Book 3 - still being written

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Postby Evaine » Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:09 am

Mmm, Naga and a kinky vampire?

No contest. The vampire doesn't have a chance.
when the floppy-eared Spaniel of Luck sniffs at your turn-ups it helps if you have a collar and piece of string in your pocket.
Terry Pratchett on taking opportunities in writing.
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Postby hgladney » Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:27 pm

Hmm, maybe that's what the murder mystery in the Teot part two of book 3, or book 4, depending how you count, really needed--vampires! kryptonite! Mayhem! Lots of flapping leather!! Visions of Smallville danced through their heads like sugarplums...
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:39 pm

Evaine wrote:Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:39 pm Post subject:
Mmm, Naga and a kinky vampire?

No contest. The vampire doesn't have a chance.


Why, thank you, that is very nice of you! It's always fun, when you try to write a tough guy, to have it appreciated like that.
There is, of course, the question of *why* he's such a bad-ass. And always was?
I've been speculating that Naga probably was a tough little biter long before Reti got hold of him. His trainer simply gave it somewhere to go, smoothed it out considerably.
Some stories would do interesting things with the classic vampire-hunter idea for instance.
I honestly hadn't thought about that kind of storyline, until now, but it does lead off in some intriguing directions. If the ancients could've invented anything of the sort, perhaps as some variant of super-soldiers, then they certainly would have tried it out. I just don't want to be predictable or boring if I do follow that line of thought.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
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that ol' oxygen dihidride thing

Postby hgladney » Sun Jan 01, 2006 1:15 am

Over on lj, I'd posted this back on the 25th of December:
If you haven't a penny, then a ha'penny will do!
It is not raining cats and dogs.
It is probably raining frogs, trout, random salamanders, and assorted shellfish.
But I don't know, because I am inside, and our oddly-assembled witch's cottage is not, currently, leaking.
Among things to be grateful for, are the inventive genius of past generations determined to deny the immense power of the surface tension of that common irritant, oxygen dihydride, and its ability to crawl along objects even uphill, and get into things where it has not the slightest business being.
It is the sneakiest of the solvents, and I do not exclude nasty things like carbon monoxide from my list.
I am grateful to have a dry ceiling.
Likewise, I am grateful that my family made it through the stress of trying to get ready for Christmas without making themselves sick. In fact, several of various chronic conditions are much better than they were even a year ago.
Not a small gratitude in either case, as with so many thoughts based on experience.

Today, I have gorged my visual cortex on two movies--Depp's version of Willy Wonka, and Polar Express, and likewise imbibed one and a half Droste chocolate bars while so doing.
I'm not entirely sure what to do with all this input boiling around, but I am not in a hasty mood.
That would not be appropriate to the true season.
Hmm.
It's possible more chocolate is called for.
I have been thinking about the bright face and the dark obverse of the seasonal coin. This year there seems to be an extra social awareness out there that the glitter is all the brighter for the knowledge of the Ghost of Christmas Future out there, with starving children under its skirts. There is a peculiarly minor, introspective, melancholy, and medieval tone to the music I've been hearing a lot the last week or so, often by complete accident.
I have been having leisurely conversations with people about the two sides of the major two winter pagan festivals. I was a little surprised by the remarks I got on this.

Because I am the kind of gardener who grows trees and shrubs, I don't think of winter as nasty or deprived or starving at all--but other people clearly do.

