Back when I still did the Facebook thing, I’d say I felt bad for anyone who wasn’t in New Orleans during a beautiful Fall day like today. Well, I don’t know if I pity anyone who’s not in Mississippi on a today like today, but it was particularly nice. Cool but without the bite we’ve had the past couple days. It was cold as all get-out this morning but once the sun was fully in the sky, it was a pleasant day all around.
Of course, I spent most of it reading and napping. I’m almost done with Kthulhu Reich, but I got distracted with short stories by Faulkner and Lovecraft. I also took a small swing at the new Sean Carroll book, Something Deeply Hidden, that I bought via lucky accident, as well as Scott Bemenek’s The Cosmic Machine: The Science That Runs Our Universe and the Story Behind It.
I may’ve said this before, but sometime about six or seven years ago, I quit reading. I used to devour books but, for whatever reason and probably the first indication of the worsening fall into depression, I just flat-out quit reading. The last full novel I read was Susana Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It wasn’t bad, it was just a long way to go for not much of a pay off, in my opinion.
But up until I moved to New Orleans, maybe 10 years or so ago, I read mostly non-fiction books. Nothing too deep or scholarly, but books written for mass markets on history, science, philosophy, and just whatever grabbed my fancy. Upon moving to the Big Easy, though, I gradually eased my way into fiction, particularly science fiction, fantasy and horror. The first year or two I was in New Orleans, I tried taking a whack at fiction, specifically “urban fantasy horror” based actually in the Crescent City.
The idea was a world where the “Masquerade” no longer existed, due to a vampire takeover of Los Angeles in the ’70s. That was based on a book I’d read about, for what it’s worth, but I can’t remember the title. I was also going to work in “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” into because I love that show and whole concept. My protagonist was going to be a journalist, using modern technologies like smartphones and laptops, working in New Orleans for a publication that was sort of a chronicle of preternatural (one of the words I’d use instead of “supernatural”) world and how “normal people” could navigate it.
Being that I was in New Orleans, I was going to work voodoo into things, as well as root doctoring, pow-wow magic, backwoods superstitions and just whatever else seemed to fit, a sort of All Myths Are True kind of thing. After reading Sarah Monette’s excellent and much recommended The Bone Key and watching the enjoyable The Last Exorcism, I had planned on working elements of those into the story, as well as a modern take on The Thin Man (movie and Dashiell Hammett’s book)).
Unfortunately, it not only got too unwieldy for me to really concentrate on, the aforementioned slide into the rottenest levels of depression taking solid hold as work got to the point where I was having to grind myself into the ground just to keep the lights on. So I trashed what I had done (as is my wont; tough shit, literary researchers of the future, get a real job) and fat-out quit everything, including considering myself a “writer”. I figured if you no longer did the work, you couldn’t call yourself that anymore.
It’s funny, though, in retrospect how almost everyone I came across knew within just a little while of getting to know me just how miserable I was. They could meet a friend of mine from the other side of the country and be able to immediately commiserate on how Matt was a gloomy bastard. I never saw this. It never even entered my mind, probably because I generally stayed so stoned my eyebrows were about to flap away.
Okay, I had to break away for a bit and rescue a kitten. I’d been hearing a meowing and figured it was Bounce messing with Otis as he’s inclined to do. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of Otis trying to kill a cat after he’s gotten a-hold of it. He can’t help it, Jack Russells are bread to whip up on smaller varmints and I got to him too late to get it out of his system. Anyhow, I run around to the front yard just to find out that is actually wasn’t Bounce, but a lovely little tabby kitten with a white belly.
Luckily he wasn’t hurt. Otis has killed a cat before, notably my erstwhile girlfriends sick old cat who couldn’t fight back or get away. That poor guy was a serious mess, but anything that’s not seems to at least fight him off until help arises. In any event, I can’t keep the kitten – as much as I want to take in all the world’s strays – and will look around the community tomorrow to see if there’s anyone he belongs to. Still, my hands are shaking from the adrenaline and I know my soft heart is going to make me sad I can’t give him a home. May be a good thing, though, as Bounce took a dislike to him. A bit odd, as Bounce is such a friendly boy, but there you are.
Well, okay then, back to business. Good thing I wasn’t riding a solid groove, ain’t it, because it would be gone by the time I got back. I’m a bit frazzled. I had more I was going to get into tonight, but I think I’ll save it for tomorrow. We’ll tie this one off and call it a night. In case you’re interested, I wrote this little thing at my Tumblr site about why Evangelicals are so gooey for Trump. Take a look.