Monday, May 30, 2005
The weather here turned foul yesterday the high was only about 64F, with rain. It looks about the same today (though it's a little warmer), and the same is forecast for tomorrow. Soggy. Cold. Blegh.
Yesterday was another very frantic, productive day during which I didn't actually write. I finished with the cover for False Starts, the chapbook for Subterranean Magazine #2 (hb edition), and did the layout and editing and preface for a second chapbook, The Little Damned Book of Days, which will come free with the numbered and lettered states of To Charles Fort, With Love. There was a bunch of e-mail. I wrote a press release to accompany the ARCs of TCF,WL that are going out to books stores this week (and I loathe writing press releases; it's something I did a lot of in my twenties). I began planning the cover of The LIttle Damned Book of Days, which I probably won't work on until next weekend. I went on a tirade about people who use "mic" when they mean "mike" (the shortened form of "microphone"), how "mic" is not a frelling word, blah, blah, blah. That was yesterday. I'll try to get back to work on Chapter Four today.
Sophie seems to be doing well. We gave her her first at-home insulin shot last night, and she got her second this morning. Because this is Type B diabetes, it can't be controlled solely by diet, though we have changed her food. It's still too early to tell how this thing's going to go. Right now, I'm glad to have her back, grateful she's doing well, but it's hard to imagine this arrangement as a permanent solution.
Last night, nothing remarkable. More Rise of the Kasai, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Silmarillion. Oh, I also read The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss. I watched Run Silent, Run Deep on TCM, my second favorite submarine movie after Das Boot.
Okay. Here's a link that made me laugh until I was slightly ill. That way, you can't say I'm all doom and hrumph. It should be especially amusing to those of you who, like me, hold tentacles near and dear do your hearts. And, also, I've been meaning to thank the anonymous kind soul who sent me the iPod for my birthday. I am now stuffing it with mp3s. Only 469 so far, with 15.5 gigs still available. Already, I've imported everything by NIN, Kate Bush, The Crόxshadows, VNV Nation, The Decemberists, and a bunch of weird stuff that I write to frequently. I have, predictably, named her Moya, and will also be using her to back up my iBook's hd. So, thanks.
And don't forget, an ARC of TCF,WL is now up on eBay.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
In the last twenty-four hours lots of people have come forward to offer words of support, advice, and financial aid to help us cope with Sophie's condition, and I thank you all. I wish I had time right now to sit down and e-mail each of you to express my gratitude. The situation is far less grim this morning than it was yesterday, and we have you guys to thank for that. Sophie will be coming home this afternoon. For now, Spooky will be administering her injections, as we continue to debate whether to adopt her out or attempt to deal with this ourselves with the help of a local sitter. We shall see.
Also, a belated birthday thanks to Erin Potratz. And a link that I meant to post days ago, to the website of the very talented E. L. Downey, who crafted me a special, tentacl'd birthday gift.
I managed to make a very busy, productive day of yesterday, instead of allowing it to be consumed by the ravenous tumult that has been gobbling down day after day. I put together the False Starts chapbook for Subterranean Press and sent it away to Bill Schafer. It will be offered with the 150-copy hardcover limited edition of Subterranean Magazine #2 and consists of several vignettes which were begun for Frog Toes and Tentacles but, for one reason or another, went unfinished (some of them were hardly begun). By the way, the lettered edition of FT&T will also get you one of the long-promised Low Red Moon broadsheets, featuring Ryan Obermeyer's beautiful endpaper artwork from the subpress edition and a poem by moi (writing as Caroline Snow). I'm really looking forward to seeing these. Also, yesterday, I began work on the cover art for the False Starts chap (which I'm doing myself), and wrote a preface for same. So, that was yesterday and work.
Last night I kept myself busy. Spooky made pasta with tomatos and red peppers. I watched some stuff on G4, then played a couple hours worth of Rise of the Kasai. We read another chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird (and I explained Jitney Jungles to Spooky), and then I began re-reading The Silmarillion. And still the nightmares came. "I think I'd probably be disappointed if they didn't," she said, her voice fairly dripping with sarcasm. "Where would I be without them?"
And here's a reminder that an ARC for To Charles Fort, With Love is currently being auctioned on eBay.
There was something else I wanted to say, but I think I'll save it for later. I need to get to work.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
I was just listening to The Decemberists' Picaresque and was moved to post the lyrics which follow. Perhaps they will even inspire someone to check out The Decemberists who hasn't yet done so; no dren, this band is keeping me vaguely sane lately, and surely that counts as a good recommendation. Also, we have finally added an uncorrected ARC of To Charles Fort, With Love to our eBay auctions.
"The Infanta" (The Decemberists)
Here she comes in her palanquin on the back of an elephant,
on a bed made of linen and sequins and silk.
All astride on her father's line
with the king and his concubines
and her nurse with her pitchers of liquors and milk.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
Among five-score pachyderm, each canopied and passengered,
sit the duke and the duchess's luscious young girls,
within sight of the baroness (seething spite
for this live largess,) by her side
sits the baron. Her barrenness barbs her.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
A phalanx on camelback, thirty ranks
on her forward tack follow close,
their shiny bright standards a'waving.
While behind, in their coaching fours, ride the wives of the king of Moors
and the veiled young virgin, the prince's betrothed.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
And as she sits upon her place, her innocence laid on her face,
from all atop the parapets blow a multitude of coronets,
melodies rhapsodical and fair.
And all our hearts afire, the sky ablaze with cannonfire,
we all raise our voices to the air, to the air...
And above all this falderal, on a bed made of chaparral,
she is laid, a coronal placed on her brow.
And the babe, all in slumbered dreams
of a place filled with quiet screams,
and the lake where her cradle was pulled from the water.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
And we'll all come praise the infanta.
This continues to be the year that is determined to stomp my ass flat and keep me so freaked out that I can't write. Really, I've not had a year this vile since 1995, and every time I think the shitstorm has finally passed, here comes a few more clouds. Since I have a very firm, nigh unto unshakeable, conviction that LJs and blogs are to be reserved only for those things that you genuinely mean to be put before the public, I'm not going to get into most of this stuff. Most of what the shitstorms have been. Private demons are private for a reason.
I will say that Sophie's quick recovery from the carnassial extraction was short-lived. All week, her condition continued to deteriorate. She wound up back at the vet on Thursday, at which point I realised that the vets in question were possibly quacks. Yesterday, we took Sophie to a better vet, and by the time we got her there she was hardly moving or reacting to anything. What the quack vet had determined to be post-operative "depression," the new vet feared was a systemic blood infection. She was severely dehydrated, and there were fears of worse things still. When we left her, I figured that was the last time that I would ever see her alive. About 8 p.m. last night, the vet called to say that the good news was the worst thing that was wrong with Sophie was that she's diabetic (the quack vet had noted elevated glucose levels, but told us it wasn't a problem). Of course, that's also the bad news. With proper treatment, twice-daily insulin shots, she might live several more years. But my life isn't exactly amenable to taking care of a diabetic cat. There's really no one here but me and Kathryn to see that she gets the shots in question, and we often have to be out of town. So, we're presently making the extremely difficult decision as to whether or not to put her up for adoption to a hospice or individual who treats elderly, diabetic cats. Compared to some of the things that have happened to me the last few months (which I have not written of here, of which I shall not write of here), this is probably small potatoes. But Sophie and I have been together for fifteen years (she's probably sixteen years old).
When I found Sophie at the Birmingham Humane Society, I adopted her because I knew the odds for adult cats. I was 25 and lived in the little place on 16th St. South, and Sophie spent most of her time in the woods on Red Mountain. When I moved to Athens in April '94, she went with me. When I moved back to Birmingham in '97, so did she. Sophie has been there all along, long before I'd sold or published a single story or novel, back when my life was always chaos, and I lived half of it in drag clubs and bars. I have only a couple of friends whom I've known longer than Sophie's been with me. She has been a still point for me through many terrible times, and she was there for all the amazing good stuff, too. I can hardly imagine the world without her. But I know that if I try to handle this whole diabetic thing myself, we'll both suffer, and Spooky, too so, I'm faced with this decision. And over a thousand dollars in vet bills, though, fortunately, Spooky's parents are taking care of a large part of that. Thank you, Richard and Carol.
And just so you have something here that is not entirely depressing, this link.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Quite a number of people have gone out of their way to make this a pleasant day for me, and I shall not display a lack of gratitude by whining, kvetching, snarking, or acting in some other way which might lead them to think their actions have been in vain. Because they haven't.
I have begun to wonder when I'm going to start feeling my age. Does that actually happen? Do you wake up one morning and feel very much older? I don't want it to happen, mind you, but I do wonder. I see all these people in their frelling twenties acting ten years older than me. And there's a fear to this. I do not want to be unsightly, one of those women who doesn't know that's she's too old to wear a mini-skirt (that was just an example, as I would not, under normal circumstances, wear a mini-skirt), as I do not wish to embarrass myself unknowingly any more than is absolutely necessary. Oh, never mind. This is starting to sound like kvetching...
Last night, Spooky and I saw the very excellent Primer, one of the most intelligent treatments of time travel I've ever seen, if not the most intelligent. But I think I need to see it a couple more times before saying much more.
