In Which Our Heroine Writes Like She Pitches (Sorta All Over the Place)

4 March 2004

It said to put a donation bag out rain or shine, so that's what I've done. It's a bit wet, though. I hope they meant it.

This is what happens when I try to be mellow. This is why I'm never mellow! I say to the weather, all right, do your thing, I'll be fine. Snow, don't snow, whatever. Immediately it starts a furious spitty melting rain-snow mixture: care, damn you! it shouts at me. Care! And I sigh and look out the window: yes, yes, you're very intense.

Maybe I should stop talking to the weather. Maybe that's the problem.

Timprov put my new chair together for me, and it's lovely. Lovely lovely lovely. I can have lumbar support and type at the same time. (Yes, okay, my old chair was very bad.) Mark's new desk is also lovely lovely, and his office/the guest room looks much better with it, even with the tatty too-small bedspread and the insufficiency of bookcases. It's a step in the right direction, let's say, and we have a fair idea of what else needs doing.

That's something about spring coming, if it does come: art fairs. We need things for on walls, and I don't want to just buy Target prints for the sake of having something. I know that most art fair items are Yet Another Landscape and the like, but often they're fun to wander through and worth looking for the rare exceptions. And then there's the fact that they're here, and I'm still so raw, a bundle of nerves about being here. A bundle of happy nerves, so the prospect of an art fair in any of a number of familiar locations is a happy one.

Also, I have to learn the farmers' markets. Which will be a good task, I think. A fun task.

I finally found a copy of Realms with Wendy's story in it yesterday. I have the Gene Wolfe story to read yet, but so far Wendy's is my favorite. Unfortunately, reading the article about Baba Yaga gave me a short story idea, so now I have a curling story in mind, "Carter Hall Sweeps a Path." It comes after The True Tale of Carter Hall and "Carter Hall Recovers the Puck." Baba Yaga and curling. Sometimes it gets a little scary living in here.

I am just hopeless at short stories lately. I keep coming up with them and writing substantial fractions of them -- I have a good handful or more just waiting to be finished -- and when I sit down, I kind of noodle at the short story a bit and turn back to the book. And I think it's a good thing: I'm getting quite clearly closer to done with this book, I'm making progress, every day of the week. It's fitting together. It's working itself together into a mess, but messes can be cleaned up.

I've wanted to write short stories, or I've thought I have. But when it comes time to sit down, my fingers want to talk about Edward and Ansa and the elk and the Sampo. I decided not to join a short story crit group with some people I really like and respect, because I just can't see myself writing short stories at all predictably right now. And because I wrote them for my crit group in the last few months I had one, and that...I mean, it worked in some senses -- we kept having a group with stories to crit, and I got short stories written, and I like them all right. But it wasn't really what I wanted to be doing, not as much; and right now I'm afraid of breaking things with the book (books, whatever). I'm afraid that I'm having a hard time finishing things, but I'm also worrying that I'll overthink it all. I am finishing this book. It just takes longer than shorter things. I'm afraid that if I get too hard on myself about finishing short stories, I'll miss what I really want to be doing here.

Self-direction is just a bitch sometimes. Using one's own judgment. Terrible thing. Maybe it's the spring training in the air, but I keep thinking, Don't think, meat. Just throw. In fact, I'm wondering if I haven't learned everything I know about writing from "Bull Durham." There's a lot in there. And more importantly, I'm in a silly mood.

"Rose goes in the front, big guy." When you're about to do something kinda weird, lead with your purtiest bit front and center, and at least get it on straight.

Sometimes it really does help to just up and hit the bull. Throws 'em off balance. Also, if you're going to set new league records, you may end up hitting the ump, the sportswriter, the PA announcer, and the mascot. These things happen.

"Candlesticks always make a nice gift. Maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place setting or maybe a silverware pattern." When you can't deal with the ineffable, deal with the practical as much as you can.

Don't assume you know someone else's reading list. She may pop up with some unexpected William Blake. Or she may just be reading it differently than you do.

There are some words you can't call an umpire if you want to play in that game. And, of course, its corollary, Sometimes it's worth it not to play in that game.

"Never hit a drunk with your pitching hand." You're allowed to get angry, or sad, or frustrated, or any of a number of other negative emotions. You try not to express that in a way that interferes with the work.

There are worse things for the career than staying up all night with some poetry. But not every night.

It's a beautiful, magical thing to play in the show. But if you can't, you still play.

Sometimes when you're about to do something really cool, nobody will notice.

"A player on a streak has to respect the streak."

"Baseball may be a religion full of magic, cosmic truth, and the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it's also a job."

If you keep lollygagging around the field, someone is going to throw a bag of bats at you.

"You don't need a quadrophonic Blaupunkt. What you need is a curveball."

Sometimes you can sacrifice a live rooster and it still won't make you the star of the show.

"I'm just trying to do my best. Play things one game at a time. And, God willing, it'll all work out."


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