March 25th, 2006


Howard Hughes dithers and frets.

If you discount e-mail and other internet communications, I've not spoken to any sentient creature except Spooky and Sophie (I'll count a cat as sentient, but I'm not so sure about a hamster, so I'm not counting Chi) since we went with Byron to see V for Vendetta. That's days? A whole week? And it's not the least bit unusual. It's just that sometimes my reclusivity disturbs me on some level. Not enough that I actively try to change it, of course. More like the way you half remember something that's been forgotten, so for a day or two it nags at the back of your mind before you forget once more that there's this something you've forgotten. Like that. It's a strange life, I suppose, but, for the most part, it seems to suit me. I find most people so inscrutable, incomprehensible, it's probably better this way.

Yesterday was a step in the right direction. Cold or no cold, we had a decent little walk. I have this odd habit or ritual I've developed. See, we buy Red Rose tea bags, for ice tea, and in every box you get a little ceramic animal. I think we had some thought of collecting the whole lot, but we've ended up with piles of sheep and rhinos and chickens and not a single zebra. You know how it goes. Anyway, sometimes on our walks, I'll leave one of these little ceramic animals someplace, more or less in plain sight, just to see how long it takes someone to move it. There's a chicken that's been in the same spot for the better part of a year now. An elephant lasted over a year. Yesterday I left a ram on the corner of a house, and a rhino in the crook of a tree, and I left one of the chickens somewhere, but cannot now recall where. It's likely a neurotic behaviour, leaving ceramic figurines scattered about the neighbourhood, like Boo Radley leaving gifts for Scout and Jim in the old tree, but it amuses me. And far too few things amuse me to worry whether or not any one of them is neurotic.

After the walk, I spent about three hours trying to begin a vignette called "Glove." It was to be a piece about a selkie, set on Crane Beach (on the North Shore of Massachusetts). But after 476 words, I had what might have been the start of a good short story, but not the start of a vignette. I'm starting over today. It's still about a selkie, a selkie who's lost her sealskin, but this time I'm beginning from an entirely different direction. I may still call it "Glove," and I may not. Having given up on the writing for the day, I began proofreading the Alabaster galleys. I made it all the way through the afterword. So, it was not an entirely unproductive day, which is more than I can say for most of this past week. Later, I did a Wikipedia entry on the Portuguese ankylosaur, Dracopelta and another on osteoderms, because no one had yet written an entry on osteoderms and it was driving me to distraction. Then we went to the market, and then I lay on the sofa and half dozed to some documentary about the Invasion of Normandy while Spooky fixed chili.

Dr. Who was good last night. Christopher Eccleston, you know. I think, in some ways, the show's begun to fill the part of me that was left vacant by the cancellation of Farscape. There's something of the same sensibility to it. It's fun in the same way, and poignant in the same way. Sure, Battlestar Galactica is quite good, even brilliant at times, but, if you ask me, it's not very much fun. We watched last week's second episode over again, because Spooky had missed it, and this time through I realised how much it put me in mind of Michael Moorecock's Dancer's at the End of Time trilogy. Later, I read Angela Carter's "The Lady in the House of Love" to Spooky (which I rate as both one of the best vampire stories ever written and possibly the best retelling of "Sleeping Beauty"). Then she read "Pickman's Model" aloud to me, because she's talking about making the next doll one of the ghouls from the Yellow House on Benefit Street (and yes, it will be for sale). She began "The Colour Out of Space," but I fell asleep just a few pages in. That was yesterday.

Oh, I almost forgot. The doll she's working on now (which will also be for sale), I've figured out that he's Sweet William's brother, Ignatius. Some people call him Iggy. He still has both legs and is a roustabout at the fairie carnival. He runs the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Ferris Wheel. Ignatius has a foul temper, but can make butterflies out of old tin cans and is a whiz at mathematics. Spooky will post photos soon.

That's probably enough for one morning. I need to go find my chap-stick before my lips fall off. Please have a look at the eBay auctions. And consider the fact that those who subscribe to Sirenia Digest on Saturday, March 24th, 2006 are 67% less likely to be struck upon the head and shoulders by falling wildebeest. Finally, remember, I don't want the world. I just want your half.