Wisdom of the Courtyard

24 April 2002

Short entry today, I think. Our airport run was about as uneventful as I've ever had, and now we have a C.J. Yay! We're going to be running about doing all manner of interesting things in the next few days, so updates may be late or sporadic.

Other than that, I read Kara Dalkey's Bijapur yesterday. Definitely a book that requires the other books in the series. Luckily, the library has the last one in the trilogy, so I'll get it next time I have the chance. I did some good work on the lunar epoxy story. One of the things that happened was good and bad. I got a lot of character development out of not wanting to use the convention that people in stories are allowed to fall in love more quickly than I think is reasonable. (In crush or in lust, sure, yes, quickly, but love is both more interesting than that and tends to take longer. Not always. Just tends.) I ended up making the two characters involved be alumni of a small, private liberal arts college in Minnesota. I've been kind of wary of doing that, but I think these characters are no more me than any of my other characters, and there's nothing wrong with going to a small, private liberal arts college in Minnesota.

There are lots of writers who give themselves different names and send themselves off on adventures, or unadventures, depending on what kind of fiction they write. And I think that the rest of us can go too far in the other direction. It's all right if one of my characters likes to dust to the Bosstones. It's okay if he or she is from the prairie or lake country. Really. And I just need to stop worrying about it and let the characters do what they're going to do.

Ah well. Yesterday I learned many interesting things in the courtyard of our apartment complex. (Last night I learned many interesting things as well, but that was because the neighbors don't understand that when you're outside, sound carries, even at 3:00 in the morning.) I stopped to talk to Omyra and her granddaughter, Annalina, who now knows the word "pents." She was wearing pents and also a short. I pointed out that I, too, had pants on. This was one of the most hilarious things the child had heard in ages, from her response. She laughed and laughed. I play well to the single-digit set, as I've said. I don't know Pashtu, so I can't tell whether Anna mostly talks that or mostly babbles, but her English is coming along a bit at a time. She's very sweet. I was wearing a blue scarf in my hair, and she wanted it in her hair. So we wrapped it around her head, put it in front of her face, and so on. Oh my. This was, judging from the reaction I got, the best thing I have ever done. I got so many baby-kisses and giggles out of that. This is the great thing about other people's kids: you get to be the coolest person in the world, and you almost never have to be the meanest person in the world.

Omyra had news for me that will surprise all of the Gritters, including Dan: Dan is engaged. I told her that Mark's brother might come out to visit if he has time, but that he might have timing problems because he's buying a house. "Is just him?" asked Omyra. "Buying house?" I said yes, it was. She shook her head. "He is engage. He is give you niece. Maybe nephew." I pointed out that Dan had said nothing about an engagement and that houses were good investments for tax purposes. "Texes," she repeated to herself. "Texes. He is give you niece. Maybe nephew." I guess that settles that, then...we'll have to call Dan this weekend and let him know. He is give me niece. Maybe nephew.

I also learned Victoria's theory of race relations (Victoria is in her mid-70s): "You don't have to sleep with anyone you don't want to, pardon my French, but you don't get to kill 'em." Well, I guess that covers it, yah. Victoria also doesn't believe that people can become atheists, but that's a whole other conversation, and I have nouns to enjoy. Places, people, things. Take care.

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