Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

March 12th, 2011:

Taking a Breath

This has been a helluva month. To finish Drumlin Circus I wrote 26,000 words in two weeks, and then by six days later had polished it, laid it out, proofed it, and combined it with a second short novel (by the formidable Jim Strickland) to make something book-sized, with a twist. (More on the twist in a later entry.) We’re now waiting for the cover art, and so for a day or two I’ve had a chance to pick up my office, read a little, run the dogs around, and ruminate on what I’d learned.

coincellgrab.jpgOh, and I bought a TV for downstairs. A TV. 55″ wide and 1.37″ thick (!!) by my digital calipers. Sure, I’d like a flying car. But this again reminds me that we really do live in the future.

The do-it list was getting long. I’ve needed to replace a couple of coin cells in the Dell USFFs we have here and at church for some time. In most PCs this isn’t difficult, but Dell put the coin cell holder in a bad spot, especially in the SX270. Pulling out the old cell, no sweat–that’s what God made needle-nose pliers for. Reinserting a new cell would be easier too, except that the pliers would short out the cell. So I put a short length of shrink tubing over one of the two jaws and held it over a match for a bit. Shazam! The cells survived the operation, and I broke no fingernails trying to coerce them in either direction. It’s a trick worth remembering if you can’t use your fingers to get coin cells into place behind that plumber’s nightmare of a heat sink you’ve got.

One of the things I had to do to write Drumlin Circus was adopt an older style for the first-person narrator, who is an educated city guy in an 1890s sort of culture, albeit one not on Earth. This isn’t normal diction for me and I had to train myself to do it, first by reading largish chunks of The Time Machine and Food of the Gods, and then by going back to Gene Wolfe’s boggling 5-volume New Sun saga, which I hadn’t been through in ten or fifteen years. Again, the complexity of the tale boggled me a little (as did more than a few of the words he repurposes but never invents) but this time I was ready: I had ordered Michael Andre-Driussi’s Lexicon Urthus and kept it at my elbow. It’s a 420-page index of terms, concepts, and proper names from the series, with not only their meanings in the story but also their derivation from myth, religion, and other languages. If you intend to read the Urth cycle closely, you’re gonna need this. Highly recommended.

Over the next few days here I’ll try to cover a few more noteworthy things associated with Drumlin Circus. Mostly I want to reassure you all that I’m back and looking forward to writing here a little more regularly than I’ve been.