Grim Tides is available in print! (Once I get copies from the publisher, I’ll sign and send them to the Kickstarter backers who donated at the appropriate levels.)
I have been super social lately, which is odd for me, as I am a hermitlike recluse. It helped that many of the visitors came to my house, instead of requiring me to emerge from my shell. There was Jenn Reese’s visit a couple of weeks ago, when she stayed over with my family while doing Bay Area events for her new book Above World. That was awesome — we got to hang out a fair bit in my living room, have brunch, wander around Berkeley, play board games, go out to dinner after her reading, and so on. Truly marvelous. I don’t see her nearly enough. We tried to convince her to uproot her life and move to Berkeley, with inconclusive results. It will be an ongoing project of persuasion.
Then this past weekend we had a whirlwind visit from my oldest friend Scott, his wife Lynne (also an old friend — I am startled to realize I’ve known her going on 12 years, though it’s nothing to the 27 or so years I’ve known Scott), and their adorable son Graham, who is a year younger than my own kid. They were visiting for a wedding, so they crashed at our place, and we entertained their kid while they attended the ceremony. We also managed to drink about four bottles of wine, to sit in the backyard enjoying the sunshine, to stay up too late, to have a nice brunch, and to hang out at a playground with them. But as good as it was to see the grown-ups, the best part was how amazingly well Graham and River hit it off. I’ve never seen my son take to another kid that quickly, and River’s a pretty friendly guy. They played together beautifully, and just seemed to endlessly delight one another. I’m so sad they live so far apart. I hope we can get them together more often in coming years.
Scott and Lynne and Graham had to depart pre-dawn on Sunday to catch a flight back home. But that was not the end of my socializing! Oh no! Heather had a social engagement on Sunday afternoon, so River and I hopped in the car to visit my friends Chris and Maggie (and their houseguest An) at their place in Moss Beach. The drive was kind of boring for the boy at first (lots of traffic on the bridge, my iPod spontaneously erased itself so no good music), but once we got south of San Francisco and started going down Highway 1 he liked it — seeing the ocean and the cliffs.
The visit was lovely. River was initially scared of their dog — as he will tell anyone and everyone, “I’m scared of big dogs, I only like little dogs” — but he warmed up to her later, and even got his fingers licked. We all hiked over to the beach, so River could look at tide pools, play in the sand, examine shells, wade in the surf, look at distant slumbering seals and express skepticism that they were seals, and throw rocks into holes in the sea cliffs. He was sufficiently entertained that the rest of us were able to exchange a few words of actual grown-up human conversation. It was very generous of them all to let their afternoon be shaped by the whims of a four-year-old.
We went back for dinner, wonderful pasta and chicken with cream sauce, and fresh bread (a meal designed to be picky-preschooler-friendly; a very kind gesture). Also: very good sangria. I would have had a lot more than one glass if I hadn’t needed to drive home by River’s bedtime. And we talked! Largely about the books of Stephen King and, by extension, about writing. We had the ritual Exchange of Books that writers so often do when they visit one another, and an additional exchange of baked goods, before the boy and I had to depart. Alas!
We got home, I transferred my sleeping son from the car to the bed, and Heather and I spent a wonderful rest of the night together. It’s been a fabulous couple of weeks. Normally being so social exhausts me, but it turns out, when it’s people I feel sufficiently comfortable around, it’s actually quite pleasant to interact with other humans!