In Which The Foe Is Vanquished

9 February 2003

We have no more pokey old couch! Yay! I told Amber this on the phone when we were arranging plans, and she said, "So there's a big gaping hole in your living room?" So I explained about the new chairs, but for now, it does gape, until we get the other new chair. But it's okay. I think it'll be less cozy with just chairs, but a little roomier, and certainly more comfortable: even our two old tan swivel rockers are more comfortable than the couch was. And we got Robin McKinley through Garth Nix and Spider Robinson through Melissa Scott back! Previously, those two lower shelves were trapped behind the couch, and it was quite a trick for Timprov to get anything from them at all. Guests certainly couldn't see what we had: you had to know, going in, what you were going for. But now, the chairs that will be there will both swivel beautifully, and then people can admire our James Morrow and our Dorothy Sayers to their heart's content.

I finished The Vicomte de Bragelonne yesterday and resisted the urge to dive straight into Louise de la Vallière. There was really very little, if any, narrative resolution, and that's as it should be: they really aren't separate books, just separate volumes, a printing convenience. But! Library books first, and also perhaps one of Wendy and Daniel's loaners so that I can send it back with Wendy tomorrow. So I read Lapp Life and Customs, which would have been horrible if it had been about any other group. It was not well-written, and it dripped with bias and condescension. (As I have explained before, I think, "Lapp" is a slur. This book was the equivalent of Honky Life and Customs, or worse. The right term is "Sami" or "Saami.") But. I haven't been able to find a book that touches on Saami mythology at all, and this one did, so I carefully sucked information and story ideas out of it as best I could. And enjoyed the ideas, at least. Felt like I had some good ones in there.

I was going to start Matt Ruff's Fool on the Hill next, but I had given myself a headache earlier in the evening, so I went to bed and saved it for this morning. I had been having problems with Chapter 10 -- so many problems, in fact, that if I wrote sequentially, January would have been pretty much worthless. But I don't write sequentially, so it was merely not my best month. But. Not only was Chapter 10 going poorly, but it was also nagging at my brain. I was having to think about it, even though each word was torture. So I decided I was going to finish it yesterday, period full stop. This, I think, was a good idea. To that end, I decided I was going to finish it before I put the lasagna together and put it in the oven. This, I don't mind telling you, was not such a good idea. It turned out to be a stupid idea, in fact, since there were more words left in Chapter 10 than I had thought, and by the time the lasagna went into the oven to bake for 50 minutes, I had a hunger headache. We had our salads early. Not early enough. I took Tylenol. Nope. We had our lasagna, I ate ice cream, I stayed away from the computer. Nothing touched the headache, once it got going. Ick.

But getting back to Chapter 10, I don't understand what was hard about this chapter. Often when I describe something as hard, I can tell you why. Either it was emotionally difficult (not really), or I wasn't entirely sure what, exactly, was going to happen (no). This wasn't like that on either count. It was just...hard. And I doubt that you'll be able to look at it when I'm done and say, oh yeah, that must have been hard. I don't know that it reads that way now, much less when it's edited. (It's entirely possible that it will be Chapter 9 or Chapter 11 when I'm done, too. We'll see.)

Usually I don't think of my work as something I just have to get through. It's something I get to do, not something I have to endure. But every once in awhile, something like this pops up, and it colors my entire attitude about working on a book until it's done with. Usually I'm pretty excited about the work I do -- it's hard sometimes, and I do a lot of it, but let's be realistic here, it's not like I'm digging ditches in the hot sun. It's when I don't understand why I can't do something that I get really frustrated, and I'm glad it's over now, so that I can look forward to the rest of the book. Or the rest of the book until another such chapter pops up. Whichever.

The Saami book also helped with the feeling of looking forward to my work, because it reminded me of some other good story ideas I've had. I got out the Joukahainen story and did a little bit on that (even though I was supposed to be staying away from the computer with my headache). I thought about my story starters file and all the cool things on there, and my "to write" short story list (which probably should be merged with the story starters file at some point), and my novel list, and even my edits list. It's good stuff. It's going to be fun. It's not something that I have to endure, oh woe, poor me. It's very nifty.

I'm still glad I don't have Chapter 10 to write, though.

Mark and I will be having French food tonight. We made our reservations when we thought he would be in Denver on business, and now we might as well beat the crowds, although he gets a printed-out picture of his present rather than the actual present itself. I also have a tiny little errand to run this afternoon, but that may or may not have anything to do with Mark. I haven't decided. (There was a bit of an incident with the sofa and him seeing something he shouldn't have. We'll see. I have a definite Timprov-related errand anyway. Also I need to make reservations for us all for his birthday. And figure out what time, how we'll all get there, and all that.)

So. Have a good Sunday, then.

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