The current celebration for midwinter may be on the shortest day of the year, but at this time, for thousands of years of agricultural history, people still had stocks of food to celebrate, the storms had not cut everybody off.
But in the more extreme ends of the temperate zones, this is when you know you're soon going to be staring into the face of the Dark. You're heading into the stormiest part of the year, where things freeze and sick people die. I remember the stark numbers that came in when the PBS-sponsored historical recreation folks set up period houses to try the settler life for the summer (I believe in Wyoming?) to see how they did it, what worked and what didn't--and it didn't. Motivated as much as they were, participants all carefully selected to be the right people to get along and do the work, these modern, healthy people simply hadn't worked hard enough. They hadn't harvested a tenth of the fodder they needed, they hadn't raised enough of their own vegetables and hauled enough water and weeded enough rows and dried enough meat to get enough calories to keep them from starving in the winter of that area. Not one. It gives you some measure of respect for Native Americans who did it without steel tools or buckles.
Given that I myself have crummy soil for vegetables (although, with enough hard work, my grotty clay will raise amazing roses) I probably think that it's a lot harder work than some knowledgeable gardners do. Certainly I think of it all as much harder work than those spoilt folks blessed with great gardening soil who raise mounds of the stuff until they're sick of zuchini, and wave it all off with a shrug.
But this hard-won knowledge is also why I'm incredibly grateful that my working life is not *completely* composed of despair over cucumber beetles and the bodily aches and pains from hauling in manure, shoveling any manure I can get my hands on. Or straw. Or rice hulls. Or anything else organic.
The poverty of Europe for many ages must have looked like parts of Africa and Pakistan do now.
This is the time of year when the peasants blow raspberries and jeer the Dark.
They wouldn't be jeering later on.
And there's always the loneliness of Scrooge and his Ghosts.
Later on, after the worst storms are over, there is another pagan festival. Again you emerge, to check on your neighbors and any of your animals, if you were leaving them out there on the hills, and you see what's left in the fields. That's when you start rationing the turnips and cabbage and anything that's left in the root cellar, if you belong to a Northern European tradition.
If you're not farming enough good land, you just won't have enough food. The more marginal the land, the more of it you must work to survive. Or else trade something you do well, to folks elsewhere. But you have to have *something* to work with. A lot of those peasants were scratching at land just as marginal for farming as mine is, on plots of a size even smaller than mine.
Economic disparity, the gap between the very rich and the very poor, gets strongly emphasized in a lot of traditional stories at this time of year.
But it pops up in modern takes on it, too. It was impossible for me to ignore how strongly Tim Burton emphasized the theme of economic disparity in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in showing the poverty of Charlie Bucket's family. It leapt out of Polar Express pretty strongly too.
It isn't the deadly cold by itself that kills. It's the *poverty* and the indifferent selfishness of others that leaps at you like a wolf out of these stories. They state it outright: "There but for the grace of God go all of us."
I have been thinking about the iconic figures for this, such as the dark, scary, deprivation-figure of the ghost/hobo in Polar Express, as an echo of older figures. Of course there's the angels who come to the door in the guise of beggars, or the poor man who Good King Wenceslas goes out into the cold to help.
"If you haven't a ha'penny, then God bless you..."
Because I am warm enough and well-fed and I have tools to use and I have gloves to wear against the thorns, my winter is nothing like that of the peasant up there in the cold of the Pakistani border where the earthquake knocked down everyone's houses and no one came to help bury the dead, because it is a war zone.
I don't feel that the very still, cold, silent time of year deserves the word *harsh*.
Part of this is my personal experience of it. We don't get that bad here for the cold. Heat, yes, but not cold. I understand that the local weather matches the broad stats for Cairo. As in, Egypt. And this isn't even as tough as surviving the frog-steaming summer monsoon in places like Phoenix AZ, so I'm not allowed to whine too loudly.
This climate thing is largely why winter is a *lovely* season to me. Winter means all good vampires can come out without scalding their very eyeballs in the noonday sun, or burning their fingers on the steering wheels of parked cars, or puking and hallucinating with heat exhaustion.
Given all that, why, isn't it strange to hear me saying, hey, I *like* it when it's gray and raining. (I also like it when it's cancelled, or when it's complicated, but that's a fannish rant for another day.)
As for things shedding and going bald and looking pathetically bare, that's the time to admire a noble branch structure in a well-grown tree or shrub. Urban trees don't just get that way without some thought. If you have a gawky awkward horrible branch structure to stare at, then winter is the time when something should be done about that, and a great time to ask expert folks about it if you don't *know* what to do about it.
They give clinics.
They also love to hear themselves talk, but you probably knew that.
There's a satisfying rightness to dormancy, really. Leaves should be properly shed and become compost, that's appropriate and healthy. Having the wind rattle through and shake things and break out the whippy weak material is how various important sections of the rose family have evolved. (I'm convinced they're used to be being chewed to shreds by rabbits and deer, too, so they're tougher than you think.)
Dormant does not mean dead to me. Part of that is simply personal experience of how many pathetic-looking little scraps are incredibly tough little buggers, who will surprise you by coming back from a bare little twig--especially when you didn't *want* them to. (Such as rootstocks on many grafted plants, sigh.)
Gardeners are great optimists, do you scratch under all that thick bark of skepticism.
An older gardener tends to shrug and add, "Oh well, might as well try, you might get *something* out of it."
After some seasons of seeing the results of your efforts, you start to trust things will grow back from the most astonishing damage.
Besides, I can generally tell the difference when I look at a shriveled-looking stick infected with fungi, or a tree that was killed by root diseases, vs. a tree sapling that's very powerfully alive, boiling with stored food, ready to gush out at the slightest warm day and explode all over the back yard in an embarrassing display of sap and bugs and impatient sex. (That noisy part of the year is a little hard to ignore, even for the green-deaf, when your neutered cats are shedding like mad, chasing each other round the house and jumping out of their skin.)
The feel of a healthy, heavy, solidly-fed twig in your hands is nothing like the poor starveling junipers and wormy poplars and bug-ridden purple plum trees that many people endure around their houses.
The healthy branches are just impatient to have the weedy trash all cleaned away and the strong new buds allowed to see the light, ready to go.
So I explained that my association is so strongly ag-related that I regard winter to late winter as a positive, busy time. This is when you start planting bare-root bushes and trees. Bare-root planting is possibly the most astonishing of the acts of faith. The results can be completely unpredictable. I posted some days back an entry talking about pruning off all kinds of green stuff that 'sploded all over the house...that's the result of bare-root planting of a pathetic little stick the size of my little finger.
Like most acts of faith, this also means, "Be careful what you ask for."
Speaking of pruning, most *normal* pruning is *not* harsh. Like sculpture, it is releasing what wants to be there already, bending with the growth of the plant, trying to understand what it's doing, where it *wants* to go. It's very zen. Physically, for the person doing it, pruning means you're moving around, busy, accomplishing things, and you have a whole lot more to do than you have time for. The air maybe be bloody cold and the ground maybe incredibly sloppy, but the life is there in the canes, you can *feel* it under your hands. Most people associate this busy-busy-live feeling with spring and sowing seeds and chopping weeds.
I don't. I associate it with pruning my fruit trees and rose bushes in the winter. It's far too late to get much done out there by spring.
The fact that my wisteria vines want to eat my house just means I made a mistake in not understanding they are really serious vines with really serious 'tude that *want* to eat houses for lunch.
Sometimes they do it.
People warned me, but I didn't really believe it.
Silly me.

