Some bad dreams of late, involving death: breathing in poison I'd laid down for the huge slugs infesting my room; being strangled on a shingle beach in the middle of the city. My subconscious can go to Hell.
A couple of days ago I was smoking on Corporation Street and I noticed a small crowd gathering. A bunch of (white) policemen clustered around a black Muslim guy and his young family. My hackles rise whenever I see coppers around POC. What little gist I could get was that his little boy had been either jostled or insulted by a passer-by and the dad had taken umbrage. He lifted up his mobile to film the officers while talking to the crowd, most of whom were white and amused-looking. Those smiles nauseated me. It doesn't seem a huge step from smirking rubberneckers to open abuse.
In more pleasant news, "This Spectacular Darkness" has sold well: half the print run gone in it first three days of release. It'll go to an e-book edition now. I'm currently re-reading James Agate's diaries and I picked up Scott and Willis' "Botanicum" for a snip a couple of days back. It's gorgeously illustrated, in the manner of an expensive Victorian natural history tome: I couldn't turn down any book that depicts Carboniferous-era plants under a bell jar.
The city skyline was beautiful in yesterday's twilight, as seen from a sloping road in the Black Country: watercolour washes of dove and slate, rooves and trees deepening to blue, the BT Tower lights like beacon fires. I think I've found the church of the nightbell I've mentioned in older entries: it's ten minutes' walk down the towpath, a narrow steeple with green shutters. Perhaps too narrow for the way that bell sounds, but it's at the right distance. I need to get down there at the right time to make sure...
- Current Mood:subdued
- Current Music:John Foxx and Louis Gordon, "Ultraviolet/Infrared"
I've had some involvement in the book. Back in the summer Mark and John approached me to contribute an essay on Joel's poetry, as part of an appreciation of his own canon to round off the collection. I accepted readily, but not without some qualms - I hadn't written essays since my college days and I didn't know if I could give the poems the analysis and respect they deserved. But I set to it, with encouragement from cybermule, and beta-reading from sovay and gizmometer - thank you all for your support. And thanks too to Mark and John for asking me to contribute in the first place. It's been one of the toughest things to write, but it appears in the book as Where The Gods Are Rotting: the Poetry of Joel Lane. I am very glad TSD is out there now. You can find more details and order the book here.
- Current Music:Moon Wiring Club, "Churchyard Style"
- Current Mood: depressed
- Current Music:Broadcast, "According To No Plan"
I've just started Alan Garner's autobiographical/essay collection, The Voice That Thunders: one of many books cybermule lent me yesterday. Among the heap is a biography of the engraver and ornithologist Thomas Bewick and Ronald Hutton's study of pagan Britain. If I complain I'm bored over the next few weeks, feel free to mock me. There is a lovely oak on the common near her house, all hollowed and blackened by fire; the crows were coming into roost as we walked there, and the contrails had turned dark as grapes in the sunset; "old man's beard" seemed to thread every hedge: a West Country kudzu.
I saw John H last night after a quick curry with M and we talked a fair bit about Machen; I'd been rereading some AM over the last few days. (I had been pondering also restarting A Flute In The Factories, in the absence of new writing projects. There was a major stumbling block in that the story needs Pan in as a character with dialogue, and I couldn't for the life of me work out how to do it without it seeming shit. Until Thursday when I was waiting for the coach to Bristol and the solution just popped up. It's stunty but it could work.) We talked a lot about classic weird fic in general; and graphic novels; I discovered recently how many liberties the graphic House on The Borderland took with its source material and it enraged me. The night was brittle-cold when I walked back. November came and scattered sycamore keys all over the balcony.
Yesterday I met up for lunch and beer with John H in Solihull. We stopped off in Oxfam Books before the pub and I remembered they had an old colour pamphlet on Coventry Cathedral I thought would interest him. We talked about airship crashes, Jocelyn Brooke, Laurel and Hardy, urban trees, amongst other things. It turns out John can do a mean Scooby-Doo impression! I wandered back to my parents. There was a package from Mark Valentine waiting for me. He'd very kindly offered to photocopy three of Joel's early stories. What I wasn't expecting was was the copy of The Foggy, Foggy Dew he'd put in. It's Joel's first chapbook, I think: a deceptively simple ghost story about dust and pianos and chessboards and a possible message from the other side. I might devote an entry to it some day. It was a cold evening (to me, anyway; we've reached that time of year when my hands turn violet indoors. Armwarmers from now on). I curled up in bed and read till the small hours, alternating between Kiernan (To Charles Fort..) and Bradbury (The Small Assassin). There was an owl keeping me company through the night.
