April 3rd, 2007


If this is Tuesday, this must be, um, Tuesday

Another day in paradise here at Rancho Lake. The state of working on a novel has become so pervasive for me that being between books feels very odd. I've still got about four short stories to write, then I'm off on Black Tulip. I find my head jumping a lot creatively right now. This is probably due to a lack of deliberate focus. In the last two days I've read the most recent of Cherryh's Foreigner books, and Laumer's collection Retief of the CDT.

Reading. Goodness. What a concept.

Last night I dreamt matociquala and I were rearranging my bookshelves, except for some reason my Dad was around, and he thought she and I were having a violent, noisy date. It was just like being in a sitcom!

The Fireside writers are meeting tonight. I'll probably be doing marketing, writing the cover letters for one last big round of Mainspring Powell's | Amazon ] ARC sendouts and some short story sendouts. Sometimes I think I need another hobby, like knitting, then I think, where would I fit it in?

Time to go on some photographic walking tours, methinks.

If you write novels on a regular schedule, what do you do between projects?

If you don't write novels on a regular schedule, why not?

"It’s a 400-some-odd-page poem written in Old English"

"It’s a 400-some-odd-page poem written in Old English." Vincent Newman, producer of a proposed film version of Paradise Lost, on Milton's 17th century poem.


Old English? Really? Is this just me being an intellectual snob, or should people know that Old English was long gone in the 17th century? I mean, contemporary Anglophones can read Paradise Lost.

The Lord's Prayer in Old English:

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum,
Si þin nama gehalgod.
To becume þin rice,
gewurþe ðin willa,
on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.
Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg,
and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum.
And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. Soþlice

The Lord's Prayer in Early Modern English:

Our father which art in heauen, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdome come. Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heauen.
Giue vs this day our daily bread.
And forgiue vs our debts, as we forgiue our debters.
And lead vs not into temptation, but deliuer vs from euill: For thine is the kingdome, and the power, and the glory, for euer, Amen.

(Source: http://www.georgetown.edu/faculty/ballc/oe/pater_noster.html)

Biblical Inerrancy

Ok, here's my new favorite piece of Biblical literalism. (Even better than bats being considered birds, or locusts being four-legged creatures.) Thanks to The Straight Dope, I've been pointed to a Bible verse which clearly states that the value of π is equal to 3.

"Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about."
    -- 2 Chronicles 4:2

If you subscribe to Biblical inerrancy, this vile teaching that π is an irrational number is explicitly a sin against the Word of God. Much more clearly so than, say, evolution, which unlike the value of π isn't actually mentioned as such in the Bible. Why isn't Fred Phelps picketing the National Institute of Standards and Technology?

Travails, travails

I'll be in the Bay Area the weekend of 5/11-5/13. I'll be guest lecturing at a class at CCSF that Friday, and am otherwise pretty wide open. I plan to visit all the genre bookstores I can while I'm there, but am otherwise open to suggestions.

To c, or not to c

To c, or not to c,: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of Newtonian travel,
Or to take arms against a sea of causality,
And by opposing end them? To hyperspace: to jump;
Evermore; and by superluminal travel we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That species is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd.

(Promoted from comments here, because it's shaping up to be that kind of week.)

On getting better

I've just finished my critique on two manuscripts for the Norwescon writers' workshop. One of them was good enough that I wouls have held it for consideration had it turned up in my slush pile. The other had a pretty strong plot, but some subtle yet pervasive craft issues, which are completely addressable. In other words, far better than one sometimes finds in Con workshops.

The second story was more interesting to me than the first in some ways. I wound up deconstructing the author's first paragraph in excruciating detail in order to identify why it threw me out of the story rather than inviting me in. If they take it well during live critique next weekend, I may ask for permission to repost that one bit, without attribution. (Or with, I suppose, if they want to be cited that way on this blog.)

It was an interesting exercise, to say the least, and it made me realize how much I really have learned in the past six or seven years. There are so many little trips and triggers which are largely invisible to a casual perusal, and we file them out of our prose over time without ever quite realizing they are there.

More to the point, it makes me wonder how much else lurks invisible in my current prose, to be discovered by my future self.

Note to universe: Could I be accomplished now, please? It would save ever so much trouble.

Oh mighty lj brain

The great and powerful spreadsheet has finally hit a wall...too damned many records for Excel to really cope with very well. I think I need to go to a database. I used to design and build Oracle databases, back in the day, and SQL doesn't scare me. But I don't really know what to use on my Mac at this point. I'd like a shareware/freeware SQL like mySQL or miniSQL, but I'd strongly prefer a GUI front end to it.

Suggestions? Comments?

Going to Oregon City...

Spent the afternoon and evening at the Fireside with karindira, mkhobson, maryrobinette, and thirdworld. karindira, mkhobson and I went out to the Barley Mill afterwards, then due to a transportation surprise on mkhobson's part, I ran her down to her palatial estates in Oregon City. Nice 30, 35 minute round trip with the top down in the Oregon night, a drive I wouldn't have made otherwise. We won't discuss me getting slightly lost on the way back -- dead reckoning and a good sense of local geography carried the day.

Worked on Black Tulip background this evening, so no word count. Thank you very much to all who responded on the Black Plague question. Extremely helpful response, and fairly entertaining stuff in the bargain.

To sleep, perchance to dream now.