Random Thought Update 22.9.2020

It’s the equinox

Autumn is official here in the northern hemisphere, & I could not be happier. Crisp nights have already arrived, plant lights come out of storage (the better to ward off winter blahs later) potted herbs have retreated indoors to keep my office fragrant & humid, and new spooky decorations are on order.

Dream caught

A descriptive phrase has popped into my head independently several times now, always around the time of day it describes. I like it, but I don’t know where it came from, and it feels too specific to be a thing I thought up myself.

“the heavy stillness of a clear summer sunset”

Do you know the type of sunset I’m thinking about? It’s a late-season phenomenon, this brief, hushed pause between day and night, when the hot afternoon breezes disappear into shadow, the noisy, hustling cicadas go silent, and the black leaves on the trees hang motionless against the crystal sky, waiting for the earnest, randy crickets to begin their nightly serenade.

The twilight of a stormy evening is something else again, and in the early weeks of the season, darkness drops hard, windy and cold more often than not. It’s only in the heated tween-times cusp between summer and fall that I notice this particular kind of dusk.

Anyway. That was a thing going on in my head lately.

BRAIN WHY EVEN ARE YOU?

This is the way my brain works:

I’m sitting on the couch watching TV. Thought: ow, my back is achy. Must’ve pulled a muscle or something at work. I stop tuning out physical signals (the default setting is “ignore body”) and realize Trouble Hip is acting up. That creates pain issues from neck to feet. Whee, what fun.


I shift position to ease the strain on that joint. (carefully, right wrist is squishy lately, and it isn’t taped for support today) Result: hip pain is worse, not better. I definitely pulled or strained a thing. How? WHO KNOWS? Life. It’s a contact sport, and sometimes I get tackled on the blindside.


Shift again. (Careful of left elbow, the tendon is nearing overuse limits) Slight improvement in the hip/spine, but feet start to ache and Trouble Shoulder objects.


Two more position changes put me on the floor. Everything below the “safe to ignore” threshold, even Cranky Wrist. It’s a temporary solution, something’s sure to fall asleep from the hard-surface pressure, but I get to enjoy the rest of the show. (Fortitude. I’m 4 eps in, and I’m pretty sure it’s horror masquerading as murder mystery. I definitely want most of the morally bankrupt characters to die horribly.)

ANYway. Credits roll, and I turn off the TV.

Aaaaaand I finally recall the existence of painkillers. Were you wondering why I didn’t take some up at the start? Yeah. It’s a mystery to me, too. The pills work like fucking magic once I remember to take them, but the idea of taking ibuprofen or naproxen never pops into mind right off the line. Every single time, I’ll muddle along for hours just…ignoring…as hard as I can before “hey, take a pill!” occurs to me.

I learned a thing or three!

I’ma fan of words that carry sound, feel, and meaning in pleasant, useful & satisfying ways. Here are some new-to-me ones I ran across this week with links to definitions:

  1. tikkun olam
  2. omakase
  3. maft
  4. octothorpe
  5. manicule

Imma leave any further research to you, dear readers. I don’t want you to miss out on the joy of discovery I got to enjoy.

That’s all until later!

A few words on whimsy

Hiya! I know,  it’s been a while since I’ve written here.

There are reasons! Since coming home from ConcCoction I’ve been BUSY. Focused. Working hard on revisions to Sharp Edge of Yesterday and the new book/new series Ghost Town

…Yeah, okay, so I’ve been distracted by Dark Life Things ™ and reading a bunch and also I went on a 7-day cruise that was scheduled before the DLT meteorite crashed into the roof of Chez Herkes (metaphorically speaking. We are well. All is well. It’s all resolved, just sad, and…I’ll blog about it eventually.)

I realized while staring at the amazing blue of the Caribbean waters that Spouseman & I hadn’t had a recreation-only vacation in three full years. Cons, yes, but those are fun work. Family visits, yes, but those are…family fun. This was an actual getaway.

Now I’m back  and feeling re-energized, with 76k words of Ghost Town and 2  new scenes of Sharp Edge under my belt. (amazing how much writing time is freed up when I don’t have to think about shopping, or meal planning, organizing, scheduling, or cleaning…and I don’t mean the doing of those things necessarily, it’s the *thinking about* them that I find creatively exhausting. )

ANYway. I’m filing the experience under “Holy wow, I never expected to get to do this in my life, but geez, it was fun!” Someday I will get around to sharing cruise pictures for vicarious travel enjoyment, but it will not be this day.

