Aggravation Novel soared to 57,200 something. Really good chunk of it yesterday. Then today all I did was go over to Andrew's and finish drawing up President Hamilton ten more times so that next week I paint all the President Hamilton first day covers - and I got a new one! Yes! I have a second cover in my collection that I haven't painted - by Dorothy Ham, a truly gorgeous envelope painted with four North American orchids rather well. I am happy about that. Got it for swap. My collection's themed on plants, animals and fish, basically nature subjects. If you are a first day cover collector, I am interested in swapping my unique very limited edition cachet for nature subjects, especially any Collins hand colored or hand painted nature covers (and will look at any Collins cachets because Collins can draw so well!) and Ham. I do a broader variety of subjects because Andrew collects my covers and has twisted my arm on issues like Fermi and Hamilton. Sometime soon I'll put up a webpage with my cachets, probably on AOL at first since it's easy to upload pictures to my AOL pages and I know how to lay them out well.

Anyway, I had my day off and it went well.

I got a rejection slip this morning, but main discussion at Forward Motion is down so I can't post it on the Great Accept-Reject thread. I need to send it out again right away of course, time for market search. It was a friendly, encouraging rejection slip. Not that impersonal, looked as if the editor took the time to type it out in person! It was great. I think I might post the text of it in the thread, because it was very cheering.

Hey! I owe myself a dollar! Yeah! That's the first buck in my Visor Fund! There it is too, by coincidence that's precisely what was left in my wallet today. So I'm not making it up in change or writing myself an IOU or waiting to break a larger bill. I just penciled what story, what market on the dollar. Just put it away too. These will stack up.

Scientists in Texas have cloned a cat. There's controversy about it because some people at animal shelters are horrified at reducing the chance of a shelter animal's adoption. They also warned reasonably enough that a clone of a cat won't necessarily have anything like the personality or temperament of the original. Right. That's artificially creating twins a generation apart, I knew and expected that. I think they're a bit too worried - because I can think of only one major market for cloned cats. That would be the Cat Fancy crowd and the cat show folks. Cloning is likely to run expensive. Cloning out some Grand Champion who's got a pedigree longer than a British Peer is likely to be worth the money, and probably not that far off from getting that exalted feline gentleman in bed with your female feline peer. Anyone that just wants a cat will probably either go to a shelter or wind up lured in by someone they know whose cat had kittens. I had planned shelter, Ari got born, Katy got me with pictures of three week old lynx points before she even had pictures of him and well, it's all still in the family. But the unfortunate owner of an expensive Scottish Fold or something whose cat got lost and wound up in the pound and wound up neutered will, thanks to cloning, still have a shot at establishing the bloodline. And no amount of shelter appeals will change the cat breeders' proclivity to look for pure strains of particular traits.

If you don't have a cat and do want a cat, go to Death Row for one. They are there by the hundreds and most of them are cats who'd rather live with humans. Most of the grown cats who are very good at taking care of humans wind up there if their human dies, develops allergies or gets a bad landlord. Kittens are adorable, but the grownup who already has good habits is priceless as all good relationships are. On top of that, you can feel heroic in a small way for saving the life of a wise elderly grandmother or some dear old gent who likes to lay on your work in progress.

So it's been a good day. And tonight, I begin again, leaping into the current untitled work in progress with renewed energy! Been ruminating on the villain and the villain's possible henchwoman - let's just say the cheery little barmaid who didn't speak English in the first chapter and had such grand ale is a lot more than she seems. At the moment I don't know which side she's on and she's stoutly resisting authorial interrogation! Sigh - am I dealing with a henchwoman there, or am I talking to an undercover Interpol gal, or someone from some offworld faction or just an opportunistic babe who collected a lot of different secret society membership cards and tries not to have to show up to meetings in two different places on the same night! All I can confirm on her is that she's more than she seems. She's fun and she needs to come into the story a bit more and will when they go back. She's got a great duck blind for interesting traffic at that inn.

Might be in business for herself too, the only rumor about her was that she's got a habit of marrying her sisters off. Could just be setting up her own little personal network there. Things get interesting out in those regions and one thing that's turned up as a pattern is that some parties will deliberately integrate certain cinematic or cliche elements into their covers as a way of filtering out the types who'd recognize them from the types coming in from parts farther unknown who never heard of it. Hm. What would Bryce think of that?

