2014: More Than It Seemed

View of Ft. Lauderdale Beach from the Ritz-Carlton rooftop pool deck.
View of Ft. Lauderdale Beach from the Ritz-Carlton rooftop pool deck.

When I sat down to write this, I had the impression I hadn’t done a whole lot this year. But once I started putting things in bullets, I realized how jam packed and awesome it was.

Things I Did:

–Faced my fears and cut all my hair off.

When I was a child, my father kept my hair short. He was a barber and so only knew how to cut dude hair, and so guess what kind of cut I had? I hated it. People would mistake me for a little boy. One time I was denied access to the little girls room at a school function. Now that is just kind of funny, but at the time it was the beginning of a whole bunch of weird beauty/image issues I’d deal with as a teenager and in college. So, as sort of a fuck you to all that, I got a Pixie and really had fun with it.

–Stayed at the McFarlin House Bed and Breakfast in Quincy, FL

My husband and I wanted to get away for the weekend for our anniversary, and did so at the McFarlin. It’s a gorgeous Victorian mansion with porch swings and a deck side hot tub. Quincy is a weird place, full of old ass southern money, so apparently the B&B is hub to a lot of historians and reporters. While we were there, a reporter from Buzzfeed, Amy Saunders, was working on a story about Jerrie Mock, who was the first woman to fly around the globe, who lived right next door, it seems. It was a really neat breakfast getting to hear about Mrs. Mock, who sadly just passed away in October.

–Drank Bordeaux and learned about the Teen Mom show in a trailer park/camp ground in Lake City, FL.

Clarendalle 2006. Really delicious. But it was the company that was truly the best.

–Saw my first real Burlesque show in Ft. Lauderdale with my great friend Peter.

It was Dita von Teese’s Strip, Strip Hooray! It was absolutely transcendent and I am in love with Burlesque now. While in Miami, I had my first Caipirinha and my first authentic café con leche. Also saw Versace’s mansion with the beautiful gold Medusa head gates, and snuck into the Ritz’s pool. Everyone talks shit about Miami, but I really liked it.

–I liked Ft. Lauderdale so much I went back for the Hukilau to help ATLRetro editor and friend Anya Martin cover the tiki event for her online magazine. Met a lot of cool people and felt right at home.

–Tried to change my diet.

Ha, ha, ha. Yes, I did. I am trying to consume less animal for health and ethical reasons. Some weeks I am better at this than others. More often than not, cheese is the deal breaker.

–Reunited with old childhood friends at one of my favorite bars ever, Alchemy, and shut it down forever–may it rest in peace.

–Hung out with a baby armadillo and skate kids.

My dad had a brood of baby armadillos that were hanging out in his garden during the spring. I followed one around one day just because he seemed so alien but approachable. Did you know they snort like pigs? Cute little sniffy snort. I think they all had a sad end though:  hawks.

My husband is a skater, and there were a few awesome tournaments in Tally that I went too. I hate sports, especially spectator sports (except the world cup), but I can get down with sitting on the street and watching board races and making Archer jokes that are appreciated, like “you just skated into the Danger Zone.”

–Almost died of dehydration in New Orleans.

That’s pretty self-explanatory, I think. The revolving bar at the Hotel Monteleone didn’t help, but we survived thanks to the power of falafel, room service, and the World Cup. Apparently, NOLA’s idea of a vegetable is crab. Seriously, the vegetable of the day at a particular old school restaurant we went too was crab.

–Was blissfully unemployed during the World Cup.

Caught almost every game at the pub. It ruled.

–Celebrated my birthday in the Gulf with some of the best girls in the world, and had one of the best bottles of champagne in my life.

–Then I got a job. Wonk, wonk.

–Went to NYC and did a lot of shit, as previously posted.

–Went to…[counts on fingers]…5 weddings.

All beautiful, unique, and full of friends I hadn’t seen in ages. Everyone is growing into such cool adults. Best of luck to them all!

–Found like the one thing in Florida that feels like Brooklyn or Paris, the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL.

Had a great breakfast with my Lucie and met her awesome beau.

Publications and other things I wrote

Fiction:

So this year has seen the most fiction from me yet. Some of these stories were written years ago and are just now appearing for various reasons; others I wrote this year. This is a direction I am very proud of and hope to continue in.

