I’m rapidly running out of yarn, so 63 it is. I think it’s going to be beautiful. Maybe not to everyone’s tastes, but hopefully to C & M’s.

hill house 5

If You’re Not Salty, What are You Worth?

I have a ton of celery. So I made this celery apple soup that I found a recipe for online. And it called for a tablespoon of salt. I checked repeatedly because it just seemed like way too much salt. But there it was–a tablespoon. So, since I hadn’t made the recipe before, I went with it.

And, fuck yes, it was too much salt. I tried everything–the adding sugar trick, the adding starch trick, the adding water trick.

None of it worked.

And I didn’t finish the Hill House squares, not even the 63. But I’m going to try to get to 70.

And we have to eat that fucking salty soup again tonight.

The Hill House Afghan Has Me in Its Thrall

All morning, I’ve been sitting here thinking that, even though I can, at best, do four squares an evening, if I left work early, I could get six done and then I would know if I had enough yarn for seven more.

I can’t actually leave work early, because I have a ton of stuff to do.

But I hear the siren call of the afghan, luring me to come and finish it.

Still, it could be worse. I could be sitting here fretting over the fact that it’s a mere 17 days until The Wolf’s Bane is supposed to come out.

The Deer

This morning, as we came out of the garage, the dog took off like a shot–fhwoosh–though our yard, the neighbor’s yard, and the neighbor’s neighbor’s yard. A young buck lifted his head up and leaped off across the AT&T yard. The dog chased after him. I yelled, “What are you going to do with him if you do catch him?” and this seemed to dissuade the dog from running further. He circled back around to me and we went on our walk like normal.

He’s so beautiful when he runs. I’d hardly believe he hadn’t been chasing deer his whole life if I hadn’t seen how bad he was at running when we first got him.

The Hill House afghan has a kind of weird field-like quality to it. I guess anything with rows is bound to. We’re reaching the end. I have 57 squares. I’m aiming for 70, but I don’t know if I have enough yarn. So, now my goal is to make it to 63 and reassess where I am yarn-wise, see if I think I have enough to make it to 70. It’ll be a very, very close call. But I’m really excited about putting it together and seeing how it looks.

Clowning Around


Yesterday I went back up to Gallatin for the thing they were having out at Bledsoe’s Fort–a bunch of reinactors from the early days. It was all very interesting. I talked dolls with a woman for a long time, Native American tattoos with a couple of Indians who lectured me on how stupid they thought the term Native American was, and weaving with a guy who does the whole nine yards from flax to linen, which was really interesting. I always imagine with things like that, which require multiple steps, or, think about, say, cake making or any kind of baking really, when it’s more than just “Here’s a raw thing. Put it on heat until it’s cooked.” and I think of the people who first figured it out and I wonder a lot about them. All those steps. How long did it take you to figure out how to take them?

I also met this clown, who did not speak, but she blew my mind. She hand-made this outfit. The stitching, which she let me look at, was extraordinary. I tend to find clowns creepy, but I thought she was beautiful. And she was like if a contortionist and a dancer had a happy baby. That was her act, leaping and tumbling and juggling. It didn’t feel so far removed from something sacred.

One part of last week was hard. Not in a bad way hard. Last week was fucking awesome (and I’m fully expecting this week, when it runs in the paper, to be a lot less fun).

But here’s the thing. I think of myself as a blogger, first and foremost, and someone who aspires to write amazing ghost stories. I don’t really consider myself to be a straight up fantasy writer or a straight up horror writer. I just think of myself as writing ghost stories. All my stories are about a past that comes creeping up on you, no matter how buried. And I like it that way.

The non-fiction I write, I normally write because I have learned something interesting that I might want to use in my fiction later that I think other people also might find interesting. Sometimes I don’t end up using it. Sometimes I just find it really interesting and want to share it with other people because I think it helps me make better sense of where I live.

And I have this ghost story I really want to write.

But some of the responses to the Isaac Franklin piece make me wonder if I should go back to the Nashvillains book and let the ghost story sit. And I don’t know.

Right now would be the time to have a plan and goals, but I genuinely am not sure what I should be doing next.

