From Purgatory

Another day gone, and with it another vile anniversary.

Sunny day after sunny day. And this was not an even vaguely productive one.

I did watch an unfortunate movie on IFC, something Canadian called Devil's Gate (2017), directed by Clay Staub, of whom you never will have heard, with bizarre cameo by Jonathan Frakes. The special effects were actually decent, and the art direction and such. But there was no script to speak of, the acting was atrocious, and the direction must have been likewise. But it passed a couple of hours.

Kathryn and I later watched a documentary about the rise and fall of Melody Maker magazine.

Tomorrow I have to at least answer some email.

Aunt Beast

10:13 p.m.
Roy Batty

Moose and Squirrel Go to Hell

Yeah, so...again, worse days than today. Though, once more, I am losing track of how long it has been since I was last Outside.

I got the ms. for The Variegated Alphabet finished and sent away to Subterranean Press. I talk, by email, with Xe Sands, who's the reader for the forthcoming Alabaster audiobook. And I was lucky to get that much done. I stand in utter fucking awe of creative sorts – especially those working from home who are their own boss – who are currently capable of any significant level of productivity.

I did watch two movies. First, the spectacularly bizarre Terminal (2018), directed by Vaughn Stein. Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, and Mike Myers in a bloody, neon-washed noir Alice in Wonderland homage. Or something like that. At some point I stopped trying to understand and just gawked. It's a better film than its IMDb rating would have you believe. And then it was Pete Travis' Dredd (2012), which was actually a great deal of fun, and I especially enjoyed Lena Headey hamming it up as the villain. Also a good performance from Olivia Thirlby. Gorgeous SFX. And it all makes more sense when you learn that Alex Garland, listed as screenwriter and producer, directed more of the film than did Travis.

And now...the sleep before the next day.

Aunt Beast

(11:06 p.m.)

"So far away, but still no near."

It's gonna be hot tomorrow, and hotter the next day. We should reach 97˚F on Sunday, which mans the heat index will send us well over 100˚F.

Another productive, not-horrible day. After a couple hours more work on The Variegated Alphabet ms., I thought I was finished and send it off to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press – who immediately noticed that I had omitted "The Eldritch Alphabētos." So, tomorrow I'll stick that in and try again. And I'm slowly catching up on my email, and I'm discovering that the bout with bullshit depression a couple of weeks back led to me missing various opportunities and deadlines and such. This is how it goes. Not my fucking fault, but whatever.

I also did a little paleontology. Besides having on of the Winifred blocks here, Jun brought by a few pounds of screened sediment from the basal Lisbon Formation (middle Eocene) at the Point A Dam locality in southern Alabama, which I'm picking through for the tiny teeth of rays, sharks, and bony fishes. And I do mean tiny. Most of them are no larger than 1.5 mm.

And Spooky and I watched a documentary about Joe Strummer, which was cool, but sad.

And there was very good Second Life, late into the night. Lately, Second Life with the Tampa gang is keeping me sane-ish.

Aunt Beast

(5:24 p.m.)
Cordon C3

Slow Time could have been worse.

I spent a chunk of it compiling a manuscript for Subterranean Press for a forthcoming volume collecting the seven alphabets I've written since 2006 ("The Black Alphabet," etc.). I had hoped to finish it, but it's going to take at least another day. I have the stamina of a glob of green Jell-O.

And Spooky and I finished Season Two of The Umbrella Academy. I wanted to hate this series so much. I did not even intend to watch it. But I adore it. So, there you go. It's Number Five. And Vanya. I'm a sucker.

I'm eating better again, finally.

Late, I watched Steven Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's Eleven (2001), which I also liked a lot.

And that was today. Booya. Whoopee. Fuck you Covid-19 and Trump and all the anti-maskers idiots.

Aunt Beast

(5:23 p.m.)

Day Bazillion and Three

They are no longer blurring together, They have so entirely blurred together that I am only aware, occasionally, that there is day and night. No other demarcations exist.

I had another bad bout of being unable to eat, starving myself, which I seem to be coming out of, thank fuck. Because I've lost so much weight I'm avoiding mirrors.

And Susan Ellison has died. I got the news this morning. I first met her in March 1995, and she was usually the one who answered the phone when I called Harlan.

Bit by bit, piece by piece, and even things that have nothing to do with this crisis feel like they do.

Tomorrow, I have to fucking work.

Aunt Beast

10:34 p.m.

Entry No. 6,064

Another day there's really not much to be said for.

It could have been worse.


