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Hothouse Flowers

Last night, after yet more unpacking of paleo' books (and much more sweating), and after reading the first part of Joss Whedon's Serenity: Those Left Behind graphic novel, I finally got to bed about three ayem. I have always found it especially hard to sleep in hot weather. Lying in bed, I watched the second half of Alien: Resurrection (1997) on the iBook, and when it was over, about four, I was still wide awake. So, I took a second Ambien and put in Alien (1979). The second Ambien hit, and I was asleep before the Nostromo touched down on LV-426. In fact, I think I'm still asleep. Here in Providence, it's 92F, with the heat index at 93F, and inside the house, the thermostat is reading 87F. Spooky made a big pitcher of iced coffee, and the fans are on, but it's not much in the way of relief.

I wanted to repost the new snail-mail address, for anyone who might have missed last night's entry:

Caitlín R. Kiernan
P.O. Box 603096
Providence, RI 02906 USA

Also, I wanted to post this clip from Dreams With Sharp Teeth, the new film about Harlan by Erik Nelson. Great, great stuff. You have no idea how many times people ask writers if they can use something for, well, whatever, and use it in such a way that they stand to profit financially from that usage, without expecting to pay the author. Or, on a similar note, people who ask me to attend to their conventions —— usually hundreds or even thousands of miles from where I live —— but do not offer to pay my expenses and are offended when I tell them I only do local cons, unless expenses are paid. They tell me it's great publicity. I reply that it'll cost me a thousand dollars, that ten people will attend my reading because everyone wants to stand in line to pay $35 for the signature of whatever washed-up TV star the con committee has talked into attending. If I want publicity, the internet is free, and comes without bad hygiene.



My head is filled with fire, with heat and scalding white light, and I need to try to write. At least I found the platypus. Mush, platypus, mush...

Comments

( 15 comments — Have your say! )
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jun. 8th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
"Say, Caitlin ... how'd you like to write a STAR TREK novel for us? For free? C'mon ... it'd be GREAT publicity ..."

There are three reasons that I decided to write the Beowulf novelization:

1. Neil wanted me to do it.
2. I am quite fond of the source material.
3. They paid me a lot of money —— much more than most novelizations net — and it was money I sorely needed at the time.

My agent insisted that it was great publicity, that it would bring a whole new set of readers to my work. To which I replied, "Yes, and they will expect something like Beowulf and walk away when what they see is nothing at all like that.

Edited at 2008-06-08 05:00 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jun. 8th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)

you brought something new to the table.

Well, I was determined to instill a greater sense of Norse mythology than the screenplay had, for one thing. And I wanted to make Grendel more of a person. I was able to do both those things, but there were a lot of frustrating restrictions on how far I could deviate from the shooting script.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jun. 8th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)

I especially appreciated the Heaney-influenced arabesques.

And I appreciate that you noticed them. ;-)

Many writers would do well to negotiate the line between commercialism and artistic integrity HALF as well.

Thank you.
babymamadramaxy
Jun. 9th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)
When I took courses in Old English in my senior year of college, the entire second semester was devoted to translating Beowulf. I didn't really like it, because it was only one manuscript of Beowulf that survived. I remember wondering, "How do we know that there weren't ten different Norse/Anglo-Saxon epics, and this one survived by chance? And maybe this one is the worst one!"
But I still remember the first lines:

"Hwaet. We Gardena in gear-dagum, theodcyninga, thrym gefrunon, hu tha aethelingas ellen fremedon."

Some of the other stuff we translated was much better. For instance, we translated King Aelfred the Great's writings. He was an amazing person.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 9th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)

"How do we know that there weren't ten different Norse/Anglo-Saxon epics, and this one survived by chance? And maybe this one is the worst one!"

Well, Beowulf is not all we have on either Anglo-Saxon or Norse mythology/storytelling, but, even if it were, it seems to me, it would only make it that much more precious. You can hardly dismiss a thing based on the proposition of negative evidence. Personally, I wish there existed (and there might, as yet undiscovered), a ms. of the older, non-Xtianized version of the story.
babymamadramaxy
Jun. 9th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
So you think the Christian elements of Beowulf are interpolated? Tolkien always insisted that was the case. But my sense was that they actually were integral to the poem's structure. There were lots of Old Germanic authors who wrote on Christian as well as pagan themes, such as the Icelander Snorri Sturluson.

The funny thing about some of the Old English Christian literature is that the authors would write things like, "By the power of Jesus he swung his broadsword at his enemy's head."

