Monthly Archives: February 2008

What I Read This February

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane
Wizard’s Dilemma by Diane Duane
The Chains That You Refuse by Elizabeth Bear
Living Well With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia by Mary J Shomon
Fibromyalgia for Dummies (2nd ed.) by Roland Staud and Christine Adamec
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
White Night by Jim Butcher
Marie, Dancing by Caroline Meyer
How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen (reread)
Striding Folly by Dorothy L Sayers
A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald: It’s unfortunate that this is the book I read last of all this month, all in one sitting and to help me relax. It ended very unhappily. It wasn’t a bad book, or a bad read; I just timed the reading of it very badly. If I’d been in a different headspace I would have been very impressed by how the book set the protagonist up to fail, and the reader, conditioned by society’s love of stories about people who seem doomed to failure who triumph anyhow, expects the protagonist to prevail.. and, true to the reality of the plot, she doesn’t.

Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson: My imagination works perfectly well, and so I didn’t need to know what happened to Anne before she was adopted by Matthew and Marilla. But I was curious to see how Budge Wilson imagined it, so I picked it up. Lovely design of the book itself. The story, well, it was all right. Nothing spectacular. An interesting snapshot of what life was really like at the time for the region, more than anything else. And when a book is about Anne, you expect her to be the most interesting character, but she wasn’t. I did enjoy the fully imagined parts about Anne’s parents, and watching Budge explore and develop the characters Anne refers to only once or twice in the Montgomery books. A mildly interesting experiment, nothing more. Certainly not crucial for Anne fans.

Marie, Dancing by Caroline Meyer: Yawn. I wish I’d remembered that Cymry read this one; I ran into her single-sentence review after I’d read it and thought, yes, that’s pretty much it: I wanted a book about dancing, and I didn’t get it.

A Wizard Alone etc. by Diane Duane: These are just excellent, solid YA books that walk the line dividing fantasy and science fiction. I have one more to read, and I’m saving it.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon: I;ve been off Gabaldon since I read Drums of Autumn; I just wasn’t as interested in reading about settlers’ lives in North Carolina. Except I was in the mood for some historical fiction the other week and I picked up the newest one on the Outlander series, seeing only the four I already owned on the bookstore shelf. When I got home I realized they’d been out of stock on The Fiery Cross, which I also hadn’t read, so I picked it up. I read it in about three days and deliberately gave myself a couple of weeks off before starting the next volume. Evidently I really needed those eleven years away from the characters to really enjoy them again.

Hello, Wall…

I have spent the day wandering aimlessly through the copy-edits, forgetting what I’m looking for and waffling between agreeing with the copy-editor and asking to stet some of the capitalization changes. On the up side, I’ve discovered that I want to change how I present the term ‘neopagan’ (Neopagan, neo-pagan, Neo-Pagan, neo-Pagan… gah) because this would make the fourth time it’s been edited differently in a book of mine, and darn it, I’d like to at least present a fa├žade of consistency. (Why did this not occur to me the other three times I went through copy-edits on a book? Who knows?) I changed a few other things I thought were fine on the first pass, and stealthily added about eight hundred words to the hearthcraft book while doing on-line research to avoid working on the copy-edits, plus more in a new document that I’ll have to rewrite and paste into the main file next week. It’s been the kind of day where if I knew this morning what I know now, I would have just spent the day on the chesterfield with a notebook and a pile of real books to sort through, and perhaps accomplished something more useful.

No, wait, I made two loaves of bread and some sweet buns. That was useful. Of course, I forgot about planning dinner, so that may cancel out the production of useful bread products.

Jan came over for our regular Friday writing thing and we had a couple of conversations about conferences and the pagan community that made me think about how I respond to both of these things thanks to past experiences, and decide that maybe, just maybe, the next time I’m asked to be a guest I might say yes.

Tonight is opening night for the show HRH is stage managing, so break a leg, all! (Or a string, if you’re in the orchestra.)

Er

I just finished the first pass through the copy-edits.

