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The snow is going to be with us a while, slowly morphing into a glassy rind of ice. Today has already seen its high of 30˚F and has begun sinking into the twenties, and the high tomorrow is forecast at a mere 26˚F. So, yeah. White out there for a while yet.

I'd planned to take the day off and leave the house for an expedition to photograph cemeteries in the snow. But, FedEx is supposed to deliver the new iPod today, even with our street looking more like the Beardmore Glacier, so here I stay. Maybe we'll take cemetery photos tomorrow.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,129 words on Chapter 4 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, which got me to manuscript page 174. I'd have written more, but I reached a point where Imp is typing a list of bad dreams she had between July 10th and July 17th (2010), and after describing the first two, I was afraid they were beginning to sound like me on autopilot. So, I stopped, to let it all percolate. Also, I'd already planned to divide the book into two halves— "The Drowning Girl" and "The Wolf Who Cried Girl" —but now I think I see that each section has to be six chapters long. Which means that when I finish 4, I'll be a third of the way to THE END.

If you haven't yet ordered a copy of Two Worlds and In Between, the platypus says this is a good day to do just that.

Thanks for all the comments the last two days. Keep them coming, if you can. They are mossy stones that help me cross the stream of days. There is something seriously wrong with that metaphor, but I don't have time right now to puzzle out what it might be.

When I was done writing yesterday, we bundled up and went out into the white world. The streetlights were coming on, the oyster day going to a slate twilight. We crossed the great stillness of Dexter Training Grounds. The wind whipped up clouds of snow from the ground, and a little fresh snow was still falling from the sky. At the southern end of the park, a small crowd was busy building persons of snow. In the shadow of the statue of Ebenezer Knight Dexter, a couple had constructed a modest sort of igloo-like shelter, and the ground outside was littered with goggles, a snowboard, hats, etc. We watched a very happy white dog running to and fro. The clouds had thinned, and overhead we could just make out the waxing quarter moon. There were lampposts straight out of Narnia. The air temp was in the low twenties, with the windchill at about 15˚F. I lay on my back in the snow, gazing up at the moon through the icy boughs of a fir tree. The cold hardly bothered me at all. It was dark by the time we headed back home.

In response to the thoughts I posted two days ago, regarding my constant struggle not to second guess my readers, a number of you have said you read my books precisely because I don't pander, and that helped, hearing that. Last night, this thought came to me and I wrote it down: Whores pander. Whores are paid to give you what you want. If I want someone to pander to me, I'll go to a whore, not an artist. Of course, obviously, not pandering limits my audience (though pandering absolutely doesn't guarantee more readers). It's not that I'm trying to make things hard on readers. It's not like I'm trying to do the opposite of whatever they might want (though, I have met writers with that particularly perverse streak of contrariness), it's just that I am my own ideal audience, and I write my books for me. And if other people like what I write, that's grand and wonderful and I can pay my rent, but I simply can't write for anyone but me. I've tried.

Last night, we watched Joel Schumacher's Falling Down (1993), which I'd not seen since the year it was released. It's aged very well, and is certainly one of Michael Douglas' finest moments. We also (FINALLY!) finished the Vashj'ir region in Cataclysm. No, it didn't really get any better. To make matters worse, it ends with a dungeon that you can't do unless you have five players, which means two players don't actually get to see the end of that part of the story (such as it is). This is an old gripe with WoW, their insistence of forced socialization and refusal to take into account those of us who don't have the opportunity and/or inclination to play in groups. Spooky and I never get to see endgame regions. Regardless, it's over and done with, and now we move on. No more Horde vs. the Sea Monkeys.

There are photos from yesterday evening, behind the cut. Mine are first, then Spooky's. Hers are much better, because the Lamictal makes my hands shake too much to take photos in low light without a tripod:





Looking east, at the north end of Dexter Training Ground.



The statue of Dexter, and the fir I rested beneath. View to the southeast.



Icy, snowy branches.



The view from below the boughs. View to the southeast.



Looking south, towards the Armory.


Now, Spooky's photographs:




A very magnificent tree. View to the southeast.



Looking south.



