Friday Open Thread (with Mornings)
I woke up this morning with a sore neck. It was the very stroke of 6AM, the sky a massed darkness of blue cloud with a pale line brightening above it. I was very tired – couldn't sleep til late – but my neck hurt, and I felt certain more sleep in strange positions would tip it over some unwelcome edge into something that would ruin the coming day.
Blearily, I set up a long foam roller on a mat. I lay on it, did the sorts of stretches that are more about holding still and breathing than anything else, letting the body remember its shape. While I did that dawn broke before me, and cool breezes curled their way into the room. By the time I stood up again, my neck felt wholly, miraculously improved.
I made some tea. I watered my small garden, marvelled at the fruiting of two tiny cucumbers on the vine I thought done for the season. I took a book of poetry out to the balcony and sat in the morning light, listened to the rustle of soft autumning air through leaves still green and lush, and read, and thought of how much I wanted to share the air and the sky and the green hosta with its pale purple blooms, and how, if not for a stiff neck, I might have missed it all – sunk back into sleep and slipped away from something better than a dream.
I don't write this to suggest any inherent virtue in waking early, or to hold up morning over evening, or anything like that. Yesterday, on a walk at dusk, I saw a black-crowned night heron on the river, still and quiet amid a clamour of ducks and arriving geese, their silhouettes sweeping across a new moon brightening in a deep blue sky like magic. I would not choose between them. But finding moments where good things overlap – where tea meets poetry and green leaves, where geese meet river and moon – feels so precious to me in a loud world threatening bad new governments. I want to mark each moment of grace. I want to fold them up and give them to you when I can.
Tell me of your moments, your graces, any time you tried something without expecting it to work, but it did, and left you brimming with gratitude for small, deep things.
Wishing you rest and respite,
- The poetry book I was reading this morning is Clock Star Rose Spine by Fran Wilde, a collection of quiet precision and deep colour, beautifully and whimsically illustrated by the author. I'm looking forward to chatting with Fran at WORD in Brooklyn on September 16; register here! It costs $5 to do so, but you can apply that to the purchase of the book.
- Did you know Max Gladstone has a new novel coming out in February, and you can pre-order it? As supply chain issues cause delays across multiple levels of publishing (and, you know, everything else), pre-orders are more important than ever, and their importance to a book's success even prior to this really cannot be overstated.
- My dear friend Sam told me about a new game called Cloud Gardens and I find it mesmerizing. He wrote about it beautifully here.
- Speaking of games, super-genius Shing Yin Khor is Kickstarting a new one called Remember August, and has made me feel very warm and fuzzy in my heart by saying that This Is How You Lose the Time War was one of its inspirations, along with Nick Bantock's Griffin & Sabine books, which I also love.
- STILL speaking of games: CSE Cooney, her face an opal hour, her mouth a masted ship, has collaborated with her brilliant partner Carlos Hernandez on a game called Negocios Infernales, a diceless, GM-less cooperative roleplaying game with a wicked pack of cards at its heart. You can save the forthcoming Kickstarter here! I was an early playtester for the game and have enjoyed using the cards as prompts for creative writing. I can't wait to see the final iteration!