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Pitch

I thought I'd post the pitch I sent in for the annual Pitch-a-palooza. It's for my 2012 NaNo (which has a... nearly complete first draft!). It was a lot of fun to write, though I still don't really know the tone I'm shooting for. I'm workshopping the first section of this in mid-March... I wonder if I'll have the ending written by then. Meep.

"Rosemary Kerricke is unwinding with good friends and bad whiskey at her Brooklyn antique shop, Brooklyn Curiosities, when a young man with fresh bruises and terrible scars crashes through her door. Skinny and bleak with exhaustion, he swears that he has been held prisoner and tortured for months by the most powerful weirder he has ever known. Rosemary is a weirder too – they hate it when you call it "magic" – but she tries to stay out of the world. It's bad enough that she is hounded by weirder gangsters, the Grey Boys, and the tight-lipped organization called simply the Legion that has succeeded for centuries at keeping the weird a secret.

She promises to help Zach, but there are a few problems. For one thing, he can't remember the name or face of his captor. For another, whoever tortured Zach was using his pain to gain even stronger powers and will be looking to hunt down his prize any way he can. Everyone who offers to help has an agenda, and any of them could be linked to the mysterious weirder. She must be scaring someone because before long she finds her shop engulfed in demonic fire. Demons: that one's new to her.

But the biggest problem is what happens if they find out the identity of Zach's tormentor. His tormentor wants power to rule the weirding world. The Legion wants to keep the whole thing quiet. And Zach wants revenge, as loud and bloody as possible."

See this? Fixed in a tangible medium. Ha ha, I have a copyright on it! (THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE)

Eep Update

I feel I must update on the complaint I posted (as generally and vaguely as possible) a few days ago. Friend sent me one of the top three classiest apologies I've ever received, so now I am heartwarmed!

And also feeling good because the dynamic of writers group tonight was fantastic. I'm sorta excited about workshopping in the future! Plus I'm nearly finished (in terms of story arc) with 2012 NaNo, so that would be a new something! And then what... maybe revise one of the few past NaNos I can see revising. I'm also on a knitting kick again ever since Yarn Con 2013, aka Vogue Knitting Live NYC.

So, upbeat! It's Friday tomorrow! And I'm inside while the wind is knocking trees right and left. The weekend is going to be one prolonged cooking spree, followed by Superbowl party, which will really be just hang out and eat and chat while two hoards of large men will bash into each other somewhere in the background.

Eep

I'm having issues with a friend of mine flaking on me for a specific Thing we're trying to do. Friend skipped out the first couple times for legit reasons but skipped out again recently with no explanation. The last time Friend skipped out, I gave Friend a graceful out in case Friend was no longer interested in doing the Thing. My feelings will be... well, minimally hurt if Friend is no longer interested in Thing. I can't even tell if I'm getting too invested in all this; the cycle of me reaching out and Friend being hard to get ahold of and hard to pin down for specifics is feeling a little too much like being a clingy girlfriend. Do not like. Friend is going through trying times now, I think, so maybe that's a part of the flakiness? Maybe it was a simple misunderstanding about the date?

I know, the best path is to talk to Friend and see what's up. I'm working up to it. Gosh, it really IS like being a clingy girlfriend! I need to shut this whole overanalysis thing down. I've been flaked on and stood up before, for goodness sake.

In other news, it struck me today as hilarious that I got really into knitting and cooking and related forms of domestic-ing when I came to NYC (starting WELL before I got involved with Sweetie). That doesn't seem like the usual route. I probably thought of that because I did a lot of domestic-ing on this pretty but chilly day: apricot ginger bread baking, new yarn kniting, bitters batch starting, and possibly new batch of sprouts starting yet tonight. I am intimidated by the spirits I'm using for the bitters; it's 192 proof. It's probably the closest thing to Everclear that's legal in NYC.

I'm working on my 2012 NaNo! I don't yet hate it, huzzah! I'm very near the climactic scene, and it's going to clock in a hair under the usual novel wordcount, but there's a lot I can add. I mean, a lot to cut too, but I think more of the former. I might add another POV character just for the climactic scene, which might be obnoxious to read, but I find the idea charming, so ha.

The bottom portion of my iPhone case belongs now to the Cat Dimension. I hardly knew ye, bottom portion of iPhone case!

1/14/2013

Guys, I haven't checked LJ since LAST YEAR!! That's one thing I like about this time of year, getting to say that I haven't done something since LAST YEAR. Always in caps.

