Thursday, July 28, 2005

I have decided to read

I realize the last two posts imply that I'm losing my mind, and given the mood of the past two weeks that would be a logical conclusion to draw. But I simply decided that I was wandering around feeling empty and adrift because I AM empty, and I gathered together my scattered "to read" pile.

My mom picked up a very interesting little reprint called "The Prairie Traveler," written by a U.S. Army Major and originally published in 1859, for those emigrants not lucky enough to have a Boz in their company. It has chapters on what to pack, how to handle emergencies, choosing and care of animals, and the behavior of Indians. Much looking forward to that, but not in the mood at the moment.

I am currently reading George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, loaned to me by Shara almost two years ago with the instruction to let her know how it ended. I can't say I blame her. It's dense, tangled, and indifferently written, in my opinion. The characters are rather cardboard and single-note, especially at the beginning, but I'm about a quarter of the way through and things are picking up. Beginning writers, take note: it's really really hard to get into a book when the first eight chapters each have a different viewpoint character, with no apparent connectivity to what went before, and you're throwing up fifteen years of backstory, place names, family names, royal titles, allegiances, fathers, men-at-arms and offspring, onto the poor reader in a single regurgitation. By the time I got to chapter 12 or so I was starting to see a pattern but I kept having to check back to earlier chapters to make sure they were talking about whom I thought they were talking about. But now I'm intrigued by the plot and some of the characters are starting to distinguish themselves, so I shall soldier on. This book is actually very good for reading during the dog days of summer, with the endless descriptions of snow and ice and people freezing to death.

Tony was nice enough to loan me a stack of classic sci-fi, including several of Asimov's Robot books (le sigh... I suppose they're good for me, like fiber), Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, which I admit to being curious about, and one sweet surprise I am particularly looking forward to: Franz Lieber's The Conjure Wife. Have heard good things about it, periodically consider buying a copy. But this is better, saves me some money and instant gratification.

I also have Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness, which I got three chapters into and quit--it may have been groundbreaking in its day, but to my mind it's just obvious and hand-wringing. Then I have a copy of some time-travel thing by Caleb Carr, the arrogant wanker, which I've been meaning to read for years, and of course Idoru, which is still tented open to chapter four on my headboard. At least Gibson's got some style.

It's a good selection and variety of words, at least. I used to read a book a day, for crying out loud, but since I got married it just seemed to be a waste of time. Also I spend so much time sitting down, at work and in the car, that it's really hard for me to land and stay when I'm at home. But I can't seem to write, and reading takes no effort and is a marvellous way to escape reality, which is not too brilliant at the moment, so hey? Why not.

And related to all this reading, go look at the new PDF excerpt on AJ's blog. I saw the earlier version, it wasn't bad, but comparing that to this is the difference Dorothy saw when she stepped out of the silent gray farmhouse into Technicolor Munchkinland.

enlightenment in the Whole Foods produce aisle

Blueberries. Blueberries, blueberries, blueberries. Blueberries.

Strawberries.

Black and rasp(berries).

Kiwi.

Fish! Spices! Sole with Northwoods Seasoning! Salmon with parsley and lemon!

Vindaloo, for naked chicken legs.

Brown rice, to temper the Vindaloo.

Garlic (granulated).

Greek seasoning. Romaine, iceburg, onion, tomato, Kalamatas, cucumber, feta.

BlueBERries. And sometimes cream.

haiku therapy

Sifu says, "Practice tai chi
with less emotion."
I burst into tears.

Five lanes compressed to two,
with a stoplight.
Sixty-five minutes to work.

My mind clamours with voices,
sensations, emotions.
Where are the words?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

how to be beautiful, 1889

I find this to be quite droll, as well as common-sensical. Particularly read the chapter on Corsets, from which comes the following:
This unending war against corsets that has been raging for about two score years and ten is certainly as good an advertisement as the most enterprising manufacturers can wish for. It proves conclusively that the corset wins all of the battles. If, in the fight, it has even wiped off from the face of the earth a few brainless women it is difficult to understand why the corset should be held responsible.

This is the point the femi-nazis are missing. Beauty can be a weapon. You just have to know how to wield it.

I give you expert testimony:
MEN condemn and criticize the very things in their own wives and sisters that they run after and admire in the sisters and wives of other men. One of their great "hobbies" is "common-sense" shoes. They advocate them and insist upon their wives and sisters wearing them, yet were they ever known to say a lady had a pretty foot that was seen in a commonsense shoe? Never! The nearest they get to it is : "What a lovely foot that woman has! if she would only take off that French heel and wear a common-sense shoe! " Poor things, they don't know that only the French shoe can show the outlines of a pretty foot. Men are so peculiar. They talk of their admiration for sensible girls, condemn paint, powder, small waists and French heels, and at the same time their most serious attentions are given to girls de voted to all of the frivolities known to the fair sex. Just as long as men go on--but I digress.

And I rest my case.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

realignment

Had my writer's meeting yesterday. I took them the first nine-ish pages of "Parlor Games," an excerpt which ended with a tantalizing revelation about Miss Fairweather.

Choice comments were as follows:
Where is the rest of it? More! I want MORE! (soon.)

*

Very good--I particularly like the pace & the balance between Trace's viewpoint narration & the dialogue
*

Cool! The plot--or the relationship, rather--thickens apace. I thought you were going to tease us with their relationship as shown in the first two stories for a couple more stories yet. I'm happy to see him establishing some turf to stand up on his hind legs on, at last.

Kung fu? Scheduling conflicts? Divided loyalties? Pshaw.

Friday, July 22, 2005

no technology is ever totally obsolete

Horse-and-Plow Farming Making a Comeback
... a farmer with horses can earn triple or more the earnings per acre than one farmed by agribusiness.

Ron VanGrunsven farms about 50 acres with horses near Council, Idaho, and has used horses for years there and in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

"They're more economical," he said. "They raise their own replacements, you can train them yourself and raise their feed."

I find that cool.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

for love, no money. yet.

I had a premonition this morning, while in the shower. I sensed something had happened with End of the Line. So I dried my hair, put in my contact lenses, and fired up the 'Net. Yes, our internet service has been restored. No one is saying for certain why it was off; Scott insisted it had nothing to do with being behind on the bills and he made the rep tell me so over the phone.

Anyway. I had an email waiting from Raechel Henderson Moon.
Dear Holly Messinger --

Thank you for submitting "End of the Line" to Jintsu. I loved this
story and would like to publish it as a Jintsu e-book.

(deleted second paragraph full of business/contract stuff)

Sincerely,

Raechel Henderson Moon
Publisher

Still no advance, but the royalties are a generous deal. I'm a bit flattered. Mostly I feel very... unsettled. Don't know the publication date as yet.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

still more news

Jeez, busy day. Okay, first I find this Livejournal rant about the declining state of SF magazines. Looks like I'm not the only one who's bored with the post-modernist LeBrea pits.

Secondly, Greg "The Source" Araujo sent me this link. Want one now.