Thursday, December 28, 2006
Partly sunny and chilly
Check out the essay on the ritual of last/first books of the year on Biblio Paradise, and why I think New Year’s Resolutions are important on Kemmyrk.
Violet is distressed. The foundation of the building shifted – or something shifted – and the front door won’t stay closed. I have to keep the chain on it all the time, and, when I go out, put on what I call “The Big Lock”, which is a special chain opened by a key from the outside. At any rate, even with the chain on, the door comes open sometimes. The chain keeps it from flapping too much in the breeze, but Violet gets very distressed. If I don’t realize the door is open, she comes and gets me and “tells” me. I have no idea what she does when I’m not there.
Hopefully, none of them will wander out.
Usually, when the door opens, they all fly in different directions and hide, until they’re sure it’s safe to come out and investigate. Let’s hope they do the same when no one’s around.
I’m going to ask the super to fix it as soon as he can.
Usually, the cats DEMAND open doors – but when it comes to the front door, they all seem to want it firmly shut. They want to wander as they wish inside, but expect the front door to keep out the Scary Monsters.
Had a tough time getting started, because I was waiting for the exterminator and didn’t dare to get involved in a piece of work or I wouldn’t answer the door. He was an hour and a half late, so that threw everything out of whack.
Managed to get a little bit done on Token – a big catalyst for Elmira’s character and a big event in the relationship between Elmira and Declan that has a lot to do with Chasing the Changeling and Immortality’s Destruction.
Worked on the Plum essay. It’s one of the most complicated things I’ve ever done, for some reason. Anything pop culture related simply does not come naturally to me, and I have to work harder to understand the “popular” mindset. I simply don’t see the world the way many others do – and I don’t think Evanovich does either, which makes her unique and which is one reason why people respond to her work – but trying to make that fit into the context of a pop culture collection is challenging.
I’m putting together a schematic and thematic overview of the various short stories I’ve done over the past few years. I want to see what, if any, common themes run through them (rather than simply different names using different voices) and see which ones fit together nicely. I didn’t write very many last year, which is disappointing. I love the format – but then, I started working on novellas last year, which is my favorite format, although I’m damned if I know what to do with them once they’re done!
That’s not entirely true – I have my sights set on a couple of markets for the novellas as I work them.
I want to be able to buy novellas at the newsstand on my way to and from the train, or when I get the newspaper. I used to be able to do so at WH Smith’s in the UK – but I don’t know if they still do it. One quid for something just long enough to read on the train. It was delightful.
Brandy commented yesterday that my observations make her not want to visit New York. Let me make something very clear: New Yorkers are fabulous. They are some of the best people you’ll find on the planet. It’s the fucking tourists that are the problem – they come here and think, because they spent money they don’t have to come to New York, they can behave badly and that makes them “cool”.
An idiot is an idiot is a moron no matter how much money they throw around.
All it does is make New Yorkers glad they (the New Yorkers) don’t live elsewhere, and eager for these rude tourists to go home.
New York IS the greatest city in the world – for many reasons. However, it’s no longer a livable city – it’s been transformed into a theme park, catering to these horrid excuses for human beings – the same people who shove the really cool, nice, excited, intelligent tourists out of the way -- which is one of many reasons why I’m ready to leave. I’m sure these horrids are just as horrid at home – unfortunately, they tend to descend all at once in New York, so, where you might have Three Horrids in Podunk and can avoid them, suddenly you have 303 Horrids at Rockefeller Center coming in from various places around the world because they all took vacation at the same time.
I love it when people come in from all over the world to celebrate and enjoy New York – provided they behave like human beings. I’ve seen zoo animals at feeding times and mating times behave better than most of these people.
It costs nothing to be gracious and thoughtful when you travel. And it pays enormously, because you become an ambassador for your hometown. New Yorkers wouldn’t think people from small towns/rural areas were idiots and losers if people traveling to New York from those areas didn’t behave like idiots and losers. All you have to do is be aware that you are not the only person on the street; there are EIGHTEEN MILLION people in the city on any given day. All you have to do is not shove, not screech, not act like you’re the most important person in that eighteen million – there’s enough for everyone.
Look up – but step aside and make sure you’re not blocking the doorway or sidewalk when you do so. Don’t think it’s “funny” to shove someone in front of a bus or play rough on a train platform – it could cost someone his life; don’t walk around with your purse hanging open and your wallet displaying twenty dollar bills – why WOULDN’T someone reach in and take it? Smile and say “thank you” once in awhile. Say “May I” instead of “Gimme.”
You don’t have to know which of fourteen forks to use in any given situation, but you don’t have to act like the worst cliché of Ugly American – or Ugly World Whomever, because believe me, it’s not just Americans who behave badly. Misbehaving is a choice. And, in New York, there are consequences for those choices. If you’re nice and even skimmingly polite, you will be met with the same. If you act like a jerk – New Yorkers have no time or patience for you. We’re BUSY. And we won’t pretend to be nice to you when you wave money around, like they do in LA. New Yorkers will let you know when they think you’re an idiot.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be facing the knife (in New York) then getting it in the back (in LA).
On a happier note, I’m reading two delightful books: Meditations with Tea by Diana Rosen, and Mockingbird: a Portrait of Harper Lee, the absolutely enchanting book by Charles J. Shields. I just can’t put it down. In fact, I sat up well after midnight to finish it, which gave me a logy start this morning.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a fascinating and wonderful book. I relate to the fact that Lee was a strong nonconformist all her life and lived by her own rules, and I respect that. I also respect how she, at first, anyway, was open to reporters and interviews, but never got caught up in “the scene”. I think far too much time is wasted by writers who worry more about being visible than turning out good work. There are some writers who can do both, but too much emphasis is placed on the celebrity aspect, and not enough on the craft.
I’m of two minds about her choice not to publish another book. She’s a reclusive woman, so for all we know, she might have written several novels and destroyed them or locked them away. On the one hand, if she said everything she had to say in that book, good for her. She went on and lives a full life. On the other hand, if it’s fear that’s kept her from publishing – I feel badly for her. That seems to counter the way she’s lived her life—on her own terms. Because of the way she’s lived her life, I tend to lean towards the theory that she said everything she had to say. If she wasn’t afraid of what people thought before, why would she care later?
It’s an interesting situation, and the only people who will ever know the truth are Lee and her family. And that’s their right and their choice.
Some good work on Token and Affections this morning. I’m happy in the way I’m going towards the end. Once I finish this big turning point scene between Elmira and Declan, I really am galloping towards the end. Elmira threw me a curve ball this morning, which I had to quash pretty darn quickly, or it would turn the piece into a different story and negate the next two sections – which are important. But hey, characters can discuss options just like people, right? It’s just that I can’t allow Elmira to act on this option without jettisoning everything I want for the trilogy – and the trilogy is stronger than this particular option.
Off to the theatre. And then, I want to finish the Plum essay rewrite tonight and get it off either late, late tonight or early tomorrow morning – ahead of the deadline. I don’t want it hanging over me for the weekend.
Token and Affections – 33,200 words out of 35,000
33 / 35
Need help setting goals for the New Year? Check out questions to help you with your Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions on Wordish Wanderings.