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Howard Hughes, More Shit

Yesterday, I emailed the editor for whom I was trying to write "Beyond the Laughing Sky," and I bowed out of the book. The deadline was fast approaching, and I explained that, realistically, given this dry spell, this bout of writer's block, this What-The-Fuck-Ever, it was unrealistic of me to think I could actually complete that story now. I think I felt relief for about two minutes, and then I just felt like shit. There is no relief in admitting defeat. I hope to try and come back to the story, someday.

Cooler weather today. I think we're going to RISD.

On average, I spend a good fourteen hours a day in this room, which is about eleven feet by eleven feet. And, for the most part, that's the way things have been for the last eight years. Eight years and three months. Nine summers. I would imagine it's a bit like prison, only I do at least, in theory, have the freedom to leave this room whenever I wish. Still, I would imagine most prisoners get quite a bit more exercise than I do, and that most of them have more robust social lives.

We watched a bit of the Dresden Dolls show streaming from Coney island last night and reminisced about a Dolls show at the long-defunct Echo Lounge in Atlanta, twelve years ago, 16 October, 2004.

We finally finished Series 8 of Doctor Who last night. It's taken us two years to get through it. But, to my surprise, I actually enjoyed the final two-parter, "Dark Water" and "Death in Heaven." It helps that the former begins with Pink getting hit by a car. I took that as a step in the right direction. I desperately hope Series 9 is better, and I hope that the show recovers when it is finally free of Moffat. It has survived worse. Oh, and now it is canon that Time Lords can switch sex from one regeneration to the next, so there's that.

Aunt Beast

"And if you float you burn."

Stay in the shadows.
Cheer at the gallows.
This is a round up.
~ Radiohead, "Burn the Witch"

Low humidity here today, so far. Currently, it's only 40%, and that's good. Yesterday was misery. But the NWS says we're going to hit 91˚F; we'll just have to see.

I didn't write yesterday. There's a surprise, right? I was entirely too sick from not sleeping. I managed to doze off about 5:30 this morning, and I might have gotten five hours, which, honestly, is as good a night's sleep as I've had in a week or more.

I used to know that face in the mirror. Now, it's just a face I'm wearing.

I've been putting Ridley Scott's Prometheus (2012) on just to have something to soothe my eyes at night. It really is holding up well. It's such a better film than a lot of people seem to believe.

Aunt Beast


I've had four nights of insomnia, and last night was the worst yet. It was well after sunrise before I even dozed. I'm barely conscious.

No actual prose yesterday. But I have pages of notes on "Beyond the Laughing Sky." I know the story. I almost know the narrator and one other character.

I strayed back into Second Life last night, five hours wandering through different worlds in all my different skins. At least one of those accounts, I'd not opened since 2009.

Aunt Beast

"I did spy periscopes."

The temperature may go to 88˚F today. If so, it'll be our warmest day in a while.

No, I didn't really write yesterday. I fled to the sea, instead. I made notes, but no actual writing.

At some point in the next several days, probably early next week, I'm going to – finally – break down and talk about the difficulties I've been having with work for the last year (and really quite a bit longer). That is to say, I'm going to talk about writer's block, something I don't even like to say aloud. Which shows you how superstitious I can be. Things can't get much worse, and I'm still afraid to say it aloud or type it publicly. Between April and today I've only been able to finish one short story, "Whisper Road," and that sort of dry spell is unprecedented in my twenty-one year publishing career. It's terrifying. I go to sleep afraid, and I wake up afraid. So, yeah. I'll talk about it. Soon.

But today, I'm going to try and write.

As I said, we went to the sea yesterday. We had dinner at Iggy's, but they really have ruined it, what with the new building and all. Iggy's was never so much about the admittedly mediocre food as it was about the atmosphere and shabby charm. Now, Iggy's has all the charm of a mall food court, and the food is still mediocre. The old Iggy's building sits deserted, with a rental sign out front. At least it hasn't been torn down. The tourists were an absolute swarm. We ate, then headed down to Point Judith for a bit. But the sun was setting, and we both got chilled, so we didn't stay too long.

Aunt Beast




Entry #4,714

Yesterday, I wrote 304 words on "Beyond the Laughing Sky," and I sincerely hope I at least found the beginning. And, please, I don't want to hear any crap about how "Well, that's 304 words that didn't exist yesterday." Just, please.

I don't know much else to say about yesterday. I tried to write. I read about Orson Welles and monocrystalline silicon. I read William Gibson and Bruce Sterling and Lewis Carroll. I washed underwear. It was a day.

