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Entry No. 5,241

Sunny and warmer today, though there's still a little snow out there. Currently, it's 44˚F, and the windchill is 37˚F.

This will be short, because today we're heading down to South County to visit Spooky's parents. I didn't write yesterday. I sat here for hours trying to find a story, a story I had not told before, or, at least, trying to find a way to tell a story I've already told in a different way.

Last night, Kathryn and I watched the first fifteen episodes of the first season of Roseanne (1988-1989), which is one of the strangest things Spooky and I have ever done together. However, unlike The Gilmore Girls, I'm pretty sure I am the target audience for Roseanne.

Last night, I left the House long enough to retrieve a bag of cat litter from the car.

Aunt Beast

5:09 p.m.
Sunny today. The temperature is sitting right at freezing, 32˚F, but the windchill's at 24˚F. It occurs to me that I have not left the House since January 11th. There's still a little snow on the ground, and nothing I see from the windows makes me want to venture Outside. But tomorrow we're going down to Saunderstown to visit with Spooky parents, so I'll be forced out then.

Yesterday, I proofread "Excerpts from An Eschatology Quadrille," "Ballad of a Catamite Revolver," "Untitled Psychiatrist No. 3," "The Dinosaur Tourist (Murder Ballad No. 11)," and "Objects in the Mirror." Which brings me to the end of the ms for The Dinosaur Tourist. But now I need to set it aside and get back to Sirenia Digest. But proofreading, it was heartening to see that I managed to write some genuinely good fiction in 2017, even if none of it was of the novel length that everyone clamor for and for which I am paid considerably more than I am paid for short fiction. But we do what we can do. Hopefully, I can get back to The Dinosaur Tourist in only a couple of weeks.

Yesterday, I had email from Andy Rindsberg, a paleontologist acquaintance of many years, from the University of West Alabama in Livingston and also from Mary Prondzinski, collections manager at the Natural History Museum of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

I've decided to read Michael McDowell's Blackwater series again. I've not read it since 1983, when the books were new.

Last night, Spooky made a delicious baked chicken in a spicy, hot tomato sauce, with mushrooms and bell pepper, and we had it with Brussels sprouts and potatoes.

We're trying to get into The Gilmore Girls, because we liked The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel so much. But, so far, I'm not enjoying it much at all, and the things that work about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are nowhere to be seen. I'm concluding that I'm not the target audience, whatever that may have been.

A couple of posts from Facebook, from day before yesterday:

These Democrat special election wins are showing us that it will be the DNC that restores balance and normalcy and brings an end to the nightmare, not the pipe dreams of third, fourth, and fifth parties that helped get us into the mess.

~ and ~

I do not believe that the ends justify the means, that justice can follow from denial of due process, or in the efficacy of inquisitions and blacklists. I do not believe in guilt by accusation or that basic human rights can be secured by denying anyone their basic human rights. If the path to justice that you've chosen requires you to become the very thing you profess to oppose (or something worse), then your success will merely mean that an old evil has been replaced with a new and equally toxic evil.

Aunt Beast

10:12 p.m.

Howard Hughes and the Lingering White Scum

Someday, I'm going to gather up all my Howard Hughes titles...

Currently, it's 28˚F in Providence, with the windchill at 22˚F. The sun is out, and the sky is blue. Yesterday's snow didn't amount to much, and it's already melting away.

Yesterday, I proofread "Whisper Road (Murder Ballad No. 9)," "Animals Pull the Night Around Their Shoulders," and "Untitled Psychiatrist No. 2." I read the first two aloud to Spooky, and they're really two of the best things I've written in the last few years. Today, I'm going to make a push to finish proofing the ms. of The Dinosaur Tourist (though I'll still have to proof the three Dancy stories that will comprise the accompanying chapbook). I've got to get a story written for Sirenia Digest No. 144.

And I have to start fighting back against this depression. I'm tired of it having the upper hand.

When LJ decided to make hyperlinks from pound signs (hash tags), they really screwed the pooch.

Aunt Beast

10:40 a.m. (yesterday)
Snowing here. We may get four inches. So, a small snow to briefly soften the ugly, sharp edges of winter. Currently, it's 34˚F, with the windchill at 29˚F.

