The Red Tree
I didn't get to sleep until after 7 a.m. So, that was Night 4 of this bout. At 4:47 a.m. I posted to FB, and someone said, "M. Insomnia is a selfish lover." Ain't that the fucking truth. He's a cat with a mouse.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. There's good stuff, including the French edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. We won't be offering many of those.

Today, I'm going to try to begin a new short story, and I think it actually will be titled "Dancy Versus the Pterosaur."

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
Yeah, long subject line. Thank you, Mr. Cohen. Jesus, the day is bright. Bright and cold. It's 57˚F and sunny. And there's not a leaf in sight. Unless you count conifers, and I don't.

And I have a quote from George R. R. Martin ~ More and more, I grow convinced that the internet is toxic. Every controversy brings out the trolls and toads, of every political, religious, and literary persuasion, most of them anonymous, all of them venomous. You can't control the assholes on your side and I can't control the assholes on my side.

This is going to be very, very short (or as the morons say, "super short"), because I took Seroquel last night, to head off a third straight night of Insomnia. And I still didn't get to sleep until almost six. I'm not awake, and I'm not asleep, and I'm verging on psychotic.

No writing yesterday. Some sort of busyness work that I actually cannot now remember. Kathryn and I went out for a walk, because the day supposedly reached 70˚F. We made it as far at Dexter Training Ground. There's was a chill in the air. The trees were bare. The grass isn't even growing very well. Kathryn took two photos for me, for the blog, but Nemo is all about being wide angle, and they're mostly sky, so I'm not using them. So, no photos.

Really, this might be the day I axe murder myself. If I only had an axe.

More Daredevil last night. There are moments when Drew Goddard lets things get a little too Joss Whedon* ("stabby," for example), but, mostly, I keep thinking, Why couldn't Constantine have been one third this good?

Asking the Hard Questions,
Aunt Beast the Sleepless

* Please note, I am sort of a Whedon fan. So shut up. Yeah, I mean you.

"Eyes in a moon of blindness."

The Red Tree
Insomnia. I might have mentioned that. About four hours sleep last night. I'm being pushed towards the arms of Monsieur Seroquel, and I don't want to do there. It never turns out well. Maybe all I need is milk and cookies.

Yesterday I wrote a short foreword, "The Tomahawk Man and the Gentleman from Providence," for Sean Moreland's The Lovecraftian Poe, an academic volume of essays addressing Poe's influence on Lovecraft. Among the books other contents, this essay: "“Not like any thing of ours:” Waking Poe and Lovecraft in Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl." It's the first time in a long time I've written nonfiction for publication.

Last night, I played some Secret World (not RP, just actual gaming), and then we watched the first three episodes of Daredevil. Very fun. I hadn't expected it to be well filmed. The fight scenes are handled excellently, and I like that we're seeing New York in the aftermath of "the Incident" at the conclusion of The Avengers. So, thumbs up.

Which brings me back to not having slept.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
Apparently today is both the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express and the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Lincoln. And I'm missing the renaming ceremony for the Yale Peabody Museum's Apataosaurus – the specimen that will once again be Brontosaurus – because I only learned of the ceremony half an hour ago, and it's at one p.m., and it takes me two hours to get to Yale. Oh, and I haven't mentioned that I couldn't get to sleep until almost six, until after the sky was very, very light. Monsieur Insomnia danced the electric boogaloo. And I'm not awake.

It's cloudy and 60˚F. No leaves.

Yesterday was surprisingly productive. I almost felt like me again. I read through "Goggles (c. 1900)" and "The Cryomancer's Daughter (Murder Ballad No. 3)," and I decided that, yes, they do both belong in Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. I had to read the latter aloud, with Kathryn following along in The Ammonite Violin & Others, so we could make the two versions match. We didn't, because I made some additional changes that aren't in the printed version. This happens most every time I allow a story to be reprinted, if I permit myself to check the text. I am an inveterate polisher. A story is never truly finished. It can always be just a little better. Take out that comma, swap that adjective for another, add five words there, delete four here, fix that hyphen. And so forth. As William Faulkner said, “Try to be better than yourself.”

I also did some more last minute stuff on A is for Alien for PS Publishing.

Oh, and I have a headache.

If you haven't been watching Fortitude, a British series that might fairly be described as The Thing meets Twin Peaks, then you should maybe give it a try. It's creepy as hell and does a wonderful job of allowing mystery and tension to build across twelve episodes. Like the first season of True Detective, it's essentially a long film. We saw the final episode last night.

And we also saw the first episode of the new season of Game of Thrones. I loved it, but you'll see no spoilers here.

On a slightly related note, I'm never going to understand the sort of ignorance and sense of entitlement that leads people to think nothing of stealing movies, television, software, games, and books via illegal sites like Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent websites. "I can't afford it! Information and entertainment should be free! The people who made this are millionaires! I'm not hurting anyone!" Right. Most of these same people would balk at the idea of socialism. Most of them wouldn't even understand the irony at their balking at socialism. Most of them, they want to be paid for their work. Don't even try to explain to these assholes how they're taking money out of the pockets of the people who create the things they're stealing.

Okay, enough of this.

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
The day is struggling towards a projected high of 64˚F. We've reached 61˚F. Bare limbs, cold air.

I left the house yesterday, planning to visit Paper Nautilus at Wayland Square, but they were inexplicably closed. So, instead, I dozed in the car while Kathryn went into Whole Foods. Inside the car, the sun was warm. There was spaghetti for dinner, and, really that does a pretty good job of summing up yesterday. I was too ill from the indulgences of Saturday to do anything that required thought.

Except that I realized I've already written a take on "The Snow Queen," way back in July 2006, "The Cryomancer's Daughter (Murder Ballad No. 3)" (Sirenia Digest #8). I can be forgiven for having forgotten that. I've probably written a hundred stories since then. But it did leave me wondering it there's any point in looking at that fairy tale again.

