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26885 / 80000


Somehow I am actually getting wordcount, even though Lake Superior is right outside our door. Probably because I have been writing a bit of the book that's one of the images I had in my head when I started it.

...so I am now 1/3 of the way through the official wordcount of this book. People have bowed out, main characters have made terrible plans, information has been revealed at great cost, protagonists have been injured and subsequently rescued from Minnesotan November weather while in shock. I am having fun.

It's interesting, because we've got the Internet here but it's much easier somehow for me to ignore it all and go write a thousand words than it is at home. Even though there's all this gorgeous outside. Not sure why that is; will have to contemplate it.

Um. I am doing other stuff too, though, honest. In non-writing-related vacation updates: stuck feet in Lake Superior, went "oh god oh god oh god it's cold", jumped out, repeated; scrambled about on rocks; got rained on; bought a couple of books and read one of them; and had a shot of maple syrup for dessert, thereby fulfilling a childhood dream. Also, have been silly with [livejournal.com profile] aliseadae somewhat continually. It has been, and continues to be, an excellent vacation.
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Travel went well, except apparently I was dim and left my iPod Touch on the plane--or maybe someone snatched it, I guess, though probably the former--so no music for me. (I've changed all my passwords.) The only thing I did yesterday was get groceries (and watch the end of the Jubilee on television, and get to see some of the flyby planes fly past the building where I'm living).

When I got hungry, around 18:00 London time/12:00 Minnesota time, I ate lunch instead of dinner because my lunch-food required no preparation. Then I slept for--literally--twelve hours. I think it was the first time I have ever done that.



This is breakfast. (Not shown: my orange juice. Orange juice here comes "Smooth" or "With Bits".) Notable mainly because Rice Dream (by the Hain Celestial Group) and Mesa Sunrise (Nature's Path) exist here too! In the local grocery store, no less. It's reassuring to see some of the same brands, albeit with different packaging.

Eventually I will get ready to face the world, start working on my actual project here, but I am moving slowly this morning.
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1. I...am maybe realizing that I am actually going to England this summer. WHO KNEW?
1.1. There were prospective students around this weekend, and I met some geeky theatrical queer-and-allies ones who were awesome--at some point my summer plans came up and I think describing it to them (with plenty of flail) solidified my knowledge that yes, this is real. Possibly because they were complete strangers fifteen minutes before?
1.2. It looks like it's completely plausible for me to go and stay in Cambridge (England, not MA) for a few days and use the Conway-More letters that their archives hold.

2. Classes end at Mount Holyoke a week from today. What is this madness?

3. I keep not Sitting Down And Writing. I have figured out that this is maybe because I always feel like there's some homework thing that I ought to be doing. So I can't block out a half-hour and open a word processor and turn off my wifi and write, because I'd keep feeling guilty about Not Doing Productive Things. (Writing novels is clearly not Productive. Because no one grades me on writing novels, and I'm not paying fifty thousand dollars a year to write novels, and anyway novels take a long time to write and they're hard and stressful along with being amazing, so it's easy to say "well I'll do that tomorrow".) If I'm just faffing about on the Internet, on the other hand, there's every chance that in five minutes I'll close the browser window and do some physics homework. (Occasionally I even do.) Which, because I am at a point in a couple of projects where I need to overcome inertia of this-is-terrible and there's-no-plot, means I end up not writing at all.
3.5. This is annoying.

LONDON

Apr. 2nd, 2012 04:51 pm
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I get to go to London this summer! For five weeks! And do research in the British Library and go to the theater and the Pride parade and try not to get trampled by the Olympics and and and everything.

Whiiiich is all to say, they emailed me today and told me I have funding.

This almost but not entirely makes up for the four-day farce that me trying refill my asthma medication has become. And I mean that will probably resolve in the next day or so, whereas I am GOING TO BE IN LONDON THIS SUMMER.

...despite all my capslocking and exclamation points I'm not sure it has sunk fully in yet. Um. But. London. A different continent. Adventures. Research. Amazingness. What. Cannot even.
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I have been to Viable Paradise, and I have returned.

excessive verbiage, also pictures )

And then I came back. )

And then I fell over.

