So yesterday I was flying over Greenland.
Yeah, that Greenland. With the snow and the mountains and the…more snow…and I stared out the window at it going “Greenland? Really? That’s a place that I’ve seen on maps, that I learned about in school with the Mercator Projection stuff, and now I’m looking at it? Me? Really?”
And then a couple plane changes later I got home to Raleigh, where the dogs farted at me and the garden is overgrown and there’s too many boxes in the garage that I need to do something with and Tiny Tortie took several hours to forgive me for leaving. And during one of those plane changes, Trump gave a speech that was more than usually mind-boggling and I had to decipher the gist from Twitter while increasingly jetlagged.
And it was all still the same day that I looked out the plane window at Greenland.
I am able to cope reasonably well with marvels, but generally I need at least a good night’s sleep between them and home or else the inside of my head gets rather slow and disassociated and I can hear myself thinking from a long ways off.
Anyway! I was looking at Greenland because I went to WorldCon in Helsinki, by way of Iceland. Iceland, speaking of marvels, is profoundly absurd and ridiculously beautiful and the population all seems to have a sense of humor as dry as glacial dust. I cannot possibly do justice to it, so here is a Storify of all of my livetweeted travelogue of Iceland, with friends Tina and Cousin Amy and Kevin.
I tried to take notes and looking back at them, all I have written down is that puffins are the little brother of the Arctic, that they are the souls of the dead gathering in the ocean in winter above their sunken homeland, that the first person buried in the cemetery is the Lightbringer, a couple of notes about Necro Pants, and then I think I gave up because Iceland was just too much.
From Iceland, we went to Helsinki, Finland, where FinnAir lost my luggage and my friend Heli took me shopping and helped us navigate the bus system. Helsinki was beautiful and clean and modern and had huge walking areas and was full of cheerful people and the subway was so clean that I could eat off the floor and basically I went away thinking My entire country is positively squalid! but they were all very nice about it. As someone whose primary understanding of these areas comes from the comic Scandinavia and the World, I could not figure out why people thought the Finns were silent, taciturn, and communicate by stabbing. (Heli said that we were seeing summer Finns. Winter is different.)
We experienced sauna. Apparently one takes sauna or does sauna. Anyway, whichever of those it was, we did it, thanks to a very kind couple who let us take over their place briefly while Heli cooked us traditional Finnish dishes. It was hot and Nordic and lovely.
Also, cheese. Like, so much cheese. Cheese with cloudberry jam, which was AMAZING. Cream cheese spread with deviled reindeer, which was basically the greatest thing I have ever put in my mouth.
So we were at Worldcon, hence our presence in Helsinki. I was nominated the Hugo for Best Novelette, for “The Tomato Thief.” (Fortunately my luggage arrived an hour before the ceremony, so I was able to wear a suit and not jeans and T-shirt to the ceremony.) I kinda won the thing, which was unexpected, and then I gave a speech about whalefall because lots of people had already given very meaningful speeches and I had nothing good to say on that front, but I figured everybody needed to know what happens to a whale corpse that falls into the deep ocean, and that is how I wound up being the Dead Whale Lady for the rest of the weekend. People complimented me on the speech a lot, which was weird because I was no longer wearing a suit AND I had put on a hat, so I don’t know how they recognized me, except possibly I have this aura that says WILL TALK ABOUT DEAD WHALES AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE.
I went to the Hugo Loser’s Party where, as a winner, GRRM decreed I should wear a chicken hat and Groucho Marx glasses and let me tell you, if George RR Martin tells you to do a thing, you do it, particularly if he’s paying for the open bar on his dime. There are photos somewhere. And then we hung around Helsinki for a few days, ate food, went to the zoo, visited a gorgeous fortress, and saw barnacle geese.
Now I’m back home and not entirely sure that the last ten days really happened, except that there’s a bunch of photos and tweets and me trying to explain to my editor why there is a photo of me next to GRRM with a chicken hat on my head. I do not know how this is my life, but I am very glad that you all seem to be in here with me.
I have great news, cool news, and all that jazz!
1) Ebook of the Halcyon Fairy Book, which includes a bunch of collected Annotated Fairy Tales, plus the complete Toad Words anthology.
2) Print versions of The Raven & The Reindeer from Argyll Press!
