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white2
A bright morning here in Providence. The sun came back yesterday afternoon, and today it's much warmer. A high of 67F is forecast. Hubero is camped out on my desk watching birds.

The first part of yesterday was spent searching for the photograph I'd planned to use on the dust jacket of The Ammonite Violin & Others (please preorder!). That meant pulling out the HUGE BOX O' PHOTOS and combing through the decades. But the print was missing. We found the negative, but not the print. So, I began to consider whether to go with this image— which would meaning having a new print made, which would mean driving to Greenwich (pronounced "Gren-itch," not Green-witch," please) —or just picking a different photo. Finally I settled for the latter option. And I chose an image subpress' design person already has on file, which made everything much simpler.

I exchanged emails with an editorial assistant at Penguin, regarding corrections to the mass-market paperback of The Red Tree. Oh, by the way, tomorrow I'll be announcing the "wonderful bit of news" regarding The Red Tree that I mentioned back on the 8th. Anyway, I answered various other emails.

And then, later in the day, Spooky and I headed to the post office in Olneyville (getting the signature sheets for Swords and Dark Magic back in the mail, two short story contracts, etc.), then back to Benefit Street and the Athenaeum. She finished up with the galley pages for The Red Tree while I lurked amongst the shelves (and bumped my head twice on the same low-hung lampshade). I was especially pleased to come across a first edition of William Beebe's Half Mile Down (1934; Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York), which I noted was entered into the Athenaeum's catalog on November 11, 1934. On the way out, I had the pleasure to meet aliceoddcabinet, the circulation clerk responsible for getting The Red Tree into the Athenaeum. The library was soothing, and Benefit Street seemed even greener than it did on Monday.

My thanks to everyone for kind words and reassurances regarding my decision to shelve The Wolf Who Cried Girl. Right now, my plan is to get through Sirenia Digest #s 53-55 (April, May, June) and write two short stories that have spring and early summer delivery dates, and then come back to the book near the beginning of July.

---

I have resolved— for the thirtieth or so time, surely —that I'm truly done with Second Life roleplay, except for a few one-on-one scenes now and then with people who've proven themselves very good at rp. Last night in Insilico, I did an excellent scene (thank you, Blair). But that somehow led into a group scene, which was anything but excellent. It was, instead, messy, confused, and, for the most part, silly. I used to disdain rp classes, thinking surely this is something that everyone can do, something we learn to do as children, and that the proper rp etiquette is pretty much a given. Nope. I was wrong. I am finally admitting I was wrong. Because people can't stay in character, and they can't avoid wrecking scenes with out-of-character chatter and jokes (which are still disruptive, even if you put them in parentheses). Some of it I write off to ignorance of good rp, but there's also a sense that people cannot bear any sort of suspense, and that they fear (or are uncomfortable with) being taken seriously, so must constantly sabotage a scene. Or they think it makes them look cool, breaking character. I don't know. In the end, it really doesn't matter why these things happen, only that they do. And that they are disrespectful of other players and destroy interactive, collaborative storytelling. At least for me they do. And given that rp is the only thing I've ever wanted from SL...well, there you go. I cannot continue to expend so much energy for such meager returns. I've been going back to SL, seeking rp, for almost three years now (since May 2007), and things have only gotten steadily worse. It's hard to give up on something that has so much potential (which is why I've gone back so many times), but there comes a point. I think I have reached that point. I hope I have reached that point.

---

I have some photographs from yesterday in the Athenaeum:





Spooky reads culinary adventures!



The view from the old school desk where I was sitting.



That would be me, reading William Beebe.



A particularly interesting plate (at left), illustrating a large deep-sea fish Beebe named the "untouchable bathysphere fish," or Bathysphaera intacta, which he sighted at a depth of 2,100 feet off the coast of Bermuda. Unlike most of his fishes, the existence of this species has never been confirmed, and it remains a mystery.



Wonderfully narrow corridors of books.

All photographs Copyright © 2010 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac.

