August 4th, 2007

writing companion to wolves _ truepenny

they dragged him through the underbrush wearing three woolen coats and a dirty knife

Book report #63: Mel Ellis, Flight of the White Wolf

In my childhood youth, I spent several hours after school every day at the Raymond Library. After about a year of this, I had read about every book in the children's section, many of them dozens of times. Favorites included the Jim Kjelgaard books, the Oz books, 101 Dalmatians, all of the various old Western books with horses or dogs in them (Wolf-Eye. Cinchfoot. etc.) and this book, which I don't even want to know how many times I read before I was nine.

The pub date is 1970 on this Scholastic edition, but the book feels much older. The protagonist talks a bit like a solid teen hero of the 1950s, though there's one broad gesture to the social issues of the late 60's.

It's a story about a boy, and a semi-domesticated wolf who gets into trouble for being, well,semi-domesticated, and what (a) does to protect (b).

It's not, you know, a great book. Or profound or anything. But it's honest about the wolf and the boy and the things they do to survive, and that's kind of cool, even 37 years later.

And when I was seven or eight, I really liked it.
writing dust bible 'house of dust"

in your head in your head they're quite dead in your head

Welp, I have done my hundred pages of penance, twiddled "Skull Ring" some more (as soon as my printer is back from netcurmudgeon's shop at the North Pole, I will print out it and "Shoggoths in Bloom" and send them off, respectively, to F&SF and Asimov's to begin collecting their requisite quota of rejections) and played guitar for an hour or so, which means I am free to spend the rest of my Saturday as I see fit. Which, given that it's in the 90s out there, is going to mean huddling in my apartment with the shades drawn reading a book. I suppose I could drive up to the Whole Paycheck and buy some Midas Touch and milk (PLOM* is coming along well enough that I am allowed the occasional beer again, yay), because I am not walking nearly four miles in this weather, but you know what? I don't want a beer that badly.

And I am feeling hibernatory and overpeopled, which is always a pretty good sign that it's time for a couple of days of under-my-rock time.

I have personal commitments tomorrow, so it looks like I am going to have to do the last hundred pages of the Dust CEM on Monday, after the gym and my trip to the massage therapist. At least Eunice the little red truck that (mostly) could is home from the garage, the problem having been diagnosed (torn vacuum hose) and treated for under a hundred dollars, including oil change. I got off light that time, she said, fingers crossed. (She'll be 18 as soon as the new model year comes out; the goal is to make it to twenty. Unless I wind up doing something dumb like buying a house in here somewhere, in which case the goal may be to keep it running for as long as I possibly can. :-P Ah, the glamourous highly-paid life of the writer.)

Dust has a lot of climax. I have a hundred pages to go, and it's already ramping up, bigtime. I hope that's a good sign.

In other news, I may finally be starting to internalize strum patterns. And the Cranberries "Zombie" is the easiest song this side of "Horse With No Name," which is not only designed to be plyed stoned off your ass, it has lyrics you can only get through without losing it all over the floor if you are so wasted you forget to think about what they mean. You know, I have got to work harder on my Dmajor. It sounds like crap.

(Ordinary people, who had been playing guitar for a year, would probably be able to play a Dmaj that does not sound like crap by now. Not me!)

Now, I'm gonna have me a sammich and a nap, and then read some more books. And maybe do some math.

*Project Less of Me. Also knows as "Project fit in these twenty pairs of pants that used to fit, because I am way too cheap to buy more while I still haven't worn these out." Another five pounds or so and I should be into the first tier of them. *\o/*)
iggy pop chairman of the bored

well now i'm ready to close my eyes

Pursuant to an earlier discussion in comments of soldiering on in the face of guitar malfunctions, Iggy Pop averaging one string per song on Italian TV--

That's a boy, Igster. You didn't really need all six of those anyway.

And Iggy on the recent tour (which stillsostrange and I saw in Boston.)

Linked chiefly so Amanda can see his comment on Sistahs In The Pit. "They're women of color who kick ass. And their hair is even more colorful than they are."

Ladies and gentlemen, still one of the coolest men in America, Iggy Pop.
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can't sleep books will eat me

the money i was making is the last that we had

Book report #64: Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, Zahrah the Windseeker

I was predisposed to like this before starting it, simply because I love the author's name so desperately. Unfortunately, I have mixed emotions about the book itself.

It's a middle-grade, I think, and as a physical object, it's a lovely book, with a high-quality binding, pleasing paper, and a gorgeous dust jacket. The world that the story takes place in is unrelentingly neat, with vegetative computers grown from CPU pods and bizarre organopunk technology. I suspect kids will like it for that alone: it's the kind of world you will want to go visit, hang out, and play make-believe in.

Unfortunately, I was less enamored of the narrative. The writing style is distanced and not very descriptive or immersive, so the character's emotions never seem to tke on much immediacy. (The narrator's voice, however, is quite strong.) Still, I think the book suffers from overtelling, which led me to wanting to skim repeatedly. Also, there's a brief note at the beginning of the book that seems to set up an entirely different novel, and feels as if it were left over from an earlier draft, and the actual narrative involves a lot of "the protagonist and her friend do a stupid thing to drive the plot," and also a lot of very arbitrary encounters and rescues that often left me feeling cheated.

Also, I could have done without the hint of romance at the end.