Fiction Fragment Friday: NaNoWriMo 2013 Edition Part 5

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverLadies and gentlemen, we come to the last Friday of the month, and thus the last fiction fragment of my NaNoWriMo novel. It is with great pride that I post this last excerpt, because as of last night I passed the finish line and officially completed my 6th NaNoWriMo, making 2013 my 5th win. I did not manage to reach the self-imposed goal that I was hoping to strive for, but given that I’ve spent a great deal of the last two weeks preparing for both my daughter’s birthday party and the upcoming holiday madness, I am quite satisfied to have simply passed the usual finish line, thank you very much.

And so, here we are: I give you one final excerpt from what has been a truly random NaNo novel.

—–

Given that it was so painful to move it took me a while to figure out that I was chained vertically to a wall. I was hanging from both wrists, just high enough so that my toes could touch the ground. I could relieve some of the pressure on my wrists by standing on the tips of my toes, but soon that would start to ache horribly as well, so I was in terrible pain either way. I soon found myself crying openly.Read More »

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 47: NaNo Edition

One wonderful thing about kids is their level of unpredictability, am I right? I’m using the word “wonderful” as a subjective term of course. I mean, who would have thought that after sleeping straight through the night for four or five nights in a row, my daughter would choose the night after I only slept about five hours to decide to wake me up every half hour?

Just saying, I mean, come on. That’s cruelty right there.

Moving on.

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverHealth and Body Image Goal

My exercise this week has been cleaning. Don’t judge me. I have a birthday party coming up this weekend which will have quite a few people in my home, so I’ve been scrubbing. We also have Christmas approaching, so I’ve been deep scrubbing to ensure that everything is good for when we start decorating (right after the birthday party). And it’s been hard work, so I’m counting it as exercise.

On the food side of things, I’ve been a little healthier by drinking more water and forcing myself (most mornings) to have some kind of breakfast, but the key this week seems to have been Metamucil. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or if I really did need the extra fiber, but I’ve been feeling so much better this week. No evil stomach pains in the middle of the night, no feeling like my guts were going to drop out of me immediately after eating. It’s been a good week. I’m really, really hoping that it will continue.

Editing Goal

This is the last week that I get to say “skip!” for this one. Editing activities will resume next week, and since there’s not a lot left I really believe that this is one goal I’ll achieve by year’s end.

1,000,000 Word Goal

I’m really proud of myself this week, not because I wrote diligently ever day (I actually completely skipped two days because of a shopping trip and a day of power-cleaning) but because I managed to squeeze extra writing in and beat last week’s total even considering the days off. All total this week I wrote 17,379 words, and over 7000 of those were yesterday. It proves that you can really get things done if you put a drive on. Unfortunately my drives don’t tend to come that often. 😛

NaNoWriMo Goal

There were some ups and downs this week (see aforementioned two day skip), but I managed to come out on top by the end of the night last night. I am currently hanging in at 43,023 words, which as of last night was over a thousand words ahead. Today I actually only need to write 203 words to stay on track, but my hope is to sit down and have another day like yesterday. I’m not holding my breath or anything, but if I can do even half as well as I did yesterday, and then do that again tomorrow, I’ll be done. Won and ahead of schedule. I had originally hoped to extend my goal this year from the usual 50,000 up to 75,000, but given everything I’ve been doing, Christmas shopping, cleaning, getting ready for the baby’s party, amongst other things, I think that just hitting the usual goal is a big deal. So wish me luck, and here’s hoping that at this time next week I’ll be telling you all about my fifth NaNoWriMo win!

Fiction Fragment Friday: NaNoWriMo 2013 Edition Part 4

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverThere comes a point in every NaNo novel where it becomes extraordinarily difficult to press on. This point, for me, usually comes about mid-way through the novel, when things are starting to get really serious. I find this part of the story difficult to press through with any kind of speed because I catch myself over-thinking every sentence, wondering how things are going to turn out. I’ve mentioned before that I rarely ever plan out a novel; this is the down-side of that habit.

So at about this time every NaNo, I find myself leaving the main flow of the story to write whatever random scenes and ideas I might have floating around in my head, because that’s how you get your word count in when you have no idea where the story is going.

