?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

"Chain, chain...every shadow, every face."

1. I've been reading the reports coming out of Haiti. In a nation where so many buildings are not built to withstand strong earthquakes, a magnitude 7.0 is very bad. The earth moves, in some places more than in others.

2. I see that the Vatican does not approve of Avatar, and I'm wondering why this is even news. Did anyone think they would approve? More importantly, why the hell should I care? I don't, of course. But I am annoyed that the media is treating this as relevant.

3. Yesterday, no work of any sort was done, not really, because I had to brave Outside, to reach the wretched fucking Providence Place Mall. The time to buy a few shreds of clothing had come. I loathe shopping. And I especially loathe shopping for clothes. Few things have the power to make me feel worse about myself than trying to find new clothes (which is why I only shop for them maybe once or twice a year). Finding clothes that will fit, clothes that will fit that I like, clothes that will fit that I like and can afford...I could go my entire life without ever having to shop for clothes again, and I'd be a happier woman. But, that said, there were sales, and enough useful items were found that the trip into that howling maelstrom of consumerism could be justified. So, I won't be forced to do the Lovecraft Unbound reading at the Montauk Club in the nude, which is a good thing, given the weather.

4. On the way back home, we stopped on Wickenden Street so I could get some photographs of the old I-195 overpass that's being torn down this week. I'm not sure why, but somehow it's an important Providence landmark for me. I remember it from my first trip up here, back in 2000. There are photos below, behind the cut. The support structure of iron girders that you'll see, those were added as the bridge became structurally unsafe sometime back. I'm going to try to get more photos later in the week, as the demolition progresses. I hope to get better shots of the murals and graffiti on the walls of the overpass before it's all reduced to so much rubble.

5. I have been very fortunate with The Red Tree, in terms of Amazon "reviews." From August 4th until this morning, it stayed at five stars, which is the longest any of my novels have managed that. However, when the book was included on Amazon's "Top 10 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy" list and then the holiday sales spike, I predicted more negative reviews would begin to be posted. And I was right. Two or three are the sort that I struggle not to complain about publicly: readers who can't relate to and don't like reading about lesbians*, readers who don't like reading about flawed or unpleasant characters, readers who take issue with the book's extensive use of older texts by other authors, and so on, and so forth. However, I am more experienced, and very slightly wiser, and I understand that those reviews will likely have no impact whatsoever on sales. Sure, the stupidity and small-mindedness and what I suspect to be homophobia eats at me...but I need to look the other way. And also thank everyone who loved the book and has already posted a positive review.

6. Last night, we went to the Avon on Thayer Street and saw Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Gods, what a brilliant film. I see I was entirely justified in including it high on my list of the best fantasy and speculative films of 2009. I'm wondering, though, if it ought to be tied for the number one slot with The Road, with Avatar staying at #2. Yeah, I loved it that much. It flawlessly speaks the language of dreams, never wavering from dream logic, never succumbing to the "needs" of narrative or exposition, and it allows our eyes to roam among indescribable marvels. I was pleased that it was grimmer than I'd expected. Tom Waits is delightful. Really, there's nothing here to complain about. Nothing at all. I won't say for sure that it's Gilliam's best film, but it's certainly now one of my favorite Gilliam films. It was a perfect end to a pretty decent day (despite the fact that we almost froze on the way home).

7. Just something I scribbled in my Moleskine last night, a stray thought I want to remember: "Here is the future, and the future is ugly, and poisonous, and filled with wonder."

8. While we were in the wretched fucking Providence Place Mall yesterday, I heard The Sundays' "Here's Where the Story Ends." Back in the early 90s, the Sundays were one of my favorite bands. They were also one of Elizabeth's favorite bands. Something we shared. After her suicide, I could no longer bear to listen to the Sundays. But hearing the song yesterday, I began thinking I would like to try to "reclaim" the Sundays. I've managed to do it already with The Cure's Disintegration (but not with the Cowboy Junkies). So..we shall see. Few things are as poignant, for me, as music.

9. Today I have to go over production notes on The Red Tree for Audible.com, as a number of things that worked great on the page need revising for the forthcoming audiobook. They are small problems. I'll post more about this tomorrow.

10. I did promise photos, didn't I? Well, here they are (not great photos, but they get the point across, sort of):



















All photographs Copyright © 2009 by Caitlín R. Kiernan



* If you are one of that sort, be warned: The central characters in my next novel, The Wolf Who Cried Girl are lesbian and (maybe) transgendered.

Comments

( 45 comments — Have your say! )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
robyn_ma
Jan. 13th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
'I especially loathe shopping for clothes.'

