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.

Possibly Pickaxe

Sniper This morning we went from “everyone dies in a Vocaloid” to “how does one ‘casually’ pick up a pickaxe anyway?” (We were talking about Hetalia Russia. Well, the Princess was. I was listening.)

I love being a mother. There’s just no other job that compares.

Good morning! The last week of school proceeds apace. I’m reading Iron Coffins, about U-Boat warfare in WWII. I’ve seen Das Boot, of course, but something about Werner’s terse descriptions of just how manky, moldy, and sickening-smelling it became inside one of those submarines turns my stomach much more thoroughly.

I’m working on the Pliny Train, but since this week is the end of school and copyedits and serial and AUGH HAIR ON FIRE it might take a bit.It’s going to take years to get through Pliny at this rate, but I don’t mind. It will keep me blogging. At this rate, the internet will be corporate-controlled in every corner by the time I finish, but that’s probably the only thing that will stop me. We’ll see.

And now, the rest of the day must begin. I need caffeination. And quite possibly a pickaxe.

photo by: Chalky Lives

Too Close To See

Road Revisions on the first Gallow book are back with the editor. It will probably need another pass, since I’m too close to the book to see it clearly. This is part of the reason editors are critical to quality control–no matter how good a writer you are, you’re still too close to the bloody book to see the holes and pitfalls properly.

Of course, there are revenge edits, where an editor savages your work to get back at you for a personal slight or something. Thankfully, those are far more rare than you’d think. In all my time writing I’ve only been revenge edited once or twice, and though it hurt, it was clear that it was egregious and I needed to pull on my big-gurl panties and JUST DEAL. When you consider the sheer number of editors I’ve worked with, this is fricking amazing. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, the editor’s right, and that hundredth time they’re probably right too, but I dig in my heels anyway. Revenge edits are incredibly rare, and it shouldn’t be the first thing you suspect when an edit makes you angry.

Which they inevitably will. It’s a natural law or something. Writing is an incredibly personal art, and having someone else edit it naturally feels like a judgment on you, when it’s not. Just one of many things about this career that will smash at one’s self-esteem.

The ankle is still tender, and I can’t run yet. Which is driving both Miss B and me to new heights of itchy irritation. Walking just doesn’t cut it anymore. Once more I have to go back to the beginning and steadily work up to 5K, not putting a huge amount of stress on the ankle until it’s fully recovered. As a lesson in patience, it’s good for me…but not terribly soothing.

Well. Back to the salt mines. A short story to revise, and some editing to do…

*wanders off muttering*

photo by: Moyan_Brenn

Starting With Snot

Sumatran tigress licking her nose Me: Do you ever get a ball of snot in your sinuses, only you can feel it’s not regular snot but the yellow or green sick kind of snot?
The Princess: You mean like one of your nostrils blocked?
Me: No, it’s back in the sinuses. Almost behind my eye.
The Princess: Nope, never had that. Also, eww, I’m trying to have breakfast.
Me: What does my snot have to do with your breakfast?
The Princess: Hopefully nothing.
Me: Are you sure?
The Princess: Not helping, Mum.

We went from that conversation to discussing feminism, context, Socratic seminars (her English teacher, Ms. Q, is very fond of those), and how an imperfect world that won’t be fixed in our lifetimes doesn’t mean we give up fighting for a better one.

Not bad for a morning that started with snot. Of course, yesterday after we all busted out into a South Park singalong, I noted that the Princess and Little Prince are probably warped for life as a result of my parenting style, and the Princess smartly rejoindered, “And proud of it!”

Christ, I hope that doesn’t change.

I Found Out

Twenties tango / Cutler, Chicago copied by photographer Sam Hood for a theatre Things I found out this weekend:

* I don’t like Savoy cabbage in my sauerkraut. The texture’s just not for me. It’s kind of a relief to find a fermented cabbage I don’t like. Now I feel much younger.
* Odd Trundles thinks giant daffodil bulbs are for snacking. WTF, dog?
* Sleeping with the Mad Tortie in my hair leads to neck cramps, which leads to blinding headaches.
* My health insurance provider, not content with the $100/mo premium increase they slapped me with for 2013, are tacking another one on for 2014. Probably getting what they can before the ACA starts driving costs down for healthcare consumers.
* Costco does not stock large bottles of Midol. (You’d think they would.)

Last weekend also taught me that Thrift Shop Horror has completely changed how I view thrift stores.

[Read more…]

Harvest Season

autumn falls... It smells like autumn this morning. Leaf mold, rain-wet, and the brass-colored note of harvest season.

And SquirrelTerror is funded! I am still blown away by the response. There are still perks left, so you can still get in on those before the end of the month. Anything over the initial funding amount will go toward extending SquirrelTerror’s reach (a paper book is going to come out now!) and anything over that will go to similar projects–namely, getting re-edited Selene into ebook form, and getting together my old writing posts, and maybe re-editing smoke and mirror

But in the meantime, well…you can pre-order SquirrelTerror in ebook form. Note that I’ll be sending out the free ones for perks before the release date. So if you picked a free SquirrelTerror as your Indiegogo perk, you’re going to get it, for free, before anyone else.

