January 16th, 2008



On January 14, 2008, the MESSENGER spacecraft observed about half of the hemisphere missed by Mariner 10. This image was snapped by the Wide Angle Camera, part of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) instrument, about 80 minutes after MESSENGER's closest approach to Mercury (2:04 p.m. EST), when the spacecraft was at a distance of about 27,000 kilometers (about 17,000 miles). The image shows features as small as 10 kilometers (6 miles) in size. This image was taken through a filter sensitive to light near the red end of the visible spectrum (750 nm), one of a sequence of images taken through each of MDIS’s 11 filters..

Like the previously mapped portion of Mercury, this hemisphere appears heavily cratered. It also reveals some unique and distinctive features. On the upper right is the giant Caloris basin, including its western portions never before seen by spacecraft. Formed by the impact of a large asteroid or comet, Caloris is one of the largest, and perhaps one of the youngest, basins in the Solar System. The new image shows the complete basin interior and reveals that it is brighter than the surrounding regions and may therefore have a different composition. Darker smooth plains completely surround Caloris, and many unusual dark-rimmed craters are observed inside the basin. Several other multi-ringed basins are seen in this image for the first time. Prominent fault scarps (large ridges) lace the newly viewed region.

Days I am glad I have lived so long. Few and far between, but still they do occur.

Night-fear female, Good-timing drone

If I had my way, I'd change the name of this journal to something like "Sleep: The Silent Killer." Which is to say, if not for the heavy hand of controlling interests from the alter-ego combine Mericale, Hughes, Scheheraz'Odd & Touchshriek, Inc., and the venomous spurs of their platypus lackey, I would change the name of this journal. I do not know which is worse, the insomnia or the sleeping. It's a bloody toss up.

Yesterday was spent sitting in my office talking to Spooky about Joey Lafaye, trying to find a place where I can dig my nails in deep enough to hang on. Hours of talk about an unwritten book. I expect this would count towards insanity, were this a book that will not eventually become a written book. I smoked in my office, when I am only suppose to smoke outside, and so it stinks in here today. The conversation drifted to and fro and to again. Trying to find the title character, Joey, and trying to move away from the "fairy carnival" towards a "fairy shadow show" that will feel less like something I can be accused of having cadged from Ray Bradbury. The nature of twinship (should be a word, if it's not). And much talk regarding how badly I wanted this book to be not so dark a fantasy as my earlier novels, but how I suspect it'll be just as dark, regardless. I can only write what I have within me. A big stumbling block here, I fear, is that the book will be written in alternating chapters of a first-person diary and the third-person present tense. I can see the reviewers howling from here. Name me "inaccessible." It went on that way until about 4:30 p.m., when I could stand such talk no longer, and so, instead, I answered email. Today, we read through all that has been written thus far on the novel, and I'm not looking forward to that, either.

A reader wrote yesterday, via email, to say that "I'm writing because--from my admittedly limited perspective--terror and desperation don't really suit you." I am not naming the author, though sheheit may name herhimitself if sheheit so desires. I have to admit, I laughed out loud. The email was a response to what I said about standing at the precipice. And being terrified and all, as I approach this novel. Are there people whom "terror and desperation" do suit? And if so, why can't I be one of them? This is nothing new. Few things are as terrifying or so inspire desperation in me as beginning a new novel, and it only gets worse as the years go by.

I have an idea for an sf novella about a generation ship that's forced to become a sea-going vessel upon reaching a habitable extrasolar planet that has water oceans and atmosphere and earth-like gravity, etc., but no landmasses to speak off.

Oh, and I'm trying to find the soundtrack for this novel — for Joey Lafaye — as all my novels must have soundtracks, that music to which they are written. So far, this one has Tanya Donnelly, the Breeders, Brian Eno, the Beatles, Belly, and Smashing Pumpkins.

I received a rough sketch from Vince, his first go at "The Collector of Bones." I quite like what he's done, and look forward to seeing the final artwork.

Oh, and because I know this is a dreadfully dull entry, I will send a FREE signed copy of the trade paperback edition of Silk to the first person who correctly names the heavenly body which served as the icon for my entry early this morning on the new photos of Mercury. Just leave a comment here with your guess. First one posted wins. (And if you're reading this from MySpace, you'll have to go to LiveJournal [greygirlbeast] to see the entry in question.)*

Okay. I'm stalling. I know I'm stalling. It should be perfectly fucking obvious, right?

* Postscript (1:36 p.m.) — Contest closed. I think I should get a gold ribbon for being so tinked this afternoon as to forget that the icon is actually labeled "Ganymede." Oh, what a clever thing I am!