an achievement

After some serious pondering, I decided that the reason my wonderful blogs are never featured on the WordPress Freshly Pressed page is that I never have pictures up here anymore.
So, for my 301st post at Paradoxes, here is a picture of a happy cookie:

That should do it.

friday fairy tale

In blogalectic with Jenna St. Hilaire and Masha.

Once upon a time there was a fairy tale. It was a very sad story. One day a tall and incredibly thin man happened upon the fairy tale as it was sitting on a stone lamenting its lot.

“What,” said the thin man, “is the matter?”

“I am a sad story,” said the fairy tale. “So I am lamenting my lot.”

“Oh,” said the thin man. “I know the answer to that. I’ll tell you a story to cheer you up.”

“You’ll what?” said the fairy tale.

The thin man began:

Once upon a time there was a fairy tale. It was a very happy story. One day a short and remarkably fat man happened upon the fairy tale as it was frolicking through the fields.

“What,” said the fat man, “are you doing?”

“I’m a happy story,” said the fairy tale. “So I am frolicking through the fields.”

“Oh, I know the cure for that,” said the fat man. “I’ll tell you a story to show you what the world is really like.”

“You’ll what?” said the fairy tale.

The fat man began:

Once upon a time there was a fairy tale. It was a very beautiful story. One day a dull and quite ordinary man happened upon the fairy tale as it was admiring itself in a mirror.

“What,” said the dull man, “are you looking at?”

“I am a beautiful story,” said the fairy tale. “So I’m admiring myself.”

“Oh, I want to see!” said the dull man. He shoved the fairy tale aside and stared at the mirror. There was his quite ordinary face staring back at him dully.

“Ah yes,” said the dull man rapturously. “A wonderful beauty indeed!”

But the beautiful fairy tale, who actually knew something about mirrors, tried to take the mirror back. The dull man tried to keep it away, and in the tussle they both knocked the mirror to the floor where it shattered into a thousand shimmering pieces. And if you want to know who broke it, find them both and see who’s had all the bad luck.

“That’s a horrible story,” said the fairy tale. “Now I’m not a bit happy!”

“That’s good, then,” said the fat man happily. “You know what life is like, now.”

The fairy tale kicked him heavily in the shins, and ran off into the forest, sobbing bitter tears.

“That’s a hilarious story,” said the fairy tale. “Now I’m not a bit sad!”

“But you were a sad story,” said the thin man. “So if you’re not sad, you’re not a story, and therefore you don’t exist. QED.”

“Oh,” said the fairy tale, and vanished with a little sound like sighing.

“That was easy,” said the thin man and rather unexpectedly a herd of elephants rampaged out of the forest and trampled him to death. The sad story had been his, and that was the end of it.

Moral: Write what you know, but not what you think.


It’s all about me.

This blog post, I mean. And please don’t blame me, because it’s really not my fault. Jenna St. Hilaire, whom you may know from the blogaletic or the Blogengamot or other places beginning with blog, has been an heroic champion for the cause of shameless narcissism. Shameless, because in this case there’s really nothing wrong with a little me-indulgence.

In fact, if you think about it, I’m doing you a favour, by telling you all about all my amazing awesomeness. Right?

Just. Kidding.

What’s not kidding is that it’s all about me, and having been duly tagged I need to tell you ten random tidbits about myself, which shall be no trouble because I’m sure as soon as I open my mouth I shall say three very dull things indeed. Repeat, repeat, only need to think of one.

Anyway, with a salute to LiveJournal and in no particular order:

  1. I am involved in some very exciting projects I can’t tell you about yet. They involve writing.
  2. I am sure you are at the right place to be let in on the secrets when the time is right.
  3. I have never fainted, not even on choir tour, although I have occasionally wanted to.
  4. When I was younger, I had chronic difficulty with punctuality. It made me several enemies. I wish that was exaggeration.
  5. At the moment I’m sitting on a very expensive Afghan rug that doesn’t belong to me; our landlord sells rugs and thought the flat needed one. I didn’t complain.
  6. I am a lucid dreamer, which might explain more about my fiction than I would like it to. Several of my stories have been based on dreams; a good many more include dreams.
  7. I am a self-sorted Ravenclaw, and have some anxiety that the Sorting Hat at might put me in another house. I will be really quite upset if that happens.
  8. When I was an undergrad I had a long beard and short hair, because that’s what I could get away with. Now I have a trim beard and a pony tail down my back, mostly because I have a very nice razor but am too lazy and/or tight-fisted to go the barber.
  9. I am the only person in my department who wears a tie to work everyday. When I finally break down and buy a bow tie, I will wear that at least once a week. I’m on something of a quiet crusade against informality.
  10. . That said, I am probably the sort of person who would chronically wear black and listen alternately to very threatening and precociously loud music. But by dint of upbringing and circumstance I became the sort of person who wore jeans and flannel shirts and listened alternately to NPR and the Country station. When I left undergrad, I morphed into a different sort of person,who wears tweeds and listens alternately to highbrow classical and They Might Be Giants.
  11.   And here’s a freebie because you’ve been good:
    I’m something of a medieval re-enactor—the kind that’s fussy about authenticity and reads arcane swordsmanship handbooks just for fun; a lot of my colleagues are in Regia Anglorum, but I’m not quite ready to tie myself down to that narrow a period. I’m reasonably comfortable with single-handed sword, and rather foolishly pleased of my increasing confidence with two-handed spear. Perhaps the ideal weapon combination for me is sword and dagger, although I plan to study sword and shield, and hopefully hand-axe. That said, it’s no fun getting hit in the gut with the edge of a round shield, even when it was accidental and the person accidentally hitting you was at the same time accidentally hitting himself in the nose. Re-enacting, just to clarify, is marginally safer than golf.

If you’ve read this and want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged. You are, as the saying goes, it.


All the cool people are doing it.

By which I mean, you’re about to read a series of questions I pinched from Erzaveria who pinched it from A Displaced Hedgehog who pinched it from someone who pinched it from someone else, and heavens know where they got it.

It’s one of those personality tests, or cyber profiles, or whatever—a random Q&A that just asks you stuff. I could discern no apparent order or purpose. It meanders. It doubles back and contradicts. And it seems, as the Displaced Hedgehog noted, to be intended for people rather younger than I am. But I don’t think I’ve ever actually answered one of these, so with the glee of rediscovering a neglected childhood delight , I do now.

I must give the caveat that I wrote these answers yesterday, so the ‘What did you do yesterday?’ questions are no out of date. But they’re probably more interesting than what I could give you today.

Do you normally arrive on time?
Always. I have yet to arrive either at an atemporal state (more’s the pity), or at a time that was not of my choosing. I arrive precisely when I mean to.

Unless I don’t.

Are you in good shape?
Approximately humanoid, yes.

When did you last have your picture taken?
I’m never entirely sure about this. Living in a tourist town means that I am unwillingly appearing in the background of a lot of people’s holiday albums, usually with a distressed look on my face. The more I try to avoid getting my picture taken, the more people take the pictures. Either I’m Local Colour or, given my furtive attempts to not get photographed, people figure they’re having a celebrity sighting.

Continue reading


On What It Is

Anti-Wednesday is Thursday.

“Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful!”

No, seriously. Anti-Wednesday is tomorrow. I have been thinking about the reflections on anti-tale to share with you dear people, and thought myself hungry. So I’m going to bish-bash-bosh me some Tomato Soup.

See you on Thursday for anti-Wednesday.

Well, let’s go.