Ahhh! Hear that? That's the sound of blessed silence.
It's quiet out in a way that only rural Alaska in the deep winter can be. The temperature has been dropping for the last week, and as a result all the remaining moisture has been condensing out of the atmosphere as hoar frost on every tree branch and surface. Since we live very close to the ocean, that's a lot of moisture. The trees are thickly coated in fuzzy white crystalline jackets and the ground makes a weird squealing noise when you walk across it. The thick coating of hoar frost acts as a sound absorber, and the world is dead silent outside, pitch black, and the sky is full of stars. Some people find it eerie, but I like it - it reminds me of the short story by Fritz Leiber, A Pail of Air.
Christmas break is over. The kid is back in school, and I've returned to my usual schedule - which is good, because insanity wasn't far away otherwise.
I've got a veritable plethora of projects going at the moment. I allow myself a hour for blogging first thing. Then an hour or so for Deep Thunder. Then several hours on The Iyes of the Dead, which is my current novel - a scifi locked room murder mystery told in the traditional mode. I've been at a standstill on that book for a while now, but I've finally figured out how to move the story along without losing momentum, and I'm excited to get back to it. Then I need a couple of hours to work on a piece I'm doing for submission to the the Anchorage Daily News, and to work on the outline for a military leadership book which will use lessons from history to illustrate true leadership in the face of adversity. Some time this month I need to find time to outline a 'how to' book on building a professional woodworking shop for cheap, using nothing but materials and equipment scrounged from scrap heaps, Craigslist, and eBay.
Writing takes up the first seven hours of my day, then I need to head out to the shop to start the millwork I've contracted for. I completed the templates and jigs for that project over the break and today I'll start the prototypes in plywood, making whatever adjustments are necessary to the jigs and templates. Tomorrow I'll convert the prototype templates from MDF into the final Plexiglass versions, and Wednesday I'll be able to start production. And somewhere in between all that I've got to find time during the week to finish up a couple of carved bowls which are due within the next two weeks, sooner if possible.
So, I'm going to be just a bit busy this week.
And people told me I'd have nothing to do after I retired from the Navy. Hah, fools! Fools!