Aunt Beast

Postscript: I have a mockup for the cover of the Drugstore Indian Press second edition of A is for Alien, which will be out later this year. The art is by Richard A. Kirk.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Aunt Beast

* It is just now being impressed upon me how entirely fucked I am, how difficult it is to remove a crown that's been set in place. I have never before had a truly bad dentist; I think my luck ran out. I don't know what will done about this. I certainly have no more money to spend on the problem.
The Red Tree
Somehow, I made it to this side of yesterday. The day is overcast, and it's currently 44˚F. At least it's warmer than yesterday.

At least.

For now, the anger has ebbed. I'm just tired and depressed and a little strung out.

Bill Schafer has given me permission to add two or three additional stories to Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea, and I know one will be "Goggles (c. 1900.)" It's possible that will be the only one I add. I've also spoken with Nicky and Pete Crowther at PS Publishing, and I can tell you that the Drugstore Indian Press edition of A is for Alien will include a handful of stories not in the original, including "Galápagos," "Hydraguros," and "The Steam Dancer (1896)." Right now, I should be working on new fiction, but I'm going to have to spend a couple of days adding these old tales to these two books, instead. It's my own fault. I made the suggestions.

papersteven asked if "Untitled 17" will appear in Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea as "Untitled 17." Yes, it will. I'm keeping the original "title."

I didn't write yesterday. I did manage to catch up on my email, and I guess that counts for something. Just barely.

Here are some photos from Tuesday night and Wednesday:

BoomerangCollapse )

From Facebook, yesterday:

I haven't had a chance to see a film in the theatres since the brilliant Interstellar (which I'll be watching again tonight on BluRay). The film I am most upset about having missed is the Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending, which I'll be preordering. If it's even half as marvelous as Cloud Atlas, wow.

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
Whatever this entry was going to be, well, we'll never know. I overslept, and then there was unexpected chaos, and then two days worth of backed-up email. I feel like I don't have time for much of anything. A quick weather report? Yeah, I can manage that. When I awoke, it was 39˚F with a windchill 28˚F. On April 9th. Since then, the temperature has risen to 40˚F with a windchill of 30˚F. There's no sign of spring out there. At least in Woodstock I had moss and lichen and a tiny bit of greening grass. Here, nothing, just the squalid, cold cityscape of Providence. Grey and brown and black, earth and sky. There's been no sun to speak of since the morning of the 5th, and there will be no sun tomorrow.

In Birmingham, it's sunny and 82˚F, with a heat index of 83˚F. The trees are green. The dogwoods, magnolias, camellias, and wisteria are in bloom. And that is spring. I have not seen a dogwood bloom in seven years. It's one of those things I always took for granted.

Right now, we're supposed to move in August. I just have to make it that long.

We left Woodstock about 3 p.m., and by the time we got home, around 7 p.m., I'd realized that there was something very wrong with the crown that Dr. Bruce Miller had put in my mouth. Sitting in his chair, it seemed to occlude properly, but two hours later I was lisping, and it just felt odd. I got in the house and looked at it with a dental mirror, and the thing is huge. The inner (labial) cusp of the premolar is at least a mm. larger than it should be. There's not an occlusion problem, because it's so large that the lingual cusp extends out away from the tooth below it (which causes the lisp and is beginning to rub and ulcer on my tongue). So, yeah, now we're talking to his office and trying to figure out how to handle such a fuck up. I mean, who is he having sculpt these crowns that they got it that off? Likely, it's will mean two more trips back to Woodstock – which I don't have the time for, and which I also simply can't afford. So, after more than two thousand dollars and four appointments, it's still not fixed. Likely, I'll have to find a local dentist to remove this crown and put on a temporary, until I can manage to get back to Woodstock, which could be weeks from now.

And then there's work.

The screenplay I went to Woodstock to write has hardly been begun (~11/250 pp.). I have a couple of deadlines that I'm months overdue one. Between now and the end of July I have two short story deadlines and a 25k-word novel to write. Sometime soon, I need to do a final proofreading on Beneath and Oil-Dark Sea, and I have to compile the ms. for Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales, and I have to deal with the ms. for the PS Publishing edition of A is for Alien. I desperately need to begin the next novel. I have to keep Sirenia Digest going, which means at least one new vignette or short story each month. And I can't just dash this stuff off, not caring if it's crap, as I admittedly did with Cherry Bomb. This is, in short, a nightmare.

Oh, and the taxes.


In the last few days, I've read "Fossil musk turtles (Kinosternidae, Sternotherus) from the late Miocene–early Pliocene (Hemphillian) of Tennessee and Florida," "A new aetosaur (Archosauria, Suchia) from the Upper Triassic Pekin Formation, Deep River Basin, North Carolina, U.S.A., and its implications for early aetosaur evolution," "Osteoderms of the titanosaur sauropod dinosaur Alamosaurus sanjuanensis Gilmore, 1922," "A reevaluation of Pliophoca etrusca (Pinnipedia, Phocidae) from the Pliocene of Italy: phylogenetic and biogeographic implications," "Trilobites, Cincinnati, and the 'Cincinnati School of Paleontology," and "A specimen-level phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision of Diplodocidae (Dinosauria, Sauropoda)."

I'd like to have time to write a short essay on the proposed conservation of the name Brontosaurus, because a lot of the press reports are misinterpreting the paper, and very few people understand the rules of taxonomic nomenclature, or the fact that all classifications are merely hypotheses.


I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to speak out re: my feelings on the Hugo mess, the SJW vs. "Sad Puppies" debacle. Likely, no one will like what I have to say, and it's probably best I keep my mouth shut.


My thanks to Jerad at Centipede Press for sending me a complete set of there not out-of-print edition of Michael McDowell’s Blackwater, six beautiful volumes, slipcased.

And that's all for now.

Aunt Beast

Postcards from the Chill

The Red Tree
No sign of green, no sign of leaves or flowers. I'm expected to take solace in buds that likely won't open for another month. No sun today. Currently it's rainy and 43˚F, but it only feels like 36˚F.

I have to keep telling myself, only three months, three weeks more of this, and then I'll never have to step foot in Rhode Island again.

We're heading back to Woodstock today, because the final fitting of the crown is tomorrow. We'll spend one night in the cabin, see Neil, and then come straight back after my dentist appointment tomorrow.