Don't get me wrong; Beowulf is a priceless artifact (even though there are huge lacunae due to fire damage.) I just think one manuscript, without any corollary mention in other literature, is not enough to make it a literary classic, because modern scholars, due to its antiquity, would have said Beowulf was a classic no matter what the quality of the writing.
(Deleted comment)
babymamadramaxy
Jun. 9th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
Huh?
You use literary/historical jargon very expertly but what you are saying makes no sense. Beowulf is written in Anglo-Saxon, the language of medieval England, NOT Old Norse. There is no evidence whatsoever that the poem is of Nordic origin. You are working from a foundational assumption based on nothing.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 9th, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Huh?
You use literary/historical jargon very expertly but what you are saying makes no sense. Beowulf is written in Anglo-Saxon, the language of medieval England, NOT Old Norse. There is no evidence whatsoever that the poem is of Nordic origin. You are working from a foundational assumption based on nothing.

And you evidently have no knowledge whatsoever of Beowulf scholarship. And since it seems that your only purpose for being here is to grump and fuss and troll, I'm banning you. For the second time. Yes, I know you're the person I just banned a while ago, under a different name. I've known it for days, but thought I'd give you another chance. I see why they banned you from Wikipedia. I cannot guess what sort of attention you're trying to get, but you won't be getting it here.

Edited at 2008-06-09 04:23 pm (UTC)
loki1978de
Jun. 8th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Neil wanted me to do it.

great that you didnt say No to him.
Your novel beats the movie on every page
ckocher
Jun. 8th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
I'm in central NY and also suffering from this little heat wave. While we have A/C in the townhouse, using it drives the electricity bill up $200-300 per month, so we've learned to do without.

If you have the option, I highly recommend a misting fan. You don't get wet since the mist is so fine and it can really help you feel like the area is 20 to 30 degrees cooler. Alternately, spritz yourself with a spray bottle and lie in front of a fan. Repeat often. And you can try the old trick of putting a pan or bag of ice in front of the airflow coming a fan and then let the cooler air blow over you. Bonus if you want to crunch on the ice at the same time.

We just bought a "blizzard" fan for cheap at Target last night - the thing sounds like a small plane taking off but it creates one very powerful breeze that is well worth the noise.

greygirlbeast
Jun. 8th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)

If you have the option, I highly recommend a misting fan. You don't get wet since the mist is so fine and it can really help you feel like the area is 20 to 30 degrees cooler. Alternately, spritz yourself with a spray bottle and lie in front of a fan. Repeat often. And you can try the old trick of putting a pan or bag of ice in front of the airflow coming a fan and then let the cooler air blow over you. Bonus if you want to crunch on the ice at the same time.

Thanks for the suggestions! Having grown up in the rural Deep South without air-conditioning, I know a few tricks...
kambriel
Jun. 8th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
...people who ask me to attend to their conventions —— usually hundreds or even thousands of miles from where I live —— but do not offer to pay my expenses and are offended when I tell them I only do local cons, unless expenses are paid. They tell me it's great publicity. I reply that it'll cost me a thousand dollars, that ten people will attend my reading because everyone wants to stand in line to pay $35 for the signature of whatever washed-up TV star the con committee has talked into attending. If I want publicity, the internet is free, and comes without bad hygiene.


This has great potential to be made into a standard response for such invitations! I get that sort of thing a lot too... and after years and years you start to learn what kind of event *isn't* worth a long, expensive trip and time away. People often try to oversell the events too ~ saying it will have many more people than will actually attend and blowing things way too far out of proportion.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 8th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)

This has great potential to be made into a standard response for such invitations! I get that sort of thing a lot too... and after years and years you start to learn what kind of event *isn't* worth a long, expensive trip and time away. People often try to oversell the events too ~ saying it will have many more people than will actually attend and blowing things way too far out of proportion.

Yep. And another thing I love, that's happened more than once. When I ask them to cover expenses, I get some version of, "Well, you're not famous enough for that. Only our Big Name guests get that." To which I reply, "Then I clearly will be of no use to your convention, will I?"
mb2u
Jun. 8th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
If you get a chance, Studio 360 has a great interview with Harlan. They have both the broadcast interview and the full version on their website:

http://www.studio360.org/episodes/2008/05/30

sfmarty
Jun. 8th, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC)
I love Harlan. He is actually a very generous man, but he wants his work valued, and he is right.

( 15 comments — Have your say! )