greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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Even though I didn't really get any writing done, yesterday was, nonetheless, a productive day. I spent the morning dealing with e-mail I'd been putting off, business relating to the Italian edition of Threshold (the IRS has finally admitted to Italy that yes, I am a US citizen, so now I can be paid for the book), and trying to get moving on the completion of the prologue of The Merewife for Subterranean Press. I spent an hour or so transcribing notes from an old notebook into the iBook, which was weird in that then touching now, time-warpy way. Everything's here that I need to finish writing the prologue. I just have to find that story-space in my head after all these years and somehow manage to switch gears from Daughter of Hounds to Neolithic Denmark and Scandanavia without breaking my frelling neck. Of course, next week, I'll just have to switch right back again. I spent most of the afternoon at the Woodruff Library at Emory, tracking down some necessary critical works on Beowulf, a task made much, much easier by the discovery on my hd of a bibliography of sources referred to in my notes, a list I put together back in '93. I have thanked myself for being so scarred by Academia that I would do such a thing and for being such a pack rat that I still have it. I also grabbed Joshi's H. P. Lovecraft: Four Decades of Criticism. We stopped for dinner at a noodle shop on the way home. At dusk, Spooky and I went for a walk and were delighted to find ourselves beneath a flitting canopy of bats — Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), I think. A few of them swooped in close enough for us to get a decent look. Afterwards, we watched Fargo, continuing our Coen Bros. feast. I'd only seen Fargo once before, in the theatre. It has to be one of the bleakest films I've ever seen. And that was yesterday.

Today, I write.

I may write tonight, as well. I've been wanting get back to Nar'eth's story for I can't even recall how long it's been since I posted Chapter 3. A long damn time.

I came across this image somewhere online a few days ago:

There's a story here, relating to a very early influence on my fiction. When I was a small child, perhaps seven or eight, me, my mother, my sister, and my cousin Jenny (who died in 2001), were on our way from Birmingham to Huntsville, where Jenny lived. And she was in the front seat, telling my mother a story that she'd read or heard somewhere about werewolves (my sister and I were in the backseat), a story about the loup-garou in Louisiana. I can only recall scraps of her story: a man who fell in love with a Creole woman, and he'd meet her at night, and one night she revealed to him that she was a werewolf, and showed him a wall where all the werewolves gathered. And then she killed him, or he became a werewolf, I'm not sure which. Hearing that story, even told on a bright sunny day, scared me so badly that it's showed up again and again in my work. I think I used it first in July '96, in "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun" (Tales of Pain and Wonder):

Used to hang pirates from that tree, someone said, and thieves and run-away slaves, just about everyone got hung from that tree, depending on who you happen to ask, or the one about the Storyville lovers: impossible and magic days a hundred years ago when hooking and gambling were legal, Storyville redlight before the whole district was razed for more legitimate corruption: a gentleman gambler from Memphis, or St. Louis, or Chicago, and he fell in hopeless love with a black girl, or a mulattress, under this very tree, except she was a loup-garou and when she finally showed him her real face he went stark raving bugfuck mad. You can still find their initials carved in the trunk, namescars trapped inside a heart, if you know where to look, can still hear her crying if the moon and wind are right. Can still hear the greenstick snap of his bones between her teeth.

I used it again that same summer for a Death's Little Sister spoken-word piece, "Red." Then it shows up, somewhat less literally, in Low Red Moon, in Chapter Seven ("The Forests of the Night") as a werewolf story that Sadie Jasper's told by a librarian (pp. 148-149, Roc edition). And it also had a considerable influence on my approach to the ghouls in Low Red Moon, "So Runs the World Away," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," Daughter of Hounds, and elsewhere. And it just sort of amazes me, the way things echo through time, the way they ripple, little bits of stories overheard that we weave into our own stories. I'm not sure when I first saw the above illustration, but it was after I heard Jenny tell the story to my mother, and I automatically associated the two. I was still just a kid. It fits pretty well with the description of Lovecraft's ghouls in "Pickman's Model," and I see that, like the HPL story, it directly influenced how I've described the ghul in my own stories. If anyone reading this knows the origin of the illustration, I'd love to be told.

Okay. Like I said, today I gotta write. Here I go...

Oh. Wait. Spooky says to tell you that there are new eBay auctions today. Some are only three-day auctions, so don't dilly-dally. Thanks to everyone who took part in the last round!

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