Friday, August 31, 2007

off with its head!

Chapter 3 is done and sent. Chapter 4 is decapitated.

The main point seems WAY too simple now, having made the mistake of doing just a little more literature review and finding more. Stuff that's not exactly on point, but talks about similar issues and some of the same writers. . . . Stuff that would take me months longer to get through in order to deal with. Months I simply don't have.


Can you say: "This is distinguishable?!"

There now. That wasn't so hard, was it?

milk AND lemon. . . .

I was probably 12 when I learned that, although milk and lemon were almost always on hand when tea was on offer, there was a reason I was always asked "Milk or lemon?"

It was a church reception of some sort. I ended up with no adult supervision at the tea table when faced with the choice.

"Why not have both?" I thought to myself, reasonably.

I quickly learned why not. Horrified at the curdled mess that resulted, I slunk into the kitchen and hid the evidence.

Now - would the same thing happen, do you think, if you put milk in tea that has lemon verbena in it?

I'll let you know. . . .

Meanwhile, I'm drinking Lapsang Souchong - no milk OR lemon - which I affected a liking for soon after that experience. It was in a novel I was reading at the time: Smoky, the Cow Pony - or something like that. The cowboy with Smoky was partial to Lapsang Souchong. "Smoky-tasting", he called it. Somehow I never once thought he meant it tasted horsey. . . .

I was all grown up by the time I finally came across to real honest-to-goodness Lapsang Souchong. . . . and he was right. It is smoky-tasting!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

some days are better than others

I heard once that a good day is any day you've learned something.

Today is a good day. A great day, even, if you think that: "If learning one thing is good, learning 2 things must be better!"

(But I've learned that learning two things is NOT better. And learning twenty things is even worse. . . .)

Here's what I learned:

"It's a mistake to think that writing is about putting down words on paper. Writing is about thinking." *

Well then. That's enough to take my breath away today! Now back to getting the evidence of all my work these past five years put down on paper. . . . sigh.

I'm trying NOT to think about how stupid everyone thought my first story submission was. I just found out that no one likes hot pink parchment paper, and the raffia was not a good idea.

As for the calligraphy. . . . well, the less said about that, the better.

*Peter Rubie, "It has to be Cutting-Edge Work" in Making the Perfect Pitch, Katherine Sands, ed., (The Writer Books, 2004).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

and awaaay we go!

[on the wheel - click here]

I know JUST how he feels. . .

it ain't over till it's over

There was full lunar eclipse last night. This morning, I guess I should say. I got all excited about it because I was actually still up and thought "What a great opportunity! I get to see a FULL lunar eclipse!"

Now that's lookin' on the bright side of STILL BEING AWAKE AT 3:30 a.m, eh?

I did the research to determine the precise time only to determine that I would certainly be awake, but the moon would already have set. The lunar eclipse would go on alright - but safely out of view. Below the horizon.


Alright. Back to chapter 3. Whose idea was this? Right.

No, you can't go to sleep yet. You're not even tired. Ok. So maybe you're tired, but you're wound up; you won't sleep. You might just as well sit right here in front of that computer and type. One. . . . slow. . . . word. . . . at. . . .a . . . .time. . . . .




two whole lines! pause. Type in lengthy quote just for the pleasure of zipping words on paper. Delete. Save.

I'm hoping that the clear thinking I need to complete this has been going on below my horizon. In the meantime, it ain't over. And I guess I should be glad about that - because it ain't done! Not yet.

But oh! boy! when it is. . . . .

Monday, August 27, 2007

chapter 3 blues. . . .

ok. So I got chapters 1 and 2 off to my tutor and then I made the mistake - not of re-reading what I'd already sent - but of reading comments of a very early draft of 3. And got derailed.

OMG - I have to read at least 4 more authors before I can even HOPE to tackle this one! What was I thinking? No way this is doable in a week!

The thing that really gets me is that the main guy I want to take on in this chapter doesn't bother reading the guys I've read, he just spouts. And he's a Court of Appeals judge! Here's a quote from him about that: "Journalists don't provide support for what they say, why should I?" Granted, it wasn't in a judicial opinion. But he says plenty of things there that aren't supported either, trust me!

The worst bit of it is that he attacks what he calls the "academic moralists" - with no support - and fails to engage them in their own terms. It is likely that those very same academic moralists will fault me for failing adequately to support and justify anything I say against the judge.

Not that he'd appreciate it.

Anyway - I just want to sleep for about 10 hours. Then maybe I'll have a better outlook on all this.

In the meantime, the king made dinner (again!) and poured wine and we sat and watched the hummingbirds and the goldfinches and he let me kvetch and moan and then sent me off for 2 more hours before our chocolate break. What a king. . . .

Sunday, August 26, 2007

big nuts

Is it just me? Or is this the biggest acorn you've ever seen?

The king wouldn't say. He was amazed at the colour.

I think this looks like a feast-for-two in squirrel land. No wonder the squirrels around here are so chubby!

I like the top, too. Looks like a beret. . . .

Friday, August 24, 2007

fly me to the moon

. . . . good to know there's
more than one way to get there!

too many notes

I've always loved the line in Amadeus when Emperor Joseph II of Austria says to Mozart that his opera has "too many notes."

"Too many notes?"

"Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply
too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect."

"Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?"

I am like that with words. Often. But having put them on paper, I can't bear to part with them. In one way, I guess that's better than not having put anything on paper to begin with!

On the other hand, a rambling mess of random words strung together is as sure a defense against readers as a castle moat is to intruders.

Chapter one cut yesterday - down to 16,500 words. Not 'perfect', perhaps, but not bad. Chapter two is on the block today. I am guarding against discouragement and what's-the-use mantras. I felt SO good yesterday, having finally completed chapter 1! And it's so easy to slip from elation to despair. Why is that, do you suppose?

