Saturday, December 26, 2015


"Trying to get that music out on the page is just absolute hell, so you fail." A great writing clip from Unleaded - Fuel For Writers, with Ta-nehisi Coates.

For my Asian art loving nerd readers ... The British Museum blog has three interviews with manga artists - Nakamura Hikaru, Hoshino Yukinobu, and Chiba Tetsuya.

Unleaded also has a GREAT pie chart - How Shakespeare Killed off his characters. Some of the more obscure methods are kind of hilarious, taken out of the usual obligatory sober literary context. "Baked Into Pie" ... eep! Hee.

The history girls has a phrase I love for what I usually rant about under the "popular misconceptions" and "oh the dirty stupid past" tags - recency illusions. I love this way of putting it, and hey - I love 40s platform shoes, too.

And ... because I *was* historically inaccurate ... when a picture speaks a thousand words. (The much later artistic rendering of) the coronation of Pharamond - a Frankish king very close to my period, and indeed a name I chose to use in The Ax and the Vase. From People of Color in European Art History.

Also from the POC in European art blog, an image of St. Maurice - one of my favorite saints, actually.

Dena Pawling has a look at the treatment of women attorneys. It's not pretty ... so to speak. Sigh.

From the Portuguese machete, to its little-known political symbolism, to Tiny Tim: the ukulele has a rather remarkable history. Its *present* includes some virtuoso work by one of my nieces, but its past is interesting too. Thanks to If It Happened Yesterday, It's History.

Courtesy of, Seven Myths of the Crusades - a nice look at historical scholarship, though sadly it's not as nice a look at Terry Jones as a lot of Python fans might hope to see. I own his The Crusades series - and, like a lot of tele-history, it suffers ... some weaknesses. This is a good start to looking at the much more complex realities of this series of religious wars and battles.

For a lighter-hearted Python allusion, you could wander by to learn about cocunuts in medieval England. "(M)edieval England was lousy with coconuts" - OSUM.

Playboy’s hackneyed idea of what a nude is, and who it’s for, seems increasingly narrow in the selfie age. When Kim Kardashian is celebrating her own body in superabundant selfies and many less famous people are doing the same, the nude is neither oppressive nor commodified – it’s a part of how human beings communicate with one another.

The last point here is what arrests my attention ... The Guardian has an extremely curious take on the abolition of nudity from Playboy's pages ... I'm not sure I'm persuaded by its argument that this is in fact a culturally dismal move; given the wider picture of our culture, it's not as if the objectification and sexualization of women is (a) on the decline, or (b) something I can accept as wholesome and positive. But the point about shame is one to pause upon, even if Kardashian selfies make a challenging argument for cultural elevation. It's worth a ponder, at least, to contemplate the wider ideas on display in this article. The reference to Indian and Shunga art helps, for me, to take it out of my personal moral context and look at art (erm) objectively.

"I just realized that I don't feel bad."

"Learning how to human."

"Living with depression instead of living life *through* depression."

"Leave every day a little bit kinder than it started."

Wil Wheaton has gained a lot of cachet since his stint as Roddenberry's Gary Sue Jr. He's funny, and a celebrity force in the whole bearded-guy cool thing.

He also suffers mental illness, and has never shot up a crowd of people nor donned a tinfoil hat and been a living piece of comic relief. He's a real guy. With a real disease.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Because: Aww

My dog and my cat get along with each other, but have done so more with play fights and the occasional bop on the head (Gossamer one popped Penny one hard enough with his velvet paw on her velvet-coated-tungsten head I swear I heard the reverb) than with the sort of adorable affection one sometimes finds online.

But, as Penelope has crossed the Rubicon into "she was GOOD" territory with, lo, that toughest critic of all - my mother - so, too, has the furkids' relationship changed recently.

Less than a week ago, I noticed that Pum was curled up by my feet on the couch, with no molestation from above, when Goss was curled up on the back of the couch, maybe a foot and a half from The Dog One.

