So, anyway....

Overcast again all day. Our high was 67F. Warm, but dismal.

I was up before 5 a.m., but somehow got nothing done. Not really. I sit here thinking about the sledge hammer. I stare at The Night Watchers, and I see how it can be much better, but I have to have the courage to weild that sledge hammer. I have to stop worrying that it's the wrong decision.

After that....well, I could list the minutiae, but who gives a shit, right? Not me.

But here are a couple of things that I posted on Facebook that generated a little discussion:

I am very annoyed by the "You're not wrong" thing. It just seems so very passive-agressive. Like, "I do not want to admit you're right...but you're not wrong." If you think someone is right, say so; do not use something that comes off like a backhanded compliment.

~ and ~

However much I may be annoyed by "You're not wrong," it is a small, small thing compared to my annoyance with and bafflement at the astoundingly childish "That is not okay," as opposed to simply, "That's wrong" (for example). Again, there's an odd sense of passive-agreessiveness at work here, an unwillingness to speak your mind, a hedging of bets, or....something. It is often spoken with dire seriousness, though. Anyway, I am quite sure this is another thing my 59.5-year-old brain just doesn't understand. I suppose this is pretty much the same as someone when I was in high school, say 1978, say, "That's not cool." But I never said that, either.

To which Boris Tomko replied - and I hope he's cool with me quoting him; I just really think he hit the nail on the head:

I think one of the reasons we are always telling people that's not OK is because we are juvenilizing everything. It's as if we are talking to toddlers. The maturity level has dropped so low. We have reinforced the idea that we have to tell people what's ok and not ok because it's too difficult to explain right from wrong.

To which I then said, Yes. I always imagine someone talking to a muppet on Sesame Street.

See, here's the thing. Sure, I'm a pedantic asshole at the best of times. But I am a writer. And writers listen to languange. They listen to what people say and try to understand what they mean (and people absolutely do not always say what they mean or mean what they say). Add that to our society being increasingly devoid of nuance. So, yeah. To me, this is all a big deal. And it's especially difficult in my case, because yes, I am not young, and much of this arises from the last couple of generations. But social media being what it is, it breaks the usual flow of slang, the natural dispersal, slinging it everywhere at once. Hyperslang? But I don't do this to annoy people. I simply need to know. It's my job. There is a reason I have begun setting all my stories (and The Night Watchers) before 1999. I can make a lot more sense of language from the 1900s and 1800s than I can of much of what is said in 2023.

Also, this should not offend people, that the way they speak is questioned. This is why we have linguists. And writers. And you should think about why you say what you say instead of saying something else. It's not an insult.

I'm so tired all the time. I tried to watch Fringe last night, but I just kept dozing off.

Anyway, blah, blah, fuckity blah, please visit the Dreaming Squid shop. Thanks. Oh, and I have many Cthulhus, but Spooky recently found the cutest Cthulhu ever, below.

Later Tater Bugs,
Aunt Beast

12:49 p.m.

"...til threadbare, she grew thin."

Exhausted. I might have slept four hours. I finally gave up at 4:30 this morning. Above 5 I got up and made coffee and grits and tried to wake up enough to work. I sat here and stared at the iMac, trying to type whatever comes next. About 7:25 a.m., I gave up (again). And dozed off in my chair for an hour, waking from the first glimmer of sunrise to full on daylight, feeling disoriented and queasy.

Our high today was 59F.

I have made yesterday's post private for now. I may undo that later. Stress and annoying people pushed me to...well, I am more articulate and thoughtful than that post. Let's just leave it at that. I was not at my best.

Not even close.

So, last night I got the news that Dr. Henry Kissinger (1923-2023) has died. At 100. And while I disagreed with Kissinger about very many things, maybe most things, this rush to condemn leaves me flustered. This is the man who, to quote Wikipedia (I hate doing that), "Kissinger pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated an opening of relations with China, engaged in what became known as shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East to end the Yom Kippur War, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, which ended American involvement in the Vietnam War." OH, and recieved the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize. And yeah, besides these undeniable positives, lots of questionable and downright nasty shit, too. But Jesus, the life this man had. And in losing him, I feel we are losing another piece of that 20th century I so cherish. I know we live in an age where everyone is deemed GOOD or BAD. Well, more like PERFECT or EVIL, but these reductionist attitudes towards such complex things as human beings is, to say the least, undesirable.

But far, far worse, I got the news this afternoon that Shane McGowan (1957-2023) has died. He was only 65 years old, about six years older than me. And I do not even know what to say about this, it has hit me so hard. Both Kathryn and Chris knew and didn't tell me, letting me find out on my own, and I am thankful for that. I am surprised I have not cried, but then I may have forgotten how one does that.

I don't know if we should count Rosalyn Carter as the first in a triad of deaths, or if Jimmy Carter will complete it. Or, for me, maybe it was Dr. Martin Lockley. I feel like I have been surrounded by word of death for days.

