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One With Words

Only in the last two days has my writing gotten back on track and the peaks and troughs begun to assume a more manageable topography. The days warmed up, then got cold again, and I'm not yet in a place where I feel up to devoting much time to blog entries. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe a little farther along.

L Redux









"We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon."

I used to keep day planners, and I'd mark days when I didn't write with an L, for Lost. A Lost Day. If I still kept a day planner, half of April and almost all of May thus far would have earned an L.

Today will probably be another L. And tomorrow. Because the selling of this house, though we won't be moving, is causing chaos again.

But the sun came back yesterday afternoon. And the today is a little warmer, currently 64˚F. I'm not sure I've ever been as relieved to see the sun as I was yesterday. This should translate to me being more productive, but we woke to news of tomorrow's disruption, which means today is also disrupted.

One step forward, two steps back.

Yesterday, Kyle Cassidy suggested on Twitter that people list their ten favorite "kaiju" films. Here are mine, ranked in order of year of release:

1. King Kong (1933)
2. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
3. Gojira (1954)
4. Rodan (1956)
5. Reign of Fire (2002)
6. King Kong (2005)
7. The Host (2006)
8. Cloverfield (2008)
9. Monsters (2010)
10. Pacific Rim (2013)
Honorable Mention: The utterly preposterous, but endlessly charming, Reptilicus (1961)

Aunt Beast

"I say her skinny legs could use sun."

I finished "Pillbug" on April 10th, and since then, I've hardly written. I want to blame it all on the weather, but I know that's a lie. The weather is merely one of the thugs holding me still. There are quite a few of them, all bunched up together.

Today, it's supposed to be a little warmer. But currently it's a miserable 51˚F, windchill at 47˚F. In May. Day before yesterday we had an afternoon temperature of 45˚F, with a 28˚F windchill. In May. Fuck Cold Spring. This is more accurately described as Green Winter.

I began work on a piece for Sirenia Digest #123 way back on April 23rd, and I hardly have two pages of prose. It's currently called "When Even the Darkness is Something to See."

I sleepwalked through yesterday, and today the anger is trying to find me again.

I want to be warm. I want sun and a sky that makes sense to me. I want to be home, and for me home is Birmingham.

Last night, we saw a perfectly wretched science-fiction film, which sadly we actually rented. Something called The 5th Wave, directed by someone named J Blakeson (no period after the J, because...), starring an antiseptically dull Chloë Grace Moretz (who has a really bad case of Child Actor Syndrome). The writing is rubbish, the acting is worse, and it isn't even eye candy. Stay away. Or abandon all hope. Whichever suits your fancy.

Aunt Beast

Insert Futility

"Not today, Mordremoth, not today."

Aunt Beast

Late yesterday afternoon, the temperature dropped to 45˚F, with a 28˚F windchill. Currently, it's overcast and 56˚F, and there's no real break in this shit forecast until sometime around the third week of May.

I do not know for sure what today will be. Yesterday was an Up Day. I talked until my voice gave out. Not because I really had anything to say, but I couldn't stop saying it. The inability to sit still. The persistent thrumming. I become a swarm of mosquitoes, says Spooky. The clouds behind my eyes part, and that great big yellow phony manic sun comes pouring through, and after days of the red-black rage and the icy, diatomaceous seafloor ooze of depression, it's as good as Percocet, almost as good as heroin. Sure, I can't actually keep one train of thought long enough to be genuinely coherent. But I can try to clean the kitchen, take care of backed-up email, dust my bookshelves, wash dirty underwear, read fifty different news stories via Twitter, and reorganize the kitchen pantry – all at the same time. Or I think I can, until seven hours later, when it dawns on me that I've actually done nothing whatsoever.

I've not left the house since Monday, and I've only looked out the window once.

I've been wearing the same Ramones T-shirt for going on three days now, awake and sleeping.

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental-drift divide,
Mountains slide in a line. Leonard Bernstein,
Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce, and Lester Bangs.
Birthday party, cheesecake, jellybean, boom!
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam-book neck, right?

