Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oh Frabjous Day!

Hmm. I think my sister might've already used that title for a post. So much for originality.

I am rather overly pleased with myself. I finally broke my nearly month-long non-writing spell and wrote 1120 words today. It's not a lot, but it still meets (old) quota. And I'm just glad I'm back on the wagon, so to speak.

I also gave my writing portfolio to a producer/friend of mine, and although there's nothing on the horizon now, there'll hopefully be some in the future. It was a nice day to go out. And the mackerel nigiri at Shogun is the best I've tasted.

Then I was a bad girl and bought new boots at Nine West. I've had my old boots for at least four years, and I've already tailored and re-soled and repaired them, and on New Year's the zipper broke. So I descended upon the clearance rack at Nine West and grabbed a wicked pair for a great price. There's no pic on the Nine West site or I'd link to it. Peruse at your own shoe-addicted risk.

Then I went to 24-hour mini grocery, Rabba, and bought Danish feta cheese (along with some other things). Of all the things that the Danes make, why did I have to pick feta - a Greek cheese? No, it's not bad. I do prefer my feta much sharper, saltier and more briney, though. Y'know, like the Greeks make it.

And now I shall go watch one of the films I rented before I have to return it at midnight.

Next up, I'll be reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith. But not till I get five days of writing done. You'll be my witness.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Off to Work

Didn't feel good, couldn't sleep. Decided to finish reading "The Kite Runner" (by Khaled Hosseini).
"The Kite Runner" is excellent. No doubt about that. But it is also brutally sad. As soon as the story took a turn for the worse, it was really difficult for me to keep reading. But I slogged through, mainly so I could put the darn thing away and move on to "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith. I mean, so I could get back to my writing.

"The Kite Runner" is a haunting novel, and it's probably best to read it without knowing too much about it (if you're like me). Also, good to remember that it is a novel and not a memoir. When I started I thought it was a memoir and I nearly felt ill - till I realized the actual narrative wasn't real. (Yes, it's set in the very real recent history of Afghanistan, but the narrative is fiction.) Thank goodness.

Anyhow, I'm off to sell coffee to sleepy people.

I'll add linkage later.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Truth and Consequence

Well, I've just stayed up blogging and wrote a long post on science fiction. It's intensely boring (the post, not sci-fi), so I'll revise it and post another day.

So, while I ought to have been working on the book, I was working on the blog. I may have to push my deadline, 'cause as it stands, I'll have to write about 2700 words a day to finish on time. Not impossible, but not likely. I'll make a decision next week - it'll give me some time to redeem myself.

My cold has come back again! Yes, I've always gotten colds in winter, but this is ridiculous. I've decided to heed my doctor's suggestion that it is possibly a sinus infection that will respond to antibiotics. So, hello, amoxicillin, my friend. Do your best.

Still, for all my whining, I did stay up and work on the blog, so I can't say I was too tired to write. I was just shirking responsibility.

From now on, no more posting till I do the writing I'm s'posed to be doing. Perhaps that'll get me through the fear and loathing.


And on a totally random note, for any foodies out there, it is Winterlicious time in Toronto! That means a whole bunch of restaurants you can't usually afford or have been too afraid to try offer prix-fixe menus for about $20. This is the first year I went and it was totally by accident, but some people run around sampling everything in the city.

Ok, c'est tout. I see I've flipped my sleep schedule again. Well, feeling ill + not sleeping + working at 5:30am = sleeping for 15 hours Friday night. And then come Saturday...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Science Fiction

This is the science fiction post I wrote but never posted.

The politically correct term these days is "speculative fiction" but I still call it sci-fi. Yes, I lump the classics with the pulp. Isn't all fiction speculative anyway?

For a self-professed "science fiction fan", I'm a bit of a fraud. There's a lot of classic stuff I haven't read. I haven't read "Dune" or "The Time Machine", for example. I've read mostly short stories.

My favourite science fiction author is John Varley, because at least once per story, I think wow. "The Persistence of Vision" and "Air Raid" are both included in The John Varley Reader. "Air Raid" is the first story I ever read by Varley, probably 14 years ago. It was expanded into a novel called "Millenium" which was alright, but unnecessary, and turned into a movie that I haven't seen and don't intend to.

I've only read one of his Varley's novels, The Ophiuchi Hotline. His pacing is quick, his worlds are astounding yet believable, and his stories leave me thinking that perhaps I should leave writing to other people. I don't know why I haven't read his other novels. Maybe I'm afraid they won't be as good as his stories, or maybe I'm frightened by the cover "art". I'll devote a whole other post to sci-fi cover art.

Other faves are Asimov short stories and Robert Heinlein novels. (Though I've only read two Heinleins.)

I've also read a variety of Philip K. Dick stories and two of his novels. I read a ton of Spider Robinson in highschool, but it hasn't stuck with me. Some of my favourite Spider Robinson has just been re-issued by Baen. It's a short story collection initially published as "Melancholy Elephants" that has been reissued as By Any Other Name. A worse title and horrible cover art, but the stories hold up. Some really poignant, lovely near-future work.

And I can't talk about sci-fi short stories without adding Harlan Ellison. I've recently found out that I am "two degrees" away from Harlan Ellison!!! I don't know what to do about it, though. I suppose I could hide outside the friend-of-a-friend's house and wait for him to visit. The collections Angry Candy and Slippage are good to have in rough times - when you're in a misery-loves-company mood.

I adore the young adult trilogy by Phillip Pullman, called His Dark Materials and I would recommend it to kids and adults alike. It's more fantasy than science fiction, but very worthwhile. I suppose it's closer to Narnia than Harry Potter, but more of an anti-religious allegory than pro. Maybe not so much anti-religion, as a criticism of the human corruption or exploitation of religion. Beautifully written - especially the first book, "The Golden Compass".

Maybe one day I'll have the courage to post some of my sci-fi on here... but don't hold your breath!


Margaret the Powerbook is home! I had to schlep all the way to Yorkdale Mall to the only Apple store in the city to get the new powercord. But at least all my repairs were covered by my warranty, so neither the replaced keyboard nor the powercord cost me anything.

Now I have to get a LOT of writing done. Not tonight, since I open tomorrow. That means being at S'bux by 5:30am. Complain, complain...

So what have I been doing this past week without my laptop? I've been reading.

I read one really bad book, which doesn't deserve any publicity. I also read Valley of the Dolls! It was much better than I expected and a lot of fun to read. Surprisingly well-written actually. And a very interesting look at society - at least from Jacqueline Susann's point of view - from 1945 to 1961. One the one hand, thank god for feminism. On the other hand, la plus ca change...

Before "Valley of the Dolls" I read The Talented Mr.Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. I enjoyed it, but found it impossible not to picture the film. Although Minghella took liberties with the book, I think he did a great job capturing the essence of it on the screen. I want to rent some of the other Ripley movies and see how Ripley is portrayed in those. There's Purple Noon with Alain Delon and Ripley's Game with John Malkovich. And in looking for that last link, I've also discovered The American Friend directed by Wim Wenders and starring Dennis Hopper as Ripley. Highsmith certainly knows how to reap the benefits of options.

More soon, with, hopefully, an updated word count on the novel I'm supposedly writing.