Point in her favor, Bryce seems to like her and trust her and he's not naive at all. Means at least one of her library cards is with some faction or something Bryce considers reliable, that and if she's in Guild Arcane the Wench Cover could contain literary references to a famous comedy from Caraghis in which a particular local doxy chose obscurity in an age of famous philosophers, by disseminating her philosophical, magical and mathematical ideas through chosen lover of the moment - she liked the pose and did not publish one thing under her own name and there are rumors about the comedy that its author wasn't real but the pseudonym of an extremely educated, cultured hetaera. I will have to watch Tilda for quotes. She brings a certain Renfaire enthusiasm to the role that suggests she might have been an Earthwoman and might even gate home somewhere there's a microwave when she's tired of it.

I'm back to single point of view improvisational writing. The worldbuilding's big and deep and vast and events collide again and again down in the sweatshop. I have a very simple continuity method. I do not make many major changes. But I'm always reading over and over what I've got and I've always got a perceptive MC or several of them. I take it as it happened unless it goes so far down a dead end I have to throw in time travelers to change it, then they get an adventure. I'll change how it's described. I may drop whole scenes offstage if they're dull or uninteresting to the reader or would blow the main plot too soon. But I'm whisking it out of MC's view and throwing it into a side file where it did happen and influences events. It's a bit of a mindbender to write that way - but that's some of the fun of writing. And my outlining comes like this - while it's in progress I'll look at the character who popped up on her own and eight chapters later ask 'well what side is she on' and she might or might not tell me.

Most of all I'm having fun with this one. :)

Robert and Ari >^..^<


Telepathic switchboard! Hold, please!

Currently my Aggravation Novel is sitting at 52,587 - sitting like it's sitting on a Harley roaring down the road, that is. Dang thing's just racing along and all the principles from the Maass book are improving it. I'm thinking about them as I go and occasionally breaking my own rule about rewriting while writing.

Because I had to do that in order to do the scene I'm gloating on right now - Telepathic Switchboard. Bunch of characters in the room brainstorming a problem and suffering a lot of cabin fever. MC (Main Character, and someday I'll do one who has those initials!) is the company telepath among the misfit mages. Two or three of them are trying to grab him for private telepathic kibitzing. They all have something important to say and so do the general others who are arguing out loud. Everyone's got a topic. One thread goes in. It runs too long. The most secretive character gets the air cleared on that itself - that he's going to be that secretive and pretty much why. I scroll back to look what everyone else is doing and they're not standing there waiting for the company telepath to take his fingers off his temples (he doesn't do that corny gesture but if he goes quiet and stares off somewhere without answering, you know he's linked somewhere). No, a couple of others are reasonably trying to do the same thing.

Then it hits, and this will be an article topic. Sure, that would be chopped up and difficult for reader to understand. It's more so for MC.

That's not my problem. That's his problem. That's him sitting on a switchboard with a phone on either ear in the middle of a room full of people bugging him with their topics and he actually has to try to talk to all of them at once! I laugh out loud. "It's not my problem! It's yours!" Mwuhahaha.

And go up and intercut the other conversations in, adding more of his reactions as he desperately tries to keep his emotions and aggravation out of all the circuits. He managed to do it, fairly well, when it crashed too bad he just raised his hand and said out loud that was enough, he needed to concentrate. It took going through it on three passes to make all the different passes coherent to the reader - but the result is a character who's very quick on the uptake striving to handle a difficult situation that I really had the leisure to. The result on the last pass was very readable, has a stream of underlying humor and he barely managed not to have to put anyone on hold!

I'm happy with it. Rolling onward!

Robert and Ari >^..^<


February 14 crawls nearer like the tramp of doom.

Childhood. Valentines aren't about romantic love yet, valentines are about popularity. Valentines are about who's got friends and who doesn't. What it's like for a child that buys a bag of them and makes one out for every other kid in the class and gets none, or one and it's an insult joke, that's one of the pangs a good many people remember about the happy holiday the greeting card people make a big profit on.