And Comes a Pale Rider received a starred review in Publishers Weekly:

Albino demon hunter Dancy Flammarion, who last appeared in the graphic novel Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird, cuts a righteous swath across the American South guided by a skeletal, four-headed angel in this spectacular collection of five weird tales from Stoker Award winner Kiernan. Kiernan gets the collection off to a delightfully offbeat start with “Bus Fare,” in which Dancy trades first riddles then blows with a werewolf, and “Dancy vs. the Pterosaur,” in which she encounters the concept of evolution and promptly dismisses it as heretical. “Dreams of a Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” a series of vignettes that artfully poke holes into the continuity of Dancy’s universe, and standout “Tupelo,” an unsettling, hypnotic look at what Dancy’s life might be like if the supernatural weren’t real after all, both explore eerier territory. “Requiem” brings the collection to a satisfying and unexpectedly poignant close, as a witch who once threatened Dancy’s life seeks out the now-retired Dancy and the pair reach an unlikely understanding. Readers won’t have to be familiar with Kiernan’s earlier works to fall in love with her scrappy, mildly unhinged heroine or the masterful way in which she places charm and chills side by side. Dancy deserves a wide fan base. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (Nov.)

So, there was that.

Aunt Beast

6:31 p.m.

Twenty-Five Years

Today was the twenty-fifth anniversary of Elizabeth's suicide.

I had meant to say something more.

I should have said something more.

I'm just too tired.

Aunt Beast

3:29 p.m.
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Pale Riders

I'm sitting here spacing out listening to the frogs and crickets and katydids outside my office window. Well, now it's sort of my office/prep lab window, so thank you for that, Covid-19.

Today I left the house for the first time in 15 days (two days shy of my breaking my record, I think). We walked around the grounds a few minutes. I saw bumblebees and honey bees and flowers and clouds. Inside, I rarely even look at a window.

And I wrote 1,106 words on a new novella, which is a good thing.

We're watching The Umbrella Academy, which I had avoided because of my powerful aversion to all things Gerard Way. And I'm liking it a lot. See? I am very often wrong.

And I am spending a lot of time in Second Life. Again.

I'm reading Hunter S. Thompson's A Strange and Terrible Saga: Hell's Angels and re-reading William Burroughs' Naked Lunch – at the same time.

That gets us partway caught up. Oh, there's likely stuff that happened I'll never go back and recount. Lost stuff. The plague is doing that to us. Or at least to me. I am losing bits and pieces here and there, and I just have to accept that.

Spooky and I have been given permission to auction one copy of the ARCs (advanced reading copies) of the forthcoming second Dancy Flammarion collection, Comes a Pale Rider (see below, with me and my quarantine hair). That's gonna happen very soon, as soon as she has time to get it up on eBay.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

11:29 p.m.


This is the first entry I have made since the 20th, 12 days ago.

It isn't a real entry.

I'll try to do one of those tomorrow.

But it is a start.

Aunt Beast (tormentor of changelings)

10:59 p.m.

Bona voluntas, malum consilium, bitches.

A day when an open window is like the door to a furnace. With the heat index, we made 103˚F before a few merciful afternoon thundershowers. Currently, it's 77˚F.

Today printed clean copies of the manuscripts for all the several alphabets that I've written since 2006 for Sirenia Digest, as Subterranean Press is collecting them into a single volume soon, and I need to proofread it all. And I tried to get my brain to think about the story I'm trying to writing for the next digest. And I worked on the Winifred block. And I talked with SubPress and with Jun. On Friday, Jun's bringing me a bulk sample of middle Eocene matrix to pick through for shark and fish teeth, something else to make the isolation go faster and to make myself feel useful. And I'm packing up what's left of my collection of Alabama Late Cretaceous fossil to donate to McWane. It's mostly shark, fish, and mollusks. But it will be safer there and do more good. So, it felt like a day when I actually got stuff done.

Oh, and keep a weather eye out for Ann and Jeff Vandermeer's The Big Book of Modern Fantasy, on sale tomorrow, which reprints my story “La Peau Verte.”

Tonight, good RP in Second Life. Our Toreador coterie is coming together very nicely. We're up to something like seven or eight members (though one or two are not Toreador). My thanks for Kat and Chris and everyone else who's making this happen. And on this night) in 1969, when I was five years old, my mother made me and my sister stay awake to watch the moon landing. I have been grateful all my life. It is one of my oldest and most cherished memories. Americans used to stand in awe of scientific achievements.

And today on Facebook I called the Horror Clown a bioterrorist.

Oh, and Spooky made a quick trip to Greenwise (where everyone wears masks) and came home with a jar of really good kimchi.

Later VamTaters,
Aunt Beast

4:20 p.m.