September 5th, 2006


Remind me of the young

An escaped voice speaks from the corner of the room
It’s avoiding the plans
Sneaking past the narrow truth

Everyone else follows through
(Sons and Daughters, "Dance Me In")

Trying to shake off the dreamsickness this morning. Still trying, more than an hour after I crawled up from sleep and out of the bed and into this chair. It's like waking up wet. Or waking up to nausea. Or waking to a sudden, unexplained noise. It's sticky and disorienting. It leaves the world slippery, and my eyes and mind slide off everything I see. My thoughts skip and shimmer, and the understanding of this given moment seems always just out of reach. Waking reality holds fast to an arbitrary sort of solidity, real only because I am assumed to be awake. The reality of the dreams, even as their non-linear, disjunct narratives begin to fade, is always nearer at hand. If someone's devised a pill for this, no one has yet offered it to me. I am awake, because I am no longer asleep. The worst of it, I think, is not the dread or the way I forget what I was just thinking, what I was going to say, the way I don't respond when spoken to — no, the worst of it is the urgent sense of unfinished business, of needing to get back there. The dreamsickness clings to me like wet cheesecloth laid upon my skin, and somehow I have to let the new day pull me forward on the course of this worldline, which, I would be assured, is the real McCoy.

I didn't go to Leeds yesterday. I couldn't stop thinking about drunken rednecks on I-20, or the price of gasoline, or the way people would stare if we should have to get off the interstate at Anniston or Eastaboga or wherever else that isn't anywhere.

But at least Dragon*Con is over. I can stop feeling like I ought to be there instead of here.

Yesterday...there's a whole lot less to say about yesterday than there should be. No writing. It just didn't happen. Nothing else much happened, either. My mood stayed black and low and bordering on angry. I spent some time with Hubero. I thought about books I should be reading. I e-mailed my mother to tell her we weren't coming. I e-mailed my agent. Spooky renewed for me, for two years, so thank you again corucia, and I talked about how it's been four years now since I started the site and promised myself that I'd do something more with it this year. Spooky made dinner — pizza with basil and lots of fresh garlic and red peppers and mozzarella. We had a long walk after dark.

And because Netflix just keeps sending movies, even though I should be reading, we watched The Libertine (2004) last night. I liked it quite a lot. A very, very beautiful film. Johnny Depp gives one of the most impressive performances of his career. I don't know much about John Wilmot or Charles II, so I cannot vouch for the film's historical accuracy, but I thought it a very fine work of fiction. All histories are only varying degrees of fiction, anyway. This bit I especially liked, Rochester speaking of actors (though it has a much broader relevance, i think):

You make time seem so important. "I must change my clothes now." "I must make my entrance now." But life is not a succession of urgent now's. It is a listless trickle of "Why should I's."

Also, The Libertine was a pleasant sort of penance for having wasted 99 minutes Sunday night watching Poseidon.

Today, I have to send the galley corrections from Daughter of Hounds back to NYC. And I have to write. Fiction. First, though, let me remind you that you can still order Daughter of Hounds from with Alabaster for a mere $27.70. I should also remind you that unless people buy these books, I will not be able to continue to write them. And if you're one of those readers who only reads the online journal — and I still don't understand that phenomenon, for what possible interest could I ever be beyond my writing — I would remind you that unless the books sell, I will see no point in continuing this journal, either. Now. Time to write. I can stall no longer.

The Lovecraft Tree

I was writing this afternoon, and, for one reason or another, I started thinking about the death of the Lovecraft Tree in Swan Point Cemetery, which made me sad and got me wishing I'd taken the time to photodocument all the graffiti carved into the tree, but also reminded me that I'd never posted the photos that I promised I'd post back on August 20th. So, I am now correcting that oversight. Also, a pertinent quote from "So Runs the World Away," just to get things started.

And for a kiss she shows him the place where Lovecraft is buried, the quiet place she comes when she only wants to be alone, no company but her thoughts and the considerate, sleeping bodies underground. The Phillips family obelisk and then his own little headstone; she takes a plastic cigarette lighter from the front pocket of her jeans and holds the flame close to the ground so that Adrian can read the marker: August 20, 1890 — March 15, 1937, "I am Providence," and she shows him all the offerings that odd pilgrims leave behind. A handful of pencils and one rusty screw, two nickels, a small rubber octopus, and a handwritten letter folded neat and weighted with a rock so the wind won’t blow it away. The letter begins "Dear Howard," but she doesn’t read any farther, nothing there written for her, and then Adrian tries to kiss her again.

"No, wait. You haven’t seen the tree," she says, wriggling free of Adrian Mobley’s skinny arms, dragging him roughly away from the obelisk; two steps, three, and they’re both swallowed by the shadow of an enormous, ancient beech, this tree that must have been old when her great grandfather was a boy. Its sprawling branches are still shaggy with autumnpainted leaves, its roots like the scabby knuckles of some skybound giant, clutching at the earth for fear that he will fall and tumble forever towards the stars.

"Yeah, so it’s a tree," Adrian mumbles, not understanding, not even trying to understand, and now she knows that it was a mistake to bring him here.

"People have carved things," she says and strikes the lighter again, holds the flickering blueorange flame so that Adrian can see all the pocket-knife graffiti worked into the smooth, pale bark of the tree. The unpronounceable names of dark, fictitious gods and entire passages from Lovecraft, razor steel for ink to tattoo these occult wounds and lonely messages to a dead man, and she runs an index finger across a scar in the shape of a tentacle-headed fish.

The photos are behind the cut:

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Also, here's a link to the page where I found the topmost photo. Spooky and I took the others. And, you know, I think I'm just too tired to bother cross-posting this thing to Blogger and MySpace, neither of which are ever as cooperative (with me) as LJ, so this is an exclusive.