Ink & Penwipers

Scribbles, screeds, speculations, and the occasional reference to Schrodinger's cat.

31 January 2003

Despite the murmurings and mumblings I hear about academics being out of touch, I feel there is something to be said for the ivory tower. When one wants to write, and do nothing but write, one wants privacy and quiet to think in. There ought to be a gentle undulation between solitude and human contact. There ought to be a few moments out of every day for a writer to stare out a window, picking out birdsong with her ears; or in the city, giving in to the mesmerizing patter of rain. There ought to be a minimum, deal-with-able amount of acrimony here and there. There ought to be sanity, because Lord knows a writer can create enough insanity for herself on the page.

Sigh. I feel there is something to be said for the ivory tower. Except that I'd probably prefer a cottage deep in the woods, with a spring, and a garden -- something less phallic and confining. That's nice; that's better. Let's indulge this little fantasy for a while. Let it be difficult for visitors to beat a path to my door. But let them do it every now and then, and we'll have cheese and bread and wine by my fire. Let there be sides of meat and strings of garlic and onions hanging in my shed; let there be a cat tucked quietly on the windowsill; let there be ivy over my front door and white curtains at the windows, and let there be the sun ever so distantly spangling through the thick leaves of forest trees. Ahhhhhh.

It beats the heck out of Innisfree, I'm telling you.

30 January 2003

Hey, this quiz is kinda cool!

which literary heroine are you?
Which Literary Heroine Are You?

I like the different choices, and the questions are better crafted than most.

In other news, I've been kinda toothpaste tubey this past week, so haven't blogged. I'll write more later....

22 January 2003

There are very few times when it is advisable to drive 1 mph for every degree Fahrenheit the weather's doing, but this evening was one of those times: it was extremely cold and snowing again. I suppose if one were to do that when it was below zero one would have to drive everywhere backward.

20 January 2003

Another Hodgepodge

The "Honk for Peace" demonstration (and its counterpart) yesterday apparently had enough impact to make the top headline in the Springfield News-Leader this morning. I'm mentioning this because the News-Leader quoted one of the veteran war supporters thusly: "'We're glad they're here exercising their free speech rights, but they wouldn't have those rights if we didn't fight for them.'" Which prompts me to say that if every war we fought were a war of defense of all the freedoms we hold dear, then by all means let the peace demonstrators pack up and go home. I don't know anyone who seriously argues that we should let another country stomp all over the soil of our land and the rarer soil of our spirit. But the veteran's argument, noble as it sounds, seems to argue that every war we fight is a war against American Freedom (capital letters necessary). And to that I say, give me a break. The Revolutionary War, yeah, okay. World War II -- perhaps. Korea? Vietnam? Iraq? I mean, Saddam Hussein may be a Grade-A government-inspected S.O.B., but is he really the same threat that Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito had to combine to present to the United States 60 years ago? You can't persuade me that a war against Iraq would be a step in the right direction in the war against terrorism. You can't persuade me that deposing Saddam would bring us any closer to finding Osama bin Laden, who is clearly not content to sit on his collapsible portable throne and denounce American foreign policy -- you know, sticks and stones and all that. Has anyone noticed that the beginning of the twentieth century was also fraught with protest against unnecessary war, and met with the same stolid criticism as I quoted above? Anyone noticed the troubling double standard of the Monroe Doctrine coupled with the Bush Initiative?

Yeah, I haven't even started on Dubya yet. I cringe at the fatuity of "the U.S.'s" claim that Iraq's possession of WMD (you know what that stands for) is a crime, whereas our possession of them isn't. Yeah, we are so using our might for right, dontcha know. I'm tired of the implication that because we dare to criticize our own policy, we are therefore un-criticizing the other guy's. It's not an either-or proposition, people: Saddam Hussein is evil, and we shouldn't attack Iraq right now. The mind boggles. *shakes head to clear it*

And while I'm on the subject of mind-boggling ideas, here's a church marquee slogan I saw today:

Go Crazy For Christ!

Immediately I said: "Why not 'Go Rational for Christ'?"

Jessica added: "Yeah, Be Logical for the Lord." Hey, it sounds like a good slogan to me. I'm very tired of spiritual passion being likened to an absence of reason. Passion and reason are meant to be Siamese twins -- join either with Craziness instead and watch the world crumble.

And while I'm quoting my roommate, here's another gem from the Portable Jessica Omnibus. We were discussing her plans to write an academic article in answer to some that have been written on Buffy (yes, cultural criticism does stretch its anteater tongue everyplace), and she mentioned her surprise that no one has made the connection between Giles's alter ego "Ripper" and Jack the Ripper. She had thought it was obvious, and wondered if it was too obvious to discuss. But, she said, "there's nothing so damn obvious that academics can't talk about it for five pages." I had to get out my notebook and write that one down.

So it's been an interesting Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to say the least.

For anyone who may have an interest (and hasn't already had the story told to them at length), here is a blurb I've written to describe the plot of my novel-in-progress, Record of Wrongs. It's the most concise blurb I've managed to date. And I've chosen a pen name, which I shall unveil at a later date.

