daily living, site updates, the creative process, writing

time for a change

Words WrittenThing(s) EnjoyedStuff Accomplished
*sad deflated balloon noise*
PseudoPod Ep. 713: “You Can Stay All Day,” by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire)Website redesign + updates. It’s summery! I like it!
9,753 / 15,000
Cat Rambo‘s Short Story WorkshopSuccessfully administered medication to Mrs. Moo
Trying a new thing here. We’ll see how much I like it later.

(I’m not going to admit to how much time I spent fiddling with that silly table to make it look presentable, so we’ll see if this is a format I stick with going forward in subsequent posts. Anyway.)

During the 5-minute timed writing sessions for Cat Rambo’s Short Story workshop today I jotted down two pieces I rather enjoyed: a hypothetical beginning to a short story set in the same universe as my current project, Companion Animals, and a response to the prompt, “The doll was dead.” I’ve polished them just a hair and so figured I’d drop them here, so that hopefully in a few weeks’ time I can look back on this post and compare my progress.

“The doll was dead.”

The doll was dead.

He found it at the bottom of the ravine, half-drowned under grey water run-off and a discarded soda bottle. The doll’s pale pink dress had discoloured under the malign indifference of the elements. Maybe it wasn’t pink at all. Maybe it had been red, once upon a happier time. He would never know for sure, and didn’t care. It was difficult to care, in that moment, about anything other than the doll’s open, staring eyes, which could not be black plastic buttons held in place by a neat criss-cross stitch of black thread, or beads, or little glass marbles with swirls of too-bright colour for irises, tidily affixed to a face of fabric or porcelain.

They couldn’t be any of those things, because fabric could not bruise, and glass could not bleed.

A Last Defence

Starlight pours through the airlock’s glass porthole and illuminates the crime scene before her torch can catch up. Blood, she thinks, glitters like a scattering of diamonds spilt from some baroness’s upended jewelry box. Viscera is duller, like silverware in need of a polish.

She has an academic knowledge of her shaking hands, like her body feels the fear before her mind does. That is one of many things she does not share in common with the little cat that stands, immutable as gravity, fierce as an entire battalion of Imperial pistoleers, on the opposite side of the airlock door.

The station’s failing bulwark groans when the escape pod door hisses open. She turns to throw herself into it, but not without one last look over her shoulder through the porthole. Her saviour, her last defence against the Emperor’s coterie–so small and brave, and so alone.

daily living, kitten fostering

kitten fostering: my latest adventure

Over the last month and a half, as anyone who follows my dedicated cat-centric account on instagram can probably tell, I’ve taken on some additional responsibilities.

…three of them, actually.

Thomas and Abigail are our current resident foster gremlins, but Georgie was the first to come home with us back in June. The experience of caring for, socializing, and acclimating our entire household to the presence of something so small and precious, and yet so disruptive, was a trial by fire about which I have exactly zero regrets. Managing her care on top of all the other dramatic life changes that are happening behind the scenes here was hard, but not nearly as hard as letting her go early this month. That’s the thing about foster parenting, of course: the goal is always goodbye, but sometimes goodbye happens before we’re ready for it.

Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking. “But Elisabeth, isn’t this supposed to be a speculative fiction writing/review/recommendation blog? What’s with all the cats all of a sudden*?”

My response: listen, it clearly says on the tin that this website suffers from something of an identity crisis, so if we’re all being honest with ourselves here, this post is exactly on brand. Kittens today, NaNoWriMo updates tomorrow, records and information management-inspired free-form poetry on Wednesday–I know what the people want, all right?


Anyway, I said all that to say, as kitten fostering continues to take up a larger part of my time, I want to document some of my missteps, mishaps, and other lessons learned here on this blog, in hopes of helping other fledgling foster parents who might be trawling WordPress reader for support or advice.

So, first piece of advice:

If your vet’s office rings you up and asks you, “So, ready to take on your first foster kitten?” before you’ve had time to order your play pen or other essential kitten containment accoutrements, don’t be an exceedingly obliging Southerner. Say no! Say, “Just give me another day and then I’ll be ready,” because while you can pull a hat trick at the last minute and make do with your mother-in-law’s rejected dog kennel, some towels, and an aluminum lasagna tray as an ad-hoc litter box, you will really, really wish you hadn’t.

Take the time you need to get yourself set up. You’ll be glad that you did, and your new foster baby will be, too.

* I actually grew up involved with greyhound rescue back in Alabama, so this work isn’t entirely new to me. That being said, fostering kittens who need medical care is a much different kettle of fish from looking after fully grown adult dogs who can more or less take care of themselves, so really, I absolutely was in over my head when I started doing this. oops.


camp nanowrimo

I’m participating! Look, I’ve even got a project set up on the official NaNoWriMo website and everything.

A bit annoyed that the embeddable widget option seems to be gone, but that’s not really the point.

I’ve set a modest 20k word count goal for myself for the month, which I think is attainable as long as I make sure not to stress myself out or over do it. After two days, I do believe I’ve determined that I am at my most creatively productive between 8 and 9am, which is when I’ve been writing my 100 word minimum each day for the last month and change anyway.

Please feel free to add me as a writing buddy! I would love to be your cheerleader as you put down words on your passion project.