Of Many Minds

This morning I peered at the internet, said “what in the Sam Hill…” and immediately thought of Stonehenge. It’s pretty certain the saying was around before Hill built it, but I never let that get in the way of a good free-association.

Yes. Hello. Good morning, it’s Tuesday, my brain is twenty-four coked-up monkeys partying inside a skull full of breakable things and odd ends, and that’s even before coffee. Once caffeine gets in there, it’s going to be a real party.

Yesterday was spent on the first third of Black God’s Heart, which needed trimming and shaping in light of the finished arc of the book. It’ll get easier as I go along, since the more I wrote the more of it I could see, and I eventually arrived (in a series of oscillations) right where Book One needed to halt.

Or… maybe not. I’m of two (more) minds about the ending, which has never happened to me before. I think I’ve the right one, though it’s counterintuitive; I would prefer the book to end a different way but a story does as it does.

Which means the ending’s a question for a different day. Today is for revision now that I see the shape and have a whole corpse, even if the fringe at the toes may need a slightly different trim once I finish this pass. My urge to pack a lunch, get in the car, and drive up the Gorge to see the ol’ Henge again probably has something to do with avoiding work and wanting to sink into a good long drive where I can dream and build new stories.

It’s so uncharacteristic of me to want to leave the house at all, let alone for a car journey, that I’m a little weirded out. I’ll ascribe it to pandemic stress and the urge towards solitude; I haven’t had the house to myself in months. Not that it’s bad–I have doors to close should I need it, and can always go for a rambling walk in the park(s). I know I’m lucky. And yet if even I’m feeling the urge to flee, well, I can imagine how bad it is for others who don’t have my luck.

*sigh* So it’s back to revision today. Yesterday’s work was not all I’d hoped for, but it will get easier as I go on. I’m waiting for the point where The Gangster in the story finally clicked into place and I saw his motivations clearly, plus once I’ve salted in a few more mentions of the Big Bad (not the garden-variety bad) the entire fabric of the book will hang much more smoothly.

At least I know what has to be done. Which is far better than just wandering around in the dark with a machete and a cord, looking for a socket or a monster, whichever happens first.

The coffee is half done. The monkeys have noticed I’m imbibing it. The dogs are waiting for their walk. And yet I linger here, glancing at the cedars out the window every once in a while, waiting to hear their whispers.

Sooner or later, they say.

Sooner… or later, you’ll be free.

I just have to work a bit first, that’s all.

Magnolia, Centre

The Pacific Northwest is a bit strange. Magnolias do very well here. (So do rose bushes and figs, but that’s a different story.) I was be-bopping along, walking the dogs in the heavy, apocalyptic smoke (the world is burning, natch, ah well, had to happen sometime) when we were forced to pause under a big magnolia for something that apparently smelled AMAZING to two canines.

It struck me, looking at the branch hanging over my head, that the tree doesn’t give a good goddamn about anything. It just… grows. And for a moment my own burden of anxiety lightened, looking at the new buds.

Take where you can get it in this year of our disaster 2020, my friends. There are new leaves on at least one magnolia in the world.

The dogs finally had huffed all they wanted, and we moved on. But that moment of calm was a treasure, and I keep thinking about it. We’ve all been knocked ass over teakettle, but even in the spinning there are moments to be found at the centre.

May you have at least one, if not many, today.

Bee Ware

You might not be able to see it, but the crack between the concrete and the dirt behind the sign holds the entrance to a beehive. On warm mornings they are busily flying in and out, pollinating, gathering, doing their bee business. The people who live there put the sign up a couple weeks ago, and I think they absolutely mean to leave the bees alone long-term since they’re not harming anyone. Which makes me feel good; every time I pass plenty of the little fellows come to say hello and play tag with Miss B.

When I’ve felt like humanity is a shitshow not worth saving this week, I’ve thought of this–people quietly leaving the bees alone, merely putting up a sign to protect both the hive and passers-by. And somehow, it makes the rest of us worth fighting for.

We don’t have to be awful. And really, most people aren’t.

Gods grant I remember it.

Nature’s Cleanup Crew

Oh, nothin’ much, just scavengers making sure the sloughed detritus of humanity doesn’t choke the globe. It’s a livin’, ya know? Over on the right there, that’s Fred. He thinks he’s a crow when we’ve got food, and we let him think so because honestly, there’s only so much of this we can eat and he’s a bottomless pit…

They said Taliesin could understand the speech of birds, and I’m here to tell you that was probably just like the internet–a whole lot of weird unusable shit, with maybe a piece of necessary information buried in a random, moving place.

Anyway, let’s spare a thought for Nature’s cleanup crew. They’ve a huge job on their, uh, their wings (or paws, or whatever passes for hands among maggots) and not much time to get it done.

Just like the rest of us…

Civic Duty, Done

I was up at 5am after a restless night worrying about parking, and consequently I need more coffee if anything is going to make sense today.

That’s right, chickadees. I was on jury duty this fair misty morn.

The dogs were a little bemused at being yanked out of bed for predawn walkies, and despite napping while I was performing my civic duty they’re as worn out as I am.

