"Black blizzard round a cold grey sun."

white2
The Lamictal finally started taking affect about two weeks ago, and my moods stabilized. Until yesterday, and now depression has found me again. It's not the unmedicated, violent darkness, but it has sharp little claws, all these same.

Things would be better were I writing. I may not enjoy writing, and this may not be what I wanted to do with my life, but I'm healthier, saner, while I'm working. And by working I mean actually writing, not trying to figure out how to write a story, and not while I'm attending to the nonsense that often rides piggyback on this or that project. Actually writing. It gives the days a shape. It helps me not feel like a bum. What did I do today? Oh, I wrote 1,100 words. That beats having only thought about writing 1,100 words hands down, every time.

Yesterday, I only thought about writing.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you.

On the eleventh, I wrote that I was going to begin looking for the way into The Dinosaurs of Mars, and that I would be trying, over the next couple of weeks, to answer the question, "After eight years, can I actually write this novella?" Well, here we are on the fourteenth, and I've written not one word. I'm still tossing around the basic structure of the narrative. I cannot, at this point, say too much more than "It isn't going well." There are all these stories I have to avoid allowing the novella to become, all these treacherous high concepts. "Jurassic Park in space," for example. I also do not want it to be another novella like The Dry Salvages, which docbrite accurately described as a "ripping good space yarn," all those years ago. The Dinosaurs of Mars is not meant to be a ripping god space yarn. There's also the problem that Ridley Scott's superb Prometheus (2013) actually scooped me on a good-sized chunk of the story. Which is what happens when you sit on a story forever; sooner or later, someone else beats you to it.

I had a good conversation with Bill Schafer (Subterranean Press) yesterday. It had been too long since we'd talked.

Last night, we watched Steven Soderburgh's 2002 adaptation of Stanislav Lem's Solaris (1961). It has its detractors, but I adore this film. It's most assuredly one of the few genuinely smart science-fiction films of the past couple of decades. Cliff Martinez' performance manages to steal the show. One thing that really jumped out at me this time was Cliff Martinez' soundtrack, perfectly matched to the film's quiet, ominous, haunted atmosphere. Martinez was the drummer on the first two Red Hot Chili Peppers albums, and he also worked with the final incarnation of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. He's an amazing and talented fellow.

I should at least try to work.

Blah, Blah, Blah,
Aunt Beast
Roy Batty
I despise this wind. It sets my nerves on edge. It's like biting foil.

How can the summer be half over?

Yesterday, a thing or two having gone to shit before my eyes, Kathryn and I decamped and headed north and east some thirty or so miles to Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on the advice of my editor at Penguin, for to see the beaches at Demerest Lloyd State Park. At the mouth of Buzzards Bay, west shore. Once we left I-195 and then made it through the barrier of strip malls, fast-food restaurants, gas stations, and so on and so forth, there were beautiful stretches of farmlands, houses and country stores dating back to the 1790s and older. Fields of blueberries, tomatoes, corn, skies filled worth raptors and sparrows. If I have to live in New England, the land southwest of Dartmouth would be a nice place to sit out the nine months of unpleasant weather. But I imagine one has to be quite wealthy to live out there. The trees were nice, a bit stunted by the aforementioned winds that worry always at the coasts here. On Horseneck Road, we paralleled the narrow, winding Paskamanset River, past Russell Mill Landing, where it eventually changes its name to Slocum (or Slocums) and becomes a tidal river, before entering the bay between Barneys Joy and Mishaum points. The tide was out, and there were sandbars divided by stretches of warm water no more than a few inches deep. We'd gone two or three hundred yards from shore, at least, before we reached the low breakers.

I swam out, but even after another hundred yards or so, the water was only about three and a half, maybe four feet deep. There was a stiff breeze, but not particularly cold. For New England, the water was pleasantly warm. Kathryn stayed back, and some drunkard motherfucker began harassing the very young female lifeguard. A mild kerfuffle ensued, with led to the lifeguard being replaced by a male colleague who, for reasons I still cannot fathom, called me back towards shore. Apparently, waist-deep water is hazardous to strong swimmers. No signs were posted anywhere about swimming out, and there were no buoys. It sort of ruined the day, proving one cannot escape the bullshit, not even in the sea.

We stayed until about five p.m., I think. We took some photos with Nemo, above and below the water. Look behind the cut.

12 July 2014Collapse )


Yesterday, I began reading Rebecca Johns' The Countess (2010), and I read two papers in the May 2014 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "Freshwater shark teeth (Family Lonchidiidae) from the Middle-Upper Triassic (Ladinian-Carnian) Paramillo Formation in the Mendoza Precordillera, Argentina" and "Mosasaurine mosasaurs (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from northern Italy."

Unhappy in the House,
Aunt Beast
walter3
Well, first things first. I will not be appearing at this year's San Diego ComicCon. My health and nerves simply aren't up to the travel and the crowds, and I can't risk catching something that I'll have to spend a month recuperating from. There's too much work to take that chance. I made the decision yesterday and informed my the con, my editors, and my agent. Apologies to anyone who was hoping to see me there.

I should have titled this entry, "Howard Hughes, True To Form."

Sirenia Digest subscribers should have #101 waiting in their inboxes. I'm very pleased, I think, with "Far From Any Shore."

Oh, and new books have been added to Round 2 of the Cat Face Auction.

So, now...

The question before me is whether or not I am truly going to spend the next month or so writing The Dinosaurs of Mars. And, probably, the question is really whether or not I should write it at all. The story, in its earliest incarnation, occurred to me in 2006, and I've been trying to sit down and write it for the past eight years. It may well be that the proper time to have done it has come and gone. But after talking the matter over with Spooky last night, I decided to take the next two weeks and devote them to the story. I'll surely know after two weeks writing whether or not I still want and still can write the novella.

Right. Then let's get to it.

Get a Wiggle On,
Aunt Beast
river3
And, suddenly, it's not hot anymore. Today's high might reach 85˚F. The air through my office window is cool, and it's currently only 79˚F in Providence.

Late last night I learned that I've received three nominations for the 2014 World Fantasy Awards: Best Novella (Black Helicopters); Best Short Story ("The Prayer of Ninety Cats"); and Best Collection (The Ape's Wife and Other Stories). News like that makes going down to meet the dream monster a little bit easier.

Though it hadn't been the plan, yesterday's proofreading of "Far From Any Shore" led to some revision and expansion of a couple of scenes, so another entire work day was spent on the piece. So, today I'll do my best to get Sirenia Digest 101 out to subscribers.

Our "Pay For Hubero's Face" auctions continue, Round 2. Please have a look, and please bid if you see something you like. Thank you.

