I Got to Describe a Garden

Well, got to writing quite a bit later today, but wrote from 10:30 – 1, and more importantly, got another chapter revised. Up to 21,200 words, which I think is about a quarter of the way through?

I have about 3.5 weeks before the semester starts, so I’m basically on pace to finish in time — in theory, I even have a few extra days in there, but I need at least 2 of those days for Wild Cards writing work. I’m hoping the speed will pick up a little as I go deeper into the book; we’ll see.

But I wrote two new scenes this time, which is great — mostly I’ve been rearranging and revising up until this point, but the book really did need some new scenes too. And Maya even got to have a little fun in this chapter, so that’s good.  And I got to describe a garden…

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Me to kids: “Another animal for today — I want one of my characters to have a pet that is almost small enough to hide in her long hair, because she’s kind of a shy, quiet person, and was very sad and lonely for a long time, but now she has this pet-friend, so is doing better. And it should be a kind of combination bird-lizard, I think — it likes to sit on her shoulder and curl its tail around her neck, and if you weren’t paying attention, you’d think she was wearing a choker. That’s all I know about it so far — except oh, I think maybe it’s black, because her hair is black, and that’d make it easier to hide. But maybe it changes color sometimes, like a chameleon? Hm. Now it just sounds like a chameleon, but I do want it to be kind of bird-ish too. What would make it more bird-ish?”

Anand: I would give it a beak. And maybe it might be able to kinda fly. Like it’s learning. It could fly a foot but not much more.

Me: Yes, I like that. And a little bit of flying would be great. 😊 What about some feathers on the top of it head? There’s a bird in Sri Lanka called the ‘changeable hawk-eagle’. It has a crest of feathers on the top of its head. Lots of birds do, actually — this is the ‘Victoria crowned pigeon’ (sends image).

Anand: I would say more scaly. I would also say it shouldn’t be that big since it needs to hide in hair.

Kavi: I wasn’t sure how to do the wings. [sends image]

Me: SUPER-COOL. There are a lot of options. You could make them sort of like butterfly wings, maybe, sort of translucent, so they’d almost disappear unless you were looking at them right. Like these? [sends image]

Kavi: Okay I’ll try those, thanks!

SLF’s New Bay Area Chapter

Delighted to note that the SLF has a new Bay Area chapter. A proper press release is in the works with more details, but I wanted to take a moment to point y’all to their Meet-up group:


Open to all creators, publishers, producers, sellers, or supporters of the speculative fiction genres. Readers, this means you too. 

Their first event will be 8/16 and will be a writing sprint session — there’ll be a panel on 9/20 too, and I’m planning to join that virtually. More details soon!

A Fun Community Library Project

A fun community library project, locals — share a recipe with us in the library’s digital cookbook!

Many Recipes, Many Stories

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Print Food Writer The Oak Park Public Library (OPPL) is inviting community members to add their treasured family recipes to a virtual community cookbook entitled, Many Recipes, Many Stories. Juanita Harrell, health and wellness librarian, reinvented the teen and adult summer reading program in response to COVID-19.

The Dragon and the Unicorn

And lo, on the first day of the new year, by the light of the setting sun, the dragon and the unicorn ventured forth to do mighty battle. A flurry of fierce blows were struck, and when their ‘swords’ proved surprisingly ineffective, ‘water pistols’ were brought in, to much greater utility.

In truth, the unicorn’s rider had secretly longed to ride the dragon herself, but the dragon’s rider was so eager to ride him, that she gave way — only to find that the unicorn was a far nimbler beast, which gave her great advantage on the offense. Thus is it truly said by the great Sun Tzu, “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” The unicorn’s serene and placid countenance deftly concealed a valiant and battle-ready heart!

Howsoever, the ice dragon’s vast wings did provide great acreage of shelter for its rider; after long struggle, the unicorn’s rider was forced to plead weariness and concede the day’s battle, for she was as like to collapse from exhaustion, due to her exceedingly advanced years.

Yet they pledged to return and fight again another day, so it might be truly known who was indeed the mightiest in the land, and the dragon’s rider left the field proclaiming that he was already plotting strategies for the battles to come. For did not Sun Tzu also say, “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” So mote it be.

Herein endeth the narrative.

Ice and Fire

My giant ice dragon may have acquired a fire lizard friend. 

Between this and the little floating pool speaker that Kevin got me as a birthday present (it flashes colorful lights in time to the music sent to it over Bluetooth, and theoretically, even takes PHONE CALLS), our pandemic above-ground vinyl pool is getting seriously tricked out. I’m planning to move in for the next month.

NOTE: Not recommended for use with children in the pool — about 30 seconds after putting in an open can, Anand managed to bump into it and flip it over. Luckily, rescued it before there was TOO much mixing of hard cider and pool water, but still.

I Almost Love It

Hm. I ‘finished’ my top yesterday, but it is not quite what I want it to be. I almost love it, but I don’t love it. Maybe you can help me troubleshoot.

The issue is that I wanted to avoid putting in a zipper (because lazy / out of practice), but also wanted it loose enough to slip over my head. With cotton / linen, this is not so easy — and it turned out I didn’t even own something I could use as a template, because all my tank tops are either jersey or rayon-ish — stuff with a drape.

I was prepared for a boxy cut, and that’s fine, but the problem is that it’s really much too big right at the base of the arm holes, so it gapes hugely there when I wear it. I think I could essentially make some kind of pleat or gather fairly easily for the linen panels at the sides, to address that — but then I worry that I wouldn’t be able to get it on over my head.

The one possible solution I’ve come up with so far that might look nice is lacing — I was thinking I could take some twill tape (I have a lot on hand, due to the mask making), make a bunch of little loops, where the linen meets the cotton, down the length of it. And then with perhaps a gold cord or ribbon, it’d be possible to put it on, and then tug on the ribbons to gather it?

But that is a very fussy solution — I think I’d have to unpick the seams, sew in all those twill tape loops, sew them up again — and then needing to re-do the ribbons every time would be a bit of a disincentive to actually wearing it. Maybe okay for a special occasion top, but I was hoping for something I could casually throw on for easy summer wear.

I even thought about putting a little pleat and snap right under the armpits, which would address the gaping, but a) that seems sort of goofy, and b) I’ve never seen it done on a top. Maybe I should just give up and do a zipper, so I don’t have to worry about difficulty pulling it on, and can then unpick the side linen panels, cut them to be narrower, and re-sew them?

Maybe there’s a reason why I didn’t have a bunch of cotton tank tops in my closet already. But is there a simple solution I’m missing?