Then I was forced to update thus, tonight:
Last time I updated my lj, I announced it was raining.
I announced my house was not leaking.
Silly me.
Musta ticked off *somebody*.
Take this! And this! Bright yellow doppler with lightning strike warnings and wind warnings and etc etc.
(eyerolling here)
Flood warnings about 5 am.
I got popped forcefully out of bed at 7:30 (yeah, they let me sleep in) to look at things outside that were draining right against the house.
And oh, yeah, BTW, the ceiling was leaking. AGAIN.
Drainage against house = fixed, but that was NOT the problem causing the leak.
This was the same old, same old where the wind lifts and destroys shingles, and that sneaky stuff crawls in under there where it just don't belong, and we think about electrical shorts and mold while we put buckets in the way.
Same old is where eventually the roofer comes out and scratches their heads and says, "Musta been the wind driving it under the shingles or something."
But about mid-morning the bright yellow went away to devil folks up in the foothills, and blizzard around folks up in Blue Canyon, and probably howl off well into Nevada, and the sun came out. In the meantime, there was moving of things in the rain, raking of leaves from flooded gutters, and much scufflings about the house to clean up for people visiting, and eventually the ceiling stopped dripping.

Now there are not quite five-year-old nephews being read to after being heartlessly abandoned to our tender mercies so their parents can take a grownup break for the night.
Heartlessly, I tell you.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Re: that ol' oxygen dihidride thing

Postby laurie » Sun Jan 01, 2006 1:47 am

I like what you say about winter, Heather. Many of us who live in the Frozen Tundra States feel that winter has much to offer. I've lived here all my life, and I still feel a sense of child-like wonder when I see snow falling - even when it's the kind of snowfall that dumps 2-3 feet at a pop. I figure I have a reasonably weather-tight house, an overstocked pantry and freezer, heat, lights, books to read and music to listen to ...... if I get snowed-in for a week - WHO CARES?? I am blessed to have what I need to survive a week of bad weather. Many in this world don't have what they need to survive GOOD weather. I am blessed .......

hgladney wrote:Now there are not quite five-year-old nephews being read to after being heartlessly abandoned to our tender mercies so their parents can take a grownup break for the night.
Heartlessly, I tell you.


Hehehe. My nephews and a bunch of their friends - male teenagers all - have co-opted my basement as their private pool hall for the evening. If my pool table had a quarter-slot, I'd be a wealthy lady. Luckily they brought their own munchies...... :wink:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." -- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"So where the hell is he?" -- Laurie
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Postby hgladney » Sun Jan 01, 2006 2:52 pm

Hmm, must think about that...slot on the pool table, *and* concession stand. I bet you could get $1 a can of soda? Hmm. Probably only if you had video games too.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
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Postby hgladney » Sun Jan 15, 2006 6:09 am

Well, who was a bad writer today?
I ran off and frivolously bought major industrial drums of groceries at an overcrowded major boxstore, which made everybody horribly grumpy. Bad writer, no goodies.
Then I sat down to drink chocolate (the rest of the family had the more elaborate cappucino-ish things) at an organic foods coop place, and I got dragged away to examine the equally elaborate display of jarred dried herbs. This end of the day's events made everybody much happier.
They had dried things I'd never heard of--and as a gardener, you tend to hear of things. Yes, I know dong kwai is used for women's complaints, and that fo ti is supposed to be some Chinese medicine energizing tea, as best I recall, and that blackberry or raspberry leaves are used for settling digestive upsets. Yes, I recall reading something about people harvesting the resin for myrrh off these very strange trees in the desert, possibly in Yemen?? As far as I know it's not exactly used as a spice, it's used as an incense.
But I'd never smelled it before.
It's strange stuff. It could be used as a spice, in some lamb dish perhaps. Imagine something like the Mexican spice cumin, which is from the parsley family. (Yes, another of those umbel things.)
This batch of dried ground myrrh smelled like regret. Or grief. Or something. Like ... funerals. Since I never go to such ceremonies, and I'd never smelled it before to my knowledge, making this association is very odd. Not just due to the name itself and its Biblical associations, either.
It does smell like that.
Side note:
My avoidance of funerals is mostly fortuitous--I haven't been around close enogh when older family members were dying. Given a choice where distant acquaintances are concerned, I'd rather leave such events to their closer family. For one thing, I tend to have philosophical issues with getting hammered by other people's religious hierarchies and clumsy cosmology and what I would have to assume is pretty basic beginner theology when it's a bad time emotionally for anybody I'm trying to be supportive of. I know it'd be worse if I happened to be one of the immediate mourners, too.
In ordinary life, this dodgy behavior is also proving practical, since my ability to cry at grass and children's movies is not appreciated at formal ceremonies where co-workers would really like not to lose it in front of everybody, and I'll set them off like a whole batch of waterworks all going off at once. I don't like it, myself, and find it embarrassing and odd, but hey, crying at grass being cut may be my part of getting older. If you can't wear purple and act strange when you've earned those aches and pains from the overcrowded boxstore, then what is the point of bothering, anyway? Trust me.

All this association with the odor may be more than usually relevant, today, smelling wonderful strange funereal things, because an old acquaintance I was very fond of died today.

Cyndi was well-known in the sf & f community as a singer, musician, and song-writer of that variety of fannish music known as filk. She was also a very large woman with health issues who went to conventions in her wheelchair in spite of the difficulties, she was an extremely intelligent fan who knew everybody, and the filk community will be giving memorials for her all over the country.
I didn't know any of this when I was smelling that jar of myrrh. But I'll remember her whenever I smell it. We'll miss Cynthia Mc Quillan.
This is the kind of tribute she inspires.
http://www.livejournal.com/users/wicked ... style=mine
And this:
http://www.livejournal.com/users/johno/ ... ine#cutid1
And this:
http://www.livejournal.com/community/fi ... style=mine
And this:
http://www.livejournal.com/users/hofdave/3280.html
And yet another:
http://www.livejournal.com/users/filker ... style=mine
There will be more.

Myrrh may not always smell just exactly like that, either. Some of the other things that I did know smelled odd to me too. Not stale, either--if anything, fresher than I commonly find.

