In Which Our Heroine Is, As Usual, Interestingly Wrong

22 January 2004

I got spam that asked, "Tired of rejection?" Yes! I cried. Apparently they believe that all the editor types will like me better if I have bigger boobs. I'm dubious of this claim, since most of the editors in the field have had no occasion to give any personal attention to my boobs, not even in their usual mostly-covered state. But spammers know best, I suppose.

(And incidentally, why are dreams of being naked supposed to be stressful in some way? I'm naked in half my dreams. Occasionally it's due to being cold; mostly it's just not a plot point.)

It is supposed to be 4 today. As a high. 4 degrees Farenheit. Wheeeeee. The Ice Palace will not melt. And I will drink warm beverages and bake and bake.

I had another realization yesterday, when I was in the bathroom at C.J.'s. He has a hook on the back of the door (installed by a previous owner, I believe) in the shape of a critter, and last I was there, I got a chapter book idea based on it. I had glanced over, seen the scorpion, and my brain was off and running on a zodiac house and how you could think it was a Western zodiac and be wrong, if you started out with sheep and ox/bull...right. Book, right there, woo! (And I am no longer anxious about coming up with chapter book ideas. They seem to be coming along nicely, just like all my other book ideas. And by chapter books, by the way, I mean books for kids who are not yet ready for YAs but have moved past picture books.)

Yesterday I went back into C.J.'s bathroom, looked at the door, blinked, looked again. I emerged in chagrin: "That's not a scorpion on your door! It's a lobster!" He said, "Yeah, always has been." I said, "With the hook coming off the back end, I thought it was a scorpion!" He said, "Nope. Lobster." I said, "I based an entire children's book outline on that being a scorpion. There's no lobster in the zodiac!" And we stared at each other and started to laugh, and I hope to heaven it isn't a sequel.

And it hit me: if I didn't get the wrong end of the stick so much of the time, I probably couldn't do this job in the first place. Being a writer may require a modest-to-spectacular talent for getting things wrongety wrong wrong. In Inigo Montoya voice now: "Which I have." If I'd seen the lobster that was on the back of the door, eh, whatever. Instead I saw the scorpion that wasn't really there, and book(s) will ensue.

One of my favorite stories from high school, which I then told to C.J., is from AcaDec. We were studying the art component, and without any historical background on the piece I started spouting off on what I thought it meant. (I think it was the art section. It might have been an etymology, some literary analysis, just about anything. I have, as you may have noticed, a tendency to spout off.) And Jan (the advisor) looked at me, and in an awed voice, near to tears in her eyes, she said, "Why, Marissa...that's brilliant." I smiled, and she continued: "Wrong. But brilliant."

Story of my life.

But there's a happy ending here: I got myself into a profession where being interestingly wrong is much more valuable and valued than being right. Yay! La la la, interestingly wrong....

Not that SF fans won't jump down your throat if they catch you being un-deliberately wrong. Or even think they've caught you. But being interestingly wrong is a great asset to me in the early parts of the process, as long as I can manage to be interestingly wrong about the right things.

I'm still reading Colours in the Steel, and I'll probably finish it up today. One of the things I really like about it is that Parker understands engineers. She knows how they work, both in terms of getting work done and mentally, how they tend to react. It's a pre-gunpowder fantasy novel, but the engineers...well, they're engineers. And I like that.

Well, back to my book and hers, and also to baking fresh bars and mixing up the buttermilk with the oats so we can have bannocks for dinner, Ceej and me, since we like them and Mark and Timprov do not and will not be eating with us anyway. I forgot about the stupid afternoon blood sugar crash again yesterday, but not today! No! Because it's boringly wrong, not interestingly wrong. And thus not to be cultivated.

Okay? Okay. Good.

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