February 15th, 2006


N is for Nocturnal

Yurgh. These late-night, just-one-more-chapter reading binges are about to do me in. I'm not awake. I'm not awake. But it's a pretty cool trick, typing with my eyes shut like this. At least I don't have to see my own typos.

I get e-mails asking why I don't use the blog/LJ to offer advice to aspiring writers. Generally, I ignore these questions. This journal was begun as a means of allowing readers a glimpse of what being a fulltime writer is like for me. Well, actually, it was only supposed to be a chronicle of the writing of Low Red Moon, but then it just kept going and going and going. Wait...I have a point here. It's lodged somewhere in my drowsy head. Yes, here it is. The admission that I've been a selfish ass. I have this great huge book right here before me, the one that all published authors have access to (Peter Straub gave me a copy one night in 1996, in NYC, after a very fine Indian dinner and an encounter with unicorns on Columbus Avenue), the one filled with all The Secrets®. But I shall break the silence. The truth must be told. There really are very simple, accessible guidelines to becoming a cursed and wretched...I mean, to becoming a published author. From time to time, I will share them with you. By so doing, I know I risk the wrath of those who would keep this vile and...I mean, this wonderful literary life all to themselves, But I'm such a nice nixar, aren't I? Okay, then....

One thing it takes to be a working author, one thing that is absolutely requisite, is the ability to accept at least one grievous and unwarranted insult each and every day from a perfect stranger. There are no exceptions.(from pg. 15)

You're welcome.

Spooky and I pretty much ignored Valentine's Day this year. I spent the first bit of yesterday on Sirenia Digest #3 (which everyone ought to have by now). Then we spent about six hours on Daughter of Hounds corrections, just easy line edit stuff. Still, we only made it as far as the end of Chapter Four. It's one of the most tedious and annoying parts of writing a novel, editing myself. The refrains of "Why didn't I just do this right the first time!" and "Who gives a rat's fanny!?" rang out all day long. Today, I'm setting the line edits aside and dealing with some bigger problems: a character who sometimes seems younger than she is, changing December into February, clarifying Soldier's magickal prowess or lack thereof. Things like that. Then, tomorrow I'll probably send the whole ms. to my agent, because she still hasn't read any farther than Chapter Five, and Spooky and I will resume work on the line edits. Commas. Spelling. Word choices. Etc. and etc. Monday? Oh, yeah. I missed a day, didn't I? All day Monday was spent laying out Sirenia Digest #3 so that I could send it off to thingunderthest to be PFDed (thank you, Gordon), so we could be true to our word and deliver it to subscribers on Valentine's Day. And, later on, I got somewhat pleasantly drunk on black and tans and cosmos. That was Monday.

"Madonna Littoralis" (first published in Sirenia Digest #1) draws favorable comments from Aimee Poynter over at Tangent Online, in her review of Fantasy Magazine #2. She writes:

The final story in the issue is Caitlin R. Kiernan's "Madonna Littoralis," that previously appeared in the first issue of Kiernan's vignette subscription service Sirenia Digest. Her prose, always intense and incredibly lush, is almost hypnotic as she tells an erotic tale of doomed love and madness centering on a creature who is and is not human. The story is effectively written as a surrealistic stream of conscious that jumps back and forth in time. "Madonna Littoralis" is a beautiful offering that makes a strong anchor story for this second issue of Fantasy Magazine.

See what you're missing by not subscribing to the digest?

Well, crap. It's time to wrap this up and wake the platypus, even though there are still a number of things I wanted to mention but haven't yet gotten around to. Like finishing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Guy Maddin, and the immense lightning storm on Saturn. Ah, well. Perhaps I can do another entry this evening. Thanks to everyone who had thoughtful comments re: Wicca and Monday's entry. I'll try to get around to addressing a few of those later, as well.

Postscript: Feedback on Sirenia Digest #3 welcome.

Addendum: sundries

Well, first off, I'm sorry that we haven't yet begun the letter "S" auction. Tomorrow, I promise. This one's to pay the gas bill, so please bid generously. I'll make an announcement here just as soon as the auction begins.

Nextly, Spooky and I have been on something of a Guy Maddin kick this week. We watched Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1990) on Monday night, then Archangel (1997) last night. Tonight, it's Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (2002). Someone described Twilight of the Ice Nymphs as the Gotterdammerung meet's Pee-Wee's Playhouse, which was surely as inept a comparison as ever I've read. The film is quite wonderfully surreal and dizzyingly colourful, however. Shelly Duval, Alice Krige, and Frank Gorshin make for a wonderful cast. But I loved the hauntingly black-and-white Archangel even more. There are curious elements uniting both films: wooden legs, lost husbands, fatherless children, mesmerism.

And I've been trying to catch up with news of things astronomical, such as the 2,175 mile-wide electrical storm rasging on Saturn. I was especially taken by the photo below, captured by the Cassini imaging system on January 27th, with the storm assuming a configuration eerily reminiscent of a Celtic triskele or triskelion. Charles Fort would appreciate the similarity, and Jung would appreciate that it's a bit of a "meaningful coincidence" for me. Regardless, it's an awesome, beautiful sight.

Also, click here for an astounding rotating composite infrared image of Titan, more of Cassini's handiwork. Note that, and I quote, Titan has numerous areas of light terrain with some large areas of dark terrain visible near the equator. Small areas of brightest terrain might arise from ice-volcanoes and have a high amount of reflective frozen water-ice. What fascinating worlds we are just beginning to glimpse, these mini-solar systems orbiting Jupiter and Saturn!

Okay. I was going to write about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but Spooky's calling me to dinner, so that shall have to wait until tomorrow morning. Did everyone get there copy of SD #3 okay?