Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

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A week ago, this minute, I was in the Glasgow Airport, moving from Phase I to Phase II of this adventure, Scotland to Iceland, Hawthornden to Gullkistan. Elizabeth met me and we got the car, picked up some groceries, and settled into our little knotty-pine cabin. It’s lovely to be here as always. Laugarvatn is familiar — I spent a month here a couple of years ago — so I am not taking as many pictures because I have already taken pictures of a lot of this. And of course this is my fifth? sixth? visit to Iceland, so by now a lot of the stressors are gone. I know how to buy gas. I know where to get groceries and what’s available. I can get places without a map. I have favorite restaurants.

But so far it doesn’t feel very artist-residency for me. I got bad news this week about a writerly thing which I am not ready to talk about here (I’ll share when I know more and am less depressed and infuriated by it), which has for the moment destroyed my pleasure in any writing. I have a short story due in a week which is almost done, so I will get it done at some point, and that will feel good.

But hey, it’s also Yuletide, and that happens whether I have bad news or not, whether I feel like it or not. Elizabeth and I don’t have a tree here, but we have candles and champagne. Even apart from that, there are lots of good things. Family and friends. I am a year closer to being away from the English department at KU, hurrah. The collection and the guest of honor gig for World Fantasy. Summer workshops. Pants that fit. Warm boots. Books and shows and lovely things outside the window and good therapy and yummy food. Tequila and gin. Wordle. Ice on lakes. My cat, waiting at home for me. Cats in general, also dogs, cockatiels, squirrels, Carolina wrens, weasels, horses…well, it’s a long list. A good freelance contract.

Next week is New Year’s, the shift to what I already know will be a challenging 2024. Between now and then, I’ll be thinking a lot about how to mitigate that, and reminding myself of the many, many good things in my world.