Yesterday, I worked on Sirenia Digest #89, which will go out to subscribers this evening or tomorrow. Vince has sent me all the illustrations for The Ape's Wife and Others, which I'll send along to Subterranean Press this afternoon. By the way, the collection's release date has been moved back to November 30th. I worked on ad copy for Dark Horse (can't yet say). That was yesterday. I had great trouble sleeping last night, though I'm not sure why, as I was actually sleepy.
I read the first three papers in Bernissart Dinosaurs and Early Cretaceous Terrestrial Ecosystems, an enormous, marvelous treatise edited by Pascal Godefroit, Professor of Paleontology at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels: "Bernissart and Iguanodons: Historical Perspective and New Investigations," "The Attempted Theft of Dinosaurs Skeletons During the German Occupation of Belgium (1914-1918) and Some Other Cases of Looting Possessions of Natural History," and "A Short Introduction to the Geology of the Mons Basin and the Iguanodon Sinkhole, Belgium." My thanks to Steven Lubold, who sent me the book, which will undoubtedly keep me fascinated for many weeks to come.
Day before yesterday, Solstice, Litha, etc. Spooky and I left Providence and made our way down to Moonstone Beach, stopping at Spooky's parents along the way. Her dad was home for a few days, but left for the Philippines again yesterday. South County is beautiful, drowning in green. This is the season I can make my peace with Rhode Island, and, this year, after the horrid winter and Cold Spring, I'm trying especially hard. The air at Moonstone was chilly. I didn't get cold, but Spooky did. We built little stone cairns, and I dug a rather enormous hole in the sand. The topography of the beach and the salt ponds was changed by Sandy (which is the way things have always been with beaches and storms), but the Piping Plovers are back. The moon rose white and huge in the late afternoon sky, a white smudge against the blue. The sea was choppy and green. The only boat I saw was a single sailboat, between us and Block Island to the south. We drove to Narragansett afterwards for dinner at Iggy's, and we made it home around 9:30 or 10 p.m. It was a good day. Spooky got some good plover photos, which I'll post later.
Back to New Orleans...
14. The way I saw it, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir had no chance whatsoever of winning a Stoker. I was there to co-present the award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction (id est, novella/novelette). I had no notes prepared, and I genuinely was taken entirely by surprise. I somehow managed to burble out something coherent. I think I thanked the people who mattered most, beginning with Spooky. I was having trouble breathing, and, I am told, I got a bit emotional. It's all hazy on this end. I'm not sure whether I'm happy or sorry that the webcast isn't archived somewhere. What amuses me, though, is I'd dressed to the nines all damn weekend, but I accepted the award in my Fahrenheit 451 T-shirt. It seemed very appropriate.
Oh, random note: I appeared on no panels during the con. It was a condition of my coming. I said, "No panels." I hate doing panels.
15. After the awards ceremony, there was utter chaos in the hotel's Iberville suite. I think it might have been meant as an after party. There were free ink pens on the table that had been made to look like hypodermic needles filled with blood. Cheesy, yes, but I couldn't resist. I had a few minutes to talk with Doug Winter, and then Spooky and I sat down with Andrew Fuller, whom we'd met in Portland in October 2010, during the Lovecraft Film Festival. After a bit, the three of us went upstairs to the sixth floor – oh, wait. The Sixth Floor. There was a Room 665, and there was a Room 667. Then, at the end of the had, there was just a door. No number. Open it. An odd little foyer and an elevator, and the elevator only goes down, even though the place has seventeen floors. It gave me a nice "5 and 1/2 minute hallway" shiver. By the way, the hotel seems afflicted with a bevy of hauntings, which should come as no surprise. Anyway, we went to room 665 and hung out until the wee hours with S.T. Joshi, Jason and Sunni Brock, Bill Nolan, Jared Walters, and some other people whose names escape me. We talked weird fiction, publishing, and suchlike, and Joshi took advantage of the all-night room service to order pizza.
16. Our last night in New Orleans, Sunday, last Sunday (which seems a million years ago), I decided to stay up all night, since, fuck it, our train left at 7:00 a.m. Spooky took a two or three hour nap. I ate Crawtators and watched Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down (2001). I'd seen it in the theatre on a shitty, little curved screen in Birmingham. It was much better than I remembered. I especially enjoyed Tom Sizemore's performance. Anyway, we made it to the train station by 5:15. I was...I feel like I've written about this already...I was delirious. I'd taken my nightly meds, but hadn't slept. And I'd "forgotten" to have dinner. Neat trick, that. Everything was simultaneously muffled and too loud, dim and far too bright. I watched the lazy sky turn light, and I wished summer sunrises didn't come so early in Providence.
17. This is a good number with which to close my memories of the weekend. So, on Wednesday night – well, Thursday morning, as it was after midnight – during mine and Spooky's first walk along Royal, we spotted two beautiful white horses leashed to a wrought-iron fence near the corner of Royal and Conti. They were eating leaves from a low branch. It was a perfect image.
So, now I am in New England again. I am in Rhode Island, where we have no kudzu and no magnolias, no Spanish bayonets or Spanish moss, and I miss the South. But I am here. There are photos behind the cut, a set of five from window displays that caught Spooky's attention:
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn A. Pollnac
Wishing for the Shore,
Postscript (3:16 p.m.): If you don't like the way the cookie crumbles, bake a moister cookie.