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All Soul's Day; November. Two months left in 2016, and before you know it, it's 2017. Heavy heaving sigh. The time change is coming this weekend, which means it will be dark before five. This always feels oppressive to me; I truly despise Daylight Savings Time (although I always enjoy the extra hour in the fall; hurray for consistency!). But, if I am being honest, I am more productive in the winter. I read more and I certainly write more. And God knows, I have a lot of writing to do in the next few months.

Madness.

I had a mini-breakthrough the other day while feeling sorry for myself that Wicked Frat Boy Ways was turning out to be such a bitch to write. It was such a "d'oh" moment--and it not only applied to the work in progress, but also as to why I have so much trouble writing short stories that I literally wanted to pound my head on my desk until it was soft as an overripe melon.

Seriously, I do not understand how I have a career of any sort in writing. The end result, however, was a great insight on not only how to make this book ever so much better, but how I can make my short stories better. So now all I want to do is write, rewrite, revise, lather, rinse, repeat. True madness.

I've been reading The Bird's Nest by Shirley Jackson. It's about what was called at the time she wrote it "multiple personality disorder;" the term now is dissociative identity disorder. The book was originally published in 1954, was filmed as Lizzie with Eleanor Parker in the lead role, and prefaced the more famous book/film The Three Faces of Eve by three years; although Eve was a true story and not fiction (and won Joanne Woodward an Oscar). I've always been interested in DID; when I was a kid, of course, I saw it handled on the soap One Life to Live, and of course, in my teens was when Sybil became a huge bestseller (and TV movie starring Sally Field, who won an Emmy and was the turning point in her career when she started being taken seriously as an actress). That story was later debunked, I believe; but DID is something I've always wanted to write about, but at the same time not in an exploitative way. Maybe at some point...it would require a lot of research to do it properly.

Anyway, I digress. I'm enjoying The Bird's Nest, but it is slow and harder going than Jackson's short stories and her two exquisite novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, or her delightful memoir Life Among the Savages. Jackson's style is definitely present there, but it's different. I am also very curious to read the recent bio of her, to see where the ideas for The Bird's Nest came from.

As I was so busy sticking to my horror theme for October, I wasn't able to talk about many other things--my reread of Antonia Fraser's Mary Queen of Scots; the new gay-themed crime show Eyewitness; how much I'm enjoying the show Versailles; and so many other things--but I do look forward to talking about them now that I am no longer shackled to a theme here. (Hilarious, isn't it? I can't tell you how many mornings I've stared at the 'post an entry' page blankly, with no idea of what to write about...and then when I tie myself to a theme for a month the blog ideas burst forth from my head like Athena springing fully formed from Zeus' forehead.

Oy.

I am also rereading Barbara Michaels' sublime Be Buried in the Rain, and I do want to talk about Michaels some more at some point, as well.

And now, back to the spice mines.

Here's today's hunk:

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