Trip recounting Part Two. Yeah, well that's not really going to happen. Or it's not going to happen the way it would have, had I slept. Insomnia's sort of like time travel. Shit still happens, but it happens differently than it would have, because the worldline's been altered.
Day Two. We went to the American Museum of Natural History. I have many fond memories of the AMNH. The last time I'd been there was May 2001, and I was there as a paleontologist researching mosasaurs. I sat in the dusty attic, filled with cabinets of fossils and labels written in Cope's own spidery hand, and worked on a project that I was never able to finish. The museum's changed a bit in the last ten years. Mostly not for the better. And these are the two things that cycled through my mind repeatedly while we were there on Wednesday.
In the Hall of Biodiversity, I sat down and made some notes about how natural history museums are - partly by necessity, partly by way of wrongheaded educators - going the way of the dinosaurs they display. Funding continues to dry up, and museums have to find ways to stay afloat. So, they become more and more like theme parks. It's called "infotainment," which requires "interactive" gimmicks, instead of hands-off exhibits with, you know, words and stuff. Add to this a maze of gift shops. I gag on that sickly portmanteau, "infotainment." Anyway, in my little black notebook, I wrote:
More and more, the old museum has been lost to the ravages of "infotainment." And to that add hundreds upon hundreds of screeching children*. The sense of sanctuary has been lost, that secular Cathedral to Science and Nature that was once the hallmark of good museums. The quiet dignity. I watch the people, and they file past, hardly even pausing to actually look at anything. Video monitors everywhere, sensory overload. Very sad seeing this.
Okay, I feel bad enough without harping on the Death of Museums right now. I'll come back to it some other time.
"Fake Plastic Trees" has sold to Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling for their post-apocalyptic YA anthology, After. I suppose, at this point, everything that postdates tomorrow is post-apocalyptic.
Also, while I have decided to write Blood Oranges before Blue Canary, it's not what I actually want to do. Many factors come into play. Blood Oranges is a peculiar lark of a book. Blue Canary is my future (I hope). By the way, with my agent's blessings, I'll be writing the latter as Kathleen Rory Tierney. Or Kathleen R. Tierney. But the R will stand for Rory, whether people know it or not. Someday, I may write another novel like The Drowning Girl or The Red Tree. We shall see. Time will tell. Regardless, all this is a change of direction of my choosing.
Yesterday...um...yesterday, I signed 600+ signature sheets for Two Worlds and In Between (which required two hours and forty-five minutes). I emailed stories to two editors for two anthologies. I answered email. The REAL mail came, and there was a chunk of granite (brick red with grey phenocrysts) from Ryan Obermeyer, which he picked up on the shore of the Red Sea, at Hurghada, during his recent trip to Egypt. Actually, the stone came from out of the water of the Red Sea.
My foot hurts like hell. If hell hurts, and they tell us it will.
Last night, good rp in Rift. The guild grows, and its story begins to unfold.
And I'm going to hit myself in the face now.
P.S. -- My birthday soon. Please give me stuff.
* Once, when I was young, children actually knew how to behave in museums. Now, the teachers chaperoning field trips have probably been bullied by helicopter parents to the point that they're afraid of telling kids to keep it down, for fear of lawsuits charging them with stifling self-expression or some bullshit. So, we get these fucking brats with a sense of entitlement.
In the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, a rearing Barosaurus (unlikely) and an Allosaurus.
African elephants that once were alive. But when they're extinct, we'll still have these dead things to show the kids.
The Bongo. I have a horn fetish. No, really.
A model of a mosquito, enlarged many, many times. Spooky loved this in particular.
The scale model of a Blue Whale.
A Cretaceous-age seafloor.
A Permian-age seafloor.
More Permian seafloor.
Ordovician-age trilobites crawling over a head of coral.
The giant Ordovician trilobite Isotelus gigas.
The coelacanth, symbol of many, many things.
A dusty Architeuthis battles a dusty Sperm Whale in the pretend darkness of a pretend abyss.
All photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac