the Author

Social Distancing Journal 10: Short Story: The Hidden Grove

Posted in self-publishing, Short Stories.

This is a bit late today.

I got up at 7:00 in the morning and came down­stairs and did all the proofing and format­ting and… woke up.

So, in fact, it wasn’t done. Grumpy, I rolled over and got up and came down­stairs and proof­read and formatted and then… woke up again.

Third time appar­ently is the charm, but it’s unusual to have dreams that mundane. You can’t call them night­mares because it’s awful only once you’ve woken up and realize that all that theo­ret­ical work was a dream and it still has to be done. I have no idea why my subcon­scious is trying to give me ulcers. I mean… once? Okay. But twice?

As I’ve been doing, the story in .pdf down­load is here. The story has also been uploaded to the usual suspects, and I’ll add links as they go live; the book page is here.


I went into the store on Friday, as it’s still closed to the general public, and did the rest of the shelving. We’ve been leaving boxes for a couple of days before the books get processed, which… makes us look like we’re packing or unpacking, and we’re not terribly orga­nized while doing it.

Some time ago, I started to muse about love, about the evolu­tion of love, about love as endurance – which is a huge part of what we offer our very young chil­dren; chil­dren are a source of joy, but anyone who takes great joy out of waking up four times a night to, oh, change sheets when their young child has the stomach ‘flu would worry me.

But we do it because those young chil­dren are our respon­si­bility. They are entirely and utterly depen­dent on us. There are no social bound­aries because infants don’t have any. We don’t expect that they should.

And — I have continued to mull over this, and will prob­ably talk a bit more about it in later posts (this is kind of a heads up).


Ontario has gone into phase one of a multiple phase reopening.

And our new cases moved up. We’ve never had the almost-zero case­load, and we’ve never really had the full testing/contact tracing para­digm in place. It’s now sunny, not cold, and its hotter, and people are prob­ably a little sir crazy, so — as parks open up, that’s where they go, and not entirely in small numbers.

I’m not sure how, given rising cases, this is going to go. But: I’m still (mostly) working from home, as is my long-suffering spouse, and my sons have left the house to mow the lawn and take the trash/recycling to the curb.

If I were looking at losing the roof over my head or not being able to feed myself and my kids, I’d be heading back to work. If I was looking at losing my busi­ness and my future liveli­hood, I’d prob­ably be heading back to work as well. At the moment, my thinking is this: I’m not essen­tial. I’m not going to lose my house. So what I can do is: keep social distancing.

But: my PSA for the day is: at least in Ontario, hospi­tals are not swamped. People who do need emer­gency care are… not going. An article in the Toronto Star today had small inter­view snip­pets with doctors from the hospital closest to me. In one case, a woman had a had a stroke, but she was afraid to go to the hospital, and waited half a day.

The reme­dies for strokes, the treat­ments to lessen the damage, have to be done within 4 or 6 hours =/. People have had heart attacks, and have not gone to the hospital — and again, quick response can make a huge survival difference.

It’s no good if you avoid covid-19 and end up dying to some­thing else that the hospi­tals and medical profes­sionals do under­stand and can deal with. When hospi­tals are swamped (as they were in NYC), yes, they’re not great places to be. But in Canada, they’re not crushed in the same way. And when they aren’t, they have all the proper proce­dures in place and they are good at disin­fecting things and keeping things separate.

So: if some­thing happens that might need medical atten­tion, call tele­health. If they tell you to go to emer­gency at the nearest hospital, please go. (The link is for Ontario, but it’s fairly simple to google tele­health and province and get similar numbers.)

ETA: fixed down­load link T_T

9 Responses to Social Distancing Journal 10: Short Story: The Hidden Grove

  1. Joey says:

    Thank you for sharing another short story! Is this version pretty much the same as what was published in WITCH FANTASTIC?

    I’ve also been thinking how I’m “not essen­tial” though I consider myself an essen­tial consumer. LOL!

  2. Tchula says:

    I agree whole­heart­edly with your thinking. For those who have to work, the best thing I can do for them is to limit my trips to essen­tial ones only, wear a mask when I go, and above all, Be Kind. I believe most people are, but some of the stories I’ve heard from friends who have to work are disheart­ening. We have to try to remember that not everyone is in the same situ­a­tion and avoid unfairly judging someone who may not have the advantages/disadvantages as we do. I hope everyone stays safe and well, and enjoys the short stories!

  3. michelle says:

    @Joey: Yes, it’s pretty much the same.

    It’s tricky. I know people — people I even like! — who have to really struggle with the stay-at-home thing because on some base level it feels like a punishment.

    Which of course it isn’t. I think, though, that this is why many people have this response. They don’t see it as “helping other people”, but as being punished when they “didn’t do anything wrong”. 

    @Tchula: Be kind is essen­tial. I find it helps if I just go on a news embargo for a few days at a time =/.

  4. Rona says:

    Thank you for a lovely story. I heard night­time music as I read it.

  5. michelle says:

    @Rona: thank you :)

  6. Jeanine says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing your work. It is some­thing good to look forward to in these times. I would love to buy a tree copy of your collected stories if you ever felt like putting one together someday.

  7. Jo-Ann Pieber says:

    ug i haven’t read anything above. sorry?
    Look, I remember you Mentioning Buffy(a long long time ago), and in Fact, I think there’s a lot about the connec­tions between Buffy-verse that, could be said/compared? (with regard to the multi-verse of your own…creations? … Sagara-verse)
    but seri­ously? or perhaps, inad­ver­tently? are you watching Marvels Agents of Shield?
    More Joss Whedon (i think)?
    It just feels…umm, rele­vant? impor­tant?… ugg, again. I don’t know.
    But I WILL say that — joss whedon’s Buffy series was the First to clue me in to a…‘multiverse’ that…wasn’t strictly apparent (to me other­wise). That is, that the words and strict text…had…LAYERS.
    Some­thing that I’ve.…seen/read/felt in your own writings?
    And Now.
    I’m watching Marvel Agent’s of Shield, again, and,
    feeling that whooshy sort of…displacement? other­world­li­ness? I don’t (insert exple­tive here) know.
    But really, what I want to know, is,
    do you feel this too? do you write in any way that Try’s —  for that…

  8. michelle says:

    @Jo-Ann: I’m not entirely sure I under­stand the ques­tion =/. Can you give me an example of what you mean by layering?

  9. Peter Moore says:

    Your mundane dreams is a new one on me. I don’t have mundane dreams but before I retired, I used to nap on the week­ends. About 6 – 7 times a year, I’d wake up, look at my bedside clock and “OMG! LOOK AT THE TIME! WHY DIDN’T THE ALARM GO OFF!” Rush into the bath­room, into the shower and 5 minutes or so later “You idiot! It’s Saturday!” 

    After my last post talking about Skir­mish, I had the desire to do a bit of a reread so I read bits and pieces of House Name and Skir­mish. One thing struck me that I hadn’t thought of before: Ariel seems to be able to engender out of char­acter protec­tive­ness in char­ac­ters that aren’t usually protec­tive of the weak, Isladar and Shadow both seem to be quite protec­tive of her, Isladar even went signif­i­cantly out of his way to give her to Jewel. I just thought it strange and I’m wondering if we’ll see more of her in the next series (which I’m still thinking of as “End of Days”)

    Thanks for the short story. I’ve just down­loaded it and will read it later on this evening. Looking forward to it muchly.

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