I arrived in Hartford, CT on Wednesday evening, and was scooped up by my friends E and L who took me to sushi promptly in North Hampton. They showed me their comic book store there, as well, and then we trekked off to Brattleboro, VT. I slept like the dead there under possibly the most beautiful quilt I’ve ever seen on a bed that knew how to take care of jetlagged humans.

The next day, I drove their Subaru through the thunderstorms as E guided me deep into Lovecraft country. “The Whisperer in Darkness” was set somewhere in the “V” formed by the two highways that “meet” at Townshend. In the story, a body of the Migo was supposedly seen floating in the waters somewhere in the West River. The pictures I took — complete with shots of a sanitarium, now euphemistically called a “retreat” — are very atmospheric, all misty and murky like a Lovecraftian tale. (Apologies in advance for some of the captions. I’ve made bad Lovecraft puns. The shame!)

Yesterday, E and L drove me to my next destination: Middlebury College. This is where I’ll live for the next seven weeks as I take the immersive undergraduate course in French. Ostensibly, I’ll have to completely stop communicating in English starting Monday, as we have to sign a pledge to that effect. However, given what’s happening with my agent, I might have to cheat discreetly and write in the afternoons, spending the mornings and evenings in French study. I won’t be able to speak to anyone, including the Frenchman, in English. He arrives tomorrow night, and not a moment too soon! He’s been teaching me to dominate him in French. I now know how to say, “I want to give you a spanking,” “Get on your knees,” and “On all fours.” I want to learn how to say more specific vulgarities, but that might have to wait. I suspect he’ll take this as a chance to switch on me and “correct” me when I use bad grammar. Wheee!

I’ve since met several of the Frenchman’s friends. Everyone here is so very sweet. I felt grouchy and a fish out of water yesterday, but today I’m settling in more. I would feel even better if I could have hid under the bed yesterday for a bit. The Frenchman says that he’s more like a dog, and I’m like a cat. He’s happy everywhere, while I’m only happy when I’m master of every corner and couch.

The Middlebury campus is incredibly lush and rambling like the rest of Vermont. I took some pictures today before my camera battery wore out. I couldn’t get Lovecraft out of my head, as you can tell from the sometimes very silly photo captions.

I must now go socialize. Quell horror, indeed!

*Verte is French for “green” and is pronounced “vair.”

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