August 18th, 2008


"Don't let the Earth in me subside..."

Despite a very slow and spectacularly difficult start, yesterday was a pretty good writing day. I wrote 1,210 words on Chapter Four of The Red Tree, and managed to finish the scene that I've been working on since Wednesday (the second scene of the chapter, or the second entry, since The Red Tree is Sarah Crowe's journal). Huzzah! I knew it was going to be a hard section, but it still surprised me. It is the point in the book where the influence of the Weird becomes undeniable.

Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions, and don't forget to pre-order A is for Alien (from subpress, of course) and the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds. Thank you, and the platypus says I shall be negligent in my duties if I do not also mention subscribing to Sirenia Digest, as there's no time like the present.

After the writing yesterday —— and I don't think I finished until about 5:30 or 6 p.m. —— we headed off to Beavertail on Conanicut Island. The wind had been so brisk all day, we knew it would be a fine, fine evening out on the rocks. Sadly, though it also being near the end of summer, and a Sunday, there was a veritable plague of tourists. We parked way around on the eastern side of the point, as far north as we could, putting as much distance between us and everyone else as possible. We followed a trail through the woods, as the sun was setting, past a clearing and down to the rocks, ending up approximately 1,100 yards northeast of the lighthouse. It's a part of the shore we hadn't visited since 2006. Here, rocks of the Cambro-Ordovician Conanicut Group, specifically interstratified beds of the Fort Burnside Formation and the older Jamestown Formation form great flat tables of phyllite and siltstone, metamorphosed to varying degrees. We were maybe an hour past high tide, but the moon had yet to rise. Far to the south, at the point, the lighthouse winked on and off. We came upon an adult and a number of young Herring gulls (Larus argentatus). We climbed about the rocks as the sea roared around us, and relocated a deep tidal pool. In one of the shallower pools, we found all manner of whelks and periwinkles, tiny crabs (most dead), and Spooky spotted a beautiful little urchin. I lay down and, putting my arm into the chilly water up to my shoulder, managed to fish it out for her. A gorgeous little Purple Sea Urchin (Arbacia punctulata). We stayed almost until complete darkness. I didn't want to leave and go back to the city. I never do, but the reluctance was especially acute yesterday. I just wanted to stay out there with the gulls and the cormorants and the salt spray. I wanted to slip off the boulders, like a seal, and lose myself in the churning bay.

There are a few photos below, though it was darkish, so they aren't the best I've ever posted. As for the Howards End sim, we've reached the point where I have to force myself to sit down and make some sketches, so that Jessica can get the terraforming underway, because we seem to have some very eager builders (our build team has swelled to about seven people, including me and Spooky), but nothing can be built until the land is sculpted, and all the tunnels and basements dug.

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