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"Mysterious Whisper"

Though we were promised sun today, the drizzle and gloom and cold lingers. Currently, it's 40˚F, windchill at 34˚F, misty, foggy, shitty.

No writing yesterday.

I did manage to finish Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. And that was a herculean effort, sheer fucking force of will, stubborn determination, slogging through that wretched novel. I sorta, kinda liked The Golden Compass (née Northern Lights), even though Pullman's simplistic, evangelical atheism is plainly apparent by the novel's end. But after the first novel, the trilogy is a dismal affair, the sort of atheism that makes me ashamed of being an atheist. By the third book, the story has taken a backseat to Pullman's unceasing proselytizing. I hear people talking about how a book made them want to throw it across the room, and mostly I take that sort of talk as hyperbole. But, truly, The Amber Spyglass made me want to, literally, throw it across the room. To quote Dorothy Parker, "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."* And that's enough said about that.

This morning, I did manage to attend to three weeks of back-up email, including Subterranean Press, S.T, Joshi, my publicity person at Tachyon, and one of my agents at Writers House. Small victories.

Last night, we saw the first two episodes of Season Three of True Detective, and I loved it.

Not much else to report just now. Did I mention how I'm sick of rain?

I leave you with moss dripping from a sandstone outcrop, a photographed by Spooky.


1:11 p.m. (yesterday)

* An alleged quote of uncertain provenance.


Rainy and 44˚F here, with the windchill at 38˚F. During breakfast, a thunderclap sent Selwyn scampering for cover, and I've not seen him since.

I did try to write yesterday. But I'd slept so poorly the night before, it was hard to focus, and instead I wound up doing some research for the story that I'm trying to writing. I reread "The Call of Cthulhu" (it had been a few years) and parts of the second volume of S.T. Joshi's I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft. And a bunch of Wikipedia articles. That was yesterday.

Last night, we had leftover chili and watched more of the new Lost in Space. And then I slept poorly again, thanks to a headache.

Aunt Beast

11:31 p.m.

Lydia has something to say.

It's all but overcast out there. Currently, the temperature is 33˚F, with the windchill at 23˚F.

I didn't manage to write yesterday. I had to go to my doctor's office to donate urine, and then there was a trip to Eastside Market, and then I had to pick up signature sheets from Jonathan Thomas, and then it was the post office on Thayer Street, and then Walgreens. Books were waiting for me at the post office, contributor's copies of S.T. Joshi's Black Wings VI (which includes a reprint of "Ex Libris") and copies of the new PS Publishing edition of The Ammonite Violin & Others.

Day before yesterday, I began reading Larry McMurty's The Last Picture Show (1966). Last night, we decided to get caught up on Deadliest Catch and started with Season 7.

But mostly, I sat here and hated the cold.

Fascinating stuff, I know.

Aunt Beast

4:37 p.m.

"The stillness still that doesn't end."

Sunny, but bitterly cold this morning. When I got up it was 17˚F, with the windchill at 6˚F. Currently, it's 20˚F, with the windchill at 9˚F.

So, night before last I somehow didn't take my Lamictal, which means that yesterday I went into withdrawal. Before we figured out that I'd not taken it. I was fairly ill most of the day, and I didn't get the Digest out, but I did at least manage to deal with the proofing and line edits for "As Water Is In Water." Today, I will do the work I was supposed to do yesterday.

We'll be heading to Leeds on the 15th or 16th, and before then I need to write something for Sirenia Digest 145, the issue after the one Im putting together today. And get the line edits for The Dinosaur Tourist finished and send the ms. to SubPress. And I need to get the ms. for the Silk 20th-anniversary edition off to Centipede Press. All of that in two weeks.

Yesterday, the mail brought me S.T. Joshi's Varieties of the Weird Tale (Hippocampus Press), a collection of his writings on weird fiction, including the introduction he wrote for Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea (2016).

Last night, we watched Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman's truly breathtaking Loving Vincent (2017), an animated film created entirely from oil paintings.

Aunt Beast

3:42 p.m.
Sunny and cold today. Most of the snow is still on the ground.Currently, it's 22˚F, with the windchill at 11˚F.

After five consecutive good writing days, yesterday was a loss, thanks to health issues that are still with me today. And I hardly slept four hours last night. So, while I'd hoped to have "As Water Is In Water" finished this evening, it's more likely I'll finish it day after tomorrow. Today, I'm going to try to do some editing from bed, stuff related to The Dinosaur Tourist, because my deadline with Subterranean Press, for the delivery of the ms., is February 15th. The only thing I accomplished yesterday was emails to S.T. Joshi, Jerad Walters (Centipede Press), and Derrick Hussey (Hippocampus Press).

Winter in a stone on my chest.

Aunt Beast

4:36 p.m.

"All my life, waiting to find." (Still.)

This morning on Facebook I posted one of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes: I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden. And I said, "These days, this quote makes me think of my father, who died in 2007. We'd been estranged since 1990. We did not speak the last 17 years of his life, and that is one of those great regrets of my life." All that time, I thought I was being brave and showing the conviction of my beliefs (apart from the hate), but, in fact, I was just being an idiot.*

I dreamt about him this morning, my father.

Cold here, very cold. And overcast, and there was a dusting of snow this morning. Currently, it's 18˚F, with the windchill at 3˚F.

Yesterday, I couldn't face the proofreading. The next story up is an SF tale called "Blind Fish." It originally appeared in Sirenia Digest #85 (December 2012), and when it was reprinted in S.T. Joshi's Searchers After Horror: New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic (Fedogan and Bremer, 2014), after the book was in print, I discovered it was filled with all manner of messed up sentences, things worse than typos that somehow got past me twice. So, I knew yesterday that I wasn't up to the chore of trying to fix the story and make it presentable enough to appear in The Dinosaur Tourist. But I did manage to sign the signature sheets for Black Wings VI (also a Joshi anthology). Small victories. Next, these pages go to New Zealand.

On Saturday, I emailed Jonathan Strahan, my editor on the Tor.com books, and I told him, the way things are with me right now, I cannot say for sure when The Tindalos Asset will be done. Which means I lose the publishing slot and Tor.com will have to reschedule it. Hopefully, it'll still come out in 2019, but I can only do what I can do. I've spent too many years trying to do what I can't.

Soon, I have to find something I can write for Sirenia Digest #144, but today I'm going to deal with "Blind Fish."

I've been seeking consolation in old black-and-white movies, as I so often do. Night before last, it was Edward G. Robinson, Glenn Ford, and Marguerite Chapman in William A. Seiter's Destroyer (1943), and last night it was Humphrey Bogart, Michèle Morgan, and Claude Rains in Michael Curtiz' Passage to Marseille (1944). The latter also features Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Helmut Dantine, so there's a lot of Casablanca in this film.

