Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

July 20, 2009

Time to get my words on

Filed under: wordsmithery — lexifab @ 10:01 pm

With Evan packed on a plane back to Brisbane yesterday afternoon, our big week of visitors has come to an end. As usually happens when I’ve had some holiday time with my fellow travellers Ev and Andrew, I’m feeling inspired to get some creative writing under my belt. Ev diligently did a few hundred words on his novel each day while he was here, and Andrew’s output is typically prolific (if not always focused on a single project, or, say, less than a dozen at once). I, on the other hand, am a slack bastard, easily distracted and prone to opting for easy excuses – such as the baby-minding, the property management, my gaming schedule, the horribly detailed security clearance application I’ve been working on for weeks and, if I’m honest, the coverage of the Ashes, which will be on more or less constantly for the next three or so weeks.

But, but, but. At the moment, the enthusiasm meter has wobbled over towards the red, so I’m grabbing the opportunity and devoting the odd half hour or so a day (starting in a few minutes time…) to continue work on an old short story. I started it a couple of years ago, before abandoning it through sheer neglect and forgetfulness more than anything else. In theory it should be easy enough to pick it up from where I left it, since I sort of recall having a pretty vague idea about where I was going with it.

Doing some short story work isn’t a bad idea, since the bigger plan of writing a novel is proceeding with glacial indifference. I am bit by bit building up the knowledge base I need in order to form the story, but I know I’m nowhere near the point yet where I could turn that accumulation of historical detritus into a story of the right shape. It’s a productive crawl I’m running at, but it’s still a crawl.

All right, the cricket’s coming up towards drinks, the battery’s about to die in the laptop and I need a cuppa. I’ll get back to you after I’ve done something constructive about following through on all this wittering with good intentions.

Later: The bloody cricket has ended in predictable disappointment, but at least I’ve added 300 words or so to the bottom line. The text isn’t exactly flowing freely, but I’m out of shape for this particular treadmill, so that’s not surprising. The pace will probably pick up a bit over the next few days. Unlike in the bloody cricket.

July 10, 2009

Further Magnatery

Filed under: property magnatism,Uncategorized,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 1:36 am

We put in an offer on some flats in southern NSW this week, thus kicking off the tedious and terrifying property buying circus yet again. Assuming these ones aren’t crawling with rats or about to collapse, this buy will chew up the remainder of our equity, making it our last investment property for some time. We won’t be in a position to buy again until either we pay down a considerable amount on our home mortgage (you pay that one out first because interest charges on one’s ‘principle place of residence’ are not tax deductible) or something we own appreciates in value, or – preferably, and in accordance with ‘The Plan’ – a little of both.

That’s a bit of a relief actually, because predictably the places we have bought already have not been miraculously cheap to own and maintain. Quite the opposite, of course – they’ve all required numerous small fixes, and a couple have called for rather more expensive interventions. Nothing has exceeded our budgets yet – we were pretty careful and quite conservative in working out what we could comfortably afford to maintain – but all the same each new invoice provokes a reaction somewhere between a resigned sigh and an acutely pained wince. I have to keep reminding myself, over and over, to chant the ‘short term pain for long term gain’ mantra, and picture myself some day in the not-quite-unforseeable future sitting in a cafe somewhere writing the Next Great American Novel* unencumbered by a need to do something more financially reliable for a living. It’s a nice dream, and it helps control the tooth-grinding.

* Fi insists that it has to be an American novel because she is not convinced that sales of the Next Great Australian Novel would keep her in the manner to which she would prefer to become accustomed.

July 8, 2009

Summer in July

Filed under: cricket,friends,joey — lexifab @ 11:39 pm

It’s lunch after the first session of the first Ashes Test in Cardiff, with the Australians pretty much on top despite missing Binga and Stuey C from the attack. Probably too early to call the series a whitewash to Australia, I suppose, but the Poms aren’t looking too flash at this point, with three wickets. We’ll see, I guess.

Evan, Andrew and Von will be here for a visit in a couple of days (him for a week, them for just the weekend). It won’t quite be a substitute for our sort-of tradition of shared holidays, but still a terrific break from the current day to day routine. If I have any trepidation about the visit, it’s in wondering how the presence of my little boy will affect how we all get along together. For that matter it will be interesting to see how the Joey reacts to having someone different hanging around the house all day. It might be an interesting juggling act to make sure that I can give everyone the attention they deserve.

Especially if I’m up all night every night watching the Ashes.

July 7, 2009

Jimbo’s older too

Filed under: family — lexifab @ 12:46 am

Baby brother’s birthday today. In accordance with occasionally-observed tradition, he already owns at least one of the things I got him.

The narrow window of proud parentage

Filed under: joey — lexifab @ 12:12 am

For purposes that I’m sure are in no way related to being competitive about her child’s achievements, Fi started idly documenting the list of comprehensible, contextually-appropriate words in the Joey’s vocabulary this week, to compare with the 20 or so that a typical 18-or-so month old would be expected to have under his command. His tally’s over 90 words at the moment, already nearly double the number that he should know in six months time. Woah!

The thrill of knowing that our little boy is a precocious speaker is more than tempered by the fact that two of the words in question are not ones that we hope he will use in polite company. Oops. Stupid parents forgot the old adage “Swear in haste and apply careful remedial action for several months subsequently in leisure”, or however it goes.

(Another distinct equalising effect – he trips over his own feet a *lot*. Neither Tony-award winning tap star nor Man U striker are shaping up as career options at this stage).

July 2, 2009

Counting down to next weekend

Filed under: cricket,family,friends,geekery,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 9:54 pm

Evan’s dropping in on the Nerdfarm for a week starting next weekend, so I’m feeling like I’m kind of running down the clock until he gets here. Various minor setbacks are causing annoyance, like calling off tonight’s Burning Wheel game (due to someone else being tired rather than me, for once) and suffering the annoying but not unfamiliar combo of severe procrastination and writer’s block on the two projects I’ve got ticking away in the background. I think I will cheat and distract my brain by starting a third project, one that doesn’t really matter whether I get it finished or not.

Side comment: I am currently listening to farewelling Doctor Who maven/producer Russell T. Davies being interviewed on the BBC. He’s a marvel, that one. Oddly, given my slavering DW fanboyism, his insights into the nature and limitations of British television drama are the most interesting parts of the interview. It’s here. (RTD’s bit only lasts for about the first 13 minutes, after you get through an intro).

Jimbo’s asking what fun I have planned for when Ev gets here. Hrm, that’s a bit of a stumper actually. Fortunately, the first Ashes test is being broadcast live from the UK (Cardiff’s up first!) the first couple of evenings, so that’s that sorted – Ev’s very keen to actually sit down and watch a test, which he claims never to have done before. In this, I can oblige him.Other than that, my plans vaguely revolve around talking about books and movies and playing Red Faction and Guitar Hero. Quick, somebody think of something fun!

Speaking of Jimbo, it’s his birthday on Monday. Send him stuff. He will be grateful, I feel certain.

Second Side Note: I am reading Scourge and Fire: Savonarola and Renaissance Italy by Lauro Martines at the moment. Excellent biography of a fascinating historical figure whom I had previously written off as an unsympathetic raving nutjob. The thing that makes me sad reading this book is that I have realised I need to do a lot more research for that novel I’m kind of working on – for one thing, I really need to know more about Renaissance Milan, Pisa and Rome and various other historical personages whom I had hoped to avoid bothering with. Sigh. This is what I get for thinking that writing in a fictionalised historical setting would be an interesting challenge.

Gah. Enough procrastinating. I need to go do some work of some kind.

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