struggling with the usual depression and anxiety, and having trouble motivating myself to keep this journal going when it's readership has plummeted so dramatically the last few years. The age of the blog is forever over. The age of "tl;dr" is upon us. Even tweets are deemed too wordy for these days. We can dig our heels in and say "Not here! Not me!" But that doesn't change the idiot momentum of history.

I've finally found the story I was looking for, and yesterday I wrote a little more than 600 words on Agents of Dreamland, the very loose sequel to Black Helicopters, which will be included in Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales.

Thursday night we watched Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders (1983), which I'd not seen since it was in theaters, the years after I left high school. I'd forgotten how much I love that film. Friday night we followed it with Coppola's adaptation of Rumble Fish (1983), which I also hadn't seen since it was new. It's really the better of the two films.

Yesterday, after I was done writing, we drove down to Moonstone Beach. On the way down, the traffic headed north was appalling, all the people headed back towards Providence. There were too many people, which is unusual for Moonstone. The sea was a little rough. There were plovers and terns and gulls, and we spotted an osprey. Afterwards, we drove over to Narragansett, planning to have dinner at Iggy's. Unfortunately, there were about a million people standing in line. So we drove over to Galilee to try George's, but it was at least as bad. Fucking tourons everywhere. See, we know better than to go to the shore on a weekend. But we did it anyway. Finally, we gave up and headed back towards home, had dinner at Five Guys in Wakefield. At 9 p.m., the traffic was still monstrous, so we stopped by Spooky's parents for a little while. It was late, but luck was with us and her dad didn't go for the shotgun when he heard unexpected guests approaching up that long, dark driveway. I dozed as we drove back to the city, Sigur Rós playing on the iPod.

Here's four photos from the beach (I managed to get a few without people):

12 July 2015Collapse )


The auction for the Brazilian edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ends in about two and a half hours. Don't forget.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
A little cooler today. Currently, cloud and 74˚F. We had a couple of marvelous storms yesterday. Thunderstorms are rare in Providence.

The phenomenon of the Brazilian edition of The Drowning Girl continues:



If only I'd ever see that sort of stack of my books here in the States.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
The word for today's weather is "muggy." It is, like yesterday, a muggy day in Providence, Currently, it's cloudy and 82˚F.

Not much to say about yesterday. We went to the movies, we we rarely ever do. There was a time I went to the theater a couple of times a week. Now I go maybe once every couple of months, usually. Movies have simply too expensive to see on the big screen. Which sucks. Even going to the cheap Tuesday matinées, as we almost always do, it's just too expensive to be a regular habit.

Anyway, we saw Alan Taylor's Terminator Genisys, and, much to my surprise and probably against all odds, I actually enjoyed it very much. It's the first smart (well, relatively) Terminator film since Terminator 2 (1991), and I think that I'd say, more than anything else, this film feels like an homage to Terminator 2. Emilia Clarke is a joy to watch, even if she does make an oddly soft sort of Sarah Connor, coming nowhere close to the gritty, hard-as-nails survivalist we got from Linda Hamilton (or Lena Headey, for that matter). She's sort of Sarah Connor Lite. I found Arnold Schwarzenegger unexpectedly charming. And I went in not knowing Matt Smith has an important role, which automatically raises the film's cool factor. I think the filmmakers made a smart move playing it lighter than the earlier films, especially after the mess that was Terminator Salvation. In places, this is a very funny movie. Oh, and Jason Clarke as John Connor is okay. Not great, but okay.

All that said, Jai Courtney is one of the least interesting actors I've ever had to endure, and I think it was an absolutely shitty casting move. He has all the the charisma of a lump of coal. Here's your main character, and you cast a lump of coal. And I absolutely loathe what 3d has done to how action sequences are filmed, how they're blocked and executed. The action scenes in Terminator 2 are far, far more effective. In Terminator 2, nuclear war was horrifying. In Terminator Genisys it's no more than a soulless SFX sequence. And what's with the fucking close ups? I'm pretty sure directors of 3D films are piling on the closeups. Parts of Terminator Genisys come off as an endless series of talking heads, almost painful to watch. I noted this same problem in the third Hobbit film. What the fuck? But still, all the problems aside, I did enjoy the film, which must mean Taylor did something right, even if it's hard to look past the flaws and say exactly what that something was.

