July 5th, 2008

Howard Hughes

"Howard Hughes pops a Valium blue..." (Part One)

I did write yesterday. 1,089 words on Chapter Two of The Red Tree. But only by the skin of my teeth, as they are wont to say. Skin of my teeth. A curious expression, as, obviously, teeth lack any epidermis. Which I suppose is the point. Anyway, the novel is simply grinding to a halt. Yesterday was a wake-up call. I'm trying to race through this to "produce" a finished manuscript by the end of the summer. But —— what with the switch from Joey LaFaye to The Red Tree, being sick much of the spring, and the move to Rhode Island, I've not given myself the time to sit down and do all the research that needs to be done to write the book. Not to write it well, but simply to write it at all. Mostly, historical stuff. So, today I am likely off to a library, if any are open, what with this being the weekend of the Sainted Fucking 4th of July and all. Maybe by Monday I can be actually writing again, unless the libraries aren't open, in which case I guess I'll make up a Plan B.

Speaking of Independence Day, Jesus Fuck, this neighborhood was a bloody warzone last night. I have never endured such a barrage of amateur fireworks, even though most of my life has been spent living in cities. Only by a combination of chance and wet weather did the Armory District not burn to the ground. Fucking idiots. Fireworks are 100% illegal in Rhode Island, and also in Massachusetts, but apparently there's a healthy illegal black-market trade from Connecticut. I read people went to jail this year, for bringing them into Rhode Island, though clearly, enough people did not go to jail. Last night, for at least two or three hours the windows rattled as fireworks meant to explode hundreds of feet high were detonated at ground level. Finally, the cops showed up, the cops and the fire department and ambulances, because there had been some sort of accident in a nearby park, an SUV and a bicycle, and things began to calm down. I'm pretty sure the fools trying to blow up Federal Hill weren't in any way celebrating the 4th of July. They just thought it would be cool to blow shit up. Then again, isn't that the heart and soul of American expansionism? Or at least its fist. The bomb, the rocket's red fucking glare? Oh, and yeah, I know if I were a real writer —— you know, the sort who write "reviews" for Amazon —— I wouldn't need all this fucking profanity to express my fucking thoughts. Sure.

Spooky just reported that, in fact, all the libraries are closed today. Brown. The Athenaeum. The public libraries. Beautiful.

Not much else to yesterday. When the writing was done, I just felt sick. I lay down on the bed, and Spooky read me the first chapter of The Golden Compass. I hate that, being a writer and all, being the writer I am, all I can really think of when I listen to her read me fiction is, "Why didn't I write this?" We made a trip to the market to get dinner for last night and tonight. Much later, we watched Men in Black (1997). Still love it. We drove about the neighborhood a little at some point (that must have been before the movie), and a thick, smelly gunpowerdy haze lay over everything. Little pretend wars. I think I got to bed about three ayem. Shit was still exploding. I only hope —— if there is a thimble's worth of justice — that many are missing fingers this afternoon.

So...no library. And the internet is only so good for this sort of research. I suppose I will try press on, somehow, and attempt to finish Chapter Two this weekend. Like they say in the Land of Whores and Celluloid, I can fix it in post.

Addendum: A damned thing?

So, during our most recent visit to Beavertail (recounted here, with photos), we encountered a peculiar organism in a high tide pool, among the slabs of phyllite. I had Spooky take a few photos, thinking I would be able to identify it when I got back home. So far, though, no luck. Admittedly, I don't have a lot of resources to draw upon, not here at home, and I've been relying heavily on Kenneth L. Gosner's A Field Guide to the Atlantic Shore from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras (1978). It was trapped in a very small pool, which contained not much of anything else. My first thought was that it was likely some form of sea weed with which I'm not familiar. possibly a member of the "green sea weeds" (Chlorophyta). Spooky's comment was "Gross," and I have to admit that, yes, it was sort of gross. The main body of the central "polyp," excluding those long terminal "buds," was approximately 16 centimeters long, maybe 1 centimeter in diameter at its widest point. It was motionless, and did not react when prodded. Here are two of the photos:

Right now, I really have no idea what it is. Maybe my first guess was right, and it's some variety of Chlorophyta. I've also considered sponges, cnidarians, bryozoans (it looks a little like the "Rubbery Bryozoan," Alcyonidium spp., though the colour's wrong), polychaete worms, and a number of other groups. It may, of course, be the larval form of some species, or only a fragment of a much larger organism (part of a larger plant, perhaps). But, at the moment, it's got me stumped, and I think, from now on, I'll carry specimen jars with me, so I can get beasts like this under the microscope. All in all, this guy seems as "odd" as anything from the Burgess Shale fauna...