Also from Facebook, from yesterday:

Ideally, I'm only here to promote my writing. Honestly, that's 99% of why I have anything to do with "social media." But the truth, since sometime early 2016, has been an increasing tendency on my part to mouth off on political issues (and personal problems). And a lot of my readers aren't happy to learn that the real me doesn't jibe with their expectation that I'd be strongly progressive, far left, etc. Facebook has lost me readers, and I should leave and keep my mouth shut. But I'm stuck in the same dopamine feedback loop as everyone else, and my agent says I have to be on "social media." That's my dilemma.

~ and ~

Yes, Oprah could be president. And Santa Claus could be the Easter Bunny.

Aunt Beast

4:57 p.m.

* The last time I saw him was either August 31 or September 1, 1990. My old journals seem unclear on the date.
Sunny today. Currently 80˚F. Yesterday, we made it up above 90˚F.

Last night, we had dinner with S.T. Joshi, Derrick Hussey, and some other folks, at India up on Hope, across from Swan Point Cemetery. And now I think I have all I need of large assemblages of human beings (which is to say, more that two at a time) until I have to do StokerCon with Ramsey Campbell, in March 2018.

I'm almost done with Bukowski's Factotoum, and yesterday I read "Libysiren sickenbergi, gen. et sp. nov.: a new sirenian (Mammalia, Protosirenidae) from the middle Eocene of Libya."

Aunt Beast

8:12 p.m.
Not terribly awake yet, but the morning is slipping away from me. It's snowing. Quite a lot of snow has fallen, really, piling up on the roofs and power lines and trees, but melting as soon as it hits the roads and sidewalks and driveways. Which is a good thing, but unusual for Providence. Currently, we have 30˚ of Fahrenheit, with the windchill at 25˚F.

Last night's reading at the Savoy Bookshop in Westerly went very well, Stop #2 on the "Fungus Among Us" Agents of Dreamland tour. The bookshop itself is gorgeous, and there are tiny doors for tiny fairy mice, and children with names like Harper and Lennox leave notes for the fairy mice, and Spooky and I will be going back soon so that we actually have time to look at the place. I'll post some photos of the shop and reading tomorrow. Today, I'm just not up to all that editing. I read chapters 2 and 3 (they're short chapters), and I talked a long, long time about everything from the novella to paleontology to comics. Afterwards, I signed a lot of books. My thanks to my hosts, especially Elissa Englund, and to the very charming C.S.E. Cooney, who interviewed me (and whose short fiction collection, Bone Swans, won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection). Spooky and I got back to Providence about 10 p.m. It's amusing that one can drive literally from one end of Rhode Island to the other in an hour.

Day before yesterday, Kathryn went over to the East Side to deliver the signature pages for Joshi's Nightmare's Realm to Jonathan Thomas, and he delivered to her the bad, sad, and alarming news that Paper Nautilus (nee Myopic Books) has lost its lease, after almost 21 years at that location. No explanation; the lease was just yanked. This is happening a lot in Providence. It's sort of devastating. Kathryn and I have been customers since 2008.

It's getting late, and I need to work. So, see you tomorrow, kittens. Oh, but I do have a new review of Agents of Dreamland.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

When I woke up, about an hour and a half ago, the temperature in Providence was 18˚F, with the windchill at 2˚F. Presently, it's 21˚F, with the windchill at 7˚F. Our forecast high is 24˚F, with a northwest wind 13 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph.

I might have slept four hours. Some mystery pain in my right side kept me awake until after 5:30 a.m.

No writing yesterday, because I had to be at my doctor's office early, and afterwards there was an unexpected drive south to Saunderstown and Spooky's parents' place. But it was nice to get out of the city. We hadn't been down that way since before Xmas. There were woods and dry-stone walls, trees and fields and greenbriers. There were buds on the apple trees that likely won't survive this cold snap, buds that appeared last week because of the freakish warmth. This happened last year, and it killed the buds, and there were no apples in 2016. We're afraid of the same thing happening this year, this weekend. Anyway, we were back home in the mid afternoon, and I signed signature sheets for S.T. Joshi's Nightmare's Realm, which reprints my SF tale, "Dead Letter Office." Lately, I feel as if all I do is sign signature sheets. The signature sheets for Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales are next.

There's a fish tank built into one wall of my doctor's office. I have photographic evidence below.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, here's another good review of Agents of Dreamland, "The Static is the Signal."

Yesterday was the one-week anniversary of The Haircut.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

Right now, I'm not sure if I feel more like I'm going to vomit, pass out, or suddenly come apart in a cataclysm of protoplasmic, subatomic reversal. I might have slept two hours. When I got up at 8 a.m., there was just enough snow on the ground that it was pretty. Now, there's only a quickly melting scab. But it was our first snow of the winter, regardless. Presently, it's 33˚F. No windchill at the moment.

No writing yesterday. Yesterday was all about not giving into the crazy, the noise ricocheting off the inside of my skull. So, I took Klonopin and got dressed and went to the market with Kathryn. She's fixing black-eyed peas today, so that's something to which to look forward. I managed to avoid the sorts of meltdowns that marked Saturday and Friday. But no writing. Some email with S.T. Joshi, late in the day, about the CRK tribute book that's been in the works since early 2015. But that was it, workwise.

I posted this to Facebook:

Yesterday, it occurred to me that I have outlived the context that made sense of my existence. I now exist out of context, like a dodo bird in a cyberpunk story, and it's a terrible way to be. I suppose I'm saying I have become an anachronism. But it seems worse even than that. Anachronism makes it sound dignified, and I feel no dignity in this.

And though I asked folks not to comment, David J. Schow wrote:

A feeling of forced obsolescence at the height of one's powers, ability and discretion.

And yeah, that's definitely part of it, and it touches on why I find myself pretty much unable to write about the present. Has there ever been a time when writers of an earlier generation found themselves so set aside by a generation entirely immersed in technology changing as an unimaginable pace? Would I have felt like this if my career had begun at the start of the forties, then sprawled into the 1960s? I don't think so. I don't think there's anything in human history comparable to the present shift, not in degree and not in rate of change. For me, it is a nightmare. It isn't the only reason I'm having so much trouble writing, but it's part of the raveling tapestry of my current dilemma. I can't write about a world where people live through "devices," not write about it as an actual present time. I won't write casually about social media and smart phones and cars that drive themselves, emojis and Skype and Uber and fake news websites and Yelp and remote-controlled drones you can buy at Rite Aid and on and on and on. Sure, I can write stories set in the present and leave all that shit out, but that's not telling the truth.

And, really, it's far more complex than the hardware/software of the early twenty-first century. It's more the psychosocial changes wrought by the technology. I do not know these millennial minds. I can only be on the outside looking in, and I don't know how to do that, either. And I don't want to write a book about being lost and adrift and out of place in the present – which I surely am. I can only imagine setting books in the past, which is why my screenplay for The Red Tree was being set in 1979, and it's why the little I've managed to write on The Starkeeper is set in 1978. It's why "Interstate Love Song" (the short story) is set about 1994, and why Interstate Love Song (the novel), if I can spit it out, will be set in 1954 and 1994. I can set a story fifty years from now, even, but I cannot set a story now. Now – NOW – has become, to me, inscrutable. Unfathomable. Alien.

