Category Archives: Drama Box

I reached for the familiar, and just kept falling

Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of the first Great American Eclipse. The next is in 2024, just a few more times around the sun. Did you see it? I did. My thoughts below:

We stood in the shade at the park, having gotten up early to make the thirty mile trek to totality. Two days of driving lay behind us–two days, and a year of anticipation, of solar glasses for Christmas, of plans and contingency plans depending upon where the skies would be the clearest, of clearing schedules, and maintaining a firm hold on flexibility–because I am a lover of the skies, my childhood rooted in the awe of the cosmos.

We lingered in the shade because it was hot, the RV behind us, the dogs safe in their play yard. Twelve families consisting of three generations had rented the park shelter beside us and had gathered from three states. The couple parked behind us drove in from just thirty miles away. Dogs played and fretted at being left out. Kids practiced with their parents on how to use the glasses. People staked their claim on prime viewing with chairs and blankets. The internet vanished, and no one cared.

We waited, all there for a singular reason, our stories as varied as the license plates. People ventured from the shade to peer up at the sun for a few seconds with their glasses, then retreated. Pinhole viewers and special filters on binoculars were tried out and set aside. Kids got bored. The star geeks and casual viewers mingled and chatted. “Where did you come in from?” “We drove two hours.” We drove two days.” “Do you know where the bathrooms are?” “Do you have any connection at all?”

Finally a call went up. “There! The top right!”

We all looked up, every single one of us, and the word was “Wow.” A chunk of the sun was gone. Absolute black. Kids cried, wanting to see and having to wait. Tantrums, fussing, and then they got bored again, and retreated into the shade–because it was hot.

It grew quiet. More conversation. “I’ve never seen a total eclipse.” “Do you think it’s darker yet?” Late comers drove through, desperate for a place to park, making the rest of us smug. A quarter mile down, the ball field sprouted tents where organized viewing and experts kept kids busy. A quarter mile up, free-spirits gathered in an open, wild field to commune on a deeper level. But it was quiet in our little turn-around site in “the middle” where three generations of family, a local couple, and two dreamers with their dogs sat with their feet edging the light because the sun was too intense.

The orange crescent of the sun through the filtered glasses grew smaller, more pointy. The round shadow of the moon atop it grew larger. Kids whined about being hungry, dogs got underfoot and barked. Quick forays were made into the sun for a glimpse at progression. “This is what they’ll get in Detroit.” “This is how much I saw last time.” “How often are you taking a picture?”

But then . . . the ground began to look odd, as if seeing the world through a filter. The air took on a dark, almost transparent hue as the wavelengths reaching us shifted. A call went up. “Look at the hood of that car! You can see the crescent in the shadows of the leaves!” But in all honesty it took some imagination. Slowly, people filtered out of the shade, and with a shock, I realized that quite suddenly, it wasn’t hot anymore. After years of shunning the sun, I could stand under it and not feel its heat.

The crickets began to sing and the dogs lay down, bellies up to the sky to soak in what heat remained. The shadows of the leaves showed thousands of crescents, no imagination needed. Necks craned, we waited poised as the sliver of orange amber narrowed down, and down, and down . . . until it was almost gone . . .

Just before the light left, voice exploded from every throat, an unstoppable sound of exhilaration. It rose from our chests, joining those at the tents at the ball field, then gathered the shouts from the distant field before continuing to spill on across the nation as the sun . . . was suddenly gone.

Every glass and filter dropped. As one, we shouted as we stared up at a color of white we had never seen, wispy and etherial. A black nothing hung where the sun had been. My awareness expanded, and I reached, grasping for something I might know, falling, and falling, and falling, as if taking a breath that never stopped as I looked for common ground with every last past moment of my life . . . and failing.

For two minutes, we stood as one in a new state of existence, most quickly gaining a foothold, and yet I still fell within my mind, trying to absorb the cascading of otherness that suffused and filled me. The sound, the feel of the air, the lack of sensation on my skin.

And then . . . a tiny pinprick of the most pure light that ever existed, of ultimate clarity and definition, was suddenly there.

For an instant it hung at the edge of the black, and still I fell, trying to grasp it.

In another breath the glimpse into infinity was gone, washed out by the yellow wavelengths as the diamond ring took precedence and no longer could we stare as one at the sky.

 

It was done. My long fall ended as the comfortable existence of warm yellow light expanded amid the exuberant shouts and cheers that flowed from west to east, an unstoppable declaration of experience.