The scene I’m going to share today is one of those such scenes. My main story follows young adult Clover from a first-person standpoint, but I decided to write a little back-story scene of her as a child, and from a third-person standpoint. I think it turned out fairly well. Enjoy!

—–

It was a bright, beautiful, sunny morning. Clover woke up in her cozy bed, under her pretty princess blankets, and stretched. She snatched up her stuffed kitty – who was named Kitty – and grinned in the way that only a five-year-old can grin. It was time to start the day!Read More »

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 46: NaNo Edition

Before we get into it today I have to ask a serious question: does anyone else, like, just LOATHE the new WordPress reader? Seriously, this little nested pop-up thing is driving me absolutely foolish. I was 100% happy with posts popping up in a new tab when I clicked on them. It allowed me to stay in the reader and click on multiple blog posts before beginning to read. It was quite comfortable to me. Now I either have to read each post as I come to it before being allowed to move on, or I have to click each post multiple times to get them to pop up in a new tab and then close the little nested pop-up so that I can get back to the reader. It might not seem like a big deal to some, but it’s at least three times as much clicking as I ever had to do, which is extremely annoying to me. Anyone else? It can’t just be me. 😐

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverHealth and Body Image Goal

Last week on Fiction Fragment Friday I mentioned that I was having a rough go with NaNoWriMo this week, in part because I was feeling violently ill. Indeed I spent two straight days feeling very much like I was dying. I was headachy and nauseous, and everything single thing I ate made me feel like I was either going to throw up or be trapped on a toilet for the rest of my days. It wasn’t fun. After almost 48 hours of this I said screw it, I’m going to the hospital because I can’t handle this anymore.

Less than two hours later I posted this status on FaceBook:
You know you’re getting old when you go to see a doctor to complain about constant stomach pains and nausea and her response is basically, “Yeeeeaaahhh…you’ve gotta start eating better.”

My meeting with the doctor basically went like this: she got me to lay on the table so she could poke my stomach and listen to it through a stethoscope, and then she asked me all what I’d eaten over the past couple of days. That was the moment I started to see how this talk was going to go because with every item I listed her scowl got sterner and sterner.

Long story short, I am now actively trying to drink more water, eat more complex carbs, and taking a glass of Metamucil each day. God DAMN I feel so old.

That said, I have been feeling a little better. I’ve also been paying close attention to my stomach and I’m starting to be able to tell when I’ve made a transgression. My biggest issue seems to be breakfast. My body wants it, and reacts quite cruelly if it doesn’t get it, but I’ve always been one to skip the meal, not because I’m trying to save calories or anything stupid like that, but just because I’m never hungry in the mornings (even if the last thing I ate was supper the night before) and it just feels wrong to force food down my throat when I’m not hungry. But I’ve begun to notice that my stomach feels like complete crap if I haven’t eaten something within the first couple of hours of waking up, so I guess there’s got to be a change there.

I’m way too young to feel this damn old. 😛

On the exercise of things, I haven’t been doing any in the traditional sense, but I’ve spent the last few days literally scrubbing every surface in my kitchen, so that’s got to count for something, right?

Editing Goal

I’m skipping this section for the next two weeks. If you don’t understand why, please see the previous two Accountability Tuesdays.

1,000,000 Word Goal

I have to be honest, though it feels like I’ve done a ton of writing this week, it turns out that it wasn’t as much as I thought it was. I thought I was totally blowing away my total from last week, but in reality I only wrote about 2000 words more this week. Still, it’s an increase, so I’ll take it. As of the cutoff last night, I wrote 16,060 words this past week. That brings my yearly total up to 419,217. Just a little over 80,000 to go to get to half a mill. That’s six weeks at 13,464 each, but since I probably wont get anything done over the Christmas holidays it’s really more like five weeks at 16,157 each. Think I can step it up and make the half mill mark? @_@

NaNoWriMo Goal

The good news is that I’m catching up. Despite all odds and having two days last week during which I wrote absolutely nothing at all, I’ve managed to bring myself much closer to the goal line than I was before. As of last night I was up to 27,701 words, as opposed to the 30,000 that I should have been at. That’s still 2299 words behind the line, but you have to understand that during the days that I was sick I managed to fall more than 6000 words behind, so really, I’m doing quite well. If I can have a couple more days this week like the ones I had recently, all will be well. You’ll see. You’ll all see. @_@

Fiction Fragment Friday: NaNoWriMo 2013 Edition Part 3

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverNaNo in this household has been a rough go so far this week. I started out strong on Tuesday, but spent Wednesday in the city, Christmas shopping, and spent most of yesterday feeling violently ill. As such, the little headway I was making has been completely destroyed. On the upside, I’ve plowed through the boring beginnings stage of the story and have finally moved into some of the interesting stuff, so here’s hoping that I’m able to pick things up and move forward at a decent speed from here on.

