July 24 2012

1. At the south edge of the parking lot at work we have a wetland. Yes, and actual wetland. It’s about one square acre, maybe an acre and a half. Not very large. It’s inside the perimeter, its border patrolled by the guards.

This wetland is not, I think, a protected feature in anyway. But the air traffic control facility was built on a swamp, and this is part of what was left. In the summer the rain from the parking lots runs off into it. In the winter, the plows push the snow on top of it. It serves a purpose.

This scrap of swamp is home to extensive wildlife. In particular, it hosts a number of red-wing blackbird families. And one of these little blackbirds is a territorial bundle of feathers.

See, the path for walking laps around the parking lot is a half-mile loop, if one walks off the concrete and around the swamp. So, every day, five to twenty people walk laps around the swamp. And, every day, that blackbird dive-bombs us all.

I think about this bird. He must be the most successful, most accomplished bird in his swamp. He drives enormous predators away from his territory over and over again, every day. We enter on the west side, walk south, turn, walk across the south edge, turn, walk up the east side, and get back on the pavement heading north. Every day we leave his nest alone! What a triumph!

The fact that none of us care one whit about this bird or his nest isn’t evident to him. From his point of view, dive-bombing us every day is bringing security to him and his territory.

2. I finished what there is of the Canadian series Flashpoint of NetFlix this past weekend. Argh! I really like this show! Now I am out of new episodes to watch.

3. I read Lies of Locke Lamorra, by Scott Lynch, last week. Here’s the review I posted on Goodreads, spoiler-free:

There is a kind of geek wish fulfillment that I read sometimes. S.M. Stirling’s Islander books are a great example. In these sorts of books, the people who have been outsiders or under-regarded are revealed to be awesomesauce all along. Frequently after a catastrophe or apocalypse, when everyone who ISN’T their brand of awesomesauce is dead because, well, see the above Lack of Awesome.

I like these books. They are escapist for me. I like to pretend, for a while, that in the event of an apocalypse I would not be one of the slow, lingering dead, alive long enough to understand what is happening, long enough to hold terror for my children close to my heart. I *hate* that particular anxiety-obsessive thinking when it hits me. Stirling’s books are a balm on my soul at those times.

Sometimes I like a lie.

There is a different kind of wish fulfillment that I love, though. That I recommend to people far and wide. It’s the sort that tells the utter, no-bullshit truth, and makes that truth a banner to stand under without fear. Bujold does this in Memory, in which arrogance and insecurity and lack of self-knowledge are revealed to be double-edged weaknesses — they can drive a person into inadvertent villainy, yes. But know them, own them, and you can stop being afraid of yourself.

Stop lying to yourself and you have a place to stand.

As far as I can tell, with the *massive* presumption of a reader examining an author’s text, Lies of Locke Lamorra is that second kind of book. I am grasping at what the heart of it is, but what I can see from here, from where I’m standing, is that every character trait the characters have — all of them, heroes and villains and bystanders alike — is salvation and damnation at the same time. That is not only a truth about existence, it’s a massive fucking technical feat of writing.

Goddamn, Mr. Lynch. What a book. Crickets wept, that’s an astonishing accomplishment.

Nice work. Thank you.

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