In Retrospect

More often than not, I complain silently to myself about having a suppressed immune system. It usually happens when I go into one of the shared environments of the dorm (it’s a fact, the kitchen on my floor is the most disgusting) or have tea with someone I find to be sick. And I’ve done it all week. The antibiotics are working, and my thoughts are clearer, though I am still rather fatigued. But I realized the other day that it’s been almost three years since I was diagnosed with RA. I remember all the leaflets, information packs, etc. that my doctors gave me at the time, and they all said that left untreated, RA could completely cripple me “within three years.” So as much as I dislike my treatment, the injections and having a weakened immune system, I’m still able to walk. I can open jars on most days, and on bad days I have something else for breakfast. No, I’m not able to be as active as I’d like, but I’m well. And that’s a good thing.

Orion’s been resurfacing in my thoughts more frequently the past couple of weeks. It’s evolving. Something huge just changed, someone who I thought was on one side of the war just changed sides, causing a ripple effect that is restructuring how I approach the novel. Changes like this make me nervous, but also, I think, will make the story stronger. As I told Laura, I’m just waiting for the bolt of lightning to strike the pool—that flash of inspiration—that something living might crawl out of it. I wonder if any of my faithful readers will recognize it, once it does.

Music Post: TGN

I’ve figured out how to zip files and upload them, so now I can share playlists. 🙂 Here’s perhaps my most successful playlist (even Kali likes most of the songs), “To Govern the Night.” It was my NaNoWriMo ’07 inspiration mix. It’s still my favorite; even if technically that book doesn’t quite exist in that form anymore, it still captures the atmosphere of the Alliance/Elite war.

Click to Download: To Govern the Night

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So many words…

Went to Dylan’s thesis presentation tonight on Sayyid Qutb. Fascinating and excellent and has incited a desire to do further research into this subject. Spurred thoughts about the Ramirans in Orion… wanting to base the political climate off of Egypt in the mid-1900s, also play around with Pakistani folklore–problem: requires research! Not a problem except that there are already so many books I want to read before I add Milestones, books about Pakistan, and yet more of Oxford University Press’s “Very Short Introductions” (of which I already want to read at least 20 titles…).

This summer is the best opportunity for me to write because I will have time to do so; the next one-to-three years I’ll be back in school, which will monopolize my reading and writing to be on academic subjects. But, how do I balance research with the actual writing? And on top of this, I often can’t read fiction books and write creatively at the same time; I can only exist in one world at a time, so to speak. I have a list at least 40 books long that I want read by September. …I also went to the microbiology lab with Kali this evening, which made me want to review my science textbooks this summer as well. And, math… geometry, calculus? Ah, me!

How fortunate am I that my greatest dilemma is that I have too many books to read! I just want to know everything…

Worth the Sacrifice

A week or so ago I decided to stop writing TGN. I finally discovered what was wrong with it, what was wrong with Cords, and found a solution for the fact I had nothing for the third book of the supposed trilogy. The result is that I’m back to square one. Starting over, again, and it’s going to look completely different by the time I’m done.

I’ve been paging through The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell–a novel that changed my life–for inspiration (I really need to reread it). There is an interview at the end, and it only cements my opinion that Russell is nothing short of genius:

“The idea came […] as we were celebrating the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the New World. […] That’s when I decided to write a story that put modern, sophisticated, resourceful, well-educated, and well-meaning people in the same position as those early explorers and missionaries–a position of radical ignorance.

[…] I found myself drawn to Judaism and eventually converted. When you convert to Judaism in a post-Holocaust world, you know two things for sure: one is being Jewish can get you killed; the other is that God won’t rescue you. This is the theology I was dealing with at the time. […] The central theme is an exploration of the risks and beauties of religious faith.”

And here I am, attempting to recapture the energy that propelled the first novel, the conviction that carried my characters Jenai and Dimitri along, and discover how both they and I lost that firmness of belief half-way through the second story. Trying to figure out why I haven’t been able to shake this story from my blood or my bones for the past eight years. Consciously asking myself, “What are the central themes?” I bemoaned to Kelly how I am not dealing with any universal themes in my novel like Russell does. She said, “Freedom.”

Freedom… and its cost. The sacrifices made by the individual to serve the universal. All of my characters give up their personal dreams for the sake of one larger than themselves. Of exiles recreating a community they lost. Faith, doubt, betrayal. That there is something worth that sacrifice, something worth fighting for, and how each character responds differently.

That’s what I hope to capture, anyhow.

Let’s go a-Maying

Laura and I went to Scarborough Faire today, a Renaissance Faire in Texas. I was so excited that there was a maypole and that we got to dance it! Maypoles are one of my most favorite things about spring. They also feature in my novels, Cords of Orion and To Govern the Night (lovingly nicknamed Cords and TGN, for future reference). Maypoles are an important part of the home-culture of my protagonist, Jenai Daila’in, from the planet of Aiden. Needless to say, I enjoyed pretending to be at an Inick spring festival!

A maypole pattern

The maypole with pretty ribbons and a simple weave pattern. We learned to do three different dances.

a-Maying

Going a-Maying! That’s me in the green, and amusingly enough, the girl in the gray beside me looked like a young Jenai.

We’ve also been listening to Kate Rusby’s version of the 17th century English ballad about Sir Eglamore non-stop. Fa la lanky down dilly!