Lots of chaos and fuss hereabouts, getting ready for our house guests, who will be arriving Thursday from Arkansas and Alabama, and also getting ready for the Trick-or-Treaters tonight. I was so, so brave yesterday. Not only did I go outside, I went to bloody, frelling Target. Because the little bratlings must have candy, though I rather like my idea of handing out tiny packets of salt and black pepper, ketchup and mustard and whatever else we could scarf up for free at fast-food places. I mean, condiments are sort of like candy. Sort of. Alas, Spooky said no, so we went to Target. And I did not scream, though the combo Pizza Hut/Starbuck's was almost more than my mind could endure. Oh, and we carved pumpkins yesterday. There are some photos (behind the cut) of this year's jack-o-lanterns. In the photo of the two together, I carved the uppermost one:
Some good thoughts regarding Joey Lafaye yesterday, which is to say that I'm working on the novel, even if I'm not quite working on it at the keyboard yet...
Tonight, if you are so inclined, you are invited to join me in the Second Life steampunk milleau of New Babbage for a Samhain bonfire behind the Abney Park Laboratory. The Professor will be making a brief appearance, just long enough for the ceremony, as she has been busy elsewhere recently...on an extended cuttlefishing expedition. Well, that's the cover story, should anyone ask. I do not have a hard-and-fast time for the event, but the bonfire will be sometime between 9:30 and 10:30 EDT, probably. I may post an update later with a more precise time. As for how to find Abney Park, if you teleport into Babbage Square, the good Professor's laboratory is the first building east of the train depot. I'm trying to decide whether or not I can get away with doing it "virtually" skyclad. Sheesh, last year I celebrated Samhain in the woods around a real bonfire, getting real bug bites in unmentionable places because I was not merely virtually skyclad. The invitation came again this year (thank you, once more), but there was just too much going on to get away. Here's a quote regarding my experience last year which I came across this morning, a response to a question as to why I found working skyclad so liberating:
To put it as simply as I can, I suspect that the reason I found the experience so very positive arose mainly from the knowledge that I stood there before the whole universe, that vast and largely unfathomable cosmos, and nothing stood between me and it. No clothing, no walls, no rooftops. The star-dabbed wheel of the sky, the brilliant waxing quarter moon, our chants, the cold air, the crackle and smoky smell of the bonfire, the knowledge that I stood as all creatures throughout all galaxies have ever stood, naked in every sense, in every way, as perfectly devoid of barriers as I am presently able to be. There was a grand giddiness, an ecstasy. For me, ecstasy is at the heart of Neo-paganism. Ecstasy and celebration and communion, and Saturday night was my most...what word, what word...my most complete experience of all three to date.
One of the weird emails from Monday morning was someone wanting me to grant them a "free option" to adapt "Bela's Plot" to the screen. I dutifully passed the request along to my lit agent, Merrilee, and my film agent, Julien, though I knew the default answer to all "free option" inquiries is a polite "no." Here's the deal: If you can scrape up the money to make a film, even an ultra low-budget one, you can also scrape up the cash to pay the author some pittance upfront for your use of the source material.
I'd still love to hear more thoughts on Sirenia Digest #23. My thanks to setsuled for this bit yesterday:
Both stories seem concerned with unspoken communion. I was reminded of the Japanese aesthetic concept of Yugen, the idea that certain concepts or emotions can only be transmitted without words. Obviously the "voiceless communion a hundred million years older even than the coming of mankind" in "The Bed of Appetite" would remind me of yugen, but it's also in the mysterious objects left by the ghosts in "The Madam of the Narrow Houses," and the peculiar explanation the ghost offers for the protagonist's state of health.
Both stories deal with characters unmoved or irritated by false affections; the character in the first story is contrasted with the people who don't really care for their own children, yet nonetheless wonder why she doesn't marry. A character is described in the second story as never casually handing out praise. Both characters seem to seek transcending the false world by strange avenues. That the second story is concerned with art is significant, as is the fact one character insists that he doesn't attempt to find a publisher for his writing because he writes for himself. One might say the purpose of art is to find means of expressing what's otherwise inexpressible.
Okay. The year is turning, and there's mischief to be made. Come on, platypus. Let's get to it...
Postscript (5:44 p.m. EST): My modest Second Life Samhain ceremony in New Babbage will begin at 10:30 p.m. EST (which is 7:30 SLT/PST). Hope to see you there.