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My second week of NaNoWriMo went better than my first, and there’s a reason for that (apart from my getting back into the flow of writing, that is).

Like many writers, I’ve often used a soundtrack to set an audio foundation for my writing time. A soundtrack can do two things. First, it can set a consistent mood that underpins the prose as I write, and second, it can help block out the sounds of the real world and allow me to concentrate more fully on the world I’m trying to get out of my head. (On the downside, it can also ruin a particular album/artist, as eventually, due to repetition and earworms, I grow sick of what I’m listening to.) Continue Reading »

It wasn’t a good first week for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but progress, albeit modest, was made.

I suspect my challenges are the same as many of yours:

  • I have a job that requires a large chunk of my day
  • I have a partner with whom I enjoy spending time
  • I have a household that requires periodic attention
  • I have a body that requires food, sleep, and exercise

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A Look Back

Twenty-odd years ago (when I was just starting out with speculative fiction), I wrote the short-short below. It was a light-hearted look at a theory that was, back then, just emerging into the popular culture. Several recent headlines brought it back to mind, and it ain’t so funny, anymore.

 

 

 

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It’s almost here.

NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month.

Oy. Continue Reading »

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake and, once again, I am in San Francisco. I did not plan this visit to coincide with the anniversary of that event—a shallow 6.9 temblor that brought down bridges and freeways, tumbled hundreds of homes, and turned large sections of expensive land into quivering jelly—but here I am. With the anniversary top-of-mind here, it hasn’t helped that, since my arrival on Sunday, we’ve had two minor quakes (registering 4.5 and 4.7). Put together, it’s made the locals a bit . . . jumpy. Continue Reading »

Take a Breath

During times like these, when the world is screaming along at Mach 2 with its hair on fire (which, I think it fair to say, it is currently doing), we must not be afraid to practice some self-care.

Take a breath.

Step to the side.

Look up, look around.

Take note of something that pleases you. Music. Art. Nature. Your kids. Your partner. A piece of work well done.

Relax for a bit. Just a few moments of indulgence. Something just for you. A respite from the chaos, the frenzy, the tragedies large and small.

I’ve needed a lot of self-care lately—an escape from the cruelty I see each day—and have found it in a very unlikely place.

Rugby.

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My Cathedral

My cathedral is made of trees, but it has seen the downslope of my attention. Its pillars are still sound, standing strong through storm and summer heat, but the branches and leaves of its soaring roof have become crowded, ragged, thick with deadwood and duff.

Its nave and transept, too, once clear and open, are now overgrown as the plantings set down in years past have grown relentlessly upward, reaching out, filling the vaulted space.

The reason for this deterioration has been my inexhaustible neglect, piled year upon year, as life and events sapped me of my faith, my devotion, my love for this quiet place. Leaving nature to do as nature does has only compounded the situation, as self-sown volunteers sprang up in open spaces, and Seattle’s often rough sea-borne winds snapped off limbs twice as long as I stand tall, dropping their five-stone weights from the canopy down onto the hapless undergrowth below. Continue Reading »

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