Gradually, Then Suddenly
A couple of weeks ago I was proofreading a newsletter for my co-worker, and it felt strange that Black wasn’t capitalized when talking about people. I didn’t correct it, because it was consistent and I follow Chicago Manual of Style instead of APA for that newsletter, but sure enough a few days later the CMS confirmed my spidey-sense and announced the change in their recommendations. The AP, and therefore the website formerly known as my local paper, too. It was definitely less than a year ago but feels like ancient history that seeing Black capitalized meant I was reading something from the 1970s or a social work article.
”Is it reflex or sickness?”
I can’t remember how I got there—probably from Twitter—but I watched this five-minute video about asemic writing by Ananda Naima González, and gave it a try. Mine came out like this:
Looking back at the translation I wrote shortly afterward, it does reflect my state of mind on the day I wrote it. My favorite line: “is it reflex or sickness?”
If I try it again, I might write right to left, since I don’t usually get to do that and as a lefty it might feel good.
Love from A to Z, by S.K. Ali
Just finished the audiobook of this Muslim YA romance and it was so good! In the middle I was getting big Pride and Prejudice feels—they needed to work through their different outlooks on life, for real, but it was never the annoying “just a big misunderstanding” romance trope.
Then I was heading out for a walk and there was 45 minutes left in the book, and Adam and Zayneb were in love and trusting each other and communicating, and I thought, “Is it going to be 45 minutes of how things worked out happily?” and reader, it pretty much was!
I loved Adam’s family in particular and also now want to visit Doha. Islamophobia is a topic in the book, but not in the characters’ families or between Adam and Zayneb, It’s more about thinking through how to be yourself and not lose joy in your life even though haters are lurking.
There is a meant-to-be, Happily Ever After vibe much like the one in When Dimple Met Rishi, but it didn’t feel limiting to me like some YA romance does when it goes that way. Maybe because they weren’t high school boyfriend/girlfriend.
Anyway, it was a balm and just what I like in an audiobook.
Three More Things Wrap Up a Post
I took the stairs to the office. This reminded me of The Number Painter skits on Sesame Street.
1. Because sanguinity and I watched Yuri on Ice a couple of weeks ago,
yesterday we met after work for a pork cutlet bowl. I got tonkatsu and she got spicy pork bowl, both tasty but neither quite like the show’s:
I may or may not feel compelled to keep trying.
2. I went to my first Zumba class, at the community center this morning! My plan to hide in the back didn’t work out, as there were only two students including me. But my 1980s high-school aerobics chops got me through.
3. Two audiobooks on my phone and neither one really doing it for me. So I’m downloading I Woke Up Dead at the Mall.
It’s set at the Mall of America. For those keeping track, I was not a finalist in their Writer in Residence contest. Well, onward and upward.
From Tumblr, apparently, via owlectomy:
You are now a Time Lord. The object closest to your left hand is your Sonic item. One of your parents’ occupations is your title. Your last text is your catchphrase
I am The Secretary. I have a Sonic Oatmeal Bowl. My catchphrase is, “Someone should tell them about the Idea Fairy in the shower.”
If I do say so myself, I would totally watch a holiday special about Time Lord Me.
I replaced my damaged Scarlatti keyboard sonatas CD with one by Dubravka Tomsic. I’ve always liked listening to Scarlatti while I work– I remember a happy snowy morning of geometry homework and Scarlatti when we were doing compass and straight-edge. Yes, trisecting an angle for fame and fortune, I will get right on that! And Scarlatti is in the subset of my writing music that Sanguinity can tolerate when we’re at home writing together. (Russian men’s chorus, no. Enya’s Shepherd Moon definitely no, although it always works because I wrote my whole thesis to it. Cristina Branco yes.) Anyway, I think this version and I will become friends just fine.
Many of our tomatoes were volunteers this year, but they made it and the orange cherry-sized ones are especially nice. Some split skins because of the sudden rains.
Sanguinity took me for pho last night and the restaurant’s TV was showing the Emmys. I hadn’t seen any of the comedies. Remember when the best TV was sit-coms and the Friends cast made more money than any actors ever? When I stayed at a hotel alone this summer and channel-surfed before going to sleep, none of the reruns I clicked through held up to the test of time except Frasier. That surprised me, because I got pretty sick of Frasier when it was being broadcast.
I’m supposed to go to a strike captains’ training tomorrow because my union may go on strike Monday. But even though the union’s good about providing food, I am a very hard sell for meetings that last over an hour. No way 5:30 to 8:30 is going to work for me.
The bridal party arrived, and when they were all correspondingly seated, a waiter appeared with a magnum of champagne and went round the table, filling everybody’s coupe. He was young and terrified and had apparently been told that each squat glass must be filled to its brim. Everyone sat in silence while this feat was slowly and painstakingly achieved. Little beads of quivering perspiration appeared on the waiter’s forehead. Watching him was like watching a medical student suture a wound.
When the waiter had scurried out of the room, Robin stood and attempted to raise his glass, but its brimming abundance made this impossible, so he bent down and sipped preventatively from it, and, so tamed, managed to hold it before him. “A toast,” he said, “to Clement and Coral: May their days be long and their loads be light, with peaceful days and fruitful nights!”
