July has been a string of hot, humid days punctuated by rainstorms. Stepping outside was like hitting a wall of muggy air most afternoons--the temperature has hovered around 30 degrees Celsius (that's close to 90 Fahrenheit, for all you Americans).
Pea season and strawberry season have come and gone. Fresh sugarsnaps just taste of summer, and a slice of pie stuffed with just-picked strawberries confirms that yes indeed, we are in the midst of summertime. And we can't forget those few meals that were strictly composed of watermelon and rohl kuchen. (That's a Mennonite/German dish . . . a deep-fried doughnut-y thing that looks like braided/twisted bread. It's absolutely delicious with watermelon.)
You'd think these hot days would ooze by slowly, but noooo. July galloped by nearly as fast as May and June. I won't inundate you with all the details, seeing as much of what filled my month was the same as last time (and the time before that): work, family time, gardening, general life activities, etc.
However, a few new things did happen this month.
My family and I celebrated Canada Day with friends. Snacks, fireworks, more glow sticks than I knew what to do with, and all-around fun times.
I wrote like crazy for my Sleeping Beauty novella--have I mentioned how desperately that thing is trying to grow into a novel??--and am currently at 17k. I hope to reach 20k in the next day or two, if I push hard. Not like that will signify the end of the story . . . The prince is just now on the cusp of going off to rescue the princess. Sound like a problem? It is. Even so, I've been having a delightful time unspooling this story, untangling threads and plaiting them into a design that will need some tweaking later not. Plus, Luci and Hadrian and Aleida and all the rest have completely captured my heart.
Recently, one of my dearest friends spent two and a half days at my place, during which time we enjoyed catching up, goofing off, watching both Captain America movies (her first time seeing them!), and bike riding out to a park to do a fun photo-shoot in the heavy July heat. Yes, we made sure to guzzle lots of water.
My two sisters took care of a friend's little dog for a week, so we saw lots of that adorable pooch here during that time. (Do you know how hard it is to put her in her kennel for night and have to leave her whimpering there? Do you? She's like a bratty child at bedtime, but how can you say no to that sad little whimper? My sisters had to drag me away.)
It was quiet on the reading front this month--only two novels. Now I know all you bookworms are gasping in horror right now, but in my defense, I was busy and one of the books was Pride and Prejudice.
|This is my exact copy, picked up in perfect|
condition at a book fair. For $3, that's a win,
wouldn't you say?
The second book is Plain Kate by Erin Bow.
On a whim, I picked it up at the library because the cover was pretty and the blurb interesting. The simple narrative style is deceiving, though. I was expecting the story to sit comfortably on the younger YA level, but the darker themes and sparsely poetic prose nudge it up a bit. Seriously, Ms. Bow knows how to paint a stunning picture. I'm in love with her style. And with Kate herself, an orphaned carpenter thought by the townsfolk to be a witch. Simultaneously gutsy and fearful, this plain-featured girl possesses remarkable skill with a knife. Her cat, Taggle, winds up talking (don't worry, that's not a spoiler), and very quickly chose a spot in my heart as well. He's just . . . very catty. If you've met Eanrin from Tales of Goldstone Wood, you'll understand what I mean; yet Taggle is still his own unique self. Just hear him speak:
"Hello," he said, then rolled over and peered up at her appealingly. "I am fond of you and present my throat for scratching."Besides, he offers to kill things to make Kate feel better. HE IS SUCH A CAT. Anyway, I'm nearly finished. This last quarter is raising all sorts of questions about the "villain." Such as, should I remove the quotations and consider him an actual villain, or is he merely a sympathetic antagonist?
Well, that about sums up July. Not as much to detail here this time around, which is why I went on and on about books. But that's a topic we all love, right? (And if you don't, I must question why you read blogs in the first place, especially the blog of a writer. Stick around and I'll convert you.)
How was your July? Do you have plans for August? I've got a few, one of them being to actually finish Sleeping Beauty's first draft, title it, and start editing it (a.k.a. chopping it into pieces with my Big Editing Axe). Do tell! I'm interested to hear how your summer's going. And since we were talking about food--quick, what's your favorite summer dish?