March 8th, 2006


...and the sky stretches deep...

Riddle me this: What do Albert Costello, Gilberto Elmore, Lucy Beatty, Millie Peoples, Hugh Murphy, Stewart Landis, Sondra Dolan, Leola Kim, Lethia Schafer, Blake Woodruff, and Juliana Overton have in common? Well, here's a hint: I've received spam "from" each of them in the last 24 hrs., generally trying to sell me Viagra, hoodia, or offering some surefire method to bilk my creditors. This is why I switched from the account to the new gmail account. For a couple of months now, I've been getting about thirty of these a day. And I do have to wonder if, somewhere, some poor sap has received e-mail from Caitlín Kiernan trying to sell them weight-loss drugs, or if maybe someone else has e-mail from Nar'eth ni'glecti Mericale offering to get him (or her) stiff for half the price?

By the way, today is International Women's Day, first observed in 1909 "in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America." So, today I shall endevour to pretend that it isn't true that nationwide, as of 2000, women were making only 77.6 percent as much per hour as men, or that the same year, Georgia ranked 47th in America among all states in progress in closing the hourly wage gap between the sexes. I shall pretend things aren't a lot worse for women in much of the world, and that the present administration in this country isn't doing its damnedest to rob women of reproductive choice (in a nation of 300 million and a world of 6.5 billion). I shall try. And then tomorrow I'll go back to all the dingy realities.

Not a bad day yesterday. I wrote 1,118 words and finished "Untitled 20." It's total word count stands at 3,234 before I begin polishing it today. I've already sent it along to Vince. This means that this month Sirenia Digest subscribers will be getting almost ten thousand words of fiction (not counting the little prologue thingy). I'm happy with the new vignette. Spooky likes it a lot. It bounces from golems to Paracelsus to Frankenstein, and I'm curious what readers will make of it all. My lit agent called yesterday afternoon. She's been ill. We talked briefly about Daughter of Hounds and the feared What Will I Be Doing Next? beast.

Other good things about yesterday? A very nice walk. Warm weather. E-mail from my mother. Pete Crowther sent me copies of the signed PS Publishing editions of Bradbury's R is for Rocket and S is for Space. These are absolutely gorgeous volumes, and they remind me that soon I must begin my introduction for The Day It Rained Forever. These good mail days are spoiling me, I fear. Today and tomorrow, no doubt, it will only be bills and adverts once again.

Last night, we watched Sam Mendes' Jarhead (adapted from Anthony Swofford's book of the same name). Whether or not it's wrong of me to do so, I've come to look at war movies as being of two classes: those that serve as little more than recruiting propaganda (John Wayne's The Green Berets is a classic of this subgenre) and those that honestly depict the horror and absurdities of modern warfare (Apocalypse Now, etc.). It's difficult for me to imagine humanity has much use for the former (no matter how much they might serve TPTB), while it should have a tremendous hunger for the latter. I wasn't sure where Jarhead would fall, but was pleased to see that it belongs very soundly in the latter camp, and is a fine film, to boot. We'd intended to rent Walk the Line, but once again no copies were in at Videodrome, and we do our best to avoid Blockbuster.

I also caught a documentary on the Science Channel on supermassive black holes and their role in the creation of galaxies. It contained an equation that struck me as being so perfectly beautiful as to be divine: the mass of supermassive black holes located at galactic cores are = to 1/2 of 1% of the total mass of their galaxies. To date, no exceptions have been found.

Tonight, the final episode of season two of Project Runway. Viva Santino!

Spooky's posted new photos of Sweet William. Unfortunately, you can't see the colour very well, because they were taken under tungsten light instead of sunlight. He's a sort of grey lavender, with a pink nose and pink paws. We've been chatting, he and I, and I know now that after the loss of his legs in a freak vacuum-cleaner accident, he was a world-renowned amputee unicyclist. However, carpal-tunnel syndrome and a weariness of public appearances led to his early retirement and these days he's a simple beggar, which, if you ask me, is more honest work than platypus pimpage.

Postscript: There shall be a second entry, later today, because you guys said you wanted to hear about some of the Wicca stuff, and because there was a dream last night. Also, I just got word from subpress that the limited of Alabaster has sold out, though copies of the trade edition are still available for pre-order.