Comments

( 35 comments — Have your say! )
captaincurt81
Apr. 14th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
Rows of books
If you get the chance, check out The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. These novels' plots revolve partially around volumes found within a great emporium of books in Barcelona. I was enthralled by these stories and the imagery of all those words collected, shelf upon shelf upon shelf. Magic!
And yes, I've pre-ordered The Ammonite Violin.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Rows of books

If you get the chance, check out The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Not an author I'm familiar with, but I'll try.

And yes, I've pre-ordered The Ammonite Violin.

Thank you!
captaincurt81
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Rows of books
I mailed an ARC of The Angel's Game to you last summer, figuring it was a book you could appreciate. Perhaps it never arrived?
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Rows of books

I mailed an ARC of The Angel's Game to you last summer, figuring it was a book you could appreciate. Perhaps it never arrived?

Actually, it did. I just located it on a shelf. It's a sea of books in here.
captaincurt81
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Rows of books
A sea of books here too. Cool!
ysabetwordsmith
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
*sigh*
I totally sympathize with you about roleplaying, although my experience is facetime rather than online. It's a skill and a talent, a form of acting/storytelling. Some people are brilliant, many can be adequate, but a lot of people aren't and/or don't care.

To me, roleplaying is a learning opportunity where I can learn things I can't get anywhere else. That makes me very devoted to a game when I'm playing or mastering one. Unfortunately it's hard to find other people who are serious about it; most just think of it as another game. That gets very frustrating. A good game depends on people having the same or at least compatible goals.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
Re: *sigh*

It's a skill and a talent, a form of acting/storytelling.

Yes. I think a lot of people fail to recognize the acting component. I've called it "impromptu theatre."
ysabetwordsmith
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Re: *sigh*
I describe it as a play where you are given a character but not lines, and the director reveals the plot gradually as you move along.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
Re: *sigh*

I describe it as a play where you are given a character but not lines, and the director reveals the plot gradually as you move along.

Also an apt description...though I think the director is optional. Online rp often differs in that respect from RL rp (though, frankly, I don't know how RL larp groups operate).
omika_pearl
Apr. 14th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
Re: *sigh*
The director is the person in charge of things outside the control of other characters... the narrator. So, it could be the person currently revealing a plot arc for their character, and taking control of NPCs as needed, or aspects of the environment. It could also be an acting GM.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
Re: *sigh*

Yes...these things generally make sense.
thehousesparrow
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
I worked pretty hard to try and clean up last night's log, and I'm sorry to read this now. Good luck and I hope you find what you're looking for.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
and I'm sorry to read this now.

And I know you tried, and I'm sorry, too. But it truly was a mess, and people need to learn to behave better in rp. At one point, the ooc posts outnumbered the ic posts by about eight to one (mostly jokes about "boobs"). I'm just out of patience.

Edited at 2010-04-14 06:10 pm (UTC)
martianmooncrab
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
The view from the old school desk where I was sitting.

very similar to what I have in mind for an addition to my house... in my dreams of course.
timesygn
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)

Was going to suggest replacing RP with another social activity, but you don't strike me as the type to sign up for a karate class at your local Y. (Perhaps a softball league in which losing teams are sacrificed to Ba'al? Just a thought ...)
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)

Was going to suggest replacing RP with another social activity

Truthfully, that's not such a bad suggestion.
timesygn
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)

Oh, wow ... I didn't imagine you'd entertain the idea. But since you have, you might consider martial arts. The right club will allow you to start wherever you're at and work at your own pace. Nick Mamatas (nihilistic_kid) has good contacts in the Chinese MA community and could recommend people. For my part (from the Japanese side) I cite the Mayo Quanchi judo club in West Warwick, RI as world-class. Whatever you decide to do, best of luck.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)

But since you have, you might consider martial arts.

