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LJ Entry #4,071: Sort of The End

I've been awake since about 8:45 a.m., and I've been sitting here since about 9 a.m., and a lot of that time has been spent trying to think how to wrap this up. And knowing full well that nothing's ever wrapped up. Summations are never anything but cursory. So, I've been sitting here, and I've been procrastinating. I've even been trying to weasel out of my decision. For example, I said to Kathryn, "Well, it could go on until 10 a.m. on October 10th, the tenth hours of the tenth month of the tenth year. There's an elegance in that." Right.

Here is Providence, it's turning cold again – same as most of the East – and we've had vicious wind since night before last, with gusts up to 30 mph. The wind sets my nerves in edge. It makes me even more anxious than usual.

Of course, the truth is that I've been blogging daily since November 24th, 2001. I began at Blogger, then started this LJ in 2004. For the first year of so, it was a mirror of the Blogger account. In 2006, I think, I stopped mirroring, and I began posting here exclusively. Anyway, it's the LJ that is turning ten; I've been a day-to-day blogger for twelve years and four months and two weeks (and spare change). And now, I think I am truly, genuinely going to step away from this (she says, not at all comfortable with what she's doing, and yet, still, knowing it's what she needs to do). All these many millions of words are enough. All these entries on which I usually spent an hour or two apiece. But I find myself thinking, what will I do with the spare time? Well, I can get more work done, for one. I can read in the morning, instead of blogging. I can just sit here and stare out the window or have a cigarette, wake up, not wonder how to entertain and hold anyone's interest in a blog entry. I also find myself thinking, will I even bother taking photographs when we go out? After all, to whom would I show the photos? I find myself asking a lot of questions of myself. I have some answers, but many answers I don't have.

But I've grown very, very tired of talking here. I'm tired of reporting on my life and work. I'm tired of whining about how much I hate writing and the cold of New England. I'm tired of reporting on my health (mental and physical), addiction, insomnia, homesickness, regrets, and so forth. I'm tired of venting my anger here. I'm tired of politics. I'm tired of feeling as if I need to justify my beliefs to...well, anyone. Ever. That doesn't just go for LJ. Or just even the internet. I think I am no longer an intellectual. I'm something else. I'm no longer even argumentative.

When I began the LJ, I was living in a renovated 1920s school house in Kirkwood, southeast Atlanta. I was writing Murder of Angels, I believe.

Today, I'll begin compiling the manuscript of The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan: Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea (Volume Two), an enormous fucking undertaking, and I'm supposed to deliver the ms. to Subterranean Press on May 15th. I also have to begin putting together new editions of Tales of Pain and Wonder and To Charles Fort, With Love for PS Publishing. The former will, essentially, be the 2007 Subterranean Press text, with corrections.

Soon, probably a couple of weeks from now, I have to begin Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, and The Bird, as the first script need to go to Dark Horse in May.

Four nights now without Seroquel, and I'm averaging five hours sleep a night. Not nearly enough. This morning, I began reading The Old Man and the Sea for the first time since eighth grade.

Here's a thought: My 50th birthday is fast approaching. Thank me for all these free words by visiting my Amazon wish list, if you've a mind to do so.

Of course, I'll still be on Facebook, and you can follow me there. No, it's not the same, but it's what I have to offer.

Before I go, two things:

1. I will continue to make occasional posts here, mostly announcements and updates on books, along with occasional reports on interesting trips and so forth. I am not closing the LJ, I'm ceasing to use it as a daily journal. There's quite a difference. So, feel free to check back from time to time. Please.

2. My thanks to Gordon Duke, who bought me the permanent account. My sincere thanks to all the readers down all the years, most of whom stopped reading the LJ years ago. Thanks for all the comments. Also, I will be reading and replying to any comments made today.

And I think that'll do, Pig. Be cool, kittens. As the Ghūl say (oddly enough), walk in the light, and watch your shadow.

