Just Wasn’t Happening

Well, for this week, since several of those of you who check in on this weekly

The Cute Little Train

 extravagance had expressed an interest in one of my novels, Changer, I was planning on writing a thoughtful piece about the strange circumstances that led up to the novel being written, and the even stranger circumstances that led to it not being completed for several years.

However, the week sped by and there I was on Friday, busily absorbed in my current writing project right up until and after Jim had quit for the day. (I hope you don’t mind, but I really don’t like talking about works-in-progress).

Saturday morning, Jim and I took off relatively early to meet our friend Michael Wester at a coin show. I don’t collect, but the fellows both do. I wander around and talk to people, like Barry, the UNM Geology Professor. I’ve struck up a bi-annual friendship with Patricia, a great-grandmother from Rio Rancho, whose husband is a coin dealer. I also chat with complete strangers.

This time, because I was wearing a tee-shirt adorned with a pack of wolves, I learned the origin of the word “cantaloupe.” Yes. Like the melon. Seems that when the first melon seeds were brought into Italy (from Armenia, according to my OED), the pope decided to try growing them on the fringes of a country estate he owned. The estate was named for the wolves that howled (or sang) in the area.

Yes. “Canta-loup” – wolf song. The name of the estate was given to the melon , making it possible for us to dine on “wolf song” melon for breakfast.

Anyhow, the coin show was not the end of the day’s activities. From there, Jim, Michael, and I went out and ate far too much Indian food. Then we went over to the home of some friends of Michael’s, so Jim and I could tour their garden. This proved to be a lovely Mediterranean-style plot, complete with exotic fruit trees like fig, quince, and pomegranate. We also were honored with a chance to see their “other garden” – the salt water tanks where they grow live coral, as well as tropical fish.

Then Jim and I split from Michael. We headed over to our friends Mike and Yvonne’s house. There we picked a huge amount of grapes from the vines in their front yard. The majority of these were pulled off of their stems that evening and are now spread out on a drying rack on our sun porch transforming into raisins.

After all of that, writing thoughtful pieces about the evolution of a novel just wasn’t happening.

It didn’t happen on Sunday, either. Relatively early, Jim and I picked up our friend Chip and then the three of us spent the day at the BioPark. We started at the Botanical Gardens, rode the cute little train over to the Zoo, toured the Zoo, then rode the train back. We finished off by walking around the Japanese Garden and then touring the aquarium.

After all of that, writing thoughtful pieces about the evolution of a novel just wasn’t happening.

And then Monday. Well, this may have been a three-day weekend for Columbus Day, but somewhere in there we had errands to run and (I know this may amaze those of you who think writers are above this sort of thing) housework to do.

And after all of that… Yeah. Repeat refrain.

Then Tuesday starts up the work week again. My novel was calling to me. I gave in to its siren song. Next thing I knew, I was trying to figure out what to post for Wednesday.

Since I didn’t really have the time to gather up all the dates and facts about Changer’s genesis, and since, to be honest, I’m never quite certain what folks who drop in to read my wanderings are hoping to read about, I ended up writing about nothing much at all.

I had fun doing it. I hope you were at least a little amused by the end result.

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15 Responses to “Just Wasn’t Happening”

  1. Nicholas Wells Says:

    Would you be surprised to find I’m not sure what I’m hoping to read about either?

  2. Ann M Nalley Says:

    This was a wonderful post for me to read. It was fun and interesting, and I could imagine the days slipping away busily amidst all the entertaining (and necessary) activities. We had a four day weekend, but somehow I did not go shopping for a new vacuum cleaner ~ but our family did manage mini golf and having dinner guests ~ albeit, not at the same time.

  3. heteromeles Says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun!

    I read a number of writer’s blogs, and it’s interesting that talking about the genesis of books seems to be a theme this fall. Both Charles Stross and John Scalzi have had posts on the subject in the last week or two. Charlie’s running a whole series on books he won’t write, which has included items on sequels for past series, and books that changed radically on their way from neat idea to publishing contract.

    For me as a very fledgling writer, all these stories are encouraging. I’m sitting at the kitchen table, reading this before I start my day, and it’s gives me hope that the works I struggle with now might go somewhere and make someone else happy one day.

    That said, having a fun weekend is probably more important, in the scheme of things.

  4. Alan Robson Says:

    Sometimes the days do that to you. You blink, and then it’s Christmas!

    I’m still interested in hearing about the genesis of Changer though. And I’m also curious as to why you seem to have given up on the story.

