Twenty Days

I can’t tell you how long the next twenty days feel — the 20 days before my book finally hits the shelves. The next 20 days are like 20 Christmas Eves put end to end. They are like the ten minutes when you’re waiting for water to boil, only approximately 3000 times in a row. They are like the two minutes while you are waiting for a light to change, only 15,000 times in a row. So basically imagine that — driving across town and hitting 15,000 red lights.

What have I done to pass the time? Well, I have been planning a workshop for authors on how to establish a web presence (scroll down for the description). If that sounds interesting to you, please sign up.

I’ve also been thinking about pigs. I once knew a lady with a pet pig right here in Minneapolis. This was when I lived close to campus, in the heart of the city, so if you imagine a pig in some outskirty area in a big house with an ample yard and a pen, you are wrong. This woman lived in an apartment building, and took the pig for walks all the time. I would see them and talk to her once or twice a week. This wasn’t one of those little pot-bellied Asian pigs, either. It was a full-sized porker, the kind you expect to see rooting around in an Iowan feed lot, not trotting down University Avenue with its snout held up proudly as it sniffs the morning air.

I haven’t seen the pig since I moved to the other side of town eight years ago. Now I wonder, where did the pig sleep? What did it eat? Where did it go potty? Did it have toys to play with? One thing I do know is that the pig had little outfits, but where do you buy outfits for a pig? She must have made them herself. I just don’t believe there is a porcine outfitter, even with the long tail of the Internet and the possibilities it affords specialist boutiques.

I may have asked her all these questions and she may have told me all their answers, but I’ve forgotten everything except the pig itself, which was massive and had painted toenails. I’m quite sure a pet pig will figure into my next novel — the one after the one about the snake — and while the new book will not be “about” this pig, the pig will have a big meaty role in it. I know that her name is Picasso, and that she is called Cassie. I know she has cute ears. That’s about it right now. I have to figure out more, and I have to figure out how ordinary people who do not live on farms come to have such a pet and how they integrate them into their lives.

So that helps me pass the time, too. Eventually I will research it, but for now I am content to imagine and wonder at the possibilities.

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