lenora_rose: (Default)
Back from the cabin.

We spent the last few days playing board and card games only slightly less than expected, romping in the snow noteably less than expected (Because temperatures up to a few days prior were scarily nice, as in snowball weather, but temperatures during went from tolerable for short jaunts - though both times I was out, I could have been out longer than I was - to intolerable).

And a LOT more watching of NCIS than anyone expected, even the girl who brought it. She expected to get through a few episodes while others were busy, not to have others start requesting it (She also put us through two episodes of Top Gear. To which; yikes, but funny, and I did have the Dana on the while.) The show isn't bad, actually; pretty decent acting and much more intelligent scripts than I was afraid of, even in spite of some of the stupid moments.

We had a corresponding lack of serious video-game playing, too, which was bad because it meant that much less exercise. Though the Wii did come out for archery and for swordplay speed-slicing, and bad canoeing. There was a short session of DDR - the second DDR game, however, doesn't correctly recognize the step-pads (Because they aren't Nintendo-made, we think; neither game nor pads appear to be broken), which means either we need new pads or to return the game and not bother.

However, there was more tai chi done than might have been expected, since at least three of the people present have been learning a while, and at least two more have been taking *some* lessons. (Speaking of which, I would have expected to hear from Horace, our t4acher, by now about a new class...)

And four of us got writing done on laptops or danas (Though one of those, Jeff, spent more time playing Baldur's Gate). I mostly ended up writing geography and species notes for what was meant to be another entry in the ones I started about the world I write in. I didn't actually touch story until I came home.

Iulianna was basically exhausted and spent most of the time either napping or with heating pads on her neck, watching tv or at board games or typing. Except during music practice with abacchus, who now has a left-handed twelve-string guitar. Jeff was getting over an illness and thus wasn't as energetic. I did a fair bit of stretching for my own sake but felt more like playing silly games than doing physical work. Colin did a scary amount of cooking; today he seems to have succumbed to Jeff's cold. Tomaas and Luta were bounding with energy, but spend it outdoors, where they built a rudimentary quinzy, or did as much as they could considering that the snow was not even a foot deep. it was kind of cozy inside, and unglazed, so getting out the rude way would have been a matter of standing up and letting everyone flail their way out of the snow. Cristina, as the one who brought NCIS, was of course happy to watch tv if nothing else was happening immediately, though she was also game for any kind of game to show up. And I think everyone flirted with everyone else at least somewhat.

I think I ended up being the least help in the kitchen at either the cooking (None) or clean-up (Only after one meal in a serious way). This wasn't my intent, alas, and apologies.

Back in town, Jeff, Cristina and I ended up getting together with two friends who hadn't made it to the cabin, and did shop the McNally Robinson that's closing (No closing-out sale pricing or the like, but it was BUSY) and do dinner.

I have some thoughts on writing for this past year, and the troubling combination of progress and lack thereof. But I'll save them for tomorrow.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Back from the cabin.

We spent the last few days playing board and card games only slightly less than expected, romping in the snow noteably less than expected (Because temperatures up to a few days prior were scarily nice, as in snowball weather, but temperatures during went from tolerable for short jaunts - though both times I was out, I could have been out longer than I was - to intolerable).

And a LOT more watching of NCIS than anyone expected, even the girl who brought it. She expected to get through a few episodes while others were busy, not to have others start requesting it (She also put us through two episodes of Top Gear. To which; yikes, but funny, and I did have the Dana on the while.) The show isn't bad, actually; pretty decent acting and much more intelligent scripts than I was afraid of, even in spite of some of the stupid moments.

We had a corresponding lack of serious video-game playing, too, which was bad because it meant that much less exercise. Though the Wii did come out for archery and for swordplay speed-slicing, and bad canoeing. There was a short session of DDR - the second DDR game, however, doesn't correctly recognize the step-pads (Because they aren't Nintendo-made, we think; neither game nor pads appear to be broken), which means either we need new pads or to return the game and not bother.

However, there was more tai chi done than might have been expected, since at least three of the people present have been learning a while, and at least two more have been taking *some* lessons. (Speaking of which, I would have expected to hear from Horace, our t4acher, by now about a new class...)