On the one hand, I'd love to. On the other, I think the intermetatarsal neuromas in both my feet (the reason I often walk with a cane) would make it pretty much impossible. I think I'll have to settle for simpler means of social interaction.
nullmode
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
I hate to say this, but as an owner of an RP sim in SL, the only way to get what you want is to create it. You would have to have a closed sim or area of play and only allow people in by invitation. Then you'd have to be brutal about enforcing the rules. This, of course, would lead to a very small pool of players and probably to each playing several alts to keep things interesting. It is possible to achieve this kind of situation. It just takes lots of work and seldom lasts forever.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
I hate to say this, but as an owner of an RP sim in SL, the only way to get what you want is to create it. You would have to have a closed sim or area of play and only allow people in by invitation. Then you'd have to be brutal about enforcing the rules. This, of course, would lead to a very small pool of players and probably to each playing several alts to keep things interesting. It is possible to achieve this kind of situation. It just takes lots of work and seldom lasts forever.

I think you're right. This was how the Dune sim I took part in worked, and it's how the sim I tried to build myself in Fall '08 was going to work (it was doomed by construction problems and money woes). I would gladly accept a tiny pool of players for good rp. It's been my experience that the very best rp is limited to exchanges between two people (which is what I am now limiting myself to, for the most part). And, for what it's worth, Insilico does have strict rules about ooc behavior, it's just that lots of people ignore them and GMs rarely enforce them.

Edited at 2010-04-14 06:20 pm (UTC)
omika_pearl
Apr. 14th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
It's true. I was a part of an exclusive, excellent RP server on Neverwinter Nights 2 that was absolutely brilliant. I met some of my favorite people there whom I still keep in contact with. We were invitation only, we played a lot of alts, and unfortunately, it just didn't last.
awdrey_gore
Apr. 14th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
Second Life was an interesting experiment but after roaming around and doing my best to not engage in First Life but Better behavior, I lost the thread of why I wanted to be there. But I was never much at any sort of role-playing, it must be said. I just wanted to see the fantastic in pixel form, I guess. It just always surprised me that the genuinely interesting places were always empty and sex clubs were full. I did get to run a labyrinth with the Minotaur. That was the brightest memory I have of the place.

Yay for bookshelf porn.
omika_pearl
Apr. 14th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! When it comes to RP, I tend to migrate a lot. I drift from medium to medium, game to game, following people I know I enjoy, and leaving areas when they seem to become stale or overpopulated with smacktards.

SL is great, but right now, I feel like you do. There's just nothing there, for the most part, that interests me, and what does go on when I'm around tends to be completely asinine and boring.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)

You're welcome! When it comes to RP, I tend to migrate a lot. I drift from medium to medium, game to game, following people I know I enjoy, and leaving areas when they seem to become stale or overpopulated with smacktards.

You've given me a new word! Smacktards!

I think I need to get back to console gaming, frankly.
stsisyphus
Apr. 14th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you're still not getting what you want out of SL RP. Speaking as a social gamer, I place a reasonable value on the "table chatter" and OOC speak because its interaction with other people that I come to the table looking for. As such, I feel a little sympathy with the people you indicate were irritating the hell out of you. They were looking for a different kind of recreation that was not compatible with what you desired. However, because I'm not entirely stupid, I won't attempt get you to change your opinions to fit my own (at least on your own LJ).

I can sympathize with the aggravation that needless OOC comments can bring to a dramatic scene, though. *shrug*
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)

I'm sorry you're still not getting what you want out of SL RP. Speaking as a social gamer, I place a reasonable value on the "table chatter" and OOC speak because its interaction with other people that I come to the table looking for. As such, I feel a little sympathy with the people you indicate were irritating the hell out of you.

I want very, very immersive. Anything that pulls you out of the story...such as ooc chatter about another player's "boobs," destroys immersive rp.

If I wanted a chat room, I'd go to a chat room.

Wait...SL is a chat room! Silly me....
elmocho
Apr. 14th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
Wonderfully narrow corridors of books.

