Monday, January 31, 2011

Randutiae for a Busy Week

  • I'm still having a funny stretch of dreams. The other night, after yet another trapeze class, I dreamed about a guy who was taking trapeze lessons. His name was Ted Zeppelin. The soundtrack of the dream was Pink Floyd, though, so there might be some band confusion in my brain somewhere.
  • A quote from Mark Twain (thanks, Jen ^_^): "The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as that between lightning and the lightning bug."
  • If you are a smooth criminal, watch out for these guys. (Opens to a music video. There are cellos.) (Also, I hope they keep extra bows on hand. !!)
  • If you like cellos and Metallica and wonder where my sister, secret codename: Apocalyptica, got her codename from, watch out for these guys. (Another music video.) (Also, I'm guessing that even people who *don't* like Metallica [like my Dad] would like that.) (Also, I'm pleased to see that they dress warmly when appropriate. It is Finland, after all.) (Y'all know how much I love Finland, right?)
  • My dad once sent me and codename: Cordelia a postcard from Finland that had a picture of the Finnish heavy metal band Lordi on the front. In it, he claimed to be well on the way to starting a new career in rock. If you knew Lordi and if you knew my Dad (whose career, for his entire professional life, was as a professor of religion), you would appreciate how funny this is. As a visual aid, here's Lordi:

Here's my Dad:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

And Indeed There Will Be Time

If only it actually were true, as J. Alfred Prufrock says, that there will be time for a hundred visions and revisions before the taking of a toast and tea. In my experience, a single revision can take months. :o)

As I recently promised I would do, I have been dictating *everything* with my voice recognition software, rather than typing, in order to be kind to my arms. It's made a huge difference. But there are certain frequent errors that are making me crazy and even, on occasion, worrying me deeply. My VRS frequently mistakes "will" for "won't" and "won't" for "will." It also mistakes "ever" for "forever," and vice versa. This means that I could say to someone, "I will love you forever," but my VRS could write, "I WON'T love you EVER." Luckily (?), another common mistake is the misrecognition of "loathe" for "love," so maybe what the VRS would actually write is, "I won't loathe you ever," which is better than the other option, but still kind of far removed from the intended expression of true love. (Seriously! It mistakes "loathe" for "love"!!) This means, of course, that in addition to accidentally failing to tell someone I love them, I could also accidentally fail to tell someone I loathe them, and I'm not sure which would lead to worse consequences, accidentally loving someone you loathe or accidentally loathing someone you love. FOREVER. You must admit that they could both be pretty bad.

You know, I wonder if J. Alfred Prufrock's life could be improved by the use of VRS. If ever a man was in need of a happy voice-recognition accident, it's him. "I loathe poo" (for example) miswritten as "I love you," an accidental click of the mouse, and off it goes! He has dared, he has dared! Except that I don't think he begins many e-mails. Or maybe he does -- maybe he begins a thousand he doesn't send. Poor J. Alfred. You know, if you wait until you're certain about something to do it, you'll never do anything.

The other day, I was writing an e-mail to a friend in which I was explaining about two other friends. Let's call them Lady X and Sir Y (chromosomally apt codenames). A long time ago, Lady X had a crush on Sir Y that was unfortunate (at the time) for a number of reasons, that she wished she didn't have, and that Sir Y knew she had -- BUT, Sir Y was a good guy and always had the decency to be a gentleman about it. I dictated: " Sir Y was a perfect gentleman and would never have made her uncomfortable by alluding to her crush." My VRS wrote: "Sir Y was a perfect gentleman and would never have made her uncomfortable by alluding to her crotch." HA HA HA HEE hoo

(As it happens, it is now years later and Lady X and Sir Y are happily partnered. I thank them for giving me permission to allude to their story on my blog. ^_^)

I don't think it's sad that J. Alfred Prufrock is alone. It can be lovely to be alone. I think it's sad that he's *lonely*. And I think there's something he doesn't know about loneliness: that we all get it, that we've all been there at one time or another, even those women in the room talking of Michelangelo. That he is not actually alone when he says,

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

Don't drown, J. Alfred. Wake up, wake up! Presume! Begin! After tea and cakes and ices, force the moment to its crisis! DISTURB THE UNIVERSE! Please? 'Cuz you're making me sad.

