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.
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

"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
Shaw
Sirenia Digest #98 went out to subscribers this morning.

Cooler and overcast so far today, but yesterday was nice. Spooky and I had a walk around the neighborhood, something I only very rarely do. Indeed, I've lived here, in this House built in 1875, almost six years now, and I am ashamed to say that my understanding of the neighborhood's geography is murky. I couldn't draw you a map. Anyway, there were flowers and the beginnings of leaves, a reassuring willow and genuinely warm sunlight. Here in mid April, Providence is managing a decent bit of March weather. There are photos behind the cut, courtesy Nemo:

12 April 2014Collapse )


I'm not entirely well. Partly, it's a nasty bit of Seroquel withdrawal. And Kathryn is of the opinion that the rest of my discomfort and exhaustion is simply post-novel decompression/ennui. After all that stress and all that pushing myself, it's over and out of here.

Until it comes back.

Today, I have signature pages, and work for Subterranean Press and PS Publishing, and...other stuff. I'm not in the mood to sign my name.

Meanwhile,
Aunt Beast
Roy Batty
Yesterday, I wrote 1,792 on Chapter Six of Cherry Bomb. A prolific day. And I spoke with my editor yesterday about the cover.

I received Liz Hand's very flattering introduction to the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir.

We were spared the 3"-6" of snow and got only a dusting, that and gale-force winds. Currently, here in Providence, it's 31˚F, but feels like 11˚F. Tonight's low is forecast at 14˚F, with a windchill of -9˚F. On March 26th. Yeah, this is spring. This is the scene to which I awoke:



---

Last night I took Silk down off the shelf, and I flipped through it, and I read a few pages, the first time I've read any of the novel since the revision of it I did in 2007. Though, last night I was reading the original, not the revised, text. I was surprised to discovered that I can look more kindly upon the book than I could seven years ago. Yeah, it reads like a first novel, but it reads like a first novel with a voice and with something to say. Most importantly, it's a snapshot of the person I was during its writing, between October 1993 and January 1996, a person I haven't been in a very long time now. I'd also forgotten that you can date the events in the book based on music and mention of current concerts, but the easiest way to determine when Silk is set is the inclusion of the March 1993 winter storm that dumped more than a foot of snow on Birmingham. Also, it occurred to me that if the book manages to stay in print just four more years, it will have remained in print, continuously, for twenty years (1998-2018), no small accomplishment.

---

No Quetiapine last night, because I'm discovering that all the Cannabis I'm smoking these days is helping with my sleep. However, last night I discovered it isn't helping as much as I'd hoped. I slept fitfully. I dreamt of a world in apocalyptic deluge, a land swamped by rising seas, and we struggled to find enough boats. I swam in the dark waters of a flooded aquarium and cypress swamps, waters filled with strange invertebrates and enormous frill sharks and sleeper sharks and Permian-era Orthacanthus. Grotesque, serpentine things. A Chlamydoselachus anguineus swept by above me, and I reached out a hand and ran my fingers across its belly. There was, all around me, a great exodus of human beings, as a drowned city was abandoned, and I hunted in vain for people I'd lost, even as the masses headed for higher, drier land. There was an older woman, a prophet of some sort, who finally convinced me to give up my search. I awoke from the dream around 8 ayem, then laid down and sunk straight back into it. I feel as though it was a foretaste of all the floods to come, echoing all the floods that ever have been.

I wish I had more details. However, it is heartening to know that when I deny myself that "short-acting atypical antipsychotic" my dreams come back, bright and violent.

Last night, there was Spooky's meat loaf, and there were Table Talk apple pies.

I finished Ted Morgan's weighty biography of Burroughs last night. Truly, a trade paperback, the book weighs 2.1 lbs. My next biography is Leonard Warren's of Joseph Leidy. I've spent the winter with the lives of Diane Arbus and William Burroughs, and all their attendant strife and squalor, and I need now to be free of the minds of other artists for awhile.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

"I fear our blood won't rise again.."

Roy Batty
Yesterday was a terrible day. It's as simple to state as that. Since coming off Lamictal early in January, I've had two seizures. The first was March 4th, while we were at the Athenaeum. It was minor, not much more than a blip. The second was last night, and it was serious, and it left me feeling as if I'd been run over by a car. But I will not go back on Lamictal. Yes, well. In a lot of ways, the past few months have been the worst period of my life since the winter of 1991-1992. I honestly never imagined anything would ever again get as bad as that time was (I write about it in the introduction to To Worlds and In Between). If this winter would end, maybe I could begin to put whatever is left of myself back together.

I would like to leave this sordid, squalid, shiny Now, this shitstorm future Modernist apocalypse. I'll take 1924, 1949, 1955. Keep your computers, your internet, your affluence, your endless time displacement and exhaustive entertainments, your supposed freedom.

Yesterday's stale Hell:

Thursday, 10:53 a.m.Collapse )


Yesterday, I had to proofread "-30-", a story I wrote for Sirenia Digest in late December 2010. It's being reprinted in Paula Guran's Magic City. I was surprised at how well it holds up. Next to The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl, "-30-" is my most autobiographical piece of fiction. I also finished the 500 signature sheets for A Mountain Walked. Now, I mail them to Ligotti.

SigningCollapse )


Vince's illustration for "Chewing on Shadows" arrived, and today I'll be putting together Sirenia Digest #97. Unless I go back to bed, which I would be well within my rights to do.

I recall being pleasantly surprised by Thor (2011), but, after all, it was directed by Kenneth Brannagh and Joss Whedon. Last night, Kathryn and I watched Alan Taylor's Thor: The Dark World (2013). It was one of the dullest things I've managed to set all the way through it quite a long while. The script was so bad the film would have been better off without a script. It was pretty, and a lot of stuff happened. I think that's the best I can say for it. The only bright spot was Tom Hiddleston, and even he mostly just looked bored.

