Our friend Eve is in town from Portland for the next couple of days. I, of course, am trapped in the studio today. We’re also discovering the downside of Rob having a job. He can’t go gallivant around town with her. Ah well, I suppose at least this way I’m not missing out on all the fun.
Her visit is already proving delightful, and so far I’ve only seen her in the car on the way back from the airport. Besides her wonderful personality, she also brought bagels from New York. Rob and I were embarrasingly pleased to have these.
For future reference, anyone coming to visit us who can bring bagels from NYC automatically gets bonus points.
Tonight we went out to dinner with one of RobÃ‚Â´s cousinÃ‚Â´s friends, Dr. Jonsson. It turns out heÃ‚Â´s an opera buff and into wine so he and Rob had loads to talk about. As we sat at the restaurant, it began to snow.
ItÃ‚Â´s really lovely. Rob and I walked home in it. In downtown Reykjavik, the streets and sidewalks are heated so the walk was very easy. It was only the last little bit of the walk that we were actually walking through snow. ItÃ‚Â´s still coming down. ThereÃ‚Â´s probably an inch or so down there already. Thank heavens. I was afraid that we wouldnÃ‚Â´t get a decent snowfall this year.
My throat is still sore, but I think the fever broke during the night. Rob has been very sweet and kept me well supplied with fluids.
Dad keeps asking me if I feel better. I think I do, but yesterday was so miserable because of the drive from North Carolina that it’s hard to tell if I’m actually healthier. I’m hoping so, since there’s that plane flight to Iceland on Sunday.
I did get to my friends in Greensboro yesterday. I sent Mr. Fisher an email to let him know that I was sick and likely contaigous, but he graciously accepted the risk. We had a delightful time visiting and I even got to meet his family, all of whom are very nice. We’ve had an email correspondence for several years now, begun on the Hatrack Writers’ Forum, but this is the first time we’ve met in person. I’m pleased to report that he’s as nice in real life as he is online.
In a delightful turn, I kept waking up during the night with a sore throat. My nephew is getting over strep throat, while I think it unlikely that I developed overnight strep it does seem likely that I’m contagious. Which means that my plans to visit friends during the day before heading back are fairly suspect. I’m a little frustrated.
I’ve stopped for coffee and quiched and–behold!–internet at a little shop in Asheville en route to visit family in Raleigh. While here, I’ve had to advise the barista on the merits of cellphones. Why she lacks local friends to whom she can ask these questions, I don’t know.
Rob walked to the library today, and made a new friend. As he was walking, this dog came bounding across the road to meet him. Traffic screeched to a halt, trying to avoid hitting the dog, so Rob grabbed him by the collar to keep him from bounding back across the road.
The dog evidentally decided that this meant that Rob was his person. The dog followed him to the library, waited and then followed him back to Woodthrush Woods. About an eight mile trip, all told.
Every year Bethel Heights hosts a harvest party for their crew and friends. It’s a delightful evening with good food and lots of fine wine. One of the highlights every year comes from Jamie Tombaugh, who tells a story. It’s a different story every year. He used to memorize a new one while working in the fields or in the cellar, but since he retired he will sometimes retell one. Tonight he told an old favorite, Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”
I love this story and can sink into the workplay and rich images as Jamie tells it. This year, for the first time, I was aware of structure, even as I was enjoying it. There’s no plot; it’s just a day-in-the-life of this child. But it’s wonderful. I love it and yet it breaks the rules that you must have a conflict. Well…I’ll think about it another time, when I haven’t tasted quite so many interesting wines
Rob and I went down to visit our friends David and Eve this evening for one of our traditional pizza and movie nights. The offering this evening was Girl with a Pearl Earring, which I had missed when it was in the theater.
I loved it. Not only is it beautifully filmed, the story is told almost completely without words. It’s the closest you’ll get to a silent film these days. Sure, there’s dialogue, but most of the story is told with looks or action.