Yesterday, I left the House for the first time since April 1, and I left the property for the first time since we came home on March 31st. Not by choice, but I did go out.

I wrote nothing yesterday.

Wish you were here.

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
In two hours I have to be at a doctor's appointment, so this isn't so much an entry as a note. There some sun today. Most of yesterday was cloudy, and the forecast is calling for almost week of overcast, rainy days. Right now, I'm not sure how I'm going to handle that. Currently, it's 46˚F. In Birmingham, it's 67˚F. I don't even want to see how warm their high will be.

I didn't write yesterday.

Aunt Beast

"Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima."

The Red Tree
I just sat here and talked (worried) away the hour I should have used to write a journal entry.

I awoke, with relief, to sunlight. But in the last hour, clouds have moved in, sludgy grey clouds. I'll close the curtain to so don't have to look at the winter sky in April, winter on Easter Day. It's currently 50˚F and feels like 47˚F.

I didn't write yesterday. Yesterday was wasted nursing a headache that hasn't quite completely passed away. The last time I wrote was March 22nd, when I finished "The Aubergine Alphabet." This isn't acceptable. But tomorrow I have to be at my psychiatrist's at 2 p.m., and then we have to head back to Woodstock on Tuesday for the final dental appointment on Wednesday. I'll lose Thursday, too. So, I can hope, maybe, to be working again by Friday. It's hard to begin anything today, knowing I'll just be interrupted for four days. I work in blocks, not fits and starts. And the year's more than a quarter come and gone.

Fuck this.

Easter should be green.

Aunt Beast

A Memory

The Red Tree
From the day we filmed for The Drowning Girl book trailer at Moonstone Beach, this moonstone signed by the cast and crew:

The stone was one of the Kickstarter rewards. Not sure who took that photo. Or, for that matter, who received the stone.

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
I've spent a chunk of the last hour on Google Earth, in "street mode," pretending that I was driving about Athens, Georgia on a hot summer day. It almost works. And it's preferable to the windy, scrubbed-raw blue day outside. It's 53˚F, but it feels like 45˚, and it's windy as fuck, from the northwest at 15-25mph, with gusts to 50mph.

I am adding Michael Winner's Death Wish (1974) to my mental list of the worst films ever made that were actually shown in theaters. It amounts to 94 minutes of artless pro-gun, pro-vigilantism. Its villains are grotesque, laughable caricatures, and it's heroes are vile. Death Wish drips with sleaze. Charles Bronson smirks a lot and sorta thinks about acting every now and then, when he's not busy shooting cardboard bad guys who spout such gems as, "We want money, motherfucker, now get it!" and "Cunts! I kill rich cunts!" I don't know how I lived to be fifty without ever seeing this contrived piece of crap, but I wish I'd lived to be seventy-five without having seen it. Vincent Gardenia phones in a half-awake performance as a beleaguered police lieutenant, and that's the best part of the film.

I got no writing done yesterday. I let the weather shut me down. I did manage, with the help of Kathryn, to sort through an enormous box of miscellaneous work-related papers in my office – contracts, sections of manuscripts, galley pages, programs from cons, magazines, fan mail, and – an uncashed check from 2009 for more than $4,200 from Penguin, partial payment for The Red Tree. I shit you not. Kathryn says it was lost and then a replacement was sent, but I have no memory of any of this. 2009 was a pretty bad year, so I'm not terribly surprised that I misplaced almost $5,000. I am assuming there's no hope of cashing the thing now.

“Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.” ~ Annie Proulx

That's all I have at the moment. I need to turn the music up louder to try and drown out the wind.

Aunt Beast


The Red Tree
Birds sighted during out stay in Woodstock:

Order Anseriformes:
01. Canadian goose (Branta canadensis)

Order Galliformes
02.Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Order Strigiformes:
03. Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)

Order Accipitriformes
04. Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
A number of "raptors" were seen and heard, but, unfortunately, we were not able to actually identify them (usually seen from a distance, in flight), though we must have seen at least two or three different species.

Order Piciformes
05. Pileated woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus)
06. Downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)
07. Hairy woodpecker (Leuconotopicus villosus)

Order Columbiformes
08. Rock Dove (Columba livia)

Order Passeriformes
09. Common raven (Corvus corax)
10. American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
11. Red-breasted nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)
12. Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
13. Dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis)
14. Tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)
15. Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
16. American robin (Turdus migratorius)
17. Song sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
18. Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

So, 18+ species. Had we put suet out with our seed and grain, we likely would have increased the number of taxa spotted. Don't tell me dinosaurs are extinct.

Aunt Beast

"... the music was like electric sugar."

The Red Tree
I woke to a smothering greyness, and I'm having a lot of trouble clearing my head. It's an ugly enough neighborhood when the sun's out. Though some clouds over it and, well, not many things actually make me want to stay in bed. Currently, it's 55˚F, and there's not a leaf in sight. It's a good thing I made a list last night, or I'd have no idea what I meant to put in this blog entry. Looking at the list, though, I wonder why I bothered writing this shit down.

Get it over with.

It was windy last night, and I guess that wind drove these clouds here.

Yesterday was spent working on the second edition of A is for Alien, which I announced over a year ago would be published by PS Publishing's Drugstore Indian Press imprint, along with reprints of To Charles Fort, With Love, The Ammonite Violin & Others, and Tales of Pain and Wonder. This is a classic case of what happens when I get distracted and drag my feet and give in to depression and then have a ton of backed up writing and...yeah. This happens. I'm only just now getting the mss. together.

And I tried to wrap my brain around doing the "Snow Queen" story. I'm still trying. To me, though, the most interesting part of the story, by far, is the first of the seven parts, "About the Mirror and Its Pieces," and, especially, the shattering of the mirror and the fall of the shards to Earth. Somehow, that's the heart of my story. Isn't it odd that Angela Carter never did "The Snow Queen"?

I actually read some fiction yesterday, "Fishwife" by Carrie Vaughn and "The Doom That Came To Devil Reef" by Don Webb. Along with "Titanosauria (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous (Turonian) Bissekty Formation of Uzbekistan."

