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This is one of those mornings when I'm not awake, but there are things I need to remember. So, I made a list, and I have to hope I left nothing important off the list. Not a bad day yesterday. I wrote 1,104 words on Chapter Three of The Red Tree. Today may go quite a bit slower, and may yield fewer words, as I have to do some on-the-fly research into Puritanism and Rhode Island in the early 1700s.

Subterranean Press has officially announced A is for Alien and has now begun taking preorders. You guys know how the subpress books tend to sell out, especially the limited editions, so I expect you'll want to act sooner than later, if you want a copy of the book. Each story will include an illustration by Vince Locke, and there is an afterword by Elizabeth Bear. Also, the KGB Fantastic Fiction Raffle began at midnight last night. It includes, among many delightful things donated by many delightful authors, my contributions of a full run/one-year subscription of Sirenia Digest (44 issues total!), back issues to be delivered on CD. Also, I have contributed a copy of the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder (2008). Raffle tickets are only $1 ea. (more tickets you buy, the better your chances of winning), so please, have a look, and support a great reading series. Winners will be announced July 28th.

As for the rest of yesterday, it's already going blurry around the edges. I blame the pills that make me sleep. After the writing, I helped Spooky hang more pictures, and then we drove over to the the Dexter Training Ground and the Armory on Federal Hill, and walked about the park (photos below, behind the cut). She made spaghetti for dinner. Harlan called, but I missed him and need to call back today. Spooky baked a pie with six of the apples from our CSA bag. We watched Michael Haneke's shot-by-shot remake of Funny Games (2007; his original version was released in 1997), and found it impressive. Quite apart from the torture porn of films like Hostel and Saw, Funny Games forces the viewer to confront and consider hisherit's fascination with (and complicity in) violent cinema. The fourth wall is breached repeatedly, and conventions are purposefully violated, keeping the voyeur constantly off balance. The film is even more powerful for consigning almost all the actual acts of violence and most of the gore off camera, sometimes just out of sight, again thwarting and frustrating expectation. It's not often that I find a film almost too grim to endure, but this one comes close —— in a good way. Highly recommended. Though, it still frustrates me to see evidence that Naomi Watts is actually a good actress, leading me to believe she simply wasn't allowed to act in Jackson's King Kong.

Spooky's going to get the eBay auctions going again today, and has asked me to apologize to the winners of the "cephaloflap" and "doodleflap" auctions, whose items still have not shipped. Your packages will be going out today or tomorrow. Blame the chaos that we can't quite seem to shake off. The chaos, it's rather like napalm, or getting gum in your hair.

There was an interesting comment yesterday regarding my roleplay travails (and my improv/method acting approach to rp) in Second Life, which I thought I would repost here, as it also concerns my writing. Chris Walsh writes:

Yes, and I know it's what I'd want my personal ideal RP to be, were I into roleplaying. I can appreciate the skills involved in improv and acting, though I don't have those skills (nor the inclination to develop them; I'd rather write as a creative outlet), and it seems having those skills would make RP inherently more interesting. Out of curiosity, how long have you been into RP? How much had you done before you got into Second Life? I've no idea if you were a D&D type growing up, for instance.

To which I replied:

I've been into rp, of one sort or another, since high school (D&D, etc.), though I'd say that the "pretend" of childhood is the true beginning of all rp (and theatre). So, lots, of one sort or another (and some acting), before SL.

To which he then replied:

Ah, childhood; that was when I would playact, and also when I was vaguely headed towards this writing thing. (I know I'm, at best so far, at the stage J. Michael Straczynski was when he called Harlan Ellison out of the blue asking for his words of wisdom for fledgling fiction writers. Harlan just said, "Your writing sucks. When it no longer sucks, it will sell." Straczynski took that in the spirit it was meant and endeavored to have his fiction Not Suck.)

I've sometimes felt I'm a "behind-the-scenes" performer, kind of like Howard Ashman when he'd record his interesting demos for his songs, as opposed to someone who'd feel comfortable on a stage or in a roleplaying environment. I don't have the in-the-moment ability to become someone different in those environments; I'd be a stiff actor. (Writing, of course, gives you more time to think Now if I were a completely different person than myself, how would I behave here?) What sort of acting have you done? Stage stuff? Filmed stuff? And any of it worth sharing?


And I replied:

Here's the thing (and I think this goes for writing and for rp): You do not think, "What would this person say?" or "What would this person do?" Rather, like method acting, you so completely immerse yourself in the mind of the character that their actions become your second nature, almost your first. Then there are no questions to be asked, no deliberations to be made, no hesitation (unless they hesitate). You can't be stiff, because you are the character in question, and you know how hesheit will react to any given situation, or better still, knowledge is replaced by instinct, and you are free to simply act. Oh, all of it was high school and college. Yes, it's true. I was a drama-club nerd.

