Change and Social Detox

Didn’t have time for a Soundtrack Monday post yesterday. I am incredibly irritated with a world that will not simply leave me alone to write my weird little stories. Descending into the sewers to live as a cryptid–or donning a cape and wandering into the woods, never to be seen again–sounds very appetizing indeed. If I could get coffee and reading material delivered in either situation, I’d probably be gone like a shot.

I suppose some of the irritation is detoxing from Twitter. The site seems to be imploding, and despite knowing it would happen, I’m still upset. A sizable chunk of my professional life and connections were stored there, largely because I had no choice. We all knew it was a bad deal, but it was the only one on offer.

This is no longer the case. It’s fascinating to see the realization percolate.

It’s also interesting to watch a lot of people fleeing the implosion, attempting to get the same dopamine hit and rush of indignation elsewhere. I’m hearing the same complaints I did when Twitter started, when Livejournal died, during the Yahoo buyout of Tumblr (now there’s a cautionary tale for dumb billionaires), during the several waves of Facebook emigration, etc., etc., ad nauseam, ad infinitum. In particular, watching people arrive on Mastodon and try to replicate Twitter experience on a platform that was specifically designed to avoid some of birdsite’s more rancid problems and practices has been…well, I wouldn’t call it entertaining, but there’s certainly an aspect of can’t-look-away. Making the shift to a place that isn’t centrally controlled, where ads aren’t part of the ecosystem and the “home” algorithm isn’t controlling what you see and when, is disturbing for a lot of people trained by years of the Twitter Character of the Day, the ads, and the constant shadowbanning and suppression not of fascists but of their opponents. Add to that the fact that people are mourning the loss of a service that wanted, as Dorsey himself admitted, to be a public utility and gave many the hope and interaction they needed to get through the first few years of pandemic, and it’s rough.

It’s really rough. A lot of people aren’t being their best selves right now. Change is difficult–I joke about dogs and toddlers being absolutely unable to cope with disruptions to routine, but adult humans aren’t far behind. The server slowdowns of a decentralized, volunteer-run system looking to absorb such massive waves of new users are entirely reasonable and expected–but not pleasant.

I’m really looking forward to marginalized communities coming out from under the weight of having to fight Twitter’s deliberate devaluation of their posts, as well as the encouragement and intentionally engineered ease with which birdsite was used for harassment and silencing of women, people of color, and indigenous groups. I’ve heard the objection that defederation and banning on Mastodon will lead to “silos”, and I think it’s entirely specious. We already know that bad actors don’t want to be locked into their own little cesspools, they want to pollute the drinking water for everyone else, and force us to listen to their nasty bigoted howling. That’s their entire goal, and being able to lock such people out with a few clicks of a button–especially if one is an instance admin–is in my opinion a net good that will only increase over time.

“But social justice won’t go viral on Mastodon!” Uh, I’ve already seen calls for help, calls to action, and news rip through the fediverse at light speed. The only difference is that they often have content warnings. So I find this objection to be specious as well, from my own direct experience.

“But Twitter was freeee!” some people howl, like the rusty gates of hell. I dunno, my friend, was it really? Already the internet requires the investment in hardware and privilege to access, and birdsite only appeared free because user info was being sold, ads were being forced into the stream, attention was being bought by corporate actors, and governments were busy subsidizing and payoff-placating Dorsey the way they have been subsidizing Musk, Bezos, Murdoch, the Waltons, and Mango Mussolini (among others) for decades. It was never free, you just didn’t see the cost because it was folded into the daily scramble to make a living and pay taxes, both activities which end up lining the pockets of bazillionaires because that’s how our society is set up.

But then, I’ve been on Mastodon since ’17, keeping my eggs in more than one social media basket the way I keep publishing eggs in more than one container. (The effort required to do so is disruptive to my productivity, but can’t be avoided under current conditions.) I’m in the luxurious position of already being over the first bump of the learning curve–and there really is one, with any social media platform–but the angry biting from some people who are determined not to like a new-to-them system because “it isn’t Twitter and I’m mad and grieving” is counterproductive in the extreme.

Not that it can be helped. We’ve seen this all before, every time a social media system implodes under the weight of corporate malfeasance and greed.

