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Right now, I'm not sure if I feel more like I'm going to vomit, pass out, or suddenly come apart in a cataclysm of protoplasmic, subatomic reversal. I might have slept two hours. When I got up at 8 a.m., there was just enough snow on the ground that it was pretty. Now, there's only a quickly melting scab. But it was our first snow of the winter, regardless. Presently, it's 33˚F. No windchill at the moment.

No writing yesterday. Yesterday was all about not giving into the crazy, the noise ricocheting off the inside of my skull. So, I took Klonopin and got dressed and went to the market with Kathryn. She's fixing black-eyed peas today, so that's something to which to look forward. I managed to avoid the sorts of meltdowns that marked Saturday and Friday. But no writing. Some email with S.T. Joshi, late in the day, about the CRK tribute book that's been in the works since early 2015. But that was it, workwise.

I posted this to Facebook:

Yesterday, it occurred to me that I have outlived the context that made sense of my existence. I now exist out of context, like a dodo bird in a cyberpunk story, and it's a terrible way to be. I suppose I'm saying I have become an anachronism. But it seems worse even than that. Anachronism makes it sound dignified, and I feel no dignity in this.

And though I asked folks not to comment, David J. Schow wrote:

A feeling of forced obsolescence at the height of one's powers, ability and discretion.

And yeah, that's definitely part of it, and it touches on why I find myself pretty much unable to write about the present. Has there ever been a time when writers of an earlier generation found themselves so set aside by a generation entirely immersed in technology changing as an unimaginable pace? Would I have felt like this if my career had begun at the start of the forties, then sprawled into the 1960s? I don't think so. I don't think there's anything in human history comparable to the present shift, not in degree and not in rate of change. For me, it is a nightmare. It isn't the only reason I'm having so much trouble writing, but it's part of the raveling tapestry of my current dilemma. I can't write about a world where people live through "devices," not write about it as an actual present time. I won't write casually about social media and smart phones and cars that drive themselves, emojis and Skype and Uber and fake news websites and Yelp and remote-controlled drones you can buy at Rite Aid and on and on and on. Sure, I can write stories set in the present and leave all that shit out, but that's not telling the truth.

And, really, it's far more complex than the hardware/software of the early twenty-first century. It's more the psychosocial changes wrought by the technology. I do not know these millennial minds. I can only be on the outside looking in, and I don't know how to do that, either. And I don't want to write a book about being lost and adrift and out of place in the present – which I surely am. I can only imagine setting books in the past, which is why my screenplay for The Red Tree was being set in 1979, and it's why the little I've managed to write on The Starkeeper is set in 1978. It's why "Interstate Love Song" (the short story) is set about 1994, and why Interstate Love Song (the novel), if I can spit it out, will be set in 1954 and 1994. I can set a story fifty years from now, even, but I cannot set a story now. Now – NOW – has become, to me, inscrutable. Unfathomable. Alien.

At fifty-two, I am not of here. I'm a foreigner in my own land, displaced by time. I am more in tune with 1916 than I am with 2016. The present is hostile to my being, and it is hostile to my imagination.

It's a matter of what philosopher of science T.S. Kuhn called incommensurability. I no longer know how to converse with the present; mine and its worldviews have become incommensurable.

And I have this photo from yesterday:

Aunt Beast

"And the mouse police never sleeps."

Partly cloudy, mostly sunny, something like that, depending who you ask. Currently, it's 37˚F, with the windchill at 28˚F. Autumn has ended. We may see some snow flurries tonight and tomorrow.

I spend all day and all evening dreading bed. Finally, I take my pills and drag myself into it, around 3:30 a.m. or 4 a.m. or 4:30 a.m. And a few hours later, I awake to stark, blind, all-encompassing panic. Wake-up anxiety. This one's new for me. It began back in the summer, during the worst of the dry spell. I'd wake every morning to the horror that people are waiting on me to write a novel, but the words weren't coming. I'm talking cold-sweat, blinding anxiety. I'm talking palpitations and dry mouth. Now that it's December, I've still got that, but it's also being fueled, redoubled, trebled, by the ascent of Der Trümpenführer and his Half Reich of Deplorables. Crippling anxiety, with a dash of existential shock. I awake, and there's the writing anxiety, and then I remember what happened on November 8th, and it gets much, much worse. So, bed is a bad place. If I don't sleep, I don't have to wake up. You may or may not understand. You might or might not get it. Maybe you had to be there.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. The auction for a copy of Silk with an original vintage 1996 Death's Little Sister sticker ends in about four hours. Don't miss out, kittens.


