Books on Tape

I’m in the process of listening to The Yiddish Policemen’s Union on tape, and about half-way through the book, it suddenly hit me where I’m having problems with it. I may not be a book-on-tape person. It’s very possible that there are parts of the book where I am listening to the narrator’s voice rather than to the story, itself.

He has a really nice voice.

Actually, that’s why I got this book on tape rather than the other one I was looking at. The narrator’s actual, speaking voice.

I’m just slipping into the sounds of his voice.

That’s not usually the case for me. I’m… fairly good at paying attention. But in this case…

I may not be a book on tape person.

But I’m still hoping that I can plug a book in and listen to it when I go for a walk, and actually feel like I’ve heard a story.

Stalking the Perfect Word

I printed out a list of all the times the phrase tk appears in my novel. There are thirty-two variations, each appearing from one to sixteen times. These are the words that I left out while I was writing… and revising… with the intent of going back to double check the facts (so, exactly how many days did that take? Was that Tuesday or Wednesday?)  or I planned to fill in the perfect word as soon as I found it.

Tk–for those of us who don’t know–is an abbreviation for “to come.” Since “tk” is basically non-existent in English, it makes it easier to search for than a tc. (At some point in the process, tk became tk(description of needed word no spaces) which means I mostly don’t have to look at the manuscript, itself to kill the words.

So, now all those words have to actually… well, come.

And I’m looking up what you call that part of a cave, and what you call that part of an airport. And just exactly what kind of vessel did I actually mean?

So, caves. By weird coincidence, the word for a room in a cave is… uhm… well, room. It’s not what I’m looking for, but it’s certainly an interesting coincidence.

And airports. You know where you park a plane? On an apron, apparently. No. that doesn’t work at all.  Wrong mental picture, and the more familiar meaning stops the momentum of the story. We’ll just work around that word.

I have now interviewed about a million different words for “vessel,” and I think I may just stick with vessel. I’m really not sure I can call a rugged and manly man a lekythos, for instance.

One of my cultures has about a million different words for “husband” and I need… probably about half a dozen of them. Those may wind up being made-up words, at the rate I’m going.

So, that’s my chore for the day.

Green Rivers, Green Beer, Green Peanut Butter

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, a day which Americans celebrate by dyeing random liquids green and eating corned beef out of tins. And cabbage. Which… uhm… well in my decidedly non-Irish corner of the universe, that means sauer kraut. (Also out of tins.) I have no idea how they manage to sneak this past the real-life Irish, but I’m fairly sure the conversation probably involved the threat suggestion that we could dye some peanut butter green.

Somewhere else, they’re busy dying whole rivers green, so a little peanut butter….

I believe I’ll celebrate by watching one of those YouTube videos where they feed Irish people random American foods.

There’s gotta be an Irish-American themed one of those, somewhere.

No, really. Budweiser is better, because Guinness just doesn’t take the dye as well.

And why, yes. Yes, you can buy a “Just the Marshmallows” package of Lucky Charms.

(No. It doesn’t improve the taste a bit, but you can’t hear the screaming of over-sugared children, if you’re in a diabetic coma, yourself.)

Next Project, Please.

I got started on my next thing, today. I’m really not sure what it is–novel? Short story? Epic claymation porno film? But I got started.

It’s somewhere on the ghost-story—>time travel spectrum. So, your guess is as good as mine, but I’m moving onward. (No, I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with Romeo and cannibalistic insect Juliet.)

I also printed out a list of all the tks (that’s to come, but computer searchable.) in my revision project… and it’s not all that bad. (One page, and a lot of them are time and consistency related, or the same missing word over and over.)

So, that, and a couple of other things, and I’m into the administrative stuff.

Typing In Delirium

So, I spent the day typing, and I’m adding that to the list of skills I really do feel the perfect man ought to have…. along with being able to instinctively figure out my revision flow chart (including the parts where I failed to put in arrows) and read my handwriting… and while we’re at it, he can find my green pen.

Which I might have accidentally thrown away.

So, we should… for the sake of his mental health… add “Not afraid of rats” to the list, because, frankly, the garbage dump is full of them.

I have been thinking about things I could sell on Etsy, and things that might make a decent revision reward, and I fluttered through the thought of taking up metal stamping. I could make little disks that state the name of your book, and the number of rejections you’ve gotten.

Okay. Yeah. It’s not exactly a diamond from Mr. Not Afraid of Rats, but you know how it goes. (And yes, the fact that a friend of a friend does wire-wrap jewelry doesn’t exactly stop me from this kind of thought.)

