Poor They

Sir Boxnoggin and I found this unlucky bundle of feathers while out running. The crows have already been at them, and Boxnoggin was extremely interested, but I did not let him give more than a token sniff.

Poor birdie. Nature’s cleanup crew has already recycled most of them by now, I reckon. Such bright plumage, on such a grey day.

Achievement, Unfulfilled

There are now not one, not two, but three very rotund squirrels who take it as their personal mission to taunt Sir Boxnoggin whenever the opportunity arises. I’m pretty sure one is Batgirl, and though Olsen Twins is much rounder these days he’s just as nervous and his tail is a sad, sad little crooked thing. The third might be Preggers, but I’m not exactly sure.

Yesterday one scuttled up the fence by the remaining cedars and Boxnoggin went up after it. It’s a considerable board fence, but he still gained enough air–multiple feet, I tell you–to make me seriously concerned. That dog would rock an agility course, once he settled down and decided to seriously work it. As it is, he’s too young.

They said “three, three and a half years old” at the shelter, but if that dog was a day over two when we brought him home, I’ll eat every hat I own, without ketchup even. He’s old enough that running on pavement won’t damage his joints, thank goodness, but he is otherwise chewy and bouncy and full of the energy of youth.

Right now he’s prancing up and down the hall, ready to get out the door and go. We have a middling run today, and no doubt he’s eager to stick his nose in everything we pass. It will take him some time to calm down and actually work on our runs, but that’s okay. Gods know it took Miss B a few years to grasp the concept.

But those goddamn squirrels. They dangle their tails over the fence, chittering with amusement, and Boxnoggin goes absolutely mad. He head-butted the fence at high speed the other day, because Olsen Twins had vibrated right through it to escape him. If he ever catches one of those fuzzy bastards, it’s not going to be like Miss B’s infrequent achievement, where she freezes with the squirrel dangling in her mouth and looks at me, clearly asking now what? No, Boxnoggin knows what to do when he grabs a tiny bundle of fur–shake it until it’s limp, then disembowel it.

I kind of hope he never gets one. As much as I despise the nasty little arboreal rats, that seems a terrible fate for even their ilk. And then there’s the cleanup. Getting Boxnoggin into the bath isn’t the all-day event it was with Odd, but it’s still an undertaking, and carrying a wriggling boxer-terrier covered in squirrel guts into the house might manage to put a dent in even my

I’m going to finish the first HOOD book for NaNo, which means I need to get Atlanta Bound revised posthaste in order to shove HOOD into that daily work slot. I’m only halfway through. Maybe tomorrow I’ll splurge and finish it in a candy-fueled haze. Thank goodness neither the squirrels nor Boxnoggin have access to sugar.

It’s the little mercies that keep me sane. Or, relatively sane.

I hope your Samhain is fun and fruitful, my friends. May the turn of the Witch’s Year usher in the fulfillment of hopes for us all.

Except Boxnoggin. I hate to break a dog’s heart, but I want the squirrel guts to stay firmly inside the damn beasts…

A Strange Repast

I came out Wednesday morning with the dogs to find out someone had left a half-eaten crabapple and part of a ginormous mushroom on our deck railing, snugged into a corner for ease of snacking. I'm sure whoever left it will return–once the mushroom wears off, that is.

All that's missing is a sign saying "EAT ME"…

Let Me Be Wrong

Afterwar

I’ve talked before about how difficult and draining  Afterwar was to write, and how bumpy the road to publication was. The pain is still somewhat ongoing; I feel an ignored Cassandra, shouting into the wind. I fucking told you so,

*sigh* I was prepared for the book to be ignored, but I was not prepared for the feeling of…well, I feel like I did my best and it still wasn’t enough. It’s a common, creeping little feeling, lying in wait for any unsuspecting (or even suspecting) writer.

I just keep looking at current events and shaking my head. I saw this coming in 2015, I think, and the weight of seeing ahead, along with the weight of witnessing my country descend gleefully into totalitarian filth, wears on me daily. I can barely stand to look at the news. My heart aches.

Our midterm ballots arrived last week. The Princess and I (the Prince has not yet reached voting age) sat down at the dining room table, shielding our ballots, and passed the state voter’s guide back and forth, reading campaign statements and filling in little boxes. She’s hopeful.

I…don’t know.

History tells me what comes next. The camps and dehumanization are already here, and growing worse daily. The “Fuhrer worship” of that small-handed orange shithead grows, racists and nationalists cavort openly with their fascist buckles jangling, and our major journalism is supine. The police are full of rage, hatred, and military surplus; they are the Mango Mussolini’s private army now.

I know it’s always been bad. Even Eisenhower saw where the military-industrial complex and its pursuit of more profit by fear and murder would end. There’s been no shortage of warnings. America was a genocidal slave state from the start, and refusal to look at that plain fact lets exceptionalism, fascism, and murder grow like rank weeds in rich soil.

I just…I am in despair. I poured my heart and soul into a warning cry, and suspected it would be ignored. The small hope that it wouldn’t is thoroughly crushed.

So I continue writing. What else can I do?

I just finished a romance because after  Afterwar and the epic fantasy, I wanted something lighter. Now I’m struggling with guilt because how dare I write something I enjoy, knowing what I know?

The enjoyment is necessary. We’re not just fighting to halt evil, but also to preserve what is precious and joyful and good. Intellectually I know this.