This year, a first. I'm inviting Xmas/whatever holiday cards from readers, as a possible antidote to my depression and anxiety. After eschewing Xmas for more than fifteen years, I'm gonna try. We're even going to get an Xmas branch (no room for a whole tree). Just one card per person, please. The address is:

Caitlín R. Kiernan
P.O. Box 603096
Providence, RI 02906


Last night, after Mexican from the taqueria in Olneyville, we watched Roger Waters: The Wall (2014, dir. Sean Evans and Roger Waters), which records performances from the most recent Wall tour. It is an astoundingly powerful, beautiful film. I never thought we'd reach a time when The Wall (album 1979, film film 1982) would feel more horrifying relevant than it did when it was released. But it does. It is. So is Pink Floyd's The Final Cut, both of those together. They speak directly to Brexit and Trump, the alt-right and the current reemergence of fascism across Europe. Afterwards, we watched Mad Max: Fury Road, which I liked a great deal better on a small screen that was able to contain it's chaos and allow me to take in everything the director was trying to convey. Truly, I've rarely changed my mind so completely about a film. First time I saw it, you may recall, I loathed it. Second time, a couple of weeks later, I liked it, and I apologized for hating it. There is a protocol to watching this film. For me, there is. It wasn't at all what I expected, and, as I have said many times, expectations are the death of art. But now I have learned to see it, this opera of violence, as stylized as any film has ever been. And, yeah, there's no way to watch it now and not see Immortan Joe as the Horror Clown. The tagline could be "Pussy Grabs Back. Literally." Along with Inglourious Basterds, it will go on my list of films that can help us resist and survive the apocalypse, coming to the White House and Capitol Hill on January 20th.

Stay tuned, kittens. Keep watching the skies.

Aunt Beast

"Fifteen years gone now..."

Sunny again today, but colder. Currently, it's 47˚F.

No writing yesterday, because yesterday was my meeting at the Hay with Christopher Geissler. First, though, we had to drive up to the storage unit in Pawtucket and retrieve the original Michael Zulli Drowning Girl painting – the one that wasn't published in the Centipede Press edition of the book because it was damaged slightly in the mail. It will now be a part of the Caitlín R. Kiernan Collection. However, the final paperwork wasn't signed yesterday, because the wording on the deed of gift needs to be more specific. I should have the final document by next week. After the meeting, Kathryn and I didn't feel like getting right back in the car, so we walked around the Front Green, past Carrie Tower to Manning Hall and the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, where we looked at Inuit artifacts. Then we walked on past University Hall and Slater Hall (one of my favorite buildings at Brown) to Rhode Island Hall and George Street, before we turned back. The sun was going down fast, and the day, which had been unseasonably warm, was quickly growing cold. I could tell that the afternoon was the very last dregs of autumn, and I told Kathryn it was the first halfway decent day I'd had since the election, the first day that had felt not quite so much like the end of the world. After a quick trip to the market for an avocado and blackberry conserve and corn tortillas, we headed home again. Oh, before the meeting we'd stopped by the p.o. box, and there was my comp copy of Ellen Datlow's Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror, along with a package from Warsaw containing an issue of the Polish SF&F magazine Nowa Fantastyka. Both reprint "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)." The latter does so in Polish.*

And that was yesterday.

Last night, we watched Girl, Interrupted, which I'd never seen and which is now one of my favorite films of 1999. And then we watched some goofy, but entertaining, documentary on the so-called "Bridgewater Triangle" in Massachusetts. And then I started reading Kai Ashante Wilson's A Taste of Honey, but I grew sleepy before I got very far.

I have a randomish assortment of photos from yesterday, behind the cut:

1 December 2016Collapse )

Today, I gotta get back to work. Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

* "Interstate Love Song" how now been reprinted five time since its original appearance in Sirenia Digest #100, back in 2014. Two of those were annual "best of" reprints.


The last month of a very foul year. And I do not look towards 2017 with anything resembling hope. I think that I have to learn to live without hope for a while. It's sunny again today, the sky an uncomfortable shade of blue. Blue like a razor. Currently, it's 55˚F; we're having an odd little warm spell.

Yesterday, I wrote another 536 words. Let's just pretend that it's pre-2002, and all is fine. Someone asked yesterday what led to my daily average jumping from ~500 words to ~1000. I honestly do not know. It happened while I was writing Low Red Moon.

Today, at 3 p.m. (CaST) I have a meeting at the John Hay Library at Brown University to sign the paperwork that deeds thousands of pages of my papers to the Hay, finalizing the donation and establishing the Caitlín R. Kiernan Collection. All those manuscripts and letters and notebooks, plus my first Mac (Pandora), the keyboard on which I wrote The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl, Micheal Zulli's original Drowning Girl painting, and a lot of other stuff. I am grateful to the Hay, but it feels really, really weird. The archives will be accessible to researchers, once they've been curated (which might take a while).

By the way, you may now preorder Dear Sweet Filthy World from Amazon.

Last night, I was too anxious to sleep, and I was up until 3:44 a.m. (CaST) finishing Laurie Penny's Everything Belongs to the Future. The writing isn't bad, and, post-election, it's an eerily relevant book. But Penny makes an error that a lot of science fiction writers makes, and one that always ruins things for me. She mistakes the present for the future.

Okay, we have to go to Pawtucket, to the storage unit, before the meeting at Brown, so I need to get my ass moving.

Aunt Beast

The last day of November.

Overcast. Currently, it's a balmy 55˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 534 words on something new that I hope is going to turn into something good. During the first ten years or so of my writing career, I only averaged about 500 words a day. In 2002, that suddenly jumped to 1,000 and stayed there. So, by pre-2002 standards, yesterday was a good writing day.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you.

