Cut out of pity for friends lists:
Not the Jethro Tull song, either. (Now I'm picturing a drag queen prog-rock cover band, Jethro Tulle. I need more sleep. Obviously.) Merely that when I'm not actively working on a project, I seem to have very little to talk about in this journal. I actually think my higher brain functions shut down between books, possibly to regenerate and give the stewpot time to refill.
So this is brain-regrowing time. I have to keep reminding myself that I really don't have to do anything for a month unless I want to. I get so fixated on the write-every-day-finish-the-book thing that, between books, I find myself somewhat at loose ends and easily bored and without focus. On the other hand, I also think I need this downtime very badly. I suspect it's when my subconscious processes the lessons learned in the last novel.
The Stratford Man has been good for me, despite all the thrashing and screaming and the raw, unflinching terror. I made it through, and the book blinked first. (There is something appropriate in comparing that book to the Cuban Missile Crisis, somehow.) I'm not afraid of Scardown or Worldwired now (assuming Worldwired keeps that title, but it may be growing on me. Part of the problem is that I got lucky with the titles for Hammered and Scardown--they're The Right Titles for those books, and I don't want the third one not to have a title that measures up. (Wow. Syntax much?)
I'm still reading Look to Windward. I'm trying to relearn how to read for pleasure: editing (and self-editing, and my recent sentence-level breakthroughs) have trained me to read ever word, with the result that not only is my reading speed about a third what it was two years ago, but I get thrown out of a story much more easily. On the other hand, my retention rate is probably three or four times better than it used to be.
I'm trying to relearn how to read the story and not the words. It's challenging.
The cold is a bit better. I'm drinking echinacea out of my Volumnious Teacup (It holds an entire can of Progresso soup with room for croutons) and the fever appears to have stayed broken this time, although I'm still awfully achy. I made a turkey yesterday (it's a sandwich turkey: we're having dinner today at a friend's house: pot luck [I'm making roasted young carrots and walnuts in a maple orange ginger glaze]) and of course it was the single best turkey I've ever made in my life. Which is saying something--I have the knack for turkeys, although I'm not as good at roast beef. I don't make it enough. My mother makes incredible roast beef. I should ask her to email me directions: maybe we can have a little itty bitty two-man prime rib for Solstice.
My curry kicks ass, though.
I wish I knew how Grandma Davis (not my grandma) makes her hams. She does something involving one of those countertop dry-roasters and a maple glaze, and oh, my god. It's amazing so much as a bite of this ham makes it out of the kitchen and to the waiting hordes. Cook's privilege, you know?
Hazards of writing: I have a protagonist who is a vegetarian for ethical reasons, and I remember a first reader (a committed carnivore) giving me a lecture on how I shouldn't equate non-meat-eating with 'goodness.' I think I was eating a ham sandwich when I read the email.
I actually would be more comfortable with my own ethics if I gave up eating birds and mammals (fish are really just fast-moving vegetables, as my friend ladegard is wont to say) but I am weak.
We have to pick up an old friend at the bus station a little before two o'clock. I'm looking forward to a nice, quiet, laid-back holiday, with all the moral complexities of eating meat and celebrating Thanksgiving as a conquering colonial people intact. Especially ironic in this house, as my husband and I are both of Cherokee descent. (He's about a quarter. I've got about as much Cherokee in me as there is vermouth in an extra dry martini--that is to say, about as much as anybody with family from that part of the country is likely to have.)
I'm second-generation Swede (maternal grandfather), third-generation Irish and German (maternal grandmother was a Riordan, which somebody told me indicates a descent from a court poet whose name I forget, but I love the name--Riordan), third-generation Transylvanian (just like in the Richard Thompson song, yes--"She was a third generation Transylvanian; I was the seventh son of a seventh son." Except I think it's actually Wallachian, but nobody knows where Wallachia is when I say "Wallachia." My father describes it as "The part of the Carpathians where the vampires travel in threes for safety. My husband maintains my family had to flee because of the peasants with Frankenstein rakes and torches. I do have pointy canines....), third-generation Ukrainian (paternal great-grandfather apparently deserted from the Russian Army), and DAR Scottish (paternal grandmother) with the usual admixture of Things That Creep In When You're In America Marryin' For Any Length Of Time--a little apostate Pennsylvania Dutch, a little Cherokee, a little Irish. That side of the family all has names like Rae and Buchanan and Titus. I'm distantly related to one of the founders of Nashville, Ebenezer Titus. I love that name. Most of the women on both sides of my family have some form of 'Elizabeth' in their name somewhere. Also, there's a lot of Raes marrying Raes back there, if you know what I mean: it was Alabama, after all, and those little towns are-- little.)
I like to tell people that my ancestors raped, killed and pillaged my ancestors. *g*
Wow. And that's probably more about me--actually me--than I have written all year.
Another cute old picture of David McCallum here: I would so listen to than man read the phone book.
(I can't even be trendy in my celebrity crushes. It's so sad. If I were going to get gooey over any of the Lord of the Rings men, it would be Ian McKellan. And my first reaction to the photo in the link I just posted was "If he were forty years younger, some hobbit would be out of a job.")