The Paranormalist gets cozy.

Last night, instead of watching another great horror flick, I settled onto the sofa – properly equipped with a cup of tea and my knitting – to enjoy a Miss Marple mystery. As my cats passive-aggressively dueled for my lap-space, and my dog warmed my feet, I added another 2-3 inches to the baby blanket I’m hoping to finish before Solstice eve. (One of my goals is to knit an item for charity each season. This one, I think, will be dropped off at the hospital with a request that it be given to the next baby born to a young single mother.) When the movie finished, I went to sleep. It was not yet three o’clock in the morning.

Last night was a portent of things to come. My blog is likely to … soften a bit in the next month – for two reasons:

1) Despite my general dislike of the yuletide season, I am not entirely immune to the warm fuzziness of Christmastime, with its sentimental music, uplifting movies, and incessant good cheer.

2) My autumnal bout of hypomania has all but faded away. Coming to this realization so quietly is a good thing. By acknowledging and accepting what is happening, I am less likely to spiral into a depression. With luck, I will simply shift gears and become more domestic for a little while.

This month I will cook and putter more. I will stay home as much as possible. I will dote on and pet my menfolk as much as they will allow. I will make a point of taking the dog for a walk in the brightest part of the day. When the real cold comes, I will fret about the chickens and the feral cats, and make warm meals for them. (A grain and veggie mash for the hens, a kibble and gravy mush for the felines.) Despite my resolution to not fuss over the holiday, I will probably decorate something with twinkle lights. I will listen to classic standards by the likes of Mel Tormé and Bing Crosby. I will watch White Christmas. Probably more than once. Because it features the incomparable song and dance man, Danny Kaye.

But I will also re-read Stephen King’s It, as I have done, during winter break, for the past 25 years. And, if I follow my pattern, I will spend more time in my closet-office, with the door closed, wearing my headphones, listening to Midnight Syndicate, writing about witches and ghosts, pretending it is whatever season my characters are living in.

Here in the blog, I might not write about haunts and horror as much, but my interests will remain skewed toward the mysterious and the magical. In that vein, let me point you to a wonderful web find: Edinburgh’s mysterious book sculptures.

mystery book sculptureWatch a news clip about the sculptures HERE.

I’d recommend that you search the web yourself for more information. I poked around enough to learn that a total of ten sculptures were gifted to libraries in Edinburgh, and that the artist has indicated she is female. I don’t really want to know any more than that – I prefer that some mystery remains.


A hypomanic horror writer / paranormalist can get a little too jumpy.

I took my dog out for his last walk of the night just now, but I was feeling lazy. I snapped him to a long-line (40+ feet) and let him wander off into the darkness. I stood in the middle of the extraordinarily quiet yard, gazing up at the stars.

At first, he calmly took care of business. Then he found a stick that he could toss for himself. I knew this, not because I could see him in the pitch black beyond the cozy glow cast by the porch light, but because I could hear him romping in the lawn’s thick layer of dry leaves. When he crossed from the mowed yard into the meadow, all the crunching and crackling ceased. The night’s silence was broken only by the sighs of the tall, soft meadow grass as he swished through it. After a while, he started tugging a bit too much, indicating to me that he was actively running back and forth.

Not wanting him to get tangled around any of the many trees and posts in our yard, I positioned myself so that his line ran straight and taut from where I stood to where he played. Then I called his name. By the sound of it, he responded by coming out of the tall grass fast, crushing leaves and snapping twigs as he bounded toward me. In a few strides, I could see him, running flat out and low slung, like some sort of Savannah predator. I was about to brace for impact when I heard something else crashing through the leaves beyond him. It sounded like it was a few yards behind, but it was drawing closer. I strained into the gloom, trying to see what creature could possibly be fast enough to gain on my athletic boxer-cross. Whatever it was had to be small, because I could see nothing.

One of the feral cats? No. They run away. A fox? Only if it’s rabid – it would have to be crazy to chase my powerfully built dog. Something … else?

My heartbeat sped up. I urged my dog to come faster. I turned to run toward the house. Then my very-good-dog leapt into the space next to me, happy that I was obviously going to play with him. His panting and prancing was the only sound I could hear. The pursuing creature had stopped … in fact, had disappeared.

It was a few heartbeats later that I realized what I had heard. The long-line was lying in a narrow curve that stretched from hand, out toward the meadow, then back to my dog’s collar. This curve had been dragging through the leaves behind him as he ran.

Maybe I should cut back on the horror movies a little.

This is my boy when he was only 17 weeks old.

He’s much bigger now 🙂

P.S. In case anyone is wondering about this hypomania I keep mentioning, this a good description.