Tuesday, March 26, 2013

08 Twenty-Nineth Beginning (Nanowrimo 2007) Organizing Aunt Sheila

[Do not read the Twelfth Beginning as if it were a story or things will get strange. In 2007, my strategy for Nanowrimo was to cram the story into the category 'literary' and go completely non-linear, dumping ideas and references I had collected just to get them out of my mind and off of my desk.

Don't let yourself get confused trying to make more of the bits than are there. Thanks.]

[ . . . Continuing the discussion as Barbara helps her Aunt Sheila to organize.]

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

There was a pause.  There seemed to be no reason for it.  Barbara ducked her head and tried to look a response out of her aunt.

Elizabeth.  Yes.  That’s a book I haven’t read.  It looked like an easy read, too.  If we make a to do list off of this database, I’ll put getting and reading it on it, to have something relatively easy there.

Do you know her?


The author. 

Oh, no.  I’m sorry.  I just think that Elizabeth is a good name for a girl.  It’s been a long time since I thought of that.  And then you think about how something you think about a lot can just fall out of your mind over time.

Should I make a category: Memory?

Yes.  I think you should.  I don’t know what I’d put there, but I think it’s important.  People have some very wrong and very self-serving ideas about memory. 


Yes, I’ve heard of that but never seen it.  Put that in the database.

I haven’t seen it either.  Head down, hair over eyes, peeking out.  But I’ve seen the Star Trek episode that was patterned on the idea.

Sheila ducked her head and leaned toward Barbara in loving mimicry of her.

It was The Next Generation.  Some of the viewpoints were almost as embarrassing as Barkley in the holodeck.

Barbara giggled.  They leaned in until their heads touched.  It was a giddy, geeky moment.  The relief of gang colors, perhaps.

Okay, here’s one that puzzled me.  Stripped pear.

Oh, that’s a painting that I’ve never painted.  I’ve never taken painting lessons even.  I have taken drafting, though, and I’m sure that if I spent a couple of decades on it, I could whip out a few decent pictures.

But Stripped Pear?

Perhaps I would say Pear, Deconstructed, now.  That was an old note.

Deconstructed?  I’ve heard that on Iron Chef.  It made sense there.  I’ve heard literature geeks use it, though, and it sounded like they were saying quantum.  As in:  you don’t have any idea and I’m going to talk about it so loosely and flabbily that I’ll be able to pretend that I’m right and you just don’t know, whatever you say.

That’s good.  I think deconstructionism has a specific definition, but I might be wrong.  And you nailed the attitude of some true believer adherents.  I just love this.  Make an entry for deconstruction.

I’m not sure I can remember what I said.

Just relax and start typing.  You started with quantum. 

Okay, give me a minute.  Many sporadic clicks later, Barbara was satisfied with the entry.  Okay, now tell me about the Deconstructed Pear.

It was a light green pear against a black background.  It’s peel had slid away from it, opened like a flower, and the meat had bloomed, too, showing the seeds floating in the core.  The meat was nearly translucent.  Oh, I used to be able to see it clearly.  Now it’s a memory of a description almost.  Maybe I’ll dream about it or see it during a daydream, if a think about it a bit.  There may have been some iris leaves.

Do you have any other paintings that you’ve never painted?

A few. 

Barbara held her hands over the keyboard expectantly.

Sheila sighed.  I’ll think of more later.  And they’re difficult, or maybe embarrassing, to explain.

One was a riverbed with the river floating in the air above it.

That sounds cool.

I had taken a fluid mechanics class and a limnology class and I wanted to accurately show the reaction of the water to the shape of the riverbed, with mud and boulders and maybe log snags.  I didn’t have a firm vision for that one.  It was just the idea.  When I thought of it, the water kept moving, which wouldn’t translate to a flat surface worth a darn. 

Maybe it would make a good cartoon?

Maybe.  Maybe for someone else.  A cartoon is a series of pictures and I couldn’t sketch even one.  It would take thousands to make a cartoon.