I returned to Woodstock determined to rid myself of some of the inexplicable clutter of my life before we move in August. What sort of clutter is inexplicable? Well, here's a prime example: Back in 2003, when I first got Farscape on DVD, I boxed up a bunch of Farscape VHS tapes to send to a friend. I never sent them. I kept meaning to, but I never did. I also didn't throw out the box. Instead, I moved it from the loft at Kirkwood to the house at Mansfield Avenue (both in Atlanta) to Providence. Yesterday, I finally threw them away. Despite the fact that throwing out a box full of theoretically perfectly good VHS tapes made my skin crawl. I have photographs:

This is Called GarbageCollapse )

And really, that's enough for now.

Aunt Beast

Back in the Land of Clams and Mafia

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

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

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

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


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

Hubero in the PinesCollapse )


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


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

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
We're back in Providence. We made it in about 7:30 last night. We got Italian takeout, then, despairing at the state of this house, lay in front of the television watching The West Wing until 2 a.m. (= 4 episodes). Toby and CJ always help a little. Currently, it's sunny and 39˚F (on April 1st), and we may reach 48˚F today (on April 1st). Accuweather predicts that our first day above 70˚F will be May 8th. Which, I think, is about the same as last year. I know we were well into May before there was any significant greening. I have considered another round of Stale Hell photos.

The last cold spring I'll have to endure. The last spring I'll lose. All told, beginning on December 5, we spent a total of eighty-three nights in the cabin at Woodstock, the end of the autumn and most of the winter and the very beginning of cold spring. (I should note that, of course, we were here for the very end of December and the first three weeks of January, so our time there was divided into two halves.) I cannot even imagine having made it through that awful block of days here. In Providence, almost all the snow has melted, but, Jesus, it's desolate. How I have survived this place for seven years, I don't know. But I have, and I should try to take some measure of pride in that.


I'm watching Super-Typhoon Maysak bearing down on the Philippines. This is a Category 5 hurricane, a Katrina, poised to strike land that is barely above an already swiftly rising sea level. From space, the thing is awesome, awful, beautiful, but it's a hungry monster with a lot of people in its path.


While in Woodstock (A Review):

I wrote "The Cripple and the Starfish," "The Aubergine Alphabet," wrote Part Four and rewrote Part Three of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird*, and I began the screenplay I'm writing. I lost Joëlle Jones and found Danielle Warren Johnson. I worked with Centipede Press on Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales and with PS Publishing on the second edition of A is for Alien. We did three jigsaw puzzles and played four games of Scrabble. I read Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country (2008) and reread Peter Straub's Ghost Story (1979). We went to Manhattan, and I did my fourth reading at KGB since 2001. On the train, I passed so near to Pollepel Island I felt as if I could have reached out and touched it. I read one non-fiction book, on the Gilboa fossils, and I read numerous paleontological papers. I regret I got out of the cabin as little as I did, but the weather was often dangerously cold, the snow was too deep to walk in, and the roads were bad. Plus, I smashed my left big toe on February 6th, probably breaking it (I don't know for sure; I haven't been to the doctor, and there was already a lot of numbness there). Then a rotten premolar I'd nursed for over a year exploded, and readers kindly donated over two-thousand dollars in less that twenty-four hours, making it possible for me to have a root canal and get a crown. We sat and watched the birds (I will be posting a checklist of species we saw in Catskills in another entry). Spooky took Hubero on many long walks in the woods, because he's the cat who loves a harness and leash. We wasted a lot less time on gaming than we would have had we been in Providence, Kathryn on Guild Wars 2 and me on The Secret World. Compared to last winter, it was a breeze, even when you factor in the subzero night the wendigo knocked out the electricity and made it impossible for us to build a fire.

That's likely leaving a lot out.

Yesterday, as we were loading the car, Neil appeared outside in a housecoat and slippers, as if the day weren't cold as hell, and we said our goodbyes and our "we'll see you next weeks," because we will. I have to be back on the 8th for the permanent crown, so we're heading up on the 7th. I've tried to tell him how grateful I am for the loan of the cabin this winter, but I'm not entirely sure he understands.

Now, I only have to survive cold spring.

I have a few photos from yesterday, behind the cut:

31 March 2015Collapse )

On the way home, I read two papers on trilobites, "Nightmare on Resser Street – Dealing with Resser's trilobite taxonomy" and "The earliest trilobite research (Antiquity to the 1820s)." Back home, I discovered the January 2015 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology had, in my absence, arrived, and I read a paper I'd been eagerly awaiting, "A new pistosauroid (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) from the late Ladinian Xingyi marine reptile level, southwestern China." There was also a package containing my contributor's copies of New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird, which contains my story "The Transition of Elizabeth Haskings"; I have to confess, I find the cover atrocious. Cthulhu as a Jack Kirby super-villain.

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
I actually have time to make a journal entry today, while Spooky takes Hubero out for his last walk before we leave for home. It's partly sunny, or partly cloudy. Outside, it's 39˚F and feels like 37˚F. In Providence, it's 46˚F. Last year, it was the middle of May before we saw a day in the mid seventies. I expect the same this year, or worse.

I'm not going to spend time today reflecting on our time in the cabin. That will come in a later entry.

Yesterday, we did indeed drive southwest and then northwest to Bethel, the site of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. I was more than forty-five years late, but I finally made it. Ulster County south of Woodstock has some beautiful little villages – Marbletown, Stone Ridge, Accord, Ellenville – places I would gladly live, if I had what it takes to survive these winters. But round about the time you cross the Ulster-Sullivan County line, south of Ellenville, you enter a region I have named Desperation. It's not on any map, but it ought to be. Just stop at the Stewart's in Wurtsboro, at the corner of Kingston Avenue and Sullivan Street, and you'll know what I mean. Jobless men with their scratch-off cards, grizzled old men, drunks and lost souls who remember vanished industry, housewives with the marks of alcoholism and abuse, teenage girls who are working hard to earn the sobriquet "slut," fifteen going on a hard twenty-five. Despair. No one's getting out of there alive. There are church bells, but they just seem to hammer the seediness and meth-laden, post-industrial squalor in all the deeper.

