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"It kicks like a sleep twitch..."

Barker
I need a caffeine enema.

It's raining here in Providence. It will rain for two days more, say the weathermen. Then, supposedly, spring will return. I've not left the House since March 23rd, which makes six days. Not good, but nowhere near my worst. Work and the weather and fear of human contact conspire to make a recluse of me. But, Spooky has sworn I have to leave the house this evening.

Subway bombings in Moscow. Thoughts of the feel-good travesty that is "Earth Hour." The sinking of a South Korean vessel by a North Korean mine. The fact that, as of yesterday, the US war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than Vietnam, and takes its place as the longest "active" US war ever. These thoughts, all this news pollution that I cannot effect nor dismiss, beat about my eyes and ears and slow me down. They would shut me down, were I only a little more sane.

Yesterday, I had every intention of getting Sirenia Digest #52 laid out, including writing the prolegomena. But I only managed to proofread "Houndwife" and deal with the line edits to the story. Spooky had gone down to Saunderstown to her parents place, because her sister, Steph, was up from Brooklyn with our two-year-old-nephew, Miles. I stayed behind and tried to work. But after the proofreading...everything just sort of came apart. I puttered. I dithered. I read a small bit. I did nothing in particular, except think about how I ought to be working. Spooky made it back sometime after 5:30 p.m. I have a photo of Miles (Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn A. Pollnac):



So after having that marvelously unproductive day, we didn't get to bed until after 3 a.m., because we are bad kids who do not know when they've had enough WoW. Then, to make the day perfect, my insomnia kicked in (though I'd been all but nodding off at the iMac) and I had to take an Ambien. I think I didn't get to sleep until almost five. And that was my yesterday.

Oh, I did propose, via Twitter (*shudder*) that "steampunk" might be salvaged from an inevitable and imminent demise (thanks to hipness and assimilation by the masses) if we take to calling it "coalpunk." Someone kindly pointed out this title disregards wood-powered engines and suggested "smogpunk." And, actually, it was a rather fine suggestion. Come to think of it, I have never written steampunk. I have, however, written a bit of smogpunk. "Smogpunk" can help us divest steampunk of its peculiarly romantic overtones, that idealizing and redemption of the Industrial Revolution, that short-circuiting of what ought to be dystopian, by drawing attention to the true byproduct and consequence of all that steam...namely smog. It's not about the steam, clean and billowing, but the pall of smog in which any steampunk world would be shrouded.

No one will notice this nomenclatural coup, but there you go.

Have you preordered The Ammonite Violin & Others? Well, then, please do so. Thank you.

Okay. Must awaken. Must work....

Comments

( 26 comments — Have your say! )
whiskeychick
Mar. 29th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
They would shut me down, were I only a little more sane.

I can empathize.

What an adorable fresh face is thee nephew.

I like smogpunk. It seems ...more. Maybe even smogradical?
greygirlbeast
Mar. 29th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)

What an adorable fresh face is thee nephew.

Indeed.

I like smogpunk.

I've always found something off-putting and counterintuitive in the brand of optimism that usually characterizes steampunk. This would help solve the problem.
whiskeychick
Mar. 29th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
Oh btw, my copy of The Ammonite Violin & Others is ordered. I absolutely adore the cover art.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 29th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)

I absolutely adore the cover art.

As do I. And thank you.
captaincurt81
Mar. 29th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
I love the term "smogpunk." Now if we could come up with a term that correctly summarizes the paranormal suspense quagmire engulfing mass market fiction. What describes the heroine who wants to screw a werewolf?
greygirlbeast
Mar. 29th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)

Now if we could come up with a term that correctly summarizes the paranormal suspense quagmire engulfing mass market fiction.

"Crap."

What describes the heroine who wants to screw a werewolf?

"Puppyslut."
captaincurt81
Mar. 29th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
Perfect!
stsisyphus
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
"Puppyslut."

Oh come on, that makes it sound far more entertaining that it actually is.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)

Oh come on, that makes it sound far more entertaining that it actually is.

