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"I been downhearted, baby..."

Today, I wrote 1,110 words on something for Sirenia Digest 153; I'm calling it "Iodine and Iron," but that might change.

While I worked, Spooky got a second storage unit and began ferrying boxes to it, all the boxes that, for the past three and a half months, have cluttered up the room that should be our dining room. We're finally getting a dining table this week, so we can stop eating in front of the TV and at our desks and what have you. I helped her with the last load.

Tonight, we saw Kevin Phillips' extremely excellent Super Dark Times (2017). This is the first film I've seen in October that I would enthusiastically recommend. See it. You can stream it on both Netflix and Amazon.

Later Taters,

2:04 p.m.

Howard Hughes and the Ceiling Spider

So...I didn't write today.

There was an unpleasant trip to target for coat hangers. I don't usually (surprisingly) mind Target, but today the place was a zoo, and I was not up to the consumer orgy. I would have left without the coat hangers, had Spooky not been there.

Selwyn says hi, by the way.


10:45 p.m.

Entry No. 5,500

Today I began something new for the next digest, and did 645 words. But it might not be the right thing for now, so I'll just have to see how things go tomorrow.

Missed the ballgame today to write; Alabama won against Arkansas, 65 to 31.

Last night, after I made my entry, we watched Roger Avery's Killing Zoe (1994), to get the taste of The Vault out of our mouths, and because The Vault borrowed so heavily from Killing Zoe it seemed appropriate. Tonight, we watched John Erick Dowdle's As Above, So below (2014), an effectively tense, if entirely silly, "found footage" romp. Imagine that the love child of Indiana Jones, Robert Langdon, and Lara Croft convinces a bunch of twenty-something's to accompany her into the Paris catacombs to find the Philosopher's Stone, and there you have it, with a few extra points for filming in the actual Paris catacombs.


6:15 p.m.

And then....

Four good days, and then today. Tomorrow, I have to try and pull myself back up again.

From my Facebook, this morning:

The desperate need to keep busy and the ability to keep busy are two entirely different things. The latter does not follow from the former, and will has nothing to do with it. If I let myself stop and think, if I pause to take a breath, the blackness and the anger and the fear instantly drown me.

But we did make it out to Leeds, to the Bass Pro Shops, and I got three flannel shirts and a new knit cap, because the shirts were on sale and I need clothes. I will never cease to feel guilty for spending money on clothes. Don't even ask. We came back home down Rex Lake Road and Grant's Mill Road, across the Cahaba, back into Irondale and Birmingham. That was the best of the day, the drive home through the green.

Tonight, we saw Dan Bush's The Vault (2017), which starts out as a stylish heist film with a strong cast, then, about thirty minutes in, becomes a muddled, silly ghost/slasher fiasco, with a strong cast trapped inside. It could have been excellent.


3:54 p.m.

Stay Busy

Toady I proofread "Untitled 41," put together Sirenia Digest 41, and, after Gordon had made a PDF of it, Spooky sent the issue out to subscribers. I also proofread "Virginia Story," which will be appearing soon in The Weird Fiction Review (Centipede Press).

Later in the afternoon, Spooky cut my hair (which, these days, mostly involves shaving) and went to Rhodes Park* on Highland for a walk. There were burgers and fries from Milo's for dinner.

Last night, we saw a fine Irish ghost story, Brian O'Malley's The Lodgers (2017). Unfortunately, tonight we followed it was an, at best, uneven post-apocalyptic trainwreck of a film, Netflix's How It Ends (2018; read the Forbes article and heed the warning). But you might check out Zak Hilditch's excellent These Final Hours (2013), which I'm pretty sure Netflix sorta kinda pretty much ripped off.


4:25 p.m.

* Named for Rufus Rhodes (1856-1910).

Purse First (et alia)

Today, I wrote 1,310 words and found THE END of "Untitled 41."

Later, Spooky and I had errands, which began with going to the Harris Building to pay the storage unit rent, then to Office Depot in Irondale to buy manila folders (which I've only been needing to do since we got here in June), then to Target at Brookwood for coffee filters (and Count Chocula for Spooky), and then, finally, back home. Later still, not long before dusk, we drove along Highland Avenue to Rushton Park*, a place that has a place of importance in my past, for numerous reasons, good and bad. I was deeply relieved to discover it has changed hardly at all. There are a few more trees, and the older trees are bigger, but really, it was the same old place. Rushton Park was the last place I saw Elizabeth, in June 1993.

