We watched the Perseids a few summers back from an unlit stretch of beach on Lake Huron. A lantern guided our way from campsite through the dunes. We were aware of other groups of people who like us reposed in the darkness along the shore. Eyes that rarely see the sky unpolluted by electricity searched for distant sailing sparks. When one group saw one, they'd cheer to alert those other people, off in the darkness. They would scan the skies and cheer in response. For cheap laughs once, we agreed to applaud a non-existent one, to see if others would follow our lead. They did, though it was half-hearted. A really good flaming star might light a chorus of cheering along the Huron shore, like dogs barking across the countryside at night.
Then four years passed.
In the last six weeks I've written many pages, but not as much as I'd hoped. Mind you, I completed a short story before I returned to the ms, and I think it's a pretty good one. I'll revise it in another month and see if it'll be my next published piece.
Some questions about bears arose during my writing. This prompted some research, during which I encountered the following bit:
When someone asks (as many people have) whether shooting a bear with a pistol will have any effect, one response by those who know bears is to say yes, absolutely, but you should file the site off the barrel before attempting such a thing.
It will hurt less when the bear shoves the pistol up your butt.
In these same weeks, I've also read the following:
- Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism by David Nickle. I reviewed this unusual historical horror.
- Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill. Well-written but overrated account of Montreal's seamy side, shown through the eyes of a child. A junky's daughter, she becomes sexually active at twelve, while still retaining a warped childlike perspective. Her perceptions ring true. The beginning needs editing; the conclusion involves a Deus Ex Machina
- The Paperboy by Pete Dexter: Good, if chaotic novel about some journalists in the American South in the 1960s, and our contemporary notions of the Truth.1
- Whale Music by Paul Quarrington. I wrote a review of this one, and its film adaptation. The late Paul Quarrington deserves to be more widely-read.
- Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History by Yunte Huang. A somewhat rambling and stylistically tortuous scholastic account, I nevertheless updated my Charlie Chan write-up as a result of reading it.
- The Fall of the House of Hapsburg by Edward Crankshaw: Okay—I admit, I haven't quite finished this one, a noted but rather dry and pointedly opinionated account. I return to it when I'm having trouble sleeping.
- Zodiac by Robert Graysmith: Creepy. This book is responsible for outing a prime suspect. It's questionable whether the individual identified in the book (though not by name) actually was the Zodiac Killer, but said suspect wasn't a very good person, so few mind that the subsequent publicity thwarted his attempt to live in quiet the remainder of his life, after he completed a prison term for molesting a child. See Gerardus's account under Zodiac Killer for further information.
- The Marvels Project: The Birth of the Superheroes by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. I found this one in the library in Exeter and read it while my wife was rehearsing for the Bach Festival. I reviewed it here.2
- Superman I finished and reviewed the final, frustrating story arc that completes the run before DC reboots and goes back to issue #1. Probably my exit from mainstream comix for a few years. The well-kept issues of this story arc will be donated to a charity auction with which I'm involved next year. They're already doing reasonably well on ebay.
- The Walking Dead (first two graphic novels) by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore: A good graphic tale—but I prefer the tv adaptation.
Today would have been my mother's birthday. I have not said all I'd like to say, but I've said what I need to say.
1. I purchased this at an apartment sale in 1996, when the book was still relatively new. The apartment owner was a recent University graduate leaving Canada for Great Britain (where, I have learned through the magic of Google, she has become a curator and author). I bought two books from her sale, and read one right away. The other sort of followed me around, and I forgot its origins until I opened it and found the little piece of paper she included with each item:
JD is the official owner of The Paperboy.
Purchased for $1.00 an August 24, 1996. This item is a utilitarian object, [Her Name] collectable and a portion of an original [Her Name] art work.
[Her Name] Tally-Ho Party and Charity Auction
Canadian Flag - ONE WAY-> Union Jack
2. Apart from the value of the Bach Festival, we had an interesting experience with Google Maps. Most of the workshops and performances were held in small-town Ontario churches. Do not rely on Google maps to correctly distinguish among the numerous small-town Ontario churches (especially when two churches with nearly-identical names have been built ten minutes from each other), or between a paved rural road and a barely-accessible cowpath.
The choristers did a superlative job of Bach's Mass in B Minor, performed in a hockey rink in a city of 4,500.