Until then, here’s another short clip of Bloodlust….the story that will need massive revisions in the future. 🙂

—–

For a brief moment I was sure that everything I’d been through so far was just a dream. I’d dreamed the letter from Andrew, dreamed the Manda had agreed to come to Mexico with me, dreamed leaving my home and my family in search of vampires. I groaned at the thought as I opened my eyes, and was shocked to see a whole group of people looking down at me. The first was Manda, looking very concerned behind her black-lined eyes. The second was Andrew, looking equal parts worried and ecstatic. The third was the woman who had led us into the bar; there was a funny little grin on her face that indicated she was getting a big kick out of something. And the fourth was Lucas.

I immediately scrambled to my feet, though the movement made my head rush again. I was so embarrassed, but I put a big grin on my face, laughed like it was all a terribly humorous joke, and straightened my clothes as nonchalantly as I could. “Guess I haven’t been eating enough!” I lied. “So sorry about that, everyone!”

Manda and Andrew looked at me like I was nuts. The vampire woman let out a bark of a laugh that made me feel both at ease and amused. She was a happy vampire, that was for sure.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Manda was asking me. I nodded to her with a smile plastered on my face, but in reality I was watching Lucas out of the corner of my eye. He hadn’t moved to say anything to me, and his face hadn’t changed since the second I’d opened my eyes. He looked calm, completely stress-free, and maybe even a little bored. That worried me. It worried me a lot.

“Would you like a glass of water?” Andrew suggested, trying to play chivalrous. I waved him off. “No, no, I’m fine, really,” I assured the crowd in general. “But I could definitely go for something a little stronger.” I tried to look cool, but I wasn’t sure it was working.

I did notice, however, that Lucas’ lip twitched a little when I mentioned having a drink. He didn’t smile, not really, but something changed in his face. He waved to someone off to the side of the room and suddenly there was a pin-thin girl with a tray of drinks standing next to him. She didn’t even look at him as he picked a wine glass off of the tray and she took off the second he was done with her. He leaned forward and offered me the glass with an almost painfully seductive look on his face. “For you, dear lady,” he said. His voice melted over me like warm butter. I thought I might faint again but instead I forced myself to smile and take the glass from his hand. For half a second during the transfer his fingers brushed mine. They were cool, like he’d had them in snow. Just like my books always described.

 

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 45: NaNo Edition

Did you know that there’s only 44 days left until Christmas? I mention this because I know an awful lot of people who seem to forget to shop every year until pretty much the last minute. So wake up people! Don’t contribute to the massive hoards of last-minute shoppers!

I, personally, have everything bought except for one or two small things. That’s right; loathe me and know that it’s only because you secretly loathe yourself. MWA HA HA HA HA!

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverHealth and Body Image Goal

I can’t give any good, honest information based on things such as diet and exercise, so I won’t even bother trying. I can, however, tell you about something I did this week that did just as much for my self-image as losing some weight would.

A few days ago I went through my entire closet (including the husband’s side, much to his chagrin) and gathered up everything that I never wear, focusing primarily on pants that don’t fit. I’ve been holding on to most of these pants in hopes that someday I’d wear them again, but the truth is that even if I did put some effort into it and lose a significant amount of weight, I’d probably never ever wear most of those pants ever again. Some of them pants I’ve had since high school, and since becoming a mommy there’s simply no way my body will ever be that shape again. Others were super-low-riding hip-hugger style, which is just plain not my thing anymore because even if I could be a teenager again I just find it ridiculously uncomfortable to constantly feel like my ass is showing. Others were possibilities – there was a chance I might someday fit into them again – but it could be years before I’m able to lose enough weight to squeeze them on. In the meantime, my closet would have been awash in a sea of unwearable jean material.