I just want to write, dammit. And manage this detox. The way Twitter and Facebook–and Instagram, and and and–are engineered to take advantage of some very basic brain chemistry is amazing, but it also makes tapering off and moving away rather hellish. Maybe I’m wrong and the site won’t fully implode. I’m astonished that World Cup traffic hasn’t done it in, though I still can’t reply to anyone in DMs and the user experience is growing increasingly janky. I thought it would break irreversibly this past weekend, and can’t decide whether I’m happy to be mistaken.

And I keep thinking, if breaking the addiction to birdsite is so uncomfortable for someone who has been in the process of mitigating exposure to it for five-plus years, it must be dreadful for those who never wanted to leave. Things will shake out, though, and people will eventually find other ways of getting the connection and access to breaking news they need. Personally, I’m using CounterSocial for news and Mastodon for most everything else, though at least one of my publishers really really wants me to keep my Instagram fresh and oh fuck, how did I get on YouTube anyway?

If you’re suffering a dopamine shortage from fleeing Twitter’s protracted strangulation at the hands of Manbaby Melon Husk (one of my favorite euphemisms for the site’s new owner, I gotta admit), try to be kind to yourself. It feels uncomfortable because your brain was being hit with the equivalent of weapons-grade casino-type sucker-retention tricks daily, and now it’s…not. It’s gonna take a little while for things to normalize.

Me? I’m gonna finish my coffee, grab some toast, and get Boxnoggin walked. He certainly doesn’t care about a massive shift in the online social ecosystem–he’s got things to sniff, and at least one attempt to crap in oncoming traffic to check off his daily to-do list.

But that’s (say it with me) another blog post. See you around.

Tilting and Horrifying

It’s Tuesday. The earth is tilting toward equinox so the sun has moved to a different portion of the cedars for its morning path upward. Two more days until summer is officially over–I also saw the first Canadian geese of the season yesterday, winging south in two sharp V’s over a nearby park. Boxnoggin was oblivious, snoot-down in wet grass, but I watched the birds and felt a sharp swell of relief. No more 90F days until next year, thank you.

Lately, a particular line from a Batman movie has been stuck in my head–Heath Ledger’s Joker, calm and reasonable. “Nobody panics when things go according to plan, even if that plan is horrifying.” It’s lived in my head rent-free for a while now, and lately it occurs to me at least twice per day, mostly while reading the news. Normally when a line gets stuck like this it means a story’s about to hatch from it and attach to my face before eventually bursting out of my chest with a splattering vengeance, but I hope that’s not the case this time.

I don’t want the book that would result from such a realization. I suppose I already wrote versions of it (Cormorant Run, Afterwar) and…been ignored, so why bother? The world is under no obligation to listen to me, but that works both ways. I’m under no obligation to keep setting myself on fire keeping the selfish or oblivious warm. Of course my therapist was always saying that–and so were my better friends–but it didn’t sink in for most of my life (so far). Probably because of the caretaking I was raised to do.

It’s not that I’m glorifying the Joker. The character is terrifying, especially in Ledger’s interpretation. I’ve been in the room with bugfuck crazy before, and he nailed it right down to the strange flat shine in the eyes, not to mention the physical movements. I can’t watch that performance without an atavistic shiver, because I remember being in close proximity with someone in that state (however temporary or permanent) and how it felt.

But that line…that line sticks with me, especially the quaver in Ledger’s voice when he says “horrifying”, all but smacking his lips while shuddering with mixed revulsion, excitement, and the burning knowledge that he’s using truth for his own purposes. I don’t deny there’s a certain seduction in that form of chaotic nihilism, a relief from the pain of caring. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to take that path wholesale instead of just peering down it a little bit for a book or character, or vicariously by watching a movie.

I suppose enduring a pandemic in a failing state during the dissolution of an empire amid rising fascism will make anyone philosophical. And naturally, my optimism tells me that eventually humanity will figure it out, will collectively make a right choice or two. It’s just that immediately afterward my realism replies, “Sure, after exhausting every other possible strategy and tactic. And what will the body count be in the meantime?”

So I wait, I watch, I write, I take care of those I can. I think a lot about the assumptions we’re all operating under and how those assumptions might be changing. I think a lot about how humanity behaves when we think there’s some semblance of a plan, no matter how horrifying it turns out to be. I suppose that’s the downside of our cooperative nature as a species–it is the thing that could save us if we could just get our fucking acts together, but it’s also the thing that keeps us quietly queueing up for our own destruction.

And now that I’ve said this, it’s time to get some toast and walk Boxnoggin, who is gloriously unburdened by both intelligence and planning.