And four of us got writing done on laptops or danas (Though one of those, Jeff, spent more time playing Baldur's Gate). I mostly ended up writing geography and species notes for what was meant to be another entry in the ones I started about the world I write in. I didn't actually touch story until I came home.

Iulianna was basically exhausted and spent most of the time either napping or with heating pads on her neck, watching tv or at board games or typing. Except during music practice with abacchus, who now has a left-handed twelve-string guitar. Jeff was getting over an illness and thus wasn't as energetic. I did a fair bit of stretching for my own sake but felt more like playing silly games than doing physical work. Colin did a scary amount of cooking; today he seems to have succumbed to Jeff's cold. Tomaas and Luta were bounding with energy, but spend it outdoors, where they built a rudimentary quinzy, or did as much as they could considering that the snow was not even a foot deep. it was kind of cozy inside, and unglazed, so getting out the rude way would have been a matter of standing up and letting everyone flail their way out of the snow. Cristina, as the one who brought NCIS, was of course happy to watch tv if nothing else was happening immediately, though she was also game for any kind of game to show up. And I think everyone flirted with everyone else at least somewhat.

I think I ended up being the least help in the kitchen at either the cooking (None) or clean-up (Only after one meal in a serious way). This wasn't my intent, alas, and apologies.

Back in town, Jeff, Cristina and I ended up getting together with two friends who hadn't made it to the cabin, and did shop the McNally Robinson that's closing (No closing-out sale pricing or the like, but it was BUSY) and do dinner.

I have some thoughts on writing for this past year, and the troubling combination of progress and lack thereof. But I'll save them for tomorrow.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
Sooo darn tired. I think I got about 3 hours of sleep last night. And Colin is still working. Yes, at 9:00. Yes, his job normally ends at 4:30.

And Jeff left town today before I ever had the chance to get home. Not like I didn't know this and give him appropriate goodbye hugs last night, but it's still odd to come home to an empty house.

And yet, life does not suck. I watched some Stargate over dinner (About all my brain was up for) and my cat sat upon me for most of that time. School starts tomorrow. And I had many and varied excellent times over the holidays, ending with the big trip to the cabin for New Year's. It's a slightly different group each time, and thus a slightly different effect.

The weather was nicer than it has been, but remained too cold to build a snowman, in spite of Tomaas's determination. So we dug out a large part of the ditch and grass area right by the road into two large piles and left them overnight. When we came back next day, we dug away the edges until we had smooth round compressed spheres (Which we then moved into the ditch a ways to make sure the drifts wouldn't pile across the driveway when they caught against it), and added a head from the stuff that had compacted more naturally where we'd been digging (It still wasn't as tight packed as a snowman made the usual way gets, for instance, once good thump of my hand assured that we had a female snowbeing. We also threw snowballs at one another from the other remains of our packed-down piles, adn got much covered, even though we were too lazy to get up and go far often, and thus ended up msotly pitching them while sitting in or around the ditch. Both days, i ended up with enough snow in at least one pocket to make a snowball once I got indoors - and in both days, i was kind to our fine sheltered friends.

More fun was had indoors, of course, but I'm not inclined to write it all out. I will say that Ethan may have poisoned us all on Wii Fit (Did you know that after three hours' exercise in one day, the machine stops counting?)

Since we got back into town, I've been alternating edits on Bird of Dusk and loading huge piles of music onto the new MP3 player. EVERY song I previously had stored in my music collection fit, plus several of Colin's, plus multiple CDs I hadn't got around to because the old one held so little music.

Well, probably every song. I did notice a glitch in one folder where six songs disappeared between the computer and the player, but they loaded fine when I fixed it manually. And I've been too lazy (Or sane) to go through every song on every other folder to find out if anything else vanished.

The first playlist I actually listened through was the Heather Dale Live in Koln album; not bad. No surprises if you've seen her live (Many of the intros are kept shorter than I've heard her do here, probably because she worried that some of her audience couldn't follow too much English). Only two new tracks (A fiddle set showcasing their German accompaniment and a German song) or three if you haven't seen her live (Martin Said to His Man isn't exactly new to her repertoire, but it's not on any other album).

It also covers 8 of the 14 tracks from the other rarity/live album, the Hidden Path, so the two feel more like alternate versions of the same album than like two distinct live albums.

