In Which It Happens Again

9 May 2003

Wooooo! The Wild won the game, and with it, the series! Woohooo! Fun game to watch, too. When they were down 2-0 in the second period, Timprov almost succumbed to despair. (That may have been because he ran out of Advil, too. I don't know.) But Mark got more Advil, and the Wild got more goals, so it was a good evening all around.

My neck is still not particularly happy, but it's getting better. Really it is. Which is a good thing, because I'm driving to get groceries later this morning no matter what. We need them. I could make Whatchagot for dinner tonight, and I probably will anyway, but beyond that is a barren culinary wasteland. (It'll be somewhat Mexicanish Whatchagot, in case you care. With black beans and corn and red pepper and cilantro and garlic and cumin and tomatoes and stuff.) That's about the end of the road, and frankly I'm impressed that I managed to find two coherent dinners from what we had in the house as of yesterday afternoon. It's not that we didn't have stuff. It's just that none of the stuff went together.

We are also lacking in some basic stuff -- eggs and mushroom and carrots and raisins. Oleo. Milk. Meat. A few things. I don't know how this happens. I went to Trader Joe's last Friday, and Mark went to the grocery store Sunday and Tuesday. And I know that Mark grocery shops differently than I do, but still. (He buys what's on the list, mostly. I buy what's on the list, but I tend to use it as a jumping-off point more than anything, and "hey, interesting produce on sale" is a major facet of my shopping.)

Anyway. Spent most of yesterday reading again, in various positions that were attempting to be good for the neck. (And, as I said, it's getting better.) I finished off The Chomsky Reader and enjoyed it most when he was tearing into B.F. Skinner. Not that that was hard, mind you, but he did it thoroughly and with such relish that it was endearing to me. By the time I was halfway through, I had his point, though. The specific facts in each of the rest of the essays were horrifying and edifying, but I would have appreciated it if he'd spent more (read: some) time on what, exactly, he thinks could/should be done about the general political situation that bothers him. It's very easy (veryveryvery) to find bad things done by various governments and political groups. Finding ways to combat that is the hard (and interesting) part.

I also read Graham Joyce's Smoking Poppy which was a nice segue from Chomsky to the rest of my available reading material. It pulled me along through the story quite well, and most of the story worked for me. There were a few places where it was a little sketchier, but not a major problem. (And it had nothing to do with Mary Mother of Christ, Matt. Joyce really isn't that obsessed.)

And I started Robin Hobb's Fool's Errand, with the same main character as her Assassin series, and so far the main character is annoying me again. In a familiar way, though, so. I suppose that's something; at least it's something I knew going in.

Other than that, I wrote some first lines, thought a lot about stories and books and what I'm doing next, watched the tape of the "Eco-Challenge" (I have the last tape to watch today), cooked, etc. Not the most externally exciting day, but lots going on internally, as regards the book and short stories. I'm honestly not sure what my work rhythms will need to be in the next few years. I had kind of gotten into "write book, edit book, send out book, ignore book," and while that works, it tends to get interrupted, sometimes pleasantly so. Also, when I finish the Not The Moose, I'll have done at least one book in each of the categories I most want to write in. (YA fantasy times three, YA SF, grown-up SF, and that'll be grown-up fantasy.) And from there, what to do next will have a lot different factors playing into it, and for some of them, I'm sitting back and watching and waiting. Hmmmm.

Someone recently asked me if there was any reason I particularly wanted to write for adults in the first place. Well, yes: because a lot of the ideas I have are too long or just not right for a YA. It's not so much about the age of people reading, because young teens will read from grown-up sections (and "adult" sections as well, but I've been trying to avoid that usage, because it can mean something I don't intend to mean), and a good YA is something you never grow out of. Or at least some of us don't. So I think that a bright kid could enjoy my "older" books and a bright adult could enjoy my "younger" books. It's not that.

But J.K. Rowling aside, length is an issue. And subject matter is an issue. I don't think it would be very easy to go to a YA editor/publisher and say, "It's only partially finished at nearly 100K, and the youngest main character is 27, and there's lots of small-country Cold War stuff in it without there being skulking spy scenes." (Well, not many -- they're not that kind of spies.) (And it's always a bad idea to go to an editor/publisher with a partially finished book if you haven't published a novel before. But that's not the point. That's just a statement about the length of the beast.) The length, the protagonists, the subject matter...I could write a YA in the Not The Moose Book world. Oooh, hey, I could write a -- sorry, okay, not the point. (But I could. During the Winter War, with the teenagers involved in the folk magic against the Soviet troops. The books would stand alone-ish, and yet they would work together for those who wanted them to. Ooooh. AAAAAACK! Oooooooh. AAAAACK!) Anyway. Regardless of whether I end up writing a YA in the NTMB world -- who am I kidding, I'm gonna do it. All right. Getting out the list.

So. Regardless of when I write this YA in the NTMB world -- do you know how many books this is on the novel list? Do you? Guess. Just guess. No peeking at back entries, now. Write to me and guess how many book projects are on this stupid list of mine. Projects I still want to do. Books that are not completed in their rough draft form but that could be written when I choose to do so. Books for which it would take me less than an hour to write up a coherent synopsis with major plot points, characters involved, etc. Just guess and e-mail me your number. I'm counting them up right now, and any book ideas I come up with between now and Monday's journal entry will not count. Even if you've never read me before; even if you've been a close friend for years. All of you, guess. It'll be fun.

(For me, of course. Who did you think it was supposed to be fun for?)

Ahem. Regardless of when I write this YA in the NTMB world -- in which I bet Valentins shows up, and the Ingrian kids, oh hey, that's awesome! -- shut up, brain! -- do you see now, why I work a lot? Because when I try to take a few days off for the sake of my stupid neck, this is what my brain does when I'm not looking. It's like shaving your legs, you know? If you shave them, the hair grows back thicker and faster. If I give myself time off, the ideas come thicker and faster. So if I give myself time off, I get the writer equivalent of werewolf legs. It's maddening. Sometimes interesting, though.

For the fifth attempt at the original point: regardless of when I write this YA in the NTMB world, the NTMB is not it. That's all I was trying to get at, really. I need to write for grown-ups because the books I need to write are sometimes for grown-ups. It's really that simple. When Wendy was at Clarion, she said that one of her instructors asked her whose career she wanted. She didn't have an answer, as I recall, and I don't really, either. It's one of those questions that has me making the confused-puppy face. You know the one. Dogs make it sometimes. When you're making all kinds of sounds, and they know they're supposed to be able to extract some information from them, but they have no idea what. Whose career would I want? Errr, mine, please? The one in which I write my books. Maybe I'm confusing job with career here, but I don't think so.

Did I mention that Liz is pretty hysterical when she demonstrates her dog's body language? I don't think I did. It's great. I was still sad that the Mama dog didn't get to come on the plane to visit us, but having Liz act her out was possibly funnier. (Not as good to pet, though.) It was the confused-puppy face that made me think of it.

Well, I clearly need to do some actual work and buy some food. And while my neck is improving, it's not optimal at this point, more mental wandering. (Lest I come up with another book. Uff da mai.) Off I go, into the wild Moosey yonder.

Have a good Friday.

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