At fifty-two, I am not of here. I'm a foreigner in my own land, displaced by time. I am more in tune with 1916 than I am with 2016. The present is hostile to my being, and it is hostile to my imagination.

It's a matter of what philosopher of science T.S. Kuhn called incommensurability. I no longer know how to converse with the present; mine and its worldviews have become incommensurable.

And I have this photo from yesterday:

Aunt Beast
Sunny this morning. The temperature is currently only 43˚F.

I tried to stay busy yesterday, trying to get back into the swing of things. Post-apocalypse life. There was some personal email, to my mom and Geoffrey. Mordicai Knode at Tor.com had forwarded a request for an interview, from Stefan Fergus over at Civilian Reader, and I agreed. Katharine Duckett at Tor had forwarded a "holiday-themed" request from ReadItForward.com, asking authors to answer this question – "What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a present and why was it so special?" So, I wrote about the night in Hollywood that Christa bought me a copy of Katharine Dunn's Geek Love, back in May 1996. S.T. Joshi is reprinting "Dead Letter Office" (from Sirenia Digest #113, June 2015) in a Dark Regions Press anthology, Nightmare's Realm: New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic, and I had to proof the galleys for the story. I did. Then I had to go over the final-most galleys for Agents of Dreamland, so I did that and sent the four small problems I found to Jonathan Strahan. The postman brought a box from Subterranean Press, and I assumed that they were the signature sheets for Dear Sweet Filthy World, so I figured I would finish the day by signing those. But when I opened the box I discovered it actually contained my copies of the ARCs for Dear Sweet Filthy World, instead. They look good, but I must warn all reviewers that this is the most abominably error-riddled ARC I have ever in my life allowed to be released, and for that I am sorry. "Uncorrected" does not do the situation justice. But Tran's cover looks great. Also, vanilla Cheetos.

I'm trying to get back on that horse.

Late in the afternoon, before dinner, I played Guild Wars 2.

We finished watching Goliath last night, the new series on Amazon with Billy Bob Thorton and William Hurt, and I liked it quite a lot. We also finished watching Season Three of RuPaul's Drag Race. I'd expected Raja to win, and she did. But, all in all, Season Three was a bit dull, lackluster, a pale shadow of the marvelous things to come in seasons Four, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight. I'm not gonna bother with Season Two (and Season One is unavailable).

I went to bed around 2:30 a.m., but had trouble sleeping. Too much anxiety, too much fear, too much anger.

And that was yesterday.

Aunt Beast
I don't think I even got five hours sleep last night, and I woke confused and angry. Now I have to try and set all that aside and work. I'm not awake, and the sky is much too blue. I can see it through the limbs and leaves outside my office window. Another two or three weeks, at most, and those leaves will be gone, and there will be no green remaining to protect me from the hungry, empty-bellied Rhode Island sky. The worst of it, of green autumn and of winter and of cold spring, is not the chill. The worst of it is the sky. Currently, it's 80˚F in Providence.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,442 words on "Animals Pull the Night Around Their Shoulders." And the mail brought my contributor's copy of Black Wings V: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, edited by S.T, Joshi, which reprints "Far From Any Shore."

Last night, I watched Stuart Rosenberg's The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984). It's sort of inexplicable that I'd never seen it.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bills must be paid and so forth. Thank you.

Aunt Beast
Well, this will be the short entry to buy back the time from the really long entry I wrote yesterday, which was likely read by now fewer than eight people. I regret having given so much time to such a bad movie, but there you go. It's now mostly out of my system. Mostly.

It's cooler today, cloudy, and I'm back at home trying to work. Maybe the worst of this summer is gone.

Yesterday, at the Providence Public Library, I signed two sets of signature sheets, those for Black Wings V: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror and those for Gothic Lovecraft, both anthologies edited by S.T. Joshi, 300+ and 52+ sheets, respectively.

Time to put this train back on the tracks.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes Cogitates

Yesterday was meant to be the day I got back to work on The Starkeeper. Instead, I spent it trying to "fix" a story called "Ex Libris." Written in November 2011, it was originally published as the first half of The Yellow Book (Subterranean Press, 2012). For whatever reason – I honestly can't say, because I honestly do not know – the text of "Ex Libris" made it into print riddled with problems. It's a long story, the original ms. weighing in at 10,555 words, and it's the worst mess I've ever allowed to be printed. The whole affair is inexplicable. Now, S.T. Joshi wants to reprint it, but first I have to fix it. And the work is frustrating and time consuming. I'm going to need at least another day on the story, but not today. Today I go back to the Starkeeper and Jude and Judith Rochambeau*, their mother and the decaying old house in South County. "Ex Libris" can wait.

Yesterday, I also sent "Interstate Love Song" to an editor in Warsaw, who will be having it translated into Polish, and I sent "The Maltese Unicorn" to an editor in Miami who will be translating it into Spanish for Cuban publication.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We have some good stuff up. Thanks.

Aunt Beast

* née Posey

The heat has broken for now, but the humidity is murder. And I only slept about four and a half hours last night; I'm having trouble focusing my eyes. Currently, it's it's 76˚F and cloudy.

On Friday, I only managed 573 words on Agents of Dreamland, but yesterday I did 1,106. I'm still hoping to finish by Thursday evening. I just want this damn thing finished.

From my Facebook yesterday: Sometimes, the worst sort of pressure in the world is the weight of all the people who are convinced that you can do something, just because you've done it before.

And from day before yesterday: And then I hit that place, two thirds of the way to THE END, when I simply have no idea what the fuck happens next.

I should be in Alabama right now. We were supposed to have moved by now. And speaking of the move, Writers House has cut the check for the option and FedExed it to me. I don't have it yet. Probably Monday. The downside, of course, is that one third of it's going straight to the 2014 taxes. As I said when I first announced that the two books had been optioned, I seriously hope no one mistakenly believes that I'm suddenly free of financial worries. It was a generous advance, and much higher than the average. But people seem to think that optioning your book equates to riches. It doesn't.

Where I am right now, optimism is the worst irritant. Where I am, words of encouragement strike me as gibes.

I think it was very fortunate that I didn't go to Necronomicon this weekend. There's no way on earth I could have been pleasant to be around. Likely, I'd have spent the whole weekend hiding in my hotel room. But I am sorry I missed Joshi. And I am sorry I missed Ramsey.

Last night we finished Season One of The Leftovers. It's a strange, strange show. It has a lot of trouble pulling free of the formulaic devices of what I call Old Television. A couple of episodes focus only on a single character, and that's when The Leftovers truly shines. Other times, it can become seriously lost in the huge number of characters it's juggling. But it's intriguing. And the creators wisely choose to preserve mystery, offering no solution to the events of October 14th. For now, the inexplicable remains unexplained. And yeah, I find myself looking forward to Season Two. This isn't great television, but it's worth my while.