As close to snuggling as they've ever come, unless you're the sort to count when they nuzzle each other preliminary to rasslin'.

I don't.

And so, it was an extra nice treat to see The Poobahs this morning, parallel napping under the Christmas tree.


For those in the know: a close-up, for detail ...

Heare's the thing about this image. It shows (or, rather, doesn't) Gossamer's eyes.

Shut tight as can be.

Context for the non-cat-owner: this is an expression of supreme trust. This emblematic greeting of one cat to another, or to its human, is the statement, "I know you, and you and I are safe together." It's the "We cool, man" of the feline world.

It is nice to close your eyes back at them (or to greet them thus first) to acknowledge, "We are companions" and to avoid feli-social complications.

Gossamer's silent repose is far more than a cute and even warm holiday moment. In this house - for me, and I hope for all three of us - it is a new piece of a relationship that has always been *smooth*, but never lazy and affectionate before.

Goss's squeezed-shut eyes have never meant more to me than his pointing them at that sixty-plus-pound mass of dervish-y dog.

It is a Christmas furry-cle.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Muggy Rain, Go Away

The Eastern Seaboard has been unusually warm during a period when other parts of the country are being pummeled by snow. It's pointless to know I "should" not complain - most of us feel we have been too hot for too long

A couple of days of rain make it look more wintry, but last night at ten or eleven, on Penny's final rest stop before bedtime, it felt like about eighty degrees outside. Yay, and humid too!

Christmas Adam and Christmas eve have been dark days; immense amounts of rain have pummeled us, the ground is a stew. But it is still hot.

While my niece runs into great, clumping snow in one sock and no shoes, I did at least find that my American Duchess Tango boots were wonderfully well suited to the weather. (A perfect "pairing", as it were, given that yesterday was my Christmas lunch date with Cute Shoes!) Yet the weather might be suited to running barefoot right now, too - shame I stopped cultivating the tough little Hobbit tootsies I had at her age.

It's too warm for nestling - and yet, who can resist a seasonally snuggly kitty?

Merry Christmas Eve, if that's your poison - and just have a fine day, if it is not. 'Round these parts, there seems to be a change afoot, from Extremely Grim to merely Gloomy (it's not as terribly dark, and the rain is less pelting). Huzzah!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


There are two great usages of the concept of "to fall" in English, to which modern ears are no longer very well attuned, and which twine around one another.

A fallen woman, in antique parlance, was a woman - married or not - who has lost her virtue. Virtue is another of those concepts whose meaning has changed (at the very least), but it is not the topic today.

These days, as sneeringly as a woman may be treated for this or that infraction against other people's morality, it is little likely to be the death of her - at least, outside of contexts I don't propose to write about just now. My mother thinks Miley Cyrus is SCUM (her word) - largely because Miley, less a person than a child raised to be a product, has played into one of the major product marketing techniques of American popular culture, sex. Women who marry rich are as likely to be congratulated as written off for golddigging bimbos, but few observing one appreciate the finer points of her humanity. Britney Spears was the very paragon for a certain set of younger cousins of mine, as long as she touted her purported virginity, but she lost steam with many through a series of ill-timed underpantsless photos and that one time she shaved her daft little head.


But Miley has not been shamed out of society, and certainly the pariah has become staple to a leering community of celebrity  consumers - who literally DO *consume* people famous for five minutes, fifteen, or even almost an hour. Reality TV is built most often on the need to feel superior, even as we aspire to this or that thing such-and-such celebrity owns/product places in their "life".

There was a time it would have taken only the hint of impropriety to destroy a woman. One named Theresa Longworth spent a great deal of her life fighting the destruction of her reputation; and, to this day, the very sexual details of her existence perhaps outlive any sense of how profoundly distressing it must have been for her to have those things so much as imagined. Novels we still read today turn on the virtue of women whose wellbeing depended upon its never being questioned, never being destroyed.

To fall, for a woman, has through history been as fundamental a peril as the fall of Lucifer himself. To be thrown from society has been for MOST women - or anyone at all - through history, the most violent punishment conceivable (another aspect of a quote brought up this week in my comments).