So I gathered up all those pants, even a couple of pair that had my subconscious screaming, “No! Not those! You actually might get into those sometime soon!”, threw them all in a bag, and tossed them in the Red Cross donation box outside the mall. And to be perfectly honest I felt super relieved. To hell with those pants. If I do lose weight I’ll reward myself with new pants. But in the meantime I refuse to base my physical self-worth on tiny pants that I might never have worn again even if I could fit into them.

Editing Goal

As previously mentioned, editing duties are on hold while I participate in NaNoWriMo, so I have nothing to report. If I ever manage to catch up and get ahead on my NaNovel I might try to finish off the last bit of zombie editing, but for now we’ll just set this one aside.

1,000,000 Word Goal

This week wasn’t nearly as good as I was hoping it might be, partly due to the special project I mentioned yesterday. All total I think I’ve spent at least sixteen hours on this project so far, so that’s a lot of time taken away from writing. Most of my problem, however – as pointed out by my husband, thanks love – is that I’ve been sinking back down into the world known as “wasting time on the internet”. Sure, I’ll write for fifteen minutes, but then I’ll wander over to Facebook and browse for half an hour, and before I get back to writing I’ll wander over to NotAlwaysRight, and oh, since I’m already there I’ll check out all the sister sites as well. I’m a social-media-and-comedy-website junkie, basically. I’m working on it. Really I am.

But in the meantime, I did manage to write 14048 words last week, and the overwhelming number of them were NaNo words, so that’s not too shabby. This week my yearly grand total surpassed 400,000, so between now and the end of the year I’ve got less than 100,000 to hit half a mil. Feel free to cheer me on! Cheering is very helpful, really. 🙂

NaNoWriMo Goal

Of the words written last week approximately 10,000 of them were NaNo words. As of last night (I’m not counting today yet since I haven’t done any NaNo writing yet today) I was at 15212 words, which is a little more than 3000 words behind. I did, however, write almost a thousand words more than the daily goal yesterday, so if I can just do that a couple more times I’ll be all caught up. Plus that special project I keep mentioning is almost done, so I won’t have that to be worrying about.

The real problem is that I’m having trouble feeling my NaNovel. I still hold that the idea was a great one, I think I just didn’t have enough time to really think about what I wanted to do. I’m mostly making it up as I go along and quite a bit of what I’ve been writing is complete and utter crap. That said, NaNo is not a time for fixing stuff up – it’s a time for getting words down at all costs – so I’ve been gritting my teeth and trying to push through. Hopefully at the end of the month I’ll have something that I can at least work with to create something better.

Wish me luck!

Fiction Fragment Friday: NaNoWriMo 2013 Edition Part 2

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverWe are now officially just over a week through National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been playing catch-up since day three, but I’ve almost managed to claw my way back to an even keel. If I can write approximately 3000 words today (*nervous laughter*) I’ll be back on track, and then if I can do that another one or two times (*even more nervous laughter*) I’ll be feeling a little better about my prospects.

I have to admit, the story isn’t going the way I had planned, and will probably need a major gutting and possibly an entire rewrite by the time I’m finished, if it’s ever going to be publishable. But even still, I’m having fun. So here’s another little excerpt, in which our narrator, Clover, discusses some of the details of the day the world ended.

—–

It began as strange reports on the evening news. I didn’t understand much of it at the time, and my parents seemed unable to explain it in a way that made sense to me, but the long and short was that a hole had appeared in the sky above Russia. Authorities were flabbergasted; scientists from all over the world rushed to study the anomaly. Aircraft were sent up to get a closer look. Pictures on the news showed an unfathomable phenomenon; the aircraft could fly up above the black mass and look down on it as though it was a giant inky disk just hanging in the air. The most advanced machinery could get no readings. It seemed to be exactly what it looked like – just a huge black nothingness.

Eventually the authorities had to try something different. People were freaking out and they needed to learn something, be able to at least give the public some idea of what the hell this thing was. So they sent some specially trained men up and they attempted to make contact.

I don’t remember much, but I remember that broadcast. My parents were on the edges of their seats waiting to find out what would happen when the men approached the anomaly. There were all kinds of theories floating around; people were wondering if it would be solid, or if perhaps it would prove to be a portal to another world. The truth answered none of the public questions and was the most terrifying shock of billions of people’s lives. When the men who had been trained and prepared and sent up to this truly unbelievable experience reached out and touched that anomaly, what they received was a reaction. A violent reaction.

