December 8th, 2009


With digressions into hyphenation and Spoonducks

We are getting a lovely snow here, finally. As soon as everybody's home from their evening commute, it will be even better. In the meantime I'm still enjoying it from my safe, warm house. Hot chocolate helps. Having finished one of my tins of known good hot chocolate, I've moved on to a new kind, which is pretty nice also. I have discovered that for me, fiddliness in hot chocolate is not any kind of flaw, but rather a virtue: I like messing with the whisk and more than one measure and having multiple steps. It's not as important as the flavor, but part of what I'm doing at teatime is taking time out from whatever else I was doing, and fiddling with my tea or hot chocolate helps with that.

Another of my break-taking habits this time of year is to grab a large-ish object from the pile of presents and cut off a piece of wrapping paper to wrap it. Then I proceed with using the scraps to wrap other, smaller things until I run out of paper from the large piece I cut. Then I go back to whatever else I was doing. It's very much more satisfying, somehow, than sitting down and having a marathon wrapping session all at once, although I still might have to do some of that, depending on where the occasional round of wrapping gets me.

I did not intend to finish writing "Carter Hall Wears the C" this week, but time makes fools of us all, and anyway a finished story is not a bad thing by any stretch. One of the interesting meta sorts of things about this one--and by "interesting" I mean "interesting to me and probably boring to you"--is that it is not the chronologically next story in the series of stories. I have talked a lot about writing things out of sequence within a story or novel, but up until this point, the Carter Hall short stories have docilely consented to be finished in the order in which they happen. And I saw no reason to push that, until "Wears the C" made itself known: "Carter Hall Goes to the Boards" is going to be a fine thing, I think--it's the one for careswen--but I have a fear that it's a novelette, and I've just finished a damn novelette and have another half-done that should probably get some attention. And sometimes what my life needs is a straightforward short story with a 4/4 beat, you can dance to it, also it's got Tommy Heikkanen's witchy little Finnish granny showing up in her Buick (above whose steering wheel she can barely see) to wreak havoc, and Carter has to try to direct the havoc away from himself and the rest of the team. Isn't that nice? I think it's nice. I always like a little grandmotherly havoc with my tea. (I think the moral of these stories may be, "Grandmothers: seriously, do not mess with them." One of the morals. If you only have one moral, it'd better be an awfully short story.)

But anyway, here we are, not just skipping over "Goes to the Boards" but also "Completes the Pass," "Crosses the Blue Line," "Carter Hall's Hat Trick," "Covers the Goal," "Throws Down the Gloves," and "Pandora's Penalty Box." And possibly even "Plays It Ahead," I don't know that one yet, just the title. ("Pandora's Penalty Box" is one of the ones where Carter is babysitting Jess Lin-Laird. The other babysitting one I know about at the moment is "The Plural of Golem is Goalie," where Jess is really old enough to demonstrate the hazards of in utero exposure to the Queen of Air and Darkness. Jess is going to get her own book someday. We are all about the consequences, here at Spoonduckcirclebill Ranch, and Jessica Lin-Laird is consequences times ten, on two skates.)

(Oh. Spoonduckcirclebill Ranch is what porphyrin calls our house. All the streets in our neighborhood are named after waterfowl, you see. Poor dlandon: I sent a lasagna over when her mom died, and I put "SPOONDUCK" on it on a piece of tape so she'd know whose dish it was when it was empty and clean and ready to send back. Only apparently porphyrin hadn't called us that to Dena, so she thought I had made some exotic spoonbread dish with duck meat, when in fact it was plain old lasagna with Italian sausage.)

So the question I have about finishing this story is: should damnfool be one word, two words, or a hyphenated word, when used as an adjective? That is, "You didn't make a damnfool wish like that," not, "You're a damn fool, Carter Hall." I have already decided that shit-stupid is hyphenated, because shitstupid just looks wrong, and shit stupid is a less clear idiom, I think. But I am on the fence regarding damnfool/damn-fool/damn fool. Hmmmm. Help.

In other news, I have decided that since I am feeling pretty low-energy at the moment, now is perhaps not the time to push myself to read books that are informative and will add to my knowledge base but are not perhaps what we would call good. So I'm letting myself read the last of the Reginald Hills we have on hand, which is what I want, and then after that we'll see. The library has bunches more of them, and I know it, but I'd really prefer not to juggle library return dates along with everything else in December, so I may have a Dalziel-free period from now until after Christmas. Oh wailie wailie.