Monday’s Theme Music

Okay, that’s it, we’re takin’ it up a notch.

It’s 60 degrees F. Monday, 6/5/2023. Temp is gonna git up to 86 F today. This gradual climb by day of sunny heat is pleasant, acceptable. Heat isn’t crisping us to overcooked pizza crusts within a minute. Cool morning breezes descend from the mountains, whisper, it’ll be okay. We appreciate it.

Noisy out there. Air is lousy with work machinery noises. Don’t know where it’s from or who are the villians. Stirred me to arise — “Arise, arise” — and make flapjacks for breakfast. I always enjoyed the word, ‘flapjacks’, from childhood till now. The works isn’t easily pulled apart for morning. Not one of those expressions which you hear and immediately understand. See, like ‘pancake’, you have two familiars: pan and cake. Sounds already. ‘Flapjacks’ also have two familiars, flap and jack, but neither make me think food on their own merits. That doesn’t change by putting them together.

Got “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding” throbbing through the morning mental music stream. It’s a regular song in the rotation. Came to me while I was trimming bushes and doing odd jobs around the house. Far as I know, no particular activity or thinking was being done to cause The Neurons to say, “Hold up! We have the perfect song for the moment.” Nope, they just brought it on outta the blue. That’s how the mind sometimes works, hey?

While I was looking for a video to link, I saw another regular song I often hear in my head, “A Change Will Do you Good” by Sheryl Crow. As I listened to it for a bit, I saw that she’d done a version of Peace, Love, etc, so I dialed it up — yeah, I clicked on it. Her rendition became my choice for the day.

Be good out there. Be safe. Stay pos. Ima gonna pop down some coffee and go off with my wife to deliver Food & Friends. Then it’s on to writing, yardwork, housework, reading. Just finishing up reading Six of Crows. Really enjoying it.

Here we go. Let’s start with music and coffee. Cheers

Once in a Lifetime

Day 2. He rode in silence. Forty miles an hour. The open car drove itself, allowing him to gape at the scenery.

So gorgeous. He knew now what breathtaking meant.

Although he’d eaten breakfast after an overnight stop, he snacked as he went. Nervousness.

Other people weren’t encountered. Only bots. They didn’t interact. Once this had been cities. New York. Pittsburgh. Philadelphia. As climate changed and space travel advanced, people departed the planet. Pockets of humanity remained. Some worked for the place he visited, the Great Earth Library. Built in the twenty-third century, trillions of books lined the high, massive shelves. Paperbacks and hardcover books were still being published on less advanced planets.

That’s where he came in.

The car slowed. He could have teleported to the location. Where’s the fun in that?

Turning right, the small vehicle approached a librarian station. The car hummed to a halt. A bot came out.

Stiffly he climbed from the car. Stretched. Picked up the packet from the other seat.

The bot said, “Merr Liu-Gardner?”


“We’ve been expecting you. Would you like to sign our guest book? It can be done digitally with your bios or cursive on paper. Many guests prefer the latter.”

“I’ll do cursive.” He picked up the pen. Bic. Blue ink.

A fresh page awaited. He flipped to the previous page. One entry, six years before. Ngato from Mars Station Five.

Smiling, he signed his name, dated it, and added his home, Cixin Outpost, Trisolaria. Despite that name, only one sun warmed his world. Three moons, though. One red. Two white. All beautiful.

His great-grandfather named the planet and led the colonizing expedition. He’d taught his grandson cursive writing, feeling it important to know. “Let’s not let the old knowledge die.”

Poul Liu-Gardner II handed the box to the robot. “My great-grandfather wrote and published these books. The Library was established after he died but Dad always thought the books deserved to be here. Two are non-fiction, a history of our world and another about our city. The other six are fiction.” He smiled. “Three murder mysteries and three thrillers.”

“I understand. Thank you for the gift. These are the first from your world. We will shelve and honor them.”

“I know. There are more books from my world in the car. I just wanted to personally deliver these.”

“Of course. We’ll unload them.”


“Feel free to walk the shelves and enjoy the books. You can remove them from the shelves and read them here, but they can’t be removed.”

“Thank you.”

Poul II watched the bot take the books away. Lost and empty-handed, he gazed up at books.

Deep breath. Sigh.

He’d smelled books before. Grandpa Poul had established a library. Of course. Today’s smell dizzied him. Maybe it was the sheer number of books. Perhaps it was the thoughts behind them, or the readers’ thoughts.

Probably all those things. Strolling among the shelves, he thought that he might write a book. He’d always thought about writing one. The desire now was an urgent weight.

Sitting on a bench, he drew out his pad. Opened it.

A blank screen waited.

He could type. Or use voice. Grandpa Poul always printed his first rough draft.

He didn’t have paper.

His fingers tapped.

Once in a Lifetime

Chapter One

The stranger from Trisolaria was a formidable presence.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Saturday’s broken, like the first mornin’. We’re up to Feb. 11, 2023. Plenty of time for this year yet.

Sunshine cracked the day at 7:13 AM, fulfilling dawn’s potential in big way. Blue sky with striations of clouds like towels waiting for the laundry hover around Ashlandia. Sitting at 42 F., the cats are pleased with the sunshine, dry conditions, and temperatures. My spies tell me the weather prophets think we’ll see 52 F before sunshine is put behind Ashlandia’s horizon at 5:38 PM. Tomorrow, the spies whisper, it’ll be in the sixties before another front rolls in and drops us back into the land of rain and snow.

My wife continues her diet. She’s at 21 days and is enjoying its effects. Her RA pain and flares have subsided. Worst part is low energy in her opinion. I note that she’s not as mentally sharp. It’s not mentioned to her because it would depress her. She’s on a huge reading streak, going through two to four books a week, all fiction. She read Four Treasures of the Sky for her book club this week, along with Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter and Becky Chambers’s A Psalm for the Wild-built. She passed the last two on to me, recommending I read them. Dark Matter is on the pile behind Ancillary Sword. A Psalm was read and enjoyed. Fascinating and different concept and interesting story-telling style.

The Neurons have Three Dog Night singing “One” from 1969. I enjoy its drive and harmony. Harry Nilsson’s original version, meanwhile, is harmonically interesting, with a slower tempo, a more thoughtful but sadder experience. The Neurons went with the Dog but I included Nilsson’s version for comparison.

Coffee’s been drunk, breakfast consumed. Time to go write and roll. Stay pos. and have a solid Saturday.

The Writing Moment

As he edited, he was reading others’ fiction. More than once, reading a chapter or two (they were small chapters) of This Is How You Lose the Time War prompted him to steal back to his computer and resume his editing. It made up a perfect sequence of hours, reading, writing, editing, drinking coffee, and snacking.

The Writing Moment

Editing and revising, the first five chapters of his novel-in-progress’s first draft pleased him. Closing down for the day, he decided he needed to read more, comparing it to rinsing your palate when wine tasting. He needed to refresh his understanding of good writing.

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