Eleventh Hour

Afterwar

I recently read Dachau 29 April 1945–finished it yesterday, as a matter of fact. It’s a collection of interviews and letters by the American division who first entered Dachau in 1945–I don’t know if I can say they liberated the place, because who can ever be set free of such things?

I’ve sometimes wondered if all nation-states have periods of brutal (internal or external) conquest married to racism as a matter of course, and the only thing stopping such things is geographic luck (double luck for their neighbors, no doubt), lack of resources, or just simply not being old or cohesive enough as a country to allow the racism time and space to grow and bear its awful fruit.

When I was younger I likened it to teenage acting-out, but that analysis implies a lack of responsibility. I don’t think it’s an inevitable stage of development either, but the curse of reading history is seeing countries and people turn in spirals, deepening atrocities with each pass.

The concentration camps for immigrants are a hot current news item; also hot is a bunch of apologists saying “they’re not so bad” and “you can’t call them concentration camps.” To the former I can only say “yes, they are, your racism is showing,” to the former, I will simply say, “Yes, I can, because that’s exactly what they are. Oh, and your racism is showing.”

“But there are no ovens!” some fuckwit racist apologist will wail, to which I reply, “Not yet.” There are no mass graves yet–or are there? Frankly, we don’t know, and the way things are going, I believe we will be extraordinarily lucky if the cycle of genocide is interrupted before we get to walls of bodies tumbling into bulldozer-dug pits. And if we are that goddamn lucky somehow, some racist fuckwits will try to use that sheer dumb luck to say “oh, it wasn’t so bad, you’re exaggerating,” because they know the comfortable disbelief of the half-somnolent who aren’t directly affected (yet) is their best cover.

The most hideous thing about this is that it’s not a natural disaster. It’s not an earthquake or a typhoon, it’s not a forest fire or a flood. People are doing this. People with hands shaped just like yours and mine, people who go home at the end of the day to their families or just to their solitary lives. People are caging, brutalizing, raping, and beating other people. The abusers look like you or me, they kiss their children, they drive to work and think about traffic. They are neighbors and friends and bring potluck dishes to events, they put shoes on feet that look just like yours, my friend, and just like mine.

We’re doing this to ourselves. Sometimes I think humanity deserves to be wiped from the planet if this is how we’re going to behave. Oh, Terra will still revolve, and Nature will wipe all traces of us and our catastrophe away, and in a few billion years the vastness of the globe will be alive with bird and whale song, whispering with wind through trees maybe stunted by fallout and long-ago pollution but still alive and murmuring. The planet’s going to be just fine after we choke on our own blood as a species.

Occasionally, the prospect even comforts me.

I don’t hold out a lot of hope. I used to think people could change, but change is painful and many prefer to stay miserably oblivious, content to let the rich and the malignant destroy everyone else as long as there’s a chance the bootlickers and crumb-stealers will remain unmolested. Which is a fool’s game–sooner or later, even the bootlickers are kicked.

Yes, I read that book deliberately. When I saw it on the library shelf I thought let’s try, and if I can finish it and honestly not see where current events are going echoed in those pages, I’ll hang up my crystal ball and keep my mouth shut.

Well.

You see where I ended up. There is no way to look away or keep one’s mouth shut. It’s not quite the eleventh hour before the apocalypse–but really, do we need it to be the eleventh hour before we put a stop to the bullshit?

Do we?


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Hungry Feet

Two fine fellows–one quadruped, one gastropod–met upon a driveway. The quadruped sensed a delicacy and prepared a good chomp.

Fortunatley, a biped noticed and dragged the quadruped away. The gastropod went about their business unmolested–probably to eat the biped’s hostas, which is a funny way of thanking your savior.

But we’ve all got to eat, one way or another. Boxnoggin was dragged into the house and given a treat along with much bellyrub, I was content with toast, and the snail wandered away on their lone stomach-foot, in search of greenery.

I wish them well.

Tired. Just Tired.

Yesterday I did a thread about how much I hate seeing female action stars (or backup dancers) in heels. Cue a deluge of asshattery in my email inbox from guys who tell me I’m ruining all movies by having an opinion on social media.

Just another day, ho hum. No death threats yet, but they can’t be far behind.

I suppose I should view it as a sign that what I’m saying is almost becoming important, since the Misogyny Troll Brigade only comes after women they think have a chance of being heard and believed. At the same time…I’m tired. I’m just so damn tired.

Even getting up in the morning is becoming a chore. Tearing my heart out, over and over, to write stories is what I was meant and made for, but it’s still exhausting and the mass of misogyny, violence, bigotry, and hatred makes for rough swimming.

