Writing and Dog-walking

Was it just ten days ago that I wrote about being unable to quit finding stories and having to write them? Yes, it was. Well, I finished the latest yesterday.

I’ll leave it until Sunday to join all the chapters together and read right through. I’m sure I’ll find something to tweak, but the main job is done. One more adventure of Gisel’s documented in my alternate Earth, Iskander series. This one is “Gisel Matah and the Slave Ship”.

It’s not my usual length of fiction – I kept it to less than 15,000 words – just. Hey, that’s about one sixth of my usual novels. I wanted this as a novella to give away as promotion. I have yet to convert the file to doc, html, and (hopefully) epub, (if the software works). When my new website is up and running I want to offer a link where the e-format of your choice can be downloaded. All you have to do in return is leave an e-mail address, so I can let you know when a new novel of mine is released. I’ll be sending notices to all the readers’ groups I can find when the links are live. (If you can suggest one, please leave a comment below.)

And, guess what? The original slave ship story is completed but there is a hook at the end that leads into another story. This one looks much more dangerous for Gisel. Maybe I could … No. I really am going to stop now. I have a line editor breathing down my neck for the completion of Rast’s edits.

What else happened? Southern Alberta fell into winter this week. Highway reports show poor or worse for all the highways. My wife cancelled her eye appointment Tuesday as the highway cameras to the city showed near-blizzard conditions.

Today was actually the worst locally. Wind from the north and blowing snow. The dogs didn’t want to stay out long for their first morning pee break. After breakfast they were ready for their daily walk. I would rather have gone back to bed.

Anyway, I donned all the gear. Three layers everywhere. Left the lined gloves at home in favour of winter mitts. “Better take a beacon with you,” wife says, jovially. Huh! I decided to go across the field south of the community – up over the hill because I expected to be somewhat sheltered from the wind on the other side.

The snow turned out to be anywhere from 6 inches to 18 inches deep, depending on the slope, orientation, and depth of vegetation. I found the first 18 incher by accident with a nosedive going up the hill. Good thing 18 inches of snow give a soft landing. It was not comfortable going, hard slogging through that much snow, and decidedly cold whenever I turned around to see what the dogs were doing.

They weren’t impressed, looking as much white as their normal black, snow sticking to their legs and faces. They were travelling in bunny-hops and their usual zigzags, so not much use for breaking trail for me. I prefer following their tracks because I get some warning of gopher holes if they step in one.

On the other side of the hill they thought they’d arrived in summer – well, not exactly, but there was less wind and not as much drifted snow. Emmie found a couple of ravens and proceeded to chase after them into the distance. Coco brought up the rear – more sedately, but they both vanished across the field. I trudged after them, wondering what they were doing – so long out of sight. By the time I neared the crest where I might have a chance to see them – getting a bit tired now, trudging through fresh snow – they trotted back and stood on the crest waiting for me.

I had decided to return home down the gully, where an intermittent stream flows in spring when the snowdrifts melt. In our usual winter this gully is under about 15 feet of snowdrift, but it was only dog head high today, by the tracks and flounders Emmie had left from her raven chase.

It was sheltered from the worst of the wind in the gully, but had a foot of snow caught in the long grass. Still hard going. I was beginning to think that the mile hike across the field was a might too ambitious. Out of the gully both the wind and the snow picked up, and I needed to walk straight into it. I followed Coco’s track for awhile and then chickened out to short cut to the north, through the yard of neighbours who’d gone south for the winter.

So the dogs and I came back along the street, mostly easier going than the field, but still plenty of snow. I didn’t put the dogs on leash – I figured it was too cold for them to go at my pace. And anyway, I was getting too tired to want to fuss with them. Emmie was glad to race me to the front door, Coco started off on another expedition around the neighbourhood, but luckily didn’t persist after I started after her. Shirl’s afternoon at the Senior Centre was cancelled due to weather – she has a physiotherapy session in town tomorrow morning – we shall see what the morning looks like.



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2 Responses to “Writing and Dog-walking”

  1. joylene Says:

    It was -20 here this morning and outside a thick wall of cloud lay over the water. The trees are laden in snow. It’s pretty. But I’m chilled to the bone. You’re much braver than I am. I hate being cold.

    Lovely post, Chris. Very vivid.

  2. kester2 Says:

    I don’t like being cold, but I worked enough winters in the bush that I can handle it. I was surveying one winter on the Beaufort Sea coast of the Yukon, at the top of the cliffs with a slight breeze off the sea ice and a temperature of -60 Fahrenheit. Now, that was cold.

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