hedda62: (time travel)
Update:

1) This video is the best thing ever.

2) Blog posts chez moi: the long one about race in my books, and the TAF outtake with Bernard as Sam Gamgee.

3) I'm doing some of the transcription on the Bulletin (see last post) now that my sister's done enough scanning for there to be work for two. The original text is typed on onionskin and sometimes a bit fuzzy; it comes through well enough in the PDFs that it can be copied into Word without excessive error, but there's still plenty to be fixed as one goes through. My favorite so far: COlllllUilications Officer.

My grandfather was a halfway decent writer. Here's an excerpt from what I transcribed yesterday:

I envy you these long September days. I will always associate this time of year with going back to school, end of summer, smell of new football jerseys, yellow leaves, goldenrod in the hedgerows, warm McIntosh apples, overripe, under the trees, and dusty country roads. It is the time of new departures, not fresh and intoxicated like Spring, but rather a change from old to new things, with the challenge of new problems, and the faint nostalgia of old ways changing. A quiet, thoughtful time of the year. This year, of all years, I would love to be home with you, but it looks more and more as if it were not going to be so.

4) I just want to note how grateful I am for the wonderful thing that is "Orphan Black." *shakes head endlessly over Tatiana Maslany*

5) Not so thrilled with "Hannibal" this season - art for artiness's sake just doesn't grab me. May just give up and not wait for there to be plot.

6) But we are finally watching "Leverage"! It is so fun, in a nostalgic summer-bingeing sort of way. Though we can't really binge, but occasionally there's been more than one episode at a time.

7) Also have watched (see 2 above) "The Book of Negroes," which I really liked. It made me want to say something about the power of - not cliches, but reiteration of the things everyone's heard before but that really need to be said, like the (slightly contrived but still good) scene where Aminata ends up in the same room as George Washington and asks him outright how he can believe in liberty and still own slaves. I had the same feeling on the day I wrote the post, hearing Anne Frank's words for the umpteenth time and still getting emotional over them. But most of the series is far from mere reiteration - it may not be a unique story but it's told with the cadence of a storyteller, grippingly. (Sort of research-relevant for me, or enough that I could get away with saying so.)

That's all for now. It's stinking hot here - we were almost the hottest place in the country yesterday, and I was outside all morning, yay.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
(Earworm mondegreens are the worst. Although sometimes of narrative interest.)

Things that have happened:

1) Got to have lunch yesterday (as in, fairly hurried consumption of packaged hummus platters, with conversation, with only four other people) with a famous-in-my-world person I've admired for a long time. Who turns out to be simultaneously just as cool as I thought and a bit of a self-centered obsessive, but this is the way things go (perhaps someone will say that about me someday) and I will be floating on the experience for several days, I'm sure.

2) My sister has been posting online a scanned, translated-to-digital-text version of what's known in our family as the Bulletin, WWII letters that were compiled, edited, and sent out as a collection to the far-flung family by my great-grandmother. I read it all as a teenager, but it's much more interesting to revisit now, with a better sense of what it must have been like. The parents back on the farm in central Massachusetts, my great-grandfather commuting to Washington (wartime job as Executive Secretary of the National Apple Institute!), the three sons and son-in-law going off into the Navy (they all survived, despite my grandfather's ship being sunk), the daughter and daughters-in-law having babies and growing vegetables and generally coping. It's all very ordinary and yet has that "can't believe this shit is happening to us" aura fighting with relentless chin-up positivity. It's also fascinating to read with the writer brain in full gear, because it has that epistolary narrative feel and yet it is so very much not a novel: the arcs are not constructed, the foreshadowing is not intentional, the little cultural and historical notes are not placed for illumination, the characters aren't introduced, even the letter snippets are not arranged within the larger newsletter for any kind of effect, and of course often the news arrives out of sync. I could do so much better, you know? And yet it's real, and it has great resonance for me because I remember the players, but also because I get to know them better as their individual voices sing out from their letters. (I have to admit, too, that fanfic-brain occasionally steps in to comment on what offstage action someone might invent for these characters. Not that I think it would be likely to become a favorite source (did I mention the lack of narrative arc?) but I did laugh when one of the great-uncles mentioned a visit from a friend called "Bucky.") It's also fun to have it emerge a bit at a time as my sister gets around to the editing - very much the serial WIP! And of course a work-in-progress was exactly what it was, since none of them knew what the ending would be. Stiff-upper-lip New Englanders, but the tension must have been incredible.

3) It has been chilly and rainy all week, which has slowed our deck construction significantly, along with any other outdoor activities (I shivered for three and a half hours out in the demo garden on Tuesday). I've been busy in other ways and haven't made as much writing progress as I should, but at least I feel like I'm getting in gear again, even if I stop to research things much more than I actually put words down. (Next fact to ascertain: would escaped South Carolina slaves joining the British Navy during the Revolution have been given surnames, chosen their own, or left with a single name? Stuff like that there.) I can't work at home with the banging and sawing going on, so I may end up a lonely Starbucks lover myself. When it's sunny and dry I can work in parks (no wifi, but fewer calories).

4) I've been called for federal grand jury service starting mid-July. If I'm empaneled, this could mean driving to the courthouse an hour away every Wednesday for eighteen months. In practice, probably somewhat less, and I have a high enough number that I may escape. If not, at least it will be interesting, I hope (please no police shootings). It does seem rather unfair considering that long day of trial jury service last July, but it's a different random selection, and I guess my number was up. Still: argh.

5) I should probably just do a massive media consumption catch-up post (I think I have been saying that for months now, though, so perhaps I'm less than truly interested). Of note in the TV world, aside from various season finales, we've watched (unusually for us) a couple of comedies: season one of "Silicon Valley," which I found more interesting than I thought I would, because it has a real business-oriented story to ground it, but I do feel the significant lack of female characters (I know this is a self-aware comment on the industry, but surely they could have remedied the problem somehow); and "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," which is delightful on many levels, as long as I keep saying "comedy, comedy" to myself and don't expect deep psychological analysis. Speaking of earworms, though, OMG. They alive, dammit. (Also in cultural penetration news: the "fascinatin' transition" bit quoted in two speeches at the college graduation of son's girlfriend a couple of weeks ago.)

Onwards. Stuff.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
I think I posted on LJ about the Mertensia nomenclature problem a while back - I finally figured it all out today. You can also read there about my adventures in vermicomposting, if you are so inclined.

Someday (and it is something I should take notes for as I go along) I need to write an essay about how historians fail fiction writers, without meaning to of course, but oh dear God it should not be so difficult to find out when things happened. Though the above example is more about people who blindly copy from Wikipedia failing fiction writers who are eccentric enough to name people after plants.

Speaking of historical fiction, I'm launched on reading another mystery series, which I'm quite impressed by: C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake novels, which I found out about by looking Thomas Cromwell up on Wikipedia (which is good for lots of things, really) after reading Wolf Hall. They are set slightly later (starting with Jane Seymour's death) but concern a lot of the same people and events (the first one is called Dissolution; you get the drift).

Early voting this evening! I would really have time on election day (next Tuesday) but I will be gardening all morning and getting on a plane in the early evening, and I don't want to count on fitting it in. And my 18-year-old will not be here then so has to vote now (his first time!), so I'll do it now too. We have been moved to a new congressional district, which provides some minor drama.

June 2016

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