If I change my mind next week, or next month, and crank this thing up again...well, you'll figure that out, won't you? Sure you will. A thought in closing: The worst reason in the world not to read a book is because it's not about people like yourself. This most definitely includes books written by "dead white men."

In Pain and Wonder,
Aunt Beast

American Museum of Natural History, 1937

The original Tyrannosaurus mount (which actually went up in 1915):

"Follow my fast fading heart."

And here I am, on the twentieth anniversary of my move to Athens, Georgia from Birmingham, Alabama. It was a move that changed everything for me. Probably, it was a move that saved my life, literally/ And I feel like, somehow, I ought to have been able to mark it today, but I wasn't. I left only three years after I arrived, on August 9th, 1997. That was, I know in retrospect, a mistake. I should have stayed. But I had reasons that seemed valid at the time. They seem little more now but sad and naïve.

Today, twenty years ago, I left the apartment at #5 1619 16th Avenue South in Birmingham — where'd I'd lived since January 1990 — to the Carriage House at 279 and a half Meigs Street, Athens, on the property of the Camack House. I became a professional writer there. I finished Silk there. I was in a band. I traveled to Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and many other places for the first time. And a terrible thing happened that I do not, today, feeling like specifying. Possibly the most terrible thing in my life.

More happened to me there in only a little more than three years than, it often seems, has happened in all the years since I left.

I arrived twenty-nine and left thirty-three.

Athens was a safe-ish place to be when I needed such a thing. Such a very long time ago. So.

I think that's all I have for now.

Tireder Than Twenty Years,
Aunt Beast

Vampire Ball photos!

The best comment someone made about this outfit was something along the lines of: "Oh wow! Your outfit reminds me of the videos from this one album, The Black Parade? By My Chemical Romance, have you heard of them?" Oh precious child, YES, I've heard of them. Now deliver them to me.


I had a wonderful time. Every time I think there's no way it can be more elaborate and lovely than previous years, and every year I am delighted to be proven wrong.

3D Beatles

I'm reluctantly selling this gorgeous vintage 3D Beatles pendant necklace. Opening bid is $50.



Sirenia Digest #98 went out to subscribers this morning.

Cooler and overcast so far today, but yesterday was nice. Spooky and I had a walk around the neighborhood, something I only very rarely do. Indeed, I've lived here, in this House built in 1875, almost six years now, and I am ashamed to say that my understanding of the neighborhood's geography is murky. I couldn't draw you a map. Anyway, there were flowers and the beginnings of leaves, a reassuring willow and genuinely warm sunlight. Here in mid April, Providence is managing a decent bit of March weather. There are photos behind the cut, courtesy Nemo:

12 April 2014Collapse )

I'm not entirely well. Partly, it's a nasty bit of Seroquel withdrawal. And Kathryn is of the opinion that the rest of my discomfort and exhaustion is simply post-novel decompression/ennui. After all that stress and all that pushing myself, it's over and out of here.

Until it comes back.

Today, I have signature pages, and work for Subterranean Press and PS Publishing, and...other stuff. I'm not in the mood to sign my name.

Aunt Beast
No Seroquel last night, and it was a rough night. But I saw my dreams again. Hopefully, tonight I'll be so exhausted that it'll be easier to sleep without those tiny red demons. It's a step in the right direction, now that the millstone of Cherry Bomb is no longer hung about my neck.

Currently, it's 65˚F, but feels like 67˚F. There's a breeze, a nip in the air coming in through my open window. Sunny. Classic cold spring.

Numerals are called for today.

