Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

I didn’t post last week (though I meant to). I have been having a lot of trouble getting back into this life: Lawrence, day job, semester, KU, various to-dos and if-thens and why, god, whys. Here’s where I am these days:

Over on Patreon, I have been posting a section of The American Tour every week for over a year. We are not coming to the very (very, very, very) end, and this leaves me a little flat. Since I started that weekly post, I have rewritten the book, removing entire chapters and scenes — but there are not so many changes that it’s worth it to repost. I have a couple of stories that I finished last year, but one of them will be coming out very soon anyway — “Ratatoskr” on Sunday Morning Transport in mid-March — so you might as well read it there! I finished another story, “Eight Sphinxes and 56 Answers,” at the end of my Iceland time, and sent it to Clarkesworld — but it is sort of peak Kij, which means it’s not quite genre plus being very experimental, and I haven’t heard back yet. If they say no, I’ll try to find it another home.

It’s always very hard to work on new stuff in the end stages of the previous project(s). The revised American Tour is (still) with Gavin, but no news on whether he will accept it. (I mean, probably yes? But until you get the email you can’t count on anything.) Once he has accepted it and worked it onto the timeline for the artist, Kathleen Jennings (she did the last one, anyway, hurrah!), I have some last-pass stuff to complete on it — but I know I can’t concentrate on that until I get the Yes. And ditto the sphinx story. I started research on the crow book, but all my spell slots are filled with other things right now.

Research on the crow book, though, means that I am now listening to birds differently. I’ve been feeding birds on my back deck ever since I moved here: lots of jays, doves, juncos, and cardinals; occasional grackles, robins, sparrows, and wrens. No crows; but I do hear them somewhere in the middle distance, and I see them almost daily when the trees are bare, usually a dozen or so a ways away, mobbing a barn owl or redtail hawk. There’s a nest near here, and I think I saw the core nesting group flying across my front yard, the breeding pair and a yearling helper.

I am back in the classroom. I love seeing their faces (the half of their faces I can see) and I love the energy of a classroom, but I end up redesigning every course from scratch, every semester, once I have the class schedule and the number of students — and this time, shifting from slide-based classes to whiteboard-based classes. And of course I have been at home full time for more than two years now, so my teaching wardrobe is pretty minimal these days: a couple of pairs of black pants (unless I want to wear cargo pants, uh, probably not), two turtlenecks and two black menswear shirts. And one pair of Vans, because I wore shoes so little these last couple years that my feet got bigger!

As I always do after a book, I am doing a lot of thinking about my plans for the next few years. Details as I get them!

4 thoughts on “Settling back in?

  1. Thanks for the update! It seems like there’s a lot happening over there. I’ve gone whiteboard-preferent with my classes wherever I can too. (So far it seems to have improved attendance, but there is a niggling part of my brain that worries that collectively students will see it as old fashioned and ding me on evaluations. Still, it’s what I can bear at the moment, and I think it’s good for the students.) Love hearing your thoughts about bird song, and I I hope the crows come and bother you in good ways 🙂

    1. I understand the fear! I explain to them early that whiteboards are reactive and interactive in a way that slides are not. I use slides some of the time (for chunks of info I want them to receive) and boards some of the time (for generative moments in class, lists). I have always used whiteboards and I’ve never been dinged for it. I think especially these days, people are less likely to do that than five years ago — I see more and more of my students using paper planners, so there’s some understanding that handwriting and pages (and perhaps boards) is a different tool than screens.

  2. Welcome back to the continent! I (almost) hate to ask – because if you haven’t, it could affect you corvidly – of the inimitable Canuck the Crow?

    1. Sorry for the immensely long time to reply! I know various crows, but none are named Canuck.

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