It's Dorothy Parker's 123rd birthday. And Ray Bradbury would have been 96.

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

Aunt Beast

Sunny today. The National Weather Service says we'll go to 82˚F; it's currently 79˚F.

I haven't been "well" these past few days. Toady, I try to get back to work. I have this short story to write, so I can say that I at least wrote two this summer. I doubt I've had a summer this unproductive since 1998. Sure, I had my reasons then, too.

Amazon is taking taking orders for Agents of Dreamland, which Tor releases on February 28th. The cover isn't up yet, but I have seen the cover, and it's excellent. Perfect in tone, superbly understated.

If I ever knew that, in 2012, Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette had named a spaceship after me, "an incongruously sporty little skimmer," well, then I'd somehow managed to forget entirely. Which, given my last four years is hardly a surprise. Still, it pleases me inordinately. See "The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward."

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

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes and the Store-Brand Cat (L)

Day before yesterday, the mail brought me a royalty check for $74 (The Drowning Girl, audiobook) and news that my agent had sent a copy of Silk to a Russian publisher. I get charged for that. Presumably, there's a Russian publisher interested in doing a translation. No one tells me anything. But with royalty checks like that, retirement is surely imminent.

I will say again, William Gibson's "Hinterlands" is one of the finest science-fiction stories ever written. It also happens to be one of the finest pieces of weird fiction ever written. It was first published in Omni magazine in 1981, then reprinted in Burning Chrome in 1986.

A few days back – I'm really not certain how many days back – my copies of the new trade-paperback edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder arrived, and we have one up on eBay right now. This is, by the way, the fourth edition of the collection since 2000; it's basically the text from the 2007 Subterranean Press edition. It also includes all of Richard Kirk's illustrations.

Please have a look at our other eBay auctions.

Aunt Beast

Surely, I must have seen this coming. (L)

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

Aunt Beast

I spent yesterday reading a novella I've been asked to blurb, asked by an editor, not by the author. At forty-thousand words, it consumed most of the working day. But there was some correspondence attended to, as well.

Today, I begin a science-fiction story I'm calling "Beyond the Laughing Sky," and my thanks to Elizabeth Bear (matociquala) for the boojums.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. My books, signed by me, sold by me, shipped to you from me. Since 1999. I'll personalize anything.

Last night, we saw Shane Carruth's 2013 Upstream Color, which is undeniably beautiful and undeniably smart, but which also, for me, falls terribly flat, somehow.

Night before last, I watched Christopher Nolan's Interstellar (2014) again, maybe the fifth time I've seen it. It's such a brilliant gem. I'm very much looking forward to Nolan's Dunkirk (2017).

Now, it's time to make the doughnuts.

Aunt Beast


There was, in fact, a great deal of work yesterday, and I was hopeful for today. But then the apartment refused to cool off, and this morning I woke more sick an exhausted than when I went to sleep. I'm not up to talking about yesterday. Summer is dying, and as sick as it has made me, I should be glad for the arrival of autumn. But all I am is terrified.

Apparently, we have eBay going again.

Aunt Beast

Well, this will be the short entry to buy back the time from the really long entry I wrote yesterday, which was likely read by now fewer than eight people. I regret having given so much time to such a bad movie, but there you go. It's now mostly out of my system. Mostly.

It's cooler today, cloudy, and I'm back at home trying to work. Maybe the worst of this summer is gone.

Yesterday, at the Providence Public Library, I signed two sets of signature sheets, those for Black Wings V: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror and those for Gothic Lovecraft, both anthologies edited by S.T. Joshi, 300+ and 52+ sheets, respectively.

Time to put this train back on the tracks.

Aunt Beast

Not At Home

I'm writing this from the downtown branch of the Providence Public Library where I'm going to try and work today, seeing as how it's been almost a week since I've been able to work at home, thanks to the heat. I cannot afford to continue losing days, especially considering I was at least two months behind when this fiasco began. But I have no idea if I'm going to be able to work sitting in this uncomfortable chair, in this overly lit room, with strangers wandering around me. I've been doing this now for a very long time, and, really, there's only one place I've ever been able to write: at home (wherever that happens to be), at my desk, in my chair alone. Rarely, and with considerable trouble, I can write away from my office by reconstructing a facsimile of my office elsewhere, such as at Neil's cabin in Woodstock, during the winter of 2014-2015. But it's rarely worth the effort and expense. In biological terms, I am an overspecialized organism, I'm the sort that faces extinction easily. Tinker with my environment just a little, and I'm gone.