I neglected to mention in yesterday's somewhat random accounting of things that had transpired in the two days I didn't make entries that, on Monday, I signed 26 copies of Silk (eBay purchases). Yesterday, Spooky and I lugged 125 copies (just over 100 pounds) of To Charles Fort, With Love ARCs to the post office. And if you happen to be at Book Expo America this year, you just might get lucky and score a copy. We still have to send out about a hundred copies to bookstores.
Okay. Hold the shop talk. I'm feeling ungrateful. So, my thanks to the following people for their generosity on this odd day: Spooky (!!!!!!), who had to deal with me waking up at 8 frelling a.m. wanting presents, white chocolate mocha, and Star Wars cupcakes; Jenny (Stinkmonkey!); Derek c.f. Pegritz, aRvin Clay, and the disembodied head of H. P. Lovecraft; Mell? and E. L. Downey (face tentacles!); Bill Harris; Many Ann Hantakas; George Drayer; Britta Koch; Leh'agvoi (Setsuled) ? yay, pulp!; John and Cheryl Stoeppel; Zilljah (I shall not let the humans get me down); David Kirkpatrick (thanks for a "lost" book!); Jackie Kolasa; William G. Matthews (who was almost too generous ? wow); Llar'en (Larne Pekovsky; trilobites!); Robyn_ma; Susannah Ferdinand; Dayna (for teaching me the history of things what go inside b'day cakes); Kirin; D. Brite; Jada and Katharine; and my mom. You have all helped to make this a day on which not to grump.
I spent about four and a half hours on Chapter Four of Daughter of Hounds yesterday, and managed to rewrite the first scene of the chapter almost entirely (or so it seems). Tomorrow (as I am not writing today ? not no way, not no how), I'll begin writing new pages for Chapter Four, and this book will move ahead towards THE END. But now, it's sunny out, and starting to feel like summer, and I'm off to do some serious mischief...
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Three days wading hip deep in chaos and nonsense. The crap that keeps me from writing. The crap that makes me want to walk away and keep walking. But here I sit. In my chair. Listening to The Decemberists because they sometimes make me feel better or at least manage to add an edge of sweetness to the crap. Sweet crap. That would be a pretty good geek euphemism for, say, cool stuff produced by Darth Gates/Microsoft. Like, "I've seen the 360 and that's some frelling sweet crap." Anyway...
My thanks to Darren for getting caitlin-r-kiernan.com back online. Once again, I am dot.comX2.
Is there anything about the last three days worth relating? No, not really. So...this stuff will have to do, instead. We caught the season finale of Deadwood both last night and Sunday night. An absolutely perfect episode. I can't recommend this series strongly enough. This is probably the best television that I've ever seen. So, yeah, there was that. Also, the artwork for Frog Toes and Tentacles is looking absolutely incredible. Vince is doing the pencils now. And Spooky and I saw an exquisite French sf film, Immortel (ad vitam), directed by Enki Bilal (you can see the trailer here, if you have Quicktime). Wow. I can actually glean three good things from the last three days. Never let it be said I'm incapable of finding the silver linings.
Oh, and last night, Spooky dreamt I was doing something naughty with Johnny Depp, and she was jealous. To which I say, she has better dreams than I do.
Sophie had an abscessed carnassial extracted on Monday, and she's doing fine. The vet couldn't believe she's 16+ years old.
Speaking of advancing years, tomorrow's the day. -1 in the Year of Our Lord Oh Shit. I'm not dreading it as much as I expected. I'm trying to learn not to dread those things which I can neither forestall nor avoid. But I expect I shall do something terribly immature, just to show Time my middle finger, something like spend the whole day hiding in a dark theatre watching Revenge of the Sith over and over again. I'll think of something.
Anything else? Oh, yeah. Turns out I was wrong about Rise of the Kasai. I think I was just in a lousy mood when I played it for the first time on Saturday night. It's actually pretty cool, and, as I said, the animation is gorgeous. I think I'm going to try to play Jedi Academy next, because Setsuled says I can play as a blue Twi'lek woman, and that, unlike the lamentable KotOR and TSL, Jedi Academy actually allows players to fight for themselves. I know it's a revolutionary idea, but it might catch on.
I'm thinking that the novel after the novel that's presently trying to grind me to pulp against the "rocks" of my own southerly coast, which is to say, the next novel, is going to be a YA fantasy set in the hemispherical world from Murder of Angels. I think it may involve a transgendered girl adopted by the Red Witches of Nesmia Shar. Scarborough Pentecost might even get a cameo. How does that strike you?
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Yesterday, Spooky and I read through all of Chapter Four of Daughter of Hounds, all that's been written so far. And I discovered that I'll be spending today rewriting before I can move forward and finish the chapter. Some of it's better than I recall, and there's not that much to be done as I thought there would be to bring it in line with the changes that the story underwent prior to the rewrite of Chapter Three, but it's still not quite right. And, not believing that crap about allowing oneself to write bad drafts, I'd prefer it was as right as I can make it before I proceed. It should only take today, if I can focus and get to it.
I see now that the entire summer will consumed by this book. I wish that weren't the case. Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels consumed a summer each, but I was hoping that wouldn't be the case with this novel.
Oh, and I decided to compromise on all the neglected hair maintenance. Hair was cut yesterday, but not coloured. That'll happen today. This way, time was free both days for writing.
After Doom 3, I tried Lucasarts' The Sith Lords for a few days, but found it just as tedious and unimaginative as I found Knights of the Old Republic to be. I can't see the point of playing a game wherein the program seizes control of my character whenever a combat situation arises. BioWare, who released the superb Jade Empire, is the creative force behind the game, of course, and there are a lot of similarities between the two, but TSL seems to fail in all the respects that JE excels. So, anyway, now I'm trying Rise of the Kasai, which has possibly the most beautiful animation I've seen in any videogame except, perhaps, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, but it's pretty much wasted on what seems, so far, to be a fairly silly, insubstantial game.
Unless you count the vignettes in Frog Toes and Tentacles, I've not written a new short story or novella since last August, when I finished "Bradbury Weather." Fuck...
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Yesterday I went to the prologue of Daughter of Hounds, meaning only to tighten and tuck here and there, small things to reconcile it with the changes that were made to Chapter Three and the rest of the story. And suddenly I was writing a whole frelling new opening scene! 553 words of new opening scene, to be precise. So, that was a bit of a surprise. Today, I'll either get back to work on the middle of Chapter Four, or the entire day will be sacrificed to the colouring and cutting of my hair. Just which has yet to be determined. Also, yesterday, I sent more notes to Vince Locke regarding the illos. for Frog Toes and Tentacles. He's given me permission to post a couple of rough sketches here, which I'll do in a day or two. And I talked with Poppy about writing press releases, which I have to do for To Charles Fort, With Love. Finally, I had to go over the line edits that the Roc copyeditors had made on "The Pearl Diver." Mostly, they were okay, but there were several that made me groan and curse and spit. My favorite of this sort, the CEs complained that they couldn't "verify" Mt. Gudmundson, which is mentioned in passing in the story. And I'm like, it's a frelling sf story, not journalism. Why does anything need to be verified? Anyay, I told the editor that it's a peak in the Transantarctic Mountains and suggested the beleagured CEs try Google. Also, I continue to be speechlessly annoyed at CEs and publishers who want to capitalize "Web," as in www, even though it's not a proper noun and is not a trademark. It seemed to be a very full day.
As soon as Bill Schafer sends the addresses to about a gazillion bookstores, we have to start getting these ARCs in the mail. By the way, the copies that are being sent out to reviewers will be coming directly from Subterranean Press. This is a different matter altogether. This is a hopefully not futile attempt to persuade a few chain bookstores to carry a few copies of the collection. And I haven't forgotten about my promise to eBay two or three of the ARCs. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe today.
A couple of months back, the domain registration for caitlin-r-kiernan.com expired and, since I didn't actually own the domain (long story), I was unable to renew it. I figured, what the frell, I can make do with caitlinrkiernan.com. No author needs more than one website, right? But I am being made aware that a lot of people think my website's vanished, because most of my books list caitlin-r-kiernan.com, not caitlinrkiernan.com. Sooooo...I'm going to try to get control of the domain, but only if I can do so without laying out a lot of money. Meanwhile, if any of you happen to have bookmarks or links set to caitlin-r-kiernan.com, please reset them to caitlinrkiernan.com. Thank you, and I apologize for any inconvenience (though, in truth, this is not my fault).
I am finding myself afflicted by an almost overwhelming urge to write Farscape/Deadwood crossover fic. Where do these perverse desires come from? Why do I feel driven to write a Calamity Jane/Chiana slash? And speaking of universes bleeding one into the other, read the new installment of Boschen and Nesuko, and see if you can spot the Star Wars reference.
For Kid Night last night, we watched the utterly awful and abominablly dull Alone in the Dark. I only picked this one up because a) I thought the monster might be cool, b) it has Christian Slater (whose metamorphosis into Jack Nicholson seems to be accelerating), and c) when the movie was released in theatres, several people wrote suggesting that the filmmakers had cribbed the storyline from Threshold. This movie is so bad that, even if they had, I probably wouldn't do anything about it because I wouldn't want to be associated in any way with this silly mess of a film. Afterwards, we watched Michael Keaton in White Noise. It was a better film. I mean, it had actual production values and acting and a script and stuff like that, but it was still a little muddled for my liking. The filmmakers seemed to be trying to simultaneously pull in the Jonathan Edward/Crossing Over nitwits and make a creepy bad-things-wait-on-the-other-side sort of film. The visuals are somewhat influenced by recent Japanese ghost-story films, but in such a hamfisted way that it's nothing but annoying. The director had obviously seen The Ring. Too many times. Anyway, it's watchable, if you must. It's not as syrupy as, say, Ghost, but a little too precious for my tastes. Is it scary? No. There are one or two interesting visuals, but they're not worth the entire film and seem to have found there way in almost accidentally.
