March 16th, 2011

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"And the grey damp filthiness of ages, and battered books."

This is the morning after Utter Exhaustion. The sky is grey, and there's rain. It looks like spring out there, whether or not it actually is spring. We can work that part out later.

There are only nine days remaining in "Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter project. We'd really like to see those last two $500 spots claimed. Look at the truly cool stuff you get! And, of course, the more we exceed our goal, the firmer footing Goat Girl Press will set out upon. We're already thinking about projects we'll do after "Tale of the Ravens." Spooky's studying all sorts of cool handmade bookbinding techniques. So, yes. Donate!

Yesterday, I started off by adding another 550+ words to the end of The Drowning Girl, the "Back Pages" section that's sort of like an afterword. Almost. The manuscript, which is now essentially finished, presently stands at 105,711 words. That's about 5,000 words longer than The Red Tree. Anyway, while I was working on the novel, Spooky and Sonya were already busy with line edits on Two Worlds and In Between.

By late afternoon, early evening, Sonya and Spooky had made it through the edits on "Postcards from the King of Tides," "Rats Live on No Evil Star," "Estate," and "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun," while I'd done only "To This Water (Johnstown, Pennsylvania 1889)" — I discovered long ago that having only one good eye makes me a very slow editor. But...that meant we were almost done. Sonya and I then read through "Giants in the Earth," which is, indeed, far better than the odious "By Turns," and I swapped the latter for the former.

That left only The Dry Salvages to edit. I was going to leave it for Spooky and I to tackle, but stalwart Sonya suggested she and I go ahead and start it, then finish it today (We hates the young people, Precious, so full of energies.) But first we went to East Side Market, lest we starve of having run out of food. At the p.o., there were two CARE packages from Steven Lubold, including new PJ Harvey and Arcade Fire, Peter's American Fantastic Tales (vols. 1 and 2; Vol. 2 includes my story, "The Long Hall on the Top Floor") and two volumes of bookbinding for Spooky.

Back home, after cold roast beef sandwiches and such, Sonya and I read the first 17,292 words on The Dry Salvages. We'll finish it early this afternoon, before she heads back to Boston at 5:30 this evening. And that means the collection will be about 98% ready to go to subpress. It's absolutely true to say that without having Sonya here the past four days (she arrived Saturday evening), I'd have been utterly screwed. She saved my butt. Anyway, after about eight hours of editing yesterday, Spooky played Rift, and Sonya and I watched John Carpenter's The Thing, because she'd never before seen it. There was laundry drama, too, because someone had left an immense load of wet laundry (I'm talking a metric assload) in the washing machine. Spooky and I got to bed about two ayem.

Tomorrow, I'll send The Drowning Girl to my editor at Penguin. And within a day or two, Two Worlds and In Between will be delivered to subpress. Also, Lee and I are talking about offering a very limited edition (50-100 copies) of frameable signed and numbered prints of the collection's cover (which you'll see very soon).

And on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I'm taking a much needed and well earned break, before I start work on Sirenia Digest #64 on the 21st. Oh, also, I'm adding "The Worm in My Mind's Eye" to Two Worlds and In Between, which has never appeared anywhere but as a short chapbook only available to those who ordered the limited of The Dry Salvages. Also also, yesterday I took lots of photos, and will do so again today, so tomorrow I'll post a sort of photo essay of the end of this editing marathon.

But now...I go forth with platypus in hand to finish up. After I extract Mr. Bastard (alias Hubero) from my lap.

Chat at 'cha later, kittens.

Blinded by the Light at the End of the Tunnel,
Aunt Beast

P.S.: Not to put too fine a point on it, but I AM NOT A HORROR WRITER!
Shaw

Japan

I've been experiencing a sort of mounting guilt over not having even mentioned the disaster in Japan since the 11th, when it began. As I said earlier, I have no friends or family or any sort of acquaintances in Japan. But I do have a friend who's girlfriend is in Tokyo, and when I spoke to her a couple of nights back, there had been no news...and I can hardly imagine.

This afternoon, trying to put it in perspective for myself, I said to Kathryn, "Imagine that, in the space of a few minutes, all of Providence and the outlying metropolitan areas, simply ceased to exist. We were among the lucky few who reached eastern Connecticut or southern Massachusetts. But there's simply nothing to go back to. Our home is gone, and it isn't coming back. And then imagine that your parents couldn't get out of South County, and there are four failing nuclear reactors in Kingston, and, in all likelihood, at least one has begun meltdown."

But it's not my home, or my friends, or my family. And there's almost nothing I can do. I can't even give blood, because I'm a hepatitis carrier. I can't spare much of anything in the way of a monetary donation, and if I could, I'd have to worry about the aid actually reaching the victims.

It shuts you down. Hell, just trying to explain to people what it means that the quake was a 9.0, instead of a 8.9...that almost shuts me down.

I watch snow settle over tsunami-flattened landscapes. Speechless or sobbing faces amid the rubble. Steam erupting from failed reactors, steam laced with unknown levels of isotopes that will be deadly for thousands of years.

It shuts you down, the horror and shock of it.

I've been trying to sort through the news, sort wheat from chaff. Just finding sources that can get the science right is almost impossible. And what's happened, is happening, and will happen, most of it comes down to science. Science and politics.

I was almost twenty-two when the Chernobyl disaster occurred. I was almost fifteen during the Three Mile Island accident.

I try to find perspective, as if that can help anyone. I may be doing no more than trying to assuage some fucked-up sort of long-distance survivor's guilt.

It shuts me down. So, I keep watching the news, and hoping. There is nothing I can do but hope.