I scored a reasonable parking spot (that meant walking only a few blocks) and made it there before the jury room opened. Brought plenty of books, snacks, had bottled water, a five-subject notebook in case the Muse bit while I was waiting, and everything I could possibly need packed into trusty old Herbert1. There were two trials, so after a short video on unconscious bias, half the jurors were randomly selected for the first and the rest of us waited.

And waited. I knocked off about twenty pages of my book before the jury coordinator came out with her microphone (the jury waiting area even had a kitchenette, it’s amazing) and said, “Well, they settled at the last minute, which sometimes happens. So you guys are free to go and you don’t have to call in the rest of the week, you’ve done your duty. Thank you.”

It was nice to be thanked several times for showing up. Also, somewhat ironically, the fellow making the loudest stink about hating jury duty (despite this being only his second time called) was in the first group, so the rest of us didn’t have to listen to his bellyaching and got to leave while it was still morning.

Some days the Universe hands you a break.

Nevertheless, I am somewhat at sixes and sevens. I had forgotten all about jury duty until my phone calendar reminded me after dinner last night, which was why I’d put the damn reminder in but was also an unpleasant jolt. Staying up almost all night worrying about parking didn’t help. I fixate on something different every time I have to leave the house for a new location, I swear. Plus, it’s kind of stress-inducing to EVER go to the courthouse.

Right next to the jury room was a Family Law counselor; that particular office dispenses protection orders all day too. There was a woman there with three small children filling out paperwork, looking harried and sleepless, and I longed to tell her I’ve been where you are, it gets better, I’m so sorry.

But I couldn’t, and when I left the jury room she was gone. I hope she and the little ones will be all right. I drove home through mist, seeing traffic heavy in the opposite direction, and stopped only to pick up milk.

You’d think my own adult and almost-adult child would back off on the cow squeezings, but I guess not. Their bones are FANTASTIC, thank you.

Now I’m home, hungry, and cross-eyed with lack of sleep. It’s a good thing they didn’t put me on a jury, I probably would have dozed sitting up during opening arguments.

I was struck, sitting in the waiting room, by how… well, how cooperative and civilized the entire group was. There was some grumbling about the hour and the parking, but everyone was mollified by the illusion of special treatment and the several professions of gratitude, especially in the video played for us. It was interesting to see the appeals to vanity clothing the lesson about unconscious bias– “most people want to make fair, just decisions, and this is a way you can do that, even by doing something so simple as recognizing you have biases because your brain needs them to make sense of all the information it’s soaking in!” I had positioned myself under a television screen, not wanting the damn thing nagging at me while I read, so I watched the screen far across the room and the expressions flitting over people’s faces as they watched and listened.

It’s all material, for a writer. Everything goes into that giant hopper in your head, ready to be plundered for a telling detail or a lifelike setting.

Anyway, appeals to vanity work wonders, I’ve done my duty to the body politic today, and I have a fresh cup of coffee. I won’t get a lot of work done, but I’m free for the rest of the week, so I feel unexpectedly liberated.

And very, very tired.

All in all, a productive morning, albeit in ways I wouldn’t have chosen. At least I know I’ll sleep tonight. Frankly, I’d better. Feeling this woolly-headed and lethargic is unwelcome indeed.

Happy Monday, everyone.

Bit Askew

Cormorant Run

It’s been the kind of weekend that reminds me of going into the Rifts, frankly. Everything seems a little bit askew–probably from lack of sleep–and the danger won’t kill you instantly, it’ll kill you three steps ago or an hour from now.

So to speak. Good news and terrifying news has abounded, and now I’m blinking on a holiday Monday, with wordcount ahead of me, a Soundtrack Monday post to write, and I haven’t run in three days.

You can tell I’m a little twitchy.

At least the wind is moving a bit and we’ve had some rain. Well, more like condensation inside Mother Nature’s mouth1, but it’s cleaned some of the particles from the air and made it slightly easier to breathe. The dogs are content with walkies instead of jogging, probably because Miss B is becoming an elderly statesdog.

I am reminded, seeing the grey on her muzzle and how she is a little less bouncy, how little time I truly have left with her. It’s going to be devastating when she has to leave, and I can’t brace for it.

But that’s borrowing trouble. For today, she’s quite happy, having had half my morning toast. She knows what comes next–I stare at the glowing box on my desk for a while, until her staring at my profile becomes a weight I can’t ignore and I take her and Lord van der Sploot for a morning ramble.

At least, she’s very certain it’s her gaze that finally drags me out the door, and I’m content to let her think so.

I’d write more about the weekend, but I can’t for privacy reasons. Suffice to say there’s a brand new human I share some ancestry with in the world; it’s a reason to celebrate even if said brand new human arrived on their own schedule–as brand new humans are wont to do.

Happy Monday, my friends; may your Veteran’s Day pass exactly as you wish it to, and may said veterans find some peace. Later today I’ll have a song for you.

Over and out.

Deepest Violet

I wouldn’t have morning glories in my yard (mostly because I spent too long with toddlers roaming around) but fortunately, some of my neighbors do, and I get to admire them. Especially when the color is so achingly vibrant.

Sometimes the smallest beautiful thing can save an entire day, week, month, year. Never underestimate the tiny beauties. They can even save a life.