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13th April 2016

4:29pm: Necessity ARC -- Charity Auction
My Necessity ARCs have just arrived, very exciting!

AS last year, I am planning to auction one here for the Vericon auction -- it's a little late. The money goes to Cittadini del Mondo, an excellent tiny organization working with refugees in Italy.

I will take bids in comments, and the auction will run for a week, closing when I get up on Thursday 21st April. This is for one beautiful ARC of Necessity, signed and personalised. The book will not otherwise be available until July 12th! And the money is for a really good cause, so have at it!
9:57am: Not in this town!
Did anyone wonder why he came this far,
To this town with one exit, one stop light, one bar,
Four neon churches, one high school, one park
Full of unspoken things taking place in the dark?

He drove in from the east in a big beat-up car.
Long shaggy dark hair, smiling eyes, a guitar,
Some hooch. All the girls of the town just went wild,
Not knowing at first he was Semila's child.

"Oh no, not in this town, unmarried," they said,
Her dad cast her out, said for him she was dead,
Her sister pretended she didn't exist
With her belly that proved she did more than get kissed.

Must be twenty years now since she went to the bad,
Since she cursed them and left, since she swore she was glad
To get out of this town, narrow, biased, and dumb,
Stalking off to the exit she stuck out her thumb.

Not shamefaced, Semila, she stood there with pride
With her belly thrust out, with a baby inside
A truck slowed, two drivers, she hopped in-between
And that was the last time Semila was seen.

Her boy from the east went by "Leo". His car
Had rust-stains like ivy. He drove to the bar
And ordered a pitcher, then sat in the sun
Just strumming, as girls wandered up one by one.

Now Theo, his cousin, was quiet, uptight,
A young cop, with need to do everything right,
Never drunk in his life, never stepped on a crack,
A good boy he was, who cut nobody slack.

Their mothers were sisters, Semila and Gail,
One passionate proud, and one fluttering frail.
Their boys were like betta-fish, spoiling to fight
When they clashed in the bar there on Leo's first night.

"Hey stranger, hey foreigner, get out of town,"
Theo said. Leo raised up a brow, sitting down,
While his cousin was standing in threatening pose
And Leo smiled lazily: "Do you suppose,

You might drink with me?" Leo asked, "Cousin of mine?
Drinking and dancing is nearly divine,
Let go, dance a little, and drink from my cup
And I'll leave you in peace here to let you grow up."

"I'm too young to drink beer. And I don't know your face?"
"I'm the son of Semila. You'd say her disgrace?"
"Did you card him?" called Theo. "He's not twenty-one!"
And he took a step back, with his hand on his gun.

Leo spread out his hands with placatory smile
And walked out of the bar, and the girls all the while
Were cooing and flirting and whispering "Oh!"
While Theo gave warnings they watched Leo go.

He camped in a barn on the edge of the park
Distant hum of the highway, a dog's lonely bark
And the sound of his music that wove through the dusk
Like sandalwood, ambergris, jasmine and musk.

Strong perfume hung over the town the next day
A whiff of exotic that called folk to play,
Alluring and tempting, the sound of his notes,
Drifting in on the wind, like a warmth in their throats.

Not a woman in town could resist him, most men
Went out once or twice, drank with Leo, and then
He'd let them alone, only Theo refrained,
But the girls day and night danced his dance unrestrained.

Singing and dancing and drinking all hours
And chasing all over with kissing and flowers
Free love and free music, and hooch up for sale,
"No, not in this town!" Theo threw him in jail.

Leo stood at the window and sang through the bars
Wove the world in his song, from the hum of the cars
And light-tripping feet, from his mother's old shame
When the town cast her out and attributed blame

Through the long afternoon, as the memory of scorn
Built the whisper of wind through the ripening corn
Dust devils rose spiralling, dancing along,
And the weight of the sun built the power of his song.

