Spring cleaning, and making sense of nonsense

Tintern Abbey in 1900. Image in the public domain, via Wikipedia.

Tintern Abbey in 1900. Image in the public domain, via Wikipedia.

I am buried in boxes. Literally. The view from the laptop is approximately 80% box. We’re moving. To a very cool house. And we’re throwing crap away. And, predictably, I’ve decided to tidy up the blog a bit.

Why change, you ask? Sure, the last design wasn’t so bad. It had a nifty slidey feature thingie (technical term). But it was a bit too noisy. Functionality is fine so long as it does something, but I’m not a news blog. I’m some writer gal who talks about food and mythology and rock music. I wanted something that was more content-centric, and after trying about fifty different templates on for side, decided on this one. I like that it’s got Tumblr-esque posts (i.e. images, quotes, statuses, etc.) that sort of add some fun to the mix. Plus: BIRDS. But it’s also just simple. And calm. And I need both of those things right now.

I’m just about to cross the 80K line in Watcher of the Skies after hitting a bit of a block. I had to think my way out of a transition, and then I had to kill someone I hold very dear. In fact, my favorite character in the whole book.

“Oh, but just don’t kill him! You’re the writer! You’re in control!” shouts the chorus.

Oh, if only. I was in bed, not sleeping (as so often is the case these days) and the last fourth of the book crystallized. And I realized someone wasn’t in it. And I also realized that I wasn’t going to get to the New World until the very end, and that I was going to have to go to Rome.

Writing this alternate history epic tale of Krakens and godlings and albatrosses, I’ve thought a great deal about where I diverge and where I don’t. I have to have a little bit of flexibility creatively, a little hand-waving, as it were, for things to come together, but I’m a little obsessed with creating the validity of things. I don’t want it just to be. I want it to be because something happened. Take languages, for instance. I mentioned before that they don’t talk exactly English in Second World. It’s Frenglish (or Gaelinglish), meaning that the common, proper tongue, is a romance language with French and Gaelic influences and less Anglo-Saxon. But, there were Germanic tribes in Britannia in Second World–they were just indentured servants and/or lowborn. So the language “of the people” isn’t the common tongue or legal tongue (Latin) but a sort of Anglified-Frenchified-Latinified language: almost like English!

Oh, but you’re using poets. And poetry isn’t the same in other languages. You’re right. It’s not. But the Lake Poets/Romantics, in this iteration, use the language of the common people to compose. It’s rather revolutionary not to be writing in Latin, which almost everyone else did. So it’s similar. But it’s also magical. Yes, in my books, poetry is magic. The images and meanings and even the sounds and rhythm are magical, and they connect people (godlings and human alike) and help the eight worlds keep spinning. ::waves her hands around::

No, not all of that makes it into the book. But I don’t want to write uninformed alternate history. It’s nonsense, in some sense, but it still makes sense. Or, at least, it’s on the plausible scale. The paths diverge, but only to a certain point.

And I leave you with a bit of that magical poetry, from William Wordsworth. From “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”:

On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798
Stanza 3

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,—both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.

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