I would be delighted with any reviews of my blurb, of course.

19 January 2003

This picture, now on Jessica's desktop, is the reason why I think Tony Head can be Rankin. He's played Freddy in Chess, Ripper/Giles in Buffy, and a number of other sexy you-know-whats, which is exactly what Rankin is, a jerk with a vulnerable side.

On another note, I had fun today honking for peace. In response to the peace rallies, some men showed up at the busiest intersection in Springfield waving a flag and some plainly-lettered signs saying "Back the Attack on Iraq." A counter-demonstration, you see. Well, when we came through the intersection a second time an hour or so later, there were peace demonstrators on the opposite corner, with signs saying "Peace is patriotic" and "Honk for [peace symbol]." So I honked, and Jessica made the peace sign out the window as we made our turn. A goodly number of people were honking, which is probably why the war demonstrators looked sullen. Well, we went through the intersection yet another time, and the two groups were still at it: I took great pleasure in honking long, loud emphatic honks as I passed the peaceniks. They cheered me. It was a great deal of fun. Like Harriet Vane, I am not a peaceful person, but I honk for peace because, as Jessica said, "The peace demonstrators are patriotic because they want to save America by -- well -- by saving it." know, just a normal Sunday: supporting a wacked-out liberal cause and cocking a lascivious eyebrow at pictures of Tony Head. Oh yeah, and going to church, which ruled as usual.

17 January 2003

Why Life Would Be So Much Better If I Were A Cat

1. I could be lazy without repercussion. I've shamed myself for many years for being lazy; why? I enjoy it so much. Nothing pleases me more than to curl up in my nest with my eyes half-closed over the pages of a book. What's wrong with that? Nothing much except I have to earn my living and am expected to justify my existence somehow. Cats do not have this burden: cats are not expected to contribute to society. Now, I want to contribute to society, but I don't want to have to. Cats can sit there while humans rant about their uselessness, and give in reply that little tail twitch that says, Go jump in the lake, only possibly ruder.

2. Speaking of: I want a tail. I have always wanted a tail. Moaning Myrtle may have made fun of Hermione for growing one, but really, nothing would make me happier. Cats' tails wiggle at the end when they're pensive; they swish widely in anger; they stretch high, with a little jaunty flip at the top; they bush out in fear. They're the scepters of the animal world, and everyone knows that scepters are only held by royalty. In addition to which, they aid a cat in its preternatural sense of balance.

3. Cats are familiars of the world of fairy-tale. Streamlined, agile, able to climb trees and walk fences without effort, cats seem to have the ability to dodge between worlds with impunity. Nuff said.

4. Cats smile like the Mona Lisa.

See, if I was a cat, all this would be mine. As it is, it is all mine, but with a price, a price I sometimes resent paying. And then, like Prufrock, I mutter to myself: "And how shall I presume?" Ah, I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled...except I have always worn the bottoms of my trousers rolled, as my legs are too short for the monstrous things they make nowadays.

If I were a cat, I wouldn't have to wear trousers at all. Or be in a Broadway play.

You may have noticed that I have placed a box of links to the Fiction Bloggers webring at the bottom of this page. My membership in the ring is pending, but I put the box up in the meantime; if you want to visit members of the ring, click on the icon.

I dallied about joining this ring, because although I discuss my fiction on this site and have a link to my homepage, everything is still topsy-turvy and I really haven't got much of my work up yet. But that is progressing nicely, so one can only hope.

16 January 2003

I'm getting that indeterminate writer's urge, like building nausea, only pleasant. The sort of thing where you sit doodling on a piece of paper and then decide you really want to draw something: so you make tentative airstrokes over the paper, trying to decide where to land the pen, not at all sure what your drawing is going to be. Savoring it.

I've decided that if Anthony "Tony" Stewart Head can do American, he should play Rankin in the movie that is being made from my my head. My writerly ego is alive and well, thank you very much for asking.

Winter weather has come again: the wind chill is hovering around zero and that funny white stuff is falling, though not so heavily as at Christmas. Dad H. cleaned off my car before I came downstairs to leave for work, which he should not have done, but for which I was very grateful, as it saved me getting wet and cold in my work clothes.

The urge continues to gather in me, and as usual I begin to wonder why there is such a duality to everything we humans do. Faith exists only in the presence of doubt. Courage exists only in the presence of fear. Life shakes hands with death every day, and (as when it snows) the lines of demarcation are blurred: I drove over a curb on the way to work not knowing it was there under the white. I do my work, both afraid and fearless, both content and restless, both purposeful and aimless. I dream strange, unpleasant dreams, and while I am asleep Schrodinger's cat sits watching me and twitching its tail.

Enough doodling -- I am going to go and draw now.

14 January 2003

Last time I took this, I was Hobbes; but I'm thinking I could be any one of them depending on my mood. Bill Watterson rocks.

You are Civilian Calvin!
You don't get to travel much outside your neighborhood, but you still manage to get in plenty of trouble. When you're not acting up, you like to wax philosophical.
Take the What Calvin are You? Quiz by!