I began reading Laurie Penny's Everything Belongs to the Future. And last night, two films. First, Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room (2015), and it was hands down the best "horror" film I saw in 2016, edging out Dan Trachtenberg's 10 Cloverfield Lane. It's sort of a punk rock Deliverance, is Green Room, steeped in atmosphere and authenticity. You should see it. While you're at it, also take a look a Blue Ruin (2013), the film Saulnier made before Green Room. It's also excellent. The second feature was Mike Newell's Pushing Tin (1999), with Billy Bob Thorton, John Cusack, Cate Blanchett, and Angelina Jolie.

This year, a first. I'm inviting Xmas/whatever holiday cards from readers, as a possible antidote to my depression and anxiety. Just one card per person, please. The address is:

Caitlín R. Kiernan
P.O. Box 603096
Providence, RI 02906

I think this photograph, taken just after breakfast this morning, says everything about today that needs saying:

Aunt Beast

"...and what ghosts there do remain."

Overcast and drear today. Currently, the temperature is 50˚F. I wish it would snow. Snow would take away the sharp edges.

Yesterday I tried to write. That's what I do most days now. Most days, I try to write. And yesterday, like most days, I finally give up in frustration.

I finished reading Cassandra Khaw's Hammers on Bone, a decent enough Lovecraftian noir. I'm also reading Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for the first time since college, for reasons that ought to be obvious. Everything old is new again. I talked with Mordicai Knode at Tor.com about the tour. Katharine Duckett is on medical leave until January, and he's handling the planning until she comes back. We're adding a date in Westerly, RI, which will replace the planned Mystic, CT date. I talked with Jonathan Strahan and Paula Guran. I spent a massive amount of time on Twitter and Facebook and reading articles from The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, etc. Watching the beginning of the end, that's what it feels like, and it has done nothing to help the writing difficulties.

No, we're not leaving the country. At least not yet. But it is stingy sort of comfort that Montréal is a mere six hours away, if it does come to that. Of course, there's no running from nuclear apocalypse, is there?

Fuck, I have no idea what I was going to say.

Last night, we watched the Coen Bros.' Burn After Reading (2008), which might have been the first film that Kathryn and I saw at the Avon on Thayer Street after moving up here from the Atlanta (soon to be part of southeastern Trumpmenistan). And then we watched Harold Ramis' The Ice Harvest (2005), a neo-noir black comedy that somehow I'd not only never seen, but I somehow did not even know existed.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes and the Primorial Pouch

Sunny today, and it's currently 40˚F.

Yesterday, I finished the signature sheets for Dear Sweet Filthy World, and I owed Jonathan Strahan an email, so I tended to that. But not much else.

The days are bad. The nights are worse. Yet, Selwyn abides (see photo, below).

While life isn't going back to normal anytime soon, we still have to eat and rent still has to be paid, so please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you.

We watched 12 Monkeys (1995). I had not seen it in many years*, and it's one of my favorite Terry Gilliam films. It surprises me that the Wikipedia article doesn't make mention of an obvious link between 12 Monkeys and M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense (1999). At one point in 12 Monkeys, James Cole (Bruce Willis) utters the chilling line, "All I see are dead people." In The Sixth Sense, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) has his famous line, "I see dead people." Oh, and both movies take place in Philadelphia (though 12 Monkeys also takes place in Baltimore) Clearly, Shyamalan was nodding to Gilliam. I'd never noticed the link before last night.

Aunt Beast

* The journal tells me I saw it last on February 2, 2010.
It's sunny today. The sun came back early yesterday afternoon. It's currently 45˚F.

And Castro is finally dead.

And Ron Glass has died.

Trump is calling the recount a "scam." I suppose it takes one to know one, right? He certainly does seem to be an authority on the subject, having orchestrated so many scams in his lifetime.

Yesterday, I started signing the signatures for Dear Sweet Filthy World, but then the depression got just enough worse that I couldn't bear sitting there signing my name over and over and fucking over, and we left the house and went to Thayer Street. First time, I think, in my whole career that I have ever not finished a set of signature sheets at one sitting. Anyway, not much remains of Thayer Street. A couple of restaurants, the Avon, and the Army/Navy store. The new parking meters were the final nail in the coffin of the long death of Thayer Street. What gentrification and Brown University had not done, the parking meters are managing. Anyway, I got a new cap at the Army/Navy store. And then we went by the market, and then we came home. I tried again to do the signature pages, and again I wasn't up to it.

Night before last, we finished Cameron Crowe's Roadies. I wish there were going to be a Second Season, but Season One ends very well, no cliffhanger. Last night, we watched David Mackenzie's Hell or High Water, and it was very, very good. Maybe the best film of its kind since the Coen Brother's 2007 adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men.

If you've never heard the music of Mirel Wagner, you really need to give her a listen.

Aunt Beast

"Sign of storm, fallen in dawn."

