January 15th, 2006


bowl of noodles

So here is us, on the raggedy edge.

I've slept too late, had my breakfast ramen, slithered about the web, and now Tom Waits is crooning in my ears, and I can, sadly, think of no other reason to delay the onset of Another Day. So. Here we go. Hang on.

There's sunlight peeping into my office through a poorly secured bit of black cloth, reflecting off the spines of several books. It's cold again. That sunlight isn't telling the truth.

Spooky and I spent all of yesterday holed up in the office, dealing with the hundreds of Alabaster line edits. My office is one of the particularly cold rooms in the house, because we put bookshelves in front of almost all the windows and loaded them down with books before realizing that this place is draftier than a sieve in a hurricane. But we did not freeze quite to death, despite winds gusting 34 mph and a windchill of 27F. That was outside, of course. I don't know what it was in here. But we made it through "Waycross" and "The Well of Stars and Shadow" and "Alabaster." Which means we're done with the first round of edits, and the first round was 95% of the editing. I only rewrote a few sentences. I changed one line in "Waycross" in order to account for the events of "Alabaster." I added a lot of commas. I'm more of a comma traditionalist these days. I split some of my compounderations since they didn't seem to work anymore, and I had to wonder, again, if they'd ever worked. I also realized that the various discontinuities that exist between these stories aren't the only wrinkle in the thing. There's also the issue of repetition. Had I written these five stories knowing, ahead of time, that they were destined for a collection of Dancy stories, I wouldn't have repeated certain things in each story. Or maybe I would have. One never knows. When we were done with all the editing, about 6:30 p.m., I sketched my concept for the Alabaster cover, scanned it, then e-mailed a jpg to Ted. He liked it and is going to use it. He didn't even make fun of my stick-figure Dancy. And that was it for me and work yesterday.

Anita called from Barcelona. She'd finished "Bainbridge." I told her to e-mail me the afterword she's written for Alabaster, and she obliged, so I need to get that read today and see if it's going to work. She read me a poem in Spanish, but I understood hardly a third of it and can't recall the poet. She'll be stateside again in March, I think. She says moving to New England's the right thing to do, if I can handle the cold weather. We shall see.

Spooky made dinner. We watched a National Geographic thingy on taboos, which was mostly about body modification in different cultures. I am ever amazed at how Westerners are horrified by the practices of people in southeast Asia or Africa or Seattle, but give not a second thought to all the ways they condone and indulge in body modification themselves. Lets start with shaving. That's a good one. Dieting, too. Pierced ears. Plastic surgery, often far more extreme from a surgical standpoint than, say, my guiche or Spooky's tattoos or someone else's split tongue. Facelifts. Tummy tucks. And what about braces? Definitely. People dye their hair and practically never think of it as "body modification," but it is, of course. Nail polish. All cosmetics. And on and on and on and on. That which is, by definition, familiar can almost never be alien. That which is alien makes people wince and ask why would anyone ever do that to themselves. Doesn't it hurt? Don't they know it makes them look funny? Anyway, after that, we read several chapters of Harry Potter. There's so much in the fourth book that didn't make the film — Hermione's obsession with freeing house elves, all this stuff about Hagrid being half-giant, and so forth. Reading the book is almost like getting the extended version of the film on DVD. I know that's ass backwards, that impression, but there you go.

Okay. I got my pick axe and my carbide lantern and my lunch pail. It's off to the word mines for me...