Squeezing the Ducky

5 April 2001

It's 6:30, I'm wide awake, and the daffodils were an amazingly good use for 99 cents.

Yesterday ended up being pretty productive, and the more I worked, the better I felt. Only problem was that the FTP connection wasn't working with @ Home, so I had to use their web-based interface to get my journal entry loaded, hours and hours after I wrote it. Ah well.

One of the things I did was to read Karen Joy Fowler's Sweetheart Season. I liked it, but -- brace yourself, Ma, you're gonna love hearing this -- there wasn't enough baseball in it. How often do you hear that out of me, hmm? Still worth reading, though, and a totally different book from Sarah Canary in some big ways. Which is good. I like it when authors try something completely different. As long as it works out. I'm made a little nervous by the news that Lois McMaster Bujold is trying to do fantasy now, but she can't write Miles books forever. Alas.

And I read Harold Klawans' Defending the Cavewoman Klawans is no Oliver Sacks, but he's in the same vein. Neurology with an eye to tale-telling and good writing. His tale-telling seems less natural, though, like the plots were pruned by him rather than by events. Keep in mind that both Sacks and Klawans write nonfiction -- but even nonfiction has story to it, sometimes. It seems like Sacks is by nature a Romantic -- he sees the world in whole and natural stories -- whereas Klawans intends to be a Romantic, but it isn't really natural for him. He has to figure things out on purpose.

I fall into the former category, myself. Maybe Sacks and I aren't really Romantics, but just luckier Naturalists than most. But whenever people try to claim that real life doesn't work like fiction, I get all confused. Sure it does. The chapter titles vary depending on who I'm reading and what I'm writing, but for the most part my life feels to me like an updated Dumas novel. There are some twists and fillips that are there just for fun, just for the sheer joy of the language, and hey, he was getting paid by the word. But it all means something. It all fits together. Scenes and sections and books begin and end, and there's a plot arc in the middle. Rising action. Falling action. Sparkling dialog. Poetic description. My life is not just a book. It's a good book.

And speaking of good books, I started Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede last night. I remember avoiding that book like the plague when I was younger and it was new and easy to find. My snobby younger self could not imagine that a book with such a title would be good. Well, it is. It's Brad Denton, and it's good. I think this was part of his problem with this book: the people who would really appreciate it may have avoided it because of the title, and the people who picked it up may have been looking for something shallower. Anyway: I like Brad Denton. A lot. This one is no exception. I hate books that shift from first to third person. In this one, it's okay.

I worked on the new novel (1500 words), the "Irena's Roses" edits (sloooowwwwwly), and a new short story last night. And made brownies, and called the stupid Credit Union, and.... But I think one of the most important things I did was squeezing the ducky. Need to spend more time on that.

Squeezing the ducky is not a euphemism. It's a literal description. The hand-exercise squeezy-thingy my mom got me at Christmas is in the shape of a small, bright yellow foam duck. I've been typing enough lately that my hands are aching like mad (whole hands, not just the outsides, whew!), so I need to squeeze the ducky more. The left hand is easy to do. I can just write stuff longhand with my right and squeeze with my left. To get the right hand, though, I need to remember to do this while I'm reading. Because squeezing the ducky is not like yoga stretches or walking or swimming or other whole-body stuff I do. It's not interesting, and it doesn't involve enough of me that I can really focus on it. Multitasking is usually my middle name. We'll see if I can manage when it comes to something like basic bodily maintenance.

You might as well have a good day. I know I will.

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