Hello from the beginning of monsoon season; the sky is overcast, then blue, then black; daily, the humidity rises and falls like the breath of a feverish giant. The temperature has dropped this week, and Paul is suspicious. When I take him out for walks, he spends long periods sniffing totally empty patches of gravel, crooks of rockery he’s never been interested in before. He keeps back-tracking, looking at me as if to ask, Can you explain this?

The rain has been more like a Seattle rain than a monsoon rain. We’ve gotten lots of wind, but not much wet, just a long, slow drizzle, followed by steam. My hair is confused and periodically enormous.

It’s been a long time since I had a year as busy as this one. Probably the exact number of years is three; probably I was this busy in 2015, when my first book came out, and for that reason I am busy again. Of course, in 2016 I worked for the library as the Writer-in-Residence, while also writing and maintaining a day job, and figuring out how to own a horse. That year, I remember getting up at 6am a lot, sometimes staying out till 10pm, always being tired. I remember trying to meet some friends at a bar for trivia, and having to wait outside for an hour because the police were in a standoff with a man on a man on a nearby roof. They kept ushering us away from the alley we needed to cross through, explaining that the K-9 units were waiting to rush the man if he jumped down.

It was a pretty night. There was a good sunset, hyper-pink, electric orange. In June all the mesquite trees start dropping their pods, which are curly and dry so you can crunch over them like leaves when you’re out walking. I remember crushing them while I waited: one pod, two pods, three. Now the ones on the ground are all damp. They give too easily under the heel, never making that satisfying snap of something breaking under pressure.

Tomorrow (tomorrow!) INVITATION TO A BONFIRE comes out in the UK, and that’s exciting. I hope people read it. I hope it goes well. I have been doing book publicity long enough now that my wishes are straightforward like that: I hope it goes well. The shimmering and effervescent unknowing seems to be dissipating off me, which is good and necessary, because I am starting to work again, which requires a completely different kind of energy. I guess that’s why I keep thinking about busy-ness, worrying that it gives me too much of an excuse to not hunker down, bunker up. Monsoon weather is good for that, though. It makes you want to drink tea, even if the rain is not cold, even if the tea is the same temperature as the air.

Atmospheric pressure: it’s all around us, friends.