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.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

On hold....

This blog will return to its sporadic postings soon, I promise. I'm swamped with my Bitterwood rewrites; this weekend is the effective deadline. Everything now is tweaking; but, 114k words are a lot of words to tweak.

My big news is that I'm going to buy a house, unless things go horribly wrong. But, the seller accepted the offer, the inspector has confirmed my initial judgement that the house has no serious flaws, only cosmetic ones, and all the financing is falling into place. Very exciting and terrifying.

A large update will follow after Bitterwood and after Dragoncon, I promise. Maybe even pictures of the house and my new hometown, Hillsborough.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Origins of Ghosts

The yard sale went off today, moving a tremendous amount of Laura's stuff. I had held yard sales here in the past that always had poor attendance, and since it was overcast and rainy today, I expected the sale to be a bust. But, I didn't know the power of Craig's List, where Laura's brother Mike posted the sale. We had people showing up at 7 am, and a steady stream thereafter. Every time I blinked, something I identified with Laura's living space vanished. The jogging trampoline I bought for Veronica... gone. The push mower (the type that works simply by pushing, no motor), gone. The little windup pony that sat in the window above her kitchen sink. The little peg frame thingy that was covered by a thousand tiny metal pins that would hold the shape of your hand or face if you pushed against it. The canopy she erected in her backyard. Her blue dishes. Even a few things I owned before I met Laura... the little red wagon, the big push broom, got pulled up from the back yard by Mike and sold. I could have said something... I suppose, but, really, I was in the mood just to let things go. I gave away my old grill to a Mexican family who asked what I wanted for it. I didn't want money... I just wanted to not have to look at the grill rusting away in the backyard any more.

I want to move. It's just rough living here in Laura's basement without Laura upstairs anymore. I'm not, at heart, a terribly materialistic person. I don't feel like things define a person. Yet, watching these things I associated with Laura hauled off by strangers was very sad. My instincts were to grab each and every item and hold on to it... but, the colder, more rational part of me didn't see the point.

My real memories of Laura will always be just that, memories. If my memory ever fails, I'm not sure what good having a little wind up pony would do me. Still, the window above her sink looks naked without it. Now her paintings are gone as well, and all the little knick nacks, the little personal touches that defined Laura's living space. A few big things remain, but these will be gone in a month.

Suddenly I feel as if I understand the origins of ghosts.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Three Months

I took Simon and Veronica to Laura's grave today. It was a brief visit; very hot, not a lot of time spent sitting around in contemplation. We placed some flowers Laura planted by the grave, and some sea shells we'd collected during our trip to Atlantic Beach. We buried a small black polished stone Veronica had found.

I'm sad that I didn't find any beach glass during the trip to Atlantic Beach. In previous years, Laura and I have walked up and down the shore and collected bits of smooth, sea buffed glass shards. Most are brown, coming from beer bottles, some are clear, some green, and the real treasures are blue. This year, though, despite my best efforts, I couldn't find a single bit of it. There weren't many shells either. The sea was very calm all week, which probably meant not much stuff was getting washed up. Our one trip to Shackleford Banks, an island where we normally find all kinds of good shells and glass, was cut short by a bad storm, complete with waterspout. I feel almost as if I let Laura down, not finding any glass. Maybe if I'd taken the long walk I kept planning, something might have turned up. I had this fantasy of walking all the way to the end of the island, but it never panned out. Laura and I took the long beach walk once, in the dark. We had planned to find a spot to stop and smooch... unfortunately, the sand was crawling with some sort of little biting insect that encouraged us to keep moving. So, this wasn't the first trip where the dream and the actual events didn't mesh up.

Three months out from Laura's death, I find it is possible to go a whole day without thinking about her, but, only barely. I'm no longer reflexively judging restaurants by whether or not they would please her. And, her brother took her car a few weeks ago to sell, so I'm no driving up to the house and seeing her car and thinking, "Oh, Laura's home," the way I did morning after morning in May and June. Whenever I go upstairs, it's harder to remember how much it was the backdrop of my daily life for the last couple of years. I go five, six, seven days at a time without looking inside. It seems like a stranger's house, almost. I feel like I'm invading someone's privacy when I go in.

Next weekend, Laura's family is having a big yard sale to try to reduce the big pile of her stuff that's still lingering. It's amazing what one accumulates over the years. Little by little, her stuff is disappearing. It's a long, slow, fade.