I seriously don't like mornings. Specifically in winter. Actually it's not so much that it's morning, it's that I feel like absolute shit and there doesn't seem to be any way to avoid it.
If I have the heat on a good temperature or sleep with enough blankets, I'll be plenty warm, even if it seems cold when I get in bed. However, though warm and snug I may be, when I wake up I will feel horrible, feeling like I've been "baked." My eyes completely dry out and I get horrible headaches, just from being so warm. On the other hand, if I decide for fewer blankets or to turn down the heat, I will have to sleep all curled up or like a mummy, head under the blankets, uncomfortable and shivering until finally at 4 a.m. I have to get another blanket. I'll wake up having spent half the night either awake or sleeping but freezing. Where is the middle path?
This problem goes way back. I remember one time when I was 5 or 6, sometime in winter it was cold and on Saturday afternoon or evening, I turned up the thermostat to 85. My mom had always said to turn it down again at night but I forgot. The next day when I woke up I was soooooo sick. I remember I had a horrible headache and was dizzy and felt "baked." My mom had no sympathy and made me go to church anyway, since it was my own fault. Pah.
I was calculating today and figured out I haven't been home for Thanksgiving since 1995. This is OK with me, as I have had good Thanksgivings on my own and go home for Christmas anyway, but still, that is a pretty long time. Seems like I haven't seen my mom's white and pink rose china in a long time :)
Which reminds me of something I guess I don't miss, which was of course those crazy fights that used to always break out at Thanksgiving or other happy family dinner occasions. The most memorable one was when my sister Betty (at that time, over 30!) got into an argument with me about table etiquette (she should talk!) and ended up shaking up and then shooting a 2-liter bottle of ginger ale in my face, like right at the table! (Can you tell I'm not over the shock?)
Another time my brother Tom got sour at me and erupted, end result was me hiding under the dining room table for an hour and my brother (hmmm, in his 20s) locking himself in his old bedroom.
Jeeez, what FUN I'm missing! Now I bet there are cross-generational fights too, so grandkids can get my dad mad and dad can take it out on a brother-in-law :)
It seems that reading Left Hand has awoken my (active) interest in my under-dev novel, Tarimur. Officially, I am not going to resume work until January, but unofficially my mind is once again "on the job" and going at it.
Quite a few ideas have come up just since yesterday, and I'm very excited.
One question I have come up with, which maybe some of you reading could help me with, is: In a society where there is no sexuality or mating, per se, would there be any biological value in beauty? I ask because in the alien culture I have created, that is the case; except for at one critical moment, when the procreator (who has become pregnant through parthenogenesis) receives a sort of fertilization/genetic addition from another being, there is no need for any courtship, mating dance or attraction. Individuals don't need to vie for mates based on look... so would beauty have evolved? I think it would have, because I think it would be vestigial from an earlier time when maybe that was part of the process, but I'm still wondering.
Some other things I've been thinking about: Non-gendered pronouns. There was a big discussion about this recently amongst the Wraeththu crowd and in the past couple of days I've read some interesting discussions of the (non)use of non-gendered pronouns in Left Hand of Darkness. Ursula Leguin herself has said that she goofed on this. This led me to consider whether such a pronoun was called for in my book. I really am not keen on the idea and was happy when I realized that there is no reason not to use "he" and "him" because when you think about it, the book is written like it's a translation of an alien text, so it's our language they are using, and those pronouns are most expedient. Plus, the story takes places exclusively in that culture and there are no true males or females that need to be distinguished. I also feel the book's descriptions make it quite clear that the aliens are not men; individuals are clearly possessed of "masculine" and "feminine" traits, even though in their society such traits are not distinguished (unlike in Left Hand, where they exist during a brief monthly estrus period).
Besides thinking over these deeper issues, I've come up with a whole new plot thread, starting up in the fifth chapter, which is where I'm going to resume work. I already had a bit of the idea already, which is basically the introduction of a sort of friendship / attraction / love element to the story, but now I have developed it more. I have also incorporated another element which many people had suggested to me, which is a change to my concept of their reproductive biology. I decided that while parthenogenesis is the main means, there is some need for a second individual who, while not the father, provides additional genetic material. This aspect is something which is not even known among society in general and which is only revealed within the walls of the palace, since it is in fact those in the royal house who serve in the role as the "additive." Can't wait to write this bit now, as it will add something else to the plot.
Finally, on a super happy note, after months of "looking away" I finally faced up to reviewing parts of the MS and wow, I truly am impressed with it. I don't say that in an arrogant way, but in a way meaning that sometimes it's hard to really "see" your writing anymore and it takes a while before you read it and appreciate it. It was like with BD (after all that editing, it was a couple months before I could bear to look at it again) and it's the same here. I am impressed with how it's written, all the detail, the tone, etc. After reading so many great books in the interim, like The Chosen and the Nightrunner books, I really was starting to doubt myself a bit, thinking what I'd done was quite crap, but it's not at all.
All in all, Yay!