Summer, go away already!

I’ve been getting into my autumn groove  – sweaters, hot chocolate, etc – but summer isn’t cooperating. After a couple of weeks of cool weather we are back in the 80s! Happily, that ends tomorrow and we return to autumn appropriate temperatures.

I don’t know if I have a prime writing season. Ideally, all seasons and everyday is a good day to write, but if I had to choose, I want it to be fall. Sitting on a bench in Central Park with my journal, fountain pen, and a hot chocolate and apple turnover by my side is near perfect.

Jolted out of complacency

I’ve lived in my apartment going on ten years. In that time there have been a couple of small water leaks from radiators, the odd power and/or cable outage, a set of oven mitts set ablaze, and the very rare shouting match at 3 in the morning to wake me from my slumber. Not that eventful, until last week. There was a fire in my building.

First, and most importantly, no one was physically hurt. I say physically because I can only imagine the trauma suffered by the people in the apartment where the fire started. The Red Cross were here to help resettle those who had to evacuate their apartments. I was incredibly fortunate in that I only have water damage to my ceiling in one corner. It clearly could have been so much worse.

My life was puttering along. Nothing too exciting, no big problems. While the fire didn’t impact me that much, it nonetheless shook me. I’m aware, again, of how quickly things can change. Today is my life. Not in a year when my next book goes on sale, not in six weeks when I’ve lost that ten pounds, not next week when I have that date, but right now.

I haven’t swung all the way on the pendulum to live every day as if it’s your last because I’ve always thought that absurd. Rather, I’m refocused on living each day as if they matter, especially to me. It’s as profound as it’s cliched, but it’s also as real as it gets.






At some point I need to look up the science, assuming there is some, about the effect of the full moon on people. I’m not talking astrology, but actual physical effects. I didn’t realize there had just been one until this morning when a friend told me. I have been out a whack for a few days. Is there a correlation? It would be easy to write it off as a coincidence. It probably is. Still, I do wonder.

I won’t be breaking out my tinfoil hat just yet, but considering the moon’s gravity gives us waves, it must impact us to some degree, even on tiny scale, right? Or is that just specious logic? I’m open to all possibilities here. As I said, I’ve been off kilter lately.

Yimt Arkhorn

You know I’m team dwarf. Yimt Arkhorn is far and away my favorite character from all of my books. Writing a scene with Yimt immediately put me in a better mood. His genesis is very much based on my early introduction to fantasy via LOTR and D&D and then significantly broadened by the works of George MacDonald Fraser. Yimt is unapologetically an old school dwarf –  short, stocky, bearded, gruff, big drinker, full of humor, and lives life in a big way. I was cool with that then, and I still am.

I get asked from time to time if the Iron Elves (and especially Yimt) will ever appear again. My answer is the unsatisfying possibly. I’ve considered everything from short stories to graphic novels to complete novels. One idea I’ve carried around is Yimt and Rallie hooking up some how (not necessarily dating as Yimt is married). I’m less inclined to do an origin story as they never seem to live up to the imagination. The worst example that comes to mind are the petulant Darth Vader movies. Anni the brat becomes angsty Anakin who eventually becomes Darth. And there’s Jar Jar.  Ugh.





This is when my year starts

I’m an autumn. I don’t mean color, although I do have some brown and dark red in my wardrobe. No, I’m an autumn mentally, physically, and spiritually. This season works for me on every level. It marks the end of summer heat waves and sauna-like subways. And when the fall gives way, it leads to even colder temperatures and snow.  I feel physically liberated from the humidity and I develop a more cordial relationship with the weather.

To mark the impending arrival of fall and to celebrate this Labor Day weekend I am embarking on a massive fall cleaning. This is my new year, and I want to start it off with a clean and tidy environment. I write better when my space is uncluttered. At the moment, however, I’m knee deep in books, papers, and other research ephemera. It’s part of the job, but I have a tendency to let things pile up until the only flat surface left in my apartment is the top of my head.

My father tells me that everything should have a place. That’s the key to order. I’ve worked on the basis that everything does have a place, usually piled on top of something else. I’ve come to see that my theory is less than ideal.

I live in New York City and am not yet a wildly successful New York Times best selling author. I have yet to inherit an island, win the lottery, or marry well (or even terribly). The end result is I have a decent-sized apartment on the Upper East Side that is, by Big Apple standards, spacious. Well, it would be if not for my personal library of several thousand books. I recently had a choice between another bookcase and a small couch. I bought two more bookcases.

With space being at a premium I really need to find a home for everything or give it the heave ho. Books…well they aren’t going anywhere, so my focus is on everything else. One way I’ve started dealing with my clutter is by throwing out/donating multiples. I don’t need ten bath towels or fifteen coffee mugs. Old running shoes that are past their prime but still in the closet waiting for me to turn them into ersatz slippers are history. Essays I wrote in university are getting scanned and then shredded. And on it goes.

It’s a slow process, but I feel better with each trash bag I fill and each countertop I rediscover. It’s like an archeological dig. Yesterday I found a flyer for Circuit City. I have rubber bands in my junk drawer that had petrified. I found keys that look like they’d open a crypt under the Vatican.  And under every piece of furniture I’ve stampeded herds of dust bunnies that would put the Great Plains buffalo migrations to shame.

Time for me to get back to work. If you don’t hear from me in a few days call 911. It’s likely I’m buried under takeout menus, WWII photograph albums, note pads, and scraps of paper with story ideas, calculations for stuff I have no idea what for, and phone numbers with no names.