Check out the eBay auctions. I must now go figire out what this day holds for me...
Friday, May 20, 2005
So, today I have to finally get to the line edits on "The Pearl Diver" (today being the deadline) and do a little fidgeting about with the prologue of Daughter of Hounds before proceeding to the task of finishing Chapter Four.
It's strange that I've been having so much difficulty with this book, because, as I told Poppy last time she was in town, this is probably the first time I've ever written a novel where I've actually found myself enjoying the act of writing. That's the characters, in part, and, in part, it's the story. I suspect the trouble has arisen not so much from Daughter of Hounds, but from external distractions, annoyances, family tragedy, and minor cataclysms. It hasn't been an easy winter. In truth, it was a perfectly awful winter. But now that it's over, I'm working better again. Things seem to be calming down around here. And I've dealt with the problem of scaling the novel back. It won't be 200K words, probably not even 150K. Maybe 130K. I'll know when I'm done. I've divided out the whole subplot about Sadie and her book and Dogtown and the Reverend William Wellcome, and maybe someday I'll write another novel devoted entirely to that story. Though Roc's request that the book stay under 150K was the result of purely monetary concerns, they have inadvertently forced me to devise what will be a better novel. Writing's weird like that. Sometimes you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, and you never know where the magic will come from, and all options should be considered, no matter how artless or practical might be the motives in back of them.
There are terrific storms coming, and the lights are flickering.
Last night, I made myself sit down and colour the last three colour monster doodles. They're all done now. Spooky read more of To Kill a Mockingbird to me while I coloured. This book feels like a friend I've neglected for a long time. I think we're going to read Shirley Jackson next, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Anyway, since I took so frelling long to finish colouring these last three doodles, I may post images of them tomorrow.
This morning, I woke about an hour before Spooky, after many nightmares, and flipped through the ARC of To Charles Fort, With Love. I'm so pleased with this collection. My misgivings are very few and small. Anyway, now I should go write and edit and so on and so forth. Have a look at the eBay auctions, please and thank you.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I wrote only 887 words on Chapter Three yesterday, but that was because only 887 words were required to reach the end of the chapter. So, there. Chapter Three has been written, and now it has been rewritten from the perspective of a different character. Not something I would want to make a habit of doing. But I can say that now the book feels more focused and on-track than ever before. It is becoming the book about Emmie Silvey and Soldier that I meant it to be at the start, instead of the book about everyone and everything that it was trying to become. Also, yesterday, I got more art from Vince Locke and sent him my comments on the illustrations. So, that was yesterday.
Spooky and I have been fairly submerged in Star Wars since Friday evening, when we watched The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones again, back to back. We followed that with Genndy Tarkovsky's animated Clone Wars. Last night, we even dropped by the "Revenge of the Sithapalooza at Criminal Records in L5P for a few minutes. Here are a couple of shots of the high weirdness that is a metal band composed of Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and assorted agents of the Empire. They're pretty lousy photos. We were way in the back.
So...today we went to a 12:30 p.m. showing of Revenge of the Sith. I had only the faintest rind of hope that on this last chance, George Lucas might have made another Star Wars movie that doesn't suck bantha behind. And I am pleased to say, entirely to my surprise, that this is, indeed, the case. Though it wobbles here and there towards the beginning, RotS is the third, and possibly even the second, best film of the six. Gone is almost all of the lame humour. We only have to see Jar-Jar Binks twice, and on neither ocassion is he allowed to speak. The opening battle scene is as grand and engaging as the Hoth battle in The Empire Strikes Back. About halfway through the film, I realized that, for the first time since TESB, I was truly immersed. I actually cared about the characters. This time, the actors are allowed to act, and they do a nice job with the script. They are allowed to emote. I was dumbfounded. I've heard a rumour that Lucas was persuaded by F. F. Coppola to allow someone else to direct the human actors, and if this is true, it would explain the difference. Honestly, in my opinion, for whatever that is worth, this is a good movie. It evokes the wonder and excitement and awe missing the last two times out. This is truly how this whole thing was meant to wrap up. Anakin Skywalker's fall and the demise of the Jedi is the heartbreak that it had to be. I will be seeing it at least once more in theatres. Indeed, I would dare go so far as to suggest that you could take the first two Star Wars films (SW:ANH and SW:TESB, follow them up with this last film, and you'd have a better trilogy than the original three (I was never pleased with all that foolishness with the Ewoks). I tend to be over enthusiastic, I know. I'm infamous for excessive enthusiasm. But I liked this film. A lot. I'll have more to say on it later. Comments welcome.
When we got home, there were five or six boxes of ARCs of To Charles Fort, With Love stacked on the front porch. If you'll recall, Spooky and I have been charged with the task of getting ARCs mailed out to a couple hundred bookstores, in hopes of boosting the collection's sales beyond the established market. It looks like a warehouse around here. Anyway, I'm going to spare a copy or two (or three) for eBay, and because, I must admit, things are a bit tight financially at the moment, largely due to my taking so frelling long to write the new novel, there won't be a "Buy It Now" option on these ARCs. But they're very nice, with the final cover art and Rick Kirk's interior illos. If there were going to be a tpb edition of the collection, this is pretty much how it would look (though, of course, the text and layout is uncorrected). I'll let you know when the auction starts, late today or sometime tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I did a respectable 1,421 words on Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds yesterday. I should be able to finish the chapter today, as planned. The last couple of pages yesterday left me with that old, sick feeling, that sense that my job is to create people and then visit every imaginable horror upon them, like some distant, sadistic god. I frelling hate that feeling. On the one hand, it probably indicates that my characters are alive to me, but, on the other, it shows that some part of me thinks I should treat them better.
I once had a Jungian analyst, whom I'd been seeing for several years, tell me that, whereas most people she'd worked with needed to get past the barrier of their conscious ego to deal with problems posed by the repression of their shadow selves, there was little to me but shadow, as far as she could see. She's also the one who convinced me to write The Five of Cups and Silk as psychotherapeutic acts. Anyway, yeah, I kind of feel that way a lot of the time, all shadow, and pity the poor entities trapped in universes of my creation.
Very bad dreams last night and the night before, and hence there's been too little sleep, which is probably why I'm babbling about Jung and my misadventures in therapy.
It is from the all-uniting depths that the dream arises, be it ever so childish, grotesque, or immoral... Jung
Also yesterday, Vince Locke sent me the rough sketches of the illustrations for Frog Toes and Tentacles, and today I need to get back to him about those. Maybe I'll ask permission to post one here.
Only eight days left until the dratted birthday. Gods, I'm tired of these things. Especially the way there seems to be increasingly less time between each one. If I could ask Stephen Hawking one question, it would be, "Why does the distance between my birthdays decrease year by year?" He'd deny that it does, of course, and mutter some frippery about relativity. But I know the Masons and the Rand Corportaion keep him from telling the truth about such things. *sigh* Maybe I'll stay in bed all day this year. I asked Spooky if I could have whores for my birthday, but she only scowled that scowl that I know means No, and don't ask me that again. But, on the bright side, I do have an Amazon wish list. Sadly, there are no whores upon it. Now, I'm gonna go calculate the time between birthday -1 and birthday -2. I'm guessing it's down to about 8.5 months. I wonder what happens if you live long enough that the space between birthdays can only be counted in negative numbers?
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
I did 1,198 words on Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds yesterday.
Last night, while I coloured monster doodles, Spooky read more from To Kill a Mockingbird. Hearing it again is making me want to read a biography of Harper Lee. I'd forgotten the effect this book had upon me as a kid the scene where Atticus kills the rabid dog, for example. I'd also forgotten that Scout gets her ill-fated batton at a V. J. Elmore's. In Leeds, when I was growing up, we had a V. J. Elmore's Five and Dime. Since that was before the age of Big Box Stores like Wal-Mart, Elmore's was sort of important to us. You could probably put at least fifteen Elmore's inside any given Wal-Mart, but it seemed huge in 1974. "The dime store," as we called it, finally closed down sometime back in the '80s. I assume that all Elmore's are closed by now. In Leeds, the building where it had been became the Public Library (previously, the library had been in an old bank across the street). And speaking of colour monster doodles, here another:
I have only three monster doodles left to colour (yay!). After my arm finally tired of colouring and Spooky tired of reading, I finished Doom 3. Gods, what a lousy and yet oddly satisfying game. I assume that I am not the target audience. I assume the target audience is 14, male, and fond of death metal. Certainly, that was the sensibility of the game. Not a drop of characterization whatsoever. No, Big Buff Marine Dude is not a character. Neither is Evil Bald Marine Dude. They're mere templates, at best. The story, such as it was, was ultimately fairly nonsensical. So, no characters and no story (not so you'd notice), no thought necessary. Just pull the trigger and vaporize the monsters. I enjoyed that part, I'll admit, otherwise I never would have made it to the end. I rented this game because I wanted to kill, kill, kill, and that urge was satisfied. But it would have been a hundred times more satisfying had there been characters and a story and some point to the whole thing. And it was a beautifully deisgned game, in its own stomach-churning way, filled with some nice moments of both horror and terror, but this only adds to the disappointment that more care wasn't taken to flesh it all out. In the end, Doom 3 is about as bright as a sack of mud. So, yeah. Anyway, bang, bang, it's over. I should stay clear of the XBox for a time, but I probably won't.