    Happy Columbus Day (whatever that is). Aren’t national celebrations/holidays curious things from an outsider’s viewpoint? After all, it’s only another 3 months or so until we get Waitangi Day! I’m sure you can’t wait…


    -Alan

  5. Ann M Nalley Says:

    All right…. I’m sure the joke’s on me, but what is Waitangi Day?

    • Alan Robson Says:

      Hi Ann

      Waitangi Day commemorates the signing of a treaty between the New Zealand Maori chiefs and the British Crown on 6th February 1840. It’s called Waitangi Day because Waitangi is the name of the town where the signing ceremony took place.

      Although Europeans had been living in New Zealand before then, the treaty was such an important document (specifying and guaranteeing rights for both the Maori and the British) that its signing is considered to mark the foundation of modern New Zealand. The treaty is still a very important and fundamental part of life in New Zealand and its ramifications are still being explored today.

      And it’s a national holiday, of course.

      cheers


      -Alan

  6. Emily McKinnie Says:

    I always look forward to reading this and while I would like to read about the evolution of Changer (which has become one of my favorite books) I have yet to find A Wednesday Wandering boring. This one was no exception. I think this was one of the best Wanderings yet.

  7. Rowan Says:

    The cantaloupe thing is awesome. I had no idea.

    One minor critique– I think you are incorrect, and that it’s impossible to have too much Indian food. 😉

  8. Ann M Nalley Says:

    I don’t know if my life could get any better. I have a correspondent in New Zeland explaining New Zeland history and culture to me, as well as a eco-biologist (Heteromeles) to educate me! And all because of a wonderful blog!

  9. janelindskold Says:

    I’m glad people enjoyed this week’s post.

    Okay… For next week, I’ll put something together on the genesis of CHANGER.

    Then I’ll go on and explain why, as Alan put it, I seem to “have given up on the story.”

    By the by, I’m open to requests as to things I might talk about. I’d like this to be something of a conversation.

    That said, there are things (like stories I’m still working on) I don’t care to talk about. But you can ask, and I can always politely demure.

    What else? Oh, yeah. This weekend, weather and all permitting, we’re going to visit Acoma Pueblo. I’m very excited about the trip.

    Happy Waitangi Day — three months from now — to Alan and Robin and all the really cool people in New Zealand. (One of these days, I’ll talk about my trip there, lo these many, many years ago.

  10. heteromeles Says:

    Here’s a question for you: where do you get your…? No, I’ll bet you’re like every other writer. Let me guess: each evening, you put out a saucer of milk for the fairies (presumably with a shot of whiskey for inspiration), and in the morning, the fairies have left you a nice set of Ideas written in cobwebs on the grass.

    Goofing aside, I’m more interested in marketability: how do you decide when an idea is worth developing into a story?

  11. janelindskold Says:

    Hi Heteromeles,

    First… No saucer of milk, and certainly no whiskey. I don’t drink (although Jim can be bribed with a fine single malt).

    Marketability? What’s that? Youre asking this of a writer who has written about talking rubber dragons, buried pyramids, wolves, mah-jong, and mythology from all over the world — and never ever about those perennial favorites Vampires?

    I write about what is interesting me at a given moment. I hope that I’ll find readers who want to read about those things and the somewhat odd combinations into which they assemble themselves once I start writing.

    So far, I’ve been lucky… Or, at least, more lucky than not.

  12. heteromeles Says:

    Hmp. Let me rephrase that. I’m sitting here trying to sell novel #1 and write novel #2, and I’ve already got a pile of ideas that looked pretty when they first appeared, but aren’t worth the trouble to write a book from.

    So my question isn’t, where do you get your ideas, it’s how do you decide which ones are worth the hours of writing and submitting?

  13. janelindskold Says:

    Hi Heteromeles,

    I’m going to try… but I want to preface by saying again: I write about what interests me.

    And that would be my first answer to you…

    Don’t follow a trend. It’s going to be played-out before you can get your book to market.

    Remember that that hours of writing and submitting are only the beginning of the time you’re going to invest.

    If you sell, you’re going to edit and re-edit and the deal with all the proofs…

    You’d better like it. You’d better love it. Otherwise, life is just too short.

  14. heteromeles Says:

    Thanks Jane!

    It sounds heavenly. I don’t particularly mind proof-reading. I even get enthusiastic about editing that improves the document.

    But then again, I’m reading this huge environmental impact report to figure out what the (expletives deleted) left out of the documentation, in terms of endangered species present on the site and the like.

    I don’t know how New Mexico environmental impact statements work, but your husband might want to keep his eyes open for reports that paper over archeological discoveries on development sites. It seems that such things are happening more frequently here. Lying is cheap if you don’t get caught, and everyone’s trying to save money right now.

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