Turn right at that Stewart's, and by the time you reach White Lake, Despair will slowly begin to release it's hold on you. What once was Max Yazgur's dairy farm, the location of the Woodstock festival way back in August 1969, it's beautiful land in the summer, rolling green hills and patches of forest south of Filippini Pond. But yesterday wasn't summer. The clouds had broken apart by the time we reached the memorial marker, but Jesus it was bitterly cold. And snow had just begun to fall. There was a wind that would flay the skin right off your bones. I stood there, noting the natural amphitheater formed by the pasture's topography and recognizing the spot at the bottom of the hill where the stage had been. I posed for a photo. And then we got back into the car. It was just too goddamn frigid. The fields were full of crows, Canada geese, and ravens. We drove something like four hours to see a point of the map where we spent no more than ten minutes.

There was a breath of relief when we'd put Sullivan County behind us and were once again safely in Ulster. Oh, and there was the World's Third Largest Lawn Gnome (13+ feet high). He used to be the first, but some assholes in Iowa and Poland had to build bigger lawn gnomes. We drove home with the setting sun making a Maxfield Parish painting of the clouds and the long, stony bulwark of Shawangunk Ridge barring the path to the Hudson.

Oh, and there was some really nice Devonian stratigraphy along the roads. Two photos:

"Aw, Man. I missed Country Joe and the Fish? Shit."

You were warned.

Photographs Copyright © 2015 by Kathryn A. Pollnac

Oh, and you should read this, by Chuck Wendig: "Fuck You, Clean Reader: Authorial Consent Matters". Seriously. Read it. Don't pull that "tl;dr" crap.

Oh, this link as well, from the New York Times: "How ‘You Do You’ Perfectly Captures Our Narcissistic Culture". Before this morning, I swear I'd never heard "you do you" or "you do." Lucky fucking me.

Now, I have to finish packing and have another Red Bull. I think Neil's stopping in before we leave at 3 p.m. See you in Providence.

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
Just a quick note. I awoke this morning, after a windy night and only three hours of sleep, to an inch and a half of new snow. I went the fuck back to bed, and when I woke again, two hours later, it had melted away.

We're either leaving this evening or in the morning. Currently, that's up in the air. We were planning, today, to drive up to Max Yasgur's farm, the site of the "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music" (August 15 – August 18, 1969; I was was five years old). Woodstock did not actually happen in Woodstock. We might yet drive up; I just want to stay I stood there. Neil's home, and we should try to see him before we leave for Providence, whether that's tonight or whether that's tomorrow.

“If it’s bad, I’ll hate it because I hate bad writing. If it’s good, I’ll be envious and hate it all the more. You don’t want the opinion of another writer.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Yesterday, we went to the Bearsville Farmer's Market, held in the famous Bearsville Theater. As you can imagine, there's not much in the way of winter crops up here, but there were vendors with marvelous things. I got bar of locally made lavender-scented goat's milk soap and Spooky got a jar of strawberry-rhubarb preserves, also locally made. We walked along the banks of the Sawkill. It's partly thawed, and melt water from the mountain is gurgling between the frozen banks. Bright clumps of moss have appeared, a grand fuck you to the winter and cold spring, courtesy the Bryopsida. Utter peace. The we drove out towards Saurgerties, to photographs the ruins of a very old house we've admired for months. It was a good time out. The sun was warm.

Here, Chuck Wendig says exactly what I think about the abominable "Clean Reader" and the indispensability of profanity. Read it.

A four-thirty a.m., I sat in a darkened cabin while Spooky slept, and the wendigo hammered the cabin and crept through the attic, and danced the walls. Hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I don't feel that sort of shit often.

Subterranean Press has posted the Table of Contents to False Starts II: Being Another Compendium of Beginnings.

God, this is a two Red Bull day.

Okay, I gotta go help Spooky pack and clean.

Later Spuds,
Aunt Beast

The Next to the Last Day

The Red Tree
We've decided to stay until Tuesday. There was just too much packing and cleaning and such.

The day is sunny, and there's a storm of songbirds outside, overseen by a noisy flock of crows. Currently, it's 32˚F, with no windchill. The sun feels warm, as long as you're inside.

Today, I'll get Sirenia Digest #110 out.

I have three photos from yesterday (and not much else to say at the moment):

28 March 2015Collapse )

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
Cloudy and 33˚F, with snow flurries and a windchill of 18˚F. On March 28th.

If all goes according to plan, we leave sometime on Monday. I'll likely begin packing today. And there's a rather difficult jigsaw puzzle we should complete before we go. Tomorrow, we may go out for a drive to see some local sights we haven't seen yet: Max Yasgur's farm, Byrdcliffe, and the Big Pink.

There's not much to report in way of work, as far as tomorrow goes. I checked over Daniel's blocking/roughs for Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird #2 and sent him my notes.

People ask what the hell this Secret World roleplay thing is, and so I took a screencap last night. India Onnalee Shore, my Illuminati character, is on the left. She's just awakened from a nightmare, which she isn't aware were memories from the night she died, twenty-eight years before. The nice Hispanic lady on the right is India's lover, Julia Santero, a soldier for the Eye. Temple Hall has instructed all hunters that India is a "person of interest," due to her private war against the Red Hand in the mountains north of Bucharest and her aid to the Drăculești resistance fighters. But she's currently being stalked by a slayer who's either gone rogue (India may have murdered the woman's family when she was a child) or an operative from a Templar splinter cell.

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT - initiate Transylvania signal - RECEIVE - initiate the Chiropteran Migratory frequency - FOR THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST - initiate the haematophagy protocol - WITNESS - The Vampire Crusades. The moral of a story changes depending on where you end it, sweetling. Did you know? Fairy tales become tragedies on the other side of happily ever.

Oh, and you can see Spooky beyond my Asus, playing Guild Wars 2. She's an awesome mesbian.

Be Cool, Kiddos,
Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
A cloudy day here, and there are flurries in the forecast for today, tonight, and tomorrow. Likely, it will come to nothing. Currently, it's 42˚F. The sun's shining down in a rift between the clouds. It'll be gone again in a moment. Last night, rain helped melt a lot of the snow, but a lot remains. I took this photograph just before breakfast, at precisely 11 a.m., the view from the table where I've been writing all winter.