Outcast. To many modern, especially American, ears, the term equates to the kid who gets bullied, or the million invisible mentally ill or imprisoned or otherwise "marginalized" people we rarely see, or try not to.

But in its practical, fundamental sense, it is those whom a community have put into the outer darkness.

This is no small thing, to be alone. Life today may be built to accommodate it, but the life lived solitary is still considered abnormal, and we punish people for living thus, whether they have chosen it or not. I've had my rants and fears about my social marginality.

But I have never been put aside, forsaken, nor shunned.

I have never fallen. Society has not shut me out, I have chosen and found my own place, but never been excluded.

The profundity of shunning is difficult to convey anymore, I think.

An awful lot of us have experienced it to one degree or another, but the ancient practice of social punishment has found a new face, and works in ways just as impenetrable to understand as The Past is for us to comprehend.

I know those who have fallen away ...

But I know nobody who has had to be a forsaken woman ... who has been denied fire and shelter ... who has fallen ...

Monday, December 21, 2015

"As soon as we have achieved normality - whatever that is."

Nerdly brownie points to the first reader who nails the reference in today's title.

Normality has been much in the forefront of my conversations and reading for a few months now. An old friend of mine resurfaced after decades, and has had me looking at the state of mental illness in our culture and communities, but also: I'm a writer, and there are a lot of writers who consider being offbeat to be an important part of the identity.

My response to this is a certain bewilderment. Where did these people get the idea there is such a thing as normal?

My old friend - let's call him MOFF, because Star Wars is much at the forefront of our culture, too, right now, and y'all know I have this thing for acronyms - suffers anxiety and depression to the tune of actually being on disability. Many Americans are aware just how difficult it is to get disability in our country, so consider the context here. This is someone who has to take a Xanax, just to be on the safe side, in order to complete the task of sending out Christmas cards.

Now, as for me, I deal with that particular piece of stress by simply failing to send cards at all, for something like the last eighteen years. I hate drugs.

But MOFF and I have discussed normality at length, both as a subject of curiosity, and as a problematic goal/desire. It is a great desire of his, to be able to live a "normal" life ...

Interestingly, in he earlier iteration of our friendship, which was a bit more romantic and would make a great story I do not intend to tell y'all, he was often concerned with the same thing. What he considered to be his deviations from the norm were different matters, but the desire was the same; indeed, even the anxiety was there, all the way back then.

And, even then, I'd laugh him off and dismiss him, "Even my MOM knows there's no such thing as normal."

Which is true. My mom, who is as conventional as conventional gets in some ways, has always maintained - and taught me and my brother - that, really, "normal" is not really out there. It's a convenient construct, makes for a good context to tell a story which inevitably deviates, and gives us a sense of stability and reassurance. But, at bottom, "normal" is a sham. Nobody who seems it or claims it can withstand an honest investigation into their utter ordinariness.

So I've never been able to believe in "normal" and I can actually *feel* myself getting insufferable, sometimes, reassuring MOFF that "everyone feels what you do" TO SOME EXTENT or SOMETIMES or whatever palliative I wield at him in any given conversation. But even in those, I know that that is the very problem. What he experiences is multi-track, is unending, and is not something to be "got over" the way most of us have to in order to get on with a day. It's not merely brain chemicals, it's an emotional paralysis which - universal as it may be in moments or situations - is singular in its implacability.

I feel the way he does, sure. For a day, or for that one minute during PMS when I actually enjoy submitting to the weepies - or even for a few months, off and on, when I have to look for a job or am missing Mr. X, or whatever pain I may have to endure.

I've never experienced pain like this - the fear and hope conglomerated, influencing my entire life to the extent of in fact *becoming* the life I have left to lead.

I may not believe in "normal" - but I don't have to live so decidedly outside its apparent existence. I may not believe in "normal" - but I am not denied it, either.

So when writers start talking about how all writers are weird, or how all our work is offbeat - I actually recoil, emotionally.

I am not normal, no. But that's only because normal is a stupid idea to start with.

And my writing ... if it is offbeat at all, it's only in the fact that I wrote about a Frankish king most Americans haven't heard of, or much about at any rate. It's not because my form is innovative, nor my genre exceptional. If anything, the novels I've worked on are "traditional" in the extreme ....

... and here we go down the rabbit hole of whether "traditional" exists either: which I say it does not.

The need to categorize and quantify is so strong in our brains. We need to believe ourselves to be some thing or another, we need to believe others are, we need to think the world has order - in order that we may participate in it, or to rebel against it. We need a PICTURE - to view the landscape, or the people in it, or the acts played out upon it, in some coherent way.

We *need* "normal" - "traditional" ...

I depend on it. So do you. What form you depend upon is the question (and I hope someone will comment upon their framework, their "normal" and "traditional" - especially now, at a time so many experience their presence and absence with such acuteness).

And every one of us knows, there is no such thing.

Just ask my mom.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Mojourner introduced me to this story first, but The HB did get to it as well. The 6th century warrior's bones, and his remarkable prosthetic.

Far more interesting on The History Blog's part, for my money (or dorky interest) is their piece on the urgent work Virginia Commonwealth University is doing in the field of investigating an analyzing hundred-year-old hams and peanuts. Now that is some seriously cured porcine flesh.

In my usual late-to-the-party way (well, it has been the holidays and I've had some things going on), last week I made the header on Janet Reid's blog at the end of a truly EPIC Week in Review post, with the following gem of wisdom:  And now we know: the etymology for "query" comes from the Latin for "burned at the stakes."

Merry Christmas, Mojourner

Saturday, December 19, 2015

From A Review of "The Danish Girl"

"(L)ove does involve a small dark space."
--Richard Bernstein

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Truth and Weeping

When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
--Kahlil Gibran

This ends with delight, but it begins in sorrow.

This is where my family is right now.

How do you remind the sorrowful that their fear is born of delight?

I guess you try to bring to mind the memory of the delight.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


As a single person, sometimes the whole thing where Chinese food delivery comes with two fortune cookies can go amusingly haywire.

Today, one cookie was stuffed with three fortunes - all alike.

You are original and creative.
You are original and creative.
You are original and creative.

The other fortune was actually even sillier.

You will have no problems in your home.

Because: nowhere in the history of the world, ever. Heh.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


The Caustic Cover Critic has happened upon a truly stunning trove of wonderfully bewildering cover designs. Some are hilarious, some titillating in the most inappropriate way, many are just head-scratchers ...

The Atlantic has an intriguing look (listen?) at the way we talk on YouTube. Linguistics aren't just for the written word, kids!

Terrorism and radicalization – not just for the “other” anymore. One of the problems with dismissing a terrorist as being mentally ill is the burden of stigma loaded upon those who suffer mental illness and never harm a soul (the majority, by the way).

“Are we worshipping the same Jesus?”

A close reading of the Bible finds that one of its most common refrains sung by angels, humans and Christ alike is ‘Do not be afraid.’

THIS is the “joy” of Biblical spirituality. It has been a powerful message through the ages – “nothing to fear but fear itself” – “fear not” – “fear is the garden of sin” – “the enemy is fear” – “G-d gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love” – “Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”


The History Girls has a sad post here. "Our united voices counted for nothing against the commercial imperatives of a shop that employs no local people, sells nothing that we would want to buy (which would count as 'sustainable development') and sources most of its merchandise in far countries."

The Atlantic has another video illustrating a wonderfully diverse sample of the known history of hair styling. This one isn't all about white folks in Europe; a nice look, and some cool music too. They did get the date of the sidecut wrong, though - I was far from the first, and I had that going in 1985.

Festive Heat

Today is both fun and a working-hard kind of day. It's not just the usual Saturday housecleaning, but also the day I am taking my old desk out to my car so it can go to a young writer. He is fourteen and the son of a Wounded Warrior, and already published. The Christmas gift he most wants this year is a desk.

