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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

The boys all go to Hell and then the Cubans hit the floor.

Last night, on the way to the archery range, I made a side trip to Portland to see if the cider was in yet (it wasn't, but I got some of the white peaches which are finally ready--shouldn't that have been six weeks ago? man--and they said come back next week for the first press) and then bought white cheddar garlic bread at the Really Good bread bakery in Manchester. (It's a Great Harvest Bread Company franchise. And yeah, okay, franchise, but man, this is some really good bread.)

They lie. It's yellow cheddar garlic white bread. But I forgive them, because it's delicious and brings its own cheese. Even if it is yellow cheddar and not white. (This is a distinction that only matters to New Englanders, and to us, it's an issue of religion. Yellow cheddar is not real cheese.)

Anyway, the other thing I got yesterday was my slushbomb rejection, which entertained me. The story I sent is "The Rest of your Life in a Day," otherwise known as the penis-tattooing story. (Poor John. I do this just to make him suffer.)

It's related to both Blood & Iron and a novelette previously rejected by F&SF, "Cryptic Coloration," otherwise known as the venom cock story. (Interestingly, the cock in this story is a real one, not a metaphorical one.)

...Aaaaanyway, both CC and TRoyLiaD (best acronym evar) concern Matthew Magus in the time before B&I. TRoyLiaD takes place when he's eighteen and nineteen, in the very early '80's. CC is set one year before Blood & Iron.

The funny thing is, Gordon mentioned in his rejection letter that he thought this second story (TRoyLiad) was the better of the two.

Now, me, it seemed to me that the story is sort of irrevocably broken. It's broken in a way that I don't think is fixable, that has to do with it having a swinging joint in the middle where Matthew stops thinking its a story about one thing and starts thinking it's a story about a different thing. And I've tried to patch that up and shore it up and spackle it to match, with thematic resonances and parallels and so forth.

But I still think it's broken. In part because it's self-fanfic, on one level: it's backstory for Blood & Iron and Whiskey & Water, and there are things that happen that don't have results until fifteen, twenty, thirty years later.

On the other hand, it also does some interesting things in its own right, and I think it's as good as I can make it.

"Cryptic Coloration," on the other other hand, I thought was a successful piece of short fiction, and I would personally call it the better of the two.

Just goes to show what I know.

The moral of the story? Still can't judge my own work.

(one more post in my morning livejournal spam, and then I'm off to edit.)

They can all kiss my ass
But if they wanna kiss my ass
They better do it fast
Because we're all gonna die someday.

--Kasey Chambers

Thank you, panjianlien.


The moral of the story? Still can't judge my own work.

I disagree, having had enough readers express completely contradictory opinions of my own work. You have one judgement; Gordon has another; a third might agree with you, or go off on a tangent to you both. One editor with a different opinion does not a wrong Bear make.

(Twelve editors might be a different matter. But the stories of mine that's happened to, I've always known on a lurking level were kind of flawed anyway.)
But the stories of mine that's happened to, I've always known on a lurking level were kind of flawed anyway.

That's because you can't judge your own work either. ;-)
Well, I racked up twenty rejections on that story, stepped back, asked myself whether I really wanted it out in the world with my name on it, decided not, asked myself whether I loved what was going on in it enough to completely rebuild the thing, decided not, and retired it. Let my time and energy (and name) go to things I'm still genuinely excited about and proud of.
Well, then the editors agreed with you that it was broken, didn't they?

I'm somehow misunderstanding the argument in your original comment, then.
I shouldn't write comments right after waking up, as now it seems to me I was not clear. I had the reverse: rather than an editor saying a story I thought was flawed was good, I had twelve editors (or however many it was) saying a story I thought was good was flawed. And they were right, and I'd kind of known it all along.
I had twelve editors (or however many it was) saying a story I thought was good was flawed.

Oh, yeah, that. Happens to me all the time. ...because I can't judge my own work. *g*

Speaking of which, I have to go do this damned CEM now. The cat is very very very very well waxed.
Jes' sayin', wait until more than one jury member has voted. :-)

CEMs. Bleh. They seem to be the stage at which I really really want to quit working on the goddamn book, but my sense of duty and shitit'llhavemynameonit forces me to keep trying to improve it. At least with page proofs, I've got a good reason for not fixing something unless it's truly wrong.
Even if it is yellow cheddar and not white. (This is a distinction that only matters to New Englanders, and to us, it's an issue of religion. Yellow cheddar is not real cheese.)

Hmmm, I wonder what would be made of a piece of Real Cheddar - made in Cheddar, Somerset.

