January Newsletter: Hating the Sun

(warning, there’s a curse word below)

So there I was, glaring up at the gold and magenta sky, cursing the sun as it set.

Fuck you, sun! Another day ends, and I’m still here!

Blip! The lights in the park came on.

They’re very cute – just black metal pipes with LEDs at the top and Christmas lights wrapped around them. Finally, after two and a half hours of standing in the park and hating the sky, I could take my kids back to the house.

A cell phone tower
Light on its eastern faces
Turn off airplane mode

Here’s how my January should have gone. After a very stressful Christmas locked in with the in-laws, I take a deep breath and dive into the third draft of Interchange. The girls go to school, I teach my classes, I see my friends, I celebrate the launch of my new comic book, “Protector.” I enter February toasted by my friends, proud of my children, paid, and a third of the way through the manuscript I promised to send my agent by Easter. I’d also be nice to lose weight, finish this beta-reading job, forge an online community around me, and read through a textbook on ecology.

A yellow-clad block
Cuts a rectangle from the
clouds that will soon rain

The first Monday of the month, I couldn’t sleep. My older daughter wanted mommy to go to dance class with her, so I lost my weekly dates with Pavlina. That’s okay. We took the daughter to a birthday party on Saturday, so we had a date then. The daughter came back with a virus. Tuesday night, I couldn’t sleep. The virus passed through each of us one after the other. Who was going to school? Who was going to work? Who was tending the sick? Sunday night I couldn’t sleep again and every time this happened I was a useless zombie the next day! What if I can’t sleep again tonight and my daughter brought home another virus. This time it doesn’t matter that she runs a fever for three days because the flu epidemic has closed every public school in the city. For eight. WEEK. Days!

Every night I fought against the conviction that my family was going to die, and every day some new symptom presented. The day “Protector” launched, Pavlina was so dizzy she couldn’t stand up. Was it meningitis? No, it’s alright. Finally, we all seemed recovered enough that Pavlina and I got go out to dinner with an old friend. The next day she was so sick she couldn’t get out of bed again.

It is not alright!

So cancel the launch party, wonder how she’s going to fly on her business trip on Tuesday, worry about juggling the kids with those in-laws for another week. Those brats are so spoiled I can’t stand to be around them! And the weather is warm and sunny, just like when I got cancer. The reason I stayed in the park all afternoon with the kids is because when I was home I could do nothing but lie shuddering in the fetal position. What would I do if Pavlina needed surgery?

I will stay until
The hateful sky fades to black
And the lights come on.

So that’s anguish. The distance between what the world should be and what it is. There are the bad things that happen, alright. And there’s the extra effort of dealing with them, fine. But then we punish ourselves further. We scream, we rage, we beat ourselves bloody against the world, hurting ourselves orders of magnitude more than we were already hurt.

Shadows climb the blocks
Gray overtakes apricot
The moon faces west

There’s a book about writing called Story Genius, which says that the electric heart of any story is the lesson that the world teaches the protagonist. For example: “When his wife dies, a hubristic family man must throw aside his plans for success and protect his family in a foreign country.” Compelling, isn’t it?

But not true. The world is not a story centered on me. God is not trying to teach me a lesson. Things just happen, and I don’t enjoy some of them. It helps nothing to curse the sun. Find warmth where you can until the streetlights will come on.

And as glad as I am that January is over, it wasn’t actually the hell-month I thought it was. I did see friends and cuddle children. “Protector” got launched, and it’s getting some good press. I’m especially proud of this interview, and this one’s not bad either. I’m about a third done with this draft of Interchange, over a difficulty-hump, and on track to finish by Easter. Let me know if you want to beta-read what I’ve got so far! And speaking of Easter, I’m signed up for Eastercon in Bristol, and I’ll hopefully be on some panels. I have a few publications eligible for the Hugos. I thought some good thoughts about writing processes. I did go on those dates with Pavlina, and her business trip went well. I got enough sleep.
Maybe February will be better. If it isn’t, maybe I’ll deal with it better.

And now for something completely different:

Kipt igipûe aenē kēsa / byźai dârsai ypa dēsâ.
Ebron, aiźi, byźâs kâ / šâlmon, bleptē, bostâs kâ,
As tae ûeson ypâr rinkan / kirin tai pe ûe abbinkan.

Once upon a time there were brave goats under heaven.
A kid, a nanny, and a billy-goat, clever, loyal, and strong.
Who happily would rush up the hill for to make themselves fat.

Tans ispilsa iâtrē strymē / mâd kirins, śân târē dymē.
Ypa ûērâ tâ isērpssa źērē: / źymlē tē ydrēnē mērē!
Byźulâs žilins źilmins ada. / Bolûârē kela genta rhoda.

A fast river blocked them between the hills, with a dark guard.
Under the bridge crawled a beast: the great water dragon!
A little goat eats green herbs. A serpent gulps red meat.

Pešēnon ērgât ēbron do. / Šâpšâpton ērgât an nygō.
Źymlē tē ilâ iglâûsa. / “Kis śy ēs?” Nedton iglâtsa.
“Mânon ēm ēźo: ēbron.” / “Sân abâdam sâniston!”

First comes the kid. Chop Chop it goes on hooves.
The dragon heard this. “Who are you” she roared.
“It’s only me: a kid.” “Then I’ll eat you up at once!”

Dâ prâglâs as an ēbre te / eg zi šalmō tes ibutûe.
“Ērgât aiźē o ydrēnin. / Ân ûe isźas drâkûēnin,
Kiptas genton pi palon.” / Sân idakûe iē gurmon.

But the answer of the kid was among the cleverest.
A nanny comes to the watery one. If you wait for your meal,
You will have more meat.” This she greedily did.

Sâkton aiźē tē ûe âra. / Pipikton brâma iē an parâ.
Źymlē tē ilâ iglâûsa. / “Kis śy ēs?” Nedton iglâtsa.
” Mânon aiźē ēm ēźo.” / “Isźam ûe peâdon śo!”

Next the nanny sends herself. Pick pick she sounds on the ford.
The dragon heard this. “Who are you” she roared.
“A nanny is all I am.” “I’ve been waiting to begin eating you!”

Dâ prâglâs as an aiźē tē / Palo iērźûe bleptē.
“Ērgât byźâs o ydrēnin. Ân ûe isźas drâkûēnin,
Kiptas genton pi palon.” Sân idakûe iē gurmon.

But the answer of the nanny was very loyal.
“A billy comes to the watery one. If you wait for your meal,
You will have more meat.” This she greedily did.

What will happen next? Probably a spelling reform. Stay tuned!

And what did I like this month?

Pocket Full of Gold” by American Authors. It was from a K-drama’s sound track!

Hana” by Orange Range. It was from a movie I liked in college.

Must be Dreaming” by Frou frou. From an anime music video!

Murder on a Midsummer’s Night by Kerry Greenwood. What was this one even about? Antiquing and the inability to trust? It was nice.

Dragon Teeth by Michael Chrichton. A ripping adventure. Wyatt Erp was great. Someone needed to check the paleontology though. Brotosaurus teeth don’t look anything like that.

The Wood for the Trees by Richard Fortey. Really good! The cozy journal of a retired paleontologist playing in his new forest. The first nature book I’ve read since Your Inner Fish that didn’t hate human beings.

Crash Space by Scott R. Bakker well-written and interesting, but it’s the “oh what a horrible future we live in!” kind of sci-fi that I find tiresome.

Zero History by William Gibson. Surprisingly sweet! I especially liked the recovery of the drug addict.

Alright. See you all on the other side of February. Let’s hope the weather stays cold.


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