Every female in town then, from puberty on,
Ran off to the park, every woman was gone
Teenagers to grannies, run wild on the hill
And they couldn't be caught and they wouldn't stay still.

The high school half empty, the churches bereft
Whole town half-deserted, no woman was left,
And no one could stop them, and no one would dare,
Till Theo found out his own mother was there.

His mother was gone, so he marched to the jail:
"Make them stop, I demand it! My poor mother, Gail!"
And Leo smiled slyly and said "Would you see
What wild women look like, when once they get free?

This town tossed out my mother without half a thought.
You wouldn't drink with me, afraid to get caught,
Daren't dance the wild dances, intoxicate, oh
No never in this town, I know you won't go."

"Don't call me a coward," said Theo. "My mother
Needs rescuing now -- be a cousin, a brother."
"You need my help now? Well such aid has a cost,"
"I'll pay it," said Theo, and thus he was lost.

"It's hard to get near them, so dress as a girl.
Let me make up your face, prink your hair with a curl.
They won't suspect, cousin, drink this and advance,
And you're sure to catch sight of the girls in their dance."

"I must find my mother." "But what about mine?"
"Your mother, Semila? Is she here? That's fine."
"Take my keys, you should drive, coz," is all Leo said.
Theo drove along Main Street, blazed straight through the red.

Then the drink in his veins and the madness took hold,
Filled with fear for his mom, and the things he'd been told,
And Leo directing: "Turn left here. Now stop.
Get out of the car. Dance, don't look like a cop."

Theo danced as he went, and they tore him apart,
His own mother's fingernails ripped out his heart
And she woke to discover her deed, poor sad Gail.
In the end it's a punishment quite out of scale.

Don't bring on disaster refusing to bend
When people screw up try to act like a friend
Let humans be human and choose their own fate,
Accept the small madness to ward off the great.

This is of course a version of Euripides "The Bacchae". Thanks to my patrons on Patreon, do sponsor me there if you'd like to, and thank you if you already have!

12th April 2016

7:37pm: Obsessed with Petrarch.
I am obsessed with Petrarch. As you know,
If you know anything, he loved a girl
Who was "the wind, the tree, the golden curl"
Was "Laura: l'aura, lauro, l'aureo."

And so I know he'd never look at me.
It's hopeless. And it's worse than that, he's dead
Six hundred forty years. So then, instead,
I sublimate with yearning poetry:

I love the way you write and smile and jest!
I love the way you set a distant goal
And trust that human effort does the rest.

I love the books you love, I love the whole!
I love the way you play with words, but best.
I love the way you love the human soul.

As you may just possibly have noticed if you read my LJ, I have written a bunch of poems about Petrarch. I was just saying to somebody that I'm obsessed with him, and I immediately thought "But of course, he'd never look at me" and I just had to do it as a sonnet.

Supported by my excellent Patreon supporters, thank you!

7th April 2016

12:39pm: Thud: Poor Relations
Words: about 4000 new words? Hard to say.
Total words: 31387 (I put stuff back in, but also changed it)
Files: 6 (dates and names)
Music: No music
Tea: The last of the Pu erh carbonel brought from China
Reason for stopping: Realised I should update

So a lot of this has been revising stuff I already had, but also writing new stuff. I also had a version control problem where I revised a chapter and then realised I had a later version of it and had to reconcile the two, ick. I generally avoid this problem by not writing different drafts. I've been working on this book on and (mostly) off since 2003. I'll tell you an odd thing though, when I know something I know it -- new version of a chapter from a different POV, and then I looked at the old version, from at least ten years ago, and it's amazing what's the same.

Anyway, I've written a whole new chapter since I last posted a thud, as well as a bunch of tweaking and rewriting.

