Safely in Springtime

I survived another release day, and made it through the weekend after finishing yet another awfully hard revise. Now I can go back to actual creation, for some short while.

Unless, of course, I want to proof an omnibus. It’s gotta happen, and yet I have a deep and severe case of the Don’t Wannas. All I wanna do is write, dammit, preferably with some video game music going in the background.

I was real, real close to paying for a month or so of WoW this weekend too, but Borderlands scratched the itch. I’m still not sure if Blizzard deserves my cash. Until my conscience is easy on that account, I’m going to have to refrain.

Although listening to Darnassus music on loop is good for certain kinds of writing. Video game soundtracks are designed to be immersive and easily looped, which makes them great for wrestling with plot problems.

Anyway, I should send off the revision today and take the dogs for a walk. I’m slow and logy this morning, probably because of the wild weather sweeping through. My writing partner reported big fat wet snowflakes (someone’s shaking Baba Yaga’s counterpane) this morning, though they didn’t stick; my sinuses warm me there will be barometric fluctuations. Fortunately I’ve written with atmospheric pressure changes sending spikes through my skull before.

It might even add something to a combat scene. Who knows?

Anyway, the wild weather and plum blossoms have us safely in springtime. The dogs are gleeful and we did a lot of cleaning this past weekend. There was even mopping, which is one of my Least Favorite Things, especially since I didn’t have the damn spoons for it all last year. Bit by bit, the rebuilding continues.

Time to throw another hoodie on and get out the door. I mean, the dogs could technically walk themselves, but they don’t make good choices. It’s best I go along to keep them from chasing something they shouldn’t.

*wanders away, humming about manic Mondays*

Gaga Dad Joke


The Princess: “I… I had to buy them.”
Me: “You’re GODDAMN RIGHT you did.”
Also Me: “…what do they taste like?”
Princess: “Food coloring? I dunno. Try one.”
Me: “I’m good. I don’t need paparazzi.”
Princess: “But you have such a good poker face!”
Me: “I was born this way.”
Princess: “It wasn’t the product of a bad romance?”
Me: “I’m your mother. I can’t answer that.”
Princess: “…that’s fair.”
Me: “I gotta go.”
Princess: “Why, is something wro–“
Me: “I don’t want to talk anymore.”
Princess: “What hap–“
Me: “I lost my head and my heart on the dance floor.”
Princess: *groans*

That’s right. I did a Gaga-flavored dad joke. And I regret NOTHING.

Anyway, there was also a discussion of “they’re not chocolate Oreos, the dogs could technically–” followed by “do you really want either of those beasts on a sugar high?” and ending in a “…that’s fair, too.”

In conclusion, while I will never be too old to try new things, I am also old enough to look at certain things and say, “Nah, I’m good, you go ahead and enjoy.” I have informed the kids this is a perk of adulthood in general and motherhood in particular.

Then I went and ordered some Girl Scout cookies. Because I’m a gat-damn adult.

Have a good weekend, beloveds. Stay warm, hydrate, wash your hands, and wear your masks.

Not the Plague

Five days or so of intermittent fever (my body likes to cook itself at the slightest provocation), coughing (fortunately that’s going down now), body aches (somewhat of a misnomer, I feel I’ve been beaten with a truncheon), postnasal drip (though fortunately I can still smell when the decongestants work).

Pretty sure it’s not the plague, as my digestion (for what little I feel like eating) is ticking right along and like I said, I can still smell. But still, it’s unpleasant. I think my body is in revolt against the bullshit it’s been asked to endure the last four years, let alone the last few months.

I’ve spent a lot of time sleeping since I fell ill. Normally I absolutely cannot sleep during my “daytime”, even if it’s in the middle of the night. (Long story.) It’s hard to let down my guard enough to nap, sleeping requires barring the door and starting a long slide of preparatory maneuvers impelled by habit.

It’s not that I can’t relax. It’s that I need to feel safe to sleep, or simply be so exhausted I don’t care. I haven’t felt safe since waking up in 2016 and realizing what I’d written had come to lurching, terrifying life.