We also went to see Age of Ultron yesterday and, though I thought it was good, I thought the clown was better and I’ve been thinking a lot about why. And I genuinely think it’s because she stood under a tree with a very few props and yet I felt like something transcendent was brushing right up next to me. I marveled at her (if I might be excused for using that word) and I didn’t at the movie. Also, I think I’m becoming some kind of strange old romantic softy in my own way as I get older, but I find “we can’t be together” storylines irritating not compelling.

Anyway, that’s where things are here. Which thing deserves my attention? How do I see myself?

I’m not sure.

The Wolf’s Bane Details, As I Know Them

The book launches May 22nd, with a thingy that evening at East Side Story. I don’t know the time yet. But I will read, maybe we’ll watch the trailer again, perhaps we’ll all sing an a capella version of “Long Black Veil” so beautiful the moon weeps. Books will be for sale.

Here’s the deal on the books. There’s one edition that is what they call an artist’s book–a handbound art object that comes with actual prints of the artwork and a box and probably other stuff I don’t know about. They’re doing 30 copies of this book and it’s $300. If you want one, if I know anyone who can afford that, I’d recommend not waiting to buy it, because now is before the libraries and collectors start laying claim.

Then there are 300 copies of the $30 paperback, hopefully being printed as I type. On the one hand, I expect it may take a while for those 300 to sell. On the other hand, if every artist involved’s family buys ten, that’s a fourth gone right out the gate.

Anyway, here’s the link to buy online again.

Things Happen and then You Break Out the Jameson

The motherfucking New York Times is recommending people read what I wrote. The guy, the guy of “that guy who’s writing the Isaac Franklin book” whose name I never could find out, even he motherfucking contacted me and told me he liked my piece. .Even my dad is bragging on Facebook. I’m texting and emailing people and telling them I love them. Because I do, dear readers, love you. I don’t know why this is happening. I mean, the I love yous are because I’m fucking drunk. But why? Who knows? Let’s just enjoy it.

NYTimes pick

The House in Harmony with Fairies

stone house

Oh, you guys! I totally forgot to tell you the awesome, strange thing I learned while in Gallatin. This house, up in the Bledsoe’s Fort park, was built by an Irish guy. The two doors are not the front of the house, but the side. Back in the day, all of the doors, they think, were double-paned–so you could keep livestock shut out and still have a breeze.

And everything about the house is set up to be in harmony with fairies. They have a big book explaining it. But the house is only one room wide–apparently fairies like (or used to like) that. Every window is across from another window or door so that, if a fairy came in one, he or she could easily pass through the house and back out. Apparently, from what I can gather, fairies like (or liked at the time) to be able to flow freely through a place without getting lost or stuck in it. You also enter right in the bedroom of the house. The back of the house was the dining/work room (dude was a weaver). And apparently this was also important, that guests be welcomed into the heart of the home and the front door open onto the hearth.

I immediately texted a picture to local author, Sara Harvey, for reasons.

Who Tells the Story?

I was feeling so good yesterday that I thought I’d start Ashland. So, I did, three times. And, you know, I don’t think I have the right point of view. I’d thought that I wanted first-person from someone in the house. But I think that’s not going to work.

I think I need someone telling the story from a more omniscient perspective.

Usually, when I write, I have a good sense of who’s telling the story and then we just go along to see what the story is. This is the first time I’ve ever felt like I know the story, I just don’t yet have a good sense of who’s telling it, or why.

So, This is What It’s Like

All day long, people complimented me on the Isaac Franklin piece. And it felt wonderful. If anyone didn’t like it, they didn’t tell me. Which was also wonderful.

I feel proud.

And relieved.

I kind of want to cry a little bit, but I can’t articulate why.

Isaac Franklin!

It’s up! Holy shit. The art is incredible.

I worked so hard on this, rewriting it and rejiggering it and reworking it, that my feeling upon seeing it live is almost tears of relief.

I think it’s good. One point that I would make, in retrospect, is that Franklin was considered at the time the epitome of a good slave trader. If you were going to “ethically” buy slaves, Franklin & Armfield was your best option. And this was Isaac Franklin.

There was no firm moral high ground to stand on as a slave owner. But one of the most important points that Ed Baptist makes is that there was no firm moral high ground to stand on throughout the whole cotton industry. An abolitionist wearing cotton shirts was a compromised man.