If I had more free time and more ambition, I would start an ugly food blog. A lot of the food I cook turns out delicious but pretty ugly. I used to watch Top Chef regularly, and they occasionally got dinged for presentation even when things tasted good. I wouldn't be dinged for presentation, I'd be kicked out for scaring the judges. I've even taken a few pictures with my trusty iPhone. I started to write an experimental post, though, and quickly realized that it probably wouldn't work out. I don't "recipe," especially not for the kind of thing I usually make for dinner (like tonight's slightly green-tinted butternut squash soup... mmm, poblanos). Things are mostly measured in handfuls, eyeballs, and sprinkles. OTOH, I find myself wishing that more cook books/blogs talked about method as opposed to specific recipes because what with my dozen cookbooks and the series of tubes, I don't necessarily need more recipes. I need more methods and techniques and suchlike.

Our apartment remains in abominable shape. It's frustrating that all our effort seems to go into keeping up with the day to day sprawl and none of it to (I blush to admit it) unpacking the office, where we sent moving boxes to die. We have a box of redundant kitchen basics we need to donate, but it's one of those things we never plan to do -- and it requires planning because it's a heavy box with sweetie's heavy dishes.

Applications continue! My recruiter said that I come off as very low key, which I sorta knew -- well, as opposed to a lot of type A lawyers -- but it's good to hear it. I always pep up for interviews, but it's something I'll try to be conscious about. I have a really hard time steering the conversation to talk about how awesome I am, which is what I need to do. It's frustrating to stand up and shake hands and realize I haven't said anything about why they should hire me.

READING: Tor.com's e-book of short stories from 2012. I love sf/f short stories. I should go back to trying to find something to do with my Sad Robot short.

PLANNING: A little investment research. I R grown up, apparently. ALso, tomorrow is my first time attending the book club started by some of my fellow law clerks. We're discussing "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles" by Haruki Murakami. That book was wack. In a good way, I think.

WRITING: Finishing 2013 NaNo! By which I mean, I've spent three days since NaNo writing it, including today. Not at work, obviously. Ahem.

Goodreads!

I am there! Find me! Most of what I post, at least at first, will be C&Ped from here though. I plan to be ridiculously generous with my ratings because that's how I roll (also I don't have time to read books I don't like!).

August 21st

As my sister's birthday approached this year, it struck me that her
birthday was the first I learned after mine. Not that I remember learning
hers (or mine), but I know that I've known it longer than anyone else's
except my own. As a child, you don't learn your parents' birthdays until
you're old enough to give them a card or gift, particularly one that the
other parent did not take you to buy -- this might happen sooner in us
children of divorced parents, not that I can remember it being awkward, but
it must be, sometimes. Her birthday is as ingrained in me as my own, and I
have that same burst of recognition when I see anything dated her birthday
as mine. I swear that my judge scheduled a dozen things for this date, and
indeed, it was a busier-than-usual day for me. For entire halves-of-hours,
I focused on conferences and orders, but again and again I see the date and
think about it again.

For sometime now, as the distance between Then and Now grows, I haven't
known how to feel when these dates -- her birth and her death -- come
around. The date of her birth is much more deeply rooted in me than the
date of her death, and one year the date of her death took me by surprise
on the day itself, though I had been eyeing its approach on the calendar
with dread. I felt, and feel, a wash of ludicrous guilt at that, as if
losing track of a date meant I'd forgotten about her. Birthdays, though,
are times of celebration, even birthdays of celebrated figures who have
died (it would be weird to celebrate, say, Albert Einstein's birthdays
while he was alive, I guess), and I think that the burst of recognition I
get when I see today's date is initially one of happy anticipation, as it
was for so long. There's so much that bubbles up, though, that I can't say
for sure what's in that mix of emotion.

I thought about staying home from work today or leaving early once my
conferences were finished but decided against it. With my wedding, I
thought about her a lot -- how different would it have been to have her as
my maid of honor? I thought about her too when I finally caved and bought a
pair of Fleuvogs because I'm absolutely sure she would have adored their
shoes, and every time I see my pair, I think about her. I expect that not
a day goes by that I don't think about her, but what I feel... that's
harder to measure. I feel a tug when people talk about their relationships
with their sisters or their daughters, when a parent talks about losing a
child. I attended a service recently at a gorgeous High Episcopal (or maybe
it's Anglican-Catholic) church, and unbeknownst to me, it was the feast of
the Assumption, wherein Mary sort of falls asleep and ascends to heaven.
During the service we sang a hymn about Mary's grief at losing her son, and
that almost undid me. When silence falls at church and I kneel, I'm undone,
sometimes.

