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Entry No. 5,486

Coming soon.

"...unwillingly mine."

Spooky and I sat at the living-room window tonight, listening to two owls calling back and forth to each other. That's probably the best thing to remember about this day.


9:00 p.m.

Down Above and Up Below

A little cooler today, but more humid. We caught a stroke of luck with the recent heat, in that the humidity was very low, very autumnal.

Last night, we saw an absolutely wonderful film, Xavier Gens' Cold Skin (2017). Find a trailer online and watch it. I'm not going top risk spoiling anything. But it's the sort of thing I wish I'd written.


9:40 p.m.
I've been watching a lot of TV lately, catching up on this and that. The second season of Ozark (Netflix) was very good. Sharp Objects (HBO) is extraordinary, and I recommend it to everyone. And there's Big Little Lies (also HBO), and it's extremely good, as well.

The weather has been hot, an unexpected last blast of summer that has bested most anything we had in August, as if Dog Days decided to come a month late.

I'm trying to get something started for the digest. More on that tomorrow, I hope.

I have another list, one I posted to Facebook this afternoon. Seventeen of my favorite 20th Century "horror" films, in no particular order:

1. The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)
2. Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)
3. Bram Stoker's Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola, 1992)
4. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
5. Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (F.W. Murnau, 1922)
6. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
7. The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
8. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
10. Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)
11. The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)
12. Vampyr – Der Traum des Allan Gray (Carl Dreyer, 1932)
13. Jacob's Ladder (Adrian Lyne, 1990)
14. Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
15. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
16. Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir. 1975)
17. Suddenly, Last Summer (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1959)


1:42 p.m.


I have two lists that I posted to Facebook today:

Ten dark fantasy/weird books (unranked) that had a great influence on my writing:

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
2. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
3. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
4. Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison
5. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
6. Ghost Story by Peter Straub
7. The Dunwich Horror and Others by H.P. Lovecraft
8. Dracula by Bram Stoker
9. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
10. Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe

~ and ~

Noncontroversial statements (my idiot filter):

1. The earth is a globe, not flat.
2. Evolution is a fact.
3. Astrology is bunk.
4. Earth is more than 4 billion years old.
5. Human activity is responsible for climate change.
6. Vaccinations do not cause autism.
7. The only thing that crashed at Roswell was a weather balloon.
8. Humans and non-avian dinosaurs did not coexist.
9. In WWII, approx. 6 million Jews died at the hands of Nazis.
10. The Apollo missions were not a hoax.

And so on.

I'd really like to get this journal back to being an actual journal. But I'm trying to avoid all the "I wrote nothing much again today" posts.


12:42 p.m.


Only about two and a half hours sleep last night, so I didn't write today. I did manage a trip to Target with Spooky, for a skillet and a bathroom clock and cat food and other stuff. And I signed most of the signature sheets for the forthcoming Centipede Press edition of The Haunting of Hill House. And I answered most of the email that needed answering.

And Julie sent us donuts from Georgia.


1:40 p.m.

Howard Hughes and the Saddle

Another 645 words on The Tindalos Asset toady. I'd have done more, but I've run into a plot problem, and I may be setting the novella aside and writing a piece for September's digest while I work it out.


11:29 p.m.

Lydia Says Hi, Selwyn says Higher

Today, I wrote 1,105 words on The Tindalos Asset, my first good writing day since September 3rd. So, there's that.

There's also this, our current eBay auctions. Books. By me. Because the rent don't pay itself and, sadly, my best whoring years are in back of me. Please have a look. Thanks.


8:42 p.m.

9:30 p.m.


It Can Always Get Wors[er]

The past few days have been bad enough that I've started smoking again.

From my Facebook today:

One good night's sleep in five or six, and I wake up angry at the world and depressed and exhausted. And I'm supposed to write.

~ and ~

I have not written in ten days. Right now, I have the second half of long-overdue The Tindalos Asset to write for Tor, and I owe Subterranean Press two new (long) Dancy stories, and I have Sirenia Digest No. 152 looming (so I have to write a new story for that), and someday I would really fucking like to get back to work on the novel I've been trying to write for two years...and I cannot fucking sleep, and I cannot catch a break from the anger and depression and anxiety.


1:07 p.m.


Another utter shit day, many times worse than my recent shit days.


5:57 p.m.

Dinosaur Butterfly and Pals

Today I took Kathryn to places in east Birmingham, down on Fourth Avenue, that I'd not been since 1993, places where there were once drag clubs where I performed. Now, one has been torn down and been replaced with a health clinic and the other is a barbecue joint. It was disorienting and sad and strange.

Tonight I missed the Neko Case show, because I wasn't up to dealing with the crowd.

That was today. Well, that and all the other things that were today.


2:08 p.m.

Cirrus et alia

5:47 p.m.


Entry No. 5,473

I know that I promised there would be an actual entry of substance today. But...well...maybe tomorrow. We shall see.

I leave you with more clouds.


11:01 a.m. (yesterday)

The Cicada Dialtones

If today was better – and I suppose it was – that's mostly because I spent most of it t my mom's, eating barbecue and watching the Alabama/Arkansas State game while Spooky went shopping clothes shopping at the outlet mall.