In summation: this week I got to have my cake and eat my cake and I feel like I still have cake left over, possibly frozen and ready to be heated up and eaten. (Technically the pan cooling on the stove is apple crisp, but who's counting?)

Right now I'm hoping for time to work on revising "Lightening" soon; my goal is still to revise A Returning Power by the end of the year; and maybe I can write another short story or two. It's nice to have my writing-brain awake again. I will do my best to make sure that it doesn't fall back asleep on me.
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I have regained College!

The train journey this time was pretty awesome, too. On the Chicago stopover, I stuck my luggage in a locker and trekked the mile across downtown to the Art Institute, which was having free admission on weekdays--score.

(I pause my narrative to complain about the lockers. They annoy me. They cost $3 or $4 per hour, depending on size, and take only one- or five-dollar bills (or credit cards). They do not make change. I am not really good at carrying a plethora of one-dollar bills. This led to a couple of "excuse me, would you trade me four quarters for a dollar bill?" interactions at the station. By the end of it, though, I was running out of quarters. Also, you have to scan and confirmation-scan your fingerprint before you can rent one, and while the scanner is oohcool and high-tech, it... does not always recognize that your fingerprint is the same thing as itself--an interesting philosophical conundrum.)

Anyway, art museum! Free art! Well, I had to pay a dollar to check my coat (more quarters gone!), but that was okay. The Chicago art museum makes me ashamed and proud of the Minneapolis art museum at the same time. Everything they have on display seems to be something famous and shiny and pretty and impressive. They are very proud of their famous, shiny, pretty, impressive things. They want you to admire them! They would like it if you went goggle-eyed at them.

Whereas in the Minneapolis art museum, there are things like the period rooms, which have nothing famous in them at all; there are non-famous things; and generally it is just homier. Or maybe I am just used to it.

But the shiny pretty impressive things in Chicago were duly shiny and pretty and impressive. They have a lovely arms-and-armor collection, and just everything is beautifully restored and awesome (a book from I think the 1500s that looked like it had to be a replica, but no, they wouldn't exhibit that). Some of the medieval art was really colorful. They have some reeeeally old stuff there, too, ancient (Chinese?) jades and bronzes (~1000 BC on some of the bronzes, I think?), and I got to recalibrate my oldness sensors. So I am very much not complaining.

There was also an exhibit, in the modern wing, by Richard Hawkins--which I was trying to find on the website under current exhibitions but apparently that was its last day. Um. But it was neat--some of it was not quite my thing, but there were also these house-sculptures, lit from inside, some with mirrors and Grecoroman statue pictures and doors inside, some just lit in empty rooms, floors stacked on each other... this was one of them, I think, but so much cooler in real-space. Another of them was on a low table so that I had to stoop down to circle it and peer into the windows, and the mirrors reflected pictures of statuary, and further doors, and slices of my own face...

That was cool.

Then I walked back, making a stop at Argo Tea (two things you need to find in a new city: art museums and tea) to get some mint tea and hop on their wifi for a bit. After which I spent some hours sitting around in Union Station until my next train boarded.

Tip for train travel: go when it won't be crowded; then you can nab the seat next to you, too, and curl up entirely horizontally. I got a pretty good night's sleep that way, despite waking blearily a few times, which is sort of par for the course with trains.

The next day went on much as days do, on trains; I reread Gaudy Night and read part of Delany's Neveryona. I ate lots of granola. We got in about an hour late, which I got slightly grumpy about, because they hadn't made any announcements about us being off schedule, and I had gotten on the train at 9 pm the day before and didn't have the schedule of stops memorized, so as to know how far behind we were. So I started fidgeting and hoping that the train had not decided to skip Springfield and perhaps go to the moon instead. At that point I'd been on a train for about twenty hours, though, so my behavior may be forgivable, but I think before my next trip I should download the full schedule for the train so as to have a reference. That was really the problem, that I had no idea how much longer it would take. I also didn't know how I could summon a conductor to ask about it, and since (as far as I knew) the train could be stopping at the station any minute, I didn't want to wander back to the cafe car where they hang out and ask.

