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"The Bunk don't swim."

Well, here I am. But there's nothing to be said for today, except that it rained and it rained and it rained, just like in Chapter 9 of Winnie-the-Pooh. You know, in which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water. Cold, drenching rain. November.

And I feel like shit again tonight. The headache's back. Pain and rain. There's a little poem, so don't say I didn't write anything today.


3:37 p.m.

"They raise a paw."

And then I missed three days. I was visited by another multi-day migraine that only started to let up this morning. And I just haven't felt like this blog. There is precious little to say. I haven't been writing, mostly because of the headache, and we haven't really been doing much of anything else.

The weather's turned cold.

Anyway I'm gonna get this journal back on track, make some substantive entries, blah, blah, blah.

Later (I promise),

9:59 a.m.

Strawberries and Key Lime

So, I missed a couple of days there. Not even entirely sure why. Sure, the election shit was stressful, though not the nightmare of 2016, and we sorta kinda got out of it better than we went in. But it was still stressful. Anyway, you didn't really miss anything. Well, not much. There was a drive out to Trussville, yesterday afternoon, to what used to be Hewitt-Trussville High, where I did my last two years of high school, 1980-1982. And the election, but I mentioned that, already. And we watched all ten episodes of Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg's Homecoming, which was really very, very good. But that's about all. Still, that's not bad for a couple of days, I don't suppose.


12:18 p.m.

Sign on the Line

Not so good a day as yesterday, but they can't all be winners. And it wasn't actually a bad day. Just a day. We came home from Leeds. I signed a million more Alabaster signature sheets. We had spaghetti for dinner. Lydia was cute. Just a day.


11:54 a.m. (yesterday)

Aloha, indeed!

Not an awful day. Early this afternoon, I signed the first half of the stack of signature sheets for the forthcoming Subterranean Press reissue of Alabaster. Then Spooky and I spent about an hour at the extraordinary Jim Reed Books downtown. If you're in the city and you've never seen this place, you gotta. Anyway, we also stopped by the Barnes and Noble at the Summit (where, in 1999, I received my B and N Maiden Voyage Award for Silk) before heading out to Leeds to watch Alabama beat the pants off LSU. Which they did. Oh, and there was bbq from Rusty's. So, yeah. Not an awful day at all.


3:04 p.m.

Cocking the Fuck With Me Gun

Today I learned that there's pretty much nowhere left in Birmingham to buy new CDs. Or so it seems, after driving around for the better part of two hours.


4:02 p.m.

Entry No. 5,526

We woke this morning to a rainy, blustery autumn day, and to a tornado watch. While Spooky was making breakfast, I was sitting at my desk and a terrific wind suddenly blew over the mountain. I thought for just a moment that it actually was an approaching tornado. There was a sound, almost like that sound. And then there was another sound, a loud, rolling crack, and the top half of a tree across the street came crashing down, blocking the entire road. The wind died away almost immediately.

It was half an hour or so before the city got chainsaws in the clear it.

Really, that was the only part of today worth remembering.


4:48 p.m.

Warm Orange

Happy Halloween. Here in Birmingham, there's almost another hour of it to go. After a cool weekend, the weather turned warm again, warmer than I'm used to for October 31, after living in New England for ten years. Still, all in all, it was a good Halloween. Spooky and I visited the Brass Bear again, and then we went out to Leeds for Halloween chili with my mother and sister. We lit the pumpkin again that we made on Saturday, and the trick-or-treaters were just starting to appear when we headed back to Birmingham.


5:08 p.m.

Inevitability vs. the Other Thing

Spooky and I are both feeling a little under the weather from our flu shots. Still, better than risking the alternative.

Last night, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Nightmare Before Christmas by watching it again. It's as beautiful and brilliant as ever. Today, after I did some worked related to the forthcoming new collection of Dancy stories (title TBA), we went to a huge antique store in Irondale and spent most of the afternoon just looking. Nothing was bought, though many things were tempting. And tonight we finished Season Three of The Man in the High Castle. We started Season One on Friday night and blew through it all. Very good, I think, and it gets better as it goes along.


3:16 p.m.

"Frog was an asshole."

Got my flu shot today.

So, there are a couple of days I'm supposed to catch up on. But I'm gonna do it quick, because I'm tired and would rather lie down and watch TV than be writing this blog entry.

Night before last we went to Leeds, and there was the fair. We didn't get out, just sat at the edge of that vacant lot where fairs have been setting up since at least the 1940s, when mom was a kid, and watched the lights and listened to the sounds. It was marvelous and strange, like time travel. The cement plant loomed above it all, like a monstrous Christmas tree. I'll post photos later. Eventually. Anyway, after the fair we went back to my mother's and watched John Krasinski very, very excellent The Quiet Place (2018), which I strongly recommend.

We came home yesterday, and nothing whatsoever if interest happened.

Tonight, Spooky made three-legged chicken stew with andouille sausage, okra, tomatoes, pearl onions, mushrooms, green bell pepper, and...other things.

On this night twenty-five years ago, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas was released. I saw it on opening night at a now-defunct theater at the Riverchase Galleria. Time flies, on little bat wings.