On Monday, I'll try to write a less telegraphic entry.


1:03 p.m.

Fitzgerald Roosevelt III

I'd like to say, "Today was a better day." And, in the very strictest sense, I suppose it was. But only just barely. I got through some of the email that's piled up. Not much else.

I won't belabor the details.


3:50 p.m.

Fuck (Etc.)

Today actually managed to be more awful than yesterday.

The fact that Burt Reynolds died didn't help.

So, I'm sitting here in the dark watching The Hateful Eight.


5:46 p.m.


Really, that kinda sums up the day Bleh. From the attempt at work to the trip to the bank to everything about tonight, it was a bleh day. So, I think I'll leave it at that.

Later Taters,
CRK (allegedly)

11:04 p.m.

The Present Cow

No rain yet from Gordon, but the storm has only just reached the Florida panhandle and Mobile Bay. I expect we'll be feeling it by tomorrow morning, if not sooner. Currently, it's 89˚F, with the heat index at 92˚F.

Today was a very good writing day. I did 1,715 words and finished Chapter Six of The Tindalos Asset. Tomorrow, I'll go back over the section, as there are undoubtedly rough spots (I also have a dreaded trip to our new bank tomorrow). And then I hope to begin Chapter Seven on Wednesday, but Seven is going to be a tough one. I think we've sunk 50% of the SFX budget into Chapter Seven.

This morning, I finished Larry McMurtry's Buffalo Girls, which I can now say is my second favorite McMurtry novel, behind Lonesome Dove. Last night, we began Ken Burns' Baseball (1994), and then we watched Stuart Rosenberg's Cool Hand Luke (1967), one of my very favorite films, which I'd not seen since 2007.

I've RPing in Second Life, as of last week, and we'll see how that goes.


5:44 p.m.
Today was, in most ways, a better day. For one, I wrote. For about a week, maybe a little longer, I've been wrestling with the beginning of the sixth chapter of The Tindalos Asset. As of this morning, I'd started and abandoned six different approaches to the section. This morning, I woke with an idea for a seventh approach, but it meant rewriting of what I'd last week. But I did it anyway, and it worked. At this point, I'm likely more than halfway through the novella.

Last night, Kathryn and I finished Ken Burns' The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

"For 10,000 years people got along just fine comprehending that bad people did good things and good people did bad things, and we could respect the good things people did without it being misconstrued as a blanket endorsement. And the internet managed to screw it all up in the blink of an eye." ~ Rick Webb

And it looks as if Tropical Storm Gordon may be a hurricane when it comes ashore in southern Alabama and Mississppi on Tuesday evening. Either way, I think we're in for a lot of rain here in Birmingham.


5:25 p.m. (today)

Entry No. 5,466

There's a very loud cricket beneath my office window.

I think that's all I have for an entry tonight.


8:09 p.m.

"What it was was football."

The problem with doing these evening entries is that, by the time I get around to actually writing them, I'm too tired to be bothered. Anyway, I did write today. Not as much as I would have liked, but hopefully I'll do better tomorrow. And then we headed out to my mother's in Leeds for BBQ and football and laundry.

Oh, and at least I slept last night. That helped.


10:44 p.m.


And here it is, the last hour of August. I almost let the day slip by without making an entry. As it is, I'm tired, because I hardly slept last night, so I think I'm going to post a photo of Lydia and call it good. But I will miss August, until next summer.


(3:43 p.m.)

"I'm a Democrat. And I love John McCain."

Currently, at twilight, it's 88˚F, with the heat index at 91˚F.

Once upon a time, if you'd told me I'd be heartbroken by the death of John McCain, I'd have told you your a liar. Back when I was younger and more reactionary and altogether less reasonable in my political leanings, and back when I was furious with him overt the whole Sarah Palin fiasco, and when I really, really, really wanted to see Barack Obama elected. In the intervening decade, I've come to understand how mistaken I was on the subject of John McCain (and, it's true, I lean a little right of center these days). I missed seeing the funeral this morning, but Spooky and I went out to Leeds to my mom's, to take some boxes to her garage, and I sat with her and watched as McCain's casket was loaded onto a plane in Arizona to be flown back to the United States Naval Academy Cemetery at Annapolis, and I saw bits of Joe Biden's wonderful eulogy, and I came close to tears. As America faces its darkest hours since the Civil War, I pray there are more John McCains to help steer the Republican Party pack to sanity.

"You know, I'm sure if my former colleagues who work with John, I'm sure there's people who said to you, not only now, but the last 10 years, 'Explain this guy to me,' right? 'Explain this guy to me.' Because, as they looked at him, in one sense they admired him. In one sense, the way things changed so much in America, they look at him as if John came from another age, lived by a different code, an ancient, antiquated code where honor, courage, integrity, duty, were alive. That was obvious, how John lived his life. The truth is, John's code was ageless, is ageless. When you talked earlier, Grant, you talked about values. It wasn't about politics with John. He could disagree on substance, but the underlying values that animated everything John did, everything he was, come to a different conclusion. He'd part company with you if you lacked the basic values of decency, respect, knowing this project is bigger than yourself." ~ Joe Biden

By the way, as I have said elsewhere, my two dream tickets for the 2020 presidential race are Joe Biden and Cory Booker or Joe Biden and Joe Kennedy.

And only today did I learn about the death of Neil Simon.

Yesterday, Spooky had to get her driver's license switched over to Alabama and get an Alabama tag. First we went out to the DMV office out on Arkadelphia Road, just north of Bessemer, for her to get the license taken care of, and that was weird, but also kind of wonderful, because it's the very same place I got my learner's permit and passed the driver's test back in 1980, forty long years ago, and it really hasn't changed very much. Sure, there are a bunch of computers now, but that's about it. Afterwards, we had to go to the Jefferson County Courthouse so she could get the tag, and, again, I was pleased by how little change had occurred. Together, the two places gave me a much needed boost. Yeah, trips to the courthouse and the DMV as mood elevators. I didn't see that coming. Oh, and I showed her the beautiful "Old South"/"New South" murals, painted in 1931 by Chicago-based artist John W. Norton (1876-1934). And I was relived to see that various attempts to destroy or remove them have all failed.

So, in an odd way, yesterday was a good day.

Spooky says I should link to our eBay auctions, so here you go. Please have a look.


12:52 p.m. (yesterday)


It's late, and I think I'll do not much more than post a photo for this day. I'll make an actual entry regarding today sometime tomorrow evening (along with whatever happens tomorrow). No, I didn't write, but it was not an unproductive day. Sometimes, I need to remind myself very forcefully that there are many more ways to fashion a productive day, and to measure the goodness of a day, than by how ever many words I have or have not piled up.


11:46 a.m.

Bring Back Analog TV

I can only hope that the month to come will be better than the month that is almost past. Despite beautiful weather, my first August home was marred by a grinding marathon slog of proofreading, a boneheaded editor who should have known better than to ask me to explain myself, insomnia, and depression.

Nothing to be said for today, except that I did try to write. I did.

It was much warmer than yesterday. I think the heat index reached near 100˚F.

Last night, we finished Ken Burns' The West, and tonight we began his The National Parks: America's Best Idea.


10:45 p.m.
There's nothing to say about today that deserves saying. I hardly slept four hours, and I made no measurable progress on The Tindalos Asset.

The Dinosaur Tourist has received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, which I am now at liberty to share (I learned of it on August 24):

This superb collection of 19 genre-bending reprints is distinguished by gorgeous prose, haunting beauty, and visceral imagery. In “The Road of Needles,” a creepy, futuristic riff on “Little Red Riding Hood,” a sharp-toothed figure follows a woman as she navigates her newly verdant spaceship after the terraforming engines go haywire. The confessional “Untitled Psychiatrist No. 2” and “Untitled Psychiatrist No. 3” are subtly creepy, and the road trip tales “Whisper Road (Murder Ballad No. 9)” and “The Dinosaur Tourist (Murder Ballad No. 10)” both feature very human killers and low menace. Kiernan puts her exceptional talent for navigating the dark, cold depths of Lovecraftian mythos to excellent use in “Far from Any Shore” and “Excerpts from an Eschatology Quadrille,” both featuring artifacts that leave chaos and madness in their wake, and the glorious “The Cats of River Street (1925),” about a ragtag group of cats that are the only thing standing between humanity and the tentacled horrors of the deeps. Kiernan’s boundlessly fertile imagination and talent for turning the everyday into the otherworldly are on fine display in one of her most accessible collections yet. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (Dec.)


4:33 p.m.

Bring Back Copper Pennies

It's been a while since I did a journal entry after dark. But here one is. Currently, it's 85˚F, with the heat index at 87˚F.

Yesterday was another very bad day, but today was better.

Today, I wrote 970 words on the fifth chapter of The Tindalos Asset and finished that section. As it stands, the ms. is 12,971 words long, of a projected 25,000. So, I'm past the halfway point.

After writing, we drove out to Leeds to my mom's to do a couple of loads of laundry. And that was today.


10:59 p.m.

Bring Back S&H Green Stamps

Warmer today. Currently, it's 84˚F, with the heat index at 87˚F.

I did try to write yesterday, but I made very little progress. I fear today will be no better.

Last night, we watched H. C. Potter's Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home (1948), long a favorite of mine.


5:29 p.m.

Bring Back Cursive

Currently, it's 82˚F, with the heat index at 84˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,111 words on The Tindalos Asset. Once again, it was a better day than I've been having.

In the late afternoon, I played some Guild Wars 2 with Spooky (I have been neglecting the game this summer), and then we went to the botanical gardens for a walk. There were chipmunks everywhere. I almost stepped on one. Spooky made spaghetti for dinner, and we watched the sixth episode of The West. Then I went into Second Life for the first time since June, right after the move, and I poked around there a bit. I slept better last night, more than six hours, mostly uninterrupted.


5:13 p.m.

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