I often think about how much better it would be–how many more amazing stories, paintings, music, sculpture, poems–there would be if we weren’t struggling under that mass. It would be lovely…but so many people contribute to the stone over our living graves, either by inertia (very common) or by conscious evil (least common) or by just not caring when the boot lands on a human face as long as the face doesn’t look like theirs (most common of all).

Then I shake myself, smile ruefully, and get back to work. And yet…I’m so tired.

So, so tired. And I have no answer.

It will be better tomorrow, I suppose. But every once in a while, I wonder why I bother when so many people are seemingly determined to either be cruel or ignore cruelty until it reaches their very doorstep–and by then it’s too late.

*sigh* I’m gonna go pet the dogs now, and let them help me feel better. It’s not a panacea, but it’s damn close and I’m lucky to have it.

Over and out.

Sunlight, Driven Mad

HOOD

The weekend was long. Not temporally, but I had two very emotional discussions I was braced for and then stumbled into a third. Which put paid to any ideas I had about working or mopping the kitchen, let me tell you.

Of course, mopping really doesn’t interest me, and I try to avoid it whenever I can, but that’s not the point.

Anyway, I need a weekend to recover from the weekend, as usual, and will not get one, also as usual. It’s time to get a few more projects moving along the line. I should revise Incorruptible, get Season 2 of HOOD even more underway, and I think Sons of Ymre is the next zero I’m going to finish. It occurs to me that I need to make one of the protagonists in the last a little less sweet and a lot more menacing to get the effect I really want, but that can be braided in later.

I want to get Lightning Bound and Hell’s Acre off my plate in the next few months, too. It might not happen–I consistently bite off more than I can chew near the end of June, because sunlight drives me just as mad as it does everyone else–but it would be nice. Both of those projects have trilogy structures, so we’ll see, though I might just write the first Lightning book and float it as a trial balloon. Hell’s Acre might do for a serial, for those who like steampunk-y things.1

I did read Lyndsay Faye’s Jane Steele over the weekend; retellings of Jane Eyre are so completely my jam it’s not even funny. I’m also working on The Rise of Germany and looking forward to the third in that trilogy once it’s released. I still prefer studying the Eastern Front, but I’ve reached the point where only increasingly recondite studies are being published, so I might as well branch out.

In any case, there’s a run to get in before the sunshine makes everyone even madder than usual, but before that I have to get the rest of my coffee down. Sequencing, as my ex used to say with a twinkle in his eye, is so important.

Have a good Monday, my dears. Or at least, let’s kill only who we absolutely must.2

Over and out.

Rain, Dogs, Office

The Princess has gotten me into watching The Office. I know it’s nine seasons long, but the episodes are only about twenty minutes (thank you, Netflix) and so far it’s hysterically funny in that “I’ve seen this train wreck before” way. The Princess is thrilled that I’m enjoying it. Of course, she’s told us many of the plot points at dinners for the past year or so; it’s fun to witness them myself and discuss what either of us got out of the scenes.

I also watched Castlevania because the Little Prince loved it, so after I finish these nine seasons I’m going to have to ask him for another recommend. The kids love it when I try things they liked, even if I end up not admiring them as much. The mere fact of attention is enough.

So far I’m enjoying the shows; I don’t think I’d ever have watched either on my own. I have to say I am incredibly glad I don’t do office work any more. It’s almost as bad as retail.

Almost.

Anyway, today’s for brute wordcount. I’m waiting on a wrap for HOOD‘s Season One cover, and once that’s done I’ll upload everything and hit the button. It’s looking like Season One will be available at the end of next month. You can read a little bit about why I chose Robin Hood (in Space!) and sign up for the serial if it so moves you; we’ll be going into Season Two soon, where there’s a speeder race, a ball, and treachery everywhere, as well as a rising body count. In other words, big fun.

We had some lovely thunderstorms yesterday evening. I quite miss Odd Trundles’s sanguine disposition; neither lightning nor firework bothered him. Miss B hates both with a passion, and poor Lord van der Sploot was quite beside himself. I went to bed early, though, and as soon as I was settled (they get half the bed, Miss B sleeps near my shoulder and Sir Boxnoggin at the foot) van der Sploot was out like a light, curled into a tight ball. It took B about a half-hour of shaking and whining slightly before she too sacked out, sprawled luxuriously over one of my pillows and looking so peaceful I didn’t have the heart to move her, so I slept cockeyed all night.

It’s a good thing I love those beasts.