I am not mobile.

“We write out of revenge against reality, to dream and enter into the lives of others.” ~ Francine du Plessix Gray

I've decided to ditch the plan for a new Natalie Beaumont story, in favor of something there's a more realistic chance I might actually be able to get written. Thus far this summer (which has only two weeks remaining), I've begun five stories. I've finished one. Four I've abandoned. I don't want to add a sixth. I have an editor waiting on me who's already agreed to give me more time.

I'd entertained some fantasy of writing an actual review of the Ghostbusters reboot. But I can see now that's not going to happen. And, really, what is there worth saying about that wretched film? I found it abysmally unfunny. It actually made Ghostbusters II (1989) look funny, and I thought that was fucking impossible. In forty-five minutes, I didn't laugh once. It lacked the charm, the wit, and the energy of Ivan Reitman's original. As I said to Kathryn, it was clear that neither Paul Feig nor the screenwriters Katie Dippold and Amy Pascal had a clue what made the first film work. Part of getting Ghostbusters right, part of doing it right again, requires that understanding of what Reitman, Ramis, and Aykroyd were doing way back when. It's like understanding the difference between the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges. The Marx Brothers managed, at their best, this wonderful trick: They were simultaneously low brow and high brow. That's what great comedy does. The Three Stooges, on the other hand, never rose above the most base slapstick. Ghostbusters (1984) was speaking from the madcap schizophrenia of the Marx Brothers, aiming high and low, filtered through the cultural zeitgeist of the early 1980s. Ghostbusters (2016) never aims for anything much more sophisticated than various incarnations of the Fart Joke. It thinks that it's funny to hear grown women say "poop." Just because. I'm not criticizing the film for crude humor. I'm a great admirer of crude humor. I'm criticizing it for being stupid. And there's a difference. The Marx Brothers knew this. Monty Python, kings of crude, they knew the difference, too. The folks who rebooted Ghostbusters, it's clear to me that they, sadly, don't.

And hell, at least the Three Stooges could be funny every now and then.

I have other criticisms: For example, the racism inherent in defaulting Leslie Jones to the Ernie Hudson role. The black ghostbuster, she had to be the one who works the subway stall (Hudson's character was in sanitation), right? Wrong. If a statement is being made by the filmmakers on inclusion, why not give the black character a teaching job at Columbia? And why three white women? Why not add a Hispanic woman and/or an Asian woman? Oh, and that whole nonsense with casting Chris Hemsworth as a dumb male secretary? I see how it was an attempt to flip a stereotype, but it falls flat as hammered shit, and it also seems to suggest that the filmmakers thought Annie Potts' character in the original film was a dingbat. She most certainly wasn't. So, why invest so much energy in a lame joke that doesn't come off, trying to subvert a stereotype in which the original film didn't indulge? These are, given what the film undertook, very fair questions.

I'm not even going to get started on the problems I have with the lazy story, absent characterization, and the shoddy CGI. Or the homophobia expressed by burying Jillian Holtzmann's gayness.

I saw, in the whole silly mess, a single bright spot, and her name is Kate McKinnon. With a different script and a different director, she'd have nailed the parallel to Ackroyd's Ray Stantz.

Aunt Beast


Howard Hughes, Seeking the Ruby Slippers

I awoke again into the heat. The advisory of the last two days has become an "Excessive Heat Warning" (courtesy the NWS). We're expecting a high of 95˚F, with a heat index of 105. Obviously, it isn't safe to stay in the house. Another pissed away day, coming up.

Once it's cool enough again that it's safe to sit in my office, and once it's cool enough again to be in this house and think clearly, I'm going to write about how much and how virulently and, above all, why I hated The Ghostbusters reboot. We went yesterday, because we'd pretty much seen everything else. We walked out after forty-five minutes and were refunded the price of admission. But I'd like to be coherent about it, so I'm going to wait. Just please remember: I was originally ecstatic at the idea of an all-female cast. Meanwhile, I leave you with this:

Oh, and I neglected yesterday to say that, on Friday afternoon, I found five bucks lying in the street. But I almost didn't pick it up. They've fucked up the way US money looks to the point that I just assumed I was seeing fake money. The shit's hardly even green.

Now, I have to back my survival gear again and go seeking precious, life-sustaining AC.

Aunt Beast

I want to write about here the misery and indignities of aging, from my perspective, about the biological cataclysm of aging, but I'm pretty sure it would only get me labeled ageist. I might trigger some poor delicate soul. I'll keep my gerascophobic meanderings to myself

The heat in this house is all but intolerable. It's become dangerous. There are actual reasons it's worse than last year, reasons that have nothing to do with the climate outside the house, but explaining that might get me yelled at by my downstairs neighbors and my upstairs landlady.

Really, there's an awful lot I just don't bother to say here anymore, because I no longer have the patience to deal with being yelled at all the time.

I've lost something like two solid weeks to the heat this summer, days when it was simply to hot to work in the only place I have to work. I will clearly be losing more days, beginning with this one.

We sat out part of yesterday in a dark and cold theatre, one of those rare genuinely pleasant sanctuaries from the heat. We saw Sean Ellis' superb Anthropoid, a WWII thriller about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. It's the sort of film I'm amazed anyone still makes. Reviewers didn't much like it. Reviewers can blow me.

There was a magnificent thunderstorm yesterday that I somehow managed to sleep through. When the bombs fall, I'll miss it. Lucky me.

Aunt Beast

"Is it overwhelming...?"

The time has come to run from the heat. I'm sick from it. It never dropped below 83˚F in the middle of the house last night, and it's already back to 85˚F. Providence still has a heat advisory, and the heat index is expected to exceed 101˚F again. Subscribers ought to have received Sirenia Digest #126 last night.

Last night, we drove.

Aunt Beast

A rare muggy day in Rhode Island, cloudy, stormy, and a heat advisory. The heat index is threatening to top 100˚F.

And I feel like someone who hardly slept last night.

Today, I will be assembling Sirenia Digest #126. I think you'll like what your getting (unless you're not a subscriber, then you'll not care one way or another). Expect the issue tonight or tomorrow.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

We saw David Ayer's Suicide Sqaud yesterday evening. On Facebook, I said: Suicide Squad has a lot of things wrong with it (it really, really needed a much better script, and the comedic timing is often off), but I still enjoyed it quite a lot. It is gorgeous. And, personally, I *loved* Jared Leto's Joker. I just wish there'd been more of him. But, c'mon, a film where Harley Quinn saves the world.

Aunt Beast

L, for all intents and purposes

I wrote 196 words yesterday.

Remember when this journal was an account of accomplishment?

Aunt Beast

Sunny today, and it may reach 84˚F. Currently, it's 82˚F.

Yesterday, I managed to write 1,026 words on the piece that has no title. In promise, Sirenia Digest #126 (July) is coming. Eventually.

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

Sitting out on the front stoop last night, having a cigarette, I saw one of the most dramatic – maybe the most dramatic – shooting star of my life, in the southwest sky. It actually flared yellow orange.

Last night we watch both Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2015). And I actually liked both, but then I usually do enjoy Zack Snyder. Michael Shannon as General Zod was inspired, and, really, it numbers as one of the best screen portrayals of a comic-book villain ever. All in all Man of Steel is the better film, and, truth be told, I'd have been happy if the whole thing could have taken place in the twilight of Krypton.

I'm slowly working my way through Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, rather like I did with The Ammonite Violin & Others a few years back. It's very strange, reading my own writing like that.

Aunt Beast

L, plus

Sunny, 78˚F, 43% humidity. It was actually quite hot yesterday, almost 90˚F in Providence.

No writing yesterday.

Matt Ross' Captain Fantastic is really, truly a very fine film, possibly my favorite of 2016 thus far. We saw it yesterday at the Cable Car, which I wish showed more films that I want to see, because the place is remarkably comfortable (in sharp contrast with to torture devices that the Avon sadistically calls "seats").

I have the first bit of my movie list. Actually, a few days back, I reached 1970 and sort of stuck. I'm not sure yet whether or not I'll proceed. Regardless, here they are (behind the cut) some 233 films – unless I've miscounted – made between 1930 and 1970. This is intended as a list favorites, films I watch again. Take it in that spirit. And yes, few places is the 20th Century's chauvinism more readily on display than any survey of American and British films. Which these are, and American, for the most part. For the purposes of this list, I've included no foreign-language films (id est, non-English). I've limited myself to 5-7 films per year.

Favorite Films, Forty Years, 1930-1970Collapse )

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

Aunt Beast



Exceeding My Bandwidth

Clouds today, and it's warmer. Currently 81˚F, with the heat index at 84˚F, humidity at 67%. We're supposed to go to 88˚F this afternoon, with a possibility of thunderstorms.

