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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:



That’s what I thought this morning when I went to buy a new MetroCard (which gets me on the subway, which takes me from Queens into Manhattan) because I couldn’t find my old one when I was leaving the house. I pulled out my wallet to pay for the new card…and discovered the old one sitting there. So I cancelled the transaction, walked over to the turnstiles, swiped the card…and discovered it was down to only a few cents. (The fare’s $2.50.) So I turned back to the ticket machine for a new card just like before.

Certainly it felt like a metaphor for something.

Meanwhile, I’m headed to Canada in three weeks, for a self-directed writing residency at the Banff Centre (and an all-around vacation), and it’s starting to feel a whole lot of real. I’m now having to plan around in very specific ways for work, not just in vague “oh, I’m going to be out for a couple of weeks in some distant future time.” October, when I get back, is almost certainly going to be very busy — not least of all because I’m planning another trip, this time for work, to Texas — leading right into a massively busy end of the year. But I am determined not to let that trouble me, or worry about what my in-box and to-do list are going to look like when I return. The work computer will definitely not be going with me to Canada.

My plans for the weekend are modest. I plan to spend it writing, mostly. I have one very short piece out for consideration right now — and dear lord, it’s only been three weeks, but is this the kind of nerve-wracking wait I put people through who submit to Kaleidotrope?! — but it would be nice to get more things actually finished and out there.

Oh, and speaking of Kaleidotrope, I thought I’d throw this out here as well: I’m looking for more artwork, mostly for covers (the front page), and I’m paying more for it (up to $60). I’m eager to see science fiction, fantasy, and horror-themed artwork, either brand new or in the artist’s online galleries. So if you or someone you know draws, paints, creates, please feel free to check out the the guidelines. I’m still closed to submissions to everything else until January, but I’m making an exception for art. (In no small part because I’ve hit the limits of my own artistic talents.)

Space oddities

Last night, I met an astronaut.

Well, I didn’t actually meet him, but I attended a talk by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who you may know from videos like this one, from the International Space Station. He’s been called “perhaps the most social media savvy astronaut ever to leave Earth,” for his YouTube videos and his tweeting from space, and he’s just as funny and interesting in person.

Tonight all I really did was watch Rebecca, which was pretty much exactly what I thought it was going to be, right up until the third act, when it became nothing like I thought it was going to be. I liked it, but I think it was maybe a little more impressive in 1940.

I also finally watched the first episode of the new season of The Walking Dead. I’m cautiously optimistic, if a bit unsettled and disgusted.

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to report. Somehow, while I wasn’t looking, it turned into November. Already? Well, I guess then it’s time to post my music mix from October.

  1. “Haunted” by Kelly Hogan
  2. “Museum of Flight” by Damien Jurado
  3. “Simple Song” by the Shins
  4. “The Weight” by Aretha Franklin
  5. “Are You Out There” by Dar Williams
  6. “Hand Clapping Song” by the Meters
  7. “Rewrite” by Paul Simon
  8. “Days That We Die” by Loudon Wainwright III
  9. “Kiss the Sky” by Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra (feat. Nino Moschella)
  10. “I Always Knew” by the Vaccines
  11. “Until We Get There” by Lucius
  12. “Your Ghost” by Kristin Hersh
  13. “Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To” by Kasabian
  14. “Adios to California” by John Hiatt
  15. “Rap God” by Eminem
  16. “Salvation” by Black Label Motorcycle Club
  17. “Never the Bride” by Linda Thompson (feat. Teddy Thompson)
  18. “The Balcony” by the Rumour Said Fire
  19. “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” by Nina Simone
  20. “Goodbye” by Turin Brakes
  21. “Now I Am an Arsonist” by Jonathan Coulton (feat. Suzanne Vega)
  22. “Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience” by Natalie Merchant
  23. “Half an Acre” by Hem
  24. “Greem Valley” by Puscifer
  25. “Retrograde” by James Blake
  26. “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill
  27. “C’mon Billy” by PJ Harvey
  28. “Little Bird” by the Weepies

Mostly for my own records. I like keeping records of these things for some reason.

Monday various

Thursday various

  • I could be reading this wrong, but I think the New York Times compared Joe Frazier to Hitler.
  • And Ethel Merman to Kim Kardashian.
  • When is honey not honey? Apparently when it’s most of the honey sold in stores in the U.S.. [via]
  • So presumably you’ve heard of If Day, right? It was “a simulated Nazi invasion of the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and surrounding areas on February 19, 1942.” Yeah, I’d never heard about it before either. [via]
  • And finally, Cormac McCarthy’s Yelp page. Hysterical:

    He pulled another cold french fry from the greasestained Happy Meal box. He ate it slowly. The sun rising behind him over the limestone bluffs. The barren valley and the road winding through it still in morning’s blue shadow. He wiped his hand on his jacket and checked the breech of the big Weatherby. Bullet as long as man’s finger sitting there. He lay down on the blanket, the rifle’s barrel resting on the saddlebag, and glassed downcountry with the telescopic sight. The dusty road was empty. He waited. [via]<.blockquote>