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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:




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

Comments

( 32 comments — Have your say! )
sillylilly_bird
Feb. 28th, 2014 05:33 pm (UTC)
That cover is unspeakably gorgeous!
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 06:55 pm (UTC)

Isn't it, though?
shanejayell
Feb. 28th, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC)
Good luck with the writing.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 06:56 pm (UTC)

Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 06:55 pm (UTC)

You win the cover war.

What a wonderful sentence.

Edited at 2014-02-28 06:56 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Feb. 28th, 2014 09:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 06:54 pm (UTC)

If only I could have it hanging in my house.

Yes. Santiago has offered to sell it to me, but I'm not sure I'll be able to afford it.
Lynne Jamneck
Feb. 28th, 2014 06:06 pm (UTC)
As someone who's had panic disorder for about ten years, that sounds a lot like a panic attack.

My worst panic attacks have often convinced me that I was having a heart attack. I've had the physical pain you mentioned, but it's really hard to distinguish between what is actually, physiologically happening as a result of something your body is doing as a result of itself, or what your brain is contributing to making your body do. That doesn't make the pain less worse, of course, it just makes it hard to pinpoint what the fuck is actually going on.

Whenever I have a panic attack, my teeth chatter so violently that I can't talk. I've had bad ones where I seize up completely, and my hands twist into what looks swamp tree branches. First time that happened I was convinced the rest of me was going to seize up too, ergo heart attack.

And of course, there's the delightful side-effect of panic attacks: panic begets panic. CBT hand meditation has helped me to control this almost 99% of the time. But the bad ones still happen.

Since you've been feeling anxious and stressed about the weather, it seems feasible that, at the point where you went out last night, the stress and anxiety had built to a point where your body couldn't hold onto it anymore. Boom.

That's my two cents, anyway.

Hope you're feeling better now. Don't go out in the cold.

Edited at 2014-02-28 06:27 pm (UTC)
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 06:52 pm (UTC)

As someone who's had panic disorder for about ten years, that sounds a lot like a panic attack.

When I first reported this last night on Facebook, I supposed it might have been a panic attack. It does have most of the hallmarks, and I've had them before. I've just never had so much physical pain associated with one. It's a reasonable supposition.

Since you've been feeling anxious and stressed about the weather, it seems feasible that, at the point where you went out last night, the stress and anxiety had built to a point where your body couldn't hold onto it anymore. Boom.

Yes.
everville340
Feb. 28th, 2014 06:20 pm (UTC)
That's my fucked up little adventure tale. You don't get the photo until tomorrow. Them's the rules, chickens.

That is a photo I will certainly return to see, reading of your experience directly after it was taken. Those moments of sheer panic and disorientation combined...thanks for putting that into words - glad that the experience has improved, and cheers to warmer climates in July.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 06:54 pm (UTC)

That is a photo I will certainly return to see, reading of your experience directly after it was taken.

Morbid as I am, I almost wish that I'd had the video feature running...
witchchild
Feb. 28th, 2014 07:00 pm (UTC)
On the cold, yipes!

On the cover, gorgeous!

On GoT, I hope my library gets in season 3 soon, not that I have HBO to watch as it comes out. I love Danerys, enough that I now have a cat named for her.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 07:08 pm (UTC)

I love Danerys, enough that I now have a cat named for her.

It's a marvelous name. I'd be tempted to name a daughter Daenerys and call her Dani. Though, I have to say it annoys me seeing that 'Khaleesi' has become a popular name. People do not seem to understand the word is a title, not a name, and that they might as well have named their child Queen, Princess, or Duchess.
(no subject) - witchchild - Feb. 28th, 2014 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Feb. 28th, 2014 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
aarongp
Feb. 28th, 2014 07:54 pm (UTC)
Having had several pneumothoraces in my twenties, I still get distressed and anxious whenever I feel an odd ache in my chest. I suppose it's a rough approximation of what you felt last night, so I am glad it was over relatively quickly for you.

Congrats on the decision about this being your final winter in NE. I hope it is something you can follow up on.

Have a better day and good luck with the word wrestling.

Oh yeah, that cover is a fucking stunner.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC)

Congrats on the decision about this being your final winter in NE.

It's actually a difficult decision that could have very difficult consequences. I just don't know what else to do.
numisma
Feb. 28th, 2014 07:58 pm (UTC)
Caruso's cover art is gorgeous!
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC)

Precisely.
dipsomaniac
Feb. 28th, 2014 09:08 pm (UTC)
I love that cover.

It's scary how much a panic attack can mimic a heart attack and the doctors really can't do anything except say "control your stress." My girlfriend had pains like that and it actually caused her to pass out. I came home to find her lying on the floor passed out and completely disoriented after I woke her. She had been in the middle of working when it happened. Fucking scary. Be careful.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 09:37 pm (UTC)

Ever am I a careful Beast.

Well...nor exactly ever.
wood_dragon
Feb. 28th, 2014 09:10 pm (UTC)
Best of luck with the writing. (Or, as my writer friend and I wish each other, "Good writing".)

That cover is gorgeous!
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 09:38 pm (UTC)

(Or, as my writer friend and I wish each other, "Good writing".)

That strikes me as a curse.
setsuled
Feb. 28th, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
That's my fucked up little adventure tale.

I'm glad you survived. I doubt I'd get through two days of that weather. There was a rainstorm to-day in San Diego and it was about all I could handle. I don't even own a warm shirt.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 28th, 2014 10:24 pm (UTC)

I don't even own a warm shirt.

I wish I didn't hate southern California.
nineweaving
Mar. 1st, 2014 04:12 am (UTC)
Utterly gorgeous cover. And perfect for the book.

Nine
greygirlbeast
Mar. 1st, 2014 05:39 am (UTC)

And perfect for the book.

It flatters the novel.
alumiere
Mar. 1st, 2014 05:15 am (UTC)
That cover is incredible. I may have to get my hands on a copy even though I won't be able to read it.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 1st, 2014 05:39 am (UTC)

I may have to get my hands on a copy even though I won't be able to read it.

They should be easy to order.
thimbleofrain
Mar. 1st, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC)
That cover is amazing. It fits the novel beautifully.
( 32 comments — Have your say! )