Out at Night

I was at the Powell’s Authorfest last night, along with a host of other fantastic authors. There were a lot of people, and quite a few of them told me they liked Cormorant Run. Which was great to hear–it’s one of the books I like best, but it seems reviews have been mixed.

Not that I look at reviews often. You know how I feel about that.

Anyway, driving home in the dark, my brain in that strange liminal place of juggling time, speed, distance, and the current stories I’m working on, I felt my life loop over and catch on another peg. I’ve done a lot of driving or wandering at night with my head full of stories, trying to shake out pieces or fit them together. I got out of the habit when the kids were younger–you can’t leave your house empty except for sleeping children, not unless it’s an emergency. I realized how much I missed being out at night.

I suppose I could go out walking with my camera after dark again now, since the kids are well into their teens. Miss B, of course, would ache and pine to go along. At the same time…I love being out at night, it’s my preferred time, but I’ve just arrived at the point where I can sleep reliably. A small but significant proportion of my used-to-be-usual insomnia is the fact that I am a night owl; my internal rhythm is set to rise and resurrect about noon, get to work around 2pm, go until 11pm-midnight, wind down, and go to bed about 2am. Given my druthers, that’s how my entire life would be arranged.

But it’s a daywalker’s world, especially if you have children who are Day People. School means getting up when daywalkers do, consequently I’ve been doing it for years. Now the kids are largely capable of getting up on their own, but shifting the dogs’ schedule would entail a lot of moaning and groaning. And I am on call while the kids are out of the house–just because they’re not home doesn’t mean I’m allowed to sign off.

So, obeying the schedule my body wants would require shifting the dogs’ schedule, possibly being out of commission during a Grown(ish) Child’s emergency, and moving my meds schedule. That last is the least worrisome of the three. I can’t accept the thought of being out of commission while one of my spawn needs me, no matter if one of them is technically old enough to smoke and go to war. (Not that she’ll do either, she reminds me, thank you very much Mum.)

I guess I’ll impersonate a daywalker for a little while longer. Maybe until the Little Prince is out of school and settled on his trajectory. At least I can consciously decide to do so, instead of feeling trapped by circumstance.

Driving at night and feeling that internal catch, the sense of a life decision being reached or coming back to a particular angle on the spiral of one’s current incarnation, is precious. So is arriving home, pulling into the garage, and having Grown(ish) Children and dogs clustering at the door because they missed you and they’re glad you’re home. Hugs and the high-speed downloading of what happened at work or while I was gone, cold damp noses pressed against my knee and wiggling hind ends, grins and “I put the stuff for your dinner right next to the stove, Mum” all add up to another soft, beautiful realization.

Sometimes, I think, I long to go out at night just to come home, now that I have a safe warm nest to return to.

Before Noon

THINGS I HAVE ASKED MYSELF BEFORE NOON TODAY:

* Does it count as six kilometers if you had to drag an Australian shepherd for the last two because other dogs were everywhere?
* …where the fuck is the tofu?
* Did I turn the washer on?
* No, really, where is the tofu?
* Is that dog drool or…you know, let’s just not even ask.
* Did I remember to put coffee in the grounds basket? (Gods forgive me, I hadn’t.)
* WHAT DID I MEAN TO PUT ON THE GROCERY LIST?
* Do I really have to eat something? (I decided eating was bullshit and I had to get the shopping done before the drunks get on the road.)
* WHO MOVED THE FUCKING TOFU?
* Did I turn the washer on? (No, I hadn’t. It was sitting there, with clothes and soap, patiently waiting.)
* Where are the dogs? (“Underfoot” is always the answer. I tripped over one of them and almost fell on the other.)
* Oh. I moved the tofu. It’s already marinating. When did I do that?
* …wait, why do I have the beans on? (It’s chili night. I shouldn’t have bothered with the tofu.)
* Why isn’t that scene working? Who do I have to kill to make it work?
* Did I really just drop that? (Thank God it wasn’t glass. THAT time.)
* IT IS BEFORE NOON ON THE 3RD, WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE DRUNK ON THE ROAD?
* Was that sodden lump of something on the pavement a squirrel or a rabbit? (I don’t know, it was already dead and in the middle of the road and I was going thirty miles an hour, it was hard to tell.)
* Should I figure out how to go back and scrape it up and bury it? (No, I’d get run over. SHUT UP, CONSCIENCE.)
* Am I going to drop this bottle of shampoo/bottle of mineral water/bottle of rye whiskey/package of ten bars of soap/bunch of bananas/any other random thing I’m holding?
* Is that woman going to let both of her young children careen around the grocery store unsupervised while she’s on her phone? (Oooh, ouch, that one just tried to run over an old man…)
* Is that woman on the phone talking about Kenny Chesney? Who talks about him for more than thirty seconds AT MOST, AND ONLY IF FORCED TO?
* Why am I dropping everything I touch?
* When will I hit my absurdity limit and find all this funny? (Hint: it happened at about 11am. Since then, well, you get the idea.)
* Seriously, do I have to wash my bra when I get home?
* WHERE IS THE TOFU…wait, don’t tell me…
* Did I forget my debit card? Please tell me I didn’t forget my debit card.
* Do they suddenly not stock oatmeal here? (No, they do, I was right in front of it and if it was a venomous animal, I’d be dead.)
* SERIOUSLY?
* Huh. Is that pair of small children with tiny shopping carts pretending to be cats or racer drivers? (They tried to take out another elderly man, but he was too quick for them.)
* Wow. Is that woman with them STILL on the phone? (Yes. Yes she was.)
* Is it worth telling the woman on her phone that her hellspawn children are going to get her sued?
* Did I remember tofu?
* What else was on the list? (The list had been left in the car, because it was Just That Kind Of Morning.)
* GOD DAMN IT, WHAT ELSE WAS ON THE LIST?
* …was it mouthwash? (It was. That was my one victory. Remembering the mouthwash.)
* Did I really just use the evil eye on those two small children with their tiny shopping carts? (I did.) Is that woman still on the phone? (She was.) Did the evil eye work? (It did. Until they got to the checkout.)
* Should I put the whiskey back? (Don’t be an idiot, Lili. You’re going to need that shit.)
* Did I just make a Gloria Gaynor reference to my checker? (I did.)
* Did the checker just laugh and knock over a bottle of mineral water? (She did.)
* Did we both stand there laughing like loons? (Yes. Yes we did.)
* Did those children scamper out into the parking lot and get run over by a black Escalade? (Almost. I shouted, another woman lunged to catch the taller/older child almost by the hair, the taller/older child had realized something was wrong and grabbed the smaller one’s arm, and that motherfucking woman with them was STILL on the phone. Didn’t even thank the Good Samaritan. But I did.)
* I only wore my brassiere for an hour and a half, do I really have to wash it?

Fortunately, my clumsiness was funny to me, my patience lasted, I decided I did not need to launder my brassiere, the tofu will keep until lunch tomorrow, I killed no-one, and I do not have to leave the house on the Glorious Fourth AT ALL. And at least the two small children with the tiny shopping carts (and mother STILL on the goddamn phone babbling something Kenny Chesney) were safely in their own car the last I saw.

Now I have to go check the fridge. I am possessed of a completely irrational, sneaking suspicion that the tofu has been moved…

Knight, Lady, Fairy, Survivalist

One of the parks I go through on long rambles/runs/sometimes bike rides recently sported this fellow. It’s a bower, or a shelter. Each time I pass it as the branches brown, I imagine a knight’s lady nestled in it, and what she might be thinking. I tell myself little stories a la Malory, or imagine that the fairies came through one night and this was a place for Titania to rest.

