Ista and I took our walk in the heat of the day today: 14 F at 2:30 p.m. I put tights on under my jeans like I used to do all the time in college. Tomorrow if it continues the same, I will put gloves on under my mittens. I should have made tea when we got home, or cocoa, or something.
markgritter left for California this morning. I am feeling tired and a bit disjointed. I will sleep hard and early tonight; that should help. I am way behind on e-mail, so please do not feel unloved. Tomorrow will not be much of a catch-up day, either. Bear with me. Sorry.
So I was thinking of doing something silly, and -- surprise! -- I think I will. I've been working on Zodiac House, in which the main characters are solving magical puzzles with themes around the twelve elements of Chinese astrology. The Chinese Cultural Center's page on the Chinese Zodiac emphasizes that, "These horoscopes are amusing, but not regarded seriously by the Chinese people." Fair enough, although my direct reports from actual Chinese people vary considerably on this point, mostly along the lines of "totally not serious except for one unpredictable thing my grandmother does."
Anyway, so I thought, well, hey, I will make rambly lj entries for the signs whose chapters I finish. I don't write sequentially, so this may mean no posts on this general subject for awhile and then a flurry of posts. We'll see. But I'm done with the Sheep/Ram, so that's where we're starting. The CCC Ram page says, "People born in the Year of Ram are elegant and highly accomplished in the arts." Hey. Not a bad start for a book, huh? I gave up on elegance years and years ago. I am far too enthusiastic to be elegant. I am fine with this tradeoff. Some of you are elegant, and it's fun to watch. I am just too bouncy to stay there for long.
But...an elegant children's book? Well, maybe: in physics, we talked a lot about elegance in a rather different way, elegant theories fitting lots of data, applying concisely to many situations. And I think good children's books do that. I think a good children's book manages to be many things to many people, manages to be loved by a diverse herd of people for a multiplicity of reasons. Adult books do that, too, but children's books are trying to do so much in so little space, in so few words, that the range of inferrence is just huge. And I think that kind of potential range is a strength of the form, not a weakness; but it's a beast to get right.
Later the CCC page on the Ram says, "Sometimes clumsy in speech" -- we can revise that out in the next draft -- "they are always passionate about what they do and what they believe in." That? That we can do.