Between Seasons

14 December 2002

My back is not so truly and deeply awful as it was yesterday. I wouldn't go for "good," but "not so awful" is progress, at least, and I don't have anything that has to be hammered out on the computer soon. I can write longhand if I want to. I can switch back and forth. I can do laundry and wash the floors and otherwise ignore the computer.

So, of course, I'm writing a journal entry. Naturally.

I finished reading Probability Space yesterday, and it was nice, but I'm glad the trilogy is complete and Nancy Kress will move on to something I want to read more. Or, most likely, already has. Then again, she's had a rough year, and I don't want to be a pushy fangirl. I also read Nancy Etchemendy's The Power of Un, which was fun and reminded me of a short story Zed wrote, only his was completely for grown-ups and hers was a kids' book, and hers had a gadget while his was gadget-free, and...well, several other differences. But otherwise exactly the same.

And I read Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic: Tris's Book. You know, for awhile I was busy being jealous of the titles Tamora Pierce gets away with. She gave the Alanna books titles, although I have to say that Alanna: the First Adventure is not the most inspiring title I've ever heard. I remember thinking that in sixth grade, when I picked the book up, thinking, "Oh, wow, that title is lame." But I liked the title Lioness Rampant (still do), and I couldn't get to that one without reading the first three, so I got started, and got hooked. But this Circle of Magic series...uff da mai. And the Protector of the Small series isn't much better. If I was buying them all, it would probably be okay, because I'd see them on my shelves regularly and thus have an idea of not just the content but the cover. But I don't have the money to keep buying everything I want to read, so mostly I get these from the library. Where I basically remember how many in that series I've read and then try to figure out which one comes next, because remembering whether I've read Tris's Book, Daja's Book, or Sandry's Book is entirely beyond my capabilities if I wait more than a month or two in between. I suppose I could note it on my library list. Maybe I should. Hmm.

Just barely started reading Alistair Reynolds' Chasm City; I'll get to that one more today. It's definitely a switch from Tamora Pierce, though. Almost a schizophrenic switch.

I worked on the three books I'm supposed to be working on, yesterday, and then at 9:00 my body and brain just shut down. No more work! they said. No more craziness! But I was not at all ready to go to bed, and the hysterically funny show that Mark was watching (The Learning Channel had a special on hackers -- hilarious -- it featured special orchestral visionary music for John Perry Barlow and lots of repetitive panning shots of Eric Raymond reading a book) had finished. So I got out my notes on The Tides Between the Worlds, figuring that outlining is much less strenuous than writing actual text. Which it is, but it turned out that I had previously outlined much of that book. Except for -- and here's where I was really clever -- the main plots. There's one main plot and two really large subplots, and I had noted everything else on the outline (which is more calendar-shaped than most of my outlines). All of the tiny subplots. All of the information that needed to appear to prepare for the next book in the series, a few loose ends from earlier books...but exactly half of one major plot. And that was it. Luckily, I knew what the major plots were all about and how they went, so I filled them into the outline neatly, and with an air of puzzlement at my former self. (And axed a few silly subplots that seemed to be hanging out in space.) Usually I swear that I understand what I did in the past, even if I wouldn't do it the same way with more information. But this, I just don't know. It's done now, anyway, and includes main plots. I'm sure I'll mess with it some more before I write the thing -- I'm not writing it until I've got Fortress of Thorns and The Grey Road handled.

That being the case, I'm not sure why I felt the urge to fiddle with the outline last night. Having already worked at least a little bit on three other books yesterday. And read a lot. Ah well.

When I was working on the Chinese book, I felt like I was taking finals. I said that before. Thing is, then I went and finished it ahead of schedule. In my mind, it was going to be this mad dash to get everything done. I dashed madly. Got there with days to spare. So I looked up on Thursday and determined that it wasn't really time to do the laundry, five days in advance of leaving. It wasn't time to totally clean out the fridge and live on leftovers. It wasn't time to run all the library books back, finished or not. This was not how it worked. I never had five days between the end of finals and going home. Now I'm not entirely sure what to do. I mean, I'm sure what to do in terms of activities, because I'm nearly always sure what to do in terms of activities. That's almost never a question. But psychologically, I'm just not sure what this time is. I've finished with the stuff that's due before I leave, so it's no longer still mentally finals. I'm not wrapping presents and making pepparkakor. I'm not even shopping for presents. Clearly it's not mentally Christmas. But --

Ah, now it becomes clear. I messed with The Tides Between the Worlds because it's the closest I've come, so far, to a Christmas book. Not that it's all heart-warming and stuff. But all of the non-heart-warming stuff is mixed in with family Christmases and Thanksgivings and, most importantly for my young protagonists, school breaks. So. All right then.

It's stopped raining, momentarily, but we don't expect that to keep up. The paper says it's supposed to keep raining all week. As long as we all get out of here and into the Midwest safely, I don't much care. I like the rain and the pleasant flat sounds it makes on the awnings over our windows. I like having weather here for a change. As long as I still get to go home, it can rain all it wants, and I will happily play the drowned rat today through Tuesday morning. Sadly, I don't think the weather makes deals like that. We'll see how it goes, though.

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