Have I mentioned we have owls?


5:05 p.m.

* Named for William James Rushton (1846-1922).

Country as a Catfish Sandwich

Today, I did 1,137 words on "Untitled No. 41."

Also, Lydia went to the vet today for her shots. And tonight, we saw Hunter Adams' Dig Two Graves (2017), a pleasingly creepy film Spooky ran across this afternoon.


10:43 a.m.

Lydia is a Creepy Kitten

Today, I wrote 1,037 words on a new piece for Sirenia Digest No. 152, "Untitled 41." And tonight we watched a surprisingly effective little monster movie, Bryan Bertino's The Monster (2016).


11:11 p.m.

Just Before October

I can only hope it will be more productive than was September.


10:13 p.m.

Entry 5,493

Lydia, doing her best to stop Spooky from putting clean sheets on the bed.


6:25 p.m.


An Etiquette for Monsters

We're back in Leeds tonight, because the ballgame tomorrow, Alabama vs. UL-Lafayette, starts at 11 a.m. And it was easier than getting up and driving in the morning. And it meant we got bbq from Rusty's for dinner. I spent the day staring at Twitter, though I'd promised myself I wouldn't. Tonight, perhaps I'll dream of football. Better than dreaming about what social media has done to politics.


10:20 p.m.

"Be that as it may."

Another rainy, cool day, thunder and all. Currently, it's 72˚F, 94% humidity. I know it's been rather thin around here lately, but I'm trying, Ringo, I'm trying real hard.


1:34 p.m.

Talking About the Day Kurt Kobain Died

Marvelous thunderstorms today, even with the threat of floods. We still have a flash flood watch. The high today was only about 74˚F. Currently, it's 71˚F, and the humidity is 96%. Booya.

I think autumn is really here. Spooky had her first pumpkin beer of the season this evening.


10:07 p.m.

Addendum to Entry No. 5,488

Night before last, when we were out at Mom's, Spooky and I made a run to the store for snacks, and when I stepped out on the front porch, the moonlight was almost overwhelming. I've spent so much of the last few years not looking at the world around me, I'd honestly forgotten how beautiful moonlight is, and if I'd had a better camera, I'd have taken better pictures.

Still, I have these (four, behind the cut).


Read more...Collapse )


And sometimes all you get...

...is a photograph of an Elvis paper doll. Christmas tree ornament. Thing.


12:32 p.m.


"I lost a world the other day."

Just before sunset, a thunderstorm knocked out our internet, so we're at my mom's in Leeds.

It has become safer for me to guess how any given tomorrow will be worse than any given today than to dare hope for a good - or just mildly better - day.

Today, for example.

I've spent three months avoiding the Birmingham Zoo. What has been made of the place where the Birmingham Zoo used to be. I had some inkling how bad it was, but not until today, when I paid $37 to look at one of my own worse nightmares, did I grasp the hideous fullness of what has been done. The zoo that I loved, a beautiful park of old trees, has been leveled, bulldozed, and replaced with an eyesore theme park, complete with a waterslide and carousel (no, really). It is almost impossible to find even vestiges of the beautiful old zoo, which I first visited about 1968, when it was still the Jimmy Morgan Zoo, and which was still mostly in one piece when I left Birmingham in 2002. I cried. I actually fucking cried. And I will never go near that place again. I want everyone responsible to suffer for a long, long time.


8:11 p.m.

Entry No. 5,486

Sometimes I think the worse thing you can say about a day is, "Well, I've had worse days."


5:24 p.m.

"...unwillingly mine."

Spooky and I sat at the living-room window tonight, listening to two owls calling back and forth to each other. That's probably the best thing to remember about this day.


9:00 p.m.

Down Above and Up Below

A little cooler today, but more humid. We caught a stroke of luck with the recent heat, in that the humidity was very low, very autumnal.

Last night, we saw an absolutely wonderful film, Xavier Gens' Cold Skin (2017). Find a trailer online and watch it. I'm not going top risk spoiling anything. But it's the sort of thing I wish I'd written.