Entry No. 4,812

I hit a new post-election low point last night, and I posted this to Facebook:

I think that tonight I am at the lowest point I've been since election night. I cannot imagine a way forward. I'm more than half a century old, and never in my life has our country faced such a crisis. Ignorance, stupidity, prejudice, fear, greed, selfishness, and cynicism have won out. The lessons of the American Civil War, two world wars, the Holocaust, the Cold War, and the American Civil Rights Movement have been forgotten. We've allowed a grotesque billionaire clown to seize the highest office in the free world, and he's building an administration of monstrosities. This is not business as usual. This is not Nixon, Reagan, George Bush, or W. Bush. This is not normal. Across Europe and America, populism and fascism are again on the rise – and winning. And the truth is I don't have hope. This is so much bigger than so many seem to comprehend. Tonight, I am only afraid and exhausted and horrified.

And many people said many kind things. And I am truly grateful for that kindness. It makes me want to see more hope than I do, and fuck knows I need to see more hope. But, to paraphrase Anne Sexton and to directly quote my Grandfather Ramey, needing ain't getting. I do not feel better today. I'm tired, I can't sleep, I'm very not well, and I've been struggling with writer's block for over a year. And now Trump, and all my personal problems pale into insignificance by comparison. What the fuck does it matter that I can't get a novel written when Russia has helped a Bananarepublican despot seize control of the American presidency? What does it matter that my addiction has been getting the best of me for four years? What the fuck does it matter that I'm all but crippled by bipolar disorder and OCD and by schizophreniform blah blah blah psychobabble bullshit and by homesickness for a place that doesn't ever want me to come home, or that I can no longer stand up very long, even with my cane? That I cannot imagine making it through another New England winter? And so on. These are rhetorical questions. At least, to me they are.

But thank you. Thank you all.

Maybe I should thank Trump for murdering the last vestiges of my self pity.

It feels a like a coup, but the way Uber feels like a cab company. Neither is either, legally. ~ William Gibson, on Trump's election (via Twitter, today)

Today, it's 47˚F and overcast again. As the Police said, "That's my soul up there."

Aunt Beast

"Flint at the fetlock, chasing the bone..."

Overcast and only 38˚F. Fitting weather for the beginning of Jethro Tull Season 2016.

Today not only marks the 156th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, it also marks the 15th anniversary of the beginning of my blog. You can see the first entry here. Encouraged by Neil Gaiman, who thought it might help me expand my readership, I began keeping a daily public journal at Blogger, and it was exclusive to Blogger until April 2004, when I began mirroring it here. In December 2005, the blog became exclusive to LiveJournal. You will find that most days between November 24, 2001 and today have an entry. The other day, Spooky calculated that I've been blogging now for 28.84% of my life, more than a quarter of my fifty-two years. There are 4,810 entries here at LJ, and at least another fifteen hundred over at Blogger. Will I still be doing this in 2021? Will the blog someday turn twenty years old? We'll just have to wait and see. I've tried to quit several times, and I keep coming back.

Today is also, apparently, Thanksgiving Day. Spooky's making rigatoni for dinner. We did our turkey day thing yesterday, with our annual (since 2012) slices of the Thanksgiving pizza from Fellini's on Wickenden. It really is a marvelous thing: whole wheat crust with turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce on the side.

Yesterday, I finished reading Nnedi Okorafor's really delightful Binti. Now, I have to find more of her stuff. I began the novella a few days back, but was distracted and didn't pick it up again until yesterday. I recommend it most highly.

Last night, we began watching Season One of Cameron Crowe's Roadies, and I loved the first episode, and just as it was ending I thought, "Shit, this is too good, it's been cancelled." Before I began watching the second episode, I checked Wikipedia and saw that I was correct. So. I'll enjoy the ten episodes that exist and try not to mourn what will never be.

Now, work.

Aunt Beast

Sunny and cold today. It's 37˚F. We have a string of cloudy, rainy, maybe snowy days coming, and so I'm banking sunshine.

If you've not yet preordered Dear Sweet Filthy World and Agents of Dreamland, please do. Thank you.

I don't eat a whole lot, between bad teeth and bad habits, and I don't often enjoy eating. But last night we discovered Bucktown, a Southern/soul food restaurant here in Providence, and it was superb. I had hushpuppies for the first time since 2008, and they were good hushpuppies. The chicken thigh sandwich was exquisite. At Bucktown, the food is not precious or shi-shi or ruined by the garnishes of gentrification. If I'm not careful, I might gain back some of the weight I've inadvertently lost the last two years. It wouldn't be a bad thing. Bucktown made me nostalgic for Wilson's Soul Food in Athens, which sadly closed its doors on October 3, 2011. The best never last.

We're now caught up on Season 7 of Shameless. I never thought I'd find comfort in Shameless, but after the election there's something oddly reassuring there.

Aunt Beast

Yesterday, Last Night, Today

"The vicious circle turns and burns."

We didn't get any snow, or if we did it was only a few flurries and we missed it. Today, it's sunny and windy and a chilly 36˚F here in Providence.

This likely won't be the entry I want it to be. Or the entry I need it to be. I need to write about why I find myself suddenly at a loss as to how to move forward as a novelist. I have two books in the works, both hardly begun, The Starkeeper and Interstate Love Song. The former is not a novel I can write now, given the events of November 8th and the subsequent consequences of those events. It is too humane, too entirely introspective, too gentle. The Starkeeper needs me to go places I cannot go with the threat of Trump's America hanging like a guillotine over us all. And Interstate Love Song is such a vicious pageant of murder and mayhem that I don't know that I can allow myself to dwell there at novel length, for the many months required, when the country is in so dark and deadly a place. The world does not need more horror.

