“The raucous cadence of your song / commands the hillsides loud and strong”

Dear Book,

Awww, you’re being awesome today. Can you be like this always?

Me


Dear Book,

By always, I actually meant longer than the next 15 minutes. Sorry about the confusion.

Me


Dear Chapter 19,

It’s all your fault. All the other chapters are so well behaved.

Just remember, the outtakes file is in the same directory you are.

Me


Header lyrics from Jen Hajj’s “Raven.”

“What’s a hand / what’s a dream / who can say what it means?”

Dear Secondary Character Who Sets the Story in Motion,

You may be evil, but the scenes you’re in, they write themselves.

Who wouldn’t put up with a bit of evil for that?

Me


Dear All Characters With Any Dialogue Whatsoever,

There’s a difference between damming a river and damning a river.

I know it all sounds the same to you, but think of the manuscript pages, will you?

Thank you for your consideration.

Me


Lyrics from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s mistitled but nonetheless evocative “Iceland”

Things writers of shapeshifters think about #278

If an animal can eat carrion, will it, given a choice and access to affordable grocery stores? Is carrion-eating necessity or preference?

Possibly this varies by species.

Like, maybe a raven would prefer a rare hamburger and a strawberry smoothie. But maybe some species of vulture would actually choose that roadkill-of-indeterminate-age even when given other options.

Maybe not. I know far less about vultures than ravens.

Clearly I need to do something about that.

And then there are the canines and felines. I suspect they each have very different preferences, too.

Meanwhile, it’s been pointed out that I haven’t been posting enough wildlife videos lately, so here. Have a peregrine chasing a bicyclist:

“It’s a slow dive down / a fast distraction / a strange fall forward”

Dear Secondary Character Who I’m Liking More and More All the Time,

There. Right there. Page 90.

That’s where you cross the line you’re going to have to spend the rest of the book redeeming yourself from.

But hey, at least this pass I get why you need redeeming. In more than the last draft’s token way.

Me

Grumpy raven is grumpy

The raven landed on top of the streetlight in the morning light, making low noises deep in its throat, somewhere between a krawk and a purr, sleepy noises, irritated noises.

It was cold outside, just above freezing, and the raven seemed to take the cold personally. I moved closer, within the range where most ravens fly away. The raven didn’t move. It’s neck feathers were fluffed out in ruffled complaint, its talons firmly on its perch. It continued its clucking, clicking protest. What was a human, or that truck that had just rattled by, compared to this irritating weather?

I thought it a lovely morning, chill air scented faintly with frost, a layer of fog over the snowy mountains. Maybe the next raven over thought it was lovely, too. But ravens are individuals, and this raven–even when it eventually flew off, in response to no cue I could see–clearly did not approve.

Thoughts while working on a story arc

So maybe there’s the one who walks away from Omelas. And maybe that doesn’t seem to matter much, at the time. Maybe it even seems an easy way out

Only then there are also the three or five or three dozen people who watch that one walk away and think: okay, we’re not willing (can’t) (choose not to) do that. But maybe it’s about time we worked on fixing this thing from where we are.

Both these people: the ones who walk away, and the ones who witness the walking away and are changed by it are needed, and of equal importance, and intimately interconnected.

And the time that passes between these two responses matters too. It’s time during which, somewhere beneath the surface, receptiveness to change can shift in subtle ways.