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Howard Hughes Puzzles

It's sunnyish out there, blue between white clouds. Wind came sweeping in last night, and the house is still, being buffeted. It's cold, only 50˚F. I miss those balmy early March days we had there for a bit, when it looked as if spring were coming very early.

I have some news: Over the past few months, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of actually releasing Cambrian Tales: Juvenilia into the world. Even as I was editing the book back in January, I was deciding I didn't want to see it published. It was a strange, disconcerting state of affairs. Anyway, I spoke with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press yesterday, and he has agreed that we'll shelve Cambrian Tales indefinitely. I'll be replacing it with my next (as yet untitled) short-fiction collection, to be released early in 2017. It will include The Aubergine Alphabet as a hardback chapbook. Details TBA. Someday, we'll come back to the juvenilia collection, but, to be honest, it will be many years from now.

And that's a huge load off my mind.

Also, I finished "Objects in the Mirror" yesterday, which revealed itself to be, structurally, an odd tale, indeed. Finishing that story, it's another load off my mind.

Onward to Sirenia Digest #122. No rest for the wordy.

Aunt Beast
The daily cavalcade of unimaginable horrors, in the name of someone's idea of God, in the name of Money, for the love of bloodshed, or just for shits and giggles. "Hell is empty and all the devils are here." Indeed. Easter 2016, at least 72 dead in Lahore, Pakistan, over 300 injured, and most of the dead are women and children.

It's cold and rainy here, the sky as grey as mold on old mac and cheese. Currently, the temperature is 43˚F.

Yesterday, I did 648 words on "Objects in the Mirror," and I may have found THE END.

No one's given me an Easter basket since Easter 1989, when Liz Downey (who died in 2012), told me I had to have one, because "everyone has to have an Easter basket." But yesterday Spooky went out to the market to get stuff for a chicken stew and came back with an Easter basket for me. It almost made cry, because lately I'm like that.

I've named the rabbit Fiver, natch.

We have eBay auctions ending soon, please have a look, and thank you.

Aunt Beast

"Oh, on the run from the modern age."

It's mostly sunny today, but cold. It was in the mid thirties when I woke a couple of hours ago, and now it's only 52˚F. Turns out, Winter is having its revenge, dropping the polar vortex on the north central and northeastern US, and the first half of April will be colder than usual, after that very warm (for here) February.

It is to laugh.

A good writing day, though I did only 727 words. I found the heart of the story, the key that makes sense of "Objects in the Mirror." I had my "Eureka" moment with the story. Thematically and structurally, this is the most ambitious thing I've done in quite some while. I hope it works.

Late in the day, Kathryn came back from her parents with a bunch of fossils that her cousin had sent her about fifteen years ago. I looked through them, identifying trilobites from the Middle Cambrian of Utah (Elrathia kingii), an Upper Ordovician brittle star (Taeniaster spinous) from Swatara Gap, Pennsylvania, a trilobite and brachiopod from the Middle Devonian of Ohio (Phacops rana crassituberculata and Mucrospirifer mucronatus, respectively), some Carboniferous ferns, and a large (if incomplete) fish skeleton (likely Diplomystus) from the Lower Eocene of Wyoming.

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

Last night we watched Pee Wee's Big Holiday, and as I said on Facebook, few things are more awesome than getting a new Pee Wee Herman movie.

Anyway, I should let you let me go now.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

"...'cause rust never sleeps..."

Ugly day out there. Currently, it's 47˚F and feels like 44˚F. No sign of the sun.

Spooky's on her way to South County, to see her parents and a fat cat named Spider.

Something I just posted to Facebook:

There has never before in my life been a time when, as a Democrat, I've been afraid to criticize a Democratic candidate for fear of being attacked and denounced BY OTHER DEMOCRATS. Seriously, it's getting weird out there. The reaction to the errant birdie was definitely one step beyond. Pulling for Clinton in Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington today. (caps in the original, as Facebook has no italics)


If you've been around here for a little while, you'll recall Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. It ended in November 2012 (the last two books were the brilliant Cloud Atlas and House of Leaves). Well, I'm going to start it up again, beginning in April, with Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom and Sofia Samatar's The Winged Histories: a novel. There are two this month because the first is actually a novella. Anyway, if you recall, or if you don't, this isn't about reading the book and then discussing it. I'm just saying, here are the books that I'm reading this month and suggesting you might do likewise. Not fuss, no bother, no pressure.

Last night, after dinner, we watched Francis Lawrence's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, and I liked it very much. It does, however, suffer from being the second half of a movie and not a thing entire unto itself. Pretty much the same problem I had with the second and third Matrix films. Fortunately, we'd only just seen the first part a couple of months ago. Donald Sutherland's performance pretty much steals the show. The two films are very much better than Collin's final novel, I will say. Later, I had some Secret World roleplay, and later still I tried to sleep, but sleep was hours coming. I watched Henry Hathaway's Niagara (1953), one of my favorite noirs, and sometime just before dawn I finally dozed off.