Aunt Beast
After three days in the eighties (86˚F, 86˚F, and 85˚F, respectively), a cold wind blew into Providence last night, and currently it's only 66˚F, with a projected high of 69˚F. Mostly sunny. But at least the heat had chance pushed the foliage along, and everything's green.

My meeting at the Hay Library was at 2 p.m., and Christopher met us outside and found a couple of students to carry in the four heavy boxes of papers I'd brought as a sample. The Hay is beautiful, by the way. I can't believe that I've lived here seven years and somehow not once set foot inside. To be sure, I'll be using the reading room in the months to come. Anyway, we were ushered to a meeting room, and I answered questions for Christopher – who's the librarian for American and British Literary and Popular Culture Collections at the Hay – as he looked over the material. He was very pleased, and I was, I will admit, surprised. When all was said and done, I'd agreed to donate everything (yesterday, I took in only about one quarter of the total), including my first Mac (Pandora, a 1993 Color Classic), my private diaries (to be sealed until twenty-five years after my death), and as complete a set of my published books as I can manage to put together. Well, I should say, rather, that Christopher has very kindly agreed to take custody of all this stuff. It will be curated, cataloged and kept safe, which really is an enormous relief. And I truly am honored. It's the sort of honor I never expected and certainly not before my fifty-first birthday. So, yes. The Hay is establishing the Caitlín R. Kiernan Archives, which will be opened to researches everywhere, forever (or until the end of the world, whichever comes first). I will rub shoulders with Lovecraft, Colonel George Earl Church, and Henry David Thoreau. My grateful thanks to Christopher, and thanks also to S.T. Joshi, who set all this in motion back in August 2013. In May and June, I'll be transferring the remainder of the papers, etc. and working with the library to provide context for everything.

You have no idea how weird this is.

But it's a good sort of weird.

There are a few photographs from yesterday:

12 May 2015Collapse )

Monday night, Spooky and I watched Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's 20,000 Days on Earth (2014), a very wonderful Nick Cave documentary. Warren Ellis (the musician, not the writer) is seventy shades of cool. With eel. And a violin. Then, because I was nervous and needed a comfort film, Gene Saks' The Odd Couple (1968).

The insomnia rages on. I had to discontinue the Seroquel, because a very rare and very unpleasant side effect reared it's head. I slept about five hours Monday night, and no more than four last night.

And now I have to work.

Aunt Beast

"...A distant ship's smoke on the horizon."

The sun is out today, as it was yesterday. But today there's not so much of the gnawing breeze. Yesterday was cold, despite the sun. Today is almost warm. Okay, let's not get carried away. It's only 59˚F. On April 12th. Spring is hardly even a rumor. Where do the kids up here hide Easter eggs, when there's no grass or weeds or green bushes? Under rocks?

Carmelita hold me tighter.
I think I'm sinking down,
And I'm all strung out on heroin
On the outskirts of town.

Day before yesterday was spent putting the finishing touches on A is for Alien for PS Publishing. "Tidal Forces," "Galápagos," "The Steam Dancer (1896)," and "Hydrarguros" were added to the book. So, the second edition of the collection will be one-third longer than the first edition. I sent the ghost of a manuscript away to Nicky Crowther in faraway and exotic Hornsea-by-the-Sea, just a wad of electrical impulses and binary whatchamacallits. So, that's mostly out of my hands, and the ms. is only a year or so late. But I suppose this, not that, is the big news from Friday (I'll quote what I posted to Facebook, since most of you have already read it there, anyway):

I've been keeping this a secret since November, but I can now announce that Centipede Press will be doing a CRK tribute volume, to be published in 2016, edited by S.T. Joshi and Kathryn Pollnac, comprised of new short stories, "tributes," and essays by various and diverse authors and editors, as well as work by a number of artists whom I have worked with over the years, plus a few surprise rarities from me. The book will be titled Below the Wide, Carnivorous Sky. Contributor's list TBA in my LJ tomorrow. Truthfully, the whole thing feels weird, me still being alive and all, but I am greatly honored. (Note: The title was a) not my idea and b) is not a nod to any other author; the phrase was always mine, and it's being reclaimed.) When there's more to tell you, I will.


I've told Spooky I'll go outside today, since I haven't since we came back from Woodstock on Wednesday (I still have the fucking huge, cartoon-sized crown in my mouth*). But, Jesus, the air coming in my window is uninviting.

Your hand on his arm,
The hay stack charm around your neck,
Strung out and thin,
Calling some friend trying to cash some check.

Geoffrey came over early yesterday afternoon. It was the first time we've had a visitor – besides Spooky's parents – since the last time Geoffrey was here, which was March 2nd, 2014. We talked until dinner, and then we talked through dinner, and then we talked until almost 1 a.m., when he drove home to the Greater Boston Area. The primary topic of conversation, it seemed, was the grand, absurdist kaiju of SJWs vs. Sad Puppies.

Blood keeps drinking away,
Certain of it's destination.
Driving through New Orleans at night,
Gotta find a destination,
Just one fix.

I should stop this and try to do a tiny bit of work, pissing on the inferno, before I allow Spooky to drag my carcass out into the chilly day.

Aunt Beast

* It is just now being impressed upon me how entirely fucked I am, how difficult it is to remove a crown that's been set in place. I have never before had a truly bad dentist; I think my luck ran out. I don't know what will done about this. I certainly have no more money to spend on the problem.

Back in the Land of Clams and Mafia

Today looks mostly cloudy, from where I sit, the homely little slice of Providence outside my office window. It's 50˚F, though it feels like 44˚F. There's some sun and almost no snow to be seen anywhere. That's something, I suppose.

Yesterday was consumed by a combination of unpacking, email, and attempting to figure out how the fuck to make this cluttered house livable until such time as we get the fuck out of here, also know as August.

Today, I need to begin actual writing-type writing work. I have deadlines for four short stories and a 2,500-word novella, and three of those deadlines are before July 31. Plus, I have to produce at least one new piece a month for Sirenia Digest, which means I'm looking at a minimum of six short stories and a novella between now and July 31. Plus my work on the screenplay. I need two more of me. I believe that I'm going to begin with a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" (1844), which I've promised to an anthology. Then I'll be doing something for Sirenia Digest #111. There's an auspicious number. So, yeah, no more fucking around, Kiernan. Get off your bony old ass.

In his introduction to Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea, S.T. Joshi kindly states that I have nothing left to prove; au contraire, mon bon ami. I have to prove that I can keep this up for the rest of my life.


