In Which Our Heroine Gets Argumentative (Again)

24 August 2004

Michelle and Wayne's daddy-daughter dance was to a song I had heard of but never heard, "I Hope You Dance." It's kind of lodged itself in my head now (as I tell people often, I am quite, quite earwormable, and I have fairly good memory for tune and lyrics on one hearing). The thing about it is that a major repeated line is something to the effect that, "If you have the choice [chance?] to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."

Well...sort of. I can see where they're going with it, that participating in life is better than just watching it. But sometimes taking a breather is the right thing, and sometimes it takes more courage not to dance when you don't want to but everyone else is doing it, than it does to join in. Sometimes sitting it out is the right thing. Sometimes dancing is the right thing. And not all of us err in the same direction.

"I know it's a metaphor," I told Timprov on the way to Byerly's last night, "but I think my way is a metaphor, too." "Sometimes you just want to stick them with their metafork," he said wisely.

I still think it's a bad habit, arguing with people's metaphors. But I have a hard time stopping.

I think "Not all of us err in the same direction" is some kind of motto for me.

I've finished reading The Bowl of Night, which was the last of the three Rosemary Edghill mysteries in the omnibus Stella lent me. And all of a sudden it was clear to me that this is not a trilogy, it's a series that happens to contain three books. Which was...sort of a problem, really. When there was an unsatisfying ending to the first two books, I had the satisfaction that at least Bast's problems would be picked up in the next book. The things that were unresolved were acknowledged by the author to be unresolved; they were continuing themes/subplots/whatever. there aren't any more of them, and I don't have any indication that there will be more, and the ending was profoundly unsatisfying to the main plot as well as not existing with the other plots.

It was, I'm afraid, an Idiot Plot. What's worse is that the main character had to be an idiot in a sense to which I'm highly sensitized. Not that I'm giving you-all free reign to go be idiots in ways I'm unlikely to notice. No Idiot Plots! But especially no Idiot Plots in obvious directions for me, or I will groan and wail and gnash my teeth and so on. (The sad? happy? thing about spec fic readers is that you will have at least one teeth-gnasher for each screw-up. But it won't always be me.)

Also, brief lesson for everyone, and this is important: a base is caustic. An acid is not caustic. An acid is anti-caustic. Someone may speak bitingly or burningly and have it either be an acidic comment or a caustic comment; both can cause burns at sufficiently extreme pH. (Caustic burns are nastier. Hoo, you should have seen Mom's face when Dad came home with acid burns all over his torso and tried to tell her he was lucky it wasn't a caustic! Woulda been funny if it hadn't been so unfunny. Defining moments of adolescence, I suppose...but that's a different issue.) But if you're using it in non-metaphorical chemistry terms, the two are not interchangeable in any way. And if you douse your photographs (or anything else) with a caustic where an acid is indicated, you will be very unhappy. This has been The Chemist's Daughter's Report. Thank you and good night.

Stupid brain. Trying to poke "The Chemist's Daughter's Report" into a title. You train it to do something, and then training it to stop doing that for just five minutes is not so easy. Like teaching grade schoolers to ring goblets. This morning a quick e-mail to Scott was the culprit, and it wasn't even his fault. I was just talking about Michelle and (the other) Scott's wedding, and then I was thinking about what isn't symbolized about the beginning of a marriage in the way our culture does things, and then this gaping chasm of a high fantasy novel opened at my feet and I had to scramble back after scribbling two opening sentences, lest I fall in.

This occupation is much more dangerous than it looks from the outside, that's what I'm sayin'.

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