“Of Parallel and Parcel.” A Dunsham Manor Press limited edition micro-chapbook. Copies still available here.

“Dive In Me” with Jesse Bullington in The New Gothic, edited by Beth Lewis, Stone Skin Press. 

“The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour” in Steampunk World, edited by Sarah Hans, Alliteration Ink

“Descartar” in Darke Phantastique, edited by Jason V. Brock, Cycatrix Press

“Remnants of Lost Empire,” Starry Wisdom Library, edited by Nate Pedersen, PS Publishing. Now available for Pre-order!

Vintage Scenes for Mungbeing magazine.:

#1: Bandol, Chateau La Rouvière, 2002

#2: 2010 Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Spätlese

#3: Morellino di Scansano, 2011 Vendemmia

#4: Our Daily Red, Organic Red Table Wine

“The Venus of Great Neck,” exclusively and only available in Spanish translation in Acronos II, edited by Josué Ramos, Tyrannosaurus Books.

Non-Fiction

“Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” in Non-Binary Review #2: Frankenstein. Available for free download with free app here.

Capsule Review for Alan M. Clark’s The Door That Faced West, The Big Click.

“The Revolution Will Be Served: Jeff “Beachbum” Berry Mixes at the Hukilau and Takes Us Through the Past, Present, and Future of Tiki,” for ATLRetro and in honor of the 13th annual Hukilau in Ft. Lauderdale.

Introduction to Vapourpunk II, the Portuguese Steampunk anthology series edited by Fábio Fernandes and Romeu Martins, Editora Draco.

“On the Writing Impulse,” a guest post for Sarah Hans’ great blog. Perhaps the most personal thing I’ve written, and the only thing about writing advice, I think.

“Stone Skin on the Rocks 7: Down and Dirty in the Deep South,” my guest blog post about Malt Liquor for Stone Skin Press.

Things I Read

I did not reach my goal of 50 books this year, and I also failed at upping my lady writers quota. However, I read some really great stuff, and my top 5 favorites were:

Whitman Illuminated by Allen Crawford

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers

Careless People by Sarah Churchwell

Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry

Well, now that I look at it, it’s been a pretty ok year.  Next year is proving to be as equally jam-packed with more words, friends, and adventures that I can’t quite discuss yet. But until then, I wish you all a great holiday and Happy New Year. Thanks for hanging out with me here and on the other social media places, and for your support and friendship. It really means a lot.

OF PARALLEL AND PARCEL, now available for Pre-Order from Dunhams Manor Press

OF PARALLEL __ 4My short story “Of Parallel and Parcel” is available as a limited-edition chapbook from Dunhams Manor Press. Limited to 50 copies, it is now available for pre-order at $6.50 here at the Dynatox Ministries store. It will ship out in December, just in time to make a good Winter Holiday gift for the Poepathist dearest to you.

Synopsis:

It is only until we are on our deathbeds that all of our various fates are laid out before us. We can finally see where among our probable parallel lives the compass was pointing. The Grand Design of our individual lives, and how they intertwine with others, all becomes clear. This is the last will and testament of Virginia Clemm, who married her cousin Eddy Poe as a tween, and sealed her fate by taking it, and the purloined parcel it arrives in, into her own hands.

About the Publisher:

Dunhams Manor Press is the weird fiction imprint of Jordan Krall’s Dynatox Ministries and has published such illustrious weirdies such as Nicole Cushing, Scott Nicolay, Mike Griffin, and Joe Pulver (just to name a few). It is an honor to be part of this catalogue, and part of this publisher, as he is one of the few publishing a vast array of writers that work within not only the weird and bizarro, but in traditions such as dada and surrealism, including Jordan’s own endeavors in those modernist milieus.

Author’s Notes:

I began writing this story in 2006, while I was working as a newspaper reporter for a weekly newspaper in South Florida. At that point, I began working on this thinking it’d be a novel, but I kept writing off and on, and realized a year later that all I had were scraps. And, that isn’t surprising, because all that survives of Virginia Poe are scraps, which may be why I am so fascinated by her. She is heralded in many circles as Poe’s ultimate muse–the paragon of Poe’s Poetic Principle–and  yet, no correspondence of hers survives, and all we truly know of her are here-says of the Poe family’s friends and contemporaries. Within some of these accounts are hints that Virginia was immensely smart and perhaps a bit conniving, and those minces paired with a quote I found from Marie Louise Shew pointed the way to at least trying to tell the tale of the Virginia I imagined. So, by 2008, “Of Parallel and Parcel” came into being, and it wouldn’t see the light of day until 2010, when it was published in Mungbeing Magazine’s Secrets issue, where editor Mark Givens nominated it for a Pushcart prize. I am delighted that this story is getting a second wind with Dunhams Manor Press, and my Virginia will get to speak again.

