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at once menacing and hard to see

I went to bed last night about two and managed to sleep straight through until almost ten thirty this a.m. Any time I sleep more than eight consecutive hours without waking is cause for celebration. My head feels a little clearer. The dreams were there, "bright and violent," but they faded when I woke, which they usually refuse to do.

There's a nice review of To Charles Fort, With Love in Booklist:

Now largely forgotten, except as inspiration for the title of the glossy monthly, Fortean Times, Charles Fort (1874-1932) was an ardent skeptic who devoted himself to studying paranormal phenomena and eventually publishing his findings as The Book of the Damned (1919). In homage to him, Kiernan's third story collection presents 13 explorations of the less-reputable fringes of science. More than a few focus on anomalies that have mirror images in the real world. In one story, paleontologists discover on an Irish isle the fossilized tracks of fairylike creatures that predate the dinosaur era--similar tracks were actually documented in 1994. Other tales look into the dark possibilities of summoning spirits via a Ouija board and of a spectral animal haunting the hallways in a young couple's apartment. Each story is steeped in Kiernan's masterfully evocative, eerie prose, which echoes the best of Lovecraft. Fans of horror fiction who are just discovering Kiernan's rare gifts should use this volume as a stepping-stone to her equally brilliant novels (e.g., The Dry Salvages, 2004).

It's nice. Not perfect, but nice. I would hasten to add that I think these stories will appeal to many more people than horror fans. Too often, devoted fans of horror are working on the King/Koontz model and can't make heads or tails of what I'm trying to do. And Fortean Times is a silly rag that Fort would have disapproved of on general principle. Otherwise, nice. I do agree it makes a good starting point for readers new to my work.

We saw MirrorMask yesterday, and, for my part, I was extremely pleased with it. I was, in fact, delighted. A Dave McKean painting (or about a thousand of them) come to life, wrapped snuggly about a nice little story by Neil. I think I may have fallen in love with Stephanie Leonidas in her not-really-the-Dark-Queen's-daughter guise. Iain Ballamy's music was perfect. And all those pompous gits who are going on about the "unoriginal storyline" need whatever tool one uses to extract heads from asses. It's a fairy tale, and a fairly simple, unassuming story, and yes, you'll hear echoes of many other stories in it, because that's one thing that fairy tales do.

I have said many times that originality isn't something that readers and writers (and moviegoers) should worry themselves over. It's generally a waste of time. Originality is almost certainly impossible to achieve, and I'd much rather see a familiar story retold well than a "new" story hoping to get by on the weight of its supposed novelty. I've realized, recently, that as I consume stories, my consciousness breaks them down. They do not remain whole and intact. It's nothing intentional, just something that happens. I think it's the result of the way I assimilated Jung and Joseph Campbell. Their writings became these peculiar story enzymes. When I read or see or hear a story, I'm not usually sitting there thinking, Oh, I've seen this before. That's a given and will probably be a given for any literate, well-read person. I'm thinking, Does it work in this particular incarnation?. Everything we can imagine is contained within the monomyth, and if Shakespeare didn't have to worry about originality, then neither do I.

Originality is a delusion and a conceit in which I do not indulge.

We were going to see Serenity yesterday as well, but I was so exhausted, we decided to save it until this evening. Instead, we came home, made cookies, and watched Hammer's The Evil of Frankenstein.

Watch our eBay page today. I'm repeating the $2.50 Silk sell, since it was such a success the last time. I'm also going to be adding a copy of the leatherbound (I love that word), traycased, lettered edition of The Five of Cups, and the winner of this auction also gets Monster Doodle Sculpture #4. I'll start the auctions sometime this afternoon.


( 7 comments — Have your say! )
Oct. 1st, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC)
How did this screening of MirrorMask compare with the first time you saw it? Did you only see clips that first time? Was what you saw finished then?

I won't be able to see it during its debut weekend in Portland (Oct. 14th), because I'll be in Lake Tahoe for my cousin's wedding, but I'm planning a special trip the weekend after to get a good friend up to Portland so we can see MirrorMask together. She'll come up by train, so it'll be a treat for her in more ways than one.