I have more “free” time tomorrow, so I’ll probably do…

More typing.


Pushing Onward

I’m getting close to the end of my revision. Countdown the pages close. I can taste it close.

And along with that comes the temptation to stay up all night, work until dawn, and get the damn thing finished.

I want to be done. I want to get on with filling in the blanks, and spell-checking, and formatting. I want to print it out one more time, just to hold it in my grubby, ink-stained little hands.

There is also a (much more rational) part of me that says You have been up since two o’clock. You have already put in a respectable number of hours. You are not in any condition to chase down dangling modifiers.

There’s just a point when it’s too much, too long, too late. No point in revising something tonight, if you’re just going to have to revise your revisions, tomorrow.

So, What About Them Goats?

One of the benefits of living in a small town is that whatever you’re going through, the voice of experience is just a few phone calls away. What did you do when your goats escaped? So, how was chemo, really? and the ever popular… what are we going to do about the kids? You just ask around, and it usually turns out that the exact same thing happened to somebody, and you can go ask them.

The downside, of course, is that sometimes it seems like everybody knows everything about you, your goats, and your entire family. (I know how much money that big spender down the road is paying for chicken feed.)

A while back, someone asked me a question in that small-town polite way where if you don’t know the person you really want to ask well enough, you just ask the whole room at once and hope for the best.

And, of course… since everybody else knows what’s going on, they generally take a step back, and help keep the conversation on life support until the information comes out.

(So, uhm… how do you write a novel?)

In this case, it was a question about children, and of course, nobody asks me a question about children unless they’re

1.) aware that I was one, once (technically) AND 2.) desperate.

I bumped into the same acquaintance again, and I thought about asking how things turned out, but I thought better of it.

And then, it suddenly occurred to me that I don’t know how many people actually do know that I was a child, once.

Probably more than I know. I have chatty relatives.

But delayed curiosity has struck. Just exactly who did tell this person to come ask me?

I have my suspicions.

Daylight Savings Time Killed My Muse

Today was the spring-forward part of the Daylight Savings Time two-step, and I lost an hour of perfectly good sleep.

I can’t say shifting clocks twice a year is all that good for me. I didn’t get a whole lot done before work, and it doesn’t look as though I’m going to get all that much done now.

I’m to the point that I hate my novel. (Well, I hate the part I’m working on, and that makes me question every other part of my novel, and why didn’t I just go into insurance sales in the first place?)

That could be a matter of not enough sleep and too much sugar.

(As could the fact that I took my lunch to work, put it in the refrigerator, and then forgot that it was there so completely that I actually skipped lunch in favor of potato chips.)

I probably shouldn’t look at that manuscript again until after I’ve gotten some sleep. And maybe a little protein.


To Swear or Not to Swear…

For some reason, a co-worker started singing the Fun Day at the Zoo song. Probably just her way to prove that we have no standards whatsoever. There are multiple versions, of course, but essentially, they’re all obscene. In her defense, she’s actually a pretty good singer.

Early 21st Century American Lyric Poetry at its best.

(Well, not the highest level of entertainment.)

My last project–uhm, you know the one. It’s buried in concrete, somewhere under Chicago–topped out around 85,000 words, three of which were “fuck.” (I didn’t count by hand. The computer does that for me.) And there were similar counts on other profanities.

My current project?

I think the grand total is zero.

That wasn’t a goal of mine. I’m not strapped for cash to put in the swear-jar or anything. (And if I were, I’d probably start a fucking Kickstarter), but somehow… the story hits zero. (Plus or minus a little light-hearted nudity.)

Yup. There really, truly, might not be a single swear-word in the entire thing.

To be honest, I don’t have much of an opinion on the subject. From where I’m sitting, those words have purposes–some of which can’t be served by substitutes, and if that’s the purpose I need a word to serve, that’s the word I’m going to use. If it comes up, I’m also going to use the word “kangaroo”, and not dance around it by saying something like “hoppy marsupial”.

That’s not the only opinion on the planet, of course.

A friend who writes for (some variation on minors) has no particular objections to the words, themselves, but she avoids them because she doesn’t want to give the parents an irrelevant excuse for keeping kids from reading her books.

That never really struck me, because I don’t write for children, and because as a child, I never had problems with adult complaints.

And there are some people who just don’t swear. Habits, or class, or personal beliefs. Whatever.

So, what about you? Do you have a cuss-word quota? A specific reason for profanity, or a clear reason not to? Leave me a comment.