And Another Thing

I’m having unsettling neighbor drama. He came over on Thursday to see if I wanted cucumbers and I said, “Yeah, I guess” and then he was all “No, you can’t have these. They’re crap.” Um, okay. You came to my house and offered me cucumbers. And then he said he’d bring some by later and I was thinking that this exchange was already so weird that I didn’t want to have to interact with him again anytime soon, so I told him that we were going to be in and out all weekend, but someone (read: the Butcher) would be home on Sunday.

Cut to Saturday morning when I was having a laugh because the black dog heard the orange cat meowing in the garage, but could not locate him, because the cat was up on the shelf. But all was cool. The cat was way out of harm’s reach of the dog. The dog was supervised by me. The garage door was shut.

Then, from in the house, I hear my phone buzz. I have a text. I go in the house, I see it’s the Butcher, I text him back. Importantly: I have left the door between the garage and the house open so that I can keep an ear on the dog. And then I realize I hear the black dog barking like mad–outside. I rush into the back yard and there’s the neighbor, swinging his cane at the dog who is barking like a madman at him, standing firm, hackles up. I start screaming, “Put your cane down, he won’t bite. He won’t bite.”

Dude’s all “I thought you guys weren’t going to be home and I heard a dog in your garage and I was just checking to see if a stray had gotten in there. I didn’t recognize this dog.”

All of this is bullshit. I said we’d be in and out. He did not hear the dog in the garage, because part of what was so funny about the dog and the cat was that the dog was making these really quiet “yip” noises to seemingly try to encourage the cat to make a noise in response. When your house is on the opposite side of my house from the garage, it’s utter bullshit that you heard a dog in my garage, even a barking dog, but especially not one making hysterical yip noises.

He let that dog out of my garage and then, if I had not come out back, he would have beat it with his cane.

There are a million reasons why a dog might be in my garage–maybe I’ve found a stray and I put it in the garage for animal control to pick up. Maybe a dog is sick and I need to run out and I’d rather have it barfing and shitting on hoseable concrete than my hardwoods.

It doesn’t matter. I don’t know why I’m justifying why a dog I have temporary custody of is in my closed garage. I didn’t do anything wrong. That creepy jackass was coming in my garage and he got busted by the black dog.

Why the fuck was he trying to creep around my garage?

And then he kept going on about how he didn’t know we were dog sitting.

What the fuck?

He’s not our landlord. This is literally the third and fourth time I’ve ever talked to him, because I found the first two times so fucking weird.

The black dog seemed untraumatized, but I’m still upset about it.

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Weekend of Weekending

I’ve been just social butterflying around this weekend, having great conversations, getting my oil changed, discussing with children whether God is afraid of us. Child’s answer was along the lines of talking about the Flood and saying “Yes.” Which I found kind of profound and disturbing.

I wrote a hard part of Ashland this weekend and I’m feeling both proud and a little frightened. Which I guess is a good thing for a horror novel?

I think I have distilled my Harper Lee opinions down to the following: as readers, all we can do that is respectful of Lee’s agency, is believe that she does, indeed, want the book published and we can thus decide to read it or not based on whether it sounds like a good book (though I’ll note that none of the reviews I’ve read so far have actually said if the book is any good, which I find strange).

But my gut, as someone in the publishing industry, is that there’s a reason that Harper Collins is publishing a rough draft with a light copyedit–Lee isn’t up to the tasks an author has to perform during the publication process. My suspicion is that, if Lee were to try to perform those duties, it would be obvious to too wide a circle at Harper Collins that she wasn’t up for it and suspicions that she’s being exploited would move in people’s minds more firmly into fact.

I wish that Harper Collins had either issued WATCHMAN in some kind of critical edition–where the text was left as-is, but an expert of some sort provided contextualization and footnoting and other things–in other words, treated the manuscript like a kind of historical artifact OR that they’d put the book through the publishing process–genuinely editing it and providing the author the opportunity to shape it into a draft she felt proud of that suited the marketplace now.

I find the middle path they’ve chosen to be, at the least, disrespectful of WATCHMAN and Lee as an author and I will not be surprised if/when it comes out that Lee was not fully able to consent to the publication.

But, like I said, we can only go by what we’ve been told is Lee’s position. If it turns out we were lied to, we’ve not somehow betrayed Lee by reading the book.