Time to Run

It’s not a monsoon. It’s steady, penetrating sheets of small drops, coming in waves, tiptapping the roof. It’s a warm rain, as things go. Not jungle-warm, but it’s not coating everything with ice and it has no particles of sleet in its many beating hearts. Mud’s collecting in every corner, grass is a sludge with a thin green hat, your shoes sink in, the cedars are bathing like naiads.

Down in the mud, the crocuses bloom. Snowdrops, too. The hyacinths are coming up, and the daffodils are raising green spears. I saw the crocuses yesterday, and a wave of hot, acid relief went through me right at the solar plexus. I’ve never been a springtime person–winter is when I’m most productive, especially in a damp, temperate clime. It’s a good thing we only have ice and snow here every once in a while. It kills off the slug overstock and keeps some of the other pestiferous populations down, but it’s not my favourite.

In a little bit, I have a long run. In the rain. I won’t be taking Miss B–she’s getting older, and this distance isn’t for her. She will no doubt be pissy with me for the rest of the day, until I give her some trick training to exhaust her doggy brain. Her separation anxiety is intense, even when someone else is home while I’m not. I’m not sure why, it’s not like she’s ever left alone for long, and there’s the cats and Odd Trundles to herd as well, but every time I leave, the kids tell me she mopes. SO MUCH MOPING.

There’s wordcount to chip free today, but Afterwar is in that funny fallow phase right before it breaks free and I race for the end. I can feel it gathering itself, bubbling and boiling under a cauldron lid, but whenever I go to peek, it rattles warningly. This particular book has been an education in submission to the process, yet again. I just keep repeating, it’s my job to show up, don’t worry about the rest.

Some days I even believe it. Most days, though, my entire body is a mass of exposed nerve-wires. I’m also in the Slough of Despond on the other two projects: Nobody will like it. The publisher will hate it. They’ll decide you’re not worth publishing. You’ll starve to death, your kids will starve, the sun will go out and everyone will hate you hate you hate you. That’s the big problem with juggling multiple books; when they all hit that moment of paralyzing doubt, it’s exponentially worse for each project added to the pile.

Ritual and habit are going to get me through this, just like they’ve gotten me through *mumblemumble* other books. It’s just a little painful right now.

Time to run.

Cheerful Muffin

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. Not going running until my phone charges–the weekend was a busy, busy cupcake.

Oh, who am I kidding? It was busy because, undaunted by the fact that I have three deadlines happening at once (and another round of edits for Desires, Known just landed this morning, whee!), my brain decided to hork up 5K on a book I’m not supposed to be working on. Oh, I’d planned on doing other things, sure, but the story took over. Stolen time to write is the most enjoyable, of course, and I could feel the pressure of the Slough of Despond bleeding away.

That’s one thing I didn’t plan for when I realized I had three projects going at once: hitting the Slough on all three of them at the same time. Fortunately the Veil Knights project is still mostly in the new-shiny phase, but I’ve been thinking about it for soooooo long that when I flip to the file and take a breath to re-insert myself, I find myself staring at it going, wait, I know I wrote more than this, where’s that chapter? Then I realize I didn’t write it, I just THOUGHT REALLY HARD about it, and the urge to weep and drink rises a notch. Afterwar, of course, is deep in the weeds, but at least the disembodied hand is in a jar now. That’s one thing.

As for Roadtrip Z, I’m cogitating on the current scene, which is Ginny’s insomnia and a few realizations about just how fucked the current situation is. She’s sort of the only one who fully grasps as much, what with everyone else being concerned with survival first and deep analysis later. And poor Juju, wracked with guilt and grief, is not having a good time of it. Maybe they can help each other.

Anyway, my day’s work is all mapped out for me, including going for a run to work off Miss B’s fidgets. Bad weather and depression put a dent in my training schedule, but there’s no way around it, I’ve got to get back. It’s a vicious cycle–the more the depression mounts, the less I want to exercise, but exercise is one thing that interrupts the depression and pushes it back. It’s really hard right now, with so many trash fires going on. I keep reminding myself to keep swinging, to just put one foot in front of the other, but…yeah. It’s difficult. If not for the meds, I’d probably still be in bed, curled into a small ball and staring.

As it is, well, it’s hard to pry myself out from under the covers. So far I’ve managed it only because the dogs and the kids need me upright. Giri: the net that keeps one from the abyss. Left to myself, I’d probably withdraw until I erased myself from existence, but I have others to care for, and that forces me outward.

