Stephanie Burgis
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cool bits, packages, and a challenge
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My favorite plots generated by the Cool-bits story generator so far:
Your story begins with rigorous training. In a giant country mansion there is a cold and deadly courtesan who has prominent wristbones. The protagonist experiences things like family that holds together come hell or high water and role reversal. It finally ends with a broken taboo.

It starts in a ballroom full of swishing skirts and duplicity, with a bad guy who becomes a good guy. The antagonist is a technical whiz and the plot involves elements like moving water and neurosis.

I swear, I'm actually kinda tempted by both of them... ;p

Today I've been humming "The Wells-Fargo Wagon" from The Music Man, because a new just package arrived! I got E.M. Delafield's The Diary of a Provincial Lady (after reading Liz William's recommendation), which is absolutely wonderful - hilarious in a beautifully understated way. My favorite bit so far, from a painful teatime with the diarist's nemesis and local Lady of the Manor, Lady Boxe:

Lady B. at once adds that she always advises girls to marry, no matter what the man is like, as any husband is better than none, and there are not nearly enough to go around. I immediately refer to Rose's collection of distinguished Feminists, giving her to understand that I know them all well and intimately, and have frequently discussed the subject with them. Lady B. waves her hand - (in elegant white kid, new, not cleaned) - and declares That may be all very well, but if they could have got husbands they wouldn't be Feminists. I instantly assert that all have had husbands, and some two or three. This may or may not be true, but have seldom known stronger homicidal impulse. Final straw is added when Lady B. amiably observes that I, at least, have nothing to complain of, as she always thinks Robert such a safe, respectable husband for any woman. Give her briefly to understand that Robert is in reality a compound of Don Juan, the Marquis de Sade, and Dr. Crippen, but that we do not care to let it be known locally. Cannot say whether she is or is not impressed by this, as she declares herself obliged to go, because ducal function "cannot begin without her". All I can think of is to retort that Duchesses - (of whom, in actual fact, I do not know any) - always remind me of Alice in Wonderland, as do white kid gloves of the White Rabbit. Lady B. replies that I am always so well-read, and car moves off leaving her with, as usual, the last word.

I also got Margaret Mahy's book Maddigan's Fantasia, which I'm really looking forward to - I read about the first three chapters in a bookstore last month before realizing I wanted to buy and keep it, not just read it in a shop.

And last but not least, I just read a wonderful essay by Jenny Crusie on learning how to talk about your own writing and your career goals, which is slightly scary but really intriguing. Time to take a quick drink (as she recommends) and get started!

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