Please enjoy this picture of  Spouseman & my favorite wedding present. Not the most needed/practical one, nor the one we used most right after the wedding (the bath towels gifted to us by one of my dorm mates hold that place of honor) but it’s the gift we hold dearest, going on 33 years post-ceremony.

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Yes, a kind woman from my church congregation hand-sewed it and gifted us with a quilted stuffed animal. (St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Richmond Indiana. Altar Guild, represent!)

The toy came with a card and some cash (which helped pay our rent in that first lean year of our first scrappy decade) and in the card was written the most important marriage advice we received, hands-down:

“Always keep a little whimsy in your life.” 

We’re still plugging along, me & Spouseman, and we still have Kitty to remind us that whimsy makes the world a better place.

That’s all the all for now.

 

Story notes to self

Here be two story nuggets I need to put somewhere I can’t lose them. This way I can come back to them when I get the itch to do a short story later this year (which will happen, it seems to be an annual, seasonal kind of thing like hay fever)/

First, one about a young woman, poor and desperate,  who lives in a land where passing ghosts freeze solid in the winter and brave hunters harvest the souls for…I dunno what, but I know this will be somewhere near the beginning:

The music of winter rolled across field and forest during the dark months.  Snow and ice crunched loud underfoot, tree limbs rattled and cracked to pieces, and bitter storm winds howled their harsh melodies down every chimney while snow whispered rippling descants around the walls.

Everyone huddled close during those long, cold months, and they sang their own songs, long stories of winters defeated and warm summers to come. They sang of hopeful things, knowing the wild music was the sound of survival.

When the skies cleared and the the ice moon shone down bright on a still, silent world, the night air turned so cold it froze the dead and the living alike.

Sometimes, when that stillness held the wilds hostage, a careful listener would hear the rare, delicate chime of spirits shattering against snow.

Then there’s a short story in the Rough Passages universe that I know will start off with this gross little bit:

The black, furry thing by the side of the road was the size of a refrigerator, smelled like a landfill, and had entirely too many flies buzzing around it for Jane’s comfort.

“Hey, Janie, look!” Her sister poked it with the trash stick. The thing squelched and deflated to half its original size with a soft, messy noise, and the stench of decay made Janie gag.

“Ew, Megan, what are you doing?” She backed away fast–too fast.  The shoulder of the road was narrow, she wasn’t watching her footing, and her heel slipped off the graveled edge onto slick grass.  She flailed for balance, then desperately flung herself forward onto hands and knees.

She landed with a jolt of pain, but it was better that than sliding ten feet backwards into the muddy weeds at the bottom of the ditch. Her sweaty, filthy, too-large leather work gloves saved her from scraping her hands raw, but her knees stung through her now-ripped jeans.

They were wet, too. Blood? She got to her feet.  Oh, no. Not blood.

She brushed at the sticky, yellowish ooze. Her stomach lurched, and disgust prickled all along her skin. “Megan, it’s a good thing we’re family, or I would kill you. First you get caught shoplifting like a juvenile delinquent and blame me so we both have to do community service, then you pick trash duty of all the ungodly things under the sun, and now look at me?”

“What?” Megan kept her eyes on the dead thing as if mesmerized by its ugliness. She poked at it again with the stick. “I wonder what happened to it.”

“Stop it! Who cares?” Janie got to her feet and caught Megan by the arm. “Come on, we’re way behind the rest of the crew already.”

“Who cares?” Megan jerked loose and dug in her heels.  “It’s huge. We can’t just leave it here.”

“Yes, we can. We’re supposed to leave road kill for the crew with the shovels. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

The last part came out in a shriek as Megan pulled off her work glove to lay her palm flat against the thing’s hairy side.

It gathered three legs under it and lurched upright, dangling half of a fourth limb, dripping fluids, and sending the swarm of flies into angry flight. When it shook itself, bits of fur, flesh, and gravel flew in all directions. It wobbled unsteadily  down the steep slope into the ditch and disappeared into the tall grass at the bottom.

Janie shrieked again. “THAT WAS THE GROSSEST THING EVER! GROSSER THAN YOUR HOME BIRTH VIDEO. OH. MY. GOD. WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?”

Megan was staring at her own hand. “Uh. I’m not sure, but I want to do it again?”

Unfortunately,  I have no idea what’s going on with these two, beyond Meg rolling unexpectedly into a power that animates dead things. Oh, well. More will come eventually, I’m sure.

Until later!