It must be nice.

Dog-Day Retrenchment

Significant wordcount on Sons of Ymre 2 yesterday. I suspect the book is spiking for a finish and it can’t happen soon enough. I want the blasted thing done so I can throw it in a drawer to rest, finish a few other projects, and then come back to the mess. I know revisions will be hell–at least, the first round will, since there are a lot of notes in double brackets and I have to figure out the exact geographics. I know precisely where Book 1 was set though it’s not really mentioned in the text, but Book 2 is being somewhat cagey about the whole matter of location.

Of course, this book–like the last few–has had to endure somewhat acid-test conditions. The news cycle has not been kind to my productivity, nor to what passes for my sanity. And to top it all off there’s another heat advisory for today. I’ll be crouching in my office, hoping the AC doesn’t give out and feeling the sun press against my house-walls, attempting to slither through and strike.

All I want is for the rains to come back, and maybe some pumpkin spice.

Boxnoggin is sprawled on the office floor, listening to birdsong filtering through the window. At least it’s cool enough to open the house in the early mornings, changing out the air and bringing the temperature down. We won’t need to close windows until 10am or so. At least, that’s the hope.

I still have plans for the Moby Dick reading–Chapter 1, with commentary, it’ll probably be a two-parter–which still sounds like a lot of fun. And I’m still eyeing Filmora if I want to do certain other types of readings. I can’t believe I’m actually considering video editing; the entire prospect sounds like a deep circle of hell but the end result will be nice. (Like so much else in life.) And of course this will cut into what little spare time I have, but what else am I doing with it?

Watching true crime and scaring myself, that’s what. All sorts of ideas and observations are floating around inside my head; eventually I’ll stop blogging about the damn weather and move on to other things. I do like the throat-clearing aspect of blogging; it forces me to clear out the gunk and get the word-engines humming first thing in the morning, which is valuable. And I like the idea that a peek into the life of a working writer helps readers understand just what it takes to make these stories they enjoy.

Still, sometimes I think about…not blogging anymore. Or moving over to Pillowfort and doing a private journal, or or or. Don’t worry, I’ve no plans yet. It’s just that after near-daily blogging since ’05 or so (first on LJ, then on my own site mirrored to LJ, then my site got hacked, then just on my site after LJ was bought out and turned into a hive of villainy, then downloading and deleting everything before ’16 because it was getting unwieldy…) I might be ready for a change. It does rather seem a case of diminishing returns, like so much else authors are forced to do. I suppose I’ll continue as long as I like doing it, as with so many other things.

I’m not sorry I closed down comments, however. The daily sorting through spam and harassment on the back end reached nasty levels even with a few plugins mitigating the flood, and while I enjoyed the rest of the comment culture, dealing with the firehose of bullshit (largely invisible to readers, thank goodness) took too much time. I haven’t regretted shutting that off, and every time I realize I don’t have that particular chore to attend to my heart recovers a little of its usual song.

I suppose the end of summer is always a time of retrenchment, so to speak. Spring and the very tail-end of the dog days are good for looking at what one’s spending energy on and doing slight course corrections to avoid larger ones later.

The coffee has cooled and Boxnoggin is eager for walkies. I also need to get a run in before the heat becomes unbearable. The itch to go back to the second Sons book and just go until it’s done, no matter the cost, is steadily mounting. It will be nice to finish another zero draft; I need the dopamine hit from considering something “done for now”, even if the snapback will be deeply uncomfortable. Taking a break to talk about Melville (and his “NOTICE ME, SENPAI HAWTHORNE”) will be irksome but actually valuable, forcing me to take a break and rest the mental writing muscles. So…maybe I’ll slap on some extra eyeliner and do that today if the book doesn’t behave. Maybe.

Basically things are up in the air, and I won’t know what the hell until I arrive somewhere. You’d think that with as much time as I spend in this particular state it would be old hat, but it’s a surprise each time. Maybe once the caffeine soaks into my starving tissues things will appear differently. They generally do, after all.

See you around.

Wise Fools, Everywhere, All at Once

I meant to get a chunk of the line edits done up yesterday, but the world had other plans. I ended up driving down to Molalla to get Bailey’s cremains.

It was a lovely drive, traffic was easy both ways and there were beautiful fluffy clouds in an achingly blue sky. Miss B got to return home in the front seat–always a great ambition of hers, she never liked to be in the back. It was entirely too much distance between her and her beloved human, even though said human insisted it was far safer for her royal self.

