Apr. 19th, 2010 12:35 pm
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On the way to the library I walked past the site of the Hollow, which was an informal neighborhood playground back in the day. Nowadays there's an apartment high-rise standing there, overlooking I-94. A block beyond that, there's a Head Start facility, where little kids drove tricycles around a track with expressions of sheer delight on their faces.

At the Rondo library branch I returned a graphic novel, a book of letters written during the Great Depression that was too depressing to finish, a conspiracy-theory book about a plot to overthrow FDR that was more interesting in theory than in fact, and a municipal report about some riots here in 1968 that no one seems to remember. I picked up another graphic novel. I think the girl at the counter thinks I never read anything but comics.

After that I tried to walk along the route of old Rondo Street towards downtown, along the route the streetcars used to travel. Most of Rondo was renamed Concordia, but around Arundel the interstate curves and Concordia swerves to follow what used to be Carroll Avenue. I crossed over I-94 four times during the walk, and for the life of me I could not picture the quiet, tree-lined avenue that existed before that trench of wind and metal was dug.

Yesterday Gwyn (more on her later) said she thought the reason I was stalled out on the novel was that I was barking up the wrong tree. I thought, well sure, but which tree, and how do I find the right one? But today I thought about it. I am steeped in place. My head is full of history; I'm seeing everything in four dimensions. But I'm obsessing over the interior upholstery while mice are building nests in the engine.

Too much setting, not enough story.
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Just another reason to love dramatic weather changes.
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For the week, pretty much: positive mentions of Superpowers at Eclipse Magazine, Book Loons, and a couple of blogs: The Dreckled Edge and egb63.
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But I am finally home.

5:40 flight on Saturday canceled, on standby for two more (delayed) flights, kicked out of terminal at 2 something, tried to sleep in baggage claim and check-in areas with no success, got screwed out of two more flights in the morning, finally found someone with a brain who put me on a flight to San Fran and a connection over to Chicago. Got home about 6:30 last night and have been sleeping ever since.

How was your weekend?
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I took the weekend completely off from writing, which was crazy but it worked out well because it gave me time to figure out that my plan for the next chapter was Bunk. Basically the plot was originally supposed to focus more on a certain group of characters whose twists and turns have become rather vestigial, and I had to prune one out that I hadn't really thought about. Full speed ahead, now; one chapter yesterday, one and a half today, and I know where the next four are coming from. Between this week and next, when I will be taking a writing vacation with some lovely folks, I hope to push through to chapter 50 or so; I expect to wrap it up in 60 or less. The timing is good because, as some may have noted, I've had a shuffling of editors, and we've yet to start editing Superpowers; if I can get this first draft done by April or so then I can concentrate on revisions for the sold book without having back-of-the-mind anxieties about finishing this not-yet-sold one.

In an effort to make sense of this full-time writing life, however temporary that turns out to be, I've put myself on a schedule. At least, I've put a cap on my writing day; no new stuff after 5:30, no computer after 7. Typing scribbles into the computer between the hours of 5:30 and 7 is acceptable. This may be a temporary measure, but so far it's been good. Making the shift from having all my spare time be potential writing time to having ALL my time be potential writing time was kind of disorienting. Structure, good.

That's really it, I'm afraid. Told you it was boring.
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So, as Holly and Gwenda have reported, there's a controversy over the Newberry Award winning novel The Higher Power of Lucky. Some librarians (a minority, I assume) are considering banning the book based on the use of the word "scrotum," which appears once in the book. (EDIT: In reference to a dog. Who is bitten by a snake. On the scrotum. Perhaps the real lesson here is to SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS.)

Clearly the problem here is not a puritanical discomfort with any mention of genitalia within six blocks of a child, or a climate in which librarians and educators are besieged by complaints from parents who would rather protect their children from the world than prepare them for it. No, obviously the real difficulty is the lack of workable euphemisms for the scrotum! In this spirit, we here at Mumble Herder (that's the schizophrenic, not the royal "we") present a poll for your discomfort enjoyment:

[Poll #930291]


Feb. 9th, 2007 06:44 pm
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From: Me

To: Universe

Please stop f&%$ing with me.

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I got my first LJ comment spam last night! It turns out, this guy? His wife left him for another guy? And there's video now on the Internet of her doing this stuff with the other guy? That she would never do with the first guy? So this guy wanted me to see the video of his wife and this other guy? . . . Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either. BUT, I figure this is some sort of rite of passage, and I fully expect to have chanting and nude bonfire leaping later.

I am experiencing the fatigue and heartburn that usually presage a cold. (Does anyone else get heartburn pre-cold? I hardly ever get it, so if it happens two nights in a row I can be pretty sure I'm getting sick. I've never heard of this as a cold symptom, but there it is.) I suspect that by tonight, or possibly tomorrow morning, I'll be miserably stuffed up. So I have that to look forward to, which is nice. (Maybe I should pass on the nude bonfire activities.)

It occurs to me that the whole Astronaut weirdness really just signals a new acceptance of the Astronaut people into our culture. Now they really are just like us! Just because they come from space doesn't mean they don't occasionally decide to murder each other. Man, I can't wait until the first Senator plots someone's murder. What? Why are you laughing?

I wonder if Pynchon already knew that the Vikings used crystals to navigate when he wrote Against the Day? (Which is AWESOME, BTW. It has airships and anarchists and journeys through the center of the earth and that's just in the first hundred pages. I'm still reading, though, so please don't spoil me for anything!) (I must say that the linked article is some pretty bad journalism: "Vikings were a seafaring race from Scandinavia who used their longboats to explore and conquer parts of Europe, Greenland, Iceland and Russia." WTF? The Vikings were a separate race? Did they came from space as well?)

Look! Smart people talking!

The fashion must-have for WisCon 50. (Via Warren Ellis.)

Excuse me a second. (What? Really? . . . huh. I, uh--are you sure?!? Well, I just thought . . . OK, fine.) Sorry, folks. Turns out Astronauts don't actually come from space. Turns out they are HUMAN BEINGS. (Vikings too?) Vikings, too.

Now I've got a wiggins.
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Right, because there must be hundreds of screenwriters in Hollywood who'd come up with a better take on Wonder Woman.

Three hours of cable news as background noise has led me to believe that people are stupid. I'm not sure this qualifies as news.

It's too cold.
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I have decided that I can boil my criteria for the woman who will tame this wild heart (stop laughing) down to one requirement. So that y'all know what to shoot for.*

She must be AWESOME.

You may now return to boring me. (Seriously, what is with the Intranets today?!?)

*DISCLAIMER: Please consider the merchandise carefully before claiming it.


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