hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
I don't know if it's a New Year's resolution exactly, but I am trying to see the beauty in things more, so here we go.

Serious bummer of a week, with David Bowie going and now Alan Rickman - the latter more difficult for me because I actually met him for, you know, a minute once, and because Snape and all that - but it is great to know that they left so much beautiful work behind that we can enjoy. Still, waah.

Finally listened to the "Hamilton" soundtrack on Sunday (a day before Alexander Hamilton's birthday, which I know about because J. went to Hamilton College and we have a calendar from there which of course lists it, though I'm sure it was all over Tumblr too), and (of course) it was just as wonderful as everyone said, clever and wordsmithy and heartfelt and tuneful, and I'll be returning to it many times.

Had a grand jury session yesterday which finally after all these months brought out the "Oh my God why can I not tell anyone about this?" response, when an otherwise slightly interesting but repetitive investigation suddenly turned into film-worthy drama, oh it was fantastic and made me happy about people and their beautiful crazy instincts.

I posted my old Aubrey-Maturin crossover fic on my author website for Twelfth Night, and then inevitably started rereading The Far Side of the World, which is one of my favorites and O'Brian at top form, full of glorious words put together beautifully. Here is a bit where Stephen is in Brazil with a new Peruvian friend (the scene where he's first introduced to coca leaves):

In the event Lopez needed no hints. He spoke Spanish only with difficulty, and seeing that both his guests were fluent, even enormously fluent, in that language and that they agreed very well, he excused himself on the grounds of early work to be done and bade them good night, leaving them on a broad veranda with a number of domesticated creatures on it, marmosets of three different kinds, an old bald toucan, a row of sleepy parrots, something hairy in the background that might have been a sloth or an anteater or even a doormat but that it farted from time to time, looking round censoriously on each occasion, and a strikingly elegant small blue heron that walked in and out. Two bottles of white port stood between them, two hammocks hung behind, and Lopez returned for a moment to beg them to use the mosquito-netting. 'Not that we have mosquitos in Penedo, gentlemen,' he said, 'but it must be confessed that at the change of the moon the vampires do grow a little importunate.'

They did not annoy his guests however, since the vampire really needs a sleeping prey and these two (though eyed wistfully from the rafters) never went to bed. They sat talking all night, watching the sliver of the new moon go down and the procession of great glowing stars pass across the sky: bats of a more amiable kind, two feet across, showed briefly against their light, and in the river only a few yards below could be seen the star-twinkling wake of turtles and the occasional alligator: the lion-maned marmoset in Stephen's lap snored very gently, sleeping on and on despite the continual flow of talk.


Just to show that it is not all blue-water sailing in these books, glorious as that is as well. As an aside, which I may need to expand upon at some point, I am always bemused by the people who tell me that they tried O'Brian and couldn't manage him because of not understanding all the sailing terms - which, a) I still can't follow all of it despite multiple rereadings, b) neither can Stephen, c) why the heck do you have to understand every word of fiction that you read, instead of letting it wash over you in a beautiful haze? But this is perhaps one of those substantial personality differences that I will never get, even if I substitute me reading nonfiction and try to work from there.

Anyway, and finally. Not to locate myself in the next paragraph from Patrick O'Brian, but I am working on getting Not Time's Fool out (I need to force myself to do formatting and cover work this afternoon) and I did put up the teaser chapters if you are the sort of person who reads them. I am fascinated to see what people will think of this book - I am very pleased with it, in the end, but it is deeply weird in places (like when most of the characters sit down in the middle to start telling fairy tales) and all the book-long and series-long and otherwise-partial arcs tangling together make the structure a bit wonky, not to mention the chapter that covers seven months. But there are bits that I think beautiful. Hope some of you will too.
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