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Slowly, slowly, spring is coming to Providence. I try not to think how fast it must be coming on in Birmingham, and Atlanta, and Athens. Here, it comes slowly. And I am here, and, in all ways, that's better than my being in Birmingham, or Atlanta, or Athens. But the slow-coming spring, it's still odd and difficult, especially after a winter like the one we just had. The days are averaging 40sF, the nights 30sF or high 20sF, which actually seems warm. We can acclimate to almost anything.

The nice thing about knowing that virtually no one reads this blog is that I don't have to worry about whether or not I'm boring people.

Anyway, yesterday was warm. The official high in Providence was 71˚F, I think. As it was day one of the three-day vacation, we decided to drive to West Cove on Conanicut Island. It was very comfortable when we left the city, but there was a wind advisory, with gusts up to 50 mph. When we got out of the van at West Cove, it felt like the temperature was in the thirties, and I spent the first hour of beach combing shivering and trying to keep my hands from going numb. Then the sun came out, and the afternoon warmed. I was able to remove my gloves and unzip my coat. Yesterday, it will likely go down in the annals of West Cove days as the day I stepped on a dead, rotten, beached skunk. That was surely yesterday's most dramatic moment. I found two specimens of a pelecypod I've never seen in the cove before, Cerastoderma pinnulatum (the Small cockle). I found a few good bird bones, including another cormorant beak. We stayed until late, then headed back to the city.

On the way home, I watched the moon through my Orion 10x42 monocular. Of course, this weekend's moon is Big News, but it really was beautiful. I could identify so many landmarks: mountains, craters, basins, etc., all in reflected silver and shades of grey. We stopped by the market, and were home before dark.

There are photos from yesterday, below the cut (at the end of the entry).

---

I won't write about the post-novel depression, just now, and certainly not the whys of it. It only gets worse when you look directly at it, or speak its name.

There's always an odd sort of embarrassment when I see a review of an anthology, and the reviewer hated most of the book, but really loved my contribution. Case in point, a review of Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded at Green Man Reviews. The book reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)," and the reviewer writes:

It’s a beautiful achievement, this story, a very human, rather squalid life offered for our perusal in terms that are neither sentimental nor cruel, managing an effect at once intimate and remote. Now there’s so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing that I must stress that this tale is depressing, in a quiet sort of way… but that’s not what makes it art. What makes it art is the command of voice and personality Kiernan displays, the things she says and the things she leaves unsaid, and the fact that she can deliver this character-driven gem while still conjuring up a whole world of clanking, steam-driven marvels in the background, almost all through hints and allusions. This story lingers. I hope it gets a good deal of attention; it deserves to.

Okay, aside from the snarky, bizarre "so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing" bit, very nice. I continue to believe "The Steam Dancer (1896)" is, in fact, one of my best stories.

Also, I've seen a review of The Ammonite Violin & Others by ST Joshi that I think will be appearing in Dead Reckonings (I think). Also, very flattering. A short excerpt:

Purely on the level of prose, Kiernan already ranks with the most distinctive stylists of our field—Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Thomas Ligotti. With Ligotti’s regrettable retreat into fictional silence, hers is now the most recognizable voice in weird fiction. No one is ever likely to mistake a sentence by Caitlín R. Kiernan for a sentence by any other writer.

That ought to cheer me up, right? I know that it should. But...

---

Also, yesterday I read David H. Keller's "The Jelly-Fish" and F. Marion Crawford's "For the Blood is the Life." Neither was very good, but the latter was almost unreadable in its dullness. Also read, from the last JVP, "A new partial skeleton of a cryptocleidoid plesiosaur from the Upper Jurassic Sundance Formation of Wyoming" and "A possible azhdarchid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Qingshan Group of Laiyang, Shandong, China."

Right. I'm not supposed to work today. That's the truth. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do, instead, to busy my restless, fretting mind.

Here are yesterday's photographs:





West Cove, view to the southeast.



I love accidental photos.