Pretty much.

Aunt Beast
Currently, it's 47˚F and cloudy here, after a cold rain all night. Suicide weather.

I'm on Lamictal for seizures and bipolar disorder. I have been since 2010 (before that, other scripts). And lately I've been sloppy about when I take my daily dose. 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 12:30 a.m., 1:30 a.m., etc. My pills sit here on my desk in one of those compartmentalized plastic boxes with the days of the week abbreviated on each compartment: SMTWTFS. Right in front of me, just to my right, and I am almost always sitting here in this chair. So, there's really no excuse. But it's been happening. And while the seizures have stayed at bay, the peaks and valleys, troughs and crests have come rushing back down on me. Mostly valleys and troughs. I never have gotten as much of the Up Time. And the crazy, it spills over onto everything. It makes Kathryn's life hell. I make an ass of myself on Facebook. I don't work. And so on. Screwing up my Lamictal and the return of winter, which began on April 1 with that last snowstorm of the year, put me into a tailspin. And I'm trying to pull out now, get my pills back on track, cut back on the bad habits that make my swings even worse. Slow down the crazy train, as it were.

Isolate the stress.

The stress in my life is a deadly pathogen. Worry about money. Worry about my health. Worry about Kathryn. Worry about the 2016 Presidential elections and politics and transgender rights. Worry about my writing. Worry about my public image. Worry about my mother and sister. Worry about whether or not we're going to have to find a new place to live, because the owners are selling this place, and everything's up in the air. Worry about the scaffold that's been outside my office window since the beginning of October. Worry about the tree (that I did, at least, worry to salvation). Worry about being stuck in Rhode Island forever. Worry about the car needing new tires. Worry about the fact that I never leave the house anymore, and I do not have callers, and, half the time, going outside scares the shit out of me. Worry about the color of the sky.

Worry, and blinding anger.

So, yes. That's what has been going on. And the cold makes it so much worse.

I didn't write yesterday. I sat and stared at the computer screen and played music very loudly and mostly didn't talk, because talking always makes it worse, on me and on Kathryn.

I don't like talking about this sort of thing publicly. And I don't want advice. Or speculations on the validity of my diagnosis, because your Great Uncle Waldo is bipolar and was prescribed blah blah blah, but actually needed blah blah blah. I mean that. I don't want to hear that shit.

Hopefully, the boat's gonna right itself. Hopefully, soon.

Aunt Beast

Entry #4,602

The sky is still grey. The rainy weather is still here. The temperature is currently 51˚F. Tomorrow is forecast to be even colder.

In Rhode Island, May is the bitter month that follows the bitterness of April.

Yesterday, Kathryn had errands to run, and I went with her, as staying here alone seemed unwise. I had a biscuit for breakfast, some Gatorade mixed from a powder, a Red Bull. I pulled on a tank top and jeans, a cardigan. Kathryn drove, because I haven't since 2003. I sat in the van and smoked and listened to Neko Case. At the post office, there was art from a roleplay acquaintance in Oklahoma. We stopped at Staples for file boxes. I pissed at Whole Foods and felt everyone watching, thinking about North Carolina. The sidewalks were crowded with people is coats, gloves, wool scarves and caps, actual fur-lined parkas. At Eastside Market, I sat in the car and shivered and stared at the ugly sky while Kathryn went in for milk and aluminum foil. We crossed back over the Point Street Bridge to the squalor of the west side. I had another cigarette. The dirty river was the color of spilled motor oil. Kathryn realized that, somewhere along the route she'd lost her sunglasses, which she'd had since 1999. Back home, I took three Vicodin, which did nothing whatsoever. I drank Gatorade and skipped dinner. I played Guild Wars, because what the fuck else was there to do. I fantasized about buying a train ticket to Birmingham or Jacksonville, about waking to a truly warm sun. There's no way I can afford train fare. Kathryn cooked something, and my stomach rolled at the smell. I closed all the blinds and drapes and turned the thermostat up to 75˚F, resolving not to look outside again and not to leave the house until the temperature reaches 70˚F. It was an unsightly day devoid of even the slimmest rind of hopefulness. Obviously, I didn't write. The sun set, which made things the tiniest bit easier by taking away the grey February light. I did my best not to talk, because talking only ever makes things worse. I talked anyway. I played more Guild Wars. I roleplayed. I played. I had another Vicodin and a half, watching the level in my bottle dwindle. I took my Lamictal. I paced. I had a can of Pepsi. A little before two a.m., I ate a bowl of ramen, took my handful of nighttime meds, then went to bed.