Only nine days remaining until the Big -1 (if you count today). It's not too late to take some of the pain away. Verily, the dogeared goddess of paperback writers will smile on you.
Also, eBay, and we have another copy of the "Alabaster" chapette up now. Remember, I will only be selling four of these. This is number three.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Gaming was a pleasant diversion from the day-to-day-to-day of pimping the platypus (you'll just have to bear with me until that ceases to be my favourite new metaphor), spending the day as a half-celestial/half-human paladin on a suicidal quest to reach the bottom of the multiverse. I smote wight butt, so to speak. I offended an idolatorous heathen with my piety. A good time was had by all.
Today, it's back to this plane, the one where I'm only a disgruntled, misplaced alien writing her seventh novel. No dice rolls today, just my fingers at the keyboard. Just Emmie and her stepmother at the American Museum of Natural History and Central Park. I smell honeysuckle through the open window of my office. That's been the biggest difference about this office over all those I have had before, beginning way back in 1993 when I first said, "This is the room where I write, and it won't be used for anything else." I've always covered the windows with thick black cloth, mostly to shut out distraction. But I find that I'm needing the sun more these days, so I allow it in, in small doses, and I open the window and let in smells. Like honeysuckle.
This is going to be a busy week. And I have to deal with all the writing stuff that isn't directly related to Daughter of Hounds without losing momentum with the novel. The novel proceeds at all costs. The novel is pimping me. I will have no other stories-of-my-doing before me. Something like that.
There's a lull in the eBay auctions at the moment, but more books will be up later this afternoon. For example, we'll be putting up another copy of the "Alabaster" chapette. Also, a "clerical error" allowed five copies of Silk to stray beyond the cut-off hour on the Amazing $5 Silk sale. Three have subsequently sold, but two still remain. So, you have another shot two, actually at a ridiculously cheap copy of Silk. We'll also be getting up copies of The Five of Cups, From Weird and Distant Shores, etc. I'm colouring the last ten monster doodles tonight, and they'll go in the mail tomorrow (with their accompanying books).
And I guess that's it for today. I mean, unless you were thinking about Birthday -1 and happened to be looking for this...
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Yesterday, I did a very, very satisfying 2,073 words on Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds, in which Emmie has a Very Significant Dream. So, there you go. I did get at least one stellar day on this chapter. Perhaps I'll get another tomorrow, but today I'm off to play D&D with friends (which I've not done since way the frell back in, oh, I think, October). I'm now hoping that I'll be able to finish Chapter Three by late on Wednesday evening (May 18), allowing me to resume work on Chapter Four on Thursday.
I was pleased with Alien Planet, even though it departed quite a bit from Barlowe's book storywise. But you really should find a copy of Expedition and read it, because there is much more depth and detail there.
I am so not ready for birthday -1. Not even nearly. That's what happens when you allow your unsightly twenties to slosh over into the depths of your thirties. These things get ugly. The existensial shock of temporal progression and all that. Our inherent powerlessness before the indifferent flow of Time. There's a link, though. for them what want's to help lessen the infernal sting.
And here's an amusing little thing.
Wonderful storms last night. They woke me about five, I think, and then crept into my dreams. Later, kiddos...
Saturday, May 14, 2005
I did 1,152 words on Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds yesterday. With luck, at this pace, I'll have Chapter Three rewritten and be getting back to Chapter Four by Friday or Saturday. Sooner, if I have a couple of stellar stays, the kind where I write two thousand words or more. Someday, this book will be finished.
I have the galleys for To Charles Fort, With Love, sitting here to be waiting to be proofed. I also have to go over some line edits for "The Pearl Diver," an sf short story I wrote last summer; the editor of the anthology in which the story will be appearing sent me those a couple of days ago, but I've not even printed them out yet.
When Spooky and I went for our walk this morning, we startled a little ringnecked snake (Diadophis punctatus) sunning itself on the sidewalk. It slithered off into the weeds before we could get much more than a glimpse. You don't see many snakes in the city. They're one of those things I miss, usually without even being aware that I'm missing them.
I'm a little excited about the Discovery Channel's Alien Planet, which is based on Wayne Douglas Barlowe's wonderful 1990 book Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV. I have long loved that book. I've lost track of how many times I've read it and marveled at Barlowe's artwork. With luck, the Discovery Channel will do it justice. That's tonight at 8 p.m. EST, by the way.
Friday, May 13, 2005
I did a modest 1,040 words on the rewriting of Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds yesterday. I'd have done more, but a black mood assailed me, and I wasn't really up to fending it off. Sometimes, it's best if I just let them come and have their way with me. Sure, the next morning I wake up in an alley somewhere, my bra on backwards, one shoe missing, wondering why my ass is so sore. But at least there's no struggle. I think I want that carved on my tombstone At least there's no more struggle. This novel is all struggle. The fact of being a novelist right now is all struggle. And, despite what you might have heard to the contrary, there's neither glamour nor nobility in the struggle. There's only, well, struggle.
Q: What advice would you offer the aspiring writers out there?
CRK: What are they aspiring to, exactly?
Q: To become published writers, of course.
CRK: Why the holy glowing hell would they ever want to do a thing like that?
Q: Will you just answer the question, please?
CRK: My advice? Okay. My advice is don't ever be so stupid as to get your writing which I assume you love all tangled up in the matter of making a living, with matters of finance and the slog for money, because you will surely grow to hate every single goddamn consonant and vowel. Asking your writing to be your breadwinner is like asking your pet platypus to become a prostitute to pay for your crack habit. I mean, who wants to screw a platypus more than once? In the end, you have a cranky, disillusioned pet for whom you have lost all respect, an ailing bank account, a notable lack of crack, and a lot of people walking about wondering why they ever thought sex with a platypus was a good idea in the first place.
Q: Well, aren't you the little ray of sunshine.
I try. I try with all my might.
And speaking of cheap monotreme whores, there's just under twelve hours remaining in the Amazing $5 Silk Sale. Buy a copy. Look at the other auctions, please and thank you. Help keep my platypus off the streets.
Oh, someone on the phorum wanted to see the coloured monster doodles. Here's a couple (though the photos are a little blurry; sorry 'bout that):
Okay. Time to rouse the platypus.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every panda that wouldn't screw to save its species.
I wanted to open the dump valves on oil tankers and smother all the French beaches I'd never see.
I felt like destroying something beautiful.
Yep. That just about covers it...
(Wake up and write, bitch...)
Yesterday, I worked through a very adequate 2,418 words on Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds, rewriting the Scrabble scene from Emmie's POV instead of Sadie's. I think I like the end results; Spooky likes it a lot. It was a very weird undertaking, though, Doing a scene I'd done already, but from the head of a different character. All the same things happen. Many of the same things are said. But...well...it's weird, that's all. I am beginning to feel enthusiasm for this book again. It deserted me entirely a couple of months back. Hopefully, it'll stick around throughout the summer.
The evening was spent colouring frelling monster doodles while Spooky read aloud from To Kill a Mockingbird. I want those who won the colour monster doodles to know that, if they really are happy to have won these then they're lucky, because this whole undertaking is far more labor intensive than I'd suspected, and I shall not ever be doing this again. These 17 are the only 17 colour monster doodles which are likely ever to exist. I coloured the first 7 last night, and will try to finish them tonight or tomorrow night. The first batch will go into the mail today, along with the books. Thanks to everyone for being patient.
We have dinner with D&D friends tonight, Howard Hughes is stepping out a lot lately. It's the weather, mostly, which has, as I'd predicted, leap-frogged from late winter to early summer in the space of a week or so.
Thanks to Sissy, for getting the new ad banner for To Charles Fort, With Love up on the discussion phorum (you're all invited nay, encouraged to participate over there, by the way).
The Amazing $5 Silk Sale continues unabated at eBay. But we're down to the final 37 hours, so you'd best not drag your feet. This will likely be the very cheapest that you'll ever be getting a copy of Silk from me. Indeed, this sale might have been better christened the Joyous Luck of the Cheapskate than the Amazing $5 Silk Sale. And here I stand, while we're at it well, here I sit, actually with only a scant two weeks remaining until my (urp) birthday, that one to be numbered -1 (because -0.0 just seems a little silly). And there's this wishing thing over at...um, psssst...you know...um...Amazon.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
You know, it's proof enough that, for all it's many virtues, IMDB is a haven to idgits and assholes that Barton Fink has a paltry 7.5 "user rating." I mean, really, why must something so useful be plagued with idgits and assholes all voicing there frelling opinions? Isn't that why the nameless gods created LiveJournal? 7.5? Barton Fink? Some people...
