Monday, October 31, 2016
I should probably change my habits to actually announcing when I am going to participate in National Novel Writing Month, rather than when I am not, since this is the third or fourth year (I’m too lazy to go back and check) since I’ve participated.
Doleful Creatures. Sigh. Sent it to three publishers this year. Two rejections and the other publisher went out of business. And that’s okay. Still have work to do on the story. Why not take the time to make it right?
Other ideas. Yes, I have them. Have jotted a few things down. But there are more pressing writing issues. Such as has already been mentioned. And the Hermit of Iapetus is getting impatient with me, waiting for me to finish Doleful Creatures so I can finish telling his story.
School. BYU-Idaho changed the learning environment and the curriculum, meaning I’m spending more time than usual in class trying to get things graded and figure things out.
Also: It’s quite possible I am a eh-stinky writer. But I will keep doing it, no matter what.
When we got to work this morning, things were a little on the dark side.
The classrooms in our main building were ablaze with light, we could see as the bus pulled up. But the parking lot lights and the foyer to the building, well, dark. You could see the glow of cell phones on faces, but that was about it.
Power out, obviously. The classrooms had emergency power. Everything else but the fire exit lights and such were out.
I found a dark little spot to lean against the wall, a bit out of the way so nobody would trip over me. IT was crowded in the foyer – a couple hundred employees all crammed in there, yet it was still pretty chilly. I sat for a while but my butt went to sleep. So I wandered over to the bathrooms. Good thing I had my cell phone, because otherwise I would have had to do my business in the pitch dark. Mental note: Bring one of my solar lanterns from home, to have in case of emergency. Also for use in the records closet when I lock myself in there to take naps.*
After the potty break, I found a chair to sit in. I alternated between leaning forward and dozing and leaning backward and dozing, waking occasionally when the conversation in the room got a bit loud or it sounded like someone was making an announcement.
Round about 8:30 AM – an hour and a half after arrival – the lights turned on and we all filed dutifully through the turnstyles.
I wanted more nap time. But luckily I brought a Dr. Pepper from home, so I had a little pick-me-up. But I have to throw my work cup away, as it has a crack in it, and my Dr. Pepper was slowly leaking out. I feel kinda sad about that.
But not sad all y’all paid me $39 to take a nap this morning.
Oh. Why was the power out? I never heard officially. We did have wind gusts of up to 74 miles per hour blowing through the plant last night accompanied by heavy rain. So it’s likely there were lines down or maybe a transformer blew up or something. All I know is they got it fixed.
And I’m being flip here, of course. Keeping us at work, even idled while the power was out, saved you money. About half of us ride government buses to work. To have the buses roll to take us home would have cost a lot. And they would have still rolled home at the regular time, because only the power at our plant was out, not everywhere at the Site.
*This, I have not done. Though I have fantasized about it regularly.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
It would do the world a bit of good, I think, if we all paused for a moment to read Terry Pratchett’s “Snuff.”
Because we live in a world now where decades of war on two continents are pushing an unprecedented wave of humanity looking for a safer place to live.
Because we have leaders, both with the small l and the capital L, who prefer to do nothing in the face of ugliness.
Because we, as a race of humans, are more prone to coming to those who will act, hat in hand, and play little scenes like this:
Mr. Hasty looked around at his fellows, and got that mixed assortment of waves and hoarse whispers that adds up to “Get on with it!” Reluctantly he turned back to Vimes, cleared his throat, and said, “Well, sir, yes of course we know about the goblins and no one liked it much. I mean they’re a bloody nuisance if you forget to lock your chicken coop and suchlike, but we didn’t like what was done, because it wasn’t . . . I mean, wasn’t right, not done like that , and some of us said we would suffer for it, come the finish, because if they could do that to goblins then what might they think they could do to real people, and some said real or not, it wasn’t right! We’re just ordinary people, sir tenants and similar, not big, not strong, not important, so who would listen to the likes of us? I mean, what could we have done?”
