Well, here it is over a month without the satellite signal streaming into the house and we're none the worse for wear. I imagine the vacation notification I sent to Shaw is about to expire on Monday and we'll once more have the lulling, magical warmth of broadcast TV coming once more into our home.
But not for long.
We've decided to cancel our subscription to satellite TV. We've come to realize, through its absence, that we have better (and less expensive) ways to fill our evenings than to sit and bath in the TV's warming glow. Oh, we've watched movies and some on-demand TV (via the internet) but no where near the volume as before.
We've been doing a lot more reading, individually and as a family. We're two thirds of the way through the last Harry Potter book. JK Rowling is a masterful storyteller but you don't appreciate how clunky her writing can be until you attempt to read some of her twelve line sentences aloud to your kids. Try it - you'll see.
Summer has bled away into Autumn with the chilly mornings, great sunsets and changing leaves. The days grow shorter and shorter and I haven't a clue anymore when we'll see daylight savings slip back to standard time. The bounty of our little garden has been harvested and mostly eaten, but a few vegetables lurk in the root cellar waiting for just the right meal.
Writing goes well. My vampire story is finished and submitted - waiting for feedback from the editor. A while back I was doing a little research into early onset Alzheimer's. I came across an article and video of Terry Pratchett who presented one million dollars to the Alzheimer's society. I followed a link to his official website and came across this.
This is what Terry Pratchett has to say about The Pratchett Prize over on his website:
Anywhere but here, anywhen but now. Which means we are after stories set on Earth, although it may be an Earth that might have been, or might yet be, one that has gone down a different leg of the famous trousers of time (see the illustration in almost every book about quantum theory).
We will be looking for books set at any time, perhaps today, perhaps in the Rome of today but in a world where 2000 years ago the crowd shouted for Jesus Christ to be spared, or where in 1962, John F Kennedy's game of chicken with the Russians went horribly wrong. It might be one day in the life of an ordinary person. It could be a love story, an old story, a war story, a story set in a world where Leonardo da Vinci turned out to be a lot better at Aeronautics. But it won't be a story about being in an alternate Earth because the people in an alternate Earth don't know that they are; after all, you don't.
But this might just be the start. The wonderful Peter Dickinson once wrote a book that could convince you that flying dragons might have existed on Earth. Perhaps in the seething mass of alternate worlds humanity didn't survive, or never evolved -- but other things did, and they would have seen the world in a different way. The possibilities are literally endless, but remember, it's all on Earth. Maybe the continents will be different and the climate unfamiliar, but the physics will be the same as ours. What goes up must come down, ants are ant-sized because if they were any bigger their legs wouldn't carry them. In short, the story must be theoretically possible on some version of the past, present or future of a planet Earth.
I read the above and thought immediately of The Platinum Ticket, a story where a brown-skied world about to be abandoned by humanity is transformed into a green one by a well-meaning time traveler and the problems that arise. The Platinum Ticket is a novella - around 25,000 words. As it stands, it is the barest skeleton of the novel it can be. I have started to add flesh to that skeleton and am pleased with how it is beginning to fill out. The contest's deadline is the end of December. I honestly don't know if I can be done by then, but the novel is worth the effort either way.
Back to work....