This may also partly be the batch issue. Because perhaps this isn't from the usual commercial sources, it isn't from the usual areas, it's not at all the same thing as you're used to from previous sources.
I had never thought of regional or quality or harvest-timing or processing variants in an expensive item like myrrh, but as an organic product grown on trees, this makes perfect sense. Think of coffee, or tea, or chocolate.
In trying to look up details on myrrh, tonight, I found this spice site very interesting, writerly-speaking. Some great research stuff here. If I've posted it before, forgive me, but I just goggled it again tonight. It's enough to make you hungry all over again.
The main Index:
http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/gen ... g_foe.html
Heh, heh hehhe....
All right, I'll have mercy on you. This is the English index.
http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/gen ... g_foe.html

They don't actually list myrrh, proper.
But try looking at cumin, for instance. Very consistent attempts to show pictures of the foliage and roots and seeds and flowers. You might initially be startled by how the entries look, because they also have all kinds of language etymology that I wouldn't have expected, cross-translations, and cultural notes, such as:
In most countries of Northern and Eastern Europe, cumin is of little importance as a traditional flavouring, and consequently, is seen as an alien spice comparable to but distinct from the native spice caraway (“foreign carawayâ€
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby laurie » Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:55 pm

From Botanical.com:

[Myrrh] has been used from remote ages as an ingredient in incense, perfumes, etc., in the holy oil of the Jews and the Kyphi of the Egyptians for embalming and fumigations.


The Catholic Church still uses it in the incense for funerals and the Ash Wednesday and Holy Week (pre-Easter) services.

Definitely an odor associated with sadness and grief to anyone who grew up Catholic.
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Postby hgladney » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:23 am

Thanks, Laurie!
The strangest part of this is that I had no experience of the scent before, to my knowledge, and it still spoke so directly to that impression.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
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Postby tollbaby » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:40 am

that's because the stuff reeks of death. *shudder* I hate myrrh incense.
And what manner of jackassery must we put up with today? ~ Danae, Non Sequitur
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Postby hgladney » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:00 pm

Sorry to being up such unpleasant associations, Laurie and tollbaby, nobody needs the extra stress!
One of the reasons I mentioned this, is that the lower lizardbrain clearly knows some very odd things, and I'm very unclear on where that knowledge came from.
Rather like looking up at stormclouds and knowing it was time to get under cover, with no experience whatsoever to explain how I knew.
I find that I have scent-ideas stashed in there about what several different kinds of deaths smell like. Most of these I've never experienced myself.
What startles me is how forceful it is.
Lizardbrain doesn't bother taking the time to file where it came from, it just reacts.
I wouldn't have dreamt of writing something like that in a book, for instance, arrogantly assuming that the animal nose is right.
That's because I kind of assumed that I didn't know what I was talking about.
However, this might not be true.
I've been in and out of emergency rooms and hospitals rather a lot, as a visitor with sick relations--all of whom haven't died!
Yes, I agree, thank you...
Let's hear some applause for modern medicine here, please?
Everything I'd read about the kind of medicine they'd have in Tan, for instance, makes my marrow run cold.

So, having the ambulance guys race past, and having code blues every other night, just down the corridor, maybe I'm not as ignorant as I thought I was. Maybe I know a variety of those better than I thought.

The other interesting part is that I've no idea where those assumptions came from, either. They're just as strong, though.
What's interesting is that they are all quite unlike this was.
And if this myrrh was the odor of a death, then it was one of the kindest, gentlest deaths imaginable.
None of them are easy.
Not such a bad thing.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
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Postby werewolfv2 » Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:17 pm

I suck :(

I cant read on computers it turns out... I mean I can read a forum but when i actualy have to read like a book type thing i tank.

then again Im booked out as it is. I have 4-5 books that are brand new but I just dont have any urge to touch them..

:cry:
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Postby hgladney » Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:42 am

Werewolfv2, "booked out" is an interesting phrase. I do get that. Sometimes it just means you're busy, or your head is busy working on something or somewhere else, and sometimes, the kind of books awaiting you just aren't very appealing, for whatever reason. Soemtiems they sounded good last week, and now you can't stand 'em. Or, maybe, you started reading them and started gagging??
It often accompanies the flu, for me...
Anyway, good luck on the malady passing!

Side note for other folks:
I'm trying to figure out how to put together a paper mss copy for someone who, like werewolfv2, can't read online easily, and doesn't have the spare money to print it themselves.
The tough part is doing it without spending 12 cents or more a page for a copy shop, let alone the initial printouts.
Any suggestions?
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby werewolfv2 » Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:12 pm

check your PMs :P
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Postby hgladney » Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:45 pm

thanks, werewolfv2! - I've been stuck offline for a few days while our network was down, bleahh!
But back up now.
Yes, it really <i>was</i> a sneaky hidden loose cord, that was all.
:roll:
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
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early February update

Postby hgladney » Sun Feb 05, 2006 6:20 am

I've been off busy doing other things for awhile, and not posting much. Figured it was about time to come back. Will also be gone for awhile at the end of next week, and don't know if I'll have much web access to check emails and bug forum folk.
Shall I complain I hadn't had time to do my taxes yet? Or pruning my roses, for that matter?
Naaahhh, save it for two weeks from now, when I get back.
Book progress...not great, the last month or so. Having ridiculous recurrence of colds for months now. Well, not just colds. I finally went in and got meds for sinus infection (I never get sinus infections, never, it was quite surprising to find out I needed meds for it). Gee, I started to feel better.
I also decided to let up on the relentless chapter-by-chapter rewrite last month, since I was bogging on that and not making good enough progress. I like to edit completely through a chapter a night, or by the third night at most, in order to keep the continuity fresh in my mind.
If it's going slower than that and I'm having trouble remembering the continuity, either I'm not getting enough sleep (checking the time, oops!!) or else something's got hung up.
If I'm running off elsewhere doing something else instead, obviously my inner two-year-old isn't happy.
So I've let free association go where it wanted for a couple of weeks.
Sometimes you're stuck because your subconscious has a problem, and is trying to tell you about fixing it.
Sometimes it's burnt out by too long a time hammering at something, and needs to go off and do something else and rest that part of your brain.
Sometimes it's pointing at a completely different part of the book. Which is why you can end up with entirely other interesting stuff that your subconscious needed to do right then, instead of what your editorial function-brain insists it <i>ought</i> to be doing.