For a writer, a desk can be a very big deal. It's a tool, it's a sacred space, it's a visual, physical reminder of work we love. I know how important a desk is.

So I am excited to be able to give the desk where I have written so much; this may be the gift I am happiest to give this year. I hope he will like it.

Gossamer TEC inspecting the desk before cleaning and packing

Today is also the day I have brought the tree out and set it up. It needs shaping and lights, and decoration, but it is up and the furniture reconfigured around it.

With unseasonable heat, I am *sweating* getting up to all this, even wearing a t-shirt instead of winter clothes. Finally - and for the second time this week - I have resorted to turning on the air conditioning.


I don't live in Hawai'i or Florida, folks. Sustained weather in the seventies at this time of year is not only not normal, it's actually a little difficult to deal with, because the daily logistics of wardrobe alone get confusing. But, more than anything, it mucks with my head. At a time of year the phenomenon is not natural to the climate, "high pressure" takes on its most unpleasant connotations. Sigh.

But I love today.

Decking the tree was always the ritual of my parents' anniversary (not 12/12, but close, and I hew close to this because having a tree up for five or six weeks ends up oppressing and depressing me; it's not natural to me). I love the lights, I love the color and closeness of all those cheering things in my living room.

This year, for the first time since I have lived here, I'm putting up the white plastic candle lights in the windows. These, too, are home memories for me - and, again, I like the light. With some work done around here recently, this one more touch adds a little more cheer.

These touches and rituals and gifts are FUN. This is elemental to those things we do to observe the season, and to share it. Yesterday, I shopped for the Wounded Warrior himself for a few hours. I've finished most of my personal gift list as well, and know what to do for one more person, and the team celebration I planned was lovely and went well, with two of our top executives joining us and relaxing.

Christmas is on; I am grateful and enjoying December. Even the strange heat and headaches, I can manage.

How is your holiday season going?

Smells all right; the angle seems off, though, for this knee-hole

Seems to be missing a drawer, ma

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Old New Shoes

Sometimes, memories are not things you actually recall.

The theory crossed my path this year, that there is no such thing as forgetting. This has intrigued me since I encountered it, and it's a bit of a wonderful thing to have floating around in the brain, especially for a writer.

This week, the idea was brought home to me in a physical way; I experienced a memory that hasn't been in my recall for at least thirty years, perhaps longer. Unsurprisingly, the stimulus to this recollection was a smell.

Thanks to the generosity of Cute Shoes and a little bump to two gift certificates, I received my first pair of American Duchess boots. When I opened the box, the scent was of leather and shoe polish; an authentic smell - not the odor of synthetics and dye, but the smell I remember from Thom McAnn boxes of my childoood. Shoes made out of leather - all leather - real leather - and that touch of shoe polish that speaks to a pair of shoes meant to be taken care of and built to grow dull, but then to be freshened up again.

Shoes for the past couple of decades at least have not been designed to be taken care of. You can wear them until the seams go or the finish dies - and then it is time to buy new. Few shoes, apart from exceptional boots, have been made, for a long time now, with an eye to maintaining them; to keeping them.

These shoes are constructed of strong stuff, and are already polished.

And they will be polished again.

One of the things I received after my dad died - hardly what you might call an "inheritance" in the vein of the portrait of Einstein I love, or the gold watch my brother does - was dad's shoe polishing kit. The old wooden box with the small, shoe-shaped stand on it. The once-stiff, now curved-with-much-use wooden-handled brush. A rag or two, with dabs of polish (the applicator, essentially). And even the polish. I never could quite throw away dad's old polish, though I actually did have some of my own.

Shoe polish has the smell about it of special occasions. Church, when we needed to spiff up the maryjanes and dad put a shine on his own big, smooth shoes. Taking mama out for a night, while my brother and I had sauteed hummingbird tongues for supper (some may imagine this was actually boxed macaroni ... some may have less flair for description than my dad did).

