This is one I really did not see coming. My thanks to Jason V. Brock for accepting the award last night on my behalf (the ceremony was in Seattle), and my thanks to Sunni Brock for the photo, which was waiting for me when we got home last night. Alabaster readers may know that "The Road of Needles," which originally appeared in paula Guran's Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales (and was chosen for and reprinted in Jonathan Strahan's The Best Fantasy and Science Fiction of the Year, Volume Eight) and was adapted for chapters five, six, and seven of Alabaster: Grimmer Tales.
And I'm very glad I didn't waste yesterday, as I waste most days, sitting on my ass.
We left the House a little after one p.m. and took I-95 north to US Route 3, which took us into Lowell. The sky was merciful, and there were white cirrus brushstrokes to break up the wide carnivorous blue. Once in Lowell, once parked, we dumped blankets in front of the stage, reserving our place. It must have been about 2:30 p.m. by then. The show was in Boarding House Park, named after women's housing for Boott Mill, a vast complex in operation from 1835-1958. The Mill is now part of the National Park system. First, we visited the Boarding House Museum, just west of the stage. From inside, we could hear Neko Case begin soundcheck, so we went back out to watch. I took a few photos, which was good, because we weren't permitted to photograph her during the concert proper. After soundcheck, we visited the Boott Cotton Mills Museum (to the northeast of the stage), which was truly amazing. I have a lot of wonderful photos, but not really much time to edit them today.
The Boott Cotton Mills complex contains mills built from the mid-1830s to the early 20th century, reflecting the early use of waterpower, steam power, and finally electric power. Changes in technology and production capability influenced the development and appearance of the millyard over time. In essence, the Industrial Revolution's transformation of America from an agrarian-based society to an industrial society can be seen through the physical development of the Boott Cotton Mills from 1835 through the early 20th century. Today, the restored mill complex houses the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, a part of Lowell National Historical Park.
The show itself was stupendous. Absolutely fucking stupendous. Laura Veirs opened with a short set, and I love when an opening act turns out being an artist who's new to me that I discover I love, and suddenly there's all this new music (not new, but new to me) in my life. There was a short intermission. Spooky ate a suspicious hot dog (no relish!). I ate nothing, opting for a double-strength Vicodin, instead. Neko Case came on about sunset. She said the band just didn't know what to do until after dark. I could not have asked for a better set. Almost all of my favorites were played: "Hold, Hold On," "Deep Red Bells" (yes, sovay!), "Ragtime," "Man," "A Widow's Toast," "This Tornado Loves You," "If You Knew," "Tigers are Noble," "That Teenage Feeling," "Pharaohs," and more. And there were many moments of hilarity:
"...watching pantless, like some pervy cookie hawk."
"Them eels spooky."
"The [tour] bus is a Pringle's can filled with farts and guitars." (That was actually from backup vocalist Kelly Hogan).
It was just...magical. How often do I say that?
We sort of fell in love with Lowell, and we might be going back in late July for the Folk Festival. We headed back home about 10:30 p.m. There was a Dunkin' Donuts stop. Spooky drove and I smoked and listened to Arcade Fire and R.E.M. Back home, there was a late dinner of tuna fish, and the cats were grumpy with us for leaving them alone all day. And here are four photos (behind the cut). I'll try to put up more tomorrow:
In the mill.
An amazing staircase, inside the mill, an industrial nautilus shell.
Me, at sunset.
All photographs Copyright © 2014 by Caitlín R. Kiernan.
Also, Lying in the grass yesterday, staring at the twilight sky above Massachusetts, I more clearly came to understand the next novel, Interstate Love Song: A Murder Ballad. Most importantly, I came to understand that it occurs in both 1994 and 1954, simultaneously.
And that's all for now, kittens.