In this case, I ended up with things that hooked up to other scraps I'd already written and set aside, and wasn't sure where they belonged, but might be useful.
Some of it is funny, and some of it was quite emotional.
I'm not a great fan of <u>sentimentality</u>, which is, technically, "reaching for an emotional response that you haven't earned."
Earned response is quite a different thing.
Getting whacked with this one so strongly was a complete surprise. I had no idea all this stuff was boiling around back there in my hindbrain.
<i>Boiling</i>, I tell you.
The opening sequence in the first book where Naga talks about his dead mare is rather like this one in tone. I'm just not sure how large an impact it will have later on, how important it might be on the larger scale of things. I didn't know about that scene whe I wrote it, either. I just knew it needed to be there.
The cues that lead to so much emotional tug are subtle, I think. IMHO, it's really seriously underplayed in this new scene, and I want to avoid making it any more obvious if I possibly can. As in slow realizations in a murder mystery, I'm hoping to let it just bloom in the reader's mind and reveal itself without my hammering on the point.
So I don't know if it will convey to other folks the way it is. If it does work, it ought to be a pretty strong effect, and I need to pick up on it several times. I can see some places to do that.
But I'm not sure yet if this scrap-scene will convey or not. Long before anything goes out to a beta-reader, I'll test for myself whether something will communicate to readers, or whether it needs more overt statements written into it.
I set it aside. I go off to work on something else in the book for awhile. When I've been doing other things for awhile, when I'm in a different mood, I come back to reading it. I'm checking if the implications still coelesce in the reader's mind, or if it's all a jumble of hints that don't connect.
So we'll see.
The cool part is that it suggests some similar emotional yanks that make good emotional connections later on in the book. It's part of character motive that builds up over time, for several people.
Which means that, when I rewrite some of those later bits, I need to reach back and yank on this thread, in exactly the same way that a strong memory will come back and whap you again when you're in a similar situation.
Or flashbacks, for those of you with PTSD issues.

I also need to fine-tune where this scrap of stuff belongs in what I've already got going. I've got it placed in the general chronology, but not the specifics of "before this paragraph, and after that one", or possibly "broken up into several discreet chunks scattered into another bit of text."
It's pretty tight, so I think it stays together, but such scraps don't always do that. Sometimes they get interleaved with other things going on.

The reason I bring up this interleaving bit is that I used to be doing well to manage a scene with two characters talking, and then I was working on three. Now I'm trying to manage having a group with several conversations going on (because that's been my experience in social groups and at work). That often means you have several purposeful and thematic threads all going in teh scene at the same time.
Why risk confusing people?
My structural reasoning is that, under Caladrunan's circumstances, he has to be able manage such conversations just to do his job. We have to see him being a manager, while getting all the usual book plotline and chronology things done. Show him being a manager in a confused situation. That doesn't need to take a lot of space--probably less space that I've given it, and I may cut some of it, or find new purposes for having some bantering scenes I have in there now.
But the multi-person environment makes demands on the tone of dialogue (to make their voices distinctive from one another), you have to clearly identify who's talking, and it can be demanding on describing the people with variations that don't confuse people.
For example, you can't keep saying "the tall man" too often, as it's boring, but you can take that opportunity to throw in some other descriptors that make the whole scene more vivid. Colors, smells, sounds, and so on. If you say, for example, "The tall man's leathers creaked," then later on you can say something more about his leathers, instead of repeating "the tall man" again. Plus, you've got a nice sound-cue in there.
umm--almost forgot--don't forget to check whether they <u>would</u> creak.
Naga doesn't like it when his leathers creak, they're not *supposed* to be noisy, he likes to be able to sneak up on people unheard.
It makes him <i>ever</i> so cross when his clothes are noisy, yes, it does.
:roll:
As I said, one of the things I've been working on is juggling several conversational and thematic ideas at the same time, in the same scene.
With, sometimes, the amusing collision of the two.
Done wrong, it's horribly confusing.
Done right, it can be very funny, or very black humor.
Last edited by hgladney on Sun Feb 05, 2006 6:58 am, edited 4 times in total.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby Kvetch » Sun Feb 05, 2006 6:42 am

It makes him ever so cross when his clothes are noisy, yes, it does.
That just made me start laughing. And I got a kind of a blurred image of you sitting in front of your computer stroking a long haired white cat in a Bond villain manner, and talking like Gollum. It makes him angry my presciousssss, yess, it doessss

Don't know where that came from.
"I'm the family radical. The rest are terribly stuffy. Aside from Aunt - she's just odd."
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Postby hgladney » Sun Feb 05, 2006 6:55 am

Possibly because I'm sitting in front of my computer with the long-haired cat asleep behind me. He's a dark striped tabby Maine Coon who used to weigh in at 33 pounds, most of it not fat. He's lost a little, probably down to 25 pounds or so. Brown and black, with a greenish undernote to the brown, and some fawn/orange highlights on his belly and chin. He gets ever so cross when I won't leave the computer at the correct time to feed him.