1. I want to write out an account of the whole Kathleen Tierney fiasco, which is really an account of how quickly any given publishing project can go to shit, for anyone, but, probably, especially for me. But I'm not sure I'm up to it now, or that I will be up to it any time in the future. The three books were intended to have been written over less than a year (and, all told, Blood Oranges took only 45 days, in the spring and summer of 2011). As a trifle, which is what they were intended to be – a hopefully profitable trifle – they'd have been harmless. But, they turned into a nightmare. Partly, this happened because my agent's initial enthusiasm for the project waned almost immediately. Late that May, May 2011, I met with her to discuss The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but she was more interested in the first chapter of Blood Oranges, which she called "the most compelling thing you've ever written." I was flabbergasted (I only sent it too her on a lark, and I'd only written it on a lark), but I also hoped I was onto something. I was riding a wave of optimism (which is another story).

This tale is already boring the shit out of me. Point is, a project begun in 2011 as break from the intensity of having written The Drowning Girl: A Memoir turned into a nightmare that dragged on for almost three years. In 2012-2013 I wrote the second book (much later than planned), Fay Grimmer, then hated it so much I actually pulled it and wrote Pink Delicious. You have to understand how great a financial catastrophe that was. My advance on the second book in the series was effectively cut in half by that decision, and I lost many months. I essentially wrote Pink Delicious for free. And then there was the final book, which I didn't even begin until August 2013 and which I didn't finish until this month. Something that was meant to be fun, give me a bit of a break, and make money, ended up doing none of those things, really. I will not look back upon my pseudonymous affair with the late Ms. Tierney with anything like fondness. I will look back and gnash my fucking rotten teeth. I have emerged from it far more rattled and ill than when I finished The Drowning Girl: A Memoir in the spring of 2011.

This isn't the account I wanted to write about the Quinn books, but I hardly slept, so there you go, kittens. Live and fucking learn.

2. Yesterday, my comp copy of S.T. Joshi's Searchers After Horror: New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic (Fedogan and Bremer), a gorgeous book, and late last night I read my contribution, "Blind Fish." It's one of the best stories I've written recently (January 2013), up there with Black Helicopters (December 2012) and "The Peddler's Tale, or Isobel's Revenge" (December 2013).

3. I cannot find any record of the precise day that I moved to Athens, Georgia in April 1994. I know that it was after the death of Kurt Cobain (April 5th) and before April 18th (I have a letter I wrote to Billy Martin on the 18th). I have it in my head that the move took place on the 14th, but at the moment I have no document to prove that. Regardless, the point is, this is the twentieth anniversary of what was possibly the single most important move out of the dozens of moves I've made in my almost fifty years. So, I'm going to designate April 14th as the 20th anniversary. Briefly, I was so filled with hope.

4. I don't usually do this sort of thing, but I would like to ask you to please take a moment to vote in the 43rd annual Locus Awards. ANYONE can vote. Here's the ballot. No, I don't usually do this sort of thing, but. You will find The Ape's Wife and Other Stories nominated under "Collection" and Black Helicopters nominated under novella. Thank you. Deadline for ballots is April 15, 2014.

5. Yesterday was pleasant. Unlike today, there was no breeze to speak of, and it actually felt warm out there. We took in a 4:10 p.m. matinée of Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I liked even better the second time around. Every frame is, like a Mendl's confection, a delight. It is a dream, almost a child's fairy tale of lost Europe, a place that was and is recalled only in wistful fancy. Afterwards, we picked up a new pipe at the place we buy pipes on Thayer Street, Kind Connection. We got a beautiful pipe of sandblasted glass, made in New Hampshire.

6. Last night we watched Roger Michell's Hyde Park on Hudson, a wonderful film that seems not to have fared well with critics. Fuck 'em. Bill Murray's Roosevelt is a joy to watch, and I especially appreciated that the film was honest about Eleanor Roosevelt's lesbianism. Olivia Colman and Samuel West almost steal the show with their portrayals of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI (respectively). Maybe critics and others were disappointed that this wasn't a Bill Murray comedy. I don't know. I recommend it.

Okay, I should end this. I have a digest to get out today. This month, two chapters from The Five of Cups!

At Length,
Aunt Beast
I'm only in the neighborhood of awake.

