October 23rd, 2008


"This feeling is not sadness, this feeling is not joy..." (pt. 2)

A cold night in Providence last night, I think it was my first genuinely cold night here on the frozen and moose-haunted steppes of New England. When I checked the temperature last night, the wind chill had the air down to 31F, and I assume it got colder. But. The house stayed warm and toasty. After freezing my ass off in Alabama and Georgia, I'm warm in Rhode Island. I suppose this is irony. For the first time in years, I have a warm office, and an apartment with suitable insulation. No cryosphere. The day outside my window is bright and sunny.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,443 words on Chapter Nine of The Red Tree. I am so tired. The things I'm writing (and the pace at which I am forced to write them) leave me feeling stunned and disoriented. I cannot break a character without breaking some fraction of myself. I have to go into the darkness to get it onto paper. I feel thin, and bruised inside. And. Today might be the day that I find THE END. If not today, tomorrow for sure. It won't be the real end of work on the novel, of course. There's an afterword I'll likely not write until after the CEM arrives, and there will probably be more tweaking to this text than I usually undertake, if only because I have written it at such a dizzying pace. It's been a dash, this book. Some part of me, knowing what comes at the very end, wants never to finish the novel.

The older I get, the more I write, I find myself wanting, as I approach THE END of any given story, to put it in a folder or manuscript box and seal it shut. Hide it away where no one can read it and judge. Just let it be, before that inevitable descent into unsightly opinion and reaction and review.


I did leave the house yesterday, for the first time since Wednesday the 15th (that's six+ consecutive days inside, for anyone who's keeping score). It was nasty and drizzly and the sky was almost black. We only went as far as Eastside Market, for root beer and dishwashing detergent. But it still counts as Outside.

Yesterday, while I wrote, Spooky went over A is for Alien and B is for Beginning again (the latter being the free chapbook that comes with the limited edition of the former). I'm about ready to send my final editing notes to Subterranean Press and call this one done. And as long as I'm talking about editing, last night, while Spooky made chili, I did more editing on the Wikipedia aetosaur article.

And, before I forget, my thanks to robyn_ma for the gift of a copy of The old red sandstone : or, New walks in an old field by Hugh Miller (1841). This edition is a reprint from "Everyman's Library" (1906-1956), but there's no printing date anywhere on the book, so I'm not sure when it was released. The design looks very early 20th Century, and I know it was the 101st book released in a series of 1,239 volumes. Anyway, a seminal work in vertebrate paleontology, and I didn't have a copy, so thank you.


Last night, we watched M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, the first of his films that I've missed in the theatre. My feelings are mixed. Yes, this is certainly his least successful film to date, in terms of its overall effectiveness. And I think the last ten or fifteen minutes were a huge mistake. But I also don't believe that it's anywhere near as bad as most critics seemed to have thought. All in all, it had the feel of a "big bug" film from the '50s or early '60s, and it often reminded me of Hitchcock's adaptation of The Birds. I think I would say that The Happening does quite a nice job of building tension and presenting horror (for me, at least), but then is at a loss for how to resolve the story. And rather than accept that perhaps, in this case, the best resolution would have been an absence of resolution, it trundles off somewhere stupid. Definitely not Shyamalan's best, and I do hope for better next time. This is the first film from him I have not loved.


Made it to bed sometime after 2 ayem last night, and Spooky read me Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder (1957), because, after yesterday, I needed something familiar and soothing.

Yeah, platypus. I hear you.