Pause for reflection

Huh. I just noticed how close we were to the ides of March.

Like pretty much everyone, I suppose, the covid-19 news is a bit on my mind, and I’m trying to make sure I stay up-to-date on all the usual daily stuff despite distractions. It’s not so much that I’m missing out on things – the things that I’d want to go out to do are all getting cancelled – it’s that I find myself at slightly loose ends for what to do instead.

I did manage to get my Hugo nominations in before the deadline, though, and am looking forward to seeing the final ballot.

Related to that, the only work I published last year got a mention in Locus! Rich Horton said that it was his favourite story published in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet that year in his short-fiction-in-print review. I am really pleased by that.

29 days and not enough time

…well that was a month.

A couple of days ago, I think I figured out why I never see any of my own work as “dark”. To me, something is dark if it develops in a chilling and unexpected, or a disturbing and surprising, way.

My own work usually isn’t unexpected or surprising to me. Therefore, it doesn’t register as dark. The implied body horror, the deaths, the strange alterations of self, the loss – that’s not dark, that’s what’s expected. (Not that these things inherently make a work dark, but they can, and they’re examples of what I’ve seen people point to.)

And yes, I have the same issue with a lot of horror – there’s very little of it that I parse as “dark”, simply because it’s horror, and that’s what I came for. It can be gruesome, chilling, heartwrenching, startling, dour, or dire – but because I’m going in expecting and hoping for that, it isn’t usually unexpected or surprising.

Aside from that, there’s been a lot going on, but a lot of it’s also been fairly personal and is in progress, so I’m going to settle for saying that I think things are improving.

Fortnight’s passing.

First, I’m very pleased to announce that the Kickstarter for After the War will be launching on November 12, and I’ll be able to share my story “Interview with Cortesa Singh” then! I’ve had a chance to read some of the other stories that will be published, as well, and I think it’s a really fantastic collection in a great setting.

Second, it’s been a bit. We’ve been getting into crunch time, and last weekend was mostly spent recovering, and this weekend I was planning to post an update but we lost power for nearly thirty hours (along with much of the city), so plans were kind of knocked for a loop.

I really do want to give a huge shout-out to the Journalling for Creativity with Fran Wilde class that Cat Rambo orchestrated; it was fantastically helpful in terms of a way to get some things organized, and I’ve managed to figure out a couple of sticking points as a result. I’d really recommend it if you get the chance (and please remember that Cat Rambo’s classes have three scholarships each).

(Finally, I’m done with my rabies vaccines. So that’s nice.)

 

A week, interrupted.

I got less than I hoped to get done this week. Early Tuesday morning, a bat got into our room and would not leave, despite the windows being wide open and a couple of humans waving it hopefully towards those windows with the removed window screens. So after ten or fifteen minutes of that, we trapped it in a laundry basket and evicted it from the house.

I came into contact with it while we were doing this.

I have always thought that bats were cute. I still think that bats are cute, but I have picked up, from several members of the health care community, that I should also treat them as if they are flying pieces of raw chicken infested with herpes.

So I started getting my course of rabies shots on Friday. It is (unsurprisingly) a considerably rougher course of treatment than the annual flu shot, and I lost most of Friday to running around and then sleeping, most of Saturday to sleeping and being lightly out of it, and Sunday morning to sleeping. I’m a little worried about how hard the next shot will hit me on Monday, since the work crunch is starting, but I suppose I can cope with that tomorrow

Heading into summer.

May was a busy month. In addition to a couple of personal milestones and a chance to meet local writers in person (kind of terrifying, everyone was absolutely lovely), I submitted eight stories and got six rejections (with the one that just came in earlier today, I’ve hit my third centiBrad for the year!), cleared out yet more old books, and started back into physio.

I meant to post something. I did.

Good intentions, and all that.

The next couple of months are going to be interesting. There are two writing/commitment things I’m looking at–all of which would be interesting, some of which I worry would be overwhelming–and I’m thinking very carefully about what I can realistically commit to. (And after the next two months are over, there’s WorldCon in Helsinki, which if it’s anything like the last ones I’ve attended will both be a wonderful experience and a very exhausting one.) I’m hoping to get a plan together this weekend and go from there.

Onwards!

 

Sudden brief update, and hand pain

The recent quiet has been due to a lot of things, most recently a lot of things that ended up developing into a tendonitis flare-up like I haven’t had since late 2014.

This one wasn’t quite as bad as that one–I was unable to use my right hand for typing for a few days, but I recognized what was happening and got an appointment with a physiotherapist. I am sure I have bored everyone I have been dealing with with how hard my life has been while I’ve been unable or unpermitted to type.

(On the flip side, my phone’s touchscreen can be navigated with nose-bumps, and I have learned that the text-to-speech recognition on my phone can recognize and render both “:-)” and “kryptonian”. However, it didn’t appear to know “biphobic”. Such are the discoveries we make when discussing modern fiction in this brave new world of 2017.)

I was able to start writing again in short bursts this weekend–I am actually composing this in one of my seven-minute allowed keyboard periods–and it is such a relief to get back. Knowing that a timer is counting down focuses the mind wonderfully, although it does make editing fairly difficult.