Now a chapter setting up more character stuff, and then an alien invasion. Didn't you always think Mansfield Park would be better with an alien invasion? No? Well, you probably didn't think Mrs Norris was the most sympathetic character either.
9:44am: Another Oracle from Dionysos
A white sky, a thin snow,
empty arms of trees
dark curve of waiting cave.
Winter's king comes back
heavy cup in outstretched hand
red lips parted in a slippery smile
saying "Drink, drink, go in,
find the wild place,
that spring where the wild
bubbles up uncontrolled
where the veined ice skims over black water
the rose meets the vine
and the mask begins to crack.
Let go now, own what is your own
drink deep and grow.
You are the one who invoked me,
how can you be surprised I showed up?"

Originally posted as a comment on a locked post on a friend's journal, but I think it works without any context at all.

(Thank you generous Patreon backers!)

4th April 2016

9:47am: The Just City nominated for Prometheus Award
The Libertarian Futurist Society give the Prometheus Award (an actual ounce of gold) every year to a science fiction novel "that dramatize the conflict between liberty and power". They are libertarians, but they read widely and nominate thoughtfully, and while this is an overt straight up political award (given annually since 1982) they don't only give it to people whose politics they agree with -- as you can tell by the way they gave it to me for Ha'Penny in 2008, and to Ken MacLeod, and Delia Sherman and Cory Doctorow. They wanted an award to recognise the stuff that's doing what they like, and they got together and organized one, and keep on doing it every year. I respect that a lot.

And... I am on an awards ballot with Gene Wolfe!

Here's the complete list and description of the nominees, in alphabetical order, from their press release:

"Golden Son, by Pierce Brown (Del Rey) – Slavery versus freedom is a central theme of the intriguing second novel in “The Red Rising Trilogy,” set on a future Mars inhabited by the idle-rich Golds and slave-miner Reds. Questions about trade-offs between chaos and control and whether the ends justify the means are explored as the libertarian protagonist strives to help the Reds revolt and create an equal-rights society only to learn that some slaves actually don’t want to be free. (This is Brown’s first recognition as a Prometheus nominee and Best Novel finalist.)

Apex, by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot) –Set in a future where a substance called Nexus allows humans to connect through their minds, the gripping finale of the “Nexus Arc” trilogy dramatizes a conflict between major world governments, controlled by deceitful and corrupt men who censor truth and spread disinformation, and rebels who seek to bring down these governments by improving communication and enlisting the support of free individuals (both human and human-derived AI). A central question explored is whether it’s better for governments to contain technology, in the name of protecting the people, or to allow technological advancements, even with big risks. (Naam won the 2014 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Nexus, part of a trilogy that continued with Crux and ends with Apex.)

Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow) – This epic hard-science fiction novel, about a cataclysmic event that threatens human civilization and the planet Earth, avoids ideology but still dramatizes how a lust for power almost wipes out humanity, while also showing how voluntary cooperation, individual initiative and the courage to face reality and tackle overwhelming problems through reason and private enterprise helps tip the balance towards survival, as a small group – including some of Earth’s bravest and richest entrepreneurs – risk their lives to save mankind. (Stephenson won the Prometheus for Best Novel in 2005 for The System of the World.)

The Just City, by Jo Walton (TOR Books) – Recognizing that utopian works are one of the sources for science fiction as a literary form, Jo Walton returns to one of the founding utopian works, Plato’s Republic, and enters into a critical dialogue with it. The process she envisions is science fictional — admirers of Plato from across many centuries are gathered together to raise children as citizens of Plato’s ideal city — but the underlying premise is fantasy: the project is initiated by Athena, and taken up by Apollo. Walton’s political themes – including issues of “equal significance” and the difference between genuine and manipulated political consent – are dramatized through a series of striking incidents and well-drawn characters. (Walton won the Prometheus for Best Novel in 2008 for Ha’penny)

A Borrowed Man, by Gene Wolfe (TOR Books) –This intriguing sci-fi murder mystery – which also works as an old-fashioned detective novel and a writer’s meditation on mortality and the desire to produce a body of work that will be remembered – offers a deeply sympathetic portrait of a human clone/slave “book” struggling for his basic existence and humanity in a diminished future Earth where such “books” are treated like pieces of property that can be checked out and ultimately burned. (This is the first Prometheus finalist by Gene Wolfe, one of the most admired sf writers in the field.)

