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It's going to be a hot day here in Providence. I was unable to get to sleep, and finally had to take an Ambien, which I am trying very, very hard not to do. But it was almost five a.m., and the sky was growing light.

Yesterday, Spooky and I spent another five hours or so on "The Maltese Unicorn." We read all the way through the story again, and then I made a number of last minute line edits and added a few passages. Then emailed it to the anthology's editor (both TBA), and now, mercifully, it is out of my hands.

This week will be devoured by everything I need to do to be ready for Readercon. I'm going up Thursday night. But I haven't bought anything like clothing since I did that reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn back on January 15th. I'm considering "dressing down," as what I wore last year seemed to inspire some degree of fear and loathing. And my hair...my hair has been left untended since January, as well. I'm having it cut and colored on Tuesday. I don't want to do any of these things. I hate shopping, and don't want to be futzed over by a hairdresser.

Anyway, as for Readercon 21, for those of you who are attending, here's my schedule:

Friday 12:00 Noon, RI: Event (60 min.)

A Dramatic Reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts I & II. Inanna Arthen, Ron
Drummond, Greer Gilman, Adam Golaski, Caitlin R. Kiernan, K. A. Laity, John Langan,
Shira Lipkin, Faye Ringel, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Eric M. Van.

Friday 1:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

New England: At Home to the Unheimlich?. F. Brett Cox, Elizabeth Hand (M), Caitlin
R. Kiernan, Faye Ringel, Paul Tremblay, Catherynne M. Valente.

Friday 2:00 PM, 4 PM RI: Event (60 min.)

A Dramatic Reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts I, II, IV & V. Inanna Arthen, Ron
Drummond, Scott Edelman, Jim Freund, Greer Gilman, Adam Golaski, Walter H. Hunt, Alaya
Dawn Johnson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mary Robinette Kowal, K. A. Laity, John Langan,Faye
Ringel, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Eric M. Van.

(I'll be reading the part of Oberon.)

Friday 4:00 PM: Autographing

Friday 5:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

David Foster Wallace Wanted Us to Do This Panel: Authoritativeness in Fiction.
Michael Dirda, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Sarah Langan, Eugene Mirabelli, James Morrow (L),
Catherynne M. Valente.

Saturday 12:00 Noon, RI: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

Tree Networks and Transspecies Sex: Biology in Avatar Joan Slonczewski

Saturday 1:00 PM, NH / MA: Group Reading

Haunted Legends Group Reading (60 min.). Ellen Datlow (host), Caitlin R. Kiernan,
Kit Reed, Catherynne M. Valente.

Readings from Haunted Legends, an anthology of all new retellings of urban legends
and regional ghost stories, edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas. The book will be
out in September from Tor Books.

Sunday 11:00 AM, Salon G: Event

The Shirley Jackson Awards: Nalo Hopkinson (MC), Nick Antosca, Ellen Datlow, Gemma
Files, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Robert Shearman, and Paul Witcover (nominees), F. Brett Cox
and John Langan (judges), Elizabeth Hand, Jack M. Haringa, Peter Straub, PaulTremblay
(advisors).

Sunday 1:00 PM, VT: Reading (60 min.)

from The Ammonite Violin & Others* (collection; Subterranean Press, June 2010).

Sunday 2:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

It Is, It Is, It Really Is Fiction: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary F&SF. Caitlin
R. Kiernan, K. A. Laity (L), Shariann Lewitt, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Catherynne M. Valente.

*Actually, because of the delay at the printer, I'll will, instead, be reading "The Sea Troll's Daughter."

---

Day before yesterday, or the day before that, I came across a somewhat interesting (and generally very flattering) blog post about Silk and The Red Tree and my writing in general. I'll quote a short bit:

Caitlin Kiernan’s novels give abundant evidence of the author’s impressive research and learning. Within a single chapter, the reader may find references to sources as varied as Seneca, Nina Simone, Thoreau, Tom Waits, Joseph Campbell and H. P. Lovecraft. Kiernan often wields her impressive learning like a bludgeon and seems to take considerable satisfaction in doing so. The reader may feel both taunted and intimidated by this amazing author who frequently makes extravagant displays of learning. However, discerning readers will probably forgive this author for her occasional outbursts of unabashed arrogance and vulgarity (which reminds me of Harlan Ellison's tendency to chastise his readers for their ignorance). I'm sorry Caitlin. I'll try to do better.

This made me smile, even as it sort of grated on my nerves. But then, how often do I try to grate on the nerves even as I try to evoke a smile? I do think the post paints me more as the person I was in the mid nineties than the person I am now, fifteen years later, but whatever. Anyway, what's important is that bit at the end. That last line. Because that's all I've ever really asked from anyone (including myself): Try to do better, because hardly any of us ever do try to do better. Also, I'll remind you of a quote attributed to Bertolt Brecht. "Art is a hammer." Which is to say, sometimes I use the hammer to drive nails, and sometimes I use it to pull them out again. Sometimes I use it to prop open a door. And then sometimes, yeah, it's time to fucking bludgeon.

Comments

( 23 comments — Have your say! )
kambriel
Jul. 5th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
what I wore last year seemed to inspire some degree of fear and loathing

Ahhh, but the important thing is that you inspired.

Are you & Spooky heading up Thursday evening, or Friday morning? If it's Thursday, perhaps we can at least share part of the evening together...
greygirlbeast
Jul. 5th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)

Ahhh, but the important thing is that you inspired.

I think your coat dress caused a lot of brains to hurt. It was just too cool.

Are you & Spooky heading up Thursday evening, or Friday morning? If it's Thursday, perhaps we can at least share part of the evening together...

We'll be headed up sometime on Thursday, afternoon or evening, but unfortunately, it's impossible right now to say when.
kambriel
Jul. 5th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
I think your coat dress caused a lot of brains to hurt. It was just too cool.

We do our part!

C & I will be arriving to Logan at 3, so ~if you wanted/were able~ to be in town then, we'd have the rest of that day open. Maybe we could trek out to Great/Little Misery Island or somesuch... low key, yet inspirational downtime for slightly weary travelers.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 5th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
C & I will be arriving to Logan at 3, so ~if you wanted/were able~ to be in town then, we'd have the rest of that day open. Maybe we could trek out to Great/Little Misery Island or somesuch... low key, yet inspirational downtime for slightly weary travelers.

It would be nice. But I'll be doing good to make it to Burlington. I'm afraid I'm not up for a detour into Boston. Alas.

Edited at 2010-07-05 05:53 pm (UTC)
kambriel
Jul. 5th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
Totally understandable. Pity the days of the con are the exact same as the days of our filming... If you find your doppelganger, send them along, and we'll take them around for you in spirit at least.
chris_walsh
Jul. 5th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
I don't want to do any of these things. I hate shopping, and don't want to be futzed over by a hairdresser.

If only it were socially acceptable to take a nap while getting a haircut...

Shoot. Anything deeper comment-wise isn't coming right now, so I'll just post. I hope ReaderCon is a blast, for you and for people I know who'll be there (like Shira Lipkin; she's shadesong).
greygirlbeast
Jul. 5th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)

If only it were socially acceptable to take a nap while getting a haircut...

Oh, I've done that.

sevenravens
Jul. 5th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
I'd love to ask you to sign my copy of The Red Tree at Readercon, but I won't be able to attend your autograph session as I'm involved in the poetry reading that's happening at the same time. I know the etiquette on asking for autographs varies, so would there be another good time to approach you? Do you mind being asked after panels?
greygirlbeast
Jul. 5th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
I know the etiquette on asking for autographs varies, so would there be another good time to approach you? Do you mind being asked after panels?

So long as I'm not engaged in a conversation or eating, or have my eyes closed, it's fine to ask me to sign. Oh, and not in the restroom (this has actually happened).

Edited at 2010-07-05 10:08 pm (UTC)
sevenravens
Jul. 5th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
Wow. In the restroom is pretty bold. Kinda creepy, actually. I will veer away from creepy when seeking your signature...

(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 5th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)

More like displays of some readers' ignorance. I cannot recall any of your cultural references beyond my ken, and you accompany your academic or technical passages with adequate background to serve the story.

I think there are people who do not read to learn, which is sort of like walking without getting anywhere.

I want a new guitar. To justify the expense, I vowed to learn to play ragtime well enough to compose songs and improvise.

Good for you.
cimeara
Jul. 5th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Well, as someone who first "met you" (in the general sense of seeing you in the hallway and attending your panels) last year, I didn't notice any feelings of fear or loathing, but rather "this is an astoundingly interesting, erudite and intelligent woman and why the hells haven't I read any of her books?" Which. I then did.

Oh, and "where did she get that cool mask?" which you were kind enough to say in your LJ after!

I look forward to the panels again, and certainly the Midsummer Night's Dream.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 5th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)

I look forward to the panels again, and certainly the Midsummer Night's Dream.

I think the Shakepseare is what I'm looking to most of all.
amethyst_clan
Jul. 5th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
The reader may feel both taunted and intimidated by this amazing author who frequently makes extravagant displays of learning.

-laughs- I can identify with at least the intimidated part. I mean, I went to an epically shitty rural school and have cognitive difficulties because of my fibromyalgia, so.. I can identify. As much as I'm working to try to overcome my schooling, I am still an ignorant redneck in a lot of areas.

But that's why I love your books. They are these books that will leave me with a handful of post-its tacked to my computer table with shit to look up. And I want to have a copy of the books of my own, so I can go back and re-read them over and over because I know that I'll never actually get to the bottom of all the intelligence hidden in the nooks and crannies.

Your books are learning experiences.

And I love how you interweave these little references into the fabric of the characters. It feels like you're throwing rocks at the average 9-5'ers arrogance. "You know that burger flipper you scoff at? She knows more about art then you ever will, you pretentious jackass. That guy at the coffeehouse that you hate because he doesn't give you 'proper respect'? He could run circles around you in any sort of philosophical discussion."

I just love, love, love that.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 5th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)

They are these books that will leave me with a handful of post-its tacked to my computer table with shit to look up. And I want to have a copy of the books of my own, so I can go back and re-read them over and over because I know that I'll never actually get to the bottom of all the intelligence hidden in the nooks and crannies.

When I read, I make notes. Again, the way some people raed, it baffles me.
amethyst_clan
Jul. 5th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
Well, to be honest, it's only been recently (in the last year or so) that I've gotten enough of a brain back that I can even attempt to read stuff that would require me to take notes. -laughs- I didn't realize how much it means to me until I got sucked into your books.
jacobluest
Jul. 5th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
Is there any chance these panels will be available as podcasts? Seems like such a waste, having a group of authors get together and letting it go unrecorded. Especially if this will be your last con. But that's probably just me being unrepentantly modern. Can't stop the signal!

~Jacob
greygirlbeast
Jul. 5th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)

Is there any chance these panels will be available as podcasts?

Not to my knowledge. It's never happened before. And with all do respect to your interest, I think I like it that way.
spank_an_elf
Jul. 6th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC)
Looking forward to meeting you in Burlington. You'll see me in my disheveled and graying glory. This damned 100 degree weather destroys any thoughts of style.

greygirlbeast
Jul. 6th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)

This damned 100 degree weather destroys any thoughts of style.

Yeah, I'm reaching that point myself.
kali_licious
Jul. 6th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
"Caitlin Kiernan’s novels give abundant evidence of the author’s impressive research and learning. Within a single chapter, the reader may find references to sources as varied as Seneca, Nina Simone, Thoreau, Tom Waits, Joseph Campbell and H. P. Lovecraft. Kiernan often wields her impressive learning like a bludgeon and seems to take considerable satisfaction in doing so. The reader may feel both taunted and intimidated by this amazing author who frequently makes extravagant displays of learning."

But...this is why I love reading your stories. I feel the experience is an enriching one, unlike the times I read crappy brain-candy and feel empty and vaguely guilty afterwards.
Who are these people that want to read the literary equivalent of junk food all the time? I just want to know so I can run screaming in the other direction...;)
whiskeychick
Jul. 6th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry Caitlin. I'll try to do better.

Ditto.

But go ahead, swing that hammer.
( 23 comments — Have your say! )