This post has been brought to you by angst, weltschmertz, a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas, visions, revisions, decisions, indecisions, true love, the taking of tea, my voice recognition software, and T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Dreamed a Dream

Some news deserves mention on the blog: in Germany, Fire, or Die Flammende, debuted on the Spiegel adult hardcover bestseller list. Shazam! Thanks so much to my German readers. I cannot wait to visit you in March.

Also, FYI to American and Canadian readers: Fire is just coming out in paperback (the release date is January 25). Shazam!

(I've been trying to incorporate the word "Shazam!" into my vocabulary more often. Am I overdoing it?)

I'm going through a stretch in which my dreams are directly related to exactly what I just did. The other day, I took a trapeze class, listened to the soundtrack of Les Miserables for the FIRST TIME EVER (how had I gone my whole life without doing this?), and had a dream that night that Derek Jeter (the shortstop for the New York Yankees) and I were setting off to rescue Jean Valjean (the hero of Les Miserables) together. I'm not sure what we were rescuing him from or if we succeeded; the dream seemed to be about the journey. Derek Jeter was running along on solid ground. I was beside him, flying through the air on a flying trapeze. I'm unclear about whether they were successive flying trapezes and I was swinging from one to the next or whether it was a single flying trapeze that was somehow traveling alongside him, keeping pace. Thank goodness, I was doing splits on the trapeze, not pullovers. Otherwise, it would've been an exhausting journey, and by the time we got to Jean Valjean, I would've had nothing left to rescue him with.

Because I've posted certain things recently on my blog, I feel it is my duty to make an announcement. Remember that at trapeze class, I've been trying to catch my pullover? (First attempt and second attempt.) Well, in my most recent class, there was a little less of this nonsense...

...and a little more of this.

A precious little more. (Click on any picture to enormify.)

Can I point out how pointed my toes AREN'T in the picture below? It almost looks like I was trying to be ironic. Sadly, I was not.

To catch this trick, you do a mid-air push-up, release the bar, and propel yourself over the bar into the hands of your catcher.

Everything is under control.


Alternately, you do a pathetic little motion with your arms that might be mistaken, in ignorant circles, as a mid-air push-up, then let the guy on lines muscle you up into the hands of your catcher. This is not recommended. Regrettably, sometimes, it's all you're capable of. :o) (Explanation: the person "on lines" is the person holding your halter lines and breaking any falls so that you don't break your neck. The halter lines are connected to your belt. When you're first learning a trick and/or if you don't have the strength yet to lift yourself into all the necessary positions, the person on lines often uses his/her strength to pull the lines and help lift you.)

So. Remember my New Year's resolution to catch my pullover?


Now, to give credit where credit is due, I don't think it's exaggerating to say that the person on lines at this time (Kaz) was providing most of the muscle. It was the end of a hard class and I was EXHAUSTED. Also, the catcher (John F) is a superstar for seeing this wild, floppy thing flying toward him and managing to catch it anyway. After he caught me, I was so COMPLETELY SHOCKED at having made the catch that I forgot everything I was supposed to do next and probably made his job rather difficult. ALSO, a thank you to the person on the board as I was taking off (Wendy), who said something to me that at the time I thought was nuts: "Sometimes, when it's your first time trying to catch something, that's all your body needs to know -- that it's catch time -- in order to figure out what to do." I was skeptical, but as it happens, this catch was the first time I ever managed to get into position in time for this trick. THANK YOU, Wendy, Kaz, and John at TSNY Beantown! Amy, thanks for the excellent company, and Molly, a big thank you for the pictures!

Now I have a new goal: to do the pullover way better; more on my own steam; and in a manner such that it's not the ugliest thing anyone has ever witnessed. Yes, I dream a dream. :o)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bears, Cars, and Feminine Sensibilities

On Tuesday I went for another lovely walk in another lovely snowstorm. Everyone seemed good-humored about having to balance on snowbanks. At one point, there was a man some distance ahead of me who was walking toward me and yelling that he wanted a bear. I wasn't sure what to make of this, but decided to cross to the other side of the street. Just in case he mistook me for a bear.

I also saw a man in a business suit carrying a 2 x 4. He wasn't yelling anything, just smiling pleasantly and swinging his 2 x 4 in a jolly manner.

Later, I sat in my front room writing, watching the snow get wetter and wetter. For a few minutes there, right before it turned to rain, the snowflakes were as big as cream puffs!