<i>But yess, pressshusss, it does make him soooooo cross.</i>

Will sign off now and go to bed, before I gets myself into more trouble...the typos are getting entirely out of hand!
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Wed Feb 15, 2006 1:30 am

I couldn't remember my IBDoF password while I was away, doi!
I did get to a computer briefly twice while I was out running about, but not long enough to sort out the password thing.
So here's some lj posts as sorry substitutes for the live thing, hot off the griddle, at the time.
===
On the road yesterday and today. Staying with a friend in academia in SD, which is why I'm able to borrow computer time to update why I'm not answering folk's comments immediately.
Will get back to you when I'm able!
We'll will be driving out to stop at Gila Bend tonight,and then possibly to High Desert Museum in Tucson tomorrow. I had hoped to see wildflowers in bloom, which the desert is famous for in good rain years, and it's been warm and sunny enough afte ra year of moderate rain, but I think it's stilla little early yet to realyl see ocotillos in fullbloom and the hills covered with tiny thumb-sized blooms in wild colors like blasts of pastel chalks gone crazy over areas that normally are all about the strong presence of rocks. OR jumping cholla, in some places. It's been awhile since I've seen that.
They call it jumping cholla because it seems, when walking by, that the stuff leaps out at you. It has spines like foshooks and small frequent joints (in proportion to the size of the bush, that is--most joints are about half as long as your forearm, so that gives you some idea how big the clumps can be) and will reroot from the bits that you painfully drag off your body once hooked.
By comparison, learning to walk around roses is a bagatelle.
Try a Wikiedia search on "jumping cholla", if you're interested in what the thorns look like.
I'm not on Firefox here, or I'll pull up multiple windows and find it for you.
This trip is a bit of blast from the past for moi.
The weather in SD has been beautiful so far--and since I've lived in the place, I know very well that it isn't always nice.
I find that I do enjoy looking at plants that I haven't seen for a long time, and always liked. It's just like seeing old friends. I liked a lot of the native chapparal once I got to know it, from the Mimulus monkey-flower (big shrub with snapdragon-like blooms in orange and red) to lemonade berry to honey-scented dark blue California lilac (short tight leaves from groundcovers to shrubs, and looks like it ought to grow in Greece, tight tiny blue blooms in a bloom spike like a drumstick, not really like real lilacs at all, to my mind). IT's too early, but some of th ose are in bloom. Then there's masses of foreign imports like Queen palms, jacarandas, and every African euphorbia known to science--one genus that provides many of Africa's equivalents to everything from barrel cacti to yuccas to saguaros, essentially. Some people think of this area as a tropical paradize, but it isn't wet. It's nearly desert-dry, most imports have to be watered, and they've got too many people, so are often on water-rationing. For those of you unfamiliar with the arid West, all the rain comes down in about 2 months, in what are called "gully-washers", and it never rains the rest of the year.
At all.
It's usually under a static high-pressure zone that sits over most of the southern half of the sate steadily for nine months or so.
The soil also is an interesting demonstration of sedimentary formations. One of the most appalling things I ever saw, when I first got to the area as a kid, was two cliffs, one called the Friar's Road cut and Washington. This was a raw cliff about five hundred feet high, shaved down to allow the freeway to be just within the tolerances allowed for that material inside its final angle of repose (other people call this "slope failure") on which, looking upward from a very small car, one could see alternating layers of cobbles the size of your head, and clay bands about six feet thick. The entire thing. No sand, no gravel, just clay and cobbles.
Or sometimes a few bits of clay cemented around cobbles, but let's not quibble.
Gardening on top of a mesa that's built of this amounts to learning to build your own container out of the clay, by composting into your clay anything you can get your hands on. You cannot buy enough redwood compost, nobody's pockets are that deep. There are also no fall leaf piles, as in areas with deep-rooted deciduous trees. I used to haul home seaweed from the beach and wash it out and cut it up and throw it on as mulch, just to keep some organic content in that clay.
Also, it's a collection of short steep mesas with gaps between the level bits, in size anywhere from little gullies to ravines to what timid folk would call canyons.
I'm looking at the level parking lot which is used for this campus building. It's directly across one of the larger varieties of these "ravines". The gap is only about three hundred feet deep.
They're all over.
I must say, it does make for interesting demands on driving cars in this area.
===
Then today, I posted this one:
Now on the way back - it's been a great trip
Hopping on return flight tonight.
Have had a great time, am a bit sunburnt and dried-out and cracked, curled up like an old muddy sandal left out in the sun, and I will be glad to get home. Tucson AZ in the winter is dry.
Currently, very dry.
Also, the sun is amazingly intense.
I know something about this from where I live, where people can get themselves turned into lobsters in an hour at the wrong time of day, but I hadn't encountered the issue of getting fried just by getting in and out of the car at scenic overlooks while traveling.
I can't imagine folks from greener areas could possible anticipate this.
Juging by the evidence of guests at the various tourist venues we saw (and these are more eco-tourist type places at that ) many of them had not.
Trust me.
Bring the sunscreen. Put it on the kidney region too. And the top of your ears.
You can thank me later.
Also have had a lot of interesting conversations on old movies ("you only like it when it's cancelled...") and educating small children to read and managing sociopathic bullies and finding the right books for new-minted five-year-old nephews with a taste for reptiles and engineering, and of course managing various veryunamusing health issues among my family and their families and on my own behalf as well, and so on.
Don't know if I'll have the steam to get back on the computer tonight and read flist, besides having a lot of chores to catch up on when I get back.
But I'm looking forward to it.
Oh yeah--and if you get the chance to see it, Organpipe Catus National Monument has some of the weirdest "stratigraphy" I've ever seen.
"Uplift" doesn't begin to cover it.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:54 pm