While we were in Woodstock, Spooky and Hubero went for many walks about the property, skirting the edge of the forest. Hubero came to us leash-and-harness trained. Cats on leashes seem to freak people out, but Hubero is perfectly happy being a cat on a string. He's not perfectly happy being back here with no woods to wander about in, no birds to stalk, no trees to climb (even if only a few feet up), no deer to watch. Here are a few photos from his last couple of walks by the cabin:

Hubero in the PinesCollapse )


The season finale of The Walking Dead had to be one of the most superbly tense hours of television I've ever experienced. Indeed, the second half of the season was, I think, uniformly brilliant. I was a little disappointed with the episode directed by Jennifer Lynch, as there were a couple of scenes that were pretty much ruined by the camera lingeringly lovingly on gore, essentially turning two deaths into fetish and camp. That may sound like an odd complaint for this series, but there you go. Rarely does the series seem to revel in gore, no matter how gory it gets. The gore is simply a fact of existence, the byproduct of a situation. Gore is merely is merely a sort of weather. Which is one reason I like it.


We're going to be starting eBay up again, and we'll be eBaying our brains out for the next few months. One thing we'll be offering is signed sets of the Quinn novels, Blood Oranges, Red Delicious, and Cherry Bomb. So keep your eyes peeled for those. So to speak.

Aunt Beast
I haven't been sleeping well, so last night I broke down and took a Seroquel. And I slept. And today I feel like I'm moving through Jell-O. Yes, I know Seroquel isn't a sleep aid, but it's about the only thing that puts me to sleep and keeps me asleep more than three or four hours. I slept somewhere between eight and nine hours, possibly the most I've slept since we came to Woodstock.

I took my last antibiotic dose yesterday afternoon. And thank fuck, because it was making me sick as a dog. The next stage, they finish the root canal.

There's more snow on the way today and tonight. Then we get a freak warm spell tomorrow – 42˚F – and then the temperature plunges to 19˚F for the night's low. Gods, I'm weary of cold. Of snow. Of ice. Currently, it's 23˚f.

Yesterday, I signed the signature pages for the signed edition of S.T. Joshi's Black Wings IV, which includes my story "Black Ships Seen South of Heaven" and which can now be preordered (as can the trade edition). And there was a lot of email yesterday. An awful lot of email. And there still isn't a replacement artist for Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird. I finished the layout on Sirenia Digest #109, and as soon as the PDF is ready, it'll go out to subscribers. That was pretty much yesterday.

Last night, I began reading Chet and Maureen E. Raymo's Written in Stone: A Geological History of the Northeastern United States. I did some RP in The Secret World. We watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead and began Season Five of The West Wing.

Ah, the life of the Wannabe Intellectual.

Aunt Beast

LAST DAY: "Humble Subterranean Press Bundle." Now, you guys know how I feel about ebooks. You may or may not also know that I am a fervent defender of DRM. However, freelancers often cannot afford to have the courage of their convictions; I need the money. So, if you want $96 worth of ebooks from SubPress for a minimum of $12.37 ("pay what you want"), including my World Fantasy Award-winning The Ape's Wife and Other Stories, there you go. Do not ask me questions about platforms and shit, because I don't know the answers. All that stuff is at the website at the other end of that link.

"That echo chorus lied to me..."

Today we celebrate the life and works of Charles Darwin. We celebrate the courage of intellect and conviction and our triumph over superstition. Today we celebrate the miracle of life on Earth. Today is Darwin Day. Happy 206th, Professor Darwin. To quote Carl Sagan:

The secrets of evolution are death and time — the deaths of enormous numbers of lifeforms that were imperfectly adapted to the envirnoment; and time for a long succession of small mutations that were by accident adaptive, time for the slow accumulation of patterns of favorable mutations. Part of the resistance to Darwin and Wallace derives from our difficulty in imagining the passage of the millennia, much less the aeons. What does seventy million years mean to beings who live only one-millionth as long? We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it forever.


Yesterday was, unexpectedly, a very good work day. Aside from attending to all manner of busyness and marginalia, and helping Spooky help Joshi with another Secret Project, and speaking with Jared at Centipede Press about Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales, and attending to various short-story reprints, aside from all that, I did some good pages on the screenplay. They came in a sudden burst. Hopefully, toady will be a repeat performance. And I'm organizing my thoughts for The Aubergine Alphabet. I think A is for Ash. I have a long way to go to Z.

Last night, Kathryn and I talked about living in Oxford, Mississippi.

Later, we watched Mark Pellington's The Mothman Prophecies (2002), based, of course, on John Keel's perfectly ridiculous book of the same name (1975). We'd both seen it before, me in the theatre and Kathryn on VHS. I was pleased to see that the film is as effective as I recall, sort of like an especially good episode of The X-Files crossed with an especially good episode of Fringe. It is worth noting, though, that while the the film claims that the December 15, 1967 collapse of Silver Bridge was never explained, in fact it was explained quite some time before the publication of Keel's book, having been caused by "the failure of a single eyebar in a suspension chain, due to a small defect 0.1 inch (2.5 mm) deep. Analysis showed that the bridge was carrying much heavier loads than it had originally been designed for and had been poorly maintained." Also, the death toll wasn't 36, it was 46. If it seems odd that a film would actually make a disaster seem less disastrous, consider the mystical connotations of the numbers 36 and 37. The film also claims that "mothman" sightings in Point Pleasant ended when the bridge collapsed; this is also not true. But, this is why I watch this sort of thing as fiction. As fiction, I can heartily enjoy – and be creeped out by – complete fucking twaddle.

It's snowing again.

Gradually, By Degrees,
Aunt Beast


Yeah, so...sorry, no cute squirrels today. I think they've packed there bags and, like sane mammals, headed for Boca Raton. Currently, it's 80˚F in Boca Raton, with a heat index of 83˚F; here, it's 36˚F, and we have a windchill of 33˚F. The sky looks like buttermilk today.

The past two days have been a maddening fucking blur, but I managed – with the help of Kathryn, S.T. Joshi, and Sonya Taaffe – to compile a complete bibliography of my work (5,000+ words), 1985–2015, in only two working days. It will be included as an appendix in Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. And I can see now that I've written and sold a total of two hundred and twenty-two short stories (not counting The Dry Salvages and Black Helicopters, which I consider short novels, or, if you prefer, novellas). Which is, frankly, a little hard for me to believe. But there it is. Today, I'll be tying up lose ends (updating the biography, looking at the last few pages with sticky notes still attached, expanding the acknowledgments slightly, and, little piddly stuff like that) and writing flap copy, and tomorrow the whole thing will go back to Subterranean Press in a great big damn cardboard box. Likely, you'll be hearing a release date soonish, and I'll let you know when SubPress will begin taking preorders as soon as I know. I still have to pull the art section together (for the limited edition), but I'm sending the corrected galleys back beforehand.

