January 15th, 2014 (Snow Cats)

by Steven Townshend

Lake Freeze
The winter shore.


While Elizabeth participated in the  Winter Wonderland Workshop last week, I sorted through some files and made a to-do list of projects I’d like to take on in the near future. If you’re ever in St. Charles, Illinois the Arcedium Coffee House is one of the best coffee shops I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. The baristas are masters of their craft. Unfortunately, freezing rain on top of the ice made for hazardous conditions at the workshop this year and Elizabeth slipped on black ice, fell, and broke her wrist after only the first day of fight classes. Heartbreaking.


I’m taking a close look at some work I’ve had on the back burner for a while and juggling mundane real life tasks. I’m reminding myself to let go of things that don’t matter and pay more attention to people and things that do. This requires regular upkeep.


This weekend, we’re spending some quality time with one of my oldest friends and creative collaborators before his family moves to Tucson, Arizona. In our 20-year friendship we’ve lived in the same place for most of that time, from Athens, OH to Chicago, IL. We’ve been roommates from time to time. We grew up together. Played games together. We learned from one another. In the coming year both our lives and social circles will transition.


Finished the first Wild Cards book this week, as well as my friend Seth Chambers’s novella, In Her Eyes, recently published in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science-Fiction. Currently reading The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury, and Astro City, by Kurt Busiek. 

Stranger Than Fiction

Stress and anxiety kept me up late the day before a long drive. Exhausted, I took a day off work and slept in. The snow still covered everything, so I walked to the lake to get a picture. When I reached the end of the street, something rustled in the tall dead grass beneath the steps leading down to the beach, and a black, fuzzy creature scampered out across the snow. Another followed it, and then another, and they ran off into the brush between the street and the beach. I thought they were skunks or raccoons. I took another step and three or four more emerged, rustling from somewhere beneath the street. One followed the others into the brush but the rest stopped and huddled in the snow and looked back at me, shaggy black cats with eyes like old limes, stark against the deep white snow.