Archive for the 'Opinions' Category
So, today I did something I’ve never done before… I read an entire book in one day. I’ve stayed up a few nights to read a few books, but I’ve never read an entire book from early morning to early evening.
I’ve been a fan of Jonathan Carroll for a long time. Way back in 2006ish he was kind enough to send me a copy of one his books, White Apples, when ebooks were kind of, not really, but maybe, a thing. Of the not a bunch of ebooks available, White Apples wasn’t among them, I’m not one to wait around for an industry to catch up with my desires, so I asked and he sent. A few writers have done the same for me over the years, I’m always a little surprised and a lot grateful.
Anyway, this morning I was looking for something just to start reading after finishing Maplecroft (which was spectacular, review forthcoming) last night, and I decided on Kissing the Beehive by said Jonathan Carroll. I went a few pages and I just didn’t stop, I read until it was done. I think part of it was because for Carroll, it was such a strange book, strange in that it had absolutely no elements of magic realism. His books start out real enough, then all of a sudden the main character’s dog starts talking to a ghost, yet the talking dog and some ghost don’t make the story feel any less “real.” He writes with such confidence, the introduction of the weird is so matter-of-fact that you just accept, oh, of course, dogs talk… to ghosts. In Beehive, there’s a found corpse, a grouchy dog, but the corpse’s ghost doesn’t show up to have a conversation with the dog. Some odd things happen, you think, the dead girl’s coming back, just a few more pages… but no. I’m not saying it was a bad book, I was obviously engaged, I was simply surprised that it was really just a small town mystery. A solidly, sometimes beautifully written story about a thirty year-old small-town mystery.
At any rate, if you’re looking for an entertaining Sunday read, try Kissing the Beehive.1 comment
So, though it appears that I’m badly missing my five hundred words per day, I’m not. I’ve written a few things that I haven’t published here. I’m trying for print publication, so I’ve written a few things, submitted them here and there. I’ve already had one rejection, it won’t be my first, or my last. I expect rejection and hope for otherwise. That’s how it goes.
In other news… I’m so enjoying Maplecroft by Cherie Priest, it’s one of those “just one more page,” promised sixty times books. I just can’t put it down, it’s nothing I expected. I won’t say much more, I should be posting a review in a day or two. Still, if you like historical fiction that’s married to horror, Maplecroft is the book for you. Don’t wait for me, just buy it! I barely use exclamation points, that should say something about my veracity.
What else? I’m marathon-watching American Horror Story: Coven, again… I love the show, I just keep getting distracted. I want to experience the entire story, not a few episodes here and there over too much time apart. No, this time I will see the end, thirteen episodes by Saturday’s end. Personally, I’ve enjoyed every season. A tv show has never so deftly blended all the popular horror tropes, always keeping the blend unique. Though, what really sets the show apart from the general trash heap that is horror is the acting, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, award-winning actresses with top-notch supporting casts. American Horror Story is where horror should be, shows us how high the bar should rest.
I mean, let’s face it, we expect nothing from horror, literature, tv, movies, we expect waste. We expect shitty writing, or shitty acting, or shitty writing AND shitty acting. Oh, or we settle for, “That book/movie/tv series is so bad it’s good,” which is such cop-out. Little annoys me so much as low expectations. Horror can be brilliant. Writers like Michael Cisco, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Cherie Priest, Jeff VanderMeer, brilliant writers telling brilliant stories, horror stories that transcend genre and become macabre works of literary art. Films like Bug, Dawn of the Dead (2004), Interview With the Vampire, May, Seven, The Signal, they’re the transcendent brilliance that can and should be expected from movies. American Horror Story is the standard for tv series, but not the lone standard. We also have Hannibal, In the Flesh, Sleepy Hollow, The Walking Dead, each standing tall beside American Horror Story. I expect a lot from horror, with good cause, it does deliver, if you stop and look.3 comments
I’ve always loved timepieces, clocks, watches, they can be so beautiful. I enjoy them more as art than just a utilitarian way to measure time. I have this pocket-watch in my travel bag, I can’t physically use the thing myself, but I love watching other people use it. I really just love knowing it’s with me, I’ve had it over ten years. Pocket-watches aren’t exactly “in,” but I’ll take elegant over “in” any day. Smart watches are in, but I wouldn’t take to carrying one, even if I was paid to carry it. Sure, they’re all running shoddy operating systems, that’s awful enough, but even worse, they’re flat out ugly. There’s no sophistication, no sense of style. They’re too clunky for fitness-wear, or too gaudy to be worn by a used-car salesmen, let alone a high-end executive. Smart watches aren’t smart, and are hardly passable as watches. At least, such was the case before today.
