It's been a winter of almost total hibernation. The wind tore my screen door off its hinges and blew a foot of snow into the shed. But now everything is happening, all at once, and the winter feels like bigotry. It is doomed, and it knows it.
Now for what's next: lists and mulch and manuscripts, because god knows I'm behind. Now that Flight of the Griffons is on the presses, I'll start editing this fall's picture book with Nimbus—a book of monster poems for 4-8 year olds called If I Were A Zombie. And I'll keep fussing over a growing posse of literary rejects because hope is a warm doughnut, ultimately empty but sweet enough to keep you from drifting off at the wheel. Then it's the beginnings of something big—the next gulag, if I'm worth anything at all.
The prospect of another novel, especially one that may digress from piracy, makes me feel like an infant all over again. Wailing! Acid reflux! Fits and spurts and blowouts and exhausted, tear-stained, falling-into-a-flushed-heap flounces. Someday, people are going to stop turning the word 'writer' into an adverb but until then, whenever I see it, repeated infancy is the only definition that comes to mind.
I'm going to Calgary in a couple of weeks, hired to shoot Cheryl Arkison's next book as a follow-up to A Month of Sundays, the most epic and excellent week of photography in my life so far. Getting on a plane again after these land-frozen and head-frozen few months feels as improbable as a thaw. My camera is a dog, generally obliging and good company that doesn't ask for much. It will feel like play (if a marathon is play) and then I'll come home to a box of hardcovers waiting at the post office. Gonna stuff my face right in there on any page. There is no more potent drug.
Then it's the book launch, set for Saturday, May 17 at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on the Halifax waterfront. We'll have music and readings and Swedish yelling and possibly a live stream of it all—it's going to happen right here, in this space, after four years of writing and rewriting. Four years. I keep staring at all that teak and canvas of the Small Crafts Gallery, all those female swoops and curves, at ribs and bows and masts mere feet from the harbour, and it feels right. Air, land, or sea, all ships are cousins. One blesses the other.
It's going to be the greatest day ever, with banjo. I'm so excited. I'll hope you'll be there, or tune in from far away. More here in the coming days and weeks, plus whatever treats from the book I can sneak away to show you. Res upp.
The windshield wipers are pushed up so they won't freeze to the glass and a robin just landed on the tip of one, staring beady-eyed at what we both hope is the great giving-up. The field freezes and unfreezes. It's snowing but it's a spineless snow, sugar on top of defrosted mud. There's life under there. The robin took off and the wiper blade twanged like a plucked string.
Everything's coming alive.