Valentine's Day, teenager. Then it's romantic love, all right. Then it's something like a Last Call rush in a gay bar at four in the morning so that everyone, even the ugliest old toad has someone to go home with. The kids will pair off, fast, to avoid that embarrassment of being alone on that day and not in love with anyone and no one to buy candy or roses or things like that for. Those situations were similar, because out in San Francisco when most of my friends were gay and I did have someone, we didn't have to worry about Valentine's Day. But I saw all of those friends scrambling in the same desperate way, so that they aren't caught short when someone calls Musical Chairs on the pink-lace holiday of do you have a mate?

Do I have romantic ideas? Sometimes. I often imagine myself, more prosperous, more successful, not housebound. Getting out to conventions and get togethers, meeting other writers, finding someone that romance would lead into a harmonious working partnership too. Someone that understands the life. But if I did meet this lady, if we did get together... would Valentine's Day come into it?

I enjoyed it during the years I had a lover. If I had someone, we'd either not make much of a fuss over it or get into the traditional stuff a little, mostly candy boxes and other treats like that.

But there were always more personal romantic days. Things that were part of our personal history. Something that meant something to just us. I don't know if I sound like a Scrooge here - but in this year, when I'm single and housebound but finally after all these years just doing the thing I wanted to do all my life, with no one yelling at me and no one giving me a hard time about it, nothing to stop me from doing it - why is it this holiday's getting under my skin that badly? I have friends! I have a lot of friends! Most of them are online because most of them live in other states, but some have been strongly suggesting I move out to where they are or something like that. My life is not bad.

I'm so iconoclastic that I often reflect there's a lot to be said for sleeping alone without anyone else demanding I go to bed when I'm not tired or get up because they're up. Or having to argue about such basic things as what to eat or where to go. I am solely responsible for my budget, such as it is.

And yet there's this mass cultural phenomenon, a big holiday out there, that's embarrassing to me. I think I've identified just what this emotion is. It's not grief. I made life choices and by and large I'm pretty happy with them. The only person who'd be likely to actually want to live with me and be my love would be someone who also needed all those freedoms and thanked her gods I didn't expect her to get up on time either, or cook dinner, or put down her work in progress - but it's frustrating as it is every year. I even know that my odds of meeting that kind of person aren't that far off! As long as I do get my life together so that I'm not a burden on her, it's not all that unlikely. And neither is continuing bachelorhood if I meet and date interesting women and don't settle down and go on having satisfying friendships.

I don't know that I won't in real life wind up in an unconventional relationship once my books are in print - simply because I write sensitively about complex unconventional relationships and tackle the real problems people have getting along with each other.

My own personal mating patterns were affected by my body, by my mobility limits. I'd fall in love in the autumn, when the weather's going to get bad and whoever my new love is, they're no more interested in going outside than I am. And if it didn't last, they fly away in the Spring. They have cabin fever. They want to get out, just for the sake of getting out, only Spring isn't that for me. Spring and good weather is the time when I knock myself out and I can't keep up physically and healthier lovers don't want to be anchored to someone who can't move at a normal speed. The pattern, especially in shorter relationships, can be chronicled in a series of fights. I am fascinating in Autumn and I am boring in Spring. Because I don't go out and the storyteller's not as exciting as the places I can't get to and the things I can't do, things I hardly miss at times because a lot of it, I either never had it or I knocked myself out doing it because everyone said it was fun and the fun was lacking.

But that being out of step makes me question things. That being out of step gives me a different perspective on life, and I write novels. Writing novels isn't something that takes a two mile hike in the morning to stay in shape for. It takes the kind of patience I do have. It takes all the strengths that really are mine.

But if Valentine's Day isn't a good one for you, maybe that's just because it's a random day of the year and that's when a mass crowd is going in one direction all doing the same thing, two by two. And not because you might not fall in love in June or May or August or November, out of schedule, an individual. Seeing that level makes it easier to face. If it is good, the flow of the crowd may just be background to real happiness. When it's not - it doesn't matter what day it is or what anyone else in life is doing.

The day after Valentine's Day always has very good chocolates very cheap in heart shaped boxes at every store. That's what I did to cheer myself up year after year - remember what it was like to be eight and go ahead and buy myself some of those. It's an odd perk but it's real and I don't bother with box chocolates most of the time. So there's a pleasant thought to end on - and you can even get those on Food Stamps. Enjoy something about it.

Robert and Ari >^..^<

Oh now that's a thought... get a box of catnip...