Grace Goes Airborne

If you try to look back past more than about a month of my blog posts, you will find I have de-published ten years worth of weekly material. I did this, because Google has declared, by virtue of a change to what it quaintly calls its privacy policy, that copyright no longer pertains on the internet. ANYTHING Google’s bots can get to is fair game for training Bard or any other AI program.

My books are all available on piracy sites because the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (largely written by Google lobbyists) ensured that on the internet, authors have no real copyright protection anyway. But my blogs are an even more authentic source of my voice than my books, so I scuttled them. I might publish them as a book at some point, in which case, we’re back to…

The situation with AI encroaching on creative livelihoods generally has me down. The wretched heat has me down, as does the thought that we might look back on this summer as “before it really got hot.” Summer is never a great time for book sales, and the stinkin’ Japanese beetles got after my little cherry trees before I even knew Japanese beetles liked cherry trees.

All of which is to say that my annual July case of the summer megrims has come around right on schedule. I know this too–all of this–shall pass. I’ve drenched the cherry trees in neem oil (very little threat to pollinators), I see some cool nights in the forecast, and everybody is suing the everlasting peedywaddles out of Google and company over the whole AI debacle. Winter is coming, thank heavens.

But my mood doesn’t lift just because being bummed out is tiresome and unproductive. It’s still hard to write a sparkly scene, still daunting to do all those danged daily steps. So I asked myself, “What’s one straw we can take off the camel’s back, Grace?” (Don’t ask me who we is.)

I was really not in the mood to get on the dreaded tread desk yesterday evening, so I… went to the pool.

I splashed around some, and then I noticed that very few people were using the diving boards. The pool has two boards–low and lower–and they have their own deep-water splash down zone. I was hopping off a 5-meter dive at the age of five (blame my oldest brothers), and yet, I haven’t gone sailing from a diving board for probably fifty years.

“I dare ya,” says me to myself.

“I will look ridiculous,” I replied.

“You look ridiculous staring at the computer, muttering to your cats, and wearing a wet towel on your head. That board is one meter above the water. You know you want to.”

I did want to. I wanted to do something that connected me to my more daring, adventurous, innocent, brave self, and I wanted that physical feeling of being unbound from the earth. Wheeeee!

A Gentleman of Dubious Reputation by Grace BurrowesI took about a half dozen turns off the one-meter board, though I didn’t have the nerve to do that one-two-three-bounce prep that presages a really good upward arc. For no reason I can explain, by the second dive, I was giggling at myself. I am no sylph, and when I leave that board, it doth bounce, but ye gods, I had fun. This is a joy I can still claim, a little micro-accomplishment (from when I was five) that still resonates.

Take that, ChatGPT… I cannonball you, Bard! A bellyflop upon thy house, Bing! And you blasted beetles SHALL NOT PASS!

What makes you giggle? How do you combat the summertime blues?

PS: A Gentleman of Dubious Reputation is also now available in print.



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15 comments on “Grace Goes Airborne

  1. Good for you, Grace!! I think it’s a shame that adults get out of the habit of good silly FUN.
    I love to do little funny things that cheer me up, like skipping a little on my morning walk or twirling in a circle on hiking trail switchbacks. And a call for ridiculous dress up costumes?! I’m on it, with x it’s and jobs from my closet.

    I got my ARC this am- thank you so very very much!! I have a massive task on my plate this month, so I’m not sure if I will be able to get to doing a formal review or not, but rest assured, I highly appreciate the Arc!!!

  2. I get several author’s newsletters and some of them routinely include jokes. I cannot give you a pattern, but sometimes one will catch me the right way and instead of just smiling, I will laugh out loud. I think I live too much in my head because those and sometimes words in a book make me laugh but I cannot think of anything physical that will do that.
    I don’t generally get the summertime blues because I very much prefer the heat and light of summer to the cold and dark of winter. I don’t go outside much in either case but I can tell the difference from inside.

  3. Fortunately I don’t experience summertime blues. My doldrums usually hit me in September, when the cold weather steals into my bones and my desire to defrost does battle with my economic survival (in our all electric house). Summer to me means pool and picnics and pool parties and pool dates with the grandkids (are you sensing a theme here?). The funny thing is, the backyard pool was very nearly a dealbreaker when we toured this house. But the expense to tear it out was prohibitive, so we decided to live with it for a year. Best decision ever! While I’m no sort of swimmer (I barely learned to swim in college only because I couldn’t graduate without passing a swim test), I do love to paddle around in the shallow end for an hour or two every day that the weather cooperates. I leave the deep end and the diving rock for my more adventurous guests and my grandkids. But I definitely break out into a smile whenever I’m floating in my happy place! Stay safe. Stay well everyone!

  4. Kudos to you for finding a way to reconnect with fun! (Especially in a public setting!) I am familiar with the summer megrims. Reading some of my favorite books of yours really takes me out of myself and to a happy place. The love between family members, the courting couples, the ribbing, the humor. Seriously – it really does. The only problem is re-entry – it must be done with care! I also like picturing myself in a favorite place. I hope you find more fun!

  5. Congratulations on taking the leap! Just wondering, do you jump in feet first or arms first? I admit to being too chicken to ever jump in head first.

    Summertime blues … what makes me happy is not getting up and going to work. I will be retiring soon after the first of the year. After that, I may find out something I want to do with all of that free time (after the double knee replacements).