I felt a slight longing for her version of Matty Groves, or even more fresh material.

But it's all presented well, with only one obvious flaw, the same one you get in most of the live concerts; Ben's mike is way too low when he's on harmony. I don't know why they keep doing that; he's also only on vocals on one studio track that I recall. He's not got Heather's kind of range and feeling to his voice, but he's a perfectly good supporting growl, proven on those tracks where he's audible (And his Intro is probably the best one.) I'd generally tell people to go for Road to Santiago or the Gabriel Hounds if they wanted a sample album, but this does capture the small but enthused crowd feeling, even if the place the audience is singing along are almost as hard to hear as Ben.

And Colin is home! (At Quarter to 10.) Bye.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
Sooo darn tired. I think I got about 3 hours of sleep last night. And Colin is still working. Yes, at 9:00. Yes, his job normally ends at 4:30.

And Jeff left town today before I ever had the chance to get home. Not like I didn't know this and give him appropriate goodbye hugs last night, but it's still odd to come home to an empty house.

And yet, life does not suck. I watched some Stargate over dinner (About all my brain was up for) and my cat sat upon me for most of that time. School starts tomorrow. And I had many and varied excellent times over the holidays, ending with the big trip to the cabin for New Year's. It's a slightly different group each time, and thus a slightly different effect.

The weather was nicer than it has been, but remained too cold to build a snowman, in spite of Tomaas's determination. So we dug out a large part of the ditch and grass area right by the road into two large piles and left them overnight. When we came back next day, we dug away the edges until we had smooth round compressed spheres (Which we then moved into the ditch a ways to make sure the drifts wouldn't pile across the driveway when they caught against it), and added a head from the stuff that had compacted more naturally where we'd been digging (It still wasn't as tight packed as a snowman made the usual way gets, for instance, once good thump of my hand assured that we had a female snowbeing. We also threw snowballs at one another from the other remains of our packed-down piles, adn got much covered, even though we were too lazy to get up and go far often, and thus ended up msotly pitching them while sitting in or around the ditch. Both days, i ended up with enough snow in at least one pocket to make a snowball once I got indoors - and in both days, i was kind to our fine sheltered friends.

More fun was had indoors, of course, but I'm not inclined to write it all out. I will say that Ethan may have poisoned us all on Wii Fit (Did you know that after three hours' exercise in one day, the machine stops counting?)

Since we got back into town, I've been alternating edits on Bird of Dusk and loading huge piles of music onto the new MP3 player. EVERY song I previously had stored in my music collection fit, plus several of Colin's, plus multiple CDs I hadn't got around to because the old one held so little music.

Well, probably every song. I did notice a glitch in one folder where six songs disappeared between the computer and the player, but they loaded fine when I fixed it manually. And I've been too lazy (Or sane) to go through every song on every other folder to find out if anything else vanished.

The first playlist I actually listened through was the Heather Dale Live in Koln album; not bad. No surprises if you've seen her live (Many of the intros are kept shorter than I've heard her do here, probably because she worried that some of her audience couldn't follow too much English). Only two new tracks (A fiddle set showcasing their German accompaniment and a German song) or three if you haven't seen her live (Martin Said to His Man isn't exactly new to her repertoire, but it's not on any other album).

It also covers 8 of the 14 tracks from the other rarity/live album, the Hidden Path, so the two feel more like alternate versions of the same album than like two distinct live albums.

I felt a slight longing for her version of Matty Groves, or even more fresh material.

But it's all presented well, with only one obvious flaw, the same one you get in most of the live concerts; Ben's mike is way too low when he's on harmony. I don't know why they keep doing that; he's also only on vocals on one studio track that I recall. He's not got Heather's kind of range and feeling to his voice, but he's a perfectly good supporting growl, proven on those tracks where he's audible (And his Intro is probably the best one.) I'd generally tell people to go for Road to Santiago or the Gabriel Hounds if they wanted a sample album, but this does capture the small but enthused crowd feeling, even if the place the audience is singing along are almost as hard to hear as Ben.

