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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Breaking Shots

HOOD

It was an exciting weekend! Dog washing, camping (for kids, not for me; I don’t do non-indoor plumbing), putting in swag hooks without a 5/8ths drill bit–the list goes on and on. Also, the end of the month is fast approaching, which means HOOD’s Season One is about to go live.

Interested? You can download a free sample here–where you can also sign up for my newsletter if it pleases you, but you don’t have to. Of course, the subscribers who have been funding the series get the unedited and final season ebooks for free. You can also read a little bit more about the genesis of the serial.

A band of rain moved overhead earlier, which is all to the good–after the last few fire seasons, we need all the moisture we can get. The Princess and her camping buddies, returned to civilization, are making chocolate-chip pancakes while waiting for the bacon to finish cooking. All in all it’s a quiet summer morning.

I wonder what I’ll do when the Prince has finally graduated high school and there’s no more long summer hiatus. I’ll probably have a good long cry or two the first few times he has to skedaddle for work instead of lazing about, and the dogs will be extremely puzzled.

I had a long post planned today, but I’m aching to get out the door as soon as my coffee settles. I mean, I love caffeine, but spewing it through my nose as my body decides any shaking means an explosion is not the preferred method of absorption.

Even this early on a Monday I hear strange sounds from one of the neighbors’ houses, like billiard balls clicking. Maybe someone has a table and is practicing their shots. I don’t hear any voices, either bemoaning a bad break or celebrating a good one, so perhaps someone’s meditating through the movement.

It makes me long to get a stand for my heavy bag; instead of hearing the clicking I could be pounding away my frustrations one punch at a time. Ah well. To each their own.

Today I write Robin Hood taking over a small band of thieves, hackers, and enforcers. I might even write Maid Marian’s receiving of a few secret messages. Season Two is where we start finding out nobody is who we think they are.

Of course, in real life, nobody is who you think they are either. People surprise one all the damn time.

Meh. I think it’s possible my stomach might retain the coffee I’ve poured in it despite some hard jouncing and shuddering. Which means it’s time to throw my hair in a ponytail and get out the door.

I wish you a cool and pleasant Monday in the shade, my friends. Go easy on yourselves, it’s getting rough out there.

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.

Associated Disruptions

It was a long strange weekend, but at least I got all the housecleaning done. And thanks to the fireworks ban, both the dogs and I were quite calm all the way through. There was artillery in the distance, certainly, but we didn’t have any mortars popping near the house, which I am devoutly grateful for.

Also, I’ve been experimenting with BookFunnel. The first half-dozen or so chapters of Harmony are available for free download here; when HOOD gets its wrap cover and begins wending its way through the last quarter of the publication process there will be a free teaser for it as well. I might put some other freebies up, just to see how they do and if they drive interests to other titles. Might even put up a Freebies & Swag page, but I need to think carefully about whether or not I want the deluge of entitled demands it might spark.

I also spent the weekend polishing off a few books–reading, not writing. The Coldest Winter and The Coldest City, as well as a graphic novel adaptation of The King in Yellow, kept me occupied for an afternoon; I also finished James Holland’s The Rise of Germany and polished off two Christine Feehan novels. The last are like crack, I can’t read just one, kind of like Shannon McKenna novels. Now I’m on to a history of the Byzantine state, which is filling certain lacunae in my understanding of just how things were administered in the late Roman empire.

What I wanted was to get a few more chapters of Season Two done, but the Glorious Fourth and associated disruptions put paid to that little dream. But I got the revised cover list off to the artist, and there’s plenty of time for everything that needs to get done for the next couple books.

I’ve spent a lot of time these past few days thinking about growing up, logistics, rain, how to get a prince back to his homeland, whether or not I want to write The Highlands War, whether or not I truly want to write Hell Tide, how I’m going to get Maid Marian dancing with Prince John, genetic plasticity, and a whole host of other things I’d put on hold to think about after HOOD‘s Season One was sorted. Now all those things have come back to roost and I must give each the time they demand, from a few moments’ worth to a day or so of concentrated thought while the rest of me goes about the business of living.

It’s a form of mental housekeeping. Plenty of writing is keeping the creative cauldron bubbling at a certain pressure so the steam moves everything through one’s internal tubes. Weird facts, historical narratives, tangential fiction–all these things are fuel. So is the habit of observation when I have to leave the house, storing up notes on how these human creatures behave.

Can’t write what you don’t understand or observe. It’s probably the only use of my over-sensitive empathy that won’t drain me to transparency and leave me day-drinking. (Of course, I can’t drink without getting hives now anyway, but you know what I mean.)

In any case, today is for getting a needle back in the groove of work. There’s Incorruptible to revise and HOOD‘s Season Two to pile bricks for, and Hell’s Acre to think about. I’m pretty sure the last will be the next serial, which will be super fun to write. I always did like steampunk.

I hope your weekend was pleasant, dear readers, and that there was a paucity of artillery in your neck of the woods as well. I’ve got a bellydancing bagpiper to listen to while I write, and honestly, since my coffee is staying down, I really can’t imagine anything better.

Over and out.

Head Bowed

The ketchup-and-mustard roses (planted for the Princess’s best friend) are aglow, but most of them have their heads bowed from recent rain, hail, and wind. Battered but still beautiful, their finery damp but still incandescent.

I haven’t had much time in the garden this year. There’s always next spring, though.

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.