I read "Dental and tarsal anatomy of ‘Miacis’ latouri and a phylogenetic analysis of the earliest carnivoraforms (Mammalia, Carnivoramorpha)" and "A diminutive new tyrannosaur from the top of the world." I read more of Carson McCullers.

And here we are again.

Somewhere It's Warm,
Aunt Beast

"And Heaven will smell like the airport."

Roy Batty
Here's the punchline: I'm running late.

In place of an actual entry today, how about a sort of photo essay? I'll give you images, and you can use them to make a story of my yesterday. And I guarantee you it'll be a hundred times better than was my actual day.

First, stale Hell (return to form):

Tuesday evening, 6:47 p.m.Collapse )


The rest are behind the cut. Remember: No biting.

Get To It,
Aunt Beast

4 March 2014Collapse )
Roy Batty
The sun was out when I woke, and I opened the curtains in my office. Now, clouds are coming in. It's 23˚F, on the fourth day of March. There's not even the meanest hint of spring out there. Anyway, this is yesterday's stale Hell. I tried something different because I'm bored as fuck with this. It seemed like a good idea when I thought the Hellish cold would end after a couple of weeks. When I said, "I'm going to do this until we have a day warmer than 70˚F," an important part of my brain apparently thought I was living in a temperate zone. Anyway, yesterday:

Monday afternoon, 5:32 p.m.Collapse )


Apparently the camera settings were off, which is why the photo looks as if I was shooting through a blue gel. However, it does communicate something about the cold. Anyway, failed experiment. From here on, you get dull-ass street shots. After all, monotony was the point.

Yesterday was mostly spent trying to come up with a story for the cyborg anthology. I might have one. But today and tomorrow I'm going to be at the Athenaeum proofreading the galleys for the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl, which I should have done months ago.

None of This is Real,
Aunt Beast
white
And here we are on the last day of the second month of the year, and I haven't finished the novel, and Sirenia Digest #97 isn't ready, and I've had to ask for a month long extension on a short story deadline. I think Elizabeth Bear (matociquala ) said it very well yesterday: "...I am Out Of Clever." People who have not spent two decades making their living as an author might find it hard to understand how I have reached this point. Me, I mostly wonder why it didn't happen ten years ago. And on top of the emptiness, and on top of the exhaustion, there's this winter, which has absolutely no intent of letting up any time soon. And yes, this will be my last New England winter. Of that I have no doubt. Yesterday, out of a sunny sky, we got another half inch or so of snow. I am told these were "snow squalls." I dashed outside in my stocking feet and immortalized another bullshit weather moment for today's stale Hell:

Thursday afternoon, 2:05 p.m.Collapse )


If I'd have waited another ten minutes, the street would be white in the photo. Within an hour, all the snow had turned to ice, or so it seemed. Spooky went out to a corner store on foot and ran into near white-out conditions. There was a six-car pileup on College Hill. The fun never fucking ends.

Then, last night after midnight, or this morning after "midnight," I went out to get the last day of February stale Hell photo, and I'm still trying the explain what happened. The temperature was hovering just above zero, and the windchill was well below, and I was, admittedly, woefully underdressed. Jeans and a tank top, and I pulled on a button up cardigan and my Docs. It's not that I didn't know I should put on warmer clothes; it's just that I didn't give a shit. It was cold in the foyer, and I thought of airlocks, as I often do before opening the front door in winter. Or summer. Because it's admittedly hard to tell the difference up here. I stepped outside, minding the very icy steps and sidewalk. I stood in the center of the road and snapped two pictures. I'd been outside, at that point, maybe 45 seconds. Certainly less than a minute. I was cold, but it wasn't a remarkable cold. Then I lowered the camera and turned to go back inside. I recall noticing that the neighbors' drive was a solid sheet of ice that looked black and liquid beneath the streetlights.

And then I was hit by what felt like a very small gust of air. And my chest constricted, and I couldn't breathe. I thought, at once, that I was having a heart attack. My entire upper body hurt. But in an odd way. It was as if that gust of cold air had passed directly through the core of my torso. I began to shiver violently. However, these physical symptoms weren't the disturbing part. There was a wave of panic, fear, disorientation, and confusion. And, most of all, dread. That was the scary part. Then I was seized by the certainty that I was about to vomit. I didn't. After several seconds, no more than, I got moving again. By the time I was back in the house it was difficult to talk, I was shivering so badly. I'm not sure if it was from the cold or from the panic. Kathryn shoved me in front of the fireplace and berated me for going outside underdressed. After four or five minutes, I was fine. Just shaken. I'm still sort of shaken. I'd not been outside much longer than a minute and a half.

In my life, I've twice had hypothermia. Somehow, last night was worse. The hypothermia came on slow, and there was no pain until I began to warm up again. And there was nothing like the panic and dread I felt last night. Of course, I was also in my teens and twenties.

There. That's my fucked up little adventure tale. You don't get the photo until tomorrow. Them's the rules, chickens.

---

Yesterday I wrote nothing on "Chewing on Shadows." I spoke with my agents, and with my Spanish publisher (Valdemar/Insomnia, Madrid), and with my French translator, Benoît Domis. Benoît, whose translating The Drowning Girl, was struggling with "Bray Road of road of yellowcake and the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene's" from "7." I wasn't much help. "What does this mean?" doesn't apply to a lot of "7," not in any direct, conventional sense. And speaking of foreign edition, yesterday Santiago Caruso's cover of the Spanish edition of The Drowning Girl was revealed. And I was stunned. I was fucking stunned.



Seriously.

---

We're making our way through Season Three of Game of Thrones, and it's just wonderful. Daenerys and Tyrion remain my favorite characters, with Brienne in third. Gwendoline Christie and I are the same height, as it happens.

And now I have to go fuck up another day. Ta.

I Don't Want To Be Here,
Aunt Beast
talks to wolves
Okay, so...