Sadly, I see your point.
martianmooncrab
Mar. 29th, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
lasted longer than Vietnam

what dates are they using for that? we had "military advisors" in Nam since the late 50's and the Police Action didnt end until May 1975 ..
stsisyphus
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
Might be a legal definition depending on when/how the US actually declared "war" during the present unpleasantness vs. whether or not the Vietnam War was ever graced by a formal declaration of war (vs. a police action).
martianmooncrab
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
it never was a legally declared war, but a Police Action, we first went at the invite of the French (damn them!) then after they bailed, the South Vietnamese Govt... which is why the Shrub made such a big deal out of beating shields and drums to get his war declared legally.
amethyst_clan
Mar. 29th, 2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
I think Miles sort of looks like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. He's cute. :)

They would shut me down, were I only a little more sane.

I identify with this so much it hurts.

(Also! I've started the Red Tree. Love it so far! Now if my depression would lift enough that I can concentrate to read more of it. -shakes fist at her stupid broken neurochemicals-)
greygirlbeast
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)

I think Miles sort of looks like Ralphie from A Christmas Story.

Yep. This has already been noted.

(Also! I've started the Red Tree. Love it so far! Now if my depression would lift enough that I can concentrate to read more of it. -shakes fist at her stupid broken neurochemicals-)

The book should come with a warning, "Do not read unless chronically happy." Then again, "happy people" would never, ever understand it.
amethyst_clan
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I'm totally getting the story, which strangely isn't making my depression any better. :P But I'm not complaining. In a strange way, it's helping, just because I can imagine Sarah as "someone out there who gets it". And when you're fighting a major depressive episode, knowing you're not alone helps.

(and I have no clue if that makes sense. Apologies if it doesn't.)
greygirlbeast
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC)

And when you're fighting a major depressive episode, knowing you're not alone helps.

On the one hand, yes, I know what you mean, at least in an abstract sense. On the other, in my case, knowing I'm not alone has never helped.
amethyst_clan
Mar. 30th, 2010 12:23 am (UTC)
yeah. It doesn't help much here, but when you're drowning, you grab whatever you can.
juushika
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
As an interesting reversal: I've been dealing with an unwelcome (is it ever welcome?) depressive episode lately, and the only thing that's I've been able to read during it has been The Red Tree. If it we'ren't a reread that might not be the case, but since I already know it well enough that I'm not fighting to get my fogged brain to understand it—instead I'm sinking so damn deep into the atmosphere that it's ... it's like coming home. It may not be a good place, may not be a productive one, but is one I know and understand. It's a comfort, a shield, and a companion. It fascinates me too, because I'm experiencing the atmosphere even more than I did the first time through—there's ever more to sink into, to consume. So when I can't concentrate on anything else, I can still get lost in it.

For me: "Do read when chronically unhappy."

Damn good book, too. Thank you for writing it.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)

In some of my blackest spells, I reread House of Leaves, so there you go.

And you're very welcome.
stsisyphus
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
...smogpunk...

Oddly enough, I was considering this as something between the afterglowy fantasy-victorian whitewash of steampunk and the more pessimistic "dieselpunk". Still, I think the idea still holds. We need to recapture the spirit of Black Lung Urban Spec Fiction
greygirlbeast
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)

the afterglowy fantasy-Victorian whitewash of steampunk

Well said.
birgitriddle
Mar. 29th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC)
It's not about the steam, clean and billowing....

That reminded me about the creepy imperialist Victorian age soap ads I've seen in one of my history classes for some reason. Probably because of the somewhat odd colonialist aesthetic that some steampunk cosplayers do.
prose_lover
Mar. 30th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
I just want to say that LJ is not dead! I know I am late, but I look forward to your entries everyday. I do not know what I would do without them!
pisceanblue
Mar. 30th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing Miles with us, he is indeed two years worth of adorable.
humglum
Mar. 30th, 2010 01:31 am (UTC)


He's unstoppable! And a pretty smart little guy, for not even 2 months into being 2 years old.
moto_chagatai
Apr. 2nd, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)
Smogpunk seems more acurate, although truth to tell, I've never understood the steampunk genre much. Never found the writing appealing or well-done, with the exception of Whitechapel Gods, which gets butchering reviews, so what do I know. Hope your head, and all worldly posessions stay above water.
( 26 comments — Have your say! )