So, now Daughter of Hounds has been plotted, scene by scene, all the way through the end of Chapter Seven (of twelve chapters). I cannot tell you how weird it is to be writing a book this way. Writers should not be precognizant, but here I know what's going to happen, in detail, long before it does. I mean, I probably won't be writing Chapter Seven until July, but I already know what happens. But this had become necessary. I want this book to be exactly right, more exactly right than those before it, and I don't have all the time in the world, and I need to stay under 150K words, and when you put all that stuff together, well, this was necessary. Each chapter now has at least one big ol' index card (Chapter Six has two) detailing the events to occur there. Crib notes. Spooky wrote them out while I prattled on. That took the better part of yesterday. And today I will sit down and begin rewriting Chapter Three from Emmie's POV, extending its scope from Saturday night to Saturday night and Sunday, and reducing Sadie Jasper from a major character to a supporting role. Rebuilding. Rethinking. Realizing an unrealized reality. Whatever. I've told Bill Schafer that he'll have the finished ms. for his edition by the end of September; my deadline with Roc isn't until December 1st, but I have other things to write in October and November.
I had a good conversation with my agent on Monday. Sometimes, she's the angel who talks me down off ledges and other high places. Monday was a day like that. We discussed the possibility that Daughter of Hounds might be my last full-length "adult" novel for a while. I've been giving some thought to writing YA (Young Adult) novels, and she was very encouraging towards that end. We also talked about how Entertainment Weekly reviews don't frelling sell books, how it sucks being a mid-list author in the age of The Big Book, how most parents have no idea what their children are reading, and so forth. Anyway, this is yet another reason that I'm taking so much care with Daughter of Hounds (originally conceived as YA, by the way), because it may well be my last book of this sort for a time (but not forever).
The page-proofs for To Charles Fort, With Love just arrived on my doorstep. There's more work...
What about last night? Hmmm. Spooky cooked a huge pot of vegetarian chili. We're reading To Kill a Mockingbird aloud, just because I wanted to, I haven't read it since at least high school. Oh, to have been the sort of author that Harper Lee was write one utterly perfect novel, then write no more. I drew 17 monster doodles which I shall colour tonight. I played Doom 3 until my eyes were bleeding. The enviroments in this game are so beautiful. I wish they were a little more interactive, but they are beautiful. Zipping along the monorail beneath a Martian sandstorm, for example, or that goddamned reactor chamber. Wow. And now I know how Hell broke loose on Mars. I almost shot the teleporter engineer when he confessed the whole thing to me. I should have shot him, but I needed him to run the fool thing. Oh, and the latest piercing, the guiche, has gone so well that I'm considering my first tattoos now. I'm thinking I'll begin this summer.
Okay. Enough of this for one damn day. I have to write. And remember, kiddos, Silk for only $5! How can you possibly pass that up? Buy a copy for your mother. Go. Now. Spend.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
I am very pleased that Spooky cajoled and reminded and poked and prodded to the point that I actually went to see The Decemberists last night. It was definitely one of the two or three best shows I've ever seen. Wow. No, something that means more than "wow." Anyway, there was a great turnout at the Variety Playhouse. The place was frelling packed, which I really hadn't expected. Fortunately, I could hide up on the balcony. I'm no good at reviewing shows, so I'll just say that The Decemberists are even better live than recorded (I love it when that happens). The most astounding part of the show was probably violinist/backing vocalist Petra Hayden's solo cover of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights." Astounding. I've heard a lot of Kate Bush covers, most of them bad, almost all of the bad (Faith and the Muses' "Running Up That Hill" is a notable exception), but Hayden nailed it dead-on. I was very glad to hear a lot of my favorite songs included in the night's set "Apology Song," "The Legionnaire's Lament," "We Both Go Down Together," "The Engine Driver," etc. as well as a few that were new to me. The finalι was a rousing, theatrical performance of "The Mariner's Revenge Song" during which we were all instructed to scream, on cue, as though we "were being swallowed by a whale." If you have not yet heard this band, you must. If you have the chance to see them play live, you must do that as well. This is sweet, literate, grimly funny, absurdist, pop-punk vaudeville at its best. Thursday night, they'll be playing (urk) Birmingham (AL) at WorkPlay. Oh, a couple of pics:
The Decemberists (Atlanta, 5/9/05)
The Variety Playhouse marquee after the show.
I've been so flustered lately I haven't mentioned that Farscape: The Peackeeper Wars won three Saturn awards, for Best Television Presentation, Best Actor for Ben Browder, and Best Actress for Claudia Black. Drad, indeed.
And, just because it's on my mind now and won't be later, let me mention how much I frelling detest all talk radio...
After I posted the lyrics to "The Hand That Feeds" yesterday, I started thinking about all my previous "angry songs." There are a lot of them. Here's a very partial list from the last few years:
NIN, "The Hand That Feeds"
VNV Nation, "Dark Angel"
The Dresden Dolls, "Bad Habit"
The Dresden Dolls, "Truce"
NIN, "The Wretched"
Concrete Blonde, "God is a Bullet"
Tears for Fears, "Shout"
Pearl Jam, "Black"
Sisters of Mercy, "When You Can't See Me"
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "O'Malley's Bar"
Nirvana, "Rape Me"
I could go on forever. Like I said, I've always had "angry songs." The wild, tooth-clenched spitting of a good angry song is worth at least five hours of therapy. Short of actually breaking things, dollar for dollar, it's your best means of release.
The offer of FULL-COLOUR MONSTER DOODLES is now history. I'll draw and COLOUR the monsters tonight and tomorrow night, and then Spooky will get everything the mail. Thank you all. The auctions continue, however, and for the next five days we will be offering Silk at the absurdly low price of only $5 a copy!
Er...anything else? Yeah, actually. I'll give a wonderful gift to the first person who sends me a somewhat animated Nebari.net ad banner that includes both Chiana and Kermit the Frog together and bears the slogan, "It's Not Easy Being Grey." Thank you. By the way, I'm not sure who I snurched the Kermit icon from, but thank you, even though you had no say in the matter.
Monday, May 09, 2005
I always have an angry song. I doubt I could surivive without them. I growl and hiss them out when there's nothing else left to me. My last angry song was VNV Nation's "Dark Angel." My new angry song is NIN's "The Hand That Feeds":
You're keeping in step,
In the line,
Got your chin held high and you feel just fine.
Because you do
What you're told,
But inside your heart it is black and it's hollow and it's cold.
Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?
What if this whole crusade's
And behind it all there's a price to be paid
For the blood
On which we dine,
Justified in the name of the holy and the divine?
Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?
I keep holding on to what I want to believe.
I can see,
But I keep holding on and on and on and on...
Will you bite the hand that feeds you?
Will you stay down on your knees? (x8)
I wonder if anyone's sent these lyrics to Sister Condoleeza Rice yet? Then again, I think she probably likes the view from down there.
Somehow, even with the headache, yesterday was a very productive day. Almost everything on my do-list was attended to. Almost. And now, today, I have Daughter of Hounds to contend with, again.
When I'm finished with this entry, I need to speak with my agent, and then I have to go back to the book.
There should not be this reluctance.
Tonight, Spooky and are going to see The Decemberists at The Variety Playhouse. This will be the first show I've been to since...well, I don't know. The last time The Dresden Dolls played the now-defunct Echo Lounge. That must have been...what?...September, maybe. I honestly can't quite recall. Some long time ago that isn't really a long time ago at all. Anyway, it feel a little weird, going to a show. I keep forgetting, not becasue I'm not excited about it, just because I never go to shows anymore. Spooky keeps having to remind me, and I keep being surprised. I probably wouldn't be going to this show, except the Playhouse is non-smoking.
Only two eps of Deadwood left in Season Two. Last night was particularly good. The writing in this series continues to amaze me. If anything, it getting more daring, not less. It's one of those I-can't-believe-this-is-on-television kind of things. Like Farscape and Dead Like Me and Firefly and Six Feet Under (back at the start, at least) and the best moments of The Sopranos and Millinneum and the first few seasons of The X-Files. Deadwood has everything going for it the writing, the directing, the acting, the cinematography, everything. Last night, Brad Dourif was in fine form in his tattered, muddy velvet suit.
And I'm still plugging away at Doom 3, when I probably should be reading. But gods it feels good to "kill" those assholes. The soundtrack and sound effects in this game, I've decided, coupled with the dark and disorientation, are what makes it so genuinely disquieting. It's not the monsters. The monsters might be grotesque, but once you seen them a few hundred times and you know that pulling the trigger makes them go away, the monsters aren't so bad. It's the darkness and the things you hear.