And that's all for now.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

"Playing pianos filled with flames."

Here on March 25th, it's a freakishly beautiful late January day, 58˚F and rainy. Buy it's a sorry excuse for spring. I made it through this winter with far less trouble than I've had with the last few, but spring is so much harder. Because spring is the cure for winter. Spring is the warm, green reward for having survived winter. Here, spring is cold. Here, spring is only another flavor of winter. Currently, our next day forecast above 69˚F is May 22nd, two months down the line. If I stay in Rhode Island, I will almost certainly die on a cold day, and that has been a particular fear – indeed, a phobia – that I've had almost my whole life, that I would die in a cold time.

Last night I dreamt of a sort of underwater museum, where statues of Cretaceous marine reptiles and fishes were mounted at the bottom of a shallow sea. I saw mosasaurs and enormous hybodont sharks.


Where do you get your ideas? Oh, that loathsome question. But sometimes it's easy to answer. To wit, two images:

~ and ~

The first is from a diorama at the Neanderthal Museum in Krapina, Croatia, and the second is a painting by Dave McKean. Yesterday, I did 651 words on the story, which is titled "Objects in the Mirror." I'd planned it to go to 6,000 words, but it wanst to go to 10,000. And...I think I may have told you that yesterday.


When I heard that the new Ghostbusters film, directed by Paul Feig, would be "gender-flipped," I thought, God, that's fucking brilliant! And I've been eagerly awaiting the film. Then, two days ago, I saw the first trailer. And I wanted to cry. Never mind that the whole film projects a weird squeaky cleanness that is entirely at odds with the grime and grit of the original, there seems not to be one iota of wit to the film's comedy. Yes, Ramis and Aykroyd's film was lowbrow, but it was very, very smart. I know that's a fine line, but it's a crucial one. And yeah, the whole thing with Melissa McCarthy and the apparent requirement that a black Ghostbuster has to be a working class and lacking a college education, that, too. A great opportunity has been missed here.

Oh, and March 25th marks both the birthday of Flannery O'Connor's birthday and the fall or Sauron. Make of that what you will.

And on that note, I gotta scoot.

On Where I Can Shit & Where I Can Piss

Cloudy again today. I don't know when the clouds arrived, as they were not here when I awoke an hour ago. But they're here now. Currently, it's only 46˚F. Oh, lovely New England spring. I went outside yesterday, for the first in seven days. There are tiny, sad bit of green here and there. There are buds, and I try to find it reassuring, and I just do not.

Yesterday was actually a good writing day. I did 1,091 words on "Objects in the Mirror." I'd planned the story to go to about 6,000 words. Now, I fear it wants to go nearer 10,000. I say fear, because I have other things that have to be written, other deadlines. I have a novel to begin. I have another novella to write.

Meanwhile, North Carolina says that – despite the sex designation of my USA passport – have to the relieve myself in a men's restroom. Because it's somehow their business. Because there's hysteria that trans people are just conning the system to ogle poor, unsuspecting women and children and, presumably, men. That, in the end, the God-ordained social order and natural order will come tumbling down if we do not keep transfolk to the toilets of their birth gender. Tennessee and South Dakota – surprisingly – decided not to enact these measures (but just barely). The question is still undecided in Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Virginia.

And here's the thing: I transitioned in Birmingham, Alabama between 1989 and 1992, and while I certainly did take a lot of shit off people, there was never once a severe bathroom incident. And after I transitioned, I stayed in the South, first in Birmingham, then Athens, then Birmingham again, then Atlanta. That's a period of about eighteen years, before I moved to Rhode Island. And not even once was there a notable bathroom incident. No one ever ordered me to leave or called the cops or shrieked in terror and demanded justice. Every now and then, rarely, I might get a funny look. But...that was it. And I'm talking restrooms in universities, libraries, restaurants, scary-ass redneck truck stops, science-fiction conventions, convenience stores, fast-food joints, Federal and State and municipal government buildings, shopping malls, hair salons, nightclubs, bookstores, and even a high school. Nothing ever happened.

And not only in the South, but from one end of this country to the other, and in Canada, Ireland, and England...never have I caused or been subject to toilet hysteria. And keep in mind, I'm 6'3", I have a fairly deep voice, and I have never fooled myself into believing that I "pass" as a genetic female.

So, kittens, what's gone wrong? We are moving backwards.

And, by the way, why haven't these cretins tried to figure out how to stop gay men from using men's restrooms and lesbians from invading the ladies' rooms? I mean, by the twisted, bigoted logic these fuckers are employing, that would actually make sense. Or is it only a matter of time until we get toilet segregation?

You know, there's more I was going to say, but I'm too angry. Fine, you can keep fucking North Carolina. I have this marvelous Cold Spring here in New England, where, so far, the toilet hysteria has not extended.