*looks over last paragraph* WELL. AREN’T I A CHEERFUL MUFFIN. Time to check my phone’s charge and get out the damn door. I’ll feel better after a run, I always do.

Over and out.

Agility Stats

This morning I dragged Odd Trundles out for walkies right after his brekkie. He was quite put out, not only because this represented a Change in Routine, but also because it cut into his morning “I’m bored, let’s do something!” bitching. So he hung back and tried to wrap the leash around my legs, which meant Miss B got her nose down and started heeeeerding him, which tangled her leash around my legs, and…yeah. Fortunately my agility stats are still going strong.

I also used 5calls and actually got through to a very nice staffer in my Congresscritter’s office. Said Congresscritter is a Republican I’ve voted against every. damn. time., but she’s working for me and I might as well make my voice heard. Please, if you’re calling, be kind to the staffers on the phone! They’re usually unpaid interns doing a shit job with grace and patience, so be polite. It helps to have a script, too. Even if you don’t use it, having a flowchart script of what to say can get you over the bump.

Now that the dogs are relatively calm (Miss B will need an afternoon ramble, just to be safe) I can focus on Afterwar. And Roadtrip Z. And bonus wordcount for a Sekrit Projekt I’m aaaaaaalmost ready to announce. ALMOST. Stay tuned for that.

Here’s your usual daily reminder to hydrate, make sure you get something to eat, and take a few deep breaths. It feels like the world is burning down, it’s okay to feel like screaming, none of what’s going on politically now is “normal” or “sane” except the resistance to der Turmper. You’ve got to take care of yourself and keep yourself human, you have a right to do that. I offer you a hug, and the knowledge that you’re not alone.

Also, schnorgles from Odd. Just look at that face. (And that seasonal alopecia!)

Thursday, Like A Monday

It’s Thursday, but it feels like a Monday. In a good way, mind you. Because all the damn ice has melted off or washed away, which means I get to go running. Not only that, but Miss B gets to come with me, which means we’ll both work off a mountain of fidgets and irritability.

All I have to do is wait for my breakfast to settle. Then it’ll be time to tie my shoes and get the fuck outta the house. The big thing will be reminding myself to be careful and take it easy, since there may be some slippery patches–the mud is going to be incredible, if I have to veer off pavement. Sticking to a dry-ish route is going to take some ingenuity.

I couldn’t be happier. I am twitching while I type, all but desperate to get out the door and work off these nerves. It was so bad yesterday I had to consciously remind myself not to snap at anyone or anything interrupting my train of thought. Working when one is snappish can be good–the irritation can push you to better characterization and to fiercer work, not to mention attention to small details. Most of the time, though, it’s a handicap because EVERYTHING MAKES ONE WANT TO KILL. “Perpetually murderous” might be a good story, but it’s an inefficient method of goal achievement. It creates bodies and paperwork, both things that take up a great deal of working time.

I jest, but only halfway.

So, today I run all my fidgets out, and Miss B’s, too. Then it’s Afterwar, and some more Roadtrip Z, and maybe a bit on a super-sekrit project. And yes, today is the day another chapter of Roadtrip Z goes live! I am tremendously excited.

Now that my breakfast has settled a bit, it’s time to brush my teeth and tie the aforementioned shoes.

Over and out.

Cabin Fever

We’re still snowed in, so telling the story of Who Shot At Willard and the Consequences Thereof has hit an unexpected snag. Everyone is inside, safe and relatively warm. They’re saying “ice storm”, though, and those are two words I never wanted to hear again. The dogs are both snarky and twitchy because it’s been too slick to take them out, and Miss B in particular needs a job or two before she goes mad from boredom. I need to get out and run, too, before I explode with frustration. The treadmill only goes so far.

Case in point: it’s taken me about twenty minutes to write the above, between dogs demanding attention, kids wanting to talk, shivering, refilling my coffee cup, and various moments of irritation so intense I have to shut my eyes and take at least five deep breaths to stave off screaming.

We’re supposed to warm up after the ice storm, which will mean rain and flooding. At this point, I’m counting it a small price to pay for just getting back to normal.If I was a little younger I’d probably go running, even on solid ice, and count a cracked bone as just the cost of getting some of the damn prickling under my skin worked off.