Now, work.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
It's a warm and sticky day. Currently, 77˚F and 83% humidity.

If you have an interest in obtaining from me a copy of the very, very fucking nifty "collector's edition" of A Menina Submersa, the Brazilian, Portuguese-language edition of The Drowning Girl, this is likely your only chance. Ever. I'm auctioning one copy.

Yesterday was spent at the Hay proofreading Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales. I made it through “Pickman’s Other Model (1929),” “The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade,” and “The Bone’s Prayer.” Also, Sirena Digest #113 went out to subscribers yesterday.

I have a 25,000-word novella and a 125-page screenplay to write. Currently, these are priority #1.

Last night we saw the beautifully filmed and incredibly charming A Girl Walks Home Alone in the Dark (2014), directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. I never expected to see an Iranian vampire film that felt like a Mexican surrealist fairy tale. It goes on my list of favorite vampire films.

And now, we're gonna go see Teminator Genysis, which may well suck, but, then, I'm a sucker. We're talking Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor. Fuck yeah.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

"I want to live, but I don't belong."

It's a beautiful day out there. Currently, the temperature in Providence is 77˚F, and our high today should be 84˚F. Sunny. But I spent almost every beautiful day – and there aren't that many in New England – sitting in this chair at this desk staring at this screen. Because the writing has to be done. Will I go outside today? Unlikely, unless it's for five minutes to have a cigarette.

Yesterday I finally finished "Dead Letter Office." I think I got the push I needed to the final 750 or so words by reminding myself that not every story I write can be great. Since December 2005, I've written 136 pieces of fiction for Sirenia Digest (plus the mountain on non-SD fiction), and, well, they can't all be brilliant. That's just the fucking way it goes. I'm not a die press. I'm not an assembly line. I'm not McDonalds. And this is me telling myself to get the fuck off my back. Note that I do this frequently; it only rarely works. Today I'll proofread the story and assemble the 113th issue of the digest. And, by the way, I am extremely grateful my subscribers, and I do sincerely hope that you enjoy "Dead Letter Office," as it represents eight days of my life. The word count came to ~5,100 words.

Our fourth was uneventful. We worked. We had dinner. We listened to the cannonade of the official, city-sanctioned fireworks off India Point. And then, until long after midnight, we listened to the barrage of to-it-yourself idiots trying to blow up Federal Hill and the Armory. The cats spent hours hiding under the bed.

It's been a while since I've seen a film as unexpectedly delightful as Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead's Spring (2015), which we watched last night. I went into knowing pretty much nothing except that it had an 89% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and was some blend of sf and horror and love story. And I'm not giving any details here, because I don't want to spoil it (this is why they're called "spoilers") for anyone. Just see it. Right now the film is streaming on Amazon Prime. I think I'm actually ranking it above Ex Machina as my favorite sf/f/h film of 2015 thus far.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
Happy birthday to my Grandpa Ramey. He'd have been 104 today. He died of emphysema in 1977, at the age of 65. Grandpa was like a living Tom Waits song. So, for me, July Fourth is always Grandpa Ramey Day.



Yesterday I managed to get back to work of "Dead Letter Office," but I only eeked out a measly 759 words. I did not find THE END. I ought to have been done with the piece days ago. People who do not depend on their writing as the sole means of support for two people are fond of saying things like, "You can't rush art. Take your time." And here we have the vast gulf between the romance of the would-be working author and the harsh facts of the actual working author. It would be wonderful if I had a month to work on this piece. I don't.

Yesterday, I read "Jaw mechanics and evolutionary paleoecology of the megaherbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada."

Cloudy today, and currently it's 73˚F here in Providence. Kathryn put a pork roast in the crock pot this morning, with an onion and an apple, and we're going to have corn on the cob, baked beans, and apple pie. I'm extra homesick today. It inevitably happens on the Fourth.