And Colin is home! (At Quarter to 10.) Bye.
lenora_rose: (Default)
I've been thinking, as a follow-on to the Wii Fit and general attempt to get in better shape, about doing the 100 Pushups program. It's not overly strenuous, it lasts six weeks, more if your progress is slower. (Also, I don't like the Wii Fit pushups, because the balance board is just a little too narrow for where I want my hands, making it extra hard to do a proper one. And that in spite of the fact that the side plank moves mean I can finish all six "correctly".)

Problem. Not sure when I can start. I did something to my right shoulder last Thursday evening. It hurts less, but it hurts, and right where it would effect a pushup. I tried it yesterday and opted very definitely against archery. We'll see how I feel tomorrow night.
lenora_rose: (Default)
I've been thinking, as a follow-on to the Wii Fit and general attempt to get in better shape, about doing the 100 Pushups program. It's not overly strenuous, it lasts six weeks, more if your progress is slower. (Also, I don't like the Wii Fit pushups, because the balance board is just a little too narrow for where I want my hands, making it extra hard to do a proper one. And that in spite of the fact that the side plank moves mean I can finish all six "correctly".)

Problem. Not sure when I can start. I did something to my right shoulder last Thursday evening. It hurts less, but it hurts, and right where it would effect a pushup. I tried it yesterday and opted very definitely against archery. We'll see how I feel tomorrow night.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
I had a long talk with Jeff tonight; a lot of details about what it's like under a hurricane, and about the aftermath. At one point I was listening so avidly he had to ask if I was there; and we're known for interrupting one another constantly (In both positive and negative fashions). Good all around, but he's running low on minutes. Fortunately, weekends are free minutes, so people can still reach him.

Tonight, I finished two of the three bowls still sitting at home from over the summer. The driving instructor (Lawrie) called to say he's sick with the flu, so I did not, alas, get to have the first lesson of the truly nerve-wracking kind. (It's been four years since I last had a driving lesson or got on the road, and this will be in Colin's standard.) Sunday instead. So I get to be terrified for two more days before I end up behind the wheel and discover (Or at least, I did last time) that it's not *that* bad.

It's been days since I wrote fiction; I think this is the visual arts aspect of the brain leaping to the fore, and they'll balance out again a bit later in the term.

The first project at school is going to be so intensive I'm not sure how to accomplish it in time; the deadline in this case is not just the usual professor imposed and more-flexible-than-it-first-looks type, but we're going to do this whole project as a display in the student gallery. I have an idea for the main project (a dinnerware set of highly impractical prettiness, based on peacock feathers), but not so much for the installation (which seems to be wanting to somehow reference Italian gardens, archaic architecture, and Pompeii). Note to self - look at Italy pictures (Cristina's and own) again in detail.

I've been on the Wii Fit a lot, and definitely working out more than I did over the summer... but even accounting for the average rather than the daily weighings, I'm either holding steady or rising slightly. If the latter, I suspect increased muscle, this once. Not that it helps; more muscle or more general fitness I'll take, but losing a few pounds is getting near "must" territory rather than "want" territory.

I keep feeling I ought to have done or to do book/reading reviews - King's Shield should not have passed without comment, ditto the alternity game on lj, and I know there were more books between my last review and Gaudy Night, my present reading - but my brain is not into it.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
I had a long talk with Jeff tonight; a lot of details about what it's like under a hurricane, and about the aftermath. At one point I was listening so avidly he had to ask if I was there; and we're known for interrupting one another constantly (In both positive and negative fashions). Good all around, but he's running low on minutes. Fortunately, weekends are free minutes, so people can still reach him.

Tonight, I finished two of the three bowls still sitting at home from over the summer. The driving instructor (Lawrie) called to say he's sick with the flu, so I did not, alas, get to have the first lesson of the truly nerve-wracking kind. (It's been four years since I last had a driving lesson or got on the road, and this will be in Colin's standard.) Sunday instead. So I get to be terrified for two more days before I end up behind the wheel and discover (Or at least, I did last time) that it's not *that* bad.

It's been days since I wrote fiction; I think this is the visual arts aspect of the brain leaping to the fore, and they'll balance out again a bit later in the term.

The first project at school is going to be so intensive I'm not sure how to accomplish it in time; the deadline in this case is not just the usual professor imposed and more-flexible-than-it-first-looks type, but we're going to do this whole project as a display in the student gallery. I have an idea for the main project (a dinnerware set of highly impractical prettiness, based on peacock feathers), but not so much for the installation (which seems to be wanting to somehow reference Italian gardens, archaic architecture, and Pompeii). Note to self - look at Italy pictures (Cristina's and own) again in detail.