I'm prattling, procrastinating but please be reminded of the ebay auctions. The offer of FULL-COLOUR MONSTER DOODLES with "but-it-now" and fixed-price purchases (such as Silk) ends at midnight tonight. Also, we have a copy of the "Alabaster" chapbook up, though it has no buy-it-now feature. I only have three or four of these left, so bidding will be necessary.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Someone should pat me on the back. I've been OTP twice in one week and lived to tell the tale. Oh, OTP that's Atlantian for "Outside the Perimeter." Spooky and I drove up to Marrietta yesterday for the 37th Annual Mother's Day Weekend Gem and Mineral Show, hosted by the Georgia Mineral Society at the Cobb County Civic Center. 30+ dealers hawking everything from flourite crystals to complete dinosaurs skeletons. I had not been to a gem and mineral (and fossil) show in many years. They were a big deal for me when I was a teenager. There was one every year in Birmingham at Century Plaza, and I'd show up with a tray of local fossils I'd collected that year and swap them with people from all over the world. I still have a few of those bartered-for fossils, incluiding a rather nice Jurassic-aged brittlestar from France and a trilobite from the Devonian of Canada. Anyway, I'd not been to a gem and mineral (and fossil) show since at least 1983 or 1982. It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours. The gems and minerals don't interest me much, but I saw all manner of crinoids, blastoids, starfish, echinoids, trilobites, brachiopods, ammonites and nautiloids, fossil insects and leaves and petrified wood, shark teeth, mammoth teeth and ivory, a cave bear skull, hadrosaur bones, and the skeleton of a subadult Psittacosaurus from China (that truly ought to be in a museum somewhere; see the latest National Geographic for an article on this serious problem [May 2005, pp. 48-69]). I was a good nixar and bought no fossils whatsoever. Here are a few pics:
Too many damn people.
The maw of a Russian cave bear.
A pachypleurosauroid specimen from the Triassic of China (ventral view).
Headlong view of the coiling horns of the Devonian-aged trilobite Dicranurus monstrosus (from Morocco; see Threshold), with more large trilobites in the background, Homotelus from North America.
The unfortunate subadult Psitttacosaurus skeleton. This skeleton is about the size of a small house cat.
Today, I am tired. Tired of the words, too. I have to fill my head with words and spit them out, when my head aches and that's the last thing I really want to do write. It's a myth that all professional writers are driven to write. It's a cherished myth, I suspect, espcially amongst some readers. Anyway, I have to tie up loose ends today. I need to make some "final" corrections to the ms. of Frog Toes and Tentacles, write reviews of Jade Empire and a CD, The Unquiet Void's Poisoned Dreams, and get to an interview I've been neglecting (sorry, Phaedra). Then tomorrow no foolin' I truly do have to get back to Daughter of Hounds or else Spooky's going to decapitate me or something. She's first in line. My agent's second, then my publisher. They all have axes to grind in my cervical vertebrae. So, I expect I'll be in this chair all day. *sigh* Maybe this will be an absinthe day. The Green Fairy can work wonders with achey heads.
Please have a look at our eBay auctions. The FULL-COLOUR MONSTER DOODLE thingy is approaching deadline #2, and this place is stacked high with books you should be reading...
Saturday, May 07, 2005
So...er...yeah. The new Boshen and Nesuko (Chapter 19: "Making a Pop Sensation") is now online. Hightail it over there. Personally, I'm still reeling from a reminder that Nesuko doesn't do nixars. Frell. Of course, Mitsumi Nevijen is the one I genuinely have the hots for. Those wings. Those seeping implants. Er...anyway...
Has anyone else heard of Final Cut with Robin Williams and Mira Sorvino? Well, somehow I'd missed it entirely, which is odd, because I hear about almost everything, but there it was on the shelf at the DVD place, an unknown to me. And turns out it's really a pretty good film, the sort of sf film that would seem more at home in 1975 than 2005 (Gataca was another of those). A very timely comment on privacy in the age of omnipresent video surveilance and people willingly abandoning ideas of privacy to the lure of Blogger and LJ. Check it out. Williams does a good job.
Also, we picked up Doom 3, because my black mood had grown to the point where it was threatening to become a sort of emotional singularity and I really, really, really needed to kill things, even if they were only pretend things. I've never understood the lure of Doom, and, since it's always been PC (hasn't it?), I never checked it out. I played for two or three very tense hours last night. It could have used a better story (think made-for-SCi-Fi tv-movie), and the voice acting is actually so atrocious that it's occasionally funny. And you have to play some musclebound lunkhead Marine-type. I mean, the designers could have at least given me the choice of playing a musclebound female lunkhead Marine-type. Are there no women on Mars? Anyway, those are the downsides, and they truly don't matter, because this game is really just about killing mutant zombie things and demon alien spawn and confused soldiers who shoot at you. It's about wondering lost and freaked out in the half-dark among Gigeresque machineries waiting for the next monstrosity to jump out at you. Basically, The Chronicales of Riddick: Escape from Butcher's Bay was Doom 3 with a brain, but that's okay, because it was hitting all the buttons that I needed hit upon last night. Hell, I don't even know if my avatar has a name; as a person, he's that irrelevant to gameplay.
I finally got a copy of the trade paperback second edition of Shadows Over Baker Street yesterday, the Sherlock Holmes meets Lovecraftian weirdness antho which includes my story, "The Drowned Geologist." I am pleased to be able to say that it appears that the original text of my story was restored, after the mauling it took at the hands of some Del Rey copyeditor for the hardcover edition. Moron. Anyway, you should have a look at the anthology. "The Drowned Geologist" will not be included in To Charles Fort, With Love. Speaking of which, please feel free to plaster this ad banner anywhere and everywhere. I would appreciate it mightily. Thank you.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Addendum: Managed to get a shot of the aforementioned (5/4/05) "R.I.P." cross-thingy south of L5P, across from the new hellmouth...er...strip mall:
We'll, actually I didn't. Sell out, I mean. But then no one asked me.
Signs of the Apocalypse, directly across the street from the above memorial. All the usual suspects...
More dren, just because I'm bored. Amazon.com lists 15 books which include the SIP "red witches." But 13 have only one mention each. One has 3. Murder of Angels carries the day with 14 refernces. There's a bio of Louis B. Mayer. Books on witchcraft (big surprise). Books by Anne River Siddons and the homophobic Orson Scott Card. Another SIP in Murder of Angels, "bird squawks," occurs in 21 books in Amazon's stock. My favorite is definitely The Complete Idiot's Guide to I Ching by Elizabeth Moran. Once again, MoA uses this oh-so-unlikely phrase more than any of the other books. Oh, and the word "fucking" appears on 111 pages in the book. I'll have to try harder next time.
Amazon.com just keeps getting stranger. Now they've added all these bizarre little trivialities about the books they sell "text stats," something they're calling a concordance though it really isn't. And this whole SIP thing ("statistically improbable phrases"). What is the point of all this stuff? Are people really more likely to buy Murder of Angels once they know that "red witches" and " bridge keeper" are among its (supposedly) SIPs? I think this is just another case of the universe taunting me with shamelessly abject dumbassery (SADs). The "concordance" thingy might be more interesting if their bot had been bright enough not to include the text from the page headers (Caitlνn, Kiernan, Murder, Angels), skewing the whole shebang. But look! I now know that the word "stop" appears on 110 of 335 of the novel's pages. Wow. That's frelling incredible. And I didn't even do it on purpose. And it gets better. I can see how MoA rates on three different "readibility" scales, the Fog Index (8.8), the Flesch Index (73.5), and the Flesch-Kincaid Index (7.0). I can see that I use very few "complex" words (only 6%), that the ratio of syllables to words is a mere 1.4, and that the average sentence length is 16 words. And to be sure you're getting your money's worth, you can now see that MoA gives you 10,322 words/dollar and 10,625 words/ounce.
All this just goes to prove the obvious: there's really no bottom to stupid.
Of course, I can also compare Murder of Angels to my other books. Mix and match for not-quite endless fun! Let's see. Well, for example, the complexity of words between Threshold and MoA is identical (6%), as is the number of syllables per word (1.4). How the frell do you suppose I pulled that off? However, the sentences in Threshold are a smidgen longer than in MoA, at 23.1 vs. 16. I can also compare either of these books with any other book on Amazon. For instance, Stephen King's Firestarter uses only 12.6 words per sentence. Armed with this knowledge, you may now make more informed book purchases.
Yeah, well, anyway...
We went out to get photos of "Solace for the Souless" at Freedom Park yesterday. Unfortunately, someone had already taken it down. At least we don't have to look at those masses of neon orange plastic anymore. Spooky did get some pictures though:
The PVC pipes and wooden poles that once supported "Hammocks for the Homeless." Is nothing sacred? I mean, really. What's the world coming to...
Your tax dollars at work.
I'm not sure if these signs, affixed to the wooden poles, refer to some aspect of the original n'art, or if they're meant to inform us that soon the hammocks will be back, protected from graffiti fiends and sleepy homeless with barriers.
More n'art. Atlanta gets this dren all the time. Rubbery, deflated cars are nothing. Last year we were invaded by psychedlic fiberglass cows.
Yep. Yesterday's bitchy mood has not yet left me. It clings to my brain like melted polyester, as every moment seems to bring new provocation. I mean, just look what the creationists are up to in Kansas. Sure, it is only Kansas, but still. I'm annoyed by militant ignorance, even when it's militant igorance in the sticks.
Cows need Darwin, too. Well, except the fiberglass cows. They don't need Darwin. They don't even need the Baby Jesus.
