Joe and Norbert

Rollin It’s probably time to move Fred & George’s little house to a safer location, ever since the Great Mystery Hunt. (I’ll tell you guys about that when the weather improves.) They might even have to share it with a horseradish, which will no doubt lead to many hijinks. As it is, Emphysema Joe is hiding behind the new spring growth of lavender, and is happy to remain so. I had a long conversation with him the other day while I was planting radishes–he wanted to be caught up on all the latest gossip, being a little bit of a hermit. I think only George visits him, and they only talk about green things and video games. “HE’S A SQUIRREL,” Zombie Joe says, quietly, puffing to light his pipe to his satisfacction. “THERE’S NOT A LOT OF PHILOSOPHY THERE.”

“Not a lot of philosophy in me either, buddy.” I was too busy scraping out a row with almost-raw fingers. The earth is a little chilly in spring, and my fingernails were already full of dirt.

“YOU’RE PLANTING RADISHES.”

“And carrots. And fennel.” I yanked a few more weeds. They get going early in spring.

“THERE YOU GO.”

“There I what?”

“RADISHES ARE PHILOSOPHICAL.”

“How so?” I seeded the row very carefully. Radish seeds are tiny little motherfuckers.

“A FIERY VEGETABLE GROWN UNDERGROUND. DON’T TELL ME IT’S NOT.” He puffed on his pipe, quite pleased. It smells halfway between skunk and lavender when he really gets going in that corner.

“Uh, okay.”

“SO HOW’S MIRANDA DOING?” He sounded very casual. If I didn’t know the entire backyard was in love with her, I might almost suspect he was disinterested.

“Fine. Urging the crocuses to store up against next winter, and trying to coax some of that sorrel up. She says summer’s going to be interesting.”

That perked him up. “INTERESTING HOW?”

“Just interesting. You know how she is.”

“MUST BE A DRAG, BEING AN ORACLE.”

“Sometimes that gleam in her eye makes me suspect she likes it.”

“THAT’S PHILOSOPHICAL TOO. SEE? YOU’RE HALFWAY TO AN ORACLE YOURSELF.”

“I’m a writer, dear. That’s different.”

“I’LL TAKE YOUR WORD FOR IT. WANT A TOKE?”

“No thanks.”

Norbert piped up from his vantage point. “WHY CAN’T YOU SMOKE THAT STUFF WHEN THE BIRDS COME? THAT WOULD SCARE THEM AWAY.”

Emphysema Joe shrugged. “OR MAKE THEM REALLY, REALLY HUNGRY. YOU WANT THAT?”

“Don’t fight, you two.” I patted some fine soil down. “At least, not where I can hear you.”

“HE’S RIGHT,” Norbert sniffed. “YOU’RE A PHILOSOPHER. A PRAGMATIST, TO BE PRECISE.”

“Must come with motherhood.” I rolled my eyes and began scraping a row for carrot seeds, too. Between the two of them, it’s a wonder I get any work done at all.

The favs are coming up nicely, and Miranda’s whispering to the crocuses seems to have paid off. I wish she’d talk to the dogwood and find out what’s ailing it, but she’s less interested in things that are taller than she is. Maybe I’ll ask her next time. Of course, I’ll probably walk out there and get waylaid by something else…

PS: *whispers* You can buy the Rose & Thunder ebook directly from the site now.

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.

Spring, Obscene

happy The trees are beginning to leaf out. Spring! I’m going about humming Tom Lehrer. (As one does.) There are two more garden boxes set up. They won’t be used right away, soil prep for the clay and dry shade is just beginning. Leafy greens will go in one box, the others will hold what I affectionately call a witch’s garden–rue, mugwort, things of that sort. (We must wear our rue with a difference, always.) Not until next year though–this year is for cover crops. Oats and field peas, planted then allowed to die down in winter to provide mulch. I may even put some massive daikons in–they’re good at breaking up clay. Since grass won’t grow in that upper part of the yard, I’m forced to other measures. (Like I ever need an EXCUSE to grow mugwort, but still…)

I’ve calmed somewhat after yesterday’s irritation. I can laugh at the hapless idiocy now, instead of being vexed at the insult to my intelligence or my books. There is one more small thing I wanted to say.

It seems absolutely insane to me that people can use a few “bad” words to level the charge of “obscenity” in an attempt to censor a work of literature, or any other art. It seems rather a misuse of the word.

You want to know what’s obscene? Extraordinary rendition. Children starving to death. The rate of incarceration in America. Racism. Sexism. Xenophobia. The current Republican party’s platform, policies, and behavior. Guantanamo Bay. Drones. Security theater in our airports that doesn’t make us safer, only accustoms us to ever-increasing violations of privacy. Dogfights, cockfights. MRAs harassing, doxxing, and threatening women. A child’s body left on the pavement for four and a half hours. War.

Those are obscene. Not books. Not art. At best, art can only faithfully mirror our own twisted selves.

*sigh* Now I’m disgusted all over again. Time to go back to revising. I may even throw in a few extra fucks, shits, goddammits, and cuntwhistles for good measure. Maybe even a dicklicking motherfucking shitsucking douchenozzle or two.

Over and out.

photo by: huntz

Underworld Shipyard

03.Pomegranate.SW.WDC.3nov05 Into the dark underbelly of revisions we go. Buckle your belts and loosen your blades in your scabbards, you never know when a passive construction will leap out at you, when a that will show up, where a plot hole will suddenly open at your feet, yawning wide. Quick reflexes and endurance are necessary, as well as ruthlessness.

You must know when to kill a darling and when to let it live, when the rules are served and when it’s best to break them. Tightening, smoothing, weaving stray strands back in, making sure it all hangs correctly, twitching the underlying structure so it all jolts properly into place. Burnishing the hidden hinges, stepping back as far as you can to see how the light plays on the surface, if a pebble upstream will change the course of the riptide.

And, finally, we’ll reach the point where we don’t look back, because you’ll spend forever tinkering if you’re allowed to. The point where you’ve made it as good and tight and seaworthy a Lookfar as you can, and you have to let it go. It will sail to the editor, copyeditor, proofer for the final caulkings, maybe taking on water and maybe not, and you can turn your attention back to the thirsty shipyard where the others lay under construction, ready to sail out from the dark harbour inside you. A writer is where the sea touches the dry country of the dead, forgotten, voiceless.

No wonder we drink.

Once more into the labyrinth, following the string of a story; once more we sing of the wine-dark sea, the harp, and the rocks. Revision. A beautiful, dangerous word.

A beautiful, dangerous, necessary work.

photo by:

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…

Bird

bird

This poor little fellow showed up in the yard the other day. Colorful, but very dead. It didn’t seem as though one of the neighborhood cats had been at it, and the location right under the garage window made me think she’d mistaken said window for a piece of clear sky. I carried her out of the backyard so the dogs didn’t get interested. If I interred every dead bird I found in the yard I’d quickly run out of room in the Pet Sematary the rose garden is becoming.

My altruism only extends so far. *sigh*

But she was a beautiful bird, and her compatriots are greeting the dawn as I write this, with a fullthroat serenade.