You know, that AM/FM transistor radio that my mother bought in 1973 with S&H Green Stamps never needed a single goddamn update, and it never needed a new operating system, and it lasted for over a decade. The television I bought in 1996 with one of my first good writing paychecks and which we only stopped using about three months ago, never needed an update, no OS swap, and it worked like a dream for eighteen years. Eighteen years! Never mind I've never once needed to update the copy of Watership Down I got when I was in eighth grade, in 1977. My copy of Savage Pellucidar, ca. 1974, I don't need a fancy, schmancy next-gen Schnook or Swindle to read it. Hell, my first computer, my beloved Pandora, a Mac Color Classic, worked just fine from 1993 to 2004 – when a mover bumped the box it was in and damaged it. That's eleven years without an update or a swap in the OS, and it only went in for repairs once, because the on/off switch broke. I'm using stereo speakers I bought in 1986, and then there's my completely functional 1941 Quiet Deluxe Royal typewriter – in tip-top shape.

But now, with the iPod, the iPad, my iMac, the Asus I game on, the PlayStation, all those streaming services we use through the new television, we have to face a constant, baffling barrage of updates and patches and glitches and bugs and the like. And if a computers that gets heavy use, as mine always do, lasts for four of five years, I'm lucky. We're on our fourth digital camera since 2004, because the things just wear the fuck out. Electronics are being built to need constant revision, and they're cheap junk built overseas to a) wear out quickly and b) be replaced by "better" models ASAP. Planned obsolescence has never been a third so pervasive and so profitable. Thank fuck we don't really do much with phones. My cell phone is years old, and it isn't the least bit smart, thank goodness. One of our two phones, we got it in 2006.

Sometimes, things truly were better before.

Fuck the updates.

Now, work.

Is It Live Or Is It
Aunt Beast (?)

Howard Hughes at the Picture Show (Snowpiercer !)

sol
Wake the fuck up, Beast.

Sunny and warm outside. Shadowy and hot inside. One day I will no longer be a prisoner of this House in this city in this strange realm of this sunset country.

Yesterday, I played hooky, and we made the 2:30 p.m. matinée of Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer (2013; Seolgungnyeolcha), based on Jacques Lob's* graphic novel, Le Transperceneige (1982). It's the best science-fiction film I've seen since the Wachowski's Cloud Atlas (and, before that, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Melacholia, and let's toss Prometheus in there, as well), and it's certainly one of the best SF films of the last decade. It just...shines. Snowpiercer plays out as a claustrophobic dystopian homage to both Terry Gilliam and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. And it's just fucking brilliant, in the most terrible way, weaving black comedy and superb acting and stunning visuals. It has the sort of cast that just keeps me smiling, frame to frame to frame: Tilda Swinton (in a delightfully demented, show-stealing Margaret Thatcher riff), John Hurt, Song Kang-ho, Ed Harris, and Go Ah-sung. Poor Chris Evans does his best to keep up with the so much talent, and if the film has any flaw at all it's simply that Evans, who plays the main character, is overshadowed by....well, everything. But, on the other hand, it may have been intentional, as it helps us live of the existential shock and sheer horror that Curtis Everett feels as he moves, Dante-like, through the vast, hurtling, lunatic train containing the last of humanity. There are echoes here not only of The Divine Comedy, but of The Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now, and, too, The Road (novel and film). It is an intensely political film. You must see this film, though it's received virtually no distribution in the US, and so you may have to wait for DVD, which is a shame.

We saw it at the Cable Car, surely Rhode Island's oddest theater. But the darkness and the ice onscreen were a welcomed escape from the heat of the House. Afterwards, we had dinner at India, then sat awhile in Lippett Memorial Park, across from Swan Point, while the day faded to dusk.

I took cinema photos:

8 July 2014Collapse )


Today, I need to proof all of "Far From Any Shore" and try to get Sirenia Digest 101 together.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

* Lob has a cameo in the film.
sol
I dreamed I was in a bombed-out European city near the end of WWII. I was at the edge of a wide green lake, catching water snakes.

The heat is back. At least, it's hot inside the House. I don't know what it is out there. I haven't bothered to check the weather or open a window. In Rhode Island, opening a window will yield vastly more accurate results than consulting any meteorologist.

Yesterday, I wrote 958 words and finally found THE END of "Far From Any Shore." The rest of the day was spent getting more photoreferences out to Lee Moyer for the cover painting of Beneath and Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume Two).

I posted this on Facebook yesterday:

So, my agent has read "Interstate Love Song: Murder Ballad No. 8," and she says (in an email with the subject line "omg!"): "Your story is amazing. Some of your best writing, no question. Dark, god knows, but really really good!" When I asked if, then, she thought it would, indeed, make a good novel, she replied, "A gorgeously written dark and literary serial killer novel with incestuous lesbians as the main characters and perps? I’m in. Possibly not a slam dunk in commercial terms, but it will be great." This has made my week. I know what my next novel will be. This will be my first completely, undeniably non-supernatural novel*.

That was the very good thing about yesterday. The novel will be titled Interstate Love Song: A Murder Ballad. I hope to begin it as soon as Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird has been written for Dark Horse, so probably in the early autumn. With luck, I'll have it finished by the end of next summer.

Congratulations to setsuled, who had the winning bid on the copy of From Weird and Distant Shores. Another round of eBay auctions has begun.

Think I'm gonna have five stars tattooed at the base of my neck, little black ones, with CARCOSA above them.

Kathryn and I had a walk most of the away around Dexter Training Ground. My feet are so bad these days that's a very long walk for me.

Okay, off to the salt mines with me.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

* I contend that both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir are non-supernatural novels, but it seems to be a contentious issue. But, you ask me, authorial intent trumps all.

"Even the noise you make when you sleep."

octoheart
We've been creeping back towards summer weather since Arthur passed by. Today, the high is forecast at 84˚F. It's sunny, with a few scattered clouds. I can stand to be under a sky like that.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which are making it possible for us to pay an unexpected vet bill. Thank you. I very much hope that the copy of From Weird and Distant Shores (Subterranean Press, 2002) goes for more than the current bid, as it's one of our last copies. Some of these stories – including collaborations with Christa Faust and Billy Martin ("Poppy Z. Brite") have appeared nowhere else since they were brought together in this volume. The auction ends in just under four hours.

Yesterday, I wrote 969 words on "Far From Any Shore." And almost found the end. But there was a truly silly distraction that kept me from being able to summon the requisite focus. There's a lot of that going on these days. Today, though, I'll find THE END to this story that I've been working on since June 25th. It will appear in Sirenia Digest #101 (which is late).

Yesterday evening, on Facebook, I wrote:

I have this terrible feeling, that seems to grow stronger with each day, that I am simply no longer capable of keeping pace with what appears, to me, to be a world obsessed with gratuitous, exponentially increasing complexity. It makes feel like an idiot, something I know damn well I'm not. More and more, I find myself simply opting out. But in doing this I also sense my relevance is declining. I want to hide from a world that, truthfully, has ceased to make sense to me.

The irony that I wrote this on Facebook is not lost on me. Anyway, I'd thought I might elaborate on that thought in this entry, but I haven't really got the time just now. I can't afford to risk being distracted from writing. And everything, everything, everything distracts me from writing, distracts my brain.