I doubt I'm making myself clear. I'm not very awake, though I've been up for two and a half hours. I'm having to use Klonopin to sleep, and it takes forever for it to wear off.

No, I didn't write yesterday. I spent hours trying to talk through this problem. I do not know what to do. I know that as a novelist I have responsibilities, but I do not know how I am meant, during this crises, to address those artistic responsibilities.

And don't tell me about how we need entertainment and distraction now more than ever. I have never written to provide either entertainment or distraction.

I have this from Facebook, posted late last night:

It is absolutely critical that the anger not fade. And first and foremost, in this moment, my anger is directed at the people who could have – by their votes – stopped this unfolding nightmare by peaceful, democratic means, but who chose not to do so. I'm not taking about that percentage of the electorate who could not vote (for whatever reason), but about the percentage who styled themselves progressives, too ideologically pure for a centrist/moderate like Clinton, and voted for a third-party candidate, wrote in the name of someone who was not running, or just sat on their asses and did nothing. They are as surely the authors of the coming fascism and suffering and losses as if they'd voted for Donald Trump, and they will not be allowed to forget this.

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." ~ John Stuart Mill (1867)

And from Twitter:

So, did Wikileaks run out of stolen documents, or did they just back off because their mission to help Trump win the election succeeded?


Last night, Spooky made chicken stew and we watched a John Waters double feature, Hairspray (1988) and Cry-Baby (1990). And now I need to try and work.

Is anyone actually going to celebrate Thanksgiving this week?

Aunt Beast

It's cloudy and there are snow showers on the way. I welcome them. I need the snow to smooth away the razor edges and hide the ugliness from my eyes. Currently, it's only 41˚F.

Today is the National Transgender Day of Remembrance, but I'm not sure what that means in Trump's America.

Only, it's not really Trump's America, is it? Currently, Hillary Clinton holds a lead in the popular vote of about 1.7 million, and millions of votes are yet to me counted. More than half the electorate, for whatever reasons, didn't vote. That means that less than one quarter of Americans voted for the son of a bitch. So, no, it's not Trump's America, not at all, but he will be our president. The deplorable minority are having their moment in the sun, but they are the minority, and they must be reminded of that every moment of every goddamn day until this nightmare is over.

Yesterday, I proofread the new story, which went from being "Untitled 40" to "The Line Between the Devil's Teeth (Murder Ballad No. 10)," and thank you Peter Murphy. I wrote the prolegomenon. I laid the issue out. I sent it away to Gordon to be PDF'd, and this morning Spooky sent #130 out to subscribers. By the way, Gordon Duke has done PDF conversion on every single issue of the Digest since #0, all the way back in November 2005. He's the publication's unsung hero. Anyway, I hope you enjoy "The Line Between the Devil's Teeth (Murder Ballad No. 10)," as I think it might be the best thing I've written this year – unless I'm wrong and "Whisper Road (Murder Ballad No. 9)" is the best.

Today, one-hundred percent of my creative energy is redirected to the business of writing the Next New Novel.

Last night, we watch John Landis' The Blues Brothers (1980), which I'd not seen in ages. In June 1980, The Blues Brothers was just about the coolest thing my sixteen-year-old self had ever seen. Thirty-six years later, it still rocks my socks.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes Takes Stock

Sunny today. Currently, it's 51˚F here in Providence.

Yesterday, we schlepped boxes to Pawtucket. That was work yesterday. Today, I have to put together Sirenia Digest #130, which I hope to have out to subscribers by sometime tonight.

Last night, we finished up our John Hughes thing with his first and second films, Sixteen Candles (1984) and The Breakfast Club (1985). Hughes wrote and directed both. Truthfully, the less said about Sixteen Candles, the better. I'm pretty sure it passes up no opportunity to be offensive, from the inexcusable Long Duk Dong to rhapsodies on date rape. This is pure eighties teen raunchiness, in the vein of Porky's (1981), and based on Sixteen Candles, I'd have never believed that Hughes would be capable of turning out a movie even half as good as The Breakfast Club, much less would I have believed he could do it the very next year. I still rankle at Allison Reynolds' unfortunate makeover there at the end, but, all in all, it's a smart, insightful, moving, and very funny film that comes off more like a good one-act play than a flick meant for teenagers. It has depth and gravitas and good taste. It's more subversive than some people might give it credit for being, and the opening Bowie epigraph was well chosen. I count it as one of my favorite films of 1985.

Here are some bits from Facebook and Twitter, because I spent far too much time over there yesterday afternoon and evening:

Dear Journalists: Objective doesn't mean balanced, and balanced doesn't mean fair. The truth is an inevitably one-sided affair.

~ and ~

That lunatic in Starbuck's, screaming about having to wait for a coffee drink I can't even afford, he is the quintessential Trump voter.

