April 3rd, 2007


Take in one symphony now, I guess we lost that battle...

Listening to Bob Dylan on iTunes is wonderful, but also somehow very, very weird.

This morning, the new iMac is, at last, pretty much the way I need it to be. So, I will spare you the gory details of yesterday, which are fractious and dull as dirt, anyway. And I will also spare you the new printer drama. And the new desk drama, except to say that I've been writing on the same desk since the autumn of 1993. Pretty much everything I've written that has been published, which is pretty much everything fictional I've written, was done on that one desk, which I think I got at Storehouse in Homewood (AL) for about $30. Almost fourteen years from one crappy desk made of composite board and "wood-grain" laminate. I am nothing if not economical. The last few years, though, it had begun a sad sort of disintegration, and Spooky finally persuaded me to get something that's not such an eyesore. Still, I cannot bring myself to part with the old desk. It will be disassembled and placed in storage.

Yesterday, it occurred to me, somewhat belatedly, that making the long drive to Birmingham for a five minute reading at Alabama Bound is really kind of silly, especially given the cost of gasoline. But I said that I would do it, and so do it I shall. But still, it's damned silly. I may read from the article I recently wrote for Locus. Truthfully, there's not much I can read in the time allotted. I think Alabama Bound would be better served by scheduling fewer authors and giving us more time to read, at least fifteen or twenty minutes. At the very least.

I have decided to leave Nebari.net up for the time being. Sentimentality is a bitch. I'm going to try to find a cheaper host than Earthlink, though. Surely, I can anchor this thing somewhere for less than $20/month. Also, if I'm going to leave it online, I'm going to add some new content. Eventually. Soonish.

Not much else to be said for yesterday. Not much at all. It was all tedium and frustration, but we did watch two more episodes of the excellent Planet Earth series last night — "Deserts" and "Ice Worlds." And we read the first half of Lemony Snicket's The Reptile Room. Oh, wait. There was a very nice letter from jtglover, an actual pen-and-ink letter which rather made my day. Thank you. It's the little things, the things that aren't actually little at all.

Today, it really is time to get back upon the horse (as it were). Words must now be written. The platypus is not a happy camper.

'Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood,
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud.
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.
"Come in," she said.
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."

— Bob Dylan, of course

Postscript (3:08 p.m.) — Regarding Alabama Bound, I should have made myself clearer. Authors are given five minutes to read. After that, however, there will be a question and answer period for each author, and we will be signing after our scheduled session. I will gladly sign anything and everything you bring; no limit.

The Court of the Crimson King (Pt. 1)

The Final Cut. Children of Men. Global warming. Polar bears. My head goes round and round in these circles.

For the most part, Planet Earth seems to be keeping mentions of humanity's impact to a minimum, but the polar-bear sequences stand out in stark contrast, an exception to the rule. This appears to have resulted from the camera men encountering so many drowning and starving polar bears. As global warming leads to shorter Arctic winters, ever-thinner pack ice, and earlier spring thaws, polar bears are quickly losing ground. Some biologists think they may be extinct by the end of the century, these bears, the world's largest extant terrestrial carnivores. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) share a common ancestor with the brown bear (Ursus arctos spp.), from which they likely diverged in the Middle Pleistocene, becoming a distinct species over the last 100,000 years*. But humans can wipe them out in only two or three centuries.

It would be a mercy, I suppose, in a purely selfish psychological sense, to ascribe to a religion that gives humanity dominance over "lower" lifeforms, that draws a distinction between Homo sapiens sapiens and all other animals, that says there's Man and then there's dumb, soulless nature (lowercase), which was only placed here to provide for Man's needs until some God or gods come/return to give mankind His just reward.

Anyway, because, one way or another, everything is connected, the polar-bear sequences in the "Ice Worlds" episode of Planet Earth last night brought me back around to Children of Men, and that got me thinking about these lines from Pink Floyd's The Final Cut (1983):

A place to stay.
Enough to eat.
Somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street.
Where you can speak out loud
About your doubts and fears,
And what's more, no-one ever disappears,
You never hear their standard issue kicking in your door.
You can relax on both sides of the tracks,
And maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control.
And everyone has recourse to the law,
And no-one kills the children anymore.
And no-one kills the children anymore.

— Pink Floyd

Today, I'm trying not to think about drowning polar bears, trying to wander elsewhere and elsewhen in my mind, trying to find a story for Sirenia Digest 17.

*Kurten, B. 1964. The evolution of the polar bear, Ursus maritimus (Phipps). Acta Zoologica Fennica 108:1-26.