This is the Age of Distraction.

We finished Season Two of Misfits last night. I fear the creators very nearly broke the show with the changes between Season Two and Three. But the third episode of Season Three got a bit better, so...I have hope. Still, we miss Nathan, and I don't think replacing a likable twat with an unlikeable twat was necessarily the smartest move. A completely different sort of character would have been a wiser course of action. Still, this series is so much better than, say, Heroes – essentially its American counterpart – that it's impressive. It makes me think of something Vertigo Comics might have produced during its very brief heyday, back in the first half of the nineties.

Gotta Scoot (please bid!),
Aunt Beast

"Your sky all hung with jewels."

Roy Batty
I've got to start getting to sleep earlier. I am sick of watching the sky grow light before I finally slip under; I do not like that shade of grey lavender.

Yesterday, I wrote only 961 words on "Far From Any Shore," and on Friday I did a little over 1,000 words. It's really coming much too slowly for so short a story. It's an entirely shattered narrative, though I cannot tell if I've done it that way truly by design or merely by necessity. Or habit.

I've not left the House since July 3rd.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which are making it possible for us to pay an unexpected vet bill. Thank you. I very much hope that the copy of From Weird and Distant Shores (Subterranean Press, 2002) goes for more than the current bid, as it's one of our last copies.

I think that's all I have for now.

Briefly,
Aunt Beast

"Under blue moon I saw you."

white2
Arthur arrived and wept away the heat. It's dark and cloudy outside, though whatever rain that came was before I awoke. I don't know if there will be more. I suspect we didn't get anything like Boston's pyrotechnics. The seven golden pyramids the Illuminati buried under Providence after the hurricane of 1938 drives away all the Truly Evil Weather.

It was too hot in here yesterday for me to think, but I tried. All I managed, though, were corrections to Tuesday's pages of "Far From Any Shore." I've got to get this story written; I'm drawing it out much too long. I've hardly managed two thousand words.

We left the House late in the day, and it was much cooler out than in. Had I not been so heat addled, I'd have left sooner. There was a trip to the market and a salad for dinner. Today, I'm fixing a chicken for the Fourth, with corn on the cob, baked beans, and deviled eggs. The break in the heat has made cooking not traumatic. I made barbecue sauce this morning (2 cups cider vinegar; 1 teaspoon cayenne; 2 tablespoons salt; 2 tablespoons light brown sugar; 1 teaspoon black pepper), and the eggs are cooling.

Whoa. That was actual lightning.

Today is my 103 anniversary of my Grandfather Gordy M. Ramey's birth. He died of emphysema in 1977, at the age of 65. He was like a living Tom Waits song. So, for me, July Fourth is always Grandpa Ramey Day.

The rain's back.

Good RP last night in The Secret World. It had been a week or so since I'd been into the game, as it's been too hot in my office to sit at the computer. Probably it was still too hot last night, but I need not to be me for a while.

As I first mentioned on Tuesday, we've awakened the eBay monster to help offset the cost of Hubero's recent vet bills ($600). Please bid if you can, and thank you. Note that we're offering, together, signed copies of the Silk tpb (original 1998 text) and the Silk mmp (revised 2007 text), which we've never done before. You can also have a look at Kathryn's Etsy shop, which has beasties and jewelry.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

And now we are Twelve.

sol
Twelve is silk. Or maybe linen. I fear mine and Kathryn's anniversary may be a little dull today. After yesterday's fiasco, landing at the library in Peace Dale with nothing to do, I need to work today. And there's not a good movie playing at the Avon, just two different crappy romantic comedies. And it's too hot to do much in the way of cooking dinner. We'll see. Still, you know, twelve years. I have to admit that 2002 seems somewhat "just the other day."

After the library yesterday, we drove into Wakefield, and stood awhile on the bridge over the Saugatucket River, just west of Main Street. We were hoping to see turtles, but, instead, we saw a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) and a muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus). The latter was the most entertaining. It swam out into the middle of the river, grabbed a water plant of some sort that was poking up above the surface, ate it, then swam back to shore. Oh, and there were dragonflies. And a colony of swallows living underneath the bridge. The air off the river was startlingly cool. I'll never grow accustomed to the way, in New England, temperature can vary wildly over so small a distance.

Last night, we watched O Brother Where Art Thou for the first time in years, and I correctly spotted the Gillian Welch cameo.

Back home, the temperature in the house had only dropped back to 88˚F, and Kathryn wrestled the one window unit that we have into the pantry window*. This had the effect of getting the temperature down to about 84˚F by 3:30 a.m., when I finally went to seep. This morning, I awoke too hot, once again, but at least my office and the kitchen are tolerable. In the middle parlour, the temperature is 85˚F, which is, at least, marginally better than 89˚F. All these curtains are drawn against the sun.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, we've awakened the eBay monster to help offset the cost of Hubero's recent vet bills ($600). Please bid if you can, and thank you. You can also have a look at Kathryn's Etsy shop, which has beasties and jewelry. Note that the copy of From Weird and Distant Shores is the first we've offered in years.

Now, I have to see if I can find my way back into "Far From Any Shore." Tuesday, I managed just over 1,000 words on it.

Excelsior!
Aunt Beast

* Dr. Muñoz died last summer.

Howard Hughes, Exasperated

sol
When I woke this morning, from a dream of having my eyes removed, the thermostat in the middle parlor already read 88˚F. In something of a stupor, I dressed, took my meds, and then Kathryn and I went south to Peace Dale, and we spent the day – wasted the day – sitting in their air conditioning. We returned home about an hour ago. To the oven. As I said on Facebook while at the library:

Fled the broiling house (89F) to the sanctuary of the Peace Dale Library. But in my heat-addled delirium, I forgot every single thing I might have used to get work done here. I even forgot ear buds for my iPod. So...here I sit...nothing to do, and in no mood just to read.

I long for central air and heat. And a house that doesn't hold in every scrap of heat, winter and summer.

And, while we're at it, I miss a world where discours de bébé isn't the Cool New Thing, whether you're a teen or in you're fifties. I "has a sad"? "Nom nom nom"? That's "totes adorbs"? Your "selfie" gave me "all the feels"? Really? Seriously? I'm talking about adult, well-read, college-educated people. And no, my generation didn't have anything linguistic to match the ubiquitous idiocy of this slang (though, as I've said, I do not see this as necessarily generational phenomenon).

God, what I genuinely, truly miss a world with at least some semblance of dignity.

Fuck This Shit,
Aunt Beast ("prickly evil")
sol
I shudder to image the energy I waste fuming over internet baby talk/slang....

Yesterday, I managed to write 1,008 words on "Far From Any Shore." Hopefully, I'll do as well today.

It's hot in the House, though only in the low eighties Outside. We have about thirty fans running in here, I think. I've seen the news about Arthur, which is either currently a category-one hurricane or soon may be (I'm seeing conflicting reports, and I haven't bothered to check at NOAA). Regardless, it looks as if Rhode Island's in for a stormy Fourth. And it may also be raining on our anniversary, our twelfth, which is Thursday. And how the fuck is it already July? It's only just, in the last couple of weeks, begun to feel like summer here.

