September 1st, 2005


End of Summer (symbolic)

Clearly, I didn't sleep anywhere near enough last night. I somehow managed to write 1,248 words on Chapter Eight of Daughter of Hounds yesterday (bringing the total for the chapter to 7,966 words), despite all the time spent on e-mail, the attempts to reach Poppy, the calls and e-mails to animal rescue/rights groups regarding her many pets still trapped in NOLA, and far, far too much shitty television news saying essentially the same thing over and over and over again. We also managed to proof the galleys for "Bradbury Weather" for Subterranean magazine #2. I'd hoped to get to the cover for A Little Damned Book of Days done, but I was entirely too exhausted after dinner to do anything more than wash my hair and watch Wes Craven's The Serpent and the Rainbow with Spooky, who found it on the Sundance Channel. I'd never seen it, not being able to fathom how one could turn Wade Davis' superb book into a horror movie. Now that I've seen it, I understand. It's easy. Just Ignore the book almost entirely. It was a very silly movie, and I'd have been better off sleeping.

Chapter Eight has been coming much more slowly than expected. In part, that's because it's simply a difficult, complicated chapter. In part, it's Hurricane Katrina. I'd hoped to have the chapter finished yesterday. Now I'm hoping I'll be done late on Saturday — unless I have to go to Birmingham, in which case it will likely be Monday or Tuesday.

What next. I swear, my head's so turned around this morning. I wanted to say thanks to everyone who e-mailed yesterday regarding docbrite. I'm still trying to reach her, as are faustfatale and tjcrowley. I wish she could see the concern and support from her readers — it might come as some sort of consolation and comfort. So, thank you all. Also, thanks to those who've written to say that they're sorry I won't be at Dragon*Con this year. I have promised that I will be back next year, and Nar'eth will be, too.

Clearly, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is taking his own sweet time putting his noodly smack down on a lot of crazy Xtian mofos. Specifically, all the shitwits still stuck in the stone age who think that the paths of hurricanes are determined by some sort of weird magnetic relationship between naughty people and the temper tantrums of imaginary superbeings. To wit, I quote Michael Marcavage, director of a whole bunch of crazy Xtian mofos who call themselves Repent America:

Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city. From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge, We must help and pray for those ravaged by this disaster, but let us not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long. May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God.

Yeah, so from this I learn two things: a) both fundamentalist Xtians and Islamic insurgents believe that the destruction of New Orleans was a judgmental act of God (they agree so often, I don't see what all the fighting's about); b) boobies and butt sex determine where Category Five hurricanes make landfall, when levees break, and how high flood waters will rise. And here I wasted all that time on climatology, meteorology, hydrodynamics, etc. and etc. All I had to do was hearken the good words of the Right Reverand Marcavage...

Oh, and while you're at the Repent America website, be sure to take they're convenient and educational "Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven" quiz. Guess how I scored?

It's pretty easy to joke about idiot fundamentalists, no matter how scary they might actually be. But I'm feeling a little sicker about the Bush Administration having cut funds that would have gone towards levee improvements. Oh, and all this absurd "commentary" from the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC about the NOLA police turning a blind eye to "law and order," because they're not shooting "looters" for taking food and clothing from abandoned, flooded businesses. I agree that those assholes stealing televisions in a town that isn't going to have electricity for months need a little firmer grasp on current events. But does anyone really think that the goods on those Wal-Mart shelves will ever again be available for sale? Whatever isn't taken will wind up in a landfill somewhere when the bulldozers and clean-up crews are done. People need to be evacuated, not arrested for stealing shoes and water.

A relevant quote and salient questions from tagplazen:

So who are the real lawbreakers? The people that are looting stores, or the people that sold off wetlands to developers? The people that need food and water, or the people that diverted all of the funds for flood control into a false war with false pretenses and falsified documentation?
  • Current Music
    The Crúxshadows, "Tears"

Addendum 1: No News, Good News, Bad News

Here in Atlanta it's 1:44 p.m., and while I should have been writing for the last two hours, I've yet to write one word today (blogging aside).

I've still not been able to reach Poppy. But I'm still trying. I know where she went in Mississippi, and at this point I'm trying to ascertain how much damage that area took. Right now, it appears it wasn't hard hit. I just want to express my thanks again to all the many people who have displayed such amazing generosity towards Poppy and Chris and their stranded pets over the last two days. Aside from the money that's being raised, I've had people offer everything from housing to vehicles. It gives my hard old heart reason to hope. I promise that when we finally reach her — and that might still take many days — the offers will be passed along. If I haven't written back to you, I do apologize. I'm trying. I just haven't been able to keep up.

Meanwhile, a couple of people have been kind enough to pass along a few of bits a "good news" — at least things I would take as good news — which I sorely need right now, no matter how trivial such things may presently seem. Right now, as faustfatale was saying to me yesterday, even the writing seems trivial, in light of what's happened. Anyway, a couple of links:

After 12 years, Kate Bush releases a new album. (P.S. — If you hate Kate Bush, complain in your own journal, please).

A few choice words from on self-indulgence in fiction. (P.S. — If you hate Bret Easton Ellis, complain in your own journal, please). I have to quote one bit:

What a shame. Somewhere along the lines we seem to have forgotten that all books are (overtly or covertly) portraits of narcissists brought to us on a tidal wave of writerly megalomania. We are almost obscenely eager to pretend that it isn’t self-indulgence—sitting alone, lost in your mind, folding reality into your own origami diorama—that produces literature in the first place. Especially frustrating is how the works canonized and dangled frothily about as examples of a bygone era of novelistic greatness—Roth, Bellow, et al.—are often recklessly decadent explorations of the self. It’s like we’ve become embarrassed to admit what we truly enjoy and why we enjoy it.

For all the clichéd jokes about writers and their egos, we still feel the collegiate desire to equate the act of writing (as opposed to the writing itself) with something holy and pure—an impulse closer to that of the selfless humanitarian aid worker than the self-centered rock star. Which is ludicrous. Writers are rock stars—playing on a stage in their minds to a sold-out show of themselves, hoping to make enough noise that others have no choice but to listen and, ideally, start singing along in vague recognition. In so many Great American Novels, this urge is precisely what we admire: that the writer had the gumption to universalize the personal, to publicly and articulately act the way the rest of us do in front of the mirror.

My grateful thanks to the people who posted those links as comments to my last entry.

Finally, a very sobering (as if I'm not sober enough) article at considering the full impact of what's happened in New Orleans (my thanks to matociquala for this link):

"Pompeii on Ole Miss: Facing Katrina's Toll, Fully"

I really have to write today. Really.

P.S. — tjcrowley is presently attempting to contact a ham radio operator near where Poppy should be. I'll keep you posted.
  • Current Music
    Brudershaft, "Forever"

Addendum 2: Poppy is safe.

I just received the following e-mail from Poppy (care of Bill Schafer):

Chris and I are stranded with my mother in XXXXXXX MS. We have no idea when we'll be able to get home or if we have any home left to get to. We're currently without power or cell phone service. We came into Jackson today to get supplies and I do not have regular Internet access...And if you ever say any kind of prayers, please say some for us.

I've edited out exact locations and phone numbers, but otherwise, that's what she said. That's what we know. She's okay, and I for one have breathed a great sigh of relief.
  • Current Music
    distant traffic