Jan. 3rd, 2013

gillpolack: (Default)
All my different non-fiction projects - a chapter here, a paper there, a book in another corner, some research a decade ago - are coming together as parts of something I didn't know I was working on. My work on gendered narrative fits in, as does the historiography that seems to infest my soul. Each time I pick up a piece of work, it becomes another piece in the jigsaw.

How can one work on something this big for over a decade and not realise it?

I think this might be the non-Beast book I'm contemplating writing, but it's changing a bit and developing more focus, so I might have to just keep on working until I find out more. It's changing the way I teach writers about history and turning up all kinds of effective tools for writers who want to world build using the past and known (or half-known) societies, but that's a side effect. What I'm really doing is bringing my various disciplines together and using them to explain how we write fiction about our pasts and how we write history about our pasts and how we tell tales of all sorts and why those tales are important and how we shape our reality using this awareness and interpretation of what we think of as history.

It's immense fun, but it leaves me very impatient with writers who don't do what they need to in order to create credible narratives using shared understanding. I still enjoy fiction that creates flawed realities or incomplete realities, but I am developing a marked distaste for fiction that is unconvincing simply because the writer is lazy in thinking things through. I want to walk these writers through their own assumptions and show them how, with a little more effort, they can create a great deal more magic.

Two odd side-effects of my work. Unsurprising, really, because all my thinking is about narrative right now, in one form or another (why I want to teach literature and creative writing, in a perfect world) and I enjoy reading speculative fiction so very much that it's only natural I will apply my thoughts to genre writing and genre writers.

Right now I have to apply my thoughts to going to sleep. I don't want to: it's a comforting twelve degrees outside and tomorrow's going to be hot. I have to finish the groundwork for my current essay tomorrow, however, and I have more messages to run, so I can't stay up all night enjoying the cool.
gillpolack: (Default)
The negative: I'm emerging from my period of afternoon grump, which means the day is about to cool down a little. This is the advantage of living in Canberra, most days will cool down eventually. Yesterday cooled down early and was almost perfect overnight, and I'm hoping for the same tonight. This is hope rather than reality, however, as it wasn't this hot at this hour yesterday.

The neutral: One of my big tasks today was (with the help of a friend) sorting out my new computer. There's still one decision to be made (multifunction printers are not so straightforward, it appears), but then it's all ordered and I should get it next week sometime. This means I have to finish all my deadlines precisely on time, and sort myself out for the changeover to boot. Since I'm still not quite over that nasty NY virus, the extra pressure will be good for keeping me on track. It will mean that I won't dig myself into holes by asking for extensions when I have consistently solid workloads for the next two months. I don't want to turn 'consistently solid' into overwork! I have 30 must-finish items for this month - if I can get a minimum of ten and hopefully fifteen done by next Tuesday, I'll be fine.

The positively delightful: A friend helped me sort out the gap in my teaching materials left by the burgulation. She didn't just talk me through things, she went out and found what I needed and posted it to me from Germany. I may be mean to archaeologists in my fiction, but they are awesome and wonderful in real life, especially Katrin. I now have more stuff, better stuff, and German gingerbread*.

The parcel arrived today. Some of it is actual Medieval (the sherds!), much of it is careful reproduction of known finds, and the rest you can work out for yourself. I've not had the opportunity to handle bits of pot before (being a manuscript person living on the wrong side of the world) and it's very exciting. What's more exciting is that all this is mine, from the bits of pots through to the striker and flint. When we reach a time of no fire bans, I am happy to have help making fire, Medieval-style.

December 2012


*She included Chanukah presents in the parcel. Spot the not-quite-authentic and you'll see what she gave me.
gillpolack: (Default)
Hi everyone. I appear to be here (DW). If cross-posting works and if the importing of everything works (so far, no success) then you'll see more of me here. Otherwise, maybe not.

Now I must get back to work. I have 600 pages to close-read and annotate before I can go to sleep, and it's nearly 9 pm.

May 2013

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