Just a couple days from now too is the date of my stepbrother's passing. He
was a part of my life for much less time, so not everything reminds me of
him. It's still unreal, and I still wonder what kind of adult he would
have become. Like her, I saw him go through phases during his teenage
years, and it's so hard to say what sort of grown-up person was peeking
through all those layers. A good one, a funny one, a musical one. He just
started his first job. He started beating me at chess sometimes. He wanted
to go to a college for music in Florida. I made him give me a hug before I
left for law school that last time, and he shuffled like an awkward
seventeen-year-old, which of course he was. I don't even know how much I
would have seen him once he left home. One of his friends now has a son
named after him.

August is a month I like for the languorous heat, but there's a pall that
hangs over it. This day feels so much darker than it is, not specifically
with sorrow but with the cloud I'm stuck in. I don't know what I'm feeling
except a lot. I sent my parents flowers. I hope they arrive bright and
beautiful and dispel some of the cloud that must be hanging over them.

cloudy Saturday

Books -- still on Tiptree. The one is a book with a couple unpublished stories and a lot of correspondence. It's amazing but depressing that her letters are better, funnier, more evocative and more thoughtprovoking than pieces I spend months with. The other is a book of short stories, and the two I just read were real punches to the gut: "Morality Meat" and "Yanqui Doodle." She says that she stopped or slowed down writing after a while because she was digging so deep into emotional territory that really hurt, and wow. The despair and visceral horror at what Tiptree imagines for society just rolls off the pages.

CHEERY. Anyway. Latest baking: just oatmeal cookies for a little party at work. The recipe didn't call for ANY spices, which seems blasphemous for oatmeal cookies, so of course I dumped in every sweet-spice (there must be some kind of classification system for spices, right?) I have: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, plus black pepper because it goes into gingerbread, which I lurve. Ah ha ha.

Sweetie and I belong to a CSA/farm-share (we put $$ in sometime in late spring and get 22 weeks of fresh produce from a farm upstate). I have become an EXPERT in preparing big leafy greens of the collard/kale/chard varieties. Stir-fry and baked chips are our favorites (kale chips are way yummier than they sound, even if they sound good to you). We've been getting carrots, and I have discovered that carrot tops are edible, particularly in pesto with fresh basil (we had a plant then got another plant in the CSA, which we decided to try to re-plant instead of just eat). We also get a dozen eggs per week, which is hilariously overwhelming. We end up hard-boiling most of them in a panic when the egg drawer fills up. I'm tempted to find a good recipe for egg salad, which never sounded good to me until my foodie aunt was telling me about the way she does it. Hmm...

Writing: my goal is to revise Sad Robot story with the comments I got from workshop. I'm pretty happy with it as is, but it could use a bit more info in strategic places. At least I should probably know more things about what's happening even if I don't outright tell it to the reader. Also I'm busy dreaming up my 2012 NaNo; the project title is "Magic is Rotting." One year I downloaded personal wiki software and had a marvelous time creating a universe for something I don't even remember, but it bugged out on me and I wasn't ever able to revive it. Anyway, I'm looking for something like that again. Thoughts??

My other writing goal is way more boring: updating one of my law school papers to submit to a law review or journal. I'm just finding more recent articles on the subject than the ones I cited back whenever I wrote it and going to incorporate those so it's less obvious that I wrote this paper three years ago.

Saturday morning is a pretty good time to blog, it turns out. Now I must make notes on a workshop piece... yes, sweetie and I are planning to attend a Saturday workshop. Madness!

Bread and Books

If I had a blog, I might call it "Bread and Books" because it would be about Things I Bake, Eat, and Read. Most of my FB posts are about cooking, after all. Anyway, I've been so excited about books I've read lately that I had to post on LJ -- Twitter just cannot contain my effusive enthusiasm!

I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits: I read this in literally 24 hours. It was one of those books that absorbs every waking hour I have: even when I'm not reading it, I'm thinking about it and wondering when I can get back to it. It's a really intimate portrayal of a Satmar Hasidic family that ranges from Transylvania to Paris to Williamsburg. Like one of the reviews I read of it said, it could have been one of two easy books (the free spirit escaping oppression or the family eschewing modernity to hew to tradition), but the author treats every person (and place) with warmth and dignity. The hook of the book for me was that it took place in the Hasidic community, whose members I see in my neighborhood every day, but what's fantastic about this book is how it draws you in so close to the characters to experience their joys and struggles. The prose itself is gorgeous as well. I recommend this book so, so highly. It is still resonating in me as I write this.

