Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The relentless spotlight of public scrutiny

Here I am still recovering from 3 days drive back from Pennsylvania (left Pittsburgh 6pmish Aug 12, arrived Victoria 7pmish Aug 15) and what does life demand of me? Being photographed in medieval costume gazing adoringly into my husband's eyes and hoicking up my skirts to show off my shoes and pattens (not simultaneously - it could be a timeline, though).
Mark was interviewed for (in theory) the Business section of the Victoria Times-Colonist, as a small businessman with the more-photogenic-than-staring-into-a-monitor angle of being inspired by medieval art and doing Living History. Which in itself is a fine thing and I approve and support. I just wish it hadn't been scheduled so soon after our return. Consider that Chris had been occupying alone for 3 weeks, followed by our return and the explosion of unpacking over every available horizontal surface. Start with the untidiness of the packing process, left unreconciled, and the remnants of making desperately-needed-linen-clothing, also unfinished, which formed the base level, and well, the kerosene and a match solution had some appeal.
Anyway, Mark and I brought the ground floor at least into a semi-presentable state, with several items getting upstairs and out of sight, though not quite into the attic yet.

The photographer arrived first, and took several photos of Mark's buckles and brooches and knives, some being held and some on the table. Most of the time he took two photos in rapid succession, flash-Flash, reminding me of that handgun-training thing of always shooting twice, to make sure. After a bit of that, we went out to the backyard, where he took several shots that Mark referred to later as 'romance novel covers', with me leaning on him or him leaning down so as to be able to look into my eyes. (He did suggest that I stand on a box, but there didn't seem to be time for me to go and find one.) It differed from the typical romance cover in that neither of us had difficulty keeping the shoulders or chest covered, and flowing locks were not available (mine were under the wimple, and his aren't flowing). We were also directed to look at each other, and some substantial number of romance covers have the lovers staring off in the same direction, as if at some threat or hope of escape.
I tried to pose once as the adoring and vinelike wife from that Gothic German sculpture (if I can find a photo I'll post it) twined about her husband with a rather frightening smile on her face, like a Greek comedy mask, but received no encouragement.
The photographer departed to cover an Incubus concert, protected by his military-strength earplugs, which allow him to not hear the music at all. The reporter came inside, wrote lots of shorthand notes and communicated enthusiasm about this being a more interesting assignment than most. Which is probably true, Victoria not being a hotbed of excitement usually (though allegedly a hotbed of satanism, according to Michelle Remembers).

And after that I was exhausted, and went to bed. It was pretty much as tiring as getting the retinal scan, even though the bright lights were mostly directed at other places than my eyes.
Good thing I'm not likely to be interviewed much, if it's that wearing when I'm not even the subject.

Writing-related: I've become annoyingly paranoid about wordcount. I've got to stop checking wordcount while in process, because it makes me hesitant to spend any words on the latter part of the story, like, say, the climax. Oh no, I think, I'm just under 4k! I'd better scamp the denouement, or else I can't submit to Clarkesworld!
Given that what everyone seems to like about Willow Knot is the kinda-lush (I call it 'drenched') sensory detail, if I keep hesitating to include description and tactile stuff in the last 3d of the book (court and city) because I'm afraid of bumping the wordcount higher, I'm seriously working against myself.
I need to stop looking at the wordcount. It is for me what Amazon numbers are for those who've actually completed books and have them on the market.
Is there another way to measure progress and assure myself that I've actually done something?

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