I've been on the Wii Fit a lot, and definitely working out more than I did over the summer... but even accounting for the average rather than the daily weighings, I'm either holding steady or rising slightly. If the latter, I suspect increased muscle, this once. Not that it helps; more muscle or more general fitness I'll take, but losing a few pounds is getting near "must" territory rather than "want" territory.

I keep feeling I ought to have done or to do book/reading reviews - King's Shield should not have passed without comment, ditto the alternity game on lj, and I know there were more books between my last review and Gaudy Night, my present reading - but my brain is not into it.
lenora_rose: (Esther Falkner)
Real world first:

- I still haven't heard from World Fantasy Con, even just to say "Yes, we got it, we're considering, give us time..." and the polite query I sent was September First. E-mail wise in general, that's LONG. More, when I sent an e-mail to this address for a question before I sent the jury submission proper, I got a response in three days, which felt long but wasn't. Panic, panic....

- I just ended up switching my ceramics class around, and am taking the 9 credit-hour major instead of the 6 credit-hour advanced. The practical difference is that I have to work Mondays and Fridays, as Wednesday is now also officially class time.

- In sorting out my tools and all, I discovered three partly-finished bowls form the rush at the end of last term. Drier than ideal, but still in a condition to be worth finishing. And pretty! So I've done ceramics work.

- Totally failed to get any writing done on the Serpent Prince for the alst week and a bit. Every time I went to, I found some way to cat-vaccuum. Also, the scene that's been blocking itself out in my head is from the sequel. From fairly late in the sequel. Past where any prior draft has gone. I may knock it out just to get things shaken loose and running again,

- Colin got a Wii Fit. Some of the balance and aerobics bits are plenty of fun, actually, and the others have the merit of being exceedingly familiar. it also has another base advantage; even if you don't use it for the exercise you do that day, it acts as a reminder. We've found a few nitpicks; it's not possible to record an outside activity for a prior day, if you missed noting it down. It occasionally suggests good combos of exercises between the strength and yoga areas, but doesn't link to the uncompleted portions of the combo. Even though the Wii keeps a record separate form the disk, it can't transfer any kind of record from another game (DDR or the Sports, f'rinstance) so you have to switch disks and do it manually.

Our RPG took a not so nice turn this time. At least, not for my poor character. The following is only lightly edited.

And of course hay fever gave me a right-side focused sinus headache Sunday and MOnday.... )
lenora_rose: (Esther Falkner)
Real world first:

- I still haven't heard from World Fantasy Con, even just to say "Yes, we got it, we're considering, give us time..." and the polite query I sent was September First. E-mail wise in general, that's LONG. More, when I sent an e-mail to this address for a question before I sent the jury submission proper, I got a response in three days, which felt long but wasn't. Panic, panic....

- I just ended up switching my ceramics class around, and am taking the 9 credit-hour major instead of the 6 credit-hour advanced. The practical difference is that I have to work Mondays and Fridays, as Wednesday is now also officially class time.

- In sorting out my tools and all, I discovered three partly-finished bowls form the rush at the end of last term. Drier than ideal, but still in a condition to be worth finishing. And pretty! So I've done ceramics work.

- Totally failed to get any writing done on the Serpent Prince for the alst week and a bit. Every time I went to, I found some way to cat-vaccuum. Also, the scene that's been blocking itself out in my head is from the sequel. From fairly late in the sequel. Past where any prior draft has gone. I may knock it out just to get things shaken loose and running again,

- Colin got a Wii Fit. Some of the balance and aerobics bits are plenty of fun, actually, and the others have the merit of being exceedingly familiar. it also has another base advantage; even if you don't use it for the exercise you do that day, it acts as a reminder. We've found a few nitpicks; it's not possible to record an outside activity for a prior day, if you missed noting it down. It occasionally suggests good combos of exercises between the strength and yoga areas, but doesn't link to the uncompleted portions of the combo. Even though the Wii keeps a record separate form the disk, it can't transfer any kind of record from another game (DDR or the Sports, f'rinstance) so you have to switch disks and do it manually.

