Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

Spring is happening. Many more than five things to report.

My Patreon hit a milestone! In fact, it blasted past it. I am pleased and delighted; spring is inevitably followed by the paycheckless summer, and this helps keep my life from being dominated by trying to forecast and plan for unexpected expenses. For the last few years, I have had most of he money for the summer in the bank before summer started, but if anything unexpected went wrong (oh, say, a trashed engine in Cheyenne, Wyoming), I ended up charging most of it and then spending the next year digging out.

My new car is delightful. Yesterday, I drove over to the levee to walk a few miles, and then, since I was out and it was a lovely cool day, I drove back-roads a bit and ran an errand, then came home — all of it very pleasant. I will say that this isn’t really a sightseer’s car: the windows are small so you can’t see much landscape through them, but the moonroof is a pleasure, because you can glance up and see clouds and looming hills.

Troublesome things with KU and the Center are ongoing, but at the moment, I am disregarding them. I have plenty of work to focus on apart from them.

Barbara and I did set up the summer classes. We offered the slots on our two-week online novel workshop to the people we invited last year (and then cancelled on); as soon as we get their yea/nays, we’ll open it up to others, and I’ll post the information here and a few other places.

I got my first vaccination shot on Monday, Moderna. Three more weeks ’til the next one, then two weeks, and then I can drive up and see my mom for the first time since January 2020. That is too long when your mother is 87. She is still running her bookstore, but starting to talk about selling it; I don’t think I am quite ready to think about Mom without a bookstore!

The kitchen plumbing failed last week, and the plumber came Monday and discovered the fix would require replacing the pipes; came back on Friday and replaced the pipes; and will come back on Monday to reconnect the dishwasher and garbage disposal. For a while there, I was washing dishes in a pail in the bathtub; at least now, I can use one of the two kitchen sinks, which feels so much ore adult. When I get the dishwasher back, I will fry some bacon to celebrate.

I have been reading the English mystery novelist, Patricia Wentworth. In her time, she was as popular as Christie and Sayers, creating dozens of reliably entertaining books featuring a retired governess turned private investigator and a rotating cast of attractive young things that pair off, two or four per book. I have also been reading the letters of Madame de Sévigné, a seventeenth-century French intellectual. She is said to be one of the most interesting letter-writers in history but, enjoyable as they are, she is no Fanny Burney.

I fell back into an old hobby, as well, diagramming sentences. It’s an antiquated, time-intensive skill that requires obsessive thinking, specifically about writing, and tidy handwriting. Well, I check those boxes every day of my life. In particular, I love to diagram fussy, fussy sentences from historical novels. At the end, I have wasted a lot of paper for absolutely no point except the fun of it.

Writing is not a thing that’s happening. The plumber in the house for two days, the lack of a kitchen sink, being tired after the vaccination — it all meant I gave myself permission not to do it. I’ll start again this coming week. I have blacked out next Friday and Saturday, two days to see if I can frame out the last two chapters of the book.

And meanwhile, it is spring. Still cold at night (low thirties last night), but some days get even up to seventy. The grass is a sudden green; the early trees are starting to tint themselves green with new buds. I chopped a lot of Japanese hemlock out of the woodland behind the house over the winter, so there is some open ground; I am interested to see what covers that space, since nature abhors a vacuum.

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