greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

"I wonder what you've got conspired. I'm sure it dons a consolation prize."

Today is International Biodiversity Day. This year, the theme is "Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation." Good luck, I say. Good luck. Here we stand, in the latter days of the Holocene Extinction Event, at the dawn of the Anthropocene. It's hard to hold out much hope for the preservation of biodiversity. We're losing too many species too quickly, and, what's worse, the continuing growth of the human population and human industry is wiping out habitat at an unprecedented rate. We are witnessing one of the six greatest extinction events* in the history of Earth's biosphere, and the only one triggered by another species. So, yeah, it's hard to trumpet World Biodiversity Day, when I cannot help but believe the battle was already lost a hundred or two hundred years ago. That the battle cannot be won, humans being what they are.


Work cut a grand swath of tedium across yesterday. First, I finally got around to the first batch of questions for the Clarkesworld interview. I recall a time, not so very long ago, when I really didn't mind doing interviews. Hell, in August 2002 I did an interview for Cemetery Dance wherein I answered a staggering sixty-five questions! I think only about a third of the questions actually made it into the printed interview, and that one taught me never to agree to such a fool thing again. Anyway, I don't know what happened, but, at some point, I began to feel like an asshole every time I do an interview. All my replies seem ridiculous. This is, by the way, the first one I've given since the moratorium on interviews I imposed after the great barrage of interviews following the release of The Red Tree last summer. And it will likely be my last for a while.

The rest of yesterday was spent reading through "A Redress for Andromeda" and rewriting it, though I'd promised myself I wouldn't do that. But it's about to be reprinted in an anthology of weird fiction, and the story's now more than ten years old, and I just could not bear to see it reprinted as is. My voice has changed too much. I'm a much better writer than I was in 1999. This is, of course, not the first time this sort of thing has happened. I did a pretty thorough revision of Silk before the release of the most recent edition, and, to a lesser degree, I revised Threshold before the release of the 2007 paperback. The old prose grated too much for me to allow it to be reprinted. There were too many things I knew I'd done wrong. Same with the 2008 Subterranean Press edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. Almost all those stories were rewritten to one degree or another. It was such a chore that when Bill Schafer agreed to do A is for Alien, he made me swear I'd not rewrite anything (my health was shit at the time, and he knew I didn't need that stress).

Anyway, when S. T. Joshi asked to include "In the Waterworks (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)" in American Supernatural Tales, I rewrote it. When Peter Straub asked to reprint "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" in American Fantastic Tales, I rewrote it (never mind I'd already revised it in 2007 for the aforementioned subpress edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder). And, I've heavily revised "A Redress for Andromeda." Yesterday, I read it aloud to Kathryn, pausing every few words to bitch about what a lousy writer I was a decade ago, pausing to rewrite sentences and paragraphs. Today, we still have to make the changes I marked yesterday, so I can send the ms. to the anthology's editors.


After I could endure work no more, Spooky and I went to College Hill and wound up back on Canal Street. This time, I was smart enough to bring the camera. We parked on Benefit Street, in front of 187 Benefit Street, which was once Knowles Funeral Home, where Lovecraft's funeral was held in 1937. We strolled down Thomas Street towards downtown and the Providence River, past the Fleur de Lys Studio (which appears in Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu"). RISD students had left charcoal sketches (mostly studies of nudes) taped to telephone poles and fences and walls, and they fluttered in the evening breeze. We walked along the waterfront as far south and east as the towering stone monument at Water Place Park. We watched the sun set over the city, then headed back to the car.

Oh, before the walk, we stopped by Utrecht on Wickenden Street, because Spooky needed art supplies. I wound up getting two canvases for myself, and a modest set of acrylics. I haven't painted in long ages, but I suddenly found myself in the mood. I'll keep you posted. Anyway, here are eight photos from the various stages of yesterday:

Just so you know, Hubero disapproves.

"A Redress for Andromeda," bled upon with red ink.

The Fleur de Lys Studio.

Looking west across the river towards BankBoston Plaza.

Tag, you're it.

Something wonderfully monolithic in this shot. View to the northwest.

View to the southwest. Foot bridge over the Providence River.

View from the College Street foot bridge, view to the north.

View to the south from South Water Street.

All photographs Copyright © 2010 by Caitlín R. Kiernan

* In order from oldest to youngest, the extinction events considered by biologists and paleontologists to be the most severe in the earth's history are the Ordovician–Silurian extinction event, the Late Devonian extinction, the Permian–Triassic extinction event, the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event, the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, and the Quaternary-Holocene extinction event (currently underway).
Tags: editing, extinction, interviews, lovecraft, rhode island, walking, world biodiversity day

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