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Woonsocket, Millville, Blackstone Gorge

I am painfully not-yet-awake. I seem to have suffered some bizarre reverse insomnia. I got to sleep just fine, around three a.m., but woke around nine, and only dozed fitfully afterwards, jerking awake every five or ten minutes, until I finally got up about ten. Blegh. Not how I needed to begin this day.

It's going to be a scorcher here in Providence today.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,143 words on Chapter One, falling somewhat short of my 1,500-word-a-day goal. Mostly, this was because I spent an hour and a half reworking portions of what I wrote on Thursday. The novel has been entirely changed by the impromptu "workshop" at Readercon last weekend, and hopefully for the better. I'll post details when I am farther along, deeper into this first chapter and more certain this new direction is working.

My hands are so dry.

I have not yet received my copies of The Ammonite Violin & Others, but I'm told they started shipping from subpress yesterday, so if you preordered, your books are on their way (unless you preordered from Amazon, which is always a little slower on deliveries).

I think that I may be writing "The Yellow Alphabet" this month, for Sirenia Digest 56. I've been wanting to do it for quite some time, to complete the triptych I began with "The Black Alphabet" and then continued with "The Crimson Alphabet." But first, I need to make substantial progress on Chapter One of the novel.

---

About six-thirty p.m., When the writing was done yesterday, and also the reading aloud what had been written, Spooky and I drove north and west to Woonsocket. I've always needed to "location scout" for stories and novels, to ground at least some part of them in a place I have actually visited. We'd not been in Woonsocket since the summer of 2004, when I was scouting locations for Daughter of Hounds. We stopped at Thundermist Falls, though the sun was setting fast, and I knew Thundermist Falls wasn't the spot I was looking for. Still, the Blackstone River crashing down from the dam's spillways to the rocks below is irresistible. On the south side of the bridge we spotted a large turtle (Deirochelyinae incertae sedis) getting the last rays of the day, and also a muskrat clambering about on the rocks.

We left Woonsocket and followed the river, driving a little farther north, across the state line into southern Massachusetts to Millville. We stopped on a bridge between another (smaller) dam and two railway trestles. Then we drove on through Millville, a town very possessed of that decayed, haunted New England feel. We followed dark, tree-shrouded roads to the Blackstone Gorge, which we reached just before sunset. And as soon as I saw the little dam and the wide, still river backed up behind it, the woods pressing in on either side, the marshy banks, I realized I'd found the place I was searching for. Eerie and beautiful in equal measure. Something deeply unsettling about the glassy surface of the river above the dam. This is where the novel begins, or at a spot just northwest of here. We sat a while, watching the crescent moon rise over the trees. We'll be going back, this evening or maybe tomorrow, because there's more I need to see. But it was a very successful trip. We left Blackstone Gorge about eight p.m. and headed back to Providence. I took fifty-three photos, and there are six behind the cut (they're a little hazy, as the camera settings were off). I'll get more up later:





Thundermist Falls, Woonsocket, RI (view to the west).



The rocky promontory between the falls and the South Main Street bridge (view to the west).



Railroad trestles over the Blackstone River in Millville, Massachusetts.



Blackstone Gorge, just what I was looking for. View to the west.



The Author, in baggy jeans, contemplates The Novel (view to the west).



The river rushing over Late Proterozoic rocks of the Blackstone Group.

All photographs Copyright © 2010 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac



---

Back home, after dinner, we watched Niels Arden Oplev's Män som hatar kvinnor (2009; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), which was very, very good. I'm very taken with Noomi Rapace. And after the movie we read through what I've written so far on Chapter One once more before bed. Just before sleep, I read some of S.T. Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos (2008); I'm having dinner with Joshi next week.

Comments

( 23 comments — Have your say! )
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 17th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)

It would be interesting to know what do you think of Stieg Larsson's books that The Girls With the Dragon Tattoo is based on. Personally I think they're all great, but I seem to recall reading about your dissatisfaction with straightforward Jonathan Kellerman-esque thrillers.

I've not read any of Larsson's books. But yeah, thrillers, as novels, don't usually do it for me. Better in film.
mercurygrrl
Jul. 17th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to see that you enjoyed the film. As i understand it, it has received harsh critique "over there". Will they be released over a short period of time in the US, as they were here? I finally read/listened to the books just a short while ago, and really enjoyed them, too.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 17th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)

Will they be released over a short period of time in the US, as they were here?

No idea. But I'd love to see the others.
mb2u
Jul. 17th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC)
The movies have been released to the smaller, indie/art film theater circuit. Check listings for those theaters in your area, and of course they'll be on DVD later...

chris_walsh
Jul. 17th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Will they be released over a short period of time in the US, as they were here?

