Un-Moroccan Chicken and Un Lun Dun

It’s Monday morning here, but due to the vagaries of international timezones I suspect there will not be much of Monday left by the time Say Zucchini, and Mean It arrives in my in-box. Such are the drawbacks of living on the other side of the world, I suspect.

Tonight I shall make the most un-Moroccan Moroccan chicken imaginable, given that it will consist primarily of pumpkin soup with chickpeas and bits of chicken in it, spread over a layer of couscous. The couscous, by and large, is probably going to be the best bit. Possibly also the only bit that qualifies as Moroccan.

It will, at least, be healthy un-Moroccan chicken, if the Australian Heart Foundation website is to be believed, and that’s probably a good thing after the week of pizza that occurred when I was last chasing a deadline.

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There’s a rather nice review of both Horn and Bleed over on the Living in SIN blog, which is  not the kind of blog you’d expect it to be from the title and entirely safe for work. I keep meaning to point people towards reviews of my story in Eclipse 4 as well, but every time I think about it I’m writing a bit of the blog during a coffee break at the dayjob, far away from the bookmarks where I group such things together and keep them handy for linkage.

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I kept trying to disappear into the bunker over the weekend, but somehow events conspired to ensure I never really made it there. I kept being distracted by, say, dinner with my sister and our friend VillainousMog who was visiting from London for the first time in two years and made for some excellent company.

On Sunday I was distracted by sleep and goodreads and the search for a good hotdog and the usual Sunday night gaming session, which meant I hit the end of the weekend feeling oddly relaxed and socialised and in possession of about three thousand words to account for two days work.

Which isn’t bad, I’ll grant you that, but isn’t really the stuff of a heroic effort in the word-bunker either. Still, the novel has a shape forming that’s actually novel-like, and the short story I’m working on hit a point where I figured out what it wanted to do, and I suspect that this afternoon I’ll get back hitting 2,500 words in a day, if only because I’ve run out of distractions and large portions of my house are now clean.

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I started reading China Miéville’s Un Lun Dun over the weekened, which was going swimmingly until such time as I hit one of those things that makes me go “oh, really? We’re doing that? Okay, I guess,” and then suddenly be much less interested in the book.

It’s the sort of thing that happens to me and books all the time. I’ll be enjoying myself immensely and then, out of nowhere, there’s be a parenthetical aside in a third-person narration, and I’ll find my enjoyment deflated and listless from there on. Un Lun Dun doesn’t do the parenthetical aside thing, but it introduces a concept and bit of wordplay that’s distracting enough that I can’t get back into the story.

It’s like that moment when you’re at a party, having a good time, then you realise that you’re actually quite drunk and you can’t get your equilibrium back once that realisation happens.

Still, I persevere, slightly less enthused than I was before, but still enjoying myself. And because The City and The City was brilliant and full of words that didn’t alienate me, and so I’ll trust in pretty much anything Miéville does after that.

And because, more often than not,  Miéville manages the opposite thing, where the right word or concept is introduced at exactly the right time, and thus there is a moment of joy to be had.

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