Our RPG took a not so nice turn this time. At least, not for my poor character. The following is only lightly edited.

And of course hay fever gave me a right-side focused sinus headache Sunday and MOnday.... )
lenora_rose: (Kodamas)
That's what I've been doing lately.

Picked up the Wii; made myself a Mii and played some sports, badly. In the real world I'm definitely fitter than Colin, in the computer world I'm old and feeble. But tennis works a lot better if you take a fencing stance. :)

Finished Spirits in the Wires and promptly traded it in at a used bookstore. I already had credit there, which helped me snag a copy of Robert Charles Wilson's Spin in its place. Which I've been told is *The* SF book of 2005, if you read SF at all.

Spirits in the Wires wasn't as hideous as all my blathering made it sound, but it's also the only Charles de Lint I've traded in. The plot, once it arrives, is fairly standard fantasy stuff, made a little fresher for the computer-edged setting, but it's well done. We hit some blatant horrot tropes early, and some baltant modern fantasy ones, but they were never such bad ones that I wanted to throw the book the way I did with the "fat acned kid" bits or the "OH, look at all these sweet street people" moments.

His otherworlds and border worlds and magic are all showing the wear of having to account for too many prior stories about these same people and places; a little like what happens with Role Playing Games when you get the fifth Monster Manual sequel in a row. The new monsters aren't so new; you can see where, for all they look different, they serve almost the same role as something in the original, or the second manual.

The problem is mainly structural. There are places where I could clearly see what should have been changed, and not just in an "I wouldn't write it this way" manner. (There were plenty of "But I wouldn't have written it that way bits" as well, but that's one of the many reasons why I read other peoples' work; to see if and how choices I would never make would work, to read things I would never write that way, or I couldn't.)

These were deeper problems. The opening chapters, for instance, dragged such that Saskia's disappearance, the real catalyst of the plot, which should have happened in chapter 3 or 4, happened on page 100. The closing chapters also dragged on, to resolve *everyone*'s subplots. overdoing it, in short.

But the core was solid. Someone said that experienced writers can get away with things novices cannot, like a dragging long start with frustrating attitudes, because they've built up a great deal of trust over the years.

Nobody, so far as I know, has talked about what happens when someone starts to ask too much of that trust. We all talk about authors who've made us tired of them, who've "jumped the shark" or "begun repeating themselves" or "their philosophy was always doubtful but now they've gone off he deep end". Or endless permutations of the same. Nobody talks about what happens when this comes up. We can all name several authors who stopped doing it for us several books ago. Do their sales numbers actually drop as the criticism rises, or are there really enough new fans to make up for the loss of old ones? Do their editors notice the criticism? Do they try to talk about it? Is it really safer for an author to keep doing more of the same well past the point when the people who first gave them their reputation are tired?

Of course, part of the problem is that everyone points to a different place, a different trigger. And there are the active anti-fans, the people who buy the books even though they don't like them, so they can stare in horror then complain.

I try not to do that: I had a few twinges in The Onion Girl, but still enjoyed the book, and more misgivings in Tapping the Dream Tree and Waifs and Strays - misgivings enough not to buy or read several other recent books of his - but my misgivings didn't come together until this book, and before this those were the last things I read, the last ones I bought. Part of me still wants to read Widdershins, but from the library, and mostly in hopes of seeing if he gets out of the slump.
_____________________________

I've been hit by a bad case of the "don' wannas". It took the deadline being right here right now to finish my kind of fun essay for Drama, and it's really hard right now even considering writing the essay due Monday; half the ideas I had seem to be leaking out my ears, too, which doesn't help.

Half most of my thoughts seem to be leaking out my ears.

I've done some writing on Soldier, in spite of myself; enthusiasm seemed at a low, which wasn't helped by the invasion of other story kernels. I felt this section was getting too boring, too much about the nitpick details without any actual happenings (A really weird thing to have happening considering the dealings with a freaked out teen and a strange undead compatriot, plus the set-up of the mystery around Captain Ander and his lieutenant). I finally figured out the concrete event I need to put in that will sum it all up nicely in one scene instead of rambling, but it's been taking me days to put together. I've just been feeling like... I don' wanna. Don' wanna do anything that takes thinking. Wanna read dumb stuff and play (or watch) video games.

