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The snow arrived yesterday afternoon about 2:30 p.m. (CaST). And it's still snowing, though big clumps now, that drift lazily about before settling on rooftops and power lines and sidewalks. Very different from the tiny crystals that started this storm, and that fell for at least twelve hours non-stop. I've not seen so much snow since the winters of '92 and '93, when freak winter storms pounded Birmingham, Alabama. And I'm not sure we got this much then. It just did more damage, as Birmingham was ill-equipped for such weather. It is so amazingly white outside. The sky is lying on the rooftops, which is oddly comforting. I don't know how much snow has fallen on Federal Hill, but I hear some parts of Rhode Island got as much as twelve inches. It will be a white Solstice this year.

I took photographs from the office window. They're larger than usual, because I was determined to show icicles.

No writing again yesterday. And that has to stop today or tomorrow. But the anticipation of the coming storm, and then the snow itself. How could I write through that? This will all become old hat to me soon enough. I want to keep these sights and sensations novel and delightful as long as I can. Though, there's an unexpected anxiety, too, a sort of smothering that seems to lurk at the edges of everything. I'm not claustrophobic, but I begin to guess that it's what eventually turns to "cabin fever." Everything is so white, and so close.

Yesterday, thanks to Ellen Datlow, I found out about Larry Fessenden's The Last Winter (2006). I'd missed this film, though I'm a great fan of two of Fessenden's earlier films, Habit (1996) and Wendigo (2001). I was less impressed by his earlier No Telling (1991), but we shouldn't be judged by our eary efforts. I have this ever increasing fear of being judged by Silk, and even Threshold, when my writing has matured so much since then that you'd hardly think my recent stories and Daughter of Hounds and The Red Tree were written by the same person who wrote those novels. I'm digressing, just like Sarah Crowe (you'll see, eventually). Anyway, The Last Winter is quite good. Here and there, the acting wobbles a bit (or the direction; you can never know which), and I sort of wish that we'd not seen so much of "the monsters" at the end. But they are damned creepy monsters. A great deal of this story was clearly inspired by Algernon Blackwood's "The Wendigo," turned towards the subject of global warming. The film is marvelously atmospheric, creating a mood of isolation and closeness and expectation that becomes almost unbearable at times. You can stream it from Netflix for free, so have a look. Though, maybe it's best not watched on a snowy day.

Later, we watched the first two episodes of Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks (1974), and then read more of The Historian. There was insomnia still later, inspired in part, I think, by the snow. It was sometime after 6 ayem and two Ambien before I managed to get to sleep.

At twilight yesterday we walked in the snow. Dexter Training Ground had been transformed into the interior of a snow globe. There was absolutely no distinction between sky and ground. The towers of the Armory were grey silhouettes against a deeper grey. There were ecstatic dogs, bounding about their people. By then, the snow was already quite deep, and already people were out shoveling. There was a hush laid over everything. No sound seemed to travel more than a few feet, excepting those sounds that seem to reach us, muffled, from very far away. It was beautiful. Spooky looked positively Cro-Magnon as her dreads collected snow.

This morning, I had my first cup of coffee in the front parlour, and watched a pair of seagulls soaring above the street. They were almost lost to view, or simply lost, against the alabaster sky.

Please take a peek at the current eBay auctions. It's heartening to see that Letter V of Frog Toes and Tentacles already has a bid. Thank you. New items will be added today or tomorrow.

Okay. Oh, I do apologize for spending part of yesterday butchering the French language via my Facebook account. Today, i think I'll butcher German. The photos are behind the cut:

Photographs Copyright © 2008 by Caitlín R. Kiernan.


( 14 comments — Have your say! )
Dec. 20th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
The snow looks so lovely! Hopefully RI is better prepared for it than WA is. People are acting like it's the end of the world here.

There's a series that was on recently called "Fear Itself". Larry Fessenden's episode was wonderfully uncomfortable to watch. He seems to have a thing for Wendigo.
Dec. 20th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)

The snow looks so lovely! Hopefully RI is better prepared for it than WA is. People are acting like it's the end of the world here.

Here, people seem as though this happens every day.

He seems to have a thing for Wendigo.

Dec. 20th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
I think I can tell sub-par acting from sub-par directing. First you have to admit that no one can play every part, despite how actors love to show off their range. Secondly, you have to consider that a great director also has certain fortes (and not all works by anyone will be major works) but they are actually more likely to understand storytelling than most actors.

Bad acting is most evident when everyone else is reasonably on point though it can stem from miscasting: Katie Holmes was bad in "Batman Begins" because it was outside her range. (Which is too bad, since it was a simple role. Gwyneth nailed a comparable bit in Iron Man.) This was exacerbated by a bad script and a director who does not excell at female characters, but the error was glaring enough.

Five people nailing a scene and one looking like they're in a different film? The sore thumb is bad acting even if everything else is so wretched that it looks like they're saving it. Acting is a full-contact sport, but it also depends on ensembles. Eddie Murphy hamming up a bad sketch to turn it into comedy gold on SNL was still bad acting.

Good acting is most evidenced when everyone does it right but there are exceptions. Such as Angelina Jolie in Sky Captain (and the..). The directing is unusual, but most of the taelent in front of the camera is flummoxed by the green screen. I love the film but feel it works more as seeing actors fail under duress. Except for Angelina. It is clear that she does not need to know where she is or what is going on around her to be Angelina Jolie. Gwyneth and Jude, for example, require atmosphere and props. Placing them alone in a small room and promising to CGI render the rest later brings out eerily flat and disembodied work.

Great directing is a little less pretty. Linda Blair was scary and frightening because she was freezing, deprived of sleep and yanked around by painful and binding pulleys. Blair Witch is brilliant directing with some ho hum randoms.

Alas, I could keep typing for days about this and I'd only be getting started, so I'm going to stop writing so much into this tiny box that I can't remember what I've said.
Dec. 20th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)

Good acting is most evidenced when everyone does it right but there are exceptions.

Ah, well, if this is this case, I would say that there are directorial slips. Just a few, and they didn't ruin it for me.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 20th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)

I love snow!

I think I do, too, which comes as a surprise.
Dec. 20th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I finished Silk a few days ago. It was a long read. I enjoyed it, but just a small amount at a time.
Dec. 20th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
It was a long read. I enjoyed it, but just a small amount at a time.

A major part of the evolution of my style has been a sort of decondensing, making the prose less dense. My early stuff (say '95-'00, by pub dates), is, to my ear, extraordinarily dense. I was obsessed with a particular effect.

Although, if you read the 2007 reprint (the mass-market paperback), then it was substantially rewritten from the original 1998 tpb text, and not so dense.

Edited at 2008-12-20 06:21 pm (UTC)
Dec. 20th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
I LOVE SILK. It defined a certain time of my life. Kathryn sent it to me and I devoured it morsel by rich morsel.
Dec. 20th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)

It defined a certain time of my life.

Mine as well. And it's damned close to autobiography, in the bargain.

But...you know, I feel horrible running my own work down. But, you change. I cannot see it the way I once saw it.
Dec. 20th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)
Pre Snopocalypse in Washington
Here's what it looks like now and the forecast for tonight says that my little nook of the Cascade Foothills will get 60 mph winds and nearly 14 inches of snow. We've got wood for the fire, candles, flashlights, PB&J and a ton of books. Bring it on Mother Nature. And yes, I think very little writing will be done. So, I've printed off three manuscripst to edit. Wee!

Dec. 20th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
I always use snow as an excuse to celebrate. I like to light candles, make hot chocolate fix special 'snow day' meals and generally do things that I wouldn't usually to make it feel festive and cozy so don't beat yourself up for not writing. Snow days are supposed to be days off. ;-)
Dec. 20th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)

Snow days are supposed to be days off.

True fact.
Dec. 21st, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)
True snow, and not the piddly stuff the south gets for a day, is the only thing I really miss about living up north at times.

The best are stretches of countryside covered in packed snow under a full moon. It's something that can't be described.
Dec. 21st, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
I took photographs from the office window. They're larger than usual, because I was determined to show icicles.

I particularly like the second. Those are worthy icicles.
( 14 comments — Have your say! )