- Current Mood:pretty good
- Current Music:Pumarosa, "Priestess"
I spent this past week in the West Country with cybermule. The grapevine in her back garden has done well; we spent a lot of time eating home-made grape chutney. Spread it on on walnut bread: heaven! Friday we drove up into the Black Mountains. If you're ever in Abergavenny, check out Broadleaf Books - they're low on fiction but great on natural history, art and British history. H came away with a long essay by John Fowles on trees (I didn't dare try and get it for myself; there would have been a fight I couldn't win) and a Folio Society edition of Ruskin's Stones of Venice. I found a biography of Arthur Machen. Later we drove up into the hills. Dusk was closing in. There were sheep heads bobbing in the bracken. At the top we found a little wood, full of the witchiest, windwarped sessile oaks, straight out of The White People. Twilight was far gone there. H listened to the oaks using the breeze to gossip. No acorns on the ground - the sheep had taken them all. They were slow to get off the road when we drove back (the sheep, not the oaks). Sunday we met up with some of H's friends at the Lammastide pub, somewhere in the depths of Gloucestershire. There's a disused phone-box just up from there, colonised by ivy: whole swags of it had gotten through the windows. There was a sign inside announcing the box's imminent removal. That made me sad. I was sadder when I left H to get on the coach. It was a gold-green afternoonwhen we parted. Concrete seems to have crept into the light since then.
I'm practising what seems to be my own autumn ritual of recent years and reading Bradbury. Currently I'm on a raddled sixties paperback copy of The October Country (the subject line comes from the story The Emissary). Picked up a copy of CRK's To Charles Fort With Love for a fiver, so that comes next. Trying to put up a little wall of books between me and the lengthening nights....
- Current Mood:autumnal/alright
- Current Music:The Advisory Circle, "Ceridwen"
(“Sonata”, by Caitlyn Kurelich)
Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Edited by Shira Lipkin and Mattie Joiner
“The Ritual” – Alex Harper
“An Angel Considers His Fallen Brother” – Lyrik Courtney
“Conditional Statements” – Margaret Wack
“Exvocation” – Elliott Freeman
“For Lonnie” – Holly Walrath
“The Pacific is Wine Pink” – Gillian Daniels
“The Wait” – Emma Crockford
“How I Lost the Sky” – Toby MacNutt
“To the Waters” – Megan Arkenberg
“Giant-Killer, 1915” – Ross Holmes
“Fusion Dream” – Laurinda Lind
“After the Forest Fire” – Evelyn Deshane
“Mother Tornado” – Melissa Frederick
My dad had to go into hospital last week: I only found out the day after. It turned out to be a bad angina attack. He's on new meds. The ones he already takes thin his blood but leave him easy to bruise. We went round to see him Sunday afternoon and his hands were aubergine-purple. His pawky sense of humour remains intact. That's good. I can get used to my own ageing; my parents' frailty, not so much.
There was post waiting for me: my contributors' copies of the Uncertainties 1 and 2 anthology (see my Facebook for a photo of a happy author wielding their books); the new re-release of Tarkovsky's Stalker; and a second-hand copy of Francis Brett Young's West Midlands ghost story Cold Harbour. M and I walked down to Catney via the canal (bamboo or similar is taking over the towpath; there were mallards sleeping on a ramshackle jetty) then back to have a late lunch at the pub up the road from my folks' house. I went to meet fade_2_black for drinks later and it was good up until the point where our table was requisitioned by a bunch of jerks and our pints "vanished". Then: hipsters made me miss my bus. I suppose that's an album title
Yesterday I sold a poem to the new erotic/speculative poetry zine Twisted Moon. It's called A Consort For Panthalassa and if it's not quite tentacle porn it's certainly sea-kink. (I wrote it well over a year ago and then had no clue where to send it til now.) Today I did a light bit of revising to the library/Nairns story, which is now called To Utter Dust. I've an idea where to send it but have to wait until the start of October.
It's good to be back.
- Current Mood: happy
- Current Music:Pye Corner Audio, "Stars Shine Like Eyes"
My short story "The Drowned Carnival" has been accepted by Not One Of Us. Hopefully it'll appear in October's issue (in which case that'll be three stories of mine appearing in three consecutive months - a first!) or in the spring issue next year. It's maybe a whimsical horror story, the tale of a man's love-hate relationship with a mask he finds floating in a canal, and what he sees through it. The story's three or four years old but I'm still fond of it: the basic idea went through many many permutations before I settled on this one.
In other news the Uncertainties 2 anthology isn't out for another week or so, but has already got its first review ! My own tale "Imago" has some nice things said about it: This is a powerful story, with more going on beneath it than is directly shown. That makes me happy (I may've danced around singing fuck yeah but that's another story!). Working on another tale called Before Dust Settles then onto something non-fiction.
- Current Mood:quiet
- Current Music:Front 242, "Masterhit"