What I’m Reading
I started My Brother, My Sister, and I, by Yoko Kawashima Watkins, the sequel to So Far from the Bamboo Grove. It’s set in Japan in the early post-WWII years. Both books are frequently challenged because Yoko had the sheer audacity to be born into a well-off family who lived in Korea during WWII, and dared to write about the horrors she and her family went through as they fled home to Japan. She was a child! She wasn’t some evil occupier or anti-Korean oppressor!
The library I got it from had it in the YA room, though I doubt it would be considered YA in today’s market. It also seems like it would have a hard time getting published today, since the opening pages are mostly backstory recapping what happened in the first book. I got the first book from the juvenile fiction section in another library.
What I’m Writing
Finally finished Chapter 79 of my WIP, though I may later go back and put in some more details after I finish my source readings. It’s now up to 611,000 words, and I’m still hoping I can cap it in around 700K. Next up is the D-Day chapter, and then the Saipan chapter. My working table of contents has 85 chapters for Part III, and 15 chapters in Part IV. After all this, I cannot wait to write the Epilogue, “Back to an Ordinary World.”
I started writing this on 5 November 2012, and though it’s ended up becoming far longer than I naïvely guesstimated going in (500,000 words), I think I’m making pretty decent progress with it. Keep in mind that it took a bit over 8.5 years to write the first draft of my first Russian historical, even if that time was broken into three major periods and not all one stretch! It was probably just a fluke that the sequel (406,000 words) only took five months.
What Inspires Me
I’ve been getting reacquainted with the CDs which were stored in my ex’s parents’ basement for too long, and it’s amazing how quickly everything comes back. I remember the exact dates I got those albums, the circumstances, how I felt when I first heard those songs, etc. The brain is such an amazing, special creation. (Look for a review of The Who’s boxed set on 25 July!)
What Else I’ve Been Up To
My beautiful 120-count set of Caran d’Ache Pablo coloured pencils are due to arrive on Wednesday, and I can’t wait to start drawing with them. They’re really pricey (though not quite as pricey as the top of the line Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils), but totally worth it. I found a pretty good deal on them, and knew I had to have them. This is one area where you really can do your own research and come away with a variety of valid opinions (unlike, say, the vaccine-denialist cult). Some people prefer other brands, like Faber-Castell or Derwent, but my heart kept pulling me towards Caran d’Ache.
I’m also really happy to have more of my stuff out of my ex’s parents’ basement. The rest of my CDs and DVDs, more books, personal mementos and letters, the little Steeler for my keychain (which I got from my grandpap’s personal effects after he passed on), the rest of my records, lots of good stuff.
I particularly missed these:
Back when I still had desktops, these were taped to the top of the plastic screen around the monitor. When I got that postcard at 21, I was struck by how vulnerable and gentle Pete (far left) looks, and of course unconventionally handsome. He’s been my fave rave since i was fourteen, and I chose him based completely on inner qualities, without really knowing what he looked like. It sucks how he’s lost his hair, but at least he’s alive and well, and is still beautiful where it counts.