Back on the computer, briefly. Going to a memorial service for Miz Talley, who died of complications of dialysis and diabetes over the weekend, while I was gone to SD & Tucson. Besides being a kindergarten teacher, she was the drama director who worked on the excerpt of the Teot musical, back when Tim and I were trying out actual performance on scenes. She helped us put up the longest chunk, during one of the local SF & F conventions, as entertainment on an otherwise blank Sat evening. All that would not have happened without her help.
She was also the kind of person who took in cats who needed rescuing, and took on her sister's kids when they needed it, and bossed her kindergarten's parents into doing what they ought to. The fact she was a tiny 4 foot something and ill had nothing to do with the size of her lungs, or the capacity she had to project that voice, or the leadership she showed in getting people excited about doing things. There was a lot of her to pack into such a tiny package.
I don't generally do funerals or memorial services either, given the kind of stress involved, but offering my respects is the least I can do under the circumstances.
We are fostering 3 of her 4 cats until we find them new homes, they're over here in a bedroom acclimating now. We know she took them to the vet recently, but her family has to go in to deal with paperwork to find out who the vet was.
Two of these kitties may have a home (crossing fingers) but we'll need to find a home for the third one.
This is partly because we were already obligated to foster two others, for some while. We have another friend who's been forced to move to another place (having lost his job, and his wife just becoming pregnant, after being just married about two months ago) and <i>their</i> two cats will also need new homes.
That will make eight, with the three we already have.
It would have been nine, but somebody adopted one of Miz Talley's cats already.
But back before we knew that, when we thought we'd be looking at nine furious felines in one place, one of my family put it:
o/~ How High are the kitties, Momma?
Nine cats high and rising... o/~
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby Evaine » Sun Feb 19, 2006 3:06 pm

I used to live in a sort of linked group of households which contained nine cats and two dogs between us - so I can imagine what it's like in your house.
Sorry to hear about your friend's death.
when the floppy-eared Spaniel of Luck sniffs at your turn-ups it helps if you have a collar and piece of string in your pocket.
Terry Pratchett on taking opportunities in writing.
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Postby hgladney » Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:19 pm

Any pet-managing advice welcome, Evaine!!
One cat's been adopted by one of Miz Talley's friends, so we have the other 3, and have not yet received our other friend's 2 cats. Once that couple finds a house, they should be able to take their two back, it's just waiting through the househunting that's a problem.

The services for my old friend were interesting.
Quite a recognition of the end of a life.
Or, as the services said of it, reaching the goal of a lifespan.
Yesterday I attended memorial services for my old friend Miz Leona. In the van we found that Sirius satellite radio, on the way to and from, was busy giving us pieces that she would have loved to hear.
Little goodies like a great radio dramatization of the Asimov short story, "Nightfall," Bogie and Bacall reading in an old radio show from "To Have and Have Not," old Paul Simon songs she liked, and cheerful old twenties Charleston dance tunes.
It speaks to the range and breadth of her personality that we overflowed the church and crowded the reception hall, with hugely different groups of people. We had kindergarten teachers, old-time church ladies who sing loudly, sorority women who do good works, music people, her own extensive family, and a huge contingent of science fiction fandom, many of whom drove for hours to get there.
Us SF people were the most visibly upset, and disinclined to hide the fact we were crying.
However, many of us were more peripheral to her life, and for some with lives that are far too busy, this was the first real confrontation that we would never see her in this life again.
I've noticed that before, at such services. It comes as a smack in the face to acquaintences, and they're the ones who get very upset. The closer people, such as intimate family, may have cried themselves out already, or still numb on the way to that event, but they're busy dealing with mundane details. They may not even remember half of what happened at the event later, but they're coping at the time.
Miz Leona's services were interesting because of the range, not just the number of people, who came. In her life she had crossed between all of those groups effortlessly, without obvious or apparent conflict, and had fun doing it. Many of us had never seen the other groups before.
Us SF people stayed talking the longest, about all kinds of things, and closed out the reception, mainly because it looked like they'd have to boot us out unless we removed ourselves elsewhere. (Typical.)
A good chunk of visiting sf people went out with us to buffet dinner at a sushi place she used to like a lot. Of course we stuffed outselves ridiculously, and didn't want to leave there, either, standing in the foyer and talking all the way out to the cars.

Asimov's "Nightfall" begins with a quote:
If the stars should appear one night in
a thousand years, how would men believe
and adore, and preserve for many generations
the remembrance of the city of God?'
EMERSON
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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No, I'm not Andy Rooney.