I made just enough money last year that, this year, I cannot afford to pay my income tax (after paying in excess of $7k last year).

There was essentially no writing yesterday. We left here about 5:30 p.m. and headed down to Narragansett and had dinner at Iggy's. I miss the old shack at the corner of Pt. Judith and Ocean roads. The new place is like some bizarre, cleaned-up simulacrum of Iggy's, Iggy's Idealized, Food Court Iggy's, designed perhaps for a Rhode Island theme park (Lobstah Land!), complete with a huge TV mounted on one wall. Gone are the sandy floors and random bits of beach junk scattered about and the mismatched chairs and the noise and heat from the kitchen. The food is still good, but the new surroundings are enough to give one indigestion.

After dinner, we drove on down to Point Judith to watch the sunset. It was very windy and very cold. The moon was the palest sliver. I think we made it back home about 9:30 p.m.

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

Aunt Beast

Entry #4,697

The Klonopin is helping me sleep, and by pushing away the anxiety it's also helping me write. But I'm really never very awake. Never mind all the daylight outside, or that hungry blue sky, only enormous force of will has me awake. Currently, it's 78˚F, but the heat index is at 80˚F; the humidity is at 58%.

Madame Clonazepam and I are old, old friends. I first made her acquaintance way back in, I think, 1988. She's been a constant companion ever since.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,028 words on this story that has no title. But it's one of my ghoul stories, set in Pnath. It should be noted that my ghoul stories fall into at least two camps: 1) Those that fit with the Low Red Moon/Daughter of Hounds/"The Dead and the Moonstruck" continuity and 2) those more mythic Dream Land tales (id est, "The Peddler's Tale, or Isobel's Revenge" and "Pickman's Madonna"). Except, it's really a lot more complicated than that. There might actually be FIVE categories. But this one is in that "Peddler's Tale" universe or tradition or what the fuck ever. Surrender all notions of continuity, kittens, when it comes to my work. Whatever's there, it's a slipshod, scattershot affair.

I am extremely disappointed at the news of HBO having cancelled Vinyl.


From my Facebook yesterday:

1) I know know that a group of ghasts is referred to as a gulp.
2) If Kipling and the USPS can use more than a single "nor" with "neither," then so can I.

~ and ~

I've never actually felt sorry for Republicans before. This is very strange.


Too much RP lately, but it's been pretty good stuff. Yes, I still do that. What, do you think I've grown up and gotten a social life? You think I sit around in hipster bars talking Proust and chin whiskers and microbrews?

Oh, there's more eBay. Please have a look. Selwyn needs a new thingamajigger.

Aunt Beast

Gotcha 4

Sunny today, and a sky that is wide and most definitely carnivorous. Currently, it's 77˚F. Thanks to the cooler air and liberal doses of Klonopin, I'm sleeping better than I have in months. But waking up is a little tricky. Klonopin is actually a nice antidote to the Trump and mass-shooting spattered headlines.

Yesterday I began a new piece for Sirenia Digest #126 (which is going to be a little late), and I did 1,169 words on it. But it doesn't yet have a title. Maybe I'll find that today.

My thanks to Vic Ruiz (formerly stsisyphus) for "Cronenporn," an extremely useful portmanteau.

Thanks to everyone who bid in the latest round of eBay auctions and congratulations to the winners. We'll have new auctions beginning either today or tomorrow.

And I think that's all I have today, a succession of short announcements. Oh, and today is James Selwyn Nightshade's Fourth Gotcha Day.

Aunt Beast

The sun is back, but the temperatures should stay coolish. The high today is only predicted to go to 84˚F.

And today is the twenty-first anniversary of Elizabeth's death.

I have to write.

There's a very nice write up on Two Worlds and In Between and Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea in the latest Strange Horizons (18 July 2016), written by Roz Kaveney, whom I first met in London in October 1997. She concludes:

Kiernan's slow progress from conventional elements and standard tropes, however well done, to meditation on what story is and what it is for and why we seek it out is one of the most radical things that is going on in the fiction of the fantastic right now. What is remarkable is that she was not content with accomplished dark fantasy narratives like Daughter of Hounds and has moved on to novels like The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl with their public examination of personal trauma and their inventive post-modern exploration of text and authoritativeness. She is one of the most serious artists working in our field today and these two collections are arranged to, as our infant school arithmetic teachers used to say, show us her workings.

