22 June 2005 by Published in: in my life 2 comments

You would not believe all the stuff I have to tell you. And I’m just going to have to sort of coredump it, too, because otherwise it will never get out of my head and out of the way enough that I can compose a normal coherent blog entry.

So hang on, here we go:

  • I never need to hear anything referred to as the “perfect storm” again. I’m serious. Fastest. Cliche. Ever.
  • When I got my first crit from Critters earlier this week, I was so excited that I didn’t even really care what it said. The idea of someone else reading my story was such a happy thought that the concern that they might bash it couldn’t surpass the joy. I can only hope that I have a similar buoyancy of spirit on my first rejection. I have learned tons from what the Critters have written me, and very little of it relates to things that can improve my story (although some does, and that’s a relief since that was the point). In fact, I could write a whole entry about critting, but I doubt I’ll get to it, since this a board-clearing here. I have a whole list of things to write about already without even starting on this.
  • This torture business is daily making me sickened and sad. I have thought about writing my very long and determined ideas on the subject here, but many others have done so, and all I really want to say is: I’m agin it. Nothing anyone can say to me will make me for torture. I want my country to stop doing it. Now. The fact that I have zero control over how many people are mistreated and dehumanized and for how long in the name of my safety distresses me. The fact that many of these people are not now nor have ever been any threat to me or my country disturbs me. The fact that people who have gone on record against torture (saying torture is bad and regimes that engage in torture, historically, have been viewed as evil and if we walk like a duck and quack like a duck then we’re pretty much a duck) have subsequently had to turn around and apologize for stating the obvious and the true both boggles and infuriates me. The fact that torturing these people is not a good way to get information but is a good way to foment hostility against us as a nation and as individuals angers me.
  • Revisions on Cualcotel are going fairly well, though I’ve only gotten about 15 pages of second draft text so far. The new story is tighter, sparklier, and all the sentences are drastically shorter. You get to find out all the plot hooks much sooner. More people die. The main character is named in the first paragraph. I was brutal and merciless with the compound sentences (of which there were many). Reams of description went away. Punyami gets all the good lines, and he’s got more of them than ever before. The jury is still out on what I should capitalize, according to the critique from my writer’s group. Some people claim that I’ve lost some of the flavor in my wholesale lowercasing (they want sun virgins capitalized, but are ok with living library, kennel master and kennelmates lowercase). Seems like an odd complaint, doesn’t it? I’ll look at it again, of course, and try to figure out what will work best for the most people most of the time.
  • I own fewer pairs of shoes than any other woman (whose closet I’ve seen) that I know. I consider this a feature, but I’m sure plenty of people would name it a bug. Yesterday, when my husband complained that I would not allow him to put some of his things in one of my drawers, I asserted that he was probably the only man in the world with a wife who shared the closet and the chest of drawers with him 50/50 and that he’d better stop while he was ahead.
  • I love Poe’s song “Control” and could say a whole lot about it, were I so inclined.
  • I wanted to say a whole lot more about reviewing and why, although I’ll grant benpeek‘s point that it’s hard to handle material that comes from people you know personally in a fair way, there’s no group of people I think have more of a vested interest in saying something about what I write than the people who write the same (or similar) stuff. Those would be the people I’d want to hear from. Someone who writes or reads or favors westerns is going to get less out of what I write and probably reflect that in their review. Which isn’t wrong, it just seems a deprivation to tell a whole class of people who are knowledgeable on a subject “No. You cannot speak on this, though you are well-informed and may enlighten us, because you’ll hurt someone’s feelings/make someone mad/upset the established community of friends/burn your bridges/whatever.” I’ll also take what he said as he appears to have meant it, which was as advice rather than dictum. The momentum on posting a thorough and incisive post on that is fading fast, so this snippet is what you get.