Of course, this could be just a matter of interpretation. For instance, if, by "white", you mean a pale creamy-yellow colour (like butter), and by "yellow", you mean a garish yellow-orange, such as they paint construction plant and taxi cabs (e.g. the plastic cheese slices that they put on burgers), then I might agree with it.
Yes. American white cheddar is butter-colored, and yellow cheddar is carrot-colored. And usually much milder and not nearly as pleasingly flavored.

(White cheddar is dry-aged, here, unless it's from Wisconsin, in which case its wet-aged, and has a mellower flavor.)

Real Cheddar (with a capital C) is delcious.
The old white stuff from Vermont etc., the kind that crumbles when you try and slice it*, and converts a tart apple from pretty damn good eatin' to ambrosial sustenance? That kind of white cheddar?

*And often has a black wax coat, the better to contrast with the pale cheese?

Ah yeah.

That's the stuff.

Personally, I like the cave-aged cheddar you can buy in the Mendip Hills. They don't age it so much in the Cheddar Gorge now, but it is aged down the road in the Wookey Hole Caves. It's quite yummy indeed.
I like both, but real cheddar (without annatto, or other agents of induced yellowing) can be yellow/orange. It depends on the diet of the cow. With enough beta-carotene in the feed, the cheese will have a yellow cast.

Age it, and this gets stronger.

So there, yellow cheddar is too real cheese.

So is white.

Oh, you know what I mean.

But yeah, I have to grant you this round. *g*
Yeah. I'm sorry, I've been snarky lately. My pedantic on food is way up, and I didn't stop to ponder that most (if not all) your readers probably know that little snippet.

To be honest I prefer denser cheddaring (if you want/don't know I can go into it) which is what makes the "orange" cheddar both darker, and less prone to crumbling.

"White" is fine for some things (e.g. crumbling onto a pie, baking into bread) but I prefer a piece of cheese that doesn't shed when I try to handle it.

By "denser cheddaring" do you mean "cut into smaller cubes to drain" or "cheddared closer together?"

The crumbly white Vermont cheddar is the only way to go, by my standards. If I'm going to eat the Wisconsin stuff, I'll just have a double Glouchester and be happy.

Also, I've gotten pretty good at cutting it so it doesn't crumble. *g*
I mean cut smaller, and pressed harder, so that the cheddaring leaves a denser, and smoother, cheese.

I can cut it, but it's still more powdery than I prefer.

Well, a good one shouldn't be powdery. (Okay, a lot of the Irish cheddars are powdery, but who eats that if they can help it?)
Crumbly, powdery, they are much the same; in my description of dry cheddars.

I kind of like Irish Cheddar (and Maia decidedly does). I keep thinking of buying a small, waxed, round of the Kerrygold and letting it sit for awhile.

Then again, there aren't many cheeses I'll flat out refuse.

I suspect the crumbly ones make for good fondue.

...might have too much oil, hmm? Cheddar breaks when heated...
Right now I have a brick (still in wax) of some very aged (and gettting better all the time) Vermont cheddar. I've no idea of the color. I'm trying to hold out until christmas to break into it, but the will is getting weak.

I've had it in the fridge since last christmas, when I bought it. I'll lay in a supply this year (I didn't know it was a seasonal item, and so only bought one).

Well, I know what I'm having for lunch now.
"Cheese, Grommit!"
The cheddar made in Cheddar is white. No yellow there. (And since I was just there today on the way home from Wales, I can verify that fact. ;)
This is a distinction that only matters to New Englanders, and to us, it's an issue of religion. Yellow cheddar is not real cheese.

Oh, sing it, sister. When I moved to Iowa, which mostly only has yellow cheddar and most of that the mild stuff, I thought how bad could it be, it's just a color...ha! I usually get the NY aged white cheddar--I can have my mother mail it to me, but it still boggles me after all these years that there are all sorts of other cheeses here, but hardly any of the 'good' cheddars.
You get one million points for using a Tom Waits lyric as your post title.
You can never have too much Tom Waits. *g*
Oh, I miss Great Harvest bread. I used to shop at the franchise in Boulder.

Regarding cheddar, you must remember that I have a husband who thinks that American-style yellow cheddar uses food dye. All real cheddar, you see, is white. The real cheddar made in Cheddar itself is white.

We were down in the Cheddar Gorge today on our way home from an SCA event at Raglan Castle in Wales, and we purchased cheddar made in Cheddar. (They are very bothered that other countries are able to use the name, btw. :)

They ship worldwide. Send me your snail mail address, if you're willing, to silme13 at yahoo dot com, at I'll make sure you get some. The real deal. :) And I must say that their vintage cheddar -- extra mature -- is lovely. (I didn't bother to taste the mild nor medium, unless other flavours were added, such as cider and garlic. Mild cheddar is for wimps! ;)