In Which Our Heroine Is Notified That The Bird Is Actually Still The Word

29 March 2003

Evidently I left the apartment yesterday morning and walked into a Jonathan Carroll novel, and the Recurring Element of choice was the bird. First it was a green hummingbird darting between the apartment buildings in front of me as I left the complex, right at the level where I would be sure to see it. Then, in the BART station waiting for the train, a pigeon was building a nest over my head, and just in case I missed it, there was a two-year-old boy with huge dark eyes and the obsession at which two-year-olds excel: "Momma. Bird. Mom-mom-momma. Bird. Momma. Bird." Then when I got on the train, the man in front of me said into his cell phone, "Hi, this is Fred, is Birdie in?" And I thought, okay, I get it! Birds already! David offered to put "Ornithology" on when I got up to Oakland, but as I do not actually live in a Jonathan Carroll novel, I didn't take him up on it.

So: strawberry shortcake and David's birthday yesterday afternoon. Then some work on Dwarf's Blood Mead and some straightening of the house and some talking to the Timprov, and then Amber came over, and we hung out for a good while. And I did not finish this draft of DBM yesterday, but today, definitely and for sure, unless a walrus falls on my head. It was good to spend time with each of them, though, and the Yucatan chicken was quite nice, and so on. So. It was worth not finishing the draft, I think. Especially because I can do that this morning.

I had dreams where I was cowering in a corner while they walled a bad guy's sidekick into some kind of mill, where it was hot and pouring metal on stuff, and no, I don't know who they were. That was not my happiest thing just before waking up.

Zed sent me the link to an article in which they claimed that these people were America's biggest readers, and his comment was, "C'mon, M'ris -- you could take 'em!" Well, of course I could. Some of these people are only reading two books a week. Which I realize is above-average, but...far enough above-average to make an eleven-person biggest readers list? No way. I mean, that's not even trying hard. Yesterday I saw three other people who read that much. Granted, there's a bit of sampling error there, especially since I wouldn't have had to leave the house to see two of them, but I can't really believe that Mark, Timprov, David, and I constitute four of the fifteen biggest readers in the country. They could have done better than that.

I don't mean to say "anybody who doesn't read at least two books a week is a big ol' hoser" or anything like that. It just seems like if you're talking about eleven people out of the entire country, your standards need to be a bit higher for what's outstandingly lots. I couldn't hit any of the pitches in the Majors (or your local pick-up softball game, but that's another story), but that doesn't mean that you should randomly pick eleven people from the Majors with a batting average of above .225 and say, "Hurrah, the eleven best hitters in the country!" You can't take a random sample of eleven people over 5'10" and proclaim them the eleven tallest folks in the country. Geez.

Ah well. We were talking last night about how I haven't really said much about this war here in this journal. It's mostly that I'm quite aware that I don't have a lot of unique insights. I don't get at the news faster than everybody else; I don't have strategic/tactical analysis in greater depth than everybody else; I have no monopoly on compassion, anger, sadness, frustration or any other emotion, and I really don't have any great wisdom for coping with them. I'm glad that there are blogs that have interesting news links and analysis and commentary, but I also think it's good that I know where my limits are on this.

That said, I've seen a meme in the news a few times lately that's really bothering me. It's in the Merc again this morning: people urging parents not to say in front of their children that they don't support the war. "Doing so could heighten their sense of living in a scary, out-of-control situation," says Sara Steffens in the Merc, presumably paraphrasing a child development expert named Michele Borba. So...I'm confused here. Say that there's a war you do not support, regardless of whether it's this war. This seems to be saying that it's better to imply to your kids that you're in control of this situation and support it, even though you think it's immoral and awful, because they'll feel safer if Mom and Dad are in control of something immoral and awful. And support it and are party to doing it on purpose. Ummm. Doesn't this effectively teach the kid either that the war is right or that Mom and Dad are big mean jerks for supporting a war that's wrong? Assuming that we're dealing with a war that Mom and Dad believe is wrong, isn't that a bad thing?

Sigh. So. Yeah. Reading. Working. It'll be good to get back to the Not The Moose Book, I think. There's a freedom in longer books -- I have room to include some scenes because they're cool, maybe. And if I have to cut them later, oh well. (I may do this with DBM, too, but proportionally it has to be less, because it's a YA: length is an issue.) I try not to ramble and meander too much, but on the other hand, there's just more of everything in the Not The Moose. And that seems to cross over a bit psychologically -- I feel I have more room to make cinnamon rolls or bread, more time to go for a walk or see a movie, just generally more space in my life, even though objectively there's no reason why it should be that way. I've enjoyed these edits, and I'll enjoy seeing what needs to be done in the next draft, but I'm also ready to get back to something longer.

Although I did write the openings to two different short stories on the train yesterday. Hmm. Well, we'll see how that plays out. I've got time to think about it all, time to do some of both, plus that one tweak to Reprogramming that's been on my list for ages now, plus...whatever else comes my way, I suppose. I'm pretending to be flexible these days. Maybe if I pretend hard enough....

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