March 14th, 2009


Howard Hughes vs. the Winter Without End, Amen, Amen

Yesterday was the sort of day I spend looking for the story, but not actually writing the story. I finally sat down and re-read a couple of chapters of Michael E. Bell's Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires (Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2001), specifically chapters 11 ("Relicks of Many Old Customs") and 12 ("A Ghoul in Every Deserted Fireplace"). It helped get my head where my head needs to be. I'd wanted to head back to Newport, back to the old library, but the weather was shit, bitter cold, and besides, this is the weekend of the big-ass Newport St. Patrick's Day fiasco. So. This weekend I try to get the story started. If it hasn't happened by Monday, we go back to Newport. Oh, I did find a title, "As Red as Red." I think one thing that I'm having trouble with here is shaping a story that's equal parts werewolf and vampire tale (and no, not in the quasi-moronic Underworld sense).

So, yeah, yesterday was mostly spent sitting in the big chair in the front parlour, in a marvelous pool of afternoon sunlight, pretending it's not still winter out there, reading.

An unexpected, but very welcome, royalty check arrived from my German publisher. It seems the German translation of Threshold is selling well. So, maybe I still have a shot at Werner Herzog.

I washed my hair. I didn't leave the house.

Last night, after dinner, we watched Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002), which we'd not seen since its theatrical release. I still find it a marvelous, impressively paced, and splendidly tense film. I do wish people wouldn't think of it as a zombie film, as it clearly isn't. The "infected" are not "running zombies," as they're not dead. The most interesting thing last night was watching the various "alternative" endings. The first is, I believe, clearly the original theatrical ending (it was labeled "alternative theatrical"), the one that test audiences likely found "too grim" or some such malarky. After escaping Major Henry West's (Christopher Eccleston) compound, Selena (Naomie Harris) and Hannah (Megan Burns) manage to get the gut-shot Jim (Cillian Murphy) to an abandoned hospital, but despite Selena's efforts, fail to save his life. However, he has managed to tell them about the plane he saw before rescuing them, and the film ends with Selena and Hannah setting off into an uncertain, but possibly not hopeless future. It's just a better ending, and it fits better than the theatrical-release ending. It closes a circle. Jim awakes in a hospital to the end of England, and the film closes after he's died in another hospital. There was also another "radical alternative" ending that was never filmed, but which Danny Boyle and Alex Garland present, via storyboards, a completely different possibility for the final third of the film, one where the soldiers are not introduced. It was interesting, but as Boyle and Garland admit, never would have worked. After the movie, we read more of Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci's Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd. I neglected to mention, yesterday, that this book is actually making me miss Dragon*Con, and I thought that was impossible.

There are books I really should be spending more time and energy promoting. I mean, that is the primary reason this journal exists. So, remember that next month Subterranean Press will be releasing the trade paperback edition of Alabaster, which collects all the Dancy Flammarion stories (except for "Highway 97"), complete with all Ted Naifeh's artwork. Also, if you haven't read yet read Daughter of Hounds, well, what are you waiting for? No, it's not necessary to read the earlier books first. Daughter of Hounds is a fine place to begin.

And now, the word mines.