I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Saturday, June 17, 2006


Last week I got home and found that a pipe had burst in the ceiling of my apartment. The running water had filled up the plastic casing of my stereo and turned it on, full blast, to Prarie Home Companion. I walked up to the house thinking, "Why am I hearing Garison Kielor?" I'm lucky the house didn't catch fire. Then again, everything was pretty damp. Water from wall to wall.

A week later, the laminate floors are starting to warp, although not in an unsalvagable way. It's fairly mild, so far, and now everything is bone dry, so perhaps all the damage that will be done has been done. By running a dehumidifier and two fans I've got the carpets dry. There is a noticable watermark in the carpet showing the far reaches of the flood... if the water had seeped in a few more feet, you might not be able to tell they were damaged, since the color would be uniform all the way across.

For most of the week, the apartment has had a damp sour odor, not unlike sweaty gym clothes left in a locker for a week. But, either my nose has just stopped noticing the smell, or the fans have finally knocked the last of the stink odor molecules loose.

I find myself grateful for the oddest things. I've been happy all week that the pipes waited until Laura had been gone for a month to fail so catastrophicly. She'd been plagued by plumbing problems for years (or rather, her house had) and dealing with this mess would have been the very last thing she needed. Don't get me wrong; if she'd been given the choice to live another year and deal with replumbing the whole house or dying and avoiding the hassle, I suspect she'd have gladly made the phone call to the plumber. But, still, since she didn't get the choice, at least she avoided this unpleasantness. I won't exactly call it a silver lining to the dark cloud, but maybe it's a white, fluffy cloud in a dark cloud.

In the aftermath of the flood, I ran around picking up everything resting on the floor and moving it to the higher ground of bookshelves, tables, beds. Today, I've been cleaning and sorting. I found an old shopping list from Laura. She'd wanted a veggie loaf (fake meatloaf for vegetarians) from the frozen food section. I had this almost irresistable urge to go out and buy it. I felt very connected to Laura for a moment... more connected than I did when I visited her grave earlier today. I have a hard time looking at the patch of broken ground and feeling that it holds any relevance to Laura's life, or mine.

Speaking of broken ground, I live in Laura's basement, and there are no stairs connecting her house to my apartment. So, we had worn a path into the yard from my front door to her front door. No grass would grow there, even though I put down fresh seed the last two springs. This week, the grass has sprouted, and looks quite handsome, bright green and a few inches tall already.

If I were a writer, I might draw some analogy between the ruts we wear in life, and how new life springs up once we are prevented from walking the same path. It might be a good, symbolic way of illustrating new beginnings, or for making a broad commentary on the ceaseless turning of the vast wheel of life. Alas, I'm no good with words. Maybe someone else can do something with the image.

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