October Notes

My new office looks out over my rural yard. When I hear a new noise outside I always try to identify its source. I’ve identified new birds (wood thrush), recognized familiar ones (you’re a loud thing, chickadee), and had a sighting of the neighbor’s terrier. (What new beast is—-never mind, classic fluffy dog, size medium-to-small.)

I found a walk through some fields that I can take with my dog without either of us being mistaken for deer by zealous hunters. I’ve also established a new rule of country living: Always check your towel for bugs/arachnids/other small horrors before taking a shower.

I am subject to more than one prime directive when I wake up in the morning, which is confusing. Paint, write, live in your new place. This sounds like I’m an artist living on air, but in fact the painting is of a more domestic kind. Gotta put a second coat of paint on the bedroom and then (because I live in a farmhouse) paint the damn floor.

I have to finish chapter 11, half-ass chapter 12, and revise in 13 12 days to send my MS to an actual editor. No problem, right? Right?? Maybe it’s write in the morning, paint in the afternoon. Live in between the two. It sounds idyllic, but it’s actually a pain in the ass. And my car needs an inspection. But it beats working in a cubicle farm or a chicken farm, which is what this old house used to be.

(Also happy coming out day! I came out so long ago that I was bi. Now I think pansexual is more the term of choice for me because it includes nonbinary folks. Although it’s all pretty theoretical as I’m all settled down with Mr. Spouse.)

How is your October?


Those People

Back in my bookselling days, there were two kinds of booksellers. Those who kept their collections alphabetical and those who would rather stick forks in their eyes than alphabetize on their off hours. It should surprise no one that I was in the latter camp.

The other night I had a restless night and did a lot of thinking. It’s important not to do serious thinking when you’re up in the middle of the night, but practical thinking sometimes is soothing. The next morning I told my spouse, “I have a confession to make.”

Spouse and I are melodramatic people. As such, he was pretty sure I wasn’t going to confess to sleeping with a mysterious stranger.


I couldn’t say it out loud. I had to whisper. “I think I’m going to have to alphabetize my poetry books.” There was a long silence, one that I babbled to fill.

“Not all my books! Just my poetry books!! I’m having a hard time finding books I know I have.”

The silence continued. Finally he said, “I won’t tell a soul.”

And that, my friends, is love.

Lazy Freelancer’s Breakfast

It turns out that potato chips are not a good breakfast. I’ve been out of bread for weeks, and I packed half my cooking utensils by mistake. But it’s morning and I’m hungry. What to do?

Enter the baked egg dish.

Find a small oven-proof dish. Pour a little olive oil at the bottom for good measure. Never pack your olive oil before your actual move.

Line the bottom of the dish with the base. This could be a stale, but not moldy, heel of bread, an English muffin, a tortilla (shredded), fresh spinach or other hardy green.

Add your fixins. This could be bacon, leftover refried beans, a bit of grain, leftover or parboiled potatoes (note: parboiling potatoes requires actual work).

Crack one or two eggs into the dish.

Add cheese and salsa if you’re going the tortilla/leftover beans route like I did.

Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes or until the egg is not gross and runny.

Eat carefully from the dish and try not to burn your freelancing fingers. That shit’s hot.

Don’t ask me how I know that.

How do you keep yourself from the brink of starvation?

Home Office Design

More often than not, I work from my couch. But periodically, for example, when I’m about to move, I start thinking about office design. My current office design, and the office/bedroom designs of my past, can be best described as “how can I pack the most books into this space?” When I lived with roommates, my bedroom was jokingly called the library.

But one of my favorite distractions is to read dumb design articles and think about how I could or could not function in the space. The chairs in fancy design magazine home offices all look hideously uncomfortable. The addition of cowhide (fake or real) does not help, and does not fit house style (and I don’t mean Chicago). That said, I would love more stained glass windows, a window seat, and possibly even a ladder.

Before I worked at home, and before I worked in publishing houses, I worked in bookstores. (Ed. note: Bookstores and Indy Clause have the same aesthetic: Fit in as many books as possible.) The joke was that there are two kinds of booksellers. Those who alphabetized their books and those who spent so much time humming the alphabet song under their breaths at work that they felt no compunction to do so at home.

We all made fun of people who arranged book by color. They were Not Real Book People. But today I found the worst in anti-book sociopathy. Scroll down until you see the photo where the designer wrapped each book in brown paper for consistency. Words cannot express my horror. I am clutching my pearls. It Cannot Be Borne.

What drives you to capital letters?

July Notes

When I was dreading my wedding for all sorts of non-Spouse-related issues, my therapist told me to concentrate on the parts I was looking forward to. I think that’s when I started thinking about food and it being over.

Well, our offer on a country house next to greener pastures has been accepted. We are moving to a greener state, if nothing catastrophic happens between now and then (which I am not discounting). So I am focusing on what I am looking forward to.

I am going to sift through this fucking office and create order. I’m getting a long desk (possibly a hand-selected, pressure-treated board to go over two artisanally curated filing cabinets). (Note to self: learn how to spell artisanal before I move.) I went online for some inspiration and found this. It turns out workspaces routinely consist of three vases and two color-coordinated books. Feh.

I’m going to have a chair for company and a chair for solitude, a bookcase for science books, a shelf of reference books ON MY DESK, and a bulletin board somewhere.

Meanwhile crazy has been normal in politics. I need to denormalize it again and get to work. I am not looking forward to this, but I’m posting it here as a reminder.

What are you looking forward to?


It’s Quiet Around Here, Too Quiet

I would have posted, but I’m too busy trying to edit my friend’s book on artist’s colonies.

I would have posted, but I just edited chapter 4 of my own book. Note: Try not to write/edit/think critically about your father’s death on his birthday in the vicinity of father’s day.

I would have posted, but I didn’t.

I would have posted, but we’re getting pretty serious about a move to greener pastures, or at least woods.

I would have posted, but I had to contain my secret glee and my spouse’s overwhelming sadness at having our first deal fall through.

I would have posted, but we made an offer on a house yesterday that we like better.

I would post now, but I have to go home and pack and try not to die of anxiety. One can’t die of low-level anxiety, right?

I would post now, but wait I did.

What’s your excuse?