I have a thing that I honestly never thought I'd hear: a dull album from The Decemberists. I began listening to What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World on Tuesday, and I've been through the whole thing six times now. I keep waiting to not be disappointed, and I keep being disappointed. Where's the fire? Not here. There are two or three tracks I like. The only one a like a lot is "Easy Come, Easy Go." And "Carolina Low" isn't bad. "Mistral" is okay. But two good songs and one passable song doesn't make a good album. I will defer to the reviewer at Pitchfork, who writes, Jeremy D. Larson, "gone is the wild-eyed, fearless, nerdy-ass band who once said 'fuck it we’re gonna do a 10-minute song about a revenge-murder inside whale.' To borrow a theme from the album, this is the part of the the Decemberists’ story where you skim to the next chapter." Exactly. And it's sad to hear such brilliant musicians diminish themselves almost to the point of becoming acceptable elevator music. Colin, man, I know you grew up and got married and had a baby and got a three book deal, but can we please get back to the fire in the belly and the swooping, mad imagination, the grand bawdy joy, of The Hazards of Love and Picaresque? Because this is safe, competent pablum.

I think the album's had me in a sour mood all week.

Anyway...later taters.

Aunt Beast

A Dubious Undertaking

In response to a list created by S. T. Joshi, my own attempt at a "best horror novels" list for the 20th Century. Some caveats/notes:

1) I limited myself to the second half of the century, as I don't think I'm sufficiently familiar with the years 1900-1949.
2) There are three short story collections, because those collections and those authors (both of whom produced far more short fiction than novels) had to be on this list. In the case of Klein, I simply feel that "The Events at Poroth Farm" is a far better work than The Ceremonies, his massive – I would say bloated – expansion of the novella.
3) No one author was allowed to appear more than once.
4) The absence of a few others bothers me. Thomas Harris, for example.
5) The list is unranked.
6) Yes, 2000 was the final year of the 20th Century, not the first year of the 21st Century.

1950-2000, Twenty Best Horror Novels (Plus Three Short-Fiction Collections):

1. Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
2. Stephen King, Pet Sematary
3. Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
4. Thomas Tryon, Harvest Home
5. Clive Barker, The Damnation Game
6. Peter Straub, Ghost Story
7. Ira Levin, Rosemary's Baby
8. Toni Morrison, Beloved
9. Ramsey Campbell, Ancient Images
10. Robert Bloch, Psycho
11. Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
12. John Gardner, Grendel
13. Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire
14. Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories
15. T. E. D. Klein, Dark Gods
16. Kathe Koja, Skin
17. Richard Matheson, I Am Legend
18. Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
19. Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy
20. Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory
21. Harlan Ellison, Deathbird Stories
22. Anne River Siddons, The House Next Door
23. William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist
In the new Weird Fiction Review (No. 5, Fall 2014, Centipede Press), there's an article by James Goho, "Caitlín R. Kiernan and the Folklore of Awe." It is, I am told by S.T. Joshi, the beginning of a veritable tsunami of forthcoming scholarly examinations of my work. And, truthfully, I'm not sure how I feel about this. No, that's not true. How I feel about this is peculiar. I makes me feel very, very peculiar.

We're home. Back in Providence. we got home about 4:30 p.m. yesterday evening, well in advance of dark (thank you, CaST). And it's good to be with Hubero and Selwyn again, and I missed a few of my belongings, but that's the fullest extent to which I'm glad to be back in Providence. Already, I miss Woodstock tremendously. So, I will immerse myself in the mountain of work that is before me and try to ignore this city and it's strange skies and stunted trees.

See, that's the punchline. I am not Providence.

Thank you to the folks who sent me gifts this year. And to Gordon Duke, who sent me sudden, but inevitable, betrayal.

Probably, there are many other things I meant to say. But I only slept four hours last night, and whatever meager energy I have must go into pages 11-15 of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird (#5 and THE END). And maybe page 16, if I've very lucky. I would very much like to finish this by tomorrow night. Tomorrow I'll manage an actual entry, with photos and everything. Probably.

Aunt Beast

"Springsteen is the king, don't you think?"

The sky outside my window is lead, and there's snow out towards the Cape, and there's snow down in New York. So says the radar. Here, the sky is pregnant, heavy, and we'll not see the sun today. Day before yesterday, it seems there was snow before we awoke, just a little. I'd hoped this was still a month or so away. What is hope but wishful thinking?

This morning, I dreamt of a black night sky, even colder than the one outside my window. I stood on a bridge with someone whose face I never saw. I knew, though, that this person was a deadly enemy of mine. But there was something far worse coming, something that would destroy us both, and so we stood together on that bridge, united, watching the sky. Above the tops of evergreen trees, the Milky Way sprawled from horizon to horizon, and the Aurora Borealis crackled in shades of green and red. There was a shooting star, and then another, and then one more. Three. Like a signal.

Yesterday was a bit of a mess. Not exactly a day off – though I deserved one – and not exactly a working day. Still, not precisely a wasted day, either. I've read over "The Green Abyss," the piece I began for Sirenia Digest 105 decided to use "The Rest of the Wrong Thing," instead. It's worth finishing, and it's something that can be finished, though I have something else in my head now. So, not sure what will actually be in the digest this month. But I need to pull it together soon, so that I can get back to work on Alabaster.

I received a package from the marvelous and gracious Wilum H. Pugmire, containing a copy of The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, signed by Leslie Klinger and by Joshi.

And then comes the refrain, plaintive and high, please have a look at the current eBay auctions and also at Spooky's Etsy shop. Thank you. Truly.

Yesterday, I read "Anatomy of Colymbosaurus megadeirus (Reptilia, Plesiosauria) from the Kimmeridge Clay Formation of the U.K., and high diversity among Late Jurassic plesiosauroids" and "A giant marine coelacanth from the Jurassic of Normandy, France."

If you'd like to hear the podcast that I did during World Fantasy #40, with Peter Straub, Gary K. Wolfe, and Jonathan Strahan, it's right here: Episode #208 of the Coode Street Podcast. It'll be LIKE YOU'RE (cue reverb) THERE!!!!!

I should wake up, get dressed, and work.

Aunt Beast

"Walk in the way of my soft resurrection."

The sun is bright today, the sky is blue. I don't want to be sitting here. I want to breathe in deeply and taste clean air. I want to smell the sea, a forest, stone, sweat, hot asphalt. The world. Anything but this dusty room. It's only 48˚F out there, and that should be plenty enough to keep me from wanting to step out of doors, but it isn't working. There's an exhaustion nested deep in my every cell, and it is a weariness of this chair, my fingers on these keys, my eyes on this screen. I need to buy a pair of jeans. I could go do that. It would mean going to the mall, and I'm not very fond of the mall, but it might not be as bad as this room. The wind is working at stripping the tree outside my window. The wind and I aren't on the best of terms.

Yesterday, I managed to write four pages of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird. That gets me to Page Fourteen. Only nine to go. And then three more issues (sixty-six more pages). And then it will be over.