Fourteen novels were nominated for this year’s Best Novel award.

The other nominees: Luna: New Moon, by Ian McDonald (TOR Books), Squirrel Days, by Dustin Costa (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform), The Turing Exception by William Hertling (Liquididea Press), InterstellarNet: Enigma, by Edward M. Lerner (FoxAcre Press) , Annihilation Score by Charles Stross (Ace Books), The Miskatonic Manuscript, by Vin Suprynowicz (Mountain Media), The Testament of James by Vin Suprynowicz (Mountain Media), Joe Steele, by Harry Turtledove (ROC) and Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky (http://hpmor.com/)"

1st April 2016

8:17am: Augustine's "On the Truth of Religion"
Looking for this work of Augustine
took thirty minutes. Googling in error
I found De doctrina and not De vera
but then I found this PDF, as seen.

He wrote this in a world I know so well
where Christians (different sects), pagans, and Jews,
all in one Empire, squabbled over views
of grace, philosophy, and souls, and hell.

And then he won. And in that victory
this work was copied, copied, copied, read
in different worlds, as what a saint had said,
not part of conversation flowing free.

It took me half an hour to find the text
and reading it has left me slightly vexed.

(Support my poetry Patreon, and thank you if you have!)

29th March 2016

9:30am: Ha'Penny -- Der Tag Der Lerche -- nominated for Kurd Lasswitz Preiss
The Kurd Lasswitz Preiss is Germany's most prestigious professional SF award. Der Tag Der Lerche is nominated both under best foreign novel and as best translation. It has some very strong competition in both categories, but it's always very nice to have this kind of recognition and see that people like my book.

28th March 2016

8:22pm: The long thoughts of trees
Thrust, suspire, leaf, retire
a season's reach,
the branch's grasp
through trickling rain the roots remain
the early beech, the blossom's gasp.
Year turns. Earth churns,
and each to each
is one long clasp
of trunk to bough, of then to now,
and all we teach:
no saw, no rasp,
no choking ice that breaks us twice,
no caterpillar on the peach,
striking like asp
no burning fire, no snarling wire.
Just long slow speech
through years of sun and rain, oh please,
breathing the long thoughts of trees.

Supported by my Patreon do back it if you want to encourage me.

23rd March 2016

5:33pm: Thud: Poor Relations
Poor Relations, the book I work on in between other books, that I suddenly saw a new way to approach.

Words: 3125
Total words: 12235 (plus 13000 words I just cut)
Files: 6 (Time, plan...)
Music: No music, Ada working
Reason for stopping: Time to make dinner

Maybe I'll write this now and write Lent later, like maybe in Italy when I'm in Italy in June. Right now this seems like a fun thing to be working on. This is a whole chapter that works now that never worked before.

This is Mansfield Park on Mars, by the way.

And you can thank my Patreon because I was looking at old false starts because of sharing them with people on that. I'm not sharing ones that seem alive when I poke at them.

11th March 2016

11:39am: Zephyr Haikus (Some things I saw from the train, 8-10th March 2016)
You see the backsides
Of cities, but the best face
Of the lands between.

As the spring ice breaks
An eagle swoops to the stream
Rises with a fish.

Deep piled mountain snow
Tall straight pinetrees, red and green
Distant blue valleys.

A rainbow peeking
From a white lateen-sail cloud
Over snow capped hills.

Huge patient eyes of
Brown horses trimmed with black manes
In a spring meadow.

OMG there are
Flowers growing in the ground...

8th March 2016

11:03am: A Feminist Perspective on Glaciation
So I hear that somebody wrote a paper about the feminist perspective on glaciation -- and that sounded nifty, and the connection was so obvious that I thought I'd write a poem on the same subject. And thanks to my Patreon sponsors!