The longer I go not owning a car, the happier I am not to own a car. Those of you who've been around my blog for a while might remember how heart-rending it was way back when I lost my car. Preview: IT WAS HEART-RENDING WHEN I LOST MY CAR. But then I moved to a land where a person doesn't need to own a car! In addition to being close to lots of public transportation, I'm a member of Zipcar, which means I have access to a car whenever I need one. Which isn't very often. La la la. Are you bored yet? 'Cuz I could say more about this.

Are those of you with access watching Downton Abbey on PBS? Oh my goodness, I love it. I am pretty much always a sucker for a good show that follows the stories of both nobility and servants on an English estate a long time ago. (In this case, the 19-teens.) How is this show so well-acted? Elizabeth McGovern as Countess Cora is HILARIOUS, her expressions are priceless. And I love Gwen and Molesly and Lady Mary! (WARNING: Spoilers to the end of this paragraph.) I keep writing down my favorite lines of dialogue. Here's something the Earl of Grantham said the other day to Carson, the butler: "We must have a care for feminine sensibilities. They are finer and more fragile than our own." The reason this is hilarious is that he is referring to the recent, unexpected death of a houseguest; the Earl is afraid that the ladies both upstairs and downstairs must be finding the whole thing very shocking; but what the Earl doesn't know is that the houseguest died in the bed of the Earl's oldest daughter, who then, in the dead of night, with the help of her mother (the Countess of Grantham) and Anna (the head housemaid), carried his stark-naked corpse miles across the entire house so that he would be discovered in his own bed in the morning.

Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

That's an end to my ramblings for today, except to point out that teeny link above for watching full episodes. (And also t0 say that the preview is fine, but it doesn't convey the humor or the strength of the characters.) I'll leave you with a (spoiler-free) quote:

Earl of Grantham: And to think Taylor's gone off to run a tea shop. I cannot feel it will make for a very restful retirement, can you?
Carson, the butler: [gravely] I would rather be put to death, My Lord.
Earl of Grantham: [a bit alarmed] Quite so.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I'm reading a book that's gutting me and I can't put it down; I had to hide it under a pile of blankets today in order to get any work done; and I think you should read it, too. It's called Hush and it's by Eishes Chayil, which is a pseudonym that means woman of valor in Yiddish.

A teenaged woman in a Hasidic community in Brooklyn, preparing herself for marriage, remembers an act of abuse within the community that she witnessed years ago. Today, she considers telling the truth about what she saw -- but knows that the consequences of doing so will be catastrophic, because her community insists on silence and has many, many mechanisms built into its social structure to enforce that silence. This is a book about a crime against a child, a tragedy, and a spectacularly unjust cover-up, and (like all the best books) it's about a lot of other things, too. It's beautifully written and completely believable (and also wickedly funny in places). I have no idea what's going to happen, but I know that I won't fall asleep tonight until I finish it, and I know it's going to be hard. Here is the Kirkus review, which contains spoilers (hence, I haven't read it myself). Here is an interview with the author.

(Thank you, R and D, for helping me understand whether "Eishes Chayil" is Hebrew or Yiddish.) (The answer: kind of both!)

We had quite the snowstorm on Wednesday. I had nowhere I needed to be and no car to worry about, so it was a stress-free storm for me. With a Netflix DVD to return, I decided to try to catch the last pick-up at the blue mailbox on my corner, even though I wasn't particularly confident that the post office was picking up mail. I went outside and it was SO QUIET. My street is never quiet. I threw my DVD into the mailbox and stood staring at this row of cherry trees on my block that are always doing something pretty, every season of the year. The falling snow was swift, fine, and dry; consequently, it was creating the most amazing SKINNY, SKINNY WALLS of snow on top of each tree branch. Like, an eight-inch-tall sliver of snow balanced on top of each skinny little branch. It made me so happy. As I wandered away, the mail truck trundled into view. :-)

I walked to the river before going inside again; everything was so WHITE and silent. If you're familiar with Memorial Drive in Cambridge, you'll understand how surreal it was to stand in the middle of it, look around at all the whiteness, and have everything be so silent.

It was very different from, but reminded me of, another walk I took once in a storm.

While I walked, I was trying to figure out how to insert a particular thing into the scene I was writing. I was trying to convey something important about one of my characters, a factoid that needed to be clear and definite to the reader, but reach the reader in a gentle, muted, subtle way. Standing around in the snow, I figured out what the problem was: it wasn't time yet. I could convey this thing that I wanted to convey, but not now: if I tried to do it in this scene, it would seem forced. I needed to be patient, let it go, and have faith that the right moment would present itself later in the book.