A couple of inches of snow has crippled the South. A state of emergency has been declared in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. And...I'm baffled.

With good reason.

March 13th was the 21st anniversary of 1993 "Storm of the Century." If you have no idea what I'm talking about, feel free to take time to follow the link and read the Wikipedia article. I was living on 16th Avenue South in Birmingham, and the city was hit with, depending on the location within the city, 13-17 inches of snow. Yes. That much. And it was bad. Because Birmingham is unaccustomed to getting snow, and it's certainly unaccustomed to that sort of snow. Roofs collapsed. Massive and longterm power outages. Etcetera.

Now...

Birmingham got only two inches of snow yesterday from "Leon" (these names aren't actually official, by the way). Atlanta got between .5-1.6 inches. Or thereabouts. This isn't especially impressive. No, not even for Alabama and Georgia. I lived there most of my life, and it happens. What was extraordinary wasn't the snow, it was the way people reacted to the snow. Near as I can tell, a combination of media/social media-fueled hysteria and poor judgment by — well, by lots of folks — created a man-made disaster, this "Snow Jam 2014." It wasn't the snow. Still, I'm seeing people online who lived through the 1993 storm act as if this truly is a remarkable snowfall, as if they've never seen the likes of it in all their lives.

So...I'm baffled. Here, we got a couple of inches in the night. Which I definitely could have lived without.

29 January 2014Collapse )


---

Twelve days since I last left the House. Fourteen days is my record.

Yesterday almost felt like a work day. I dealt with some email. I signed the signature pages for the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (photos behind the cut, below). I read back over everything I've written on the story that won't be called "Shutter." I didn't actually write.

28 January 2014Collapse )


Anyway, there you go. Try not to spend it all in one place.

Eyeing Bolivia,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
I've not been making entries because I've not been writing. Or going Outside. Or much of anything else.

But. Day before yesterday I tried to begin a new short piece, which presently is called "Shutter," though I'm looking for a better title. Yesterday, I wrote 1,129 words. That's by far the best writing day I've had since finishing "The Peddler's Tale, or Isobel's Revenge," back on December 29th.

Yesterday, the signature sheets for the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir were delivered. Now, I have to sign them. Oh, I've not announced this: Elizabeth Hand is doing an introduction for this edition.

Tuesday's snow is still on the ground. There was a dusting last night. Currently, it's 19˚F here in Providence, and the windchill's 2˚F. Bitter. Deathly. I loathe these days. Ah, but we have sun. We have a blue sky. Today on Facebook Little Annie wrote, "Cold sun is creepy – makes buildings look like a prison stuck in an ice canyon. If the devil has blue eyes they are the same shade of blue as the sky is today." Yes, that's what I mean.

I've never felt as completely isolated from the World as I feel in this moment. I've not gone out since Tuesday night, when I was outside in the snow for about five minutes.

Oh, but I have a 16lb. cat. That counts for something.



Today's is the tenth anniversary of the Opportunity rover. Designed for a three-month mission, still going strong.

I'm utterly in love with Gillian Welch. And I want to be in Alabama.

Oh, I dream a highway back to you, love.
A winding ribbon with a band of gold.
A silver vision come and rest my soul.
I dream a highway back to you.
~ Gillian Welch

Probably Awake,
Aunt Beast

Photograph Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn A. Pollnac
Shaw
We've warmed up to a toasty 14˚F, with a wind-chill of 8˚F. In Miami, it's 62˚F. This best be winter's last wretched gasp, the next however many days remain until we can go back to just being cold.

Work yesterday consisted of going through galley pages for the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl and figuring out where the illustrations ought to go (there are nine illustrations).

Yeah. That's all. I am so fucked.

Ah, wait. I also spoke with someone at the John Hay Library at Brown, and I'll be meeting with them in March about donating most of my papers.

Since late December, we've been working our way through The Shield. We're partway through Season Four. It's a very watchable series, and yet it manages to be entirely mediocre. The writing is pedestrian, the characterization weak, the acting merely passable, and the dialogue entirely forgettable. And yet, it's undeniably watchable. I find it bizarre to have made it this far in and not be walking about the house spouting lines from the show. I have this thing about memorizing dialogue. But it does have to be memorable dialog. I was hoping for writing on par with, say, The Wire – which I find myself quoting on an almost daily basis. Alas, nope.

If I Choose To,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
Hold on. I'm trying to remember what happened day before yesterday. No, I'm not kidding. Hold on.

Ah, okay. Good damn thing I have Spooky, who may as well be my failing memory's external hard drive. But first, this:

It's not so much negativity as it is things you can't understand. I only have my own experiences that I know for sure what happened. I don't really talk about myself in the songs but there are moments that are about me. I try not to make those moments very clear so people can make it into their own story. Maybe what I'm better at describing are the scary things. Maybe that's what stands out more. ~ Neko Case

---

So, day before yesterday was spent packing books and cleaning the office, preparing to move two bookcases out of here and into one of our storage units in Pawtucket. There was tons and tons of dust. Sacks full. Sacks could have been filled with dust, I shouldn't wonder. Gunny sacks. And if you don't know what one of those is, here. Right now, the middle parlor is stacked with boxes of books to go to Paper Nautilus, Goodwill, and libraries. It looks like a goddamn warehouse in there. Then yesterday we loaded the bookcases into the van and hauled them to storage, one trip for each. The plan had been not only to get the bookcases moved, but also to get eBay stock in storage out of their boxes and safely onto shelves (in part, this follows from last months mold troubles), but the cold persuaded us to save the shelving work for another day, as the storage facility is only heated in theory, not so much in actuality.

We have probably doubled the open space in my office which, after five years of clutter, is a huge relief. It feels positively, wonderfully empty in here, by comparison to the way things were before. There are now only nine bookcases in this room (for a total of thirteen in the house). There's still work to do, but we're over the "hump."