Right there with you on that.

Bedsheet and sombrero = the new look for 2010.

As regards reclaiming music, have you ever read Rob Sheffield's Love Is a Mix Tape?
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)

As regards reclaiming music, have you ever read Rob Sheffield's Love Is a Mix Tape?


Nope, but maybe I should.

Edited at 2010-01-13 04:56 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - robyn_ma - Jan. 13th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 13th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
fusijui
Jan. 13th, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
I do like your photos... but they make me think that it's not the future that's ugly and poisonous (and full of wonder -- NOT), but the part of the country you're living in. When I lived there I was amazed at how the region's cozy farms and industrial zones looked equally pinched and sour.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)

The comment about the future really wasn't related to the photos or the bridge. Personally, I think I live in an exceptionally beautiful part of the country, and even see beauty in much of the industrial ruins...even when it is a terrible beauty. I see nothing sour and pinched in the "cozy farms," but, then, different people see different things.
(no subject) - fusijui - Jan. 13th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fusijui - Jan. 14th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
robmacanthony
Jan. 13th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
5. I was just recommending THE RED TREE to a "friend" yesterday, and she said she didn't want to read a book about lesbians. After I stopped being baffled, which took a while, I pointed out that my best friend and mother of my two kids is a lesbian. She looked suitably chagrined, but my perception of this person is irrevocably altered. I can't even begin to fathom this as a basis for not wanting to read a book. What the hell is that all about?

6. I already wanted to see The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, and now that I know Tom Waits is in it the desire to see it is magnified. Maybe I'll go this weekend.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)

What the hell is that all about?

Well...I can't know the mind of your "friend," but people do fear "teh gay." It baffles and angers me.

6. I already wanted to see The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, and now that I know Tom Waits is in it the desire to see it is magnified. Maybe I'll go this weekend.

Do. It's a wonder.
txtriffidranch
Jan. 13th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
Let the idiots write their reviews. The important consideration is how many people buy copies and then get their friends and cohorts to buy copies as well. Count me in the latter.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
Count me in the latter.

And for that, I thank you.

And I should be clear. I'm not objecting to the negative reviews because they're negative, but because the reasoning of the "reviewers" in question is so...questionable.

Edited at 2010-01-13 05:28 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - txtriffidranch - Jan. 13th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - robmacanthony - Jan. 13th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
hypanebliss
Jan. 13th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
Music transports me to a completely different state of mind. I can pick out what mood I'm going to exhibit based on genre. Sometimes different artists remind me of friends or I get a great visual scene for a movie. Covenant's song 'Call the ships to port' is a personal favorite, I always see a troupe of vampires dressed in sailor outfits. They are snapping their fingers and doing an old vaudeville dance routine.

Vampire sailors. Yes, I went there.
shantih
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
Vampirates, perhaps?
mckenzie34
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
I too have noticed the "Vatican Doesn't Like Avatar" news stories. In some of them, it goes on to say other movies and music the Vatican doesn't like. I have thought to myself, "This almost makes me want to go see it, because I hate the Vatican", and I also pity the poor fools who really live their lives on what the Vatican approves and disapproves of. Really? The Pope is reviewing music and movies now? I wonder, has he reviewed "Michael Lucas' La Dolce Vita"? What's that? He can't decide if he approves or not? He might need to watch it a few more times? I personally would like the Pope to review the Bytches With Problems albums, and the last album by Pussy Tourette.
robmacanthony
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
For music, I'd send a dose of Peste Noire their way. Not only would they disapprove, we might find out whether they still actively perform exorcisms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoJUgl-tKWM
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 13th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
sovay
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
I loathe shopping. And I especially loathe shopping for clothes.

Yes. Books, music, fine; clothes, shoot me.

"Here is the future, and the future is ugly, and poisonous, and filled with wonder."

Maybe that should be the epigraph for The Wolf Who Cried Girl.

Thank you for the bridge.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)

Maybe that should be the epigraph for The Wolf Who Cried Girl.

And maybe Albert Perrault "wrote" it.
(no subject) - sovay - Jan. 13th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
thimbleofrain
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
readers who can't relate to and don't like reading about lesbians

This is the sort of prejudice that is always going to be there, I think. When it comes to stories set in the modern day, people tend to like to read stories about people like themselves. Modern American Jewish people tend to like to read stories about modern Jews, for example. Non-Chinese Americans don’t want to read stories about Chinese people. Etc.

readers who don't like reading about flawed or unpleasant characters

It’s more subtle than that, I think. They want the protagonists to be likeable, identifiable. They can have flaws and they can have unpleasant traits, but the overall characters have to be people they can root for. Think of the beer ads that tout “drinkability.” Most people don’t want to acquire a taste for something.

