Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

https://www.patreon.com/posts/35472895

(This bird is a fragment from the ruins of Coventry cathedral, taken when I was there with my brother and mother last year, I think?)

First off, thank you! Everyone who just joined, or who increased their patreonage/patronage/donations…I really appreciate it. I am figuring out the summer in dribs and drabs. 

And writing. There’s absolutely nothing disrupting my days, no meetings, no random running into people and chatting, no unnecessary yet attractive and time-consuming “errands.” Everyday life is usually complicated and randomized, but for right now, everything I can control is simple as simple. What I can’t control is still scary and chaotic, but there’s little intersection between the two right now. 

This morning I submitted a story and a clump of flash, to two different literary magazines, and then I got onto a brand-new flash story I am writing for an unusual publisher, due….Friday. This Friday. I am strip-mining the attempts at exhausting my deck I did last year, about halfway through, and really happy with it. 

And still working on the longer project, the one I’ll tell you about once I get to Chapter Five. I am currently in Chapter Three, but big chunks of Chapter Four are done already. 

One of the ways I’ll try and make ends meet through the summer is that I’m hoping to take on a freelance job writing for a game. I love RPGs especially, and these days I never get to play them (no group), so writing for them is going to be fantastic. Since I am not teaching the novel workshop this year, I’ll have weeks and weeks I don’t usually have. Money and enjoyable low-stakes writing. Sort of win/win. 

Yesterday was my online hangout day for my two classes. I am starting to feel the rhythm of this new way of working. I get a little sick of typing, as it’s basically five hours of prep and two of classtime chat, all of it staring at a screen and misspelling things. I am taking mental notes about how I would do this again, given more time for planning.

***

This is spring, finally. Last week the neighbor’s yard flushed green and clumps of daffodils spouted everywhere; this week another neighbor’s crabapple was suddenly clustered with flowers that look like crepe-paper, bright and crinkly. 

I tried to get a picture of the flowers for you, and as I stood there with my phone tying to figure out how close I could get without blurring, I saw the fattest, fluffiest little bumblebee. It didn’t notice me at all, so I stayed and watched, face inches away. Tiny feet, all that fuzz, darker and smaller than the bumblebees I remember from my Iowa childhood. Fifteen seconds in a flower, then a Bézier curve of a hop to the next. The traffic out on the street at the end of my road is almost nonexistent, so it was just birds and the generic background hum of human lives; I thought I could hear its flights, just at the edge of what I can catch. Go, bee, go, I thought. I never did get that picture.

There are things happening in the world that make it hard to see these moments. It helps me to imagine this as a photography thing. I can narrow the aperture, change lenses, change focal length. The outside world fades to blurred color and shapes, and the bee and the crabapple blossom fill the finder. The world’s still out there, but I’m not taking that picture right now. I’m taking this one. Change the focus and the crabapple is what blurs, to fuschia and gray.