~ and, most of all ~

It is okay to call a racist a racist. It is okay to call out lies as lies. It is absolutely necessary that we do both. It is our obligation. It is right not to join hands and sing kumbaya with Trump supporters. There is still right and wrong, good and evil, and we are capable of telling the one from the other. If we allow wrong to masquerade as merely an alternative and legitimate point of view, we stand to lose our souls.

Aunt Beast

This is me trying to push the anger away, trying to pretend that I am not, in this moment, blindingly angry with every stupid motherfucker who voted for Trump or who voted third party or who simply refused to vote or who wrote in the name of someone who wasn't even running. Now, add to the long list of things we wouldn't be suffering under Clinton: The appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, a man deemed too racist for appointment by the Reagan administration. Now the whole country gets to be Alabama. And we get Tea Party celeb Mike Pompeo as CIA chief. And Michael Flynn. Oh, but wait! My bad. Clinton and Trump are EXACTLY THE SAME, aren't they?

My mother's calling this the Alabamazation of America, and she's spot on.

It's sunny today. The sky is wide and blue and carnivorous.

A good writing day yesterday. I did 1,004 and found THE END of the still untitled thing. I have a maybe title, but I'm not yet entirely sure. Also, more talk with Katharine Duckett at Tor.com, starting to nail down dates for the book tour. I'll be doing Mystic, Connecticut, it turns out. That one was unexpected, but cool. I should be posting some dates soon.

There was a trip Outside, to the post office on Thayer Street and to Eastside Market and Whole Foods. Back home, there was spaghetti for dinner, and then Spooky and I failed magnificently in GW2, attempting a five-person fractal with only two people. And then I packed up my Asus laptop, the huge stealth jet of a gaming machine I bought in April 2011 so that I could play Rift, and it was also used for SWtoR and City of Heroes and Villains, for Wildstar and The Secret World. But I no longer play any of those games. So, I'm sending the Asus (aka "Zoe," aka "the Anus") away to storage in Pawtucket. May I never again have to suffer a Windows box. Anyway, after getting our asses handed to us by the fractal, we watched George Stevens' Woman of the Year (1942) and H. C. Potter's Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), two of my comfort films. Woman of the Year is, of course, the first Tracy-Hepburn film. When I was a kid, my concepts of romance were formed by Hollywood films from the thirties and forties. And Tracy-Hepburn films are, for me, romance for grumpy intellectuals with hearts of gold.

Today, we have to carry a load of stuff to the storage unit. Tomorrow, I'll be putting together Sirenia Digest #130.

Aunt Beast

"May I admire you again today?"

I'm not sure how many times I've changed the name of this journal, but quite a few, though not for a few years. And I can't recall just when it became "Dear Sweet Filthy World," but this morning I changed the name again, so as not to create confusion with the new collection. I may change it back at some point, once the collection has sold out. We'll see. Oh, and by the way, Subterranean Press has posted excepts from four of the stories.

Overcast and 51˚F here in Providence.

Yesterday was a good writing day. I did 1,013 words on the untitled thing. I know now that it's one of the murder ballads, which gives it a subtitle, but it still needs an actual title. I mean to finish the tale today, and it will appear in Sirenia Digest #130, along with the vivacious Hazel L. Hill's really marvelous "The Ugly Place," which I heard her read from at Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council back on November 5th, and I immediately bought it for the Digest. This is something I'd like to do more often, showcase new voices. I just wish I could pay more.

Happy birthday, Mama Ru!

Also, yesterday I was asked to write an introduction of a forthcoming (2017) new edition of The Haunting of Hill House, which is really the first thing anyone's asked me to do in a long, long time that I was happy to agree to do. I have until May to think of something brilliant. I'm not going to say who the publisher is yet, because I've not been given permission to do so. Yesterday, I also talked with my agent, about selling audio rights to Agents of Dreamland (which I'm hoping to read myself), about the "Fungus Among Us" March-February 2017 book tour, and about television sales. And there was email with Jonathan Strahan (also Agents of Dreamland) and Ellen Datlow (lots of stuff). I spoke with Christopher Geissler at the John Hay Library, and we have determined that December 1st is the day we'll meet to finalize the transfer of my papers (and etc.) to Brown University. Finally, there was email from Katherine Duckett at Tor about the book tour. I think I'll have some dates to post soonish. So, yesterday was a busy damn day.

Last night, we did a John Hughes/Howard Deutch double feature, Pretty in Pink (1986) and Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), neither of which I'd seen in a very long time. When the original ending of Pretty in Pink is restored, the one in which Andie and Duckie wind up together, it's one of my favorite films of the eighties. I suspect lots of people don't know about the original ending, which was ditched after test audiences whined, leading the studio to insist that a new ending be filmed in which Andie winds with Blaine, completely subverting the film's story arc (and any sort of justice). The original ending is included on the 2006 "Everything's Duckie" edition of the DVD (and it's probably on YouTube).* Knowing this makes the ending of Some Kind of Wonderful a little more interesting. It feels like Deutch and Hughes righting a wrong that was committed in and against the earlier film.

Oh, and I have four photos from yesterday:

And now I gotta go write.

Aunt Beast

* Correction: Actually, it isn't. There's a featurette called "Original Ending: The Lost Dance," wherein the original ending is discussed, but it isn't actually included. Which blows.
Hard rain all day yesterday, and the clouds are still with us this morning. The weather guys say they're going to be breaking up this afternoon. I hope they're right. Currently, the temperature is 50˚F here in Providence.

Yesterday was a shitstorm I will not even attempt to explain. It is best buried and forgotten. But no writing was accomplished. Instead, because we had free passes, we went to see Denis Villeneuve's Arrival, and I thought it was actually pretty good. It even manages to transcend the saccharine mother-daughter glop that threatens to drag it down. You can think of it as Independence Day for thinking people, or maybe as a postmodern reboot of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

I no longer enjoy going to the theater. In part, it's the ugliness of digital projection.

Last night, because almost any bygone year is vastly preferable to now, and because John Cusack dulls the pain, we watched George Armitage's Grosse Point Blank (1997), which is sort of a comfort film for me. We followed it with Cameron Crowe's Say Anything... (1989), if only because 1989 is an even safer year to think about than 1997. The farther in the past a year is from 2016, the better.

My anxiety in crowds has, since last week, been magnified many times over. Now, I can only look at people and wonder who among them voted for Trump. Even here in Rhode Island, we have our traitors to the human race.

Keep thinking those happy thoughts!

Aunt Beast

Overcast and chilly today. Currently, it's 51˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,031 words on the untitled thing for Sirenia Digest #130. So, there's some good news. I'll finish with it today or tomorrow.

My grateful thanks to Jennifer Gonsalves, whose purchase yesterday from Spooky's Etsy shop paid for about half of Hubero's vet visit. He's fine, though the vet wasn't sure what's up with his chin, whether it's a cyst or an abscess. But he's on antibiotics, and his pustulant chin is already looking better.

I'm playing around with waking up my Tumblr [sic] account (http://i-auntbeast.tumblr.com/), which I experimented with for a month back in 2014. At the time, I was off my meds and taking a break from LJ. But giving Tumblr [sic] another go is probably exactly the wrong thing to do. My suspicion is I should be seriously reducing the role of technology and social media in my life, not dumping more onto it. This presidential election proved a lot of things I've long believed to be true, and one of those things was the inherent, inevitable toxicity of social media. Plus, I'm probably thirty years too old to really "get" Tumblr [sic]. Which is fine.

Last night, after dinner, we did a eighties double feature, because the eighties are a whole lot less terrifying right now than the present day. First, we watched Joel Schumacher's St. Elmo's Fire (1985), which I'd not seen since it was new in theaters and I was in college. St. Elmo's Fire is not so much an actual movie as a melodrama-infused time capsule, but it has a certain charm. The second feature was Michael Lehmann's 1988 classic Heathers, which I've seen many, many times, but not in a few years.

And I will leave you with a photo of Hubero, exploring the vet's office.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

Sunny today, but I think there's rain coming for the night. Currently, it's 50˚F.

Hubero has some sort of swelling on his lower lip that we're afraid might be a cyst, so Spooky's gotta take him to the vet this afternoon. The earliest appointment we could get is for 4 p.m.

Yesterday, I managed to write 393 words on this untitled thing I'm trying to get done for Sirenia Digest #130. Not very impressive, I know. I woke up this morning absolutely terrified. My eyes opened, and only a few seconds later that bright wall of anxiety hit me. It's the fear that the drought is back again, the dry spells that ate the whole summer and a chunk of last autumn. That can't happen, not again. September went well, and so did the first half of October. And then I had to stop for proofreading and the trip to Manhattan, and then the nightmare of the election hit us, and together all that shit cost me a month. A precious month I absolutely could not afford to lose. I know the momentum is still there somewhere; I just have to find it again.

Last night, we watched the last episode of Season One of RuPaul's All Stars, and I was pleased that Chad won. Then we watched Richard Attenborough's Chaplin (1992). I'd forgotten how much I love that film. I'd not seen it since it was new. Robert Downey Jr.'s performance is superb.

I have a blurry photo of Selwyn for you, so don't say I never:

Aunt Beast
Sunny today. Currently, it's 51˚F.

We had a short walk yesterday morning. The leaves sounded good underfoot, and the air smelled clean.

I didn't write yesterday. I didn't even really work.

Aunt Beast
Sunny this morning. The temperature is currently only 43˚F.

I tried to stay busy yesterday, trying to get back into the swing of things. Post-apocalypse life. There was some personal email, to my mom and Geoffrey. Mordicai Knode at Tor.com had forwarded a request for an interview, from Stefan Fergus over at Civilian Reader, and I agreed. Katharine Duckett at Tor had forwarded a "holiday-themed" request from ReadItForward.com, asking authors to answer this question – "What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a present and why was it so special?" So, I wrote about the night in Hollywood that Christa bought me a copy of Katharine Dunn's Geek Love, back in May 1996. S.T. Joshi is reprinting "Dead Letter Office" (from Sirenia Digest #113, June 2015) in a Dark Regions Press anthology, Nightmare's Realm: New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic, and I had to proof the galleys for the story. I did. Then I had to go over the final-most galleys for Agents of Dreamland, so I did that and sent the four small problems I found to Jonathan Strahan. The postman brought a box from Subterranean Press, and I assumed that they were the signature sheets for Dear Sweet Filthy World, so I figured I would finish the day by signing those. But when I opened the box I discovered it actually contained my copies of the ARCs for Dear Sweet Filthy World, instead. They look good, but I must warn all reviewers that this is the most abominably error-riddled ARC I have ever in my life allowed to be released, and for that I am sorry. "Uncorrected" does not do the situation justice. But Tran's cover looks great. Also, vanilla Cheetos.

