Oct. 11th, 2009

zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
So I spent Thursday and Friday moving books, partly so as not to think too much about staffing issues, partly because we have to move every book in the library and some of them twice. --Some of them three times, for that matter.

It turns out that when you spend an hour at a time, a few times a day, moving books from shelf to trolley and taking the lift upstairs, then moving books from trolley to shelf and taking the lift downstairs, then you get
  • tired,
  • dizzy,
  • confused about whether you should be pushing for level 2 or level 3,
  • and occasionally panicked: This is level 2! What am I doing here? I should be on level 3! Why am I on level 2? Think, Zeborah, think: my trolley's empty, so that means I need to be picking up books, so whew, I guess level 2's correct after all.
Talking with colleagues confirmed that it wasn't just me on any count.

Anyway, I'm going to library conference on Monday, and giving two presentations there on Tuesday, so my plan on Friday night was to boil a heck of a lot of rice, eat a big dinner, watch a movie, go to bed, and work on the presentations in the weekend (with leftover rice for a meal somewhere there).

It started going wrong when I ate all the rice at once, leaving no leftovers at all. The movies were good though. Fire over England ("This recording is protected by copyright" - oh no it's not! public domain, mate. Public domain.) is one I'd watched before - personally Queen Elizabeth bores me in it, but when Our Hero goes back to Spain as an undercover agent, there's some stuff that really hits the spot for me. Old movies can be slow, but they can show some startling subtlety of motivation too, which is too often neglected nowadays. And lines like:
The whole trouble comes from treating your enemies like human beings. Don't you see, my dear, that if you do that, they cease to be enemies? Think what that leads to! It's the end of patriotism. It's the end of war. It's the end of... of everything! Now do you see?
When I finished watching that, I thought I'd watch the next one on the DVD, Angel on my Shoulder. The first few minutes bored me but when I looked up again it was set in Hell, and it piqued my interest, and then we met the Devil and he rocked. The plot's a fairly predictable "Mobster makes deal with the devil but the love of a good woman turns him to the side of good," but the mobster/devil interactions are awesomesauce, and the love interest, despite being the eponymous-but-figurative angel, displays sense and spunk at an opportune moment, and then (spoiler in white space) when the mobster makes the ultimate sacrifice of returning to hell so more deserving folk can have a happy life, instead of the writers deciding that this sacrifice exempts him from hell, and sending him up in a cloud of white, yadda yadda -- which should totally happen, but I don't care, because how they ended it was way cooler: on the way back down to hell, the Devil is promising to torture him worse than ever, and he's blackmailing the Devil right back: "Oh no you won't, or I tell everyone down there what a fool you made of yourself."(end spoiler)

But to get to my title. I eventually go to bed. And I sleep well. And I dream that I'm revising two books, and I realise that actually the story I want to tell would work fine as a short story - new guy arrives on spaceship, confrontation scene with captain about how he's really there to investigate his father's murder, a bit of investigation, then there's the song that only the murderer could have known (in real life it's the song from Fire Over England but in the dream it wouldn't have been) and various other very vivid things happened which I've now forgotten because the important thing is that I then woke up and thought, Damn! Because I knew which novels they were, and though this short story is actually a different story it could totally be in the same universe, and unlike most dream-stories it actually is a story, especially with some tweaking, and while I'm at it I'll make it a woman investigating her mother's murder instead, and ooh I could do this, and that, and I want to write this right now!

--But I can't, because I have to spend the weekend preparing for two presentations on Tuesday.

Le head-desk.

---

A day and a half later, I've managed to get the slideshows ready so now just need to rehearse the speaking side of things some more, and I've managed to squeeze in enough time to write several hundred words of the story. It's probably going to be all but unrecognisable from the dream, but I'll know it's the same story really.

Still waiting for my sense of balance to recover from Friday.

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