Addendum: the dream I mentioned

This morning I awoke from a particularly vivid dream.

My dreams are always vivid, always bright, always as real as my waking perceptions of "reality." Indeed, they are always indistinguishable from my waking consciousness. Bizarre events in dreams do not make my sleeping mind pause and recall that these things do not happen, ergo I must be dreaming. When dreaming, I'm virtually never aware that there is or ever has been some other me, the waking me, the day-to-day me that trusts contiguous reality to be more genuine than non-contiguous reality. Anyway, I'm getting a little off the subject. The subject being a dream I had this morning, not the usual state of my dreams. What I wish to say is that while my dreams are almost always extremely vivid, occasionally one comes along that seems at least twice as bright, twice as "real," and upon waking I find myself utterly disoriented for hours afterwards. And that's the sort of dream I had this morning.

Using my atheme, I was casting a circle around the trunk of one of my favorite trees, an old oak in Freedom Park which was struck by lightning last summer and apparently killed. However, in my dream the tree was alive and green. Turning counterclockwise, I completed the circle and began to prepare for some ritual which I cannot now recall. I've tried all day to remember what the ritual might have been, to no avail. I half suspect it may have had something to do with Ostara, as I was talking to Spooky about getting ready for Ostara just before I fell asleep last night. At the start, I was alone in the dream. Spooky wasn't there. The sun was setting and there were crickets and lightning bugs. The park seemed completely deserted except for me, and along the park's northern border, which is bounded by North Ave. NE, all the houses had vanished. Only, in the dream, I had no recollection of there ever having been houses there. Instead, there was the edge of a forest that seemed to go on for a long way.

Some sound came from the tree, and I looked up to see that it was filled with dozens and dozens of crows (we've had a lot of crows around lately). There was one particularly large crow and seated next to it was a creature which looked a bit like a tortoise and a bit like a very small black bear. It called down to me (I can't recall the precise wording of the dialogue from the dream, so anything here is an approximation). It said, "Come up, daughter. We've been waiting a very long time." I had no trouble climbing the huge trunk and reaching the low limb where the large crow and the tortoise/bear were waiting. I sat down between them, my legs dangling twenty feet or so off the ground, and, looking up, I saw that the stars had come out and the half moon was enormous.

"I didn't know you were waiting," I told them. "I'd not have taken so long."

"It's not your fault, grey daughter," the crow said. "You're here now."

Looking down again, I saw that the perimeter of my circle had begun to glow softly, as though some luminous liquid had been poured out on the grass.

"You've brought me something," the tortoise/bear said. "There's something I wish to hear you say, and I'm very tired of waiting for you to get around to it."

And for a while I had no idea what the creature was talking about, so I stared at the stars and I stared at the glowing circle surrounding the oak. And then, all at once, I did know. And I said something like, "The nature of magic." The crow cawed very loudly and the tortoise/bear told it (and I recall this very clearly) not to wake the dead.

"So, what is the nature of magic?" it asked me.

And, feeling suddenly very sure of myself and embarrassed that I'd not known what I was supposed to say from the start, I said (more or less), "Magic is communication. Magic is the one-way communication between any living organism and the cosmos. We speak and the cosmos doesn't listen, but we speak because there's nothing else we can do. We can speak without words. Magic is not the manipulation of the cosmos. That's technology. And magic's not an attempt to persuade the universe to do our bidding or tilt the scales in our favour. That's only wishful thinking."

I sat a moment, staring at my feet dangling above the ground, until the crow cawed again.

"Don't be so loud," I said.

"Finish what you started," the crow replied and the tortoise/bear nodded in agreement.

And I said, "The order of the universe is fixed. There's balance, which is sacred, but even when some portion of the universe is pushed out of balance, the order remains fixed. Magic is the preservation of the balance. The order is fixed and can't be swayed by any living being."

"See?" the crow said. "That wasn't so hard. Now, you climb back down and do what you came here to do." So, I began climbing back down the trunk of the oak, and that's about where I awoke.

We went to the park today, but I didn't go to the tree. I have a feeling I should have, but I'm still skittish about these things.

Postscript: I do hope this isn't TMI. I'm going with the results of the poll on this one...