Yesterday, I proofed "Ballad of an Echo Whisperer," "The Cripple and the Starfish," and "Fake Plastic Trees," from the ms. for The Dinosaur Tourist. I'm considering cutting "The Cripple and the Starfish." It's not as big a mess as "Blind Fish," but it has issues, and I don't have time to fix them. I don't have the requisite motivation to even try to fix them. Fortunately, the ms. is huge, and it can stand to lose a few stories. I expected this. And I discovered that "Fake Plastic Trees" is a better look at apocalypse than I knew. Reading it yesterday, I was reading it from the perspective of someone living through an apocalypse, instead of a writer just dreaming it all up to get a check. It gets this sense that there's nowhere to go, and no one's ever coming, and this didn't have to happen, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Yesterday, Spooky drove over to the Weaver Memorial Library in East Providence to get a copy of Stanley Kramer's On the Beach (1959) on DVD. Amazon didn't have it to steam. Nor did Netflix. And I do not steal shit via BitTorrent et al. or watch grainy pirated films on YouTube. Better a little inconvenience. Spooky had never seen On the Beach, such a beautiful, hopeless film, and I had not seen it in years. At the end of the Cold War, after the fall of the Soviet Union, I began to pack away my almost crippling nuclear anxieties. But now the box is open again, and I've decided to revisit some of the better relevant films.

I don't like that paragraph, but I don't have the energy to rewrite it. This depression has robbed me of all but the most rudimentary motivation.

Outside the library, Spooky found a fine, big tree, and there are far too few of those in Rhode Island.

Aunt Beast

1:16 p.m.
Overcast and cold. The temperature is currently 28˚F. There's snow coming.

Yesterday, I spent more than two hours on "Blind Fish," but I don't think all the lines edits will actually fix what's wrong with the story. So, I may simply cut it from The Dinosaur Tourist. Which is a shame, as there's some good imagery and some interesting concepts. But this story is evidence of the mess my mind was in late 2012, as I wrestled with the Quinn books (ugh) and Dark Horse (argh) and everything else. I just do not have the time or patience right now to truly make "Blind Fish" a better story.

Last night, we watched Robert Zemeckis' Forrest Gump (1994), which Spooky had never seen and I'd not seen since the summer of its release. I recalled liking it, and I was pleased to find that I still like it quite a lot.

Aunt Beast

11:15 a.m. (this morning)

"All my life, waiting to find." (Still.)

This morning on Facebook I posted one of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes: I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden. And I said, "These days, this quote makes me think of my father, who died in 2007. We'd been estranged since 1990. We did not speak the last 17 years of his life, and that is one of those great regrets of my life." All that time, I thought I was being brave and showing the conviction of my beliefs (apart from the hate), but, in fact, I was just being an idiot.*

I dreamt about him this morning, my father.

Cold here, very cold. And overcast, and there was a dusting of snow this morning. Currently, it's 18˚F, with the windchill at 3˚F.

Yesterday, I couldn't face the proofreading. The next story up is an SF tale called "Blind Fish." It originally appeared in Sirenia Digest #85 (December 2012), and when it was reprinted in S.T. Joshi's Searchers After Horror: New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic (Fedogan and Bremer, 2014), after the book was in print, I discovered it was filled with all manner of messed up sentences, things worse than typos that somehow got past me twice. So, I knew yesterday that I wasn't up to the chore of trying to fix the story and make it presentable enough to appear in The Dinosaur Tourist. But I did manage to sign the signature sheets for Black Wings VI (also a Joshi anthology). Small victories. Next, these pages go to New Zealand.

On Saturday, I emailed Jonathan Strahan, my editor on the Tor.com books, and I told him, the way things are with me right now, I cannot say for sure when The Tindalos Asset will be done. Which means I lose the publishing slot and Tor.com will have to reschedule it. Hopefully, it'll still come out in 2019, but I can only do what I can do. I've spent too many years trying to do what I can't.

Soon, I have to find something I can write for Sirenia Digest #144, but today I'm going to deal with "Blind Fish."

I've been seeking consolation in old black-and-white movies, as I so often do. Night before last, it was Edward G. Robinson, Glenn Ford, and Marguerite Chapman in William A. Seiter's Destroyer (1943), and last night it was Humphrey Bogart, Michèle Morgan, and Claude Rains in Michael Curtiz' Passage to Marseille (1944). The latter also features Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Helmut Dantine, so there's a lot of Casablanca in this film.

Also from Facebook, from yesterday:

Ideally, I'm only here to promote my writing. Honestly, that's 99% of why I have anything to do with "social media." But the truth, since sometime early 2016, has been an increasing tendency on my part to mouth off on political issues (and personal problems). And a lot of my readers aren't happy to learn that the real me doesn't jibe with their expectation that I'd be strongly progressive, far left, etc. Facebook has lost me readers, and I should leave and keep my mouth shut. But I'm stuck in the same dopamine feedback loop as everyone else, and my agent says I have to be on "social media." That's my dilemma.

~ and ~

Yes, Oprah could be president. And Santa Claus could be the Easter Bunny.

Aunt Beast

4:57 p.m.

* The last time I saw him was either August 31 or September 1, 1990. My old journals seem unclear on the date.
A bad pain morning, and it's cold as hell her. All my joints are filled with ground glass. Currently, it's 22˚F, and the windchill is 8˚F. There's snow coming. The sun's bright and devoid of warmth.