Huber's doing fine, but we're left with a $600 vet bill. So, we've awakened the eBay monster. Please bid if you can. Also, there's Kathryn's Etsy shop, which has beasties and jewelry.

Here's is the final and complete Table of Contents for Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume Two):

Introduction by S. T. Joshi

PART ONE (Atlanta, 2004-2008)
"Bradbury Weather"
"Pony"
"Untitled 17"
"A Child’s Guide to the Hollow Hills"
"The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4)"
"A Season of Broken Dolls"
"In View of Nothing"
"The Ape’s Wife"
"The Steam Dancer (1896)"
"In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection"
"Pickman’s Other Model (1929)"

PART TWO (Providence, 2008-2014)
"The Melusine (1898)"
"Galápagos"
"As Red as Red"
"Fish Bride (1970)"
"The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean"
"The Sea Troll’s Daughter"
"Hydrarguros"
"Houndwife"
"The Maltese Unicorn"
"Tidal Forces"
"And the Cloud That Took the Form"
"The Prayer of Ninety Cats"
"Daughter Dear Desmodus"
"One Tree Hill (The World as Cataclysm)"
Black Helicopters
"The Road of Needles"
"The Peddler’s Tale, or Isobel’s Revenge"
"The Beginning of the Year Without a Summer"
Epilogue: "Atlantis"

I don't yet have a projected release date. As with Volume One, the deluxe limited edition will include a section of illustrations and will come with a chapbook.

Last night we finished Season One of Misfits. It's much better than I expected, and far, far better than the inexplicably popular and unwatchably awful Orphan Black (for some reason, my mind draws a comparison between the two).

City Swans,
Aunt Beast ("prickly evil")
Shaw
Spooky had to have Hubero at the vet this morning at 8 a.m., as he was scheduled for dental surgery. Now we're waiting for the vet's office to call, so she can go and retrieve him. To pay for this, we'll be getting eBay up and running again this week.

Yesterday, I emailed Bill Schafer and asked if we could add "The Road of Needles" to Beneath and Oil-Dark Sea, since it seemed it should be there, having won the Locus Award. He was agreeable, so I spend the day proofing the story (again), then writing an author's note for it, then putting it all into a new "final" draft of the mss. I did some of minor editing on the book, while I was at it, and after dinner I sent it back to Subterranean Press. Volume Two is more than 10% longer than Volume One, in excess of 220,000 words.

The sun is that wrong shade of blue today. Or, it may not be so much a matter of shade as it may be, instead, a matter of intensity, or, more properly still, a matter of unbrokenness. A blue with no relief, no point of reference, no shore. It's a good day to stay inside and get work done that needs doing, though I'd much prefer to be Outside in the last day of June. But not under that sky. But at least it's sunny and quite warm.

Today, I need to finish up editing on False Starts II, the chapbook to be included with the limited edition of Beneath and Oil-Dark Sea. And then, hopefully, by tomorrow I can be working on a story for the (now late) Sirenia Digest #101.

Last night we finished watching Season One of The Bridge. It was very good, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I couldn't help feeling it might easily have been much better if it had only been a little more daring and just a little smarter. Still, far better than average. Diane Kruger was excellent.

And here are more photos from Saturday in Lowell (the first four can be found in yesterday's entry, along with an account of the day):

28 June 2014, Part TwoCollapse )


And now I must work.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast ("prickly evil")

Postscript (1:45 p.m.): Hubero just got back from the vet, and he's fine, though now he has no top canines, and another tooth as pulled, besides. Over $600 in vet fees, so...yet, BIG eBay on the way.

"You made a million journeys in your mind."

Shaw
First, this:



This is one I really did not see coming. My thanks to Jason V. Brock for accepting the award last night on my behalf (the ceremony was in Seattle), and my thanks to Sunni Brock for the photo, which was waiting for me when we got home last night. Alabaster readers may know that "The Road of Needles," which originally appeared in paula Guran's Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales (and was chosen for and reprinted in Jonathan Strahan's The Best Fantasy and Science Fiction of the Year, Volume Eight) and was adapted for chapters five, six, and seven of Alabaster: Grimmer Tales.

And I'm very glad I didn't waste yesterday, as I waste most days, sitting on my ass.

We left the House a little after one p.m. and took I-95 north to US Route 3, which took us into Lowell. The sky was merciful, and there were white cirrus brushstrokes to break up the wide carnivorous blue. Once in Lowell, once parked, we dumped blankets in front of the stage, reserving our place. It must have been about 2:30 p.m. by then. The show was in Boarding House Park, named after women's housing for Boott Mill, a vast complex in operation from 1835-1958. The Mill is now part of the National Park system. First, we visited the Boarding House Museum, just west of the stage. From inside, we could hear Neko Case begin soundcheck, so we went back out to watch. I took a few photos, which was good, because we weren't permitted to photograph her during the concert proper. After soundcheck, we visited the Boott Cotton Mills Museum (to the northeast of the stage), which was truly amazing. I have a lot of wonderful photos, but not really much time to edit them today.

The Boott Cotton Mills complex contains mills built from the mid-1830s to the early 20th century, reflecting the early use of waterpower, steam power, and finally electric power. Changes in technology and production capability influenced the development and appearance of the millyard over time. In essence, the Industrial Revolution's transformation of America from an agrarian-based society to an industrial society can be seen through the physical development of the Boott Cotton Mills from 1835 through the early 20th century. Today, the restored mill complex houses the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, a part of Lowell National Historical Park.

The show itself was stupendous. Absolutely fucking stupendous. Laura Veirs opened with a short set, and I love when an opening act turns out being an artist who's new to me that I discover I love, and suddenly there's all this new music (not new, but new to me) in my life. There was a short intermission. Spooky ate a suspicious hot dog (no relish!). I ate nothing, opting for a double-strength Vicodin, instead. Neko Case came on about sunset. She said the band just didn't know what to do until after dark. I could not have asked for a better set. Almost all of my favorites were played: "Hold, Hold On," "Deep Red Bells" (yes, sovay!), "Ragtime," "Man," "A Widow's Toast," "This Tornado Loves You," "If You Knew," "Tigers are Noble," "That Teenage Feeling," "Pharaohs," and more. And there were many moments of hilarity:

"...watching pantless, like some pervy cookie hawk."

"Them eels spooky."

"The [tour] bus is a Pringle's can filled with farts and guitars." (That was actually from backup vocalist Kelly Hogan).

It was just...magical. How often do I say that?