Ah, I also managed in Wednesday to pull together Sirenia Digest #94, and it went out to subscribers early yesterday. I'm going to attempt to get SD 95 out this month, as well. I also have a story to finish for ellen_datlow . These are two reasons I won't be finishing Cherry Bomb until January. Oh, and the scans of Michael Zulli's artwork for the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has been finished:



Copyright © 2011 by Michael Zulli


Last night, we saw the extended version of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And I have to admit that my opinion of the film has been improved. A small screen corrects for some of the mess made by the idiotic decision to shoot the film at 48 fps. Also, as was the case with Jackson's adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, the extended cut has markedly better pacing. This is the overly long version of (the first third) of The Hobbit that Peter Jackson actually wanted us to see, 182 minutes as opposed to the theatrical release runtime of 169 minutes. The extended cut doesn't fix the fundamental aesthetic issues (48 fps and 3D gimmick shots), but it is, I think, a better film, overall. You'll likely still be left asking yourself why there are so many spotlights in Middle Earth, and, I hope, wishing Jackson had realized things that aren't broken do not need to be fixed.

Yesterday, on Facebook, I wrote: A breakfast of ramen from Japan, oranges from Morocco, and tea from Sri Lanka. It was a very cheap breakfast, all the way from places I'll never be able to afford to visit. It seemed many people misunderstood my sentiment. I certainly wasn't praising an insane global economy that wastes untold amounts of oil to bring me oranges from Africa. The irony was lost on many. Anyway, on the way back from Pawtucket yesterday, I decided I am about to write a story titled "Oranges from Africa." I do not yet know what the story is, but it will wear that title (steal the title and I'll send something awful around to rip your lungs out). I found this just now, googling the title:





from The Dominion (Wellington, New Zealand), Volume 1, Issue 227, 18 June 1908, Page 3



Now, I have to see if I can get some work done. There's a winter storm bearing down on us.

Less Booked In,
Aunt Beast

Reptile volant et la Dame

Shaw
Outside, where the sun has not yet touched, there's a thin frosting of snow. It'll be gone as soon as the cold sun finds it. Winter eats its own. Currently, 29˚F here in Providence, but the ever helpful windchill means it feels 18˚F. In the South, we'd call this goddamn cold.

Yesterday I intended to get Sirenia Digest #94 together and out to subscribers. But then Kathryn and I spent the afternoon on more edits to "Mote[L] 2032." It's one of those pieces I'll never truly believe is finished. It can always be made just a little bit better. sovay kindly read the story for me yesterday. The Drowning Girl: A Memoir was like that. Peter Straub finally had to tell me to stop working on it. Anyway, today I am going to put the issue together.

Yesterday was also spent removing more books from my office, and reorganizing what remains. I'm estimating that approximately five hundred books have left this room. I'm finally nearing the end of that whittling away, and now I just have to get all the books I'm discarding out of the house. There are still several boxes to be considered by Paper Nautilus, and the rest will likely go to local libraries to do with as they will. Just so long as the books are not here, I don't care. If I can get everything done today I mean to get done, tomorrow we'll be taking two empty bookcases to the storage place in Pawtucket, and we should be able to shelve most of the eBay stock (hundreds of authors copies of my books from both Subterranean Press and Penguin). Slowly, progress is being made, and it feels good to be lightening the load.

If you have not already, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. The BIG-ASS XMAS EBAY BLOWOUT, remember? In particular, I draw your attention to this auction: Letter O from the lettered edition of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, which comes with a handmade by Spooky beanie platypus. Well, actually, it's a ricey platypus, as it's filled with rice, not beans.

Last night we finally were able to see Luc Besson's Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec! I'd only been waiting since fucking 2010. It's a marvelous film. Besson and some of his longtime collaborators – Eric Serra, Thierry Arbogast, etc. – have surely done Jacques Tardi's comic justice. I'm a great fan of Besson's The Fifth Element (1997), and in many ways Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec feels like a companion piece to that film. It shares much the same style, and, of course, both have roots in French comics.* The cast is superb, especially Louise Bourgoin in the title role. So, yes. See this film if you possibly can. It's now out on DVD and Blu-ray, and it's worth owning. Do not watch it dubbed!

Okay. I just got an email from my editor reminding me that, this morning, I have to go over some layouts for the forthcoming Dark Horse reprint of the Alabaster prose collection. I truly do wonder how grand publishing must have been in the days before email...

Better Than Yesterday,
Aunt Beast

* As much as I loathe Japanese manga, I love la bande dessinée franco-belge.
Shaw
Working on "The Motel," a thought comes to me again. It's not that I hate writing, precisely. It's that I hate having to write things that anyone but me is expected to read. Most of the time I'm writing – almost all the time that I spend writing – I have to, on some level, keep an audience in mind. Rarely do I allow myself to step away from that. I did in "7/7/7." I am in "The Motel," which has, by the way, become "The Mote[L] 2032." Curiously, there are no motels in the piece. It centers on two different hotels. But the portmanteau motel serves a purpose, one that may or may not occur to readers.

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,928 words on the piece. If only I could pull of that sort of word count on a regular basis.

Cloudy today. Overcast. It's currently 31˚F. I might have slept five hours last night.

Neil send me a copy of the very limited deluxe edition of The Ocean at the End of the Lane (William Morrow). It is a gorgeous volume.

Two movies last night. First we watched Scorsese's Hugo (2011). I'm sort of ashamed to say that I'd not yet seen it. In part, that was my aversion to 3D, and my inability to actually see 3D films, and, finally, my horror that Scorsese would stoop to such a gimmick. Table that last thought for another time. Hugo is marvelous, and only once did I wince at a shot – no, wait...twice – obviously staged as a 3D showstopper. Later, I watched Frankenheimer's Black Sunday (1977), which, oddly, I'd never before seen. An effective thriller. Am I the only person on earth for whom Bruce Dern has always been like nails on a blackboard? Anyway, the last five minutes serve as an absurdly sudden wrap-up that entirely defeats the pacing of the 138 minutes that constitute the rest of the film. But, otherwise, yeah.