Aunt Beast
Cloudy and 61˚F here. A definite improvement.

I try not to think about how green Birmingham must be by now.

I really have nothing much today to say, as regards work and such. But I do have a bunch of photos from the end of November, from the 28th and 29th. They've been sitting on my iMac's desktop, unedited, unposted, for almost four months now. A night at Spooky's parents' place and the next day at Harbour of Refuge at Point Judith. They're not remarkable photos, excepting that the ones from the shore so perfectly capture the bleakness of that day. Well, actually, the one of Spider Cat trying to eat a moth is fairly remarkable. Anyway, there was construction going on at the harbour, building back structures that were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy way back in October 2012.

28-29 November 2015Collapse )

And now, finally, I can put that file away.

Aunt Beast
I awoke to the news of the Bruxelles attacks.

It's sunny and 40˚F here, though it only feels like 33˚F.

Yesterday was lost to a headache of extraordinary severity. But at least the snow had all melted away by mid afternoon. It was really an amazing melt. I can now go back to watching the slow march of Cold Spring.

I was in bed by 1 ayem, after passing out in the front parlour. I never get to bed that early. I was awakened at 5:30 by a car alarm and didn't get back to sleep until after 6:30, after sunrise, but, all told, I slept at least 7 hours. More than usual. But it was an odd, feverish sleep. At one point, I was dreaming of a farm that had a license to sell human infants as food. A lot of ten was referred to as a Grand Tequila.

Don't ask me.

Aunt Beast

"Come here, fuzz nasty."

This snow is really more insult than injury. I'm not sure how much we got. Right at the end, the prediction went up to 4-8", and we got at least four. But it didn't stick to the roads and sidewalks, and it's already melting. It's cloudy here and 34˚F. By tomorrow, with luck, there will be little evidence of this storm remaining. And I refuse to immortalize it with a photo.

I woke with a headache.

But yesterday I had a very good writing day, and I did 1,026 words on "Objects in the Mirror."

And I think that's all I have for now.

The sun's trying to come out...

Aunt Beast

"Bear down, they'll run you aground."

So, here is our first day of Spring, Providence. Currently, it's partly sunny (the glass half full) and 38˚F. There's snow on the way. The latest forecast calls for 3-6 inches. But the truth of it is I have, against the odds, survived another winter, and I can now hope for summer.

These days, it's rare for me to have the sort of nightmare that I wake gasping from. But there was one this morning, I woke about seven ayem, and I lay staring at the ceiling, half glad I was awake, half certain that it hadn't been a dream at all.

If I were braver, I'd shave the sides of my head this afternoon.

We had building inspectors in yesterday, which sort of wrecked the afternoon. But I learned that the house was built in 1876; I'd thought it was constructed in 1875. So, how many people have lived and died within the walls over the last 140 years?

The clouds have hidden the sun now. Buckle down.

Aunt Beast
Sunny and cold today, the sky too blue. Current, it's 37˚F, with the windchill at 31˚F. But at least the threat of snow has been downgraded to 1-3 inches, and the next day will be in the high forties, so it should melt immediately. Hopefully, the two nights of deep cold won't murder all the early spring growth.

I have some photos from the day before yesterday. At sunset, we had a Chicxulub sort of sky:

17 March 2016Collapse )

Not much work on the new story yesterday, but I began reading a really delightful new Kij Joshson story that was sent to me in ms. form. It was, though, all in all, a lost day.

I need to film a short bit of video as a thank you to my Patreon backers.

Last night, after leftover shepherd's pie and cabbage, we watched John Hughes hilarious (and painfully eighties) Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987), because Kathryn had never seen it. Then the new Better Call Saul. Then bed, and I fell asleep to Charles Marquis Warren's Flight to Tangier (1953), starring Jack Palance and Jane Fontane, playing on my iPhone. Because this is the future, the dystopian future where we can all watch movies on our phone and Donald Trump is running for Amerikanischer Führer.

Gotta run.

Aunt Beast

"Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart."

I knew it was too good to be true. Here in Providence, our hopes of an early spring have been dashed by an incoming snowstorm set to hit on (of course) the Vernal Equinox. Three to six inches, several nights of temperatures below freezing. Day after day of sunless skies. And all the buds and shoots and flowers that have come early will die. Hit reset. Back to early February. Cold spring in all its gelid glory.


Yesterday, I wrote a whopping 291 words on "Objects in the Mirror." Go me.

I also spent a couple of hours going through a box of my old papers. It was a box that had already gone to Brown (cataloged as #11 in the first two lots), but I needed to look for something. So Spooky went to Brown, and Christopher was kind enough to have it pulled for us. We'll take it back – for good – when we take the last few boxes in early April.

On this day one year ago, we were on our way to NYC. One year ago, I was living, and now I'm passing time on life support. Oh, from that entry there's a nice breakdown, near the end of the post, that illustrates why I can't afford to travel very far to do readings:

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...

