In Which We Bounce From Lefse to Japan

7 April 2003

This is why Will Shetterly will be a Minnesotan no matter where he lives: reading his blog, I found a link to the Lefse Hall of Fame. Yeah. Just moving to the desert won't change that.

Yesterday when Mark and I were out for dinner, the guys at the table next to us were from home -- St. Paul and Chanhassen, it turned out. I heard the words "Eden Prairie," and my mental alarm went off, and I turned around and talked to them. If we move to Minneapolis, I'm going to have to get that alarm turned off. Actually, when we visit, it seems to go off after a day or so. But I do spend the first ride in the car with the radio on going, "He just said Minnetonka! Did you hear that? He said Prior Lake! Woooooo! Hey, that radio announcer lady is an alto. Wooooo! And that commercial just had Sven and Ole in it!" I'd get over it eventually. I think.

Dinner did not turn out so well -- it disagreed with me rather severely. Is that expression common in other languages? Or would many novice speakers of English wonder whether I had been arguing with a bowl of tomato bisque, and about what?

Despite encouragement from some of you -- why is it that every time I announce my resolve not to write something, one of you writes to me and says, "No, do!"? -- I have not written a short story with a van full of debate students. In fact, I have only written three sentences of that short story, which is not enough to get transferred out of my "starters" file. Which is 28 pages long, so that may give you the statistical likelihood of that story getting written any time soon. Then again, it may not. I keep meaning to consolidate my "short stories to write" list into my starter file, since I haven't been keeping it up to date, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe if I'd gotten in a more short storyish mood after I finished the second draft of Dwarf's Blood Mead. Or after the first draft, even. But no; Not The Moose time. (Not to be confused with not the moose time. It is almost never the moose time. I'm not even sure when the moose time is. It seems like something I should know, though, so please tell me if you've been brought up to speed on this one.)

I'm looking at Part One of the Not The Moose and thinking that I may just end up finishing it chronologically. I've been reading it through chronologically, to see where I've gotten with everything, editing a bit and writing in new sections where I know I need them. It's working so far, and I think Part One is written enough that it doesn't have any huge gaping no-man's-lands that I'd have to write straight through. I don't like writing chronologically without islands of prose in my path. I like to have some high spots laid down when I go through like this. I don't think I can write Part Two chronologically at this point, for example. I'm going to have to go in and write some random chunks. But that's fine. I'm enjoying it in both directions, and it's really what I want to do right now.

One interesting conversation (mine) has been postponed until tomorrow. Ah well. I can wait.

Oh, hey, one of my short stories is up at This Way Up! "Making It Home" is one of my earliest short stories. The only two decent stories that predate it are "Harry Behrens" and "In the Gardens and the Graves." Everything before that was woefully sucky. I think "Making It Home" is a good and readable story that does what I wanted it to. I also think I've gotten better since then. Go, read, decide for yourselves. (I don't know what the link is on this one, either, since my browser is just reporting the main website over and over.)

Also, since I'm finally sure that all the authors have been notified, I can say what's going on with Why I Hate Aliens. It's a Jintsu E-Text now! Or will be soonishly. Raechel has been very cool about the whole thing, and we've only lost one story in the long wait to get this figured out. And that story was a reprint, so I don't feel as bad about it -- it's been seen somewhere else, so it's not like I'm depriving my readers. I would have liked it, or I would have liked to accept other stories up to that word count, but I'm pretty happy with the 15 stories we have. They're good stories. Worth your beer money, as Stan Schmidt refers to the price of subscriptions.

"Weird" has joined "dark" and "funny" on the list of adjectives I'm reluctant to claim for my stories. I've been reading Fortean Bureau to try to get a feel for what they mean by strangeness, and I'm not sure I get it. I have a feeling that some of my stories are their kind of strange and some are not, but that I'm going to have a hard time picking out which are which. Ah well. Rejection is the path to enlightenment. Or the path to acceptance. Or maybe just the path to rejection.

When you're married, here's what's neat: you get to have the best arguments. Some married people don't take advantage of this, and they have fights. Fights are no good. What's really great is arguments. Like whether the Summer Olympics is the sucky Olympics. (No icy death potential in the Summer Olympics, and I could rattle off four or five sucky Summer Olympics sports off the top of my head, whereas it took Mark 15 minutes to come up with ice dancing as a sucky Winter Olympics sport, and that is it to date. I totally win. Mark mumbled some nonsense about icy death potential not being the gauge of coolness. Whatever.) Or else you can argue about whether the floor is in league with the bed to suck the energy from you, or whether it's in competition with the bed. (Mark's evidence: they have the same function, no matter which he's lying on, of sucking energy from his body. My evidence: the floor is crushed under the bed's boot heel. Mark's rebuttal: the floor does not appear to be rising up in resistance to the bed, even covertly. Winner as yet unclear.) The British guy with the webpage about stuff seems to have taken things to a rather personal level with his family arguments. I prefer them on the Olympic/league or opposition of household items level, myself.

I read Rick Riordan's The Widower's Two-Step yesterday, on quasi-recommendation from Mechaieh. Here's the thing: she had read books three and four of the series, and The Widower's Two-Step is #2. So I'm not sure it should count as recommended by her. Also, the part that interested me most about the character was only really coming into play at the end of this book: he had just gotten a job as an medieval English lit prof in Texas. I spent the entire book waiting for it to matter that he was into medieval English lit, or waiting for it to come up for more than a sentence, even if it didn't matter. It did not, not much at least. So...I'm not sure. It was decently well done, but I didn't find it particularly outstanding. But I might find it more interesting in later volumes. Also the detective (a man in his late 20s) has the same nickname as Mark's grandmother (a woman in her 70s), so that was jarring to me personally. (For those of you who know Mark's grandmothers, the guy's nickname was Tres, not Marge. Whew.)

So now I'm reading David's copy of Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, which is about what you'd expect, given the title, both stylistically and in terms of content. Interesting, so far, but not surprising. Nor cheerful, when it comes to that.

But it's the birthday of both Amber and Erica, so some of us have things to be cheerful about anyway. And I think with that, I'll be off to work cheerfully on the Not The Moose Book.

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