Please look at the current eBay. Give the gift of me for Xmas (etcetera).

Now, you know.
Shaw
Rainy today. yesterday turned into a rather pleasant day, weather wise. The sun came out. The sky was even kindly. Presently, it's 48˚F, but, oddly, it feels like – "they" say – 54˚F.

Today we're beginning the BIG-ASS XMAS EBAY BLOWOUT. Lots of good stuff® for the whoever who has everything – except that. Please have a look. Thank you. Currently, there's an ARC of Pink Delicious, so you could be the first on your block. Also, we're relisting The Ape's Wife and Others ARC (because the nimrod who won the auction back when never paid, the deadbeat).

Yesterday was, as planned, a day out. Yup, I should have been here banging away at these keys. But I went Outside, instead. Errands that needed running. It began with a visit to Paper Nautilus Books, with three boxes of books that were evicted from my office. The nice lady* there took most of them, more than two thirds, in return for $204 in credit. We will be visiting her at least twice more. I love that bookstore, the finest in Providence. And now it has a bunch of books that once belonged to me. And soon it will have more. Naturally, as soon as I've divested myself of thirty books, I used fifty dollars of the credit to get two more: John R. Casani's The Moons of Jupiter, plus Whybrow Hill's Fossil Vertebrates of Arabia. The latter is a pretty cool (and huge) volume, but the main reason I took it home as because it's been there since I first visited the shop (when it was still Myopic Books) back in 2008. It needed a home.

After the bookshop, we headed to Pawtucket, to iolabs. They're photographing Michael Zulli's paintings and sketches for the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I met a very friendly dog there. The work on the images in going to cost $240.

We saw the new bear sculpture at Brown University. We went to Newbury Comics in Warwick, and I got the latest Arcade Fire album.

Back home, an evening of Guild Wars 2 and left over chili, and we started watching The Lord of the Rings through again, on Blu-Ray, and it's even more beautiful on the new Jetsons' Space-Age TV. Now photographs:

YesterdayCollapse )


Okay. I didn't sleep but four and half hours last night, and now I have to work.

At Least Half Awake,
Aunt Beast

* A word that, inexplicably, seems to drive the Outrage Brigade slacktavists all whackadoodle. But it's a fine word I adore, so fuck 'em (again).

Howard Hughes and the Coming of December

Shaw
And here we are on the first day of the last month of 2013. We have rain, not the day the weather prognosticators promised us. I was going to go OUT THERE, but in this weather there seems little fucking point. Especially given how far behind I am on work. I may have broken my own record for being behind. Okay, well probably not. After all, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir was delivered about a year late, if we decide tardiness based on so arbitrary a thing as a contract. But I am, nonetheless, terribly behind. I'd planned to have Cherry Bomb finished by the middle of the summer. I failed to take into account how disruptive the trip to New Orleans for be. So, by my own reckoning, Cherry Bomb should have been finished four months ago. But I am not late in the sense that I've asked for an extension or anything. I had to get two with The Drowning Girl: A Memoir.

Yesterday I wrote a very respectable 1,537 words on the fourth chapter of what I sincerely hope is the final Siobhan Quinn book I ever agree to write. I am now approximately 31,693 words from THE END.

Benchmarks keep me going.

Nothing much else to say for now, so...

À la prochaine,
Tante Bête
hallways
Happy Carl Sagan Day.

Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact. ~ Carl Sagan, 1996

---

Cold here in Providence. I think winter might have gotten tired of waiting in the wings. It's 45˚F, though it feels like 38˚F. I need to get the storm window in my office closed.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,063 words on the third chapter of Cherry Bomb.

Here's a fine bit from an interview with George R. R. Martin, on writers:

I've always said there are – to oversimplify it – two kinds of writers. There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up. I think all writers are partly architects and partly gardeners, but they tend to one side or another, and I am definitely more of a gardener. In my Hollywood years when everything does work on outlines, I had to put on my architect's clothes and pretend to be an architect. But my natural inclinations, the way I work, is to give my characters the lead and to follow them.

There can be no doubt that I'm a gardner. To oversimplify it, of course. Good quote. Actually, in my case, it might not be much of an oversimplification. I may not have a single architect's bone in my body.

---

That monster in Pacific. One of the emerging "Category 6" monsters.

---

---

Two good movies for Kid Night last night. The first was Bradley Rust Gray's Jack and Diane (2012), and, I gotta say, this is a simply brilliant, beautiful, sweet, and, at times, horrifying film. With animation by the Brothers Quay. I like to think that if I were to make a sweet lesbian love story involving, metaphorically, werewolves, it would look like this. Both Juno Temple and Riley Keough are superb in their roles. See this film. It reminded me, again and again, of The Drowning Girl, and I hope that saying that doesn't seem too self serving. At IMDb is has a rating of 4.2 and only 9% at Rotten Tomatoes, which teaches us, again, that people are fucking idiots.

The second feature was Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate (2000), which was just an awful lot of fun. If The DaVinci Code hadn't been a pretentious load of twaddle trying to convince people it was something more than a paranoid conspiracy fantasy it might have been something like this film.

---

I'm thinking too much about aging. Only too much because it's probably too much for my own good. I'm truly sick of people who say shit like "50 is the new 30." Do these assholes actually believe that humans live, on average, to be ninety years old? Fifty is the same fifty it has always been. And I hit it in a few months. And it's terrifying.

Time to make the doughnuts.

Later,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
I believe this day is what people mean when they speak of "crisp autumn days." It's sunny, and the temperature is 65˚F, humidity 58%, and an intermittent breeze. It's a day I can live with. But there's rain coming, and tomorrow will be twenty degrees of so cooler (our forecast high for today is 71˚F).

