March 1 in the Winter That Never Ends. Winter 2.5 in the Wallowas, with the weight still tilting heavily toward cold and snowy rather than less cold and less snowy. Of course, this winter is closer in severity to the winter of 1981-82 that we spent here before moving to Portland. But then we left before the chinook and the melting and the transition toward temperatures around freezing. Tonight, I sat out in the porch at 31 degrees F and felt perfectly comfortable. Almost tropical. Then I had to laugh at the idea of 31F feeling warm. But it does, after subzero temps and serious cold like we went through this winter. It’s rewarding to be here during the sloppy wet not-quite-mud-but-still-mud season. Beats the pants out of the early spring season allergies plus mud on the Wet Side.
But we aren’t done with snow. It’s snowed twice since we came back from the last trip to Portland. One time was a dusting, the other a snowfall of about 3 inches. It all melted. We still have the big piles of glaciated snow from the earlier snow, but it’s not like it was. Mocha and I can romp in the field and even play with a little bit of lope in the current soft snow that she can brush through without postholing. We’ve both learned a lot more about dealing with snow under saddle this winter.
The writing proceeds slowly. I look at my publishing plan for this year and shake my head. But when I made this plan back in January, I still wasn’t accounting for the change that my decision to become more active in community affairs makes in my writing schedule. Also, I didn’t anticipate the sudden rise of anthologies–humorous and political alike–that I want to submit to.
I have decided that short stories take longer to write than their novel versions. In the novel, I plot aggressively and in detail, but in executing the work, I have about 2000 words a day to play around in. I can rack up that word count.
Not so with the short story. I’ve figured out that if I try to plot a short story as rigorously as I do a novel, then I start throwing everything but the kitchen sink of backstory into the short story and…um, that doesn’t work. I have to have a rough idea and then pants it from there. Let the story flow from my fingertips, and fix it after I’m done.
The current project is for Alma Alexander’s Children of a Different Sky anthology (see here for the Indiegogo–please contribute as the proceeds from the anthology’s sale go toward refugee programs). A modern witch going through an experience similar to a Jewish person during the Hitler era…with inspiration from Jo Walton amongst others. Next, I have another possible political theme, plus a humorous anthology to think about. None of these little projects have been accounted for in the writing plan, but…things change.
At times I feel like the main character in my story “Slow Dancing in 3/4 Zombie Time” that came out in Zombiefied I. Things are happening. The world has changed so quickly that I don’t always grasp it.
But then things happen that I can understand and relate to what I am doing, and I get a quick glimpse of what could be.
I just wish those glimpses were more than ephemeral.