Daily Archives: May 22, 2012


From the arroyo side behind my sister’s house, I climbed a ladder to cull the tops of the boxwood hedges that were out of reach from her yard. Two different worlds pushed against the bent, old backyard fence. On the one side, the backyard, lush with rose bushes, foreign plants like vining jasmine, an empress tree from China, and peaches, begonias, grass and grass and scrub grass and clover and grass… The dog rules the yard, pushing a soccer ball into the corners of everything, pushing out of the corners. This is a paradise. The neighbor has palm trees that shade the yard, as tall as clocktowers. On the Arroyo side, there’s burrs, stinging weeds, hard-edged sunflowers and more burrs. The mosquitoes thrive. The biting flies and ants clamber all over me. I’m climbing up to get to the boxwoods from the other side of the fence.

From the arroyo, on the step-ladder, I can see the whole neighborhood, green behind their fences with grass, trees, beautiful decks and patio furniture. On my side, the arroyo side, there’s graffiti along a fence. A wild animal painted it in the night, marking the line between what is and is not.

Weeds are sneaking into the fence line. On second look, it isn’t grass. It’s green, but it isn’t grass. It’s only weeds that look like grass, and some of them are getting bigger. Some of them are climbing up the sides of the house, and pushing through the slats of the fence and biting into the ground. They’re sneaking in. They’re taking what they can from the brown patches.

If we left this house alone for fourteen years, if this neighborhood walked out and down into the dry creek, and down to where the water pools into a small pond wrapped in brown, tall grass and dragonflies and small toads and snakes and the long, lingering, cautious look from the coyotes that live out there…

All paradises push. I’m ripping the weeds up. I’m pulling away invasive ivies. I’m back there, clipping the boxwoods.

These mountains we make that line the street valleys, these mountains we light up with Christmas lights, street lights, and headlights, rolling over the ground like slow magma, push back.

We flew home on an airplane. The ground is always leveled along the airports. The ground is kept clear and close-cropped. So much ground leveled into a desert around the palacial terminals. I leaned back and imagined riding a canoe down the arroyo, down to the river, down to the ocean, out to sea.

I imagine heaven is a place where the suburban sprawl is immense. All paradises must push. New people coming in from all over, and there’s got to be more room.

There’s new houses coming up. There’s always new houses coming up. There’s new stripmalls all over.

Paradise is a push.

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Excitement, Adventure, Writing and Announcements

Hard at work or hardly working? Well, when you’re inventing for a living it’s definitely hard work. I am currently editing like mad, my own work and someone else’s, and it is an exciting adventure story and a gruesome YA steampunk-ish thing and also I’ll be pulling out the third Dogsland book, dusting it off, and looking to polish everything, everything, everything for your humble peepers, fair reader.

WAR BEETLES is out, at last. http://www.grumpsjournal.com/index.html

War beetles left wreckage like hurricanes across the plains. The battle still raged on at some far distant place over the horizon. Along the ground, in their wake, acid pooled. Smoke from the fires of war left a gunpowder stink hanging in the air, and all the fresh meat of the dead made it smell worse.
Meridian Smith, a survivor of the battle, walked cautiously over the devastation with a girl he had found in a village. He had solid boots that rode high up his legs, near to his hips, and a long duster jacket. Meridian had lost his helmet in the fight. His forehead and ears were deep red, now. He didn’t think about the sunburn, though. He was too busy watching out for the ground, and for the little girl that held his hand. He had to lead her carefully, because the earth was full of holes and sinkholes and smashed bushes and the remains of animals.
Desdemona was her name, she had said. She walked beside Meridian, clinging to his hands. She wasn’t brave enough to walk by herself. She was too small to traverse the fields without his strong arm lifting her over the worst of the destruction. Her shoes were not built for long travel. Meridian was surprised she hadn’t complained about her feet, yet.

Announcement of something cool: StorySouth’s Million Writers Award just selected ARACHNE from a prior issue of that very magazine as has just published WAR BEETLES, as a notable story of 2011!


As you all know, ARACHNE came out last year in the first issue of the Journal of Unlikely Entomology, and is a part of the interconnected collection, WOMEN AND MONSTERS, available here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89167, here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/women-and-monsters-j-m-mcdermott/1105651888, here: http://www.amazon.com/Women-and-Monsters-ebook/dp/B007R3NL3G and elsewhere!

At the moment, I am editing something that is set in this shared world, and I highly recommend checking it out, if you can!


So, this post was begun to announce good news, and has devolved into shameless self-promotion of a particularly intense variety. I mean, how many times can I say “BUY MY STUFF!” in one blog post, right?
So… You know… Buy my stuff, please?

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