Processing.

So I was discussing fantasy novels with a co-worker today, and I mentioned The Last Unicorn, and they asked what that was, and I made a noise which is perhaps best described as “glk”. It looks like they might check it out, though, so that’s probably to the good.

Continuing to make progress on my clearing out of stuff; a couple of boxes of assorted smallthings left out for the CDA, and a bag of clothes. I’ve gotten rid of maybe another foot’s worth of books, and am organizing the remainder a little better now.

I feel older. Does that make sense? Realizing that I am not going to use things seems weirdly tied to realizing that I won’t have the time or energy to use them, and that realization makes me feel slower and more run-down. It’s not a bad end result–I am loving the decreasing of clutter–but it’s a somewhat melancholy feeling.

There and back again

In the last five days, I have

  • cruelly abandoned my cats in a place that is one step down from being a kitty spa,
  • travelled to Ohio (border crossings, dear god, border crossings. And why are the railings on the Ambassador Bridge gently crumbling away into rust like piles of cigarette ash?),
  • caught up with people that I haven’t seen in person in six years,
  • visited a fireworks store in Michigan (for the record, it smelled like bath bombs–not scented or perfumed bath bombs, just the dry and powdery ingredients that seem like they should end with -ate),
  • had a couple of pit bulls be absolutely adorable sloppy cuddle-puppies,
  • had a ridiculous amount of very good food,
  • hit the Toledo Zoo,
  • had a giraffe chew on my shirt (to be fair, he was going after the lettuce I wasn’t giving him fast enough),
  • seen jellyfish and bioluminescent fish and a very boredly dismissive kudu and really they are gorgeous in a very elegantly understated way,
  • learned three new campfire games,
  • stayed up very late playing a homebrew blend of Zombicide and Betrayal at House on the Hill,
  • stopped to have a sushi dinner with a friend I had never actually met in person before (who reads this! Hiiii!),
  • and gotten most of the way back home.

(Not all of the way. Self-preservation and the schedule of the cat boarding place dictated not driving all the way through, so we’ve stopped at a hotel. I am actually typing this last night–I cannot be bothered to wrangle hotel internet RN–so the last four days are “July 1st to 4th inclusive”. I’ll post it in the morning. It’ll still be “the last four days” when I do.)

I’ve also rediscovered that yes, I apparently am a person who gets squirrelly without a certain amount of movement in the day. It keeps surprising me; I never think I’ve been making a concentrated effort to walk long enough for it to have become any kind of habit.

I have brought back a not-to-my-mind-ridiculous amount of Cock & Bull caffeine free cherry-ginger soda, and a small stuffed green tiger from the Toledo Zoo. Whose name is Lymoncello, by the way. I will need to get a photo up.

Turning in, given how soon the alarm is going off. May all the roads you go down be kind ones.

Sic transit gloria

It’s been… odd. Not bad. I have missed travelling in the sense of being somewhere else; I always do. I wish teleportation was a thing; I wish the logistics of being able to leave were not so difficult, and there was more time. (I always wish there was more time.)

But I wish there’d been more time to be in transit, too; while the logistics of being able to travel are a pain (time off! pet care! packing!) the logistics of actually travelling are inevitably relaxing. There’s a fluidity to being able to drop someone a line, decide you can do dinner, know that since you’re in transit you don’t need to be home yet and can drive for a while or stop for a while or just wander. In the UK or the US it feels constantly interesting to me; in Canada it’s more like a larger subtler version of browsing a bookstore. There’s something fascinating about watching the world unscroll outside the window, and seeing the pattern of paint-flaked brick or peach-toned highway (seriously! There were great swathes of both highway and sidewalk that had a distinctly pinkish hue) or trees silhouetted black against the sky repeat itself until you start to get a sense of place. Not recognizing it, but relaxing into it enough that you could begin to describe it.

I didn’t take pictures, this trip. When it comes to the scenery, I am okay with that; I will remember it, and think about it, and pick out pieces. I wish I’d taken a few more of people, but I hope and trust there’ll be other times.

(Also, I got fifteen assorted pieces read for the Hugo voting. So that’s quantifiable.)

Turning in, given how soon the alarm is going off. May all the roads you go down be kind ones.

I missed the pumpkins.

Someday I’ll do a proper and full con write-up – by which I mean one that satisfies me – but today is not that day, for reasons of Work and Commitments. I will say, though, that CanCon was lovely and both the panels and the hallway discussions were fun and informative.

(I do wish I’d been able to swing a hotel room. Next year, maybe.)

The time change has been lovely, for the record. I’m going to try to keep my sleep schedule generous this month, especially since I’m trying to hit a NaNoWriMo word count. Whether I manage it or don’t, sleeplessness is not going to make the end result any more useful, nor my coping with stress any more graceful.

(It’s not upsetting, but it is weird enough to make a note of: I think this year is the first time since we’ve had a front porch that I haven’t carved a jack-o’-lantern.)

I think that’s largely it. A pretty brief update, I realize, but there’s still a ton of stuff I need to do tonight.