Yesterday, I proofed "Elegy for a Suicide," "The Road of Needles," and "Whilst the Night Rejoices Profound and Still," from the ms. for The Dinosaur Tourist. And that got me through ms. page 118. I should have done twice that much.

The pain and the depression and the anxiety and the inability to write, and I just want to be anywhere that's warm and green.

Aunt Beast

6:30 p.m.
It's going to be a weird weather day here. Currently, it's 55˚F, but the temperature is going to be dropping all day, until we hit our low of 12˚F tonight. That's a spread of 43˚F.* There was heavy rain all night, and most of the snow was washed away, so at least that's something. But there will be a lot of ice tonight.

Yesterday, I began proofreading he ms. of The Dinosaur Tourist and made it through "The Beginning of the Year Without a Summer," "Far From Any Shore," and "The Cats of River Street (1925)." That's the first 70 ms. pages. I hope to do a lot more of it today, but my eyes are shit. I slept less than five hours last night.

You'll have noted that, once again, I'm not writing. I'm going to try to say more about this soon. There are important things I should set down here.

Last night, we watched Andy Muschietti's adaptation of Stephen King's It, a movie I expected to hate and by which I was absolutely delighted. I've always had mixed feelings about the novel (which I first read the year it was released), showcasing as it does both the best and the worst in King's writing. But Muschietti's film mines the gems of its source material. The film is beautiful and terrifying and sweet. Bill Skarsgård us straight-up fucking brilliant. I wish I didn't have to wait until 2019 to see the sequel. I should add that I am a great admirer of Muschietti's first film, Mama (2013).

Aunt Beast

11:54 p.m.

* In the last hour or so, it's dropped to 45˚F.

Entry No. 5,233

This morning, I was fired by my psychiatrist. In thirty years of psychotherapy, that's a first.

It's overcast and oddly balmy. Currently, 55˚F, windchill at 51˚F. But the high Sunday is forecast for 27˚F, so there you go.

If you haven't yet seen The End of the F***ing World on Netflix, you really need to. If Wes Andersen remade True Romance, it might look something like this brilliant gem.

Aunt Beast

2:59 p.m.

745 days

As of the 29th of December, I'd made an LJ entry every day for two solid years.

Aunt Beast

11:12 a.m. (this morning)
Last night, I got the first good night's sleep I've had in a long time. But I'm still groggy this morning.

The sun's out, and currently it's 26˚F, with the windchill at 19˚F. A little of the snow melted yesterday. According to the National Weather Service, we reached 42˚F.

Spooky and I decided to have a rare day out, because we learned that del Toro's The Shape of Water is still playing at the Avon on Thayer (or the sad mess that used to be Thayer). What a beautiful film, every single frame, and Michael Shannon, and 1962, and the monster gets the girl, and, really, what more could I ask? I'm fairly certain that The Shape of Water is now my favorite del Toro film. And then there was Bucktown for dinner.

I heard the latest Arcade Fire album for the first time day before yesterday. I like it quite a lot, which is a relief after 2013's extremely disappointing Reflektor.

Today, I get back to work.

Regarding Oprah Winfrey and this idiotic celebrity president thing, personally, I want my presidents to be career politicians. But if I were going to play this silly game, I'd be willing to vote for either Tom Hanks or George Clooney for president.

We almost finished The Pacific last night, and we've reached Season 6 in the Third Annual That 70s Show Watch-Through.

Aunt Beast

4:35 p.m.
There was a little more snow last night, just a dusting atop the mountains that fell back on the fourth. But, still, it's much warmer. Currently, it's sunny and the temperature is 36˚F, the windchill at 29˚F, and our high should be 41˚F. By my standards, this is miserable weather, but after the last two weeks, I'll take it and be glad.

Yesterday was spent compiling the ms. for The Dinosaur Tourist and then printing it all out. At the moment, it comes to 363 double-spaced ms. pages. Now, I have to read the whole thing over and make line edits, before sending it to Bill Schafer.

Today, I very much need to go back to work on The Tindalos Asset, but I hardly slept. Last night, Jonathan Strahan showed me to cover for the Tor.com edition of Black Helicopters, and I love it.

On this day eleven years ago, I stole an LJ icon (below) from setsuled, and it has served me ever since. I had no idea it had been that long, but this morning, looking back over old entries, I saw that it has.

Last night, we watched David Bowie: The Last Five Years, the new HBO documentary by Francis Whately. I very nearly cried at the end.

From Facebook, yesterday: This bullshit guilt trip that white American liberals seem to be choking on, how we have to believe we are fundamentally the source of all evil, that we are all hypocrites, that we are all that which we hate, in order that we may save the world from ourselves – Fuck that.