Maybe with computer graphics.

That would be for someone else, too.  An interesting idea.  I’ll always think it’s an interesting idea.  But I can let it go.  It doesn’t nag at me. 

Should we put it in the database, then?

Sure we should.  Why wouldn’t we.  If that’s supposed to be a collection of my ideas, that is.  Or if it’s supposed to be things that I might forget.  Now if it’s supposed to be things that I’m feeling nagged about, then it wouldn’t belong.  But I’m not sure I’d like the database much, if that’s what it’s supposed to be.

Nope.  It’s you.  I’m organizing You, here. 

Teasing.  You have to know someone well enough to tease them.

Okay, here’s an interesting one.  What did you want to do with this?

Lagny:  In his death bed, he retained no further recollection of the friends
who surrounded him and was not responding anymore.

One of his friends then attempted to see if he was still with them, and
approaching him said close to his ear:

*The square of 12?*

The dying mathematician instantly replied *144.*

That’s History and Memory and maybe Primatology.  No, just History and Memory.  I’m sure it’s also a quote from somewhere.  I have a small collection of quotes.  To ponder, the way some people ponder poetry.

Not many people ponder poetry today.

They should. 

I think the Heinlein list of Things People Should Know How to Do had poetry in it.

Yes, he said a person should be able to write a sonnet.

That’s not the same as pondering.

True, but it’s easier to appreciate poetry if you’ve turned your hand to writing it.  I think we’re going to add poetry to your homeschooling.

Aw, please.  That’s so boring.

Nope.  It’s challenging.  And it will be added.  The old forms.  We’ll do it back and forth.  That’s the way it was done, or one of the ways.  Poems answering poems. 

Poetry was originally devised to make it easier to recite long tales and make the tales easier to listen to, no doubt.  In a world where parchment is expensive, you memorize everything.  And if your social standing depends on being able to brag about your ancestors back as far as you can, well, alliteration and rhythm and rhyme are great aids to memory.

That sounds so - - unpoetic.

You mean not at all artsy-fartsy.

A giggle.


Well.  It wasn’t.  Although I’m sure that people added their idea of beauty to it.  Tell me, how do you remember which months have only thirty days.

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November.   That’s not much of a poem.

No but it works.  And it used to be longer.

Oh, what else did it say?

Thirty days hath September

April, June, and November

All the rest have thirty-one

Excepting February alone

Which has Twenty-eight in fine

Till leap year gives it twenty-nine.

Not the most exciting addition.

It’s not meant to be exciting.  It’s meant to make it easy to teach children.  In fact it’s so easy to use, children can teach it to children.  And they do.

Self-perpetuating.  A wave without a shore.

Did you read that book.

Yes.  I was kind of disappointed in it.  I’m sure it was deep and all, but the title didn’t have anything to do with the story that I could see.

Yes, I wanted an exploration of that metaphor, too.  And people not seeing what they choose not to see?  I’m sure there are better ways to show that. 

I feel a little guilty for complaining about it.  I mean, she’s a good author.  And she got it published.

Yes, and I’ve never finished a novel, yet. Let alone got one published.

You’ve started novels.

Oh, yes, child.  Starting a novel is easy.  Getting it to go somewhere is hard.  It takes stamina to do a novel.

How about short stories?  They’re, well, shorter.  Have you tried them?

Yes, I have completed a few.  Sent them to gather rejection notes, too, which I have heard and believe is the thing you should expect.  Collect the notes and keep writing.  I was going to paper the wall with rejection letters, once.  I got about six up and then things kept happening. 

I hope you kept them.  As much else as you keep, you just better have kept them.

Yes, they’re around somewhere.  There are things that may be on floppies that are too outdated to read, but I think those were mostly essays and articles.  And don’t think I’ll forget about the poetry.  I have a mind like a steel sieve.  I miss a lot, but when I catch something, it stays.  You never know what it’s going to be, though. 
[to be continued further]

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