I suppose it was the last thing I was waiting for. Now she’s home, in a box of pressed mulberry fiber. Which is nice enough, and I’ll find a sturdier (all-weather) urn in a little bit. Once I can look at the container without bursting into tears.

Yeah. Did a lot of crying yesterday, and was useless for any kind of work. Ended up going to bed early and watching Everything Everywhere All at Once, which Skyla recommended. She said it was like the end of Hyperbole and a Half’s “Depression Part 2, which at once explains everything about the movie, gives nothing away, and also told me it was perhaps what I needed.

I ended up sobbing so hard my chest hurt. I thought I was having some kind of cardiac arrest. But Boxnoggin was supremely unworried, he just wanted to snuggle and lick my tear-wet cheeks. I figured that if I were really having a heart attack, he would be a little more perturbed. As it was, he seemed to consider what I was doing weird but necessary, so I just…went with it. That’s the difference between Five Years Ago Me and Present Me, I suppose.

It is a really good movie, and if you’ve seen it you’ll understand the humor of me snort-laughing through my tears and saying to my dog, “Oh, shit, *Boxnoggin’s Real Name*. I’m Waymond.”

Ever been crying so hard your ribs ache, laughing at the same time, caught between sorrow and absurdity, a rope between two black holes? Yeah. Like that.

Anyway, I turned off the light once the movie was done and commended my soul(s) to the gods, just in case it was some sort of cardiac thing. It was somewhat anticlimactic to wake this morning to a heavy marine layer, Smashing Pumpkins’s 1979 playing in my head for some reason, my heart continuing its weary work, and Boxnoggin grinning at me, demanding belly rubs.

See, he seemed to be saying, like the wise fool he is, I told you it was fine, you just needed a good cry.

So he gets a long-ish ramble today, and I swear I’m going to start those line edits. The last week and a half has been bloody endless, it’s felt like a year, and I am tormented with the sense that I’m months behind as well as the deep aching hole of missing my shadow. At least she’s home, where I can touch her, I can hold the box when I need another good cry now. It hurts, certainly. It hurts a lot.

But that pain is a measure of the love, and I would not trade that for anything. And she didn’t go alone–that would’ve been ever so much worse. Nothing loved is ever truly lost, thank goodness.

The coffee needs finishing. The ramble needs doing. I have to pull my own weary corpse through a run as well, and then, by the gods, I will open these line edits and go back into The Dead God’s Heart. And when I need to I’ll retreat to my bedroom, hold the box, and cry some more.

Be gentle with yourselves today, my beloveds. Everything is hard right now, but maybe…well, maybe it’s not all hopeless bullshit.


Dreams, Revisions, and Screaming

My dreams have been even more vivid than usual. None have the particular tsunami-quality that would make them good books (or even novellas); I think it’s just my brain cleaning house under current stressful conditions. This morning’s skull-movie was waking up in a particular bedroom I’ve seen before (but never in real life), bars of thick golden sunlight coming through the wide windows with wrought-iron muntins, and being addressed by a horned figure with tiger stripes who moves from one shadow to the next.

Oddly, the horned figure speaks in some version of French, and I woke up trying to conjugate a verb so I could reply. Go figure.

I am told some people dream in black-and-white, and some in color. My own dreams are so hypersaturated real life seems pale in comparison, but that’s no surprise since the story-hallucinations I often have are the same. Realer than real isn’t just for portal fantasies.

Anyway, it’s Thursday, I’m almost halfway through revisions on the second Ghost Squad book, and I think I’ve got all the screaming out of my system. I did take some time to put together discrete playlists for both Damage (playlist here) and Book 2, but I think that was the last gasp of procrastination before I buckled down. The dogs kept checking on me yesterday, as they always do when an edit letter lands and I take some time to privately vent my fury.

I’ve talked before about the process of getting all the “how dare you suggest altering my deathless purple prose” out of the way before settling to revisions. Editors are here to make your book/story/whatever better, and they are human beings, not punching bags. Get all your angst, sturm, und drang out of the way on your own, either in your office, locked in your bathroom, screaming into a pillow, or venting to a trusted friend (with their permission and the Cone of Silence, of course). There’s no need to direct any of it to the editor, who is only trying to help. And ninety-nine and a half times out of a hundred, said editor has a good point.

