In Which Our Heroine Seems Unable To Pick a Topic and Stick To It

20 February 2003

We are virtuous around here, people. We ate nothing but leftovers yesterday -- well, Mark had some cheese and crackers, I think, and I had a bit of chocolate. But we're down to some Angry Trout, pepper beef from home, and a couple of things of Chicken Paprikash with the requisite Spetzel. And rice, of course. Lots of rice. And fresh veggies that will need using soon. But still. Lunch and dinner and in one case breakfast, just leftovers.

I have no reason to be tired. I've been sleeping, eating, getting exercise. That seems like the list of things you can do not to be tired, and I've been doing them. Oh, and I've been taking my iron supplement, so it's not that, either. (And in 24 years, I've never once had too much iron, so please, well-meaning people, do not write to suggest that I stop taking my iron supplement.) Ah well. It'll go away or it won't.

We had connectivity outage for much of yesterday. Luckily, we've arranged with Jeff to have a back-up for our e-mail, so it doesn't go wandering off into the ether when we have connectivity problems for more than a few hours. This is a relief for me: I can expect my closest friends to send to my hotmail address immediately, and my journal reading buddies to wait until I post again to see if I'm around again, but do I really want to make the e-submission-accepting editors think I'm unreachable? I do not. (Even though I do include my backup address on submissions, I don't always expect that a busy assistant will think to look again if a response bounces.) So. Back-up systems are good.

I am a dirty rotten liar and you should not listen to what I say: I didn't get mostly nonfiction and children's books at the library. I got mostly grown-up fiction of various flavors. I didn't mean to lie to you. I just kept spotting things. And Robin Hobb novels are like really big YAs, right? Aren't they?

Anyway, I finished reading Black Wine yesterday, and maybe I'm missing something, but why couldn't that nice family get back together at the end? I don't want to spoil it for anybody else, but you-all who have read Black Wine know who I mean. Sure, the absent one had changed a lot in her absence, but families adjust to changes in each other. That's how it works. Ah well. I didn't write this book, obviously. I also read Bagthorpes V. The World and Bagthorpes Abroad, and am now regretting not picking up Bagthorpes Haunted and Bagthorpes Liberated while I was there, as this is clearly what I wanted to read, and as the four volumes would still have been shorter than the Dumas I still have waiting on my stack. Ah well. Instead, I'm going to read Anne Lamott's Blue Shoe, which is awfully close to "Blue's Clues" for my taste in a title, but Anne Lamott almost never consults me about these things.

You know what? I've stopped using the generic "he." I noticed this a minute ago, writing e-mail to La Michelle. I automatically used the construction "him/herself" rather than himself. I would probably have phrased it differently in speech or in a formal document -- instead of "nobody in Osseo believes him/herself to be the target of terrorist threats," I would have said, "people in Osseo don't believe themselves to be the target of terrorist threats." But I wouldn't have said, "nobody in Osseo believes himself to be...." Unless it was like a ham radio thing, Nobody in Osseo, like Anonymous in...oh, never mind, Mechaieh knows what I mean. Anyway, a few years ago, I would probably have insisted that the generic "he" was simply How The English Language Worked, no offense meant by it. Now I don't think that meaning offense is the point.

I also believe that "-being" is the answer to most of our gendered noun problems. Waiter/waitress? Waitbeing. Congresscritter is also a decent construction, but Congressbeing might be more respectful, I don't know. And that way it preempts further issues for when we run into non-human races or construct them ourselves.

You have to think ahead, when you're trying to make language work.

I have to say, though, I might have assumed a masculine pronoun for the person the police were chasing across our street last night and forcing to lie down in the intersection, if I hadn't gotten a good look at her. That's probably sexist. Also probably statistically accurate. Anyway, I prefer not to have that kind of drama out the window, but again, nobody took a survey.

Timprov believes that Zdravko said, "Has to be spicy to kill the germs," not "to kill the Germans" as I reported yesterday. Frankly, I hope I'm right -- they knew that Bobbie was of German ancestry and clearly had no intentions of killing her, so it would just have been an historical reference in the German case. Rather than a concern with hygiene on a rather more basic level than I would prefer.

The letters are starting to wear off my keyboard again. And I didn't even buy the absolute cheapest kind this time. I'm wondering if it's something in my fingers or my lotion or what. None of them have disappeared yet, and it's not even the most commonly used letters. This is strange. I wonder if I'm like Mark's grandma stopping watches.

Or, I know, it could be some holdover from my Viking ancestors, the power to wipe out charms and hexes by obliterating runes with my touch.

Or else the lotion. Whatever.

Our library has a convenient online card catalog, which you can use from wherever. It's convenient. I have it bookmarked. The thing is, though, it guarantees nothing. It says "lost" or "checked out" or other such negatives (which don't guarantee the book won't be there), but otherwise it says "check shelf." It doesn't say "present" or "available" or "check me out!" It says "check shelf." As with Karl Schroeder's Permanence. I checked shelf. I did not even find a little note reading "ha ha." I found a Melissa Scott novel, which I brought home. I found lots of other books I didn't want to read or had already read. But in "Fremont Main, Science Fiction, Schroeder," I checked shelf, to no avail. Stupid library. It's at the point now where I check behind the books every time. I check for two or three shelves around. Nothing.

At least one librarian friend has said, when I've said I couldn't find something, "Well, here! I just looked it up on your library's webpage, and here's the location, go to!" What a lovely world that would be.

I finished Chapter 12 and worked well on Chapter 13 yesterday, but I've been having lower back problems again, so I took reading breaks at decent intervals. Plan to do similarly today, I suppose. Yoga. Heating pad. Getting up and wandering around. All that good stuff.

I've been thinking about WorldCon this year. Don't know if we're going to make it. It's another one of those things that's up in the air until we know moving details. Like the entire rest of my life, I suppose. I'd really like to go, but on the other hand, I'd really like to not have to spend the money, and it would cost a fair piece. And I'm not sure, but I think it'd be right before Mark's classes would start, at some institutions. I'm not sure that would be particularly good timing for us.

It's kind of cool to say "Mark's classes" and mean "the classes Mark will teach," though.

Anyway...oh, I was thinking some more about Summerland and the Manhattan Project, but I don't want to spoil the book for people who haven't read it, so if you care what I think, ask me, and I'll tell you.

You hear a lot (especially from people who have read Bird by Bird recently) about writing "shitty rough drafts." I have to say, I fear that the rough draft of Dwarf's Blood Mead is shittier than usual for me. But I'll go through and hack it to bits, and it'll be okay eventually. I'm almost sure. (MS Word, I'll have you know, does not recognize "shittier" as a word. MS Word doesn't read much Anne Lamott, is my guess.) I'll fix it. And if I can't fix it enough myself, I'll have good help.

[Repeat to self as necessary to get through the day.]

The closer I get to a draft, the more notes I have to myself about it in my to-do file. But the more notes, the more ways to improve it, right? Maybe?

Let's go with that for now, anyway.

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