Printed Out

The October thing is printed out and ready for final revisions. The Sue Allen thing is printed out and ready for final revisions. I don’t know when those revisions are going to happen. But I am prepared.

I keep waiting for news I can share with you on “Sarah Clark,” because boy oh boy do I think that’s some of my best work. I have to find a way to bring it to you guys. Hopefully soon.

The thing about Lovecraft–sorry this post is so disjointed. I slept poorly last night and all of a sudden I’m so sleepy here on the couch–but the thing about Lovecraft is that everything has this science-fiction undertone, which I felt like I had to strip out and replace with a religious undertone. And maybe this is a fundamental difference between a haunted house in the northeast and a haunted house story in the South, but I just don’t feel like there’s the same ambiguous discomfort with the industrial era down here. Which I guess I hadn’t really thought about how science-fiction is a reckoning with the industrial era, but here we are. It kind of is. Will we rule our mechanisms or be ruled by them?

We don’t really have that same kind of haunting of mechanisms down here. If someone takes you to an abandoned mill here, you can rest assured they’re taking you to a place where grain was ground, not where small children’s hands were ground under huge machines making fabric.

Our concerns are still about whether we’ll rule the supernatural or be ruled by it (especially if you understand the supernatural to have a moral component). God that’s one of the things I loved about that Alex Bledsoe interview–that he really thinks about Southern literature, too.

Over at IO9, they have this great post about how Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is the perfect white-guilt movie.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Belts’ book about the roll of religion in motivating the Confederates. I keep thinking about the paradigm of the South as chosen people and the framing of Southern defeats as proof of soldiers’ immorality in the camps. Proof and punishment.

I have this theory that this is another one of those secret issues that we, as a society, try to work out without looking it square in the face, like coming to terms with the fact that slavery wasn’t just something white people did to black people, but something parents did to some of their children. You can talk family values all you want, but how can that kind of attitude not echo down through generations? Your grandfather’s grandfather lived in a world where a father could sell his son and everyone knew it.

But your grandfather’s grandfather was also born into a world where either God could love you best and therefore punish you worst or where the very religious beliefs that made up such a core part of your identity could be turned against you by your ministers in order to motivate you to willingly die.

That’s what fascinates me so much about the Reconstruction period. What do you do with the niggling suspicion that the thing you knew was moral was not?


9 thoughts on “Printed Out

  1. Well, you know, you’ve got me thinking that it’s weird. I knew people who had seen UFOs when I lived in North Carolina (Winston-Salem), like quite a few people. They were pretty open about it.

    I don’t know anyone in Tennessee who has.

    Which is not to say that they haven’t, but just that it’s not something discussed. But the amount of folks I know who’ve seen the Chapel Hill Light? About the same as the people in North Carolina I knew who’d seen a UFO–seven or eight.

    So, now I wonder if that doesn’t somehow fit this discussion. I don’t want to call UFOs sci-fi (maybe parascientific? Like paranatural but for science-y things?), because that makes it sound like I think they’re made up (and I don’t exactly think that), but I do want to wonder whether, when you see something strange, if your willingness to say “that’s a UFO/alien” or “that’s a ghost” is shaped by just how shaped by science & industry you see your life vs. how much you see your life shaped by spiritual concerns.

    Either way, I took out the elbow in the basement of the shunned house and put in an actual werewolf, because I just didn’t believe a Southern haunted house would have an alien in the basement.

  2. The relative scarcity of UFO sightings probably has a lot to do with having only one active duty Air Force base in TN (which houses no planes or copters)…just a guess, though. Either that or aliens just are not interested.

    I agree. A southern haunted house would have something in the cellar busting up the fruit jars, but it wouldn’t be an alien.

  3. “A southern haunted house would have something in the cellar busting up the fruit jars, but it wouldn’t be an alien.”

    I think the woman who put up those fruit jars would have been down there whacking it with a broom. Werewolf, alien, whatever- it’s getting a whacking.

  4. Fruit jars are the one thing my cellar lacks. I’m trusting the glowing mold on the floor probably kept the women from using the cellar to store food. Though now I wonder where they did?

    Perhaps it wasn’t werewolves at all, but scurvy that got them in the end?

  5. See, if they’d been smart, they would have put the dead, haunted werewolf corpse in the cave and kept the cellar for preserves.

    Ha ha ha. Whoa I am looking forward to October.

  6. B, I’ve gotta get you over to my sister’s house before they fill in/close up/make safer the thing in their backyard that we assume is a root cellar.

    And then we’ll go get some Rosepepper margaritas. ;)

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