Anyway, a short run and a day’s worth of wordcount on both HOOD and Sons of Ymre, which I really want to get done at least in skeleton form before too much longer. A new wrinkle in Hell Tide just showed up, and I have to seriously think about if I want Lia Spocarelli’s story to be a single book or a duology. I’m not sure yet.1

So that’s it, I’m sorted for the rest of the day, which looks to be cloudy, grey, and quite pleasant. Let’s hope the cloud cover holds during my run. Maybe I’ll even get rained on, which is nice for the sheer luxury of peeling out of wet clothes when I get home, showering, and putting on dry socks. (Nothing better, my friends. Not even coffee.) That might mean the bees will leave me alone–it’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I’m afraid of hurting the little fellows.

Anyway, my day’s packed. See you around, chickadees.

Not Enough Scratching

HOOD

I spent yesterday getting the tail-end of HOOD‘s Season One all arranged. It looks like the completed season will drop on or near the end of next month; subscribers, of course, get the unedited and final ebooks for free. (Nest Egg subscribers get weekly fiction AND the serial, if that’s your jam.)

I’m testing a new delivery platform with this series; it should solve some of the preorder problems we’ve experienced with KDP. If not, well, I already have a work-around.

The weary and the wicked alike receive no rest, and I’ve tomato plants to get in the ground too. They’re sad little orphan things, but I couldn’t just leave them where they were to die, so it’s into the ground they go with a whispered song. There’s a daphne that doesn’t like confinement, too, that will probably go near the back fence. If it survives it’ll screen the back of the house since some idiot took down some perfectly good cedars.

What? No, of course it wasn’t me, I wouldn’t have gotten rid of healthy cedars that went into shock for a bit when you tore the dead body of one of their fellows free. The poor things were grieving and a neighbor got talked into letting the people who took out the dead cedar (rightfully so, though they also crushed the fence and one of my garden decorations) take out the shocked ones as well. They probably laughed all the way to the bank about said neighbor’s gullibility, too.

Ah well. I did like the cedars, but a daphne and maybe some lilacs if the neighbor doesn’t replace the cedars might do. I do not want to see that neighbor’s yard, and I’m sure he returns the feeling.

It’s enough to make me wish I’d bought property out on the fringes where one doesn’t have to see neighbors, but with only one car that wasn’t a good idea. A single mother, even one with adult children, needs a little more infrastructure than can be found in rural areas.

Anyway, being head-down in publishing prep all day yesterday means I’m more than ready to get back to writing instead of revising and formatting. I’m beginning to feel itchy, even if several things have been crossed off the master to-do list. Revising is enough like writing that the itch can be touched, but formatting most definitely is not and it’s beginning to get painful. I’m not myself when I don’t write.

I did get a fragment down in my diary last night, about the Reaper. I’m not sure if I want to write that story, but it’s certainly interesting. Psychopomps interest me, and living ones doubly so.

Anyway, there’s also Sons of Ymre and Lightning Bound to think of. The latter holds promise of being a trilogy, and maybe that’ll be another serial. I haven’t decided yet.

That’s my day sorted, then. I wish my dear Readers a likewise happy Tuesday.

Over and out.

Glut of Stories

Jill Kismet

Summer has officially begun. It’s a Monday, but the Little Prince is not at school; there is no school to be had, and he is celebrating face-down in his pillows like any reasonable teenager. I think he and his sister are going to see Endgame today, but Im due for work–the first season of HOOD isn’t going to revise itself, more’s the pity.

I’m just waiting for breakfast to decide to settle before heading out on a run; when I come back there will be coffee. I’d have coffee first, but my mileage is going up, and that means there’s a chance of whatever’s in my stomach bouncing. I’d rather not waste the caffeine.

Anyway, there’s Season One to revised I have to make serious decisions about what to pursue next. There’s a nonfiction book or two I’d like to run down, and the second season of the serial, of course; but I also want to do something that pleases me and only me. It might be Hell Tide or maybe even Hell’s Acre (I sense a trend) or I might finish Lightning Bound or expand The Fool’s Assassin. An embarrassment of riches, to be sure.

I’m also reading Huckleberry Finn with the Princess. As in, we’re book-clubbing it, reading the Norton Critical edition (mostly because it has Toni Morrison’s wonderful 1996 introduction in the critical materials) and discussing as we go. This is going to be really fun.

I’d like to take more time off, but needs must when the devil drives and all that. Plus I was useless all last week after revising Poison Prince into first-draft status. The third book in that series is just going to kill me, I can tell. Anyway, it about took me down to mothballs. Besides, I get itchy when I’m not working.

And now I’m getting itchy with the need to run, too. So it’s off I go while it’s still cool and cloudy, to think about what I want to sample next in the big buffet. A glut of stories and only so many fingers to type them with; that’s the human condition.

Over and out.