We sort of fell in love with Lowell, and we might be going back in late July for the Folk Festival. We headed back home about 10:30 p.m. There was a Dunkin' Donuts stop. Spooky drove and I smoked and listened to Arcade Fire and R.E.M. Back home, there was a late dinner of tuna fish, and the cats were grumpy with us for leaving them alone all day. And here are four photos (behind the cut). I'll try to put up more tomorrow:

28 June 2014, Part OneCollapse )


Also, Lying in the grass yesterday, staring at the twilight sky above Massachusetts, I more clearly came to understand the next novel, Interstate Love Song: A Murder Ballad. Most importantly, I came to understand that it occurs in both 1994 and 1954, simultaneously.

And that's all for now, kittens.

Onward,
Aunt Beast

Plodding Towards July

Shaw
Just something short and quick, mostly to say that I made an entry today. We're about to leave for the Neko Case show in Lowell, and I'm still only wanting to want to go. I cannot even recall the last time I genuinely wanted to do anything at all.

I'd hoped to have a story for SD #101 almost completed by now. I do not even have one started. I have a title. Ideas simply are not coming to me the way they once did, and, of course, most ideas are useless to me. That's always been the way of it. Out of every twenty-five ideas, I'm lucky if one can serve as the nucleus for a short story. So, I look back at this week that, aside from Kathryn's birthday, is essentially wasted time. I sat here at this desk, doing nothing whatsoever. The summer is almost one-third over, and I've done nothing with it. I finished "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)" on the 13th, and I've done nothing of merit since.

I sleep six hours, maybe seven, each night. I spend my days sitting at this chair, and if I'm very lucky, I write something. My nights are squandered. And this is the routine, day after day after day.

There's so much work to do, and I am doing so little of it. There's so much opportunity to experience the world, but sometime back in 2011 or so, I just stopped caring, stopped trying. To quote Radiohead, "It wears me out."

Later taters,
Aunt Beast

"Who's left to suffer long about you?"

Shaw
I suppose today would be called mild. It's cooler, drier, sunny. It looks like early autumn.

I see people post their reading lists, a thing I've never really done. But, here are the books I've read so far in 2014 (in the order I remember them, not the order I read them). Hopefully, I haven't forgotten anything. I'm not including short-fiction anthologies, as I never finish those:

1. Diane Arbus: A Biography by Patricia Bosworth
2. Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs by Ted Morgan
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
4. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
5. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
6. Joseph Leidy: The Last Man Who Knew Everything by Leonard Warren
7. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
8. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
9. Unearthing the Dragon by Mark Norell
10. Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy) by Jeff VanderMeer
11. Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy) by Jeff Vandermeer
12. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
13. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

I've been reading more fiction than usual, though many of the books are books I've read before. I've been reading less non-fiction, and I've almost stopped reading "genre" fiction. I no longer think of myself as a prolific reader, though givens the abysmal reading habits of Americans, I'm far, far ahead of the curve.

There's very little to say about yesterday, especially since I did make a small entry early in the evening. Tomorrow, we go to Lowell, Mass. to see Neko Case. I'm trying to want to go, instead of merely wanting to want to go. I haven't been to a live show since the last Brown Bird show we attended, and that was well over a year ago.

For the Time Being,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
I almost had a good day today. Or at least a not-bad day. Actual good days have become extremely scarce, the last few years. I tend to hope for not-bad days. They rarely arrive. It was very hot in the apartment last night and this morning. I actually had trouble getting to sleep, the bedroom was so hot. But even though I was admittedly uncomfortable, I was psychologically eased by the heat. This is June. June is supposed to be hot. We sweat in June.

Today, the weather took some weird nosedive I can't even figure out. Still hottish in the apartment, low eighties F in the middle parlor, but I stepped outside a couple of hours ago to go to the market, and the air was goddamn chilly. Kathryn said it hadn't been earlier in the day. What the fuck is that? It hadn't rained, though there were some clouds. I was actually uncomfortably cool outside. Then back into the house, where the humidity is 500%.

Anyway...

I tried to begin a story today. "Far From Any Shore." I didn't get far.

Climate Dysphoric,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
Warm in Providence today. Currently, it's 80˚F (heat index at 85˚F, and the thermostat in the middle parlour reads 81˚F). The humidity really isn't that high, only 64%. But Providence has had such low humidity for many months now that 64% feels like 80%, and everything seems sticky. The last time I was this bothered by humidity was after I move back to Alabama from Colorado in the late 1980s; I'd never noticed how humid Alabama was until I lived in Boulder.

Anyway...

Spooky had a nice birthday. There was a mascarpone torte and Indian food. I didn't get any work done, aside from answering a few emails. I really need to get something started.

I'd like this to be a longer entry, but the weather was the most interesting thing I have right now.

"The same city where I go when I sleep..."

Shaw
Today is Spooky's birthday, and we will do Spooky's birthday stuff. This morning she thought she was being very funny, and she took this photo of me sleeping (in a dark room, hence the blurriness):



I really wish that someone would convince Whoever Needs To Be Convinced that autocorrect does more harm than good, that it's a greater nuisance than it is a convenience. Seriously. It's one thing to highlight something when you think I'm in error; it's another thing entirely to attempt to "correct" for my perceived errors. The first is mildly helpful, and the later is quite deleterious.

I still have not found the next story.

I think one of the things I will remember most about 2013 is that both Nine Inch Nails and Arcade Fire released inexplicably unlistenable albums, Hesitation Marks and Reflektor (respectively). It's equally inexplicable that both albums were, almost universally, praised by critics.

And that's all I have today. Come back tomorrow.

Shoo, Git,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
It's halfway to a summer day here in Providence green autumn. I had a psychiatrist appointment today. Those are always fun, boy howdy. Today I told her, forthrightly, that my seeing her was utterly pointless. As are most things in my life. She just stared at me. It's not that she's a bad woman, but I've dealt with psychiatry and psychology now since 1987, and in all that time neither has come much nearer to being genuine, hard, bio-medical sciences, and they've done me precious little good. They give me pills. They've given me a couple of unpleasant hospital stays. They've given me twenty or so diagnoses. They produce meaningless statistics, placing, for example, 1 in 68 (1.47% of 68) American children somewhere on the "autism spectrum."* This isn't science. This is something just shy of quackery, relying on poor methodology and waste-basket taxonomy based on anything but rigorous observation and experimentation. Anyway, to hell with them. I get my pills. Tiddley-pom.

This morning I learned that just about the only building that has ever come close to feeling like home to me – Liberty House, on 1st Avenue North, in Birmingham – suffered a fire on the afternoon of May 22nd. It began on the roof, and spread into the elevator shaft. It's unclear how much damage was done, and it seems like not all the residents were displaced by the fire, but there was fire, smoke, and water damage. I can only hope that the rebuilding will be swift and won't alter the structure too much. Hearing the news was a fucking gut punch. Liberty House, built in 1909, was constructed by Frank White for $43,500 as a warehouse. It soon became the home of Collins & Co. Wholesale Grocers; the building later served as a Packard automobile dealership before becoming the factory and store for the Liberty Overall Company. The building was purchased by developer Adam Cohen in the 1990s and converted into 16 residential lofts with secured parking below. I lived there from August 1997 until December 2002, and I was an idiot ever to have left.

