When I'm really into a work-in-progress, my blogging suffers. As it should be, yes, but as I cast around for something to write about here that doesn't have to do with the minutiae of characters you know nothing about, I feel like my external world has shrunk to about the size of. . . my house (which I haven't left in several days, except to take the dog into the back yard), while my interior world is all dazzly and sparkling and immense, but in a way I can't really share. Except by, you know, actually finishing this book and then getting it out into the world.
So, hm. I keep wanting to drop bizarre little hints about the book, but that would be more interesting for me than for you. Instead, I'll show you my sister's new puppy:
Awww. Lookit him! She picks him up from the breeder in two days. Question: if you are a dog person, are you a puppy person or a grown dog from the Humane Society person? We are the latter, partly out of fear of puppy destructiveness, partly out of soft-heartedness for older dogs who need love too. Well, now we have only Leroy, and he doesn't *play nice with others* or we might have brought home another rescue after Shiloh died two years ago. But seeing pictures of puppies like this, I certainly understand the draw.
Okay, and here's another question for you, sent to me by 12-year-old Erica in Michigan (who, delightfully, describes herself as: "human, unfortunately"). Erica asks:
If you could fly, would you rather have butterfly wings, dragonfly wings, bat wings, or no wings at all, you could just magically float? Thanks!!!
Well. This is the sort of thing I tend to give a lot of thought to. Too much, maybe. In this case, I would have to answer that, though I am a lover of all things "wings," if I really had to make this decision I'd go with the magically floating (and magically zooming, a la Superman). See, wings are great in theory and in art and fiction, but they might be kind of cumbersome as far as sleeping positions and movie theater seats, etc, and then, I'd have to alter every single shirt or jacket or dress I ever hoped to wear. And this is me we're talking about. I wear 6-inch-platforms just to avoid hemming jeans!! So, there you have it.
But, if the question were simply: what kind of wings would you have. . . well, I suppose I'd do some studying up on the respective merits of bird wings vs bat wings, but it would be one of those, for sure. Dragonfly wings are cool and all, but in the nonmagical world, without access to old healers who can re-knit rips with spidersilk, they must be quite fragile. Crow wings (like a certain young faerie lad I know) would be my choice. Or perhaps. . . bat wings, for that little touch of eeevil that never did anybody any harm.
(One of my all-time favorite movie moments comes from a movie I've only seen half of, because I got bored, and that is Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders. The scene I love is two angels sitting in a convertible, longingly listing all the things that would be great about being human. And one of them says, with feeling: "Just once, to enthuse for evil!" I. Love. That.)
So: puppy or grown dog?
And: wings or superhero flight?
And: what kind of wings?
One last thing. I just read one of the most awesome graphic novels I have EVER READ. It's The Rabbi's Cat by the French writer/artist/genius Joann Sfar, responsible for titles like The Professor's Daughter (a mummy romance) and Vampire in Love (the first of his I read, stunned the whole time over its total oddness). Well, I liked those, but LOVED this story, which is narrated by a rabbi's cat in Algiers in the 1930s -- a cat that manages to gain the power of speech, only to use it as any cat would, to lie, wheedle, and blaspheme! The humor; the many perfect moments where Sfar captures something so TRUE about human nature; the fascinating context -- being Jewish then and there, at the bottom of the complex social/religious spectrum of North Africa; and there's so much warmth and silliness, and a little bit of [delightful] crudeness (that makes it inappropriate for younger children).
Perhaps my favorite line in the book, from p. 82: "You sure you don't want me to kill him? You know, sometimes you kill just one person and it takes care of everything." tee hee!
This is one to hang on to. Alexandra gave it to Jim for Christmas (thank you!), and I ordered the sequel yesterday, which led to -- ahem -- a much larger order than I had intended, stuffed with tantalizing books on the obscure topics of my w.i.p. . . including the discovery of this Anglo-Afghan author, Tahir Shah, who has written all kinds of totally intriguing sounding books, about things like renovating a decaying palace in Morocco; or studying fire-walking with a sorcerer in India; and tracing the folklore of flight from the Andes to the Amazon. . . Cool.
And very very lastly, a tidbit of trivia from another fascinating nonfiction book I am reading (which was also a gift from Alexandra): did you know that the most important red dye in history, responsible for the brilliant color "carmine" is made not from flower petals or berries or some such lovely source, but the blood of cactus -dwelling beetles? How about that? It's called "cochineal" and it's likely in your lipstick, not to mention your Cherry Coke!