Clearer Focus

summer queen It’s cool and cloudy, which is not at all like August in this part of the world. The weather report says not to worry, we’ll be expiring of heat soon enough, but I can’t help but wonder at the intense shifts the weather takes.

Oh, I don’t have to wonder. It’s climate change, after all.

I woke up this morning with Ellen Foster in my head. It seems I’ll have to read it again, after finishing Volume I of Shelby Foote’s magisterial work on the Civil War. I remember coming across it when I was much younger and working in a used bookstore, and being absolutely blown away by the pitch-perfect voice. Since then, I’ve only read it every decade or so. It seems it’s time again.

Apparently reading means one will live longer. I might end up immortal, and truth be told, I’d need to be in order to get through my TBR pile.

My dreams have grown intense of late, but not the kind of intensity that dredges books from my subconscious. Instead, it’s the highly saturated, emotionally complicated dreams that tell me I’m processing things. History. Old hurts, new knowledge. I came across a poem earlier this morning about life trading calm and truth for one’s youth, and thought, yes, that is how it is. I am glad to not be young anymore.

For me, each passing year takes me further from helpless childhood, the plaything of rageaholics. I have my own car keys, my own bank account, my own home. I can set a book on my kitchen counter and it won’t be torn up or thrown away. When I shut my door, anyone who comes by may knock for admittance, but it’s up to me whether or not I grant it. My children have no idea what it’s like to be barged in on even when one’s door is locked–just recently, the Princess told me about one of her classmates who has no privacy even in her bedroom, and remarked how she can’t imagine such a horrible boundary trespass.

It felt good to hear that, indeed.

Sometimes, I’ll lay an item down somewhere temporarily, and my heart will still pound and my breath catch with the instinctive calculation of how likely it is I’ll lose it to someone’s random fury. It takes a moment, looking at the object and breathing deeply, to remind myself I am no longer at the mercy of anyone who would do such a thing. I’ve grown comfortable with my life, and found a measure of peace. So my dreams are turning over all these things, fitting them together in a life experience grown much more capacious.

When you’re young, there’s no sense of proportion. Things feel huge because you have nothing to compare them to. Acquiring a bit of brute experience quickly resolves the picture into clearer focus.

I don’t dislike the dreams. They’re intense, but not nightmares. I’m even glad of them, I can feel the scar tissue becoming deeper, tougher, supple instead of delicate.

So I dream, and I write, and when I lay an object down in my own house, sometimes I leave it there for longer than it needs to be.

Just because.

Solidity

rocks

I hate travel, but I like to hear stories from people who’ve gone elsewhere.

Friends often ask if they can bring anything back from a trip for me. I generally say no. Once in a while, though, I’ll ask for a rock, even a piece of gravel, from their wanderings. Holding a piece of earth’s solidity, I can taste where a friend walked, and their happiness while they traveled. (Or their irritation.) Each one comes with a story, too.

These are from my writing partner’s last trip to the ocean. She and her darling husband (we call him the Boy Scout) visited my favorite place on earth and brought these back. I put them on my dresser, where I can see them every morning.

It’s good to have friends.

Potential Bike Day

shehulkicon Yesterday’s run went well, despite the fact that Miss B bludgeoned me with the puppy eyes and ended up being taken along. The only bad part is that I need a day off now for my knee to fully recover, and I can already feel the itching under my skin that says haven’t run enough, get out and sweat, come on. I’m even contemplating buying a brainbucket and taking up bicycle riding again, on the principle that it’s activity of a sort and may help get rid of the fidgets if I have to rest the knee for any unreasonable period of time.

I am hoping beyond hope that I can find a brainbucket with a little beanie propellor on top. The idea delights me on some deep, uncritical, childish level I am more than happy to sink to in exchange for some joy.

It just hit me that I have two weeks to turn revisions for The Marked in, too. I need to find a way of bringing one small plot arc to a close, and that will help. As it is, the book is structurally very tight, and it ends in a different place than one would expect. *is thoughtful* The problem with regarding stories as tapestries is that when you move one hidden hook underneath, the rest of the fabric deforms in ways you then have to fix or contour around. Plus, the climax needs work, and that changes the fall of the cloth as well.

But first, I have a hot date with my children, for the purposes of bike-buying. They’re extremely excited at the prospect of better bicycles, since both of theirs are now (gasp!) too small for them. Good Lord, kids just keep growing. It can’t be stopped, but at least they both still like hugs from Mum.

Over and out…

Lammas, At Speed

gambit2 WELL HELLO EVERYONE. Was your weekend good? Mine involved Miss B taking out my left knee on my way up the stairs after a hard morning’s run, enough laundry to fill my bedroom, and assorted chores that made sure I now need a few days to recover from the damn weekend.

But it’s Lammas, and I have work to do. Including getting more kibble for the canines, so they don’t get any ideas about the meat I’m made of. I know they would refrain from eating me until I started to stink, but the cats wouldn’t even wait for me to stop breathing to eat my face.

Yeah. These are the things I think about. So it’s probably for the best I go gather something tasty to fill their bowls.

I did take Miss B running this morning, too. I used speed to distract her, because if she’s keeping up she doesn’t agility-test me nearly as much. Consequently my knee is twinging, and I am not looking forward to schlepping gigantic bags of kibble around. I never ask the people at the pet store to carry things out for me, but I just might today.

Other than that, there’s The Marked revisions to do, and serious thinking about my next project, and a couple of short stories to polish before I send them out. I suppose I’ll have to move so fast the rest of the day can’t throw pain at me disguised as training, right? Right?

*cracks knuckles* May your Lammas be happy, and may you out-think any ghosts trying to trick you.

WASTELAND KING Release!

That’s right–at long last, the final Gallow & Ragged adventure is loose upon the world.

Gallow & Ragged

The plague has broken loose, the Wild Hunt is riding, and the balance of power in the sidhe realms is still shifting. The Unseelie King has a grudge against Jeremiah Gallow, but it will have to wait. For he needs Gallow’s services on a very delicate mission — and the prize for success is survival itself.

To save both Robin Ragged and himself, Gallow will have to do the unspeakable, and become what he never dreamed possible…

NOW AVAILABLE through independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Release day is always difficult, and none more so than the end of the series. A huge thank-you goes out to you, my faithful, constant Readers; I hope you like this adventure. There was a lot of pain in the birthing, but that’s true of everything.

So. Come around this corner, just a little further. That’s right, into the shadow here. Now, lean in, and let me tell you this story…

Another Young Horus

another young horus

I’ve known there was a hawk’s nest in a local park for years, but never quite managed to catch more than a glimpse of one. The destruction of several trees in said park–under the guise of “renovating” it–broke my heart. Thankfully, the one showing the most evidence of being a favorite perch was not cut down. On that particular hot day, though, the youth in question decided to settle right over my head just as I finished a punishing bit of speedwork.

If you look carefully above, you may see the fierce, sullen glare of a young hawk. What you can’t see is the small mouse/vole/something clutched in talons. Or my gapjawed look of wonder as I tried to get a good picture.

The other people at the park probably thought I was catching a Pokémon. But I would never try to trap something so wild and beautiful. It’s best to leave it alone to shred its own catch in peace.