A lot of GW2 last night, me and Spooky out in Silverwastes. And one RP scene in The Secret World. I took a break from RP just before my birthday, and I went back on July 1. I was missing India Shore. Really, The Secret World is a sad mess of a game, but no other MMO can offer an RP world even half as interesting. So, that's where I go. GW2 is for gaming; The Secret World is for role play.

Later, I watched Interstellar for the fourth time.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

"In the suburbs, I learned to drive."

So, turns out I actually omitted one of my favorite vampire movies off the list yesterday, Dracula's Daughter (1936). So, I'm going to repost the list, this time in chronological order, with that addition of that film:

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. Vamp (1986)
11. Fright Night (1985)
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)

A film that will not, I hope, be on anyone's list of favorite vampire films is 30 Days of Night: Dark Days, Ben Ketai's 2010 sequel to 30 Day's of Night. We watched it last night, because making this list had me in the mood for a vampire film. Fangoria's review was spot on, noting that it "departs from [the first film] as the film progresses. What follows is a generic story with flat characters set in an uninspired locale." And may I never have cause to quote Fangoria ever, ever again. Ugh.

---

It's currently 76˚F in Providence.

Today, I have to get back on the horse. So to speak.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

"And the lion's roar, the lion's roar."

For no particular reason, I think I'll post a list of what I consider the twenty-nine very best vampire films (in no particular order):

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

I know, of course, that I left out your personal favorite. That was inevitable. Interestingly, there are no great vampire films from the 1940s and 1950s.*

----

No writing yesterday. I read through what there is of "Dead Letter Officer" with Kathryn, and we talked about the problems I'm having with the piece. Not what I'd call a productive day.

“A conglomerate heap of trash, that's what I am. But it burns with a high flame.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Later,
Aunt Beast

* Some would protest that the first Hammer Dracula (1958) should be on this list; I disagree.
There were thunderstorms before dawn. I slept through them, but they woke Spooky. Now, they've passed over us and out to sea. And there's some sun. And suddenly it's July, again.

Yesterday was a disaster, so far as writing is concerned. I'd expected to finish "Dead Letter Office." Instead, I spent an hour and a half tearing apart and reworking everything I wrote on Monday, which, it turned out – or at least to yesterday's eyes – was a load of crap. I'm not sure what I'll see when I look at the pages today. On Facebook, I wrote: To my mind, as a writer I am first and foremost a stylist. Above all else, it's about the sound of each word in each sentence, of thousands of words in conjunction with one another. And the "trick" is maintaining mood, cadence, tone, etc. But then come these days when I can't hear the music, and I am, on these days, well and truly fucked.

Spooky went to Art Freek on Wickenden Street and got a new tattoo. I'll post a photo tomorrow. It's one she'd been planning for a long time.

I read "A new Mesembriornithinae (Aves, Phorusrhacidae) provides new insights into the phylogeny and sensory capabilities of terror birds."

Last night, after dinner and GW2, we watched Dwight Yoakum's South of Heaven, West of Hell (2000), which I think is somewhat better than its reputation. Despite being a meandering, episodic, unfocused mess, it has a charm, and I've long admired its determination to be such a soft-spoken ghost story that leaves the inexplicable unexplained. And few films have ever boasted an odder cast of characters. It deserves better than the 4.1 it has on IMDb and and the 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. But I have a soft spot in my heart for weird, ugly children, having spawned many myself.

Yesterday was the 107th anniversary of the Tunguska explosion, that warning shot across the bow of our species.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast
The sun is out today, and the temperature is supposed to reach 81˚F. I'll be gracious and let that pass for summer. Actually, I'm glad it's not hotter today. Kathryn's getting a new tattoo this afternoon (photos tomorrow), and she's better off not being all sweaty and shit.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,034 words on "Dead Letter Office." I'd have written more, but there were distractions (work related). Which reminds me. As I said yesterday on Facebook, the VERY BIG ANNOUNCEMENT will come, at the latest, on July 13th. So, keep watching the skies. After seven-plus months, the secret has exhausted me.