3) And, most exciting of all–THE KICKSTARTER! For Summer in Orcus! It is live, it has launched, you can see some of the utterly gorgeous illustrations by Luvelex that it will include.
Aaaaugh I’m horribly behind on all the things, but I wrote a new book or rather I compiled a new book out of stories I’d already written but there’s a couple new stories in there and a couple you might not have seen because they were behind paywalls or whatever and you might enjoy it. Unless you’re a Patron! Then it’s free! You should have gotten an e-mail!
Should be on Kobo & iBooks as well, but you may have to search!
Well, nothing of interest is happening except that I am pacing the floor waiting for someone to tell me Dogskull Patch will never be mine. And I have six more weeks of this! Arrghhbleghhhh….!
Wintersowing technique worked great for everything but peppers and tomatoes. Those died in our recent cold snap. Fortunately I have back ups!
Dogs continue to dog. Cats continue to cat. Kevin continues to Kevin. I continue to me. Today we did a burn on the weeds in the garden, I weeded a bunch more by hand, planted some stuff I’d been meaning to get in the ground, dug up some ground covers and transplanted them to ground that needs covering. Then I made more pendants for Texas Furry Fiesta next weekend, prepped some bags-and-boards for prints, wrote a Hidden Almanac, and did a podcast interview with New Moon Girls in Minnesota.
It was very productive. I am trying to be glad of that and not to feel guilty when tomorrow and yesterday prove not to be nearly as productive. Still, I’m going out birding in Texas last week of March, and I’ll probably have some evenings free to get some writing done, finish the latest kid’s book worth of edits, maybe work on a novella that’s been lurking for nearly a year, or even doodle on my iPad. I am feeling that itchy art brain of “MUST DO ART!” but it’s slamming into the wall of having to finish the latest hamster book’s worth of illustrations. Still, only a few more weeks of hamsters, and then I can draw any weird thing I want!
Really looking forward to that bit. I am very proud of the Hamster books, but they’re a serious mental investment. It’s worth it, and I’ll do as many as they buy, but I want to draw other things for a bit and remember who I am when I’m not a respectable children’s book author…
Built a proof-of-concept today. I don’t even know what this is–a mini-chinampas-inspired tub concept? Or is this something everybody already knows about and I just can’t get the right search terms to spit it out? Or has everybody tried this already and failed and now we all know better except me?
Well, I had pond liner and a whiskey barrel planter and Azolla caroliniana and I’ve been making grow bags, so let’s see what happens.
We got ebooks! Hot fresh ebooks! The whole collection, in one place!
PLEASE NOTE: If you are a Patreon person, you get it free! There should be an email in your inbox! You don’t have to buy it! You already helped support it like whoa!
And yes, to forestall the question–I’m currently chatting with a publisher about a print volume, so that’s hopefully in the works for the not-terrible-distant future!
(slightly expanded from the Twitter record shortly after waking.)
DREAM: You’re a girl making her way to the frontier to find her fortune.
ME: Premise accepted!
DREAM: You have a feckless brother with you.
ME: He won’t last long.
DREAM: You meet a lovely woman, who vaguely resembles the County Extension officer, who will take you as an apprentice. Soon you will go downstream from the town and make money doing frontier-y things.
ME: With you so far.
DREAM: She is concerned that you bring enough socks.
ME: Seems legit.
DREAM: Axe murder! Everyone in town is now dead except you and the woman and the axe murderer.
ME: These things happen.
DREAM: You hide under anachronistic sheets of injection molded plastic as the axe murderer stalks the town.
ME: Yay injection molded plastic!
DREAM: Also, your brother is lost on the tundra.
ME: See, I knew that’d work out.
DREAM: Sexy Idris Elba shows up.
ME: HELLO SEXY IDRIS ELBA MY WE ARE SHIRTLESS TODAY
DREAM: The woman tells you she is a member of the cult of midwives. She has a necklace with a weird symbol on it. Kinda looks like an anarchy symbol only with labia.
ME: Don’t care, go back to Idris–oh damn, a cult of midwives? That’s pretty good. I should take notes.
DREAM: Sexy Idris Elba leaves.
ME: My bitterness overwhelms me.
DREAM: Axe murderer!
