In Which There Are Puppy Pictures and Book Ambushes

29 May 2005

You're all going to have the impression that this is a photo journal by now -- and I may take some pictures of Mark's birthday party, so I suppose I won't be doing my utmost to dispel that notion -- but we went down to meet puppies yesterday, and who could resist cute puppy pictures?

For those of you who don't yet know, the breeder isn't sure if she's going to keep the puppy we really want or not. If she does, she will offer us another very nice puppy, and we can decide whether to accept or keep looking.

This is the pup we hope to take home with us in July.

And here is the other very nice pup.

We played with the puppies until they were worn out from all the running around and chewing and play-bowing and attempting to climb Mt. Mark and other happy puppy activities.

And here's our favorite pup untying the breeder's shoelaces. Clever lass. (I know, I know. It would be more clever if she'd tied them instead. But do you really want a dog that clever?)

I think I'm doing a pretty decent job of not getting it set in my head that we're getting the puppy. Unfortunately, that means there's one less thing settled than I expected to have settled by today. Which is not exactly what I needed/wanted/etc., but we get what we get, I guess.

I finished reading the Brother Cadfael series yesterday (or rather, the novels in it: I still have a short story volume to read). It's not clear to me whether this book was intended to close out the series or whether Peters simply died before she could write more, but whatever the intent, it worked very, very well for me as a last volume in the series. And in the "satisfying ending" sense, too, not the "not more of this, get it away from me!" sense. Now, because I'm such a cheerful person fixated on cheerful topics, I'm reading The Jews of East Central Europe Between the World Wars. So far it has not talked very much at all about individuals, and I can't tell whether that's because the data is lacking, because the historian doesn't think that way, or because it was just too horrible to get into the details of one interesting person after another, only to watch from the safety of the present as they get herded onto the trains.

I would sympathize with that last position, but I also think it's important to see people as well as numbers and events. I have a hard time not seeing people, these days. When I read about the difficulty establishing Jewish schools in Poland in the interwar period, my head supplies an impassioned and frustrated father, arguing with the state bureaucracy about what the law implies. If I think about it too much, he gets a name, children of certain ages, a profession, a personal history that fits in the spaces of the public one. This is why my worldbuilding often turns into storytelling preemptively: I can't say "there were dockside riots in the year of the duck" without seeing the leaders, the opposition, the people caught in the middle. (Y'know, brain, I picked that example because it wasn't in any story of mine. I do not actually want these characters. I especially don't want the year of the duck. And now they've cheerfully started climbing around the corners of a world I was dabbling in and making themselves at home. Online journals are dangerous.)

In some ways I cling to this as utterly sensible: you cannot have riots without people rioting. Riots are not a force of nature. They do not fall in the forest without making a sound. In other ways, it would be very convenient to be able to say, "About 200 years after Soldrun's time, Baldr died" without having to figure out which mortals were doing what to whom at the time and whose salmon weir it was Loki was hiding in and whether they knew about it and which of the other gods thought they did and which of his sons was unjustly punished for it and what the gods did in recompense.

You see how this works? None of that was in my head already when I typed "In other ways." Now I know all about Geir Frekison the Stout. And by "all about," I mean "why I should write a book about his family." Brains are like kids: you have to be careful what you teach them to do, because they'll do it.

I'd better go chop the veggies and mop the floors before it's too late and another book meanders in.

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