As I read Alabaster, Dancy strikes me as extremely likeable. I think that as a “property,” you could potentially turn her into something marketable to a broad audience.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC)

This is the sort of prejudice that is always going to be there, I think. When it comes to stories set in the modern day, people tend to like to read stories about people like themselves. Modern American Jewish people tend to like to read stories about modern Jews, for example. Non-Chinese Americans don’t want to read stories about Chinese people. Etc.

This view is so alien to my own reading habits. How did Moby Dick become a classic, when virtually none of its readers have been whalers? And so on...

It’s more subtle than that, I think. They want the protagonists to be likeable, identifiable. They can have flaws and they can have unpleasant traits, but the overall characters have to be people they can root for. Think of the beer ads that tout “drinkability.” Most people don’t want to acquire a taste for something.

Sadly, you're likely right.

As I read Alabaster, Dancy strikes me as extremely likeable. I think that as a “property,” you could potentially turn her into something marketable to a broad audience.

But lots of people didn't like Dancy (even her name pissed some off), pointing to the hopeless subjectivity at work here.
(no subject) - robmacanthony - Jan. 13th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 13th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thimbleofrain - Jan. 13th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 13th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thimbleofrain - Jan. 14th, 2010 03:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 14th, 2010 06:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - odditie - Jan. 14th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 14th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thimbleofrain - Jan. 14th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - odditie - Jan. 14th, 2010 03:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teacup_carousel - Jan. 14th, 2010 09:37 am (UTC) - Expand
nykolus
Jan. 13th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
I honestly had no idea what that movie was about, but seeing the trailer, I very much want to see it now. That shite looks crazy!!!
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)

#3 -- I'd rather bathe in my own entrails than shop for clothes.

Oh, at least.

I certainly hope that your next novel has lesbian and transgendered characters.

I'm 100% certain of the lesbian "protagonist," but slightly less sure that her lover will be transgendered. I'm playing with the idea. Very oddly, I've written only a few transgendered characters, ones who have more than cameos (Alvin in "Escape Artist," Echo in The Dreaming, etc.). They appear now and again in my erotica. I'm really at a loss for why there's never been a transgendered central character in one of my novels.
elmocho
Jan. 13th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
It cheers me that at least the negative reviews have interesting spelling variants such as "sites" and "pendantic." This usually tells me all I need to know about their source. But apparently, quibbling about spelling these days makes one overly pendantic.

(My other half found a book and said "Oh look! The Rise of the Pendant!"

I glanced and said "That's 'Pedant'". Then I imploded in a vortex of irony. So that particular misspelling at least comes with a joke attached.)
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)

It cheers me that at least the negative reviews have interesting spelling variants such as "sites" and "pendantic."

Groan. I was so annoyed, I didn't even notice that.
kousmichoff
Jan. 13th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)
Do we "reclaim" songs or do songs reclaim us?
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)

Do we "reclaim" songs or do songs reclaim us?

There's an interesting question.
(Deleted comment)
robmacanthony
Jan. 14th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
In addition to anything Caitlin writes, I recommend a couple by Jeanette Winterson. 'Written on the Body' is my favorite, though I don't recall for certain whether the gender of the narrator is ever explicitly identified. Her book 'Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit' is a story about a lesbian girl brought up in a very religious household in England (Pentecostal I believe).

Both are quite good.
teacup_carousel
Jan. 14th, 2010 09:32 am (UTC)
:(

Now I feel like an asshat because I didn't like the S Jackson referencing in it either. I just felt like the punchline was given up before the joke was even told when Sarah tried to relate what might or might not have happened on her picnic with Constance. I'm not a complete wad though - I work at a major chain bookstore and I still try my hardest to recommend it to anyone coming through with a horror or fantasy book in hand.
*goes to sit in the corner anyway*
abbadie
Jan. 14th, 2010 11:21 am (UTC)
Funny, while I was once told by my psychologist ex-wife that I was somewhat homophobic (my gay friends say they've never noticed it), I can perfectly enjoy a book with gay protagonists, even those with erotic overtones, with no problem at all. I see it merely as well-written books, those which are able to pull me into whatever reality they describe, no matter how far it is from my actual personality.

On a different note, concerning Avatar -I stumbled into this odd piece... http://failblog.org/2010/01/10/avatar-plot-fail/ O_o
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
( 45 comments — Have your say! )