STEAMPUNK WORLD is In The Haus, and in EW.com

STEAMPUNK WORLD, the Kickstarter Exclusive is on right, the trade is on the left. Both covers by James Ng. Edited by Sarah Hans. Published by Alliteration Ink.
STEAMPUNK WORLD, the Kickstarter Exclusive is on right, the trade is on the left. Both covers by James Ng. Edited by Sarah Hans. Published by Alliteration Ink.

The long-awaited Kickstarter success, Sarah Han’s STEAMPUNK WORLD (Alliteration Ink), was released last August. It contains my Orientalism tourism story “”The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour.” I received my contributor copies last Thursday, and I am very impressed.

Featuring illustrations by James Ng, an excellent introduction by Beyond Victoriana’s Diana Pho, and stories by Nisi Shawl, Ken Liu, Jay Lake (whom the tome is dedicated too), Jaymee Goh, Balogun Ojetade, Pip Ballantine. and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (to name a few!), this collection aims to illustrate that Steampunk’s legacy lies outside of its common, mainstream Western trappings.

Sarah did a fine job, and I am not the only one who thinks so. Writing for EW.com, Jason Heller  included STEAMPUNK WORLD in his overview of Steampunk slipping into the mainstream, and in doing so is garnering a broader appeal. One happy conclusion he draws is that the mainstream wants to see a multicultural steampunk: “Clearly, there’s a hunger for steampunk literature that looks through a different pair of goggles; Steampunk World is a strong step in the right direction.”

If you did not back the anthology, you can order copies directly from the publisher  or from Amazon.

Summer Catch Up

Hukilau selfie
Aloha from the Jungle Queen Cruise, part of the 2014 Hukilau in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

So, it is summer again and I’ve let the heat, humidity, and well…frankly, Hannibal keep me from blogging. And, I was doing so well, too!So here, in list form, is what’s been up on the writer side of things. Travel side of things will come later. Eventually. After I consume Season Two, more likely:

Publications:

Online you will find a few things:

Vintage Scenes #3: Morellino di Scansano, 2011 Vendemmia” is now available in the latest issue of Mungbeing magazine. This round’s theme is reflections, and although the wine is Tuscan, I couldn’t help but play in Frida Kahlo’s world of scryes a bit. And there’s some local flair in there too, for those who are around.

The Revolution Will Be Served: Jeff “Beachbum” Berry Mixes at the Hukilau and Takes us Through the Past, Present, and Future of Tiki” ran a few weeks ago on ATLRetro.com. I interviewed the Beachbum and talked about the rise and fall and rise again of Tiki, as well as his awesome new book POTIONS OF THE CARIBBEAN, which I highly recommend, even if you aren’t a cocktailian.

This interview is in conjunction of Hukilau coverage I did for ATLRetro, where I joined editor Anya Martin to check out the vibe. It was a great vibe. Hadn’t had fun like that in a while, if even ever…. Definitely something to put on repeat.

In Print:

“The Venus of Great Neck,” is my Jazz-baby Steampunk story written exclusively for ACRONOS II edited by Josué Ramos (Tyrannosauras Books), and is currently only available in Spanish. Although, an English edition is being discussed, and I’ll be sure to throw deets down when they are available.

Forthcoming:

My series “Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN” will be published as a whole in the second issue of NonBinary Review, where Mary Shelley’s seminal novel is the theme. If you haven’t heard of NonBinary Review yet, definitely put this on the radar because…well, their website says it best, so I’m just going to quote from them:

“NonBinary Review uses Lithomobilus, a new type of e-reader that allows for multi-threaded, interactive literature. It allows novelists to tell a story from every point of view. Essayists can comment on other works. Short story writers can add alternate points of view to an existing narrative. Any author can add notes, photos, or other artifacts of the creative process.”