It was probably kids messing around with camp shelters, or one of the area homeless with a survivalist bent. Or maybe there was a rip in dimensional fabrics, and whoever curled up to sleep here awoke in a different place, a different time.

The world is full of stories. You can’t get away from them.

Five Bucks of GREATNESS

We must snootboop every book.

So last Friday Mel Sterling reminded me about a book sale I’d tentatively said might be interesting. She was already on her way, and I’d just gotten home from an emergency trip to see a store about a hoodie. (Don’t ask.) I was THISCLOSE to not going, but I figured, well, anytime I see my writing partner is a good time. So I buckled into the car and went.

And OH MY WORD IT WAS LIKE HEAVEN. $5 for a BOX full of research goodness!

mmmmm crunchy.

Seriously. I couldn’t have found more weird niche stuff for my interests if I’d tried.

And to think I almost didn’t go. Let that be a lesson to me. The answer to a book sale is always, always yes.

A Certain Symmetry

I know some of you will look at this picture and go, “pfft, that’s not even two feet of snow, what’s the problem?” The problem, chickadees, is that even six inches of snow is like six feet here, because the PNW gets this kind of weather so rarely we don’t really have the infrastructure to deal with it. That means roads go unplowed more likely than not, and things like banks, schools, and city government shut down. It further means cars get abandoned by the roadside, the power goes out for many many people, and commerce grinds mostly to a halt. The last time this happened was in 2008, just to give you an idea, and wasn’t that a mess. (Hint: Yes, yes it was.)

On the bright side, there are snowball fights, and the kids are having a ball sledding down the hill. And while I’m writing a zombie apocalypse in a winter storm, there’s a certain symmetry to being housebound under a blanket of cold white.

Soon it’ll warm back up and the rain will wash everything away, which will return us to flooding and moss. So it’s not all bad, but I’m beginning to get a little itchy, wanting to get out of the house for once. Treadmill running isn’t the same, and Miss B is on the verge of bored destruction–there are only so many laps she can do of the backyard to work off her energy. Odd Trundles, being built low, brushes his chest on the snow when he goes out to attend to Nature’s call, and when he gets back inside he looks at me very much as if I have created this white wasteland just to inconvenience his tender undercarriage.

Anyway, that’s the weather where I am. Today is Thursday, and that means another chapter or two of the serial for my lovely Patreon patrons. So stay tuned, that will be up soon, and I’ll get back to telling the story of who was shooting at Willard in a bit.

Over and out.

Official Old Lady

Pomegranate I resurrected later than usual this morning, and am still exhausted. I love meeting readers and signing for them, it was just so busy. The time passed in a blur of old friends, new faces, books I’d almost forgotten I wrote, and my hands shaking just a little with the fear that I was going to mess up and say something strange or dissolve into a puddle of nerves.

Social anxiety is a bitch.

I met Annie Bellet, and Curtis Chen who I believe I already knew slightly from Cover to Cover’s old Writer’s Mixers. My fellow Dame Devon Monk was in attendance, as well as the lovely and gracious Diana Pharaoh Francis. There were many others, but it was so busy I didn’t get much of a chance to say hello. Thank you to everyone who came out (especially Mecca of the lovely hair and the Armadillo, who is three weeks away from finishing her own personal marathon) and, as well, a gigantic thanks to the Powell’s employees who made everything go so smoothly, especially Peter H.

There was bad traffic on the way home–two accidents, and many snarls. Consequently, I arrived chez Saintcrow utterly exhausted, and could barely drag myself out of bed this morning. Coffee is helping, but not nearly as much as I’d like. I’m hoping the deep, chesty coughs I’m having occasionally are just bodily housekeeping instead of incipient trouble.

And that is it for today’s post, my friends. I’ve some administrivia to get through, wordcount on Afterwar, some posting for my Patreon peeps, and perhaps, if I get really wild and crazy this afternoon, a nap!

…that’s it, you know, I have officially become an old lady. It’s about damn time.

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