My Horny Hump Day post is here.
This week’s subject for the Express Yourself meme is lucky charms. My primary lucky charm is a green scarab I got from a week-long Ancient Egypt camp at one of the Pittsburgh museums as a preteen (probably the Carnegie Museum of Science). I used to tell people it came out of a mummy’s tomb, though it’s probably a lot younger than that! I used to always have it in my pocket for luck with tests, esp. finals. I don’t remember if I had it with me when I was run over by a car in August 2003, though it wasn’t my time to go yet, lucky charm or not.
I can’t write without a good soundtrack, which is also a lucky charm of sorts. My primary soundtrack for Little Ragdoll consisted of The Hollies and The Four Seasons, which helped to put me in a Sixties and early Seventies mood. For whatever reason, while writing my Russian novel sequel, I ended up mostly listening to the band so nice they named themselves twice, and it just stuck. I’ve got the same soundtrack for my third Russian novel in progress. Once you find the winning formula that motivates you to write, you don’t want to jinx it!
The current ROW80 ends very soon, and I’m up to Chapter 32 and around 246,400 words in my WIP. This is the university’s break week, so I’m hoping to get caught back up with writing. As I was writing Chapter 31, “Boris’s Dream Comes True,” I hit upon the great idea to develop an immediate conflict between Boris and Nikolay, now Tatyana’s boyfriend and unofficial fiancé.
Boris and Nikolay make no bones about not liking one another, and Boris quickly regrets inviting Nikolay to live in the third bedroom of his new Harlem brownstone. However, Nikolay is under orders from Lyuba, his godmother, to stay there to keep an eye on Boris and protect Tatyana if Boris ever steps out of line or does anything that would put her in danger. Now there’s some more meat to this particular storyline, beyond Tatyana merrily living with her blood father till she discovers the truth about his past in the spring of ’39.
I’m still doing well and keeping up with my three classes, and also doing wonderfully in my German and Estonian lessons. I love absorbing all these new Estonian words and naturally figuring out what case endings mean, how to form plurals, and how verbs are conjugated. It’s the big difference between studying and learning a language. It’s certainly challenging, as a non-Indo-European language, but once you figure out the basics and vocab sticks, it becomes very logical.
Effective language learning isn’t about rote memorization or learning everything cold the first go-round. It’s about internalization, to the point where you don’t have to translate in your head. And as I’ve said, it really helps if you have a base in Russian and German. Many cognates. And if I ever study Finnish, I’ll have a huge leg up!