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A Little Housekeeping

It's me

It’s me

Now that the furor of the cartoon has died down (ahhhhhh), we can return to our (ir)regular (un)scheduled bloggy-thing. Thanks to those who stopped by and decided to stick around and see what happens next; I can promise nothing but infrequent posts on topics that appeal to my rather scattered brain. Having a kid to raise, a freelance career to maintain, a novel to finish (my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it–I’m swamped!), blog upkeep falls rather far down on the priority list. However I’m working out a system whereby I take my least productive day (it’s Saturday) and pre-write posts for the coming week/month/whatever, so it may actually result in a net increase in content. We shall see if my cunning plan actually works!

I did go ahead and write a comment policy; I doubt I’ll need it, as 99% of the Sad Puppy-related visitors were incredibly polite (as in literally, I was incredulous at the level of politeness–happy, grateful, but also incredulous), but now it exists.  What is it they say?  Better to have it and not need it, etc?

Again, thanks, howdy, welcome, pull up a chair, grab a cup of beverage of choice; I look forward to getting to know you lovely folks better.

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Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

It can be no coincidence that the rising of Christ from the tomb corresponds to the greening of nature after the long winter, and even here where winter’s average temperatures are in the mid-50s, the new blossoms springing to life after a season of grey and brown are a delight to the eyes.

After a long hiatus (much more than a season) I am getting back into gardening, in my haphazard and ramshackle way, mostly by guess and by gosh, with frantic googlings when things start to go wrong (what are those teeny tiny red things, and why are they killing my tomatoes?  I have yet to bring a tomato to successful fruition), and this year I am putting in roses.  A popular fantasy author put some flings against roses into the mouth of one of his characters, and I was a little indignant on the poor roses’ behalf.  Is it their fault they are so extravagantly lovely that man has deemed them the best symbol of eternal devotion?  But never mind him.  This year at last our poor drab home will be adorned with roses, roses everywhere I can put them.  I am thinking of climbing roses around the east and west windows, like the cottage in Robin McKinley’s Beauty–although mine are probably not going to grow with supernatural speed and fecundity, alas.

“What do roses do?” the Viking Prince asked.

“What do roses do?” I echoed back at him, as is my (probably quite irritating from his point of view) habit.

He gave it due thought.  “I think they just sit there,” he said.

“Well, yes,” I admitted. “But they also look beautiful…”

“And smell good!”

“And feed the bees…”

“With their nectar! And butterflies!”

“And they glorify God with their loveliness.”  Kind of sententious, I know, but hey, it’s true! God, having made roses, presumably loves them, and the roses, in their plant-y way, love him back.  And do not the green hills, adorned with new blossoms (even the humble dandelions), appear a kind of shout of joy made visible?

And shall we not in this joyful Eastertide (another favorite hymn!) imitate the burgeoning nature around us and glorify God with our best beauties: whether we are magnificent roses, humble dandelions, or prickly blackberries.  Let the joy of God spring forth in our hearts, softening the wintry soil and shooting forth new growth.

As the hymn says:

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.


Hymn “Now the Green Blade Riseth” is copyright John M.C. Crum. I found the full words here.

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Still Alive!

It’s been a while!  I’ve written a number of highly amusing posts in my head, but unfortunately none of them have made it as far as the keyboard.  Running after a super-active mini-Viking (whose favorite movie was Pacific Rim for a while, and now it is How to Train Your Dragon; I am a proud mom, you bet!), finishing a novel (getting there!), experimenting with homemade soaps and other smelly things (science!), and still maintaining some semblance of an art career have meant little time for adequate sleep, let alone any time at all for blogging.

But!  I never did write about the awesomeness of Pacific Rim, and I want to blather a bit about Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the MCU generally, I have Many Thoughts on Frozen (ugh!), and someday I might even get back to telling you guys more about Why Thor Is Awesome.  Since the second movie is out on DVD, I think that’s past due, don’t you?

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This Thanksgiving past, I did something I have never done before, something I didn’t think possible.  I wrote in a room full of people.

Not just a blog post or a Facebook status, but actual semi-coherent words of fiction, a scene appearing in a s.f. retelling of Rapunzel, co-written with my longtime friend and fellow scribbler Joanne Renaud.  (I’ll let you know when and where you can read the story as soon as more details become available.)  So there I was, in the living room at my grandma’s house, surrounded by family talk-talk-talking away, and I sat at the coffee table with my laptop and formed thoughts and words and images out of the ether (but not the Aether, because if I had that I would probably not be writing science fiction), or the raw material of creation, whichever you will.

Not this Aether

Not this Aether

Jane Austen famously wrote her classic novels in the sitting room, laboring away while the busy family chattered around her, and because of her industry we have Emma and Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion and Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility.  Six novels of pure genius.  Virginia Woolf famously wondered what else Jane Austen might have achieved, if she had been less constrained by her circumstances.

I can’t speak for Jane Austen; maybe she had powers of concentration and focus that I lack.  It took me all afternoon to write an 800-word scene.  Some of my slowness came from not knowing what exactly needed to happen until I was writing it, which can lead to a lot of “Hmmmtypey typey typey … ponder … delete.”  (And in those cases it really is often better to get up and go do something else, washing dishes or folding laundry or just taking a walk, something to shake the appropriate neurons loose and get them working again.  But then again, other times stubbornly plugging away can also work.)  But even when one is focusing one’s best, trying to think of the words you need is hard when snatches of relatives’ conversation keeps catching your ear.

Still, I did it.  I finished the scene, and I emailed it to my writing partner so that she could do the next bit, and I felt triumphant and smug.  Take that, Virginia Woolf! I thought.  It can be done!

Yes it can.  But it adds an extra dimension of challenge to a process that is already challenging.  And I wouldn’t recommend trying it with a noisy toddler: the advantage of the chatty family is that they chatter around you, leaving you in an isolated little bubble–not of silence, but of separate-ness, giving you the space to concentrate.  The toddler is 1000% guaranteed not to do that.

So, pace Jane Austen, unparalleled quiet genius, I think I’ll take that isolated room after all.

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