Tuesday, February 07, 2017

State of the Apocalypse, Laura Ingalls Wilder Sesquicentennial Edition

For those too lazy to Google the big, weird word, we salute you.

Happy Birthday to one of the happiest accidental discoveries of my children’s young existence, when my neighbor gifted me with much of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books on growing up on the American frontier, from the Big Woods of Wisconsin, to Indians and malaria in Kansas territory, to a sort-of hobbit hole house in Minnesota, to the harsh, hard-living plains of De Smet, South Dakota. I read these books out loud to my children, and we were all taken, not only by the tale of Charles Ingalls’ itchy foot and ingenuity, but in the love of family that comes through in Wilder’s reminiscences.

You’ll either love this or hate it. If you’re with me in the former category, check out this site here. Begin with Wilder’s first book, Little House in the Big Woods, and savor the melancholy that rolls from that first sentence, knowing that this is a 65-year-old woman settling in to write about living in the American wild six decades before the Great Depression—and she’s missing it hard. Wilder had asked her daughter, pioneering female journalist Rose Wilder, to write her memoirs for her, but Rose insisted her mother was more than up for the job of putting her stories to paper. Which she was. Trust this all-too-often bitter old cynic; this is the Good Stuff. Happy 150th Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Something else I got done last month. My ultimate goal is to record my readings of the first acts of all three of my books.

In other news, the final pieces of The Wrong Kind of Dead are falling into place. It helps when you’ve nearly got every action point plotted from the git-go. My days of hopeless wandering in the psychic wilderness are done. 

In an amusing near-disaster, I made a test video of myself with the new web camera I got yesterday, and it wasn’t until I nearly posted it that I realized that the outline for the ending to the novel—to my entire series—was taped to the wall in plain view behind me. 

That’s fixed, of course. Now, I just have to get past this notion of looking into a camera and just talking. I didn’t mind doing this sort of thing in front of people when I was in Toastmasters, but alone, in my office, looking at my age-ravaged face in HD on my monitor and trying to be wise...I know it isn’t rational. It just is. That is, it just is something I’m going to have to get over. Eventually.
Into the frigid sunset, westbound on US 160 between Alamosa and Monte Vista. But the sun will rise, the snow will eventually melt. All we have to do is press on.

There are other things going on, but I need to save those particularly loaded topics for the videos I hope to do. Meanwhile, the weather is warming, and the house feels more like a home than ever since my son moved in a week ago. It’s nice to have all the bedrooms in the house engaged as more than cold, dusty storage.

Best of all, my son is an industrious lad, having come to the San Luis Valley to seek his fortune as a skilled laborer in what promises to be an expanding economy. He’s already got a job lined up. Meanwhile, he’s creating his own electronic music on his computer, assembling and painting precisely detailed military models, and working out with the kettlebells. My son is as far removed from the stereotypical “millennial” the media loves us to hate as one might imagine, and his presence inspires that sense of discipline I’ve had such difficulty grasping over the past year or so. He’s on his way up. Why not me?

This could be the year. It has to be.
Empty, disused railcars at the literal end of the line east of US 285 going north out of Monte Vista. Still, the sun shines brightly. I thought it might mean something.