PS - if you click on the 'question mark' link above - currently messing up the layout - you'll hear the line! I have NO idea how to make that come up as link on the words themselves - as so many others manage. . . . a little help here? [never mind - figured it out! yay!!!]

Thursday, August 23, 2007

WAY too serious

It's hard not to be serious when you've got a deadline of a mountain by the end of the week and your dissertation topic involves not only law, but also philosophy and theology and uses words like deontology and teleology as major players in the thesis.

Words most people probably don't know - hell, I didn't know 'em till about 5 years ago! - and it took me a good 3 years before I didn't have to stop and think before being able to use either one of them with any degree of certainty. I still get insecure about it, sometimes.

CONFESSION: when a lawyer says "Objection, your Honor!" and the Judge says "Sustained." or even "Overruled." I still have to stop and figure out whether that means the witness can answer the question or the piece of evidence is admitted.

It's like double negatives. Sort of. "I didn't NOT write" still doesn't mean that I wrote. . . .

See what I mean?! WAY too serious. . . .

I have no sense of humour any more. I can't remember a single joke - ok, maybe one, but it's not funny - I do remember laughing almost to the point of tears with my husband this weekend, but it was over nothing and I think it was more just a release than anything else! Himself got to laughing because I was laughing and it fed on itself. That, and the random phrases thrown in that were either funny or hysterically not-funny.

"Why are you laughing?!" he. . . he. . . he. . . .

"I don't know - why are YOU laughing!!!" HEHEHEHE. . . .HE!

"That's so funny. . . . .!!!! You . . . . ha!. . . ha!. . . ha!. . . ."

Felt good.

For today - the mountain ignored yesterday is threatening to crash on me today. But maybe I can see the humour in waiting till the last week and a half now in which to think to wrap up a doctoral dissertation. And write two of the chapters?! And start a blog to blow off steam. And stay up half the night reading other blogs instead either working or getting some sleep.

Surely there's something funny in all that?

I didn't think so either.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

the set up. . .

I realize I've set myself up with this talk of 'truth'. . . .

I feel obligated to tell it, now, having talked about 'croakings of a truthful nature'. This, even though there's no relational accountability - not yet, anyway.

I find this interesting. Even though no one knows who I am, I feel an obligation to tell the truth. ESPECIALLY since I SAID I was going to tell the truth. . . . What's THAT about? (I'll leave for another time ramblings about how anonymity affects relationship.)

A writer I like has been writing about a difficult relationship that seems to me to BE difficult because the two in the relationship have strayed into what I've been calling the 'unenforceable' in some of my writing and thinking. It's the area of the free gift - freely chosen; freely given. The moment you either expect it or demand it, it vanishes like one of the 'little people'. Giggling on its way. Maddening and sobering in the sudden absence of its magical presence. But you will search for it in vain. The only thing you can do is accept it when it is given. And it is never just offered. . . . It's always given, even if it is not accepted.


Yes. In a way, it's like truth. Truth is given - not imposed. The moment you interrogate it, cross-examine it, demand it or take it for granted (in the sense of 'expecting' it) it can flee - slip just out of your grasp, right between your fingers. You can't hold on to it or mold it, but you CAN always accept it when it offers itself.

That's the lesson here, I think: always to have open hands for the truth; always to have open hands for the 'unenforceable' free gift. Because the minute you stop accepting, so often you also stop giving, yourself. And when you're not giving, the inexorable law is still that you get what you give - so, "nothing", in that case. But neither is it cause and effect, here! You can't 'give to get'. Motivation counts, and you don't always 'get back' from the one you gave to. Add 'time' to the equation and you can see that we can't work the sum.

Why bother, then?

It's the 'set up', isn't it? I've tasted now of truth and the free gift. I can't live without it. But I can't enforce it. All I can do is give it. And then accept it - wherever it is offered.

Here's the truth for me, today: as fun as this is, I have work to do. Work that I've put off by all the known writing-avoidance techniques I've ever known or read about (and don't send me any more, please! grin. . . . ). But here's the truth for me, today:

"If you don't write, it won't get written."

Thank you. I'll take that.

Gotta go! (gotta write. . . .)

what's a prophet to do?

There's a whole dialogue going on out there in the blogosphere and I'm tired of having to come up with a name if and when I want to have a say. I never did trust 'anonymous' postings so I finally hit on 'prophet' - which is a great word until you look at it too long or type it too often and then it becomes like the word 'school' or 'artichoke' and it morphs into a meaningless set of apparently unpronounceable letters, whose order is suddenly random and possibly wrong. . . . My advice: don't put ANY word under that kind of scrutiny. They all start wriggling around.

So 'prophet' I became. And it was good.

And then I thought: "Why not start my own blog?"

Another splendid idea! I started to set up the 'prophet' blog only to discover that some guy named Josh set one up under that name back in 2001 to chronicle the adventures of a "normal guy livin [sic] it up in the Great White North. Alaska!" (with his little dog, Chi Chi, too. . .) He calls it: "Burning Ring of Fire".

I fear for his life, as he has not posted anything since 2001.

Since that first posting, in fact. The 'burning ring of fire' must have done him in. Or maybe it was the dog. . . .

I'll have to watch out on my account not to fall prey to the same danger - even though I live many miles south of Alaska, where it is comfortingly green. Raining now, in fact. I think I'm safe for another day. (and I don't have a dog. Not yet.)

. . . . 'and the prophet said "Let there be a PROPER prophet blog, then!" and it was so. And the prophet saw that it was good, whatever that means these days, and that now at least we could talk about it. . . . And it was evening, and there was morning - the first day. . . ."