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Dept. of Really, Really Scattershot

The Sun is Shining and I Must Too

As in, I must really, really do something other than play endless games of solitaire today. Posting is the first thing I can do to make myself feel as if the brain is actually working. So, in short order I can tell you things.

I finally finished Chapter 19 of Hearts & Moons and am working on Chapter 20. I have been working on this story for more than five years; I don't know whether that's a testament to my persistence, my lack of writing discipline and ability to plot properly, or all three. I can testify that the story has become something more than I expected it to be, back when I was first started writing it off a prompt from the gifted cathica. I will finish it, but I suspect it will need massive early-chapter revisions once I do. Ah, well.

Speaking of cathica, who does what I can not, she was featured in February as part of Women in Horror month on Colleen Anderson's blog. Anderson asks interesting questions, but I don't think it's possible to capture cathica's essence in such a short piece. If you haven't read her fiction over on Teaspoon, you should; she does have a dab hand at horror, but she's also damned striking at everything else, too.

Hmmm, what else? I attended a day-long workshop on union mobilization, which was extremely helpful. Our union has found a new office, so we are safe from the predations of the previous and very unstable landlord.  I am reading a non-genre book, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, as a work-connected exercise. I am reminded again of how difficult it is for me to read books that aren't science fiction, speculative, fantasy or poetry. It undoubtedly says a great deal about my inability to concentrate.

I also read Stormdancer, by Jay Kristoff. It's Japanese steampunk, but it's also a very good portrait of the way a 16-year-old girl might deal with a tough family situation, and a vivid painting of a polluted but vibrant world. Sadly, it's the first book of some sort of series, and it was just written last year, so I'm afraid I'll have to wait for the next one. I   understand that the reviews on this are wildly divergent, with negatives dealing with issues of cultural appropriation, etc. Since fantasy is, to my mind, a morass - or a celebration - of cultural appropriations of all kinds, I'm going to stick to the story and say I liked it a lot.

For the second time ever, I went with BB and our good friend apostle_of_eris to Hausermann's Orchid's, in the Chicago suburb of Villa Park. Hausermann's is a family owned business that grows, distributes and sells orchids. Once a year, for two weekends, Hausermann's opens to the public, and apostle_of_eris, an orchid lover, introduced us to the place a few years back (I was last there in 2010).

As I said, Hausermann's grows and sells orchids (and the occasional bromeliad.) Nothing but orchids. Acres of orchids, of all genuses growing in tiny bottles before they are brought out to grow in rows and rows in the moist warmth of greenhouses ... big florid blooms, and tiny sprays that look like snowflakes or strings of pearls, lady-slippers of all types, from simple bedroom ivory to ballroom carnelian and gold, huge scarlet-orange explosions and ... PURPLE! Every possible shape of orchid in every possible shade of purple! I adore purple ...

It was wonderful - not least because, for me, the various aromas and fragrances are as much a draw as the beauty of the blooms. Sure, not all orchids have fragrance  and some that do have fragrances you might not expect, but they smell!

There are so many words for smell, each with its own connotation: smell, odor, aroma, fragrance (I suppose it's a bit like the old saying that horses sweat, men perspire and women glow.) And normally, I would say that Hausermann's was filled with fragrance, because "smell" would seem so pedestrian.

But the word smell is also so direct. And the smells of those flowers - so fragrant sometimes, so surprising other times, sometimes so odd - spoke for themselves; they needed no compliments. They went straight to whatever part of my brain responds to smell, and they touched it. Caressed it, tickled it, punched it sometimes, then got right back to caressing it. So ... smell. I left Hausermann's giddy. Almost drunk with the
smells. I'll go back next year for the smells. And the pretty. Here are a few pictures. (They're thumbnails, because they're rather huge, and the one thing LJ still has over Dreamwidth for me is ease of uploading pictures. Gah.)    photo IMG_0947_zps650c388d.jpg photo IMG_0983_zpscf8279ce.jpg photo 20130301_131850a_zpsf3a7ae00.jpg
 photo IMG_0965_zps863d8fa2.jpg

 photo IMG_0999_zpse9911c5a.jpg

Finally, there are birthdays I forgot and some birthdays coming up. But they deserve their own post.

P.S. Is it March 30 yet?

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/250503.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
Well hey, I remember you saying it took over 2 years to finish "Walk Out with Me to the Unknown Country" and however long it took, it was abso-freaking-lutely worth it, because it was brilliant!

My WIP-o-Doom, which I have only posted tentatively buried in the anon threads of a kink meme (even though it's not really kink) is at about 40K words and I have been working on it since January 2011. I did have to take time off for about 6 months to finish my dissertation before my graduation deadline, but still, slow write commiserates with you and sends virtual hugs and chocolate for continuing and keeping with it!
Mar. 3rd, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the compliment about "Walk Out with Me" - that was my first fanfiction, the one started because I a) really wanted to bring Lynda back and b) thought "Well, it might be a lark." And I ended up falling in love with some of my own characters (I'm hoping that all writers do that, and I'm not some weird exception.)