I feel somewhat guilty. It’s really not supposed to be this straightforward. A tiny part of my brain is suggesting that maybe I just wrote a really clear, solid book, but the rest of my brain is jumping on it and screeching at it to shut up, because that’s tantamount to saying “Things can’t possibly get any worse!”

I’m going to get up, walk away for a bit, and then come back to start a second pass. And there are some things I want to check, particularly about capitalization/lowercase issues; I think I may stet about half of them. But overall, um, I’m kind of done.

ETA: It is Very Nice that another tiny bit of my brain just went, “Oh, yay! We can go back to writing the hearthcraft book now!” It’s good to see that somewhere inside, I am still excited about this book.

And Lo, The Copy-Edits Continued…

Slog. Slog.

I appear to have an apologetic copy-editor. “I may be being nit-picky, but this seems unclear” she says of an out-and-out contradiction in a set of instructions. And she’s not doing the false modesty thing; she’s genuinely apologetic. Bless her. I told her not to apologize for finding a mistake, and thanked her.

Back to your regular browsing. Nothing to see here.

(In moments of escaping from the copy-edits, I have been pricing computers. I am surprised and pleased at how little I’m going to have to pay for something that meets my needs, i.e. what the rest of the world considers basic, especially since I have all my peripherals. And that’s including an extended service plan to cover the odd things that happen to my computers every eighteen to twenty-four months or so. Encouraging. I’ve never had a brand-new-everything-at-once system built by someone not me or a friend. This will be interesting.)

Technology Makes Our lives Easier! No, Really!

Good morning, world. This is a brief update to let you know that my computer is imploding and hardware failure is imminent; I just don’t know how imminent. It could be the motherboard, it could be the hard drive, and it could be in the next five minutes, or five weeks from now. (But I’d have to deal with frequent freezing, cold reboots, and crashes over those five weeks, so my patience will likely wear out long, long before then.)

Thank heavens I bought the external hard drive and backed up all my documents, music, and pictures already. I’m backing up my mail (not the current stuff, I already did that; I’m backing up the old, old, old stuff now) and have already backed up my bookmarks. Once that’s done, it can crash and burn; I don’t care. Well, I will care a bit, because it will interrupt my routine and it will cost money. But at least I won’t panic about having lost anything, crucial or otherwise.

Time to start talking to my tech consultants, AKA Blade and ADZO.

I Call A Do-Over On Today

Today the computer crashed three times in a row when I tried to boot it up. I managed to get it going in safe mode and snatched a copy of the copy-edit file so I’d have it just in case, because I’d forgotten to e-mail it to myself at the end of the work day on Monday. It’s only crashed twice since then, but it’s gotten stuck or hung up three other times. The boy was resistant about being dropped off this morning, my errands took an hour longer than I expected them to, and the rest of the day has to happen sooner rather than later because both HRH and I are booked at rehearsals tonight, so the boy has to be in bed before we leave, which is a half hour earlier than I usually leave on Wednesday nights. So I lost the entire morning, as the computer didn’t begin behaving till noon, and then I had three days of email to wade through. I may do a chapter or two of copy-edits, or I may give my crankiness and stress a break by doing some longhand hearthcraft work instead. I have three work days after today in which to finish the last half of the copy-edits (two of those are full days in which I don’t have to take the boy to whoever is caring for him that day or pick him up), and working on them today may not be the best of plans as I am very tired, achy, and headache-ridden. I don’t know if I can get into the proper headspace or if I have the reserves of energy to deal with them, or if it’s even worth the attempt. I have a very strong suspicion that it might do more harm than good. So research and notes for the hearthcraft book it is.