At three a.m., I mad myself stop working and go to bed. At about 5:00 p.m., I'd typed THE END at the conclusion of Chapter 7 ("Open the Door") of Cherry Bomb, but then there were many corrections, etc. When I'm done with the entry, I'll be sending the ms. to my editor at Penguin. When she sends me the editorial letter in a month or three, I know there will be a lot more work to do on the ms. than I usually have to worry about after THE END. But I've done all I can for now. There is too much other work that's going neglected. I mean to write something comprehensive about the fiasco that the Quinn books became, but not this morning. Maybe tomorrow.

Now, I just have to stop taking Seroquel. That only means suffering insomnia.

After dinner, I took a break, and we watched Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen in Philip Kaufman's Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012, HBO). It seems not to have been appreciated by many, but I rather adored it. Even though Owen somehow manages to look more like Groucho Marx than he does Ernest Hemingway. The film is what too few films are today, it is charming. At times, it seems to be aiming very hard to echo Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not (1944) and Key Largo (1948). Indeed, much of the sensibility of the film harks back to that period of Hollywood. All of which is fine by me. And, also, it's easy on the eyes, though I almost wish it had been shot in black and white. But yes, I enjoyed it a great deal. The portion that recounts Gellhorn and Hemingway's experiences during la Guerra Civil Española, it was, in a delightful sort of way, like watching a Decemberists album. Are we still supposed to demonize Hemingway? Or is once again acceptable to admit an admiration for the man? I can't keep up with the latest political fashions, and cannot find it in me to give a shit.

Today, I have to go to the bank. I've been putting it off all week, because all that mattered was getting the damned book done. But we have to send money to the IRS, which means the checks that have been piling up around here need to be signed and deposited. I hate going to the bank. Then, I'm taking the rest of the day off. Tomorrow, I have to get Sirenia Digest #98 out to subscribers. It's woefully late, and for that I apologize.

Aunt Beast
I was unable to get to sleep until about five am, and I have to find some way to wake up fast. Ugh. It's sunny and 51˚F out there; we're told it will go to 62˚F. But I'm skeptical. Not that 62˚F is warm. It's just not cold.

Today in intend to "finish" Cherry Bomb. The scare quotes are there because it's going to be a rough manuscript, and it's going to need a good polishing. That will happen next week, after I get Sirenia Digest #98 (March) out to subscribers. But, I mean to send a complete ms. to my editor tomorrow afternoon.

In the future, years from now, if I am asked why I spent almost three years writing these three novels (four, with Fay Grimmer), I'll have no response better than "It seemed like a good idea at the time." It's a weak defense.

When everyday's like a war between the will to go on
And a wish that the world would spiral into the sun,
Turn your head toward the storm that's surely coming along.
~ Brown Bird

I keep forgetting to post this link. At the Tachyon Press website, an excerpt from "Love is Forbidden, We Croak and Howl," my contribution to Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft's Monsters. Have a look.

Wish me luck, kittens.

Next Stop,
Aunt Beast

"All I've seen for forty nights..."

Current, sunny, 55˚F and feels like 53˚F. Nothing is green. Nothing is in bloom. I have not seen a spring this late, ever in my life. We may reach 58˚F today. I'm learning to pretend that the fifties are warm.

Last night I had one of my very rare eureka moments. There is a problem relating to the end of Cherry Bomb, the solution to which has so completely eluded me that I'd given up on solving it. Instead, I was going to write my way around it. Last night, I took the day's pages to bed, and I was reading over them, making red marks, and while reading Ms. Page 311 the solution occurred to me. It's simple. And it's not a "deus ex machina" (which seem to annoy some people, though not me). It's an answer that's been built into the very fabric of the novel since Chapter One. How it took me so long to see it, I do not know.

Today and tomorrow, this evening and tomorrow evenings, are going to be a marathon.

Last night, we watched Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly (2012), and it was quite good.

And I think that's all I have time for this morning. Off the the word mines.

And Then,
Aunt Beast