The old Phoenix Public Library used to have these, but that changed when they moved to the new Burton Barr location. Burton Barr is huge and has nifty architectural features-- pillars that seem to blaze with sunlight when they catch the solstice-- but all of the shelving is wide, open, regular... and boring.

Insufficient nooks and crannies spoil a library for me.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 14th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)

Insufficient nooks and crannies spoil a library for me.

Yep.
xjenavivex
Apr. 14th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
That looks like the stacks at UNCG. Thanks for the pictures. I can't wait for the news.
odditie
Apr. 15th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
RP
You could always try forum-based, post-by-post RP. http://www.magical-hogwarts.org/rpg/ is pretty rule-laden, and they're very strict about following said rules. You have to go through a rather intense application process (character profile, rp sample, familiarity with the series, etc.) before you're even allowed to begin RP. Many people whose applications are declined the very first time don't even try to fix their errors and apply a second time, so there aren't as many inexperienced rpers to run into. The site also has a separate section for OOC posting, so you shouldn't have to worry about rampant OOC chatting.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 15th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Re: RP

You could always try forum-based, post-by-post RP.

Thanks, but nope. People suggest this frequently, but having had the visual interface, I could never again do text-based rp. It would fall flat.
fusijui
Apr. 15th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: RP
I think I need to get back to console gaming, frankly. Broken record says: Morrowind! Non-generic-fantasy weirdness where you ride around on giant fleas in a volcanic wasteland dotted with ziggurats and mushroom-based mansions, a (hopefully) resentful tool of imperialism and living gods!

Thanks, but nope. People suggest this frequently,

Erp. Sorry.

but having had the visual interface, I could never again do text-based rp. It would fall flat.

Heh... I may know what you mean, but in mirror-image. I think I've come full circle; back to where I actively dislike 99% of graphically-based fiction/gaming setups for their visual interface. At this point, that's precisely the element that would inspire me to make out-of-character comments all the time, I suspect.

How about old-fashioned RPGs? There must be quite a number of pencil-and-paper, face-to-face players of all different flavors in Providence.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Apr. 15th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
Re: ....not really RP, but....

I've not heard of it, but it doesn't sound like my sort of thing.
tetar
Apr. 15th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
Ammonite Violins & Trilobite Dreams
Pre-ordered your collection and dearly wish I could afford your other collections, greybeast. Recent thoughts regarding you & your work: You often scowl at work the like of which any of us would be proud to have written. Your layers rival Pynchon's. And The Red Tree is both the bravest and most dangerous writing I've seen published maybe ever. Great writerly in-jokes, (onionskin paper, for one), and a hearty fuck-you to those who dare to carp about what they can never grasp, it supersedes genre toys to achieve world-class architecture even while maintaining the clearest voice I've seen since Hemingway, Vonnegut, or Harper Lee. Damn it inspires. Thank you and brava. / Gene Stewart the wiccanthrope.
kongjie
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
Suspense
...but there's also a sense that people cannot bear any sort of suspense

Such an interesting observation and I think you're spot on. I don't think this is anything new--think of people who flip to the end of a book--but the problem nowadays is that content consumers have too much control. We can fast-forward our DVRs and find out what is going to happen. One personal example: I won't be too proud to admit that I'm a Survivor addict, particularly when it's a good season. During tribal council, I'm prone to skipping ahead to the results of the vote, because I have to know what the outcome is. It's not that the discussions and arguments prior to the vote are boring...it's that I can't bear the suspense. Now, I wouldn't do that with a book, but I do with television. With a book there's too much at stake for me--but I think that the rule-breakers in RP don't understand what is at stake for the other participants. I don't RP much at all but I think for some people RP is fun, or play-acting, and for others it is the creation of an unblemished illusion. It's juggling where the balls have to stay in the air. If the balls aren't in the air, you're not juggling anymore. But if you're just play-acting, RP is all a bit of fun, along with the humorous OOC asides.

Edited at 2010-04-17 08:19 pm (UTC)
( 35 comments — Have your say! )