It was a funny thing, rediscovering New Shoe Smell after so many years, and never having thought about it in the interim. It is a smell of the 70s, a smell of family, a smell of quality - and Christmas - and the excitement of new clothes, for a family whose budget for them was constrained, which made them special.

Trying the boots on, I remembered how the salesman would scootch up in front of you at the shoe store, put your foot on the weird metal sizing tool with the black field and little lines. I remembered how they'd put on the shoes for you, pulling them out of the box and unbuckling or lacing them, and taking your ankle and shimmying first one and then the other foot into the new shoes. I remembered the ritual standing in front of mama, salesman bent down to feel the toe box while my feet were standing in the new shoes.

When's the last time you had an actual fitting in a shoe store ... ? Have you ever? It used to be a "thing" - those metal fitting slide-rules ubiquitous, once upon a time.

And once upon a time I got new boots, in a century-old style, of half-century old quality I had thought must be long gone.

I may need to buy new shoe polish.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Metal, Man

Most of my life I've never 'been' anything - I don't make much of an effort on those things that earn cred-points to 'make you' this or that or the other label-thing.

I'm a huge fan of Trek, but still consider myself somewhat outside Trekdom because I'm not dedicated and have never been to a Con and so on. I'm something of a nerd, but have never played video games (do we even call them that anymore, or is the word "games" itself now the entire description of what once we had to refer to as electronic games and so on?) or achieved academically or committed sufficiently to this, that, or the other geek-cred.

As with my association with subcultures throughout my life, I get in there from time to time, but I'm never a member.

I'm not even an 80s metal head.

When I was in high school, I thought I was a hippie but wasn't ... and thought I liked New Wave but wasn't all the way there ... and had friends into hair bands, but was shy of its brashness ... and, again: I wasn't anything.

The blurb under my bio? "I contain multitudes" ... ? In a way, it's both a brag and a lament. My personality is multifarious, nonconforming - but then, it's also a bit jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none.

It's fun to brag that my first two concerts were The Clash's Combat Rock tour and Bowie (I often don't point out that was Serious Moonlight - but still - I saw all the cool concerts). But I wasn't fully in with either of those crowds either.

When I met Beloved Ex late in 1987, and began a seven-ish year stint With the Band, I actually, finally, gained a bit of cred in the one place I've ever had it. And even that - by proxy, of course.

I spent those years gigging right along with BEx and the band. I even ran lights for them a time or two (not my first time; I did major in theater - and that comment that I was part of the Rhythm Nation refers to one of the best shows I ever did run lights for - a dance concert, set to the album). I helped set up and break down, I sold what swag they had from time to time, I absolutely acted a bit as an ambassador. It never hurt those guys to have a fox dancing and "WOO!"ing up front, getting others to actually form a crowd around the stage.

When BEx worked with a radio station on an in-house band called The Wham Bam Thank You Band - I was (by the radio guys we palled around with) called The Ma'am. My chagrin at the time was entirely faked.

So that post label, the one marked 80s Bimbastic Glory? It's the one label-claim I actually feel I can make. Yeah, it's a joke (I wasn't a bimbo, I just played one for the band). BEx and I were both actually pretty conservative, well-bred, nice kids. He was a bashful and mannerly corn-fed boy who opened doors for me and treated me right.

On stage, of course, he was a whole 'nuther story.

And so, I got my cred.

I have a soft spot for metal, and all those things we're supposed to find risible - or, worse, sanctify as part of My Youth - because it's been That Many Years since they were happening (both in the temporal and the hip senses of the term). Not all metal was born in the 80s and not all its musicians had the bad hair. (I had bad hair myself, but not because it was big.)

Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, AC/DC - I love some of the greats, and some we are supposed to consider not-so-great. Hell, years ago I saw Sebastian Bach - specifically to gawk at whoever would go see him past his sell-by date, and possibly to throw some Silly String around the venue - and hell if he didn't smack my attitude down by sounding good. Still an asshat, of course. But the guy can sing, and that's his job. My hat was off. G'wan, Sebastian Bach.

