Friday, February 18, 2005

There I Go Thinking Again . . .

Today tastes like thin crust pizza, with chunky garlic, sausage, and feta cheese. And since First Consort Gareth isn't going to be home for dinner . . . I love it when you can make a meal match the day.

Last night we tried a little Polish place in the neighborhood. That particular storefront has been three little ethnic places so far. This is its best incarnation, and I hope it sticks around.

We had the misfortune to be there on polka night. I like polka music—for about the first ten minutes. Then it’s music that forgot its medication, and instead of being happy and playful, it’s music that runs around the room at top speed, flinging itself off the walls, grabbing at random handfuls of your attention. Whooooo!!! We began creating titles for polkas; slow lugubrious polkas, polkas with lyrics like Sarum and Gregorian chants. The “Life is Meaningless and We’re All Going to Die (Someday) Polka.” The “Never Took a Chance and Its Too Late Now Polka.” The “He Looks Like He’s Sleeping, Doesn’t He? Polka.”

The food was wonderful, though. And while playing with the polka titles, I filled in another couple of pieces of the puzzle for this year’s Nanowrimo.

I have this seed of an idea—never did anything with it because on the one hand, it’s silly and a one-horse joke. On the other, John Norman made one horse go for 22 novels. (I quit counting about then, and don’t have the burning desire to know how many more have dribbled out since I was in high school.) So what the hell.

We were having dinner with friends, and I mis-timed a comment. Usually, I’m civilized enough to keep the quips down until AFTER everyone has swallowed. Red wine flies further and stains more than you’d think. However, someone wasn’t following the group pace, and nearly choked on her food. So, with tears rolling down her cheeks, she gasped out that this would be a really good TaleSpinners Night story, about a guild of assassins that kill their victims by wining them and dining them—and telling a really good joke at JUST the right moment. (“And then Eagon the Black told King Eathelred the Unkind the one about the rabbi, the priest, and the agnostic anteater. The reign of Good King Pfauglehoven was renowned as a time of light and laughter, especially when Chancellor Eagon was in the room.”) As you can see, it would lend itself to some fantasy fiction fun. I just needed a flavor. (Oy, I actually SAID that?!)

I mean, I wanted a country and culture to base this on, a little. So much has been done with an Anglo-Celt motif (it’s almost the defining standard for fantasy fiction, yes?) so I really don’t wanna go there. So I started thinking of the Byzantine Empire in all its lavish glitter; eastern Europe and all that . . . hmmm.

If I start reading bits now, I may actually be ready to vomit out 100 pages come November. If I start with fairy tales, maybe sooner—‘cos what I want is the feeling, the flavor and essence of the place, and the best way to find what is Done and Not Done is in the cautionary tales made to impress the rules upon delicate little minds. Culture and mores.

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