Saturday, August 24, 2019

July: Losses and Gains

During the month of July just passed I did two things: forestry work and work on my story.  And during a very hot week and more here in the Midwest, I stayed home and wrote for ten to twelve hours a day some days. That might not have been good for work that pays, but it was good for my story: in about four days' time I wrote 10,000 to 12,000 words, and in another week or so I wrote 5,000 to 10,000 more. I finished my first draft on July 28 and printed it on July 31, thus meeting my own personal deadline. It's not often that I meet or have met deadlines during these past few months or years, but I did in this case. That alone was cause for happiness, but to write a story at its own rapid pace and to finish it to my own satisfaction was a kind of elation. As C.L. Moore wrote, "To be panting along behind a headstrong story . . . is one of life’s major glories--a high better than drugs or drink." (1)

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Also during July I wrote a little on this blog, but only a little, and I missed out on a lot. If it's okay with you, I would like to catch up . . .

On July 16, I noted the passing of João Gilberto, who died on July 6, 2019, at age eighty-eight. What I failed to note is that his wife, Brazilian singer Miúcha, had died six months earlier, on December 18, 2018, at age eighty-one. Their daughter, singer Bebel Gilberto, then, lost both of her parents in half a year's time. I would like to express my sorrow for her loss and to extend the same feelings on behalf of all of you if you'll have it. I would also like to urge all of you to listen to Bebel Gilberto's very fine album Tanto Tempo (2000), which opens with a slow, sultry rendition of "Samba da Bênção" by Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell, two giants of Brazilian music with whom her parents performed and recorded.

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I was also saddened to learn of the death of Rosemary Ellen Guiley, who left us on July 18, 2019, at age sixty-nine. I met her at the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, many years ago, and she seemed to me a kind and gracious person. Rosemary wrote on occult and quasi-religious topics, but she also wrote on Fortean topics and was an editor with Fate magazine, co-founded by Raymond A. Palmer as a journal of Forteana. I don't think that she wrote fiction, but in being influenced by the writings of Charles H. Fort, directly or indirectly, Rosemary Guiley joined legions of authors of fantasy and science fiction, including many tellers of weird tales. This is the centennial year, by the way, of the publication of Fort's first book, The Book of the Damned.

(1) Quoted in "C.L. Moore (1911-1987) [and] Henry Kuttner (1915-1958)" by Frederick Shroyer and Richard Bleiler in Science Fiction Writers, 2nd edition (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1999), pp. 545-546.

Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained by Damon Knight (1970). In addition to being a biographer, critic, and author of science fiction and related topics, Damon Knight was a poet and artist who contributed to Weird Tales. His first illustration for the magazine was for H.P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West: Reanimator," from the issue of November 1942. So again, we have mention of Lovecraft in the week of his birthday.

Original text copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley

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