He sits in the breakfast nook, an artfully designed corner of the otherwise empty house with bench seats that look out on the Douglas firs. A cup of tea is before him, as is a single English muffin. This has been his routine now for six months. Get up, run around the property and the hills beyond. Shower, dress, enjoy a cup of tea and a pastry of some sort. And then?
I knew it was coming. It’s possible it was simply two years late. I walked into through the sliding automatic door, past the deli and the Keno display and strode boldly — much more than I felt — down the cheese aisle and, yeah.
Crap. Here it comes.
When we moved back into our house, the chore of sorting through what seemed an endless tide of boxes of books fell to yours truly. It was only fair. A good eighty to ninety percent of the books in this house are mine anyway. And of course I didn’t mind, reconnecting with what I could consider friends, some of which have been with me since high school. As I sorted and unpacked, I realized that I wanted to reread a vast number of them. Now, some of these books I could probably rewrite from memory. But I wanted to reread them none the less. Like I just said, some of these books, they’re like friends.
There is a ski lodge high on Mount Hood that you may have seen before. It’s Timberline Lodge; and while its story as a WPA project is worth a read, and its interior a marvel in American craftsmanship, you probably know it best from its short screen time as the framing shot for the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Now allow me to be upfront about this; Timberline Lodge is not the Overlook Hotel. The hotel was a set piece, and the interior of the Timberline looks nothing like the faded glory of the Overlook. However, there’s information about the movie proudly displayed in the hotel and the Lodge hosts the annual “Overlook Film Festival”; a bit of a perverse thrill in telling its guests that they are sleeping in closest thing to the Overlook. (According to the Lodge’s website, room #217 — the original room in Stephen King’s book — is the most requested room.)
It has been a while, hasn’t it? Oh sure, there was that other site, and that took time. And yes, there was a novel draft, which was finished literally as I returned to the states; somewhere above the Pacific. That felt good, let me tell you. So much so, that I immediately cashed in on the whole first class thing1thanks tiny Oregon shoe company and asked the flight attendant for two whiskeys on the rocks. She brought me two of these fall-themed apple-infused Jack Daniel’s cocktails that actually were delicious. So I asked for two more, and when auntie looked at me strange, I smiled and told her, “Hey, I just finished my book and I’m moving back to the States.” Since we were still in the future, the looming nightmare of Trump was still visible and she took pity on me and brought me three and some ramen.
So passed draft three; with a toast as I hurdled towards the day before at 500km/h.
I’ve been following with some great interest the path of Aaron Jacobs, once a friend of a friend and now a husband of a… y’know it’s not important. What is important is said path has been mirroring mine to a considerable degree — he recently expatriated to Australia and has in the interim been working on his writing, specifically fantasy fiction. I’ve yet to read his fiction, but judging from his blog and what he’s shared of his inspirations and research, it seems incredibly like my jam.
So I made a big introductory post, spent many hours pouring over old posts and reformatting them, wrung my hands over how many words I’ve written about video games2oh my god I’m a dork and then…
It’s in small part a bit of secret3or is it? that I wanted to be a Journalism major. I was very much involved in the school paper4Onlooker, represent serving as the Editor-In-Chief of that periodical my senior year. It was a proud moment for me to make that post, until I realized what a fucking shit job running a paper is, triply so when merged with high school drama and in-fighting between staff and faculty alike. My tenure at the helm of the Onlooker was a drama-ridden mess, but gods be damned, we put out a fine product. Fine being a relative term, of course. We’re speaking of a high school newspaper. Our layout meetings were tense, angry affairs. Every decision was questioned, every dubiously written article about the latest rumors and gossip a referendum on First Amendment rights. And, let’s not dodge the obvious here, I was as much of the architect of the drama as I was its recipient.
“Tell me a story,” she said…
I suppose, with a blank slate and empty text box in front of me, it is right and proper to start with the basics.
September the 11th. For Americans, it’s a date that carries a lot of memories and sorrow. It also carries with it a rising level of jingoistic rhetoric and overly patriotic statements, the tragedy too large, I think, for our sound-bite culture to digest properly, too real to be actual memory. It’s a political day, as all events in the US are, it seems, as politicians reach out to their base with varying levels of thinly veiled xenophobia or condemnations/accusations of such.
Okay, enough of my fatigue of American politics.