Sister Mine Reading Group Guide: Discussion Questions
Some of today's draft, unpolished:
"Why you asking folk for the tale of the three witches? All will recite you the same story, nah true? Everyone in Chynchin know it."
"Not exactly. Look like every s'maddy, every compong, every town have its own version. I trying to discover as many versions as I can."
"I don't mean to vex you, Maas', but I still wondering; why?"
I had rolled him a stick of tabac. He took it with a grunt of thanks. I struck a match and lit both our sticks. We kept silent a little space, through the companionable ritual of taking the first few pulls of smoke. Then I answered him: "To ferret out the truth of what happened that day. We may need to find the trick of it again."
He nodded. "Abiodun dey-come. I mark."
Seems like I need to always be making something. Since I realized a few weeks ago that I don't need to be able to read a pattern in order to crochet clothing, I've been doing that pretty much nonstop. I mostly use cheap cotton twine from Kmart, and combine it with old crocheted pieces I find in second-hand stores. In this case, I first followed simple instructions I found on Youtube for crocheting bra cups tailored to one's bust. That worked pretty nicely, so then I had to figure out what to do with the resulting cups. I rummaged around in my doily stash, and came up with: a y-shaped doily with raised flowers on it in strategic places; a flouncy circular doily; and a lovely rectangular rayon shawl in a pineapple stitch (I love pineapple stitch, even though I've never done it).
I used freeform crochet to attach the pieces. There was much trying on and pulling out and starting over and muttering before I had something dress-shaped. By then, I had combined seven different colours and many different gauges of yarn. This is where dye is a blessing. I bought blue dye and stuck the whole dress into a hot dye batch. I crossed my fingers that it wouldn't shrink.
The weave of the cups was dense enough that it didn't need lining, and I was okay with leaving the midriff and the upper back unlined. But I wanted to line the skirt. It would have been easy enough to sew a tube of cloth to fit, but I already had a light cotton skirt lining that I'd removed from a skirt that didn't need one. I tossed that into the dye bath, too.
The dress didn't shrink. Whew. Of course, it came out all different shades of blue, but I didn't mind that. There were enough tones in common to unify the look of the dress:
Clarion is an annual writing workshop for budding writers of science fiction and fantasy. 17-19 students live on campus (currently the U. of Cali San Diego) for six weeks in the summer. Every week there is a different writer in residence, and one weekend there's a visit from a professional editor. Under the guidance of the writer-in-residence, students write and write, and take part in workshop critiques every day. Clarion was an amazing experience for me. I learned in six weeks what it would have taken me six years to figure out on my own. It was tough and scary and humbling, and some of the best fun I've ever had.
Clarion is not part of UCSD. The workshop pays its own way, and raises its own funds. The write-a-thon helps to subsidize the costs of running Clarion. If you'd like to sponsor me, just click on the image below for details.
507 new words in Blackheart Man this morning. I'm trying to build a sense of the everyday imaginative life of the world of Chynchin. It's a little stuttery for now:
I nearly went flying as an idle camel nosed me hard in the small of the back. I emerged from the land of kings and crocodile’s bellies, and found myself in another place; home.
Now that the teaching quarter is nearly over and I have 3 months of summer ahead of me, I've begun working on Blackheart Man again. That's the novel that got stalled due to illness, and that my publisher cancelled. I banged through the first chapter pretty easily in the past few days, but now that I'm on chapter 2, I'm hitting conundrum spots. I need to internalize my worldbuilding around economic exchange & magic systems. I know sort of how I want them to work, but I'm not yet managing to integrate them smoothly into the narrative.
Yup, it's true; with a couple of folding panniers, a pair of locking bungee cords, and a knapsack for overflow, you can fit the contents of a grocery cart onto the back of a bicycle.
103 degrees Fahrenheit in Riverside this afternoon. That's 39.4 degrees Celsius. But there's a stiff breeze blowing, and for all we make fun of this, the fact that the humidity is low does make a difference. The heat feels quite agreeable for brief jaunts. It's kind of like stepping into a hot tub, except dry. I'm not even sweating, even though I just rode half a mile on my bike. At this kind of temperature in Toronto, I'd be unable to move more than six inches away from the air conditioner without feeling like my whole skin was strangling. I'll have to keep an eye on my plants, though. The combination of high temperature and a brisk breeze will pull moisture out of their leaves and the soil really quickly.
The package label for these bulbs wasn't kidding when it said "eager to put down roots". I put the ones on the left into the water four days ago, and the ones on the right two days ago. When I did so, they were just little beigy-brown balls; no hint of sprouting leaves or roots.