The last few days, a blur of horror and idiocy: a suicidal copilot and the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, an explosion and fire in the East Village, a censored Batgirl cover, feminists who are frightened by clapping and prefer jazz hands, soaring extinction rates, new evidence that global warming is slowing thermohaline circulation, ISIS and Boko Haram, melting ice caps, Indiana governor Mike Pence and all this anti-gay legislation needed to protect "religious freedom," California's proposed "Sodomite Suppression Act," U.S. House Budget Committee's proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and on and on and on, and it all thunders in my ears and behind my eyes.

Hello, humanity.

Where's Louis Armstrong when we need him most?

Yesterday, I worked on Sirenia Digest #110. I'm waiting to see if Vince is doing an illustration for this issue. I also went over Daniel's pencil's for the first issue of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird #1 and sent notes to my editor. It's looking good.


Should anyone ever choose, for whatever reason, to speak in my defense or the defense of any minority to which I might belong, I certainly will not whine about "denial of agency" and "bad allies." Likely, I will be grateful.

When did gratitude become unfashionable?


Kathryn and I have decided to aim for Monday for our return to Providence. It's going to be strange and sad, leaving this place behind.

Aunt Beast

"And women? Great googly moogly."

The Red Tree
I awoke to fog and clouds and snow scabs. The slow melt continues. Back towards the woods, away from the cabin, the ground is still completely white, or very nearly so. We are only five days from April. And I'm sure there's still a lot of snow lying about in Providence. Currently, it's 46˚F here.

Yesterday was the third dental visit, and all sorts of unpleasant things were done to my mouth. Afterwards, an impression was made with a tray filled with blue alginate, and then a surprisingly decent looking temporary tooth was stuck in my head. But turns out that it'll be two more weeks until the crown is finished, not one, and we just can't stay here two more weeks. We need to get back home. So, we'll be heading back to Providence, then returning on April 8th. We're still not sure which day we're leaving Woodstock. Day after tomorrow or a week from now, we've not decided.

There's really not much in the way of news. I haven't had much time to work. I'm going to try to get Sirenia Digest #110 out before we leave.

I've been reading a little: "A sand tiger shark–dominated fauna from the Eocene Arctic greenhouse" and "Birds are Dinosaurs: Simple Answer to a Complex Problem" and The Gilboa Fossils. No, no fiction. My motivation to read fiction may be at an all time low.

Aunt Beast

"Get ready for the future: it is murder."

The Red Tree
I had a restless night, too little sleep. I lay in bed listening to a Great horned owl hooting in the near distance. I awake to a world of scabby snow and bare trees. The sky is so, so blue. There will be melt today, despite the cold. There was wind last night, and there's wind today. The cabin creaks when there's a strong gust. My mind is exhausted by this winter, and the summer we didn't get last year, and by last winter. I feel frail and rail thin. My nerves are raw. My eyes hurt. No real warmth is anywhere in the Woodstock forecast. Currently, it's 24˚F and feels like 14˚F. In Providence, it's 29˚F and feels like 15˚F. In Birmingham, it's 62˚F, and the projected high is 67˚F.


A couple of hours ago, I started to read a Slate article on Ted Cruz' position on climate change, and I was immediately pummeled by this utter absurdity of a sentence: "He has a history of saying global warming–denying talking points." I can only assume the author meant to say that Cruz denies the reality of global warming. Slate, are you actually incapable of hiring people who can write coherent sentences?

Two articles that should be read: "Please Be Disturbed: Triggering Can Be Good for You, Kids." And "In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas."

When I was in college, it was the Eagle Forum, the Moral Majority, and creationists who were trying to destroy higher education. Now, it's people who probably think of themselves as liberal and progressive. Because, you know, you go far enough to the Left, and you're on the Right (and vice versa).

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.

That left me almost speechless. These students are willingly infantilizing themselves, and I want to know who taught them this is how intellectuals behave. I also want to know who taught them censorship is okay, as long as you're censoring shit that frightens you or challenges your worldview.

By the way, I have no "microaggressions." All my aggressions are really fucking big.


Yesterday, I finished "The Aubergine Alphabet." The word count for W, X, Y, and Z came to 1,865 words.

This morning I was saddened by the news of Peggy Rae Sapienza's passing. She helped get me to the 2014 World Fantasy Convention and seemed like a kindly, intelligent person.

Aunt Beast

"And now the wheels of Heaven stop."

The Red Tree
Currently, here in Woodstock it's 28˚F, but feels like 18˚F. The sun is warm through the windows. A lot of snow melted yesterday, despite the clouds. I can only hope we see more melt today, despite the intense cold. We had more wind last night, but the power stayed on. If I had Spooky drive me to Rhinecliff, I could board the train to Manhattan, ride to Penn Station, then board the Crescent Line to Birmingham. I'd fall asleep somewhere in Virginia, and I awaken in Atlanta, to warmth and green. There's no green here, except the conifer needles we've had all winter long. Were money no issue and if there weren't so much work, that's exactly what I'd fucking do.

One of the strangest experiences for me, as an author, is finding a negative review of my work that I completely agree with. It happens, from time to time. Sometimes, it even makes me smile. Sometimes, they make me laugh. Like this review of Cherry Bomb that Kathryn came across this morning (in all fairness, the cover art is worse by far than the novel):

This was the last of a three book deal, an experiment which the author feels failed.* With this book, I have to agree. It is disjointed, the lead character's personality seems to have changed, and not for the better. The plot is not the clearest, and at times, is hard to follow. As I read it, I felt like my favorite author was writing with the attitude of "I have better things to do." It seemed like she just wanted to get it done, meet the terms of the contract, and be done with it.

The roof of the woodshed is now clear of snow. There's only moss and lichen and brown pine needles. Spooky tosses birdseed up there, and right now there are juncos and chickadees.

Yesterday, Spooky took Hubero out on his leash (he's been getting at least one walk a day, the past few weeks). He heard a hawk, freaked out, and insisted they go back inside, right then and there.