How can I not be very pleased with such an appraisal? How can one not fairly beam? But, I admit, I did find myself wondering if the worlds I've spent more than two decades weaving are, indeed, as grim as Roz says they are. At one point she writes, "Kiernan shares with M. John Harrison a sense that all is for the worst in this nearly worst of all possible worlds – worst would at least be vaguely glamorous." It's a sobering sort of thought. And a little disarming. But Spooky says that's just the way it is, and who am I to disagree? I'm only telling it the way I see it. I only have this one point of view. It's all I have to share, and my only value to the world and to myself lies in my willingness to be true.

Also, thanks to the help of Cam Collins, I think Aunt Beast's Salt Marsh Home Companion's going to happen after all. Keep watching the skies.

The List has reached 1970, with 233 American and British films.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

Foggy this morning. I've increased my Klonopin intake to try and cope with the anxiety and to sleep better. It seems to work for both, but god, I'm groggy this morning.

No, I didn't write yesterday.

Apparently, I neglected to mention that I sold Agents of Dreamland to Tor, way back at the start of June. I announced it on Facebook and Twitter, but apparently not here. But I have. And it will be published in January 2017.

But we did see Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie at the Avon on Thayer Street. I think I might have sprained something vital from all the laughing. Patsy Stone might be my spirit animal. Oh, and on Sunday night was saw Liza Johnson's Elvis & Nixon which was one of the most delightfully weird things I've seen in a very long time. Michael Shannon plays Elvis. Kevin Spacey plays Nixon. Neither actor should work in his respective roles, but both do. It's brilliant. It's hilarious. It's full-on fucking surreal. It's oddly sweet. See it.

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

Aunt Beast

Cloudy. Currently only 75˚F, humidity at 66%.

A bad day yesterday. A day of talking through scary stuff. Which I may soon begin discussing here. I've kept it to myself – mostly – since 2012 or so, and maybe I'd benefit from putting it out there, with everything else.

In the Age of the Tyranny of Julian Assange, privacy is frowned upon.

Someone could put a bullet in that man's brain, and all I would do is feel relief. As with Osama bin Laden, there are times when political assassination is entirely justified, for the greater good and the general welfare and all that.

And here it is August. The summer is two-thirds gone, and green autumn is on our doorstep. More anxiety. And absolutely nothing has been checked off my summer to-do list. And I still need to (try and) write the new Natalie Beaumont story before the end of the month, and there's The Starkeeper, and there's the new novella I owe Centipede Press, because I sold Agents of Dreamland to Tor. And there's getting out Sirenia Digest #126 (July) and #127 (August).

The List has reached 1966.

And I just want to be home.

Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes at the Sea

The heat seems finally to have broken. Today is overcast, and the high is only supposed to reach 76˚F. But the humidity is at 76%, and my office is still a bit swampy.

Yesterday, the lack of sleep and the heat had finally taken such a toll on me that I wasn't even going to pretend I could try and get work done – as I had pretended on Thursday and Friday. Instead, we headed down to Conanicut Island and Beavertail, possibly for the first time since 2014. The sun was almost blinding, soaking the world in white, and the tourists were almost unendurable. We stayed at the lighthouse a little while, and looked inside the tiny aquarium they keep there – tautog, lobsters and crabs, a sea robin, and other creatures from the cold waters just off the point. Outside, there were mockingbirds and red-winged blackbirds in the dog roses and blackberry briers, there were huge swallowtail butterflies and tiny cabbage white butterflies. There were gulls, of course, and cormorants. Sailboats everywhere. We made it back home by six.

Back home, I watched The Magnificent Ambersons (1941), which I'd not seen since my twenties. It's as heartbreaking as ever, that butchered film, knowing what it was before Robert Wise and RKO cut fifty minutes from it. That it is still so brilliant a film is a testament to the genius that was Orson Wells. That happy, tacked on ending is a perfect mirror of the happy ending tacked onto the original theatrical release of Blade Runner. They're both lies, in essentially the same way.

I went to bed around eleven thirty, an almost unheard of early bedtime for me, but I was so tired I was ill. Still, I didn't get to sleep for a couple of hours. But then I finally slept, a good six and a half or seven hours.

Night before last we saw a very decent little science-fiction film, Young Ones (2014), with Micheal Shannon and Elle Fanning, directed by Jake Paltrow, Gwyneth's brother. And also Wilem Dafoe in Abel Ferrara's artful 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2011).

On my movie list, I've reached 1962.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. I have to go write something for Sirenia Digest #126.

Aunt Beast


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