Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just like the other oboists do

This is sure to become a scene when I finally get around to writing my Christopher Guest-style sendup of a community band.

Last night after I arrived at band practice, one of the other members sought me out in the washroom to ask me if it was okay if another member (who currently plays bass) plays second oboe. She's playing oboe in "the other band", and having so much fun, she just doesn't want to play bass any more. Did they think I was going to lock myself in a stall and have a crying jag at the prospect?

I said yeah, she was fine, it would be fine. I am secure in my first oboe-ness.

But then the conductor came up to me (in the actual band room) to ask if it was really okay. And I said yeah, it would be good to have someone else playing oboe, for those times when for some reason I can't make it to a concert, and I have guilt, and I'm on vacation in Maine, sitting there thinking to myself that if I was home right now, I'd be at some mall, playing a concert, and they need me and I'm letting them down.

But apparently that was crazy talk, and they didn't. But whatever. So I asked if they really think I'm that thin-skinned, and the conductor said no, he's had bad experiences with other oboe players saying it was okay, then quitting when the other oboist showed up.

And I do profess to be the highlander oboist (there can be only one). But maybe not. Maybe there should be two.

Actually, this particular musician sometimes says to the conductor things like "I think my note is wrong on this minor ninth..." which is just something I would never pick out because I'm just not that good, so maybe I should be intimidated.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

At 1:30, I turned on the light...

Last night I started reading my karate/zombie novel, because after 9-and-a-half months, I really couldn't put it off any longer.

Okay, actually the real reason I started reading it was because I was on the TPL website, and I discovered the writer-in-residence this autumn is a YA author. If I want to submit the first 25 pages to him for crit/review, I probably ought to read it first, and do at least a little bit of clean-up.

The first chapter, the way they are, is about three-quarters giant stinky fish head that needs to be lopped off. The second chapter didn't offend me, the third chapter didn't offend me, and I liked parts of the fourth chapter very much. That's probably as much as I'll get to submit. I think I will focus on the first chapter before I send it in, I hope by the end of the weekend...

I lay awake last night rewriting the opening in my head, and at 1:30, I had to turn the light on and write it down. Sad but true.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Caught myself a baby bumblebee

Yesterday I earned my first bee on OWW!

A few days ago I was chatting with one of my karate buddies, and he said to me "you're by far the most naturally athletic of the people in your Kyu."

I nodded and said thank you, and thought to myself, "Yeah, but that's just because I'm the youngest (!). It's because everyone else is injured right now."

And then I thought to myself, "hey, wait a minute, I don't have to make excuses for being good at something." And anyway, we all know my karate problems are mental.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rifle his pockets and look for loose change?

As Miracle Max in The Princess Bride says, "Your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. "

Friday, September 03, 2010

Worrying pointlessly

Something Catherynne M. Valente said on her blog a few weeks ago is nagging at my brain. She said she can smell a story written to fulfill a SFWA requirement a mile away.

And then a few days later, someone asked me why I write, and after having a hard time coming up with an answer, I said I couldn't imagine not. And that's true. And then somehow in the same conversation, I said that I turned from editing my novel to working on some short stories because they seem like something I can finish. Not like a novel, which seems like it will go on forever.

I can't even imagine writing a story to fulfill membership requirements in SFWA. And if I did, I can't imagine anyone buying it. But do I look like I fall into that category? I don't know.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Out there -- August 2010

"Unicorn". Back from market #6, with a nice note. Need to get it out of here again, but vacation got in the way.

"Dolphin". Still at market #1... Kinda sucks, because there's another thing I would have sent it to if it had been rejected, but that's closed now.

In process, August 2010

"The Bezoar". A short story, up on OWW during crit marathon. Got seven crits, useful stuff.

"The Rabbits". Short story, first draft completed August 14. Typed August 16. It’s over 14,000 words long, and I’m now working on the second draft. I want to get this on OWW.

The Water Leopard. Started a short story for this (it’s linked shorts with connectives). Would like the short done by the end of the week.

“Succubus”. A short story started, just wrote a few words and a page of notes. Probably I’ll write this to its conclusion when I’m done the Water Leopard short.

Morrigan. Armholes! We have them!
Tempting II. Fin.
Gift Socks. First started.
Kingdom Gloves. First started.

What I read -- August 2010

"The Great Wall" by John Man. Ed had gotten this out of the library. It’s part history, part travelogue, part a description of modern China. Ed had recently read a few books about Ghengis Khan, and we both read GGK’s “Under Heaven”, and this gave a nice historical perspective. The only problem I had was sometimes I would lose track of what historical figure we were talking about. I wished he used what I think of as the Rolling Stone style – where after you mention someone, you come up with a mnemonic for that person – you know, Kublai Khan, grandson of Ghengis, or something like that. Oh, the other annoying thing was occasionally the author would say “for that story, see my other book.” Um, no.

“Who Fears Death” by Nnedi Okorafor. A book about genocide and female genital mutilation, how can you go wrong with that? People need to talk, write, think about these issues, because the alternative is even more horrific. It is a truly beautiful book. I loved the main character, the voice. I loved the mix of future and magic.

“The Weapon Makers” by A.E. Van Vogt. He wrote one of my favorite SF novels I read in high school, “Slan”. I’d also read something else about the weapon shops of Isher, and so when I found this in the cottage shed, I picked it up and read it. Wow, it was a silly book. I cannot explain the dancing girl on the cover.

OWW: August was the crit marathon, and I read 21, plus one yesterday.