ME: Screw it, I kill that guy. He might hurt Idris.
DREAM: Not where I expected this to go. Give me a minute.
ME: I’ll wait.
DREAM: Your brother returns! Possibly he is also an axe murderer! At the very least, he is lazy and did not actually go on the tundra after all. He has been in the barn.
ME: Can I kill him too?
ME: He cut a hole in the barn because the door was on the other side and he was too lazy to walk! I’m getting the axe!
DREAM: …this would be frowned upon.
ME: Chance I’m willing to take.
DREAM: OH LOOK SHIRTLESS IDRIS ELBA IS BACK
DREAM: He is telling you about his visions.
ME: While not wearing a shirt, right?
DREAM: Lotta visions. Like a frontier blog.
ME: As long as he’s shirtless, it’s all good.
DREAM: The townspeople are all back. Turns out they weren’t murdered after all.
ME: This is dreadful.
DREAM: They have arrested Idris for axe murder!
ME: It seems this situation could be solved with a WHOLE LOT MORE AXE MURDER. Just sayin’
DREAM: …You are out on the tundra. Alone.
ME: But do I have an axe?
DREAM: NO ONE GETS AN AXE. THE AXES ARE GONE. THERE WILL BE NO AXES FOR ANYONE.
ME: Well, this sucks.
DREAM: The clouds are doing something weird and uncanny and have cat and crow heads.
ME: No time, gotta save Idris.
DREAM: It’s really neat, though? Like, they’re all twisty and swirly and stuff?
ME: A SEXY MAN NEEDS ME
REAM: We blew the entire budget on these clouds!
ME: You’re going to execute shirtless Idris Elba. I AM BUSY.
DREAM: This one’s a dragon with like a skeleton in its mouth and that one over there is a herd of buffalo with crow heads.
ME: I ride back to town! I will save Idris!
DREAM: You have to fill out paperwork saying you’re his alibi.
DREAM: You can’t use a fountain pen worth a damn in a dream, either.
ME: You just can’t give me anything here, can you?
DREAM: But wait! If you sign this form, your reputation will be compromised because you, an unmarried young woman, were alone with a man! Unchaperoned!
DREAM: The townsfolk will judge you!
ME: Nathaniel Hawthorne? What are you doing here?
DREAM: Ok, you’ve saved Idris but now you’re a fallen woman.
DREAM: NO AXES
DREAM: Idris decides the honorable thing to do is compromise you further.
ME: I forgive you for everything.
DREAM: Ha ha, sucker! Evil clouds are back!
DREAM: The clouds are emanating from a monstrous device buried in the tundra!
ME: Okay, but how compromised are we talking?
DREAM: Huge machine! Gouts of clouds erupt out! No one is getting compromised!
ME: Then I don’t care if they kill us all now.
DREAM: You must pry open the grate on the machine while cloud monsters attack!
ME: And sexy grateful Idris?
DREAM: Went to get a shirt.
DREAM: There’s a piece of meat stuck in the grate. Looks like bologna or something.
DREAM: That was the problem.
DREAM: Evil piece of possessed meat drove the machine mad. It happens.
DREAM: HEY LOOK IT’S IDRIS AGAIN
DREAM: He’s brought you a quagga hide. He’s very grateful.
ME: Oh yeah oh baby–wait, quagga hide? Where’d he get a quagga?
ME: This is important! Does he know where there are quaggas?
DREAM: HE HAS NO PANTS
ME: Then put on some damn pants and find me a quagga!
DREAM: You know what? I’m outta here. I can’t work under these conditions.
ME: *wakes up*
ME: …well, crap.
There is probably a moral here, but I think this just speaks to my priorities as a human being.
…but holy moley, this con-crud has some teeth to it. Cough, body ache, fever and fatigue. Then you lay in bed and think “Am I REALLY sick or just lazy with a cough?” Then you get up out of guilt and then you have to sleep for three hours. Fun.
The tweet, if you can’t read it, reads as follows:
ERNIE: i ate snow sad now
ME: Oh buddy, your ears are so cold. Let me snuggle–GET YOUR TONGUE OUT OF MY COFFEE
ERNIE: better now
Anyway, being home alone with the hounds during a snow event is not a bad thing, although I’ll be glad to see another human soon!