Thanks to editors Allie Marini Batts and Lise Quintana for having me aboard! I am very excited to be a part of this, and to have my letters aside one of my favorite novels of all time. And, if that wasn’t enough, the cover is going to be done by the awesomeness that is Mandem!

You can download the reader here, and check out the first issue–all for free.

Updates on Forthcoming Publications

James Ng's interior illustration of "The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour," my short story in STEAMPUNK WORLD.
James Ng’s interior illustration of “The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour,” my short story in STEAMPUNK WORLD.

STEAMPUNK WORLD, edited by Sarah Hans for Alliteration Ink is still steaming along. I am unsure of the final release date, but I do know that James Ng has finished his interior sketches, and I am allowed to share my story “The Şehrazatın Diyoraması Tour.”  Also, Alliteration Ink has partnered with BitLit to bundle digital copies with all hardcopy sales, so those who will be receiving print copies as part of their Kickstarter pledge will get a digital copy also, I believe.

A DARKE PHANTASTIQUE edited by Jason V. Brock for Cycatrix Press, containing my short story “Descartar,” should be out by the end of the summer, and is available for pre-order here.

STARRY WISDOM LIBRARY, edited by Nate Pedersen for PS Publishing, containing my short story “Remnants of Lost Empires,” is slated for September 2014. According to Nate’s website, PS Publishing will be launching the tome at FantasyCon. Update can be found at the above link.

The Writing Process Blog Tour: Wherein below ye will find a cat, wine, fountain pens, and scissors.

Baby is a major part--or rather, she makes herself a major part--of my process.
Baby is a major (or rather, she makes herself) part of my process.

My friend J. T. Glover tagged me in a literary meme/chain mail/blog tour thing going around called the Writing Process Blog Tour. I really enjoyed his responses, which can be read here. In it he coins the term “anti-bildungsroman,” discusses his affinity for place in his work, and unpredictability of the writing process over all.  Before I take a stab at it myself, I want to tag New North Country Girl, who is one of my favorite bloggers of all time. I’m looking forward to her take on these questions.

Right, so….

1) What am I working on?

Taking tasting notes for Vintage Scenes #2.
Taking tasting notes for Vintage Scenes #2.

Short stories. Most currently I’ve been working on Vintage Scenes, a series of light vignettes focusing on specific bottles of wine.  I’ve only written two so far, but I am hoping to write one for each issue of MUNGBEING magazine, which is closing its doors next year. The latest, “VINTAGE SCENES #2: 2010 Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Spätlese” takes place in Bavaria and can be tasted here.

I am really enjoying writing these stories. My wonderful editor Mark Givens is giving me free-reign to do whatever I want with each story, as long as it integrates the bi-monthly theme, and it has been refreshing to indulge in and switch through various modes of storytelling outside of my normal weird stuff.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve been at this long enough to respond to a question like this.

Hmmm…well, I first had to ask myself what is my genre? I think there is a common misconception from my involvement with previous Steampunk projects that I only work within that genre, but I think I am mostly a horror girl, or maybe a weirdie. Even my steampunk stories are more Gothic and weird than science fiction or fantasy. I don’t like fetishizing or explaining things away–I like for there to be poetry. I don’t think I am alone in that, so I’m unsure that makes me differ from the genre, but that is what I strive for and so surely that ends up becoming something of a distinctive feature. That, and I mostly write about women and things I find personally scary about womanhood like childbirth and chemicals. I have a few stories in forthcoming anthologies like THE DARKE PHANTASTIQUE and STARRY WISDOM LIBRARY that express that mode more than what is out there currently.

And then there are the Vintage Scenes which have nothing to do with any of the above…so…maybe my work is different because it has serious marketing label commitment issues.

An image from when I was writing "Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." Shows how I would cut-up, throw away, and re-arrange my penultimate drafts.
An image from when I was writing “Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Shows how I would cut-up, throw away, and re-arrange my penultimate drafts.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Why not?

If I am writing about something, it is because it interests me; if it doesn’t, I don’t.

4) How does my writing process work?

Very slowly, with a lot of research and a lot of editing.  In most cases, I end up putting a piece through at least ten drafts, the first few being handwritten, typed, then scribbled all over again, and which makes the prospect of novel-writing kind of terrifying.

My favorite part of my process is where I feel like I have everything down, but perhaps it is not arranged as well or tightly as it should be, and I start cutting the entire thing up into paragraph and sentence-sized puzzle pieces. Everything usually ends up fitting quite well after that.