Not so easy to live with.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,024 words on Cherry Bomb. Not as good as Sunday, but I find it a wonder that I wrote at all yesterday, given how little sleep I got the night before. Last night, I slept a full seven hours, about as good as it ever gets for me.

I have watched the world of publishing change so much in the last twenty years. And like everything in our accelerated age, the rate of change is accelerating. I loathe this, but I'm having to try and adapt. This morning, I was contacted by an editorial assistant at Penguin about the Pink Delicious page proofs. Now, as recently as The Drowning Girl: A Memoir I'd have received an actual physical paper copy of the "typeset" pages, which I would read and mark errors. This stage is important, as it allows me to see if the stets and everything else I wrote on the CEM have actually been heeded. But this time I got an electronic copy. And I have to try and read it on the iPad, unless I want to print the thing. I don't, and I won't. I can't afford it. Too much ink and too much paper. So, as with so many of these changes, the publisher saves money, but if I want to stick to the ways I've always done things, I lose money. As it stands, if there are pages I need changes made to, I have to print them and send them back to NYC.

I hate to think how everything will be by the time Cherry Bomb is ready for publication, much less the next novel after it, tentatively titled Beneath the Wide Carnivorous Sky (I may reveal something about this book later. It occurred to me on the train to New Orleans back in June).

Yeah, okay. Enough of this.

Onward, If Not Upward,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
I've just accepted an offer on Spanish (that is, in Spain proper) edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Which means, as of this writing, there will be French, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian, Turkish, and Polish foreign language editions of the novels. I do not have release dates on any of these.

I have somehow survived a truly awful night. Two hours sleep, then maybe another hour and a half after sunrise, sometime between eight ayem and ten thirty. What sleep I did get was delirious, full of feverish dreams that were, by turns, silly and horrible. So, at best, three and a half hours of uneasy sleep. This means I am excused from typos for the remainder of the week.

Gods, what a horrid night.

Yesterday was a very good writing day. I did 1,516 words on the second chapter of Cherry Bomb.

And here's the last set of photos from Manhattan, all taken on Thursday (well, except for the very last one):

17 October 2013Collapse )


Half Asleep (or Half Awake),
Aunt Beast

"Like a leaf on the breeze you blew away."

Shaw
I've gone and frittered away most of my blogging time for the day (which does sound like a euphemistic way of saying I've no time remaining during which to masturbate). So, this will probably be short.

Few things are more embarrassing than going back and reading nine and ten year of LJ entries. Which is not to say I'm sorry they're there. I'm very glad they're there, even if I blanche at what I wrote in those entries. They are memories I would have lost, otherwise. They are a snapshot of a time and a place and a voice that has vanished. I will never be able to understand people who can destroy dairies and erase online journals.

But it is also true that I do not "move on."

I will move on when I am dead.

Yesterday, I wrote nothing. I was in a rage, that came on the night before and was with me until late last night. We drove west out of Providence, bound for nowhere in particular in northeastern Connecticut – Eva Canning country. But the sky was sullen, low, late November, a sky that would soon spit rain and wanted to spit snow. The orange and gold and yellow and red leaves might have seemed beautiful beneath the sun, but in those clouds they truly were just dead and dying things. There was some horrible crowd gumming up the road along Scituate, and we were bogged in traffic that worsened my mood. Traveling west on 101, we did make it as far as Killingly, Conn. before turning finally back. We'd left Providence at ~2:00 p.m., and we returned home at ~4:00 p.m. It was a waste of money and gasoline. But I was, once again, astounded at how small New England is. Hidden away in my office again, I calculated that Rhode Island would fit into Alabama 43 times, with a bit of room left over there to the right of the decimal point. Indeed, Alabama is as large as the bulk of New England. And Georgia's even larger. So, it's no wonder I find myself so disoriented, living here in the smallest of the fifty U.S. states.

I'm going on, despite having frittered.

On Friday, I wrote 768 words, which is nothing to be proud of, when I need to be writing a minimum of ~1,300 a day, every day without fail. Well, I've use failed two days in a row. And I'll be losing Wednesday and Thursday to the trip to Manhattan. And I just have to hope we don't get sick because of the trip.

Yeah, fun, fun, fun.

Spooky's new laptop arrived late on Friday. She's named it Gypsy, and it's a spiffy little whippersnapper.

Snapping Whips,
Aunt Beast
talks to wolves
At least the sun's out. Even if it's only 65˚F. Even if the trees are turning. Blegh.

Yesterday was a violent and blustery day of clouds.

Yesterday was spent reading back over and editing what currently exists of Cherry Bomb, eliminating continuity errors between it and Pink Delicious. By the way, if you've an interest in such trivia, Pink Delicious takes place six months after the events of Blood Oranges. And Cherry Bomb jumps ahead to ~2017. Quinn is sixteen years old when she dies at the beginning of Blood Oranges, and she's twenty-one at the beginning of Cherry Bomb. She was twelve when she ran away from home. She'll be twenty-two at the end of Cherry Bomb, at THE END of the "Siobhan Quinn novels." Cherry Bomb is actually the transcription of a series of old cassette tapes.

So, there.

Yesterday, the CEM for Pink Delicious went back to Penguin (and they should have it by now), and I signed off on the inks for the final installment of Alabaster: Boxcar Tales. Also, Spooky's parents visited. Also, the hard drive on her six-year old laptop decided to go belly-up. So...we're having to replace the whole machine, as it makes more sense than buying a new HD for an ailing, geriatric machine. Planned obsolescence. It's the American way.

I was marveling this morning how my Mac Color Classic, the first computer I bought (in July 1993), had a maximum memory of 4 MB, expandable to 10 MB. And I expanded it myself. I wrote Silk and Threshold on that machine. Presently, the file that contains all my writing, here on my 8 GB iMac – twenty years after I bought my Color Classic – that one file is 2.45 GB!