Anyway I have all the subscription stuff prepped for this week. I had about two usable hours of energy yesterday, so I spent it getting that all done up. HOOD needs the end of its third season finished in zero form, Moon’s Knight needs a polish, and The Black God’s Heart is my NaNo novel.

I should set that last up.

I just wish I knew whether there was a chance at us saving ourselves despite gerrymandering and voter suppression (there are no “red states”, just voter suppression states) or if I should walk into the sea now.

I have coffee that I can taste in bursts, though. The dogs are both eager for a walk, though it will be in the rain. Jacqueline du Pré’s cello is coming softly through speakers; the hardest thing will probably be tying my shoes with Boxnoggin’s “help.” He longs to be useful, and doubly longs to be under a dextrous, gentle pair of human hands. It’s his favorite location, even better if he can chew on something.

So I wait to see if the sea gets me. My nerves are shot and my body’s breaking down under the strain. But at least I’m largely sure it’s not the plague.

Yet.

With that silver lining, my friends, I shall leave you. It’s time for a round of decongestants and the aforementioned shoe-tying. Stay strong, drink water, don’t be racist or fascist.

It’s amazing how many people can’t manage the last two, even with all their simplicity. If I was ever optimistic about humanity, rest assured I labor under no such misconception anymore.

That hurts more than the rest of it, but I’m too tired–and ill–to care.

A JoCo Day, Calloo, Callay

A half-pony, half-monkey monster would be a distinct improvement over a lot of what’s happening right now.

…maybe I should back up. I’m listening to Skullcrusher Mountain this morning, since I woke up with Code Monkey playing inside my head. (Long story.) Pretty sure the day’s going to be all right, especially with that soundtrack.

It’d getting more and more difficult to crawl out of bed in the morning. The dogs need brekkie and loo breaks, of course, and that’s pretty much the only thing that dragged me forth this morn. It just doesn’t seem worth it to resurrect on my own account; suffocating myself with my pillows has rarely seemed so enticing.

Life goes on, of course. It could hardly do otherwise. There are books to write and a box of author copies arrived yesterday; I should open it today and see what lurks within. The dogs have had breakfast and a loo break, but they need their walkies like I need a daily run. The children need their mother, no matter that they’re adults now–and isn’t that strange?

I thought motherhood as a job–not an emotional state, which is constant–would be over once the kids reached a certain age. It’s somewhat of a relief to find out they still need their mum, albeit in different ways, as they embark upon adulthood. More relief springs from the fact that they actually seem to like their mother, and are not frantically attempting to escape me by chewing their own limbs off as I did at my son’s age.

Finding out I’ve raised a brace of adults who actually like their parental figure and actively want to spend time with me is a deep gift, one I’m absolutely grateful for. I suppose there really are things to get out of bed in the morning for.

Go figure.

Maybe it’s time for a rousing rendition of Re: Your Brains to get the day truly started. Boxnoggin has interrupted the typing of this post at least four times now, excitedly informing me of such things as a leaf blowing down the street or someone walking a trio of dogs near our mailbox. Both events send poor ol’ Lord van der Sploot right over the damn edge.

He needs a walk; I suppose one wouldn’t do me any harm either. At least the smoke has cleared out again, and we’re looking at enough rain to extinguish the local forest fires. Small mercies; eventually, the rain always comes.

Exeunt, humming Code Monkey think maybe manager want to write goddamn login page himself“, pursued by politics…

Loud Dreams and Earworms

I dreamed in hyper-colored Castlevania this morning; I am somewhat surprised to find the sky blue instead of blood-colored. I also still have Feel It Still running through my head. The earworms are all but constant nowadays.

It doesn’t matter. I have coffee, the Prince is embarked on his last year of high school, and it’s a pleasant morning even though the sun’s out. I’m sure it’ll be sweaty later on today, so I’d best hurry if I don’t want to expire of heat-related illness during the morning’s run.