A beautiful walk solves everything.

ETA 1:50AM: Hush is wonderful to the last line. Do read it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

But Tonight I'm Cleaning Out My DVR

So, I'm always in search of good TV, but if it's too good, it tends to sit in my DVR for a while before I work up the mental energy to watch it. At the end of a long day, it's easier to watch a so-so episode of something crappy than pretty much anything PBS ever airs, know what I mean? Except that I'm kind of ruthless about axing shows from my recording schedule if they start to bore me -- Chuck started boring me recently and, unthinkably, I also realized I was ceasing to care How He Met Their Mother -- Leverage almost lost me with their Christmas episode, but the season finale (read: Eliot) brought me back -- Grey's Anatomy lost me SO long ago, when the writers destroyed the WONDERFUL character of Izzie so thoroughly and CONTEMPTIBLY that I began to wish she would die but then she took too long to do so and then DIDN'T AT ALL -- and then there are the shows I'm dying to find time to watch, but I want to start them from the beginning, like Mad Men and Friday Night Lights, which, incidentally, I think of every time I look at my aloe plant (because in one of the early episodes, Mrs. Taylor is carrying around the most enormous aloe plant ever, and when I expressed my amazement at its size to my sister: secret codename Apocalyptica, she said something very funny about Coach Taylor perhaps getting scratched up a lot more than the average man) and a bunch of my friends swear on Community and I was kind of fascinated/horrified by the first season of The Tudors BUT, I have completely lost track of this sentence.

What I'm trying to say is, I had a whole pile of PBS shows on my DVR that I'd been neglecting -- until recently, when I ran out of anything else I cared to watch. And now I've watched them. And am about to recommend them with great enthusiasm.

Sherlock (BBC/Masterpiece Mystery, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, Martin Freeman as Watson, and Rupert Graves as Lestrade).
(Three 90-minute episodes.)
OMG. Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century! I laughed and laughed. Martin Freeman is priceless as Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch just right (and looks perfect) and Rupert Graves... kinda... yummy (remember Lucy's goofy brother Freddy who plays the piano in Room with a View?). So much fun, and it seems like they've set it up to come back with a second series. Yay!

Wallander (BBC/Masterpiece Mystery, based on the Swedish detective novels by Henning Mankell, starring Kenneth Branagh and a FABULOUS supporting cast which includes Sarah Smart (I like her) and the adorably coiffed Tom Hiddleston).
(Two series, each with three 90-minute episodes.)
Swedish cop Kurt Wallander is a gentle soul who would be a lot less stressed out all the time if he weren't so superlatively skilled at demystifying humanity's most violent, desperate, and horrific behavior. He is a detective to the core, but it's so hard on him. His heart is always breaking and it turns out he's not so good at managing his own problems. Though, SRSLY, if I were indirectly responsible for as many deaths as he is, or if I were always coming so close to saving people but then failing the way he does, I do not know how I would cope. These episodes are just gorgeously filmed (I want to go to Sweden!) and also well-acted (by everybody). Great characters, and while I like some episodes more than others, each has its stunning moments. These are dark and grim murder mysteries that will not leave you full of cheer. I love them. If all cops were like Wallander... well, the cops would be traumatized and not coping well with life, but the rest of us would be a lot safer ^_^. If you watch these shows, you'll become very familiar with Wallander's ringtone. Trust me.

Circus (documentary, by the filmmakers Show of Force).
(Six 60-minute episodes.)
"The magic is in you. What we're doing is triggering a response." -- That's a quote from Paul Binder, founder and artistic director of the Big Apple Circus. This show is magical, gorgeous, melancholy, scary, and I'm not going to be able to do it justice here. It's about ordinary and extraordinary people in the most ordinary and extraordinary circumstances and it made me cry, over and over, with how beautiful it was. You fall in love with a lot of these people, and even the ones you don't like are fascinating. There is so much in here about how a few seconds of beauty and perfection is worth all the shit that comes before and all the shit that comes after. This show is about everything, and I just love love LOVE it. When I got to the end of the final episode, I was bereft.

So. The only problem with all of this TV love is that I have not actually managed to clean out my DVR, because I can't bear to delete anything.