Everyone agreed to this toast by leaning over and sipping in a delicate feline way at their champagne.
Basically, I act like I should get a medal for riding to work: I am willing to do it if there is lots of praise and prize drawings and preferably a free breakfast involved. After this month I’ll be reading my book on the bus again.
When I was with the in-laws for the holidays, Jeopardy was one of the tv shows that seemed to appeal to everybody. So when I got home, it occurred to me to look up how people get on the show.
Turns out the first step is a 50-question online test, and one was coming right up in January. So I registered, and yesterday I stayed a little late at work (where the good computers are) and took it.
You get 15 seconds to type each answer, and you don’t have to do the “in the form of a question” thing, so I had time to jot down notes in my notebook after typing. I think I missed eight questions. If they’re seeking a nice solid B student type, I’m sure they’ll give me a ring, hahaha.
Lowest-hanging fruit if I ever want to study and do better: GEOGRAPHY.
At work I’ve gone from 3/4 time to full time for the next couple of months, to help fill in for someone on medical leave. Last week was my first 40-hour work week in ages. Let the whining commence!
Nah…I miss my schoolkid schedule, but it’s temporary. I’m cutting back on nearly everything else– no going to Chinuk wawa three times a week for awhile, and I don’t know how many walks with refgoddess I can fit in when I have to be at the office by 8:30. Running remains on the back burner. I think I’ll do best when I make things very simple: work, writing, and basic maintenance of health and household. Monastic contentment, right? And I can use the money, with a Colorado trip coming up and some furnace-and-roof debt still on the books.
But I do feel a rumble of resentment and panic when my time starts to resemble a sliding-tile puzzle, where I’m moving blocks around but constantly running into the walls of work and sleep. When I consider getting up a half-hour earlier to do something, and it won’t work because it will disrupt things back into the previous evening. Life shouldn’t be like that.
At least I’ve been better than usual this week about taking advantage of short writing opportunities. Ten minutes suddenly seems worthwhile, I’m writing on the bus a little because I might not get another chance all day, and an hour feels like luxury instead of obligation. I hope I’ll have a little to show for it after eight weeks, as I very very slowly conjure up this novel.
Today Sang and I got out to Powell Butte for a little hike– in fact we were all done and back at the house, with a grocery trip thrown in, by eleven o’clock! The wind was cold, so we hastened to the forested far side of the hill. Lots of yellow violets blooming, and the nettles are knee-high and looking pretty darn vigorous already. I was happy to hear a raven, after a winter of staying in town hearing crows.
Yesterday I got around to making soda bread, after buying the buttermilk just before St. Patrick’s Day. Warm with butter: so good.
Next book to read: Lisa Lutz’ Trail of the Spellmans, fifth in a series that makes me laugh out loud. (I’m currently finishing up Kage Baker’s The Children of the Company: satisfying to fill in some knowledge-gaps, but Mendoza is the heart of the series for me and she doesn’t appear in this one.) As for TV, Sang and I are re-watching the first season of Sarah Connor Chronicles, which feels much richer and more suspenseful than the first time around. (So many shows I’m iffy about the first season. Will they all seem better on re-watch?)
I got off the bus a mile from home to pick up my library holds. Even though I’m in the middle of both Maisie Dobbs and James’ Ambassadors, I had to bring the new ones up on Spaceship Couch with me and sample them.
As in a really good research study, play does not value closure. It seeks new direction and unexpected results. We want to be surprised but also reassured that we know the territory.
But now I have to find clothes to wear tomorrow, and put a frozen burrito in a sandwich bag, and floss, and stretch over the big orange ball so I’m not a curled-up, barely breathing reading thing.
I have noticed something disturbing about my work habits or lack thereof. When I start feeling overwhelmed or feel like I have a lot going on, I give up on writing for the rest of the week. Instead of figuring out when the next actual available time to work will be, I look ahead to the whole week at once, shrink in horror, and spend any down time I do get rebelling and denying as hard as I can. And projecting to “next week,” when this will all be over and things will be different.
Something else, not related, that I have noticed lately: it is really, really easy to talk about television! Even KFC, a writing group full of book people, ended up talking about television a lot at our last meeting. And when I cast around for a conversation topic, TV usually works. Have I mentioned that Sanguinity and I are watching Twin Peaks for the first time?
It’s finally a sunny week here in Portland. On my bus ride this morning, the sky was blue with small perfect clouds in the distance. It was so storybook perfect that for a second I wondered if I might be dreaming, or part of a movie or simulation without realizing it. I am prone to this kind of paranoia on the bus, suddenly wondering if everyone but me is psychic and can hear my thoughts and so on.
Fourgates pointed me to a guy who’s testing the “10,000 hours” concept on golf! He’s at the one-year mark. I envy his metrics and coaching team.
How many inches of ramen in a packet? Cockeyed.com measured. I’m actually liking a lot of things on that website, including the costumes and how he documents failures as well as successes.