Embassytown by China Mieville. If not for I Am Forbidden, this would be my favorite book of my recent return to the library (I never got around to getting a new card after I was mugged last year). This is one of the books I got in Kindle version, which makes reading on the train easier but I think it takes me a little longer because there are so many smaller pages to click through. Anyway, Mieville is my new favorite speculative fiction author. This book is about language, Language, communication, truth, lies... and also about colonialism, exploration, bigotry, empathy, revolution. There are a lot of fantastic concepts in it besides the main issues of the book. Anyway, this takes place in "Embassytown," the ambassadorial enclave of mostly humans and a few other species on the planet of their Hosts, the Arkiene (not sure about spelling), who have amazing bio-technology, a very singular Language, and two speaking mouths. I don't want to spoil anything, but the book is SO dense with thoughtfulness, creativity, and really wild speculation. I read the last few chapters twice to savor them and was sad when it ended.

Kraken by China Mieville. This was my first China Mieville! This urban fantasy is everything I love about the genre: chaotic, vivid, bound to the city it takes place in, very irreverent about magic, full of eccentric people you know you could see on the streets of London (or New York, for that matter), and constantly shifting between the recognizable and the fantastical. Mieville is bursting with ideas, and the reader goes through the story almost as bewildered as the main characters, who know nothing about this magical side of London until shit gets weird. Bewildered in a good way, that is. Another thing I really like about this book in particular of his is that I get the sense that every character who appears on the page has a fascinating history; Mieville imbues everyone with such life. Anyway, the premise is that a giant squid disappears from a museum, and everyone is trying to figure out who did it, how, and why. How does that alone not make you want to run out and read it??

Scar, by China Mieville. I am starting to resent how every idea I have for a story Mieville has done better. Kraken had a really cool magic system similar to one I've been envisioning, and Scar had a floating steampunk sort of city also similar to the setting in a short story I just submitted for a steampunk Cthulhu anthology. Damn you China Mieville! Damn your awesomeness! I understand that this is his second book in this universe, and the first one (well, I don't know the order of them) is on my liberry hold list. Hooray! Loved the dizzying array of cultures, myths, and locales in this story. Was somewhat bewildered by the layers of manipulation and betrayal, though I suppose the MC feels the same way. I was fascinated by some of these characters but my only overall criticism of this story is that I was not particularly drawn to any of them. All Mieville's books show a really stunning breadth of imagination -- I think he just lacks a little warmth in some of them (Kraken, I should note, does not have any problems in this area -- I loved the characters).

A Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch. I think of friend of mine was raving about this and, in a minor miracle, I actually remembered it when putting a zillion books on hold at the liberry (that came available ALL AT ONCE). It's a lot more personal than Bossypants by Tina Fey, though the first while is her slow and steady rise through comedy to SNL. What strikes me is how archetypally New York-y she is even though she was raised in Boston and lived in LA and Chicago (but obvs now New York), not in the glamorous Sex and the City sense but being a cool, funny, smart person you'd love to hang out with. Not that they aren't those everywhere, but I dunno, something about having a ton of lady friends and a ton of gay friends but baaaaad luck with boyfriends, being Jewish in more of a cultural than religious sense, being a liiiiiiittle New Age-y, being so entrenched in liberal NY that it's a genuine shock to find out that someone she likes is not, being pretty in normal-vision but an ogre in Hollywood-vision... all seems very New York-y. And what the title calls her "Mid-life miracle"
definitely feels like something archetypally NY-y. It makes me want to see her in things and then have a drink with her. She comes across as intensely relatable because I empathize with a lot of her issues... but way funnier about it than I am.

Meet Me at Infinity by James Tiptree Jr. I'm finally diving into James Tiptree Jr, aka Alice Sheldon (aka a few other things). This is an interesting book to start with -- it's a bunch of her lesser-know pieces (not done solely under the Tiptree name) chosen by the editor as relating somehow to her personal life. A lot of them are pieces that were rejected or published in tiny magazines, and I think there's some autobiographical stuff in it too. The idea is to give a sense of her through these pieces, which is a cool concept. The first piece, "Happiness is a Warm Spaceship" is really kooky, and I'm happily ensconced here with a cup of rapidly cooling coffee and reading it as my computer freezes.

Also happy because my kitchen smells like the baguettes cooling on the counter. I've never made them before, so I hope they taste as good as they smell! We're having sweetie's parents over Sunday for dinner, so I'm doing a bunch of stuff beforehand. You may be saying, but baguettes don't stay good for two days! True, but the internet confirms that you can freeze and reheat them, and the less I have to do Sunday, the better. Anyway, off to make (and freeze) crepes now and read my book!