5:02 p.m.

Half Mast

Home again, and I'm too tired, again, to make anything even vaguely resembling an actual entry. I'll try tomorrow. I have photos from last night.


11:22 p.m.

P is for

Actually not a bad day. Well, not a bad evening, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow to write about it. We're in Leeds, at my mom's, though there was no game today.


7:31 p.m.

Chopsticks and Spam

Another chilly, rainy, sunless day. Spooky has made an observation, which seems accurate, that dark days in Birmingham seem very much darker than dark days in Providence, likely because there's so much more sun here than there. It is an understatement to say that the day was cheerless.

I did a tiny bit of work on the forthcoming reissue of Alabaster by Subterranean Press (and the new Dancy collection, TBA). Also, I corresponded with Richard Curtis, who was my agent on Silk, before I moved to Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House in 1998. Spooky went to Target for a rug and place mats.

We had Milo's for dinner. Whee.


11:24 p.m.


Another day with this headache. I haven't had one last this long in, I think, years. And I didn't sleep enough. And it was dark and rainy and cold all day long. That was today. There was Chinese takeout for dinner.

We've started The Man in the High Castle. It's better than I expected.


3:17 p.m. (yesterday)

Painsday 2

Despite the fact that the migraine was still with me when I woke this morning, it wasn't an awful day. We got up and got out of the house, after I took care of some email.

I bought the first new coat I've bought since November or December of 2001.

And in Leeds we stopped by the carnival setting up on the vacant lot in front of the cement plant. When I was a kid, at least once a year a carnival came to town and that lot is always where it could be found, all through the 1970s. The ghosts of all the carnivals of my childhood reside on that vacant lot. Apparently, it's been a few years, though, since there's been a carnival through Leeds (or so I'm told). Anyway, there's one this year. We stopped briefly, and I was, well, I think haunted is the right word. But it was a good sort of haunted. I think we're gonna go back one night this weekend.

We bought a pumpkin to carve this weekend at my mom's.

Last night, we watched Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), which, after all these years, remains brilliant despite the absurd Keanu Reaves.

Oh, and there's a photo of Lydia, too.


11:10 a.m.

11:03 a.m. (yesterday)


A wretched fucking migraine all day, from the time I woke. So, there isn't much to be said for today.

Last night, we watched the silly, misbegotten mess that is the third episode of the new season of Doctor Who, and then, to get the taste out of my mind, we watched Tarantino's Death Proof (2007), which I'd not seen since 2011.

The weather was chilly today, and mostly cloudy. Our high was 69˚F.

My thanks to Beau Salsman, for the Dinogorgon fugurine.


10:01 a.m.

Quiet Deluxe

A bad day, but....I'm not going to get into that.

I did a bunch of catching up on email stuff, so at least there's that. Also, the last thing in the world I would have believed is that I'd love Season Two of Westworld, so great was my hatred for Season One. And yet...I really adored Season Two, which we watched over the last three nights. Everything that was wrong with the first season is right with the second. It sort of feels like they had to get all that stupid crap from the 1973 movie out of the way so they could move along to the interesting stuff.


11:27 p.m.
The weather has turned truly chilly, it seems. Our low tonight is supposed to be 39˚F. Today, we finally got lucky as regards all the days of searching in antique stores. Plus, I got a very sweet deal on a Royal Quiet Deluxe portable, which I have long coveted. I have this dream of a gallery of manual typewriters. And I got a Halloween card from my mom. Anyway, tomorrow, I have to go back to being a writer. I have been doing far too little of that lately, and I've been neglecting a lot.

Bad me, I know.


3:55 p.m.

"...me, kitten."

A rainy day, but the sun came out late. I think we made it to 71˚F at some point, but most of the day was in the sixties. We went out to Mom's for the Alabama-Tennessee game, but headed back home at halftime, because I wasn't feeling well. There was some more Halloween in GW2, fighting our way through the Mad King's maze. And there was a $61 royalty check for the audiobook of The Drowning Girl.

If you haven't yet ordered a copy of The Dinosaur Tourist, please do so.


4:33 p.m.

Bucket of Flowers

Another day I can't complain about. Mostly, we explored Brass Bear Antiques, and even though we didn't find what we were looking for, it was fun.


2 p.m.

Entry No. 5,512

A pretty decent day. The weather was cool and clear, despite the heat of the sun. I have missed all this sun and all this light. I think our high was 74˚F.

We spent the day at thrift stores and antique malls and the like, looking for needed things. Which we did not find. But I came away with a 1960 Kennedy campaign button and a little booklet on dinosaurs written by Edwin Colbert and published by the American Museum of Natural History in 1961. I'm really not the person you take to places like antique malls, not if you're trying to stay focused.

Sirenia Digest 153 has gone out to subscribers.

And there was more Halloween in GW2.


12:54 p.m.

"That's one small step for man..."

Another cool day. By evening, it was actually chilly. Our high today was only, briefly, 70˚F.

