In Which Books Once Again Prove Their Superiority To Other Inanimate Objects

20 January 2004

All I ask of the presidential candidates is that they please stop looking like Satan on national television. I mean literally, making scary-evil faces. They all need to stop it. (Howard Dean, I'm looking at you....) It may be possible to get elected while occasionally resembling the Prince Of Darkness, but let's not test it, shall we? Honestly.

Last night, the chest freezer attempted to attack and eat me. I emerged unscathed except for a wee tiny crashing headache, part of which is still with me today. Advil is our friend.

We have a skiff of snow on the ground, and have I mentioned that I love birch trees in fresh snow? I do.

Bear has gotten Steven Brust's "Brother and Sister" in my head. I was wandering around singing it last night (rather well, actually, and to C.J.'s amusement -- I don't think we've made him sit down and listen to "A Rose for Iconoclastes" yet). I remember the first time I listened to that song: "Hey! 'Face' doesn't rhyme with 'last!' Ohh...." Ed used to play that one at parties, and he'd make everybody shut up and sing when "War Is Bad" came on. I figure if you give us another couple years, tops, we'll have bought Uncle Hugo's out of it, passing out copies as presents to members of the Crowd, who all say, "Oh, hey, Steven Brust! And Ed used to play this bit at parties!"

(I think this is why college students don't think file sharing is a big deal: they're already listening to their own music, their boyfriend's music, their boyfriend's roommate's music, their best friend's girlfriend's music, the music their best friend's girlfriend borrowed from that one dude up in 401...dormitories are a file-sharing system, for heaven's sake. At least, in an ideal world. If you get stuck in Co-Ed and nobody on your floor knows any good music or any cool people, well. Not an ideal world, certainly.)

(We did, in fact, have more than one co-ed dorm on my college campus; all of them were co-ed. But the first one to go co-ed Back In The Day was named Norelius, which is a name that begs for some kind of nickname. So it's still called Co-Ed despite the administration's best attempts to stop that practice, or it was last I heard. It takes most freshman about a semester to figure out that the administration wants to stop half the cool stuff or more, and then they're all right.)

So. Yesterday was a 2K day, not bad for a day I felt like crap but not setting any records. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't have to just set record after record until the book is done. I can Write. And if I keep doing it steadily, there will be a book. Or two. Or whatever. And then eventually, after that, a good book. No records necessary.

It's a terrible thing, being 25 with a sense of perspective. Even when your blood sugar has plummeted and you have cramps and your book is long long long, you can't moan about how you're a failure and never sell anything and can't do anything right and will never get anything good done and are now officially washed up, because the little voice in the back of your head snickers and goes, "Uh, honey? You're twenty-five." And keeps repeating it until you get the point and stop feeling sorry for yourself and get some fruit leather and get back to work. It would be much easier without the sense of perspective, with a little wallowing in gloom and despair. But noooooo.

I picked up K.J. Parker's Colours in the Steel to read at lunch, because Nordic Religions in the Viking Age was not a solitary meal book. It's trade paper, so it won't lay open on the table by itself, and it required note-taking, and as I refuse to stick my face in my plate to snarf...three hands. Or frequent breaks to actually get food into me, which kind of defeats the point of calling it "lunch" instead of "extended research hour." So the Parker it is. It's fun so far, and also it's starting to give me a picture of what a "Stella book" is. Sketching in the outlines of Stella bookness, at the very least. I'm also most of the way through Nordic Religions..., so I'll probably finish that today.

I went upstairs after dinner and put my jammies on. I came down and said, "Me and my foot duvets are ready for some barbarian action." Timprov snickered at me. But the History Channel disappointed me, oh, so gravely. I should not have gotten my hopes up. I wouldn't have, except that Timprov had recently seen a History Channel show that had Jesse Byock in it, so I had thought maybe. But no. They had an hour on the Vikings and an hour on the Goths, and they had picked a thesis for each one. The Goths got to be "peaceful farmers pushed too far!" The rest of the Roman Empire was treated like an ethnocultural monolith; anything other than a description of the suffering agrarian Goths was off-limits. Likewise, the Viking segment opened with an archaeological excavation and the comment that the Viking culture had art equal to that of any other European culture at its time. But then we forget that! No, no, must not talk about Vikings except in terms of smashy-smashy! Must pretend that directly patrilineal hereditary kingship was universal! Etc.! Yuck. TV is so much suckier than books.

C.J. had not been around Mark and Timprov nearly as much as we'd all have liked for the last four years before we moved home, so his History Channel experience was previously limited. He didn't know that their method of filming documentaries involves approximately five minutes of acting footage, repeated at least seven times per scene. This one wasn't as bad as the one on Russia, where they used the same "shadowed guy kneeling and praying" footage for at least four different events with different main characters. But still.

We should have watched "Galaxy Quest" instead. It's a good movie for when one has just been smacked over the head.

Anyway, anyway. Everything is taking longer than it should this morning. I'm going to throw the chili in the crockpot and head out to get groceries. Then work. Work work work. Yes. Definitely.

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