Tuesday, December 31, 2002
This year, both my brothers are here for Christmas (one from Tokyo, the other, with his two small children, from California). What possessed the Tokyo Bro to suggest we make cleaning out the basement our family project this year, I can't imagine, but that is exactly what we have been doing for the past several days. What a job! But the treasures I've found! And the ludicrous junk! I've already tossed out eight - EIGHT!!! - garbage bags full of papers, magazines, brochures, maps, travel guides, etc. - and that's just the papery stuff. There is a mountain of ... other stuff ... destined for the dump and another sizeable heap destined for the Goodwill.
As a result of all this frenzied activity, I will not have to make a New Year's Resolution this year as I've taken care of the past several years' worth of resolutions in one fell swoop!
Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 24, 2002
As my mother was pulling out onto the highway about 30 seconds away from home, someone else changed lanes and side-swiped her into the ditch. DON'T WORRY! Despite my mother's car being totalled, nobody in either vehicle was injured. The fence, however, is another story...
Luckily, here in Victoria we have very strong tow-truck guys... this one didn't even wait for mechanical assistance before he started hauling the car out of the ditch... "Look, Ma - one hand!"
Sunday, December 22, 2002
That's it for now - many elfy things to do around here! Carnillo essentially on hold for the moment... sigh... was within twenty pages of the end of the most recent draft... Best of the Season to you!
Monday, December 16, 2002
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Holy crow! That was exciting... first time I tried that, the photo was the size of a whale! And then somehow the line of photo code got in here twice... (after I fixed the size problem... then a quantity problem...) And then, as I was trying to re-upload... everything froze! So, I do apologize if you happened to stumble through here right while all THAT was going on...
Anyway... this is a photo of me inside a whale skeleton at Miracle Beach Elementary School... I'll be visiting students there again next week (MB is near Courtenay, farther north on Vancouver Island).
Ok - before I have any more near disasters here, I'm going to head for the kitchen and scrounge up something for supper...
In other news, received a package of books from the Canadian Book Review Annual as well as tear sheets for all the reviews I wrote last year. This publication tries to review every book published in Canada each year. What a job! I'm quite excited to see what the latest titles will be like -
And, in the work-related emails received today department (because this blog is supposed to be at least partly work-related...):
- message from librarian in Ontario confirming the dates I'll be available for school visits during the week of May 19th (leading up to the Silver Birch Awards ceremony)
- message from coordinator of the annual Children's Festival up in Nanaimo - sounds like they have some great stuff planned - also in May - must let them know my availability for readings in schools during the week leading up to the festival
- DELIGHTFUL message from Annick in Toronto saying my advance cheque is in the mail (for the Grandmother picture book) - this bodes well for some extra jollies at Christmas
- and, finally - a quick note from the organizers of the Author's Festival this week out in Sidney letting me know where the secret room is where authors are allowed to run and hide, presumably when the mob scenes get overwhelming....
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Continue to work on Carnillo... Freda (editor) is reading behind me, as it were - she has the first 150 pages or so and, after reading the first fifty, doesn't see any major problems. This is progress! So, I continue to plug on through the back half of the book...
On the 'wow, I'm not actually dead yet' front - Dani dragged me out to the Kids (U-16 Metro Girls) vs. the Parents Soccer Game last night! The miracle is, I can still move (albeit slowly) today! I have to say it was way more fun than I thought it was going to be! Actually, Dani has decided to take her relatively sedentary mother and whip her into shape... So, rather than letting me steep in a brew of Ben-Gay and Tiger Balm, she hauled my sorry butt off to the gym this morning! There I was able to read on a comfy recumbent exercise bike... My legs kept turning those pedals for 20 minutes but I hardly noticed because I successfully distracted myself with Basbanes', A Gentle Madness. I was feeling rather smug after that and was all ready to head upstairs to work on Carnillo in the library when Dani said - "Oh no you don't... first some weights... and some ab-work." Good grief! Next thing you know she'll be having me in training for some Ironwoman event... Not!
Sunday, December 08, 2002
1. In a preliterate society, what sort of material would this map be written on?
2. With what? Why would anyone invent any sort of permanent ink as well as the tools to apply it to an appropriate surface if nobody knows how to write?
3. What kinds of symbols would be in common use in a society where storytelling/the oral tradition is the primary means of sharing information?
Given that I need some way for groups of people not necessarily in the same room together to share information and history useful to the rebel cause, my editor made the brilliant suggestion of using some sort of quilt (think Underground Railroad, gumboot dances, etc. where one item or action takes on a completely different use/meaning within a suppressed group) to record and convey information.
This made perfect sense to me until I started working out the logistics of these story quilts. Who owns them? Who contributes to them? Do they have any magical aspects? If so, how do those magical aspects work? Were scissors of some sort invented in the Estorian/Campriano world? (if not, how will the scraps of cloth be cut into meaningful shapes... likewise for needles and thread... are there dyes? Can one have coloured cloth and thread?)
At the moment, the quilt that Dominique sees is 12 X 12 squares in dimension and is one of 1000 quilts known to exist in the world. Once all of the squares have been filled, 144,000 chosen individuals will have contributed to this recorded history/knowledge/story compilation... So, what is the significance of the 144,000 chosen in the context of this trilogy? What will happen when all the squares are filled? Will recorded history as these people understand it stop? Or will a new means of communication/recording of story/history begin?
With each decision made (and this second book introduces a whole slew of these seemingly innocent objects that are actually causing me no end of grief. I mean, who would think a quilt would cause so much trouble??????), I have to answer about a million questions and then figure out if the answers to any of those questions are actually going to cause some other problems elsewhere in the narrative.
Saturday, December 07, 2002
Thursday, December 05, 2002
Another recent read that was rather good was Cornelia Funke's, The Thief Lord. Set in Venice, this is an intriguing tale of street children who take refuge in an abandoned movie theatre and are protected and cared for by the shadowy character, the Thief Lord. Funke's book has a fantasy element completely lacking in the first two, so I'm not sure if I can find a way to include all three in the same review... not that I need to be boring the rest of the world with my musings about what I might possibly include in my column. On the other hand, what good is a blog if it doesn't bore the world with musings?
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
So, now that I don't feel the need to hide my own bibliomania, I can start planning how best to store my paper companions. On the off chance one of my family members happens to stumble upon my blog while wondering what I might like for Christmas, I wouldn't say no to a copy of At Home With Books: How Booklovers Live With and Care for Their Books so I can drool over gorgeous book cases, libraries, and reading tables. Along the same lines, Living With Books would find a happy home with me. Sigh. So many books, so little time.