Friday, April 07, 2017

In Process, March 2017

1st draft

I’ve been spending my daily time on WWS as much as possible, since first drafts have never been my problem, and editing and finishing things and letting people read stuff have.

A friend told me to do a contest, so I wrote a 2000-word story using the same main character from the haunted house project, which now has to be cut down to 1300-1500 words, but I have a month…


“Wind/Water/Salt”. I've hung onto this post for a week now, hoping I'd manage to get chapter 4 posted to OWW. I did take up Chapter 1 OWW commentary. I so wanted to put up Chapter 5 as well but I just couldn’t get it together. 


Critted 9

Got back 2 but one was an EC so it was worth it.

I have come up with an amazing (!) process for getting through the crits people give me. I read the chapter first to myself with some goal in mind, and realize WHAT CRAP it is. Then I read those other assessments that aren’t nearly so harsh.


Ann Boleyn (1998).  Working the body down from the armpits, I did three quarters of a pattern repeat (the complete rep is 66 rows). If I can do 16 rows per week I might finish this by fall. That would be awesome.

Okracoke cardigan (Shirley Paden). Started the month with about 5 inches of back. Now I have 7.5.

Sheer Beauty (Knit, Swirl). Started the month with five bands done. Did nine more.

Wrenna (French Girl Knits). I need something smaller to work on so I get the satisfaction of finishing something like ever. Also, I was sort of gifted all of my SO’s mother’s yarn, so I have a lot, and there’s a memorial for her in a couple of weeks, so I thought to wear something made from her yarn to that would be nice. It’s about a third done.

Monday, April 03, 2017

What I read -- March 2017

“The rib from which I remake the world” by Ed Kurtz. This one must have been recommended by Gemma Files, whose tastes align oddly well with mine.  I devoured it.

“vN: the First Machine Dynasty” by Madeline Ashby. Somewhere I heard that the opening is awesome and disturbing and full of robot cannibalism. What’s not to like there! It was a fast read. Sometimes it felt too easy to get away from the characters we weren’t interested in, while everyone who caught up was someone we cared about.

“Devine Fury: a History of Genius” by Darrin M. McMahon. The first two chapters were pretty harrowing, because they were all about geniuses with whom I am not familiar. Once it got to Mozart and Newton and the modern chapters, it was a little better. The second half was better, though the book seemed a little obsessed with Hitler’s genius, and there was about one woman mentioned: Mary Shelley, who wrote a book about a genius in order to avoid having another boring threesome with some other geniuses but whatever (this is not how DMM wrote about it, but whatever).

Over dinner, while I was complaining about it, my family asked me why I was reading this book (other than the obvious ‘finish what you start’ dictum). I often like histories that are of a specific thing, because they provide a filter or a perspective. And it wasn’t too long.

“To Hold the Bridge” by Garth Nix. Turns out short story collections are great for when I don’t want to commit to an entire novel, like when I’ll be picking up a library book in a day or two. This made some 2015 year’s best lists in Locus (I’m a little behind reading Loci), so I pulled it out of the boy’s TBR pile.

GN’s voice in the old kingdom stories is so right. His other things are good too, but for some reason these stories hit a sweet spot for me.

Monday, March 06, 2017

What I read -- February 2017

“Tam Lin” by Pamela Dean. Got it for Christmas. Apparently she is a terribly under-read author. I found this book delightful. It was way more subtle than I expected. I was reading along, wondering when the fairies were going to show up, and, well… This reminded me quite a lot of Jo Walton’s “Among Others”, really more about the sexual revolution on college campuses in the 70’s than anything else.

“Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature – 1888” by Charles W. Bardsley. This one took years to read. I’d started back when I was revising Fairfax the first time, and now I’m revising it again and boy do I need to flesh out my world with some characters with personalities of their own and, you know, names.

Gemma Files had tweeted about this book, something about Tiffany being a puritan name, who knew! Since Fairfax has many puritans in it who need names (and Cotton and Abigail aren’t really clever) and the whole thing is available online! I read it. It’s funny to tell people about a book like this to gauge their reactions. One friend totally got it – the book is a description of more than just words, it’s got elements of how people lived, what their values and priorities were, who were the deciders in their lives. Another friend (who complained that James Patterson sucks because his chapters are too short -- this is so not a relevant criterion for me) asked me if that was my heritage. Kinda, I guess. It’s a window into not just how people named their children, but the way they lived their lives, the influences on them, the power the church had over them. Families would go to a different parish where the registrar would christen with the name they wanted! So fun.

“The Feud: The Hatfields & McCoys, the true story” by Dean King. It was probably recommended by Sarah Monette. It was a quick read, but I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. Maybe the author assumed some previous familiarity with the featured players or something? This book isn’t about the same timeframe as WWS, or the same place, but it did give me some revelations about what I think of as my presentism problem.