Still, it’s nice to absorb my coffee in something like leisure. I’m just so relieved the local school district isn’t forcing children into the equivalent of plague pits. They are providing meals and as much daycare as they can, too–an illustration of a district doing things right, for once.

I’m trying to treat the earworm with other things–a-ha’s Take on Me, for example–but so far, Feel It Still is the reigning champion. If I have to pull out Toto’s Africa it’s going to be even more interesting inside my skull.

I’m a little discombobulated from the Castlevania dream, to tell the truth. It was very vivid, down to the smell of sere dust as I walked through a dead wasteland towards a giant castle. The forest smelled better, but it was full of ice-demons, and the trees kept exploding.

It was kind of a loud dream, too, come to think of it. I’m not sure why; my bedroom window was closed and the dogs rarely snore that loudly.

Anyway, the coffee dregs need to be chewed, the dogs need walking, sunscreen needs slathering and a run needs to happen. Then it’s all epic fantasy, all the time, until it’s done. I am through messing about with this book; I don’t care how many times I have to stab it. It’s going down.

It could be the combination of earworm and vivid dreaming is just a sign my creative engine has reached the proper pressure and is ready to propel me forward. It would be nice to think I have enough energy again. Apparently even pandemic and fascist coup can’t keep me down for long; the words, like the spice, must flow. I’m sure I’ll overwork today and wake up exhausted tomorrow. Apparently I possess zero chill, but then, nobody around here is much surprised by that.

Tuesday approacheth. Time to pick the coffee dregs out of my teeth and get going. Books don’t write themselves, more’s the pity.

Enjoy your day, dear ones. The name of the game is survival, and if you’re reading this, we’ve won for the moment. Might as well celebrate it.

We might not get another chance. And with that wonderfully affirming and not at all pessimistic thought, I’m off to the races.

From Earworm to Mad Science

I woke up with R. B. Greaves’s Take a Letter, Maria playing inside my head. If it means anything, I’m in the dark about precisely what. The Princess would have helped me analyse it along with my dreams, but she says she’s never heard the song. Which I know is inaccurate, since I listen to it in the car whenever it comes on for whatever reason–the lure of familiarity, I suppose. This probably just means I need to listen to it a couple times today to get the song out of my head.

Go figure.

It’s a nice cloudy Monday. I have a new keyboard and took a few days almost-off social media. We call Twitter “hellsite” and it’s beginning to sound less like a tongue-in cheek observation than plain unadorned truth, or even understatement. Still, it has its uses, and I spend most of my time on my Mastodon instance anyway.

The dogs are quiet, for once. They’re probably still exhausted from yesterday, since they had to supervise housecleaning, window washing, and the making of bruschetta. The Princess has a recipe for mimicking the Trader Joe’s tomatoes-garlic-basil-oil-vinegar spread, which is our very favorite over tangy sourdough and fresh mozzarella. (The secret? Citric acid! You can find it in the canning aisle of the supermarket, or King Arthur Flour has some I personally prefer.) I’ve been experimenting with chana masala and cocoanut curries, and she’s been on a real Italian appetizers kick.

In short, there’s been some good eating around here lately. Since we’re mostly still quarantined (for when we’re not, there are plenty of masks, since my writing partner’s way of coping with the first boomerang of the pandemic was to get out her sewing machine) it’s pretty much taking the place of all socializing or field trips.

The Prince (sadly, I cannot call him the Little Prince anymore, both my children are taller than me) has been on a homebrew science kick. I let him take apart my old, battered keyboard to find out how it’s constructed and how it works, and he was thrilled with the idea of repurposing bits of it for “experiments.” I don’t ask questions, I just order the supplies and enthuse over what he tells me of the results.

I feel sort of like a mad scientist’s corporate backer, but I’m sure there are worse fates.

Living in historical times is exhausting, physically and mentally. I want to retract like a salted slug. I know not seeing the disaster is a privilege, I know the disaster is continuing whether I look at it or not, I know if I don’t find some way of settling back into work we’ll be in even worse shape in a few months. Plus, there’s a part of me that sniffs you wrote a whole fucking book about this and they didn’t listen, let them sit in it. I know it’s not fair of me to think it; there were other people far smarter and more famous sounding the alarm who were ignored as well.

