The Writing

11 January, 2018

my murdercats are broken

Skugga started 2018 off by catching a hummingbird. He did this in the dark pre-dawn (cue early-bird jokes), when I am practicing yoga in the dark (lights, feh) and Skugga's doing his early patrol of the patio. The regular hummingbird at that hour is an asshole. It's buzzed me before. Evidently it buzzed him, too. I didn't see the deed. I heard this strangled chirp! and then Skugga came scuttling inside.

He saw me, I saw him, and he dashed into the bedroom and under the dresser. Hooray.

Got the bird back, somehow still alive and intact, and delivered it back outside. Did it survive? I don't know. It wasn't there an hour later, once the sun actually came up and we could see anything, but it was mad and intact enough to flutter out of my hands and hide in the bushes, so maybe. Point is: Skugga didn't kill it.

the murdercat fails at murder
Same day, later: Skugga caught a mouse. That time I got to the door in time to keep him outside. He sulked on the patio, occasionally tossing the mouse and pouncing. Eventually he watched it crawl under the laundry room door. I yelled. Skugga seemed confused.

Next morning, another mouse. The same? Maybe. It was trying to hide in a pair of empty, nested flower pots. Skugga patiently peeled the pots apart and pounced (alliteration, for the win). That mouse also escaped eventually, this time off the patio and into the bushes.

And then the third mouse, same day. This one, Skugga brought inside. This is a small apartment, and he was not about to take his treasure into a place I'd already pursued him, so he went into the bathroom. Aha! A door. Which we promptly shut.

But did Skugga kill the mouse? No, he did not. He tossed it. He chased it. And when it went catatonic from terror, he... sat down. Looked at it. Poked it with a paw ("Will you move? No?") and then tried a bite and got a mouthful of fur, ew! and let go.

Terrified mouse. Puzzled cat. I was feeling sorry for both of them.

But there is a second cat in this house, Louhi the Toothless, and I thought--well maybe she'll have a clue about mouse-killing. I did not hold out too much hope, fortunately. Louhi saw that mouse and started growling, stalking, creeeeeeping up on it. She made one of those long, loud, nostril-exhales that means "Oh what the actual fuck", and then repeated it, longer and more loudly, the closer she got to the mouse. She growled. It cowered. She tapped it with a paw. It cowered. She looked at me with utter disgust and stalked about of the bathroom.

I think she thought we'd gotten another pet.

"It's cute," said Nous.

Oh no. Oh no no.

The mouse continued to pray to the mouse gods, face in the corner, shivering. Skugga continued to look confused. I finally got a flower pot and piece of cardboard and scooped the mouse up, and Nous took it outside, far, far away, and let it go. It was entirely undamaged. No cuts. No blood. Just wet fur, from hanging out in Skugga's mouth for so long.

 Evidently Skugga is a catch-and-release mouser. At least the mice are staying off the patio and out of the laundry closet.

07 December, 2017

i am fire, i am death

This is becoming a regular thing, isn't it, I write about the weather? Like there's nothing else going on. But since my nation's currently a dumpster fire, well... I am not happy that my state is also burning, burning. Again. Especially since the new horror of a tax bill will not allow deductions for fire-disaster expenses because it's a mean-spirited partisan piece of malice.

Anyway, wind, ash, dust, wind, more ash, smoke. I'd rather have an actual dragon burning shit up, with actual gold in a hoard somewhere, so that we could at least pay for the rebuilding afterwards.

And we can't say "climate change" because... because... I guess we don't do science anymore? Man, I don't get that. I don't get the social conservatism, either (oh, let's just call it bigotry), but that's all amygdala. But science?

A process of trying to understand the world's materialist function, from observation and experimentation and extrapolation from principles. A search for the fucking rules, which would seem to be right up some people's alley, and yet--isn't. Rules for society! But not rules for the planet.

But also...facts, I guess. People imagine science is facts, and sometimes it is, but more often it's an evolution of understanding. (Here I fall back on my Kuhn, and The Structure of Scientific Revolution). New data emerges, new theories float, new tests, new knowledge. I think it's kinda awesome.

And yet.

