“...and I didn't know how it was going to end until I got there, which is the best and the worst kind of writing.”
Neil Gaiman

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

YPP Weekend Blockades, November 19-20: The BEST bedtime story
Sat 2016-11-19 13:27:49 (single post)

Ahoy! An unscheduled Saturday at last. I mean to play in the YPP blockades until doubloons fall out my eyes.

I didn't post last week because I was busy all day and into the night with a super-fun roller derby tournament in Castle Rock, what you call the Fall Down Mix-Up. The computer barely got turned on beyond playing podcasts in the car for the hour-long drive. And that's a shame, because I missed two of the best blockade intent declarations on the forum:

  • Crimson Tide's defense of Xi against Madam Yu Jian, as illustrated legend
  • Sushicide's attack on Gretchen Goldfang at Zeta, as excellently illustrated bedtime story (actually from week before last)

Seriously, that second link? Go go go. Read it and gawk at the illustrations. OMG the snorkel. OMG the "Radio Sailor" red wagon. OMGWTFBBQ the reasoning for attacking the Brigand King ("because she needs to take some time to work on her brushing/flossing"). I am a fan of Erfan now and always.

OK so but anyway, this week we got a bunch of blockades, and only one intent declaration on the forum that I could find: very simply, it's blackstar attacking Admiral Finius on Olive Island at noon GT tomorrow.

And there you go.

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, November 19 ***

12:00 p.m. - Terra Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Meridian's Most Wanted
Attacker: Indifference

12:00 p.m. - Swampfen Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (6)
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

12:17 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illusion
Attacker: A Boosted Monkey
Undeclared: Illuminatti
Undeclared: Pirate King

2:00 p.m. - Garden Cradle, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Infamous
Attacker: Jinx (4)

3:00 p.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Sub-Zero
Attacker: Caught In Crossfire

4:25 p.m. - Albatross Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (2)
Attacker: Caught In Crossfire

8:00 p.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: A Boosted Monkey

*** Sunday, November 20 ***

10:00 a.m. - Gauntlet Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (2)
Attacker: Caught In Crossfire

10:00 a.m. - Armstrong Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Illusion
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (3)

11:53 a.m. - Moab Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Moonshine
Attacker: Triage

12:00 p.m. - Ventress Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Major Key Alert
Attacker: Jinx (4)

12:00 p.m. - Bowditch Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: A Boosted Monkey
Attacker: Going Down

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Sunday, November 20 ***

11:57 a.m. - Olive Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (2)
Attacker: Blackstar

Cover art features original photography by the author, who bought that cauldron back in the early '90s with her hard-earned babysitting money.
this fictionette is contemplating the ends of things
Fri 2016-11-18 23:46:34 (single post)
  • 976 words (if poetry, lines) long

Hey! hey! guess what?! It is still, by the skin of its teeth, Friday, and here is a Fictionette: "Aya's Last Spell" (Patron-only links: ebook, audiobook), which is not nearly as sad a story as the title makes it out to be. Although maybe there's something sad about anything that's the last of its kind, provided that the thing in question is in some way a good thing. The last warm day of fall, for instance.

But hey, despite all my whining about winter in yesterday's post, I am here to tell you that there is at least one thing that does not suck about it. I went grocery shopping this morning, and there they were, piled up in a gorgeous and juicy display in the front of the produce section: It's satsuma season. Satsumas are serious comfort food. I bought a whole bunch of them. Also beet chips and plantain chips and peanut butter pretzel bites and pistachio nuts. I am all about healthy snacking this weekend.

Also a jar of "harvest pumpkin pasta sauce." It's orange. It's pasta sauce. It's a pasta sauce that is orange and made of pumpkins. I do not understand. But I have faith enough to commit to upending it over a stir-fried heap of spaghetti squash innards for lunch tomorrow.

There is also leftover butternut squash soup in the refrigerator. Soup is a cold-weather joy. Accordingly, I have stocked supplies for making udon noodle bowls too. Oh! And there's milk, for making hot chocolate. Which reminds me, the Hammond's candy display at the Niwot Market had these darling little hot chocolate stirring spoons--basically, a little wooden spoon stuck in a block of chocolate coated in peppermint sprinkles. You stick it in a cup of heated milk and stir until it's a cup of peppermint-flavored hot chocolate. I should go get some on my way home from practice Sunday, 'cause we've finally got hot chocolate weather now.

FINE. I suppose winter can stay.

engage winter mode
Thu 2016-11-17 23:35:29 (single post)

It started snowing today. First snow of the season, at least down here in the (relatively) flats. Finally it really feels like November.

I was lying in bed looking out the window when it began. The linden tree has lost enough of its leaves that I can now reliably see the moon on its way down from zenith, but it still has enough that it's noticeable when any precipitation starts. I may not be able to see the raindrops or the snowflakes, but I can see them hit the leaves and cause them to bounce up and down on their stems. Not all the leaves at once, but one here one second and one there the next. It always takes me a moment, though, to understand what these random explosions of movement outside my window are, or what's causing them. But I get there eventually.

"Oh," I thought, "it's started to snow. Shit, I haven't brought the plants in yet!"

I brought in the plants. Just the ones that are in containers small enough to easily move. The chives, dill, and parsley. The kale in one of the big self-watering containers, hastily transplanted. The shade-tolerant plants from the front porch, which had been moved to the back patio at the end of September to make way for contractors scraping off the old deck coating and applying the new. (It's a little disappointing that now that I theoretically could put all the front porch stuff back out there, I actually can't, because it's snowing.) I also harvested all the cherry tomatoes that were anywhere near ripe and all the San Marzanos of any color and size. (The immediate future holds fried green tomatoes in tempura batter.)

It's fireplace weather now, but we're both too tired from tonight's scrimmage to manage it. (Also, the herbs and kale are on the hearth until I can find them a better arrangement.) No doubt because of the weather, we had only enough people tonight to run four-on-four, with one side having the luxury to sit their fifth skater. We all decided that increasing line-up time to 45 seconds was a good idea, at least for the first half. Very few officials made it out, too, so the skaters had to time their own penalties. We all tried to be gentle with each other emotionally, though not necessarily physically. A lot of learning happened on both the skater and referee sides of the track.

Despite the weather, it seemed relatively warm in the practice space. There will be worse nights, nights when it's painful to take off the outerwear in order to gear up. Tonight wasn't so bad.

I should be happy that it snowed. We've had a dry and extra-long fall. (Say it with me now: "We need the moisture.") But the first snowfall always brings with it a sort of deep and creeping depression for me, like, "Good times are over and everything is going to suck from here on out." It's the bookend paired with the first-rain-of-spring feeling, "Winter's over! Life begins anew! Hooray!" I'm pretty sure I have a little of the seasonal affective disorder going on, but mostly it's just that I don't like snow. I don't like what it does to the roads, or the limitations it puts on outdoor activity. (I dreamed about trail-skating this morning. I woke up to the likelihood of no trail-skating at all until spring. Unfair.) I don't like the cold, or at least the very cold. In that, I remain a southern girl at heart. I haven't truly enjoyed winter since moving away from New Orleans. What I like best is the fall, when the brutal heat of summer has been mitigated by gentle cool-fronts and the leaves turn amazing colors. The colors went on and on this year, but the weather stayed more or less in the summer furnace region right up until, well, now.

(Maybe I'm exaggerating. Selection bias is real.)

In any case, the first snowfall has hit and this household is going into winter mode. Right now that means getting in the habit of closing the blinds to keep the windows more insulated at night, and kicking off our shoes by the door so as not to track melting snow across the carpet. Probably also means less assuming that I can bus-and-bike to Longmont, and more frequent negotiations for car custody. What winter mode means for my writing routines I have not yet determined, but I'll be giving it some thought in the coming days. Will let you know when I figure it out.

because i am weak and it was there
Wed 2016-11-16 23:58:42 (single post)

There's this particular style of Chinese restaurants in the U.S. known as the "super buffet," which is exactly what it claims to be: an all-day all-you-can-eat buffet of about a bazillion different things upon which you stuff your face until your stomach begs for mercy. I have been to some very good ones. Recently, I went to a terrible one. I went back to it tonight. I'm still not sure why.

I was first introduced to the concept in my home town of Metairie, Louisiana. My parents took my husband and me out to Mandarin House on Severn Avenue. It was perfect, they said, because everyone could have what they wanted no matter how different their tastes. This was true. Dad filled plate after plate with spicy boiled crawfish (available year round, as far as I can tell), boiled shrimp, and oysters on the half-shell. I followed his lead, but made room for green-lipped mussels with dynamite sauce, black bean mussels, and sushi. Mom had a lot of some sort of fried chicken dish. And John had mac 'n cheese and mashed potatoes and dinner rolls.

(Mandarin House was the first place I ever had raw oysters, by the way. Up until then, despite priding myself on living up to the Justin Wilson joke about how Cajuns will eat "any damm t'ing", I'd never been able to make myself put that big, wobbly, unappetizing blob in my mouth. But I'd had a bit of a practice run with little raw bivalves at Legal's Seafood during a visit to Boston, so I gave it a shot. Thus the monster was created.)

Then there's the Great Wall Super Buffet in Lakewood, south of Denver, on Wadsworth just a little ways north of Hampden. I treated myself to a big lunch there coming home from a scrimmage with RMRG just before heading to playoffs. (Damn, I still haven't done the D2 round-up post. Seems a little anti-climactic now that Championships are done, though.) I was astounded at the extent to which their buffet contents matched those of Mandarin House. They even had boiled crawfish, although not, it must be said, very well spiced. If there is a spectrum that ranges from "picky eater" to "adventurous omnivore," if you'll forgive the American-centric description, Great Wall was a few clicks past Mandarin House toward the adventurous side.

Turns out that super buffets also exist on a spectrum from Must Eat All The Things to TERRIBLE, and in the latter end of that swimming pool is Longmont's China Buffet. I cannot bear to link to them for fear that they will read this. I feel rotten saying bad things about them, especially considering that, Gods help me, I will probably go back. Again. But I am afraid it's true. Their food is terrible.

The jalapeņo beef was tough. The salmon, swimming in its own juices on the steam table, nevertheless turned out to be dry. The green-lipped mussels were dessicated and their mayonnaise sauce had congealed. The "seafood pie"--sort of a mock-crab casserole, really--looked delicious, but its seemingly crispy-crunchy edges turned out to be made of leather. The hot and sour soup had a flavor I didn't care for, though that might have been the not-so-fresh chopped scallions I was fooled into garnishing it with. Even the little cream puffs on the dessert table were awful, the shell unpleasantly tough and chewy around a half-frozen filling. I guess they were defrosted badly. There were sushi rolls. Vegetarian, it looked like. Mostly cucumber. They were sitting under plastic wrap. I did not venture to try them.

I admit, the king crab legs were just fine. They were served with drawn butter that was also just fine. I cleaned out about five crab legs into a small cup of drawn butter and ate it all up with a spoon. That was just fine. My mistake was in eating anything else.

And I went back today.

The notion crept into my head as I was thinking about my appointment at Cafe of Life, and about how I needed to stay out and get some work done. I have not had a great start to this week, work-wise, because I keep screwing up my sleep cycle. I lost my Tuesday afternoon to food coma because I can't seem to keep from eating the whole serving of Five Spice Wok at Jin Chan Zhang. (Seriously, I have got to learn to either package away leftovers before I start eating, so as to blunt temptation, or just save Jin Chan lunches for days when I can afford the afternoon nap.) So I stayed up until 3 AM last night to get everything done. So I slept until noon today. So I really, really had to not collapse after my appointment. And one nice thing about a super buffet is, they typically don't seem to mind if I take up a table for several hours, nibbling leisurely and poking at my computer and not requiring much in the way of frequent refills or table-clearing.

I kept trying to talk myself out of it all day. Go literally anywhere else! Don't go there! You will eat a finite amount of meals in your lifetime; why waste one on bad food? These were good arguments. I agreed with them completely. And I still kept planning to go. Even as I was locking up my bike in front of the restaurant, the smart voice in my head was saying, "It's not too late. You could still go to Leenie's Cafe next door." But apparently not-smart me was in charge of the body today.

And everything was just about the same as it was last time. I tried items I did not try last time, and they were bad too. I employed strategy, by which I mean, I watched the kitchen doors for new trays to come out, hot and fresh and theoretically not yet dried out. The next fresh tray to come out contained a battered fried chicken. It was hot and fresh, true, but it consisted of a small, sad, bland nugget that rattled around inside a bready shell that managed somehow to be mushy and crispy at the same time. Strategy failed. (Also, I do not like fried chicken at a super buffet. It is simply not interesting enough to take up stomach real estate in an all-you-can-eat situation. Strategy failed twice.)

New strategy is to more or less just eat the crab legs and maybe one or two other items that might be improved by drawn butter. The stir-fried button mushrooms were OK that way. Also the flan did not seem to have come to any harm, so dessert was not a total loss.

The best strategy would surely be to not go back. And yet, I'm pretty sure I will. Because of nostalgia. Because of being able to get work done. Because they are right there and I'm stubborn. Because, despite all the reviews on Yelp that seem to agree with me, the place still gets busy around 6 PM--that many customers clearly see something worthwhile there. And because I guess all-you-can-eat crab legs for $11.99 is not actually a bad deal.

But you should probably not go there. This is not a recommendation. This is an admission of weakness. Don't be fooled.

Cover art incorporates public domain photography from Pixabay.com
for the wages of tardiness is insomnia but also a fictionette finally
Tue 2016-11-15 23:59:59 (single post)
  • 1,328 words (if poetry, lines) long

OK. This'll be quick, 'cause it's nearly two in the morning. (Ignore the timestamp. The timestamp has been altered to give the post a Tuesday datestamp. It's actually a couple hours later than it looks.)

I posted last week's Friday Fictionette today. (Yayyyy.) It's called "The Witch on the Corner" (Patron-only links: ebook | audiobook) and it's mostly about the futility of conformity. To a small extent, it's also about why you shouldn't try a witch's temper, nor try to categorize witches as "good" or "bad."

Like I said, I'm quite pleased that Patreon has added a "scheduled post" feature. I intend to use it the moment I have a Friday Fictionette ready to go sooner than its designated Friday. I am less than pleased with other features Patreon has recently rolled out, namely a new publishing process that (1) forces you to choose whether yours is a text, image, audio, video, or link post, (2) if you choose text or link, removes the ability upload an image, and (3) no longer lets you use HTML to format the text part of your post. You can include URLs by pasting the link in as text and relying on Patreon to make the link text clickable, and you can include inline images by jumping through a few more hoops, but that's it.

This is how they spin it: "We recently removed html capabilities on Patreon to reduce confusion and allow creators a more seamless posting experience."

NOT IMPRESSED.

Well, like I said, two in the morning. This is all you get today. More thoughts on other subjects tomorrow.

useless check-in post. also, a rose.
Mon 2016-11-14 23:49:19 (single post)

Hi. Um. I did not have the most productive week last week. You may have some idea of why, or at least one of the reasons why. I have thoughts but do not feel up to making them coherent enough to share right now. For now, have a rose.

Last week's Friday Fictionette--nominally for November 11--is this close to being done. I should have it up tomorrow.

(Patreon appears to have added the ability to schedule a post for a future date, which would be awesome if I were able to get the fictionettes done early. Right now, I'm just struggling for "reliably on time.")

My goal for this week is all the writing. I can't save the world, but, damn it, I can write. And that's worth something.

YPP Weekend Blockades, November 5-6: The Triumphant and Giddy Return
Sat 2016-11-05 13:22:07 (single post)

Hey, y'all! It's Saturday, it's noon Pacific time, and my blog is working again--let's talk YPP! First, we got blockades. We got quite a few blockades. Most of them are on the Emerald Ocean, and they involve a whole bunch of flags that are totally new to me. (I've been away a bit.)

Filling out the blockade schedule has brought to my attention that U.S. Daylight Savings Time ends tomorrow. That means most of you will have to set your clocks back one hour at 2:00 AM or thereabouts. It also means that this schedule here might be off by an hour now but will be just fine tomorrow. Or else it's fine now but will be off by an hour tomorrow. I still haven't figured this out.

It's a brand new month as well, and we've got a brand-new Seal o' Piracy to hunt down. This month's is easy cheesy; you'll earn it by...

Completing sessions of 4 different crafting puzzles

Like I say every time this particular task comes up: You don't even need a Labor Badge or Subscription on your Ocean of choice to do this. Just log in throughout the week as different crafting puzzles take their turn being free to play and eventually you'll get all four. (Follow that link to see the Freeplay Days schedule.)

And you do know that the Greedy Brigands feature is live now, right? It's live.

That's all for this update. (Whee! I made an update happen.) Have fun!

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, November 5 ***

12:00 p.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: A Boosted Monkey
Undeclared: Knockout

12:00 p.m. - Wissahickon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Major Key Alert
Attacker: Cluster Service

12:00 p.m. - Swampfen Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Squad Yohohologo
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (8)

3:00 p.m. - Hubble's Eye, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: The Enlightened (3)

3:00 p.m. - Penobscot Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Fleet of Dreams
Attacker: Sub-Zero

4:09 p.m. - Anegada Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: The All-Consuming Flame (4)
Attacker: Chemical Romance

4:30 p.m. - Albatross Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Caught In Crossfire
Attacker: Nostalgia

5:00 p.m. - Spaniel Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Black Flag
Attacker: Jinx (3)

10:56 p.m. - Polaris Point, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Velt's Boiyz
Attacker: Mobsters

*** Sunday, November 6 ***

10:00 a.m. - Gauntlet Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Letters of Marque
Attacker: Caught In Crossfire

10:37 a.m. - Fugu Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Black Veil (4)
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

11:13 a.m. - Armstrong Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illusion
Attacker: A Boosted Monkey

12:00 p.m. - Ilha da Aguia, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (3)

12:00 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illusion
Attacker: A Boosted Monkey

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Sunday, November 6 ***

11:58 a.m. - Zeta Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Jinx (5)
Attacker: Sushicide

Cover art incorporates public domain photography from Pixabay.com
this fictionette has no time for cupids or obsolete code
Fri 2016-11-04 23:48:05 (single post)
  • 1,037 words (if poetry, lines) long

Hey! Guess what?! The blog is working. Today's post should be visible in REAL TIME. So without further ado, I bring you the on time publication of the Friday Fictionette for November 4: "Tit for Tat" ( ebook | audiobook ) in which we have absolutely no time or patience for cupids.

So my plan was to work on the novel after I got the Friday Fictionette up. But today I just said "eff it" and started poking at the non-functioning code. I mean, yes, my domain host support people got back to me two days ago asking me to verify that my email had actually come from the account holder. Cool. But I hadn't heard a peep from them since, and I was tired of having a broken blog. So let's at least take a look and see if it could be fixed from my end, yeah?

So it could. Here's the deal, in brief: I'd written some PHP code that conflicted with a reserved word. I'd created a class and called it SessionHandler; PHP already has a class called SessionHandler. The real question is, how the hell was my blog working at all before last week? Well, since the native class SessionHandler has only been available since PHP version 5.4.0, I can only guess that my server only got updated to 5.4.0 or above around October 27 or so. I don't know how to verify that. I do know we're currently running PHP 5.4.45, but I don't know how long that's been the case.

Anyway, I renamed my class to MySessionHandler, and everything worked like magic after that.

Note to self: Stay current on PHP and keep your code maintained, OK? OK.

NaNoWriMo Day 3: the slow accretion of plot and character data
Thu 2016-11-03 23:59:59 (single post)

There's been a little movement on the broken blog front. I heard back from my domain host's support people. They wanted to verify that I really was the account holder. I sent them back the requested proof that I am. Now I'm waiting some more.

Meanwhile, on the novel front, a few additional plot points and proto-characters came to light. This was in no small part due to a dream I had this morning, a rather disturbing one actually, but the disturbing ones make entertaining fiction fodder, so it's cool. (I have a strange relationship with nightmares. I wake up fascinated with them, replaying the memories with enjoyment. It's like I just got to watch a really entertaining horror-action-thriller-suspense movie in my sleep.) In that dream, I was obliged, because of careless promises I'd made, to give up several of my fingers. It wasn't going to hurt much, and the wounds would heal instantly, but it would--contrary to my understanding when I made those promises--be permanent. I was heartbroken because I wouldn't be able to play piano, flute, or guitar anymore. (You'd think "or type, or write with a fountain pen" would have occurred to me, but no.)

Once awake and thinking about the novel, I translated that into a better understanding of why Protagonist 2 had to give up her name and accept a new identity at the Magic Pixie Call Girl agency. She'd signed a long-term contract, and when time came, she found she simply couldn't bring herself to fulfill her part of the bargain, possibly because fulfilling it turned out to be a more dire proposition than she'd originally thought it would be. (Nothing to do with removal of fingers, by the way.) So the magical contract enforcement clause was triggered and she had to forfeit her name. The call girl agency gave her the improbably name of Delta Echoes. She's working hard and saving up money to buy her name back from--I dunno, the perjury pawn broker, something like that.

The name-forfeiture thing will be foreshadowed quite early when Protagonist 1 goes to fill out some routine form and is informed what will happen if anything he signs his name to turns out to be false. This will shock him. Also shocking will be the cat that one day starts talking to him. They don't have magic back where he's from. He's going to have to get used to it.

Things continue to slowly come together. Slowly. I'm very tempted to just start writing the first scene and see where it goes from there. But I have written quite a few novel drafts like that already. I want to try out this other method of novel writing, and I can't very well see how well I like it if I don't actually do it. So the planning stage continues.

My hope is, tomorrow, to figure out how the novel ends. Ambitious, I know, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.

Nanowrimo Day 2: write what you know, know what you want to write
Wed 2016-11-02 23:59:59 (single post)

Nope, still haven't managed to carve out time for web site troubleshooting. I've begun to suspect it might be something very simple, like, say, all the files in the /journal directory having mysteriously disappeared, or maybe just a key #include. I DON'T KNOW. I haven't gotten to any point in any day this week where I've felt like I had the time and the energy to take a look.

But I did manage to sit down and nibble off a bit of Step 1. Why, that must mean I finished Step 0! Indeed. Three of the freewriting documents I read yesterday apparently lodged themselves on my mental backburner and fell into a single pot left simmering there, and this afternoon it turned into soup. It all came together while I was on a massage table, of all places, with nothing to do but relax and occasionally be stoic while a skilled therapist applied pressure to bits of my shoulder and neck that weren't ready for it but needed it very badly. (My right shoulder has not fully relaxed in years. It makes it hard to sleep at night. The chiropractic treatments are helping, but very slowly, and meanwhile I keep playing roller derby. So I'm trying to help things along by getting my upper back and neck massaged about once a month or after every bout, whichever comes first.) I took advantage of that time to mull over story ideas, and was kind of surprised to find one already there, spooling out scenes in my head.

Some wise writer said once that the best stories rely not on a single idea but on two: two story ideas that combine and intersect in interesting ways. I appear to have three. Possibly four, if the dream I woke up with this morning turns out to be useful. It was terrifyingly epic and needs to wind up in a story. I just don't know whether it will be this story. Anyway, here they are in all their generic glory:

  • The Manic Pixie Call Girl Agency
  • Being obliged to file for name/identity bankruptcy after breaking a magically enforced oath
  • The cat started talking to its human today because it had a warning to give
  • On a train incognito through enemy territory; team leader gave the order to get off-planet

The story that arises out of the intersection of those ideas is the novel I'm going to write. FOR NOW. I've written down all I know about it as of this evening. We'll see if, in the morning, I know more.

And for goodness's sake, I have got to get this blog fixed. I'm tired of posting into the void.

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