9:40 p.m.
I've been watching a lot of TV lately, catching up on this and that. The second season of Ozark (Netflix) was very good. Sharp Objects (HBO) is extraordinary, and I recommend it to everyone. And there's Big Little Lies (also HBO), and it's extremely good, as well.

The weather has been hot, an unexpected last blast of summer that has bested most anything we had in August, as if Dog Days decided to come a month late.

I'm trying to get something started for the digest. More on that tomorrow, I hope.

I have another list, one I posted to Facebook this afternoon. Seventeen of my favorite 20th Century "horror" films, in no particular order:

1. The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)
2. Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)
3. Bram Stoker's Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola, 1992)
4. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
5. Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (F.W. Murnau, 1922)
6. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
7. The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
8. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
10. Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)
11. The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)
12. Vampyr – Der Traum des Allan Gray (Carl Dreyer, 1932)
13. Jacob's Ladder (Adrian Lyne, 1990)
14. Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
15. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
16. Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir. 1975)
17. Suddenly, Last Summer (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1959)


1:42 p.m.


I have two lists that I posted to Facebook today:

Ten dark fantasy/weird books (unranked) that had a great influence on my writing:

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
2. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
3. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
4. Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison
5. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
6. Ghost Story by Peter Straub
7. The Dunwich Horror and Others by H.P. Lovecraft
8. Dracula by Bram Stoker
9. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
10. Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe

~ and ~

Noncontroversial statements (my idiot filter):

1. The earth is a globe, not flat.
2. Evolution is a fact.
3. Astrology is bunk.
4. Earth is more than 4 billion years old.
5. Human activity is responsible for climate change.
6. Vaccinations do not cause autism.
7. The only thing that crashed at Roswell was a weather balloon.
8. Humans and non-avian dinosaurs did not coexist.
9. In WWII, approx. 6 million Jews died at the hands of Nazis.
10. The Apollo missions were not a hoax.

And so on.

I'd really like to get this journal back to being an actual journal. But I'm trying to avoid all the "I wrote nothing much again today" posts.


12:42 p.m.


Only about two and a half hours sleep last night, so I didn't write today. I did manage a trip to Target with Spooky, for a skillet and a bathroom clock and cat food and other stuff. And I signed most of the signature sheets for the forthcoming Centipede Press edition of The Haunting of Hill House. And I answered most of the email that needed answering.

And Julie sent us donuts from Georgia.


1:40 p.m.

Howard Hughes and the Saddle

Another 645 words on The Tindalos Asset toady. I'd have done more, but I've run into a plot problem, and I may be setting the novella aside and writing a piece for September's digest while I work it out.


11:29 p.m.

Lydia Says Hi, Selwyn says Higher

Today, I wrote 1,105 words on The Tindalos Asset, my first good writing day since September 3rd. So, there's that.

There's also this, our current eBay auctions. Books. By me. Because the rent don't pay itself and, sadly, my best whoring years are in back of me. Please have a look. Thanks.


8:42 p.m.

9:30 p.m.


It Can Always Get Wors[er]

The past few days have been bad enough that I've started smoking again.

From my Facebook today:

One good night's sleep in five or six, and I wake up angry at the world and depressed and exhausted. And I'm supposed to write.

~ and ~

I have not written in ten days. Right now, I have the second half of long-overdue The Tindalos Asset to write for Tor, and I owe Subterranean Press two new (long) Dancy stories, and I have Sirenia Digest No. 152 looming (so I have to write a new story for that), and someday I would really fucking like to get back to work on the novel I've been trying to write for two years...and I cannot fucking sleep, and I cannot catch a break from the anger and depression and anxiety.


1:07 p.m.


Another utter shit day, many times worse than my recent shit days.


5:57 p.m.

Dinosaur Butterfly and Pals

Today I took Kathryn to places in east Birmingham, down on Fourth Avenue, that I'd not been since 1993, places where there were once drag clubs where I performed. Now, one has been torn down and been replaced with a health clinic and the other is a barbecue joint. It was disorienting and sad and strange.

Tonight I missed the Neko Case show, because I wasn't up to dealing with the crowd.

That was today. Well, that and all the other things that were today.


2:08 p.m.

Cirrus et alia

5:47 p.m.


Entry No. 5,473

I know that I promised there would be an actual entry of substance today. But...well...maybe tomorrow. We shall see.

I leave you with more clouds.


11:01 a.m. (yesterday)

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