I just can’t help myself.

So now it’s finishing coffee, taking the dogs on their ritual ramble, getting a run in, and keeping social media shut off for the day while I go back to work. I don’t want to look at the schedule and see how far behind I am; I just want to put my head down and lose myself in a world where anthropomorphized gods are visiting parties, or a court where the politicking continues while the state’s ship goes down (it occurs to me my main difficulty with the last Hostage book is probably that it feels so familiar), or the Robin Hood IN SPACE story where everything is heating up for the final half of the final season. At least with the new keyboard I’m not in a state of high irritation while typing; I hadn’t realized how much the missing stair behavior of the old one was affecting me.

I have a bunch of Cowboy Junkies and Cocteau Twins queued up, though I’ve listened to Take a Letter, Maria about five times so far today, attempting to scratch whatever earworm itch is in my head. We’ll see if it works. What the Muse wants, the Muse gets, although I’m not sure she’s the one in charge of the sound system this morning. It seems suspiciously like there’s gremlins lurking in my cranial folds.

It wouldn’t be the first time. Might as well just let them play.

Happy Monday, my beloveds. I hope your weekend was calm, and I hope for a sudden volte-face in the state of the world. The latter might not be very likely, but at least I can hope. Dum spiro, spero, and all that.

Gotta Run, Gotta Dance

This morning’s walk was sunny, and full of other dogs–thankfully all leashed, and all moving away from us. Boxnoggin is slowly coming to the realization that he doesn’t get what he wants when he lunges to the end of the leash and sings The Song of His People to strange dogs.

Slowly. It hasn’t fully sunk in yet, but I have hope.

It was also highly fragrant. Most of the fir pollen has been washed out of the air, so it’s not difficult to breathe anymore. The dogwoods are blooming, the gallery of chestnut trees smells like pipe tobacco, the lilacs have come out in force, and dandelions with their bitter greenness have reappeared. In the park behind the elementary school, English daisies are going great guns, some with that pink halo to their petals.

It irks me to be upping my running mileage so slowly, but pushing it will only lead to injury. I’ll run for longer if I slow down now. Boxnoggin didn’t come with me today, because I’m staggering his runs–training him will go even more slowly than retraining myself. I’ll risk my own health, but not his.

A five-book series appeared in my head over the weekend, and wouldn’t go away until I’d written down the skeleton. Ideas are cheap and easy, you can find them in every junk drawer. They crowd the air like dust, or like that fir pollen collecting in golden drifts. What’s rare is the time and effort spent to bring them to fruition. So I might not ever write this series, but it’s there, and accreting. I’ve gone so far as to pick out a couple songs for the book soundtrack, but that’s more in the nature of procrastination than real work.

Also, copyedits for The Poison Prince have landed, so there’s that to look at. I suppose “vomiting from stress and running through the house screaming” isn’t a good way to handle ongoing work, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m awful tempted.

Another paid Haggard Feathers post drops today, about how to deal with burnout. Last month was Marketing March, this month is Self-Care April. I’m not quite sure what to do for May yet. Of course, not every month needs a theme. I could just hop around and do what seems juicy on any given week.

Today’s office jam is Portugal. The Man’s Feel It Still. Super kicky and catchy, and if I don’t listen to the lyrics I can bounce around the office without guilt. Dancing represses the urge to stress-vomit, at least while I’m moving. You’d think the running would work off all the stress chemicals, but these are extraordinary times we’re living in and I’d probably have to do a couple marathons to get it all out of my system, right before dropping dead at the finish line. Which, while it might be amusing, is not how I want to go out.

So it’s tea and deep breathing, maybe a few rounds with Latin to sharpen my brain (such as it is), and a to-do list, because otherwise nothing will get done today.

What a week, and it’s only Tuesday. I hope you’re well, chickadees, and that you and your loved ones remain that way.

Over and out.