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There is hardly an old London house that does not have its sad lady of mists crying before dawn.

I love that feeling, when you suddenly realise that you absolutely CANNOT LIVE without your very own copy of a particular book (in this case, one first read from a library), despite the fact that it/the edition you desire is currently out of print, and so off you flail in a manic book-hunt.

The last time that happened to me, it was Laura Argiri’s The God in Flight. (And now that I do own a copy of it, I would grab the damn thing in a housefire. I love it that much.)

This time, it’s Ray Bradbury’s From the Dust Returned. Technically, it’s still in print, in a new edition; but after taking one glance at the new book design I think I’d really rather just pretend it wasn’t. The original is glorious, and manages to perfectly capture the feel of the text itself, with one of the most fantastic cover paintings I have ever seen and ghastly-darling little illustrations nestled in alongside the type, skeletons and spiders and autumn leaves.

I need that one.

Of course, that one can now go for over a hundred dollars.

Ah well.

That can just make the hunt more fun! And in any case, the book would actually be worth it, to me.

The first time I ever read Bradbury (The October Country), I was almost immediately asking myself why in the hell I had never read him before, and how in the hell had I survived without.

This second time, now, I am wondering why the hell I did not spend the entire interrim devouring everything else this man ever wrote (what is wrong with me?), and which of his other works I will be devouring next.

Whatever it is, I am excited. ♥

Even though I’ve not even finished From the Dust Returned yet, and am only a little more than halfway through, I don’t care. I already know that I need it, that when I make my move overseas to England it will be one of the books that I take with me, shipping fees and luggage space be damned.

I knew it when I got to the chapter Many Returns, the story-within-a-story of a ghost plagued by unbelief and the living woman who nurses him back to health with a steady diet of stories, all ‘for a lark’.
 
 

“Oh, but I dreamed you as a child, long before I met someone like you, in the mists and rains of Ireland. At age nine I searched the moors for the Baskerville Hound.
“Yes,” said the ghastly passenger. “You are English and the English believe!”
“True. Better than Americans, who doubt. French? Cynics! English is best. There is hardly an old London house that does not have its sad lady of mists crying before dawn.”

 
 
Yes. I need a copy of this book to keep as a sort of totem (not as a reminder, because it’s not as though I could ever forget), as a physical representation of the power of stories and the inability to exist without them. Of the inescapable pull to go to where these stories are strongest, where they still hang heavy in the air like fog.

I love that feeling, too, when a book wraps up everything you could want and need, and puts in all into a pretty little package that you can hold within your hands. ♥

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2

On finding the meaning of life in science-fiction writers and cats. (Translation: Yeah, I’m still a hippie nerd, and proud. ♥)

Dear Ray Bradbury:

Where the hell have you been all my life?

With sudden but-not-really-surprised love,
Me.

I finally had my first taste of Bradbury today — The October Country. (No, not Fahrenheit 451.) And even my boycat was almost instantly delighted:

I was sold from the very beginning, myself, from the forward about writing that spoke of May I Die Before My Voices. I sympathised and agreed and just continued to fall steadily more in love…at least, when my cat wasn’t using it as a pillow, anyway.

Reading Bradbury almost reminds me of some of the things I love best about reading Stephen King, only more polished. Poetic. With less man-eating cars.

Needless to say, I am a happy happy girl, and will undoubtedly produce more squee on this subject forthwith.

But the happiest discovery of the day was this:

Meet Halo and Nell, Boycat and Girlcat #2. (And please do ignore the incongruous smatterings of pink smeared about the bed; such things tend to inexplicably happen when I am involved. Please don’t ignore my puppy pillow-pet and beloved stuffed kitty Smokey, however, because they are cute and I would be sad.)

Now, Halo and Nell do not normally get on. At all.

It’s not through any fault of their own, really. Nell was a stray, declawed in all four feet and then dumped by some even-I-don’t-have-enough-profanity-to-fill-this-void into a goddamn New England winter. Needless to say, it’s a wonder she managed to survive at all, and did so with injuries to the face and head that I think damaged both her sense of smell and hearing, making her even more skittish and afraid than she was doomed to be regardless.

And she only did survive because some family happened upon her and took her in, giving her to their older mother to look after and take care of. The woman did so, getting her medical attention and giving her as much general attention as she could — but as it turned out, the woman was unknowingly allergic. No one else wanted Nell, but neither would the woman just dumb her off again, so Nell ended up mostly confined to a back hallway, where she couldn’t set off the allergies as badly, but she couldn’t be properly socialised, either.

But she also ended up on Craigslist, and I saw her, and I couldn’t say no.

I emailed the woman, who was bizarrely surprised — she hadn’t even thought of putting Nell on the site herself, and it was done by a vet assistant without her knowledge. But while she was surprised and intimidated, she liked me, and so we arranged a meeting.

Long story short (we’ll ignore the bit where she pulled up outside my flat and indicated I should meet Nell in her car, and I then willingly got into a car with some stranger from Craigslist because holy shit there’s a cat, shall we–), I liked Nell, too, and she stayed home with me that day. ♥

I can’t say that Nell liked me too, not then. Understandably, Nell didn’t like too much of anything, and had moodswings to match any hormone-addled teenage girl. (Ever hear a cat purr and hiss at the exact same time? Ever been viciously bitten and then immediately sweetly groomed? No? Then you haven’t met Nell.)

So I employed the patented Jacey Kitty-Taming Method, and gave her lots and lots of hugs anyway. (You think I’m kidding. I am not. Much like I will wander into cars with strangers from Craigslist for the sake of a cat, my reaction to a cat attempting to maul my face off is in fact to just give it a giant hug.)

You will also think I am kidding when I say that the patented Jacey Kitty-Taming Method works. But Nell is an entirely different kitty, now. ♥ She is still nervous and mood-swing-tastic, yes, but she both accepts affection and the fact that she wants it. She sleeps in bed with us — alternating sides to be nearest the one of us who is most awake, and more likely to give her pets. She sits and sleeps in my lap. She happily smashes her face into mine to purr. She grooms me more than she gnaws me. She lets me scoop her up and dance around with her in my panties to K-pop. (Which I do in fact do. I admit it. I’ve no shame.)

The one major issue still left unresolved was Halo.

Halo, bless him, is an extraordinarily stupid creature. He’s the apple of his mommy’s eye, to be sure, but even that kind of maternal adoration will not stop me from admitting that, yes, he really is that dumb. (His favourite hobby is eating curling ribbon, for the love of god.)

And so when Halo decided that Nell was a shiny and thusly deserving of being his friend, he went about making her acquaintance by stalking up behind her, attempting to shove his nose into her bum without warning, then crying at me in piteous confusion when her immediate reaction was to growl. And the more she rebuffs him, the more he cries, which probably just annoys her even more too. Then Extreme Pattycake ensues.

Lather rinse repeat. Every bleeding day.

She’s too nervous to trust other cats, and he’s too stupid to catch onto the fact he really ought to let her alone or at least approach her in a somewhat less obnoxious way, so you can understand my concern about these two.

And you can understand how happy I was when I wandered into the bedroom this afternoon, and saw what I did. :)

Because at the end of the day, what can matter more than things like this?