Tagvampires

January 4, 2020

Hello.

A quick and important note: if you are the person who sent me an email through my website on New Year’s Eve, I would love to answer your questions, but your email doesn’t work. Can you resend, this time doublechecking your address? Thanks!

Welcome to the new year. We entered it here with trepidation and ice. The ice, at least, was lovely and far less destructive than we feared. After the Night Of Breaking Trees in 2008, my house has been ice-shy, and it showed in our storm prep. We had a waiting generator; plenty of crackers, bread, peanut butter, and sardines (okay, so we don’t plan the food well); fully charged headlamps, phones, and computers; and the awesome little solar/handcrank radio that my husband gave me. The radio can also be used to charge phones, and I’m tempted to only charge my phone by cranking it from now on. I’m sure that will help my computer-challenged wrists tremendously.

In any case, no trees came down and the ice was pretty. It lasted until yesterday, at which point it was warm enough to allow the trees to shake free. I know this because they shook much of the ice free onto our heads as we walked.

Picture of a branch with red berries encased in ice.

This wasn’t the first storm of the season. That honor goes to another two-day event that happened prior to the solstice and left us with two feet of snow. This volume of snow has happened often enough in the last twenty years that I was prepared for a blocked vent pipe. For future reference: pint Mason jar + duct tape + roof rake + thermos of hot water = everything you need to clear a roof pipe packed with snow without actually getting up on the roof.

There is a car under this snow! (Also lots of forsythia run amok, but ignore that.)

This was the first holiday season in years that I threw caution to the wind and baked dozens and dozens (and dozens) of cookies, which we then gave to anyone who would have them. My plan was to make dinner for my in-laws on Christmas, but plans are such fragile things. I went to the ER with gallbladder pain instead, which is less fun than you might imagine. The ER was empty though, and I did get a pass through the CT tube, so I suppose I should count it as a win.

I’ve been working on writing as well. I’m in need of a new track at the moment. I have two options. One entertains me–it’s easy to work on, has characters I enjoy, and takes place somewhere I know well. It’s also a something of a fun dare, and I need the push to try new things.

The other is something I was born to write, but requires research that I don’t want to do. Even the temptation of writing vampires cannot fully override my reluctance. The trouble with apocalyptic/post apocalyptic fiction is that you must look into the abyss to write it. Redemptive or not, loss and pain are central to it.

Writing is a conversation with the world. Sometimes that conversation is why or don’t do that, and sometimes it is I love you and I see what is beautiful in you, and often it’s complicated in the way of those found in long term relationships. The kind that even when you know it must occur, you still find it very difficult to wish to begin.

The truth is that the best relationships are never one note, and that without challenge we atrophy. We must never lose sight of the fact that sometimes we need shelter, and sometimes we provide it, and sometimes we must create shelter together and use companionship to stay warm. A solid relationship, with anything from ourselves on up to the universe itself, sits upon that bedrock. Whatever the form their work takes, writers have stories they’re meant to tell in order to hold up their end of life’s bargain.

Another truth, though, is that the world really is beautiful, and sometimes humans do get it right. I spent a morning watching flash mob videos last month. This one sticks with me, both for the music and because it reminds me that we really do all have our parts to play.

Be well and wild, dear ones.

The small screen life

First, a housekeeping note. If you are a U.S. Goodreads user and wish to do so, you may enter an ARC giveaway for DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD. Ten copies are available; March 17 is the closing date for entries. There will be two future (non-Goodreads) giveaways for a finished copy available internationally. One is for Twitter users, but I believe the other is entirely blog-based. I’ll point them out when the time is right.

We’re supposed to have a new schedule in our lives which includes going to many more movies. That has not actually worked so far, thanks to illness and weather. This weekend, I stuck to home viewings instead. First up was What We Do In The Shadows. By Jermaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi, it’s a mockumentary about vampires, which includes such pearls as hanging out in downtown Wellington at night, trying to get an invitation to cross the threshold of a club. There’s a fair amount of mock blood as well, so perhaps not appealing to anyone offended by such things, but I enjoyed it.

Then came Eden, which was my son’s choice. I’ve never been to a rave (let’s be honest: raves have never existed anywhere on my mental geography), or even to a club, and I definitely know nothing about the rave/club scene of Paris in the Nineties or any other time. Almost nothing. My son’s interest convinced me to read up on it a bit.

Eden covers several decades in the life of a French DJ, from aspiring to successful to failing, in a dreamy haze of music and drugs. Not, however, in the usual American style, filled with scenes of intense drama and a need for resolution and forgiveness. I’m a bit tempted to watch it again before returning it. I’m easily fascinated by things I know little about, doubly so with things involving creation of some sort. Watching a brief scene of two DJs discussing the qualities of electronic beats actually is something I enjoy.

As the current cinematic offerings leave kind of a lot to be desired, I may be looking at many more weeks of home viewings before we start our new movie schedule. It’s okay. If I can actually remember to return Netflix DVDs, we should survive. If you have a viewing suggestion, please toss it my way.

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