Once again, a mixed precipitation blogpost coming at you. It’s a little bit rain, a little bit hail, maybe a couple frogs-n-toads tumbling from the heavens. And away we go.
Is there a gentler phrase than ‘Wisconsin Public Radio?’ I’m sure there is, I’m just saying, it just feels like a place where you can, in dulcet tones, talk about various cheeses and the cheesemaking processes that birth them. It conjures a kind of pastoral coffeehouse chat. Regardless, I got to chat with WPR about Wanderers, which is not really as gentle a subject as we might like, given, well, *gestures broadly* all the pandemicness going on outside our door. You can read the article they posted, but that also contains a link to listen to me yammer on about bats and artificial intelligence and Stephen King and such.
The Stephen King thing is definitely a question that comes up a lot. And I always want to be clear that The Stand is a huge inspiration for Wanderers — that and to a different extent, Swan Song. They’re books that feel like they have the scope and cut of epic fantasy but instead of Middle Earth, it’s America, and with the horror aspect dialed way, way up. (Though let’s not pretend fantasy is without its horror. Shelob is horror. The Forsaken in Wheel of Time are agents of horror, often.) Wanderers definitely attempts to grapple with The Stand as a story, and does so in part by acknowledging it directly in the text — it’s a book some of the characters have read. I’d never as an author want to fail to acknowledge that pandemic-sized elephant in the room — a true classic of the genre, a pillar of the subgenre. Wanderers only exists because of The Stand, really.
Speaking of the Quarantimes… most of the counties in our state, including our current county, are green or headed to green, which is “good,” I guess? Mostly reopened? I mean, it’s good in that it means our numbers have remained low, and we’ve (theoretically) earned our green status by not opening prematurely. But I also know that we’re in for another spike, because people assume that GREEN means GONE, and you’ve got a bunch of poopy-pants man-children who won’t wear masks. And they’re talking about opening up schools in the fall and even in green status, I just don’t see how. The virus still exists. We didn’t eradicate it. It’s spiking huge in parts of the country, and it’s not like people can’t come here from there, and… oof, JFC, this is like fire season. Just because you put out that fire doesn’t mean we can’t have more fires. There’s still dry tinder laying around, ready to spark. It’s hard to be optimistic here, but reality is reality, and the virus moves when we move. It’s the equivalent of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who — the moment we blink, the monster comes for us.
There’s a family friend who contracted it toward the beginning. And now he’s got autoimmune encephalitis from it. It essentially changed his personality, left him with terrible neurological symptoms — essentially a kind of high-test dementia. There’s no end game, yet. No treatment has worked. He’s maybe only ten, fifteen years older than I am. I can only say, take this disease seriously. Those it hits may not die, but they’re not always left whole, either. And we’re only a mile down this road and can’t see what survivors are left with in a year, or ten years, health-wise.
It’s officially summer. Is that good? I dunno.
Also, Father’s Day. I am fortunate to have an incredible kiddo. Did a puppet show for me. Drew me a card with an amazing blue dasher dragonfly on it. He helped make dinner. It was good. I planted a buncha plants — we’re really working to put in native plants here, and now we have planted, let’s see, helianthus, asters, bee balm, mountain laurel, viburnum, blueberries, phlox, mountain mint, swamp milkweed, coneflower, and hyssop. A lot of stuff is already blooming, which is great. And we’ve a small garden that’s doing okay. We ate the radishes. We have snap peas and hull peas and green beans growing in. The kale is looking kinda funky. Carrots are looking healthy, but I think they need a couple more weeks before we can do anything. I have random squash growing out of a compost pile.
Need a list of Black-owned bookstores? Yes you do, and here it is.
Trump sucks canker ass, and I’m glad his wretched rally was a pathetic mess trolled by K-pop stans and teenagers. The kids are all right. (Though important to note, they didn’t limit the attendees, since tickets weren’t capped. No, the low attendance was simply a combination of PANDEMIC plus HE SUCKS CANKER ASS.) Either way, get fucked, marmalade hitler.
Starhawks and Rae Sloanes and Aftermaths, oh my. I’m honestly a little bit burned out on anything called “Star Wars” right now, but that Squadrons game trailer tickled me more than a little — nice to see shots of the Nadiri Starhawk and Rae Sloane. (The first of which I came up with for Aftermath, the second of which was gratefully conjured by John Jackson Miller in his Rebels novel and who served as the backbone for the waning Empire in the three Aftermath books.) I’m honestly excited any time you see those ripples cascade out into other books or games or what-have-you.
P.S. I’m still on Twitter vacation. Still locked down, still not visiting much. It’s been nice. I expect that vacation to continue in some form through much of the summer, though again I’ll be here and on Instagram posting pretty photos and what not. And I’ll post photos here, too, like this batch.