Unlike the volcanic eruption,
the hot gush, the sudden upward thrust,
this starts with a hollow on a mound,
a gentle curve,
and moisture.

Softly, at first, a quiet concentration,
a leisurely accumulation,
building on itself.
gathering power
in a scoop, a scour, a scarp.

A waiting wetness, there in the hollow,
slow seep,
building, building,
it spills.

And faster then,
repeatedly, inexorably,
down and down and down,
unstoppable, a solid wave
sweeping everything away.
8:48am: FOGcon
I'm an Honored Guest at FOGcon this coming weekend in Walnut Creek California, and this is my schedule:

3 - 4:15 pm "Jo Walton's (In)Famous Character Workshop" in Salon A/B
8 - 9:15 pm "Domestic Fantasy: Transforming the Domestic" in Salon C

10:30 am - 11:45 am "Honored Guest Readings" in Santa Rosa (with the other HGs)
1:30 - 2:45 pm "The First Annual Meeting of the FOGcon Draconic Appreciation Society" in Sacramento Room

I'll also be around all weekend and hope to have a chance to hang out with some of you there!

3rd March 2016

9:10am: Among Others in Korean
Among Others is now available in Korean, and here is the cover, which I like a lot -- this is one of the most accurate depictions of Mori, as described in the book. Actually, though, any cover that does not elide the cane is a win for me. And looking at it more, the background represents the way the magic works, which is a first. I like this cover a lot. Here's a link to it on my "all foreign AO covers" page.

1st March 2016

5:12pm: On the impending death of Morris Keesan
Death comes so fast, but also slow. Constrained
To die quite soon, a tumour, but for now,
Alive to see his friends, his home, somehow
Enjoying what he can, although still pained.

He saw his Michael Whelan print and said:
"I got to own that lovely thing, that art,
It makes me happy, has done from the start
And could you let him know that, when I'm dead?"

The art, the music, anagrams, the friends,
The cons, the conversations, all the days
Of building joy for everyone, that ends.

But memories live on, and all the ways
He made life better last. There's no amends
When we go to the dark, but something stays.

29th February 2016

4:05pm: Much too silly to count. No, really, this is nothing but nonsense...
Unpolished Polish, tangier Tangiers...
Mere bagatelles, and likewise the dear deers,
When with one letter shifting lets you tease
The antipopes of the Antipodes.

27th February 2016

5:28pm: Antiquity
This is in a mode called “columns” which, as it was described to me on a panel in SFContario, is written so that the left and right columns make sense alone, and the poem read as a whole (left to right) makes a different kind of sense. The lines in the middle go in both separate columns. It wasn’t hard to write, but it was hard to format — thanks to Mack Muldofsky for special help with that! The first column is the ancient world, the second column is the Renaissance rediscovery of it, and the whole thing is a whole thing, hopefully.

Naturally, once I heard it described, I wanted to try it...

Mack managed to get it from my Protext screenshot to Wordpress, so it's at the URL below, but I'm never going to be able to put it on here, you'll have to click through.


Again, encouraged to post things that are slightly harder to post by the enthusiastic backers of my Patreon! This has been sitting in Protext for a while, as I couldn't figure out any way to format it properly.

25th February 2016

12:55pm: Train poem
The stubble of the wheatfield
And the vast November sky
The tracery of branches bare
And I, and I, and I.

Life is so short and filled with things
And sorrow mixed with joy
The splendid that enrapture
The petty that annoy.

The clouds are grey, the fields are brown,
The distant hills are black
But light within and light without
Brings all the colour back.

Petrarch had poor mute Homer
He held but could not read
This train propels me onward
And I have all I need.

November 12th 2015

I wrote this in my notebook, with a pen, on the way to Chicago and Ohio in November, and I've been meaning to get around to typing it in and posting it ever since. I'd just read Petrarch's letter about not being able to read Homer, and the Adirondack (train 69) was heading south towards Schenectady. Posted now thanks to the awesome supporters of my new Patreon!