Okay, enough death. For now.

I just need to sleep. I have not slept well in weeks, and it is beginning to take a toll.

Please, have a look at the Dreaming Squid Sudries shop. While I struggle to get this book finished, the shop and a few thin royalty checks are all that's keeping the lights on (etc.).

Goodbye, November. Maybe we still have a democratic America this time next year.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

4:08 p.m. (Bashi)

"Why is it so important to dream?"

Just something quick I think. A sunny day, but cold. Pur high was only 53F.

I woke at 5:30 a.m. and was up at 6. I did a bunch of words on The Night Watchers that I hope I will still like tomorrow. I worked two hours on the Bashi Marl sample and found the largest shark's tooth to come from it yet (though, by shark tooth standards, it's still on the small end of medium size, these are mostly microvertebrates).

The afternoon's comfort film was Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010).

Last night, finally, I was able to see Nolan's Oppenheimer (2023), and as much as I hated the wait, it was worth every moment. Absolute perfection, undoutedly this director's masterpiece, one he may never top. I want to draw particular attention to the score, by Ludwig Göransson. Haunting, beautiful, evoking dread and wonder, anxiety and horror and joy. But yes, if you still have not seen the film, please do. Opennheimer has been a hero of mine pretty much my whole life, and I never imagined we'd see such an excellent cinematic treatment of his life. This is my pick fpr best movie of the year, 2023. This is my pick for the Oscars.

I hate saying good things about things. Or bad things, for that matter. I simply lack whatever it is that makes for spinning elegant reviews.

Please visit Dreaming Squid Sundries. These sales are really helping at the moment, so thank you all. And I would like to remind people that we still have Vile Affections on sale for $30, and that $15 off the original cover price. We'll keep that sale up until after the holidays, or until we run out of the few copies we sat aside to offer at this price, whichever comes first. Great gift idea, by the way.

Later Tater Bugs,
Aunt Beast

3:04 p.m.

"Angharad, is that just the wind, or is it some furious vexation?"

A sunny day, but cold. Our high was a blisteringly hot 50F.

Lows in the 20sF tonight and tomorrow night.

I forsook various mosasaur-related things I needed to do today, including that trip to McWane I mentioned yesterday, to talk with Kathryn about The Night Watchers. Because the book comes first. Until it is written, the book comes first. Likely, now I won't make it to McWane until Friday. Anyway, a good, productive conversation, and the book should be back on track in the next day or two.

Here is a marvelous quote, on the subject of writing, someone saying something I have said for decades (source, The Paris Review): I don't think the reader should be indulged as a consumer, because he isn't one. Literature that indulges the tastes of the reader is a degraded literature. My goal is to disappoint the usual expectations and inspire new ones. ~ Elena Ferrante

Also, a thanks to Dale Bailey (Lenoir-Rhyne University).

I signed a bunch of books for Dreaming Squid Sundries customers today. These sales are really helping at the moment, so thank you all. And I would like to remind people that we still have Vile Affections on sale for $30, and that $15 off the original cover price. We'll keep that sale up until after the holidays, or until we run out of the few copies we sat aside to offer at this price, whichever comes first. Great gift idea, by the way.

Today's film was George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Last night, more Fringe. Oh, and I neglected to mention that yesterday I finished Tiamat's Wrath, the eigth book in "James S.A. Corey's" Expanse series. It was actually one of the better ones. And I began the ninth and final book, Leviathan Falls.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

2:33 p.m.

Trampled Underfoot

An dreary, chilly, overcast day. Our high was 54F.

A got back on the horse, the horse being The Night Watchers, but it was an unsteady affair, and I do not know if anything I wrote today can be saved. I'm canceling tomorrow's time at McWane so that Kathryn and I can sit down and talk over the second half of te book again. And I worked on the Bashi Marl a couple of hours, som e nice ray and shark teeth.

This afternoon, I watched two documentaries, a slightly odd episode of Nova on elevators, narrated by John Lithgow, and then a very nice episode of American Experience about the Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony. Last night, Kathryn and I began watching Fringe again, which we'd not gone back to since the show concluded in 2014. Oh, I have missed you, Walter Bishop.

There was the sad new this morning that one of the greats of 20th-century vertebrate paleontology had died, Dr. Martin Lockley (1950-2023), king of the dinosar trackers. In the summer of 1986, not long after I arrived in Boulder, I was fortunate enough to go along with Dr. Robert T. Bakker (my mentor while I was in Colorado) and Dr. Lockley to see the discoveries being made at what would become the Purgatoire River track site. We camped near the banks of the river, and Dr. Lockley led us along the long trackways that had been made by sauropods and theropods in the Late Jurassic. It was one of those genuinely transcendant experiences. Dr. Lockley's death is a great loss to the science; ichnology and dinosaur paleontology owe him a great debt.

