Is the inside of your head full of noise? Does your narrator (or many narrators) keep you awake through the long, dark winter nights?

Last night, as I was trying to read “just one more chapter” of Kim Harrison’s terrific new book, “The Operator,” I paused for a minute. And heard the quiet. The silence. I realized all that racket I was hearing was happening in my head. The world and my house were quiet.

In my head are many voices, each dealing with or explaining some ribbon of reason … or merely expressing it more elegantly than I could without their help.

Reading, in progress!

Reading, in progress!

The reading narrator was telling Peri Reed’s story from Kim’s book. Which I will review soon, before its release this coming Tuesday, November 22nd. The rest of the noise was all the other narrators. The one who provides background description for my ongoing autobiography. He’s the one who adds “he said” and “she said” with the occasional adverb to liven things up. There are multiple “color” commentators who describe the scene. The lay of the land. The sky, the weather, the flowers. The scorched earth.

There are other narrators to manage data and clarify difficult concepts. These are managing mental editors. They wrangle and analyse pseudo and real science. Crunch numbers. Rationalize science fiction and fantasy and let me believe the unbelievable. I have others who specialize in straight news analysis — the “news guys in my brain” who, for some reason, sound a lot like my husband.

The number cruncher looks at the bank balance. He can tell me exactly when we will run out of money. Whether it will be before or after the last day of the calendar month. I had to train this guy because I until I got him up and running, I never knew what was going on with our finances. Now, I do. I can’t say I like what I see, but at least I know. If the devil is in the details, that devil is hot on our trail.

Most of the time, there are no more than a couple of voices fighting for the microphone … but last night, probably because “The Operator” is an exceptionally complicated (but amazingly good) book, everyone got into the act — and into my head. What a lot of NOISE!

Suddenly, they all shut up. For a few minutes, the world grew quiet. Garry was sleeping. The TV was off and Garry’s headphones were on the charging hook. The dogs were sleeping. Even the pipes stopped grumbling and creaking.

The heat was up. Outside, it was as cold as it would be for that night.

I heard the silence. It was when I accepted the truth of why can’t sleep. No one could sleep with that much going on between their ears. Maybe I could cajole Team Marilyn to agree on a “quiet time.” Like between two and nine in the morning, for example.

The problem is that the voices only get frisky after I retire, when their voices don’t have to compete with the activities and sounds of daytime. They gear up when I’m not engaged. Not writing, processing photographs, thinking about what I’ll cook for dinner, or what bills I haven’t yet scheduled. It is exactly because all of daily business is done that the other voices are so clear and loud.


There is a bit of good news in the mix. I don’t spend all my nighttime hours worrying. I know where the money is and isn’t. The angst which used to be atop the nighttime noise heap is just a low hum. Nor am I worrying about the election. It’s finished and what is and what will be? I’ll cross those bridges when I get there. I can’t worry about the environment all the time or I’ll drift into madness. Nor can I constantly brood on injustice, bigotry, racism, and how come there are so many incredibly stupid people in the world and why they seem to be thriving.

Sometimes, I need to ponder traveling in time. Finding a wormhole we can jump through to get us to a parallel world not being ruined by greedy morons, nor run by racist demagogues.

I think I’ll go back to reading, now. I’m almost finished. I hope there’s a happy ending.

operator-kim-harrisonTHE OPERATOR by Kim Harrison will be released on November 22, 2016. It will be available on Kindle, paperback, limited edition hard cover, and on Audible.com. It is a great book, one of the two or three best books I’ve read during the past few years. It’s unique on so many levels. No, it’s not “The Hollows,” but it’s as good or better. Exciting. Action-packed with a complex twisting plot I dare you to figure out.

Every clue Ms. Harrison drops is a real clue to solving the book’s many mysteries. I promise it will keep you guessing from first to last page. The characters are mad and complicated, each embodying his or her own mystery. Not only is “The Operator” worth reading, it’s worth reading (at least) twice.

Look for my review, coming as soon as I finish writing it!


Thursday’s Special: Calm

CALM: Noun

  1. Quiet and peaceful state or condition.
  2. Peaceful mental or emotional state.
  3. Complete absence of wind, or presence of wind having a speed no greater than one mile (1.6 kilometers) per hour. Also, a period or condition of freedom from storms, high winds, or rough activity of water. (“The calm before the storm.”)
  4. Tranquility.

 I wanted to pick just one picture, but somehow, I wound up with three. All taken on a single afternoon in the Blackstone Valley, along the River or Canal. October is the most flamboyant and colorful month. November is typically cool. Quiet. Peaceful. Tranquil.

The quintessential calm before the storms of winter.

At River Bend along the Blackstone River, November 8th.

At River Bend along the Blackstone River, November 8th.

Along the Blackstone, November 8th.

Along the Blackstone, November 8th.

November 8th by the Canal in Uxbridge.

November 8th by the Canal in Uxbridge.


Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Any Tracks and Trains

I have very few train or track pictures. There’s a perfectly good reason for this.

We don’t have trains. We have tracks, but they are fenced off from the public by tall fences topped with barbed wire. What used to be the Uxbridge train station is now a real estate office.


Our downtown railroad trestle. No problem identifying which train runs through town.


You can’t really see the tracks. Maybe that’s why you need a warning?


Tracks across from the Unitarian church in Grafton

The train goes through here once a week, but it doesn’t stop. It used to stop as recently as the early 1960s. Apparently (I’m told) we also had local buses. We have neither in 2016.

Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge