June 18th, 2005

taking a break

Revelation of the morning

All those years I wasn't eating parsnips? It appears I wasn't missing much. I had hoped for them to be golden and earthy and sweet and strange, and instead they're kind of whitish, once you peel them, and flat. Like Bunnicula'ed carrots. Although now that I've peeled them and a couple heads of garlic, my hands smell interesting, like I could add some curry powder and really have something, so maybe it'll all work out in the end (even though I don't intend to add curry powder until I get to a different soup entirely).

I keep trying foods I didn't like in the past, in hopes that I will like them in the present, but I seem to have hit a plateau on that after my early-twenties bitter-food tastes kicked in. I also keep gradually trying foods I've read about and never had. That's only going slightly better. I'm due to try orange marmalade again, just to see if Paddington had it right after all. Blancmange is actually not very good. I still haven't had mead, so I can't tell you. I hope it's better than parsnips, though.

Have there been foods that were "like in books" in your life? Did you like them in real life?
taking a break

Week of June 12-18

Four rejections. This is at least what we call activity. Some of them sounded extremely sorry and asked me for something else right away. So...yah. On we go.

I made my version of matociquala's version of heresluck's version of Deborah Madison's white bean soup from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I'm not sure whose that makes it. Anyway, mine has no celery whatever in it because I hate celery because it is vile and stringy and has no place in my life much less in my soup. It is my least favorite vascular system in the whole universe, so far as I know. If we come into more kinds of vascular systems, I may change my mind, but I actually rather doubt it, because no one will have been trying to slip the alien ones in where they weren't wanted. It also has cilantro from our very own yard in it. The cilantro is new and a bit spindly but attempting to take over the world nonetheless. (It's far enough from the chives that the showdown is yet to come.)

I expect to make at least one more soup tonight, one of the much puree-er ones depending on how much chopping I'm in the mood for. (gaaldine's pepper dill one has much, much more chopping than the pumpkin tomato bisque.)

I'm poking at the beginning of Thermionic Night, the bit actual editors and actual agents will actually see for sure. (I hope they'll actually see the rest, but no guarantees in this world.) I seem to need to rewrite novel beginnings pretty consistently. If I wrote chronologically, I would understand this as a problem with getting into rhythm of writing that the story and/or the universe. But I don't write chronologically; Chapter 2 was one of the last chapters I wrote. So I think it's more structural. Thankfully, I do seem to be able to write beginnings eventually, so that's something.

porphyrin, in her helpful critique and carpet-shampooing session* yesterday, commented that when she got to one of the characters, she thought, yep, this book officially has enough strong women. And I had not even thought of the character in question in those terms, much less all the others. In my head, the thing about it all was that it was 1950, so just about everybody in Europe and huge chunks of Asia either had recently endured some pretty awful stuff or was still in the process of enduring it. But I'm the one who chose that situation. As the author, I don't get to disclaim it. Sure, it's historically accurate, but I could have written a book in any other place-time in history or out of it, and I didn't.

The other thing is, I just don't have women who consistently take crap in my life. I'm trying to think of one from before I graduated high school, just one, and I can come up with maybe one friend of my mother's, and I found her baffling even before I was in kindergarten. I know lots of women who take a lot of crap from a very limited group of people, but generally, this isn't a political statement, it's my world. The idea of sitting down and thinking about deliberately having a Strong Female Character makes me make that face some dogs make when they know those human noises are supposed to mean something about them and possibly the antique chair they're chewing on, but damned if they know what. The world is full of women who are so driven they're nearly to the point of insanity or at least alarm for less energetic beings. That's...that's just what it's got, like mountains and trees and wee little birdies. It's like I included gravity in my book: it's a lot easier than trying to explain to everybody where the gravity went in this otherwise Earth-like setting and how it continues to work without the gravity in the first place. And sure, some people write books with situations where gravity is having a much different effect, but it takes a lot of work and often they get parts of it wrong, so if they don't have anything interesting to say about it, gratuitous zero-g is probably not the way to go.

Oh, for those of you who get the Strib, check out the religion question this week! The hippie inclusive Christian is ours, timprov's dad's co-pastor. I read her response and went, "Yeah, that," and also, "I can totally hear Susan saying that." Then I read the others and went, "Meh." Susan 1, Other People 0. (I know, I know, it's not a contest. Good thing for those other people, too, or they'd have lost.)

*Don't go around feeling jealous that she doesn't come shampoo your carpet. Roo just spilled a little shampoo on the floor is all.