Unfortunately, it has been some time since I last made a personal update. Since then, I have had little time for new posts. I have moved from Aztec, New Mexico, to near Gillett, Arkansas, for a new job, which is a promotion. I have been through Arkansas before, but this is the first time I have lived here.
Arkansas is the complete opposite of the Four Corners in terms of climate. I am also having to acclimatize myself again to chiggers, mosquitoes, and hot, humid weather, which I had left behind me many years ago. I am also living literally on the edge of a woods, where, each night, I can hear the buzzing of insects and the chirrup of frogs and toads. I grew up with these in Kentucky and I have missed them. It is good to hear them again. I also occasionally see opossums and armadillos in my yard. Sometimes, I see deer in the woods, but they haven’t approached my house yet.
The Arkansas River is a short distance through the woods from my house. Alligators are common in the area, but few crop up in the immediate vicinity of my place. I have a reasonable respect for them, though I do not fear them. I lived in south Texas for fourteen years, where they are common, I saw them frequently there and I used to photograph them often when I was trying to establish myself as a wildlife photographer.
Where I live is remote. I have one neighbor, a co-worker, who lives less than fifty yards from my house. At night, for the last week, he has been on vacation and I have been the only person for probably a couple of miles from the nearest neighbor. Past that, the nearest person is probably another mile off and from there to the next is a few miles more. I don’t watch TV. I watch mostly YouTube videos on horror and dark subjects and occasionally horror movies on Netflix. So, midnight here can be eerie. Today, as I unpack (my household goods were delivered on the 23rd), I am listening to an excellent audio-book recording of Lovecraft’s “Shadow over Innsmouth” that was published on YouTube by Intellectual Exercise.
Though the trip was only two days in length, I did manage to get some “reading” done via audio-books. I purchased The Gunslinger, Volume I of Stephen Kings Dark Tower series before I left and listened to it for most of the trip. I was disappointed in it. The writing wasn’t up to King’s usual standards. I have reviewed it on Goodreads, if you are interested.
My last night on the road was spent at a La Quinta in downtown Little Rock. Before I left the next day, I checked out the River Market area. It’s a neat area. I found a nice little coffee shop/bookstore, where I purchased audio versions of four stories of Edith Wharton’s and seven of Kipling’s Just So Stories (read by Boris Karloff in the 50’s). Both are very good. I will have to read a lot more of Edith Wharton’s. They are just terrific stories with outstanding writing.
I am developing a list of audio books on YouTube for listening to later on. At the top of my list currently is Kate Chopin‘s The Awakening. I listened to a few minutes of it on audio book the other day, but then had to get on with my tasks. I decided to save it for a later time when I can lie down and focus on it. Her writing is excellent. Then after I read the Wikipedia article on it, I decided that I really need to listen to it to expand my knowledge of important American writers.
I took a break from unpacking yesterday and listened to Frank Belknap Long’s “The Hounds of Tindalos”. It was entertaining, somewhat, but not outstanding writing. Too much is told vs. shown.
I have been writing, mostly writing up ideas for Shadows and Stars Lying Down in my notebook. If there is a benefit to living here, it is that I have few distractions to keep me from writing. I am encountering the same problem I had when I lived in Chaco Canyon. It is so quiet here of a night, that I need to play something from YouTube to provide some background noise, so that I do not feel that I have dropped off the face of the Earth. Unfortunately, if I play anything interesting, I get caught up in that, then the writing progresses slowly. In Aztec, I could often go to a coffee shop in Farmington, where I had people nearby. That is not the case here. If nothing else, I could go to Denny’s at any time, but I don’t have that luxury now.
I grew up in the hills and woods of Kentucky, but not until I moved here did the myths of Cernunnos and the Green Man of Celtic and British mythology hit home. I can see how those myths developed now.
More to come…