24th February 2016

5:13pm: Patreon!
I now have a Patreon for poetry.

This is what I've said on it:

I write science fiction and fantasy novels, and also poetry. I've been posting poetry for free on my livejournal since 2002. I just checked to make sure that was right, and indeed, the sixth thing I ever posted to LJ was the poem "Next Talking Fish, Five Hundred Miles"

I believe that speculative poetry is having a Golden Age right now, with so many people producing such wonderful stuff and showing it to each other. Many of these speculative poets have Patreons, because there isn't a whole lot of money to be made out of poetry, and I've decided to join them.

I don't intend to do anything different, I'm just setting this up so people who enjoy my poetry can directly contribute and let me know. I'm just adding this as an extra place -- the poems will still be posted on LJ, on my website, and here as well, with an email going out to contributors to tell them when there's a new poem. I'm pretty sure there has never been a month without at least one poem, and sometimes I get on a tear, so you might want to do a monthly amount, or set a limit, in case I do something like the Godzilla Sonnets and just keep going.

What I'm intending to do with the money is use it to support the other artists I already support on Patreon, and if it comes to more than that, probably add more. I love Patreon, I love the democratization of patronage. It's such a nifty thing, supporting creation.

I also have a long term goal of producing a really solid "Collected Poems" volume.

My novels are published by Tor in the US and Corsair in the UK and other publishers in translation in seventeen (unless I've lost count) countries. I am very happy with this and have no desire to change it and go into business for myself. My non-fiction essays are published on Tor.com, and have been collected by Tor, and probably will be again. I like traditional publishing, it does a lot of things for me that I would be terrible at doing for myself.

But poetry isn't commercially possible in the same kind of way, and I have dealt with that mostly by just giving it away online. If you want to support me continuing to do that, I really appreciate it.

23rd February 2016

9:03pm: Thud: Lent
Words: 1778
Total words: 15489
Files: 3
Music: No music actually
Tea: Florentina, and then elderflower and lemon
Reason for stopping: new beginning done

Decided it wasn't going to work if it wasn't possible to explain the concept, and therefore needed to write a new beginning, to go before the old beginning.

I think this is the most horrible thing I have ever done to a character. Though maybe there are a few things that compare.

13th February 2016

3:46pm: Recommendation wanted: Letters
I've recently finished both the letters of the Younger Pliny and the letters of Rilke and Andreas-Salome, both of which I highly recommend, and I find myself with a void that needs to be filled.

Please recommend to me volumes of letters -- ideally both sides of a correspondence, as with Browning and Barrett Browning, or Rilke and Andreas-Salome, but I'll take one side if that's what's going.

Limitations -- in English, and in print as an e-book -- the whole purpose of this is to have it on my Kindle to read between other things. In between reading whole things, I cycle through short stories and poems and letters and bits of epics and collections of bits, and I want more letters to fit into this cycle, not a physical book that I'd read all at once.

12th February 2016

2:06pm: Crooked Timber seminar
There has been a Crooked Timber seminar on my Thessaly books. The main post, with links to all the essays everyone wrote on it (some of them brilliant), can be found here, and there's also a link to my response post, a dialogue in which Socrates and Apollo disagree about spoilers, while Maia and Crocus also make their opinions known.

There are no spoilers for Necessity, but there are spoilers for The Just City and The Philosopher Kings.

9th February 2016

7:31pm: My Boskone Schedule
Boskone is next weekend, 19-21st -- though it feels as if it ought to be this weekend, I'm ready for it already! Here's my schedule:

Writing The Great Escape
Friday 17:00 - 17:50, Harbor II (Westin)

How do you get characters out of tough situations without resorting to Felix's bag of tricks, or other cheats? There's an art to surprising the reader with smart or daring escapes while still playing fair — so the reader thinks both "Wow!" and "I should have thought of that!"

