What if Maggie Fox and Charles Dickens teamed up to fight ghosts?

I found myself thinking that a couple of weeks ago when I did photos for the new Hedgerow Theatre production of "The Haunting" by Hugh Janes. It's based on some plays of Charles Dickens and I thought "well, why not do the photos like they were done at the time Dickens was alive?" and then "Why not do them as though they're the very photos that inspired Dickens to write these stories?" -- so, with way more backstory than is ever necessary, I set about to do that.

You can see the rest and buy prints of the photos here, which offsets the cost of Hedgerow having to pay me to do them. This allows me to work with smaller theaters with smaller budgets.

They look like this.....

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    Peter Murphy: Crystal Wrists

Mike Resnick

I was sorry to hear of the passing of Science Fiction titan Mike Resnick. He was one of the first really famous writers who said "yes" when I wanted to photograph people in the places that they wrote. This isn't where he wrote, but it was next to it. I was always interested in seeing everybody's collection of Hugo's too, obviously. He had a beautiful library and a really nice house out in the woods. He was nice to me although he really had no reason to be. His daughter, Laura, who's also a novelist, was very nice to me too and I'm glad to still know her.

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    grateful grateful

Today was the last Roswell Day, but that's fine.

Roswell has left the building.

But don't be sad. This is still a very happy story.

This morning Roswell had a very swift downturn and she was purring and with us when she died, thirteen and a half years after she showed up on the back porch, filthy and with her eyes swollen shut. Over the years she was a thing that absorbed, amplified, and radiated unconditional love, and I'll miss her. I'm only sad for selfish reasons and I'm only sad a little bit. Mostly I'm grateful -- not so much for the time we had together -- but rather the time we had together knowing that the clock was running out. I'm so grateful that we had the time to live those days as though each one was the last. And I'm glad for how much she was able to impact other people's lives for the better in the time she had.

All in all there were 379 Roswell Days, each one the best day of her life filled with love and attention and, occasionally, food. I don't feel the need to memorialize her because I did that a year ago when I thought she was going to die.

In the past year, she's had people come from Scotland, from California, from Florida, from Canada, from Oregon, from Kentucky, and from just down the street to say hello and goodbye and make her feel special. She survived life on the streets, meningitis, diabetes, asthma, and cancer. She was a very lucky cat who stretched all of those nine lives as far as possible.

One of the first photos of Roswell after she came in, July of 2006.
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How to be a better Cat Dat

I spent a lot of time in her last year wondering how I could do better by her and these are what I'm left with.

1) (most important) Never be mad at anything just because it loves you. When claws go into your leg, when someone wakes you up by sitting on your head, when someone wants to be picked up, when someone follows you around mewping or claws your nose at 5 am, don't get impatient, don't shout, don't push. Remember that's all they have to say they want to be with you.

2) Never leave a meow or a tap unanswered. If you can't reach out and touch them right away because you're carrying dishes, answer with your words and follow up with a touch when you can.

3) All requests for petting must be answered with petting. This is meows, leg rubbing, lap sitting.

4) The minimum amount of time for petting is 10 seconds. Count to ten. Don't scritch & go. There will be some day you'd give a lot for ten more seconds. Enjoy it now.

5) Always make space and recognize when she wants to be with you. When you're on the sofa, or in the comfy chair, or at the computer; make space. I put a chair next to my computer chair for Roswell to sit in, it's pushed right up next to mine so we touch. If she climbs up on the keyboard, I put her on the chair. She's happy enough.

6) Always be thinking "Can I make her happier? Can I make her life better?" She's a cat. She can't do stuff on her own, like open cans or turn on the Youtube Birds Eating Seeds channel. Sometimes you need to intervene.

7) Never use your size or fear to get what you want. Don't chase her away from something -- a table, a dish, a door, -- rather give her a reason to come to you. You should always be the thing of love, never the thing of fear.

8) When it's time to go, it's time to go. Don't linger on the last decision because you can't imagine life without them. Imagine instead their life without pain.

Remembering Roswell

On the anniversary of her cancer diagnosis we threw her a party which we called Day of Gluttony, Night of 1000 Cans where we invited some of her friends to come over, bring their favorite foods, and celebrate by eating. Roswell got to eat as many cans as she wanted and we livestreamed the whole thing. Six hundred people tuned in to watch.

I think this is a great way to remember her. You can watch it here. It's the best party I've ever been to.

If you want to do something to memorialize her and you can, adopt or foster a cat. If you can't do that, you can click here to donate to City Kitties the group that helped her when she was a kitten. If you can't do that -- make every day a Happy Roswell Day for a person or animal in your life. You can also get some Roswell art from M.C. Matz and think of her every morning while you drink coffee.

Have a Roswell Life everyone.

Thanks for being a part of our lives. If you have a favorite Roswell story or an idea about how people can do good in the world, let us know in the comments.

Hayley Rosenblum videotaped Roswell eating some nori earlier this year.

Typical day in the life of Roswell. You may clickenzee to EmCuten

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    grateful grateful


Roswell seems to be doing ok, almost a year out from her diagnosis. So yaay. trillianstars just finished starring in Tartouff at Hedgerow and has some time off. This Saturday, November 9th, we're party of the marathon reading of Moby Dick at the Independence Seaport Museum. Trillian and I are reading chapter 17, The Ramadan, we start at 5:00 I think. Maybe we'll see you there.
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    accomplished accomplished

Just stuff

Things have been tooling along pretty well. Roswell is still with us -- fat and happy and doesn't seem to know she has cancer. So we're taking every day as it comes and celebrating each moment we get together.

Couple of book projects in the works mostly all of which are at places in development where they're out of my hands right now, so I don't really know what to do with myself.

I did go see Babymetal and they were awesome.

Apart from that, not much to report.

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    babymetal: karate

September 11th will come every year forever.

My posts about 9/11 are now ninteen years old. It's hard to think. And that I've had this blog for that long. There are three posts, one from the Pentagon the week of the attacks, one from the World Trade Center site, and one from Shanksville PA, slightly later. I think the thing I wonder most now, after all this, is if you could ask those hijackers now, "do you think you made things better?" What would they say?

You can read them here.

Happy Roswell Day

Just a quick update, Roswell's still around and happy. Her "six week" prognosis seems to have been a little off. We're still spending every day though as if it was her last. Getting in lots of love and lots of time in front of the fireplace snuggling.

That is all.

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    accomplished accomplished


First off -- Roswell's still kicking. She seems to have no idea that she has cancer. So that's good. Lots of people have been coming to visit her.

In other news ...

Top Sekrit No Longer! Tomorrow, Mütter Museum, be part of the studio audience for the live taping of our podcast MOVIE vs EXPERT, a podcast where we watch movies with experts and separate fact from fiction. Tomorrow co-host Mikey Mongol & I are subjecting Mütter Museum curator Anna Dhody to the 1997 museum monster film THE RELIC. $20 includes AFTER HOURS ADMISSION TO THE MUSEUM. See the soap lady without all the crowd. Light snacks / cash bar!

Get tickets here

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    Slash & Miles Kennedy - "too far gone"