Now, I have been revenge-edited before, but that is exceedingly rare and behaving professionally in that event is even more crucial. Partly out of spite–you don’t want to give this person any further ammunition–but also as a point of personal pride. And it’s easy to mistake one’s knee-jerk reaction to the first round of having a book one has worked very hard on for months or years judged by an onlooker for revenge editing, so you don’t want to open your mouth and be proved wrong later when the dust settles, the emotion clears, and you realize that yes, the editor is right and something needs a fix.

So I alternated my working time yesterday between revisions (got almost halfway, hurrah) and lying on the office floor with the dogs, muttering into their fur about how cruel and unjust the world is to us poor tender writers. They’re used to that sort of thing, and offered no advice, just friendly licks and insistent “well, then, pet us and forget about it.” All in all, wasn’t a bad day, and I’m beginning to think this book isn’t bad at all.

Which is always a relief, since it’s a sign that I’ve achieved enough distance from writing the damn thing to contemplate it calmly. Always a blessed event.

And yet I am only halfway, and I have dogs to walk, my own corpse to run, and the subscription drop to get sorted before I can go back to it. The drop might be put off to Friday, as sometimes happens if I find I don’t want to break momentum. We’ll see.

So…it will be a busy Thursday, my beloveds, and I’d best get started. At least there are a couple eclairs left to soothe the sting, and if I am a Very Productive Writer who gets the damn revisions done by the weekend I can work on the space-werewolves-and-pro-wrestling erotica as a treat.

It’s good to have things to look forward to. I bid you, my darlings, a civil adieu.

Unstuck in Time

Well. Release day has come and gone, it’s the last day of two sales, and I woke up convinced down to my marrow that it was Friday. I have, like Billy Pilgrim, come unstuck in time.

Not that I was ever too firmly nailed into Cronos’s river to begin with, since I step out to enter other universes on a daily basis. And frankly, what with events on this timeline and all, other worlds are looking better and better each moment. Yes, I know it’s terrible to dream of leaving what with all this mess around…but I can’t help it, and it’s a fantasy that has very little chance of being fulfilled so just let me have it, please.

I have already had to apply stinging (though polite) rebukes to two separate businesses involved in hijinks today, and can’t help but think that will set the tone for the entire Thursday, so–

I had to check the date on my desktop once more. Yes. It’s Thursday. How did I forget in the space of two paragraphs?

I know why this is happening: Stress, and successive traumas. Pandemic, ongoing fascist coup (said coup attempt is not over), war, and non-plague-related health issues are all jumping on the bandwagon, and my sense of time has been shoved off to make its way home as best it can. Yet I’ve had the great good fortune to be able to work from home with very little disruption, not to mention the fact that both the kids are out of school now–well, the Prince’s last two years of schooling were interrupted by this, but we fought for and won the remote learning option. Otherwise I’d’ve yanked him out and let him take his GED, and that would be that. But I can’t imagine what it’s like for, say, a few of our neighbors, who have toddlers and elementary-school children.

Pretty sure they’re drifting in time, too.

The sun is out this morning, and the dogs have no idea why I’m so slow, not to mention perturbed. They can sense the stress, whether by smell or simple observation. Miss B sticks to me like glue, attempting to supervise me into peace, and Boxnoggin makes circuits of the house, patrolling the bounds. See, he seems to be saying, I am on guard, you needn’t worry.

They’re trying to help. The kids and I talk about what’s happening at dinnertime, and there are extra hugs and check-ins during the day. It’s somewhat of a comfort that even though adult, neither of them turn down the opportunity to grab a Mum hug. Each time I ask, “Would you like–” they immediately say, “YES.” Maybe they know it soothes me too.

I’m pretty tightly scheduled and have electronic nags on phone, desktop, and tablet keeping me on-track; I find myself obsessively checking my digital calendars, dead convinced I’ve missed something important. If not for to-do lists I wouldn’t get a damn thing done, and maybe that’s why I feel so disjointed; I crossed off everything on yesterday’s list and didn’t immediately make today’s. I should update the master list as well, since I’ve crossed off four zero drafts on it and need to finish four more.

Huh. Maybe I have been working enough lately. It’s weird to think that the persistent sense of not-doing-as-much-as-I-should could be lying to me. I don’t know why I’m surprised, I’m fully aware that feeling is a lying liar who lies, and yet it creeps in with many different forms, poking and tormenting.

