Oh. Canada.

I am having a marvelous time in Canada.

I didn’t plan on ignoring the blog altogether, at least not the same way I actively planned to take a break from my Tumblr and my work e-mail. (In the case of the latter, I changed my password just before I left the office last Thursday and refused to memorize it.) It’s just turned out that way.

Granted, most of the regular visitors to this blog follow me on Twitter, where I’ve continued to blather, or have themselves actually been here in Canada with me. So posts here, even if I’d had the time or inclination, would have mostly just been repeating myself.

Still, it’s good to write these things down.

I arrived in Calgary on Friday evening, after a pair of pretty uneventful flights. On the way, I read about half of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, which I’m really enjoying. I may get around to finishing it on my return trip. (Although I do leave at 6 in the morning, so…)

I spent a good block of Saturday afternoon walking around downtown Calgary with Jocelyn, who offered to be my tour guide for a couple of hours while I was in town. The last time I was in Calgary, in 2011, I saw basically none of it, so it was nice to have the company and see a few of the sights. (That those sights included things like a flame-throwing octopus — fresh from Burning Man, apparently, and in town for Beakerhead — was just an added bonus.)

I had dinner, then, with Heather, who it was great to see again — even if I did feel like I should be using the servant’s entrance to visit her palatial estate. (My own room was nothing to sneeze about, quite lovely, but still.) We grabbed breakfast the next morning as well, and then I was racing out the door to catch the bus to Banff.

Which is where I’ve been since Sunday.

And it has been ridiculously beautiful here. Seriously, the cold weather I was warned about so far hasn’t really materialized — though it does feel like early fall — and it really is impossible not to be impressed by the gorgeous scenery. There’s just so much of it! I went to a geology talk-and-walk yesterday, given by the Banff Centre’s Director of Customer Service Jim Olver, and I still don’t quite remember how many mountains are around us.

And, despite a crazy-making evening during which my Chromebook died on me and I ran around (with Heather’s help) trying to get it to work again, the writing has actually been going well.

I finished a short story yesterday, then threw caution under the bus completely and decided to submit it somewhere. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, they reject it? (Oh my god, they could totally reject it. What have I done?!) It’s a goofy little piece, but I had fun writing it, so we’ll see.

I’m not yet settled on what’s next, though I’ve got a few stories in the pipeline and almost another week and a half to work on them here.

Did I mention that I’m having a marvelous time?

Random 10 9-12-14

Last week. This week…

Well, there isn’t one this week, I’m afraid, nor will there be for the next two weeks after that. As you may have noticed, if you read any of my non-random-10 posts — and even as I say that, I realize how crazy it sounds — you may know that I’m going on vacation. While I don’t know that the blog will necessarily be on hiatus all that time, the weekly musical quiz that seems to draw most of you here will be. It’s just easier if I don’t have to worry about it.

But I expect it will return the first Friday of October, provided I’m not eaten by a bear escaping an avalanche of snow while in Canada. (I make no promises.)

Until then, an as always, good luck?



Friday, when I leave for two weeks in Canada, seems both very close and very far away.

I’m trying to get a number of ducks in their respective rows at work, so that I can be there, happily swimming along, when I get back at the very end of the month. October, if not the rest of the fall, promises to be incredibly busy, and I will not be checking work e-mail while I’m away — this is a rule — so I at least want to kickstart the machine before I head out the door.

I’m also trying to figure out how to pack, both for the local weather — which this week seems to have lost its mind — and for the amount of time I’ll be there. It should be noted that I am not good at packing nor do I enjoy it…which might be at least part of the reason why I’m still living at home ten years later. (Just saying, me.)

And I’m also trying to finish a short story I’ve been working on. I got less done last week than I might have liked — my parents were away, and that always tends to disrupt my schedule, if only because I’m up in the middle of each night with the dog — but tonight there was some good writing. I’m still hoping to finish it, if not send it out somewhere before I leave in now under three days. But we’ll see.

Finally, I’ve more or less wrapped up the editing for next month’s new issue of Kaleidotrope. I’m still waiting on some feedback, and a bio, and I need to figure out the art — of which I’m still getting little — and the whole horoscopes thing. But those are some more ducks that have been relatively well lined up, I think, and will be easily tended to when I return.

