The Gap

Magnets

These are tiny, super-strong magnets, Buckyballs, the type one is cautioned not to swallow. The ex, who somewhat fancied himself Fuller’s unrecognized heir, bought them. Now that the kids are in their teens and understand what they can do inside one’s body, they’re relatively safe; they mostly live on the fridge. The Little Prince in particular loves them; he associates them with the good parts of having his father around.

So much (personal, family) history in this one photo. Especially in the gap.

Supportive Like Wonderbra

Carriger_Prudence-HC I’m over at the Orbit blog today, interviewing Gail Carrier for her new release, Prudence. It’s my first interview ever–asking the questions, not answering them–and Ms Carriger was very gracious. I hope you like it!

I’m happy to report that the Certain Situation with That Certain Publisher has been…resolved…now. Thank you all for the messages of support. It was an extremely unpleasant set of circumstances, but it’s behind me now.

Also in the “good news” category: I got a surprise visit yesterday from my girl C, who is DONE WITH CHEMO and CANCER-FREE. *throws confetti* It was amazing to see her on the mend, hair reappearing, and her old wicked sense of humor still intact. (I may have misted up a little.) Best of all, the kids both have sniffles but she didn’t have to avoid us, because her blood counts are recovering. When you have kids and pets, immune-compromised friends can have a rough time just dropping by.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to her medical costs, and thank you for all the supportive messages for C, too. You guys are wonderful, as uplifting as sports brassieres but not nearly as pinch or rash-inducing. I have a lot to be grateful for.

Not least on the gratitude list is the fact that I’m going to finish Cal & Trinity, if not today then tomorrow. I can feel the book boiling under my skin, and the lunge for the end has begun. It will be nice to get the zero for that shoved into a mental drawer so I can revise Blood Call with a clear conscience.

Thank you, dear Readers. You’re a wonderful bunch.

Off I go to stumble for a finish line somewhere, anywhere…

Eating My Harmony

Windows The weekend was full of storms. Yesterday in particular, the wind made the cedars thrash, and the honeysuckle on the north side-fence narrowly missed being flattened by a fir bough. The noise made both dogs nervous, and the presence of punch balloons turned Odd Trundles into a ball of protective rage. (He was also bathed, so that probably had a little to do with his mood.) I had to put a couple balloons on the floor and pet them to make Trundles realize they weren’t enemies, and wouldn’t harm him. Poor little fellow.

This was also the weekend we discovered a lemon cake with chocolate frosting was not necessarily a good idea, though the kid who requested it loved it to stomach-burning distraction. I was glad to provide such joy, but really, lemon cakes belong with super-sour lemon glazes, in my humble opinion.

It was also (so much happened!) the weekend the Princess and I got addicted to Egg Baby. They’re cute! You tickle them! You feed them and bathe them and they hatch! There’s an achievement for letting an egg die, but neither of us can bear to do that. We’re bonding over fire eggs and ghost eggs and how long to let them sleep.

Hey, when you’ve got teenagers, you take every bit of commonality you can. I’m just thrilled both of them want to talk to me as often as they do. I gather it’s not normal for them to actually want to converse with a parental unit, so I’m glad to be bucking the trend.

Come Sunday, we were all in the living room. I was tending eggs and reading Che Guevara, the Prince was playing Fantasy Life, and the Princess alternating between egg-tending and Animal Crossing. The family that games together ends up not throttling each other, I guess.

I did finish the Guevara reader. It wasn’t until I got to the letters in Part IV that I realized Guevara had more than one child. Being left alone with multiple children to raise while a guy hares off to Bolivia isn’t my idea of a good time, but I guess Aleida March was okay with it. She wrote a book about the relationship, which I should add to my reading list just on general principle. I’m generally more interested in what those who actually raised the children have to say about revolutions.

What I didn’t get done over the weekend: finishing Cal & Trinity. I hoped I would, but last week the horrorshow of stress coming from a publisher’s extremely sloppy manner of business (yes, still waiting to be paid) put a dent in my productivity. I suspect I could work much more effectively if the worry over whether or not a contractually mandated cheque will arrive WEEKS AFTER it was supposed to wasn’t eating my harmony. This is another thing plenty of new authors aren’t told: employees of publishing houses generally don’t understand that for a writer, late cheques are like the salaried’s paycheck just not showing up. “Oh, we’ll fix paying you…eventually…” isn’t good enough for a salaried employee, but it’s expected to be good enough for a writer. It’s not fair, it’s pretty hideous, but it’s the way things are and one needs to be prepared for it. This is the sort of situation where having an agent is crucial, because, in Caitlin Kittredge’s immortal words, you can lose count of the many ways in which you’ll be screwed without one.

