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a curl of dragon breath

I saw the blue jays' exhaled breath, rising from their nostrils, as they carried off the peanuts I put out for them. Their internal furnaces are hotter than humans', around 105F (40.5C)--more than 120 degrees hotter (in Fahrenheit) than the outside temperature, so it's no wonder it was visible in curling plumes in the cold air. Little dragons.

I blew some soap bubbles and watched them freeze. This one got caught on the snow mound, and its deflated back rose and fell and rose and fell in slight breeze, as if it, too, were breathing. A very thin-skinned, tiny being.

DSCN5454

Now maybe you're wondering if I'll ever talk about something other than the weather. I do have other thoughts!

Press A if you would like my thoughts on Sleepy Hollow--better yet, tell me yours.
Press B if you would like some hazy realizations about writing--or share yours!

I realized--or re-realized? realized anew?--how important details are for really giving a story a sense of depth. I know. This must win an award for the most unsurprising, well-known realization ever. But I was thinking of it with a short story that cafenowhere linked me to the other day. The story felt really *rich*, and it was because there were details that built up the scene.

... I realize this makes it sound like I'm arguing for really florid prose or something--or at least, I can see how what I'm saying could read like that--so I need to clarify somehow, because that's NOT what I mean. Writing could be either spare *or* florid, or neither. It's just that having more than the *bones* makes it feel real-er.

Some writers can and do get away with writing just bones--I guess famously Hemingway, for one--so it's not that it can't be done. But I like a dented coffeepot, the sound of the furnace firing up, the smell of onions and stale cooking oil, those kinds of things, to sink my mind into.

Press C if you would like a status update on my own writing--or tell me how yours is going (or your other pleasurable creative activity, if not writing).

Status of my main project, a novel, is that I realized whereas with most novels, I get a vague-ish sense of plot (summarizable in a sentence or two) along with a few characters, and then branch and deepen, with the current one, I have the characters and situation, and an ultimate destination (where I want the main characters to be at the end), but absolutely no firm sense of what I want the central story to be like. Depending on which way I decide to take it, it'll be very different in mood and feel. It's so strange to realize it's still so un-fixed!


Comments

( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
bondo_ba
Feb. 24th, 2015 03:16 pm (UTC)
I'm fine with you talking about the weather if you keep posting beautiful things!
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 10:01 pm (UTC)
I'll do my best :-) Meanwhile I see you have been quite busy in the short-story department!
bondo_ba
Feb. 25th, 2015 12:35 pm (UTC)
Yes - it seems that, like rejections, good news comes in clumps!
yamamanama
Feb. 24th, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)
A
B
C - I haven't written much but I'm thinking about painting a portrait of Emma in Gustav Klimt's style. I'll try to get it done by mid-May.

Edited at 2015-02-24 04:17 pm (UTC)
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 10:12 pm (UTC)
Ooh, Gustave Klimt-style portrait sounds awesome.

For A, I will direct your attention here (it's actually just further down in the comments), and there'll probably be more in that thread.

For B, I realized--or re-realized? realized anew?--how important details are for really giving a story a sense of depth. I know. This must win an award for the most unsurprising, well-known realization ever. But I was thinking of it with a short story that cafenowhere linked me to the other day. The story felt really *rich*, and it was because there were details that built up the scene.

... I realize this makes it sound like I'm arguing for really florid prose or something--or at least, I can see how what I'm saying could read like that--so I need to clarify somehow, because that's NOT what I mean. Writing could be either spare *or* florid, or neither. It's just that having more than the *bones* makes it feel real-er.

Some writers can and do get away with writing just bones--I guess famously Hemingway, for one--so it's not that it can't be done. But I like a dented coffeepot, the sound of the furnace firing up, the smell of onions and stale cooking oil, those kinds of things, to sink my mind into.

... I'll have to paste this up in my main entry, now.

As for C, I'll write it up in response to someone else, and then put it up in the main entry.

(I haven't forgotten that you've posted, too. I'll stop by, hopefully later tonight.)
cmcmck
Feb. 24th, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC)
Presses C

Yes please and for myself, I have a poem- a biggie- brewing.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 10:20 pm (UTC)
Ooh, what topic, for your poem?

Status of my main project, a novel, is that I realized whereas with most novels, I get a vague-ish sense of plot (summarizable in a sentence or two) along with a few characters, and then branch and deepen, with the current one, I have the characters and situation, and an ultimate destination (where I want the main characters to be at the end), but absolutely no firm sense of what I want the central story to be like. Depending on which way I decide to take it, it'll be very different in mood and feel. It's so strange to realize it's still so un-fixed!
cmcmck
Feb. 25th, 2015 07:59 am (UTC)
Erasure.

It's now sorta complete and up for inspection.
asakiyume
Feb. 25th, 2015 03:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for linking me to it.
lizziebelle
Feb. 24th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC)
A! Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite shows. Last week's show blew my mind. This week's was good, but it felt a little bit anticlimactic. I'm worried that it won't get renewed, but at least they didn't leave us hanging like last year.

