In Which Time-Consuming Projects Reassure

18 June 2003

I was going somewhere with this. I know I was.

I'm not sure that's an auspicious beginning, but I stared at the open page and thought, "Why did I start this already?" Well, good morning anyway.

Oh, it's Mark's youngest brother's birthday. Happy birthday, Matt! I doubt that he's reading this. He's a good kid anyway. Probably a good adult, by now. This is his twentieth, not a teenager any more. (What this means is that Mark's baby brother is 20, which officially makes Mark...oh, come on, guess...that's right: old.)

That still wasn't where I was going, but it's where I got. Which is how it goes, pretty much.

How else it goes: I took a bunch of things off the to-do list yesterday -- because I finished them, not because I decided they didn't need doing -- and I promptly added several more. The net is still a shorter list, but not by as much as it could be. Ah well. Such is the way of the list. I was a phone demon yesterday, having two short conversations (half an hour each), making plans with two people, and leaving two messages. And I managed to get useful stuff done, too.

I made up a list of places to send stories if they get returned while I'm gone. Ick. I don't know how some people can have a total ordering of markets in mind for every story. Mine all depend on which markets I've sent other stories to and when. It's a spur-of-the-moment set of if-then statements. I can force it into a list like this, but it feels weird. It's important to me to keep momentum on short stories, though, and not let them sit around looking forlorn. I don't know how people can manage to do it if they let their rejected stories pile up. It would be very hard for me to summon the energy to get a dozen stories in the mail, whereas one to three is easy, up there with washing the dishes as a daily task.

The more I know about the next three months, the more it strikes me how much I don't know. The method where I use anthology deadlines as handholds is working as well as it ever did, but I'm getting ever closer to a major change in my life, and for all I try to imagine it, I know how large the missing chunks are. And there's not much I can do about that, except continue committing myself to huge, time-consuming projects. Hooray for huge, time-consuming projects! They give structure to my life!

I love the Not The Moose Book so much.

And speaking of projects that have been rather large and looks like Raechel has been sending out announcements about Eggplant Productions and Spellbound, so I can say that Jintsu, since it's not doing anything new, will also not be doing Why I Hate Aliens. I'm disappointed to say the least -- that's two publishers gone! -- but I've already started sending out queries about it elsewhere. We'll see what I can find. I'm trying to remain upbeat about this. It's a good anthology. I'll find it a home somewhere. Oh, and in case anybody is wondering, I don't know what's going on with Raechel any better than anyone else does (although I'd like to -- I worry). I hope her crisis is resolved soon.

In addition to working on big chunks of my book yesterday, I read big chunks of Kushiel's Dart. Less than 200 pages left now (it's a 900 page book). Karina has been so right so far. Uff da mai. I was willing to give the first person narrator the benefit of unreliability at first -- sure, she's always on about how beautiful her compatriots are, but that could be an understandable bias. But all the people from other countries in this book behave as though she's right, her countrymen really are the most beautiful, without contest, etc. I thought we'd gotten past this kind of racialist/nationalist stereotyping, but evidently not. There's no indication that Jacqueline Carey thinks her main character might be wrong, or shallow, or lacking in nuance when it comes to people from other lands. Or anything else, for that matter. There are perfectly good ways to show from other characters' behavior that your first-person narrator is wrong or biased. She doesn't use them.

Especially the Skaldi, of course, the pseudo-Norse, and of course that's where I grind my teeth the most. There are several things that she just did in a needlessly silly way. The most glaring example is the term "carl." She seems to be using it to mean "slave or bondsman." But there's a perfectly good Old Norse word for that, "thrall." Carls were freemen, free farmers. Why (I used about a dozen more why's in my e-mail to Karina about this) would you drastically change the meaning of one word when there's another one that's perfectly good for what you wanted to say? Aghhhhhh. My mom would say, "I can't stand it; it's too much."

There's plenty of book left, but I don't hold out any hope that any of this stuff will be fixed. When the first-person narrator's opinions have changed with time, she doesn't hesitate to say so, at length, right there in the text, "Had I only known then what I know now, I would have known that she was an evil vicious traitoress who would wreak havoc upon my life, her eyes shining like diamonds etc."

And our internet, charmingly, has gone down again. Bah, and also humbug. Well. If it doesn't go up again before I leave for lunch at David's, I may have had time to start putting pictures from the last week here. Or I may not have. Time will tell.

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