Month: November 2007 Page 2 of 4

Writerly Ramble.

My POV character in the current book, Nancy, is much more observant than I am. I’m having a hard time describing the things she sees: of course she sees things that I wouldn’t, but she also sees things in a different order than I would — she can only see so many things at a time, like, one. But she sees things, consciously, rather than seeing them without noticing and having an intuitive grasp of them all at once.

Example. I was typing the description of a woman Nancy just met. I wanted to say that she was “slender and elegant.” Whoooooah, says Nancy. How do I know she’s elegant? Is it just that she’s well-dressed and has upper-class manners? How do I know she’s well-dressed? How do I know what upper-class manners are, especially when I have no idea how the upper class behaves there? There’s a whole realm of information hiding behind that “slender and elegant,” and I’m not buying that I would make the same assumptions you would.

Stupid writer, she says.

Okay, okay. Something go look for when I go back through. Now shut up before I cut your leg off…

Update: Here’s how it worked out: “She was taller than Nancy, slender, and smoothly poised as she kissed Gil on both cheeks.” Which later led to the following observation: “The room, as she stepped into it and accepted Marda’s kisses just past the surface of her cheeks, smelled like food, but unfamiliarly. Nancy had no intention of kissing her back; the woman’s face was covered with powder and smelled like a flower garden before the flowers put out.”

She still has problems with poised.

Word of the Day.

pinchbeck (PINCH-bek) noun

An alloy of zinc and copper, used as imitation gold in jewelry.

adjective

Counterfeit or spurious.

[After watchmaker Christopher Pinchbeck (1670-1732), who invented it.
It’s ironic that today his name is a synonym for something counterfeit
but in his time his fame was worldwide, not only as the inventor of
this curious alloy but also as a maker of musical clocks and orreries*.
The composition of this gold-like alloy was a closely-guarded secret
but it didn’t prevent others from passing off articles as if made from
this alloy… faking fake gold!]

*Orrery: http://wordsmith.org/words/orrery.html

Today’s word in Visual Thesaurus: http://visualthesaurus.com/?w1=pinchbeck

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

Iron Road: Not human.

“That’s right. I never told Frank about the Graemlings. Did you ever hear the stories about gremlins the pilots tell? Little goblins that got onto planes and wrecked them?”

“But–“

“Well, it turns out the legend had some basis in fact. The Graemlings did exist, but they’re gone now. A completely different race. Not human at all. The real native Nieberlanders, in fact. They haven’t been seen for about a hundred, a hundred and fifty years. It would have been the year 1800 or so, about the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Which is the time the immigrants to Nieberland from Germany stopped coming in the other way. Incidentally. The legend has hung around for a while, and it went the rounds as a rumor among the pilots, but nobody living has actually seen one.”

SHOES!

Ray tied her shoes last night!

She kept saying things like, “It’s too hard for my fingers.” But she laughed her way through the tricky process–success! I made her untie them and do it again–and she did it again!

She will probably have to learn it again today. Her fingers do not know how to see the shoelaces of themselves, and tying a shoelace isn’t logical in a way a brain can directly grasp, much the way the fourth dimension isn’t something the brain can directly grasp.

(Go ahead. Next time you tie your shoes, try to grasp the reason a shoelace knot works the same way you can grasp the way a donut works. You can work it out, but you can’t directly grab onto the idea and say, “Aha!”)

NaNoWriMo: Neil Gaiman Pep Talk

Cooool. The pep talk for NaNo this week is from Neil Gaiman. I was so thinking about doing this last night, but then, I don’t have an agent:

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”

I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not really.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”

So I just cussed out my blinkin’ laptop, went shopping, came home, taught Ray how to tie her new shoes (!!!), drank a beer, crashed on the couch for an hour, got up, did some yoga…It’s amazing how productive not writing can be.

So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.

Okay, this is going to be my measure of success. When I can call up my agent, whine about my book, then go back all day to the coffee shop where I’m writing my novel, I’ve made it.

Another joke, but not so bad.

A man is dining in a fancy restaurant and there is a gorgeous redhead sitting at the next table. He has been checking her out since he sat down, but lacks the nerve to talk with her.

Suddenly she sneezes, and her glass eye comes flying out of its socket toward the man.

He reflexively reaches out, grabs it out of the air, and hands it back.

“Oh my, I am so sorry,” the woman says as she pops her eye back in place.

“I’m sure that must have embarrassed you so let me pay for your dinner to make it up to you,” she says.

They enjoy a wonderful dinner together, and afterwards they go to the theatre followed by drinks. They talk, they laugh, she shares her deepest dreams and he listens, he shares his and she listens.

After paying for everything, she asks him if he would like to come to her place for a nightcap and stay for breakfast.

They have a wonderful, wonderful time.

The next morning, she cooks a gourmet breakfast with all the trimmings. The guy is amazed and totally impressed. Everything had been SO incredible!

“You know,” he said, “you are the perfect woman. Are you this nice to every guy you meet?”

“No,” she replies. . . . . . “You just happened to catch my eye.”

Worst Joke in the World

…with two bad jokes preceeding, just to let you down easy.

Iron Road: Her Brother Frank, His Fiancee Ellen

I have now passed the 25K mark, one day early!

“Frank,” Nancy joked, “I’m unpredictable. Ellen just does things for reasons you don’t understand. I think it’s because she likes people and she wants them to be happy. Me? I could care less.”

“You?” Frank asked. “I know you too well. You’re the predictable one.”

“Am I?” Nancy asked. They were almost to the old railroad bed. “What will I do next, Frank?”

Frank stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, leaned over, and kissed her on the head. “Let it be a surprise.”

Musical Interlude: Daft Charleston

I had no idea that 1) Daft Punk has been around that long or 2) the tropes in the Charleston were so similar to modern dancing (including breakdancing).

Musical Interlude: Kid Beyond

Back in college, I had some friends that were always joking about making “organic techno,” or electronica-sounding music just using their mouths. (They weren’t very good. They only had one song, which went on interminably. But it was funny.) This is actually called beatboxing these days. Mix Bobby McFerrin with techno, there you go.

Kid Beyond is an incredible beatboxer.

But he’s even better when he starts looping on himself, adding tracks and making songs. (I like “Wandering Star,” a Portishead cover.) They’re real songs. But you’ll find yourself wondering whether he can really make all that noise by himself. I did. But here’s a live clip that shows him building the layers. Cooool.

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