Jessica abhors a vacuum

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If you live anywhere near this part of the country, you’ll have heard a variation of this conversation about ten times per day for the past week or so. Forgive me for repeating that which you may already know, but:


Christamighty it’s hot.

And then I have to follow that with the very important corollary:

Christamighty it’s humid.


The AC is running nonstop, not because it’s set at a delightful 65, or a typical 72, or a responsible 78, but because I have it at 86. Canada’s looking better by the day.

I do not do well with heat. I get cranky. I’m less productive. I turn into a puddle of useless, overheated skin and wilted bone. And if I have it bad, just think what it’s like to wear a permanent fur coat. Poor kitties. No wonder it took me a whole hour to vacuum on Sunday. (That, and I hadn’t done any housework in a really, really long time.)

Despite the heat, I’ve been walking to and from work. Or rather, I’ve been walking to work in the cool mornings, and bumming rides home with Persepolis on the really scorching afternoons. I’m still driving on those days when I don’t get out of work till nine, and I am most assuredly driving during those weeks when I go to the library that is ten miles away, as opposed to the library that is two point five miles away, but still. It’s saving me some gas—and now that I have the luxury of spending my time as I please, I can afford to get up thirty minutes earlier.

With all this newfound free time, I’ve really been living it up. You already heard about the hour of vacuuming. I could also tell you, in excruciatingly tedious detail, about my Tuesday evening at the laundromat (nearly thirty dollars in coins, that was), or about my trip to the recycling center. All those chores I’d been delaying had finally come due.

Conclusion: Don’t go two months without vacuuming, even if you have a book deadline. It’s not worth it.

But rest assured, I’m back to my old tricks: I’ve read two books this past week. Thomas H. Cook’s Master of the Delta, consumed primarily over my lunchbreaks, was an utter waste of my time. The blurb in the front flap made it sound so good, but it turned out to be this predictable psychological thriller/eerie setting nonsense. I love gloomy psycho-thrillers, but it’s so hard to find anything good. Maybe I should just reread Koestler.

Mary Roach’s Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, I am pleased to report, was very enjoyable. Mary Roach takes bizarre topics (death, the afterlife, and now sex) and studies the science behind them. There were some laugh-out-loud moments that would have been embarrassing if anybody but the cats had heard me.

Amongst the things I learned: The first little spermies of an ejaculation aren’t going to cause conception. They’re too eager, too immature. They get an A for effort but they’re just the vanguard. The crème de la crème comes in the middle. And the last part of ejaculate? Why, that’s a spermicide, designed by nature to kill off the competing sperms of any males who come after.

(“How long does this spermicide last?” we asked at work. Of *course* we asked. Unfortunately, we failed to find an answer. You try googling for “natural spermicide” and see what you get… Come to think of it, I may be getting some unexpected hits on my blog, due to the nature of what I’ve just been discussing. But I’m used to that.)

If you chanced upon this website in the hopes of finding naughty discussions, I’m sorry to disappoint. Perhaps I could interest you in some book reviews?

Speaking of book reviews, I’ve got an article due in to NoveList at the end of this month. Sigh. Will give me something to do while I’m waiting to find out what revisions I need to make to the first draft of the book.

But it’s not like I needed something to do. The third book I’ve started readomg this week, The Darkness That Comes Before, is taking up a good chunk of time. It is the first Big Fat Fantasy in a trilogy of Big Fat Fantasies by R. Scott Bakker, exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to indulge in upon finishing the manuscript draft. It’s pretty good, despite not having any dwarves or orcs, but I’m going to wait a bit to tell you about it, since it’s kind of slow on developing the plot and the characters. By “kind of slow” I mean “glacial.” Give me time.

Except, hell, when am I supposed to find time? Now that I’m back to vacuuming sort of regularly, and now that I’m walking to work and writing articles again, I’m feeling crunched for time. I could really use a vacation. (NOT, mind you, that I am complaining about this present state of affairs. Compared to the misery of writing a reference book, I’ll take this any day.)

We also have to consider that next month I’m giving a talk on Street Lit in Missouri. Or possibly Kansas. Definitely one of the two. Have I begun to prepare for the talk? Well. No.

And then… Got an email yesterday from my editor. Not my book editor. Not my NoveList editor. My other editor, the one who nicely asked if I would be turning in my chapter anytime soon.

Readers, I kid you not: I had forgotten about this chapter. Whichever little wrinkle in my brain that had been assigned to remember had merrily smoothed itself out. Some time back (like… a year ago maybe? Dunno. It’s all hazy), I had agreed to write a chapter on fantasy for a readers’ advisory text. So that’s on my plate. Or rather, it’s been on my plate, but I had done a lovely job of ignoring it.

But it’s only a chapter. I can handle a chapter. I’ll get around to it whenever I’m not vacuuming.


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