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I wrote a bonsai epic! A toy epic! A mini epic! The first draft clocks in at about 5,500 words, but this one will shrink rather than grow in revision, so I should get it in under 5,000 words, which is good, as I plan to submit it to the Twenty Epics anthology. I've had an idea about these characters and this plot for ages -- I thought it was a novel for a long time, and honestly, it could've been. But instead I smashed the story with a hammer and picked out the brightest fragments and made a mosaic of them. And, oddly, the achronological non-linear structure makes sense within the logical constraints of the story-universe, which is better than being gratuitously experimental, I think, and there's lots of exposition-around-the-edges, and a world inferred rather than delimited, which is something I've been trying to do more in recent years. I have a tendency to over-explain, but some of my favorite stories are more enigmatic, so I'm trying to embrace the power of ambiguity and Mystery in fiction. Don't know if I succeeded. I read the first draft aloud to Heather, and she likes it, so I'm encouraged. It was a blast to write, at any rate, and I wrote about 4,000 words of it today, one scene at a time, in among filing, receipt-organizing, grocery shopping, and miscellaneous business. It's called "Cup and Table." I may change it to "Table and Cup." I go back and forth over which one I like better.

We went grocery shopping today, as part of our ongoing attempt to cook more and go to restaurants less. (We're trying to limit restaurants to social and special occasions, and to avoid ordering Chinese food or pizza for delivery entirely; we spend a shocking amount of money on food.) So tomorrow I'm making chili, before we run out of winter -- I got some interesting stuff to throw in this time, including some Chinese chili-garlic sauce and some steak, along with the usual hot sauce and coffee and chocolate and beer and whatnot. Should be fun. And we'll make some chicken dishes, and Heather made a fine soup a couple of nights ago, and we got a few things for lazy dinner nights as well. Should have some nice meals this week.

Heather did her taxes today (she should be getting a nice refund, enough to pay for a wedding photographer), and I sort of took a stab at doing mine before deciding I was overwhelmed. I made a fair bit of money at writing last year, and things are starting to get complicated. I don't really understand the various ramifications of earning royalties and whatnot, I'm unclear about what I can write off as business expenses and what I can't, and I keep hearing about quarterly estimated taxes, a mysterious phrase that makes my blood run cold, so I think I'll ask around and try to find an accountant. At least I was smart, and put away half of my novel advance, so I can pay taxes on that income without feeling the pinch. I could just use some help sorting everything out. Taxes depress me. I don't mind paying them, particularly -- I drive on roads and so on -- I just hate feeling stressed-out and idiotic, all while paying for the privilege. So why not pay somebody else, and spare myself the stress? Figuring out all this being-a-grown-up stuff kinda sucks. But other things in life suck less.

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