Aunt Beast

"Whiplash girlchild in the dark."

The sun is back today. The sky's too blue, but at least the sun's back. Back in earnest. It's 55˚F.

I slept a full seven hours.

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit. We'll be making a shepherd's pie and cabbage. I wanted to do something different this year, not our usual brisket. Oh, and soda bread.

Yesterday, I did 544 words on "Objects in the Mirror."

Last night, Kathryn read to me from Danielewski's The Familiar, while I worked on the new Klimt jigsaw puzzle, Die Jungfrau. Later, we watch Ron Howard's Heart of the Sea, adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick's 2000 book of the same name. I've been fascinated with the tale of the Essex since, I suppose, forever. It was, of course, the inspiration for Melville's Moby-Dick, a whaling ship sunk in 1820 by a gigantic sperm whale, two thousand miles from land, the survivors reduced the cannibalism. It's a beautiful film, and were I more awake, I'd do a better job of explaining why. It unfolds like living painting, terror and wonder and awe. It is both a tale of cosmic horror and an indictment of whaling. I do not know why it was not better received. Anthony Dod Mantle's cinematography is genuinely breathtaking, and the film unfolds like a animated oil painting. I very strongly recommend it.

And now, work and such.

Aunt Beast
It's mostly overcast, but I saw a little sun just after I woke. After two drizzly days, it was a welcome sight. Currently, it's 50˚F, and we may reach 57˚F. I hope.

I slept poorly last night. I got to sleep about 2:30 ayem, but my aching feet and legs woke we around 4:30. The joys of neuropathy. I didn't get back to sleep until after sunrise.

Yesterday afternoon, the Patreon surpassed it's stretch goal. Thank you, all one hundred and thirty-seven of you. Thank you more than I can say. For me, this is huge. And I'm going to do everything I can to write the finest book I am able. And yes, if you've not signed on and want to, you may still do so.

But first I have to write "Objects in the Mirror," and the next story for Sirenia Digest.

I have seen 10 Cloverfield Lane, and I declare it brilliant, I think I actually like it more than Cloverfield. But keep in mind, these are very different movies. As I said yesterday on Facebook, John Goodman gives one of the best performances of his career. At it's core, 10 Cloverfeild Lane is a duel of wits and will between Goodman's Howard Stambler and Michelle, the woman he's supposedly rescued, played to perfection by Mary Elizbeth Winstead. Indeed, Winstead gives us another calm, deliberate, and intelligent female SF hero, and I could watch the film again just to admire Michelle's grim determination to survive. To describe this film as "tense" or "taut" is an understatement. See it.

And now, I have to try and wake up.

Aunt Beast

"Every time I thought I'd got it made..."

An ugly day, to match yesterday's ugly day. Homely bookends. Drizzly and 47˚F, at the moment. But the trees are budding, and the narcissus are starting to open.

Yesterday was an odd and oddly wonderful day. We ferried eight more boxes to the John Hay Library at Brown University (including a copy of the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl). We met Christopher, and Spooky pulled the van around to the loading dock. Two helpful students helped get everything in out of the drizzle and the cold. We talked for a while with Christopher about the legalities of the transfer, the paperwork we'll be taking care of in April to make all of this official. We talked about digitizing documents and about copyright and about archiving my online journal (Blogger + LiveJournal, 2001-ongoing). And then he took us back into the collections, and the rooms had that marvelous smell that all old libraries and museums have, that almost indescribable air of antiquity. In a workroom filled by a collection of 18th Century caricatures and H. Adrian Smith's (1908 - 1992) vast assemblage of magicana, sat the eleven boxes I'd already delivered to the library on May 12th and June 11th of last year, and including Pandora, my first Mac, and Arwen's keyboard (Arwen was my third Mac). It was an entirely humbling experience, seeing my things there. I felt at once relieved – that all of this paper was safe and I no longer had to care for it – and peculiarly bereft – that all of this material I've created and cared for, these things that are fundamentally of me, are going away to be cared for by other people. I took a few photos:

14 March 2015Collapse )

Christopher says there will likely be a formal presentation of the collection made to coincide with the next Necronomicon, in 2017.

And I need to wrap this up. Later taters.

Aunt Beast

"I had a terrible case of the past."

Rainy today, and currently it's only 41˚F (it's dropped from 44˚F in the last hour). But we're supposed to be back up to 60˚F by Wednesday.

This will be very short, as I have to be at the John Hay Library at 3:30 this afternoon to deliver the next lot of boxes (eight, to be precise). I think there will only be one more major delivery after this. By the time I'm done, I'll have donated many thousands of pages dating back to the late 1970s.

The Patreon has, at this point, exceeded all my hopes, and that is an enormous weight off my mind. We have only $87 to go to hit our stretch goal, and I hope that will happen by midnight tonight. I'm a bit stunned by your generosity. No, more than a bit. I'm simply stunned.

