Monthly Archives: August 2007


I would have sworn on my life that my viola had no soundpost in it.

Today, as I was gathering things ahead of time before my lunch meeting, I opened the viola case to clear out anything non-essential before taking it to the luthier.

There is a soundpost in my viola.

I am mystified.

A few years ago I gave the viola to a fellow cellist’s mother to mess about with, as she has an amateur familiarity with lutherie. It was, however, given back to me with the explanation that the soundpost, which had fallen before I got it, didn’t fit properly and would have to be taken to a professional luthier because it wouldn’t stand.

Except here we are, with a functional soundpost.

I have luthier elves, perhaps?

I still need to go to the luthier because I need new strings for the viola, and I want to look for a 1/4 size cello bow for the boy. But evidently I don’t need to bring the viola in with me.

This pleases me because the viola isn’t precious enough for me to entrust it to my regular luthier. I was going to drop it off at the luthier whom I am neutral about, whose shop is three steps away from the metro I take to get home from lunch with the Thursday gang. (I am neutral about the shop because of downright rude and emotionally scarring customer service during a Very Big Step I had worked myself up to taking thirteen years ago, but since then they have been helpful about a harp issue and a bow issue.) A simple purchase of supplies will be quicker and also much less expensive.


The other revised file landed in my inbox moments ago. There is work for another week, once I’ve delivered the current file this afternoon.

This is both good and bad, though, as I was hoping to have a couple of days out with friends and assorted children during the week before school begins. Sigh.

Also, mailbox joy! The nice big cheque for the work I did on the project during July just arrived.

On Recent Writing

I’ve written some little dribs and drabs longhand over the past fortnight, bits of dialogue and scenes that don’t belong anywhere yet. It’s August and I’m engaging in the August Writing project as usual, where one writes every day. I missed a few days last week; for once, I’m not stressing about it or trying to write extra things to ‘catch up’. The Wings & Ashes novelette has submerged back into my subconscious to mellow some more; I can’t get into one of the key characters yet, and it’s understandably blocking things as she’s one half of the romantic pairing of protagonists and central to the story.

Yesterday, I sat down and plotted out the entire last half of Swan Sister, creating and writing out the key scenes in point form on index cards and ordering them in such a way that they made sense as a story. I now have the future of the rest of the book sitting on my desk by my pencil cup, existing as a quarter-inch stack of pink, green, and white cardstock and fountain pen ink bound together by a small green bulldog clip. Each index card is akin to a writing prompt. Now I know where to go; now it can be written. When I’m ready, of course. And the writing prompt doesn’t guarantee that the scene or scene sequences outlined on the card will be easy to write, or quick.

So yes, I am writing. I’m really enjoying the permission I have given myself to not write at the computer this month. I write for a living and I work at the computer; writing longhand somewhere else is a change I need. It’s more relaxing, less fraught with getting it right (write?), and a different method of creating. And allowing myself the permission to not transcribe and post it to the writing community (thereby removing a deadline of sorts) frees me up to create something less polished as well.

The August Writing project is about giving most people a structure to get them writing again. For me, it’s about removing the customary structure so I can write. Sometimes, as Bodhifox said last week, you just have to change the rules, to perform some sleight of hand in order to slip past the obstacles in your own psyche.

Toddler Logic

SCENE: After the morning ablutions, SPARKY and MAMA are back in the boy’s room, getting him dressed. SPARKY has flopped down on the floor, lying limply, making it difficult for MAMA to get his jeans on him. He pulls a large book over to him and drags it up onto his chest. Then he inches it up over his face.

SPARKY: Where’s Liam?

[MAMA looks at him. She knows darn well where SPARKY is: lying on the floor holding a book over his face. Then she gets it.]

MAMA: I don’t know! Where’s Liam? Where did he go?

[MAMA continues to wrestle a pair of pants onto the boy.]

MAMA: Is he… under the bed?

SPARKY: [very quietly under his breath, as if he were talking to himself; also with a hint of amusement in his voice, because he knows something MAMA doesn’t know] Nooooo.

MAMA: Is he… under the chair?

SPARKY: [as before] Nooooo.

MAMA: Is he… in the cupboard?

SPARKY: [as before] Nooooo.

MAMA: Where is he?

SPARKY: [lowers the book just enough to peep over the top, eyes merry]

MAMA: There he is!

[SPARKY giggles. Then he puts the book aside and reaches up, placing a hand firmly over MAMA’s eyes — or, rather, the bridge of her nose, because the hand isn’t big enough to cover both her eyes.]

SPARKY: Where’s Mama?

(This has been repeated with toys… toddler fingers covering the eyes of Thomas the Tank Engine, for example, followed by Liam looking at me with eyebrows raised and the free hand palm-up in the air making a ‘who knows?’ gesture, asking, “Where’s Thomas?“. It’s a variation of the old peek-a-boo game, this time with words, and it amuses me so much. I love how it still centres around the eyes and being able to see them, only in a different way: now if you hide someone else’s eyes, they become invisible instead.)

Dinner Tonight…

… was the best ratatouille ever.

The secret is to be willing to grate most of a seven-dollar block of fresh Parmesan, and make sure you put a decent amount between every layer. Also make sure every vegetable you use to make it was in the ground/on the vine three days ago at the most.

Between us, HRH and I ate the entire thing. I was expecting to put half of it away for lunches this week. Liam helped us by eating a mushroom or two, a bit of sweet pepper, and some aubergine that I told him was another kind of mushroom, ferried to his mouth with forkfuls of rice.

Evidently I will have to make more. Good thing I have extras of all the ingredients, and it’s dead simple to make.