A couple weeks ago, hubby and I went for a walk in the woods near our home. As we neared the point where the trail looped back, I stopped and called hubby back, mesmerized by what I saw. There it was, crawling across the side of the trail: a fully black wooly-worm.
If you know about old-time weather prognostication, you’ll have heard how to tell an upcoming winter’s severity by the color-bands on these caterpillars. The black bands indicate harsh weather periods, the brown bands indicate periods of milder weather, and the width denotes the length of time for each of these. So a wooly-worm with a short black band on its head, followed by a wide brown band and finished by big black band would indicate a short, harsh early winter followed by a long respite of milder weather, and finally a long harsh ending (maybe a late spring, even).
Every wooly-worm I’ve ever seen has three bands, either two black and one brown or two browns with one black. Now, here before us, was a portent of a terrible winter: a fully-black caterpillar. Ugh. You’ve been forewarned. Go buy sweaters and warm coats!
In the wee hours of Thanksgiving day, I couldn’t sleep. (I was probably too disturbed by the upcoming harsh winter!! Brrr) I got up and crept out to the living room, where I checked email and played mind-numbing computer games, hoping to fall asleep again. I didn’t. (sigh) I did, however, learn of another reason to be thankful: my story Frost Patterns was accepted at Fiction365, and will be published there in a couple months. (insert squee of excitment!) As usual, I’ll give you notice when the story becomes available.
I’m really thrilled since this story is special to me. (Okay, yes, they all are special. But this one more than the rest.) I set myself a challenge when I started writing this one, a challenge to stay in the mind of a very unreliable narrator. I won’t say more than that right now, except that I hope you’ll agree (when you read it) that I succeeded.
More good news? Oh yes! Days before Thanksgiving, I learned that I was accepted at Blue Shift as a slush reader. It’s a volunteer position, but already I’m learning so very much. Seeing submissions from the other side–wow. Very eye-opening. As the weeks go on, I know the things I’m reading (in quantity) and learning about what works (and what doesn’t) will trickle through to my own writing. Perhaps, by some strange form of osmosis (known as ‘learning by example’) these lessons will show up as improvements in my own stories. I can only hope 🙂
What’s up next? Applications are soon being accepted at Clarion, Clarion West and Odyssey. I’m hard at work, editing my stories, crafting my essay answers and basically getting ready for the roller-coaster emotional ride of waiting. Cross your fingers for me, and good luck to you if you’re applying!
2 thoughts on “Winter Weather and Publication and Joy!”
I used to play that game with the woolly caterpillars and the weather, too. It’s kind of weird to me that the same caterpillar also lives on the other side of the Rocky Mountains–they seem like such a huge obstacle for some caterpillars/moths to overcome. Some day I want genetic engineering to make cat-sized caterpillars that never grow up that I can keep as pets and feed massive amounts of lettuce. Or maybe they can be designed to eat discarded maple leaves, so they’ll keep my lawn clean! 😀 hahaha
Congrats on the sale and the slush position, and good luck with the workshop apps. ❤
Can you imagine the size of the caterpillar poop (at that size, it’s no longer “frass” IMO)??? So much for that clean lawn. I’d assumed woolly-worms were a Midwest-only kind of thing until now. Have you ‘interrogated’ your local woollies this year? And thanks, thanks, thanks!
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