Today saw the announcement and impending release of the Apple Watch, and it’s spectacular. No, I’m not some Apple snob, but I’m absolutely a watch snob. If Apple happened to give us a hideous, stupid smart watch, I’d totally say so. The Apple Watch is gorgeous, and it’s running on iOS 8, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. I’m excited, I want one in my bag.2 comments
Acceptance brings back the intensely ominous feeling introduced in Annihilation, the series’ first book, but on a much grander scale. Much of the story takes place in flashbacks, we’re taken back to the events that took place before Annihilation, to everything that led up to the disastrous Twelfth Expedition into Area X and the subsequent shifting within the Southern Reach. We also go back to a little place called the Forgotten Coast, a place where misfits, outcasts gathered to make a home. A quaint costal village complete with a lighthouse and its gruff, but kind keeper. A rustic place, but a good place, a nice place to live until something turned it into a nightmare, a biological disaster; Area X. In this final book, by way of glimpses into life on the Forgotten Coast, we see the horrific creation of Area X.
Acceptance begins with the death of a character, a death that occurs toward the end of Annihilation. We learn about her life through flashbacks, yet we also know that she is damned. We know that the Forgotten Coast is damned, that the people we learn about, grow to care about, will be lost. The horror of the book, and really, the trilogy as a whole, is witnessing this slow fall and knowing that no matter what, it won’t be stopped. Though, we get to see points at which maybe if different decisions were made, Area X might not have been made. Knowing that so much loss wasn’t inevitable, that it could have possibly been avoided, makes the loss that much more painful. We keep reading because we want to know the whats and the whys that birthed Area X, but also, there’s still the right now, the world after the creation of Area X. That part of the story is completely uncertain, it’s ultimately why I kept turning pages until a late night became an early morning. I wanted to know if our world would survive, or if Area X would envelope everything. I know, but I won’t say. I don’t want to say more, I don’t want to make reading Acceptance pointless while trying to convey why it’s so spectacular.
The Southern Reach Trilogy is a masterpiece, it is brilliantly conceived and written. Acceptance is what seals the deal, it’s a truly remarkable end to a beautiful, sad, scary as all Hell work of fiction.2 comments
So, I’ve been using this totally antiquated theme (the way a WordPress blog looks) since 2008, since Day One. On the one hand, it’s home, it’s become me. It’s so obscure, I’m probably pretty much the only person using it, I don’t think it’s even available anywhere anymore. On the other hand, it really is old. Themes are so much more lush now, cleaner, fancier layouts and what-not. Behind-the-scenes, the blog gets more sophisticated, while its public face doesn’t. Then again, there’s something to be said for consistency, it’s kind of soothing to have at least this one thing as a constant. I’m torn.
A few months ago I dropped fifty dollars on a “pro theme,” I actually saw it on Cherie Priest’s blog. I started looking for header/footer images, and at color schemes, but as I got into it, no matter what, it always looked like Cherie Priest’s blog. Sometimes it was just the skeleton of her blog, but still, it was always and would always be someone else’s blog. I’m not out to copy someone else’s look, especially another writer’s. After that failed experiment, I’m done buying “pro themes.” I mean, if some design firm sells ten thousand copies of a theme, you have ten thousand blogs that look like cousins.
I’m thinking, IF I do change my look, it’ll have to be to some obscure freebie theme, or… I’ll invest in a totally unique theme… right after I sell my unicorn farm (yes, farm, unicorns aren’t stabled, they’re more of a free-range animal).1 comment
So, after much waiting, we are now running WordPress 4.0! The update is pretty interesting, it mainly centers around making adding media to posts a much better experience. Basically, I never used to know how an embedded video or music clip would look in a post until I actually posted it. I don’t post a ton of media, but at least now, doing so will be way less annoying.
Nice! It worded…
Wake Up, off of Jagged Little Pill, is one of my favorite Alanis Morissette songs, I always think of it when I’m doing something that really scares me. It helps me remember that it’s always easier not to do that scary thing, it’s easier not to risk anything, but if you don’t go and do and risk, you’ll never have anything that’s worth anything.
