No Ankles

20 January 2002

Good morning. I had an entertaining day yesterday. Returned some stuff at Fry's, where Mark noted how charming it is to tack an art deco front entry onto a warehouse. Oh yeah, really changes the warehouse. And I tried on my bridesmaid's dress at David's Bridal in Milpitas. Well, that's an overstatement. See, the dress Sarah picked out is actually a skirt and top -- which is good, because I need different sizes for top and bottom. If I had worn a 12 or a 16 (but not a 14, for some reason), I could have tried on all the different sizes of top and bottom in whatever color I wanted. But for my actual sizes? No. They had one skirt in the store in my size, and it was the wrong style and this sort of fleshy tan-ish color that Sarah would never make two white-girl bridesmaids wear. (It would have looked decent on really dark skin, though.) They had four tops that were possibilities, but only two of them were in the store in my size, and one was the same fleshy tan color. Luckily, one of the two was the exact top Sarah liked best, so I could try it on and verify that yes, it fit well and looked good and all of that. So we'll be ordering that later.

Watched "Psycho" for the first time yesterday. I think I watched it too late in life. There are two different ways to watch movies too late, I think. One of them is the "Rocky Horror" way. I watched "Rocky Horror" senior year of college, and I think that's really a movie to start with in late high school or early college. The feel of it is just young. I think "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is the same way. You need to see it or a similar type of humor pretty early in life, and then you can continue enjoying it. Otherwise, it'll just feel stupid. (In a bad way, even.)

Then there's the "Psycho" way, which is also the "Hamlet" way. There's a bad old joke about the guy who saw "Hamlet" and thought it was just one cliche after another, missing the idea that "Hamlet" made the cliches. I think "Psycho" is like that. I had seen too many "Psycho" references and spoofs to find any of it particularly shocking or interesting. It had interesting spots, sure, but it was just kind of there. Should have seen it earlier.

People often talk about it being too soon for someone to see something, but I think too late is also a mistake. That's not just true of movies, either. If I had waited until I was 30 to write my first book, that would have been a mistake for me. You don't want to slow things down too much any more than you want to put them on fast-forward. I know some people who set a minimum age of marriage much higher than I do -- much higher than I am, actually. But people vary so much that I really wish that any given milestone would have qualification standards rather than chronology standards. Some people are ready to drive at 14 and some shouldn't do it until they're 20. Some people are politically aware at 16 and some don't educate themselves until they're in their 40s. Moral of the story: people vary. Big surprise.

I read Nekropolis yesterday and had the same reaction as I did to Mission Child: why did she end the book there? Why not twenty pages earlier, or twenty pages later? It was a slice of a life that interested me more than Mission Child's life, but it was still pretty slice of life. And I read The Nine Tailors, and David is right: I now know more about bell-ringing than I ever intended to. Just barely started Treason in the Blood, which is about Kim Philby and his father. Nonfiction. Oh, and I worked on "Take Back the Night," which is falling together totally unexpectedly, in part thanks to Jessie bringing up Tam Lin in her journal.

Despite his extreme illness, Timprov managed to finish reading Reprogramming, for which I am most grateful. He and Mark agree about the ending, which means that I'm going to spend the next few days hammering out more scenes. That's okay. I liked where I ended it, but I can understand where it needs to go before I can do that. The question is really what I'm trying to do here. If I'm trying to sell a series, this ending is fine. If I'm trying to sell an essentially self-contained book that has possibilities for a sequel, this ending is not fine. While the former is possible, I think the latter is a better marketing bet at this point in my career, so more it is.

Timprov has set a ground rule that nothing is allowed to go wrong with anybody's ankles in my next grown-up book, lest somebody think it's a trend. (He knows that there's something in the Not The Moose Book, too.) So, okay: no ankles. We had a no suicide rule here -- that is, no characters in my stories are allowed to commit or attempt suicide -- for a year. The year is almost up, but I fudged a little at one point in it, so I'm going to try to extend it. Some obsessions ought to be avoided. Including the ankle thing, I guess.

So my plan for the day: new church, lunch out with Mark, work on Reprogramming, laundry, and reading Treason in the Blood. Scott said he might call, and the folks probably will, and I have two letters to write (yes, Liz, one of them is yours) and a couple of proposals to write up, and...yeah. It'll be a good day, even if the Timprov is massively sick. We'll make it work.

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