A thing about living right downtown here is I mostly see sparrows and pigeons. Starlings, sometimes. Grackles and gulls, for sure. I’ve had cardinals and finches in the tree outside my window, there’s a young raptor who taunts me on Queen Street when I’m out without the big zoom camera, and I can go to the lakeshore for ducks and cormorants. It’s not as though the birds aren’t here.
But, day to day, it’s mostly sparrowkind.
In Vancouver last week I caught glimpses of all my faves: crows (commuting crows, by the hundreds!), starlings, great blue herons, three species of duck, bushtits, cormorants, and a glimpse of northern flicker. I thought I’d have to content myself with the scolding of a Stellar’s jay in the bushes, but it turns out my sister-in-law feeds them. I almost collided with one Monday on my way out the door; it was headed to a clutch of peanuts on the kitchen windowsill.
It was satisfying and soul-nourishing, and a nice concrete example of a difference, neither good nor bad, between Then and Now. But not truly between Here and There, because if I’d got a house outside of the downtown core, I’d be hip-deep in feathery company.
Today I am shaving 260 words from one of the squid stories*, so I can send it to a market with a firm 7.5K word limit. I can tell I’ve been through the story before. There’s not much to trim. It’s tempting to simply change the word count at the top of the page and assume they don’t really care about that extra half page or so.
But that would be errant smart-assery, not to mention unprofessional. Even if I weren’t generally rule-abiding, I know it makes me nuts when my students blithely ignore my guidelines. So–a sentence here, an adjective there. Nip, tuck, smooth.
Next weekend I am one of a bunch of Tor authors heading off to the New York Comicon, so I’ll continue working on these little bits and bobs for awhile yet. I’ll shoot a few stories off to market, push paper on a grant application, comb through the files looking for reprint opportunities, that kind of thing.
But this Saturday is my (so far) favorite Toronto event, Nuit Blanche Last year we made our way through the throngs to Nathan Phillips Square, and back, and saw many awesome things. Then we were home, in bed and exhausted, just as the party was properly starting.
This year we are practically at City Hall the minute we step out our front door. So I hope to see even more incredible sights and performances before thronging home to collapse at some ludicrous hour like ten.
How about all of you–what’s on the boards for October?
Assuming we all agree that Mr. Darcy is Jane Austen’s most desirable hero/dudebro/prospective mate, who is second in the pecking order? Is it Knightley? Bingley? Henry Crawford?
(Of course, I was kidding about Henry Crawford.)Now, as I write this post, the unofficial poll results are:3 people say “What? Darcy? No way!”
Edward Ferrars and Henry Tilney are getting no love at all, and Mr. Knightly, from Emma, gets one hat-tip. There’s some quiet praise for Edmund Bertram.
The two contenders are: Colonel Brandon and Frederick Wentworth… and it looks like Brandon’s pulling ahead.
There’s been some talk about whether the fire of fannish love, in each case, was sparked by the literary characters or by their portrayals in film and TV. Is Darcy the undisputed cock of the Austen walk solely because of Colin Firth? Will Alan Rickman lock the number two spot for Colonel Brandon? Even Edmund Bertram’s supporters mention Johnny Lee Miller in a yum-yum favorable context.
Speaking of delicious Darcy goodness, have you all seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries?
Your thoughts on this burning issue are always welcome.
Quite a few things that have been in the works for awhile are locking into place now. As some of you already know, I’ll be at the Vancouver Writers Fest, appearing with William Gibson and Sebastien de Castell, on October 25th. Tickets are on sale now – I’d frankly love to have a big hometown turnout.
Afterward, I figure we’ll head somewhere as a mob, grab some decent, affordable food, and hang out. Let me know if you’re in.
On the 28th, I’ll be reading and signing Child of a Hidden Sea at the University Bookstore in Bellevue, Washington. The event’s at 8:00 p.m. and I’m taking the train in that very day, so the get-together window will probably be afternoon/early evening. Once travel logistics have come together, I’ll let you know.
And before all of that happens, I’ll be appearing at the New York City Comicon, on Friday October 10th, with a panel on Friday called Playing with Magic. Here’s the description:
Magic is central to fantasy, whether it takes place in our world or one completely foreign. But there are many different kinds of magic: from shape-shifting to mind-reading to weather control. How does the use of magic affect storytelling? Join A.M. Dellamonica (Child of a Hidden Sea), Ilona and Gordon Andrews (Burn for Me), C.L. Wilson (Winter King), George Hagen (Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle), Jaclyn Dolamore (Dark Metropolis) and Jeff Somers (We Are Not Good People) as they discuss incorporating magic into the fabric of their worlds with moderator Lev Grossman (The Magicians trilogy).
Kelly will be coming along on this one. We’ll be in Manhattan for a couple of days.
Kitten updates have been few and far between lately, I know, because Kelly and I were scampering around to a variety of movies at TiFF, with my always delightful and thoroughly brilliant cousins, Alicia and Joe. What’s up with the kids is, basically, that they are cute. Supercute, even!
We experimented a little with leaving the bedroom open to them at night while we were en vacance, but they are still too rambunctious. No big surprise there. CinCin’s headed back to the vet in about ten days for spayage and shots. I’ve also rearranged the top of the cat tree known as Beetlejuice Station. This might, eventually, occasion a new video.
This past staycation has been the best vacation, for me, in quite a long stretch of time. It offered the perfect mix of tourism, intellectual stimulation, good company, downtime, and amazing foodie experiences. Among other things, we tried a huge number of new restaurants: Khao San Road, The Harbord Room, The Senator, Fusaro’s Kitchen, and Byblos. Each of these is as deserving of a review as all the incredible films we saw.
It was illuminating, and has made me consider what K and I require in a break where our entertainment isn’t curated by a savvy, film-loving family member. Next time we have a stretch of time off at home, this shall be the model, I think: buy lots of tickets to lots of things, make a list of restaurants, and lure out various lovely people to partake with us.
Lorenzo spent the night at the veterinarian’s. We were not going to get his nuts cut for another two weeks, after our vacation, but he was starting to act in an awfully adult fashion, if you know what I mean. I was having visions of Chinchilla spawning polydactyl brother kittens on our beleaguered couch, and me having to find them homes via all you good people on the Internet.
Anyway, his blood work has just come back. He is fine, and they will do the procedure this afternoon. Mere words cannot capture the scale of my relief on this score.
In the meantime, CinCin is sooooo lonely. I was off writing with some friends at a cafe this morning, and she has been all by herself for a couple of hours. Now she is planted in my lap and will probably stay there until I have to go out again in pursuit of our Film Festival Tickets.
Urchin CheeChee Feathers, or sometimes Mrs. CheeChee Feathers.
Runt (though she weighs over 2 kilos now, CinCin was definitely the runt of her litter. She got weighed on Wednesday during her abortive spay attempt. We haven’t tried to weigh Lozo lately, but he’s at least a third bigger. And feels like warm, muscular concrete.)
Speaking of whom…
Michelin Man – because he’s muscular and taut as an overinflated tire.
Flip and Flop
Fric and Frac
Thing One and Thing Two
I know you all needed, desperately, to know this.
We also need to come up with an alto part for the Parry Gripp song “Weiner Dog,” because CinCin comes running whenever we play the video or sing it ourselves, and I think hearing it in two part harmony would blow her tiny little mind. She likes things with soprano notes, go figure.