I got up earlier than I would have liked. The cabin got chilly overnight—the outside temperature dropped to somewhere around 8°C last night—and so I opened up the curtains anywhere the sun would shine in. Then I made coffee and had a banana, and sat down to process last night’s photos and charge up the camera batteries.
I wrote about 1,000 words in the morning and then read some more of my nice light beach read, Catch-22. (I’ve always mentally paired Catch-22 with Slaughterhouse-Five, since both are anti-war satires and both have titles of the form word dash number. There’s another way they’re linked, I’ve decided, because both of them unstick the reader in time. In Slaughterhouse-Five it’s explicit; one of the first lines is “Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time”. In Catch-22, it’s implicit; Yossarian’s story bounces around in the timeline, with flashbacks, reminiscences, and foreshadowing leaving the reader unsure just when in the story we might be. Are they flying 30 missions or 55? Has Snowden perished yet or is he still alive?)
I biked down across the dam to the coffee shop to post yesterday’s update (which I’m sure you’ve read) and mutter to myself about the
503 Service Unavailable error my site is still intermittently throwing. (I’ve got an open tech support ticket reaching back to, I dunno, July or so; apparently it’s a hard problem to solveAs the old joke goes, there are only two hard problems in computer science: naming variables, cache invalidation, and off-by-one errors..)
Back at the cabin, I had a brief chat with my friend Ed, who was trimming the grass at his daughter’s cabin across the street. He invited me up the hill for a visit later.
I took the kayak out—finally, a day warm enough to go out on the water!—and paddled about 3½ km, up the lake and back again. If this isn’t nice, what is?
I had some supper—it’s becoming apparent I BBQed enough smokies on Monday for lunch that I’ll be eating smokies till the day after doomsday—and then sat down to write my evening’s 1,000 words, which ended up being a weird little acrostic snippet that’ll need a lot of editing. But as Sir Terry Pratchett said, The first draft is just you telling yourself the story. It’s not gonna make sense, yet, to most anyone else. That lesson is both necessary and a hard one to learn; I think I re-learn it every time I sit down to write.
After writing I went up to Karen and Ed’s cabin, high atop the hill, and we sat on their deck and chatted for about two hours. They say hi, everyone.
The skies were clear when I got back to my borrowed cabin, and I was sore tempted to load up my camera gear and go snap some more photos in the dark. But I was also still tired from the night before, so I compromised: I set up the camera on the deck and collected an hour’s worth of star trails right here. Even in a light-polluted spot like this—there’s a bright white lamp that shines down on the deck that’s easily as bright as the full moon—you can see the stars. You can tell—the photo’s up above.
She made her circuit again, in reverse this time: the small-windowed original building, with its museum pieces, the green chair from The Rt. Hon. Alan T. Kimpole, without whom perhaps there would be no library here, the dusty artifacts with their small, neatly-typed placards; then the First Annex, stodgy with dark wood (again, here, she found it difficult to not imagine the place smelling of brandy and the combined smoke of generations’ worth of cigars); the West Wing with its offices; the North Stacks with its prime ministers flanking the very dated portrait of the Queen; and finally the O’Neir room, surprising her not at all with its insistence on being last.
The last shall be first. Who said that? She should know. It used to be one of Nathan’s favourite quotes.
She hesitated before opening the door, her hand trembling a little. Please God, she thought, don’t let it be the funeral home. Because she’d come to suspect why there was a photo of their wedding next to the rosewood urn, and she didn’t like the implications.
There was a lake in the room now.
Series: Writing Retreat 2022The entire series: Writing Retreat 2022: Goals; Writing Retreat 2022: Monday; Writing Retreat 2022: Tuesday; Writing Retreat 2022: Wednesday; Writing Retreat 2022: Thursday; Writing Retreat 2022: Friday; Writing Retreat 2022: Wrap-up.
Interested in prints of my photos? Let me know, and we can work something out.
|↑1||As the old joke goes, there are only two hard problems in computer science: naming variables, cache invalidation, and off-by-one errors.|