I had jury duty yesterday -- and spent the morning in the jury room writing on my laptop, only to discover, when it was time to change to my second battery, that it was not charged. And I had not brought anything else to do. AAAAAAGGGHHH! So at lunch break I stumbled desperately into Borders where I picked up a few books, and where I forgot, again the author and title of those dragons-fighting-the-Napoleonic War books that I've been curious about. So I asked at the info desk if that rang a bell with the clerk and I was told "No, I'm sorry. I don't read that kind of book." Huh. I never knew bookstore clerks only had to know about they kind of books they themselves read. Anyway, I remembered the dragon's name (Temeraire) and found the books myself, thank you very much, helpful Borders employee. Honestly, the way this woman said "that kind of book," you'd have thought I was asking for porn, not fantasy. Oh my god, dragons! Lewd!
You know, this used to be so entirely the pervasive attitude toward fantasy -- the pitying smirk -- but large strides towards social acceptance have been made. Still though, plenty of people out there, and I am sure many of you may be among them, think fantasy is juvenile and a little embarrassing. Check out this fabulously awful quote from Mary MacCarthy:
"If a criterion were wanted for telling a novel from a fable or a tale from a romance, a simple rule-of-thumb would be the absence of the supernatural. In fables and fairy tales, as everyone knows, birds and beasts talk. In novels, they don't; if you find birds and beasts talking in a book you are reading you can be sure that it is not a novel."
Damn! I totally thought I had written a novel. Alas. Anyway, that was probably said in the '60s or something, not now. Whatever. I like talking birds, and I like dragons. Two of my favorite books this year have had dragons in them: Dragon Slippers and Dragon's Keep. Awesome books.
As for jury duty, I did not get called to a panel, so I am free of that civic duty for at least two years.
But to the "good stuff"-- Today is Jim's and my sixth wedding anniversary. Yay! Six years -- pretty amazing how quickly it has gone. Well, closer to nine years together, but six years of marriage. I feel so incredibly blessed to have found such a sweet, talented, thoughtful, funny guy to spend my life with! I love you, sweetie! It's also almost seven years to the day since he proposed -- in a gondola, in Venice. Can you believe that? How awesome. We had been traveling for some six weeks or so, and all the while Jim secretly had my engagement ring tucked into his wallet, and I had no idea! I found out later he had almost proposed once in a Turkish restaurant when some folk dancers pulled him up onstage to participate in a "wedding dance," and once on a tiny little beach on the Amalfi coast that we had kayaked to. But he waited for Venice, and it was beautiful. And so was our wedding, in Berkeley, and so have been the last six years. So many things we have shared -- buying our little house, sticking with our creative dreams, experiencing the sadness of our doggies growing old, and much, much more. So, happy anniversary to us!
And, Blackbringer comes out two weeks from yesterday. At last! My first book will be in the world! Good things have been happening -- it is a Book Sense summer pick, and as a former indie-bookstore-worker, this tickles me! Also, Booklist just gave me a good review! This is my favorite line: ". . .this all braids together into a radiant conclusion." Aw, shucks. Okay, and I like this one too: ". . . lovely echoes of its literary antecedents from Tolkein on down," and the reviewer calls my language "vibrant," though that is, I must confess, in the context of my first criticism: "Vibrant language overcomes a surfeit of telling rather than showing." Okay, for days that was the only line of this review I was able to process because. . . really? I mean, I take such great pains to "show" rather than "tell" that I was bowled over by that. It made me want to sit down with my book and study it and see if it's true. Of course, I don't think it's true, but I am not going to try to prove it to Booklist right now. My mind has cleared and I am capable of seeing the niceness of the rest of the review. But it made me feel a little tiny bit how much a bad review would hurt. Ouch.
I also stumbled upon this review whilst -- ahem -- googling myself, and it was lovely to read this reviewer's take on my characters. And this one, which totally gets my theme about dreams! It's so awesome that people are "getting it"!
P.S. Without brown sugar, steel-cut oatmeal isn't really worth it. Sigh.