Bitchy or not, I've decided to extend the COLOUR MONSTER DOODLES (!!!!) auction to Monday at midnight. So, it's not too late. Also, Spooky's adding copies of the Camelot Book min-chapbook, "Alabaster." We only have nine of these, and I'm only willing to part with five.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Addendum: We spent most of the day on Frog Toes and Tentacles, me reading the vignettes aloud to Spooky, her following along on my iBook. We made it all the way through, nine vignettes and the afterword. And, to my considerable surprise, I have to say this is probably my favorite work since Low Red Moon. It's a bizarre turn of events. I did this book as a lark. I thought it'd be fun. It wasn't. I thought I'd be fairly indifferent about the finished volume, and here I like it, a lot. Weird. But there's a purity in these little visions that I haven't seen in my writing, really, since the stories in Tales of Pain and Wonder. I think it was freeing myself from the tyranny of plot. I opened something that hasn't been open on a regular basis. I allowed myself to do whatever I wanted, because I had no real expectations and knew that my career as a writer did not rest upon the performance of this book. So, as I said, weird. I like one of the pieces, "'Ode' to Katan Amano" so much that when I finally do a collection of my sf, this story will almost certainly be reprinted therein, even though it is, nominally, a work of erotica.
Tomorrow, I'm probably going back to plotting the second half of Daughter of Hounds. Kathryn (Spooky) is helping me talk through this. The whole outlining process is so alien to the way that I write that it helps a lot to have a sounding board. We're stuck, at the moment, on Woonsocket and a particular plot point that has to be resolved before moving along to the second half of the book (much of which I already have a fair idea how it's gonna go). I've had to reduce Sadie and Deacon's roles in this book, especially Sadie's, but it has left open the remote possibility that I may write a book about Sadie later on, using a bunch of the stuff I'm taking out of DoH. I'm also beginning to let myself think about the film project I mentioned a little while back, which I can hopefully get to once the novel is soundly back on track.
As of sunset, it still hadn't rained, though the skies were dark all day and there was a chilly wind.
A whole night of Orson Welles last night on TCM, and I think we get more next Wednesday. Other than that, part of last night was wasted on a fairly lame XBox game called Stolen, which seems an appropriate title as it stole surely at least an hour from me last night and gave me nothing but frustration and boredom in return. Basically, I'm having post-Jade Empire letdown, wishing that I could discover another adventure game that fully realized, that free of tedium, a game with a story and a female protagonist, a game with controls that are fluid and intuitive. These sorts of games seem, to me, to only show up once or twice a frelling year, at best. *sigh*
Just three more weeks, a mere 21 days, naught but 506 hours (and so forth), until I will slip from -0 to -1. Maybe I should count it as -0.0, instead. Anyway, there's an Amazon wish list, if you're...you know...
A grey day today, clouds but no rain so far. And I'm sitting here, punching the keys, wishing maybe sometimes when I hit the "t" or the "h" there would be a satisfying crunch, that maybe sometimes when I hit the "e" or the "b" there would be little spurts of blood from the iBook. That way, I'd know it was mutual.
What was there yesterday? Nothing much. I tried to catch up on some fan mail, which I've gotten very, very behind on. I apologize for that. If someone can take the time to write me, I can certainly take the time to reply. Anyway, there was that, and then, though I'd fully intended to spend the whole day hammering away at the outline for Daughter of Hounds, I ended up in Spooky's car, the two of us driving north up I-75, then west out 411, to Rome. I just wanted to get out of the city. Atlanta's not an easy city to get out of. It goes on forever, sprawling in all directions. I'd intended to go farther north, as far as the mountains in the very NW corner of the state, but we only made it as far as Rome. The oppressive sameness of everything was getting to me. That corporate monotony. We leave Atlanta's wasteland of strip malls Target, Kroger, B&N, Home Depot, The Gap, Blockbuster, Best Buy and drive into a lesser wasteland of the same Wal-mart, Publix, B&N, Home Depot, T.J. Max, Blockbuster, Best Buy. And the little yellow "ribbon" bumperstickers, "Support Our Troops." I kept wishing I could pull people over and tell them that I have no troops. Nary a one. I am a nation without a standing army, navy, air force, marines, frelling national guard. Nothing. "Our" does not include me. And the trucks, the big semis with right-wing Xtian messages plastered on the back doors of their trailers It's not a choice. It's a child. Unless it's a child in Iraq, of course. On the way back into town, we got stuck in traffic near the Fox Theatre, where some blonde abomination called Kelly Clarkson (I'd never heard of her) had crowds of screaming little girls and teenage girls and bored housewives out in droves. I found a photo of Kelly Clarkson online; it made me think of Tammy Faye Bakker. Whatever. The only good thing about the odd little drive was that we did get off the damned Piedmont long enough for me to glimpse decent, unmetamorphosed Paleozoic rocks. Ordovician and Cambrian dolomites. Mississippian cherts. Pennysylvannian sandstones. Otherwise...well, it's like I've said. Don't leave the Perimeter.
I did spot a white cross nailed up high on a telephone pole across the street from the new strip mall that's been installed just south of Little Five Points. In bold black letters, the vertical axis read "R. I. P. Atlanta." And, in the same hand, the horizontal axis read "We Sold Out." I hope the assholes at the new Target have seen that. And, on the subject of graffiti, inappropriate and otherwise, this weekend Freedom Park suffered a festival of "n'art" (a contraction of my own devising "n'art" = "not art"). One of the least amusing pieces was a series of bright orange mesh hammocks strung together on PVC pipes, committed by some local n'artist named Linda Stern. It was named "Hammocks for the Homeless." Isn't that precious? At the end of the festival, the hammocks were all turned on their sides for some reason, perhaps because local police feared the homeless might take Stern seriously and try to use them. Anyway, someone decided to use the huge orange eyesores as a billboard and spray-painted "Solace for the Souless" on them, one word per hammock, with a date on the first hammock. Nice comeback, I thought. Frelling priceless. Of course, I don't condone vandelizing stupid, ugly yuppie n'art. I just don't not condone it, either.
I'm all piss and vinegar this morning. Sorry. There's something stuck inside that I need to cough up.
There has to be work today, of one sort or another.
Also, we're nearing the end of the "COLOUR MONSTER DOODLES" auction. Act now. This offer will not be repeated anytime soon. Don't lose out. You snooze, you loose. One day, colour monster doodles will be all that stand between you and the zombie apocalypse (or male erectile dysfunction, I'm not sure which).
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
On Tuesday nights, I often watch The Science Channel, because it shows astronomy documentaries on Tueday nights. So, usually, I can tune in and be assured that there will be very, very little to annoy me. Astronomy rarely annoys me. But I do have a pet peeve, and it got poked at by last night's episode of The Planets. Here's a description of the episode from the channel's website:
The Planets: Destiny In three billion years, the sun will expand into a red giant. Mercury will be consumed, probably Venus, possibly the Earth. Scientists have already started looking for another solar system to find an Earth-like planet to move to.
Here's the deal, and astronomers know this as well as biologists, as well as geologists, as well as paleontologists. Humans worrying about the inevitable death of the Sun is, not to mince words, silly. To consider it a threat that requires humanity to begin looking for a new home is silly as hell. Our best evidence indicates that the average lifespan of a species is only a few million years, three, four, maybe five (see Sepkoski, 1992; May, 2000). Even those species we call "living fossils," they're generally not. They're species which have descended from some earlier, perhaps similar species, and "living fossil" usually refers, sloppily, to a sort of evolutionary conservativism this is true for alligators, tuataras, cockroaches, sharks, and even the much-praised coelacanth. The earliest remains of anatomically modern humans date to about 195,000 years old. Now, it's generally assumed that a species first appearance in the fossil record does not mark the moment of its evolution; most species are probably a little older than that first appearance. Anyway, lets say that Homo sapiens has been walking around for 195,000 years. That's a long time, as humans tend to think of time, but it's just a tick of the geological clock. The last glaciation only ended about 10,000 years ago. The earliest human cities are only about 7,000 years old. The Paleolithic ended about 6,000 years ago, and the "Great Pyramid" at Giza was finished about 5,000 years ago. Darwin "just" published On the Origins of Species... a mere 146 years ago. For me, all these numbers say that humans should think of their welfare in terms of decades and centuries, not millions of years and certainly not in terms of billions of years. No matter how things turn out, there will be no humans around a billion years from now, because species rarely last more than a tiny fraction of one percent of a billion years. Some may argue that humans are exempt from this lifespan, because of their unprecedented ability to manipulate their enviromnment. Which is where last night's ep of The Planets comes in, and astronomers who talk of finding humans a new home before everyone dies in the Sun's impending nova. I choose to be cynical and give these guys the benefit of the doubt, preferring to think that they're working the ol' mass hysteria nerve for funding rather than believe they actually believe that anything remotely human will still be around fifty million years from now, much less a billion. Let's just say I'm being charitable. Anyway, when you consider the fact that man's ability to alter his surroundings includes the creation of weapons that could easily destroy Homo sapiens (and most other species on Earth), I think things sort of balance out and we don't have a lot of reason to hope that humans will survive any longer than all the other billions of species that have come and gone before us.
Wow. That's a long paragraph. Sorry.
There are things that humans simply don't need to worry about, because the time scale on which these things occur is simply beyond the past and future span of human history. This is not to say that we shouldn't be exploring space, seeking out extraterrestrial life, hoping that we'll get lucky and find something else intelligent out there. We should. But we should not try to bolster the importance of the search with absurd claims that assume the longevity of the human species is such that it needs to start planning for the death of our star. We should be worrying about how to preserve this biosphere for the next hundred thousand years, not hoping we can find another green, rocky, wet, oxygen-rich planet nearby so that we might flee the fireball.