I was flipping through a Signals catalog the other day (paper. I KNOW.) and there's a whole page of astronomy-themed stuff, and there's this solar system bracelet with, yes, Pluto on it. And the ad copy made a big deal of that, like including Pluto was something subversive, a strike against The Man who wants to take away our ninth planet. My first thought was "pretty bracelet" and my second was, FFS, Pluto? Come on.

When I was growing up, I learned that we had nine planets. Then, when I was an adult, I learned that the solar system was more complicated than that, and the ninth planet had been reclassified. And then the fight reignited about planetary classifications, and Pluto might be a planet again...along with 110 other bodies out there, This did not make me sad. Or upset. Or anything, except yay, science! A new thing has been learned about how solar systems form!

But people did get upset, as if Pluto's reclassification, as if this new knowledge, was some kind of personal assault on The Way Things Are.  No need to go relearning new things, why, we had nine planets when I was a kid, and nine planets are good enough now, too. And somehow the debate was evidence that those scientists are just silly, fighting over that stuff...all while insisting that Pluto was a planet because that was what they learned from a book when they were kids (which is, you know, pretty silly too).

I don't get it. I mean, I do--sometimes new data, new information, overturns something we found comforting or comfortable, and it sucks. But that's emotional reflex. Discomfort is part of growth and change, and change and growth are necessary and constant. Or they should be.

24 October, 2017

the ninth ring

I actually don't remember my Dante well enough to say  if there even is one that deals with weather in Inferno. If there isn't, there should be. I mean, it was 91 degrees at 6AM in late October, on its way to triple digits. (And in the time it took to write this post, yes, we hit 100).

I just finished the first draft (as opposed to the zero-th) of WIP,* which is not really IP anymore, but also is because it's not finished. But it's tacked together enough that I can send it to Nous, and send it back to The Rat, who read the subzero-th version already, and eventually, to The Mighty Agent. I have, like, 40K in scrap notes, which is what I had for Enemy, too. The detritus of world-building. The ways plot could've gone, and didn't. Still way better than the aborted 93K novel from last autumn. No, WIP is not book three of On the Bones of Gods. That manuscript has a name (Ally) and will be forthcoming in 2018, barring disaster. Expect much fanfare as the details become more clear. Expect the revisions on that to be eating my head soon enough.

I had started to post about the MeToo hashtag--

--which I participated in on Facebook (and not on Twitter), but--well. I didn't have anything to add, you know? There are so many of us, and so much overlap. I was struck by the number among my friends who hesitated to post (myself included) because we didn't think our experiences were serious enough. Catcalls and creepers and men from whom we could walk away without penalty didn't seem legit in the face of the assaults other women reported. That's toadshit, of course. I did not encounter any of the assholes some of the others did--the men whose comments made it about them, the women who said this is shaming, or not enough, or too much, or elevating victimhood, as if we are all asking for pity. And wait, what? I don't feel shame because some dude pulled up beside my twelve-year-old self and exposed his penis to me, or because some guy slapped my ass, or because a guy assessed me as fuckable (or not, depending on the encounter). I feel anger. I always have. And anyone who thinks I should feel something other than that can shut the fuck up--

--but decided I should work on this Tolkien class I just agreed to teach at the high school during the spring semester, which is a particularly long 17 class days of 2.5 hours each and no, we are not watching the LoTR and The Hobbit trilogies in their entirety. (Although that remains an option, I guess. But if I can't get the damned films done in one class, what's the point?) I had been intending to teach Zombie Lit, for which I have a syllabus already prepared, but the students I guess wanted Tolkien, and the boss asked who wanted to do that, so.... I am now researching, finding excerpts, coming up with (or borrowing) lesson plans. These are creative writers. We can do some cool shit. But it's also a lit class, so we don't do a lot of writing, which means I will need to PDF (it is too a verb. Shut up) all manner of things. Eventually. Not today. It's too hot to fight with the scanner today.

I have rediscovered Tolkien fans, though. Whew. Also too hot to get into that right now. But let's say I'm gonna have to watch the 3rd installment of The Hobbit and I intend to have beer and ice cream when I do it. Self-medication at its finest. (I'm going to hope Smaug wins, and write fanfic in my head where he does.)