I just have a hard time convincing my heart that it’s not a waste of time, that I’m not fiddling while Rome burns.1 I already feel like no matter what I do, it won’t be enough. Nobody will be saved, nothing will be preserved, the horrifying things will come to pass and all I’ve ever accomplished is dust in the wind.

I have to believe that it is the attempt itself that matters. I have to believe that daily decency, kindness, listening, boosting marginalized voices, and refusing to let the despair paralyze me matters.

Some days, though, heartsick and sore, I can’t bring myself to. Some days I have very little faith in anything other than humanity drowning itself and the planet in its own blood. Some days, like today, I am not even furious, just exhausted, terrified, and sure that nothing matters.

Please, dear gods, let me be wrong.

Please let me be wrong.

Fairy Ring

Apparently the fairies were dancing in the neighborhood lately. I’d harvest these…but better safe than sorry where the Good Folk are concerned.

Waited Half the Year

The rains have arrived again. False summer has fled, heat-stressed leaves have dropped and those who survived the drought have begun to turn. Miss B is sanguine–she remembers, however dimly, that water falling from the sky is a thing.

Sir Boxnoggin, Lord van der Sploot, however, is agog. Things were not like this in Texas, he informs me, every time he has to step outside. I tried to remind him of a hurricane or two, but he informs me archly that what he remembers is dust and heat, not this damp bullshit.

Lord van der Sploot is not a big fan of change. I don’t blame him, he’s had more than his fair share. He needs a good long chunk of boring, nothing-ever-changes time, and we’re doing our best. It helps that feeding time, running time, and playing time is all the same, even if there is water where there shouldn’t be.

I took a forced rest this weekend, in order to gear up for the big push to get Steelflower in Snow out before the end of the month. I managed not to work except for a thousand words or so on Incorruptible, mostly because I don’t want to lose momentum. It was a chore to keep myself from working, but I did get all my Sunday cleaning chores done early. Other than that, I stuffed a lot of movies into my head, watched another couple episodes of Castle Rock–though I must say, the Queen episode brought everything nicely to a halt for me and I’m not sure I want to continue–and managed to read a good chunk of The American Slave Coast, which I’ve had to take in small pieces because it’s just so devastating.

Once I’m finished with that, I can reward myself with finishing Laura Kinsale’s For My Lady’s Heart, the Middle English edition. Right now the main characters there are in Ruck’s secret fastness and I want them to stay there until I can return.

In order to get there, though, I’ve got to work. The siege portion of Steelflower needs some heavy revising to make it ready, and I should probably go looking for the glossary, too.

*sigh* No rest for the wicked, ay? There’s also a run in the rain to accomplish, while Sir Boxnoggin complains next to me. He’ll settle down once it’s clear we’re outside to work. I may even have to get him a little coat, since he’s shorthaired and runs warm. He’s glad to have a nice bright home to return to, full of comfy beds, pets at the drop of a hat, and regular mealtimes, and his gladness helps when I start dragging.

Other than that, I have my SAD light on just to stay ahead of the game. I’ve been more productive on rainy days than I was all bloody summer. And bonus, with the rains, not so many people will be out letting their dogs off leash or wanting to stop me while I run in order to exchange commonplaces about the bloody weather.

I’ve waited half the year for this, and dammit, I’m going to enjoy it.

Over and out.

Breakfast at Leisure

This morning brought a leisurely breakfast with the Princess. We haven’t seen each other for a couple days, so it’s good to catch up, even though both of us are coughing, hacking, and filling wastebaskets with used tissues at a truly alarming rate. The dogs were glad both of us were in the same place for an extended period–they hate when anyone leaves, and both canines want to herd the hoomins into a tight bunch so they can supervise with little effort.

So the Little Prince was off to school and the remaining monkeys were in the same room, which sort of balanced everything out. Now, however, we’ve separated to begin our days, which means Sir Boxnoggin is trotting up and down the hall and Miss B is curled next to my chair, eyeing me reproachfully. Why, oh why, can I not stay where she places me?

In any case, I’m not as physically miserable as I was Sunday, and feeling better than yesterday. The Princess is a couple days behind me on this cold cycle, so today will probably be the worst. Thankfully, she can spend it on the couch with a box of tissues and plenty of liquids.

I might even make triple-garlic chicken soup for dinner. We all sorely need it.

Incorruptible continues apace, and revisions on Steelflower in Snow do too. If I can get the “Karnaugh” section of the latter revised, I’ll count it a day well spent. I’ve decided the next serial will be the gunslinger story, so I should start making preparations for that, too. A placeholder cover will be fun to do once I accomplish everything else today.

And maybe, once all that is done, I can make another pair of super shiny earrings. I’m experimenting with cup chain, which is sparkly but finicky. And so. many. jump. rings. I must have wasted at least six trying to get everything connected on yesterday’s pair.

Shiny!

But the finickiness is so worth it, since these were EXACTLY what I wanted. Bright, swinging armor. I can’t wait to make more of them, frankly. People keep asking if I’m going to sell them on Etsy, and if I get to a place where I’m comfortable about my craftsmanship, I’ll probably put a few pairs up. It seems like a cool way to lose a little cash, and better than shipping books around.

So that’s my day. I might shoehorn a run in, too, if I get really ambitious. But for now, it’s time to brush my teeth, make some more coffee, and get down to Incorruptible.

Over and out.