But I remember the instant of light of undefined purity and unexplainable clarity. And I wait. For what? I don’t know, but I wait.

Kim Harrison
August 21, 2017

 

 

 

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Rough day/good progress

Had a rough day yesterday with our multiple-issue dog. We’ve been battling a few problems since she was two, and we are at the stage where her meds are beginning to take a toll on her body. Things are threatening to shut down, which means more meds, more trips to the vet, more thought of the end game and when to let her rest and when to keep fighting. She’s a tough little dog, and it’s hard to say  “done” when she gets up the next morning, eager to get to her dog bowl, even if you have to hold her up so she can eat. She’s surprised Tim three times over the last two years, but this was the first time she surprised me. She’s sleeping comfortably at my feet right now, and her lease, if you will, has been extended once more.

All of which might be why my last few manuscripts, the ones you haven’t seen and likely won’t, deal with people overcoming their body saying no when their mind says yes, people being unexpectedly sidelined for things out of their control, their plans jerked out from under them as their bodies betray them–even as they are the ones with the failing skills that can get the job done.

They aren’t fun books, though I think there’s some dark humor in them. There’s no big finish where everything gets accomplished with smiles and tied up with a sparkly bow because the failing is still there. NY publishing is blessedly full of young, aggressive women who are at the top of their game or fighting to get there, and I get that the ugliness of failure is not attractive. At all. So I turned back to the Hollows and its sister series, rEvolution, even as my heart beats to Grace, and Joe, and Peri. There’s a soft strength in these unseen books, the success being in the journey, not the end. Books of strong spirit, I guess I’d call them, because my dog has a strong spirit, and she smiles at me as she rolls in the sun-warmed grass and comes up happy.

“Not done yet,” she says without saying a word, and so I help her continue.

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I’m calling it research

Thoughts of DragonCon at the end of the month are lightly in my mind, and with that comes the pinch of time. I’d really like to be farther along on AMERICAN DEMON before the official end of summer, but I’ve learned that for my writing pace, fast isn’t always better, especially when I’m tying a lot of new threads into the matrix. Hence, me being stuck on the same 30 pages for the last three days. The chapter’s pace is not good yet, with no easy place to break, but that doesn’t bother me as much as questionable motivation. And that, I figured out how to fix last night, so today I should FINALLY push into the end game.

But I was talking about the pinch of time.

It doesn’t help that I took Monday off for an all-day class on dying/painting yarn. Short and sweet, it was great, hitting several satisfaction buttons. I got to use color, which I don’t in my everyday work, and I’m sensitive to visual balance. I got to work mostly alone within a busy environment, with just enough social contact to be enjoyable. Third, I learned something new, which I ache for from time to time, learning by doing, not by reading. And I got to be social with a group who is passionate about the same things I am, which doesn’t happen much in my day-to-day.

Two of my skeins. The red and orange is the one I am working on in the other pic.

So I had a pleasant 9-5 seeing how pigment can be affectively applied and fixed to a variable substrate, the effect of which changes upon actually using it, requiring a bit of forthought, playing with hot and cold tones, gradients, and various other techniques. I barely scratched the surface, and it was fun watching myself begin to explore what technique I might want to fully exploit if I ever got hot and heavy into it. I know I won’t, but it was fun. I even got to wear my old lab coat, which had been stuck in a closet for thirty years. I’ve gotten a little thicker about the middle so it doesn’t button all the way down like it used to, but enough to use it! I’m already looking forward to taking Ellen Minard’s class again next year if she graces us with her presence and considerable knowledge again. Thank you Larry and Sandra at Artisan Knitworks for hosting her!

Oh, and the blue hair some of you might have heard about? It is still there, but the sun bleached it out so it shows only at my roots. Weird look. I kind of like it. I may redo it for DragonCon.

–Kim

 

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I either found my rope, or lost my horse

But in any case, I found my blog after a long hiatus. Took a sanity week, er, month, ah . . . maybe it’s been closer to a year since I kept it up religiously, but something had to go, and truly, there has been nothing to say other than shrimp are being prolific, yarn is moving from yarn shop, to stash, to fingers, to shelf. Garden is growing despite the lack of rain (Got a call from the city letting me know my water use is up and to check for a leaking pipe. Yea-a-a-ah.)

