Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Word of the day: Ineffable

I really ought to title this Word of the Season, since that's about how often I do it.

Anyway, I was reading a book, all innocent-like, and this word just jumped out at me: ineffable. Immediately I thought to myself, what a wonderful word! It's like the F-word, nicely couched in a prefix and a suffix! Especially if you take that prefix off, and you wind up with effable, which is F-able, only polite.

Except effable isn't in my dictionary, so I guess it doesn't work that way.

I did look up ineffable, though, and was satisfied that it is an adjective meaning (according to the Oxford Paperback Dictionary that I keep on my desk) Too great for description in words, or That must not be uttered.

The prefix in- can apparently mean "in" (how clever!) or "not". So effable would mean speakable. And I see now that Dictionary.com does have that. And its root is Latin, not Saxon, so it has no connection with the F-word at all.

Too bad, really.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Out there -- Dec 2010

"Unicorn". Still at market #7.

"Dolphin". Still at market #1, still with changes sent back 27 October.

My goal for 2011 is one short story out per month. January will be “Bezoar”. This also means I need to get some stuff 'shopped.

In Process -- Dec 2010

The Rabbits (working on 3rd draft)
Succubus (working on second draft)
Apophis (working on 3rd draft)

Troll (4000 words, maybe 2000 of them in Dec?) This one came alive when I'd taken the month off from it for NaNoWriMo
Dowsing (4000 words start-to-finish in Dec?) While wandering around in Mocassin Trail Park yesterday, listening to Ed and Connor talk about Halo Wars, I realized what I'd meant to do with this story that I completely forgot in the first draft. I need to type it up, stat, and then retype it with that entire theme on top.
Imp Face (2000 words so far)

Socks for Lynda finished
Socks for Ed almost finished -- I hope tonight or tomorrow, because I'm sick of doing other people's socks
Morrigan hibernating
Anhinga hibernating

What I read -- December 2010

“The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart” by Jesse Bullington. The good bits seemed to have been in the first third of the book, and the middle was a bit of a slog. I read it because of Jeff Vandermeer. I did finish, and it was good fun. Any book that name-checks the white company is worth reading (big Hawkwood fan here).

“Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg. My sister asked for it for Christmas, and the tradition is, when you give a book in my family, the other person asks “How was it?” I wondered, am I hostile to this book because of who asked for it, or does it really smack of the Grades 4-8 writing exercises I had no problem with? Maybe it seemed dated, or maybe I just didn’t connect with it. Or maybe I use Caitlin Kiernan and Elizabeth Bear as my writing role-models, and a bipolar person and a depressed person who have to write or they starve may not be the best role-models. The book is about forcing yourself to write. I wondered as I read, why do people do this? Why force it? What about deliberate practice? There were about four pages about editing. I may not be the audience for this book.

Also, she apparently writes memoir, and there seemed to be precious little *real* reveal. I felt like I got to know only the part of Natalie that she was willing to share, and at that time it wasn't everything, she was saving it for later. I hate that.

“A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. Another one my sister asked for. Also, my former (day job) team leader recommended this once when I was telling a story about hiking in New England. Wow, this book had a lot of adverbs in it. It really made me want to climb Mount Moosilauke (also mentioned to me by a coworker’s brother-in-law, which is why it stuck out). A fun read that compelled me to write a short story about our hike up Imp Face.

“On Writing” by Stephen King. My sister asked for this, too. This was way more the book for me, seeing as it was half memoir and half about editing, really. He didn't get into the nuts-and-bolts of how to do a first draft, but a lot of the editing advice reinforced things I've heard before: meaning is at the sentence level, adverbs are not your friend, the first draft is for you but the second draft is for your reader (he called this closed door and open door), make your second draft 10% shorter than your first.

“HTO” from Coach House Press. A library book of essays about water in Toronto, from, as the sub-title says, Lake Iroquois to low-flow toilets. I loved this book, but probably someone who has never lived here would find it deadly dull. It's totally about place, which for me is amazing because I love the ravines etc. around here. There were a couple of chapters that name-checked the park I went walking in yesterday! The essay about low-flow toilets was actually entertaining, though some of the others were less so. I quite liked the one that said you can't write a novel set in Toronto without dealing with the ravines, but the one about High Park irked me.

I read it because Leah Bobet mentioned the uTOpia series, which caused me to seek it out. I suspect this is the second book from this series that I have read; the design of Concrete Toronto was similar.

I finished it Jan 2, but my rule is if I read it before I wrote the post, it goes in the month I wrote about. Otherwise, my memory gets too full of junk.