I had dreams I'd rather not talk about.

And here we go again.

Aunt Beast

A Week of Rain

Currently, on the third day of May, it's 49˚F, a mere 17˚F above freezing.

My moods have always been in large part a matter of responses to external stimuli. So without, so within.

The rain and cold will be with us at least until Monday.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes, in a Cold, Dark Place

Currently, cloudy, rainy, 50˚F. Dear Rhode Island, the cold and sunless decades after the Chicxulub impact called and want their weather back.

Asshole weather.

I revisited more Koja yesterday, "The Neglected Garden" (1991) and "The Disquieting Muse" (1994). I read "A juvenile chasmosaurine ceratopsid (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Dinosaur Park Formation, Alberta, Canada."

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

I swear, I do not want to turn fifty-two as I am now, not like this.

Aunt Beast
It's only 11:29 ayem and already this day can blow me.

Currently, it's a measly 51˚F. On May 1st. Why couldn't I have been stranded in Hawaii or Venice or the south of France?

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

No writing yesterday, but I read Kathe Koja's "Teratisms" (1991, in Ellen Datlow's A Whisper of Blood) aloud to Spooky. It is easily one of the most brilliant pieces of dark fiction published during the second half of the Twentieth Century and was a definite influence on my early work. I'm hoping to kickstart my brain.

Tonight, new Game of Thones and also new Penny Dreadful (!!!!!). So, that's what will get me through the day. That and the promise of an interesting RP scene this evening. These days, I'm living half my life in RP. Ironically, all the RP is taking place in London and Berlin. I can't even pretend to be someplace warm.


Aunt Beast

"Time is no healer if you're not there..."

I wish I had something interesting to say about yesterday. But I didn't write. We went to the storage unit in Pawtucket and I sorted through papers from...well...my whole life, it felt like. looking for stuff that needs to go to Brown. I found my high-school porn stash, Playboy and Hustler from 1979 and 1980. Who the fuck keeps shit like that? I found the TV Guide from the week of the final episode of M*A*S*H (February 12-18, 1983). College notebooks. A sketchpad from high school. That was yesterday. Hours in a cold, dark storage unit. My hands got so cold they burned for an hour after we left and they warmed up again.

The weather here is still cool. Currently, it's sunny and 58˚F. So ends April 2016.

Aunt Beast

Nothing To See Here

I'm just not up for this today. I hardly slept for worrying. It's a chilly 53˚F.

Aunt Beast
Cold today. Again. But sunny, and the world is getting properly green. Currently, it's only 56˚F, and we had a frost warning this morning.

Yesterday afternoon I read about Oxford, Alabama passing a law so that anywhere within the city’s police jurisdiction, it is now a criminal offense for transgender people to use restrooms that match their gender identity unless they have undergone surgery and successfully changed the gender marker on their birth certificate. That, of course, is a very, very small fraction of transgender folks. Surgery is expensive, dangerous, often requires travel, and isn't desired by everyone. Moreover, many states will not change the sex on a birth certificate, even when proof of reassignment surgery is provided.

Each individual violation will result in a $500 fine or up to six months in jail.

