Monthly Archives: December 2013

clanging around

So there I am, getting on the elevator at work to go have a coffee break. The building has been playing christmas carols all month, and when I get on, it’s a sweet, piping version of “I Saw Three Ships.” Except that over the delicate melody there’s a bell going CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, in time but without any melody whatsoever.

That’s it: that’s the inside of my head these days. Everything is cognitive dissonance. I can’t tell which way is up, I’m stuck on all my decision-making, and I’m having a harder and harder time coping with the competing inputs of “Dow closes at record high!” vs the multiple cold and hungry people right outside this building looking for spare change. My company does extravagant projects in places suffering massive financial distress. I cringe at the thought of the Pacific garbage island and buy more food wrapped in plastic anyway. The whole system leaves me unsettled and vaguely (or not so vaguely) guilty. But if I hope to ever have land I can call my own, I need the system to help me, both for up-front expenses (my down payment is coming mostly from a very generous stock gift from family) and ongoing ones (can’t pay a mortgage without a steady income, can you). The ability to leave the investment-and-progress game comfortably depends on having reached a not-insignificant degree of proficiency in it.

CLANG, CLANG, CLANG. It’s hard to hear myself think sometimes, the clash is so loud. The carols will stop playing by January—but I have a feeling it’ll take longer to resolve into harmony in my head.

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the closest fantasy

Bear with me, this one is probably going to meander a bit. It does all go together, though, like a tangle of disparate roots sprouting into one intimidating hedge.

The fallow period of the year between Samhain and Yule is always nesting season for me. I fantasize about having a farm; I read a lot of homesteading blogs; I buy more things from the farmer’s market; I write stories where people spend a lot of time hungry, hunting food and preparing and eating it. Sometimes I even knit.

This year the story is a post-apocalyptic piece—a story about a farming community rather than a band of roving warriors, and about the young man who literally falls into the community and his struggles to get his feet under himself. Continue reading

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