Wednesday, August 13, 2008

a bit early for the mellow fruitfulness

I am beset by apples. Two dehydrators (one with the charming name of Jerky Express, the other the Snackmaster) are humming away in different notes--possibly reducing my hearing in the 'annoying hum' range--and an apple crumble cools in the fridge, yet a heaped mixing bowl of apples remains untouched. Oh, and a bag of apples was left surreptitiously on our neighbour's porch. (Passive voice used to avoid identifying the agent.)
This is just the windfall of two days, you understand. I've filled two tupperware storage tubs with dried apples, and this from the windfalls of the first tree. I'm thinking of offering a sandwich bag of dried apples to anyone who sends me the postage, which Mark thinks would be about $3 for the smaller size of padded envelope & mailing costs.
I don't know--any of my theoretical readers interested in utterly organic apple slices, dried only by air, with no sulfates or sulfites or whatever it is, not even lemon juice?


Assorted signs and portents: a sign that I've been neglecting new writing in favour of revising. I was bustling around the big table, laying out the dancers cloth for painting, and realised that a spider had built a web from the corner of my laptop to the corner of the bookcase beside it.
Unfortunately both cameras were away from home, one in Pennsylvania and one camping somewhere (Saltspring?) so you must rely on my words only. A small tawny striped spider, possibly thumbnail size with legs extended, swaying gently in the centre of a full-size classic-style web showing as thin angles of light where the sun struck.
I'm enough Scot that I won't kill a spider, so I spoke gently to it, and lifted the mooring strand from my laptop over to the bookcase. The web rolled up and the spider scrambled to the upper regions. Hoping that we could reach an understanding, I got myself a cup of tea, sat in the windowseat and opened up the Refuge doc, to establish my territory.
The next day the spider had moved down and covered the spot where I put my teacup. Okay. I spoke gently once again, and lifted the bottom of the web. The spider retreated behind a corner of Trinity's multicoloured unicorn picture and remained there while I typed.
Repeat the next day. I don't mind a spider in the corner. I just want my seat and the place where I put my cup free. I'm still hopeful that we can work this out.

A sign of whose meaning I am unsure: my willow bush dropped its leaves. A few years ago, while at the Golden Swan event in Oliver BC, I broke a couple of willow wands from a tree at the event site, wrapped them in damp paper, brought them home and stuck them in a jar of water. One survived and grew, and I put it in a jar of dirt, eventually transplanting it to a flowerpot. Then to a bigger flowerpot, and off the windowsill where it no longer fit to the back steps. It survived late repottings, dry spells, a crushing snowfall (that killed the upright shoot and sent it growing off at an angle) and being blown over. Presently it sits on the front porch, in the biggest flowerpot I have, and most recently survived going unwatered while we were in England.
Even though I've been watering it regularly, this month it was losing its leaves, and those that didn't fall off were brown and withered. Yet I couldn't find any sign of parasites or other damage. Did it need repotting again? Was I willing to repot it endlessly, when I could barely lift its latest home? (Answer: no.) Also, I was busily ignoring any possible parallels between the growth and die-off of the willow and of The Willow Knot.
This week I see that new growth is springing out, little clusters of leaves replacing the fallen ones. Willows are hard to kill.


Writey things: I was at Bolen Books and found a copy of Year's Best SF, so yes, I looked in the hon. mentions list to make sure, and yes, the Elfland story was in there. Also the amazing Jen Pelland had two hon. mentions - woo! and her name spelt right, I think.
I've sent my registration off to the 3-Day Novel Contest. I see that it's the same weekend as the Farthing Party, but since I can't afford to get to that one anyways, I'm not too conflicted. I am almost decided to get a membership to Worldcon 2009, though, which also means stumping up the money to get to Montreal.

The polishing of draft 3 of Willow Knot is almost finished. I've cleaned up the timeline and fixed some motivations, clarified how Tyl came to be enchanted, and some things like that. I'm a little happier with the proposal scene and with Midame's testimony. (can a woman give testimony? what would she hold onto?)
I've also been thinking on prusik's tough question of what the book is about, though mostly by trying to come up with a logline / elevator pitch / summary. I'm much better at doing this with other people's books, naturally. I think the book is about responsibility and when to let go of it; about how love is more complicated than it looks and easier to mess up than you'd think; about how some things are better unmade. None of which are very helpful or intriguing.
Logline attempt: "When Mylla's brother is trapped by enchantment, all she wants is to free him. But to do that she must save a princess, a kingdom, and herself." I want to work in that she has to accept the help of the king who executed her father, but I can't get it to flow yet. Will think more, though really I should be coming up with a two-paragraph summary, not a two-sentence one.
Also I should finish the polishing first, and take my territory back from the spider.

4 comments:

Cheryl said...

I'll take some apples... whole if you can carry 'em to the library. :)

batgirl said...

Sure - they may get a bit bruised on the way, if you don't mind that? Monday's my aww, what about Tuesday?
-Barbara

Cheryl said...

D'OH! Serves me right for not checking back... if you still have any, I'm back at work on Thursday. :)

batgirl said...

Yikes, now I missed you! Wait a week or so and I'll have Golden Delicious and Spartans to share.
This weekend is going to be pears and plums, and both dehydrators going again.
-Barbara