October 12th, 2005


weather, penmanship, and aprons

Ugh. Another grey and chilly day. I miss summer already.

Days like this, the outside looks too much like the inside, if you know what I mean. If you don't, don't worry about it. I wish I could spend the whole day working on Chapter Nine of Daughter of Hounds, but, instead, I have to get back to Secret Project B. I did finally make it to Emory yesterday, though it was considerably later than I'd planned, as there was a great deal of busyness to be attended to here first. More than I'd expected. When I did finally reach the library, my thoughts were muddled, and I made pages of notes that really got me nowhere at all. There is a great plot problem which must be solved, the sort that I usually solve during execution, as I write, but this time it all has to be worked out at the start. I have to see it clearly. I have to understand it. I have my work cut out for me. Anyway, the library — most especially the Matheson Reading Room — is always a welcome sanctuary. Spooky wandered about the stacks and found a whole book about nothing but aprons, which seems to have made her very happy.

I spoke with Neil yesterday. I asked if he'd ever been to Shakespeare and Company, and he said no, he hadn't.

This journal entry is coming out flat, isn't it? Sorry. Blame it one the weather. Last night, Spooky read to me from Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dark and Cooger and the merry-go-round running in reverse. It's that time of year, though the leaves are still green in Atlanta. I think we'll get pumpkins this evening. Perhaps a few splashes of orange on the front porch will lift my spirits.

Something I thought of last night. When I was writing the afterwords for the Dandridge Cycle stories in To Charles Fort, With Love, I somehow neglected to mention a major source of inspiration for those three stories, which is Judy Collins' song, "Albatross." I may post the lyrics here today (though the sound of the song, not the lyrics, may be the truer source of inspiration).

An annoying thing. By way of some as yet undetermined screw up on the part of the post office, I no longer have P.O. Box 5290, zip 31107. I have been assured that this will be sorted out sometime in the next few days. Meanwhile, they're holding my mail, supposedly, so parcels and letters already sent should reach me without a hitch, but if there's something you want to send this way that you haven't yet sent, you're probably better off waiting until I know what the new p.o. box will be.

We're about the begin a big eBay thing. I've spent so much of this past month writing proposals that checks from other books will be delayed, and I may actually be trying to pay the rent with proceeds from eBay this month. So, if there's something you don't yet have, please pick it up. Now would be a good time. Thanks muchly.
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Addendum: "Albatross"

As promised, the lyrics to "Albatross" (Judy Collins), which were a primary source of inspiration for the Dandridge Cycle stories, though I neglected to say so in the book:

The lady comes to the gate, dressed in lavender and leather.
Looking north to the sea, she finds the weather fine.
She hears the steeple bells ringing through the orchard
All the way from town.
She watches seagulls fly,
Silver on the ocean, stitching to the waves
The edges of the sky.

Many people wander up the hills
From all around you,
Making up your memories and thinking they have found you.
They cover you with veils of wonder as if you were a bride.
Young men holding violets are curious to know if you have cried.
And tell you why,
And ask you why.
Either way, you answer.

Lace around the collars of the blouses of the ladies.
Flowers from a Spanish friend of the family.
The embroidery of your life holds you in
And keeps you out, but you survive,
Imprisoned in your bones
Behind the isinglass windows of your eyes.

And in the night the iron wheels rolling through the rain,
Down the hills through the long grass to the sea.
And in the dark the hard bells, ringing with pain,
"Come away, alone."

Even now by the gate, with you long hair blowing,
And the colors of the day that lie along your arms.
You must barter your life to make sure you are living.
And the crowd that has come,
You give them the colors
And the bells and wind and the dream.

Will there never be a prince who rides along the sea and the mountains,
Scattering the sand and foam into amethyst fountains,
Riding up the hills from the beach in the long summer grass,
Holding the sun in his hands and shattering the isinglass?

Day and night and day again, and people come and go away forever,
While the shining summer sea dances in the glass of your mirror.
While you search the waves for love and your visions for a sign,
The knot of tears around your throat is crystallizing into your design.

And in the night the iron wheels rolling through the rain
Down the hills through the long grass to the sea.
And in the dark the hard bells, ringing with pain,
"Come away alone."
"Come away alone...with me."

Again, really, the sound of the song was probably more influential than the actual lyrics, though some of the imagery here did find it's way into the stories.
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