People screamed in horror from both sides of the television set as the huge black hole in the sky became an angry huge black hole in the sky. It writhed and wiggled, and it pulsed with a power that sent the trained men flying out of their craft to hurtle back down to the ground. Before the viewers could get over the shock of watching a group of men plummeting to their deaths on live television, the hole began to expand. It grew and grew, blotting out the sun above the camera crew, covering all of Russia and moving on to the surrounding countries. I remember being amazed at how fast it happened. The news lady had barely recovered enough to begin recapping what was happening when the sun began to fade above our farmhouse. The strange black hole had expanded from Russia to Canada in less than ten minutes.

And then everything was darkness. All over the planet people panicked and prayed and lost their minds because the sky had vanished behind a wall of black nothingness.

Accountability Tuesdays – Week 44: NaNo Edition

For the month of November I’ll be adding a National Novel Writing Month update to each accountability post. Fun? Fun. But let’s start with the usual stuff, shall we?

Heath and Body Image Goal

Put simply: not going well. I had planned to try and pair NaNoWriMo with some exercise every day for the month of November, but that was quickly cut short because of a slight health issue. I’m feeling fine now, but only as of late last night, so if there’s a chance of finishing off the rest of the month with some actual effort you won’t hear about it until next week.

The food half of this one is a bygone issue at this point. I’m trying not to be TOO bad, I really am, but we’ve officially entered the season of perpetual hand-to-mouth for me. Our house is stocked with discounted Halloween candy, and soon enough (November always flies for me) it’ll be Christmas treats as well. Lord help me, I have the least willpower concerning food of anyone I know. If only there was someway to make vegetables taste like Mars bars.

Editing

Well October is past and I didn’t manage to finish editing my zombie manuscript. I’m very broken up about that, actually. I was really close; I only had two and a half chapters left, and one of those chapters is much shorter than the others. I’m hoping that I might get a chance to rip through that last bit sometime this month, but I’m not thinking about it too much because I want to focus more on NaNo. If I can come out of this month with a brand new manuscript I’d be more impressed with myself than if I had a half-finished manuscript and a bit of editing done. But I will get that last bit of editing done as soon as I can because I’m so close I can taste it.

1,000,000 Word Goal

If there’s one time of the year when my word count is likely to skyrocket, this is it. I’m working on a brand new manuscript, and I plan to win NaNo, so look forward to at least 50,000 words over the next few weeks. In fact, look forward to much more than that because I’m also going to be blogging during all of that. For this first week of November (which includes the last couple of days of October), I’ve written 14598 words. An excellent start, I think!

NaNoWriMo Goal

Unfortunately, of the words I’ve written so far this week, only 4642 of them were for NaNoWriMo. That’s right, friends, I’m already behind. Quite a bit behind actually. As of the end of today I should be at 8333 words, and I’ve got to tell you, I don’t see myself getting 4000 words in today. On the upside, I’ve gotten past the boring beginning part of my new story – the part that gives you an enormous migraine because you just want to negate it all together – and now I can start getting into the fun bits. So here’s hoping that I can manage to make up those 4000 words over the next few days! Wish me luck!

Random Things I Love

Since I’m short on time with no blog post prepared and my NaNoWriMo novel calling, I thought I’d quickly share a couple of my favorite random things at the moment. Do what you will with that. 🙂

Disney Princess. There has been a lot of flack around Disney Princess lately, what with the vast number of people who claim that the Princesses teach little girls lots of bad lessons about the important things in life (yes, most of the princesses are out looking for their prince, I’ll give you that), but I personally think it’s a major overreaction. I was obsessed with the Disney Princesses my entire life. My cousins and I must have watched The Little Mermaid about 10,000 times – we could quote every single word – and when I first got Beauty and the Beast I would literally watch it to the end and then hit “play” again. And guess what? I became an industrial technologist who hates cooking and cleaning and would rather sit around in jeans and a t-shirt than primp up with pretty clothes and makeup. The lesson is that watching cute, fun, musical movies with lovable characters does not define who you are going to become, even if some of the plot-lines are a little bit misogynistic. Let the kids have their damn cartoons.