As for "Dead Letter Office," also from Facebook:

I'm kinda, sorta, vaguely beginning to worry that "Dead Letter Office," the new story, is becoming Houses of Leaves in space. Except, maybe that's a good thing. Or maybe it's "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," minus AM. Or "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" sans Spock. Or maybe I'm just having a bout of insecurity.

You know, there was a time when I'd never have stooped to stitching together a skimpy blog entry from fucking Facebook posts.

Last night, after Halt and Catch Fire (which continues to be excellent), and after the first two episodes of The Brink (which is hilarious), we watched Sidney Lumet's Fail Safe (1964), which I'd not seen since I was a kid. And I'd forgotten what a magnificent, brilliant, terrifying film it is. Want to know the Cold War fears that filled my dreams in my teens and twenties? Watch Fail Safe.

Afterwards, I began wondering about movies from 1964, how many of my favorite films are from 1964. I made a list, in no particular order (thank you, Wikipedia):

01. My Fair Lady
02. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
03. A Shot in the Dark
04. Zorba the Greek
05. Crack in the World (a really awful film, but I adore it)
06. A Fistful of Dollars
07. Fail Safe
08. Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte
09. Marnie
10. The Night of the Iguana
11. Robinson Crusoe on Mars (another guilty pleasure)
12. Seven Days in May

Likely, I missed a few. And now, I gotta work. June ends here (though I'm told we've been awarded one extra second).

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast
The floor has dropped out from beneath me again, and there's the whirlpool of depression and anger.

But I wrote 1,546 words on "Dead Letter Office."

Last night, True Detective (this week's, and a re-watch of last week's), Penny Dreadful, and the final episode of Nurse Jackie, plus a quirky little postmodernish western, John Maclean's Slow West (2015).

“It seemed silly to wash one day when I would only have to wash again the next. It made me tired just to think of it.” ~ Sylvia Plath

Tired,
Aunt Beast
It's shitty out there. Only 65˚F and overcast. No summer day should be saddled with this weather.

But on this day one year ago, pretty much everything was perfect, and we saw Neko Case play an outdoor show in Lowell, Massachusetts. It might have been my last best day. There were some good days in Woodstock, but I don't think any matched Lowell.

Jesus, I need to get the fuck out of this house for a few days.

Yesterday, I wrote. Finally. I did 1,069 words on a new story, "Dead Letter Office," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #113.

Last night, we watched Bill Murray in Theodore Melfi's St. Vincent (2014), and I liked it quite a lot. I suspect there are people who think I indiscriminately love films. But the truth is that I've gotten rather good over the years at avoiding films I know I'll dislike. For every film I watch, I pass over four or five. Couple this with the fact that I only occasionally feel moved to write about the few films I see that I genuinely don't like, and, well, that indiscriminate love is only an illusion. Life is too short to waste it on lousy movies, and too many movies are lousy. Same thing with books, by the way,

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
Cooler weather, a bit more of what I once would have called spring. Currently it's cloudy and 71˚F in Providence.

Nothing was written yesterday. It was a day spent dithering, looking for a short story for Sirenia Digest #113. The past few months have been, on the whole, profoundly unproductive. And I have to find a way to end this. My second entry yesterday makes that fairly clear. My workload for the summer:

1. The screenplay (Top Secret Project)
2. Stories or vignettes for Sirenia Digest #113, #114, and #115 (heads up; June's gonna be late)
3. Editing/proofreading Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales (Centipede Press, 2016)
4. The juvenilia volume, as yet untitled (Subterranean Press, 2016), and I hope to deliver the ms. in July
5. Line edits left to do on Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Vol. 2) (Subterranean Press, November 2015)
6. 25k-word novella for Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales (Centipede Press, 2016), to be written in July, possibly a prequal to Black Helicopters
7. 10k-word short story for I Am the Abyss (Dark Regions Press, 2016)
8. Consulting on Below a Wide Carnivorous Sky, the CRK tribute anthology (Centipede Press, 2016)
9. Gathering material for the limited hardcover of The Red Tree (Centipede Press, ?2016)
10. Proposal package for Interstate Love Song (next novel)
11. An introduction for Brian Evenson's The Open Curtain

