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One Afternoon in Connecticut

I had every intention of spending all day yesterday in this chair, at this desk, writing. But, that's not what happened. Spooky noted that I'd not left the house since last Tuesday, September 29. I'm getting bad like that again, and I don't want to get bad like that again. So...I forced myself to get dressed (and it really was an act of some considerable will) and leave the house.

Oh, I neglected to mention that two of the stories that will be appearing in The Ammonite Violin & Others, stories that originally appeared in Sirenia Digest, will be appearing in the collection under new titles. "Untitled 23" has become "A Child's Guide to the Hollow Hills," and "Untitled 26" has become “The Hole With a Girl In Its Heart." Now...back to our entry, already in progress.

So, having managed to herd me out the back door, into the hallway, and down the winding stairs to the Outside world, there was some brief discussion of where we would be going. Beavertail was suggested, and Moonstone Beach, and Narragansett, and Shannock (don't ask me why), and Westerly. It was a bright day, the clouds having broken up, bright but not too bright. And warm enough that I was not constantly reminded that it is now autumn. Finally, I proposed we drive to Stonington, in extreme southeastern Connecticut, just across the state line. Stonington happens to be one of my favorite places in the area, but we'd not really visited since moving to Providence last summer. Spooky said Stonington sounded good, so that's where we headed. I think we left the city about 2:30 p.m. On the drive down, I read another story from Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft Unbound, Joyce Carol Oates' "Commencement." A so-so story, not bad, but it felt a little too much like a reworking of Shirley Jackson's far more eloquent story, "The Lottery." I read, Spooky drove, and it was about 4 p.m. by the time we reached Stonington.

Mostly, we wanted to spend some time in Stonington Cemetery, as it's one of the most beautiful around. Though not incorporated until 1849, it was a burying ground long before then. I've found markers dating back to 1760, and I'm fairly certain there are older ones to be discovered. You may recall, Murder of Angels opens in this cemetery, which I first visited in 2000. We spent about an hour walking the grounds, peering into crypts, just soaking up the fading day. Spooky took photos (below), while I wrote down names. As I have said before, cemeteries are the best places to find names. No one can fairly accuse you of having "made up" a name like Mary Bloodgood when you can show them a photograph of the tombstone bearing the name. There were dragonflies and butterflies flitting about in the haze.

After the cemetery, we drove down through the village itself, to Stonington Point, which looks out across Fisher Island Sound. From the point, looking back to the southeast, you can see Rhode Island across the sound: Napatree Point, Watch Hill, Westerly. Just east, there's Sandy Point, a small, barren island. There's a granite breakwater to the south, and to the west, Long Island. You may recall, this is another locale I used at the start of Murder of Angels. The tide was coming in, and there were several species of birds fishing among the rocks at the water's edge, including cormorants (Phalacorax auritus), a couple of examples of something that most resembled a Great Egret (Ardea alba), and the usual assortment of gulls, though we did spot a few Laughing Gulls (Larus atricilla), which we don't often see. We found half a small pumpkin floating in the surf. There were anvil-shaped thunderheads building to the north.

I think we headed home sometime after 6 p.m., and I read another story from Lovecraft Unbound, Gemma Files' "Marya Nox," which was actually very, very impressive. Back in Providence, we stopped for Chinese takeout. The Harvest Moon rose huge and red just as we were heading back home.

A few photos from yesterday, though Spooky took so many photos I expect I'll be posting them for days to come:







In Stonington Cemetery, view to the west.









View from Stonington Point, to the north and east.

All photographs Copyright © 2009 by Kathryn A. Pollnac.


---

And that was yesterday, pretty much. I did get a very nice email from someone who's reading The Red Tree for the fifth time. Julie Skaggs asks:

I had a question - which you may choose instead to address in the blog for the benefit of all your readers— as I was struck with a similarity in regards to not only the metafictional elements of Sarah and Amanda's relationship in The Red Tree as compared to any of your own, but also of Francis Bacon and George Dyer. And I wondered if Bacon was not only an artistic touchstone for the novel in terms of his actual work as a reference for that of Constance/Bettina, but also elements of his life. If you have the time and (more importantly) the inclination to answer this inquiry I'd be most appreciative, but I know the wheel ever turns and I do not mean to be intrusive, only so very curious in regards to this particular world you've created in the narrative.

I do love astute readers. Guilty as charged, as regards both Bacon and Dyer. Bacon has been a very important influence, and I read a lot of biography, and find odd parallels (or maybe they're not odd at all), and these things inevitably bleed together.

Oh, and, on Etsy, I've found the perfect mask to wear for the dramatic reading of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (I'm to play Oberon) at next year's ReaderCon 21.

Comments

( 24 comments — Have your say! )
txtriffidranch
Oct. 5th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
Speaking of Readercon, that reminds me: I can't remember if you told me in the past whether you prefer or disdain spicy foods. I'm asking because if I'm able to get out there, I may have a surprise for you.
greygirlbeast
Oct. 5th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)

Speaking of Readercon, that reminds me: I can't remember if you told me in the past whether you prefer or disdain spicy foods. I'm asking because if I'm able to get out there, I may have a surprise for you.

Prefer, which extreme prejudice.
txtriffidranch
Oct. 5th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Good to know. If I'm able to get out there, and it's all going to be dependent upon what happens over the next six months, I'm hoping to bring a jar or two of goth salsa. It all depends upon whether or not I can get a particular soft-neck garlic that's only grown in Louisiana these days.
greygirlbeast
Oct. 5th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)

I'm hoping to bring a jar or two of goth salsa.

