Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

(Locked Patreon post is here.)

Tomorrow is May Day, and this was a big deal for me when I was little. I remember weaving paper baskets from my mother’s filched letterhead, tucking violets in them, and leaving then hanging from people’s doorknobs. Or rather, I remember doing this once for my best friend, Katie Schaper, leaving it hanging from the screen door to her grandmother’s haircutting “salon,” which was a barber’s chair and hair-washing sink in the walk-out basement. Did Katie get it? I don’t remember. I do remember she and her mother (her whole family?) left the area when I was still very young, and then the only friend I had was my brother until junior high. Why was May Day important? I mean, I knew about May baskets and Maypoles and such, but I knew lots of other holidays that weren’t a big deal. Perhaps it was just as simple as springtime: trees were leafing and flowers were everywhere, and soon it would be summer.

It was a very busy week! French SF scholar Simon Bréan and scholar of French SF Christina Lord were in town, hosted in part by Paul Scott from the French department, and I was delighted to spend time with them all, at dinner and lunch and on a day trip to Tallgrass Prairie. The French Department, cohosts of Bréan’s visit, were welcoming to me, and Christina, who stayed at my house, was lovely. (Plans are afoot to see Christina at next year’s ICFA, but I will have a few thin years before I can just casually say yes again to travel that isn’t being paid for by someone else.) So much food, such great company, plus seeing bison! It was a little bittersweet though: this had been planned before the pandemic, when Chris McKitterick and I were to have been the hosts with Paul, but I think Simon had a good time, and I was really happy that it finally came to fruition.

I have had two separate adventures with adolescent pack rats (not really ratlike, more like a large mouse, and cute as cute, especially as babies) letting themselves into the living room and spinning the cat into paroxysms of bloodlust. I managed to get one away from her and release it outside, where I think it may have survived. I suspect she injured the second one before I could get her away from it, and so I have it in a nesting box with food and water until it either starts moving around more or, alas, dies. I figured out where they were coming and and I have blocked it. I hope that works.

Semester is almost over: a PhD defense, one final class, and some grading, and then no more KU classes until next January (if then), though three more defenses this summer. Meanwhile, I’ll be focusing on the summer workshops and the online master class in September. Yay, my own workshops!