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"...our ghosts to wander all the water."

What is this obsession with writing it all down? Has some part of me begun to believe it isn't real, these experiences, unless I write them down? Or that they are not valid, or won't prove lasting, unless I commit them to this journal? It's been eating at me.

Yesterday, we left Providence about one p.m., and drove north, past Boston, to Salem. Along the road, only the willows seemed to be greening. There were red splotches of cranberry bogs. We spent part of the afternoon exploring witchcraft shops (an annoying number of which were closed). We found a couple that were not too touristy and not of the airy-fairy, fluffy-bunny variety, which was refreshing. Places that weren't terrified of the "left path." Some old guy on the street, wearing so many pentagrams I lost count, showed us we were holding the map of Salem upside down. We drove past the House of the Seven Gables and Nathaniel Hawthorne's birthplace, but it was already late, and we didn't stop. On the waterfront, we saw a huge sailing ship, Friendship of Salem. The city has a strange effect on me. Salem, I mean. On the one hand, there's all the tacky Disneyesque crap, the wax museums, the "haunted tours," and whatnot. And then there's the history of the trials (which has a lot less to do with witchcraft than with mass hysteria and general intolerance). And then there's the sense that, ironically, Salem draws genuine practitioners of various occult traditions. And the end result, in my head, is a weird clash, an almost dizzying sort of cognitive dissonance.

Late in the afternoon, we drove down to Marblehead. I wish I could see Marblehead as it was a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago, before it was prettied up and gentrified. The tide was out, and just as the sun was setting, we found a marvelous rocky cove on Front Road. Later, back home, I learned that it's called Fort Seawall Cove. There was a seawall. The beach here reminded me of Ireland, in and around Dublin, which no other New England beach has ever really done. There was beach glass everywhere. Great clumps of bladder wrack, huge mounds of snail and mussel shells. Tilted beds of Precambrian granite. We stayed almost until dark, and left reluctantly. I think we made it home about 8:30 p.m.

Here are three photos from yesterday:





Friendship of Salem



Fort Seawall Cove, looking out across Marblehead Harbor towards Salem Sound. View to the northeast. Lighthouse Point is visible across the water.



Again, Fort Seawall Cove, but view to the north. The island known as Children's Rock is visible at the mouth of Marblehead Harbor.



---

And I should repost links to the latest round of eBay auctions and, also, to Emma the Beltane Bunneh.

Comments

( 13 comments — Have your say! )
derekcfpegritz
Apr. 10th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
Next time you pass through Marblehead, be sure to look up "Old Benny" at the Broken Seashell near the waterfront and ask him about his weekend trips to Y'ha-nthlei. From what I hear, he's gotten the hook-up on an old Russian nuclear sub to haul "air-suckers" back and forth.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 10th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)

Next time you pass through Marblehead, be sure to look up "Old Benny" at the Broken Seashell near the waterfront and ask him about his weekend trips to Y'ha-nthlei.

Heh. I shall be sure to do that.
jtglover
Apr. 10th, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
I love the view in the photo. For one reason and another, I've been to Marblehead a number of times, and there's nothing about the historic area of that place that isn't evocative. Have you been to the Old Burial Hill? Love it, love it. Last time I was through there, it sparked a story that wound up collapsing under the weight of its influences (John Constantine, the ghouls of a certain Yellow House, etc.), but -- one day. All those spirits, watching the departure and arrival of ship after ship...
greygirlbeast
Apr. 10th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)

Have you been to the Old Burial Hill?

Nope, not yet. But Spooky has.
jtglover
Apr. 10th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
Given your affection for graveyards, I'm sure you'll love it. The view of the cemetery from SE side, or the low rise/peak at the eastern "corner" is especially nice. One can easily imagine ghul or Machen's Little People delving beneath one's feet, or the tunnels leading to emptied graves.
kambriel
Apr. 10th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
It's one of my favourite burying points, and one of the first places we happened upon when we first moved to Salem. Ironic, since it's not exactly the most direct access when driving ;)
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Apr. 10th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Pretty much.
chris_walsh
Apr. 10th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
Off-Topic word thing
Hi, Caitlin,

I got thinking about you because of a radio ad where the announcer far too precisely pronounces the word "realtor." (Excuse me, "Realtor.") Reminded me of the annoyance you had over that word in Low Red Moon, and it made me think If they're going to be so anal-retentive about that word, someone should write a pulp-SF story with an alien called Ri-ul-torr. Poke at them amusingly. Not that realtors (geez, Chris, "Realtors"!) would be likely to get the joke, but still.

But I also think "Html" could be made into a passable Lovecraft term just by adding apostrophes -- H't'm'l (pronounced "Huh-tuh-muhl") -- so I might just be talking out my ass.

Thinking of you. Glad to hear you guys got out and about and saw beautiful, calming places. I had that reaction to Salem when I visited last September.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 10th, 2009 07:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Off-Topic word thing

But I also think "Html" could be made into a passable Lovecraft term just by adding apostrophes -- H't'm'l (pronounced "Huh-tuh-muhl")

I kind of like that, actually. It made me smile.
suzie_n_sophie
Apr. 11th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Off-Topic word thing
Like cthuthu (or whatever).
suzie_n_sophie
Apr. 11th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
I've always been intrigued (and appalled) by the history of the New England witch trials. A few months ago I read The Heretic's Daughter, which got me all mad about it again.
I really really really want to come up there asap. Don't know when that will be though. I think it's so cool that you live in a place so full of history (good and bad).
greygirlbeast
Apr. 11th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)

really really really want to come up there asap.

I really do wish you would!
jacobluest
Apr. 12th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
I think things must be photographed and written because our minds will change in time. Not only will the colors fade, but the shape of that thought, or thinking, will be lost. It's the only recourse we have to pass a little closer to the unavoidable scrim of memory.

Thanks for sharing your mnemonics.

~Jacob
( 13 comments — Have your say! )