Jacqueline Carey Jacqueline Carey - Official Author Site Jacqueline Carey - Official Author Site

March 2015

Dutchman's BreechesHappy May!

When I was a little girl, I used to gather a bouquet of wildflowers for my mother every May Day. Mostly I remember picking hepatica in the woods around our house. They usually wilted within the hour, but I loved doing it.

I come from a family of nature geeks and animal lovers. Over the years, our pets included several dogs, notably a good-natured and malodorous Malamute named Smokey that my brothers and I would tie to a sled every winter, yelling "Mush!" to no avail; numerous cats; two guinea pigs; a hamster; a gerbil named Judas Priest and a rabbit named Led Zeppelin; a number of parakeets and finches (one particularly gorgeous rainbow finch earned the nickname Rudy the Ripper after the mysterious demise of two successive mates); a cheerful little parrot named Beau who liked ice cream; and what I believed to be one chameleon that had free range of the house-plants in our upstairs living room, and was sometimes impossible to find amongst them when it came time to feed him meal-worms.

Later, I found out that Kermit the chameleon had several incarnations. It wasn't always his amazing camouflage that made him hard to spot. Sometimes he was in the process of being, um, replaced by a successor. At least he wasn't one of Rudy the Ripper's victims.

My mom counted birds for the Audubon Society, and there was always a chart posted near the windows that looked out on the bird-feeders. I could identify at least a dozen different species at a glance. We put out salt licks for the deer, corn and stale bread for the raccoons that would come to our front door, putting their little hand-like paws on the long windows that flanked it and peering inside, and the ducks that would waddle across the street to our yard under the cover of the hand-painted "Duck Crossing" sign my mom made. One faithful pair of mallards, Joe and Mallory, brought their ducklings every year.

I still love animals and I'm still a nature geek; and yet sometimes I feel I've lost some of the effortless magic of that connection. My brothers and I spent countless hours roaming the woods, inventing games brought to life through sheer imagination. In my memory, it seems I could name every tree and plant that grew in those woods. That's probably an exaggeration, but on occasion I'm struck by the realization that I don't know if I can tell, say, an elm tree from a beech. My knowledge of and engagement with the natural world around me seems more tenuous and shallow than it did when I was a child.

To be fair, I spend a lot less time roaming the woods; and when I do, if my imagination is engaged, it's not with my surroundings. I'm deep inside my own thoughts, working through a scene in a book or teasing out some knotty plot twist. And sometimes, to be honest, my imagination simply isn't engaged. Sometimes I'm just putting on the headphones and going for a trail run, just trying to keep in shape; not unmindful of the beauty around me, yet disconnected from it.

Some of that is just simply... well, life. Being a writer entails spending a LOT of time deep inside one's own thoughts. It's generally time well spent, and I don't begrudge it. But with spring upon us here in Michigan, green buds on the trees, yellow forsythia in bloom, trillium and Dutchman's breeches and toad lilies and Jack-in-the-pulpits emerging in the woods, I will try to remind myself to step back from time to time, and reconnect with my surroundings; to remember that there is magic in this season of rebirth and renewal.

I recommend it.

In other news... well, there really isn't any other news this month, hence my musings on nature! But I have a few different things in the works including a project, something new and completely different, that I've been keeping under wraps for a while. I hope to have something fun to announce in the not-too-distant future.

Until then, take care!

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In-CON-ceivable, Guest of Honor
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August 28-30, 2015

Poison Fuit
Agent of Hel: Poison Fruit, US paperback release, September 2014

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