July 22nd, 2003

bear by san

Zen, and no words written, but 92,000 words read.

Starting to get a little bit restless, though. Which is a good sign. And I have tons of reading to do--my books from the UK came yesterday. And I should really cut myself more slack on this book, and try to find some peace that it's going to take a while to write.

I've gotten spoiled, that's what it is, with nice short ideas that seem to crystallize neatly into nice little 100K books that only take a couple of months to get on paper. And now I have this monstrous THING on my hands....

I poked at "One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King" yesterday, and maybe fixed it. A little. Or at least made it better. I like that story a lot, but it's one of the very-narrow-miss club, along with "Gone to Flowers" and "Wax" and "Los Empujaderos Furiosos" and a couple of others. The ones I suspect I either have right, and they haven't found the right market on the right day yet, or they're close enough that they may be fixable for a pro sale.

I shouldn't fret so. I already have as many sales this year as I did last year, although two of last year's sales were pro and this year's are all semipro so far.

And I reread The Sea Thy Mistress--got sucked in after sending it to a friend who hadn't seen it--and had the pleasant surprise of realizing that, even though it's a year old, it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The sentence-level writing isn't really up to snuff, and it's maybe missing some things I would do now--but I also don't think I could fix it without turning it into a different book. Because it's very much of a style and from a period, and I don't think I could duplicate its sort of mosaiclike attack again.

I'd wind up with something more like Hammered, which has a mosaiclike structure as well, but it's a much tighter one. Sea is... impressionist, dreamy, pointillist. Unreal.

I couldn't do that again if I tried.

And I look at it now, and it looks like a sophomore effort. But not a bad one. Which really makes me very happy on two levels: One, my book doesn't suck. Two, I've learned enough since April of 2002 to realize where it falls short of what it could have been. So now I know that I can handle The Stratford Man.

And if the draft comes out flawed, I can fix it: I fixed Bridge of Blood & Iron where it was broke. I fixed Hammered when I didn't get it quite right the first time, and I know how to fix Scardown when its second pass is due.

And so I am at peace. And past my outrageous bout of being ridden by the suckmonkey a few weeks back, which is comforting, because the tortured artist oh I suck thing is awfully tiresome.

I know how to write books. I'm not even particularly bad at it. And I can write this book, too.

It will just take a little time.

So there, suckmonkey. Chew on that.
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bear by san

Oh. Thank. God.

Reading report:

(What the heck)

I am currently in love with IN SEARCH OF SHAKESPEARE, by Michael Wood, which I had to order from the UK because the US edition ("SHAKESPEARE"--we Yanks can't handle all those extra words) won't be out until the fall.

It has maps! It has large-scale maps with little outlines of buildings and little arrows that point to street corners and say things like "site of Christopher Marlowe & Thomas Watson's killing of William Bradley, 18 Sept. 1598" and "Shakespeare's lodgings 1592-1596 somewhere around here."

And photographs! *g* Oh, I am the happiest girl in the world.

This is the book! The perfect book! The most wonderfullest book ever!

Why yes. I am working on a historical fantasy and I have no frelling *clue* how Tudor London was laid out. Why do you ask?

Oh, and there's a narrative, too, but really this is the book I have been crawling through biographies and histories and websites and old maps and primary sources wishing I had in my hands to write this damned historical
novel, and here it is, all in one place.


Now I just need one like this on Kit. C'mon, Michael. Get the lead out!


Heh. Okay, other recent reading: AFTER YOU'D GONE, Maggie O'Farrell; DEAD MAN IN DEPTFORD, Anthony Burgess; MAELSTROM, Peter Watts; HOMOSEXUALITY IN RENAISSANCE ENGLAND, Peter Bray; SHAKESPEARE, Anthony Burgess; THE RECKONING, Charles Nicholl; FAITH & TREASON, Antonia Fraser; THE FAMILY, SEX, AND MARRIAGE IN ENGLAND 1500-1800, Lawrence Stone; GUNPOWDER, TREASON & PLOT, C. Northcote Parkinson; SAMURAI CAT GOES TO HELL, Mark E. Rogers;
FAERIES, Brian Froud and Alan Lee;

Heh. Guess what I'm writing about.

I highly recommend the O'Farrell, the first of the two Burgess books (although his theorizing is on crack) (both of those were recommended to me by OWWers.), and the Rogers book. Yay! Samurai Kat! Although I have not yet finished that one or the Watts, they are both so far cruising along very nicely.

Oh, I'm also reading OMBRIA IN SHADOW, Patricia McKillip, but it isn't grabbing me yet. I keep losing the thread of the narrative in what seems somewhat overblown language, even for McKillip.

I may have to come back when I have less of a head full of Tudor London and am ready for some second-world fantasy.

But let me reiterate.

Michael Wood. IN SEARCH OF SHAKESPEARE. (My DVD's of the BBC series won't be here until after Worldcon, sadly. Darn BBC. Darn it to heck.)


Ooo look a panoramic view of London in 1588. Showing The Theatre.....
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bear by san

I am so clever.

From a post to a writer's mailing list I'm on, where another writer was concerned that a homosexual character in her work would make it unpublishable:

"Homoeroticism is the new black."

tanaise replies, "I think I prefer homoneurotic."

Which would be the new red. And since red is the new black, too, that's cool.

Actually, if you want to be really trendy, you can throw in some homosexual prostitution, or a rape. Then you too can be writing rentboy SF!


Reject from Would That It Were today: very close, but too far on the F side of the SF/F line. Data point.
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bear by san

Did I mention I made fried rice tonight, and it was awesome?

I used leftover jasmine rice, leftover pork chops, leftover steak, a couple of slices of ham, one scrambled egg, half a red onion, and some frozen peas-and-corn-and-carrots.

Heated a couple of tablespoons of olive oil seasoned with "Mongolian Fire Oil" and a little sesame oil in a big pan. Simmered a fistful of grated garlic and ginger in it, then sauteed the onion therein. Added the rest of the stuff in a logically appropriate order, and seasoned it with five-spice powder and Kikoman's Lite soy sauce. Not greasy, slightly spicy, and strongly gingery. Oh, yum.

Died and went to heaven. There's a pile of it left. Come on over!

Why yes. I do cook from medieval recipes sometimes. Why do you ask? *g*
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bear by san

Still not a Marlovian, in case you're checking in.

Still buried in the Shakespeare book. Michael Wood really hates Marlowe with a passion. *g* Poor Kit.

And here I am wondering something. He, like just about everybody I've read so far on the topic mentions this passage in As You Like It. The Ovid reference is a little risky: the play was probably written ~1599, when copies of Marlowe's translation of Ovid (see Elizabethan Ponyboy Bondage Smut post below, for link) had just been burned for indecency.

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On the anti-Oxfordian front, has anybody noticed that these guys who persist in calling Will "Shakspere" and insisting that because the spelling on his baptismal record is different, that the Stratford Man couldn't have been the poet seem to gallantly ignore the fact that the *actor's* name is spelled in print identically with the playwright's?

Amazing how we don't notice the inconvenient evidence.
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