taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)
Thank you!

The idea of Yuletide continues to warm me, even on a clear, silver-grey November morning when I have a cold. Thank you for playing with my ideas and joining in this garrulous and open-hearted circle with me.

The more time I've spent in Yuletide, the more I'm drawn to stories less often told than I want them to be, parts of the world I want to know more about and characters I want to hear speak. My requests this year touch on some possibly unexpected corners of their fandoms.

In my first year of Yuletide, I wrote: "Write anything you're drawn to. I love the spirit of all this dazzling, paper rustling rushing about, and I care mostly that you get a lift from writing it. There's nothing like falling for a story while you're writing it. Beyond that, let people talk to each other, or just breathe alone together. Maybe you know Henlein's definition in Stranger in a Strange Land: "love is that condition wherein the happiness of another is integral to your own." If the people are enough themselves that when they hurt someone they care for, they know it, I'll be glad."

I say so now, too.

But if you are willing to follow me along some of the currents that draw me, I'll be thankful.
I'll talk some about my requests soon. And whatever you do, please, be absorbed and delighted. Fall in head first.

(P.S.: To save confusion, I'm Minyan on LJ and Taabe on DW and in the archive. My LJ has more in it, because I moved to DW more recently.)

taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)
Kass writes: I challenge you to post something awesome in your LJ or DW.

* When I brought a chair outside to have breakfast on the lawn this morning, I found a tiny purple and yellow primrose in my front flower bed. It's a new generation of primroses from a pot my mom gave me more than a year ago for my birthday. I kept them alive all winter and planted them in the spring, and they bloomed all last summer.

* This weekend is Easter, and I will spend it at the farm with my family and friends who are skilled at scrabble and a barnyard full of kid goats.

* All three of my potential interns have accepted the job if their schools cooperate

* My sister has moved to a new apartment. My parents drove my grandfather's pickup truck through the city yesterday with her bedsprings strapped to the roof. I hear her new place has stained glass in the front door, wooden floors, and no appliances hooked up yet.

* My old boss invited me to dinner on Tuesday, for Seder leftovers and conversation with her partner, who has expert knowledge useful to my book. We shared wine and kugel and tsimmes by candlelight, and they kindly talked local history and let me ask questions.

* Draft 5 is done. As finished and polished as I know how to make it right now. I have no more words. I will, give it time — but not today.

Happy spring!

taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)
At New Years, I was working on chapter 16 in the novel. Six weeks later, I'm finally up to ... chapter 16. The good news is, it's a different chapter 16. Chapters 14 and 15 are both new, and chapters 5 and 6 have expanded — now with heirloom tomatoes!

It feels as though now that I have a framework I can see connections and character movements so obvious I don't know how I've made it this far without them. And I keep running into places where I can't go forward without first going back. Hamlet and Laertes can't have the great big sword fight until they've made it really clear that they hate each other's guts. Or whatever you want to call that tangle of fury and adolescent desperation and grief over Ophelia. And whatever it is, it has to be blaring enough that they're ready to skewer each other right now on this hot, headachey afternoon and smear sticky poison on the blades first.

But once you have that in place, Hamlet and Ophelia can also take a walk in act one and go skinny dipping on the backside of the moat and end up smelling of wild rosemary. They can laugh in each other's arms about the nights when they used to sneak away from their parents on Hamlet's school holidays to drink illiciet 40s in a disused tower that smells of generations of pigeons and start bonfires that nearly set the stones on fire. And on the night his father dies, she can hold him when he's too raw to cry.

It's amazing how many things you can fit into one book. Even before the fan writers get a hold of it. :-)

taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)
I've been offered tickets to see Terry Pratchett's 'Nation' in HD (on screen) by the national Theatre Company in London — the play's in London; the broadcast's here — on Saturday afternoon. Anyone want to come? It's a gorgeous book; I know that much. Two teenagers, Mau and Daphne, are stranded together on an island after a tsunami destroys his village, her ship and the surrounding islands. She delivers a baby. He milks a pig and out-bellows a shark. They begin to rebuild.

Anyway, it amazes me the exciting things I don't know are here, even though it's my job to know.
taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)
Hey guys, long time no see. Summer is receding; my magazine will settle into winter quarters in another week, and I'm sitting here, not at my office, with music playing and the heat lightly on, about to step into chapter one of draft five of the novel. This revision is more of a massage than a hatchet job, I think: filling out the new plot, slowing the pacing in a few places, letting people, here and there, bask.

In the last week, I've taken some time to get out of the house too. On a sunny Thursday, I drove over the mountains listening to The Scarlet Pimpernel and grinning at the first turning sugar maples. It feels so good to be outside — as good as it feels to spend two hours pulling up late season beets and piling them into feed bags with three apprentices at a local farm, while they talk about song books and typewriters whose turn to make dinner.

So a week ago I got to listen to Jonathan Coulton in concert with a pride of friends, and it was magnificent. Listening to a performer live makes me feel awake, a lot like talking comfortably in a field of arugula, but more immediately human. Music opens people, gets past self-consciousness to the place where you can walk straight up to someone and ask how they are and mean it.

On the night, my friends sang the choruses around me and stamped their feet and programmed flames on their iphones — I laughed and I was moved. And I thought afterward, it's funny how many of his songs talk about not reaching people, about something as close as the front door or the next floor up that is out of reach because the singer won't grasp it.

So, because I like arguing with Jonathan Coulton long-distance, I wrote a song in my head as I drove home and filled in the rest in a coffee shop later, before I pulled out my writing notebook. Thank God it's fall.


When no one else needs rescuing,
I like to fly at night.
From here, the hills fit in my hands
and all the city lights.
I'll hit the streets faster than rain
when I hear someone scream,
but when they chose the X-men
I didn't make the team

because I still ache when I land in the dirt
and I remember my name without reading my shirt:
I'll never be a sidekick — obviously —
but on a warm summer evening will you fly with me?

When lightening rods are humming,
I feel alive and whole,
and I want a living body
to expand my soul.
My walls may be stone
but the windows open wide —
why stay in a lab
when you can chase a storm outside?

When I give my heart, it'll come with my head,
and I can make a man without a needle and thread:
I'll never be an Igor — rapturously —
so on a warm summer evening will you fly with me?

When I don't know anyone in the room
I'll offer you a drink.
We'll hang out in the kitchen
blowing bubbles at the sink.
I'll put my feet up on the table
and my wine glass on the floor,
and if you pull the cork
maybe I won't spill when I pour.

So toast our bare feet and let's dance with the band.
I won't take your order, but I'll take your hand:
I'll never be a waiter — gloriously.
On a warm summer evening, will you fly with me?


taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)

January 2017

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