Yesterday, the "final" draft of the manuscript for Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume Two) finally away went to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press. Now I'm finishing up proofreading False/Starts II, the chapbook that will accompany the illustrated limited of the collection. I don't yet have a release date.

That's all for now.

Come on Sorrow,
Aunt Beast

* According to Scientific American, quoting highly suspect numbers recently released by the CDC.

Howard Hughes Misbehaves

Shaw
It's a little warmer today.

No work was done yesterday. There was a tremendous amount of frustration, though, trying to find a story. Today, we do the very last edits on the manuscript for Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea, and then I send it to Subterranean Press. And that will be out of my hands for the time being, and for that I will be grateful (if only to myself). Then I can concentrate on the work ahead.

And other things.

Maybe I'll something of substance to say tomorrow. Perhaps.

Briefly,
Aunt Beast

"His lightening threats spun silver tongues."

Shaw
I'd sincerely love to make it through a normal day – which means a day when I spend a lot of time online – without being subjected to – nay, pummeled with – baby talk and idiotic acronyms. It's everywhere I go. LiveJournal, Facebook, the people I role-play with, even email from people I work with/for. LOL, ROFL, butthurt, totes, adorbs, all the feels, ermagurd, inorite et cetera and et cetera, definitely ad nausea, seemingly ad infinitum. The internet seems able to spawn bizarre slang faster than I can possibly keep up. I take some slim consolation in the fact that just writing that shit down here is difficult; LiveJournal's zealous autocorrect keeps changing inorite to inertia, for example. But even it had no idea what to do with adorbs and butthurt. And it's one thing to see teens and people in their twenties using this crap and quite another to see people in their forties and fifties picking it up. It makes my skin crawl. Anyway...

Here in Providence, it's a chilly June afternoon. In fact, it's a chilly Summer Solstice. Outside, it's 72˚F. On June 21st. In my office, it's quite a bit cooler than that, I think.

Yesterday, I spent the day looking for a new story. I didn't find one. Today, I'll resume the chase. Tonight, I might leave the house and take part in the Pride Parade on the East Side. Though, just the thought of looking for parking makes me tired. Never mind my rotten fucking feet. I haven't marched in a pride parade since 1993.

Here we are on the longest day of the year, before the shortest night, and the march back towards winter begins. Fuck it.

Whatever,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
It would be very difficult to explain yesterday, so I shall not try. A small description will have to suffice. Thinking that, perhaps, I'd be better off Out There than I would be In Here we left the house and headed west, through western Rhode Island and into northeastern Connecticut. Well, there is some explanation in that sentence, I suppose, just not very much. I'm not sure how far west Kathryn drove. Farther out along West 101/44 West than we'd ever gone before, well past Ashford. You go far enough inland, there are hill to help hold up the sky, and the sky begins to lose that loathsome blue it has so near to the sea as is Providence. The trees begin to close in about the highway, and I can almost pretend I am back in Alabama. The trees are still not as tall, and the forests are not quite as lush, as Kathryn noted, but still a bit of a comfort. Unfortunately, it was too little too late, and the confinement of the van cancelled out any alleviation of my anxiety that the landscape might have offered. I wish I'd packed a bag with my meds; we'd have just kept going and found a room somewhere out there, past Hartford, maybe. On the way back, by the time we reached Pomfret, the sky was wide and carnivorous again, pressing too near and too heavily upon the earth. Storm clouds that had, earlier, given some relief had all moved on to the south, and I climbed in the back and slept until we got back home. With my eyes closed, I couldn't see the sky or the wrongness of the quality of light, coming, as it does this far north, too weak and from the wrong angle. After six years, I've not yet grown accustomed to the New England sun. We had both cameras with us, but we didn't take a single photograph; there was nothing I wanted to remember. 7/7/7 country.

There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. ~ Joseph Conrad (1902)

Read the scene where gravity is pulling me around.
Shift the swaying river's shift,
Oceans fall and mountains drift.
It's a Man Ray kind of sky.
Let me show you what I can do with it.
Time and distance are out of place here.
~ R.E.M. (1985)

I don’t like this place. Everything grows in the wrong direction. ~ Rustin Cohle (2014)

There isn't much else to say about yesterday. It was a sad waste of time and gasoline.

After dinner, we watched Richard Linklater's hilarious and excellent Bernie (2011) and then Lee Daniels' also excellent, and very dark, The Paperboy (2012). There is some dim solace in film. And then I slept and dreamed and woke shivering. No one should wake shivering from the cold on a mid-June morning, especially when there's not even an air conditioner running in the house.

My Lamictal dose went up to 75mg. today, still below "treatment dose," but I hope to feel some relief soon. Soonish. Soon is a pretty vague and relative word.

Today I need to try and begin a short story for Sirenia Digest #101.

Untethered and Drifting,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
Comments welcome.

And it is currently 68˚F in Providence. I long for warm and stable and predictable weather, hazy skies, sultry nights, a true summer. Fuck green autumn; this will be my third consecutive year without a summer.

Yesterday began, before was awake, with a FedEx package from China bearing galleys of the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Before I even had time to look at those, however, I got an email from my editor at Penguin (still before I was awake) informing me:

It has come to my attention that the ebook format will not support the characters ā and ū. We have two options. One is to replace the characters with a supported version (see list below). The other is to take every instance where the character appears and, instead of using text, replace it with a tiny picture of the character. The problem with this is that it will not render correctly across all e-readers. Some people may see something like “Gh□l” instead. I strongly recommend the first option. Please let me know what you would like to do, and, if choosing a different set of characters, let me know if you want that change made just in the ebook or in the print as well.

Yes, seriously. No macrons allowed. So, in the print version of Cherry Bomb the Arabic word الغول will be correctly romanized to ghūl, but in the ebook it will appear incorrectly as ghul. And there are other words that will be affected. I was reminded of line from 1984, a line I am often reminded of in this shoddy, ignorant future we've built for ourselves: “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words." Now, to be clear, I certainly do not blame my editor for this idiocy. I have to blame the entire publishing industry. And it's not a problem with Penguin's electronic publishing platform. To again quote my editor, "We don’t have a platform. This is a problem with the epub and MOBI file formats that all ebooks use, and with the software in ereaders that recognizes text."

What the hell. People who read ebooks get what they deserve.

So, after that, I quit a job on a development team for a new video game being developed in cooperation with Sony for the PS4. Truthfully, I'd only accepted the position because the pay was good. I have less than zero interest in interactive narratives, which, to me, are anathema to literature. I just needed the money. But I just couldn't take the nonsense that was being sent my way, and I can't work as part of a team, and I don't rewrite. For anyone. Well, almost never. Crap like: "The current dialogue script (in screenplay format) for this story is 7 pages long. We're happy with the general arc of the story [sic] but we'd like the dialogue to do a better job of conveying and exploring the girl's feelings." That's not writing. I don't know what that is, but I'm pretty sure it's why we have trained monkeys. By the way, what I quoted there was being called part of my "initial milestone proposal." What the fuck. Who teaches people to talk like that?

