greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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Sea, Sky, Earth (1)

As predicted (and I hope that did not constitute a "self-fulfilling" prophecy), yesterday was not the greatest of writing days in terms of word count. I only did 857 words on Chapter Three of The Red Tree, mostly because it involved writing passages from the dead anthropologist's unfinished manuscript, regarding the "Hessian Hole" at Portsmouth and the West Quanaug purchase of 1662 and things like that. Which means I'd write a few words, and would then dive back into the books, which inevitably distract me, and forty-five minutes would pass before I realized that I'd long since found whatever it was I was looking for and had begun to simply read. I was especially distracted by the work of Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924), an astoundingly productive "English hagiographer, antiquarian, novelist, and eclectic scholar" (quoting Wikipedia). In particular, his The Origin and Development of Religious Belief (1878) and The Book of Were-Wolves (1865).

And while I was writing, Spooky was doing laundry and coping with the over-heated apartment, since I had Dr. Muñoz in the office with me. So, about six p.m., I said screw it, stopped writing, and we headed for Moonstone Beach. Oh, but wait. Before I talk about Moonstone Beach, there are other things I should mention, lest I forget.

I was very pleased, yesterday, to see that "The Ape's Wife" has received two positive mentions in Gardner Dozois' The Year's Best Science Fiction (Vol. 25); it not only got an honourable mention, but Dozois writes, "Stylishly written and usually faintly perverse fantasy is also available at Clarkesworld, edited by Nick Mamatas [and Sean Wallace], which this year published strong stories by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Jeff VanderMeer, Ken Scholes, Jetse De Vries, Cat Rambo, and others."

I will be, as announced earlier, attending Readercon 19 this weekend, but only on Friday and Saturday. This will be my first con appearance since Fiddler's Green in Minneapolis, way back in November 2004 (yes, I hate doing cons). My schedule is, as follows, behind the cut:

Friday 1:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

-Esque No More: Transcending Your Influences. Laird Barron, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Ellen Kushner (L), Kelly Link, Barry B. Longyear, James Morrow

Beginning writers are often heavily indebted to one or more huge influences —— a fact which may be more obvious to them than to their readers, or vice versa. Those that go on to be most successful are those who develop their own voice, a process that can take place any time in a writer's career. Our panelists talk about their awareness of their influences and their success at transcending them. To what extent does this happen consciously, or unconsciously as a natural part of a writer's maturation?

Friday 3:00 PM, Salon E: Autographing: James Patrick Kelly; Caitlin R. Kiernan

Friday 5:00 PM, NH / MA: Reading (60 min.): CRK reads either from her most recent novel Daughter of Hounds (2007) or a short story.

Friday 7:00 PM, RI: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

Genre Distinctions and Reading Protocols: Insights from Styx's "Come Sail Away." Ken Houghton with discussion by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Robert Killheffer, Eric M. Van, et al.

Does the use of a science fiction or fantasy element in a story require that we read it as genre? And what do we gain or lose by doing so? Houghton proposes that certain genre tropes have been mainstreamed to the point where their presence does not, in fact, indicate that we are reading a genre story, and that many books claimed by the field as sf or fantasy have not been improved by reading them as such. As a simple exemplar of the phenomenon, he looks at —— of all things —— "Come Sail Away" by Styx.

Saturday 2:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

Sing Along With Text. Greer Gilman, Matthew Jarpe, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Allen Steele, Sonya Taaffe (L)

More and more often writers are providing their readers with soundtracks to stories. Sometimes they are actual playlists, posted online at the author's website or blog or cited in a book's prefatory material; or they may be collections of song quotes, appearing as chapter titles or epigrams or squirreled away within the text itself. Often an author will simply list the music they were listening to while writing the text, but they can also construct the soundtrack after the fact. What do authors gain from making these "extras" available or referencing music so insistently in the text? How many readers are following along, and how does this change the reading experience? Are we moving towards a new mixed medium, or is this just a fad?

Also, please have a look at the new eBay auctions. Bid if you are so inclined. Right now, there are copies of Frog Toes and Tentacles (2005), Alabaster (2006), and To Charles Fort, With Love (2005). All books will be signed and personalized, if the winner so desires. All three of these anthologies sold out long ago and are presently out of print. All are starting off at their original cover price. Just click here to reach the auctions. And I should repost the link to preorder A is for Alien

Which —— I think —— brings us back around to yesterday's flight from Providence to Moonstone Beach. We left about 6 p.m., but got waylaid in Wakefield, as Spooky needed to pee. So, we got off Rt. 1 and stopped at the Wakefield Mall. I shall spare you the Horror of the Toilet. The real horror was emerging from the restroom and having The Toy Vault (aka The Nerd Dungeon) draw us, like sailors drawn helplessly to the songs of sirens, into its depths. Action-figure heaven. No, really. But, I showed enormous restraint, and we escaped (this time) only $20 the poorer, and with the new anniversary (How long has it been? 1996? 12 years?) Lara Croft action figure and Ray Harryhausen's Ymir (released in 2000 and on clearance at $1.99!!!). My wicked toy-hoarding heart did glow.

So, yeah, following the twenty-six minute distraction of the restroom and toy store, we got back on the road to Moonstone. I'm not sure what time we reached the beach. Sometime after seven p.m. There were flocks of wild turkeys along the roadside. The rose hips are ripening. The surf was high and rough. There was more washed up on the beach than usual, and I saw a number of taxa I'd not seen at Moonstone before. Crustaceans, especially. Of those I have identified so far, we came across remains of the young Northern Lobster (Homarus americanus), the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus), the Common Spider Crab (Libinia emarginata), the Lady Crab (Ovalipes ocelatus), and what appeared to be a genus from the Family Panopeidae (Black-fingered Mud Crabs), though I have yet to identify it to species. I saw a large Deep-Sea Scallop (Placopecten magellanicus). I made mandalas in the sand and played tag with the waves (and took a rather hilarious spill, landing on my ass). We watched young Piping Plovers scooting about. Finally, I just lay down in the sand and stared up at the clouds. We stayed almost until dark. I will say that I was horrified in the increase of litter (especially plastics) on a rather remote stretch of beach, since our last visit. From now on, we keep trash bags in the car for clean up and recycling. Thank you, tourist season. There are photos below (behind the cut). I'll post another set of photos tomorrow, as there were far too many good ones to put in one (already long) entry. Afterwards, we headed over to Narragansett, and had chowder and doughboys (with root beer) for dinner (Iggy's, of course). We got back home about 10 p.m., and I did a little rp in Second Life (thank you Pontifex, Merma, Artemisia, and Indigo).

Libinia emarginata

Limulus polyphemus

Homarus americanus

Moonstone Beach, looking southwest towards Green Hill.

From the top of a dune, looking north back to Trustom Pond and the surrounding wetlands. There was a pair of wild swans (Cygnus spp.) feeding in the pond.

Bleached and broken carapace of Ovalipes ocelatus.

Claw of same.

Me, sandy and threatening to lose consciousness.
Tags: "the ape's wife", a is for alien, cons, doh, rhode island, the red tree, the sea

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