Gerry Mulligan, "Spring Is Sprung"

>> Friday, April 06, 2012

The dreadful thing about a vacation is even if you don't go anywhere, you get to the point where a return to work is foreseeable, right there in front of you or just around a corner; no, it's just off the edge of the screen like the killer in a really bad slasher film, mysteriously invisible to the scream queen center frame and you know he's there and he knows he's there and the writer and the director and the crew and the actress know he's there, but still she's about her oblivious business drinking and screwing and having a good ol' time until Mr. Go Back To Work (So You Can Pay Your Mortgage) jumps in sudden-like and sticks the pointier end of a patio umbrella through her face and opens the bumbershoot behind her ears.

I'm looking forward to this, obviously.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The writing feels better though I suspect there was less of it than I meant to get done and the story I needed to revise sits on the printer's arm where it was ejected and hasn't been touched any more than moving the printer required. Whatever. I just finished reading a Theodore Sturgeon story in Dangerous Visions and the best part of it for me, personally, was the afterword where Sturgeon explained he'd been on a three-year stint of getting nothing done until he'd gotten 'round to writing "If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?" for Harlan Ellison, which made me feel better.

(Oh yeah, the story itself is just okay. It's one of those things where a spec fic writer is basically trolling, trying to jerk everybody's chain so as to be serious and pointed and provocative, etc., but aside from that, it has some nice little bits like a brilliantly lazy wind-up where Sturgeon simply plops the setting down in a massive third-person omniscient infodump peppered with--this is in the story itself, mind you--"...but this isn't that kind of science fiction story" and "what kind of science fiction story is this?" etc. Which ranks as either one of the most half-assed narrative devices I've ever seen in an SF story or one of the geniusest, or, most likely, both: "You know you're reading a science fiction story, I know I'm writing a science fiction story; I could have some asshole character ask, 'Der, how do de wockets fwy thwoo space?' and write a hundred words straight-from-my-ass exposition although it has nothing to do with what I'm getting at, or I could just wink and wave you through. Preference? I figured as much.")

I did the reading up at the Smelly Cat. It was a beautiful day--well, it looked like a beautiful day--for sitting out front with a chai latte and a book and maybe even scribble a few words if the mood struck me. And I reckoned I could take a nice, leisurely, long-way-around walk through the neighborhood instead of going straight up there. About a quarter of the plan worked out as I envisioned; the walk was lovely and roundabout, the chai latte was tasty, the day was... much chillier than it appeared to be once I tried sitting down with aforementioned chai and tried to read. Not cold chilly, but chilly enough to be unpleasant and distracting after a few minutes of sipping and perusing. So I ended up reading inside, and then I didn't feel like writing yet when I was done with the story. (I have to admit I got distracted during the story's introduction with some gratuitous and nosy curiosity about the many wives of Harlan Ellison, which led to getting sidetracked with an old interview with the vieillard terrible himself, accessed via my smartphone's web browser, in which Ellison spent a lot of time bitching about the Internet and technology and something about kids in his yard (no, not really, though he did find a couple of breaths to fling a couple of shots at these kids' rap music and I expected him to say something about how they let their pants ride and wear there hats backwards, but was disappointed); I might be too easily-amused, but I kinda got a kick out of using modern tech to read Harlan Ellison's opinions about how modern tech is making everybody stupid, etc.)

So I went on home. It wasn't much warmer, though it was still a lovely day. I walked past this sign, which reminded me of how much I love my neighborhood (Facebook followers have already seen it, bear with me):

Yeah, we really do.

The grass and trees were green, the birds were re-enacting the WWI air war (or maybe they were making love, or both). I didn't happen to see any of our local ducks (how I think of them, though they go where they want) on the way up to the coffee shop or back, though I did make a point of stopping by the local drainage creeks and we have a fair number of frogs. Almost all of the frogs I saw on the way up were still in their late tadpole stage: fat and rushing up to kiss the surface of the water, wagging their fishy tails though most of them seemed to already have their hind legs bowed beneath them, then crash-diving back down to where they were hiding in the muck and garbage at the bottom. The exceptions were two fully-grown beasts I saw on my way home, one of which zipped out of view at the sight of my shadow, the other being either too lazy sunning itself to dive or too dead and stuck in reeds and debris to float or sink. I prefer to think the fat little green guy was a sinner, gluttonous and slothful, as opposed to a dearly departed former amphibian.


timb111 Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 11:59:00 PM EDT  

I went back to work last week after two glorious weeks in Colombia. We had three inches of very wet snow on Thursday morning. The contrast couldn't have been more obvious. Though I only worked 32 hours instead of my usual 50, and that was waaaay too much work and I am not looking forward to the week ahead either. I did have a nice long weekend, but it ended with a big argument. I hope your week is better.

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