Well, anyway. We also rented the incredibly goofy, mind-numbingly odd, unapologetically dumb National Treasure last night. It wasn't as bad as Blade 3, but still. I so wish that Nicolas Cage would stick to real movies, oh, say Matchstick Men or Adaptation, and leave this sort of silliness to men who can't act. Of course, I'm sure the pay is good. I wish someone would offer me a cool million to write some frelling bit of crap that doesn't have to make sense or be historically accurate or even obey its own internal logic. I'd say yes. You bet'cha. Well, after the check cleared. Afterwards, I tried to play the perfectly wretched Red Ninja: End of Honor, Ugh. Just see the review at GameSpy. I wish I had.
The meeting with Marvel yesterday went well. I plotted Daughter of Hounds up through Chapter Six, which is to say halfway (don't worry, there are only twelve chapters, but they're much longer chapters, with a much longer prologue). There was more foolishness over the IRS and Italian royalties. Writing the little intro thing for Steve Jones took longer than expected, by about an hour. And that was yesterday.
May, R.M. "How Many Species?" Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc ., B330 (1990), 292-304.
Sepkoski, J.J. "Phylogenetic and Ecologic Patterns in the Phanerozoic History of Marine Biodiversity." In Systematics, Ecology, and the Biodiversity Crisis. Ed. N. Eldredge. 77-100. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
NIN, "Right Where It Belongs"
See the animal in its cage that you built
Are you sure what side you're on
Better not look him too closely in the eye
Are you sure what side of the glass you are on
See the safety of the life you have built
Everything where it belongs
Feel the hollowness inside of your heart
And it's all
Right where it belongs
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems
What if all the world you think you know
Is an elaborate dream
And if you look at your reflection
Is it all you wanted to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks
Would you find yourself
Find yourself afraid to see?
What if all the world's inside of your head
Just creations of your own
Your devils and your gods
All the living and the dead
And you really are alone
You can live in this illusion
You can choose to believe
You keep looking but you can't find the words
Are you hiding in the dreams?
Gotta make this one fairly short. I have a meeting with Marvel at three, and before then I need to get something off to Steve Jones, a note concerning my short story, "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," which will be included in Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth. Somehow the day has gotten away from me. I need to be working on the outline for Daughter of Hounds. With luck, I can manage to salvage most of the day. With luck. Yesterday was taken up with all the little things that needed doing to the ms. of Frog Toes and Tentacles before I sent it off to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press. I still have to do a polish on each story, as they came out just a little rougher than my "first drafts" usually do. Most times, the story you read printed is my "first draft." I rarely ever write in drafts. This is true for my short stories, novels, and comics (less so with comics, as revisions are usually requested). It just usually comes out the way I want it the first time. Of course, this also makes me a very slow writer, as I do almost all my rewrites as I'm writing, not later on when a draft is finished. I work on a sentence until it's perfect (to my eyes), and only then do I move on to the next sentence. It's probably a ridiculous and maddening way to write, so I'm not recommending it, just saying that's how I do it. That's how I've always done it.
I know there are "creative" writing instructors who tell you not to "be afraid to produce a bad draft." Personally, I find the thought of not getting it right the first time kind of appalling. Somewhere, I picked up the convinction that one should always strive to do things right the first time, and it applies as much to writing as anything else.
Which makes this situation with Daughter of Hounds especially painful. If I'd just done it right the first time...
Blah, blah, blah. Don't listen to me. Write however you write. Do what works for you. I believe that's one of the few useful, practical bits of advice any author can ever offer anyone who wants to be an author. It's right up there with "buy a dictionary" and "don't quit your day job."
By the way, Subterranean Press is now taking orders for both To Charles Fort, With Love and Frog Toes and Tentacles. Note that the cover layout featured on the website for TCF,WL is not the final layout.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Because I never tire of drawing attention to the deficiencies of the South, and, in particular, Alabama, and because Darren reminded me of this today, I give you "Alabama Bill Targets Gay Authors". Which really isn't half as much fun as it sounds. But the good news is (I'm saving you having to read the whole frelling article to find this out), "Editor's Note: When the time for the vote in the legislature came there were not enough state legislators present for the vote, so the measure died automatically." Frankly, the honourable Gerald Allen can kiss my grey gay eema...
Well, as an attempt at a day off, yesterday was a bit of a wash-out, but there's no point going there. The only point I can see at this point is to get back to work immediately. I don't do downtime very well at all, as I only fill it up with frets and anger and regret and so on and on and on.
Writing is the noise that clears my head. That's a bald-faced lie, but it's one that I can live with.
The weather isn't helping. I thought this lower 70s-high 60s faux spring would pass, but it's going to hang on for at least another week. I need 80s, at least. I need warm nights. I need to move to frelling Central America...
What I don't need is to move back to Birmingham. It comes up, especially when I'm visiting my mother. There are a small number of good arguments in favour of Birmingham, though the only one that really matters is the fact that Atlanta's an obscenely expensive place to live. When you and your partner's entire income depends upon your freelance fiction writing, that means a constant rumble of money-related stress and uncertainty. So, it comes up. And I have to point out to my mother that she lives in one of the most intolerant, homophobic, theocractical states in the Union. Hell, it's not that Georgia's that much better, as a state, but Georgia has Atlanta, an unsteady enclave against the rednecks and fundamentalists. An expensive, unsteady enclave. Accepting that it costs too much to live in Atlanta is like paying the mafia protection money, I think. Sure, it's not fair, but at least Spooky and I can walk the streets of Little Five Points, Candler Park, Inman Park, Poncey-Highlands, etc. hell, even downtown without fear of being openly persecuted and harassed for being who and what we are. Move back to Alabama? Well, sure, there's some nice rocks and fossils, and the cost of living is low, but I could say the same about any number of third-world countries, countries which do not, by the way, have frelling ultra-right Judge Roy Moore poised to run for governor.
Of course, someone will now say, "You should move to X or Y or Z," and I appreciate the effort, but a) X and Y and Z are probably even more expensive, and b) if they're not then c) they're too damned cold or d) too dreary or e) even more conservative than the southern US or f) too arid (I'm rather attached to greenery). Round and round and round.
"It's the weather," she said. "I wouldn't be talking about this right now if only the weather were a little warmer. That cold breeze, it undermines my resolve."
How about let's change the subject?
Thank you, aRvin, for the new NIN. I finally had time to listen yesterday. This album was definitely worth the wait. And I finished Jade Empire last night about 1:30 a.m. Superb frelling game. Most highly recommended, but I shall not now say more as I've promised to write a review of the game.
I'm tempted to go hide out at Emory today and start drawing and COLOURING little monster doodles for ebay auctions. I'm sorely tempted to do that. Instead, I expect I'll send the ms. for Frog Toes and Tentacles off to Subterranean Press and begin trying to construct an outline for Daughter of Hounds. That way, maybe tomorrow, or the day after at the latest, I can sit down and get back to work on the novel, which is all that really matters. Write the book. Write the book. Just shut up and write the goddamn book.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
The first of May, again. Already. At last. And so forth.
We decided to wait about doing the author's photo thing for To Charles Fort, With Love until some day this coming week. After last week's flurry of words, I just wasn't up to posing under a fish-covered umbrella while squeezing a sheep's heart. So, we're not doing that today. I'm not sure what we'll do instead. Not sit around the house. It's too fine a day out there, even if there is a slight chill when the wind blows.
Our street is awash with flowers. The trees are green again.
And I've remembered that I was going to post more of the photos we took in Leeds. The following four (behind the cut) seem appropropriate to the day. On maps, this stream is called the Little Cahaba River, and it does flow into the Cahaba River proper, but I've always thought "river" was a little overly ambitious word for it (though it can flood impressively). I spent a lot of time here when I was a kid. Where it winds through this little park, I used to wade and look through the rocks and weeds, catching whatever I could. I was after snakes, usually, especially during the years when I briefly switched from wanting to be a paleontologist to wanting to be a herpetologist (I switched back in 8th grade and never wavered thereafter). Mostly, though, I caught crayfish (crawdads, crawfish, whatever my mother recently chided me for calling them "crayfish" instead of "crawdads"), small turtles, minnows, brim, and various sorts of salamanders. This would have been twenty nine, twenty eight, thirty years ago, now, and the place seems to have changed hardly at all. I doubt it's changed much since my mother was a child. At the southwest corner of the park, the Little Cahaba passes beneath a railroad trestle. We used to sit up there and toss the gravel used as ballast into the creek. On hot days, the air smelled of creosote from the crossties. It was one of those places my mother tried to make me stay away from, mostly beacuse she didn't want me catching snakes. Anyway, here are the photos:
Looking west, railroad trestle on left.
Looking southwest, beneath the railroad trestle.
Looking back northeast.
The creek winds all the way through town. The gray limestone exposed in the park and used to build the walls that line the creek in the park in the Ordovician-aged Chickamauga Limestone Formation, the same rock formation exposed at the mouth of the water-works tunnel on Red Mountain and used to build the blockhouse at the tunnel's entrance. Occasionally, I'd find a few fossils on the boulders in the park mostly brachiopods and bryozoans but the stone is very hard, so I never removed them. Many of them are likely still there.
And speaking of eBay, we're now offering Silk for only $10. I'm not sure how long we'll be selling the book at this price, but it won't be very long. Buy one and get a FULL COLOUR (!!!!) monster doodle. And a book.