By the way, it just came back to me, that this morning I dreamt I was in some sort of post-apocalyptic production of Romeo and Juliet. I have no idea what role I played, but there were blizzards and the most brilliant lightning.





Built by architects William Walker and Sons in 1907, the building (constructed in the Medieval Gothic style) was in continuous use by the Rhode Island National Guard until 1997. Having fallen into disrepair, extensive restoration is now underway.







Comments

( 20 comments — Have your say! )
rhia_hilldancer
Jul. 14th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
*waves* i've been lurking on your lj for awhile, lol, but i just wanted to jump in on the rp stuff. heh.

i totally get what you say: "You can't be stiff, because you are the character in question, and you know how hesheit will react to any given situation, or better still, knowledge is replaced by instinct, and you are free to simply act." i have zero acting experience, but, like you my rping started when i was a kid - i WAS the characters from the books i read and i took them on many further adventures!

i write, too, and that has helped me with it. (i also went to sl in search of rp, but haven't really found the group for me yet.)

but i do still play dnd (and other tabletop rpgs) and something really cool that i have observed is that not only do you not have to think about what your characters would do - but they are different. and you can look at the same situation and each would respond differently!

one of my characters is a shape-shifter, and she had to go on a mission pretending to be another of my characters - and this was fascinating because i was replica BEING wildfire, responding not exactly like wildfire, but enough so that nobody realized she WASN'T who she was pretending to be. it was a unique experience that i really enjoyed.

and i know this is weird, but, my husband and i play not just in a group but with each other. and we have lots of characters. some characters have romantic connections with each other...but the people they are attracted to are different! some of them even dislike characters that other characters like or are in love with (is this confusing?). it is weird because we are playing most of the characters but they still respond to each other differently. maybe weird isn't the right word - what it is, is brilliant! i love it1

sorry for going on and on. i just totally agreed with what you said. :D
greygirlbeast
Jul. 14th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)

i totally get what you say: "You can't be stiff, because you are the character in question, and you know how hesheit will react to any given situation, or better still, knowledge is replaced by instinct, and you are free to simply act." i have zero acting experience, but, like you my rping started when i was a kid - i WAS the characters from the books i read and i took them on many further adventures!

Yes. This seems so very simple to me, and I have lost track of the people to whom I have explained it who just can't seem to grasp the parallel.

As for switching characters, some nights. lately, I've played, within the space of a few hours, in different SL sims, a woman in a futuristic prison, one of the Great Old Ones (Azathoth) trapped in the body of a mortal woman, and a twelve-year-old Time Lord in a steampunk version of someplace a bit like England. It's dizzying, but intoxicating, each character entirely different and inhabiting completely different worlds, calling for complete tonal switches. Marvelous, even when things go a little awry with the rp.
robyn_ma
Jul. 14th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
Have you seen the original Funny Games? They're both brilliant in their own ways (the original has more of a rough handheld aesthetic, and Americans aren't familiar with any of the actors, so it feels appallingly convincing). But the remake, aside from being a comment on the audience's complicity in film violence, also manages to be a comment on remakes by so precisely copying the original. Kind of like what Van Sant tried and failed to do with Psycho.

It's amazing, isn't it, to think back on either film and realize that — with the one notable exception — there is absolutely no onscreen violence whatsoever. Haneke always cuts away, or shows the immediate aftermath, or doesn't show it at all...but you see nothing. It's really stunning filmmaking; just a terrific amount of control.

Edited at 2008-07-14 04:49 pm (UTC)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 14th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)

Have you seen the original Funny Games?

I haven't, but was sufficiently impressed that I might at some point.
chris_walsh
Jul. 14th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)
Kind of like what Van Sant tried and failed to do with Psycho.

That film's oddness and "off"-ness both intrigued and bothered me; it engaged me intellectually but not emotionally, except for fleeting moments. (If I may self-pimp, here's my original review.) At the time, Van Sant called the film "the only high concept I've ever had." He added that his suggestion to do it was a slightly smartassed response to the Universal studio people going Babe, we love ya, we love that Good Will thing of yours, and we thought To Die For was to DIE for, and we'd love to do anything with you. He had pondered what such a note-for-note remake would be like before blurting out that idea, though.

I'm a Van Sant fan, so I'm extra willing to see him be experimental. It's worth it.
sfmarty
Jul. 14th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful place for a Green Man. Hope they don't damage it when they repair the bricks above it.

