December 12th, 2006

iggy pop chairman of the bored

Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I actually enjoy insomnia. I'd adopt it as a permanent state if I could: I loathe sleep. What a waste of perfectly good reading time!

Lately, though, it seems as if I need seven hours a night, which is frustrating, because for most of my adult life I made do on four or five with a great deal of success. On the other hand, I have noticed a benefit: one sleepless night is now something I can deal with with equanimity. And in fact, be normal and functional the next day. Which wouldn't have happened a couple of years ago, when I was living on the very edge of my sleep requirement.

Still, I loathe sleep. I like the small hours of the morning, and I hate missing them, and I like sunrise, and I like sunset, and I like 9 am in the morning and afternoons and evenings. I hate missing any of them.

The insomnia seems to have been my the sound of my brain kicking over, anyway. I've been writing ahead of the well for some time now, constructing novels not by scooping up bucketsfulls of sweet cold ideas and gulping them, bt by painstakingly soaking up what dripped down the old stones and then squeezing it, filtering it, picking it over.

Suddenly, as of yesterday, I have a head full of stories again. I know how the rest of "Lumiere" goes, and I know a whole bunch about Dust, and I think I'm ready to take on All the Windwracked Stars and "Bone and Jewel Creatures" too. I hope. Still no inspiration for "Periastron," but it will come.

And I actually dreamed last night (usually I don't--well, okay, I know physiologically I do, but I don't remember any of it) and it was relevant dreams. There's a bunch of stuff in there that I can use in Dust. So I won't tell you about it, because it's cool and I don't want to spoil the surprise--(Hah! See, I just present the very clever illusion of never withholding information here, but it's all sleight of hand--I don't actually tell you anything)--but I will say one thing.

Forest of books, man. Forest of books.

And I know all about girl-Percival now. I could say, oh, one part Agatha Heterodyne, one part Revenge of the Nerds, except that's completely wrong. (Even more completely wrong than describing Undertow as "Little Fuzzy meets The Italian Job." *g*) But yeah, I know her. She showed up. I can see her in my head, all long light brown flyaway hair and bony elbows, and I can feel the way she moves.

I'm going to have to read a lot of Arthuriana before I sit down to write this thing, and let it infect me a little more thoroughly.

Apparently what I needed was to stay up all night watching Torchwood and Criminal Minds and reading Cook's Illustrated.

Dust seems to want chapter epigrams, so I have been collecting them. A correspondent quoted King Lear in comments to the last entry, and that made me think of them. Since epigrams (like songs and myths and scents and emotions) can be one of the things I hang a story on**, I thought I would share the ones I have picked out so far, if you don't mind.

(If I don't get to wind up calling it Dust (I suspect there might be a conflict with the Charles Pellegrino novel of the same title) then my fallback is House of Dust.)

And so:


Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

--Shakespeare, King Lear I.i


To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

--Shakespeare, Cymbeline IV.ii


All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

--Shakespeare, Cymbeline IV.ii


Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all.
In the House of Dust roll yourself in ashes.

--Micah 1:10 (my own rephrase: don't bother looking for it in a real Bible. *g*)


In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

--John 14:2, KJV


Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.

--John 8:44 KJV


To know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody.

--Quentin Crisp (and thanks to ladegard for that one, oh many years ago.)


We were all born of flesh, in a flare of pain
We do not remember the red roots whence we rose
But we know that we rose and walked, that after a while
We shall lie down again.

--Conrad Aiken, "The House of Dust"


It is strange, this house of dust was the house I lived in
The house you lived in, the house that all of us know

--Conrad Aiken, "The House of Dust"


 And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
     In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
       Before the children green and golden
         Follow him out of grace.

--Dylan Thomas, "Fern Hill"


All right, even though I overslept, time for food and caffeine and work.

**Carnival, for example, proceeds heavily from my responses to a favorite Dorothy Parker sonnet, "Fair Weather." Which I think describes Angelo and Vincent rather well. Especially as it interplays with another favorite sonnet, Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Love is not all."

And of course there's Lesa, who in some part comes from an Edna St. Vincent Millay sonnet, "Women have loved before as I love now."

Here's a Millay poem that's pretty good for Dust, too, although maybe not quotable. "Here is a wound that will never heal, I know"

As for Parker, she influenced or inspired me in other ways, also. "Sounding" grows out of a response to her poem "Penelope." And probably listening to Jethro Tull's "The Whaler's Dues"


twain & tesla

speak double dutch with a real double dutchess


No Baron Haussmann in this Paris. The medieval city plan is still there in 1903. do I manage to get that across without just coming out and saying it? Oh, wait, I know.

Also, I know the Paris Metro opened in 1900. Anybody have any idea when the street lights of La Ville-lumière went in, in our world?

Why yes, this does have something to do with the title of the novella. *g*

bear by san

Okay, I need a research librarian.

I'm looking for information on the wolves of Paris, and the Internets know them not. Or not much, anyway.

ETA stillsostrange got at least part of it for me. Swinburne says "Cortaut." La.

For those of you who haven't picked up this apparently more-obscure-than-I-knew historical tidbit, in the winter of 1439, when Paris was a bone of contention between between the followers of the Count of Armagnac and those of the Duke of Burgundy (and everybody was quite tipsy a lot of the time) and the English and the French were arguing over who exactly got to call himself King of France, and two wet years and bad harvests in a row had provoked the worst famine in twenty years, and population was still almost nonexistent in the wake of the Black Death...

...a large pack of wolves took up residence near the City of Paris, and in fact pretty much roamed the streets at will, eating whatever they could catch. Including citizens.

Now, Daniel Mannix wrote a novel about this event (And Cris Williamson wrote a song about it. Both book and song are called "The Wolves of Paris," with rare originality.). Anyway, Mannix calls the alpha wolf Cortaud, and describes him as a wolf-wolfhound hybrid. My question is, did he make up these details? I know that one of the theories about the Beast of Gevaudan was that it was a mastiff-wolf hybrid; he certainly could have borrowed from the other famous French wolf story.

Can anybody with either better Google-fu, a firsthand knowledge of Parisian folklore, or access to a research library confirm that for me?

P.S. Mebd's new trick for getting me up in the morning is to pull my hair.

Anybody want a cat?

Will ship.