February 19, 2014
There’s a new Harry and Marlowe story up on Lightspeed!
This was a fun one because we get to see Harry in her Princess Maud role, as well as her family, Princess Alexandra, Crown Prince George, his wife Mary of Teck, and even a quick glimpse of Prince Carl of Denmark. All that research, paying off! I’m on a roll with Harry and Marlowe stories, so I’m giving rein to the impulse — I’ve just sold another one that will probably be out later this year, and I’m gearing up to write yet another. So many stories to tell!
In other news, I’ve been super excited about Guardians of the Galaxy ever since the easter egg featuring the Collector showed up in Thor 2. So weird! So aesthetically different! So intriguing! Well, the full trailer just premiered. I…I….I AM SO SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THIS I CAN HARDLY CONTAIN MYSELF. I’ve never even read the comics. I remember when this movie was announced and everyone was so skeptical, why on earth would they make a movie about some fourth string comic heroes, how is this even going to work? And you know what? I don’t care, because THIS IS THE SPACE OPERA I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR MY WHOLE LIFE. This….it’s…space ships….talking raccoons….tree aliens…humor….action…ooga chucka…
I’m gonna stop now. *takes deep breath*
February 17, 2014
February 14, 2014
I’m a big fan of setting goals. I’ve written about it, given talks about it. Since I was a teenager, I’ve used a goal-setting technique based on a timeline: where do I want to be in ten years? What do I want to have accomplished in five years? By the end of the year? I’d review my goals every year, adjust as needed. This was a good way to make sure I was doing the little stepping stones that were necessary to achieve my long-term goals.
This method has fallen apart for me over the last few years. Mainly because I did it all. Just about everything on that long-term goal list? Making a living as a writer, my house, etc.? Done. My “where do I want to be in ten years?” list had turned in to “Same as now, only more so,” which is too vague to be useful. “Just keep doing the same things I’ve been doing” might be accurate but it feels…stagnant.
This year, I hit on a new way to handle my goal list and goal setting. Instead of setting everything up against a timetable — which simply isn’t as useful at age 41 as it was when I was 20 — I’ve set up a rolling list of projects: things I want to write, things I want to try, places I want to travel, and so on. Because that’s where I’m at now: I have this whole big list of things I want to do, but they’re not dependent on time or place, they’re just things I have to decide to do either now or later. And I don’t have to do them all at once. Every month or so, look at the list: what am I going to do next? What projects are ongoing, and which are do them and they’re done? What makes sense for me to work on now?
I think this is going to be a good way to make me feel like I’m still making progress without imposing the stress of an artificial timeline. I’m excited. Let’s see how this goes.
February 12, 2014
It turns out I’ve been a productive bunny for the last few months, because I looked up last week and realized I have four rough drafts for various projects just sitting there. I need to revise those and get those out, so I can clear my brain for next round. I’ve also made a couple of short story sales and have some others waiting in the wings. Busy, busy!
Sewing: I’m finally making that Regency gown I’ve had my eye on for years. I cut the pieces last night. It’s going to be great. I had this chunk of wine-colored silk in my stash for 10 years, and it’s finally getting used for this. I’ve moved my sewing machine into the living room so I can sew and watch the Olympics.
The Olympics. I’m catching it in bits and pieces this year. One thing has struck me: the human-interest commentators are a bit stressed out about being in Russia. It’s like the Cold War is still on. I’ve been watching the Olympics my whole life, and I’ve never gotten the feeling from the anchors that they were sitting in enemy territory trying to play nice the way I’ve gotten this time around. Not even in Beijing. I looked it up: this is the very first time the U.S. has traveled to Russia for the Olympics. The U.S. boycotted the 1980 Moscow summer games, and that’s the only other time the Olympics have been in Russian territory. I understand that we all grew up with the cold war and watching movies like Red Dawn and Dr. Strangelove and, hell, Rocky and Bullwinkle. But come on. This isn’t the movies. If ever there was a situation where we need to act like Russia isn’t the bad guy, this is it. It’s damned weird. Not to mention, a big chunk of the competitors weren’t even alive when there was a Soviet Union. Seriously, get over it.
(Now, on the other hand, there’s the issue of Russia’s human rights abuses and policies toward LGBT rights. That probably makes them bad guys. But the commentators are carefully not mentioning any of that. Go figure.)
February 10, 2014
I got to take a vacation to someplace warm last week — including two days of diving. Woooo! So hard to come back to the freezing cold.
My second dive in Cozumel was great because it was very relaxed and chock full of fish, including a bunch of species I’d never seen before. A giant snapper of some kind, maybe 20″ long, followed our group for the entire hour-long dive. He either needed a school to hang with for awhile, or maybe he thought we knew where the food was. For whatever reason he was there, having his company was awfully cool. He was a chill dude and he made the dive more chill by being there.
I also saw a lobster, perched on a lump of coral. At least, I thought it was a lobster, but it was the strangest looking lobster I’ve ever seen. For one thing, it didn’t seem to have a head. It definitely didn’t have big long wavy antennae, which is how I usually spot lobster underwater. I watched it as long as I could, and it was just kind of flat and wriggly — like a giant roly poly bug underwater or something. I was the only one who saw it, so I couldn’t ask about it after the dive.
So last night I finally got out my reef guide and was flipping through it, not even thinking about any specific fish, when there it was, that goofy flat antennae-less lobster thing that I saw: Spanish (or slipper) lobster. Wooooooo! What a weird looking thing. And so very cool.
My other favorite thing I saw, on an earlier dive: baby yellowtail damsel. The thing glowed like disco lights. And it was tiny and cute!
I’m getting confident enough with the diving that I’m starting to think about learning underwater photography, so I can share some of these things with you.
February 8, 2014
I believe in souls and life after death, but I don’t think they have anything to do with church and religion, and everything to do with art in all its forms. That’s where we put our souls.
This is a movie with that exact philosophy, so I was inclined to like it very much. Plus, it feeds in to my still-in-development ideas about how World War II is becoming America’s Middle Earth or Narnia — it’s where we go to have uncynical adventures, where heroes can be heroes without reservation, and where evil is very clearly identified by red armbands and sour expressions.
It’s a good, understated movie with an excellent cast (Bill Murray! John Goodman!), less of a story and more of a slice of this bit of history. (Much like another George Clooney movie, Good Night and Good Luck, which I also really liked.) It has some nice moments (my favorite is probably the ecstatic little gasp of relief Matt Damon’s character lets out when he finds an entire castle filled with missing sculptures) and some really great art. (My other favorite moment was when my friend leaned over to me and said, “It’s okay, that one makes it, I saw it when I was in Bruges.”) So if you like any of these things — history, good actors enjoying their work, the European art world — you should probably see this.
This movie also reminded me of an old Disney movie, The Miracle of the White Stallions, which tells the story of how Colonel Podhajsky rescued the Lipizzan stallions of the Vienna Spanish Riding School from the German invasion and pretty much saved both the Lipizzan breed and the school. It seems like we keep telling stories about World War II not just because of the opportunity to talk about heroism without cynicism, but because there are hundreds upon hundreds, if not thousands, of small stories about people saving things. Other people, whole communities, art, institutions, horses. Saving souls, really.