In any case, finding out it’s Thursday means I have a completely different set of tasks than the one I was braced for, but also means I feel like I have a whole extra day this week to get things done. Between the release and a couple other things, I’ve been playing catch-up and unable to really work for a few days, and it’s been a torment. I thought I’d have Sons of Ymre #2 finished by now, but…that’s not happening.

I just heaved a giant sigh, and the dogs think that means brekkie-time. I suppose I should go and get that sorted, and walk the beasts. They will be content with their noses buried in hedges for most of it, and I can take some joy in their absolute commitment to the Now.

It’s Thursday, I know it’s Thursday, and yet I just had to check the calendar again. I suspect I’ll be doing it all day. There’s some comfort in knowing I’m not alone in the maneuver, I suppose.

See you around, my friends.

Breathing From Hope

The weekend was lovely, though far too short–mostly because I worked through most of it, in one way or another, as has become necessary or just advisable nowadays. If I slow down too much, I run the risk of drowning.

The solar-powered lucky cat in the office garden is busily waving away, a sign the grow light is performing as intended. Otherwise, it’s a very dim rainy morning indeed, and the other solar bits and bobs–mostly flowers–are breathlessly still, waiting to see if the clouds will part. They probably won’t, which pleases me to no end–running in the rain is a particular joy, and I have new running socks.

There is very little as luxurious as new socks.

Sunday was extremely quiet; I built a fire in the upstairs fireplace and read from Anaïs Nin’s diaries. I’ve often meant to read more than Henry & June (and some of the erotica) and now seems the time to do it. I did read Henry Miller during my first-ever bookstore job, but found him very much like Brautigan, Heinlein, Harrison, and a great many of the Beats–so in love with worshiping their own twig-and-berries that they can’t see anything else. They imagine they’re casting monolith shadows, but it’s really just a lone stick stuck in the sand at noon, only seeming a monument because they’re looking at nothing else. Nin, for all her faults, has to take a wider view.

Anyway, it’s really nice to read Nin after intervening decades. I’ve gone from “why would you even be thinking about this, Anaïs?” to “oh, honey, I’ve been there, it’ll be so nice to see you get to the other side of it.” That’s the power of age, of surviving a world that wants to kill anything female.

Another thing I’m thinking about a lot lately is the idea, prevalent in both fantasy and horror, that childhood is a time of great power that never comes again. There is certainly a great deal to be said for innocence and wonder, and the energy of a young thing. But I want to write magical systems and things now where age and experience means far more power and counts for more than “I’m a young and talented Gary Stu, hur de hur hur, and I’ll never be this good again.” My thoughts on this are a bit inchoate at the moment, but I can see the dimensions of the problem and have possible solutions in mind. I think that’ll be the theme of The Innkeeper’s War but I have to finish The Black Land’s Bane first.

It’s nice to have things to think about, to feel like there might be enough of a future to continue breathing out of hope rather than mere spite. I’ve been sticking myself head-down in stories to survive for my entire life, but the years since 2016 have been…something else. May you live in interesting times is a horrible curse and if I ever found out who inflicted it on us I shall have words with them, dammit.

This morning, for the first time in a long while, I feel like there might be a future to survive for. Or maybe it’s just that my focus has narrowed so sharply I am seeing different horizons? I don’t know. It could just be the fact that I’m up relatively early on a Monday and need a new office chair. Ideally, I’d like one I can sit cross-legged in while I type, but that seems to be a fond dream more than an actual item than exists.

I spent a long time writing novels on a laptop balanced on a lap-desk while I sat cross-legged in a papasan chair, and while that might’ve been bad for my back it was good for me creatively, and I could also stretch out when necessary. I miss that, though I’m sure I could just…stand up? And get the same thing?

I don’t think I want solutions. I think I want to complain. *snork*

There’s another Tea with Lili today, and I actually have a dedicated Teatime Notebook now where I make notes about future subjects and things to talk about. I think today it’ll be a follow-up to my feelings about the so-called self-help industry, which we touched on last week, and we’ll talk about the work of worldbuilding as well as why I like timers so much. It’s good to have something planned, though I’m sure I’ll go wildly off-topic, as per usual.

The dogs are prancing up and down the hall, eager for me to grab some toast and get started on the day. I still have a third of a cup of coffee left, though, and the morning’s quad shot tastes especially good today for some reason. Seasoned by survival, perhaps.

Happy Monday, beloveds. I get to go running in the rain, which always pleases me, and I hope you have something likewise pleasant to look forward to.

See you around.