If you’re doing anything similar, and looking for cover art etc., I can recommend Skyla Dawn Cameron without reservation. She also does freelance formatting and editing work for a very reasonable price. So if you’re wondering who I’d turn to for help with all these projects, it would be Skyla–who, incidentally, is the one who found out about the SquirrelTerror plagiarism. (Basically, she’s the reason we have SquirrelTerror now.) I cannot recommend her highly enough.

Let’s see, what else is going on? A company creates a toy meth lab for Breaking Bad fans. Also, American football may have helped kill Jack Kerouac. I have also decided that when I hit menopause I am going to quit all hair removal efforts, and use the time I’ll save to become a t’ai chi master.

That last one isn’t quite news, but it’s a fact.

Happy Monday, you guys.

photo by: paul bica

Time To Wake Up

marilynwall Diplomacy is difficult. Especially when you’re explaining to a giant forest full of pixies and Miyazaki-esque kodama that a nuclear winter is going to happen. I mean, I get what the kodama said–their home is the trees, and the trees can’t exactly run away, but…

…yeah, with dreams like that, it was definitely time to wake up.

Dreams are good for writing. It’s not so much that I get story ideas from them (though that definitely happens), it’s more that they seem to sweep up and organize the huge jumble of daily sensory intake. Some of it goes into cupboards below the floor of consciousness, where it will mate in the dark with other interesting things of its own kind and produce grotesqueries and fantasticos to feed the writing. Some goes into little shiny bits that hang in mental branches, sending small sharp darts of free-association light into other mental branches. Some goes into the compost pile at the very bottom, to provide food for other ideas. And then there’s the strengthening aspect–when I’m actively dreaming a lot, it makes triggering the state of focused hallucination that produces the internal movie for a book tons easier.

I’ve also been playing with brainwave entrainment stuff lately. It’s interesting to see what state of consciousness goes with which frequency. I sometimes wish it was possible to have an EEG while I’m in the zone writing, just so I could see what the skull-meat is doing.

Anyway, here, have Tobias Buckell on e- and hardcover royalties.

And I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Pinterest. I’m building boards for Bannon & Clare and Ruby’s story, it’s nice to have visual food organized like that.

Speaking of Ruby, I finally found my way into her story. The sensation of a key turning in a lock to open up the beginning of a story never gets old. What if Little Red Riding Hood is the wolf? Double identities–the fairytale books are full of doubles and reflections. Then there’s the collar. Hm. Collar, collar, collar…

*wanders off, muttering*

EAT YOUR SOUL

YOUR SOOOOUL

WE WILL EAT YOUR SOOOOOOOOUL.

I often take pictures of owls and send them to a friend. This one got a full 10 minutes of silence before my phone buzzed. “Is it just me or are they kind of creepy?”

To which I replied, “It’s not just you. They’re creepy as fuck.”

“Oh. Good. I wasn’t sure.”

*snort*

Perception, Memory, Attention, Habit

Three friends You stop smelling violets after a while; the receptors in your nose get tired.

Which makes me think about perception–the things we get tired of seeing and so ignore, or the things that numb us into acceptance. Sharp moments of recognition and absurdity that open doors, and how fleeting they are.

I’ve begun to be able to walk around the new house in the dark. It takes a while for proprioception to kick in, for me to relax into a new space. It used to be almost instantaneous, but living in the old house for a decade probably blunted that skill. Before then, I never stayed in any one place too long, so I had to learn it quickly and forget it just as quickly. Except one never really forgets, right?

Memory is a funny thing. There can be trauma-induced gaps side by side with vividly-recalled moments; a memory can come rushing at one like a hungry lion or creep up, softly, nosing about and ignoring you as you sit and wait. Sometimes, thinking about my childhood, an adult realization colors the memory in slightly less painful hues. It can’t draw the sting completely, but understanding things about the experience from an adult’s point of view mitigates.

Dogs are in the eternal now, but they paradoxically love habit and routine. Just like kids, they need to know that some things are the same. I vary our running routes, and Miss B is sometimes quite put out that I’ve decided to go a different way, especially when there are dogs in backyards she is accustomed to hailing with perked ears and lolling tongue. I wonder sometimes what our different routes feel like to her–the layers of scent she no doubt catches, the sounds she hears, the brief polite conversations with other dogs as we run past. Odd Trundles, of course, has to smash his face against anything to smell it, so he spends a great deal of his life lipping and snuffling everything in reach, hungry for sensation.

We see through lattices: perception, memory, attention, and habit form a kaleidoscope. Ever-changing patterns, even the most solid intersections can suddenly turn ninety degrees and crumble.

Which is, I suppose, a good reason to keep moving. If one crumbles, another one has solidified. Moving from handhold to handhold, dancing in a kaleidoscope, we are all athletes of perception.

It’s so funny that many of us don’t know…