In Which Our Heroine Makes Plans to Call the CIA

27 April 2003

Evidently my brain is approximately four years old. "You don't have to work on stuff," I told it yesterday. "In fact, it might be better if you didn't. Maybe it's been kind of hard on you to be concentrating on work all the time. You could just take a break and not do much today." Heh. I didn't even mean to make that reverse psychology. Stupid brain.

On the up side, we have clean bathrooms, a clean kitchen, clean floors, and from-scratch cinnamon rolls, and the Not The Moose Book is a couple thousand words longer. So this reverse psychology stuff could be worse.

I made the cinnamon rolls from a recipe on the Swedish pearl-sugar box, and they lied, lied, lied. They told me to put the rolls into muffin cups. I did that with about half of them, but we only have one muffin tin (a sad lack we hope to remedy when we have more storage space, I assure you), so I just stuck the rest in a pan. And they came out golden and beautiful, and the ones in the muffin tins burnt on the bottom and stuck to the muffin cups a bit and generally made nuisances of themselves. (And I took them out of the oven before I took out the plain pan. So.) Also they were not nearly cinnamony enough to count as cinnamon rolls, although as vaguely cinnamon bun thingies, they work all right. So that's the second time in two days when I've started making a bread product, decided to do it my way with half the dough, and been right. Moral of the story: I know better.

It was really great dough, though, kneadable and well-behaved, sticking to itself rather than the bowl, the counter, or me, also cutting nicely, so if I can just figure out a better way to make the filling/glaze...maybe combine with my Grandma's recipe...hmmmm.

There is a bird out in the parking lot that keeps attacking one of the cars. (Not ours, luckily.) From the point of attack, we think that it's seeing "the other bird" in the chrome and trying to peck at that. Repeatedly. We're thinking this bird will not be contributing as significantly to the birdie gene pool as perhaps it might have hoped. At this point, it's probably sworn mortal enmity with The Other Bird in the car fender and doesn't even care about beating it in competition for mates any more. It just wants to win over The Other Bird at least once.

I wish I found this funny, but actually, it's more on the alarming side.

The phone just rang (at 7:10 a.m.), and it wasn't an emergency, and it wasn't my grandma, and it wasn't the ever-popular wrong number. It was Amber, calling from Miami, and I don't think she counted on the time zones, or else she figured I'm a morning person, which is true. (Don't hate me because I'm functional.) So I will be attempting to make reservations at the CIA in Napa for tomorrow -- the Culinary Institute of America, not the Central Intelligence Agency. (Although if they had a minute at the latter, I need to do a bit more research on radio usage and equipment among field agents in 1950...I don't think they have a Napa office, though.)

Yesterday I finished Paper Mage. It was good, worth reading, handled things in such a way as not to annoy me and also did some things that were good beyond non-annoying. And...I didn't love it. I don't know why I didn't love it. I liked it a lot. But the spark just wasn't there. It's a bit like loving a person, I think: you can do things to charm people who start to love you or to push them away, but if they just don't, there's not really anything you can do about it. I can't point at anything Leah Cutter could have done that would have made me fall in love with this book. It was just...not meant to be, I guess.

And that's kind of the reaction I fear -- not individually, because no book can be universally adored. But generally. I fear writing the book that everyone thinks is okay, yeah, pretty good I guess, not bad. I think that among my own skills, the critiques of my friends, and the skills of whatever editors I encounter along the way, I'm pretty unlikely to end up with a bad book. I can hope for that, anyway. But all the work in the world won't make it really resonate with readers if that spark isn't there, and I'm not even sure how to tell if it is.

I'll probably buy Leah Cutter's next book, so it's not like it's a disaster of any kind. It's just...a bit sad, not to love a book that was obviously pretty good.

I started reading David Lindberg's The Beginnings of Western Science, borrowed from David. So far nothing new for me, but if you're interested in learning about pre-Renaissance Western science, seems like a good bet.

It looks like the life of a social butterfly will be mine this week, so I'd better stop journaling and start taking care of the things that need to be done. The floors need vacuuming, but it's still a bit early for that, so I'll probably throw some bars in and work on the book. Or a short story. Or an essay. Or all three.

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