To celebrate my pro-writing sale I decided that I was justified in starting a writing website. So I registered a domain name maryrobinettekowal.com I’ve been pasting entries in for the past week, keeping close to the same journal in two places. Eventually, I’ll probably move over completely to the other website, but for now you can check both.
The entries, at the moment, are not exactly the same but they are pretty darn close. I’m a little more concious of having strangers read my words on the new site. I need to see if it makes it too impersonal for my friends and family before I give this one up. I mean, really, the main reason I’m keeping an online journal is just so that it’s easier to keep track of me.
My friend Jodi is on tour with the Lazy Town live show. Apparently Nick Jr. is running a promotional contest so you can get the show in your town. Naturally, Jodi wants to come to Portland. To enter, one must have children between the ages of one and eight. Strangely, Rob and I don’t qualify. I’m not endorsing the contest, but if you want to help Jodi come to Portland, then feel free to enter.
Rob and I went to Laurelhurst Park for an open air screening of Casablanca. We packed a picnic dinner and listened to our friend Mick Doherty and his group the Cascadia String Quartet, as they played before the movie.
Finally. I finished writing Body Language at 2:00 a.m. I spent every spare moment today editing it and I’ve just posted it for critique. We’ll see what folks say.
Meanwhile, back at the camp, my kids–the good ones–really focused today and finished the set. I really didn’t think it was going to happen this time. I had to give one girl a really sound talking to, but I don’t think it made a difference.
And finally, I worked on the Portland Spirit tonight. Whee.
If you want to read Body Language (8900 words), drop me an email. Here’s a teaser for you.
Mary Robinette Kowal
Saskia knelt inside the giant man-eating plant checking the repair to the puppet’s control bar. The puppet stank. She never noticed the months of sweat impregnating the foam and fabric when she was performing, but the odor was overwhelming now.
She could hear the muffled murmur of conversation. The techies probably wanted to know when she would clear the stage. One of them said her name, sounding like he had forgotten she was in the puppet. Saskia ignored him and opened the jaw to test it.
As the giant puppet moved, he yelped. Saskia grinned. There were days when she loved her job. Then the techie said, “Saskia? There’s a detective here to talk to you.”
Saskia almost dropped the puppet. Detective? As she clambered out of the puppet, she started running through the list of friends and family who might be in trouble, but came up blank.
The techie stood next to a stocky man, maybe Indian, maybe South American; she’d never been good at guessing. The man wore AI interface glasses, which meant he had an Artificial Intelligence as an invisible partner. His crisp suit made Saskia acutely aware that she still wore the sweat-stained bike clothes she performed in. Her hair was probably a snarled rat’s nest.
I had a rough day at camp today. One of the little girls is selfish, obnoxious, manipulative and I don’t like her. The kids made stick horses, which turned out really cute. At the end of class I told them to put them all at one end of the room while we joined the rest of camp for snack time at the other end.
As I walked past the snack table I saw that little Miss Snippy had her stick horse, which she’d been waving in my face and everyone else’s, so I told her to put it away.
“But it’s all the way over there. Can you put it away for me?” she said.
“No, it’s all the way over there for me too.”
“But,” she whined, “you’re a teacher. It’s your job to help kids.”
Biting my tongue, I took a breath and then replied, “It’s my job to help children who are having trouble, not children who didn’t follow instructions in the first place.”
“But I’ll lose my place in line.”
“There’s no one behind you. You’re the last one in line.” I turned and walked away, straight into the teacher’s lounge where I announced that I didn’t like her.
I’ve had children who don’t pay attention, or are disruptive, but not one that’s so openly manipulative. She’ll be like this when she grows up, it’ll just be more subtle.
So, I was very grouchy on my way home, but when I got there I found a box. My dear friend’s in NYC who let me stay with them when I come out have a fantastically appointed kitchen. The last time I was out, I was helping Marlene in the kitchen and commented on her sets of mixing bowls. She has a set of nesting glass bowls that come in every imaginable size and a set of steel bowls that are perfect. I mentioned that I covet them.
Today, without any provocation, Marlene sent me a set of nesting steel bowls. So, very, very kind.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]