greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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the pig of knowledge

The last day of 2004. Already.

Yesterday, because neither DeKalb nor Fulton counties possess a decent lending library between them, I finally broke down and purchased borrowing privilages from Emory University for the sum of $100. We spent most of the day at the library, ferreting out books on various subjects relevent to Daughter of Hounds. As for DoH, I've written nothing new. It's a stack of building blocks in my mind, and I have to find their general relationship one to the other before I may continue. Building blocks. Words. Geometric forms. A disordered phylogeny. I have a lot of analogies that presently describe this book. So, I'm trying not to stare at it too directly. If I work on these things tangential to the book, regarding the structure (that is, the format, not the plot) only from the corner of one eye, I think that it won't notice and will be deceived into showing itself to me in full. It's a gorgon, this one.

The warmer temperatures yesterday were much appreciated (mid-60s, I think), and we got Thai for dinner last night, which was also nice. Then we rented Garden State, which pleased me tremendously. Natalie Portman is a dream. A very good and powerful movie, indeed. And a great soundtrack, which I suspect would be good to write to. Afterwards, I read the first three chapters of Private Demons, Judy Oppenheimer's biography of Shirley Jackson. Thanks to everyone who wrote me about the inspiration for Hill House. The passage recalling Jackson's inspiration appears to have been quoted in Stephen King's Danse Macabre, and in other volumes, as well. So, I wasn't imagining the whole Manhattan thing. I'm not sure where Tarrt got her idea about the house at Bennington College. But, I may have been right about Hill House having more than a single source, as, in a lecture at Suffield, Jackson apparently also cited a photograph of a house in California as an inspiration. I'd quote the passage from Danse Macabre, about the Manhattan house, but my copy of the book is currently inaccessible.

I will quote this bit though, from Chapter One (p. 21) of Private Demons (quoted by Oppenheimer from an unpublished Jackson essay in the Library of Congress' Shirley Jackson Collection):

I will not tolerate having these other worlds called imaginary. In explanation of them I can only say: how do you know when you wake up in the morning that only eight or so hours have passed since the night before, that the intervening time has been spent in bed, that the affairs you take up so dully in the morning were not laid down centuries before, to wait until you got back to them from somewhere else. In the little minutes of absent-mindedness crossing the street you may without recollection have lived a life somewhere else, you may move back and forth from one of many lives to another, without perception at any time of all the others...To call such a thing imaginary is the reality of one man in one place at one time, and if anyone can be really content with that then perhaps in such a life there are no other places.

I've been trying to say just exactly that for ages now (see my earlier comments on consensual reality and dreams, etc.), but I'll never, ever have the simple, honest directness of Jackson. Anyway, I read the biography, and Spooky read from Magic, Witchcraft, and the Otherworld: An Antropology by Susan Greenwood (and maybe she wouldn't want me telling you what she's reading, but there you are). Finally, I noticed it was three a.m. and took an Ambien so that I'd go the hell to sleep. This morning, Spooky had an e-mail from her mother, and we learned that her father, who is, as it would happen, an anthropologist, is off to Alaska again. Alaska in January. Brrrrrr. I was never quite that intrepid in my fieldwork.

I've added two more of Leh'agvoi's (i.e., setsuled) Nar'eth pin-ups to Just click here. I'm especially pleased with pin-up #8, which introduces Nar'eth's one-third Sebacean sister, Tai'lah. She's important to the manga "winter special" we'll be doing later on (before winter ends, really), so it's good to get her out there in this world. Okay, gotta do some work or something now...

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