When I left, it was winter. I've come home to the kind of Spring that means that Summer is just rumbling around like someone shuffling his feet waiting to be invited into a room: temperatures in the 70s, everything green and warm and welcoming.
The best news is that all four hives of bees survived the winter. I wasn't sure that they would -- was pretty certain that the red hive (which swarmed last year) would be empty (it wasn't), but all the lessons from the previous year had been learned, and luck was with us. (Sharon Stiteler wrote about the bees here, while I was on the road.)
My dog and my daughter were both very happy to see me home again. One of them has started driver's ed. and has a driving permit.
(I didn't put up the picture of me and Neil Jordan far above London on Tuesday. Here it is...)
There were many amazing things waiting for me when I got home. I haven't even finished opening the mail from when I was away -- there are two large tubs sitting in the kitchen, not to mention random boxes, envelopes and just things. Things I have discovered in the mail so far include:
THE SORCERER'S HOUSE, by Gene Wolfe.
A proof copy of STORIES, edited by Al Sarrantonio and me. The US edition looks like this:
(I am so very proud of this book, from Tom Gauld's wonderful cover on. Contributors are, in story order, Roddy Doyle, Joyce Carol Oates, Joanne Harris, Neil Gaiman, Michael Marshall Smith, Joe R. Lansdale, Walter Mosley, Richard Adams, Jodi Picoult, Michael Swanwick, Peter Straub, Lawrence Block, Jeffrey Ford, Chuck Palahniuk, Diana Wynne Jones, Stewart O'Nan, Gene Wolfe, Carolyn Parkhurst, Kat Howard, Jonathan Carroll, Jeffrey Deaver, Tim Powers, Al Sarrantonio, Kurt Andersen, Michael Moorcock, Elizabeth Hand, and Joe Hill. And the stories are remarkable.)
An advance copy of Instructions, my poem illustrated by Charles Vess.
My Dalek from WETA. Here seen in my kitchen, not entirely assembled:
More kitchen table things tomorrow...
Over at Neverwear, there's a 24 hour preorder on Molly Crabapple's print of my poem DESERT WIND, during which time it's on sale for $28 rather than $38. It's really lovely
Click on it to see it bigger:
Molly blogs about it at http://mollycrabapple.com/2010/04/01/my-poster-for-neil-gaiman/ while Nicola Black, who designed it, talks about the design process at http://nicolablack.com/2010/04/neil-gaiman-desert-wind-poster/.
Cat Mihos, who owns, runs and is the presiding genius of Neverwear.net, has the print up for sale, along with an interview with Molly, at http://neverwear.net/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=44. To repeat, it'll be $28 until 4.00pm PST tomorrow, when it goes up to $38. (And then, judging from previous prints, it will stay $38 until Cat notices they are running very low at which point it will go up to $75.)
(I don't know if it's a limited print, like the Jim Lee 100 Words one, or the all but sold-out Jouni Koponen The Day The Saucers Came, or not.)
Just found that I am a contender on the ranking of influentialness on TIME Magazine Most Influential Person of 2010 list. I do not think I am very influential, but here's the link, to vote for me or for anyone else. Or, more importantly, just to see a picture of me with a TARDIS pin on the Time Magazine Website.