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From Patreon: American Tour status, plus words.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/38338860

Locked Patreon post: new story in draft…

https://www.patreon.com/posts/35599834

2019.

It’s been a year, and for me a good one in some ways. I published four new things I am especially proud of:

Two more stories were written and will come out this spring: “The Apartment Dweller’s Stavebook” at DIAGRAM, and “Noah’s Raven” at Lightspeed. And there was yet another, “An Attempt at Exhausting An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris by Georges Perec,” though I have no idea if that will ever find a home.

There were (and are) also a bunch of reprints. I am especially excited that Lightspeed is reprinting what is in some ways the most ambitious story I have ever written, “Story Kit,” in February.

Yeah, there was an award, too, the World Fantasy Award, for “The Privilege of the Happy Ending.”

I did a lot of thinking about and prep for several longer works, but neither of them have gelled yet, so here we are.

Teaching got easier this year, though my spring was so full of dissertations and theses that I wasn’t sure I could compete it all. I went to Iceland. I moved to a lovely house in the woods. I got another cat. I joined a gym and started getting strong again. I finally realized there is a difference between people who are good company and people who are reliable. I got involved with a nonprofit. I joined a club. I tried to be a better person. Sometimes I was stressed, sometimes I grieved, sometimes I despaired — but more of the time I worked and thought and was happy in various ways.



Last two days in Snaefellsnes.

There are a limited number of roads available on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, especially in winter: the 54, the 56, the 58; the 574 through Snaefellsnes National Park; a few stubs that lead to small towns or churches by the water. The roads that cross between the north and south shores are mostly gravel, and according www.road.is, one is closed and one is just a little hazardous. So, we have been driving the roads we do have for three days now. We know where the towns are; we know where the old fishing boat strung with lights is, and the lime-green Camino-style conversion with the six wheels. Again and again, we have looked at Kirkufell and frozen waterfalls and black slopes heathered with snow and causeways. (There have been pictures each day, as well.) We have driven back to certain places because we can’t resist them: an abandoned black-stone barn in an empty field.

And each time it’s different. The sky has been different colors, different heights. Today there was no wind at all, and the little inlets and fjords were perfectly still, so that you could see the mountains reflected, the tiny waves merely another layer of complexity added to the textures of grass and snow and shadow and moss. The sky was a low, mostly even field of clouds, but the air beneath it was clear. We could see the Northfjords, faint blue to the north; to the west, we could see the smooth shining white of Snaefellsjökull where it had been hidden before this in snow-fog.

We have now been between Stykkishólmur and Ólafsvík five or six times, and this time, the last on this trip, I suddenly realized: I could drive this road every day of my life and never grow tired of it. More, I have done this: not here, not now; but it reminded me of the back roads I grew up driving or driven on, the quiet little winter roads I still sometimes drive in Iowa and Minnesota and Wisconsin. They are less beautiful than this, but there is still that lovely, perfect moment, as you come over the slope and there, precious and distant and welcoming, are the tiny lights of your destination.

Iceland, day two.

Slept sixteen hours — the longest I have slept in my life that I was neighter sick nor a child. Since then we have ambled about, shopping in a desultory way (books, a blanket, a map, and postcards) and talking, a lot. I haven’t see Elizabeth since spring, at least, and there is so much to catch up on.

Reykjavik is my favorite city in the world — not the most beautiful (that would be Stockholm), but the one that makes me happiest. And with the tourists mostly gone and snow on the ground, it is even better. There is a giant cat covered in lights, the Jólakötturinn; the sun sets at 3:30 and they put candles on your bar table by four; the bookstores are crammed to the rafters with new books. Even out of the cute downtown, I love it.