I've watched you post the chronicle of the WIP-o-doom (what kink meme, where?)and I admit, it does help to know that others create at a similar pace to my own. Good luck to you in your efforts; perhaps we shall both complete our stories soon?

Or not. Heh. (Just so long as we finish. Unfinished fics, while very understandable, and I don't berate authors who have to leave a story unfinished; it's their decision, do make my heart sad. There are a couple of stories on my Teaspoon faves list which will never be finished. I'll defend to the death their authors' rights to leave them unfinished, but I grieve just a little. So, yeah, as long as there's a synapse processing in my brain, I'll keep at it.)
Mar. 3rd, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
Good luck to you in your efforts; perhaps we shall both complete our stories soon?

Thanks! I have to get out of data analysis mindset and back into writing mindset first. I'm better at it when I can sit outside on the patio, so hopefully the weather will start obliging soon. As for now it's still snowing. It's been 5 months since I wrote anything substantial on the WIP, and I've not really written anything at all in that time frame. I guess I have to buckle down.

What's out there of my story is buried in eleventy_kink, but because of the inability to update once posted, it's all old drafts. My working draft has changed to accommodate new plot points and new history (when I started we knew very little about River's back story, for example). That's part of why I didn't start posting it anywhere else, because I wanted to be able to go back and tweak things from previous chapters to fit into new ideas and information. I think I have 3 chapters and an epilogue left to write. I should just bite the bullet and start posting it with those bits still to go, but then I eg, get stuck with writer's block (or writer's apathy?) for five months straight.
Mar. 3rd, 2013 02:21 am (UTC)
Ohhh, I love this!!

You should never worry about how long the fic is taking. I have some that have been in rotation more years than I like to think about - tis a wonder anyone reads my work, lol!!

Thank you for the update, sweetness...love hearing from you.

Mar. 3rd, 2013 05:33 pm (UTC)
And thank you for reading, my dear. You have been in my thoughts lately; loads of empathy and sympathy wend your way daily.

*hugs back*
Mar. 3rd, 2013 01:36 pm (UTC)
Aw, well, good luck with the writing. I'm sure your persistence will pay off. And the orchids are beautiful.
Mar. 3rd, 2013 05:36 pm (UTC)
your persistence

Heh. It's a sort of low-key, stubborn, intermittent persistence, but it persists in persisting, and therein lies my eventual salvation. At least I hope so.

The orchids were ... I loved them this year even more than the last year I was out there. I don't remember ever being made quite so giddy by all the fragrances. (As for the pictures, BB was saying that some of the shots were really good, and I said, "Taking pictures of flowers is really cheating, because flowers don't take bad pictures. It's all the beauty of the flowers, and none of the photographer's skill." Still, it's wonderful to have the images as a way of conjuring the day up again.)
Mar. 3rd, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
it persists in persisting, and therein lies my eventual salvation. At least I hope so.

Oh, I'm sure. You know, I only came back to fanfic writing and online fandom because I'd left a fic unfinished the first time round and I couldn't bear it - so, 8 years later, I finished it. I hope yours doesn't take you as long, but persistence is the thing, in the end, isn't it?

Well, the photographer can take some credit. It's still possible to end up with blurred things, stuff out of shot or in shot that shouldn't be! :-)
Mar. 3rd, 2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
You know, I only came back to fanfic writing and online fandom because I'd left a fic unfinished the first time round and I couldn't bear it - so, 8 years later, I finished it.

Oh, you have no idea how much hope this gives me! (Also it makes me wonder whether you're my Internet Twin. *g*

It's still possible to end up with blurred things, stuff out of shot or in shot that shouldn't be!

Ah yes, the "thumb on the lens" school of photography. I am a master at that. Heh.

Mar. 3rd, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
but wait! there's more!!
Hausermann’s has 150,000 square feet of greenhouse with 250,000 plants. Just on the corsage side of the business, they ship 400,000 corsages a year.
I have never been able describe the place extravagantly enough that it didn't still come as a shock to someone going for the first time. (And I am known for sounding extravagant and implausible and not making things up.) ((Is that a fair statement, "kaffyr"?))
Another part of the atmosphere is that it is a family business. Half the people working there have name badges saying "Hausermann".
During the Open House, the break area serves gives away sweet rolls in the morning and hot dogs at lunch time (and there is a popcorn machine). There is a little sign asking you to please take only one sweet roll or one hot dog.
Mar. 3rd, 2013 10:53 pm (UTC)
Re: but wait! there's more!!
This man speaks truly! And I've had the benefit of the popcorn and the hot dogs. The other thing I love about what I've seen of Hausermann's is that they put on seminars and workshops to teach people more about growing and appreciating orchids. I've never gone to one, but knowing they put them on makes the place even more enjoyable.

Edited at 2013-03-03 10:53 pm (UTC)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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