In Which Red Pen and Raspberry Syrup Feature Prominently

19 April 2004

So this Neil Kent fellow, who wrote The Soul of the North: he pushes my buttons. Not the good buttons. The bad scowly buttons. For example, he insists on referring to Isak Dinesen as Karen Blixen. This sends me through the roof every time I see it. If she says that Isak Dinesen is her name when she's writing books, by God that is her name when she's writing books. And I could maybe see if one was writing about her family's social position or something like that, how it might make sense to refer to her by her legal name. But -- but -- no. Just, no. She gets to say what her name is.

I had this problem with my Japanese professor. We went back and forth about how my name syllabates. He kept saying, "It's my language!" And I kept saying, "But it's my name!" (There's no way to get the middle vowel right in Japanese; they don't have a short i. But I maintained that it was Ma-ri-ssa, and he maintained that it was Ma-ris-sa, which is entirely too hissy in the middle there.)

Anyway, this Neil Kent book, it was not so fabulous, but it had its moments, and then I read Daniel Pinkwater's Yobgorgle, because there's nothing like a little children's surrealism to get the taste out of your mouth. Now I've started Stephanie Smith's Snow-Eyes, borrowed from Stella; it's short, so if I don't like it, it'll be over quickly. I'm not all that thrilled with it so far. It's got the "wise" people not telling the heroine anything and generally being unpleasant to her in a very fake-sweet, condescending way, and if it's a setup for "it was all for her own good," I will be very, very upset. I hate that crap. Also, the author seems to be confused between "no one answers her questions" and "she refuses to ask." Yarg. Very different scenarios, those.

Mark's flight left at what I consider a human hour this morning: we got up at 6:00. Any time with a six at the front (Central Time) is a time it's reasonable for me to be up. I hope this is a good omen for his future experiences with the company that acquired his.

Good news on e-mail this morning, too: one friend is going to be a daddy, and another is going to be home for the summer. Yay! I don't know if they're announcing it to the world at large yet, but I'm very happy to hear.

I'm less exhausted today. I think I'm going to take the manuscript of Reprogramming out to coffee and see what it tells me. I haven't done that kind of thing in awhile, and I could use a good big mocha, decaf, with something nice like raspberry in it and plenty of whipped cream on the top. Yes. Red pen and raspberry syrup. Okay. It's an afternoon plan. Or at least a decent approximation of one.

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