Jo Walton, Julie C. Day, Grady Hendrix, Ken Liu, Ada Palmer

Theories of Time Travel
Saturday 10:00 - 10:50, Marina 4 (Westin)

As improbable as it seems, is time travel possible? What scientific theories are out there that hint at what it might take to turn time travel into a reality? What practical issues need to be considered? What are some of the best time travel stories and how does their science hold up? Who's doing it right? And is time travel really just science fiction?

James Cambias (M), Heather Albano, John R. Douglas, Kenneth Schneyer, Jo Walton

Kaffeeklatsch 2: Jo Walton
Saturday 11:00 - 11:50, Harbor I-Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)

Reading: Jo Walton
Saturday 14:30 - 14:55, Independence (Westin)

Will be reading from Necessity.

Saturday 17:00 - 17:50, Galleria-Autographing (Westin)

Poetry Within Fantasy & Science Fiction
Sunday 10:00 - 10:50, Harbor III (Westin)

Fantasy and science fiction literature often samples snatches of song or poetry within its pages. But where does one look for original poetry that’s wholly focused on dragons and aliens, magic and deep space? Which writers are also fine versifiers? What inspires them? How do they decide whether an idea is better delivered in prose or poetry?

Jo Walton, C.S.E. Cooney, Mary Crowell, Theodora Goss

Mythology Mixology
Sunday 14:00 - 14:50, Marina 2 (Westin)

Zeus and Huitzilopochtli; Reynard and Kitsune; kelpies and undines. Today's fantasy draws inspiration (and species) from many mythological sources. What happens when creatures from different cultural milieux occur in the same story? Why do writers mix their mythologies? Who has done it well?

Michael Swanwick, Ken Altabef, Ada Palmer, Lauren Schiller, Jo Walton

There's also a Sassafrass Trickster and King concert at noon on Saturday. You won't want to miss that. And in a piece of annoying scheduling. Ada's reading at the same time I am.

Hope to see some of you there.

5th February 2016

7:35pm: Thud: Lent
Words: 3820
Total words: 13512
Files: 4
Music: No music
Tea: Hua Lien, and then Elderflower and Lemon
Reason for stopping: end of chapter... but I stopped to make dinner, and then to eat dinner, and I'm not really stopping now so much as posting chapter done.

I don't think I've ever written anything before where I've been so reluctant to explain the concept, because I feel it would be more fun to read without knowing it. But... you have to explain the concept, or nobody would read it in the first place, right? Except you four loyal and faithful people who would read it whatever it is just because it has my name on the cover. I know who you are! And i appreciate you, but you're not enough by yourselves...

And I don't think most people are so excited by Savonarola that "it's a fantasy novel about Savonarola" would make them want it -- in fact most people hate Savonarola while not knowing much about him. Even if I said "Savonarola and the Holy Grail". Oh well. I'll think of something.

Onwards and upwards. More words.

21st January 2016

8:06pm: Saltwater Taffy
It's the name of a Welsh pirate from a comic children's book
With pyramids of oranges, a cannon and a hook,
A daffodil, a hammock, canary, stick of rock,
A Davy-lamp to light the seas, a peg-leg in a sock...

Saltwater Taffy's voice confides, tells tales in lilting tones
Of sunken ships and treasure, black skull flags with crossing bones,
Boasting of all the conquests made upon the Spanish Main
And a childhood spent in Tiger Bay (you can't go home again).

Ah, fortunes found and fortunes lost upon the rolling sea
The mermaids booming conch-shell songs to windward, and to lee
The drifting weed, the shifting reef, the blown-glass floats, the sky
The lure of far horizons and the secrets seagulls cry.

The blue that always beckons, the setting of the sails,
And the welcome in the hillsides ever waiting home in Wales.

sovay has a post about being called "Saltwater Taaffe" as a nickname, and as soon as I read it I had an immediate image of oranges piled up like cannon balls and had to write this.
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