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For Those Who Loved Susan Bloom

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Dear Susan,

You were one of the caretakers of my life. The moment you saw me, you recognized me as one of yours and brought me under your wing. What a big wing it was—you brought so many people under there. I found some of my best friends under your wing, where you were sheltering them, as you sheltered me. We were all lovers of that “impractical” thing, children's literature. Until I came to Simmons and met you, I didn't know there was a place where people like us could go.

I think—I hope—I told you, before you died, that I have the best job in the world for me. It's not possible to be happier about one's daily work than I am about mine. Do you know who held the lantern and lit my way to this work? I would not be here without you. You changed my life, enormously. Do you have any idea how many women and men are thinking about you right now and saying to themselves, “She changed my life?”

You were so unique. You were a person who could never, ever be mistaken for anyone…

Like Totally Whatever

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Here are two vids. Watch them in order: Taylor Mali, then Melissa Lozada-Oliva. ♥




Teeny Books for Christmas

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This December, I discovered the Etsy shop Ever After Miniatures, which offers DIY printable miniature books. You buy the templates, print them out, then cut, fold, and paste the sweetest little openable books, which have readable pages inside.


This sort of project is made for me.

Most evenings, I would work on a few. I made them as gifts, mostly.

We have a small secret drawer at the end of our dining room table. I kept my project in there when I wasn't working on it.

At a certain point, Kevin pointed out that they would make good tree ornaments. So I started adding strings and ribbons to a few of the covers. :o)

I got a little obsessed with this idea.



Here's one of my favorite pages of Pride and Prejudice.

After they were dry, up they went!

Lovely.
I have loads more Arctic pictures to share, and will do so as time permits. Hope you're all having a nice January! As I type this, it's sleeting in the Boston area, and our temperatures are expected to be close to 0°F tonig…

Novel-Writing in the Arctic

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My title is disingenuous, because I didn't do any novel-writing in the Arctic. However, I thought and plotted and observed and learned with intensity, such that in the two months since my return, I've written an entire third of the new novel that was my primary Arctic project. This writing pace is unheard of for me. It's partly because I've had some clearheadedness lately, unrelated to the Arctic. But it's also largely because I got so much hands-on experience on the ship!

Since most of my work in the Arctic was happening in my head and my heart, it's not going to be possible to show the entire process in pictures. But I can share some of the experiences that helped me make progress.

My novel takes place partly on a tall ship, where my main character is learning a lot about the work the sailors are doing.

Therefore, it helped me to learn to haul lines, and to watch others do so. (On a ship, ropes are called lines. It takes 60-ish lines to operate the rigging on…

Starcom: Nexus, and What It’s Like to Live with an Indie Game Developer

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Today Kevin’s game, Starcom: Nexus, releases in Early Access on Steam. It’s a thing of beauty, and also a lot of fun. If you like games that take you into outer space where you get to explore mysterious worlds, build a powerful ship, and explode bad guys, you should buy it, and play it, and let your gamer friends know about it. Yes, I’m biased, but reviewers and streamers  - who are not his spouse  - also love it :o). (FYI those last two links go to youtube streaming vids.)



***

Conversation at the dinner table:

Kevin: How was your day?

Me: Okay, I guess. I still can’t figure out how to get this girl to accidentally set her house on fire, then cause an explosion and get stuck in a window grille.

Kevin: I believe in you.

Me: Thank you. How was your day?

Kevin: Okay. When my enemy ships get within a certain distance of each other, they spontaneously explode.

Me: Oh!

Kevin: It’s not supposed to happen. It’s a bug.

Me: Oh.

Kevin: I can’t figure it out.

Me: I believe in you!

***


There are …

The Arctic Circle: A hike from Lloyds Hotel to Lilliehöökbreen

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Here is our trip log from Sunday, October 7:


Sunday 07.10 – Day 7

Lloyds Hotel – Lilliehöökbreen – North

-3/4°C Celsius, almost no wind in the morning, clear sky, beautiful sunrise. More wind in the evening going from WNW 2, to N 2-3 and later NW 4.

09:30 - Morning landing Lloyds hotel – Hike to Lilliehöökbreen.

11:15 – Anchor up Lloyds Hotel.

13:30 – Anchor down Lilliehöökbreen.

14:30 – Hikers back on board (Piet still smiling).

16:30 - Afternoon zodiac cruises Lilliehöökbreen.

19:00 - Going North.

Our leader, Sarah Gerats, kept this log for us throughout the trip… And October 7 was one of my favorite days. I woke that morning and, as happened most mornings, came out on deck to a view I'd never seen before.


If you take a close look at the middle of this picture — maybe click on it to make it bigger and more detailed — you might see an orange rectangle. This is a hut that's been decorated and painted orange. It's called Lloyds Hotel, and it is definitely the fanciest hut …