Only speaking for Portland, OR, the three films will all get released here this year. The second came out yesterday; the first is still playing locally. But Portland can have offbeat scheduling -- it's one of the few United States cities that still sometimes has a film stick around for months and months -- so I don't know how much that's being tried elsewhere in the U.S.
(Deleted comment)
mercurygrrl
Jul. 17th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
Something I do not look forward to, at all...
whiskeychick
Jul. 17th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
But baggy jeans are just the best for location scouting. /wink

I can see what you mean about the unsettling features of this place.

Oh! Thanks for the reminder on the pre-orders to Ammonite Violin & Others. I've moved since I placed my order and have to make sure that Sub. Press has the right shipping locale. I would hate for my copy to get lost because of something like that.

Looking forward to it.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 17th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)

But baggy jeans are just the best for location scouting.

Yep.
egologic
Jul. 17th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)
Very nice photos. It looks like there are houses near the dam in the first picture. I would love to live that close to such a place. I don't know how much noise is made by the falls but I'd enjoy that too.

There's a very nice dam in Maryland called Pretty Boy Dam. I don't think there are many houses around it but it's very nice.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prettyboy_Reservoir

And not too awful far away is the Conowingo Dam. Also very nice.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conowingo_Dam
txtriffidranch
Jul. 17th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
My grandmother used to live right next to a similar dam in southern Michigan. After a while, you blank out the noise, and she actually found it hard to sleep when she moved away from the dam in the late Nineties.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 18th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)

My grandmother used to live right next to a similar dam in southern Michigan. After a while, you blank out the noise, and she actually found it hard to sleep when she moved away from the dam in the late Nineties.

It's like the sound of the ocean, only always breathing out and never breathing in.
cimeara
Jul. 17th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
Wonderful wild place.

I loved the movie, too. I'd read the book beforehand, loved that, and, yes, okay, was surprised and rather awed with how much of the dark stuff they showed in the film. But that intensity is important. I also thought the actress was perfect. What got me was the jerky way she moved sometimes, not from clumsiness, but seeming to be from when her mind was moving at a different speed, in a different direction, than her body. Very well played.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 18th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)

Yes! On all counts (though I've not read the books.)
spank_an_elf
Jul. 17th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
You would love the old dam/spillway in Basto NJ. The lake behind the dam is reddish cedar water, so when the water boils over the spillway it gains a unique color even when frothy. They built a wooden bridge over the spillway so you stand there mesmerized by staring into the raging spate. It felt frightening.

greygirlbeast
Jul. 18th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)

The lake behind the dam is reddish cedar water, so when the water boils over the spillway it gains a unique color even when frothy. They built a wooden bridge over the spillway so you stand there mesmerized by staring into the raging spate. It felt frightening.

It sounds beautiful. At Blackstone Gorge, the water is a dark tea-stained color, mainly from tannin.
sovay
Jul. 18th, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)
And as soon as I saw the little dam and the wide, still river backed up behind it, the woods pressing in on either side, the marshy banks, I realized I'd found the place I was searching for. Eerie and beautiful in equal measure. Something deeply unsettling about the glassy surface of the river above the dam.

Oh, lovely.

The last three photos are particularly good.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 18th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)

When next you come down, we should drive out there.
sovay
Jul. 18th, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)
When next you come down, we should drive out there.

I would love that.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 18th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)

Aw, I was hoping for a turtle pic.

Spooky got a couple of turtle photos, but the turtle was so far away, and the light so low, they're really too blurry to make much out.
squid_soup
Jul. 18th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)

Yes, it and the muskrat were more blurry blobs than anything.
But at least the turtle decided to bask on a big white slab of something, so the blob has a turtle-like form.
fusijui
Jul. 20th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
The Author, in baggy jeans, contemplates The Novel (view to the west).

> x novel

The novel is too far away.

> w

You carefully make your way across Blackstone Falls, teetering precariously over the spillway. The woods on the far bank are thick and gloomy.

The novel shudders nervously, ready to flee at any moment.

> put novel in laptop

There is no room in your laptop for the novel!

The novel scuttles into the forest to the south.

> s

The forest canopy is so dense here that only faint greenish light reaches the ground. It is dark.

The novel has been eaten by a grue.
robyn_ma
Jul. 21st, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
'I'm very taken with Noomi Rapace.'

Variety reports she's up for the lead role in This Accursed Desk: The Caitlín R. Kiernan Story. Tilda will play the hedgehog.
robyn_ma
Jul. 21st, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
Erm. I mean Tilda will play the platypus. I have no idea who's going to play the hedgehog.

In other news, The Girl Who Played with Fire hits the Avon this weekend. It is shorter but not better than Dragon Tattoo. It also keeps Lisbeth and Mikael apart for almost the entire running time. On the plus side, you get to see Noomi getting funky with another woman.
( 23 comments — Have your say! )