More recently, the same friend and her husband and I went to go see The Cult. And Ian Astbury was great, they were tight, and it was a wonderful show, we had a great time. I could have lived without seeing that one guy from my past, but the music? My jam. That was an excellent show.

I still love this stuff. I don't OWN enough of it, of course, but then I don't own enough Janet Jackson nor *any* Loretta Lynn, nor much else of a lot of the music I love either.

Judas Priest. Jeebers, and by Priest, I mean only where Rob Halford is involved. Because - Halford! It's a rock shout unto itself, his name. Woo!

Dio. Aww. Ronnie James Dio. Tell me any fan who doesn't go all AWW when they remember him. He was the best manner of spectacle - and he seems also to have been a great guy, a nice one. Aww, Ronnie James Dio. Rest in Peace - or in mayhem, if that is more fun for a rock god, man.

And Zeppelin.

I have a hard time with Zeppelin, because - I mean, Jimmy Page once basically attemped to own a little girl for a year or two. Pretty much did. And how HIDEOUSLY horrifying. How sick, and way beyond rock-and-roll demented. It's all the worse, given he's all but internationally deified, and grey hair has conferred upon him forgiveness for all sins, if not English sainthood ...

But damn me if I can or will cut Led Zep's music out of my life. "Thank You" alone has some deep roots in my memories, and I can't excise those, nor do I care to.

And of course "Whole Lotta Love" - the performance of which is a major factor in my saying BEx on stage was a whole 'nuther guy above. I saw people who'd known him as my dorky boyfriend witness him on stage and just about die of shock.

On stage, Beloved Ex was one hell of a rock star.

He was a GREAT front man, a talented singer, guitarist, bass player, AND writer.

His spelling was the pits, but that was dealt with in the divorce.

I feel the need to get out in my car with the fantastic JVC sound system (once it gets past factory standard, it's a "sound system" not a stereo) and listen to something really loud.

I'd do it in the house. But Gossamer tends to jump.

Aww. Gossamer. Even more loveable than Ronnie James Dio. And that is saying something.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Lookin' Good

Writing has been slow of late. As writers' complaints go, this one is unsurprising in the extreme, but yesterday was a palliative. Yesterday was the first day I took a wide-angle look at the manuscript, a real LOOK - not reading, not stopping in any particular place, but simply running my eyeballs across it not for comprehension but to see where it is blue.

There are authors who outline and authors who have expectations and a set process ... and then there are authors who have nothing but a timeline, and whose expectations change as they undergo the process themselves, the novel working on them rather than the other way around. Some call themselves "pantsers" (seat of the pants writers); I don't gravitate to the term, but when asked I pretty much fall in this category.

This doesn't mean I have no structure. But the scaffold of my WIP is not one many others would feel safe climbing onto.

Research on this novel dates back to the very earliest days of working on The Ax and the Vase; the idea for this work was born of that reading, though it is in no way a sequel (and thank goodness, considering that Ax is languishing inventory). So I found bits and bobs along *that* way that I dropped into a Word doc which someday I would bring off a back burner, and which now has become the WIP.

Research is blue.

While I still acknowledge that at this point, anything "written" (self-generated and not in blue - in short, scenes, sketches, and snippets dealt with and contributory in some way or another to the novel) remains at this point strictly draft work: it is at least written, and folded into the work in some degree.

It's the blue text that hasn't been dealt with, that doesn't contribute yet.

Yesterday: I was pretty gratified with the level of blue, as I scrolled through 234 pages of pants-tastic not-yet-a-manuscript.

And surprised.

For all these years, the WIP being a backburner item, the Word doc nothing but a bin into which I'd toss occasional research and ideas, to be cleaned up "someday" - I have not had the courage to LOOK at it.

Turns out, it's not a bad view.

And now, to dive back into the trees. The forest is not on fire, and I feel safe exploring.