Bastille Day here. Lots of bombs going off.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 14th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)

What a wonderful place for a Green Man. Hope they don't damage it when they repair the bricks above it.

Yeah, hopefully not. You think it's a green man? I rather fancied it's a lion.
sovay
Jul. 14th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
You think it's a green man? I rather fancied it's a lion.

It looked to me like some of both, with maybe the sun thrown in for good measure. I love it.
forgottenbelief
Jul. 14th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
That building is -beautiful-. I like the unlikely orange color captured in the first photo.

What are they renovating it into? I'd love to have an apt in bldg like that...
greygirlbeast
Jul. 14th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)

What are they renovating it into? I'd love to have an apt in bldg like that...

I think it will remain a civic building of some sort.
papersteven
Jul. 14th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
Do you know yet what will be included in the chapbook that comes with the limited edition of A is for Alien? I'm excited :D
greygirlbeast
Jul. 14th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)

Do you know yet what will be included in the chapbook that comes with the limited edition of A is for Alien?

Though the website says "fiction," it will more likely be a recounting of the recurring dream/s that led to both "In View of Nothing" and "A Season of Broken Dolls."
papersteven
Jul. 14th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
Well, that sounds pretty sweet as well! Thanks for the speedy reply :D
papersteven
Jul. 14th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
Ok, just one more question, and then I'll go back under my mushroom. When Subpress releases "trade" editions of your books, how many do they print up? Oh, I lied. One more: Recently you said that you didn't think a Subpress release of The Red Tree (with photos, different type-faces, etc) would be possible. Was just wondering why that was? I'd certainly pick up a copy. Sorry if this was already discussed. Thanks, Cait!
greygirlbeast
Jul. 14th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
When Subpress releases "trade" editions of your books, how many do they print up?

That can vary greatly from book to book, and I don't yet know waht the trade printing on A is for Alien will be. Not much of an answer, but there you go.

Recently you said that you didn't think a Subpress release of The Red Tree (with photos, different type-faces, etc) would be possible. Was just wondering why that was? I'd certainly pick up a copy. Sorry if this was already discussed. Thanks, Cait!

Subpress has not expressed an interest in such an edition, and I haven't approached them about it. It would call for a tremendous amount of extra work on my part, which I doubt I have (time or energy) to spare these days.

Edited at 2008-07-14 06:41 pm (UTC)
blu_muse
Jul. 14th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
RP in SL... *sigh*

Unfortunately you can only go so far without other good people to react to and dealing with times zones and different countries - it can be difficult to get a good story line going and keep its momentum. I'd like to antagonize Lorne more though waiting for him to type out his long responses slays me.

I have admired your effort to spice up the game though by dragging Cer and other rabbits around the streets. No doubt she's always up for confrontation and trouble. It's just too bad most people aren't up for the verbal wars. (If they library wasn't non-combative I would have shot that damn demon chick the other night). I think the spat we had with the coven members was kind of interesting - at least they were interested in what was going on and asked questions. Things come and go in waves though - July is an odd month in SL with lots of people out or doing projects. August might be better. We'll see.


Gorgeous photos, as always.


Edited at 2008-07-14 07:52 pm (UTC)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 15th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)
It's just too bad most people aren't up for the verbal wars.

Yes. I regret this greatly.

I think the spat we had with the coven members was kind of interesting - at least they were interested in what was going on and asked questions.

I thought that was really quite good, actually. They got it. They asked the right questions. I spent the better part of two weeks in the Pit and the Shadows never even came close.

Unfortunately you can only go so far without other good people to react to

Exactly.

Edited at 2008-07-15 02:15 am (UTC)
loki1978de
Jul. 15th, 2008 08:25 am (UTC)
http://games.slashdot.org/games/08/07/14/2049251.shtml

a solution to consider? if the leetspeak-kiddies on SL are too much, just make your own SL-server. Invite only and after an extensive test, if they can rp abover the lever of a 5 year old
greygirlbeast
Jul. 15th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)

a solution to consider? if the leetspeak-kiddies on SL are too much, just make your own SL-server. Invite only and after an extensive test, if they can rp abover the lever of a 5 year old

Thanks. I was discussing the very same potential solution with an SL acquaintance a couple of days back. I have a better one, though, which I will mention soon.
kendare_blake
Jul. 15th, 2008 10:49 am (UTC)
I have great timing.
Been away from the LiveJournal for what feels like months now (so it probably has been), and the day that I pop back in is just THAT close to when Subterranean starts the preorders for A is for Alien. I have the awesome timing. Good to know that the old Kiernan-buying radar is working.

Can't wait to get ahold of it, and P.S., nice photogs.
( 20 comments — Have your say! )