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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

the weird thing is...

...if I got hit by a truck tomorrow, I would be pretty relaxed about not dying with unfinished business. Which is a weird thing, because after The Bad Autumn, what got me started writing again was the bone-deep realization that I could, in fact, die and have accomplished none of the things I had wanted to do with my life.

I mean, yeah, I really want to live to revise the Eddas and write Dust, but I currently feel as if I have accomplished enough with my life that I have justified my existence. The books I absolutely had to write are written. And sold, even.

Don't worry. I'm sure I'll get het up and full of fury again next week.

Man, I have to figure out what I'm cranky about for purposes of writing Dust. Can't write a book without having an argument with myself....

My failed croissants are squamous. Now I am absolutely certain I know what squamous looks like.

And the interior texture is a bit spongy, somewhere between biscuit and shortbread.

Squamous. Wow.

I think I'll have brussels sprouts and wild rice for dinner. I don't like brussels sprouts, but I try them every couple of years to reassure myself that I still don't like them.

On exposition: like everything else in writing, it's a tension, and a line that you will wobble back and forth over a thousand times while you learn your craft.

First you will not explain enough. Then you will overcorrect and explain too much. Then, you will become enamored of your own cleverness, and become cryptic and mysterious. Then you will become frustrated by the rejections that read "This is beautifully written, but too ambiguous," and you will over-explain. Then you will under-explain. Then you will over-explain and your first reader will say, "but this is boring." Then you will under-explain... and you will sell something. And then you will not sell anything else for a while, and then you will over-explain and sell something. You will bemoan your fate. You will bemoan the stupidity of editors, or their fickleness.

You will sell a novel. Readers will be confused. You will sell another novel. Your editor will say, "I'm confused." You will spend a month and a half clarifying the obvious.

Readers will still be confused.

You will bemoan the stupidity of readers, or their fickleness.

You will over-explain. You will under-explain. You will put in a bunch of exposition your editor asked for and then on the CEM take half of it out again.

Finally, more people than not will understand.

Hey, if you wanted an easy job, you could have been a brain surgeon. There are sometimes rules, for that.

All we have here in writerland are a series of approximations that occasionally work.


To deflower my fresh friending of your journal (*points convenient blame at Jay L, and your smart things said there*), I have a suggestion to make the brussels sprouts more palatable - a light dusting of lemon pepper.

Also, though this may or may not help with the edibility, you could think of them in the poisongirl vein, as "Cabbage Patch Abortions."

Now that I've tracked mud all over the place, I'll politely run in terror. ;-)
Hmm. If only I had lemon pepper in the house.

On the other hand, I have pepper, and salt, and lemon zest.

I suspect I could improvise.

Thank you!
I was going to say, I thought I didn't like brussles sprouts until I had them with lemon butter.
Which convinced you to form an opinion in which direction? :-)

[Then again, I'll happily put LP on a lot of things, including popcorn with cayenne pepper, corn on the cob, and slow-moving children. I am weird and not to be trusted in culinary matters, but think everyone should try bizarre food combinations at least once.]
Which made me realize that they are actually very tasty. I still don't like them plain, though.
Are the squamous croissants also gibbous? That would make them doubly unappealing, but euphonious.

Rules for Brain Surgery

1. Do not cut any blood vessel. Also, do not squish any blood vessel.

2. Do not poke your fingers into the wrong spot.

3. Learn to hold your breath for a really long time, like about 4 hours. This will cut down eliminate your tendency to quiver or shake at the Wrong Moment.

4. When in doubt, shrink the brain.

5. If at any time anyone says "Oops" or "Sugar Honey Ice Tea", it's time to call in the veterinarian. Note: If you're working on a human, don't call the veterinarian.

6. The solution to pollution is dilution. Even if you think you don't have any pollution.

7. The MRI is the neurosurgeon's Best Friend. Caress it lovingly, and give the MR technicians lots of chocolate always.

Just a few, off the top of my, er, head. ;-)


"All we have here in writerland are a series of approximations that occasionally work."

You said it, sister. Which is why teaching writing is such a complex project. It's arguably impossible, certainly frustrating, and (in my experience at least), oddly satisfying. Nobody really wants to hear "Congratulations. You just learned how to write this story you just finished. You are about to learn how to write the next one." But that's what writing is. Still. Always. The best I can do, anyway, is to experience the learning curve for each new project as a little less steep than the previous one.

Re: Craft

I'm finally starting to flatten out a little too.

All we have here in writerland are a series of approximations that occasionally work.

So it's an awful lot like living in the rest of the world, then?

re Brussell sprouts: Foul things, rank and mal-odorous.

But there was this once, as the Pelican Inn (border of Avila and Pismo beaches) when I ordered the duck salad (it was great, they served me the meal salad, not the appetizer, so I was one happy camper). It had these small vegetables, which looked like brussell sprouts, but were yummy.

They were sweet, and crisp and pleasant.

They actually were brussell sprouts. It seems that, picked young enough, the few which live a good life, in rich soil, and the right amount of sun develop a pleasing nature.

Which, when quartered, and blanched; dressed with a sweetish vinagrette and added as a grace note to a salad of bitter greens, mild lettuces, parmesan and magritte of duck, are wonderful.

Depite that I still won't have them in the house.

Well, I bought fancy ones, and I am steaming them lightly as we speak.

We shall see.

We shall see.


(I envy that duck salad, I think)
Hrmn... I was trying to think of something witty to say about the envy of duck salads, but they all came off risqué in the extreme, to those of such a bent (and I know some of your bents).

Suffice it to say, the salad is no more, having met its fated end, eaten until was no more. Given that it was huge (being meant as a meal, and I had more food coming... the lunch specials there are wonderful, the view is divine [we saw dolphins, as well as the seasonal pelicans, and ubiquitous boats]) the eating of the salad took more than one sitting.

Now I am hungry. I've been side-dressing grape-vines, on nothing more than two pieces of toasted limpa, not even a cup of coffee.

So I blame you, and the absurdity that a mention of brussell sprouts which I got to smell being cooked to a garlicky inedibility... Christmas in Sebastapol is unique, should be the trigger to my hunger.

This is bizarre.

I bought fresh brussels sprouts, and steamed them fifteen minutes, cut them in half, treated them with lemon juice, a pat of butter, and a sprinkle of homemade lemon pepper...

They're good.

They taste a little like a cross between cauliflower and bok choy, and and and and I can taste where the awful bitter taste ***should*** be? But it's NOT THERE.

How weird.
That's what they were like in the salad. They were sweet, and crisp, and worth the eating.

Maia and I were so shocked when we had them, we had to ask; because neither of us believed the evidence of our eyes.

I suppose I'll have to grow some and see if I can make the same.

pparently, I can still learn.
I hear they get better (less bitter) after a frost (or freezing).
A problem, as they are often grown in California.
Kale is the same way.
Frozen ones are consistently good, though.
The frozen ones I've had all have the icky taste.
Must've been the cream sauce that saved mine, then.
So much for my chemical knowledge of crucifers!
well, apparently it's one of those things that some people can taste and some can't. You know. *g*
I do it because, this time, I liked them. *g* My tastes keep changing....