I'm trying to get back on that horse.

Late in the afternoon, before dinner, I played Guild Wars 2.

We finished watching Goliath last night, the new series on Amazon with Billy Bob Thorton and William Hurt, and I liked it quite a lot. We also finished watching Season Three of RuPaul's Drag Race. I'd expected Raja to win, and she did. But, all in all, Season Three was a bit dull, lackluster, a pale shadow of the marvelous things to come in seasons Four, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight. I'm not gonna bother with Season Two (and Season One is unavailable).

I went to bed around 2:30 a.m., but had trouble sleeping. Too much anxiety, too much fear, too much anger.

And that was yesterday.

Aunt Beast
Sunny and cold today. Last night, the wind took the last of the leaves from the limbs of the tree outside my office window.

This is the ninth year I have watched that tree shed its leaves.

As of tomorrow, it will have been one full month since I finished writing "Antedivulian Homesick Blues" and one month since I've written anything. We came home from Manhattan on the 20th, and there was all that proofreading (Agents of Dreamland and Dear Sweet Filthy World) and there was the election. Now, it's aftermath of the election and the attendant uncertainty. I'm in mourning, as are so many others. But I'm still alive, and I have to keep writing, because there's nothing else in this shitty, broken, wicked world that I can do.

And Leonard Cohen has died. This year is determined to take everyone I love. Cohen was one of the people who taught me the meaning of poetry and song, and there is a little bit of him in everything I have ever written.

Aunt Beast

"It's a lonely road, full of tired men."

It's sunny here, and the sky is far too blue.

I'm numb, I think. After crying for most of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, this numbness settled over me. I think it's shock. It would be easy to allow this numbness to shut me down. It might even be easy for me to allow this numbness to push me towards accepting what's happened and trying to go back to life as usual. That's the thing I have to fight.

Yesterday, we had to go out to the pharmacy to refill a prescription, and I saw two people on the street just weeping. It was the strangest thing. And Providence at noon on a weekday seemed a lot more like Providence on a Sunday. The streets on this side of town were all but deserted. At lunchtime, most of the restaurants on Atwells seemed deserted or near to it.

The two things that have stuck with me the most, though, is my mother declaring "No more church for me." My mother is a very devout, lifelong churchgoer. The other thing was hearing that my eight year old nephew (who lives in Brooklyn) "broke down" when his mother told him that Trump had won. The world is on its head.

Today, Kathryn and I begin seriously exploring our options for emigration. Montréal and Ireland are both on the table. Montréal is by far the most practical, but we'll see. I have no idea what we're going to do with all our belongings. A very large storage unit, I imagine. As much as I can imagine anything. And if you think leaving makes me a coward, and I seem to be getting that vibe off some people, I don't suppose there's anything I can do about that.

Aunt Beast

Today is the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, and here in American we have elected our own little would-be Hitler. On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall came down, and here we are building walls. We learned nothing from history, and we have repeated it.

I did not believe America was this broken, didn't believe her people were capable of so monstrous a misdeed. I was terribly, tragically wrong, and for that I am ashamed, and for that I apologize. On Tuesday, everything that is small-minded and wicked and cruel carried the day, and, for now, we have lost America. Maybe we have lost America forever. A light has gone from the world.

I think I am done as an American writer. I know I am done as an American. I feel as if everything I have written is a lie.

If only I could be angry. I know what to do with anger. But there is nothing in me now but sorrow and shame, horror and fear.

Here in Providence, this graffiti appeared overnight at the corner of Knight and Tell, only a few blocks from my home. The sentiment is simple and absolutely true.

Please, all of you, please be safe as you can be. If you are a person of color, if you are LGBT, if you are Muslim or Jewish or of any faith other than Christianity, if you are a woman – if you are anyone who is not a white, straight, cisgendered, Christian man, please be safe. Very, very bad things are coming, and they are coming very fast. The American electorate has failed. The American experiment has failed us, and in one night a century and a half of civil rights progress has been wiped away. "The blood-dimmed tide is loosed," as Yeats said, meaning something only slightly different.

I love you all,
Aunt Beast

The Beast Has Voted

No waiting. And in our predominantly Hispanic and African-American neighborhood, no sign of voter suppression efforts. The rednecks and swamp yankees in Exeter and Woonsocket know better.

And I leave you with this thought...

Talk of violent revolution and overthrowing "the system" has no place in American democracy, and this year we had it coming at us hard from the Far Right and from the Far Left. My greatest hope is that in four years we will see a return to the normal process of American democracy, which is about the constant, untiring, piecemeal refinement of the best governing system on the face of this planet, not giving in to despair and threatening to destroy this precious gift we have. Whatever went so wrong in 2016, we have four years to stop it from happening again.

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