To Do, To Doing, To Done

27 November 2002

As long as they don't try to do it in my house, this is really cool.

I checked some things off of the "to do" list yesterday, most impressively the grocery shopping. It wasn't all that impressive in its execution, but the fact that we've fit all the food and beverages into the fridge and freezer is pretty darn impressive. We have a lot of food. I tried telling Mark this in the car when I went to pick him up from work (because he had to work past the last bus), but I think he thought I was just saying that there was some, enough. No. A lot. Timprov and I may have to choose our lunches carefully before I can make the squash soup for tomorrow, because otherwise we won't be able to fit it into the fridge. But on the up side, we have everything we need to make mashed potatoes and squash soup for Thanksgiving itself and to feed ourselves, Dan, and Amber our big meal on the day after. And to make roasted pepper and black bean quesadillas tonight, and to make pepper beef with plum sauce for Dan later in the weekend. And so on.

(The newspaper says John Rawls has died. John Rawls was still alive? Who knew? Well, his family, probably....)

So. The "to do" list remains impressive today, and I had another bad dream, once again involving speculative fiction folks being kidnapped. This time, I was kidnapped from a con myself, along with Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Stan Schmidt. No bishops, though, and no cars. Whew. And I was feeling comfortable in the last part of the dream, though, because Mark and Timprov would have the formidable Teresa Nielsen Hayden helping them track me down and defeat the bad guys. (High on my list of bad guy trackers and defeaters, that one.)

I got tickets for Christmas and New Year's yesterday, and I'm doing the grand Midwestern tour: Omaha, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. I should probably start poking people and trying to get them to make plans. (Much e-mail poking ensues.)

And having the tickets makes it real, makes me want to do my packing lists right now, makes me want to order all the Christmas presents right now, makes it into something that's already started, and I seem to have arrived in the middle of all of it. Somehow. I don't know. But I do know that if I don't remember to put the funny lotion on my packing list this very minute, it will be all right, I have almost three weeks to do it. "Almost three weeks" is not that impressive a span of time, though, when you think about it.

And by the way, I love Northwest Airlines so much. So much! I could feel confident in making my flight plans with them, because I knew that I had twenty-four hours to change whatever I wanted with no fees. They're not trying to screw their passengers out of every cent they can find. They report their fares with all the fees included, so that you don't think you're getting a $99 fare that's actually $170. They lowered their weight limits on baggage due to insurance constraints -- and then lowered the fees related to overweight baggage, too, so that it's really not a big deal. I mean, they're not Midwest Express, but still. Generally good folks.

Michelle and I were talking about a book I didn't particularly care for (okay, it was Weetzie Bat), and she wasn't wowed by it either. But in the course of the discussion, she said that some of the things I didn't like were the point. Yes. That's fine. I know. This has come up in other contexts, about other books, with other people, before, and I think it's something that ought to be clear: you are allowed to dislike the point. You are allowed to grasp the point of a book and think it's a lousy point to make. It's not that you didn't "get it" at that point, it's that you didn't want it. What there was to be gotten was no good to you.

See, and this is what my friend Ed is good for (among other things): he's Declarative Sentence Man, and he's not afraid to say, "That's stupid." with a great deal of intensity. And then he's not afraid to back up why, precisely, the thing he's derided is indeed stupid. This is good. Because some things are stupid, and it does nobody any good to pretend that they're not. Some ideas are worse for basing a book on than others. Some reasons for writing a book are likely to result in worse books, or in books that are less well-liked by a given segment of the population.

Columbine thinks that the problem I was talking about with speculative evangelism is that the genre of fantasy is just too big. I think he's wrong, frankly. I think there are plenty of subdivisions -- "high fantasy, "urban fantasy," "swords and sorcery," "historical fantasy," "secret history" -- etc. And I think that any subdivision of the genre is going to result in books he likes being categorized with books he doesn't like. Just as there's crap in any genre, there's crap in any subgenre. Unless your subdivisions are "fantasy that is crap" and "fantasy that is not crap," I suppose.

I have a good bit more that I'd like to say, as always, but there's all sorts of household stuff to be done, followed by writing stuff to be done. So off I go to do it.

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