So, after a couple of days of dismally wet and genuinely cold weather, today we were hit with what the meteorologists are calling a heat wave. Yesterday, the highs in Providence were in the low 70s F, today, in the mid 90s F. And this house — built in 1875, and designed for New England winters — is great at keeping heat in. Whether it's summer or winter. So, we had a sauna today. Hours and hours of unpacking books in a sauna. Finally, partway through sorting out my paleo' books, I wandered away to the bedroom, sweat-soaked and half-delirious. I lay down, and Spooky set up a fan in the doorway, so that tepid air blew about the place just a bit. But. There's really not a lot of difference between stagnant sauna and circulating sauna. Anyway, I think that was about 4:30 pm. She lay down, too, and I dozed, feverishly. I think Hubero even joined us. Then Spooky got up, quite some time before I did. I must have lay there at least an hour. Pretty much miserable, half dreaming. I tried to do some more unpacking afterwards, but the thermostat (for the baseboard radiators) was reading 81F (around 5:30 or 6). So, I said screw it, and we got in the car and headed for Point Judith, where, as it turns out, the weather was quite wonderfully chilly. Really, at the most, low 70s, maybe 60s, a cold breeze blowing off the Atlantic.
We stopped at Iggy's for doughboys, just as they were closing up for the night. If you've never had a doughboy, they're a little hard to describe. A bit like the beignets you get at Café Dumont in the French Quarter in New Orleans (and, presumably, elsewhere), only slightly saltier, and, instead of powdered sugar, they're coated with granulated sugar. Fried, and somehow fluffy and dense at the same time, they are delightful. We ordered a half dozen and headed for Harbour of Refuge, a mile or so farther south. Literally, "land's end." We sat there, first in the car, then out on granite boulders near the jetty. I closed my eyes, taking in the surf, the foghorns from the Point Judith lighthouse and maybe, distantly, from the lighthouse on Block Island. The crashing waves. A bell buoy. There was an undercurrent of beach roses beneath the high-tide smell of the sea. To me, the ocean so often smells like sex, which seems very appropriate. Only a waxing sliver of moon in the sky, but it was bright off the breakers and the pale stone. Before long, we were shivering, our teeth chattering, and we headed back to the car, and then home again. Amazing. No more than thirty miles, and we went from sweltering to shivering. I will note that we could smell the sea long before we left the city, which was the first time I'd noticed that.
Tomorrow, sauna or no sauna, unpacked boxes or no, I have to, in some capacity, go back to writing. Whether it's something for Sirenia Digest #31 or The Red Tree or the introduction for Joshi's Machen collection, I will work on something. I have written nothing of substance since May 20th (!).
There's a thought that has been going round and round in my head, because of all this moving, weeks of being confronted with two people's lifetime accumulation of furniture and books and clothes, dishes and papers and knick-knacks. Make of it what you will. When you buy something, it becomes your responsibility, so long as you are alive, and, for that matter, even after you are dead. Whether it is an end table, a plastic straw, an action figure, an envelope, a dictionary, or a tank of gas, once you have bought it, it belongs to you. All this stuff. You are responsible for whatever impact it may have (or has had) on your environment, your world, forever. In a sense, it was made for you, after all, even if the manufacturer did not know that you, personally, would be the buyer, the owner. And when we buy a thing, or give a gift, we should do so with this responsibility in mind. We may consider a paper cup or a ballpoint pen or even a DVD player "disposable," short term or long term. But, the truth is, you own it, whether it's in your home or taking up space in a landfill somewhere. In this paradoxically materialistic, throwaway society, responsibility does not end when our need or desire for an object ends. And like I said, just a thought.
I believe that I will live here, in this house, until I am at least -15 (which would be 16 years from now). I think it suits me. I know it suits Spooky.
Oh. New address, finally. You may now contact me at, or send packages to:
Caitlín R. Kiernan
P.O. Box 603096
Providence, RI 02906 USA