This morning, I finished Ray Bradbury's Green Shadows, White Whale (1992).

Aunt Beast

1:07 a.m. (this morning)

Howards Hughes and the Slow Thaw

Happy birthday, David Bowie, wherever you are.

Currently in Providence, it's 29˚F, and the windchill is 19˚F. It hasn't been this warm in more than a week. We're supposed to reach 34˚F, finally rising above freezing and ending this long, cold nightmare, at least for now, There may be some snow flurries today, but no new accumulation. What a horrible, horrible stretch of days this has been.

I tried, yesterday, to get back into the novella. I didn't. Finally, I switched gears and began putting together the ms. for my next short fiction collection, The Dinosaur Tourist. And since I hardly slept four hours last night and cannot hope to write prose today, I expect I'll finish compiling the ms. this afternoon. I need to get it done and proofed and off to SubPress. A couple of the stories, like "Blind Fish," are a little rough and need tidying up.

If you actually needed this trashy, tell-all book to show you how bad things are with Trump...well, never mind. But I won't be reading it; somehow, the reason he's president is tied up in why the book's so successful, America's love of train wrecks and finding entertainment in scandal.

Aunt Beast

3:03 p.m.

"To go it alone, and hold it along."

When I got up this morning the temperature was 1˚F and the windchill at -15˚F. It has risen to 4˚F, with the windchill at -14˚F. The sun is bright, the sky is painfully blue. We are promised temperatures above freezing tomorrow, for the first time since Christmas Day.

Yesterday, it was either give in to the depression or put on the spacesuit and go Outside. I chose the latter. I fucking sick of letting the cold win. We drove across town to Eastside Market to get the makings for chili. Heaps of snow, four and five feet high, bracketing the narrow streets, icicles everywhere. The snow's getting that dirty post-storm look, turning brown with sand and salt and the hydrocarbon filth from passing automobiles. A few days more and it will be going black. The Providence River is frozen over, and there were drifts of snow on the solid water.

Back home, I finished a jigsaw puzzle and read and played a little Guild Wars 2. After dinner, we watched a few episodes of That 70s Show; we've reached Season 5 (of 8) in our Third Annual That 70s Show Watch-Through. Then we watched three more episodes of The Pacific, which we began night before last.

And I had a sort of epiphany regarding The Tindalos Asset, and it fixes one of the things that have kept me from moving forward. Of course, the greatest impediment has been this weather, but maybe that's about to break as well. I want to be working, if only because it's better than just sitting here.

There's a photo below, Providence looking like something from a Roland Emmerich apocalypse. I almost lost four fingers to frostbite, getting the shot through an open car window as we crossed the bridge, so treasure it.

Aunt Beast

2:49 p.m.

"Maybe he's caught in the legend."

A few minutes after I got out of bed, I wrote this on Facebook: I woke up at 8 a.m., after not getting to sleep until sometime after 4 a.m., fretting over old wrongs done to me. These ghosts are never going to let me rest. Here in Providence, it's 4˚F, with a windchill of -12˚F. I hate this place. Now, two and a half hours later, the temperature is 9˚F, but the windchill is still -12˚F.

I've cancelled on the 22nd Annual Moby-Dick Marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. I was to read a chapter beginning at 5:15 p.m. (my 6:15 p.m.), and I was really very much looking forward to this. But the weather is just too cold and the roads just to icy and snowy for me and Spooky (and her still recovering from the flu) to be out traipsing around Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts after dark.

Yesterday, I got Sirenia Digest No. 143 out, despite the headache. That took about two and a half hours. Afterwards, we had an extremely short walk in the snow, some 280 yards or so, give or take. The cold was alive, palpable, vicious, 15˚F, with the windchill at -5˚F. The wind was blowing 22 mph from the west and gusting to 33 mph. It was ill-advised, especially with my headache. As soon as I was back inside and had gotten the spacesuit off, I went the fuck back to bed.

The wind battered the house all night long, the wendigo holding court over Providence.

Also posted to Facebook this morning: In the process of removing myself from a bizarre assortment of twenty-three FB groups that I've been added without my even knowing. A good half were Amazon-self-published wannabe authors. And then: (Do NOT whine at me about how mean and closed-minded I am for disdaining Amazon "authors." Do NOT lecture me on my misbegotten wrongheadedness. I'll only delete the comments.)

So, yeah. Hardly four hours sleep last night, and I woke at 8 a.m. thinking about things I wish I could not think about. Like Selmasaurus and FHSM VP-13910, and that's a story that I should put down here, for the record. But not today. It's painful fucking shit.

There's no end to exhaustion, it seems. The days have bled and bled together, a subarctic smear, here "in the bleak mid-winter."

Aunt Beast

2:33 p.m.

