In Which We Don't Wait for Perfection

2 August 2003

Erghhhhhh. So. I'm not sure this is actually the best day for me to go hiking on an island in the middle of the Bay. I'm going to do it anyway, and I'm going to have fun, but I'm already a little worn out. Like I was beaten with a small stick. Rather lightly beaten. Bah. I will take along some Advil, and suckies for my throat, and I'll get sunglasses before we go so that I don't have wind right into my contacts, and it'll be fine. Better than fine.

Also there will be garlic at the end, in abundance, and that will be a thing of much goodness. And if we wait for conditions to be perfect, we will never do anything fun. So. No waiting. Off we go.

Last night Timprov and I picked Mark up from work and then went to Stanford to pick up David. A different David than before: this David was from our alma mater, a physics student a few years younger than me. I believe I was his lab TA early on, but we were definitely in SPS at the same time and so on. He was a sophomore when I was a senior, and that's traditionally the class match-up in the alma mater's physics department. (I missed some of the people the year older than me when they graduated, as individuals, but I was absolutely heartbroken to lose the people two years older than me, as a group, not just as individuals.) I apologized to several people from David's class because my own class was small and a bit detached at times. But there are several of them in his year of whom I was glad to hear news, even if the news wasn't always good.

So anyway. We got David from the Stanford campus and went downtown, but Minokichi wasn't open yet, so we wandered a bit and ended up wandering into Whole Foods. Which is not Lund's, but will do in the absence thereof. For now. Walnut sourdough bread. Two kinds of cheese (one of them aged manchego, rah!). Blueberries -- lots of blueberries, for pretty cheap. Fruit leather, just a bit. Granola, polenta, dark-chocolate-covered almonds. Yay for Whole Foods. That should keep us a bit. (Now I just have to find out what kind of sauce went with the beef and polenta at Bistro E. Hmmmmmmmm.)

Also Minokichi was pleasant (no outstanding seafood tempura, no astoundingly fresh sashimi -- but still decent food). And it was fun to see David again, and then we came home, and I was going to crash and read. Three guesses what I did in addition to that?

Yep. I worked on the book.

I started the week pretty ready to work on short stories again, and here it is Saturday, and...pffffft. I didn't finish either of the short stories on my list, and I don't even have the urge to pick them up this morning before we head out. I've been worrying a lot lately about whether my balance of work time has been the right one, whether I'm spending the right amounts of time writing the novel, writing short stories, and revising. I know I should think of it in terms of a right balance, not the right balance. I'm just not sure. Are short stories a sensible way of spreading out my writing risks right now? Are they instant gratification? Am I using one project to avoid working on another? (And if so, is there anything wrong with that?) It's hard to know. Hard to get it figured out, except that I don't have to figure out a closed-form solution. I can just keep doing an iterative approximation.

I read a bit more of The Club Dumas, and while I'm somewhat interested in it, I can't say I'm motivated to read a lot more of Pérez-Reverte's work if this is what it's like. (Anybody know and want to tell me?) For example, he included, in the middle of a chapter, a Dumas novel bibliography with dates and publishers. Perhaps a more patient person would have scanned it for murder clues. I was merely annoyed. It seemed like a great way to guarantee the reader would not stay submerged in the story, and I couldn't (can't!) understand why an editor wouldn't edit it out. I like Dumas. I like Dumas a lot, and other Romantics and swashbuckling as well, so the book isn't entirely intolerable to me. But I also don't trust it. I don't feel that I can learn about Dumas (or other Romantics) from it, because some crucial bit of information could be entirely made up for the sake of the plot. It's the same reason I can't learn history from The Three Musketeers -- except that The Three Musketeers was much more interesting to me and didn't include lists of French kings in the middle. I don't know. If nobody knows anything more about his other stuff, it might be worth trying to see if this is what he meant to do to send up the ramblings of the Romantics. But a bibliography! Goodness. There are better things to learn from the Romantics than that.

So. Soon it is off to Target for me for the altogether crucial sunglasses, and then a happy lunch featuring aged manchego and blueberries. And then, the island, with pictures for tomorrow.

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