December 20th, 2005


Silentday the Second

I have now been silent, aside from a couple of sneezes and the stray cough, for almost twenty-five hours. The first fourteen or so were the worst. Then, an unexpected calm began to settle over me. It's proving a very interesting experience.

The words began to flow again yesterday. It may have been telling the story of Sunday's outlandish misadventure at the market. It may have been something else altogether. All that matters is that they did start coming again. I did 1,286 words on "Bainbridge" yesterday and finished the first section set in Pensacola (which, you'll recall, may turn out to be the third section of the story). Suddenly, Julia Flammarion is a living person. Suddenly, I know her and understand what she's doing and why. To say that I am hugely relieved is an understatement.

Yesterday, my comp copies of The Merewife chapbook arrived from Subterranean Press. It's weird, in a very nice way, to see this thing in print after thirteen years. The Merewife is the prologue to a novel of the same name which I tried to write in the summer of 1993. The prologue was left unfinished until this past August, when I decided to let subpress print it as the chapbook to accompany the hardback edition of Subterranean Magazine #2 (the regular, softcover edition has now sold out, by the way). Only 202 copies of the chapbook were printed, and of those I received only five copies. At some point, once the hardcover edition of the magazine has sold out, I may decide to auction one or two copies on eBay, but then again, I may not. Clearly, The Merewife is destined to be one of my hardest to find publications. This is the ninth chapbook I've done with Subterranean Press since 2003. What noisy cats are we.

Let's see. I have some miscellanea here. The first five legal gay marriages were performed in Northern Ireland yesterday. Today, Scotland will begin recognizing same-sex unions, and in Wales and England couples can begin registering tomorrow. But remember, America is the land of the free. Well, the free herterosexuals, at any rate. Let's not pick nits. Dr. Colin Purrington at Swarthmore College is using the H5N1 strain of bird flu as a example of how natural selection would alter the ratio of evolutionists to creationists if creationists were logically consistent and had the courage of their convictions, that is, if creationists refused Tamiflu and vaccines because they do not believe that the H5N1 virus could potentially evolve human transmissibility. If not for sclerotic_rings, I'd miss half this stuff. He also pointed me to the very exciting news that the seas of Mars appear to have been far less acidic than previously thought, based on analysis of Martian clays. Drad stuff.

Spooky persueded me yesterday to switch from Safari to Firefox 1.5, and today I'm giving it a trial run. I'd begun having awful problems with Safari (slow loads, frequent crashes, sites that weren't compatible). So far, I like Firefox, though it is a little jumpy. We'll see how this goes, if Firefox can best my fierce allegiance to Apple.

I think the war on Xmas must be heating up. Yesterday, I saw a nativity scene surrounded by razor wire. The Baby Jesus was wearing the cutest little army helmet. And I understand that only eight in every ten "holiday" songs played over the PA at Wal-Mart use the "C-word." Clearly, the Xtians are losing ground fast. It must suck, being a pushy, intolerant majority besieged by phony, media-manufactured prejudice. Me, I wouldn't know.

Addendum: books

I forgot to mention in this morning's entry that Spooky and I finished Ray Bradbury's From the Dust Returned last night. It's truly a marvelous book, and the ending took me almost entirely by surprise. I'd been wondering how Charles Addams could have done the (gorgeous) cover, when Addams died in 1988 and the book wasn't written until 2000. Bradbury explains in a brief afterword that the novel grew out of his stories about the outré Elliott family (I knew this part, of course), and that, originally he and Charles Addams had planned a picture book which would consist of these interconnected stories, illustrated by Addams. The plans grew out of a Halloween issue of Mademoiselle (October, 1946), you know, back when magazines published fiction, which had centered around his first Elliott family story, "Homecoming." The cover of the novel was originally used for the magazine, which answers my question. Anyway, Bradbury and Addams eventually lost touch and the collaboration never materialized. I was also very amused at Bradbury's account of the difficulties he had publishing in Weird Tales, how they grudgingly accepted a number of stories from him (at a half cent a word), but finally refused to publish "Homecoming" because it "was not about traditional ghosts."

I find this particularly amusing as Weird Tales is the only magazine in the last ten years to reject one of my short stories. I submitted "Paedomorphosis" to them on July 28th, 1998, and it was rejected in short order, the editors citing their discomfort with the sexuality of the characters (they were all lesbians) and the drug use in the story. I haven't bothered with Weird Tales since. "Paedomorphosis" was published in Tales of Pain and Wonder and then reprinted in Song of Cthulhu.

Harlan Ellison introduced me to Ray Bradbury at Dragon*Con in (I think) July of 2000, which is surely one of the draddest things anyone's ever done for me.

Anyway, after we finished From the Dust Returned, which I urge you to read, we began Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and I'm loving it so far.

Postscript — If anyone ever sends me that October 1946 issue of Mademoiselle, they will be rewarded with a kiss or MDS or a story written just for them, whichever he or she or it prefers.