Thanks, Tzara, Burroughs, and my mom (who actually was the first of the three to teach me about cutting things up, and who finalized her dissertation in this tape and scissors manner) for showing me the way.

THE NEW GOTHIC Giveaway: On Nirvana and the Gothic

THE NEW GOTHIC among all my Nirvana swag from the Tallahassee concert in 1993. Took those photos in the corner with a really crappy $10 camera from Kmart. Oh, the 90s.
THE NEW GOTHIC among all my Nirvana swag from the Tallahassee concert in 1993. Took those photos in the corner with a really crappy $10 camera from Kmart. Oh, the 90s.

So, this week is a big week for Nirvana fans. Today marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s death and on April 10, the band will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I don’t know if y’all realize, but I’m really into Nirvana. IN UTERO came out just in time for me to throw my twelfth birthday money at it. It, along with BABES IN TOYLAND’s PAINKILLERS and Hole’s PRETTY ON THE INSIDE and later LIVE THROUGH THIS, was one of those albums that changed my life in the way that only music and books and arts can do. Nirvana even came to my town with the Breeders in December ’93, and being at that concert is pretty much on my list of life achievements.

Anyway, as has been mentioned here before, I wrote a short story with my inimitable friend Jesse Bullington that is in Stone Skin Press’ THE NEW GOTHIC: DON’T EMBRACE THE DARKNESS. FEAR IT.  Edited by Beth Lewis, this anthology reassess the Gothic legacy, and as critic Ed Grabianowski put it in a glowing review over at i09:

“I’m not too worried about whether this collection redefines the field. What I can tell you is that editor Beth K. Lewis and the team at Stone Skin Press have selected a terrific set of stories. They hang together, despite disparate elements; each tale hints at the darkness lurking in urban neighborhoods, in old houses, on desolate roads, and in our hearts. Cue Vincent Price’s menacing laugh echoing down a black corridor. There are no castles here, but there’s no sympathy for the devil either.”

Sounds pretty hardcore, right?

The story Jesse and I wrote is called “Dive In Me,” and is about three adolescent girls in the early 90s and their friendship that leads to staring into atramedous pits of both the literal and figurative senses.  Jesse has described it as “Daria goes to Hell,” and I’ve called it a “grunge-nightmare.” It is definitely a period piece, and that hasn’t been more apparent to me than today, on the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, in which I am definitely feeling kind of bored and old.

The title, of course, refers to my personal favorite Nirvana song “Dive,” which is on Incesticide, and provides something of the “soundtrack” to the ramblings, froggings, and chain smoking antics of the girls in this story.  As a Nirvana fan, I didn’t really want to do anything celebrating death or hype or whatever, I kind of wanted to celebrate how expression can lead to other forms of expression, and so because of the connection with “Dive In Me,” I thought it’d be fun to do a THE NEW GOTHIC giveaway during this big   Nirvana week.

Stone Skin Press is throwing in two copies to my one for a three book giveaway! Deets below.

THE RULES:  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post about either Nirvana or the Gothic–it is entirely up to you. Comments will be open from now until April 10 at 12 EST.  I will choose the best three comments and announce the winners Friday, April 11th at 8 am EST.

I do have one tiny request. The kind i09 review aside, THE NEW GOTHIC hasn’t had many reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, etc.  Obviously, it’s a free country, but if the winners of this contest would be so kind as to give their thoughts, even if you hate it, at some bookish reviewer thing, even if it is your blog, that would be lovely.

Alright. Well, let’s dive in then….

She Walks In Shadows Stretch Goal Aimed at Illustrators

She Walks In Shadows Stretch Goal Aims at Illustrators

A few days ago, the indiegogo campaign to fund the first all-ladies anthology featuring all stories about Lovecraft’s women was fully funded! Now, with about 66 hours left, the campaign has kicked into a stretch-goal of $9,000 before it closes. That extra grand will go towards commissioning illustrations from female artists, and it looks like there’s only about $500 more to go before that is achieved.

I am afraid I do not know details about artist selection/submission, and all that, and that should be taken up with editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia, but I am really looking forward to seeing women illustrators represented in this sandbox, as they are perhaps even more overlooked in Lovecraftiana than female writers.