Anyway, fair warning, it discusses slavery and all that is entailed in that.

Sweet Misery

My parents’ visit was both nice and grueling. We had a nice time. We went to the Dylan/Cash/Nashville Cats exhibit at the Hall of Fame. We had a lovely time. We got ice cream. We got a ton of stuff that I needed done around the house done. We spent all day with the Butcher’s girlfriend and her kids (when they call me “Miss Betsy” it does something to my insides I can’t even explain.) and we saw more of Gallatin than I even knew existed.

And I caught my dad on the phone with his friend explaining why I’ll never be married. I’m too mean. And, I don’t know, it just stung. Not that I want to be married. I just don’t want the people who I love to view my not being married as something that needs to be explained away with some untrue character defect. Say I hate to leave the house, that I don’t like to meet new people, that I am often the last person a man dates before he meets his wife or that I have occasionally sent men home to their wives and so I just, apparently, am the kind of woman who reminds men what they want in a wife who is not me.

But mean?

Sweet Jesus. If I were mean things would be a lot different in this family.

I’m miserably sunburned. And I pulled my shoe apart on accident this morning, like some kind of Hulk. It was good to see them, though. I miss them when they’re not around. I just wish, after all this time, we’d have learned how not to step on each others’ toes.


I found this picture of my niece on my dad's phone and I immediately texted it to myself, because I recognized that it may be the greatest picture ever taken.

I found this picture of my niece on my dad’s phone and I immediately texted it to myself, because I recognized that it may be the greatest picture ever taken.

As Expected, The Hill House Afghan Takes an Unexpected Turn

Experienced yarn workers will tell you–always buy as much yarn as you need for the project ahead of time. They say this is so you can be sure to get all the same dye lot, which is handy. But it’s also because, when you’re in the middle of a project, you’re a jackass. Like me.

I was like “Oh, right I totally remember what yarn I bought for the Hill House afghan.”

And now the new yarn has arrived and some of it is right and some of it is not a yarn that has heretofore appeared in the Hill House afghan.

The tan? The crucial tan? Not in the box.

Instead, I picked out for myself a more vivid brown.

So, it’ll be interesting to piece together. I’m going to have to lay it out on my bed and move things around to make sure they’re evenly distributed. But I had 29 squares of a 48 square afghan. And I bought a whole lot more yarn than I had for the 29 squares. So, in my head, I’m already planning on bumping it up to 6×9. If I still have yarn, I might go bigger.

That makes me laugh, too, that I thought I was through over half the House and now I’ve discovered that’s not the case.

I Have Many Feelings

1. The Butcher’s vehicle broke down in Gallatin, so I had to get up before dawn to go get him. I am wired on coffee and exceptionally tired.

2. I got some out-of-left-field news yesterday, unexpected and good, but also, unexpected.

3. I’m reviewing edits on a story and I am a little startled by how angry I’m getting at the copyeditor. I don’t often have the chance to be copyedited except when K. does it. The thing I guess I’m realizing is that I trust K. implicitly. I don’t trust this person I don’t know, because I don’t know him/her (I think it’s a her, but I’m not sure). And the thing is that her/his edits are fine. This is not about his/her work. This is some weird thing about me being all “NNNOOOOO!!!” (with growling bear noises) and then having to step back and ask myself if this is truly about the editing suggestion or about me. 90% of it is this weird feeling of wounded defensiveness. If I had a therapist, I guess I’d talk it through. Since I don’t, I’ll just mention it on the internet.

4. My parents are here. I’m taking them to the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow.

5. On Friday, I have to take dog poop to the vet.

6. So, you know, mixed feelings.

Gun Shots

I woke up to the sound of gun fire, five shots in quick succession. There might have been a shot that woke me up. I don’t know. I sat there in the dark waiting for any sign that I needed to do something–crying, screaming, voices of any sort, a car driving off. A little while later, a car honked, but I have no idea if they were connected.

My first thought was, “Well, that has to be the end of the red dog.”

But the Butcher says he doesn’t see anything out there. He also thought, if the shots came that close together, the person might not have been aiming that well.