"The main source of onboard entertainment is Ed White, a bespectacled 'interpreter' employed by the National Forest Service. 'Interpreter' is what teh Forest Service calls a ranger who is also a tour guide, and I love what the title implies: that a place is like a language."
-- From Donovan Hohn's Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them. (which I highly recommend.)
Some days are like the world's most awesome Tertris game, where all of the little blocks fit perfectly and you don't have that moment of panic when you see the screen start to fill with unsorted shapes, which quickly turns to resignation when you know that you are totally about to lose.
Today is not that day.
On top of about six dozen work things, the Boy's lip, which he chewed into hamburger after having it numbed at the dentist's for a cavity filling, is now infected, which has required a trip to the doctor's office and one trip to the pharmacy so far*. Gross and painful only begins to cover it. I flinch every time I look at him, poor baby.
But it's been a comedy of errors since 8ish this morning and only promises to get worse as the day continues on. So, um, have a small shameless promo: A. S. Byatt's Ragnarok.
* There will be at least one more trip to another pharmacy since pharmacy the first doesn't carry the drug he needs. I'm now held hostage by a wicked cabal of doctors, pharmacists and insurance carriers. Envy me.
A writer's voice is a lot like obscenity; you know it when you "hear" it.
Voice isn't the story, it's all of the choices that the writer makes in order to tell it. Dr. Seuss has a distinctive voice. So do Jennifer Weiner, Stephen King and Bill Bryson. You could file off all of the most distinguishing markers and still know who is telling any given story. Jennifer Weiner could tell a spooky story set in Maine and you'd still know it was her telling it.
Voice also takes a hell of a long time to develop. It's easeir to imitate the voices of the writers you love when you're just finding your way into the craft than it is to find your own. And that's fine. It's all part of the process.
For today's exercise, I'm going to give you a story outline, then you need to develop it while focusing on *your* voice. The outline: College-age man meets college-age woman. They fall in love. Complications ensue, yet they all live happily ever after (if not necessarily together).
* Who wouldn't want a succulent frog?
* Does anyone have experience with eShakti? I'm sorely tempted.
* Because I needed to spend more time reading.
* Maybe conservatives just need to walk more.
* The rejection generator.
* I read this every now and again because it restores my faith in humanity. And it makes me giggle.
* Top Ten scariest places to be female. ((in the US) Note to self: never move to Mississippi.)
* Jo Walton nails it again.
* Stephanie Pearl-McPhee nails it again.
* Why are we raising our children this way?
(It was that kind of weekend. It will be that kind of week. Oy.)
"He tells me that we tend to think of creative people as churning out one work of genius after another, but brilliance is a numbers game. Creative people tend to be prolific, and usually the misfires far outnumber the hits. 'I recently went to a museum in Germany, and they had a Picasso exhibition,' says Jung. 'But the paintings were terrible. I think I saw every lousy Picasso out there. He created about 50,000 works, and not all of them were masterpieces.'
"It's a powerful lesson: Accept failure. Enjoy it, even. Embrace the suck, for the suck is part of the process."
-- A. J. Jacobs on creativity in this month's Real Simple.
First, the knitting:
After my appointment with the Vestal knitters last week, I swung through Spin a Yarn in the BING! because said knitters told me that the owner was having a spring sale. This Noro yarn (whose name I can't remember but will figure out shortly after I post this, I suspect) leapt into my hands and came home with me. So far, we're happy together. And, um, anyone need a shawl?
Second, my hand:
No, it's not an exotic rash. Because I am the best mom ever, I decided to make a pitcher of Kool-Aid for the kids on Monday. Because I sometimes stop paying attention to what I'm doing in the middle of doing it, I tore open the packet of some red flavor and proceeded to shower it all over the counter, myself, the kitchen floor and Barney, who was underfoot at the time.
I have since learned a few things. 1) Red Kool-aid is much like sand, in that once you have introduced it into your house, you will find it in the most unlikely places. 2) Your first response when cleaning it up should not be to use a damp paper towel because this will only spread the mess around rather than contain it. 3) This stuff stains like a motherscratcher.
Third, the mouse:
(There is no picture. Sorry)
Yesterday, as I was walking out the door to go teach, Barney was sitting on my favorite reading chair and staring at the cushions. This is out of character. He's usually sleeping in said chair, not conscious and curious in it.
I literally said out loud, "I will probably regret this," then walked over to see what was going on.
I flipped the cushion out of the chair and lo, there was a mouse. At which point, Barney looked at me with a look that could only be translated as "Holy shit, you made a mouse."
Did he then chase said mouse? No. Did he eat said mouse? No. Did he do anything even remotely useful? No.
He did wait patiently for me to find a plastic container and a lid, scoop up the mouse (who I suspect was not well, given that it didn't even try to evade me), fling said mouse outside, before demanded that he be let outside to chase the vermin that I had just removed from under his very paws.
I don't even know anymore, you know?
Last night, you went out for a drink with your best friend from high school. This morning, you woke up with a map tattooed on your forearm. What happens next? And what happened last night?
* How to kill time on long haul flights.
* The idea of this class and card catalog makes me drool.
* Being referred to as that Adrienne Martini always unnerves me. (And thanks.)
* On the other hand, I have zero desire to do this.
* I find this fascinating. And I want someone to tell me what the hell my accent is.