I had to sit down yesterday and figure out the publication history for "Andromeda Among the Stones" for S.T. Joshi. I was surprised to discover it might be one of my most reprinted stories:

1. Chapbook for Embrace the Mutation (Subterranean Press, 2002).
2. The Mammoth Book of New Terror (Robinson, UK, 2004)
3. To Charles Fort, With Love (Subterranean Press, 2005)
4. Subterranean Magazine, Issue #2 (Subterranean Press, 2005)
5. Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume 1) (Subterranean Press, 2011)
6. The Book of Cthulhu (Night Shade Books, 2011)

Fortunately, unlike its author, the story has aged well.

My thanks to sovay for sharing this dream with me:

I took the train to visit you and Spooky, although you had moved: you were living in a white, Colonial-style house set back from the road, on a sloping lawn with huge, autumn-shaggy trees slowly drifting leaf-trails on the wet grass. There was a Dimetrodon on the lawn. It was autumn-colored; its skin much more closely resembled a salamander's than a lizard's, scale-less and dully shining. Its sail was ribbed the same rust-and-bronze-orange as the fallen leaves. We watched it for a while.

My coffee is getting cold, like everything else.

Aunt Beast

"If again the seas are silent..."

It's cloudy, but at least the wind isn't blowing today. The wind here makes me want to crawl under the bed.

Nothing was written yesterday, though I did try. I have a title that may or may not grow into anything: "Little Red Cap in the Hall of the Yellow King." I think it probably sounds better than "Rotkäppchen in Carcosa," but I might be wrong.

Please note: We're getting eBay back up and running. And every winning bidder gets a FREE Alabaster "Because Bird" pin. Also, the same deal applies to sales from Spooky's Etsy shop, while my limited supply lasts.

The page proofs for Rasin' Hell arrived. I've not opened the envelope. I may hurl it out the window and report back to NYC that everything is fine and honky, dandy and dory.

My contributor's copy of The Madness of Cthulhu, edited by S.T. Joshi, arrived. It includes "A Mountain Walked," a previously unpublished story of mine and, to date, my only Western.

Speaking of which...

We saw a superb film last night, David Michôd's The Rover (2013), with Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. It would be hard to recommend this film strongly enough. Though nominally post-apocalytic, The Rover is, essentially, a Western, in the mold of various Clint Eastwood films, with healthy doses of Cormac McCarthy. It's a marvelously bleak, soft-spoken creation, the quiet desolation of the Australian outback punctuated by sporadic bursts of violence. It's been a long time since a film has made me so anxious or, in the end, left me with such a feeling of...I'm not even sure I put my finger of the word. The soundtrack is perfectly matched to the landscape, and the cinematography is gorgeous. Robert Pattinson's performance is especially noteworthy and put me in mind of Montgomery Clift in The Misfits (1961). See The Rover as soon as you can.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast
Buildings are empty like ghettos or ghost-towns.
It gives me a chill to think what was inside.
I can't seem to fathom the dark of my history.
I invented my own...
~ Neko Case

Rainy here. Rainy yesterday. It's only 72˚F, but it feels like 69˚F. I made the mistake of leaving the House yesterday; I won't make it again today.

There hasn't been much writing. Precious little progress on "The Cats of River Street (1925)." I thought – or I hoped – that I was beyond this dithering. I was clearly wrong.

I know that I've written about the decline in productivity I've experienced since 2012. I must have written about it in detail at some point. I can't find the cause. I thought it was the meds, so I went off them, and everything went to fuck. I'm back on them, and it's still all I can do to produce anything. There's no describing this frustration and panic. I'm not writing. Or I'm writing so little I might as well not be writing. Sooner or later, unless things change, there will be a financial crisis. I cannot solve this problem if I cannot locate the cause.

I sold "Far From Any Shore" to S.T. Joshi for Black Wings V. He'll be writing the afterword for Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales.

From Facebook, yesterday:

Any joy I might have felt at finally seeing one of my novels translated into French is entirely negated at the disappointment of seeing the shoddy excuse for a French edition of The Drowning Girl (La Fille qui se noie). A cheaply produced tpb printed on highly acidic rag paper that's already begun to degrade, with a cover that looks like it was hammered out in thirty minutes. It's the sort of thing I'd expect from an American POD. I have been impressed with the Turkish and Brazilian editions, and I'm in love with the Spanish edition, but France dropped the ball. If given a chance, I also never would have approved that translation of the title.


I should be at the San Diego ComicCon today. Instead, I'm here in Rhode Island, hating the weather and hating my goddamn treacherous body that made going to San Diego impossible. I do not, however, miss the vile crowd.


For those who have asked, yes I am staunchly anti-war. I am not, however, a pacifist. That's only a contradiction if you don't think about it.

And, back on the 24th:

More and more I see that I am a creature of the 20th century, and, truly, of the mid 20th century. I'll never adapt to this strange plastic and pixel world. I accept that, even though, increasingly, the cultural landscape baffles, angers, and frightens me.

Time to make the doughnuts.

Aunt Beast

"Who shook the Valley of the Shadow..."

I awake to a wind that sets my nerves on edge. I awake to 53% humidity, and it feels more like early autumn out there than summer. And I hate it. And I want to be shed of New England. Forever. Yesterday was sort of hot, and sort of hazy, and sort of actually fucking summer. I said on Facebook, at 9 p.m. last night:

The house has been sweltering today, which made me ill. 84˚F in the middle parlour. Near sunset, after I had a cool bath, we headed across the river to the market for watermelon, grapes, blue cheese, cottage cheese, biscotti, a spice cake, vanilla ice cream, half and half, ginger ale, and San Pellegrino blood orange soda. Spooky's mom and dad brought us lettuce and fresh eggs this morning. So, we're set. Now, the temperature in the middle parlour is down to 83˚F. Tomorrow, it's going to be much warmer, and we're not going to sit around here roasting. Our only AC is a cranky window unit we've haven't yet lugged into the pantry window. But yes, I still prefer this to the chill.

I managed to work yesterday, though it was a scattered mess of odds and ends. I wrote ad copy (though that is not my job, and I do not get paid for it) for Dark Horse Comics, for the forthcoming Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird. Not that the series has been written, and it won't be written until September and October, but whatever. Cart before the horse, that's standard procedure. I made three "last" corrections to the ms. of Cherry Bomb, before it goes to the copyeditor. I got Sirenia Digest #100 out to subscribers. I received S. T. Joshi's introduction for Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. I swapped emails with my agent regards a project I'll say more about very soon. It was that sort of "busyness" of writing day. I sweated, and I worked. I rather like sweating while I work. It feels natural and clean.

This morning I'm all anger, and very little else. I didn't see that coming, I wish all I had to blame was the goddamn wind and the sewage stink off Narragansett Bay.

Last night we saw Jean-Marc Vallée's Dallas Buyer's Club, and it is a truly wonderful film.

On the sixteenth, I wrote about the monotony of being an author. My thanks to David Kirkpatrick for sending me this Agatha Christie quote:

“Oh, Mrs. Oliver, it must be marvellous to write.”