Goth salsa? Dare I even ask?
txtriffidranch
Oct. 5th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
It's black-purple salsa. Cherokee Purple tomatoes, Cuban Black garlic, red onions, and Black Pearl peppers. The latter are going to be a real surprise, seeing as how that cultivar didn't exist five years ago, and nobody's really sure how to use them other than as an ornamental plant. (In the pepper trade, "ornamental" is a handy signpost that means "hot enough to peel the enamel off your teeth in big floppy strips," and that's just the way I like them.)
greygirlbeast
Oct. 5th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)

Yow. It sounds marvelous.
handful_ofdust
Oct. 5th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for liking "Marya Nox". I always worry about dialogue-only pieces, though I find myself increasingly drawn to write them. And let me take this opportunity to tell you, as I've been putting off for far too long (due to both busyness and shyness), how much I absolutely loved The Red Tree. It was everything I'd hoped for and more, and easily my favorite of yours so far (though if the next novel really does center around Perrault, that may eventually become my favorite, instead. It's just possible;)).
greygirlbeast
Oct. 5th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)

Thank you so much for liking "Marya Nox".

You are most welcome. It really is a gorgeous and haunting piece. I thought about it all night.
brienze
Oct. 5th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
I was just going through my Dad's old slides from the early 1970s to send for restoration as a Christmas present. There are a good many pictures of me, in various colored parkas from year to year, at Stonington and Groton Long Point. I wish I could remember those visits - we moved South when I was 9 - but I do remember going from there to Providence, where we ate at a Chinese restaurant that brought Italian bread to the table, because it was an Italian neighborhood and their patrons, my grandmother included, expected bread before the meal.

Thanks for the pictures and memories! If I could afford it, I'd love to go back someday. For one thing, I guess my parents didn't think the cemetery was an appropriate place to take a little girl, so I missed it entirely.
greygirlbeast
Oct. 5th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)

I wish I could have known New England in the early '70s, before tourism and gentrification took such an awful toll.
¯

Edited at 2009-10-05 06:09 pm (UTC)
ardiril
Oct. 5th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
OT: Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, featuring a 50 second spot of our own beloved Ms Kiernan (yeah, the clip on YouTube), becomes available on Netflix October 13. From the couple reviews I've read, the documentary is at least good for one viewing, featuring Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub and others.
greygirlbeast
Oct. 5th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)

OT: Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, featuring a 50 second spot of our own beloved Ms Kiernan (yeah, the clip on YouTube), becomes available on Netflix October 13. From the couple reviews I've read, the documentary is at least good for one viewing, featuring Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub and others.

Actually, there's quite a bit more of me in the final cut than the clip on YouTube.
ardiril
Oct. 5th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
Sorry, Google didn't give me much to go on. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
greygirlbeast
Oct. 5th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)

I'm really hope it does well on DVD. Frank's a great guy, and I loved doing the interview.
sovay
Oct. 5th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
Bacon has been a very important influence, and I read a lot of biography, and find odd parallels (or maybe they're not odd at all), and these things inevitably bleed together.

We still need to see Love Is the Devil.

Oh, and, on Etsy, I've found the perfect mask to wear for the dramatic reading of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (I'm to play Oberon) at next year's ReaderCon 21.

Dude! Photographs?

That looks like a lovely day at Stonington.
greygirlbeast
Oct. 5th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)

We still need to see Love Is the Devil.

Agreed.

Dude! Photographs?

I'll put a link to it in tomorrow's entry. It's very leafy, and I'm also going to rig together a head-piece with antlers. I must be a rutting Oberon, after all.
sovay
Oct. 5th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
It's very leafy, and I'm also going to rig together a head-piece with antlers.

Nice . . .

I must be a rutting Oberon, after all.

Oh, yes. "Do not forget, in German, they call him Erl-king."
v1ewfr0mbugtown
Oct. 5th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
Caitlín,

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed Sirenia #46. I think it’s one of my favorite issues ever. Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint was so good, I laid the rest aside thinking there was no way Shipwrecks Above could possibly get any better. Yet when I picked it up and read it, 2 days later, you absolutely blew me away. You made me taste ashes and drink the sea. Many, many thanks!
greygirlbeast
Oct. 6th, 2009 04:57 am (UTC)

You made me taste ashes and drink the sea.

That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me all day. Thank you.
odditie
Oct. 6th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
You're going to play Oberon?!
That's awesome! Will it be the full production or just a part?
greygirlbeast
Oct. 6th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)

You're going to play Oberon?!
That's awesome! Will it be the full production or just a part?


Yes, I'm going to play Oberon. I figure if Tilda Swinton can do Micheal...

It's only a dramatic reading, though. We're not actually doing to play as a play. I'm going to be in costume, but I expect most won't be.
madrial
Oct. 6th, 2009 08:02 am (UTC)
I love your photographs, especially the amazing blue sky.
I recently read "The Red Tree" and found it brilliantly unsettling. I rarely get so unnerved while reading - I can't wait to read it again.
dragonlady7
Oct. 6th, 2009 10:49 am (UTC)
I have relatives in that cemetery!! Mostly Denisons, Chesebroughs, and I think Pabodies. I have never visited, but thank you for posting the pictures; it looks lovely.
subtlesttrap
Oct. 7th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
TOC
Great to hear some news about The Ammonite Violin & Others! Can't wait to see the full table of contents listed!!!
( 24 comments — Have your say! )

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