Daily Archives: December 10, 2007

Hearthcraft Book Update

Total word count, hearthcraft book: 12,398
New words today: 2,129

Potpourri, potpourri, potpourri. Who knew I’d have so much to say about it. Well, all right, I made point-form observations about household gods and spinning, too.

I’m going to go simmer a cinnamon stick, a few cloves, and some orange peel now. It ought to smell a lot more like Christmas in here.

ETA: Bah! No cinnamon sticks! I used powdered cardamom instead because I thought it would smell good and be a decent alternative to the powdered cinnamon.

Book-Related Links of the Day

And I thought my 1,600 words-per-day quota was ingrained:

Pullman spent seven years in a shed at the bottom of his Oxford garden, doing his three pages a day (no more, no less). About one in ten pages made the cut. The mathematics alone is impressive.

– From An Interview With Philip Pullman, which also features the quirky statement, “He is the most successful writer since Roald Dahl to have worked in a shed.” Pullman makes a few interesting observations about films from books, and how people receive and interpret a story, as well as giving background.

And my other writing/reading-related link for today: Why Don’t We Love Science Fiction?, an essay that sports the subtitle of ‘The British are sniffy about sci-fi, but there is nothing artificial in its ability to convey apprehension about the universe and ourselves’.

(Both via Arts & Letters Daily.)

Weekend Roundup

A respectable weekend, marred only by the bad decision to go out grocery shopping Sunday morning. I really hate people who don’t think beyond themselves while in a public place. I hate people who hover behind me in shop aisles glaring at my back when I pause to take something off a shelf even more. And I hate that I get tense and get snappy with HRH because of it, as he’s the one who pushes the cart when we all go out together. We couldn’t get out fast enough.

Aside from this, we had a great Saturday afternoon out at the ADZO household, where we reconnected with lots of people we don’t see often enough, ate so much delicious food that our hosts just kept putting out on the counter in front of us, enjoyed a very nice red wine and a surprisingly good honey brown beer, and gawked at the number of kids running around. (They almost equal our numbers. If two or three more come along, that’s it; our generation is history.) Liam discovered the joys of the ball pit, an inflatable wading pool filled with balls in which he played with great enthusiasm, working himself up to the point where he’d take a running start from the kitchen and launch himself into it head-first, chortling all the way.

The Christmas lights went up on the front of the house Saturday morning, thank goodness, so there’s a least a touch of Yule around the house. Liam helped me wrap the banister of the indoor staircase with garland too, although it seems more sparse than it was last year for some reason. On the list of things to pick up this week once there have been paycheques are a couple of wreaths (one for my office door and one for the front porch railing) and a good indoor garland to loop above the front window, as well as some candles and good ribbon. We can’t get our tree till the weekend, but when we do I’ll be looking for one that’s a bit bigger than we need (not hard, as HRH always enthusiastically reaches for one that’s taller than the room can really handle) so we can cut lots of boughs off the bottom to use as further decorations. We often use the stump that we trim off the tree as a symbolic Yule log, too.

Sunday afternoon, the postal truck delivered the first box of the season, from my parents (which surprised me completely — Sunday delivery already?). It contained a tin of sugar cookies theoretically addressed to Liam, two books for me to read, a box of Lady Grey tea, and the most adorable apron for Liam to wear while we bake.

For once, the weekend didn’t feel rushed. And this is HRH’s last full week at the college; next week is private reno work, and the first couple of weeks of January are free. A real vacation! Hurrah!

And last but quite certainly not least, last Thursday Liam and I went out to get him a pair of new boots, as the ones he had fit him but didn’t come high enough to keep snow out of them. (His test to see if they fit and worked? Jumping in them like a kangaroo, then stomping around like an elephant.) While we were out I did my usual quick look around for the DS game I’d worked on in the spring that was released last month, and I finally found one on a shelf. I brought it home, popped it into the DS, and had fun actually playing through the first couple of games the team had been working the bugs out of while I’d been doing contract work for them. And then I called up the credits for the thrill of seeing certain names I knew were there. (HRH and I are the sort of people who sit through credits at films, too; it’s important for us to show appreciation and respect for all the people who have put time and effort into something. Even now I get a thrill of seeing friends’ names scroll by at the end of Saturday morning cartoons, knowing so many who have done and still do storyboards, layouts, character and location designs.) And then, to my utter astonishment, my own name scrolled by. They’ve credited me as part of the linguistics team, right after the main linguist who helped develop the project. I felt like someone had just taken all the oxygen out of the room. This was unexpected, as I was a contractor who wasn’t on permanent staff; as a freelancer brought in to tweak [ED: Oh, all right, HRH, how’s ‘manage’?] the word database I hadn’t any expectation of actually being credited as an official team member in any respect. This was a completely different kind of thrill from opening a box full of author’s copies of a new book I’ve written, or seeing my books on a bookstore shelf. I don’t know if I can put my finger on why, other than the shock of the unexpected. It was fun, too.

I just spent a quarter-hour doing a phone survey on federal issues such as security, the Afghanistan mission, and the RCMP. If there had been an option to answer “I run after a two and a half year old all week so any news goes in one ear and out the other”, I would have selected it three-quarters of the time.

Today is okay so far. I worked out some numbers: if I write 1,666 words each of the three days a week I work, I will have 60K done in three months. That brings me to mid-March. And I’ve already got 10K down, so we can readjust that to about 1,300 every work day. Not that it’s going to change my regular goal of 1,600 anyway; that number is so deeply ingrained into my work mind that it’s the default quota no matter what. So it looks like two and a half months of 1,600-word work days, giving me a half-month to tweak things. (And cut words out, which is always the problem by that point; I go over the total target because there’s so much to fit into such a small space.)

And now, back to work.