I woke up this morning to a report that massive ice storms had killed 29 people so far in Texas, Oklahoma and southern Missouri. That's a bit south of where I am, but news like that doesn't exactly inspire one to get out of bed.
We had a bit of precipitation this weekend. Less in my town, more in the City. Very cold. I started acquiring cold weather gear last Friday--hats, gloves, long underwear-- mostly stuff for doing manual labor. I used to have quite a lot of that stuff, but I let it go over the years because you just don't do as much while living in an apartment. Now, however, I am a House Wife, working in a drafty cold room with a lot of plaster dust in the air, and I need tough clothes. Tony is vastly entertained by watching me work. He says he can laugh at every other woman he's known. He's proud of me and I feel smug. The downside of this is he's getting more ambitious with his plans to remodel the house. Now he's talking about stripping off one wall in the living room, too, so he can realign the two halves of this doorway that's gotten kind of torqued by the settling. He's talking about curtaining off part of the living room with plastic. He says we can't burn the wood stove while the plastic is up, and in the next breath asks me to turn down the heat because our gas usage was up last month. He keeps calling me "intrepid" and "a trooper." I'm starting to wonder what I've gotten into.
Still, it's heartening to see the progress we've made. The room is down to bare studs except for one corner. Monday, I was off for MLK day, so we hauled out all the rubble from the demolished room and took it to the dump. That's kind of a scary trip, in the dead of winter, in the middle of nowhere with a wind that will numb your double-gloved fingers in a matter of seconds. When you go into a dump you get the feeling you've stepped back in time to something primitive and wild. The men who work in dumps tend to be rather proto-human in appearance. The massive earth-movers they drive are like mammoths, lumbering and inexorable. Gulls and birds rip at the carnage. Even in the dead of winter, the landfill is slightly warm and fragrant. You can feel the heat coming off the ground; your feet are warm but your hands freeze from the wind whipping across that bare wasteland.
I expect I'll get to see the dump in every phase of the year, this year: I gather this was only the first of many such trips. Just the rubble from half of that tiny room filled the pickup truck. "I think we got it scared now," Tony said, surveying the bare dusty floor.
Shirley sent me a mildly intriguing reference to an American-Idol-like writing contest at gather.com. Simply put, Simon & Schuster are letting the public act as their first readers. I expect we'll see more of this in future. I think I even mentioned, back when I posted End of the Line on Jim Baen's Universe, that theirs was a similiar setup, although I later learned that they still had designated first readers and the whole process wasn't as democratic as they would have us believe. Currently, EOTL is still being "considered" by the editor of that publication. He's had it for a year. I'm tempted to write them a nudge note but I really don't care that much.
I'm just not in the mood to write. I'm more interested in rebuilding my house and reading everything I can get my hands on, and catching up on the movies I missed over the past three years. I'm even less in the mood to publish, since I realized that selling a novel is uncomfortably like running for public office--it takes a lot of glad-handing and getting your name out there. No thanks. If I ever do finish Trace's adventures I'll either self-publish or find a nice small press to do it for me.
That's the mood this week, at least. Winds may change. I'll admit I had a brief hiccup of excitement at the gather.com contest, and I might've tossed something into the hopper just for fun, but I don't have anything submission-worthy. I'm not sure what "commerical fiction" means, anyway. Does that exclude genre type stuff? Oh, and there's a sinister little rule that if you win, you agree to sign their contract within five days. Lord only knows what's in that contract.
Oh well. Nothing here but hiding out in the bunker, soaking up pop culture and stuffing myself with chocolate.