Oh, and my comments regarding my loathing of ebooks – predictably – sparked a kerfuffle on fucking Facebook. I banned over twenty people and close to ten "unfriended" me. I don't know what's worse, the ebooks themselves or the ebook zealots. Ray Garton summed them up perfectly yesterday: "I have to read ebooks because I'm allergic to gluten."

So, yes, all in all yesterday was an utter nightmare, and there's personal crap I'm not going to put down here. It was the "perfect storm" of a shitty day. Keeping today from becoming worse will be no mean trick, indeed.

I suppose that if I want to look on the bright side I can say that now, with the video game nonsense gone, I'm free to pursue genuine, actual writing, the sort I was distracted from by the Quinn books. I sent "Interstate Love Song" to my agent yesterday, and she's reading it as something that can be expanded into a novel, my next serious novel, the one that should have been written immediately after The Drowning Girl, instead of my being distracted into then morass of urban fantasy (that was also mostly about money, after the first book, Blood Oranges). I can keep the digest current, and I can decide if I truly am going to write The Dinosaurs of Mars this summer. I can write short stories I owe editors. I can get Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, And The Bird written this autumn. The video game job would have eaten up a lot of my time over the next year, and it would have required me to make repeated trips to Santa Monica (shudder), and I'd have gotten almost nothing written. Also, it was work for hire.

This morning I dreamt of stepped out beneath a star-filled sky, the sort I have not seen since my twenties, a sky devoid of light pollution. The Milky Way was a demon of white light. It was beautiful.

We should get out of here today, if I can stand the bullshit weather. Unless it's in a very, very warm place, I will never again live in a coastal area.

Later,
Aunt Beast

"Who shook the Valley of the Shadow..."

Shaw
I awake to a wind that sets my nerves on edge. I awake to 53% humidity, and it feels more like early autumn out there than summer. And I hate it. And I want to be shed of New England. Forever. Yesterday was sort of hot, and sort of hazy, and sort of actually fucking summer. I said on Facebook, at 9 p.m. last night:

The house has been sweltering today, which made me ill. 84˚F in the middle parlour. Near sunset, after I had a cool bath, we headed across the river to the market for watermelon, grapes, blue cheese, cottage cheese, biscotti, a spice cake, vanilla ice cream, half and half, ginger ale, and San Pellegrino blood orange soda. Spooky's mom and dad brought us lettuce and fresh eggs this morning. So, we're set. Now, the temperature in the middle parlour is down to 83˚F. Tomorrow, it's going to be much warmer, and we're not going to sit around here roasting. Our only AC is a cranky window unit we've haven't yet lugged into the pantry window. But yes, I still prefer this to the chill.

I managed to work yesterday, though it was a scattered mess of odds and ends. I wrote ad copy (though that is not my job, and I do not get paid for it) for Dark Horse Comics, for the forthcoming Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird. Not that the series has been written, and it won't be written until September and October, but whatever. Cart before the horse, that's standard procedure. I made three "last" corrections to the ms. of Cherry Bomb, before it goes to the copyeditor. I got Sirenia Digest #100 out to subscribers. I received S. T. Joshi's introduction for Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. I swapped emails with my agent regards a project I'll say more about very soon. It was that sort of "busyness" of writing day. I sweated, and I worked. I rather like sweating while I work. It feels natural and clean.

This morning I'm all anger, and very little else. I didn't see that coming, I wish all I had to blame was the goddamn wind and the sewage stink off Narragansett Bay.

Last night we saw Jean-Marc Vallée's Dallas Buyer's Club, and it is a truly wonderful film.

On the sixteenth, I wrote about the monotony of being an author. My thanks to David Kirkpatrick for sending me this Agatha Christie quote:

“Oh, Mrs. Oliver, it must be marvellous to write.”

Mrs. Oliver rubbed her forehead with a carbonny finger and said:
 “Why?”

“Oh,” said Rhoda, a little taken aback. “Because it must. It must be wonderful just to sit down and write off a whole book.”

“It doesn’t happen exactly like that,” said Mrs. Oliver. “One actually has to think, you know. And thinking is always a bore. And you have to plan things. And then one gets stuck every now and then, and you feel you’ll never get out of the mess—but you do! Writing’s not particularly enjoyable. It’s hard work like everything else.”
“It doesn’t seem like work,” said Rhoda.
“Not to you,” said Mrs. Oliver, “because you don’t have to do it! It feels very like work to me. Some days I can only keep going by repeating over and over to myself the amount of money I might get for my next serial rights. That spurs you on, you know. So does your bankbook when you see how much overdrawn you are.”

…It must be so wonderful to be able to think of things,” said Rhoda.

“I can always think of things,” said Mrs. Oliver happily. “What is so tiring is writing them down. I always think I’ve finished, and then when I count up I find I’ve only written thirty thousand words instead of sixty thousand, and so then I have to throw in another murder and get the heroine kidnapped again. It’s all very boring.”


That's hitting the nail on the head.

Now, I have to go try to put out a few fires to which I awoke.

What Fresh Hell,
Aunt Beast

Leeds, One Year Later

Shaw
On this date last year, at 3:25 p.m. CST, the Amtrak train, the Crescent Line, carrying Kathryn and I from New Orleans back to Providence raced through the town of Leeds, Alabama, the town where I spent most of my childhood and a considerable bit of my twenties. All the photos were snapped between 3:25 and 3:26 p.m. And if Leeds doesn't look like much, that's because it sure as hell isn't. But, still, I miss it. The factory you can see in the photographs manufactures cement, and that plant sort of dominated the landscape of my childhood.

17 June 2013Collapse )


All for now,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
And then there's this problem that comes with keeping a blog on a day-to-day basis: Having something to say on a day-to-day basis. Because there really was nothing much to yesterday except laying out Sirenia Digest #100. Which is, to put it kindly, not terribly interesting. Probably the best part of the day was the ten minutes or so I spent sitting in the sun on the front steps. The rest of the day, besides those ten minutes, can go hang. So can whoever it was started the myth that writers – as a class – live interesting lives. There was chili for dinner. We watched the first five episodes of Season Two of The Americans. My sinuses bugged me. It was a day.

Like most days.

Most days, I hardly leave this room.

But the sun is still with me, and the air is warm today, and after the past seven or eight months, a warm and sunny day, with greenery, is pretty close to heaven, close as I'll probably ever come.

Later,
Aunt Beast

"Unbruise, unbloody, wash away the stain."

Shaw
The sun came back yesterday, which helps. The temperatures will be breaking eighty for the next few days, and that helps, too. But my brain and body know that this is not truly summer. Still, I will make the best of it that I can.