At least the last means I'd get exercise.
lenora_rose: (Kodamas)
That's what I've been doing lately.

Picked up the Wii; made myself a Mii and played some sports, badly. In the real world I'm definitely fitter than Colin, in the computer world I'm old and feeble. But tennis works a lot better if you take a fencing stance. :)

Finished Spirits in the Wires and promptly traded it in at a used bookstore. I already had credit there, which helped me snag a copy of Robert Charles Wilson's Spin in its place. Which I've been told is *The* SF book of 2005, if you read SF at all.

Spirits in the Wires wasn't as hideous as all my blathering made it sound, but it's also the only Charles de Lint I've traded in. The plot, once it arrives, is fairly standard fantasy stuff, made a little fresher for the computer-edged setting, but it's well done. We hit some blatant horrot tropes early, and some baltant modern fantasy ones, but they were never such bad ones that I wanted to throw the book the way I did with the "fat acned kid" bits or the "OH, look at all these sweet street people" moments.

His otherworlds and border worlds and magic are all showing the wear of having to account for too many prior stories about these same people and places; a little like what happens with Role Playing Games when you get the fifth Monster Manual sequel in a row. The new monsters aren't so new; you can see where, for all they look different, they serve almost the same role as something in the original, or the second manual.

The problem is mainly structural. There are places where I could clearly see what should have been changed, and not just in an "I wouldn't write it this way" manner. (There were plenty of "But I wouldn't have written it that way bits" as well, but that's one of the many reasons why I read other peoples' work; to see if and how choices I would never make would work, to read things I would never write that way, or I couldn't.)

These were deeper problems. The opening chapters, for instance, dragged such that Saskia's disappearance, the real catalyst of the plot, which should have happened in chapter 3 or 4, happened on page 100. The closing chapters also dragged on, to resolve *everyone*'s subplots. overdoing it, in short.

But the core was solid. Someone said that experienced writers can get away with things novices cannot, like a dragging long start with frustrating attitudes, because they've built up a great deal of trust over the years.

Nobody, so far as I know, has talked about what happens when someone starts to ask too much of that trust. We all talk about authors who've made us tired of them, who've "jumped the shark" or "begun repeating themselves" or "their philosophy was always doubtful but now they've gone off he deep end". Or endless permutations of the same. Nobody talks about what happens when this comes up. We can all name several authors who stopped doing it for us several books ago. Do their sales numbers actually drop as the criticism rises, or are there really enough new fans to make up for the loss of old ones? Do their editors notice the criticism? Do they try to talk about it? Is it really safer for an author to keep doing more of the same well past the point when the people who first gave them their reputation are tired?

Of course, part of the problem is that everyone points to a different place, a different trigger. And there are the active anti-fans, the people who buy the books even though they don't like them, so they can stare in horror then complain.

I try not to do that: I had a few twinges in The Onion Girl, but still enjoyed the book, and more misgivings in Tapping the Dream Tree and Waifs and Strays - misgivings enough not to buy or read several other recent books of his - but my misgivings didn't come together until this book, and before this those were the last things I read, the last ones I bought. Part of me still wants to read Widdershins, but from the library, and mostly in hopes of seeing if he gets out of the slump.
_____________________________

I've been hit by a bad case of the "don' wannas". It took the deadline being right here right now to finish my kind of fun essay for Drama, and it's really hard right now even considering writing the essay due Monday; half the ideas I had seem to be leaking out my ears, too, which doesn't help.

Half most of my thoughts seem to be leaking out my ears.

I've done some writing on Soldier, in spite of myself; enthusiasm seemed at a low, which wasn't helped by the invasion of other story kernels. I felt this section was getting too boring, too much about the nitpick details without any actual happenings (A really weird thing to have happening considering the dealings with a freaked out teen and a strange undead compatriot, plus the set-up of the mystery around Captain Ander and his lieutenant). I finally figured out the concrete event I need to put in that will sum it all up nicely in one scene instead of rambling, but it's been taking me days to put together. I've just been feeling like... I don' wanna. Don' wanna do anything that takes thinking. Wanna read dumb stuff and play (or watch) video games.

At least the last means I'd get exercise.

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