Trimming Down

Old paper notes.

Going through my filing cabinet has yielded plenty of detritus from the past: notes from Armageddon staff meetings, my transcripts from Hopkins, countless Christmas cards, and a decade's worth of old credit card receipts and checks to lit magazines for sample copies.

Continuing to pack and sort and dispose of stuff. This morning I’ll take a box over to PC Recycle, send my brother yet another box of books, and haul one more trunk’s worth of stuff to Value Village. I find myself increasing ready to pitch things, but I still cling to some: a plastic crate full of notebooks I want to sort through, a few knick knacks, a favorite mug. Taco goes to the vet this afternoon and will be suitably appalled by the process, I’m sure, but I want to make sure the cats get all their shots and a good check-up before I leave them.

All the art is off the walls, carefully bubble-wrapped and ready to be stored, and the apartment is starting to feel empty. There’s plenty of little (and some major) maintenance work to do, including putting Pergo down in the bedroom, and culminating with painting all my turquoise and pink and green walls white again. Two weekends from now, I’ll rent a truck and take a couple of pieces of furniture over to my mom’s but all in all, we’re not keeping much. My bookcases, luckily, were bought several decades ago and disassemble easily to pack small. They’re recycled rainforest wood, purchased through some green catalog, and have served me very well through all my wandering. There’s a storage unit’s worth of stuff to get through still, but the ultimate aim is to get it all in a storage pod while we’re gone.

Stress levels are high but manageable. I find myself talking to the cats during the day, and worrying about them, despite the fact that I know both will be in excellent hands while we’re traveling. I am afraid that Raven will die while I’m gone, and I won’t be with him and that will break my heart. At the same time, I can feel an exhilaration creeping up as some stuff falls away, and right now there’s plenty of possibilities as we continue planning. Worldcon has become more optional — it ties us to Europe in August and we’re wondering if maybe there’s more pleasant ways to schedule that visit. Yesterday I was reading a book and ran across mention of the gardens at Menton, which hold the oldest living olive trees in the world. Now there’s a new push pin on the map, because I want to go commune with those trees.

If you’re interested in taking a class with me this year, be aware there aren’t many chances left. There’s a Podcasting Workshop on April 27 and a Flash Fiction workshop May 14, and that is it for 2014. I’m very happy with both the Writing F&SF and Advanced workshops in this last round; they’re full of strong and interesting writers, and that’s a nice way to end this round of teaching.

So much left to do. But so many possibilities are opening up. Planning how I’ll write on the road is something I’m thinking about. I think ipad plus wireless keyboard plus Dropbox should serve me well, as long as I’ve got a notebook and pen along too.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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