The kindness of strangers has always taken me off guard and disarmed me.

Today is Algernon Blackwood's 147th birthday.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast
Sunny and cool, but warmer than forecast. Currently, it's 62˚F. And the world is once again on Me Time.

Work went well on "Objects in the Mirror" yesterday.

But I haven't much else to say.

On this day one year ago Kathryn and I drove from Neil's cabin in Woodstock to Albany, and we spent the day in the rambling chaos of the New York State Museum. Then all this time flashed by, and here I am.

And so it goes.

Aunt Beast
Cooler today, but sunny. It's 47˚F, and we may reach 60˚F. My sister posted photos from her house in Leeds. It's so green there, the spring of my memory. But at least, come 2 ayem, I'll be in the same time zone as the rest of East Coast. This was my twelfth year to remain on Daylight Savings Time all year round. I look forward to the year when the whole country follows suit. As it is, DST has become "normal," comprising a full two thirds of the year. I can say that I was a temporal pioneer.

Winter is almost dead. The Equinox is a mere eight days away.

Yesterday I got a decent start on "Objects in the Mirror." Today, I think it will begin to look more like the story it is to become.

Also, yesterday the mail brought my contributor's copy of Lynne Jamneck's Dreams from the Witch House (Dark Regions), which includes my previously unprinted SF story, "Our Lady of Arsia Mons." The book is distaff Cthulhu, and other authors include Molly Tanzer, Elizabeth Bear, Joyce Carol Oates, Amanda Downum, Storm Constantine, Sonya Taaffe, Gemma Files, Colleen Douglas, Karen Heuler, and others, with stories illustrated by Daniele Serra.

Ellen Datlow has announced the Table of Contents for two of her forthcoming anthologies, Children of Lovecraft (Dark Horse), which includes my previously unpublished story, "Excerpts for An Eschatology Quadrille", and Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror (Tachyon), which reprints "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)." The former will be released on November 1, and the latter will be along on September 20 (so these are very early announcements).

We finished the Klimt puzzle yesterday and after dinner discovered five episodes of Naked and Afraid we'd not seen. It's an exciting goddamn life.

Aunt Beast

Love in the Time of Orange Hitler

“There's nothing worse for a forest than to have all the trees be the same.” ~ Ken Kesey

We made it all the way to 72˚F yesterday. The trees are showing buds. And with no truly cold weather in the forecast, we're looking at an early spring. Today it's partly sunny, partly cloudy, and very windy. Cooler than yesterday, but it'll do.

Today I absolutely have to get serious about "Objects in the Mirror."

Spooky realized yesterday afternoon that I'd left the house four consecutive days in a row. And maybe that doesn't seem like such a much to some people, but given that I can go a week without realizing I haven't left the house, it's pretty cool.

Last night, we almost finished the Klimt puzzle. Here's a photo, my hand included:

Photograph Copyright © Kathryn A. Pollnac

My hands hurt.

And I wish I could recall my dreams from last night.

The evening was as unremarkable as almost all my evenings are these days. Spooky read to me from Danielewski's The Familiar (Vol. 1), and I had a late dinner, a salad of cucumber, tomatoes, pear, strawberries, olives stuffed with garlic, and fresh mozzarella, in a red-wine vinaigrette. I got to bed about 3:35 ayem.

Aunt Beast
The clouds have arrived today, but it's 68˚F. Yesterday's high was 70˚F, lower than projected but it broke the record (from 2002). The windows were open all day. It was as marvelous as a March day in Providence can be.

We spent the day out. There was a trip to Paper Nautilus, and then we drove around town a bit, and then had a sushi lunch at Sakura on Wickenden (the best sushi I've had since leaving Atlanta), and then there was the antique shop across the street...and then home. It was the first real day out I've had in ages. We'd talked about driving down to Conanicut Island, but the wind would have been very cold. Better to enjoy the day's warmth someplace where we could feel the warmth. The sky was too vacant and too blue, but I kept my head down.

It was a good day.

We came home and worked on our jigsaw of Klimt's The Kiss.

The upside of Alabaster not being particularly popular is that I don't have to contend with a horde of homophobic comic-book readers flipping out over Dancy and Maisie (while secretly masturbating over those lurid images of hot girl sex).

Day before yesterday I announced the title of the Next New Novel over on Patreon. This is the sort of thing I'll be posting there first, as part of the rewards to backers. I'm calling it The Starkeeper. Details will be slowly forthcoming. And yes, I've shelved Interstate Love Song, for reasons I will eventually share here.

Toady, I only have to write.

Aunt Beast

I can do this any day.

It's going to be warm today, truly warm, and I'm getting the fuck out of this house.

Aunt Beast

Skunk Butt Rug

To take the edge off the psychiatrist appointment, we caught the 1 p.m. showing of Zootopia in Warwick. I should always see funny movies with anthropomorphic animals before my shrink. I think my good mood frightened her. Anyway, I actually sorta loved the movie.

