Item 1: We had a fantastically wicked thunderstorm last night – wooo! Thunder and lightning isn’t common for my part of the world, and so to sit up and watch the forked lightning streak across the sky (usually we only get sheet lightning) – awesome!

Item 2: Part of my radio silence has been due to heavy-duty, running-deep work on SUN, work where I’m learning more about my process and what I need to do in order to do justice the story I wish to write. It’s funny, there’s a pattern there that I didn’t see, if only because I’ve needed a couple of novels to look back on. Sort of like walking a labyrinth, I think – the pattern is only discernible when one looks back. Or, maybe it’s only discernible when one morphs into a crow and looks at the labyrinth from above. Either way, I think I see the pattern now, and will hopefully be able to identify its twists and turns in the future – or, at least, hold on to that length of string and find my way back through.

At any rate, this story has gone in some directions that I would never have thought possible, directions that couldn’t have happened if I didn’t have some very helpful people asking me some very tough questions. So, that is a good thing.

Item 3: Reading – oh, have I been reading lately! Isn’t reading one of life’s great pleasures? So many wonderful books, and sometimes I find myself saddened by the knowledge that I’ll never be able to read them all. I’ll only ever get to sample a smattering at best, but lately – what a feast! Stuff by James Hillman and Thomas Moore on the non-fiction side, and A.S. Byatt and Rosemary Sutcliffe on the fiction side of things. And poetry by Mary Oliver.

My world is richer for books.

Item 4: In my continued quest to become a somewhat grounded individual, I have returned to another great love of mine: calligraphy. Over the last while, I’ve been dabbling in artisty things, and have come up dissatisfied. Well, perhaps dissatisfied isn’t the right word. Confused might be, especially in regards to my intentions. I enjoy drawing because I understand pencils and paper. I do not, however, understand paint. I wish to paint those beautiful scenes like those of Samuel Palmer, but I get incredibly frustrated when I set out to paint with watercolour because my own technique (if, in fact, that is what it could be called) is so incredibly random. I set out for something Samuel Palmer-esque, and instead get carried away with letting the paints do what they want, which means I’m not really painting, but observing, more or less. The paint does the work. I just slap it on.

That’s a long way of saying that there’s something so satisfying about pen and ink, about carving letters into a piece of paper. And, I understand ink. I also like it when my hands get covered in ink (the curse of being a lefty), provided I don’t wipe it on my face, which has been known to happen. From time to time.

Anyhow, I have some plans for these calligrapic adventures, plans that I shall keep close to my chest for the time being, though I did try to scan some letters, but my scanner is possessed and is convinced that I do not, in fact, want to scan full pages. What I really want to do is scan 4×6 photographs – or so it believes. Honestly, there are days when I’m convinced all my electronic devices are sentient beings who are conspiring against me. And with each other. And with watercolour paint.

I hope everyone out there is happy and well and enjoying summer!

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