*looks back over preceding paragraphs* God. I feel like I need a nap just to recover from the weekend. But the kids are at school, the music is playing, and I’ve got work to catch up on. The proof copy of Rose & Thunder arrives today for my approval, and hopefully I’ll be able to approve it and have the paper version on sale early. We’ll see…

photo by: Exothermic

Hazelnuts

hazelnuts

The Princess did homemade Nutella for a friend’s birthday–a true labour of love that involved blanching and peeling, then roasting, the little bastards. Hazelnut skins dye things a very strong red, as we found out. The towel she’s using still bears the marks, and there was a ring inside the pan used to blanch them that defied all sorts of scrubbing. The ring has since faded, but the towel is still streaked with red, and we affectionately call it the “hazelnut towel.”

She may make more Nutella for my own birthday. Because she’s amazing. My girl.

Sock Monkeh!

Sock Monkeh SOCK MONKEH, avec embarrassing bulge, in honor of the orgy of capitalism and greed that is about to ensue. I actually snapped this some time ago, and sent it to the Selkie with the threat that I was going to buy one for her, so he could help her write.

Her reply was sufficiently unrepeatable as to scorch my phone. Heh.

Yesterday was full of ham, stuffing (once a year I get to eat all the Stove Top I want; sadly, I usually only end up wanting about a cup of it. BUT I COULD HAVE MORE, IF I WANTED!) and mashed russets, greens (Bandit, our remaining cavy, got a generous handful of fresh kale) and challah bread. True to form, half the challah disappeared before dinner could be had.The kids had fizzy apple juice, and I broke into the wine early. (Honestly, nobody expected any less.)

The older I get, the more I value a quiet holiday.

Anyway, today is for listening to Sir Mix A Lot and getting back into the swing of sample chapters and more of the second Gallow book. Kids and dogs are still sleeping, the coffee is beginning to sink in, and I plan on being nowhere near a mall, ever.

All together now: Ahhhh.

Blank Spaces

bruise I’m taking a break from writing the adventures of Beauregarde–we’ll finish up next week, I think.

I woke up from a pretty intense dream this morning, and as I was writing it down (I love these for dream journals, by the way) I realised that the setting for the dream was actually someplace I’d been in my childhood. I hadn’t recognised it, because there are gaps around certain traumatic childhood and teenage events. Memory fuzzes into a particular sort of gray haze, and a rushing in my ears–a rushing I’m all too familiar with, the precursor to disassociation.

I learned how to disconnect very early, certainly before I was six years old. I’d focus on that roaring in my ears, for example while an adult caregiver was screaming or enraged, and just check out. It protected me from sonic or physical assault, helped me cope with dangerous, unpredictable adults. It helped me retain some psychic integrity while at the mercy of baffling, raging giants unable to be propitiated or calmed.

But there are still those gaps. I used to think that I should actively pursue those blank spaces, dig through them, expose exactly what had been done to me during them. Calm Therapist and Frau Doktor, however, both suggested to me that maybe I didn’t have to, if I didn’t feel like it. The deciding factor, both of them noted, was whether or not I felt there would be a benefit to doing so. “I should” is not necessarily “it would be beneficial for me to,” a lesson I find I have to keep relearning. Naturally I want to face such things so the monster isn’t behind me, breathing on my neck. (I hate that. I’m a firm believer in turning around and beating the shit out of said monster.) Balancing that against the idea that maybe those scars have healed and I don’t need to cut them open is strange, a skill I’ve only slowly begun to master. I’m hoping it’s like a bicycle, it’ll become habitual after a while.

Which leads me to thinking that perhaps the dreams are ways of processing, too, my body and brain drawing the poison from things so awful I chose to blank them out entirely. After all, you can wake up from a dream. For a long time, as a helpless child, there was no waking up. I much prefer adulthood, with my own car keys, bank accounts, and the ability to walk away from certain relationships and people who made my earlier years so incredibly damaging and toxic. Sometimes people ask me if I wish I was younger, and my immediate “OH HELL NO” and laughter has a bitter edge. The further I get from being small, helpless, and terrorised, the better.

I remember leaving my childhood home for good, and feeling relieved and vastly less terrified than I expected. The outside world, I felt, couldn’t be as bad as the nightmare inside those walls. I’m happy to say I was right. Nothing I’ve endured since has made me regret that choice or want to go back in any way–which is saying something.

So I’ll keep writing the dreams down, and leaving those rushing-air spaces to open in their own time, if they want to. If they don’t, well, I’m slowly beginning to think that they don’t have to. A traumatic childhood doesn’t have to define me. Now that the anxiety is being managed and my entire body has had a chance to rest from years of severe, daily panic attacks, it’s a lot easier to find other definitions. One of the great joys of adulthood is building those new structures.

There’s also bacon, kung fu movies, having ice cream for dinner, and raising my own beautiful, fearless children who have never been spanked, terrorised, or even yelled at, who can’t even imagine such things. All in all, I much prefer things this way.

photo by: AnnieCatBlue