Mrs. Oliver rubbed her forehead with a carbonny finger and said:

“Oh,” said Rhoda, a little taken aback. “Because it must. It must be wonderful just to sit down and write off a whole book.”

“It doesn’t happen exactly like that,” said Mrs. Oliver. “One actually has to think, you know. And thinking is always a bore. And you have to plan things. And then one gets stuck every now and then, and you feel you’ll never get out of the mess—but you do! Writing’s not particularly enjoyable. It’s hard work like everything else.”
“It doesn’t seem like work,” said Rhoda.
“Not to you,” said Mrs. Oliver, “because you don’t have to do it! It feels very like work to me. Some days I can only keep going by repeating over and over to myself the amount of money I might get for my next serial rights. That spurs you on, you know. So does your bankbook when you see how much overdrawn you are.”

…It must be so wonderful to be able to think of things,” said Rhoda.

“I can always think of things,” said Mrs. Oliver happily. “What is so tiring is writing them down. I always think I’ve finished, and then when I count up I find I’ve only written thirty thousand words instead of sixty thousand, and so then I have to throw in another murder and get the heroine kidnapped again. It’s all very boring.”

That's hitting the nail on the head.

Now, I have to go try to put out a few fires to which I awoke.

What Fresh Hell,
Aunt Beast

"Unbruise, unbloody, wash away the stain."

The sun came back yesterday, which helps. The temperatures will be breaking eighty for the next few days, and that helps, too. But my brain and body know that this is not truly summer. Still, I will make the best of it that I can.

I spent three and a half hours yesterday polishing "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)." Polishing is pretty much as close as I ever come to rewriting or revision or whatever. But it's really nothing remotely that radical. Someday, someone will complain about how poorly my "process" is understood, because I never bothered to explain it. Or they'll be baffled at there are only "first drafts" of my manuscripts and suspect I destroyed early drafts. My "get it right the first time" method baffles a lot of other writers, but it's the only way I know to work. And there will also be people who will say that if I had written in drafts I'd have been a better writer. And all these future and present and past critics can go fuck themselves. Anyway, today I'll be putting Sirenia Digest #100 (!!!) together, and it will go out to subscribers as soon as I have Vince's artwork for the new story. There will be no chapter from The Five of Cups this month. Instead, I'm including some of the earliest SD stories in a sort of retrospective.

There are green leaves dappled with sunlight outside my office window, and I should be out there, not in here. I've passed most of the last two or three years in a fog. I've wasted an obscene amount of time not living my life.

I got the final cover for Cherry Bomb last week. Jesus, it's bad. And purple. I have mentioned that Ms. Tierney is no longer among the living, right? I thought so. I do not know the release date on the book. Sometime in 2015, I assume.

Work on Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea continues. It's essentially done. sovay did a round of proofreading after I did all my proofreading, and Kathryn is currently typing in those corrections. I still have to get some stuff to Lee Moyer who is once again doing the cover, and I need to choose the art for the limited edition, and S. T. Joshi is writing the introduction, and...well, when all that's done, it'll be a book, won't it? It's been slow going.

I went back on Lamictal on May 21st, and I'm doing better. And after the state I was in during April and May, better is really very good, even if it's far from okay on some imaginary scale of absolute wellness.

There You Go,
Aunt Beast

"...for a lead role in a cage."

I'd like my walk-on part back now, please.

I have spent years now in a fancy prison with very liberal privileges (though I rarely avail myself of them).

I am fairly certain that this is the coldest March morning I have ever known, out of forty-nine years and nine months worth of March mornings (unless that was actually yesterday morning). My office windows are frosted over. The lying sun is out and bright in a wide carnivorous sky. Currently, it's 24˚F out there, but feels like 17˚F. Last night's low was 18˚F, and tonight's low will be 14˚F. Supposedly, some sort of miserly warming is about to begin. We shall see. I sit here in stale Hell:

Wednesday evening, 6:56 p.m.Collapse )

Yesterday, I began the cyborg story. Just barely. Currently, it wears the Daxian title "The Living and Their Stillborn." I only wrote 357 words, probably because of the very, very potent weed I was smoking to take the edge off my anxiety. Anyway, here's yesterday's work, in full:

I usually bring Jessamine down to Little Beirut, to the Backwash Anticline stringers of dyke subsequents and neonical bioluddite lounges. The resident cops’ cady is an ex-friend of mine, and therefore not as prone to tagging a slŭf all night, so Jessamine and I can mainly be out with-out suffering the attention of the froggers. Like most left behinds, she’s a right hypochondriac, but wouldn’t I be, too? Fuck yeah, I would. If I’d been born locked up with an inviolable biochemistry, I’d be five-fold paranoid as Jessamine. I seriously doubt I’d be trusting my continued persistence to a Made-in-Tianjin rebreather, gloves, and a handful of skittles. I’d be one of the bubble babies, for sure. So, it makes me proud of her, whenever Jessamine agrees to leave her tiny sharefare apartment in Red Hook and accompany me anywhere at all.

We sit together in the cat-leather booth all the way at the back of Canaan, so we don’t have to watch the daily-events giallo they flash over the bar. Jessamine is talking about her new painting when a certain lady we both know spots us and waves and makes her way through the press to our booth, her own reject in tow.

Now, that term –
reject – it might not be deemed any longer corrección política in some more refined circles. But those are circles to which neither myself nor Jessamine belong. Also, I’d hasten to add: circles whose constituents are as gun shy of the Little B saloons and brothels as the bubble babies are of opening a window on a smoggy August afternoon. Jessamine, she names herself reject. And the sole time I objected, and even went so far as to raise the hoary specter of self-hatred, autoloathe, she told me to wear my heart on the inside, where it belongs. She even said please.

Anyway, the certain lady in question is known usually as the Natrolite Viper, and she’s a stone fan of Jessamine’s work. She seems to buy every other canvas, at least.

Otherwise, yesterday we finished Season Three of Games of Thrones. Superb. Also, Naked Lunch, downloading for this weekend's Wildstar beta, Vicodin, leftover chicken and a very nice avocado, "A Review of 'Morphology and Evolution of Turtles: Proceedings of the Gaffney Turtle Symposium (2009) in Honor of Eugene S. Gaffney,'" "New specimens of Protocetidae (Mammalia, Cetacea) from New Jersey and South Carolina," "A new record of ringed seal (Pusa hispida) from the late Pleistocene Champlain Sea and comments on its age and paleoenvironment," Yacht Club soda, and electronic mousetraps. Oh, and my comp copy of S.T. Joshi's Black Wings III: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror came, and I read a little from it. Beautiful cover. The book includes my story "One Tree Hill (The World As Cataclysm)."

Now, it's that time, so it is.

Aunt Beast

Except from "The Living and Their Stillborn" Copyright © 2014 by Caitlín R. Kiernan, All Rights Reserved.

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