North edge of the park, view to the east.





"As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood..."



The Armory. View to the south.



Houses lined up across the street from the park. View to the east. They made me think of a model railroad set.



And yet another lamppost shot.

All photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn Pollnac.

Comments

( 46 comments — Have your say! )
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tsarina
Jan. 13th, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
I like how the light seems so blue.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC)

I like how the light seems so blue.

The photographs do not quite do it justice.
chris_walsh
Jan. 13th, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC)
There is something seriously wrong with that metaphor, but I don't have time right now to puzzle out what it might be.

Don't fret, it's not as wrong as Harlan Ellison's "The mad dogs have kneed us in the groin."

Glad to know you're seeing the shape of the final book.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)

Don't fret, it's not as wrong as Harlan Ellison's "The mad dogs have kneed us in the groin."

Er...no.

Glad to know you're seeing the shape of the final book.

It only took me a year and a half.
ceewayne
Jan. 13th, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
I like reading your writing because you either make me care about the characters, or scare the hell out of me...

Or both at the same time....
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)

or scare the hell out of me...

It always surprises me when people say that, as it's not usually something I set out to do.
(no subject) - ceewayne - Jan. 13th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 13th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
robyn_ma
Jan. 13th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Falling Down. Eerily prescient, that (not just in the light of Arizona). I regret the script is a bit soft in the stomach, owing perhaps to studio demands (he's Michael Douglas — we can't have him be too crazy). But it has some ambition, and I can't imagine a major Hollywood film being anything like it today. To think I would look back fondly on a Joel Schumacher film. Jesus.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)

Falling Down. Eerily prescient, that

Indeed.

But it has some ambition, and I can't imagine a major Hollywood film being anything like it today.

Not really, no.

o think I would look back fondly on a Joel Schumacher film. Jesus.

I thought the same thing last night.
jdack
Jan. 13th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
Ah, Falling Down. On of my all time favorites. I make a point to watch it at least once per year (I have a high threshold for re-watching films without getting sick of them.)

My favorite part is probably the line: "Don't you wish you'd let me pass? Now you're gonna die, wearing that stupid looking hat." (Possibly not exact, quoting from memory.)
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)

On of my all time favorites. I make a point to watch it at least once per year (I have a high threshold for re-watching films without getting sick of them.)

I do, too. But not this film. It's just too...it hurts me too much.

My favorite part is probably the line: "Don't you wish you'd let me pass? Now you're gonna die, wearing that stupid looking hat."

One thing that I find works so well for the film, and elevates it, at least for me, is that it's impossible not to root for "D-Fens." He might be a lunatic, but he has a fucking point.
(no subject) - jdack - Jan. 13th, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 13th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jdack - Jan. 13th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 13th, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chris_walsh - Jan. 13th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
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ashlyme
Jan. 13th, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC)
I'd rather not be pandered to myself. That's probably why I find it easier to read non-fiction than fiction these days; too much pap in the fantasy and horror sections. It strikes me that if someone's put a lot of energy and effort into their story, I can least put some work into reading it.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)

It strikes me that if someone's put a lot of energy and effort into their story, I can least put some work into reading it.

This is one of the few things I ask in return for having written. But it's too much for a lot of readers.
scotchegg
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
Love these too - with a pale blue palette. Speaking of artists, do you know of Andre' Stitt? pivotal and fearless performance artist. His credo is that Art is a Hammer. No pandering allowed.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)

I do, but I'm pretty sure the quote doesn't originate with Andre Stitt. There's some confusion over who said it first. Might have been Bertolt Brecht (“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”). Might have been Vladimir Mayakovsky.
(no subject) - docbrite - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
ashlyme
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
"it's too much for a lot of readers."

Unfortunately, a lot of people treat reading as a passive experience, which fits in with your whore analogy. Lie back, and think of...nothing.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)

Unfortunately, a lot of people treat reading as a passive experience, which fits in with your whore analogy. Lie back, and think of...nothing.