2:33 p.m.

5:38 p.m.

"Inside, cold, dark, fire, twilight."

I posted this to Facebook about two hours ago: In Providence, it's 13˚F, with the windchill at -4, and about a foot on snow on the ground. We've not been above freezing since before Christmas. To quote the Beach Boys, "I wanna go home." Since then, the temperature has skyrocketed to 14˚F, and the windchill has actually dropped one degree, to -5˚F. This is misery. The Rhode Island state motto is "Hope." No, seriously. It ought to be "Misery." Anyway, according to the National Weather Service, our snow total from the storm was 13". Apparently, the Massachusetts coastline took a beating. The damage is being compared to the Blizzard of '78. The storm surge in Boston Harbor reached or surpassed the storm surge during that historic storm, and yesterday's tide in Boston was the highest since record keeping began in 1921.

I spent most of yesterday in bed, fighting anxiety and black rage and blacker depression, trying not to hear the wind battering at the house. The wind was a monster, all day, all night.

Today, I have to stay out of bed long enough to get Sirenia Digest No. 143 pulled together and out to subscribers. I'm already four days late. But that's all I'm asking of myself.

This morning, I put on the spacesuit and went downstairs and outside for about five minutes, probably less. In the night, some lunatic took a snowblower to sidewalks in this part of the neighborhood. They were at it for hours. I assume they're holed up somewhere today nursing frostbite and wendigo bites. The roads look like a solid sheet of ice.

Ten years of this shit, and it just keeps getting harder. Hope, my ass. Hope is a goddamn train ticket to Birmingham.

Aunt Beast

11:36 a.m. (this morning)
I awoke to the storm. Currently, it's 27˚F, with the windchill at 11˚F.

I can hardly stand to look out the window.

All the work yesterday was email, a great deal of email. But no writing.

Last night, we saw Sam Elliot and Laura Prepon in The Hero (2017), a sweet, sad film.

I think I'm going bad to bed.

Aunt Beast

11:59 a.m. (this morning)

5:42 p.m. (yesterday)
Currently, here in Providence, it's fucking cold. Which is to say, 22˚F, with the windchill at 13˚F. There's bad weather coming.

Yesterday, like I said, I had to go to the Hay. I spent maybe an hour with the exhibit. We took a lot of photographs. It was strange and sad and confusing. Which is how it has been every time I've looked at the CRK Papers exhibit. If I were seventy-three, instead of fifty-three, it wouldn't be quite so strange. The reading room was bright and warm from the sun, and after the dark, freezing cave of the House, it was marvelous. After we took the photos, I just wanted to sit down in there and take a nap in all that light. Instead, in my spacesuit, I went back out beneath the frozen sky, which is a wide carnivorous sky, even when it's frozen. Some day soon I'll corral a set of the photos into a little walk through the exhibit, because I have a feeling that most of the people who wanted to see it didn't. Everything comes down on Monday, I've been told. The Joey Lafaye dolls and the Dancy box have already been put away.

After the library, we went to Whole Foods and Eastside Market, the head shop on Wickenden Street where I buy kratom and to the Aqua-Life pet center for kitty litter, and also to the liquor store (Bottles) for beer and Baileys, because I'm trying to take up drinking again. And then back home.

Today, I have far too much to do. I have far too much to do every day. Just, most days I can't bring myself to get any of it done.

Aunt Beast

2:12 p.m.

Day 2

In icy cold morning. Currently, it's 13˚F, and the windchill is -2˚F. Every joint I have is screaming, and I hardly slept.

Yesterday, I didn't add anything new to The Tindalos Asset. Instead, I spent three and a half hours on an interview for the StokerCon 2018 souvenir book. As I posted to Facebook yesterday, when I was done, Over the past seven years or so, I've gone from disliking giving interviews to actually hating giving interviewing. I'd rather go to the dentist. I'm working on one for StokerCon 2018 right now, and, honest to god, it may be the last interview I ever agree to give. I think my hatred of interviews began in earnest in March 2012, after I'd given about twenty in two months, whoring myself nonstop, day and night, all in support of Alabaster: Wolves, and then Dark Horse reneged on it's promise to make the book a monthly, despite all my work and the very good advance publicity. That was the beginning of a lot of bad things. Someday, I'll write about it.

Today, I'm supposed to go over to the Hay, because the exhibit comes down next week, and I want to see it one more time and take some photos. I don't know, though, how I'm going to stand going out in the terrible cold. I haven't really left the house since the 29th. Just the thought of getting dressed makes me want to lie down on the floor and shut my eyes.

Sirenia Digest No. 143 will be out soon. I'm waiting on a piece of artwork. But it should be out to subscribers before the end of the week.

Last night, we finished Band of Brothers (2001), and I liked the series very much. Now, we have to see it's companion, The Pacific (2010).