March of the shuggoths! View to the southeast.



I scrambled up a thirty-foot granite bluff to get this shot of Narragansett Bay. View to the south, towards the open Atlantic.



From my aerie, looking back down at the cove and Spooky.



The beauty of barnacles. These are Balanus balanoides.



Inside one of the convenient space toilets in the parking area at West Cove.



The dead skunk. At first, we thought there was a living one lurking about. There often are at the cove. Then I (inadvertently) stepped on the source of the odor.



About a foot away was a dead gull.



Tide coming in at West Cove, after the sun came out. View to the south.



View east, towards Aquidneck island.

All photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac

Comments

( 14 comments — Have your say! )
ashlyme
Mar. 19th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
I'd like to offer you more on the post-novel depression than mere well-wishing; but I hope you come through it soon.

That skunk's like a very nasty glove-puppet; I'd have felt extremely ill if I'd stepped in that; and the gull's really unearthly. It looks a lot like a Richard Kirk drawing.

The Green Man review foxed me, particularly the bitch about depressing work having artistic merit, as if there were a tendency to fetishize the bleak and call it The One True Art. Go down that road of argument, and you could call Ian Curtis a pseud. Bah. Glad they had good words for "Steam Dancer", though.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 19th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)

I'd have felt extremely ill if I'd stepped in that

My life has been too filled with rot and carcasses to respond that way.
rushthatspeaks
Mar. 19th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
I will trade you our weather cheerfully: 85 F in central TX on St. Patrick's Day, and rising. According to my brain we should still be in significant danger of frost at this point in the year, dammit.

That is a very good picture of shoggoths.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 19th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)

I will trade you our weather cheerfully: 85 F in central TX on St. Patrick's Day, and rising. According to my brain we should still be in significant danger of frost at this point in the year, dammit.

I would trade...
cimeara
Mar. 19th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
More people read than comment, but don't let that ruin your freedom to be as boring as you wish. This space is utterly for you.

Beautiful photos!
greygirlbeast
Mar. 19th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)

More people read than comment, but don't let that ruin your freedom to be as boring as you wish. This space is utterly for you.

That last part is true, yes.
spank_an_elf
Mar. 19th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
The dead skunk reminds me of when we picked up an otter skull while on vacation in California. We took it back to the hotel room and when we started rinsing it off, brains and maggots burst from the openings.

I am embarrassed to say we squealed like frightened piglets.

Better yet we smuggled the skull onto the plane and stowed it in the overhead. Oh yeah, it started to stink.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 19th, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
The dead skunk reminds me of when we picked up an otter skull while on vacation in California. We took it back to the hotel room and when we started rinsing it off, brains and maggots burst from the openings.

That made Spooky and me both laugh.

Edited at 2011-03-19 11:05 pm (UTC)
chris_walsh
Mar. 20th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
As it may help your mood, here's a low red moon.
corucia
Mar. 20th, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
Perhaps a bit overshadowed by the 'supermoon' - Messenger successfully made Mercury orbit....

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/index.php

wooddickinson
Mar. 20th, 2011 02:35 pm (UTC)
I know the feeling
Yup. Delivered 19 pieces for exhibition on 3/1. Took 18 months to do the project along with a book about a small group of homeless. I feel disjointed at the moment. Putting the wraps on another screenplay. No package time. 5 features may do it for me. So, I'm writing a short story (which I never do) and it has grown to novella length. That's keeping from falling completely apart.
whiskeychick
Mar. 20th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Love the March of the shuggoths!

I read all the posts, but don't always comment for fear of being trivial.

elsewhereangel
Mar. 21st, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
This!
dipsomaniac
Mar. 20th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
I think many people don't leave comments for fear of boring you. The pictures are great. I didn't think you'd actually post one of the dead skunk - took me by surprise. I could never stand the smell in a port-a-potty long enough to take a picture but I'm sure it doesn't compare to the smell of that skunk.
( 14 comments — Have your say! )