Last night, we had the third night of Spooky's infamous "three-legged chicken stoup." The addition of northern beans and a can of tomatoes stretched it quite well. Then I had some RP in The Secret World (I have my laptop back), and then we watched Hannibal, with which I am deeply, deeply in love. It was wonderful that we got Ellen Muth playing a character (who thinks she's dead) name Georgia!

Here are the three more-or-less finished Albert Perrault paintings (behind the cut), as rendered by the incredible Matthew Jaffe. They will be appearing in the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Note that Perrault's style changes significantly between an earlier work, Fecunda ratis, which is more naturalistic symbolism and his final painting, Last Drink Bird Head, which is impressionist symbolism. As his sanity slipped, his style became more raw, more immediate:

Three by PerraultCollapse )


I've Never Been Good With Change,
Aunt Beast

"Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now."

wookie
The headache was gone when I woke yesterday morning, and it has not returned. Yesterday, we made it through Chapter Seven and the epilogue of Pink Delicious, and all I have remaining is to look over the CE's notes on "The Maltese Unicorn" (which appears in the novel; you'll see). I don't dislike the novel nearly as much as I was afraid I would. And I think it's a better lead in to Cherry Bomb than I expected it would be.

It'll be easier to write Cherry Bomb now, having just read Pink Delicious.

I got sketches from Vince Locke for "Study for 'The Witch House'", three of them which mean I hard to choose, though all three were fabulous. And Matthew Jaffee sent me the final versions of all three Perrualt paintings for the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir: Fecunda ratis, Night in the Forest, and Last Drink Bird Head. All are brilliant, but Fecunda ratis is still my favorite. I'd feared the addition of the "red tunic" to the figure would spoil the composition, but I was entirely wrong. I'll post these tomorrow.

Last night, too much good RP in The Secret World, then too much Guild Wars 2. Too much gaming....

We haven't seen the sun in three days, though it's hardly raining.

Too Much,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
The sky out there could crush you. Fuck you, Autumn.

Someone asked a couple of days (or more) if I listen to the National. I do. I discovered them shortly after finishing The Drowning Girl back in 2011. In fact, I wanted to include a quote from their song "Anyone's Ghost" as an epigraph, and the band was cool with it, but the record company wanted some exorbitant fee, so it didn't happen.

Yesterday was a better day, and sometimes that's the best I can hope for.

Speaking of The Drowning Girl, I have a second Perrault painting-in-progress from Matthew Jaffe. This time, "Night in the Forest":



The Centipede Press edition is coming together.

---

I'm pounding at the front door of Cherry Bomb. Yesterday I wrote...I don't know. I bunch of words. Doesn't much matter because I tossed them all out. Later, not writing, I might have figured out the beginning. The last thing I want to be doing just now is writing this book.

Now that I have something sort of CEM-like for Pink Delicious, I need to get to work on that as well. Which I especially don't want to be doing. It's not truly a copyedited ms. It's a print-out of the MS Word document I was emailed, with all the marginal/tracked/whatever stuff that should be in red printed in B&W. Marks with a red pencil? Easy to see. These "marks"? Much less so. For Cherry Bomb, I'm going to offer to pay for the cost of producing a genuine CEM. I'm not trying to be difficult. But I want a copyedited ms. I can work with. A hard copy someone has marked up by hand. Yesterday, my editor informed me those sorts of CEMs don't exist anymore, that everything the copyeditors do is done in track changes now.

And I replied that I would quit publishing, if that were an option. But that's been true for at least a decade. This is just the latest round of "shit can always get worse." It all becomes ever less physical, less real, the process of making books and reading books, become ever less tactile, more and more consigned to tablets and "readers" and most people seriously don't seem to mind.

Civilization, culture, art...it was all inherently ephemeral to begin with. This digital age is rendering culture so insubstantial and transitory that I'm afraid I'd be overly generous to call it fleeting.

---

The roughs for the final installment of Alabaster: Boxcar Tales just hit my email. Weird.

---

In the chaos and monotony, I've been seeking comfort in old, familiar films. Night before last, To Have or Have Not (1944) and Woman of the Year (1942). Last night, The Philadelphia Story (1940). The forties are easy on my eyes and my mind. Also, The Philadelphia Story is very likely the best of Shakespeare's comedies that Shakespeare didn't write.

Don't Fall On Me,
Aunt Beast

"The engines power down..."

white
Four hours sleep. But at least it comes on the heels of four consecutive nights of very good sleep. I've been up since 8:30 ayem, awake since 8:00 (went to sleep about 4 ayem).

And already the day is goddamned annoying. The CEM for Pink Delicious came in, and, this time out, I got the sort of ambitious copyeditor who simply can't refrain from rewriting my prose and including...questionable...comments. All of this will, of course, be STETed and ignored. This isn't about me being arrogant. This is about a CE who's an idiot. And there's more on this matter, but I'll save it for another entry.

Yesterday was spent pulling together Sirenia Digest #91, which went out to subscribers yesterday. And I attended to the last bit that Dark Horse needed before they could begin laying out Alabaster: Pale Rider.

Today needs to be spent on the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Tomorrow, I fucking need to get back to work on Cherry Bomb. Full plate.

Last night, a great RP scene in The Secret World (I wish this were a story you guys could be reading) and then I watched the unintentionally wretchedly hilarious The Beast With a Thousand Eyes (dir. David Kramarsky, 1955).

Now, time to make the doughnuts.

Annoy'd,
Aunt Beast

"My own secret ceremonials..."

Shaw
Yeah, okay, well today's working hard at being a pain in my ass. The climate's violent mood swings aren't helping. The micro-heatwave has come and gone. On Wednesday the high was 91˚F (with a heat index over 100˚F); today the high will be about 75˚F. Yeah. Okay.

