Tough as nails (or more specifically, tough as bones)

The world is progressing in fits and starts; or, no, what I mean is, my life is progressing that way. Little things finished, new things begun, the garden sputtering out for the summer just as people in distant climates are beginning to get poppies and fruit. I know I mentioned it was very hot last week, and so this week feels like a relief, though it is still hovering near 100 degrees. I walked outside on Monday and the air was so humid (relatively; 24% after like 1%) that I felt I was drinking a big glass of water as I walked down the street, a big sip with each breath.

This is not a complaint about the humidity. I’ll take it. When I was going out to ride my horse, we would always bitch about the humidity, because it made everything so gross: so many leather goods getting sticky, so much hay in my hair. My horse would have been blowing out her coat, probably, and I would have been covered in sun screen, sweat, and horse hair, and of course I miss that in many respects, but the upshot is that being home makes the humidity so much more bearable. Yes, I still get covered in dog hair, but Paul is sensible and small and likes to come hang out inside, where the overall liquid aspect of existence is lessened.

I have turned in my first pass page proofs which, for those who are not versed in the ways of publishing, means that the copy edited document got put into layout, and then I got to look it over and make final changes for cadence or visual appeal; fix any issues that appeared during production (they always do), and see what the interior of the book will look like, which is always a special feeling. There reaches a point when you don’t really want to read your own book anymore—at this point, I’ve read it a hundred times at least—but I mostly enjoyed it, relaxing into the opportunity to be alert within this story once more, before I will (soon, and inevitably) have to let go of it and simply wish it well in the world. It’s what you work for, and yet, after so many years of the book being mine mine mine, it’s also hard.

I also published an essay for Catapult’s ‘Don’t Write Alone’ feature that looks at different strategies for deciding whether your idea is better suited to becoming a novel or a short story. Sometimes it’s hard to choose! The essay was a lot of fun to write, and I hope people find it useful.

There may be no comic next week because I’m going to take a short vacation, so just hold onto your shorts and try to muddle through, time will bring us through this, too.