Anyway, this is WordPress 4.0.No comments
This song just came up in my mix after a really really long time. When you’re shuffling four-hundred songs that suit a melancholy mood, you get surprises.
It’s amazing how a song can take you to an exact moment, can make something that happened years ago feel like it’s happening right now.
Let Me Know by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is one of those songs…No comments
So, two books that I’ve really been looking forward to are out today…
Acceptance: (The Southern Reach Trilogy: Book 3) by Jeff VanderMeer: I’m totally excited about Acceptance, given how spectacular Annihilation and Authority are, this third book should close out the Southern Reach Trilogy splendidly. I’ll be posting a full review soon, but just go buy it. You won’t be disappointed (if you are, you can personally come by and punch me in the face).
Maplecroft by Cherie Priest: Cherie Priest is a master of taking true places and events, twisting them around in her brain, and making them turn out totally creepy. Maplecroft should be absolutely no exception. For those unfamiliar, after Lizzie Borden was acquitted of brutally hacking up her parents with an axe, she inherited a bunch of money and bought a mansion on a hill, a mansion called, Maplecroft. Little is really known about Borden’s life in that mansion on a hill. She hoped for true happiness as a member of society’s elite, but died achieving neither. The real story is disturbing by itself, I’m excited to see what Priest spins. I’ll post a full review, but again just go buy it. Maplecroft should be a scary fun read (the face punching again applies).1 comment
So, this tattoo, number seventy-nine, doesn’t follow my usual leanings toward song lyrics. Instead, I went with a book quote, a not-so-not-lengthy book quote. It’s from the last paragraph of Dermaphoria by Craig Clevenger. If you haven’t read either of Clevenger’s books. The Contortionist’s Handbook, Dermaphoria, you’re really missing something., they’re gorgeously sad books. I’m not at all ashamed to admit that the end of Dermaphoria had me crying at 4 am. Anyway, this is definitely my largest tattoo, it covers pretty much my entire right side. It’s there and almost nobody will ever see it outside of this post, but that’s not the point. It’s a memory made external, one that affected me so deeply that I want to physically carry it with me.
Again, since I’m running really low on space, it’s kind of awkwardly placed. It reads…
“…and in the moment
before the angels turn
off my universe, God’s
own clock quicksand
slows to an ice
whisper quiet and I
could sit here beside
you and watch the
twilight wither for
days on end.”
I don’t want to give away anything about what the words mean in the context of the book, but in the context of me…
No passage in any book has ever felt so familiar.
I was with someone I love, and we were lying together watching gorgeous twilight fade away, and I never wanted it to end. I never wanted to be without her, ever. Not ever.No comments
So, I wrote this flash story, and I feel like it’s something different, like it’s one of the better things I’ve written. I’ve been tweaking it from a draft to something more like a finished story. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet, I’m still mulling things over. I don’t know why, I just feel really good about it. We’ll see.
I caught up on some e-mail… I’m really trying to be more productive. I’ve just been really nervous, like, all the time. I can’t get used to my new space, I don’t feel right here. It’s like, no matter how bad everything else felt, at least I had my room. I felt safe there, and it was mine. I picked the paint, the artwork, every piece of furniture, and everything was exactly in its place because I had it placed so. I built it with Celeste and Steven and Sarah and Katherine and Stacy, some of my best assistants, and some of my closest friends. They’re all far away now, but in that room they felt at least a little closer, and that felt good. I made love to… Fuck it. What’s done is done.
Anyway, I’m reading these total cotton-candy books, light and fun, and no substance. I mean they’re not badly written trash, but they’re definitely not art. They’re based in the world of Diablo, a video franchise that is actually really spectacular. The games aside, the lore that’s the foundation of Diablo is intricate and well-realized, there’s plenty of material for decent fantasy writers to put out lots of fun books. Diablo’s been around since I was in high-school, and nerdy it may be, I’ve been a fan ever since. Technology has finally caught up to how detailed Diablo’s story is, so now we have gorgeous visuals that are fit for the story. For me, Diablo’s draw has always been the story. It’s set in a dark fantasy world in which angels and demons wage war against each other in the pits of Hell and at the very gates of Heaven, both sides using humanity for their own ends. It’s a world of powerful mages, humble warriors, once Holy Orders of Priests corrupted by demons offering immortality. It’s not Faulkner, but if you’re able to quote Faulkner, you can get away with reading a few Diablo books.
Okay, enough of me.4 comments