And speaking of that which blows...or sucks...or both...
Tomorrow, I have to be in Birmingham for a noon dental appointment (that's my one pm), which means leaving the house by ten ayem, at the latest. And maybe this molar, the one that was cracked in the Great Seizure of October '07, will be pulled, and maybe it won't be. Hopefully, we'll be back in Atlanta before sunset. However, if I return one more tooth shy, I'll be out of commission for at least a couple of days, which means no writing and no packing. We only have 15 days until we go back to Birmingham to get everything that's in storage there (and has been since November 2002) and only 18 days until the move to Providence. There is not time for mouth trauma, but that means nothing to how things will be.
Yesterday...a very bad day. But, and still, we read through all that has been written on Chapter One of The Red Tree. It's better than I recall. Maybe I can get back to work on the chapter late this week, after the dentist. That's all the writing-work there was to yesterday. I had a very hot bath. We packed and packed and packed, mostly books. I had to order a new battery for my iBook ($139.02, so ouch), and Spooky had to reserve the U-Haul truck for the 27th. About six pm, I left the house and walked to (ugh) Starbuck's, because our landlord needed to show the place to a prospective tenant. I sat and drank, overpriced mediocre coffee and finished Chris Beard's book on the origin of anthropoids. A rather good last chapter, largely devoted to the problem of Henry Fairfield Osborn's racism and also to the ongoing issue of "pithecophobia"* An hour later, I walked home again, to learn that the prospective tenant never fucking showed, so I'd exiled myself to an hour at Starbuck's for naught. After dinner, more packing, until, finally, I begged Spooky for a comfort movie, so we watched Serenity again. I was in bed by three, a little late, but there you go. Seven hours sleep.
As for today, I expect I'll wash my hair, then spend the rest of it working on the Palaeozoic Museum in New Babbage and, well, packing. Only about half the books in my office are boxed. There's no chance I'll get any writing done today, between the distractions and the impending dentistry, and I'm not up to that sort of futility — sitting here, struggling to write through the chaos. And I need to drop Vince an email about Sirenia Digest #30. That's a tiny smidge of work, I suppose.
Yesterday, jtglover asked me, "What do you think is your best story? Top three?" And I said I'd think about it and post a reply today. It's damned difficult, and the list changes so frequently. But right now, I'd say they are:
1. "Houses Under the Sea" (from Thrillers II, Cemetery Dance Publications, 2007; to be reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol. 19).
2. "La Peau Verte" (from To Charles Fort, With Love, Subterranean Press, 2005).
3. "In View of Nothing" (Sirenia Digest #16, March 2007; to be reprinted in A is for Alien)
I would also list, among my "best" short stories, "The Ape's Wife,", "The Steam Dancer," "Andromeda Among the Stones," "The Road of Pins," "Riding the White Bull," "A Season of Broken Dolls,", and "So Runs the World Away." Your mileage will vary, as this is a terribly subjective question. And there are several stories I feel guilty for not including. Anyway, Herr Ornithorhynchus just showed up with my coffee, steamy hot and not mediocre, so I shall wrap this up.
* A psychological disorder that paleontologist William King Gregory sardonically "discovered" to account for those suffering from an irrational fear of apes and monkeys, stemming from the truth of humanity's own common ancestry with them ("Two views of the origin of man," 1927; Science 65: 601-5). The term derives from the Greek (pithekos ape + phobos fear). Sadly, it's probably as common now as it was is Gregory's day. Hence, creationism and its gussied-up stepchild, "intelligent" design.