---

It's still a work in progress, but here's an early look at Albert Perrault's Fecunda ratis, as painted by Matthew Jaffee for the forthcoming Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir:



Copyright © 2013 by Matthew Jaffe


I created the painting in my mind way, way back in long ago 2000. For thirteen years I've carried it about in my skull, and I've used it in three or four short stories and, finally, in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I never thought I'd see it leak out into the real world. Now...it's leaking. And I'm stunned. I speak of terror, and of horror, and of the weird, and here there are all three. It's going to be an amazing book. Matthew will be creating at least one more Perrault for the edition.

Yeah, I'm supposing Mr. Perrault will never be a darling of feminist art critics.

---

Yesterday, I tried to begin a new story, "Pushing Back the Sky," but it might be a false start. I hope that today will tell.

The day's have been, crazy weather aside, monotonous. Geoffrey is coming to visit on Sunday, which will be a welcomed break in the sameness.

I've been reading Pogo, Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegāna, and portions of Werdelin and Sanders' titanic Cenozoic Mammals of Africa (last night, "Embrithopoda"). We've been watching Season Three of Boardwalk Empire, which has to be, by far, the most beautiful thing on television.

By the way, readers send me gifts. Really amazing gifts. I generally assume they wish to be anonymous, and so I only rarely thank them by name. One particular reader was especially generous lately, which is how I'm able to be reading Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. Thank you.

Speaking of The Secret World, I've been gaming too much (yes, you can) and getting a lot of very good RP with a number of people. I've just reached the Valley of the Sun God region of Egypt, and it's beautiful realized. It's the first region of the game I've really loved since Kingsmouth, the first questing area after (depending on your faction) New York City, Seoul, and London. Sort of Lovecraft meets Tolkien. Ghouls, instead of orcs. Gorgeous.

Last night I discovered that I like Tương Ớt Sriracha on beef lo mein. Might sound gross, but it's good. Also, this morning I hit 3,000 followers on Facebook.

To be in such a shitty mood, I'm awfully filled with praise and superlatives.

As Our Ms. Geary Would Say, "Super,"
Aunt Beast

And now for a word from our sponsor:

Shaw
Something new in Kathryn's Etsy Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries shop, seven mustard-seed filled pendants inspired by the "7/7/7" section of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Each is unique, and only seven will ever be made. Two have sold already. Note that the typewriter used for the text on the pendants, and for the signed certificate of authenticity that comes with each pendant, is the same 1941 Royal typewriter that appears in the trailer for the novel.



Just follow the link.

Have a look, please. And while you're there, be sure to check out the Beasties!

7,
Aunt Beast

"And I will be the one to hold you down..."

Shaw
The past two or three days have been rough. I'm a bit raggedy. But I think I'm resurfacing.

Day before yesterday, or the day before that – it's unclear – I accidentally OD'd on Lamictal. No, it wasn't a suicide attempt. It was just plain old absentminded stupidity. I take 300mg a day. On Friday afternoon, Spooky glanced at the pill boxes on my desk, the ones that hold all my meds for the week, and realized that both Friday and Saturday's Lamictal doses were gone. Which meant I'd taken 600mg. Thing is, Lamictal is dangerous drug. When increasing dosage, one must do so very slowly, and the same goes for decreasing dosage. I've always gone up only 25-50mg. With sudden increases and OD's comes a very slim chance of a very, very horrible side effect. I'm not even going to name it here, because I spend too much time not thinking about it. By the way, before anyone asks, I take Lamictal for bipolar disorder and PNES (psychogenic non-epileltic seizures), and I've been on it since early 2010.

Anyway, panic ensued. Friday afternoon and evening were pretty unpleasant. It didn't help that we couldn't be sure when I took the extra dose (I forget shit, okay, which is how I took the extra dose). But I'm fine.

The irony is that only a few days before I'd made the decision to stop taking Lamictal – both because of side effects that have never gone away and because of its toxicity.

---

Sirenia Digest #90 is being emailed to subscribers as I type.

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Just saw myself described as an "autodidact on steroids" and "an enlightened Nabokov for a new age." I assume I should be flattered. I'm definitely amused.

Today, I need to try and get my shit together. The month is a wreck. The "summer" was a disaster. I have a novel that should have been finished by now and has hardly been begun. And so forth. I've hardly left the House. I've only swum once. I've hardly left this fucking chair. Hardly, hardly, hardly. Yeah. Anyway, start with the small stuff.

Initiate the Secret Histories,
Aunt Beast
house of leaves
The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has been nominated for the 2013 World Fantasy Award.

With luck, I'll get Sirenia Digest #90 out today. I have an astoundingly beautiful illustration from Vince Locke for this issue's new story, "Elegy for a Suicide." A string of black days, and then I slept about two hours last night. I lay awake, listening to the audiobook of The Haunting of Hill House, which is quite an effective novel in a dark room at 5:30 a.m.

Or anywhere and anywhen else.

Publishers Weekly likes The Ape's Wife and Other Stories:

In these 13 previously published stories, Kiernan (The Drowning Girl) deftly deconstructs boundaries: between genres, between worlds, between mundane and entirely alien existences. Well-known tales are reshaped in Kiernan’s distinct style—Beowulf in “The Sea Troll’s Daughter,” King Kong in “The Ape’s Wife”—while characters as familiar as an artist struggling with a painting, in “Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash,” or a science writer researching an article, in “One Tree Hill (The World as Cataclysm),” are plucked from the ordinary and set down in the uncanny. Standout expeditions include “Galápagos,” featuring a woman trying to record and come to terms with what she saw on an interplanetary journey; “As Red as Red,” an unsettling Rhode Island interlude; and the title story, in which Ann Darrow is “lost in All-At-Once time” and the possible lives she might have led. These pieces are diverse, but isolation is a thread woven through almost all of them: What might we sense or experience when we are entirely, completely alone? What truths might we admit? Those interested in exploring those questions, or in transcending genre and other boundaries, will enjoy this collection. (Nov.)

Not too shabby.

Which is really all the news I have. The fact that it's cold in August in Rhode Island, sadly, isn't news.

Fortune Comes,
Aunt Beast

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