The Blue Place and Other Successful Birthday Presents

1 August 2001

I've been printing out Reprogramming and The Grey Road to take on the plane with me. I love holding my books in my hands as printouts. It's so satisfying. I'm going to do prose-polish stuff to The Grey Road and deeper, story-level edits to Reprogramming. I finished the last of the scenes I knew I had to tweak in Reprogramming yesterday, so now it's time to read and demolish. I doubt that I'll get through them both this weekend, but they're very different kinds of editing, so I can work on them as different moods strike me.

Yesterday I finished reading The Blue Place, which Susan gave to me for my birthday. Oh. Good book. Definitely a good book. Go read it. Much good will come of it. It's not A Book About The Norwegian-American Experience, but there's that element in it as well -- and she gets it right. (Which is odd, yes? Because Nicola Griffith is English.) But for those of you who really don't care about The Norwegian-American Experience, it's got all kinds of other stuff. Definitely worth reading. Susan suspected that it would not be my usual kind of book, and she was right, but she also suspected that I would enjoy it immensely, and she was right.

Hee. At the picnic, Mary Anne was trying to wedge sunflowers in the crack in the picnic table, and Susan said, "Those will not stay up." And then Mary Anne's wedging grew firmer and Susan said, in a shocked voice, "Maybe I'm wrong!" As it turns out, she wasn't. The sunflowers fell. So as far as we know, this new experience of Susan being wrong is yet to come. (I probably won't trumpet it in my journal when it happens, though. Not nearly so interesting as The Blue Place.)

Also, it gave me a short story idea. I always have a fondness for books that give me a short story idea. Especially if the idea has little to nothing to do with the book, which is the case for this one.

Chatting with Mary Anne was lovely, and I'm sorry she'll be going back to Utah so soon. It doesn't seem fair. I'm quite sure the Utavians don't deserve her.

I meant that in a good way.

I'm going to install the software to get my photos compressed and trimmed. Really. I mean it. Maybe not today, but soon. Or soonish. There will be birthday party pictures. No doubt about it. And I took a few Mary Anne pictures yesterday, in part to make up for the fact that none of the birthday party ones of the two of us turned out. (Susan, take note: you're next.) I let Mary Anne look at the pictures to make sure she didn't hate them. I think this is a good thing. It makes me wonder (although I don't expect to hear, since she's moving and quite busy) whether Michelle would let me take her picture if I did it many times and allowed her to give me thumbs up or thumbs down on the result immediately.

Probably not. But it's worth a try.

Also Mark and I went shopping and got a headset microphone for me so that I can tutor online with the nice people at BrainFuse. Also we got a wedding present for Lars and Krissie, since nobody seemed to want to run the group gift this year, and I wasn't volunteering. Also we got laundry detergent, because that's just the kind of thrilling life I lead.

I got my present from Timprov yesterday! Amazon finally came through for us. It's American Gods and Hammerfall, both of which I really wanted. One of which Mark really wanted as well, so everybody's happy. I now have the eternal dilemma, though: do I take mostly hardbounds in my backpack to DC and take up a lot of space but have more to read than skinny paperbacks provide? Or do I take mostly paperbacks and whip through some of them? This is, I freely admit, a good problem to have. I'm going to start reading American Gods next, I think.

Right now I'm reading Gray Heroes: Elder Tales from Around the World, a birthday present from Tim and Heather because "you like old people." Well, yes, some of them. At any rate, they're cool. I think some of them were a stretch to fit with the theme of elderly heroes and/or positively portrayed old folks, but they're pretty atypical for what we hear these days. Well worth reading. My favorite line, though, is a ritual ending from a Palestinian Arab story, "The Seven Leavenings." And it ends, "This is my tale, I've told it, and in your hands I leave it."

Well, yes.

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