I had a good writing day yesterday. A very good one. I did 1,931 words on "The Aubergine Alphabet," letters T, U, and V. Both U and V got a little out of hand, each wanting to become actual stories. They were possessed of inconvenient ambition. Which is why the word count was so high. Today, I intend to finish "The Aubergine Alphabet," with W, X, Y, and Z.

Aunt Beast

* As indicated in my author's note at the end of Cherry Bomb.
The Red Tree
Currently, it's 35˚F. Tonight's low will be 23˚F (windchill 9˚F), with snow flurries. The world is white. It's currently snowing in Providence. Welcome, Spring 2015.

Ten years ago, almost to the day (March 22, 2005), I wrote:

I have to write. I have to write regardless. I does not matter if I've had a bad day. It does not matter if I am depressed or in some other sort of mood not conducive to writing. I still have to write. I does not matter if the weather is crappy or if there's trouble in my family. It does not matter if I'd rather do something else. It does not matter if, in some objective, cosmic sense, I've earned the right to do something else. It does not matter if it's not my fault. It does not matter. I have to write. Nothing else matters, ever. Nothing else matters more. Them's the rules. I knew them when I signed on, and now I'm stuck with them. I have to find a way to write in spite of chaos. That's the only option, because clearly things have no intention of becoming any less chaotic.

And at some point I forgot this, or I simply decided to neglect the truth. But nothing's changed. Nothing at all. I've gotten sloppy, lazy. I've allowed chaos and depression to steer me away from acknowledging and obeying the facts of this existence.

I wrote nothing yesterday. I allowed a morning crisis to serve as an excuse not to work.


Today, with adjusting for inflation, my income is pretty much the same as it was the year I sold my first novel (1997). This is another inconvenient truth of the freelancer's life. There's no cost-of-living increase, except my ability to use my name as a bargaining chip. Which helps a tiny bit. But, all in all, nothing much has changed. My novel advances are about the same. And I was actually paid substantially less per page writing for Dark Horse than when I was working for DC Comics in the 1990s ($75/page vs. $95/page). Keep in mind that, right now, you need about $1.49 for the buying power of a 1996 dollar. Yet, I actually pay $600 more a month rent now.


If I had anything more to say today, I have no fucking idea what it might have been.

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
I should have titled this, "Spring? Yeah, Right."

Unless I want to spend the next two hours on this blog entry, there's no doing the last two days justice. And I can't spend that much time on a blog entry fifteen people will read, so...this is the Reader's Digest condensed version. By the way, at the moment, it's 30˚F here, with the windchill at 22˚F. The sky is hungry. You know what I mean.

A bad windstorm began on Tuesday afternoon, and at 4:35 p.m., just as I hit "send" on an important email to my editor at Dark Horse, the electricity went off. The wind was blowing like the wendigo's own breath. I don't know the exact speeds, because we didn't have access to the internet or even a transistor radio, but I believe the forecast for the night included gusts to ~50mph. Kathryn and I spent the night huddled in the cabin, trying not to freeze, wearing all our clothing at once. We couldn't build a fire, because the wind was pushing its way down the chimney. Trees were bending, branches snapping, and the stars were dazzlingly bright in the indigo crystal sky. We played Scrabble by candlelight (I won by 40 points). Being in the cabin, it was like what I'd imagine being in the hold of a wooden sailing ship in a storm. The creaking, the moaning, the way the whole building shuddered. The wind is as good as the sea. A couple of times, things fell in the kitchen. We finally retreated to bed about 2 a.m., and I was asleep almost immediately. I slept an amazing 9 hours, despite the howling wind and the ominous sounds from the darkness. We awoke to another inch of so of snow, that, to my knowledge, had not been forecast.

About two hours after we woke, just before we were getting ready to leave for Manhattan, the power came on again. But instead of hanging around and getting warm, we climbed in the van and headed across the Hudson and south to Rhinecliff, where we caught the Empire Service to the City. We spent two hours racing by the frozen Hudson. We passed Pollepel Island at 3:50 p.m., and that's the closest I'd ever been to it. If you've read "Estate" or "The Last Child of Lir" or "Salammbô," then you understand the significance. It was past almost before I could register what I was seeing, and then the massive granite bulk of Storm King loomed up, swallowing the western horizon.

There's not much else to say about the trip down. We almost froze to death outside Penn Station. We caught a cab to the Strand and had half an hour to look at 18 miles of books, and you know how that goes. The reading went well. "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)" was a hit. I got to see J. Daniel Stone and Nicola Astles (Nicola played Imp in the book trailer for The Drowning Girl). I read for twenty minutes, signed a bunch of books, then we dashed back to Penn Station. Oh, I won a copy of Darin Bradley's novel Chimpanzee in the Blade Runner trivia contest, because no one else there knew that the film takes place in 2019. What the fuck, people? The walk to the taxi after the reading wasn't so bad, because, at last the hellish winds had died, and it was only cold. I can take a lot of cold if there's not wind. Run the trip in reverse, and we were home sometime after 1 a.m. All I'd eaten all day was a bowl of lukewarm grits (breakfast), two Reese cups (lunch), and a nibble off a nasty-ass peanut-butter flavored soy protein bar (dinner). I was going to eat my animal crackers on the ride home, but forgot they were in my bag. And there was still electricity, thank fuck. We ate canned ravioli and went the fuck to bed.

It was great meeting John Kwok, another veteran of the paleo fields, turned fiction writer. What an odd lot we are! The really cool moment was realizing that we both read at the North American Paleontological IV in Boulder, CO, August 1986! I moderated a session (with Dr. July Massare) on marine reptiles that year, and I was Stephen Jay Gould's gopher.

This was my fourth time to read at KGB. The first was May 2001. The second was, I think, November 2008. The third was October 2013. I have no idea how many years it will be until the fifth time.

I did want to break something down, for people who wonder why I don't do more readings near them. Yesterday's travel (cab + train; I'm not counting gas for the van) cost me $207. KGB gives readers a $25 honorarium. Subtract $25 from $207 for $182. I read for twenty minutes. So, the sober truth of the matter is that I essentially paid $9.10 a minute to read to less than fifty people. So, there you go. Which is not to say I didn't enjoy it. I did. But it's obviously not the sort of extravagance I can indulge in very often.