I know I’ve said it before, but I am excited to be a part of a very impressive TOC, and I wouldn’t be doing it without Silvia’s leadership and our readers support–so, a big thank you to everyone who tolerated my blasting of this campaign, who shared and linked to it, and the biggest thanks of all to everyone who threw their money at it.

Vintage Scenes and Stuckism in Mungbeing 54: New Directions

Image
The bottle that inspired my new story “Vintage Scenes #1: Bandol, Chateau La Rouvière, 2002” appearing in Mungbeing magazine.

After ten years of keeping the fringe and avant-garde alive and well, Mungbeing magazine has launched its final year with Issue 54: New Directions.  Editor Mark Givens has launched Pelekinesis, a small press that is specializing on promoting independent artists and writers across the myriad publishing platforms, and will be hanging the Mungbeing hat up to focus more on that.  But, Mungebeing has had an incredible history tackling many topical themes, and helping to bring to light underground and unclassifiable work under one roof.

I actually discovered Mungbeing through  Stuckism, when the magazine ran a Stuckist and Outsider Art Issue.  Throughout college, I was obsessed with movements like Stuckism and Kitsch, and even tried to start a Florida Stuckist group with a one-time issue online zine. Alas, it didn’t stick. However, I believe my interest in Stuckism and Remodernism shaped much of my sensibilities that have allowed me to appreciate, enjoy, and participate in retro movements like Steampunk.

Stuckism is now 15 years old, and this issue has an impressive amount of material covering the movement including exclusive art, interviews, and footage from people who have championed and observed the movement.

This issue also happens to have the first of my new series Vintage Scenes that involve pairings of a specific bottle of wine with a happening. Some of the stories are fictional memoir, others not so much, but one thing you can count on, the centerpiece of these stories have been or will be enjoyed by yours truly. This story focuses on the changing wine industry, and the best damn wine I’ve ever had, a 2002 Bandol which I actually drunk with my husband in a Genevan hotel after visiting Mont Blanc. God, memories in a bottle! You can read them here.

Dive by Post: Feature on Stone Skin Press for THE NEW GOTHIC

Sleepy Selena wants to share a thing before she slips off to miscount sheep.

Stone Skin Press is excerpting “Dive In Me,” a story Jesse Bullington and I wrote about growing up SO(thern) GOTH and grunge in the 90s. It is the opener to THE NEW GOTHIC, edited by the awesome Beth Lewis, and is on sale now.

Jesse and I actually grew up in the same small times town in Northern Florida, and shared a similar taste in flannel, boots, and mischief, if I recall. This story encapsulates a bit of that along with a composite of the adolescent girls we once knew.  The title, for reasons that will be seen in the story, was inspired by Nirvana’s “Dive.”

There are plenty of awesome authors in this collection like Ramsey Campbell, Damien Kelley, Lauren Ellen Joyce, Richard Dansky, and more.  I, personally, can’t wait to check out everyone else’s contribution.

Woo-boy. Neuron switches are being flipped one by one. Thanks for shutting the place down with me. I’m diving in and out. Good night, folks!

Backward Glances: January summation

January funtimesSome months are quiet, and others are very loud with announcements and such.  In the later case, those are often broadcasted reactively as they happen, and get lost in the shuffle of all the other news-bytes out there.  So, I thought an end of the month summation would be a nice way to compromise the fragmented with the soft and clamorous, of which, January definitely fell into the former.

First, I am writing this during the polar vortex attack on everywhere, including the South.  All day yesterday, people lost their cool as public building closures were gradually announced.  Hysterical hyperboles floated from mouth to mouth faster than the flu, and after Atlanta and the more northern Southern areas were dusted with the white stuff, suddenly, we were in for God knows what—a blizzard?

While it has been drizzling sleet, I am sad to say there is no snow. I’m disappointed. The last time it snowed here was in 1989, unless you count that time in college when I saw one solitary snow flake fall and melt on my hand. Both were rare and magical moments.  Today, just another cloudy and wet wintry day in North Florida. Even so, the gentle tapping of the sleet against the windows have been comforting, the cat wants to cuddle rather than play all day, and if I am good, I’ll get to have a hot toddy with a friend later on.

I know I am not the only one swathed in blankets and nursing hot tea. So what’s everyone else been up too in January? Does the cold have you down? Or does it have you deep in a book or project? What are you all doing to make the best of it?

As for me….

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