Oxford's about forty miles east of Birmingham, on I-20, on the way to Atlanta. I read the article, and it truly hit me that I am a sort of exile. It is becoming increasingly unsafe for transgender people to live in the South, and if I were to move back home, or even go visit my mom and sister, I'd be facing this crap. The fact of it hit me like a load of bricks. It shut me down for the day. On Facebook I wrote:

How long now until Southern states (and cities) begin forbidding people to dress in a way that is considered inconsistent with their "sex at birth"? There are already places where laws against appearing in public "in disguise" are on the books (old, old laws), and those would be easy to tweak to use against transgender persons. There is no longer anything outlandish about this fear. How long before there are attempts to criminalize everything from drag shows to sex reassignment?

And I'd hoped that today would look silly and alarmist, so that I'd have to take it down. But it doesn't look silly and it doesn't look alarmist, and I can't take it down. After I transitioned, I lived in Alabama and Georgia for another fifteen years (1993-2008). And I took a lot of bullshit off people, but I did at least have the protection of the law.

It seems to me now that, for all that time, I was living in a sort of cultural cold war, and now the South is engaged in an all-out shooting war against transgender persons. And I feel I should be doing something, but I have no idea what that could be.

Aunt Beast

And a cowcat named Detroit.

The sun is back. The temperature, though, is a chilly 53˚F.

Manhattan is so much warmer than Providence.

I spent yesterday trying to find the vignette I need to write for Sirenia Digest #123, which I know has something to do with mummification and might be set in HPL's Dream Lands (I know I said I wasn't writing anymore Lovecraft stories, but what the hell.), but that's about all I know.

Right now, I'm trying to put the failures and disappointments and bafflement of 2013, 2014, and 2015 behind me. I have a novel to write, and, truth be told, this is really my first novel since The Drowning Girl. Next year I have two short-story collections coming out (unless Mythos Tales is released late in 2016). And that's what I have to focus on. Fuck the past three years.

Fuck the omnipresent chill.

If I can't fix it, there's no sense dwelling on it.

Aunt Beast

Postscript: Despite the cold, an ice-cream truck is toodling along our street. But at least they're playing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

"What we will need is a gleaming key..."

A shitty day here, 46˚F and rainy.

And I have voted for Hilary Clinton. I fear it's almost certain that Rhode Island will go to Sanders. Which is a shame, but there you go. We have too few delegates to sway anything one way or another.

And here is the table of contents for Dear Sweet Filthy World:

Werewolf Smile
Vicaria Draconis
Paleozoic Annunciation
Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint
Shipwrecks Above
The Dissevered Heart
Drawing from Life
The Eighth Veil
Three Months, Three Scenes, With Snow
Tempest Witch
Fairy Tale of the Maritime
– 30 –
The Carnival is Dead and Gone
Scylla for Dummies
Down to Gehenna
The Granting Cabinet
Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W
Another Tale of Two Cities
Blast the Human Flower
Here Is No Why
Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)

Yesterday, I put together the manuscript for the chapbook that will accompany the collection, The Aubergine Alphabet: A Fourth Primer and sent that off to Subterranean Press. This will be my thirteenth short story collection, if you include Frog Toes and Tentacles (2005) and Tales from the Woeful Platypus (2007).

Toady, I'm starting something for Sirenia Digest #123.

The sun's supposed to come back tomorrow, and it will be a little warmer. Hang in there, Beast.

Aunt Beast

"But teach him how to kill...then..."

Mostly sunny today, and the sun is warm, but the high will only be 61˚F or so.

The tree has been saved.

And yesterday I sent the ms. for Dear Sweet Filthy World off to Subterranean Press. However, I forgot to send the ms. for the chapbook, The Aubergine Alphabet, and I should do that today. Part of me wants to just go to the zoo.

I desperately need an idea for Sirenia Digest #123 (April 2015).

I'm reading the new memoir from the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (Mem. 15), Anatomy of the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus L., 1758): An Osteological Study of the Thirioux Specimens.

We saw a pretty cool Irish horror film last night, The Hallow, directed by Corin Hardy. Faerie and body horror in one film, which proves to be an excellent combination. Faerie as a parasitic fungus. See it.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast