Last Week's Rhododendron
1400 words long
A suburban arboreal satire, sort of.
Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Wretchedness! (0/5)
Today's my birthday! I am now thirty-six whole years old. Hooray! (That's a multiple of twelve, so, hello again Year of the Dragon!)
Today is also William Shakespeare's birthday. (And death-day. But never mind that.) As a writer, I think it particularly cool to share a birthday with the Bard. (I don't particularly object to sharing his death-day, either. We all gotta die someday, so it might as well be on April 23 as any other day of the possible 366. Just so long as the year in question resides in the far, far future.)
April 23 now also has the distinction of being the date of a brand-new modern holiday of special interest to writers on the internet. It's called International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Wretch Day!
(Why of course it's on Wikipedia. Why are you surprised? It's also on Making Light.)
Anyway, the day celebrates writers who post some of their works on the internet for others to read for free. It also pokes gentle fun at someone who, six years ago, apparently got a sharp mental wedgie over the notion of writers posting some of their works on the internet for others to read for free. I can't do the incident justice by paraphrasing it, so I'll just link you to Jo Walton's original declaration of the holiday, which in turn links to the getting of the mental wedgie. ("Mental wedgie" -- like "panties in a wad" only without yet another toxic association of Something Shameful with Something Stereotypically Feminine. I suppose I could say he got his "briefs in a bunch," but I am unprepared to speculate on Dude's boxers/briefs alignment. Gender-free phrases are more useful anyway.)
I'm as delighted as you might expect to have yet another awesome thing to celebrate alongside my birthday. But, what with having a happy birthday and all, I'm unprepared to do my pixel-stained technopeasant wretched bit just now. Happily, today is also a Monday, which puts me in a good position to say "Check back every day the rest of this week!" My plan is to put a piece up each day, Tuesday through Friday. I've got some already-been-published stuff bordering on "juvenilia" to share, kinda like I did with "Last Week's Rhododendron," but I hope to write something entirely new in time for Friday's post.
So with that optimistic declaration, I'm off to continue being totally and enjoyably useless for the evening. Until tomorrow!
Well, that was easy. Apparently I just had the entire Manuscript class set not to pull certain data from the database unless I was in my staging directory. In other words, at some point in the past I clearly didn't want to deal with things, so I applied brute force.
The criteria for having an excerpt page and for showing notes about a given manuscript are now more intelligent. If I'm in staging, I get to see 'em. If I'm not, they only show up if the database entry includes a TRUE value for the brand-spankin-new "shownotes" field. Woot.
The upshot is, if you click on the title of the story in the little blue box here, you'll get the usual list of blog entries to do with that story. But you should also see a small description of the story and a link to read more. Click that link, and you'll get to read maybe the full story, or maybe an excerpt, maybe some just notes about writing it and where it got published.
In the case of "Last Week's Rhododendron," it'll be all of the above (or everything but the publication credit, until I fill in the publication credit. Which I'll do later on tonight. My brain hurts now). Enjoy!
Me, Now, I Forget Things All the Time
So my plan this morning was to make "Last Week's Rhododendron" available for y'all to read, along with a bunch of other high school and college era publications. My plan was to say, "Hay you guyz! Lookit! First story I ever published, right here! LOLLERSKATES." It was going to be a very simple change to the website. Very. Simple.
Except I appear to be lost in a maze of twisty PHP includes, all alike. Or not alike, and there's the problem.
I was so clever when I built this website. I was going to do it right. I was going to learn object-oriented PHP properly... and here we'll pause for the Java developers in the audience to get all that snickering out of their system; yes, yes, I know, putting "object-oriented PHP" and "properly" in the same sentence is hilarious, yes, please do enjoy the joke... but anyway that's what I was going to do. Objects for handling blog entries, objects for handling manuscript data, objects for handling the both of them as different species of data entities. Objects for determining whether the viewer was me, and thus eligible to manipulate data, or not me, and thus eligible only for viewing. And all these class declarations filed away in their own include files, and each include file having a copy in staging and a copy that was live.
Then I didn't touch the code for some years. And I forgot how everything worked.
So what I've got is a page for displaying manuscript excerpts that works beautifully in the staging directory, but comes up almost entirely blank on the public version. I know why I did that in the first place -- I didn't want to expose the notes I'd written on each of my stories. Originally I wrote them for my own eyes only. I need to go through and make sure they're ready for prime time before I let y'all see 'em. So today I figured I was going to make an exception to that code specifically for "Rhododendron." BUT I CAN'T REMEMBER HOW THE CODE WORKS.
So I'll just be over here today, grumbling while my eyes glaze over trying to track Ariadne's thread through the labyrinth of code that Past Me created specifically to confuse Present Me.
Past Me was such a jerk. I'm this close to hoping she gets eaten by a minotaur.
The Internet Never Forgets
Just a quick note regarding "Right Door, Wrong Time" -- I still haven't found a place to reprint it yet, drat me. (Really. It's embarrassing how long ago I said, "I should send it to Brain Harvest." Have I done so? Well, have I? *ahem* Not as such...) However! Thanks to the magic of the Wayback Machine, you can still read it online! Twilight Tales may be gone, but the snapshot lives on, here:
"Right Door, Wrong Time" by Nicole J. LeBoeuf, appearing for the first time in print at TwilightTales.com in July of 2006.
This note brought to you by the question "Where can people read your stuff online?" and the realization that I am struggling to come up with three titles that meet the criteria. In addition to slushing the reprint of "Door," I suppose I should put some of my older stories up on this site like I've been promising to for years...
Question: Can I call my college-era and high-school-era writing "juvenilia" yet? Or is that only something I get to do once I'm a lot more published and a good deal older?