Plans for DragonCon are settling in. (Giving away a hardcover this year at my panel on Sunday. More on that when it’s finalized.) The cover for PERFUNCTORY AFFECTION is looking good, and I should have a pub date and a show-and-tell soon. rEVOLUTION is being shopped, and AMERICAN DEMON (Hollows) should hit page 300 this Friday if I hustle. Looks like it’s going to hit a pleasant 450, so I’m almost there.

This has begun to look like a confession. Forgive me, Reader. I have sinned. It’s been five months since my last word vomit . . .

Biggest news in my low-news world is I got Al done. He looks great, and I went back into my files to find out how long I’ve been working on him. He was one of the first dolls I made back in 2016, so he clearly needed a remake.

Oh, and I dyed my hair blue.

Alb

 

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And In Other News

If you missed it last week, my big news is that Subterranean Press has picked up Perfunctory Affection, (no publication date yet. Rest assured it will be awhile.) But I’ve been doing more than typing the last month. I’ve got about three knitting projects going, and I should have character Jacob from NEXT DOOR to show you in a few days. I spent all last week designing the pattern for his suit coat, and I finally have something I like enough to put it on him. The one I designed for Trent a few years ago just isn’t cutting it anymore. (This picture is Trent, Rachel, and Ivy. Ivy’s jacket is actually mink yarn I got on sale. Fits her.)

But what I’m most proud of right now is my shrimp net.  McGyvering at its best, it’s part syphoning tube, part fish net, and a little bit of aquarium sealant. Tim just sat back and smiled when I would blow into the house, grab something, and say, “I’ll buy you a new one,” before vanishing back into my office.

What you see here is actually my second version, the first being more of a collapsing net affair, but this one is a lot less disruptive in the tank, which was what I was going for. It’s got about a 80% efficiency if the shrimp is reasonably accessible, which you know is utterly fantastic if you’ve ever tried to catch one of these little guys. It should help immeasurably in my blue shrimp breeding hobby.

I’m going to use my downtime this week to make a slightly smaller version that will work better with smaller shrimp and vegetation-thick tanks.

 

 

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It only looks as if I’ve been on vacation

Okay, it’s been more than a few weeks since I’ve announced anything or posted pictures beyond my hobbies of knitting characters, and breeding shrimp. Not to mention the 20 yards of mulch in my driveway. You might even think I’ve been on vacation with those snapshots of palm trees and bike paths, and I will admit that that refilling the imagination well has figured into it. With no book coming out since, uh, yeah . . . it seems like somewhat of a dry spell, but believe me, work has been crossing my desk between the yarn patterns and McGyvering a better shrimp net. (More on that later. I finally have a new one I can’t wait to show off.)

Not to mention that those who know me well know I can keep a good secret. Heck, I’ve had long-time friendships that were known only to me. But at long last, I have a smidgen of book news to share.

Remember me talking about Meg a while back? Yep, my tireless and dogged agent Jennifer Jackson found a home for her, and PERFUNCTORY AFFECTION has been picked up by Subterranean Press. Meg’s story is a really odd length, about 40,000 words shy of what I’d call a full novel, but way beyond novella size, and because I was reluctant to pad it with fluff just to get it there, and — if everyone was honest – because it didn’t have Rachel in it, it was hard to place.

So there it is. PERFUNCTORY AFFECTION, sometime next year, and because it’s coming out through Subterranean Press, it will be a little pricy compared to what you might expect, and very, very worth it with heavy paper, beautiful detailing, and all the bells and whistles. (It will be in e-book as well.)

Meg deserves it. Her story is a little uneasy, a little queazy, and echoes in my head like thunder between mountains, soft and almost unheard in warning.

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Color Blind

Lookie, Lookie! Kim’s got a cookie!

To round out your Hollows library, or help get a friend hooked, The Undead Pool and The Witch With No Name are both on sale at Amazon for your Kindle. There are also a ton of other great titles included in this promotion, so check them out.

Click to shop

And as B&N doesn’t like to be left out, here are their links for the Nook.

The Undead Pool

Witch with No Name

I will admit the sale attention feels pretty good this morning, the emotion of which filtered down into breakfast, following me into the bathroom when I brushed my teeth, and so, for the first time in a while, I actually looked in the mirror–leading me to think I must have been color blind this morning when I got dressed.

Absolutely nothing matches. Tan shorts, long-sleeved shirt, (because it’s cold this morning,) black chemise (because it’s going to be hot this afternoon,) white socks and orange plastic flip flops. Mmmm. It’s the last two that disturb me the most. Perhaps I have taken this a shade too far.

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