Story in the Middle

26 May 2002

Good morning, dear hearts. I didn't indulge my kitchen rampage urges at all yesterday. Perhaps today. Mark has decided to make hamburgers for supper, and potato salad goes admirably with hamburgers, so I think I'll do that at least. If only we could find decent peapods, all would be well.

Maybe not all. Tensions between India and Pakistan, for example, very likely do not depend upon me finding fresh snow peas at the grocery store. But we do what we can with local okayness, yes?

Like most people who pay attention to the news, I've been worried about war between India and Pakistan. And one of the things that worries me most is the consequences that a survivable nuclear war might have on the way people think of nuclear weapons. I mean, a nuclear war between India and Pakistan would be catastrophic and horrible. There's no way around that. But I doubt that it would end up being an apocalyptic scenario. Extremely bad, yes, but for those of us outside that region, a little less than catastrophic.

And what worries me about that is that then people who have been terrified of using our nuclear weapons -- and rightfully so -- would say, "Oh, well, see? They did it on the Indian subcontinent, and here we are driving our SUVs and eating pesto pizzas, tra la, tra la. So nukes aren't that bad. And if those pesky people who don't do what we want keep upsetting us...."

It's a worrisome thought, to be sure, but not one about which I can do anything, unless someone wants to arrange a summit at my house. Which may be banned by the rules and regulations of our apartment complex.

Ah well. Yesterday I read two of Kate Wilhelm's "Constance and Charlie" mysteries, The Hamlet Trap and The Dark Door. I enjoyed the former a lot more than the latter, but both were decently done. What I really liked about The Hamlet Trap is that I knew which people and pieces of information were key to the mystery when I got to the end, but I didn't know exactly how they would fit together. So I felt like she wasn't cheating and withholding information, but on the other hand, she didn't make the last fifty pages pointless. It's a tough balance to strike sometimes, in a murder mystery. The library has at least two more of hers in this series, which makes me happy.

I also read Jonathan Carroll's The Panic Hand, a short story collection. Some of the stories were good, but the short stories felt repetitive even more than the string of novels did. I liked many of them, but I'm surprised that it didn't get me singing the "'Enery the Eighth" song or something similar: "Third verse, same as the first!" Today I'm going to read Caleb Carr's The Alienist, because Amber recommended it. (Also, it's the last of my library books.)

Other activities of yesterday...I worked on the Not The Moose Book, of course. I got another story fragment to figure out later, this one inspired by (gulp) my parents' real estate agent. I guess they say you can use anything in your life for material for your fiction, and you never know what's going to pop up. But my parents' real estate agent? I just don't know....

It's not that she's too distant from me. It's just that she's a rather vivid personality.

Hmm. Well, that was interesting. I just took a break from writing this entry to hammer out 1200 words called "Speed Dating." It's done now. It's not going to be Major Award Winning SF, but it's a nice little story, and I had fun with it. Totally unplanned, though.

Yesterday I also worked on our library list. I have a spreadsheet that has columns for author, title, genre, year of publication, and a few other classification items, but right now I'm far enough behind in maintaining this thing that I just want to catch up on author/title/genre. It's not a major project that's taking up my time, it's just something I decided to get back around to, since I had some spare time yesterday and didn't feel like doing other stuff. It's moderately useful to be able to search on a couple of factors, and I'd like to keep better records of who has borrowed which books. Timprov started a companion spreadsheet of short stories, and that seems like it's both more useful and a lot more work to get together. Maybe when we have a house (and thus somewhere organized to put back issues of magazines), I'll put in some intensive work on finishing that -- but when we have a house, I'll probably have a dozen other projects that seem more immediately pressing.

I realize that this level of organization/record-keeping doesn't even appeal to most people. It just seems like a good idea around here, in part for renter's (and later homeowner's) insurance documentation purposes.

Aaaaanyway. Well, I'll spend much of today at the computer or in the kitchen. I think. Have a good middle of your Memorial Day weekend.

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