June 13th, 2005

bear by san

I'b sick

It's the revenge of the spirit of the inadequate persimmon.

I went to bed early last night, being suspiciously tired, and spent the night being pushed around the bed by the cat. Around four AM, I began to suspect something was wrong. My throat hurt, and after lying there for about fifteen minutes trying to figure out if I'd gotten a kick ass hangover from two whole beers. Getting up to get a drink of water didn't help. Two hours of spotty sleep later, I was forced to admit that I had, yes, a sore throat, a clogged up nose, aching muscles, and lymph nodes as hard as candied almonds. Also, a brief inspection of the back of my throat reveals icky swollen tonsils, which would explain why I keep gagging.

I guess that explains why the Inner Reptile was so adamant about wanting grapefruit juice at the grocery store yesterday.

I called in to work. Screw it. I expect there will also be naps.
  • Current Music
    KNPR - a report on the Moulin Rouge (the Las Vegas one)
bear by san

The Dark Cabal

There's an interesting experiment going on over on blogspot: The Dark Cabal. It's an anonymous group blog staffed by a what seems to be a few (pro? neopro?) SFF writers. I'll let one of them explain what they're about:

I've come here as an unpaid lobbyist on behalf of quality. I'm going to recommend stories and novels that I think are worth attention, I'm going to say why they're worth attention, and I'll try to be open to folks telling me what I've misunderstood and why some other story is better. I also intend to take on the unpleasant task of reading all the nominees for some of the major awards and giving not just my opinions, but the thought behind my opinions. I'm going to make a case.

Interesting. I look forward to it.
  • Current Music
    Tears For Fears - Mad World
bear by san

The goodliest outside in the whole falsehood business.

GIP. *g* Well, not really, because there's more here than iconage. But kelliem and I were talking about the infamous MfU episode The Deadly Games Affair last night, which (courtesy of the lovely destina, may she live forever) I have finally gotten to see. (I vagely remember it from 1986 or so. But er, not well. It having been 1986 and all.)

Some fictional character's snarky Shakespearean misquotations carry a certain element of pot-kettlehood. Not saying, you know. Just saying. And as a fiction writer ("I tell lies to strangers for money.") I have to say, the line appealed to me.

And it kept me entertained for a half hour while my brain drained a little more mucilage.

Progress notes for 13 June 2005:

Whiskey & Water

New Words: 1,012
Total Words: 119, 450 / 134,250
Notecards euthanized/remaining: 1/22
Pages: 537

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
134,250 / 160,000
Reason for stopping: taking a break to read and perhaps nap for a while.
Mammalian Assistance: Mebd pestering for whatever mysterious cat-thing it was that Mebd wanted, and Marlowe, limp as a sack of barley, draped over my neck.
Stimulants: Republic of Tea Vanilla Almond, and some not very good chai
Exercise: I have an excuse. I'm sick.
Mail: nomail
Today's words Word don't know: bladderwrack, biogeochemical, benthic
Words I was surprised that Word did know: mucilaginous
Tyop du jour: a stingy pus-clotted man.
Darling du jour: I see a woman grieving in a chair.
Books in progress, but not at all quickly: Kristine Smith, Code of Conduct; Richard Overy, Russia's War: A History of the Soviet War Effort, 1941-1945
Interesting research tidbits of the day: how micro-organisms affect global cycling of iron; online Gaelic dictionaries; Trever Talbert tobacco pipes (these are soooo coool). Here's a collector's page. I'm partial to "The Shoggoth." And "The Mountains of Madness." sallytuppence, note: "The Lampton Wyrm."
Other writing-related work: n/a

jim0052 on reversion clauses.

jlassen's visit from the Sekrit Service, in his own words.

sartorias on The Lord Of The Rings, 1966. Last summer at ComiCon I was lucky enough to hear Peter S. Beagle speak on what it was like for him reading LotR when he was in college, and what a mind-altering experience it was. Here's a link to the time-traveling review she mentions, as well.

susie_bright, the unlikely lactivist. (deannahoak, that one's especially for you.)

It looks as if my story "House of the Rising Sun" will be in The Third Alternative # 42, along with stories by douglain, darren_speegle, and jlundberg, among others. This will be the last TTA of that name.

The zine is dead; long live the zine.

I was at Franklin Roosevelt's side
On the night before he died
He said one world must come out of World War II
Ah the fool.

Yankee, Russian, white or tan
A man is still a man
We're on one road
We're only passing through.

  • Current Music
    Leonard Cohen - Passing Through
bear by san

(no subject)

I just hit page 540. If I can write 5.9 pages a day, and I bring it in in another hundred pages--as I really rather must--I will be done on the 30th.

Best job in the world. Right?

  • Current Music
    Jann Arden - Cherry Popsicle
bear by san

"The motel ceiling stares you down."

I want to talk about this sentence, in this song lyric, and how it's doing what it's doing, and why what it's doing is so freaking brilliant.

This is one of those things that seems very simple, at first glance, A straightforward metaphor, a sleepless night as a staring match with a dingy acoustic tile ceiling. But that's not the thing that awes me about that snippet of writing. What awes me about it is its efficiency, its muscularity, and the amount of plain work it does in six evocative words.

First of all, you've got the simple inversion of what anybody might normally write to describe the situation. "I stared at the ceiling all night." But in this case, it's the ceiling, personified, doing the staring. It's a gorgeous bit of characterization, in that it shows us the protagonist's discomfort without having to tell us that she--or "you"--is unhappy. Her guilt and loneliness and regret are right there in her (implied) sleeplessness and the evoked sensation of the ceiling winning the staring match.

And then there's the implications of the motel. It's a motel, not a hotel, for one thing. Just a bed for the night, not a destination. So there's the implication as well of running, and leaving something behind, and all this subtext piled up to make those six short, plain English words haunting and effective.

Some of the effect is because of confidence. It doesn't work if you explain it. I couldn't get the same effect with something like this:

"I didn't sleep that night, just stared at the motel ceiling. It didn't help. I couldn't let go of my unhappy thoughts."

Nope. Not the same at all.

Especially cowgirls, they're the gypsy kind
And need the rein laid on 'em loose
She's lived to see the world turned upside down
Hitchin' rides out of the blues

  • Current Music
    Emmylou Harris - Even Cowgirls Get The Blues