I spent three and a half hours yesterday polishing "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)." Polishing is pretty much as close as I ever come to rewriting or revision or whatever. But it's really nothing remotely that radical. Someday, someone will complain about how poorly my "process" is understood, because I never bothered to explain it. Or they'll be baffled at there are only "first drafts" of my manuscripts and suspect I destroyed early drafts. My "get it right the first time" method baffles a lot of other writers, but it's the only way I know to work. And there will also be people who will say that if I had written in drafts I'd have been a better writer. And all these future and present and past critics can go fuck themselves. Anyway, today I'll be putting Sirenia Digest #100 (!!!) together, and it will go out to subscribers as soon as I have Vince's artwork for the new story. There will be no chapter from The Five of Cups this month. Instead, I'm including some of the earliest SD stories in a sort of retrospective.

There are green leaves dappled with sunlight outside my office window, and I should be out there, not in here. I've passed most of the last two or three years in a fog. I've wasted an obscene amount of time not living my life.

I got the final cover for Cherry Bomb last week. Jesus, it's bad. And purple. I have mentioned that Ms. Tierney is no longer among the living, right? I thought so. I do not know the release date on the book. Sometime in 2015, I assume.

Work on Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea continues. It's essentially done. sovay did a round of proofreading after I did all my proofreading, and Kathryn is currently typing in those corrections. I still have to get some stuff to Lee Moyer who is once again doing the cover, and I need to choose the art for the limited edition, and S. T. Joshi is writing the introduction, and...well, when all that's done, it'll be a book, won't it? It's been slow going.

I went back on Lamictal on May 21st, and I'm doing better. And after the state I was in during April and May, better is really very good, even if it's far from okay on some imaginary scale of absolute wellness.

There You Go,
Aunt Beast

"Are you sleeping through the night?"

Shaw
Providence is possibly the worst place on earth to be an astronomer, so it's fortunate that I'm not. The past six years, anytime anything interesting is going on in the sky, you can bet green folding money the weather will be overcast. Last night, for example, the first "full honey moon" (or "rose moon") since 1919, and it was cloudy. Today, we are finally, after the better part of a week, promised some sunlight.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,698 words and finished "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)." Today, I'll go over it for typos, etc., and I'll start getting Sirenia Digest #100 together. This truly is, I think, the best thing I've written since I wrote Black Helicopters in December 2012. And there's nothing supernatural in it. In that respect it sort of harks back to stories I was writing in the mid-nineties. Yet, I would still argue that it's mood, it's atmosphere, places it firmly within the Weird (yes, Lovecraft and I have different definitions; no, I won't share mine).

And, too....

"Better off not knowing" is a concept the internet part of the world simply doesn't get, but I wish it would.

Thursday night we began, and Last night we finished, our second viewing of Season One of True Detective, and it was just as fucking brilliant the second time around. I continue to be completely amazed, and I still find it hard to believe the show was a hit. It's a grand eight-hour movie. My thanks to Marty Busse for sending us the discs. Which reminds me: I am going to get around to posting a thank-you list to everyone who sent me birthday gifts.

The humidity must be about 158% right now, after months and months of running in what felt like the single digits. Usually, I prefer high humidity, but it's something of a shock to my system after all those dry months.

I finally got copies of La Joven Ahogada, the Spanish edition of The Drowning Girl, maybe a week or so ago, and the book is beautiful and hardbound, and fuck but I wish my American publishers would try half as hard as my publisher in Madrid.

Enough for now. I can't seem to wake up today.

Later,
Aunt Beast

"All alone, thank god."

Shaw
I believe that it's become necessary to wake this journal up and press it once more, day to day, into service. Simply put, I cannot recall the flow of days without the aid of some written record, and my attempt at returning to a handwritten journal is proving futile. I miss a day, then three, then five, then...here I am back. I can't stand forgetting.

I couldn't recollect this morning, without Spooky's help, how many days of clouds, rain, and chilly weather we've had here. Turns out, this will be the fifth. We had a brief spate of summer-like temperatures at the end of last week, and then this began. There was, last Saturday, a trip out to Conanicut Island and Beavertail, and we drove the length and breadth of the island, through Jamestown. But even in the relative heat (low eighties), the wind of the island had a chill to it, and the sea no longer comforts me. This is something of a mystery. The first few years we were here, I could leave the city and go to the sea and sit and listen to the waves, and I could feel peace. But that hasn't been true in quite a while. There were red-winged blackbirds, and the constant wind made me anxious, as wind always does. It wasn't a good day out, and there hasn't been a day out since. I begin to think that green autumn has come early this year.

Since that day, the temperatures have slipped down into the mid and high sixties. March weather. I've been writing, looking for THE END of a short story – "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)" – that I began June 5th, two days before our trip to the sea. With some luck, I'll finish the story today, and it will appear, with a new illustration by Vince Locke, in Sirenia Digest #100, which is already a couple of weeks late because I wanted to write something for it that I like, it being the 100th issue and all. And I do like "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)." It's the best things I've written, I think, in maybe a year.

In the brief warmth, my mood rallied, but it's been sinking lower with every day since the clouds and chill arrived. I'm scraping bottom again.

The days are all a'blur.

I made it through the edits to Cherry Bomb, and I delivered the ms. to my editor on Monday, June 9th. I am forever done with Kathleen Tierney and Quinn and all that nonsense. In the end, everything that set me on that road was gone. Parody became the thing that was being parodied, I fear, and I want no part of that ever again. I've learned my lesson, and it was a costly one.

I've been trying to make do with Facebook, but, fuck, I hate it.

I've been spending far too much time RPing in The Secret World, because what else would I do?

Some notes from Facebook (which I have an amusing habit of mistyping as "Fecesbook"):

One year ago today I got off a train in Birmingham, and I was able to spend ~5 minutes on the platform before leaving again. What a miserable, shitty, cold, unwell, and unproductive year its been. (yesterday)

Favorite idiotic quote of the week, so far: "It's okay to use 'adorbs,' 'totes,' and 'all the feels' because Shakespeare!" But the week is young, and idiots abound. The use of "because" as a preposition is almost as bad as the statement's sentiment. (June 11)

Quiet rain tonight, and it's helping my mood just a little. If only there would be sun tomorrow. (June 10)

Please, guys. Unless a book is on my Amazon wish list, don't send it to me. This goes double if it's a book you or a friend wrote. I got rid of something like 700 books this spring, and uninvited books go directly to the used bookshop for trade or to the library for donation (and it's a hassle, either way). Thank you. (June 9)

Of all the internet slang and bad grammar/syntax/baby speak that most annoys me "all the feels" is currently by far the most idiotic. (June 7)

Having my first Pimm's cup of the summer. Sadly, it's not in a pimp cup. (June 7)

Few things are more wonderful than a song that simply will not stop giving me chill bumps, not matter how many times I've heard it. At the moment, I'm speaking of Neko Case's "Deep Red Bells." (June 7)

I have no patience with people who don't get that the replicants in Blade Runner aren't androids (id est, were not mechanical, but, in fact, organic). Also, that's not a spoiler. (June 6)

And that's quite enough of that...

Looks Like I'm Back,
Aunt Beast

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