Warmer today, but tomorrow is supposed to be downright balmy.

Really...that's all I have for now. Tomorrow, I'll be back with an actual entry. Until then...

Aunt Beast

"A friend with breasts and all the rest..."

The weathermen are saying that it'll be 72˚F on Wednesday. We'll be heading to the shore to wipe the winter off our faces. Right now, it's 44˚F and sunny, which is an improvement over the weekend, at least.

Yesterday was mostly a day off. This afternoon we have to ferry boxes (mostly contributor's copies) to our storage unit in Pawtucket. Whee. I need to sit down and get started on "Objects in the Mirror," but that's not gong to happen until Thursday. Yesterday, I read (from JVP), "A late Eocene snake fauna from the Fayum Depression, Egypt." The new episode of Vinyl was superb.

Tomorrow I have to be at a psychiatrist appointment.

My grateful thanks to everyone who's donated to the Patreon so far. Yesterday, we reached out initial $1,000 goal and entered the $1,500 stretch goal. I cannot even begin to tell you what a relief your patronage is to me.

This morning, I didn't really get to sleep until sunrise, sometime around 7 ayem. I dreamt of Ireland and vast tracks of deep freshwater, pills and poisonous vines and very earnest children.

I should have titled yesterday's blog entry, "Where Do You Get Your Ideas? Answered!"

I have photos from yesterday, the day summed up in macro photography, offered without comment:

6 March 2016Collapse )

Like the naked leads the blind,
I know I'm selfish, I'm unkind.
Sucker love, I always find
Someone to bruise and leave behind.

All alone in space and time,
There's nothing here, but what's here's mine.
Something borrowed, something blue,
Every me and every you,
Every me and every you.
~ Placebo

Aunt Beast
Four ayem basked in utter surrealality, saturated with the echoes of the roleplay scene I'd just finished (Rhineland mysticism, Templar agents and Illuminati spies, skinheads and two briefcases full of heroin), a lunatic political screed from a conspiracy nut Trump supporter following me on Facebook (Why?), and the first few minutes of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel (1956). Pack all that shit into half an hour and watch the number it does on your head:

Nell accepts the pill, then sits staring at it, as if she isn't quite certain what it is, as if maybe it's poison. She's sets the glass and the washcloth on the floor beside her, setting it down in a puddle of brandy and dissolved cocaine. "Müller's running late," she says, whatever bluster she had drained away. "Something about the airport, I don't know." She dry swallows the oxy, then takes the wet cloth from the glass and presses it to her bloody lips. She closes her pretend-green eyes for a moment. "Dieter, I mean. He's running late. It'll be another couple of hours. I was just sitting here..." and she trails off. She spits blood into the cloth.

"He's probably lying," says Ben. "But I do appreciate that you weren't. You wouldn't believe how many times I've opened these cases and ended up with a Claymore to the face," Ben sighs as he picks through the packs of heroin. "Did you broker this, or did the Hall set it up for you?"

Nex crosses back over to the case, seemingly satisfied that Nell is cowed for the moment. "We're not here for dope, babe," she tells Ben.

"No, we're on a fact-finding mission," he replies. "And right now I've discovered some facts. And I'd like to get some more."

Nell dips the bloody cloth into the glass of water, then dabs at her swollen jaw and flinches. "Not the Hall. Just me. I don't know if the Hall..." and she pauses a moment. "Grau was in with an Austrian group, Black Sun. They use heroin to fund...fuck, I don't know what. Expeditions to find the Aryan descendants of Atlantis." Nell pauses again. "I think she broke my jaw," she says, not daring to look Nex's way. "I'm going to have to explain this to my handler."

"Rough sex explains a lot. Especially at some crappy, Johann-come-lately Thule sex party," Ben says, with Nex agreeing in a shrug.

~ and ~

"...for offshore banking and hostile labor scams to hire illegals over American labor need to be shutdown: meaning businesses like Caterpiller, Disney, and Walmart. And remember, Trump didn't get where he is by pissing people off. You make 10 billion making people happy. As far as the racist claims go: quit reading the flyers put out by immigration agencies like the AIC. Can anyone really believe inviting more people to dinner will increase the portion size, especially when they're all showing up for welfare, ala Bernie Sanders style? Here's the real news about the way globalists are using invasive immigration to beat down labor cost by creating slums. A pecking order is established when toxic (meaning emotionally/intellectually dysfunctional IPD) personalities force the work place, home, or other communal setting into a frenzy of low self esteem. Each member is constantly vying for importance in a beat down hierarchy of self imposed social importance established to overwhelm ethical, productive, behavior in order to maintain an immature standard. Chickens do this too. The top bird receives no pecks and then pecks are rationed out, growing in number for each bird as their individual rankings are established by the group. The bird at the bottom usually gets pecked to death, this being why the poultry industry uses beak removal to deal with the dysfunction. Why people, on the average, disregard equitable tactics like manners, courtesy and charity to act this way is a mystery to me. On the one hand the whole group suffers because everyone runs around concerned about their place in the pecking order, and on the other, someone is always on the losing end of a peck: chaos created simply to sustain chaos... and remember, for immature personal gratification."