    Smarter me wishes I had womaned up and had the surgery years ago but I was too chicken.

  6. What makes me giggle? Oh, lots of things. Specific to Grace I have always loved the opening lines of ASHTON “I am the bastard!” Things like that, being taken by surprised, just crack me up. Also the Dukes In Disguise premise gives me the giggles. I keep that book nearby for when I want to smile while I read.

    Other than that, my daughters have cracked me up so many times as they grew up. A specific story was on my younger daughter’s first day of her senior year in high school. We were late getting out the door, she went ahead of me, stuck her head back in and yelled “hurry up you sloth!” I laughed so hard I was the cause of her being a minute or so late (I had to go to the attendance office with her and confess that it was my fault. LOL

  7. Good for you! I bet you felt great after your splash!

    My corgis make me smile! Greg is so sweet. I love to see him roll in the grass and watch the birds with me in the morning. Laci ( the sock stealer) loves fetch. After fetch I put her ball on a table- love to watch her try to get the ball. She’s taken her job as chief squirrel and chipmunk chaser seriously. She has not caught anything.

    It’s been a summer of rain and humidity here. I am reading and watching Netflix to break up my time. Reading an old favorite comfort read makes me smile!

    Am enjoying the first Julian mystery book- he’s an interesting hero and I am drawn to him.

  8. Today I drove over to my best friend’s house & loaded up all the errands she’s been postponing for years in the back of my massive beast of a ride. We dropped 5 monitors & some other computer gear at Staples for recycling. (She’s married to a tech hoarder) Then we took overflowing coin jars to my credit union & ran the mess through the coin machine while laying bets with each other how much it would total. We were both low on our guesses & giggling at that point. A massive batch of parcels to the post office that required both of us & a wheelie cart. Much girl talk while standing in line. By the time we hit Costco so she could get a month’s groceries while she had me to push the buggy & a truck bed to pile it in, we were tag teaming to spot the items on her list & plotting a repeat of knocking out chores together for next week.

    Alone, in the midst of extreme heat warnings, she faced a grim slog trying to knock out chores that’d been hanging over her for ages like recycling the old computer gear. But together & with my huge beast to haul everything at once, we turned getting things done into a fun day & caught up on topics we never seemed to get to on the phone. Having air conditioned seats every time we climbed in after a sweaty haul didn’t hurt either.

    So we’re turning chore days into fun days & egging each other to get things done. Next week (forecast to cool down to merely hot instead of dangerous) we’re taking on a garage to clean out trash & rearrange what stays with two of us to share lifting & hauling. A little music on our phones, insulated bottles of cold drinks, snacks, & we’ll be egging each other on to get rid of stuff, making a donate pile, & laughing like loons at the inevitable “what is that & why do I have it?” things we find. All while talking a mile a minute.

    Another session will be closet clean outs, try ons, & clothes swapping to refresh wardrobes for free.

    Tom Sawyer was onto something! Shared chores & good friends turn nasty jobs into fun times. And just look at the calories we’ll burn & the exercise we’ll get without officially working out.

  9. Yay!!! So glad you dived! (Dove??)
    All of your summertime complaints are valid, and sadly, the heat is only going to get worse this week. On the bright (?) side, we’ve passed the 1/3 mark through the summer. Ugh! The deer got the last of my tomato blossoms yesterday, so I now have a few very tall, very green . . . plants? But again on the bright side, watermelon (with a coupon) is ridiculously cheap at the moment!

  10. Since I work at a bookstore I have access to some ridiculous and hilarious picture books. Some just hit the right spot and I laugh everytime I look at them. For example: Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman. I am not sure why I am so delighted by this book (it is exactly what it purports to be), but even thinking about it makes me giggle.

    My kids are absurd and clever and that translates into many many laughs. The next time I go swimming I will try a dive or two and see what my kids have to say about it!

  11. I don’t get the summer megrims since I retired from teaching. Having said that, I do worry in general about the state of our earth and the generations to come. We’re on year 3 of severe summer drought and the number of dead trees in our neighborhood is hugely depressing. My young grandkids are at the age of giggling and their giggles make me and my husband giggle. I also love well-written, clever dialog in books and that lightens my mood, as well.

  12. I have been tasked with making someone else giggle… My husband’s cousin asked us to send comics and short funny stories to his wife, who is incarcerated in hospital until December at best. (She went in in mid-June)

    It’s difficult! I will continue until asked to desist, which she will do when she’s had enough.

  13. My remedy for overcoming the summertime doldrums is to read and Lord Julian has become my new favorite hero! I have just finished the second Lord Julian book and cannot wait until the third one is available in print! I enjoy your books so much and cannot ever put one down once I begin reading it! I not only love the characters and plots, but learn so much about the history, society, and culture of the times. They are a delight to both intellect and romantic imaginations. Thank you for so many pleasurable hours of reading!

  14. ‘Grace Goes Airborne’ makes me chuckle, laugh-out-loud, snicker and chortle!
    Our circumstances in this changing world seem beset with complications and threatened by evil…. But I do so love that “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

  15. Sometimes watching my cat pop up about 2 feet in the air when he gets startled cracks me up. I feel guilty for laughing… but, it IS cute!

    (I want to use… bingle?Lots of unusually punktiation % spelling to MESS with AI!!!…??? LOL!)

    I ain’t had… time… to get TOO? (ha! ha!) Lordly Jules yet, but I reeeeeallyyy look forward to reading hisstory.