We made a 1:15 p.m. matinée of Damien Chazelle's First Man, which may have failed to unseat The Right Stuff as my favorite ever "space race" film, but which is extremely wonderful, all the same. I'm fairly certain it's my favorite film of 2018, thus far. Pretty much all the political crap being flung at the film, from the Right and from the Left, is just that, crap. Ignore it. See this film.

Also, tonight, we finished Ryan Murphy's Pose, which is probably the best thing I've ever seen from him. And there was spaghetti and Halloween stuff in GW2.

That was today. I've done worse.

10:52 p.m.

[cut along dotted line]

The weather turned cool again today, and cloudy, with a little misting rain. The high was only 70˚F.

It was an awful day, though the weather actually had nothing to do with that. Days can be awful without the aid of clouds. Anyway, nothing much to say about it. Though, I did neglect to mention, last night, that yesterday I shut my left hand in a door, which was all kinds of fun. Fortunately, I seem to have done no serious harm.

Oh, look! Lydia!


10:33 p.m.

Trash Panda Apocalypse

You wanna know what it's like being a freelance novelist? In December 2015 I signed a contract for a Polish edition of The Red Tree. Today, the check on the advance arrived, from my agent, three years later. I do not even remember making this deal or signing this contract. But, hey, money from the sky.

Today, we drove down to Verbena, to the house of a close friend whom I'd not seen since 2007 (and in 2007 I'd not seen her since 2001). She's letting use an old dining table. So, thank you, Jennifer. It was a good drive down and back. There were cotton fields and roadside produce stands and dead armadillos.

I've seen two episodes of the new Doctor Who now, and Jodie Whittaker has a lot of potential. Plus, I love the new TARDIS. But I do not like the "three companions" thing. Anyway, still a vast improvement over the last few years.


2:16 p.m.

Rocking a Diamond Beard

Nothing much to say about today. We got home from Leeds (after stopping at the Bass Pro Shops), moved the living room furniture into yet another configuration, played some Guild Wars 2, watched some TV. That's pretty much it. I do have a couple of things I posted to Facebook, though:

“Call it precious and go to hell, I believe a story can be wrecked by a faulty rhythm in a sentence.” — Truman Capote

“A story should be a finished work before it is shown. And after that, I will not allow anyone to change anything, and I will not change anything on anyone’s advice. ‘Here is my story. It’s a finished story. Take it or leave it!’ ” — Katherine Anne Porter


11:37 a.m.

Lydia is a Punk Rocker

After sleeping more than nine hours last night, I spent the day with a roaring headache that is now mostly only an echo. But I did manage to get Sirenia Digest 153 hammered together. Then we headed out to my mom's in Leeds, and there was football and barbecue (and laundry).


11:00 p.m.

One Donut Over the Line

The weather here has turn cool and dry. The windows are open tonight, and we haven't had to run the AC. Last night's low was in the high 40s˚F, and today's high was only 75˚F.

Today, I wrote 1,256 words and finished "Iodine and Iron," which will appear in Sirenia Digest 153.

And we had a very nice walk at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens this afternoon.

Later Taters,

2:00 p.m.

Ham and Eggs in Ascalon

On this day twenty-five years ago, I began writing Silk. I was living alone here in Birmingham, in an apartment on 16th Avenue South, and I really didn't believe I'd ever publish a novel. I was just writing to stay sane and busy.

As for today, even though I had another night of insomnia, it was a better day. I did some editing on "Iodine and Iron," which I'm going to try to finish tomorrow.

Spooky and I moved the big display case from the living room to the dining room, and I'm sort of amazed we managed it without help.

Last night, after suffering through 1922 the night before, I decided it would be good to stick with films I know and love, just for a little while, rather than risking another turkey of that magnitude. So, last night it was Reservoir Dogs. And tonight it was True Romance.

For dinner, Spooky made smoked sausage, mac and cheese, and okra with tomatoes and corn.


1:18 p.m.

"Let's get shit done."

Today was so very, very fucking awful, that I'm going to make this very, very short. I only slept three or four hours last night, and I managed only about 750 words today on "Iodine and Iron." I strongly suspect that tomorrow I may have to rewrite everything I did today.

We only caught a glancing blow from Michael, a little rain, a little wind. Hardly worth mentioning. The panhandle wasn't so lucky.

Oh, and Spooky dreamt that cocaine-crazed goats were trying to break into the house. And I managed to eat pizza for the first time in more than a year.

That was today.

Fuck It,

7:22 p.m.

The Obligatory Subject Line

Today, I wrote another 1,106 words on "Iodine and Iron."

And I went with Spooky to take more boxes to the second storage unit.

After Super Dark Times last night, we watched André Øvredal's The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016), which wasn't the worst film I've seen this month, and I mostly enjoyed it, but Jesus, the plot is a monument to nonsense. It's a shame, because it's a damn good-looking film, and it might have gone somewhere interesting. Regardless, it's vastly superior to Zak Hilditch's insufferably wretched 1922 (2017), based on a novella by Stephen King. Knowing how extraordinarily rare it is for a King story to yield an even halfway decent film, I should have known better. Actually, I did know better. But I was bored. Anyway, yet another lousy Netflix film. Avoid it.


2:41 p.m.