  • The herb garden experiment is very mystifying. A lot of things failed to grow but that’s not the mystifying part. Some seeds sprouted but died before getting potted. Other things died shortly after being potted. There were some accidents with squirrels or birds or rabbits devouring some of the plants that went onto the deck. The only thing that can be named as thriving is the catnip, which I read was really hard to grow, and which the cats are completely uninterested in. They only like it dried, I guess? The catgrass grew reasonably well but the cats ate it all up and there’s none left. I got the catgrass because it claims to be easier to grow than the catnip, but here I am with zero catgrass and more catnip than I know what to do with. Puzzling. The second best grower after the catnip was the sage, but it was attacked when I put it on the deck. It had one strong healthy plant and two little spindly things that I was sure were going to die in a pot, and then one morning I discovered that only the spindly ones were left, and that the well-established plant now consisted of bits strewn about the deck. I’ve sheltered the spindlies and they seem to be coming along (putting out new leaves every other day, more or less), but they’re not terribly impressive. They smell good, though. The cilantro was tipped off the deck by some animal. I’m not kidding. It wasn’t all that, but now there’s none. The basil had a dozen false starts, and now I have three tiny plants and I don’t know if they’ll really grow enough to give me leaves or not. Nor do I know which variety of basil it is (I picked three. I love basil). I thought the parsley would really take off too, and I am astonished that I have not a single plant of it. I tried and tried on the chamomile and I have one barely there plant from all those carefully coddled seeds I tried to make sprout. Weirdest of all is the mint, though, because I have always found mint so easy to grow. I have next to no gardening experience, but I can do jade and mint. Here’s the thing, though, I’ve always grown mint from cuttings, not from seed. I just couldn’t make the seeds work. The spearmint is not doing horribly, though there’s just two plants and they aren’t much to look at. No go with the chives, though, which I’m told are really easy as well. In short, everything I thought would be easy and do well didn’t. Possibly because I’ve no idea what I’m doing. It seems all the plants that would have been extremely useful failed, while the ones that were of peripheral interest are surviving. In cool news, though, today I pulled three spade’s worth of dark, damp, rich compost out of my composter. Also, a friend has given me some tomato and pepper plants. I have no idea what I’m doing with them and doubt they won’t be eaten by rabbits, but I’m giving it a go (as she’d say, since she’s British).
  • I got the Firefly DVDs for Mother’s Day and have been watching them and watching them and watching them. One day, I’m going to write a character as cool as Zoe, though probably not anytime soon, since I’m not so deft with characters that have high cool values. I also got other cool stuff for Mother’s Day. My family went all out, and it was nice.
  • Viable Paradise 9, here I come! I think they were desperate to fill their slots but I don’t care. I’m in! Woo hoo! Yay me! And now that the house has been sold, I think we can even come up with the money for me to go without straining anything. I’m going to try for a revision on the first 10k words of YWGYSL by August 15, which is the last point at which I can resubmit the stuff. Now I have to book travel. Find roommates. Figure out if I can see my friends in MA before the workshop. Happy logistic planning stuff will ensue.
  • I do plan to do a monthly report for both April and May (probably together). I know I’m two months behind. Briefly: word count was terrible in those two months (and not so great in this one), as was blogging and book reading/reviewing, but some of the other things on the list of resolutions will shine.
  • Welcome to summer. Yesterday was the longest day of the year. I love the lingering light, but already I know there will be less and less from here on out. Oddly, I would have thought I’d be more productive, writing-wise, at this time of year, but at least this year it doesn’t seem to be working out that way.

Exhale. Alright. That should be enough to tide you over until I can collect my thoughts.


Thu 23rd Jun 2005 at 10:23 am

Sun Virgins,
Living Library,
Kennel Master

I’d cap all proper names. Sounds like Kennel Master and Sun Virgin is a title. Needs a cap. However, kennelmates, sounds more like a generic term for those living/staying in the kennels, so lowercase.

Also and in my defense: "Yesterday, when my husband complained that I would not allow him to put some of his things in one of my drawers," I was teasing, precisely because I know you don’t take up much space. Love you for that (among other things).

Lenghty entry. Glad to see another blog post. I’d be interested in hearing more about what you have to say about reviewing.

Fri 24th Jun 2005 at 7:26 am

Plants are funny things. A shift in temp, humidity, sunlight etc… You can’t really tell how they are going to react until you experiment. We hit them with a little bit of miracle gro and water and hope for the best. Best wishes on continued growth.

Kurt should definitely be thankful that he has 50% of the space. I probably take up 75% of the closet and drawer space in our house though admittedly I don’t have a lot of shoes…that is Larry’s department :)

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