Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

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The high temperatures this week are going to be closer to 110 than 100, with heat indexes way above even that. I have air conditioning, and I can tuck myself into my home for days and days with the windows covered and a freezer full of ice cubes, though many can’t, human and otherwise. I have a lot of water and food out for the animals to minimize the work they have to do to meet these needs; I can do that much. By next week we are down to what I am now forced to call the comparatively reasonable 90s.

At the same time, Elizabeth is in Greenland looking at ice from the deck of a small boat, and I am making my plans for winter travel: a residency in Scotland and a second, in Iceland. Scotland will be gray and rainy, I assume; Iceland (if it’s anything like the last time) will be snowy and dark. At the moment it’s hard to look at my wardrobe and think, Maybe I better try on the wool leggings to see if they still fit. Surely a couple of sundresses and some teeshirts will be fine — and as a concession, a rain shell? No, in fact. No.

Since these are both residencies, I’ll be writing. The last time I was in Iceland, I completed (I thought…) The American Tour, though even more revisions were required (completed now, thank god, and if he doesn’t like them, he can whistle for further changes). This time, it’s not one but two months gone, and I don’t need the time as a break from a tiresome job. Hours and hour and hours a day, all uncommitted to anything but writing during some of it… Except that, actually, that’s my life right now. I’m not teaching this semester. I am traveling a lot, but not right this minute. What is it that changes when I go somewhere else to dedicate my time to writing, if I am already doing that? In a weird way, I’ll be like everyone who goes on vacation yet spends hours a day in zoom meetings and answering emails. Instead of this being a needed, set-apart space to focus, as it always has been before this, this is me doing my job as per usual, just in a different location. Interesting.

I did hand off The American Tour, I hope for the last(ish) time: now I wait for the editor to set the wheels in motion for the art. I am simultanously navigating the run-in to the story collection’s release day, which means interviews and planning appearances and monitoring for reviews. (Speaking of which, there are two more excellent reviews, which I can’t talk about until they are published.) And a friend is getting married in a month, and there’s run-in for that, as well. So it’s busy.

For this coming week, I’m going to write and be kind. Seems like a good goal.

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