Happy watching, everyone :o)

Monday, January 10, 2011

In Which I Can't Even Come up with a Subject Line

I'm a tad bit disappointed with my new outside stick-on-the-window thermometer. Its little suction cups work excellently and it has a cute picture of a bird on a thistle, but it's been telling me all weekend that the outside temperature is 122°F (50°C). This is not helpful.

I had a big, ambitious post planned for today, all about TV shows I recommend, but then I sat down to "spend a few minutes" pulling together some preliminary tax numbers for 2010. Six hours later, I staggered from my office desperate for it to end, tripped over my yoga ball, landed on my foam roller, then lay on the kitchen floor for a while, bemoaning all existence.


The Horn Book Magazine did something super-cool in their latest issue: they published an article about fat politics in YA literature! Go read "YA Fatphobia" by Kathryn Nolfi, right here. And if you'd like to read a good reaction piece, Rebecca Rabinowitz wrote one here. This is not a small thing. I'm really, really happy that the Horn Book published this article.

Good heavens! I keep forgetting that it's ALA weekend. I'd like to send a hug out today to anyone who's been receiving phone calls from awards committees, and especially to anyone who hasn't. Someday, when I'm not trying to dictate from my kitchen floor, I'll organize my thoughts about the phenomenon of book awards, and post them here. They're not simple things, awards.

I hope to be back with more energy on Thursday.

And my heart goes out to everyone affected by the horrible events in Arizona.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

In Which I Resolve Things (and Make Another Attempt at My Pullover)

Trapeze photos ahead!

So, this time of year, if it feels right to me, I come up with a few resolutions that make me happy, are designed to bring me peace, and sometimes even take away some of the pressure I've been feeling. They're always realistic, and they are never, ever, EVER punishing or self-loathing. (I don't believe in self-limiting New Year's resolutions. This is probably a reaction to the explosion of fat-phobic resolutions so many people make this time of year that give me the heebie-jeebies. Have you heard about the New Year's ReVolution against weight-loss resolutions?)

This year, I find myself with four.
  • I'm going to finalize Bitterblue this year. And I'm going to start writing something new. I think both Bitterblue and I are looking forward to this.
  • I'm going to bake some bread this year. Do you know how long it's been since I kneaded bread? I haven't made bread once since I moved back to Massachusetts, and it's one of my most favoritest activities. So.
  • I'm going to catch my pullover this year. This would be a modest resolution for most flying trapeze students -- a whole year to learn a new trick? -- and it probably won't take me all year, but, well, I've mentioned before that I have TOS, and it's been kind of horrible for some time now (due to Bitterblue), and if I can't grip, I can't trapeze, and if my arms aren't at full strength, I can't muscle myself into the correct position for my pullover. But. I've gotten close enough to (almost, kind of, sort of, partway) doing this trick (almost, sort of, approaching) right(ish) (barely) to know that someday, on a strong day and after a few more lessons, I will be able to catch my pullover. I invite you to peruse the pictures of my most recent (disastrous) attempt (below).
  • It's been a difficult few months for my hands/arms/TOS. This year, I'm making some aggressive changes to the way I do things, with the intention of being smarter and kinder to my hands, arms, and shoulders. No more typing anything over a few sentences -- I'm going to rely on my voice recognition software much more heavily -- and that's only one of the changes I'm making. I'm not going to list them all here, because frankly, they're boring. The point is that I want to be able to write, pick up my nieces, open beer bottles, haul luggage, and take flying trapeze lessons a year from now. Therefore, it's time to suck it up and start doing more WISE things even if they're a pain in the ass. Friends and family who are reading this? If you get an e-mail from me that contains no capitalization? That is the sign that I'm typing, not dictating. I give you permission to yell at me. (Though no one is required to yell at me, of course. My friends are not responsible for policing my resolutions.)

And now! On to our pictures. This class was a little bit of an experiment for me. My arms and hands weren't feeling great, but I decided to fly anyway, just to see how it went. I was delighted to find that I had no problem whatsoever with my grip. I was less delighted with my decreased arm/shoulder strength and with how fast I got tired. I took a lot of breaks and made sure not to do anything that would hurt myself or make things worse. Anyone watching would think that I didn't make much progress on my pullover, but the truth is that every time you go up there, you're making progress, because you're teaching your body to become incrementally more comfortable with a lot of very strange feelings. Anyway. If you'd like a refresher, here's what a pullover is supposed to look like (scroll down to the 10-the second video), and here's what my first attempt looked like.