By the way, I need to tell myself "Chris? You can afford books now." Thansks for reminding us of incoming Caitlin-y goodness. (And thanks to The Forces That Grant Jobs for helping me get paid properly so I CAN think that!)
Oct. 1st, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC)
When I read or see or hear a story, I'm not usually sitting there thinking, Oh, I've seen this before. That's a given and will probably be a given for any literate, well-read person.

But as I'm sure you have noted, the people who complain about "unoriginality" aren't generally very literate or well-read, so when they catch an echo of something they've encountered before, their first instinct is to spring out of their seats hollering, "PLAJURIZM! PLAJURISM!" Of course homage isn't plagiarism, nor is employing fairy-tale or other templates to tell a story of one's own, but yahoos love nothing better than to catch someone else in a mistake or, better yet, a thievery.
Oct. 3rd, 2005 06:02 am (UTC)
Regarding animal rescue in LA...
I know responding to you in greygirlbeast's journal isn't very cricket, but I don't know a better way to get in touch with you.

I am writing to inform you about my friend who recently spent time helping the Humane Society of Louisiana at their makeshift outdoor shelter in Tylertown, MS. She has made a variety of posts about her time there (including this entry containing a short article aimed at media outlets), and is trying to get the word out about animal rescues. If you have the time, you might be interested in reading some of her journal entries.

I saw your post asking people to donate to Animal Rescue League of Boston if they can, and I'm hoping that you could also mention HSLA as they have been doing direct rescue missions in LA whenever possible, too.

Thanks for hearing (er... reading) me out. Have a great time in Chicago! :D

greygirlbeast, I apologize for taking over your journal, and I'll try not to do it again.

geek. ^_^
Oct. 1st, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
Originality is a delusion and a conceit in which I do not indulge.

For my part, I feel originality is a false belief and fake goal in the quest of which I shall not partake.

I'd much rather see a familiar story retold well than a "new" story hoping to get by on the weight of its supposed novelty.

Yeah. And, you know, if a movie were in cinemas that was truly unlike any other, no one would like it. As entertainment value, people would be wondering where the action/adventure/romance/horror/comedy is.
Oct. 1st, 2005 11:59 pm (UTC)
I saw the very first episode of Farscape today.
Reading about how much you liked it I had to check it out when given the opportunity.
Oct. 2nd, 2005 03:09 am (UTC)
It's a secret...
While original stories are all well and good, the WAY you tell a story is far more important than what's in it. The most amazing tale in the world can be a big let-down if told poorly. The same fairy story you've heard a million times before can seem fresh and new if it's told the right way.

I too am loving the MirrorMask and will probably be seeing it again (and again) this week. I think I agree with someone else's complaint that there's so much up there on the screen that you want the camera to hold still a bit longer and delay the story just so you can see it all. Ah well, more to look forward to in the next viewings.

Oh, and the score is available at amazon dot come. Must have!
Oct. 15th, 2005 06:44 am (UTC)
First of all, welcome back! I really enjoy reading your posts and was at first going to say something about "high concept" as well as the missed-the-point accusation of laziness on your part about choosing the right word than coming up with your own, but your discussion here of originality is really what piqued my interest.

Like you, I'd much rather read a new retelling of a familiar story. And goodness knows that I haven't been writing much lately, so I don't need to saddle myself with the burden of having to wait for an original idea to strike.

Also, I splurged on books lately, although they're still being shipped to me, and I might get them by the end of the year. Most of them are yours: Silk, Murder of Angels, Threshold, To Charles Fort, with Love, The Dry Salvages, and I'm not just kissing author-ass when I say that I'm dying to get my hands on those and start reading them. Hopefully, I should have Low Red Moon around the time that bundle arrives.

I was going to get a copy of Tales of Pain and Wonder, too, but I decided to save that for later; apparently the Meisha Merlin edition isn't too well-produced. But I'll get around to it sometime, and I think I have a good number of your works to look forward to now. The first thing I'll probably read is the Dandridge Cycle, and then The Dry Salvages, and then...okay, enough.

I'm just really thrilled, and I hope you don't mind the fanboy drooling, but I could think of no more appropriate place than here on your LJ.

(Oh, I read "The Dead and the Moonstruck" from the Gothic! anthology and thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I've no previous encounter at all with the characters.)
( 7 comments — Have your say! )

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