I've been meaning to mention that "A Season of Broken Dolls" has been selected for a forthcoming trade paperback "sampler" of stories from the online version of Subterranean Magazine.
No writing yesterday, not really. We took Hubero outside on his leash, and it was good to be out in the spring sunlight, listening to the blue jays and the robins. We had someone from United Van Lines coming to give us an estimate on the cost of the move to Providence. He needed access to all rooms, and I knew I couldn't work through that, so I took a book and went to (boo, hiss) Starbuck's (and they may not have enough sense to use the apostrophe, but I do). I don't remember how many months ago it was that I laid aside Chris Beard's The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey: Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans (University of California Press, 2004), but shame on me. It's a wonderfully written thing, and I sat there and drank a white-chocolate mocha (too sweet, but not bad), and read Chapter 6 ("The Birth of a Ghost Lineage"), which was mainly about collecting fossils of the omomyid primate Shoshonius cooperi from the late Eocene Willwood Formation of Wyoming's Wind River Basin. Meanwhile, Spooky got our estimate from a guy named Ron Goodbub, a retired Pepsico salesman from Kentucky who grew bored with retirement and went back to work (I think it's very suspicious that LJ knows how to spell Pepsico, but not Shoshonius; hell, it can't even spell "Starkbuck's" without the apostrophe). Here's a bit from Chapter 6 of Chris Beard's book I wanted to quote:
"It hardly ever makes sense to refer to a given species — whether living or fossil — as being 'more primitive' than another, for reasons that go beyond any value-laden connotations the comparison carries along with it. Tarsiers are more primitive than humans in having three premolars on either side of their lower jaws and in lacking a complete mandible formed by bony fusion at the chin. Humans are more primitive than tarsiers in retaining a separate tibia and fibula and in having much smaller eyes. The important distinction here is that, while entire species can rarely be arranged from primitive to advanced, individual features usually can be. In fact, paleontologists rely on exactly these trait-by-trait comparisons to decipher the biology of extinct organisms, as well as to reconstruct how they fit on the evolutionary tree."
Myself, I prefer to speak of character states being more and less derived from a given ancestral state than to ever use the word "primitive" or "advanced," as any given organism's evolutionary "status" can only be assessed or judged relative to how well it is adapted to its environment. Tarsiers have been around a lot longer than humans (by tens of millions of years), but they are no less well adapted to their environment than are humans, and therefore no more "primitive" (which, of course, is just another way of saying what Beard is saying above). Yes, that was a tangent.
Mr. Goodbub took longer with the estimate stuff than expected, and it was after 4 pm before I got back to work. I read over the pages I did on "Rappaccini's Dragon" on Monday and Tuesday, made some corrections, and then decided I'd spend the rest of the afternoon packing, give up a Friday off, and plan to finish the story today. I packed something like seven large boxes of books, hardly the tip of the fucking iceberg. Then again, Mr. Goodbub was telling Spooky about having just moved a mathematician who had 500 boxes of books, which makes me feel a little better.
How I'm going to cope with my schedule this month — especially with the bum tooth — is sort of beyond me. I have to finish "Rappaccini's Dragon" for Sirenia Digest #30. I have to do the line edits and introduction on A is for Alien, and an introduction for an Arthur Machen collection that's being edited by S.T. Joshi. I have to get back to work on The Red Tree and make some real progress. I have to go to Birmingham and have a tooth pulled, then recover. And Spooky and i figured out yesterday that it's likely the pace of packing will have become so hectic by the 20th that I'll be forced to stop working. We will probably leave here on May 29th, a Thursday. It's insane, truly. I'd wait and have to tooth pulled after the move, but after the pain last night, that may not be an option.
I was in bed a little after one ayem, and we read more of House of Leaves, because I needed to hear the words. I was asleep by 2:30, only to be awakened a few hours later, which is where we came in...
Ah, and only a few weeks until I hit -4, on May 26th. I do have that wish list at Amazon.com, even if it does mean more packing. Distractions are always welcome, even when i have no time for them.
Coffee, platypus. Coffee, you fool!