Attempt number two! (Click to enormify.)

Look at the confidence, look at the competence.

 Look at the imitation of a Dr. Seuss character.

  Here's the thing. I think the way everyone else does this trick is really boring, so I've added this new step, see? No, contain your amazement, I'm a writer, we're creative people.

 Listen, you'd fall out of position too if you were attacked by a Chalk Monster!

Kaz just yelled up at me to relax. "Relax," he said. Why would he think I'm not relaxed? WHO WOULDN'T BE RELAXED IN THIS SITUATION?

Gah this is so [bleep]ing hard today!
ZOMFG I did it!
Time for catching. When in doubt, go for the trusty set split.
Erin and I were destined to make this catch, on account of the combined power of our socks.
For the first time ever, I'm remembering to keep my feet together. While forgetting to arch my back. Sigh...
One of these days, my body will learn that if I persist in resisting landing on my back, I will continue to leave class with whiplash. ONE OF THESE DAYS. Just not today.
Thanks to Wendy, Kaz, and Erin for teaching a great class; thanks to Erin for catching and understanding the importance of The Right Socks; and thanks to Molly for taking pictures!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Notes for the New Year

I kind of love New Year's. Other holidays make me grumpy, but the new year makes me all contemplative and stuff. I'm thinking about my resolutions for this year, and will probably post something about that soon.

To my readers in Germany: I'll be visiting you this March (yay!), in Cologne, Leipzig, and possibly other places I don't want to name yet until I've confirmed them. (Fire is coming out in Germany this month -- Die Flammende -- you're looking at the cover to the right ^_^.) Also, to my readers in Australia (and maybe even New Zealand, though I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to swing that): a writer friend of mine has talked me into some travel Down Under in late May or early June. I'm extremely disorganized about planning it at the moment but fully intend it to happen. (It didn't take much for her to talk me into it. Basically, she said, "I'm doing some events in Australia. Wanna come?" and I was all, "YEE-HAW!") I'll post more updates about both of these trips as soon as I have more information.

A lot of you have been waiting patiently for news about Bitterblue. The news is that I continue to work very, very hard on getting her into shape, she continues to be the most difficult book I've ever written, and I hope to have more substantial news about timing before too long. I'm very grateful to everyone who isn't telling me to write faster. I promise you, I could not possibly write faster, I can feel the pressure whether you express it to me or not, and you do me and Bitterblue a kindness if you don't.

Relatedly -- whenever I'm going through a period of being ruthless with my own writing (which is most of the time, lately), I find I can't turn that tendency off when I'm reading, which means that I become ruthless with other people's novels as well -- which isn't relaxing, and also makes me feel like I'm working all the time. Consequently, I've been reading more nonfiction than usual recently, and also rereading some of the novels I love the most. I trust my love of them, realize that my hypercriticalness is unfair as I read them, and also know that they can take the abuse -- and might even help me loosen up a little. I just finished rereading The Tricksters, by Margaret Mahy, which happens to be the book my blog is named after (look at the sidebar on the left if you're curious about what I mean). Some of the sentences in that book make me gasp.
  • Then they both rushed to cuddle Crumb, though neither of them had wanted to travel in the same car with him because he cried aloud in great, hollow, melodious miaows all the time the car was moving. However, he was so furious at having been confined to a box that he began hissing in little spurts, like a kettle with a slight leak, and ran in under the house where he crouched, staring out at them with a malignant smile.
  • “Much better!” Benny agreed, shooting out a spray of cracker crumbs. “Sorry!” he mumbled, breathing them in and then beginning to choke.
  • But then, somewhere above them, the sky opened and the rain poured straight down. There was no warning. One moment it was dry, then next the air was ruled with lines of water. They were both soaked within seconds. Streams flowed down over Harry’s cheeks and throat. The end of her nose dripped like a faulty tap. They were both astonished to find the outside world capable of touching them in any way, when a moment ago it had felt that they had exclusive rights to act on each other.
  • In fairy tales people put on cloaks of beauty and dread and wonder, but Harry wanted to draw wonder up out of herself.
So expressive. *flops*

A song I've been listening to a lot lately: "Viola," by Girlyman. (Scroll down to the album "remember who i am" and click on "Viola" for a clip.)

Happy new year, everyone :o).