Congratulations to Neil and Amanda, because now the whole world knows the news.

I have photographs from yesterday:

18 March 2015Collapse )

And now I gotta go.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
Currently, it's cloudy as fuck all and 43˚F here in Woodstock. Tomorrow, I have to be in Manhattan, only for a few hours, and it's going to be colder and windy as hell. It's going to be windy as hell here, too, but here I can huddle in the cabin like a frightened rabbit and wait for the wendigo to pass me by. In Manhattan, I'll have to think of creative ways to hide from the wind. It's forecast to blow at a steady 25mph, with gusts to 59mph (!!!). I don't even want to know about the windchill. We're heading down by train early tomorrow afternoon, then heading back immediately after my reading. I think our return train to Woodstock pulls out of Penn Station at 10:45 p.m.

The reading begins at 7 p.m., and I expect to read second. I'll have 25 minutes, and I'll be reading from "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)." The title is all the trigger warning you get. This will probably be my last public appearance in the northeast for a long time. I'll sign any book you bring, no limits. Unless I've been blown away to Oz, in which case you're shit out of luck.


And here it is St. Patrick's Day, so "Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!" And the video I have to post every year:

Also, another annual tradition, "Why There Are No Snakes In Ireland."


So, as I said on Saturday, we finally have an artist for Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird, to replace Joëlle Jones, and his name is Daniel Warren Johnson. Here's a preview, behind the cut:

Dancy and the SeraphCollapse )

I very much like his take on the seraph, though I have asked that Dancy look a little less like Tom Sawyer. But I think Daniel will be a good fit. He's already done the page layouts for Parts One and Two. I'll post more of his work in future entries. I'm also going to do, soon, two or three posts that could be called "The Alabaster's That Almost Were," with art by Joëlle Jones, Joe Querio, and a couple of other people who didn't work out on this apparently cursed mini-series.


Yesterday was astoundingly frustrating, and, as predicted, I was angry through the whole thing. To the point that I couldn't sleep. I didn't get into bed get until after 4 a.m., and then I lay awake until after 6:30, my mind racing down furious roads. I slept about four hours. I did no writing yesterday. I managed email. I talked to people at Dark Horse, and to my film agent at UTA, and so on and so forth. I did do a quick read-through on Part One of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird, reading it against Daniel's storyboards. Finally, not long before five p.m., we left the house and headed into town long enough to get some groceries, and I needed a silver pen, in case someone wants a comic signed tomorrow night.


“People love to recognize; not venture. The former is so much more comfortable and self-flattering.” ~ Jean Cocteau


Originally, the plan was to head back to Providence at the end of February. However, the shattered, rotten tooth has extended our stay by a month. I don't have a dentist in Providence, and having found one here it didn't make sense not to allow him to do the whole job, root canal to crown. I have a psychiatrist appointment on April 6th, and I have to be home before then. As you may well imagine, it's very strange, being away from home far so long. Though, at least we'll have missed the worst of the nastiness, the city in the thaw. Cold spring is slightly more endurable here.

And I should go. I need buckets of coffee (I'm out of Red Bull).

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree
I'm going to be angry today. It's only 11:04 a.m., and already I can tell that today I will be angry.


Calvin: I like to verb words.

Hobbes: What?

Calvin: I take nouns and adjectives and use them as verbs. Remember when "access" was a thing? Now it's something you do. It got verbed.

Calvin: Verbing weirds language.

Hobbes: Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding.


Yesterday is a blur, the worst migraine I've had in months. Half a Percocet allowed me to write for one hour. I did "S is for Sanguine." 400+ words. And then the pain came back. It was with me until after dinner. The combination of very spicy Chinese takeout, a Vicodin, and an extra Clonazepam seemed, finally, to end the headache. Capsicum, endorphins, synthetic opiates, and benzodiazepines – good for what ails you.

Did you know that the phrase "Better living through chemistry" is a variant of the DuPont advertising slogan, "Better Things for Better Living...Through Chemistry," which the company adopted in 1935 and used until 1982? Now you do.


We're supposed to see 48˚F and sunny here today, though I have my doubts. At this point the snow seems to be evaporating faster than it's melting. Currently, it's 36˚F and cloudy. Today it will be 79˚F in Birmingham and feel like 83˚F. Alabama already has a heat index. This is why I'm leaving the northeast, to know spring again. You hearty motherfuckers who want to tough out this shit, it's all yours. I'm a cold weather wimp. Seven New England winters (in years mostly devoid of summers) have aged me ten years.

That's really all I have for now. Don't spend it all in one place.

Aunt Beast

"Jezebel" (Make me a beast half as brave.)

The Red Tree
Who's seen Jezebel?
She was born to be the woman I would know
And hold like the breeze
Half as tight as both our eyes closed.

Who's seen Jezebel?
She went walking where the cedars line the road,
Her blouse on the ground,
Where the dogs were hungry, roaming.

Saying, "Wait, we swear
We'll love you more and wholly
Jezebel. It's we, we that you are for,

Who's seen Jezebel?
She was born to be the woman we could blame.
Make me a beast half as brave,
I'd be the same.

Who's seen Jezebel?
She was gone before I ever got to say,
"Lay here my love,
You're the only shape I'll pray to, Jezebel"

Who's seen Jezebel?
Will the mountain last as long as I can wait,
Wait like the dawn.
How it aches to meet the day.

Who's seen Jezebel?
She was certainly the spark for all I've done.
The window was wide,
She could see the dogs come running.

Saying, "Wait, we swear,
We'll love you more and wholly.
Jezebel, it's we, we that you are for
Only" ~ Iron and Wine

Lately, I've bee haunted by the story of Jezebel, as related in Sepher M'lakhim, The Book of Kings (divided into two in the Christian Bible, 2nd Kings 2-9).

Page Summary

Latest Month

April 2015


RSS Atom
Powered by
Designed by Tiffany Chow