"Well, here we are, entertain us."
pwtucker
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
Reminds me of an essay Alain de Boton wrote on Van Gogh, wherein he said that Van Gogh was an original in that he taught people to see familiar objects in a new way. Before him, people had never (perhaps) quite seen the sinuous energy of olive trees as Van Gogh had; after him it was apparent to all.

I think that my definition of a genius is somebody who sees the world in a novel manner, and is able to communicate that vision to others so that they can see it too. That may be the difference between madmen and geniuses, that madmen aren't able to share. However, no genius has ever broken new ground by considering the manner in which others already see; they are too intent on their own vision, their own authenticity.

I don't know if you're a genius or not, Kaitlyn, and that's beside the point. But we can all take a cue from the modus operandi of people we consider geniuses, and understand that the primary value to our own art lies in its being as true an expression of how we see the world as possible. If others get it, then fine, but if they don't? Then we can take cold comfort in the fact that Van Gogh died broke and depressed and unappreciated.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)

I don't know what to say to any of this, except:

...Van Gogh died broke and depressed and unappreciated.

Exactly.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)

It's like non-fiction, but better

Now there's a slogan.
acwise
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
Your photos and descriptions of Providence are so gorgeous. The area has definitely moved much higher on my 'places to visit' list since I started reading your journal. It's even more tempting knowing there's a restaurant that serves an approximation of poutine, even though they call it Quebec Fries.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)

The area has definitely moved much higher on my 'places to visit' list since I started reading your journal.

I wonder if I can get a kickback from the Chamber of Commerce.
niamh_sage
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
it's just that I am my own ideal audience, and I write my books for me. And if other people like what I write, that's grand and wonderful and I can pay my rent, but I simply can't write for anyone but me.

In my opinion, this is as it should be. It seems in any case like a very good reason for a writer to write what he or she does.

The photographs are beautiful, especially the trees and the lamps.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)

and the lamps.

The lamps were, truly, incredible.
docbrite
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)
Here's a lovely memory from our trip to Dublin:

We were walking along that trendy-ish commercial street not far from our hotel when this adorable little old man came up and started talking to us. He was as Irish as you could ever want -- flat cap, tweed jacket, nice white hair. I think he said something about what pretty girls we were. Then he leaned toward us a little ... and a long stream of drool poured out of his mouth, narrowly missing the toes of our boots.

As I recall, we made hasty farewells.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)

We were walking along that trendy-ish commercial street not far from our hotel when this adorable little old man came up and started talking to us. He was as Irish as you could ever want -- flat cap, tweed jacket, nice white hair. I think he said something about what pretty girls we were. Then he leaned toward us a little ... and a long stream of drool poured out of his mouth, narrowly missing the toes of our boots.

Crap. I'd completely forgotten that.
(no subject) - docbrite - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
sovay
Jan. 13th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
pander, n: A go-between in clandestine love affairs; a person who provides another with the means of sexual gratification; a pimp, a procurer . . . Something which acts as a means to further an end or purpose; a facilitating agency.

pander, v: To act as a pander to; to minister to the gratification of (another's desire or lust).

Precisely what whores do.

Looking east, at the north end of Dexter Training Ground.

That's truly lovely.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)

Precisely what whores do.

Precisely.
awdrey_gore
Jan. 13th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
Your pictures of snow-covered Rhode Island make me homesick for a place that I have never been. It's a strange feeling.

I think one of the reasons I read every word you write is that because you write for yourself, there is a certain thrill for me when I read a book or a story that resonates deeply with me. It is beyond a fan-girl's happiness; it is a sense that there is an invisible thread between your brain and mine, a thread that likely means little if anything to you but means the world to a reader. To be on a similar, sincere wavelength with a writer whom you admire is no small thing.

Pandering pays the bills but I don't like being anyone's whore, either. Pandering is too often insincere. I don't think you could do it even if you wanted. But it's interesting to think about, how much money one would have or how renown one could be if only one did what other people want.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 14th, 2011 03:19 pm (UTC)

I don't think you could do it even if you wanted.

As a writer, I've pandered on two notable occasions, first in 1997, then again in 2007. On both occasions, it came down to money, and they are both occasions I regret (and so will not be naming titles).
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( 46 comments — Have your say! )