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East of the Sun, West of the Wing
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First day back at work. Ah, well. The vacation had to end sometime. It was a nice day, actually. Lots of work to do, so it went by quickly. Leftover turkey, stuffing, etc. for lunch. Then home, for an evening alone. Heather went out to dinner with a friend, so I dawdled around the house a bit, started reading Daniel Handler's The Basic Eight (let's hope it rings some real changes on the Catcher in the Rye thing it has already so explicitly invoked). It reminds me a bit of Chabon's Mysteries of Pittsburgh -- both first novels about growing up (at least, that's what Basic Eight seems to be addressing) and the arrogance of adolescence. Not the sort of novel I'm ever likely to write, unless the novel also has giant angry monkey gods who use human skulls for ashtrays, or something of the sort.

I did some good writing this evening, too. Sat on the couch with a notebook and started the next chapter of the Frog novel, which has been almost entirely written at the computer so far. I just needed a change of scenery. All my attempts to write this chapter previously (there have been about three such attempts in the past few days) have worked out badly, with stilted dialogue, or far too much dull exposition, or other painful flaws that I couldn't seem to work around. Very annoying, especially since this is a scene with not one but two big revelations, so it should have some energy! So I switched from the keyboard to the pen, a tactic which sometimes works to bump me out of ruts. It worked. I did about 2200 words in a bit over an hour, and by the end of the scene I'd come up with an elegant bit of cool shit that solves one of my nagging problems.

See, I don't have a formal outline -- I just sort of scribble down major plot points, and one of the plot points was, cryptically enough, "B. rescues R. from C.S." Unfortunately, I had no idea how to make that happen, since B. is basically without weapons other than perception and occasionally charm, while R. is in mortal danger from the brilliant and lethal C.S., who should, by all rights, be able to turn B. into a wet splotch of innards on the pavement. But! I solved it, and in a way that neatly intersects with the principle protagonist's (known as M. in my scribblings) major arc of personal development. This is good. I am excited. And this elegant solution will lead to a rather badass fight scene, I suspect, in another few thousand words.

Around 9:30 I went to pick up Heather from BART, and brought her home, then ran out to get some food (we're down to vegetarian corndogs, leftover mashed potatoes, and provolone in the fridge, and that doesn't make a meal I'm interested in eating) . We couch-snuggled with the cats, and watched a bit of The West Wing (we got the DVD of the first season this weekend), and now hours later Heather's in bed and here I am, as is customary, finishing my night at my desk, checking e-mail, finally wandering journal-ward...

To back up in time: Saturday Heather went out to be social with various writerly folks, while I stayed home, feeling a bit over-socialized anyway. Ostensibly, I stayed home to work. Practically, I stayed home and played Vice City. I think it was the right choice. Sunday we had a nice day out, my darling and I. We went to see The Station Agent at the Piedmont theater. Excellent, enjoyable film, though, as Heather mentioned, it's about as li-fi as it gets -- pure character study. Despite my firm genre underpinnings, I do enjoy stuff like that. After the movie we had a nice amble on Piedmont, our old stomping grounds. I couldn't resist the call of the comic book shop, and bought a couple of things, a Hellblazer collection and the newest Transmetropolitan collection, both of which I read last night. It was a pretty great day, and a nice end to my vacation.

In other news, my mother has started an online journal, Ain't Life Grand. A brief dramatis personae: Wayne is my younger brother, Jodi is my even-younger sister. Wayne is in college, Jodi is about to be. (Am I old? Apparently.) John is my mom's newish husband. I think that covers it...

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