Thursday, June 20, 2002

It is hot here in Switzerland. Very, very hot. For Switzerland anyway. This is not a country with a lot of air conditioners.

Hilary Moon Murphy, one of my inspirations to start web-journalling, has retired her journal. Goodbye Hilary! Goodbye Ganpati-Baba! Alas! Well, it's to spend more time writing fiction though. So that's all right. I guess.

One of the problems of making this journal kinda quarterly is that people I like achieve mountains of things and it takes too long to congratulate them all. Charlie's "Political Officer" was a gripping and intriguing read; Hilary broke spendidly into print; my fellow Clarion Westies have been exploding into print and breaking into pro markets right and left; they are also proving fertile and fecund in other regards. My friend Ethan has become a kick-ass sculptor. And so on. I'm forgetting much. Congratulations to everyone!

Maxis, Jouiselle-aux-Chantes, and Penelar of the "Other Cities" are up. Penelar is another of my favorites. I notice I'm getting more critical of them now, though. Penelar is very wordy. J-aux-C is a bit vague at the end. Maxis is just a gag. 

They've been getting nice reviews, though, at the marvelous short fiction reviewing ezine, Tangent Online.(You can see a list of reviews on my bibilography page). The reviewers are generally right, I think. Including about changing a word in the last line of Maxis. Jed Hartman of Strange Horizons suggested the same change. I'm stubborn sometimes though.

"Droplet" is out in newsstands in the USA now, in the July 2002 issue of F&SF. Nice, well-thought-out reviews of it from Tangent and at Bluejack's site. I appreciate both reviews a lot. I think my reading of the story is closer to Bluejack's -- for me the real plot of the story is the love story, and the adventure story is background, as opposed to the other way around. 

Check out Bluejack's author bio of me too. I am tickled.

My short story production has slowed down considerably: I am trying to focus on Crimp. It's a whole 'nother ball game writing a novel. A marathon as opposed to a sprint. It's hard for me to maintain the momentum. I've written a couple more chapters since I last posted. I think they're pretty good. But it's much harder to keep the whole thing in mind and much easier to be beset by doubts. I fret about how long it'll be before a first draft is done and we can get any kind of useful feedback. 

One thing that bugs me is that I can't come up with a good, snappy one-sentence summary of Crimp. It's not a story that follows one sympathetic protagonist through adventurous try-fail sequences attempting to resolve some problem. Rather, it's got a large and disparate cast of mortals and immortals, few of whom are entirely sympathetic -- and the sympathetic ones are not the most successful, by and large -- and six of whom are arguably the protagonist of the piece. Their conflicts are many-layered, things are not always what they seem, motives and alliances shift over the course of the action... how the hell do you write a sentence for that? 

OK, here's an attempt (if you hate spoilers and plan to read Crimp, don't click). That one leaves the sympathetic normal characters out of it entirely; probably a good call...

'Kay, I'll stop grumbling now.

My uncle Drew, who was very sick last time I posted, seems to be doing better. Whew. 

Aviva's current vocabulary, roughly in order of acquisition:
pronounced: swiss-german base: meaning:
nai nei no
da do da do that there
meh meh more
boppe Schoppe bottle
mahmmah Banana, Mama banana or mama
Bär bear
ässe ässe eat
ball, balle Ball ball
biileh spiele play
Mohmi Momi Grandma
no meh no meh yet more
hallo Hallo hello
abeh abe down
ufeh ufe up
mi (Milch) milk
baybi, bibi (Baby) baby
bäbbi Bäbbi doll
uh-oh uh-oh uh-oh
auua auua ouch
gokkeh (Schoggi?) chocolate
diisha Elisa Elisa
pronounced: swiss-german base: meaning:
gokogoko Krokodil crocodile, rag
aiss heiss hot
gähn gärn I like this
VUVUVU!! vu vu vu! (woof, woof!) dog
xh!xh!xh! (tongue clicking) horse
brbrrrrbrr! (bronx cheer) car
abzya abzieh undress, take off shoes
aalleh aallege dress, put on shoes
dyüs tschüss bye, hi
bye-bye (none) bye-bye
gägli Wäggeli baby carriage
gange (weg)gange gone away
yoh ja, joh yes
baahbe baade bathe
gaage trage carry
ocke Socke socks
awieh (Aviva?) Aviva?
putzeh putze clean up
daage stäge steps, stair

Aviva pictures:

Ouside the butcher shop

Eating:   1   2  3

In Jura for Easter:  1  2   3  4   5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12

These are all a few months old; more recent ones next time.

Despite the fact that we're approaching the much-dreaded Terrible Twos, Aviva is actually much calmer about hearing "No" now. She has a lot more words to negotiate with, and she has developed more patience. She considers "No" to be merely my initial negotiating position. She doesn't like it, but she doesn't panic about it.

She's beginning to grasp the concept of possession and get somewhat annoyed when other kids take things away from her. Sometimes even quite upset; but not usually, unless it's something really personal like someone else crawling into her baby carriage. Recently we were at the drop-in playgroup down the street and this much bigger boy came up and snatched her ball away. She kind of blinked at him like, okay, is this a new game? I handed her another toy, a soccer-ball-sized foam rubber cube. The big boy came back to snatch that away too. Aviva didn't get mad; she just kind of hunkered down, stuck her butt out in back for balance, and hung on with all her strength. And stared him calmly right in the eye. He couldn't get it away from her, and after trying for a while he ran off. She looked kind of smug. So did I.