Postby hgladney » Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:04 pm

I don't <i>whine.</i>
That's too much warning.
A bad case of the Grumps won't give any warnings.
I've been talking a bit over on live journal about--well, all right, <i>ranting</i> would be a more accurate term--about various Real Life events which prompted fits of the crankies that I could have lived without.
Yes, I actually managed to avoid going off about South Dakota's vote denying choice to women who've been abused, raped, assaulted, or simply can't safely carry a baby to term, and I managed not to preach noisily at the choir about
the Abu-Ghraib-style prison we've just now discovered that we've developed in Afghanistan, cutesy us. Just today I managed NOT to spout on about the Army paying <i>billions</i> on questionable Halliburton charges which their own auditors thought deserved some better scrutiny. (Nope, nothing to see here, move on!)
This is because I've figured out that writing in greater detail about these things makes me even angrier than I was to start with.
Getting that mad doesn't make me a good reporter, either. It just makes me unproductive at writing fiction. It shoves my brain out of joint for that kind of work.
The True Grump is too impatient to sit still for fantasy ideas.
Also, I'm a little too impatient these days with disingenuous blink-blink-blink remarks from the staring rabbit innocents sitting in the middle of the train crossing just waiting to be squashed, and from all the trolls who respond eagerly to posts expressly written for the sake of controversy.
The Rooney says: "A plague on all of them."
The True Grump says, "Here, want a dead bird? No? Catch. Heh, heh, heh."
Besides, I've posted links before where people can go read all kinds of sources for themselves.
So no, not rants on national politics.
Just general-interest issues arising from my own life.
There's a rant about neutering your animals and keeping them inside, for instance.
There's a rant about irritating continuity issues with absurdly unrealistic movies, which is just a silly cheap shot, and I admit it. But it does tell you something about how I think about anaotmy during fight scenes, in case you were interested.
Or not.
There's a rant about being Grumpy and Not Wanting to Write, So There.
That's here, in all its prolix glory.
http://nagasvoice.livejournal.com/133789.html
Various people kindly remarked there that I should just take it easy and get some extra rest, which did make me feel better. Sniffle.
However, you know what really helped a lot, after I posted that rant?
Watching a few old eps of Gregory House being a <i>really</i> grumpy doctor. Oh yeah, and his great buddy Wilson giving just as good as he gets, too.
I didn't expect House to cheer me up, but it did.
Very occasionally watching old West Wing eps will have this interesting jazzed-up effect, too.
Or Firefly/Serenity.
There's probably others out there would do it, too, which I haven't seen as yet.
I try not to watch much tv, as that's time better spent working on the book.
But when you have the Grumps, you're not getting much done anyway, are you?
Something about good writing--good dialogue particularly--really helps lift a bad case of the writerly grumps.
This is partly why I like Terry Pratchett, too.
It cheers me up.
Made me feel better about the state of the world, even if I didn't go to bed early at all, even if I didn't get a lot of writing done (I did get some things cleared up that'd been bugging me, just because I could*think* more clearly, and I certainly wasn't getting a thing done before <i>that</i>) and even if I woke up feeling like something the cat drug in.

Good writing of all kinds is <i>not</i> just escapism.
It's also not just a great attitude-adjustment mechanism.
Like good pain-killers, it's a blessing.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:17 am

Stayed home sick from work, overall achey head dizzy stuff. Went back to bed for about half the day, which helped, and blew the afternoon reading things online, but still no writing.
Sometimes it's just about plopping your fanny in the chair, and waiting for something to happen besides silly typos.
Or just watching, resigned, to see how many ways you can find to do something else completely different without ever allowing yourself out of that chair. No computer games, not even Solitaire, nothing cheap or easy.
This doesn't happen to me all that often, believe it or not. Usually I've got <i>something</i> I want to work on enough to struggle through it, in spite of my slow productivity rate, compared to some folks.

On the good news front, the fourth cat left behind by our departed friend, a cat we weren't sure was still around, turned out to be in the shelter after all. Thanks to the help of friends, he's been brought home to us. The shelter keeps the cats separately, doctors them, and hands out a decent back of Science diet food when you adopt them. He's just got his anti-flea goop and his shots, he's already been neutered, and they chipped him as well (something we need to do on our other cats as well.)
He's a real sweetheart, and he's astonishingly glad to be somewhere quiet with other cats who smell familiar, even if they're ignoring him. Or maybe especially because they're ignoring him.
We'll see how he's doing over the next few days, and once we're sure he's okay on the colds/sniffle front, then we'll then gradually start opening the bedroom door and letting that lot start smelling our other cats and getting used to the furniture.

Because I did stay home sick, I'm not sure yet if I'll go to the Consonance memorial-sing for Cyndi McQuillan this next weekend or not. We'll probably try to, but no promises.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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Postby hgladney » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:49 am

Stayed home again, found out work yesterday would have been a total bear any which way, so probably just as well I stayed home, and went back to bed.
Slept most of the day.
Not quite The End.
This evening, got 2-1/2 chapters hammered out to fit the new stuff and the rearranged appearances of folks showing up at the beginning, which helps. Took out some boring bits and streamlined some others to be less clogged up, which also helps.
Still need to do some more rearranging in the next few chapters, I think.
This much weed-through, all in one go, is doing really good, for me.
Of course, on average, this sounds like it's nowhere near what some folks report they're doing on a regular basis, but I am not worried about that. I will get there eventually.
No.
I have More Important Things to Worry About.
Bad News?
Doooom de-doomdooomdooom.
Running Out of Chocolate.
It's been storming off and on, enough so nobody wants to go out to the store.
I'm down to a few spoonfuls of Droste cocoa in the box, which I use for lowfat-milk hot chocolate, sweetened with stevia extract (no sugar).
I find that the stevia extract gives a sweet flavor without obnoxious side-tastes, but everybody's different. Some people find that the dry stevia powder extract has an odd "green" flavor, some don't.
These days, even when I do eat candy, it's things like that Lindt 70% cacao dark chocolate stuff, minimal sugar. I'm not actually all that fond of the Lindt, as it's too roasted and harsh in flavor, but it's fairly easy to find.
I much prefer Paul Newman's various Organics, truth be told, but I think that has more sugar in it.
Also, I'm kind of excited about Laurie King's new book coming out, "The Art of Detection."
This is where two of her detective arcs start coming together, Kate Martinelli (who just <i>rules</i>) and Her Holmes/Russell duo.
Apparently if you're signed up for her newslatter, you might have a shot at getting a preview copy.
That's here:
http://laurierking.blogspot.com/2006/02 ... olmes.html
and a later comment on it here:
http://laurierking.blogspot.com/2006/02 ... gn-up.html
Just in case you were wondering.
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
---Plutarch
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