August 8th, 2008


"Numb hands, I can see the strand..."

Yesterday was spent finishing up work on the chapbook to accompany A is for Alien, which I think will be called B is for Beginnings. But that could change. There was, of course, still more to be done than I expected. Finally, I emailed Sonya sovay and asked if she had time to proof it for me; she said she did, so I sent the manuscript away to her. Then I moved on to proofing the Arthur Machen introduction. I'm not terribly happy with it, personally, but I admittedly lack the distance or perspective to know if there are actually problems. The anti-seizure meds don't seem to affect my ability to write fiction, but they're playing havoc with my ability to write nonfiction. The construction of arguments and such, it all just slips away from me (and this is one reason I've grown leery of getting into contentious "discussions" here in the LJ). Sonya is reading it, too, and Peter Straub has agreed to, and, tonight, I'll also send it to Joshi, to see if he's happy with it. Like the Bradbury intro I did a couple of years ago, I was flattered to be asked to do this. It is an honour, and getting it right means a lot to me.

The really good news from yesterday is that my agent, Merrilee, asked for and was granted a two-month extension on the due-date for The Red Tree. A huge thank you to my editor, Anne Sowards at Penguin. There was simply no way I'd be able to finish the book and keep up with Sirenia Digest (which I have to do, as it pays the rent, and besides, it is truly a labour of love, more than most of my writing) and deal with my various stupid physical ailments. But now I do not have to deliver the manuscript until the beginning of November.

Anyway, finally, about 6 p.m. yesterday evening, we left Providence and headed back to Saunderstown to check on the farm for Spooky's parents (who are, you will recall, in Montana). This time, we didn't forget anything, so we'd be able to stay the night. We stopped in Warwick at Newbury Comics, and Spooky got the remastered version of the Virgin Prunes' ...If I Die, I Die (1982), and I was good and only got a set of The Devil's Rejects magnets for the file cabinet in my office. We swung by the farm and checked on the cat and the chickens, then drove down to Narragansett and had dinner at Iggy's. It was wonderful being out of the city for a night. We watched the uncut DVD release of Doomsday (which still rocks my socks), and then just read and listened to a marvelous thunderstorm rolling across South County. I mostly read from Fraser's Triassic book, which I'm trying to finish. After the rain, I sat and listened to the darkness, and down there, away from most of the light pollution, there is real darkness. The damp night air was filled with the songs of crickets and frogs and a few birds. It was very good to be "unplugged" for a whole night —— no interwebs, no Second Life —— just reality. We were both asleep by 2:30 ayem, and slept until 11:30 this morning, a long sleep we both badly needed.

After taking care of that which needed taken care of at the farm, we headed over to Kingston Station, and we followed the bike path about half a mile into the Great Swamp. Here, in 1675, a military force of Puritans from Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, and Connecticut massacred a group of Narragansett, mostly women, children, and elderly men living at a winter camp in the Great Swamp located in present-day South Kingstown. It's known by the descendants of the surviving Narragansetts as the "Great Swamp Massacre," which seems about right. If places are haunted, that swamp must surely be. It is also quite beautiful, and we marveled at the bogs, the foliage, the mushrooms, the birds, and the sound of green frogs (there will be photos in tomorrow's entry). Spooky came across the tiny carcass of what I think must have been a Northern Short-tailed Shrew (Blarina brevicauda), being scavenged by a number of colourful beetles. And so many unfamiliar flowers! But the antibiotics were making me ill, and the sun was a bit too much, and so we didn't stay for long. Mostly, there were some things I needed to see before beginning Chapter Four of The Red Tree. On the way home, we stopped in at the Kingston Hill Store. The structure dates back at least to the 1800s, and it was once a general store. Spooky worked there in her teens. Now Allison Barrington Goodsell runs a wonderful used bookshop there. I found a copy of Carol Lane Fenton and Mildred Lane Fenton's The Fossil Book (1958), one of the "lost books" from my childhood, which I couldn't resist. There's an inscription inside —— "Catherine Morris Wright, 'Morningside,' Tucker's Town, Bermuda." And I am fairly certain that CMW was the daughter of Harrison S. Morris (1856-1948), a Pennsylvania businessman, author, and philanthropist who long supported the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Anyway...I need to email Sonya and Peter and ST, so I'll wrap this up. There's another thunderstorm blowing into Providence, and the air through my office window is wonderful. Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions, and, if you have not already, please preorder the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds. Thank you.