I need to go email my agent before I figure out how to make myself go Out There beneath the frozen blue sky.

Aunt Beast

11:00 p.m.

Hope for 2018

Terribly cold this morning, and I had trouble sleeping last night, for the cold, even though there was a space heater blowing right beside the bed. Currently, it's 6˚F, with the windchill at -13˚F. The overnight low appears to have been 2˚F, with a windchill of -17˚F.

Today, we'll cook black-eyed peas and collards and macaroni and cheese. There will be no cornbread, because the oven died day before yesterday and won't be repaired until later this week.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,060 words on The Tindalos Asset. It didn't really feel like a breakthrough. The next several days will tell. When I was writing Agents of Dreamland in the summer of 2015, I absolutely fucking hated it, start to finish. I hated every word. I hated it when I began, and I hated it when I was finished. Then, in January of 2016 I went back and read it again, and it was actually pretty good. So, yesterday I told myself that maybe it's a good sign that I'm already hating The Tindalos Asset.

Last night, I posted the following to Facebook: My wish for America in 2018: That it is still not too late, and that we will step back from this precipice, that we will remember who we are and always have been, that we will stop deepening the fatal gulfs that divide us, that we will focus not on what makes us different, but look to what unites us as a country. That we will put the big picture before our individual grievances. That we will remember courage and integrity, compassion and all the difficult and crucial lessons of our own troubled national history.

This morning, I added: May 2018 be less about pulling us apart from one another and more about bringing us together.

You can't blame me for wishing. Maybe you will anyway, but that's not my problem. As for New Year's resolutions, well, I resolve to spend a lot less time online, to do a better job of limiting my time on social media, and I resolve to do a better job of staying clean and sober, and I resolve to continue to fight the bitterness that threatens always to drag me under. That's a decent start.

When the clock struck midnight last night (EST, not CaST), we were watching That 70s Show (Season 4, Ep. 6). There are worse ways to ring in the New Year.

Aunt Beast

2:45 p.m.
Snow much of yesterday and into the night, a fine, dry snow, and I think it amounted to not much more than an inch, on top of whatever we had. When I woke, it was 7˚F, with the windchill at -4˚F. Currently, it's sunny and 13˚F, with the windchill -2˚F. There is a fine lacework of frost on most of the windows.

I wrote yesterday, but nothing worth saving. I have the first half of the book mapped out in my head, and a tiny bit on paper, but I've hit that stage-fright, performance-anxiety wall again. Today, I have to climb over it. I'm tired of waking up in the small, pre-dawn hours to fret over the progress that is not being made on The Tindalos Asset. There is no audience, and no one will ever read this book, and no one gives a shit, and I just have to write, and that is freedom.

As for 2017, it will not be missed. It was another wicked year, to be forgotten. But I wrote three stories I'm not ashamed of, at least there's that – "Tupelo (1998)," "Fairy Tale of Wood Street," and "The Dinosaur Tourist."

Last night, we watched the first half of Band of Brothers (2001), which I'd managed never to see. It's excellent.

Aunt Beast

3:45 p.m.
Cold and overcast here. Currently, it's 16˚F, and there's snow on the way.

Yesterday, I posted to to Facebook: You know those stories about animals chewing off their paws to escape steel-jaw traps? Today, that's me.

We went out to the market, and the air was too cold to breathe. The Providence River is frozen over. Last night, we watched some of the new season of Black Mirror, and I did a little RP.

Today is Elizabeth's birthday. She would have been 47.

Today, I have to try harder to work. The deadline for The Tindalos Asset is (supposedly, according to the contract) January 1st, and, well, that isn't going to happen. Not even close.

Aunt Beast

1:45 p.m.

"Gone all star white."

I was in bed until after 10:30 a.m., because bed was almost warm. When I got up, I posted this to Facebook: Here in Providence, it's 7˚F, with the windchill at -4˚F. Our overnight low was somewhere around 0˚F. Today's high, 17˚F. No end of this in sight. Last night, we huddled in the bedroom with a space heater to stay warm and let the rest of the house go. I am not supposed to be here. Currently, it's sunny and 9˚F. the sky is out there eating people, they're just too stupid to notice.

I also posted this to Facebook: Seriously, if anyone in Alabama or Georgia has a house they're not currently using that they're looking to rent, contact me. (greygirlbeast@gmail.com)

A few dozen oxy might make this hell bearable.

No work yesterday, except some email after midnight last night. I spent the day sitting in a pool of sun in the front parlour, trying to stay warm, working on a jigsaw puzzle. And last night, well, see above. We finished Part Four of The Ranch. I love this show so much. At least we get Danny Masterson in Part Five, so...in 2018, I get ten more episodes before I stop watching. The Ranch will not be The Ranch without the Rooster, and I have no desire to see what it will become in his absence.