Scentsy. Much to the chagrin of my husband, father, and father-in-law, I’ve climbed about the Scentsy train. I’m not a great lover of the big burners that need a big flat surface to lay on because my house is not abundant in clear flat surfaces. But I love the cute little plug-ins, and some of the scents that are available just make me melt. I also fell in love with the “buddies”, which are cute little stuffed animals that you can stuff a scent pack into. My daughter has an adorable little teddy bear whose scent pack (“Newborn Nursery”) has lasted for over two years now. I recently started collecting the holiday burners to use as decorations, and I haven’t been disappointed yet…they’re so cute!

My vacuum. This one might sound weird, especially since just two paragraphs ago I mentioned that I hate cleaning. But the fact that I hate cleaning is exactly why I love my vacuum. I’ve gone through a couple of vacuums now – we’re hard on them because we have two cats that refuse to keep their fur on their bodies, and I have an incredibly thick head of hair that is constantly trying to escape my head – and this is the best one I’ve ever had. I spent a little more money than I wanted to in order to get a Shark Navigator Pro, which seemed to have a lot of great reviews, and I couldn’t be happier. The swivel head is great for corners and tight spots, and the extra-long arm and detachable bucket make it super-easy to do stairs. Vacuuming is significantly less of a chore since I splurged on this particular piece of equipment.

Scrivener. I’ve mentioned this before, but since I’ve been working on my NaNovel I’ve fallen in love with Scrivener all over again. There’s a bit of a learning curve, it’s true, but if you can convince yourself to sit down and just play around with it for a while you’ll find that it’s an extremely versatile tool that can make a writer’s life a hell of a lot easier. I especially love it for the organizational purposes. If I decide that an entire scene is meant for the trash pile, it is super easy to extract it from the story. If I have a dozen characters I can easily organize scenes so that I can locate the particular character I want to deal with today. I haven’t exploited even a quarter of the things that Scrivener can do and it’s still my favorite writing program ever.

Retro Cartoon Reboots. We all know that reboots aren’t always the greatest things. Re-making a much loved movie, TV show, or video game has great possibility to destroy years and years of dedicated fan base. But in recent years there have been a few reboots of the cartoons that my generation watched when we were kids, and they’ve thus far been amazing. I regularly mention Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Hasbro’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and I will continue to do so because both shows take wonderful, beloved old cartoons and turn them into something updated and amazing. They make homage to the old cartoons while still doing their own thing and being fun and cute and lovable.

Pizzaronis. I know, I know, they’re not exactly health food, are they? But I had some this weekend at my mother’s party and it rekindled my love for the little pizza bundles. I ate these like they were going out of style when I was younger, and I would happily eat them every day even as an adult. YUM.

NaNoWriMo. Even when I’m doing poorly (I’m two days worth of word count behind already) I still love this yearly challenge. Which is why I am now going to wrap up this post and get back to my new novel. NaNo participants, ho!

Fiction Fragment Friday: NaNoWriMo 2013 Edition

For the month of November I thought it only fair that I share snippets of my NaNoWriMo novel as I’m writing it. This year my fellow novelists and I are lucky enough to have a month of five weekends, so that means I can post five fiction fragments while I’m rushing to the literary finish line.

This morning my fragment is going to be quite short because, hey, I literally just started writing! But I hope that these few sentences will get you interested for what is to come. So without further ado, here are the first few lines of a novel I’ve tentatively titled: Bloodlust.

—–

I was only five years old when the world ended.

That’s a bit dramatic, I suppose, but that’s what it felt like at the time. I don’t remember much, of course – kids are so wonderful at suppressing what they don’t care to recall – but I remember the fear. I remember the looks on my parents faces as we looked up at the new sky for the first time, and I remember thinking that grown-ups should never look that terrified.

The ones who were old enough at the time tell us about how beautiful the Earth was once. They tell us about how green and lush the forests and meadows were, how hot and bright were the deserts, and the oceans… They tell us that the oceans were a crystalline, sapphire blue. I would find it all terribly difficult to believe if it weren’t for the pictures in my books.

These days the only green vegetation is what we manage to grow in our greenhouses. The deserts are freezing wastelands. The oceans and roiling black deathtraps. But the worst is the sky. The sky above us that once brought us light and warmth now brings us only sorrow.