Thursday, September 07, 2006
Last Week in Paradise
First, a follow-up to the Care and Feeding of Editors posts. I happened to look back at them and saw a late comment that came in from none other than E1. Who accepted the challenge I gave her to write a Care and Feeding of Authors post. She even promised to throw in a bear somewhere. Now, I have no idea what she’s going to write, and if she depicts me eating all day, you’ll know it’s all a pack of lies. But I graciously wrote her and said you BGs would be thrilled to hear her side of things.
Truth is, E1 has had to herd many an author in her day. She’s the one who’ll gather us Zondervan novelists around and say, “Now, children, it’s time to be on your best behavior.” (She knows us so well.) “You’re going to be meeting booksellers now, understand? You’re meeting the public.
An editor has to make these kinds of statements when there’s a Jim Bell in her care. Me, I always behave.
Now for today—Last Week in Paradise. Yes, I’ve stolen one more week in Idaho, then it’s back to the concrete jungle of California. Nature seems to be reminding me I’m on my last days here. It’s come out in full force.
We’ve had a doe and her twin fawns all summer. They live in our forest. They’re out on our lawn every day. Sometimes when I’m working on the deck, the fawns will come out in the backyard and play, not even caring that I’m so close. This I find endearing. What I do not find endearing is their sudden taste for my flowers.
I’ve nourished these flowers all summer. They’re lined up in pots along the side walk. I bought a bunch of new ones in August, all different kinds and colors. Every morning I go outside and croon to them and water the things. They’ve grown happily.
Enter—The Evil Deer. I came out this morning to find four of my flowers plants totally gone. I’m talkin’ eaten down to the pots. One pot was even pulled off the deck and on its side on the lawn. And all today while I’ve worked in the lounge chair on the deck, around the corner I hear those deer snickering as they chew my blooms. Man. I’m about to pull out the mothballs again. That smell has finally disappeared, but I’m wonderin’ about sprinking a few of those things around my blossoms . . .
And then there are the bees. Various types. One kind—I don’t know what the heck it is. Black with white-striped head and feet. Whatever it is, it’s certainly ubiquitous. I keep a fly swatter near me while I’m on the deck. It’s not like the bees are out to get me. They’re doing their thing, that's all. I’m just not particularly keen on them doing their thing in my space.
I got real aggressive two days ago and killed four of the suckers. “Hah!” I yelled with every fatal blow. Reminded myself of the fly story in Getting Into Character. Oh, yeah, I was feeling vindictive about killing those critters. I whacked 'em a few extra times for good measure against the deck, then pushed them underneath the lounge chair next to me. By the afternoon I had quadruplets. Heh-heh. Filled me with Schadenfreude just to look at 'em.
Yesterday I came back to my usual place to write. Looked beneath the lounge chair beside me. Yup, four corpses still there. I grinned.
That afternoon I looked—and there were three.
I leaned over, squinted. Maybe my eyes were just tired. I fetched the yellow swatter, moved ‘em around.
I ask you—what happened to the fourth bee?
Did a deer eat it? Did Baby Bear sneak out and flick it away while I was inside fetching something to eat?
Is a Bee Zombie going to haunt me tonight?
Someone clue me in.