13 January 2003

Just to show you what a crazy year it has already been, here are two poems written within a 24-hour period -- yes, the last 24 hours:


The cells of my body
My innocent body
Are saturated with anger
-- Marinated, they betray me
With a look
With a kiss
Air breathed at me from humans
I thought I loved.
Meeting with my volatile kiss
They all recoil
And I want them to
I want them to
I am poisoned
And I whimper
Not knowing whether to ask for succor
Or to be mercifully executed....
May the Lord have mercy upon my soul


"Our natural will is to have God, and the good will of God is to have us, and we may never cease willing or longing for Him until we have Him in the fullness of joy, and then we shall will no longer." -- Lady Julian of Norwich

When I am where I want to be,
I am still, not swayed
By inertia,
Not choosing my direction
And applying energy thereto:
One does not give up one's will
To God; He meets us meeting Him:
There is now no waiting, no "I should go",
No contemplation of the next moment --
There are now no moments --
Only the musical reverberation
Through all the dimensions that meet my one point:
While my heart beats
There is the stillness of the silent beat
That is His heart.

...And believe it or not, circumstances have changed yet again. I'm not bipolar, my life is. *sitting for dear life on the lid of Schrodinger's box*

On a lighter note, my brother has turned sixteen. Like the new template, Sam.

11 January 2003

Jessica has got on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer kick; and now that I have seen a few episodes, I definitely understand why people are jonesing for Giles. So when Jessica got online and found an interview with Anthony Stewart Head, she passed me a few of the more delicious tidbits:

On a whim, I ask if his character in Buffy has his own action figure toy. "Oh yes," he boasts, "I articulate in 14 positions and I'm a choking hazard."

When he auditioned for the part, he suggested playing Giles either as a version of Hugh Grant in Four Weddings, as Prince Charles or as Alan Rickman "in his more decisive moments". Whedon liked all three ideas, so Giles became a tweedy amalgam.

I freely admit that I posted the latter one partly to troll Rebecca. *grinning evilly*

10 January 2003

Were you trying to be Lydia, Natasha?...

Which of the Pride & Prejudice Sisters are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Of course, this quiz was easy to manipulate. I want to be Elizabeth, of course. And a good part of me is. And if it gets me Colin Firth, I'll say anything!

07 January 2003

Well, Hallelujah! I've got work! A six-week gig at SMSU doing clerical stuff full-time. Which may parlay into something a little more lengthy, who knows. Thank you to everybody who kept me in their prayers.

I bought a fountain to celebrate. I've been on the lookout for a decent fountain for about a year now. I have always been fascinated with running water -- brooks, streams, and fountains, so when these little table fountains came out, I was half-cynical about how precious some of them were, and half totally entranced. The problem is, the shape of most of the fountains I saw unnerved me. Either they were far too cutesy and cheap-looking (Jack and Jill climbing the hill or some such rot), or they were faintly (or not-so-faintly) phallic. Pyramids, or monoliths, or steep hills with weird round balls rolling on top, held in place in the spray: yick. Nothing natural, nothing that looked like it even slightly corresponded to what occurs in the outdoors -- which was what I wanted. Any fountains that resembled my ideal shape were way out of my price range. And, being a good postmodern girl, I don't want to pay an exorbitant price for my little indulgence in a fad.

Finally, almost by accident, I saw one in Pier 1 Imports while on the job hunt. It is square, framed with woven bamboo, and topped by a small pile of slabs that looks very natural. And it was a reasonable price, too. When I got the call about the job this morning, I decided to reward myself. So take it all around, I am a happy girl right now.

03 January 2003

Well, everybody, it's the new year. Yadda yadda yadda. Today I spent a number of hours in the Mudhouse drawing while Jessica did her semester schedule. I drew a medieval scene with a Leonard Nimoy lookalike, a river scene (not very good with only a purple gel pen), a mime, James Joyce (by accident: God help me, will I ever escape that man?), and two people kissing. Which reminds me of the only New Year's resolution I plan to make.

Next New Year's, I mean to kiss someone. I don't plan to be dating anyone, because I'm not particularly interested in dating. But kissing looks fun, and I'm tired of living vicariously. I'm also tired of telling myself that if I'm pushing sweet thirty and never been kissed, I must be hideous. So that little "tape" (as Dr. Phil calls it) is going out the window: goodbye, stirring the foot miserably waiting -- hello, taking the tiller lines and doing what I want to do. Which may not be anything different in effect, but agency is different in quality from passivity, and that's the action I'm going for. However, all bets are off if I'm not attracted to anyone that night.

Mind you, I'm not making a New Year's resolution to finish my novel. This may be counter-intuitive, but if something's really important I don't want to make a silly January 1st promise that I'm going to do it. It's important to me that I get a little romantic experience, but not so important that I rank it up there with my life's work. Doesn't that sound terribly fatuous? But I'm just going to keep recklessly on. It's a new year. George Macdonald says of God: "He will shake heaven and earth, that only the unshakable will remain" -- I feel that 2002 shook down a lot of things, leaving me to build unshakable things, so help me God. I figure that that will come together whether I do or don't make New Year's resolutions.

But kissing does look fun.