Weasel in the Sauna!

12 November 2002

I want it known that I did not spend all day yesterday working. No. Of course, most of the non-working time was spent on the phone with my cousin Kari. We talked a long time, because those of you who know me know that I can really talk, and guess what? It's a family thing. We inherited it from our...er...well, Kari and I actually have no ancestors whatsoever in common, not by blood or adoption. Unless you count that my grandparents have more or less adopted her dad. So we inherited it from Grandma! So there!

Anyway, many interesting tidbits exchanged, and Kars says we have to do this more than once every six months. Which is true. We have that weird family/friend/family friend thing going on, so we can take each other for granted a lot. In some ways a good thing, other times not so much.

I can tell it's going to be a good day, though, because the house is clean, there are fresh blueberry muffins and Timprov is coming back. And I got an e-mail from an old friend/former crush. (Matt Myers, Mom. Nice Swedish boy, you remember. Gave me rides home.) Which was nice, because Kars gave me his URL, and I thought of him as "old friend/former crush" but didn't know if he thought of me as "Oh, that freaky kid, I think I remember her, maybe." So I wasn't sure if I'd get a response at all. But I got a long, chatty, happy e-mail from him this morning that indicated that I had also been mentally shelved as "old friend/former crush." So that was nice, and now I get to write back and see more pictures of his beautiful baby girl.

Everybody gets to have a beautiful baby but me. Okay, maybe not everybody. But it seems like it sometimes. When I was in Minneapolis, I made the mistake of touching Gavin's face. (Scorecard: Gavin is Heathah's baby boy. And Dave's, I suppose Dave had some role in it.) Baby skin. Oh, man. The baby skin gets me every time. And the baby scent. Clean Baby Head may be the most intoxicating smell in my life at this point.

But it's not time for that yet. Not time. No. Not the time and not the place.


Anyway, I finished Necessary Madness, which managed to be both melodramatic and boring to me, and yet not in a way that makes me think I'll avoid the book that was actually recommended. It was melodramatic and boring in a first-novel kind of a way, in a way that I thought the author could grow out of. So. That was my other not-working time yesterday. Oh, and I read a few chapters of Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them, which is interesting and in places hysterical. Some of the imaginary friend stories are great. Also, I'm really glad that the author knows the term "statistically significant" and applies it frequently -- there are times when I know that a lot of major media would be screaming about the difference in two populations, and this author does the math instead. I appreciate that a lot. But my favorite line/image so far is, "There is one documented case of a child who had an ongoing (and rather stormy) relationship with the chest of drawers in his bedroom." I think I need to do something with that. I'm just not sure what. It'll come.

I finished one of the human smuggling books yesterday, in a fit of happies and joys. One to go. I also worked a good bit on the book. Found a fairy tale to work into one of the bits with the folklorist. I'm not sure if I want to make it into a short story, too, or if I'll just leave it as is. It's got a weasel running around a sauna, folks. Do any of your fairy tales have weasels in saunas? I didn't think so. Anyway, if I don't decide to do a short story version, I'll tell you the tale of the merchant's beautiful wife and the weasel and the squirrel here in this journal, because I can't wait until the book is sold to tell it to people, and it's in kind of spare form there.

I also did most of the tale of Ilmarinen winning the maiden from North Farm. Which is important because many of the sorceresses think of one of my main characters as Ilmarinen come again, and he does play a lot of the same roles. (Which I had forgotten until I reread the Kalevala, but now that I have, how fortuitous!) So when they tell him stories of Ilmarinen, usually they're trying to give him advice. They're trying to say things that they don't feel they can say right out. (Ooh, ooh, Zed, you know when you were talking about conversations not being about what they're about? I was listening!)

Columbine is right: everything I'm doing is tinted the colors of snow and fir branches now. There was always a moment at dawn up in Minnesota in January, when the sun was not really up yet but the streetlights had turned off. I would stand at my window and look out at the big evergreen on the front lawn and the bare black tree nearer the building, and the snow, the entire world, really, would be this amazing deep blue. That's what color my world is right now. That's what I reach for when I'm writing this book.

Sometimes it's the color right before that, when the streetlights were still on and the snow was more blue and amber-gold. But mostly, just blue.

The furnace was tapping all night, not quite rhythmically. Mark was kept awake by it at first, and I murmured things like, "Wanmetokickit?" It was not keeping me awake at all. I spent many of my college nights, especially senior year, curled up against the heater, which banged. Loudly. But it didn't sound like humans, so I could sleep through it. Ah, the eccentricities of an only child. Dang, that room was cold, though. More than twice the size of a normal dorm room in that building but with the same size heater, which was only theoretically under my control.

I want frost, dammit. I want to see my breath in the air when I take the trash out or fetch the mail. I want to hear little crunchy noises when I step on the grass. I want to need a cup of herbal tea to get my body temperature back up every once in awhile. Or coffee, or cocoa, or cider...I really like this hot beverage thing, you know, and while they can be pleasant in moderately chilly temperatures, they're not really necessary. Sigh.

The headline on today's Merc says, "Death, destruction in twisters' wake." And I shudder: yes, I know that feeling. Awfully late for tornadoes, though.

I'm not sure what's wrong with me, that this journal entry gets to be about what I don't get to have right now, about tornadoes, whatever bad things. Really I'm in a "weasel in the sauna" kind of mood: around and around and around. I'll probably finish up the Ilmarinen-tale scenes today, maybe type some of the work in my paper journal. I did half of my work yesterday on the computer and half on paper. Don't know if that'll continue, or if the shift will continue, or what. Anyway, I've got plenty of time to get work done and then relax and enjoy the return of the Timprov.

I'm wondering about Ilmarinen's fiery, forged iron eagle. I don't think I have room for giant iron eagles in this book, but I can certainly make room in other books.

Giant iron eagle. Weasel in the sauna. Stormy relationship with chest of drawers. Right. Going to be that kind of day, I can see.

Ah, who am I kidding. They're all that kind of day.

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