Do you listen to the podcast? They have the writers, directors, and often the actors on there, and it's interesting to hear their takes on telling stories.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 06:51 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed them being back in time in this week's show-it allows another take on Abbie meeting Ichabod (and since I joined the show late and didn't see the original meeting, it was especially fun for me). I loved when Ichabod goes to rescue her, and she's already taken care of that :-)

And I really, really appreciated not being left hanging! I do hope they renew the show too, I really love it.

No, I don't listen to the podcast. Somehow--and I know I'm missing out--I can't ever quite get into the podcast-listening habit :-\
(Deleted comment)
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 06:41 pm (UTC)
while Ichy stood there looking pretty and handing out herbs.

And he does look so very, very pretty ^_^

Yeah, it was about Katrina that I'd been having thinky thoughts. I was thinking about how really she was doomed from the start--and I say this (a) having not seen the start and (b) not caring particularly because I'm very 100 percent team Abbie/Ichy--and yet the show managed to make her presence plausible and believable as a potential (if problematic) member on the Witnesses' team, at least for a while.

The more I think it over--as I type--the less I mind her story arc, after all--though initially I did (especially when she was being enchanted into believing Moloch was an adorable baby, *eyeroll*). I think she acted as a good foil both for Abbie and for Ichabod himself. ("I'll have doubts and failings so you don't have to.") I do wish they'd planted a few more seeds of her being tempted, or potentially tempted, to dark power earlier on.

The one lingering regret I had was that by confirming her as a bad-guy character, it cast witchery in a bad light--but then again, not really, because you have Abbie's whole female line representing how women's magic and witchery *can* be used for good. And, plus, Katrina's turning to the dark side doesn't really undo the good portrayal earlier on, I guess.

I really liked Grace. Abbie's *mother* is really powerful in a tough, anguished way, but I loved Grace for her gentle delicacy--a different version of female power. Sort of what maybe they were going for with Katrina, but with Katrina they went for the sexy angle, whereas with Grace there was a kind of almost angelic, non-sexualness about her.



Edited at 2015-02-24 06:47 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 10:26 pm (UTC)
Do you think her motivation was mainly grief and anger/hurt (grief over Henry, anger/hurt over her interactions with Ichabod and her confused feeling regarding Abraham), or a desire to explore the full extent of her powers? Or some of both?

I feel as if the former is what the show was telling us, up until the last couple of episodes, when it became the latter.
cucumberseed
Feb. 24th, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC)
B
C

...

Maybe A. I've not watched more than half of the premiere, though.

Condensed bluejay exhalation seems like a good New Englandy spell component.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 10:33 pm (UTC)
They do seem like they'd make a good element in a spell. Now, what would it be a spell to do?

I've updated the entry with the answers to B and C. I wish I could express B better--it was something that came to me reading--and appreciating-- "Descent," which cafenowhere linked me to.

In addition to the novel mentioned up above in the answer to C, I have a short story I'm working on, where a teenage kid retells The Metamorphosis to his mom. I wonder if it's going to be absolutely awful. It might be.
pameladean
Feb. 24th, 2015 07:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, how wonderful. I've seen little mammals' breath condensing in the cold, but never a bird's!

*presses B and C simultaneously, gets weird screen where the trackpad won't work properly, hopes for rescue*

P.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:00 pm (UTC)
And I've never seen little mammals! Now I'm imagining the puff of breath of a field mouse exhaling.

Hahaa, well B and C run together, because I think about what I've realized about writing I like, and then I want to apply it to my own. I've updated the entry with my ramblings, under cuts under "Press B" and "Press C."
pameladean
Feb. 25th, 2015 12:13 am (UTC)
Yes, it's a very tiny puff indeed, but in very cold still weather the breaths start to hang around the mouse (it might have been mus domesticus, here in the city; it was foraging under the bird feeder) for a short time before disappearing.

Thank you so much for answering all the things! I too really need a dented coffeepot and the smell of onions. I sometimes suspect that details like that, put just so, have more effect than we realize, at some under-level.

P.
mnfaure
Feb. 24th, 2015 08:00 pm (UTC)
I don't follow Sleepy Hollow, so tell me about B and C, please. :D

For moi:

B) Not so hazy is the realization that I need to write out the text (meaning: research and decide firmly on which facts to present) for my PB before I can firmly decide which age group to target.

C) I've been lazy since Sunday. Must remedy that now and sketch something!
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:06 pm (UTC)
I'll be very interested to hear which facts you settle on, and from that, which age group.

I've been lazy too--haven't written or done anything creative since the weekend either. I did make a CD cover out of a calendar page this afternoon--but that just involves cutting and taping :-P

As for my B and C, I've added them to the entry... such as they are. (I'm a bit embarrassed, especially by B, because it seems both obvious and not very well expressed.)
rachelmanija
Feb. 24th, 2015 08:04 pm (UTC)
I'm releasing Partner as soon as the formatting is done - hopefully it will be out within the next few days! How about you?
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:13 pm (UTC)
Oh yay! I can't wait--that's awesome!

