Third Verse (Same as the First)
12 July 2002
My first two books never got to 80,000 words. They're young adult novels. They're pretty much required to be shorter than that. When I was nearing 80,000 words on my third book, I was on the downhill stretch. I could taste being done. And here I am with this one, not lost but dwarfed. It's not that I don't know what to do next. I know what to do next, and after that, and after that. It just feels so big. There's a difference between knowing where you need to go to get out and being able to see your way out.
Yesterday was a good work day, though. Time well spent. And it cooled off, so we got a taste of summer and no more than that. I would have been all right with a few more days of it, maybe a little swimming and a little sunblock-slathered sunbathing. But I'm totally fine with not having the AC running. That's a very good thing.
Janis Ian's article is so cool.
I finished Where Monsoons Meet yesterday and read most of Richard Paul Russo's Ship of Fools. So far, Ship of Fools hasn't grabbed me much. It's been all right, but it hasn't been particularly noteworthy for me. I'm not sure why. I'm almost done, anyway, so I'll be moving on today, probably to a book about the Hungarian Revolution. We'll see.
I've gotten some e-mails about tracking that talked about smart kids in high school studying a lot. Um, what? I do know some bright people who spent a lot of time on homework in high school -- some of them because their schools were much harder than mine, some because they just work more slowly than I do, and some because they were learning something specifically difficult within the context of a normal school experience. (I think most of us would have to spend more time on Japanese than on a Germanic or Latin language, for example.) But I did very little studying in high school. I read a lot and learned a lot and wrote a fair bit, but if I hadn't wanted to, I could have been the hugest slacker in the world, because pretty much none of it had to do with my classes. And my smart kid friends all had other interests (well, except Jackie, or so we teased her). We all had music or art or fashion or some sport or any of a number of other things -- none of us was the stereotypical studying-only geek. We didn't have to be. In fact, until I started hearing from people who had those experiences, I didn't really believe in the smart kid who studied school subjects all the time. It was just not an archetype I ever encountered. I thought it was an image people made up to feel better about not being smart, or else to explain why some people are frighteningly one-dimensional later in life. (But have you ever noticed that that one dimension only very very rarely coincides with something you could study in order to get good grades in high school?)
I mean, I was in Academic Decathlon. We spent hours and hours after school, at least four hours every week, in a teacher's room, supposedly studying. Supposedly. Hah. We argued, debated, discussed, quoted, sang songs Mike's mom taught us (read: off-color songs, and no, David, I don't know what color they would have been if they'd been on-color songs)...I think Steve did an interpretive dance once. We jumped up on the desks a lot. Mocked the one among us who used Binaca obsessively. Made our teacher's poor long-suffering husband miserable with our poetry interpretations. Perfected our technique of eating bagels with cream cheese without functional knives. Ran to Goodrich for ice cream. But studying? Er, not really, no. And if the AcaDec kids weren't spending their time together studying, I really doubt that much of anybody geekly was.
(I have "Real Genius" in my head now. Again or still.)
We'd be subject to peeing in a bottle if we were in high school now, for drug testing, because we were in AcaDec. (I was also in about nine other activities, so it wasn't just AcaDec.) And I think that's stupid and misguided and a waste of funds...but there are people saying that there's no way the Math Club kids deserve to be tested because they just wouldn't, and I want to ask, were you people in Math Club? Ever? I don't know that anybody in my high school's Math Club did anything that would have showed up on tests...but I know there were some pretty big drinkers in the academic clubs, and I would not be at all shocked to learn that some of them also did something nefarious and unspeakable like smoking pot. And, frankly, I don't really care if they did, and I'm not sure you should, either. (Unless you're their moms. In which case I'm not naming other names, but your kid definitely didn't.)
Aaaanyway. Well, of course I have an agenda for the day. Taking my skirt in to be hemmed. Working on the book. Making something with tomatoes in it. Just stuff, I guess. Have a good Friday.
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