What happened to day 4? It was lost in a blur of shoveling large quantities of paper out of my office. I had so much office paper to recycle that I had to transgress and put some in the bin very clearly labeled NEWSPAPER, earning the consternation of at least one coworker. Just a rebel at heart, I guess.
After that, I went to The Storage Unit in search of one item approximately the size of a can of soda, which could have been in any one of six boxes, but if it was, I didn’t find it, because it was 105 yesterday, and although I went to The Storage Unit after 6 p.m., it faces west, transforming the interior into a 10 by 12 foot toaster oven. So the best way to describe my search is probably “cursory.” No, I take that back, the best way to describe it would be “cursing and sweating.”
After that, I went home, had a mini-meltdown while beholding all the packing and cleaning yet to be done, and called Sheila, who told me it sounded like I needed to take a break and do something fun.
So I read the second third of The Drowning Girl by Caitlin Kiernan, a book that friend Lane told me about. I was not sure about it during the first third, but I gained confidence during the second third, and by the final third, I was a fan. It reminds me a lot of my favorite Elizabeth Hand books, so if you like Hand’s contemporary fantasy stuff, you should definitely take a look at this new one by Kiernan. I also like the book because I’m a sucker for an unreliable narrator, and Imp is about as unreliable as they come, since she can’t even trust her own memories, or at times the evidence of her own senses.
I Bet This Never Happens to People Named Smith
The weirdest part of reading this book is that the mysterious woman who is the possibly real/possibly hallucinated/possibly supernatural antagonist is named Eva Canning. I actually can’t recall having read any work of fiction that had a character named Canning or Kanning. It isn’t a very common name. In fact, if you live in North America and your birth name is Kanning (with a K), the chances that we are related are pretty darned good. Hell, the chances that we’re first or second cousins is pretty darned good. Canning is the English spelling, and those folks aren’t directly related as far as I know (unless you go way back).
So it was uncanny, seeing my name, sort of, there in the novel. I mean, it isn’t quite as weird as it would be for my cousins the Heimerdingers to see their name in a work of fiction, but you know, still unusual.
And now that I’ve put their name out there, somebody will probably go and use it in a book. Probably a comedy, since Heimerdinger may be one of those words/names that are inherently funny, like gubernatorial or Sheboygan. And that’s fine. I mean, I couldn’t use it in a book, because then I’d have to explain to the Heimerdingers that whatever foibles I had foisted upon the poor Heimerdinger in the book had no bearing on what I thought of them as people, because they are really very lovely and kind people, and I have fond memories of my Aunt Ethel Heimerdinger, who, when my sisters and I went to visit her as children, used to make this concoction for us out of cold milk and sweet, coffee-flavored syrup that was just awesome and seemed very exotic. Also she was feisty and funny. And anyway I bet this sort of thing never happens with people named Smith or Jones or even Schmidt.
So anyway, another day down. Tomorrow: last day in the office (though I’ll continue to work via remote for awhile yet, while seeking gainful employment in Portland, Oregon) and some post-work celebrating with Lawrence friends. Then Thursday will be the Day of Atonement and Cleaning, followed by Friday: When I Head West.
Wish me luck, ya’all.
P.S. – I am always on the lookout for more inherently funny words (which sometimes are surprisingly universal), so if you have some to suggest, please comment below.