So I’m going to channel some of that aggression and irritation into Afterwar, do some office cleaning, and play some Prince to encourage dancing around. One kind of effort is much the same as another, and if I keep moving, I won’t think about how furious I am at being trammeled. Solitude is as necessary as food or air, and the older I get, the more so it becomes.

Over and out.

A Certain Symmetry

I know some of you will look at this picture and go, “pfft, that’s not even two feet of snow, what’s the problem?” The problem, chickadees, is that even six inches of snow is like six feet here, because the PNW gets this kind of weather so rarely we don’t really have the infrastructure to deal with it. That means roads go unplowed more likely than not, and things like banks, schools, and city government shut down. It further means cars get abandoned by the roadside, the power goes out for many many people, and commerce grinds mostly to a halt. The last time this happened was in 2008, just to give you an idea, and wasn’t that a mess. (Hint: Yes, yes it was.)

On the bright side, there are snowball fights, and the kids are having a ball sledding down the hill. And while I’m writing a zombie apocalypse in a winter storm, there’s a certain symmetry to being housebound under a blanket of cold white.

Soon it’ll warm back up and the rain will wash everything away, which will return us to flooding and moss. So it’s not all bad, but I’m beginning to get a little itchy, wanting to get out of the house for once. Treadmill running isn’t the same, and Miss B is on the verge of bored destruction–there are only so many laps she can do of the backyard to work off her energy. Odd Trundles, being built low, brushes his chest on the snow when he goes out to attend to Nature’s call, and when he gets back inside he looks at me very much as if I have created this white wasteland just to inconvenience his tender undercarriage.

Anyway, that’s the weather where I am. Today is Thursday, and that means another chapter or two of the serial for my lovely Patreon patrons. So stay tuned, that will be up soon, and I’ll get back to telling the story of who was shooting at Willard in a bit.

Over and out.

Stability Underfoot

I just want to stay in bed reading schlock and playing AbyssRium today. Unfortunately, the flu–I’m pretty sure it was flu, I certainly ached all over for it–has abated, which means I’m back to running. One cannot do that while snuggling in bed, and Miss B, in forced leisure while I hacked, coughed, and shivered, is brimming with energy that needs to be worked off. Otherwise she will find herself Jobs Around The House, and they will likely involve Things Mum Does Not Want Done. I won’t be cross with her for them, because she is Dog and Dog Can’t Help It, but I will be rather cross with myself for being a lazy puppy mum and not providing proper work for her.

The snow and freezing rain all melted off. There was a day when I couldn’t tell if it was raining or if the stuff falling from the sky was melting ice from the tree branches. The trunks were lathered with bubbles, there was so much water running everywhere. We live on a hill, and often the only thing keeping us from sliding down it are the fir trees. They take up an amazing amount of water, and when people higher on the hill cut down a lot of their trees I could really tell the difference in the runoff. Idiots. Branches on the roof are a small price to pay for stability underfoot.

I spent the weekend doing a revise on Harmony before sending it off to my agent and writing partner. It’s not going to see publication, I wrote it specifically and only because my agent wanted to read more YA from me and I wanted to give her a gift. Pretty much the only gift I do not suck at giving is my time and stories, so I invested heavily in this one. I hope she likes it. And my writing partner got it because, well, she kept me sane during finding said time to finish it. I agonized over spending time on it instead of a paying project, mostly because after the Steelflower fiasco and the concomitant financial hit things are tight.

I did try to open up the Steelflower 2 file on Sunday, just to see if the physical reaction had gone down. It hasn’t; I shook and dry-heaved into my office rubbish bin. The feeling of violation is as strong as ever, and I am despairing of it ever going away.

Anyway, I have Cormorant Run copyedits to deal with this week, and Afterwar wordcount to get in. There’s no such thing as a day off for the foreseeable future. I’m also contemplating a serial for my Patreon folks once the new year is here. If you’re interested in that sort of thing. I just have to decide which story simmering in the back of my head will do for such a thing.

And now, it’s time to get out the door and run. Gently and easily, but enough to work off Miss B’s fidgets and make her livable again. She knows, since I’m in my running togs, and is being Very Patient while I sit in front of the glowing magic box. The ways of the Hoomin Monkeys are strange to her, and she tries very hard to be patient, indeed. The need for action is twitching and trembling under her skin, and mine as well. Odd Trundles could also do with a constitutional, since it’s been too cold and slipper for his short-haired, clumsy self lately, poor fellow.

Off I go.