What I really want to know is: how is it only/already Tuesday?


photo 1

One week from now, I will be in Banff. I fly to Calgary on Friday, arriving there sometime in the evening. Beyond my hotels and buses, looking forward to hanging out with Heather and writing, I have no set-in-stone plans for my time there. No specific projects that I’ll be working on. I’m really just looking to recharge my batteries, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and getting more into the habit of thinking about writing, more in the habit of spending time doing it. I’m really looking forward trip. I am a little nervous, in part because Alberta seems to have turned into the ice planet Hoth overnight recently, but also just because it’s travel for two weeks-plus, and I need to pack.

I have been writing, though, in the meantime, not just expecting these two weeks to magically transform me into Person Who Writes. I’ve been poking away at a silly, but fun, short story, and I wrote this today in my writing group:

They shot the Messenger, Tabby said, and he wasn’t expected to survive.

“What was he even doing there?” Brad asked. “Breaking up a robbery, a drug deal? That doesn’t sound like him. Last I heard, he was stranded at the Cosmic Gates, lost in the Mists of Time, thinking deep thoughts about truth and justice or something like that.”

“Turns out he was in Poughkeepsie.”

It turned out, much to the shock of the gathered Twelve, that the Messenger had been a fraud. Brad remembered fighting at the man’s side when the robots invaded New York, when the deal that Dr. Youth had tried to broker with the alien machines fell through and their armada crashed into Central Park. That had been a lie? Those memories were false? Apparently so, if what Tabby told him now was true.

“He apparently wasn’t some celestial being from the distant future,” she said, “just a plumber from upstate who stumbled into some future tech.”

Chief among them had been the memory destabilizers. Dr. Youth had retrieved a model of the weapon from the Messenger’s lair — more Motel 6 than Fortress of Solitude — and she and the Screaming Shadow had spent the better part of the afternoon trying to figure out how it had worked. It was fifty-first-century techology, that much at least was obvious, and as best they could tell the Messenger had used it to create false memories of himself in their minds. Memories of battles that hadn’t happened, or at least not that way. Even Professor Nocturne, who at least biologically speaking didn’t have a mind, wasn’t immune.

“We guess he finally decided to try and be a real hero,” Tabby said. “And it went badly for him.” Here in the confines of the Twelve’s orbital station, she had swapped the mask and costume for jeans and a T-shirt, and Brad still wasn’t used to the sight. He knew her better as Tweeter, powers more impressive than the name, and without the bolts of golden lightning streaking from her eyes, he sometimes had to remind himself who he was listening to.

He was technically still a provisional member of the Twelve — maybe even more so now, if half the battles he remembered hadn’t actually happened. He pulled his own weight, but there had always been a contingent who had eyed his alliance warily, might use this as an excuse to drum him out. Once a supervillain, always a supervillain, he knew they sometimes whispered. (But then, that contingent was mostly the Whispery Five, and that might just have been the weird Martian dialect they spoke.) If Brad hadn’t actually proved himself as much as the Messenger’s tricks had led him to think…

“There’s only one thing for it,” said Dr. Youth. She eyed them all with what Brad recognized as her Very Serious Face. “We have to all become children again to reverse the process.”

The rest of the Twelve collectively groaned. “That’s your answer to everything!” Tabby said.

Random 10 9-5-14

Last week. This week:

  1. “Beware of Darkness” by George Harrison
    They’ll take you where you should not go
  2. “Another Story” by the Head and the Heart
    Everybody feels a little crazy
  3. “Jet Airliner” by the Steve Miller Band, guessed by random passer-by
    Funky kicks goin’ down in the city
  4. “Suffer for Fashion” by Of Montreal
    We just want to emasculate them forever
  5. “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” by Waylon Jennings
    Buy some boots and faded jeans and go away
  6. “Playing in the Band” by the Grateful Dead
    Some folks look for answers, others look for fights
  7. “Hard Out Here” by Hayes Carll
    They say “boy, you ain’t a poet, just a drunk with a pen”
  8. “Walk Away Renee” by Billy Bragg
    She said it was just a figment of speech
  9. “Whatever You Like” by Weird Al Yankovic, guessed by random passer-by
    I can take you to the laundromat downtown
  10. “With a Little Help from My Friends” by the Beatles, guessed by random passer-by
    Yes I’m certain that it happens all the time

Good luck!