But I got there eventually, and a friend of mine very kindly picked me up in the freezing rain and slush and drove me to campus.

Today, I spread everything out in my room in a parody of how I did before I packed it, three days and a thousand miles ago. (I have put away most of it, and cleaned a few things, but there is still work to be done.) I also went over to the library and obtained Books, for there is a week before my classes start and I intend to waste it thoroughly.

A few pictures are up here; it's difficult to take pictures from a moving train, so there aren't very many, but there are some.
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After this weekend, Boston is officially on my list of awesome cities. (This list also includes Burlington, VT, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, for those of you playing along at home.)

I can't quite come up with an adequate way to summarize this weekend, so I will just give most of a narrative.

A major theme is really nice conversations with [livejournal.com profile] mlt23. Saturday morning we wandered along the Charles River, talking about college and life and jobs and growing up. We made it all the way to Beacon Hill, which is quiet and beautiful and where we got briefly lost (and I stalked a pigeon for a few feet, until it startled) and then found ourselves again, and Boston Gardens. The Gardens had a number of buskers, but the best was an older man with a magical musical cart, decked out in largely neon green festivity, with a sign saying "Peace Wave Machine". His hat had gauges on it, measuring who knows what--cheerfulness, maybe. He played only happy songs.

We walked back along Beacon Street, and I got to marvel (another theme) at Boston architecture, so different from any other city that I know: the brownstones crowded close together, and what profiles they present as they march down the street ahead of you.

That afternoon, we went to the International Antiquarian Book Fair, where I fit in perfectly with the multitudes of tweed- and hat-wearing people. I say people; I mean men, because very few of the women were wearing tweed. Still, it made me slightly smugly proud to find that I pass as male so very easily in a crowd of rare book dealers.

The books were gorgeous, and expensive; I found a Dante that I didn't think my rare book room owned, and wrote the details down on the business card of the relevant stall. (When I brought this evidence of my busman's holiday sheepishly into work today, my boss accepted it as completely normal.)

In the evening, I got to see an a cappella concert, possibly now that I think of it my first with all-male groups. One was the Dear Abbeys, some of whose music I own, so I was expecting it to be really good, and it was. The crowd in the hall wasn't my favorite part, but endurable for the music--and now I know why the youtube videos of a cappella songs are so loud. (Or rather, I've experienced it live; still not completely sure why it happens.)

The next day, I took the T all! by! myself! to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] jesstherobot and hang out. We talked about, what, writing and college and physics and stuff (clearly I should have written this up earlier) and wandered and drank tea. I got to see Pandemonium, and I bought a book, too, Abraham's An Autumn War.

By the time that I had to get back to the bus station, I didn't want to leave. Fortunately(?), the bus I had been wanting to get on was full by the time [livejournal.com profile] mlt23 and I got there. The next one was an hour and a half later, so we went to get tea. While we attempted to find the best place, I spotted someone in a vest and nice hat, with a chain snaking into his pocket. With only a moment's hesitation (am I that person? yes, I am) I went up to him. "Excuse me," I said, "do you have a pocketwatch?" He glanced down. "No, I have a wallet," he said, with regret. "But I own a pocketwatch--I'm just not wearing it."

So that was Boston. (I got on the next bus; it dropped me off in Amherst, and I took the five-college bus back, arriving at eight-fifteen not having eaten dinner. Happily, my friends had claimed a plate for me and put it in my fridge, so I got some food.)

I realized on the bus back that this is the first time I'd planned and executed a trip entirely by myself, including "this is where I will go to buy food and I will find food and be able to eat for the rest of the weekend" (complicated by only having a fridge and microwave to work with, but it worked out really well!).

And by this point I might even be caught up on homework, due to an annoying but productive couple of days. And next week is Thanksgiving.

Someday I will definitely be going back to Boston.

40.1 / 60


The more novels I write (and rewrite), the less the multiples-of-10k milestones mean to me. But hey, I hit one!

--also, Ideomancer is hiring slush readers and I work there and it's awesome and you should be awesome too and apply. That is all.

August 2015

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