Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I think I will be a samurai mangoologist

The other night while we were making dinner, Jim and I were wondering to one another what career we would want if we couldn't have our "creative" careers. It didn't have to be something we would be good at, or even remotely suited for -- when we play "what if" or "would you rather," it is important it be out of the context of real life, or else it would be no fun. It would be like:

"Would you rather be a ninja or a samurai?"
"Mm. . . ninja."
"Really? Because ninjas are assassins. You'd have to kill people."
"And what do samurais do? Tickle people?"
"Well, they kill people too, but they have honor."
"But when they mess up, don't they have to commit suicide?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"That sucks. I don't want to be a samurai."

Okay, I totally made that conversation up -- I'm sure Jim would have handled his side of it very differently -- but you get the point. No interrogations, no implying that the other person would not make an especially good ninja. But the other night, neither of us elected ninja as our second-choice career. I thought I would like to be a scientist of some sort. Kind of like my sister, but without the hard work. I want the job of saying: Wow! Did you know there is a kind of moth that eats sloth fur? Also, I wouldn't want to specialize. Like, Emily studied primarily one species of snake in her research. I couldn't narrow it down. One day: sloth-fur-eating moths, the next day: vampire bats**, etc. But if I had to specialize, I think I would be:


That is, a mango-ologist, but like zoologist, spelled without the hyphen. I checked, and google came up empty on mangoology. So it looks like I will be the first one ever. Do you suppose you have to know something about botany? What if I just study the flavor of mangoes?

Jim thought he would probably be in the FBI or CIA. He didn't say anything about superpowers, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind being an invulnerable FBI agent, perhaps one with adamantium claws. (Oh, we're such nerds!) (That last bit, as I wrote it, I sang it my head like a nerd anthem.)

But anyway, since we are not a mango-flavor-ologist and a superpowered FBI agent, but a writer and an illustrator, we should get back to our writing and illustrating. I apologize to all for my lack of blog comments -- but I am one frantic writer right now. This morning I emailed my editor to inform him of my intention of delivering the Silksinger manuscript before leaving for San Diego Comic-con in late July. So I have to finish it by then. Which means: no reading, no knitting, no anything for the next 6 weeks except for "Silksingering." I totally love this book, but it is not, er, easy. Not that I have ever had the experience of writing being easy, but I keep hoping.

Speaking of Comic-con, I get to be on a panel there about writing villains. Cool! I'm not sure who all is going to be on the panel yet, but there are a couple people I have my fingers crossed for, because I really want to meet them and get to sit next to them and answer questions, and have a picture of me sitting next them, etcetera etcetera. Will keep you posted!

PS -- the monkeys in this picture are all named after famous samurais!

** Apropos of nothing, I would really like to see an enormous bat exodus. The one I'm thinking of is the one at Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo). Three million bats come streaming out of a cave at dusk! Man, I'd love to see that. Has anyone ever seen a good bat exodus?


Anonymous said...

Best one I ever saw was in Austin, texas and I have loved bats ever since-- that's where I learned a female bat gives birth and the baby is ONE-THIRD her weight. Like if I weighed 130 lbs, my baby would be over 40 pounds!! Amazing.


Amber said...

Good luck with your book, Laini!

What kinda money can a mangoologist make?


Anonymous said...

Yes, Carlsbad Caverns in the 60's!
I remember it well. But wait, not so sure about the place. Have to call Mom. I call her when I lose English words...

Catalina said...

I saw bats in Venezuela and Australia. In Venezuela I was studying them as pollinators for only a week -as a part of a biology course- I am a scientist - and in Australia for hundreds around some trees -as a tourist. I love being a scientist.

I would like to be a writter and ilustrator...:)

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

When I was in college my English Professor thought I should change my major [I was a science major] and become a writer. I said, "I think I'll save that for my retirement career." LOL, I'm neither a scientist nor a writer now but work on a computer at M.I.T. AND, I plan to retire in 3 years to teach needle felting and knitting at my LYS. That's what I call a "dream job" now!

Catalina said...

Hi Laini! Thank you for visiting my blog (just telling I needed a yellow day because it is raining arond here...:)...)

I am a biologist, I was on plant ecology first and oceanography and red tides afterwards. Now: I am working on fish....:) You can write me if you want at: sietededosdefrente@yahoo.com

Unknown said...

I actually used to live in a house that had bats in the attic. We used to go out at sunset and watch the bats launching from the attic window. It was very cool to see.

Alex S said...

Thats a very bold assignment you have given yourself-very, very impressive! Oh, I forgot to tell you I left a ton of bat eggs in your laundry room. They should be hatching any moment now so when they do, can you scoop them all up, throw them in a plastic baggie, and bring them over to my place? I am going to train them to sing the national anthem in unison for the 4th of July parade on 57th. Its so weird that all bats have the same voice that is identical to Billy Joel. Nature is awesome Fatty!

Anonymous said...

Hi Laini,

I have a co-worker in India who is a bit of a mangoologist. He eats a minimum of two mangoes every single day, one in the morning as soon as he gets up, and one at night before he lays him down to sleep, plus various supplemental mangoes throughout the day. The last time he visited the states, he told me stories of wonder and amazement about the superior quality of Indian mangoes, like how they lack the stringy stuff that gets stuck between your teeth. Imagine how ex cited I was to recently learn of the end of the Indian Mango Embargo. It's true, we've never been able to receive Indian mangoes in the states. That is, until now. Each time I go to the store now, I carefully check the labels of the mangoes to determine if the Indians have arrived yet. Ahhhh, the wait is KILLING me! It seems every time I talk to Taraka (my co-worker) he's eating one of those damn things. And, of course, he inevitably asks if the Indian mangoes have arrived yet, to which I can only sadly reply no. Please let me know when the Indian mangoes make it to Portland. Thanks,


PS. Can't wait to read the book! I WILL read only one fantasy book this year, and it'll be yours!

Unknown said...

Carlsbad Caverns here, too! Awesome!

Love the adamantium claws comment... :D

[a} said...

i single-mouthedly consumed all the mangoes in [this reaLLY big crate in] our house last week. Pakistani ones, which are so sweet & aromatic.
well, my father snuck 1 into his room when I wasn't looking, but I am still master!!!

[dorks of the world unite!!] :)

Anonymous said...

The most I've seen is about a dozen bats leaving a pine tree, not a cave - it was more of a 'bat scattering' than a 'bat exodus,' but still pretty cool - though I was glad I didn't get one in my hair (or the guano, either, lol)

You're going to be speaking at Comic Con? Too cool!

Good luck with the book! I can't wait to read the first one still, and here you are finishing writing the sequel - wow! You are one inspired - and dedicated writer! Go Laini!

Anonymous said...

I saw that cave in Borneo on one of Discovery HD's wonderful "Earth" segments. Amazing. It was also amazing to see "bat hawks" (or whatever the right name is) catching bats on the wing, and eating them without landing!
Mucho guano.
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