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Begin as you mean to go on.

Stagger toward consciousness under the insistent paws of the older cats, wondering where breakfast is. Sit up, fish last night’s sweater from the floor, slip into it. Quietly to the bathroom to void the bladder and wonder, vaguely, if the toilet’s recently sluggish drain is merely due to an uptick in toilet paper usage, that might be remedied by a faintly stern lecture at some point, or something deeper, older, more severe, that will at some point require professional help. Into the kitchen, followed by the aforementioned cats, but quietly, quietly; it may be an hour later than usual, but it’s still some hours before everyone else. Switch on the kettle, crack open a can, a spoonful each in the bowls of the older cats. Grind the coffee. Rinse out the French press. As the water works its way to a boil, stick a head in the daughter’s room to check on the kitten, who’s sat, alert but sleepy, on her sleeping shoulder. Tip out the ground coffee. Stir in the water just off its boil. Mix up the poolish for the pompe a l’huile, and notice for the first time that the recipe just says “salt,” and not how much. Figure it’s a teaspoon, given everything else, but that’s for later, after the poolish has had time to ferment. Plunge the coffee, pour it into the thermos, pour out a cup. Sit down. Light the candle. Draw the card. Fire up the keyboard and turn to the first draft of the first scene of the thirty-fifth novelette. Figure maybe it’s time to commit to the occasional use of a question mark as an aterminal mark of punctuation, indicating a rising tone in the middle of a sentence, but not the end of it—but only in dialogue, and only when separated from the rest of its statement by some sort of dialogue tag? he said, uncertainly, but sure, okay, let’s do it. And what about whether or not he straight-up asks her where she’s going: say that out loud? Let it be inferred? Decide. Decide. There’s three more scenes to edit today to hit the pace we’d like. Let’s go.

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