Please visit the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop. Thanks.

Later Tater Bugs,
Aunt Beast

3:32 p.m.

Nemo says "Hi," by the way.

A mostly sunny day. Our high was 64F.

Not much to say today. Really. There are times I simply do not want to talk about work. Kathryn and I are going to have another long talk about the novel, The Night Watchers, tomorrow. And I need to get some of these boxes out of my office.

Last night, new episodes of For All Mankind and Lessons in Chemistry. We came to end of of the latter, at least I hope there won't be another season. A trainwreck to the very end, and, I think, a missed opportunity. Unfocused, sentimental, sometimes trite, poorly paced to the point incoherence, and constantly afflicted with the worst sort of wishfulfillment as storytelling. I wanted so badly to love this show, and I did stick all the way through the first season (?). It is shot through with very good moments, but, in the end, they simply fail to coalesce into anything worthwhile. On the other hand, For All Mankind deserves its success (if you can get through the first half of Season One).

This afternoon, three PBS documenteries: one of the profoundly unethical sale of dinosaur skeletons, one on the building of the Eiffel Tower, and a third on excavation of the sunken remains of a 4th-century basilica at Lake Iznik, Turkey.

Please visit Dreaming Squid Dollworks. Thanks.

Later Tater Bugs,
Aunt Beast

3:55 p.m.
Roy Batty

"...attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion."

A sunny, chilly autumn day. Black Friday, and I spent not one red cent. Our high was 63F.

It's not that The Night Watchers has stalled or anything. It grows ever weirder. I just haven't felt like talking about it. Maybe tomorrow.

This afternoon's film was Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982), the "Final Cut" (2007). When I first saw this film, on opening night here in Birmingham, I was eigteen years old, just out of high school. It was an early evening screening at the long defunct and sadly demolished Eastwood Mall theater in Irondale. That, of course, was the sadly wonky "Theatrical Cut," but even with the warts, I had never before seen such a brilliant science-fiction film, and it was love at first sight.

Fuck, I'm tired. I got up a little before five a.m., than kept falling asleep in my office chair all morning.

Note that PS Publishing is offering, for a limited time I assume, a bundle of their trade paperback eiditions of four of my short-fiction collections. Just £19, + p&h. Don't know how that would work for people outside the UK. Also, Ellen Datlow asks taht I spread the word that the ebook version of Haunted Legends is on sale for $1.99.

Also, of coursem there's Dreaming Squid Sundries.

Last night, we celebrated Thanksgiving with a very scaled down version of the traditional meal, then watched John Hughes' Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987), one of those rare Thanksgiving films.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

10:21 a.m.
Roy Batty

"Your history isn't over yet. There's still a page left."

Thanksgiving 2023. The day was sunny, then turned overcast and chilly. Our high was 55F.

Last night was worse than night before last, and today was worse than yesterday.

I should add to that list I made yesterday the proliferation of AI "deepfake" images and videos, on social media and even in journalism, adding to the storm of misinformation

All those assholes who crowed about the death of truth, and post truth, it seems they will get their way.

Sorry. I shouldn't have even made an entry.

This afternoon, Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runne 2049 (2017).

Later Tater Bugs,
Aunt Beast

2:31 p.m.

"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."

A dreary autumn day. Rainy, only a little sun. The high was 51F.

A had a very rough night, and I am not in the mood today to talk of word counts.

I have spent the day struggling with the weight of anxiety and depression. It is hard to step back from the ledge when the terrors are not in your head but splashed across the news and bombarding you constantly, incessantly from the abyss of social media. It is hard even to know where to begin: the increasing likelihood that Trump will get a second term (the de facto end of democracy in the U.S.), Project 2025, the venomous explosion of anti-semitism in America and Europe and the perplexing pro-Palistinian/Hamas lunacy, ChatGPT, the flailing Democratic Party, the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, and on and on and on. Not delusions, but the undeniable reality in which we are trapped like ants in a glob of amber.

I try here, now, to keep politics out of my posts and not to go too bleak. But there are days like this.

In David Leitch's Atomic Blonde (2017; a film of which I am ludicrously fond), John Goodman's CIA agent says, "I swear to God, the last few weeks, I dread even waking up in the morning."

And that is where I am these days.

At least I got news from my agent yesterday that a decent royalty check is headed our way. It'll buy a couple months.


Good stuff from my Bashi Marl sample. I briefly spoke with Mike Polcyn.

The afternoon's film was Denis Villeneuve's Dune (Part One) (2021), a thing to help keep me sane. Last night we finished the Netflix adaptation of All the Light You Cannot See, and I loved it. I will definitely be reading the book. And today I began "James S.A. Corey's" Tiamat's Wrath (Book Eight).

Please note: The eBay auction for The Variegated Alphabet ends tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day.

And the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop is always there.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:27 p.m. (last Wednesday)