Catling pt. 2!

I think everyone who keeps up with me on LJ knows that I have a catling, but just in case not... CATLING!!! The name she came with is Lexi, I think she was originally named Donna (we get email from the microchip people, and they're always on about someone named Donna), and she is ALSO named Cattywhompus/Night Whomps/Whomps. Right now she is sleeping on my lap. She is a Russian Blue, according to the pet rescue place (Anjellicle Cat Rescue). She is big and silvery gray and verrrrry soft. She's also pretty vocal, which is often cute but occasionally (between midnight and seven am, specifically) annoying. She likes to sleep on our bed and, if she's being good, wait until the alarm goes off to start walking on us and meowing in our faces. My dad got her a pet drinking fountain for Christmas, which she was scared of for like a week but now likes.

Another thing: it is 2012! Hooray! I just got an email a couple days ago reminding me that it's now less than FOUR MONTHS until my wedding. CRAZY TALK! Sweetie and I met with our caterer again this weekend. He's awesome, guys. Just you wait. We were talking about rentals this time (the menu is settled) and arranging the room. It's a cocktail reception, you see, so it'll be mostly finger foods + Mediterranean table, and the idea is for people to MINGLE and also eat a lot of delicious things. So there's not room for everyone to sit down at once, so... MINGLE! Dance. Lean on the high tables. Wander around Prospect Park if it's nice outside (pleeeeeease be nice outside). Hang around the bar (open but limited) if you're that type.

I'm about to write thank-you notes, and sweetie is playing his new Zelda game. Lexi is still on my lap but now awake. I have a very short week of work next week, which is nice (Dad's getting very fancy award then wedding in Dominican Republic!!) but terrible timing -- it's the only time besides my honeymoon that I plan on being out, and of course that's the week our trial gets postponed to. It should be my trial (as in, the docket number is odd, and I handle the odd-numbered matters), and I feel bad about missing so much of it.

I had a wonderful Christmas, especially seeing family out in Colorado, and got many wonderful presents, especially a BOATLOAD of books. Right now I'm finishing the Hunger Games series. LOVE IT! Katniss could maaaaybe get over herself in Book 3, but it's kinda like Book 5 Harry Potter -- they're over the top annoying and angsty and yell-y but also blaming themselves for things beyond their control, but I guess they have good reason to be a bit unstable. I also got several Kazuo Ishiguro books -- I cannot ever read enough of him -- more Robin McKinley (I'm sooo close to having read all of them), and other random sf/f nerdery.

I also got a replacement Kindle. People don't know this because I haven't been spreading it around, but I got mugged a couple weeks ago. Now that it's in the past, I can say it and it's not such a big deal (it happened the day before a Christmas party with friends, so downer), but that is hence the replacement Kindle. I can say that the dude got a pretty weak haul. I had literally no cash on me, I locked out all my cards that night, I deactivated my Kindle the next day (someone a few days later tried to buy children's books on it), and I had a pound of smoked salmon there from my judge. Enjoy your smelly fish, dude. He didn't get what is BY FAR the most valuable thing I had on my person, my ring, or my phone. Not that it's such a hot item either; I was mostly glad that I could call sweetie and have him come and get me from the lobby. Replacing all the lost things and getting locks changed was SUPER annoying. The feeling of helplessness was the worst but the inconvenience of replacing the necessities in my backpack and wallet is a close second. The actual items I lost is just third.

WELP. On to thank-yous! And on to 2012, WOOOOO!!!

Catling!

What's this, a post?? I vaguely remember these things. Blocks of text yanked out of my brain, through my fingers, and set on this magical screen. Anyway.

Sweetie and I are seriously considering adopting a cat! Well, we've seriously considered it since before we lived together, but with The Great Summer of Weddings concluded, we're not going to be out of town for more than an overnight stay until maybe Thanksgiving and once in January (and then two weeks for our honeymoon in May... who wants to catsit??), so we figure this is a good time, especially with some of the long weekends coming up for extra quality cat time. Since I was twelve or so, my mom always had a cat, and we're both big cat people.

So... any tips?? Thoughts on pet insurance? We're planning to adopt out of a shelter and probably aim for an adult, as opposed to a baby, cat. I'm so excited!! There's actually a big adoption event in Brooklyn Heights today (or tomorrow -- the event keeps saying "Saturday October 2") that I wish I could attend, but sweetie's out on a huge run, and I guess I shouldn't get a cat without him. Probably.

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