Friday, December 23, 2011

The Hobbit

I remember when the trailer for The Return of the King came out.  There was a great deal of jumping around and shrieking.  This was repeated recently when all our cell phones beeped simultaneously and M, N and I all got messages from E to "check Facebook right now!"  She had posted a link to the trailer for The Hobbit, and even as we watched it, she called me - presumably to hear my high-pitched excitement.

I am the opposite of the commenter on the trailer felt that "it  doesn't look very 'Hobbity' to me .... more like a Lord of The Rings spin-off" (NZ Herald, December 22, 2011).  I am glad to see that the story is being treated seriously - I was a little afraid there would be too much focus on the potential slap-stick silliness.  One of my earliest memories of The Hobbit was listening to it on cassette tape when I was about 10 or 11 and sobbing uncontrollably when Thorin Oakenshield lay dying.  When they began the darkly beautiful rendition of "Under the Misty Mountains," I was relieved that there seemed to be adequate restraint in the balance of serious and silly with the dwarves.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I heard back from Abyss and Apex today.  They didn't accept "Catkin," so now I have my first rejection letter.  I would, of course, have been more excited if they had accepted it, but I am still excited to have received a rejection letter - it's a mark of progress.  In addition, it was a very kind rejection letter and they encouraged me to submit again.  While it's quite possible that it is a stock letter, nonetheless, as these things go, it was a very nice one to get as my first.

Anyway, I turned around and submitted the story to another magazine - Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  I once attended a motivational type workshop where we did an exercise in which the hundred or so people in the room milled around asking each other for something.  The something didn't matter, the rule was that as you were asked for things - a flower, a date, a job, an autograph - you said "no" to nine people, then "yes" to the tenth.  The point of the exercise was to remind us that if we didn't ask we wouldn't get to that "yes;" that the "yes" could seem arbitrary to us; but also that the "yes" was out there if we were persistent.  So here's to persistence and all the "no's" before the eventual "yes."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tav'uresk Launch Party

A tent in our living room
Last night was proof (if there was any doubt) that I have yet to grow out of making pillow forts.  My original idea had been to put up a canopy to give the impression of a tent - but once I started I couldn't stop.  Good thing I have so many sheets and random lengths of cloth!

Key structural detail: Rice Paddle
 I used an entire box of straight pins - several dozen safety pins, a ball of yard, a length of chain, several books, several chairs - but the most important structural detail was a wooden rice paddle.
Our Tav'uresk Launch Party was, therefore, held in a tent in our living room.  The menu was delicious - I still don't much like deep-frying, but the results were great.  The repast consisted of:

Egg Noodles with Shredded Greens, Ginger and Basil
Perfumed Rice (Jasmine Rice cooked with ghee, and a broth of lemongrass, ginger, mint, basil, onions, black pepper and cardamom)
Seitan in Curried Yogurt Sauce
Cucumber, Carrot and Radish salad with Tamari-Sesame Dressing
Pickled Onions
Apricot Chutney

Curried Kabocha Samosas
Green Peas with Paneer Cheese
Turkish Donuts with Rosehip and Honey Glaze
Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates, Candied Almonds, Dried Apricots

and to wash it all down:
White Grape Juice with Ginger, Mint, Cardamom and Pepper

One of the fun elements was that I made my own curry powders and spice blends.  This was partially to use as little pre-made food as possible, (I made the Paneer too,) but also because one of the guests can't have coriander/cilantro which is a big part of many curry mixes.  It was fun researching and mixing the spices!

The evening continued with a reading of The Silvered Swords and then extended congenial conversation.  I highly recommended making a fort and a feast! 

Here are some pictures of the guests:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Endings... and Beginnings

It’s almost the end of the quarter and the beginning of the holiday break.  I am in that state of mind where I would rather be doing almost anything than the things I have put on my to-do list. Of particular interest are stories I am not working on, holiday plans which don’t need to be made quite yet and curling up with books and movies that are not related to either my dissertation or my writing.  Yet, despite the lure of the irrelevant I have been getting things done.  I put together my costume for the Tav’urisk party next week – and promptly misplaced part of it.  I have finished the menu, made shopping lists and have a final list of decretive elements to obtain. 

The writing on the religion, Daletha, is nearing a completed draft and I have finished drafts of the 12 Saints Tales.  Of all the entries I have completed for the Encyclopedia of Idhua I have the most doubts about the religion.  Oddly, as I noted as I began this project, it seems more strange and silly to create an invented religion and try to write about it, than it has to do so with invented countries and history.  Perhaps because I want to maintain the mystery at the center of things within my work and religions often try to explain that mystery – particularly in their written texts.  If I ever write a tale that is dealing heavily with the religion I will have to go back, but I have a slightly fleshed out outline – and an idea of the major historical periods and movements.

I will be glad to return to country building and short story writing in January.  I am going to work on the country of Orin next.  It is the country immediately south of Ariceda and settled early on by the same Seldue tribes that lived in Arcieda and southern Fjallind.  I have already written one short story set in Orin – Catkin – which is the one I submitted several weeks ago; however it is not a world-building or cultural exploration.  Orin was a convenient place for the physical requirements of the story.