Last night, after Hannibal, we watched some godawful piece of shit directed by someone named David Gelb, The Lazarus Effect (2015). I blame Olivia Wilde. I was suffering a bout of Remy Thirteen nostalgia. Afterwards, we watched Robert Schwentke's R.I.P.D. (2013), which was, for the most part, as bad as The Lazarus Effect, except that Jeff Bridges was hilarious. Because he's Jeff Bridges. I'm thinking the pitch for R.I.P.D. was something like, "Dead Like Me meets Men in Black, and then we toss in Ghostbusters, just for shits and giggles." Someone bought it.

Yesterday, I polished my nails first time since November.

Today, I can't search. I have to find.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

The State of My Schedule

So, Summer 2015, as it stands:

1. The screenplay (Top Secret Project)
2. Stories or vignettes for Sirenia Digest #113, #114, and #115 (heads up; June's gonna be late)
3. Editing/proofreading Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales (Centipede Press, 2016)
4. The juvenilia volume, as yet untitled (Subterranean Press, 2016), and I hope to deliver the ms. in July
5. Line edits left to do on Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Vol. 2) (Subterranean Press, November 2015)
6. 25k-word novella for Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales (Centipede Press, 2016), to be written in July, possibly a prequal to Black Helicopters
7. 10k-word short story for I Am the Abyss (Dark Regions Press, 2016)
8. Consulting on Below a Wide Carnivorous Sky, the CRK tribute anthology (Centipede Press, 2016)
9. Gathering material for the limited hardcover of The Red Tree (Centipede Press, ?2016)
10. Proposal package for Interstate Love Song (next novel)
11. An introduction for Brian Evenson's The Open Curtain

Yeah. I'm hideously behind. I need a goddamn intern.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

"My small reprieve's your heart of gold."

And I wake to the news that the Supreme Court of the United States has declared that gay marriage is now legal in every niche and corner of this country. No more state-by-state victories and setbacks. No more separate-but-equal "civil union" rulings. No more bullshit.

I don't really know how to follow that.

No writing yesterday. A lot of dithering. But no writing. I spoke with Jerad Walters at Centipede Press about Piotr Jabłoński, who's doing the cover and endpapers for Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales. I told Dark Horse that I won't be in San Diego; I thought they knew already. I fought to stay awake. I did some housecleaning. It wasn't much of a day.

Last night, we watched Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man (2014) (adapted from John le Carré's novel). This Philip Seymour Hoffman's last completed film, and his performance was, as always, masterful. I see him, and it's hard to except such a man is gone from the world. We followed it with A.J. Edwards' The Better Angels (2014), which was superb, beautiful, every frame an exquisite still photograph in its own right. I think we've almost caught up on all the 2013-2014 films that we missed, something like fifty films since late May. I need to sit down and make a list.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

"The only thing worth fighting for."

Waking up is harder
Than it seems,
Wandering through these empty rooms of
Dusty books and quiet dreams.
Pictures on a mantel
Speak your name,
Softly like forgotten tunes, just
Outside the sound of pain.

Weren't we like a pair of thieves
With tumbled locks and broken codes?
You cannot take that from me.
My small reprieve's your heart of gold.
Weren't we like a battlefield
Locked inside a holy war?
Your love and my due diligence,
The only thing worth fighting for.

Change will come to those who
Have no fear.
But I'm not her. You never were
The kind who kept a rule book near.
What I said was never
What I meant,
And now you've seen my world in flames,
My shadow songs, my deep regrets.
~ Rosanne Cash
Trying to wake up. It was after sunrise before I got to sleep, though I'm hazy on how long after sunrise. Sometime between five and six. We've had a string of days that have only just sort of qualified as hot, but the house gets dreadfully warm if the temperature nudges over eighty. So, lots of cold dinners and lying very still at night and the whirring of fans. There's a cool down coming, though, this weekend, and we'll be back into the seventies and sixties. I do not welcome it.

