Spooky is the one with her back to the camera.
I did manage to get some reading done, though. "Haeckel's Tale," the Clive Barker story reprinted in Horror: The Best of the Year (2006; eds., John Betancourt et Sean Wallace) is quite wonderful, a delightfully harrowing tale of necrophilia and necromancy which made me wish once again that Clive would would write more short stories than he does. I have only one complaint. The Haeckel of the title, the one who tells the tale in question, is clearly meant to be Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel, and he tells his story in 1822, relating events which he experienced a decade earlier. The problem is that Ernst Haeckel wasn't born until 1834. I could be mistaken about the Haeckel of the story being Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel, but I don't think that I am. Regardless, this one flaw aside, it's a superb story, and I'm probably being an ass for pointing out the error. I also read (in ms. form) sovay's (Sonya Taaffe) "The Depth Oracle," which did not surprise me in the least by being quite entirely excellent. If you've not yet picked up a copy of Sonya's Singing Innocence and Experience, I encourage you once more to do so.
Probably the very best bit of yesterday was possibly having found the subject of the next vignette, which I hope to begin writing today or tomorrow. After finishing "The Black Alphabet," I've been somewhat devoid of ideas, so this comes as a great relief. Also, I seem to have finally vanquished the three-day headache with a big dose of codeine (which, I must admit, made the second half of yesterday nicely fuzzy and fairly pleasant).
We delayed our walked through Freedom Park until dusk, because the day had been so hot and neither of us wanted more of the sun. However, we'd not counted on an enormous swarm of what was either Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus) or some specie of flying ant blanketing half the frelling park. You know that scene from The African Queen in which Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn are trapped in a maddening swarm of flies? Well, this was exactly the same, only we weren't in a leaky old boat on a large African lake and Bogart and Hepburn didn't have to answer a ringing cellphone while trying to escape their swarm. The caller was Byron, who seemed mostly amused at our plight. Spooky made the unfortunate discovery that her newly dreaded hair has the power to extract winged insects from the air, rather the same way that that the baleen of whales extracts plankton from seawater. A great deal of flailing and chaos and slightly squished bugs ensued. And a little later on, after plunging blindly through a dreadful portion of the park which I have now christened the Great Northern Bowl, I took this photo of the waxing moon. It's a might blurry and wispy, because I couldn't hold a camera still enough for a long exposure if my very life depended upon it:
And that, kiddos, was yesterday.
We've begun the next round of eBay auctions. This one's going to include a number of things which I've never offerred before or haven't offered in quite some time, including the slipcased hardback of Silk (Gauntlet, 1999; illustrated by Clive Barker), the Gauntlet edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder (and an ARC of the same), copies of Trilobite: The Writing of Threshold and Wrong Things, another lettered copy of Frog Toes and Tentacles (with silk and velvet "cozy"), and Spooky's latest doll, Snapdragon, who will be making an appearance in my next novel, Joey LaFaye. There might also be a copy of the first draft of the Daughter of Hounds ms., once I determine whether or not my contract with Penguin will permit such an auction before the book is published. So, yes. Lots of good stuff. Stay tuned...