Heads leaned a little forward, breaths were held, and Vimes chewed the very last vinegary piece of crisp. Then he said, directing his gaze to the ceiling, “You’ve all got weapons. Every man jack of you. Huge, dangerous, deadly weapons, You could have done something. You could have done anything. You could have done everything. But you didn’t, and I’m not sure but that in your shoed, I might have done anything either. Yes?”
Hasty had held up a hand. “I’m sure we’re sorry, sir, but we don’t have weapons.”
“Oh, dear me. Look around. One of the things that you could have done was think. It’s been a long day, gentlemen, it’s been a long week. Just remember, that’s all. Remember for next time.”
Pratchett, in his quiet way, just indicted a planet, folks.
Because we’re all like this. Even those who self-appoint themselves as Vimes. Because Vimes himself only paid attention to the plight of the goblins because he was forced to. By Lord Havelock Vetinari. And before you say, ah, there’s the ray of sunshine set to redeem the planet, remember Vetinari himself would laugh and retort, “Tyrant, remember?” And save his coolest anger for a certain pet shop owner in Pellicool Steps who compiles the nastiest crossword puzzles that ever tormented mankind.
Oh there are many working to help the goblins of our world, in government, in churches, in private groups and public organizations.
But the majority of us—myself included – resemble Mr. Hasty. Recognizing the wrong that has sent more than three thousand souls into the netherworld, drowning in the Mediterranean, because we have no weapons, sir, even if we’re sorry we don’t.
Because they’ll get along without us.
Someone else will fix things.
I mean, they’re bound to. Can’t ignore it. It’s not human to ignore it.
“I’m sure we’re sorry, sir, but we don’t have weapons.” That’s us. We all say it. Or we give a little money, and say that’s our weapon.
It’s the something. That’s better than nothing, to be sure.
But Vimes – and our God, if we claim to be Christian – tells us we can do everything.
What am I doing, casting stones? I’m doing what you are, which is practically nothing. Other than reading a book and writing about it on a blog nobody will read.
I might have written a letter to my congressman. I forget.
And – as another author would put it: And so it goes.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
I might finally – even though I never intend to pick it up again and finish reading it – understand the appeal of John Crowley’s “Little, Big.”
It’s twee. I said so when I reviewed the book. Or at least its first 100-odd pages. And I mean odd.
But today, due to an Interwebs search on the word twee, I ran into the Twee Movement. Somebody decided to make “twee” a movement and forgot to tell me. Not that I would have joined. Because their twee isn’t my twee at all.
Here’s how I define twee. It might sound familiar if you use a dictionary:
To provide examples, I offer up mainly books: Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows,” the aforementioned “Little, Big,” Bob Brooks’ “Ballymore Adventures,” the Beatrix Potter canon, Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear, the works of Aardman Animation, etc.
But twee went and became a lifestyle, which according to Salon.com, means this:
Twees, as I saw them, were souls with an almost incapacitating awareness of darkness, death and cruelty, who made the personal choice to focus on essential goodness and sweetness. They kept a tether to childhood and innocence and a tether to adulthood as is required by the politically and socially active. They had a healthy interest in sex but also a healthy wariness and shyness when it came to the deed.
You’ll be shocked to hear that Brooklyn is involved.
Live and let live, I say. They can be twee all they want. Even be “Twees” with their waxed mustaches and adorable bands that you’ve probably never heard of (I wonder if Fleet Foxes would be considered twee?).
That doesn’t mean I can’t make fun of them.
Because this is adorable.
Note: At the bottom of this list, a warning: “Most people don’t know what twee is.” Which makes it all the more precious to those who have discovered this particular pigeonhole and find the dungy smell there appealing.
I think people out there crave an identity, a belonging, and wind up in some of the strangest little societal eddies. They read one thing about the “kawaii” movement in Japan and decided, “Me too!”
Again, that’s okay.