You Are Here

August 5, 2017 § Leave a comment

The walls have thorns. The paths are full of sharp stones. The leaves beneath your feet have been trodden black by millions who have come before you.

Weren’t you just here? You are not prepared for this. You never are.

Pick a path. Start walking.

Get out of the bed. Take a shower. Brush your teeth. Brush your hair.

Always turn right. Isn’t that what they say to do? Or is it left?

Take your pills and fight to keep them down. Pack something bland for lunch. Half a sandwich, perhaps.

If it’s dark, look to the moon. If she hasn’t been hung yet, find a sprinkle of stardust.

Make a list. Start at the top. Check things off, one by one by one.

The bees will bring you honeyed memories. Each one will sting. They’ll be the only treasures you’ll find here.

Listen to classical music, and let the waves of it wash over you. Waltz in the blue Danube.

Is there a way out this time? You can’t see it. You may never find it. Keep moving.

Call your mom.

If you find a bottle of sweet wine, speak to it of nothings.

Chew gum; it keeps you from clenching your teeth.

Comfort the small creatures and let them comfort you.

Sleep, if you can. When you can.

Sing a song to greet the dawn. One of the old ones. One of the sad ones.

Keep walking. Keep turning right. Or is it left?


hedge maze

 

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Knocking off the Rust, Sharpening the Blade

July 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

The wonderful Maureen McHugh once told me, “Writing is a skill, like basketball; not a body of information, like biology.” Her point being, you get good by writing, not by studying it, or thinking about it, or reading other writers talking about it. You grab the ball, get on the court, and start dribbling.

I like to think of it more like carpentry. Pulling and hauling, grunting and sweating, sawing and hammering until a dead tree starts to look like something else entirely. « Read the rest of this entry »

Itching

June 25, 2017 § 2 Comments

Hello, it’s me. I’m in California dreaming about the way we used to be.

Okay, that’s a lie. Worse yet, it’s an Adele lyric.

I’m not in California, but it almost feels like it. The day is sunny and breezy and cool, and the windows are open and flooding the house with fresh air. 

I’ve been a pinball lately, distracted by a hundred things and having no time to write. I miss writing; it itches and aches like a phantom limb. That itch is never stronger than when I read a writer’s thoughts on the process. 

Today’s edition of Orbital Operations, Warren Ellis’s weekly newsletter, made me itch ferociously. 

But the grass needs mowing. I’m loathe to do it, especially since I learned recently that the whole lawn-mowing thing began when the middle class started doing it to make their houses look like the manicured estates of the wealthy. A stupid reason to rob yourself of hours of free time, yet it’s become a social expectation now, and legally mandated in some areas. 

So I’ll mow and weed. It’s a good day to be outside, at least. And while I toil mindlessly, I’ll try to remember where I left off with the novel, and the plans I had for revisions of whatever the hell draft I’m on. Maybe I can steal a couple hours tonight to pull it up on screen and poke at it. 

Speaking of mowing and weeding, my wonderful friend Sarah has a blog she’s been keeping secret. It’s all about gardening, at which she is a master and possibly some kind of wizard. (Seriously, her back yard is so beautiful, some kind of dark magic must be involved.) Check out Horseradish and Honey if you want to learn how to enchant the earth into growing gorgeous, nourishing things instead of just the hateful, thorny weeds that plague my yard.

And off I go, to sweat and weed and mow. 

Still

June 7, 2017 § Leave a comment

There are still books to be read, and be written.

There are still spring flowers and summer fireflies and autumn leaves and the hush of winter snowfalls.

There are still sunrises and sunsets to see.

There are still roads not taken, trails not explored, mountains not climbed.

There are still adventures you’ve not had.

There are still  grandeurs yet to see, and beauties yet to lift your heart and expand your mind and soothe your soul.

There are still canyons to call into.

There are still milestones to celebrate.

There are still conversations to be enjoyed, by firelight or candlelight or in the dark or in the pub.

There are still friends you have and friends you’ve yet to meet.

There are still reeds bent low by raging rivers, standing tall when the waters calm.

There are still all these, and more.

If you are weary, pause from the fight (but only pause). Be still. Breathe.

Remember what you fight for, and why. There are still so many good things worth the battle.

 


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Monsoon Spring

May 31, 2017 § Leave a comment

Good morning. I ate breakfast before I left the house. So what if it was doughnuts? Shut up, it’s still a major accomplishment for me.

Last night, I visited with my friend Luna, whom I hadn’t seen in too long, and others I see more often but usually don’t get to have a good conversation with. The group was small and the environs quiet enough that we could all hear each other and have a good chat. I’d almost forgotten how nice that was.

At one point, we were lamenting the monsoon spring we’ve had. Round after round of torrential rain, flash floods, intense storms. The flooded basements that come with it. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Architecture of the Other

May 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

Architecture is a particular fascination for me. Not professionally; I’ve never had any dreams of becoming an architect. It’s merely a casual interest. Buildings and their design fascinates me, and I can wander around just about any neighborhood and be intrigued by the buildings there.

I’m most aware of my surroundings — and particularly, the buildings — when I’m a passenger traveling through a strange part of town or a city I’ve never been to. If I don’t have to pay attention to the way, I can relax and take in the alien landscape.

So it was when I found myself in Minneapolis last week, traveling for work. I’d never been to the city before, and imagined it to be some boxy, dull, cookie-cutter town. And it might have been, at one point, but then the aliens landed and began making Minneapolis over into a semblance of their home planet. « Read the rest of this entry »

Ghost Train

May 5, 2017 § 1 Comment

Down in the bowels of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky International Airport (or CVG, as all but the untraveled call it), there’s a vast stretch of hallway that connects Terminal 3 with Concourse B.

You can take the robo-tram and skip the entire length of it, or the moving walkways and breeze past it at a more leisurely pace. Or you can do what I did if you have the time, and walk the entire way.

I recommend the latter, particularly because the Cincinnati Museum Center has loaned the airport a number of exhibits.  « Read the rest of this entry »