Ben Crowder

Weeknotes #9

  • This week, unlike last, saw some splendid progress on editing the novel. The middle two-thirds of the book do need to be almost entirely rewritten after all (sadly!), but the book will be better for it. I’m midway through outlining the new material. Hoping to get that wrapped up soon so I can start making the actual revisions and get this book out the door before the end of the year.
  • I’m six pages into a new short story, about an incubator for human babies. So far it seems to be going well, though as usual I’m wondering if what I find interesting in it will turn up dry and dull to everyone else. Oh well.
  • Earlier this week I attempted work on faux stained glass versions of my Roll Forth and I Am a Child of God pieces. I’m now feeling rather strongly that my time working on that kind of art has come to an end, perhaps forever. (This makes me feel both relieved — more time for writing! — and guilty — that I’m effectively abandoning the people who liked my art. I think about this often. But the pieces I already made still exist, so I guess I’m not taking anything away from anyone.)
  • I’ve been getting back into Blender as a pivot to a different kind of art that might be a good fit for me right now, and it’s lovely fun. If I stick with it, expect to see some just-for-fun renders on the blog from time to time.
  • Luckily I had only written a page or so of my semester paper when the professor announced that he was nixing that assignment in favor of a third presentation. (Such are the perils of working ahead in class.) My first presentation will be on multi-scale modeling and rendering of granular materials.
  • The corneal abrasion is gone, and good riddance.
  • I upgraded Caddy (my local dev server) to version 2. It took a little bit of finagling to figure out the right syntax I needed to use, but being able to import snippets with arguments has made my config files so much cleaner.
  • We’ve started watching BBC’s Secrets of the Castle. Fascinating show, and right up my alley.
  • Nonfiction reading: A Distant Mirror was somewhat slow going until I bumped the line spacing in Marvin up a notch. Still learning a lot and enjoying it. A short list of some of the medieval quirks that stood out to me: 1) nobles trying to enforce clothing rules (commoners not being allowed to wear certain patterns, for example), though said rules proved basically impossible to enforce, 2) laws that tried to make sure nobody had any advantage over the others by banning both innovation (in tools and techniques) and working late, among other things, and 3) the insane Feast of Fools.
  • I’m about a third of the way through Arthur’s Britain. It regularly blows my mind that the 1300s of A Distant Mirror are closer to me in time than they are to the 500s of Arthur’s Britain. (Same kind of thing as with Cleopatra and the pyramids.) My mental model of history tends to compress all of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages — roughly a thousand years — into what feels like maybe a decade or two. Hoping to fix that through much more reading.
  • Fiction reading: Finished Peace Talks. Whew. Nice that the next book is already out.
  • I also read Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time and rather liked it. (I’m totally a sucker for that kind of story.) Looking forward to his other books.
  • Currently a third of the way through Luke Smitherd’s The Physics of the Dead. It’s not a setting I would want to spend any time in, but the story questions it raises are intriguing.

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