Friday Five


1. As usual, am juggling all the things. While keeping fingers crossed for other things. It's hard, though, with the weather changing from Hotter Than The Sun to Oh, Summer, You're So Nice, Come Here to not just go walkabout and ride in canoes and walk the dogs a million times in the woods and sit in the backyard drinking a nice Mulderbosch rosé and reading obsessively. Just having these impulses mostly turns out to be enough to satisfy them, and instead I've been meeting deadlines and getting back into the morning word count routine with the circus book, which has stopped being mad at me for setting it aside for a couple of months to work on something else–at least, I think it has. This weekend: some proofing to do, some interview q's to send, and a Sunday meeting of the YA Books Adult Beverages Book Club (Graceling this time around). Fun.

2. Another truly fantastic piece from Alexander Chee at the Morning News, this time on Tarot. I defy you to resist this essay after reading the first paragraph: "Like many children, I wanted to be more powerful than the world around me, and so I became interested in magic. I read novels of wizards and sorceresses, dragon-riding heroes and lost kings hidden from their enemies, raised as commoners to protect them. I went to the library and read first into the mythology section and soon found myself coming home with The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer. This, I did not know until I got it home, was a famous anthropological work on magic. I’d hoped it was a spell book. All I knew was that I wanted to whistle up a wind."

3. Another fabulous essay, this time at Serious Eats and about the origins of Cookies n' Cream ice cream, by local star and pastry chef of the gods Stella Parks, aka the Brave Tart. She even comes around to the infamous Baskin Robbins Clown Cone, which I'd forgotten existed (!): "Love for Clown Cones related to their rarity. Like diamonds, they existed in abundance, but tightfisted parents controlled the market. Their unwillingness to shell out four times the cost of a single scoop turned the Clown Cone (in all frankness a cheap conglomeration of icing squiggles and horror) into the most desirable of treats." Seriously, go read this. I love excellent food writing and this is. Bonus: Scary Clown Cone photos.

4. Survey says we like spoilers. I don't find this surprising at all, actually. Many of my favorite TV shows are ones I picked up in the fourth, third, or second seasons (Buffy, Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, respectively), and one of the unexpected benefits of this was making up the imaginary narrative that explained the things from the past the characters referenced. The actual causes always turned out to be slightly different (sometimes majorly so), but that wasn't disappointing; it was fascinating. It's a good way to learn about stories, reverse engineering them, or even just looking at the engineering as it goes if you're starting at the beginning. A good story should withstand foreknowledge. All that said: sometimes I do like a narrative surprise, but it doesn't have to be a big one, the type that spoilers reference. Often the little surprises are the best.

5. Finally, from Stephany Aulenback, a photograph of a face emerging from a storm cloud. Magic.

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