Joe drove the back roads from the farm, winding his ancient Impala around the narrow country lane, a cold beer between his knees. He passed Balanced Rock, hulking off the highway, a massive boulder sitting lightly on three small rocks. He shivered for a second. His grandmother had a saying: there’s a goose walking over your grave. Every time I drive by that damn rock, he thought.
Ignoring the ah, continuity error, this is the morrim that started it all. Sort of. I’ll leave that for another post.
I’ve actually seen another morrim, out here in Texas. And this is one of those things that you look back and say, ‘yeah, I’ve become a little bit too immersed in this fantasy world I’ve created.’ See, we were driving out to a vacation cabin in the Hill Country. As we wound along the Guadalupe River, crossing and recrossing the serpentine river, there was a giant boulder smack in the middle of the river. I mean, it was the size of a house. As it happened, there is a lost scene in Gordath Wood in which Lynn and Crae come across a morrim in the middle of a river, which I wrote before seeing the one in the Guadalupe. And as we passed it, I thought, ‘huh. I didn’t know they were that big.’
Any morrim out there by you? They don’t have to be glacier morrim, dragged to rest on the top of a bunch of rocks. Send me your pictures and tell me where you found them.
And just be careful when you walk in the woods. You never know where you will end up.
Planted the last of the basil. The basil did surprisingly well this summer. The rest of the herbs not so much. But that’s okay — I love pesto far more than anyone should, so if only one herb was gonna survive, the right one did. Also on the domestic front, made granola from Mark Bittman’s recipe. I broke my own rule against using the oven when it’s 100 degrees out, but it was worth it.
Finally bought my mom the updated Scrabble dictionary. She had a 1970s edition that didn’t even have “zine” or “zin.” I ask you, how am I supposed to win at Scrabble without being able to use “zin?” It’s on, Mom!
I read one of the Navy SEALS meet the Vikings books by Sandra Hill. I am sad. It was not what I was hoping for. I wonder now if I have to write the books that I want to read? It worked for Karen Joy Fowler in “The Jane Austen Book Club.” (Obviously, I can’t write SEALS and Vikings because Hill pretty much owns the category, but still.)
Austin, Texas, is a Stella d’Oro free zone or something, so when I went to Connecticut I bought a couple of packages to remind me of the cookies of my youth. Well, my sister just sent me a care package of Stella d’Oro! Woo-hoo! We have the anisette cookies, and the madeleine-like ones, and these little fudge ones that I didn’t even know existed. What with the heat and the lack of Stella d’Oro, Austin was really losing its remaining cachet.
Saturday’s book signing was swell. Barnes & Noble had me front and center. Several of my friends and family stopped by and I also sold a handful of books to other folks in the store. I spoke with aspiring writers, one of whom was astonished to hear about the vast writing community in Austin (seriously, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a writer). He was taking creative writing courses as Southwestern University up in Georgetown, and I have to say, what are they teaching kids up there these days? He hadn’t heard about Texas Writers League, which is one of the biggest writers leagues in the country. How can you train upcoming new writers without letting them know about one of the huge resources in the area? Sheesh.
Sunday we saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This was one of the better Harry Potter installments. Darker, yet with moments of humor, and the kids are becoming better actors. Rupert Grint has the thankless role of the second banana, and he manages it well.
I’ve read all of the books and I only liked the first three. The remaining four were bloated, self-indulgent, and increasingly poorly written. I admire Rowling tremendously for her accomplishment, and I think the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone) is an incredible children’s book, but after Chamber of Secrets and Azkaban, the books all went downhill. I don’t think I even saw the last movie.
One of the things I liked about this one was that the producers and directors have thankfully settled down with the special effects. God, that first movie was so annoying, what with all the flashpowder whiz-bang magic going on. With HBP, the special effects serve the story instead of the other way around. Even though I write fantasy, I don’t like magic (that’s why in Gordath Wood there’s very little of the stuff). Well, it’s not like I don’t like magic, it’s just that I think it gets in the way of a good story. Okay, that’s not it either. Magic just makes things easy, that’s all.