Confession: In September 2015, I had the money in hand to move away from Rhode Island, to go home, thanks to the two movie options. I foolishly convinced myself it would be foolish not to wait until the spring or summer, by which point I would have had the remainder of the money from The Drowning Girl and The Red Tree being optioned. Only, then everything fell through. And so I am still here. So, this is my fault, all round. I am not likely to ever have that sort of money again. It cost us more than $8,000. to move up here, and those were 2008 dollars, and that's not counting the expense of renting a new place.

Aunt Beast

1:16 p.m.

"...age like winter bare."

I posted this on Facebook about an hour and a half ago: Here in Providence, it's currently 9˚F, and the windchill is -6˚F. Our high today will be 13˚F. Our low tonight will be 0˚F, with windchills well below zero. I'm not supposed to be here. Since then, the temperature has risen to 11˚F, but the windchill has not budged. The cold presses in at the house like water pressure at the bottom of the sea, and the sky is blinding blue, wide and carnivorous.

I did try to work yesterday.

Last night, we huddled in the bedroom and watched TV on the MacBook. Or something like that. I got to sleep about three a.m., and I dreamt of collecting mosasaur bones in a warm place.

Aunt Beast

11:39 p.m.

Entry #5,217

When I woke, the temperature was 17˚F, with the windchill at 8˚F. Almost two hours later, the actual temperature has soared to 19˚F, while the windchill has dropped to 6˚F. But it's sunny, even if there's no heat whatsoever in that sun.

Yesterday, I reworked the first chapter of The Tindalos Asset – again. August became December. Ellison Nicodemo's apartment isn't hot because it's summer; it's hot because the thermostat is broken and she can't shut off the heat, and also because the windows have been nailed shut. I have to leave this chapter alone now, because I'm losing perspective (one of many reasons I don't rewrite). I had this same problem with the opening of Agents of Dreamland, which I reworked two or three times, and there are still places where the dialog between the Signalman and Immacolata makes me cringe.

Last night, we watched the first half of the second season of The Ranch over again, in preparation of watching the second half of Season Two. The new episodes went live on December 15th, but I've been so angry about Netflix firing Danny Masterson I haven't been able to watch it. If Masterson isn't ultimately charged and convicted of the offenses he's been accused of, I hope to hell he sues the shit out of Netflix (and his accusers). The Ranch will suffer enormously for his absence, and I doubt I'll watch Season Three, no matter how much I love series. Accusations are not convictions, and treating people as if they're guilty before their guilt or innocence has been determined by a court of law threatens the very foundations of American society, and nothing is going to change my opinion of that point.

Aunt Beast

9:30 p.m. (Christmas tree 2017)

zesty recurring xenophobia (adj adj noun)

You can stick that app straight up your ass, thank you very much.

It's cold. Currently, it's mostly sunny and 26˚F, windchill at 15˚F. Looking ahead, this is the warm day. I think the little bit of snow that fell on Christmas morning will be here for a long while.

Today, I have to go back to being a writer. Thursday was a wretched mess, and so I stepped away from it until after Christmas. Today, I have to go back. I have to write The Tindalos Asset, and I have to finish it within the next three weeks or so. I have maybe half the story in my head now, and pretty much all the characters, and I have to trust that all the rest will accrue from thin air as I go. That's the way it happens. But first I have to do some reworking of the first chapter "Paint Me As a Dead Soul," which is set in August in Los Angeles, but now I need it to be set in November in Los Angeles, instead, so I have to make that happen.

My contributors copy of The Weight of Words arrived on Friday (I think), and it's a gorgeous volume. This is the Subterranean Press anthology of short stories based on Dave McKean paintings, edited by Dave McKean and Bill Schafer. I chose an image and wrote a story to accompany it, a story called "Objects in the Mirror," written in March 2016, and then Dave McKean created a new image based on my story based on his painting. I think the trade edition of the book's not yet sold out, though the limited editions have likely been sold out for months.

I've started reading Ray Bradbury's Green Shadow, White Whale (1998), which Spooky gave me for Christmas.

Not much sleep the last two nights. Spooky's cough is still with her.

Last night, our usual Christmas night ritual of watching Wes Andersen's The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), which probably isn't a Christmas movie to anyone but us. It was a good Christmas this year, even with Spooky being so awfully under the weather.

Aunt Beast

11:16 a.m. (this morning)
Just a few images that have piled up over the last couple of days, some of which wound up on Twitter (shudder) and Facebook, but this is a more permanent sort of place to save them.

And from me and Kathryn to all of my readers everywhere, all the world round, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and may the New Year somehow hold hope that the days ahead will be less dark and that there will be at least some measure of joy and peace in your lives.