For those awaiting news resulting from the doctor’s appointment on Monday… there was no doctor’s appointment. I got there for three, sat there for an hour, then got up and asked the receptionist to reschedule my appointment for next week, because I had to leave to go downtown and pick the boy up from daycare. And good thing I did, because it took me an hour to get there. The receptionist was distressed because I’d gone all the way out there for nothing (sixty kilometre round trip, remember) and kept trying to find a way to slip me in between other appointments, but I wasn’t having any of that; all except two of the other people had been there longer than I had, after all. Also, I was getting claustrophobic in the miniature waiting room that had three car seats, three infants, and nine adults in it, and was growing increasingly stressed by it all. Driving all the way back out next Tuesday morning, even with the boy in tow, was infinitely preferable.

Recent news: The boy has acquired two new nicknames. We visited the LLO all-day dress rehearsal last Saturday after his nap and he had a wonderful time in the very back of the theatre with me, singing and marching and dancing ( “Come on, Mama! We have to hop!”) along with what was happening on the stage. He was remarkably well-behaved (despite my concerns that he would disturb people, and the occasional loud “Dada!” he would chirp whenever HRH would walk on stage to consult with someone about positions, which seemed to amuse people more than anything else) and we managed to stay all the way to the end of Act One, at which point we scampered home for a belated dinner, bath, and bedtime. The cast, who knows HRH by his sobriquet of Bear, began to refer to him as Little Bear. (This will, I know, amuse Bodhifox to no end, because now my son is known by not one but both the nicknames his own two children carry.) This new nickname came hard on the heels of HRH beginning to refer to the boy as HLH, or His Little Highness.

Yesterday the boy drew a very impressionist picture of the stage, his favorite people ( ‘Rob, trying to scare me’ and ‘Colly in her green dress’ were my favourites), and the dancing. It was lovely. I sent it to the theatre with HRH to put up on the wall; I hope people were amused by it.

More recent news: Erm, we unintentionally acquired a Wii over the weekend. No, seriously, it was an accident. A few weeks ago Ron asked one of his students who works at Best Buy what the deal was with never having any in stock, and the kid said that it was because when the delivery trucks arrived the staff grabbed them all, put them aside, and called the people they knew were looking for them. (HRH had inquired because we were going to co-buy one for ourselves for Valentine’s Day, you see, and there were none to be found anywhere. The student thought it was very sweet of us to come up with the idea, and was flat-out stunned that I’d bought him an Xbox as an anniversary gift lo these many years ago… and nearly lost it when Ron told him I had a DS and had passed my old one on to him. I can’t remember if HRH told him I’d worked on two games. Kids. They’re so cute.) Anyway, last Friday the student called him from work to say, “Dude, the truck just arrived, and I’ve got one aside for you! You can pay me back Monday.” It was so very not in the budget, since HRH had no idea the kid was going to take it upon himself to do this, but we did it. We set it up Monday night and tried out the sports games that came with it. They’re surprisingly good for a workout.

All right. Now that I’ve handled all the other stuff, I can get an hour of some kind of work in before I have to leave to get the boy.

So Far

I have worked through three chapters plus one intro of copy-edits, and am still alive.

I still really, really need a break. Except I’m going to lose most of the afternoon to a doctor’s appointment and then going to pick the boy up, so I’m trying to get as much done as possible before I have to stop.

ETA: Four.

ETA: Five. Over halfway done! I really should stop or I’ll run out of energy and be useless for the rest of the day. I should have lunch, distract the mind with a book for a bit, then maybe make some longhand scribbles for the hearthcraft book… and leave the rest for Wednesday.
I really, really wish I could finish this today — it would do my general work-related confidence a lot of good, as well as my anxiety about how to make the hearthcraft book settle down because I’d be able to go right back to it — but I have no idea what I may run into that may require serious rewriting. Handling rewrites and copy-edits involves constantly being on guard or on edge as you scroll to the next page and scan for the red marks, and that’s wearing in its own way. And then if you find a place that demands extensive reworking, that obviously takes a lot of energy to handle. And being newly hyper-sensitive about the amount of energy I have to spend daily, well, I’m trying to play it safe, even though it’s going against my natural inclination to keep pushing to finish it all as soon as possible. Doing that and burning myself out for the next three days does no good at all.