Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's for the Birds

The environmentalists (eeeek-ologists?) of the Mouse Nation would be proud of us. Consider:
  • Solar panels 
  • A Prius with a bike rack 
  • Drip irrigation 
  • A compost pile 
  • And we’ve managed to dry our laundry in the Calfornia sun all winter (or at least make it less wet–it does need to be finished off in a sunny spare bedroom).

So why am I only using half the rack today?

See the shadow of the cherry tree, on the wall? Half our drying space is right under that tree, which is the launching pad and recovery suite for the scores of birds who have discovered that our pyracantha berries have reached that delicious point of fermented over-ripeness that can give you a quick buzz. So far, only two or three birds have crashed into the kitchen window, but others look as if they might fall off their bar stools at any moment–or park on the nearest cherry tree until they feel fit to fly home.

Not great for any recently washed clothes that might be hung out to dry right below them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

That late blooming thing

I just gave a talk to a group of seniors in Silicon Valley. People of a certain age are an excellent target audience because of course they make up the grandparent demographic, likely to pop for gifts at any time of year (and yes, a third of them did so pop).

There was no doubt that I was invited more for my length of tooth rather than the beauty of my prose. They were inspired (they said) that anyone of a certain age could learn a new skill, and persevere through years of rejection.

Not that I think it particularly remarkable to crank out a first book fairly late in life. For one thing, there’s more spare time. And though the outside may show wear and tear, the inside seems to stay much the same. Certainly my inner ten year old is still intact.

I forgot to tell the group something that could be more significant on the late bloomometer: the fact that I didn’t start to ski seriously until seven years ago, and now I can actually do it. Pleasure now outweighs fear when I whizz down the intermediate slopes rather fast, as I did last week.

Until recently some of the California ski resorts made terrific concessions to seniors. Sugar Bowl cost only $5 for those over a certain age, and Squaw Valley was actually free. Then the resorts found their slopes cluttered up by wrinkly people who can ski just as well as everyone else, and the prices went up but you still see them in flocks, sometimes labeled as members of the Over 70 Club, or the Over The Hill Gang. And who knows? Maybe half of those seniors have just written their first book.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Writer's (and blogger's) block

I’m learning some things about myself in this first-book business.

Until the sequel to ‘Mousenet’ was accepted, I was badly blocked on Book Three. And yes, there is a third in the works, though with no guarantee it will be published. The blockage lasted for about four months between the time my agent sent in Book Two last September, and the happy day when Hyperion took it on. Every morning I would sit and scratch away at Book Three, but it absolutely wasn’t working. I even tried starting in the middle, because the opening kept falling apart, and that helped a bit, but I still couldn’t get excited and the story felt forced.

Then I got the news that ‘Mousemobile’ is indeed coming out next year and WHAM–Book Three took off. It now has an opening that works. I’ve thought of new ways to make the middle work. And I even have an idea of how the two will meet. 

Once I’m on a writing tear–even if it’s only for two or three hours a day–that’s it. My brain doesn’t feel like blogging, or anything else much except perhaps sucking up the Daily Show. Which explains (if anyone’s keeping track) why nothing much has happened on this site recently.