28 January 2003

A couple days ago, I told Karina I had this problem, but it hasn't gone away yet: I like dough better than cookies or bars. I don't particularly want cookies or bars. But I have a craving for the dough like you wouldn't believe. Timprov hasn't been eating sweets for months now (yay, virtuous Timprov!), and Mark has been feeling decidedly un-snackish, which is fine, too. But I haven't really been hungry for anything lately, and I'm hungry for dough. So I think what I'm going to do is make up a pan of bars so that I can have the dough, and then freeze half or two-thirds of the bars so that I can have or serve them later and they won't go south. It sounds like a plan.

Also, portending the end of the world, I got a useful piece of spam: an ad for an online book search. I don't know if it'll be more useful than the used book search I already use online, but I'm flummoxed enough that it showed up and was of interest.

Also, another bad dream, this one about broken teeth. I don't usually have a Teeth Thing (which is fine, because the Eye Thing is quite bad enough), but this was Not Fun. I've broken teeth before, so I have quite vivid notions of how it feels. Ick ick ick. On the up side, I'm enjoying having whole and non-painful teeth this morning, and that's usually something I take for granted.

I'm feeling somewhat better than I have been. See, when I said I'd go to the doctor if I didn't feel better by Monday, I found myself faced with a dilemma, since I felt differently bad. Not the same thing. And yet. So it's a relief that I'm feeling better this morning.

Oh dear, oh dear. Spider Robinson has gone off on copyright extensions this time. You know, I do like many of the man's books -- Callahan's Key, in particular, was amazing -- but sometimes he just shoots his mouth off without backing up or thinking through. Computer operating systems were one of those times, and evidently copyright is another. Maybe he's got a coherent reason why it's "ripping off" anybody to have copyright not extend almost another lifetime beyond the creator's death -- but if he does, he doesn't state it in that article. (And what's with the "Disney stuff is all high quality" nonsense? First off -- no it's not; second -- why would ending the copyright on "Steamboat Willie" force the quality of Disney merchandise down? If it's really all that good, couldn't you just continue to choose to buy the ultra-high-quality Disney products and force competitors to that standard or higher?)

What Mark asked last night, what Timprov has evidently been asking repeatedly, with no good answers, is, why do people believe copyright should extend a long time or indefinitely? And if so, how do patents differ, philosophically? We all understand how they differ legally, but what makes one form of intellectual property different from another morally or ethically? Do people really wish lightbulbs and ibuprofen were still under patent? Not a rhetorical question -- I truly want to know.

Ah well. Yesterday I read Joe R. Lansdale's Zeppelins West. It was in our free books bag from World Fantasy Con, and it managed to embody everything I hate about alternate histories, while adding additional traits that I hated about just this specific book. It clunked and chugged along. It dragged and shuffled. It obsessed about sex in the most tiresome way. And it featured everybody and the kitchen sink. Bleah. I haven't read any other Lansdale, so maybe this was a fluke (Lansdale fans, go ahead and tell me if it was), but I really, really hated this book. It was, however, short. So I got to get a little bit of a start on Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock, which I'm barely into and already loving. This book has been on my list for years. I wrote the title in the margin of my very first journal, the one I kept in a lab notebook. It has been worth the wait.

I'm planning to go to the library today, mostly to return books. Hah. I say that now, and I think to myself, "I don't really need to pick up very many books, just some nonfiction to balance out my available stacks." And then I say again: "Hah." Because I know it won't really work that way. I'll get a whole armload of books, because it's the library, so I can't even restrain myself with the notion of cost. Because I've already paid for them in taxes, and so I might as well get good use out of them. It's practically a moral obligation. Or something.

I'm also going to go to Trader Joe's, because this woman is a horrible influence and makes me hungry for everything on the planet. Maybe that's a good influence. Maybe she's my mom and Mark and Timprov's new favorite person. But it does mean a trip to TJ's for sure. Also maybe a trip to get the oil changed (woooo, yeah!) and perhaps also to pick up some cyan and yellow ink for the printer. The excitement, it never stops around here. Constant party.

I also feel like I'm building up freewrites in my head. It's a little alarming. I feel like I could take any title from my "title with no story" list and do a freewrite and end up with a story in less than a page. This is the problem with my freewrites: I don't usually end up with, like, one cool image or something like that. I may be too focused. I don't know. But I end up with either details for a pre-existing story, or another story idea. So, as I think I've said, I've been avoiding freewrites, because I have plenty of story ideas just now. I don't think it works that way, though. I think the brain is going to get demanding at some point, possibly soon, and I'm trying to figure out what to do to prepare for that and/or mitigate it.

I think one of the main things that I'd like to get done with in the next few days is the Grey Place. The Grey Place was the very first thing I knew about in my other place series (which is the planned four-book series containing Fortress of Thorns and The Grey Road as well as the other two as-yet-unwritten books, for those of you in need of a scorecard). Joyce, my Intro Creative Writing prof, had told us to bring a postcard to glass. I think she was assuming a landscape-y, visit-here postcard. I brought an Escher card my dad had sent me. So when the writing exercise was to freewrite about that place, I ended up with this fairly scary and depressive piece, even though I don't usually find Escher scary or depressing. And I kind of shook like a wet dog after that, but then I looked at it and said, "Um, cool!" And started a story about "Coyote in the Grey Place," which I need to go back and totally rewrite -- but Coyote did end up one of the recurring minor characters in the series. And the Grey Place is key.

The problem is, the Grey Place is still scary and depressive to me. It's still alarming kind of inherently. I know that in the stuff I'm doing, I need to throw that at the reader, so that it's not just indirect reports of the characters' fear. But it's pretty draining every time I deal with it. I take breaks from it with other pieces of writing, with housework, with reading, whatever. I have come to recognize that in some ways it's better for my peace of mind to do so. On the other hand, that means I'm spending a lot more total time thinking about the Grey Place, and that's not so great, either. So. I'm thinking I should push through and deal with as much of it as possible today. The library doesn't open until 1:00, and while I have plenty of stuff to do, I think it can be mostly afternoon stuff. So this morning I'll mostly get through what I need to on the Grey Place, and then maybe I can be done thinking about it for awhile.

Maybe that'll mean fewer bad dreams. Of course, right now I'm ready to grab onto just about anything meaning fewer bad dreams, regardless of what it has to do with anything. Oh, we had stroganoff last night? Hey, fewer bad dreams!

And I just realized that it's not just the end of January -- it's almost the beginning of February. Sometimes I forget that there isn't a limbo between months into which you can slide. January proceeds directly into February without pause. Gulp. Well, we'll get there.

And hey, maybe it'll mean fewer bad dreams.

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