November 1st, 2008

Ellen Ripley 1

"Here in November, in this house of leaves..."

I can still be amazed. For example, how yesterday went from being a perfectly dreadful excuse for a Hallowe'en, to one of the best I've had in recent memory. And all thanks to a suggestion from prynnesneedle, who proposed that Spooky and I check out The Steel Yard's annual Hallowe'en iron pour. Which we did, but more on that momentarily.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,340 words on "Metamorphosis C" (and I really have to find a better title). The story is deep in dream. I'm coming to love this one. It's far more concerned with disjointed imagery than coherent, linear narrative. This is, partly, a response to approaching a subject that could easily turn out lurid and flatly pornographic (or worse). Sometimes, we must come at stories sidewise, from some position they are least expecting. We must use tact and strategy. I'm not sure if that's the Royal We or not. Sometimes, we must be abstract, impressionistic, realizing that mere representation is not sufficient to the task at hand. The "shape" of this story is beginning to remind me of Kate Bush's The Ninth Wave (though it's actually being written to David Bowie's Outside). I'm keeping the futuristic trappings to a minimum, and the science is being presented as obliquely as possible. This story returns again to the horror of body and mind, the dread of the prison of flesh, which I am, obviously, never far from. It's a conundrum for me. I am simultaneously mortified and joyous, on the subject of the flesh. I suppose that this story is a return to the problem of morphological freedom. Anyway, yes, it should be finished tomorrow evening, and for those who may have missed the announcement earlier this week, Sirenia Digest #35 will be late. Well, it already is, actually. Finishing The Red Tree on time, there's your culprit. The new issue will go out on November 3rd, which means you get two issues this month.

Also, yesterday, there was some business with Bill at subpress regarding A is for Alien, and more talk with folks from Locus about my interview (look for it in the December issue). I got yet another royalty check from Candlewick Press for "The Dead and the Moonstruck," the story that just keeps on paying (it appears in the YA antho Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales, by the way).

And when all that was done, disgusted with being "at home," we dashed out into the chilly twilight. It's going to be a day or two before I get all our photographs edited, so, until then, a video clip from last year's iron pour will have to suffice. It really was a marvelous evening, and very much suited to the sabat. We sat in the grass, beneath the open sky, only a few feet from the showers of molten steel raining down across the ground, bathed in the heat from the liquid metal and the blast furnace. There were even zombies! And pumpkins flung with a trebuchet. And all this amongst the old warehouse's over on Sims Avenue. The Iron Guild is one of my new favourite things, so, again, thank you prynnesneedle. If you will email me your snail-mail address (to greygirlbeast[at]gmail[dot]com), I will send you a signed book, to show my gratitude for your suggestion having saved Hallowe'en/Samhain for me and Spooky.

I should also thank tinkbell for kindly inviting us to a big party, with bands, in Olneyville. But I think our mood last night was better served by fire.

Oh, here's the video:


After the pour, and a late dinner, we watched Alfonso Cuarón's adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). It's almost certainly the most artful of the Harry Potter films to date (love the iris shots), and also the best suited to Hallowe'en. And after that, there was a little WoW. Mithwen (my night-elf fighter) reached Lvl 30, the first of my characters to do so, and also got most of her hair cut off. The girl has definite gender issues, but I think she's starting to work through them. She just needs a bigger...sword. So, yes, all that glumness, and it was a truly grand Samhain, regardless.

Now, I write. C'mon, platypus. Oh, and a Hopeful New Year, to all those reading this who mark November 1st as the beginning of the year. Or, at least, I shall wish you a Somewhat Less Grim New Year. That's probably to best I can honestly manage.

Postscript (10/29/09, 7:18 p.m.): One year later, here are photos from last year's Iron Pour at the Steel Yard:

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