2017-09-01

sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
Rabbit, rabbit! My short story "The Creeping Influences" is now available in the latest issue of Shimmer. I'll say more about it on Tuesday when it goes live on the site, but if you don't want to wait out the long weekend, I'll just point out that it's my first new fiction since last summer and I am very honored to have it the lead story of the issue. Cover art is by Sandro Castelli. I am really pleased by the visual shout-out to Tollund Man. In other news, this story has a bog body.

The Creeping Influences
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
It is a quiet, sunny September afternoon and all of a sudden it feels like fall. Last night it was cold enough for an electric blanket and as of today I have transferred my keys into the pockets of my corduroy coat; the color of the light and the clarity of the sky are stone-washed, paling, remote. The leaves are not yet turning that I can see, but I just realized that the tree directly across from my office window may have died. Its branches are split and grey with lichen, its twigs leafless. I wonder if the ash borer got it. It had better not be an omen. Autolycus crouched next to my computer with the afternoon in his green eyes suggests that I should not take it as such.

Tomorrow I plan to meet [personal profile] rushthatspeaks for the HFA's all-night vampire marathon. For most of next week [personal profile] spatch and I will be out of town and traveling because of family business on his side. When we get back, the Brattle will be running a celebration of Tilda Swinton and I will get to see more Derek Jarman on the big screen, including The Last of England (1987), which I have only read about. The HFA is not running a full Wellman retrospective, but selected works with emphasis on his pre-Code and social message pictures. I am glad that someone other than me considers Heroes for Sale (1933) and Wild Boys of the Road (1933) "neglected classics," because they are. Any summary that leaves Dorothy Coonan out of the latter, however, is out of focus.

I keep thinking about Dunkirk (2017). I went to see it again last weekend because I wanted to observe the structure now that I knew how it worked; what I feel I mostly ended up observing was the emotion. It's really not a cold movie. Some characters' arcs leapt out at me this time around, one numinous moment in particular which I may describe if I can recompile my brain. The cinematography still sticks for me. There are moments of great visual beauty, disorientation, immersion, but not everything needs to be quick-cut, adrenaline-flash. You can create astonishing claustrophobia and chaos holding the camera crisp and steady—Sidney Lumet and Oswald Morris did it with The Hill (1965), yet another film I saw this summer and failed to write about. I know Christopher Nolan thought the alternative would be more intuitive. I don't know that he was right.

I wish I were not so tired. I remember being able to think. I liked it.
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
Shelley Berman has died. He was ninety-two, which is fair, but I am sorry because I grew up on Inside Shelley Berman (1959)—and Outside Shelley Berman (1959), for that matter, although I'm not convinced about The Edge of Shelley Berman (1960)—and if you skip to the 14:58 mark on this track you will hear the sketch with which I always associate him, the phone call to the department store. Outside of his record covers, I didn't know what he looked like for years, just that harassed voice on the telephone, calling from the southwest corner, onstage. "Maybe she tried on something and snapped out, I don't know how!" There are worse ways to be remembered.
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