~ and ~

Atop a cloud, against a field of blue, a young man sits on a ladder, polishing Plexiglas stars. He's approach by a second man.

“Say, Billy!”

“Yeah, what do you want?”

“I just came to tell you, there’s trouble.”

“Yeah, what did I do now?”

“Oh, not you. I can’t tell you where I heard it, but I heard there was some trouble with your kinfolk on Earth.”

“What kind of trouble?”

“I don’t know exactly.”

“Well, isn't that just dandy. Here you take the trouble to tell me there’s trouble, but you can’t tell me what trouble it is. Oh, go bother someone else, while I finish these stars.”

“I just thought you might wanna go down there, maybe help.”

“Wait a minute. Hey, hey, wait a minute. You gone loony or something?”

“Well, everyone has the right to go back for one day. That’s the only reason I told you.”

“Well, just in case I’m interested, who gives out this permission?”

“The Starkeeper.”

“Him, huh? Well, I’ll think about it.”

... And this is why I have weird dreams.


Wow, Spooky just told me Nancy Reagan has died. "Just say no."

Yesterday I wrote up a workshop description for my Ocean State Summer Writing Conference session, and I attended to backed-up email, and I took care of a list of questions Ellen Datlow had about "Excerpts for An Eschatology Quadrille." I read two papers from the latest JVP, "Phylogeny of the Ichthyopterygia incorporating recent discoveries from South China" and "First record of Hyposaurus (Dyrosauridae, Crocodyliformes) from the Upper Cretaceous Shendi Formation of Sudan."

The Patreon is exceeding my expectations. Only a little more than 72 hours in, we're at an even 80% of our goal. Thank you everyone. This is an enormous weight of my mind. And it's easier to write when I'm lightheaded. [Rimshot/sting] [Cue laugh track]

Aunt Beast
The wide carnivorous sky* has unfolded above Providence, the deepest of all deep blues, the cruelest, the most bottomless. Currently, it's 31˚F and feel like 24˚F. Yesterday, we had a shitty dusting of snow and skies the color of lead and despair. But, we are told that the high on Tuesday will be 60˚F, and on Wednesday it's supposed to reach 67˚F. That weather forecast, that's what Salvation looks like.

Drinking hot, very sweet tea, listening to Placebo, waking up.

"I don’t think Trump is spreading bigotry and racism in this country — I think he is unleashing it." ~ Saqib Bhatti

My grateful thanks to everyone whose pledged to the Patreon campaign. It's going much better than I expected. At the moment, we're at 54.8% of our goal, after only two days. I told Kathryn and Merrilee (my lit agent) that I would give this until the end of March to see if we could reach our goal, which should tell you how much better we've doing than I expected. So, yes, thank you all. Here's the link.

Yesterday was, as Judith Viorst would say, a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I'd only slept about four hours, and my rotten guts churned all afternoon. There was anger so bright it wanted to flash over to rage. There was depression and fear. Sometime after dinner my head began to clear, later in the evening, after we spent an hour or so working on the new jigsaw puzzle, a 1,000-piece of Klimt's The Kiss (1907-1908). I slept fairly well last night. At least six hours.

I may attempt to write a poem every day for the remainder of March. Usually, I spend days or weeks on a poem, so attempting to do one a day might be interesting.

And it would be interesting to write something I do not mean to be published.

Yesterday, from the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, I read "Polycotylus latipinnis Cope (Plesiosauria, Polycotylidae), a nearly complete skeleton from the Niobrara Formation (early Campanian) of southwestern South Dakota" and "A redescription of Ornithomimus velox Marsh, 1890 (Dinosauria, Theropoda)."

That's all for now.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

* No, he got it from me.
In Providence, the mercury is hovering at 31˚F, with light snow. Outside my window, the world looks more January than March. Back home, the trees are getting green.

Only fifteen days until the first day of Cold Spring.

If you've not had a look at the Patreon page, please do. Thank you.

I know this will be the most anemic LJ entry ever, but I haven't anything more today.

Aunt Beast

"Let fall your dress. I'll play the part."

“Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique.” ~ William Faulkner

Cold again today, sunny and cold. Currently, it's 28˚F, with the windchill at 23˚F. There might be a little snow tomorrow. Fuck you, winter.

All of yesterday was divided between setting up the Patreon and coping with the worst headache I've had in, I don't know, maybe a year. It seems to be gone today. I just feel wrung out. I was asleep by 2:30 a.m., which never happens. I think I'd dozed on and off all evening, half watching television.