Because business drags its feet and takes its own sweet time, we're looking at mid or late September for the move back to Birmingham, instead of August.

I've not really made any progress on the screenplay. Almost all my work has been focused on proofreading and correcting the manuscript for Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales. And we've been doing that at the Hay, because there's air conditioning, and, too, because if one must waste days of one's life proofreading at least it can be done amid grandeur. While I proof, Spooky's been transcribing the text from old typescripts into MS Word, so I can assemble the ms. for the volume of juvenilia that Subterranean Press will be publishing in 2016. I do not envy her. There are four photos from Tuesday.

A Day in JuneCollapse )


Spooky says she had a good birthday yesterday. We went to Warwick for a 40th anniversary showing of Jaws. I was one of those in the audience who saw it in theatres in the Summer of '75. I was eleven. After the movie, we stopped at Newbury Comics so Spooky could get one of her gifts, a special pressing of Violent Femmes on green marbled vinyl. Then we drove back to Providence for Thai food at Bee's over on Ives Street, and then we got cake and ice cream for Spooky. Back home, we played a little Guild Wars 2, then watched Jeff Preiss' wonderful film Low Down (2014), which I strongly recommend. A look at the life of jazz pianist Joe Albany from the eyes of his daughter.* An amazing cast, including Elle Fanning, John Hawkes, Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage, Flea, Lena Headey, and Caleb Landry Jones. See it.

And then I tried to sleep. And watched the sun rise. Which is what I do. It's my secret job.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

*The film is based on her 2003 book, Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales from Childhood (Bloomsbury).

The Nagging of the Subject Line

Currently 81˚F in the house, and 82˚F outside the house. Our multitude of fans are spinning. But at least I'm not cold. I might have slept two hours last night. The Seroquel has been leaving me both foggy and tense, and I didn't take it last night. So, no sleep.

I dozed off sometime after dawn, and then I awoke an hour later with my hair drenched and matted with sweat.

There's not a lot to report. I've been trying to make progress on the screenplay, and when that doesn't work, I'm turning to the Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales manuscript. Proofreading, editing. Trying the undo mistakes I made in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002. It's goddamn tedious and depressing work. But this is how I react to reprints, always. Reprints mean revision. I wonder if anyone's ever compared the 1998 text of Silk to the 2007 text of Silk? Or compared each of the dozen or so incarnations of the "The Steam Dancer (1896)"? No piece of prose is ever "finished."

---

From Facebook, yesterday:

I strongly recommend Paul Thomas Anderson's 2014 adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel Inherent Vice.

Yes, I'm saddened at the news of Hannibal's cancellation, but I've said since the start that it's too smart, weird, and dark for a Big 4 network. So, I'm grateful for the three marvelous seasons (no. 3 amazing me the most, thus far). And perhaps it will be picked up by another network (Showtime, Netflix, Amazon, etc.), though I get the impression that Fuller will be devoting most of his effort of American Gods for Starz.

The "to read" stack beside my bed: Brian Evenson's The Open Curtain, Jeff VanderMeer's Area X (second reading), Stephen Puelo's Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919, Mark Z. Danielewski's The Familiar (Vol. 1), AND Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes From A Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change.

My copies of the special edition of the Portuguese translation (Brazilian edition) of The Drowning Girl (A Menina Submersa) arrived today. I have to admit I'm a bit pleased at the love this edition is getting. Never thought I'd be big in Brazil.

---

Geoffrey visited Sunday night, and we watched the first episode of Season Two of True Detective. I was extremely pleased with it.

I'm managing to simultaneously read "A new metriorhynchoid (Crocodylomorpha, Thalattosuchia) from the Middle Jurassic of Oregon and the evolutionary timing of marine adaptations in thalattosuchian crocodylomorphs" and "Purranisaurus potens Rusconi, an enigmatic metriorhynchid from the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous of the Neuquén Basin." There's a lot of overlap.

I think that's all for now.

Later,
Aunt Beast

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