Well, thoughts on my main project are up above now (under the cut). Meanwhile I have a short story I'm working on, and I don't know what I'm going to do with it when I'm done... it may not be fantasy enough to try submitting to fantasy places. But I guess I'll worry about that when the time comes.
amaebi
Feb. 24th, 2015 08:07 pm (UTC)
A, B, and C, please.

In the summer of 2013, when Chun Woo and I visited his grandparents [and I drove us all to Niagara Falls to Disapprove of things], we visited Washington Irvin's house with smart_ted, and it was a lot of fun. I greatly enjoy seeing the domestic arrangements of the past, and experiencing Massive I am compared with people of 100 or more years ago, and I'd known nothing of Irving's life, really. Chun Woo (and the rest of his class) were for some reason quite enamored of The Headless Horseman, and he enjoyed the whole thing, so far as I can tell. smart_ted is generally copacetic, and says that she most remembers the coziness of the rooms.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:17 pm (UTC)
One thing that's been fun about the show--which I came to late, myself--is seeing the absolutely crazy-fun things they do with actual historical figures, like Franklin and Jefferson and Adams, and the fictional characters from the original "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" story. I was never a fan of the short story, as all the characters were kind of unpleasant--their revisioning appeals to me!

My main thoughts on A are in this thread. I've updated the entry with my thoughts on B and C--thanks for asking!
amaebi
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
gwynnega
Feb. 24th, 2015 08:09 pm (UTC)
A, B, and C!

I assume the Sleepy Hollow season finale has already been in the can for awhile, but it still felt to me as if the showrunners and/or the network thought, "Huh, Empire is a huge hit--maybe it really is okay if we focus on Abbie, Jenny, Frank, & Ichabod and don't force Katrina and Hawley down the viewers' throats." I just hope it's not too late for it to get renewed...
(Deleted comment)
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Hawley was very boring and I resented that he was who was offered up as a target of dalliance for *either* Abbie or Jenny.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I really was not interested in Hawley AT ALL. I was happy to see him disappear. And Katrina was interesting, but since I vastly prefer Abbie, and since Crane being devoted to Katrina presented a problem, I was happy that they opted to have her seduced by the dark side. I felt bad for Crane for how it ended, though--harsh.

And yeah! I loved the end shot (or near end), w/the three black actors and then Crane! Yay diverse TV!
amaebi
Feb. 24th, 2015 08:12 pm (UTC)
I think that blue jays like to be thought of as dragons.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:24 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure they claim dragon status already--and are happy when the world acknowledges it.
houseboatonstyx
Feb. 25th, 2015 12:10 am (UTC)
Now I'm seeing sinuous dragons circling round a bird feeder, their left nostrils breathing mist while their right nostrils breathe fire, and squaking "Mine!" - "Mine!"
sovay
Feb. 24th, 2015 08:49 pm (UTC)
Press A if you would like my thoughts on Sleepy Hollow--better yet, tell me yours.

I have no thoughts on Sleepy Hollow beyond what I can see from other people's Tumblrs, but I'd love to hear you talk about it!
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:33 pm (UTC)
I haven't watched it from the beginning--in fact, I've only watched it from shortly before the end of the last season (i.e., I've watched this whole season, plus the last few episodes of the previous one), so I don't have much useful from an overarching point of view to say. But: I really didn't like the short story "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" because the characters were so unpleasant, whereas I find this re-visioning a huge improvement. It's very fun to see what and how they did what they did--I'd like to go back and watch the earlier episodes. It's also interesting to me to see how my feelings changed, because the first episode I saw, I thought, well, these characters are pretty to look at but this is really silly, fluffy stuff. And then somehow I ended up quite into it. Partly as I got to understand the characters and situation more, the episodes held more for me, and partly I just really enjoyed the characters.
athenais
Feb. 24th, 2015 09:37 pm (UTC)
I pressed B. But I like weather posts a lot.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:34 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like weather posts, as I seem to generate them NO MATTER WHAT.

I updated with my answer for B, up above (under the cut). It's a hey-did-you-notice-the-sun-rises-in-the-East sort of realization, but... there you go.
yamamanama
Feb. 24th, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
Now that I think about it, the bubble looks like a ghostly bird skull.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:35 pm (UTC)
Wow, I can see that. Freaky.
queenoftheskies
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:03 pm (UTC)
That's very cool about the bluejays.
asakiyume
Feb. 24th, 2015 11:35 pm (UTC)
When one shoots out a flame, I'll let you know.
sartorias
Feb. 25th, 2015 12:34 am (UTC)
Bird breath! Wow!

Will your process let you just write scenes as they come to you, and shuffle them around later?
asakiyume
Feb. 25th, 2015 03:05 pm (UTC)
Conceptually, yes, but in actuality, I never seem to actually do it. ... Yeah, as I think about it, I feel like I need to know too much to write ahead. I think that's part of what makes me so slow: I need to thoroughly ground myself in so much before I write. ... I think I need to fight this.
khiemtran
Feb. 26th, 2015 07:43 am (UTC)
Blue jays breath must be something to see! Looking forward to hearing about whatever you write next...
( 45 comments — Leave a comment )

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