Anyway, as of 12:22 p.m. CaST, the Patreon is live. You'll find the page here. Please have a look, and if you can help, please do. Thank you.

Horror is being very nearly finished with a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of Sir Joseph Noel Paton's The Reconciliation of Oberon and Titania (1847) and discovering that two pieces appear to be missing.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

Not So Super Wednesday

Rainy. There's a cold front on it's way, which is likely responsible for my pounding sinus headache. We are promised highs in the sixties late next week. I hope that it's an accurate forecast. Die, winter, die.

I wasn't able to finish the Patreon text yesterday, because questions about a provision in my last contract (the one for the three Kathleen Tierney novels) had to be sorted out. It has been sorted. I hope the page will go live tomorrow. Keep watching the skies.

I am very, very pleased with the results of the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries. Clinton is, at this point, all but guaranteed the nomination.

Fuck it. My head hurts. I'll be back tomorrow.

Aunt Beast

"To hell again and back."

George Kennedy is dead. He appeared in very many of my favorite films, but, for me, his role as Dragline in Cool Hand Luke, (dir. Stuart Rosenberg, 1967) will always be the quintessential George Kennedy performance.

Probably my best nights sleep in weeks last night. I may have gotten seven hours, and without Seroquel. I awoke to sun and a cooler day. Currently, it's 39˚F.

And March.

So, I've agreed to teach a "craft intensive" session at the upcoming 2016 Ocean State Summer Writing Conference at the University of Rhode Island in June. I'm going to speak on "Authenticity, Immersion, and Character in Fantasy and Science Fiction." It was left entirely up to me, what the subject of my session would be, and after a couple of hours discussion with Kathryn yesterday, that's what I arrived at.

Today, I have to write the text for the Patreon page. We're going to try to go live tomorrow. And tomorrow – or Thursday – I need to get to work on "Objects in the Mirror" for the Subterranean Press book of short stories based on Dave McKean paintings.

It's an understatement to say that I'll be anxious all day. But I do believe that Clinton will carry the day, in part because she'll win most or all of the Southern states. Still, until I see the results, I'll be anxious. As for the GOP primaries, to quote Jeff VanderMeer, "Today Republicans find out what's in the pod. Will it be a terrible thing, a terrible thing, or a terrible thing."

Last night we watched Charles Laughton's brilliant 1953 adaptation of Davis Grubb's novel Night of the Hunter (1955). Few films were such powerful formative influences on my fiction. Watching it again last night, I was struck by the irony that the last great example of German Expressionist film was shot in the San Fernando Valley. I also count it as one of the finest werewolf tales ever told.

Now, I should try to wake up.

Aunt Beast
Warmer today. Currently sunny and 56˚F.

Sirenia Digest #121 went out to subscribers late yesterday afternoon, so if you're a subscriber you should have the February 2016 issue.

Two important matters:

1. Very soon, we've got to move out of this house in the Armory District, the house we've lived in now since June 2, 2008. That's almost twice as long as I've ever lived at any other address. We've known this was coming for a while now. Our landlord is selling the house (and no, I cannot afford to buy a house, so please do not suggest that; I can barely afford to rent). This means that we have to find a new place fairly soon, and it means we're looking at the expense of a move. While moving in state will be vastly cheaper than was our move from Georgia to Rhode Island, it certainly will not be cheap. We're planning on trying to get out of the city and relocate to South County. Please do not ask why I've abandoned my plans to head back to Alabama or Georgia. I don't feel like explaining that right now. We've decided the sooner we move the better, to escape the impending chaos of real estate agents and prospective buyers.

2. A couple of months back, I had a long talk with my agent, Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House (NYC), and she stressed how much better it would be if, this time out, I could give her a complete novel instead of sample chapters and a proposal. By better, I mean that by shopping a complete novel, she's much more likely to be able to land me a good book deal. And by good I mean better money, better promotion, and better distribution. However, I can't afford to do that. I need the money from an advance to live on while I write the novel. And this conundrum is a big reason my sales haven't improved over the years. So, Merrilee and Kathryn and I have devised a solution. I'm going to set up a Patreon account that will allow readers to make donations to help keep me solvent while I write the Next New Novel. We expect to kick off the Patreon sometime this week. It will be announced here, on Facebook, and on Twitter. So, details TBA. If I can bring in a minimum of $1,000/month, then I'll be able, finally, to write a novel the right way round. This is very, very important, so please stay tuned, and I hope you'll help out.*

I was pleased with the Oscars last night. Six Academy Awards (!!!) to Mad Max: Fury Road, the film I despised on my first viewing and loved on my second (the same thing happened with The Fifth Element). And one to Ex Machina. And one to Ennio Morricone. That's pretty sweet.

Aunt Beast

* The Patreon income would also help with the considerable moving expenses.

Postcript: No, selling film rights to two novels did not make me independently wealthy.

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