Happy Holidays,
Aunt Beast

12:05 p.m. (yesterday; my favorite typewriter and a postcard from our vet.)

3:18 p.m. (yesterday)

3:18 p.m. (yesterday)

5:26 p.m. (yesterday)

10:03 a.m. (this morning)

10:23 a.m. (this morning)

Merry Christmas from the Red Room

I was forever getting to sleep last night. It was sometime after five a.m. About seven, I awoke to rain and stood in the front parlor a while, looking out at the dark, wet street. I awoke again just before ten, and Spooky said that it was snowing, and it was. Pretty heavy for about an hour or so, but now the sun is out. Still, that counts as a white Christmas. Currently, it's 33˚F, with the windchill at 24˚F. We have a wind advisory until sometime this evening.

I made a huge breakfast of eggs and bacon and biscuits this morning.

Last night, after the spaghetti dinner (HUGE meatballs), we had our annual viewing of Terry Zwigoff's Bad(der) Santa (2003), a tradition we've kept almost every Christmas Eve since 2007. Oh, and we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), which is only one year younger than me. And we saw the season finale of Peaky Blinders, which was brilliant and beautifully filmed. I never thought I'd see a day when such beautiful cinematography would be lavished on mere television.

Yesterday, when we went out to the market, we were greeted by the sight of the "This Tree is for Everybody" Christmas tree at the corner of Wickenden and Governor streets, by the statue of George M. Cohen. It was a welcome sight last year, and it was again this year, and we pulled over and took a photo.

Last night, I saw someone describe Agents of Dreamland as "Lovecraft staple-gunned to Cronenberg," which is a pretty good Christmas present. Almost as good as whoever said it has "the delightfully weird transcendental feeling of David Lynch."

I think Spooky's feeling a little better today. And I need to wash the breakfast dishes.

Happy Holidays,
Aunt Beast

12:24 p.m.

"Wait for dawn, and dawn shall come."

There was a chance we'd get snow tonight, but it's been downgraded to something more like sleet. Currently, it's partly sunny and cold, 38˚F, with the windchill at 32˚F. We had one of those weird, weird coastal Rhode Island weather days yesterday. After morning temperatures below freezing, there was an afternoon temperature spike and in one hour (between 16:51 and 17:51) we went from 36˚F to 54˚F. By late morning, before dawn, we were back down to 26˚F. That's Rhode Island. Over the next week, we have some brutal cold inbound.

This morning we were up and out early, to the market for Christmas Eve dinner makings. Spooky's still sick, so I'm doing the cooking. Special Xmas Eve spicy hot spaghetti and meatballs. And I'm gonna bake some gingerbread. I think half of Providence was doing last minute shopping at Eastside Market and Whole Foods. Oh, and I got clementines and madeleines. My teeth can't handle pecan pie, but dammit, I can eat some madeleines.

Last night, we watched Bob Clark's A Christmas Story (1983) and Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946). I think a lot of people might fail to appreciate what that It's a Wonderful Life is darkly beautiful film. And if you clip off the ending, it's pretty much a template for half the episodes of The Twilight Zone ever filmed.

Okay, now I gotta wash some dishes.

Aunt Beast

12:08 a.m. (this morning)

Howard Hughes shakes her head.

Overcast and rainy. There's ice slicking the tree outside my window. Currently, it's 32˚F, with the windchill at 28˚F. We had a few snowflakes yesterday. Two ugly, cold days. I went out with Spooky yesterday when she was running errands, and the air looked like tapioca, like you could have eaten it with a spoon. The sky was the color of mold. It is still this afternoon.

Jill Stein is still a wackadoo. Go figure.

Last night, we watched David Ayer's Netflix film, Bright. My god, what a sad mess. I saw a reviewer who said it feels like algorithms made it, and that's pretty spot on. It's gorgeous. It has a good cast. And it has no soul whatsoever. A film could not fall flatter. The humor only rarely works, and the action scenes are monotonous. To quote Indiewire's review, "There’s boring, there’s bad, and then there’s ‘Bright,’ a movie so profoundly awful that Republicans will probably try to pass it into law over Christmas break." Yes. At its core, it's a remake of the vastly superior (as in actually enjoyable) Alien Nation (dir. Graham Baker, 1988), only with orcs and elves and fairies and dwarves, instead of aliens. Well, and it also borrows heavily from the rpg Shadowrun, only with LA cops and gangs, instead of cyperpunk. Bright presents almost all the same problems as that other Ayers film that disappointed me so profoundly, Suicide Squad (2016). It's pretty and vapid and, ultimately, dull. All the Will Smith one-liners in the world couldn't save this one. But Noomi Rapace and Lucy Fry made hot elves. Am I still allowed to say that?

Aunt Beast

1:50 p.m. (yesterday)

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