March 2nd, 2005

Illustmaker me

Shapeshifters and identity

hobviously, I really am working on that Luna challenge (she and Colin are sneaking into Umbridge's office in the hope of doing a Quibbler article on that quill, with pictures), but I've gone from writing 2000 words a day to struggling to hack out a couple hundred. Weird. Where'd all the words go?

I think I just haven't totally disengaged from the last big project yet. Probably doesn't help that I'm cleaning it up a chapter at a time for the Quill version, and therefore still in regular contact with it. At any rate, doing something that's resembling a second draft has me thinking about the theme of the thing--what's it all about, Alfie?--just as a kind of focusing tool (Stephen King refers to it as "something like a magnifying glass" in the writer's toolbox in On Writing). I knew I was thinking about the relationship between the shapeshifters Remus and Tonks (hence the title), but looking at it again, I'm seeing a whole lot of shapeshifting... which isn't surprising, since I'd been noticing around the time I started it just how much shapeshifting there is in Harry Potter canon.

So what is it about shapeshifting? Why is it such a common motif?

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Illustmaker me

Commute from hell

Okay, so first, the bus is almost ten minutes late. Then, it picks up an entire high school's worth of students, which meant it was packed, which meant more drop-off stops. This is bad enough, but expected when I leave late. (Though why a HS is getting out at 12:30 is a mystery to me.)

Then an elderly lady and her husband got on.

The bus is packed with perfectly healthy teenagers, about eight of them sitting in the seats marked explicitly "Please give this seat up to elderly and handicapped persons." So here's me, twice their age and not in such a seat, and guess who starts paying off her seat-giving-up karmic debt from this summer?

Which would be fine--annoying, but after spending the summer on crutches and having a lot of people giving up their seats for me, I owe it in a karmic sense if not the technical manners sense--but the lady gave the seat to her husband and neither of them said thank you. And the kids, who were in the triple threat position of being younger, having gotten on after me, and being in the elderly seat, said nothing whatsoever and seemed to take it as a matter of course. Is no one teaching manners?

So I go the rest of the way hanging by my poor short arms while a trio of elderly folks speaking Russian ignored me on one side and an entire school full of teens speaking teen ignored me on the other side, and my ankle was saying, "Aw, come on! I was just getting the hang of this everyday standing around business and now I'm being tossed around by the world's swerviest bus driver?" So of course, it was stiff and my leg hurt, and when I got to the top of the stairs after getting off the subway (I got a seat on the train, and a charming elderly gentleman sat by me and rolled his eyes about the bus), I tripped over the top step and went sprawling on the bricks, and ripped up my stockings and my leg, which is now singing grand opera.

(I know, poor me, let's have a self-pity party.)

Please tell me the day will get better.
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Illustmaker me

Social security

And on another subject, I was just reading an article on NRO in which someone roughly my age was going on about how Rock the Vote shouldn't be against putting Social Security in the stock market. I've always thought it was a bad idea--not a poorly intended one, just a bad one--but one line in the article particularly struck me: Is the MTV generation so risk averse that it can't stand the thought of lower guaranteed benefits, with the chance of higher ones?

Er... I don't know about the rest of my generation, but my own answer is a resounding, "You betcha, babe." Bird in the hand vs two in the bush and all that. That's the safety net. If I want to take some other money I have (yeah, right) and invest it, then I can do so to supplement social security, and I expect to do so, but that will be money I can afford to lose--money that is not, in fact, part of the safety net, but part of the ladder to climb.

I also must admit that I don't ever anticipate retiring, unless I strike it rich as a writer and can live off royalties forever. It's not that I wouldn't like to have time to travel and see all the things I'm missing in the workaday world, but retirement seems to be too financially insecure for me even now.