Battle of the Bugs

First, Clarion West Write-A-Progress: (Sponsor me here!)

Total= 2968
June 22 – 609 words (novel)
June 21 – 942 words (novel)

Meanwhile, participants, M.K. Hobson has pledged a buck for your best sentence.

I have successfully grown, ripened and eaten three strawberries in my deck garden so far this summer. There will be more, potentially quite a few of them. Many, unfortunately, will be mutant berries like this fellow here:


I attribute this to the insect warfare raging out on the deck. The garden’s just big enough to support a lively colony of ants, you see, and they are enthusiastic aphid farmers. Each spring when the tulips have come and gone they pack the strawberry stems with little black aphids, so that each stem looks like a miniature football team huddling under a green umbrella. I retaliate by kidnapping unsuspecting ladybugs from the neighborhood fennel plants, and dropping them at the base of the strawberries.

I didn’t think this had worked at all this year, but about two weeks ago I went out and found a ladybug laying eggs on my pansies, and a few days ago I dropped a ladybug in the berries only to realize that there was nothing there for her: all the little black huddled dots were the husks of aphids that had been sucked dry.

So the berries took a hit, but I’ll still get some deliciousness out of it, not to mention the entertainment value derived from the carnage.


Let the write-a-thon begin!

The Clarion West Write-a-Thon begins today. I set a modest fundraising goal of $100, as I’ve never done this before, and if you’re interested in sponsoring me, the link is here:

My goal for the next six weeks is to write 20,000 words of fiction, some of which will be expended upon revising a very rough draft of a story called “Wetness.” Here’s a snippet.

“There’s a naked man in your bathtub.”

“I can explain,” Calla said, which was basically a lie. She was on Skytrain, headed for her mandatory therapy session. “What are you doing at my place?”

“Returning some DVDs.” Calla’s ex, Richard, had given out sets of their keys to a half-dozen of their friends, the better to get their cats fed if they suddenly had to go out of town. She’d managed to retrieve all the others, but June had made a whole big don’t-you-love-me, OMG, and I’m the one who’s been loyal to you all this time issue of it all. Calla hadn’t found the backbone to ask, not with June being the only person still calling her since her job and relationship had both turned to manure. “I went downstairs for a pee and saw him in the mirror and scared myself witless.”

“Sorry. But June, can this wait? Right now I’m prepping myself to seem sane and sensible so I can have my job back.”

“How’d you even get him home? Ignoring the fact that he’s probably infested with… well, I shudder to think. He’s too heavy to ship. Even if you find someone on Ebay who wants a well-hung garden gnome, you’ll never make money off him.”

“But he’s okay?” she asked, and then bit her tongue. Shit, shit.

“Calla, he’s a statue.” June said.

If you are at or shadowing Clarion this year, I wish you the best.

Tootin’ around

kelly-yoyoKelly and I have decided to do an overnight run to Victoria in the not too distant, so I can get some training for the mentoring gig–group facilitation skills basically.

I was supposed to do this in June but then a different commitment reared its rather alluring head, beckoning us to Osoyoos. Which makes two trips in June, because we are also going to the Locus Awards.

We are restricting ourselves to weekend jaunts because our travel focus (and vacation days, and travel savings) is all about big trip to Sicily at the end of the year. The three mini-jaunts will all be really fun, though. I’ve barely spent any time in Victoria since 2000 or so, I love love love the South Okanagan and the reason we’re going to the Locus Awards Ceremony again is that it was a really terrific experience last year.

The get out of towniness of it all will also provide a good break from the mighty routine. It has been especially nose-to-grindstone here lately; I got out with Barb on Mother’s Day, and am keeping up with Italian class, but have otherwise been pretty cloistered. Which is something I plan to work on, any minute now.

In the meantime, Okanagan Grapes!