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Give a hoot, don't mahout

17aug2009: Summer heat turns my attention in curious directions. Two curios that have resulted recently: a drawing of an elephant (right) and a fragment of prose (below the fold).

Nora had started writing a science fiction novel exactly seven times. Each time, she began by writing exposition about the universe, its politics, whether and how space travel was possible, what people there might eat for lunch, and so on. Every time, she wrote exactly twelve pages before she stopped. She paused for a moment to look back at the screed she had written, just far enough away from having written it to gain some perspective. She realized that she was not writing a story so much as an executive summary of what a traveller to her fictional world should expect. It was fact-filled but tedious, without interesting characters or even the prospect that one might appear. The first three of these aborted novels were written longhand on yellow legal pads; they were crumpled up and thrown away. Two were written in computer labs at school; closed without saving. One was written on the first computer she owned herself; also deleted. The final protonovel was written in an e-mail client; she meant to delete it, in her page-twelve moment of clarity, but accidentally sent it as an e-mail message to her psychologist.


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