July 1st, 2004



We will be leaving Providence on the morning of July 7th. Time has totally collapsed about me. On the one hand, because I really find travel difficult, because I hate being out of my home, it's a relief that there are only six days remaining. On the other hand, I've only accomplished a fraction of what I came here to do. I've already cancelled my plans for New York City and Boston, because the book demands more research time here in Rhode Island. And the book is god, remember? Lunches with my agent and editor have been called off (apologies to John and Merrilee), and we weren't able to attend Man Ray on Wednesday night, as we'd hoped (sorry, Chris, really). There's just not enough time in all the world, and there never shall be.

Yesterday's major discovery was that U.S. 6 across Cape Cod is the Massachusetts equivalent of the New Jersey Turnpike. Ugh. That's the route we took to reach Yarmouth, and the sun was a white demon in a blue sky utterly unblemished by clouds. We both had headaches by the time we exited that gods-forsaken stretch of highway for the shaded refuge of 6A. And why had we bothered with the Cape in the first place? It was a pilgrimage to 8 Strawberry Lane, the Edward Gorey House, that lured us so far east and required that we broil our brains beneath that sun. It was very delightful to actually visit Elephant House, though a little sad. Seeing Edward Gorey's kitchen, his cats' food dishes, an old pair of sneakers, things like that, made the whole affair bittersweet. Well, honestly more sweet than bitter. The current exhibition was original art from Donald Has a Difficulty and Donald and the..., Gorey's collaborations with Peter Neumeyer and, as it happens, two of Spooky's favorite children's books. I was pleasantly surprised by the huge Southern Magnoilia tree looming over one side of the house. There is something sacred about a house wherein so many fine things have been created.

Afterwards, we headed east again, with no particular destination in mind. But we found a beautiful, shaded cemetery --Lothrop Hill Cemetery -- with graves dating back to the early 1700's, somewhere between West Barnstable and Sandwich. It too shall appear in Daughter of Hounds. Despite the deer flies and mosquitoes, it was a nice place the hide from the sun for an hour or so. I looked for names and found several very fine ones. We discovered the grave of James Clifford Turpin, who worked with the Wright Bros., as well as the grave of a Governor of Plymouth Colony. When we left the cemetery, about 4:30 p.m., we headed south, driving through the not-particularly-interesting towns of Hyannis, Cotuit, and Falmouth. We reached Woods Hole, which looked a little more promising, but the crowds of tourists immediately dissuaded us. We headed north again. Just past Woods Hole, we encountered a fox, who trotted out into the road in front of us. Spooky stopped, and it circled, curious, around the side of the car before disappearing back into the woods behind us. I think we endured the drive from Yarmouth to Woods Hole just to see that fox. I can think of no other reason.

The weather up here has turned clear and warmer, highs in the eighties, lows in the sixties, and I kind of miss the misty, cool days that greeted me when I first arrived. Oh, and there will be no fireworks show from Narragansett Dunes Club (or, rather, I suppose it will be moved elsewhere) this July 4th, following the discovery of a Piping Plover nest. Indeed. Birds before booms, I always say.

Here are a few pictures from the last couple of days...

Upstairs at the Athenaeum. I love these writing desks!

The house at 10 Barnes Street, where HPL lived and wrote from 1926 to 1933.

Spooky outside Elephant House. This lousy photo is an excellent example of why she usually handles the camera.

A great, old tree in Lothrop Hill Cemetery.

See you all tomorrow. Or later tonight.
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    Iris, "Annie, Would I Lie To You?"