writer in progress: daydream the book.

The task of being a poet is not completed at a fixed schedule. No one is a poet from eight to twelve and from two to six. Whoever is a poet is one always, and continually assaulted by poetry. -- Jorge Luis Borges

I'd like to find a needlepoint pillow, one of those old-school, here's a moral kind of pillows, only instead of "be nice" or "have patience" or whatever is usual, I want mine to say: daydream the book. In fact, I should write that on my forehead every morning, backwards, so that I read it every time I pass a mirror.
Daydream the book, daydream the book, daydream the book...
Daydreaming. More important than merely getting my time in. Nope, to get these books written, I've learned that I need a significant amount of plain old stare-off-into-space daydreaming time. Even when--especially when--I'm away from my desk.
That sounds a little strange, because at the start of a new project, the daydreaming takes care of itself. Even when I'm not technically working, I'm mulling over conversations between the characters, exploring the settings in my mind, considering the point of view.
These are sweet and wonderful days, though they must be maddening for anyone who wants me to do anything useful. I sit in a trance over meals, through trips, on the fringes of conversations: half here, half in the book. When it's time to write, everything comes pouring out on the page. It's all there, deeply dreamed, rich, full.
But as the project goes on, life happens. I get concerned about other things--sweeped into the large and small dramas that happen every day. And I've learned that my brain is a kind of fiction mill--it has to be spinning narratives. Always.
If I'm not thinking about the book, not dreaming it up, then I'm working on something else: I'm coming up with the dialogue I should have said yesterday, or last week, or five years ago. I'm running through my plans for next week--imagining places before I see them, working through my days as if I were planning scenes, rehearsing them.
It's weird to realize you've been seeing your life in paragraph form, full of quotation marks and elipses and chapter titles. My brain likes novels. It will crank them out one way or another.
Trouble is, if I've finally gotten down on my mind's pages exactly how that conversation should have gone, that one I had last Saturday, and then I sit down at my desk to work on my novel... all I have in my brain is my own dialogue dreams, and the only chapter I see is "How Saturday Should Have Gone." And nothing with my characters, their settings, their problems.
In fact, the characters are all very quiet, forlorn, possibly emaciated. They haven't been fed in a very long time, and they're muttering at me. The dangerous antagonists sharpen their knives.
It's taken me a while to realize this, but now I'm on the lookout. If I catch myself reworking an old conversation so that it flows perfectly, I shake myself (let's move on!!) and immerse my crazy brain in the world of my novel instead.
It's a subtle sort of trick, I suppose, correcting what the brain does with its free time. And yet...
During two ill-fated years of softball, and a few more taking tennis lessons, I heard over and over that where you look is where the ball goes. Or, on the other side, if you "keep your eye on the ball" as it comes toward you, it connects with the bat, the glove, the racket.
My own eye-hand coordination experiences aside, this isn't bad advice. There's nothing subtle about not-quite-watching a softball and then getting smacked in the forehead with it. That's a very motivating experience to stay focused.
So I guess that's the round-about lesson I learned about daydreaming: it's how I keep the novel in my vision, even when life is spinning faster, even when I'm in the outfield and everything's a blur. I try to keep it in focus.
I daydream my book, all the time.

the black-haired protagonist me

Once I overheard someone ranting about "those dumb pictures people take of themselves in mirrors..." etc. etc. So it's somewhat sheepishly that I'm posting these unartistic shots...

Sheepishly. But not so sheepish that I won't post 'em... (besides, I did promise a look). So here you go.

There. If you are, in fact, the scandalized ranter I overheard, and these pictures make you go wash your eyes or something, let me know.
I'll send you a formal apology.
Also, I found these fantastic, unrelated quotes today. They have nothing whatever to do with black hair or with Mondays, but I thought I'd share. After all, here I am, and there you are... so. Happy Monday.

I ... have always known that my destiny was, above all, a literary destiny--that bad things and some good things would happen to me, but that, in the long run, all of it would be converted into words. Particularly the bad things, since happiness does not need to be transformed: happiness is its own end. -- Jorge Luis Borges.

Swoon. I love that. A literary destiny... what a lovely idea.

Speaking of lovely, I hope I can work this next quote into a conversation sometime...
And we meet, with champagne and a chicken, at last. -- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Isn't it a perfect opening line? Great for sweeping into a crowd, with a mock-dramatic accent, dahhhhlings! And, hopefully, there would be champagne, and a chicken (alive or dead or rubberized? I'm not sure which).
Anyway, someday, I'm saying that one. Someday.
Probably the sort of thing we black-haired protagonists do.


why you should never let me babysit your children...

Now I know what I'd try to make them do. (Thanks to Lauren for pointing this out to me!)

Seriously. Children reciting poetry. My new obsession.

Someone had better run warn my niece...

Happy Friday!


book crush thursday: The Wind in the Willows

-- "And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!"
-- "By it and with it and on it and in it," said the Rat. "It's brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It's my world, and I don't want any other. What it hasn't got is not worth having, and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing." -- The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

Toad never paused to reply. Solid revenge was what he wanted, not cheap, windy, verbal triumphs, though he had a thing or two in his mind that he would have liked to say. -- The Wind in the Willows

Sometimes childhood classics are only meant to be read as children. Have you ever revisited an old favorite, and wondered what you saw in it? They might maintain a kind of I-guess-you-had-to-be-there charm, but they don't have anything to offer the grown you.

Not so with The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. In fact, I never read this when I was little, but first discovered it a few years ago. And loved it.
I had hoped for a fun romp of a book, but sometimes the old school children's classics just feel old school and not much else. But the language in Willows is fantastic. And the characters are wonderfully warm and funny--Toad in particular cracks me up. But there are also touching and poignant passages, a depth I hadn't expected.

In the end, it's a story of adventures and home, of trials and friends, of Rat and Mole and Toad and Badger and the Wild Wood. It's well worth the time, especially when summer starts giving way to autumn...

Better still? I bought this edition, which has stunning illustrations by Robert Ingpen. Look at these:

If I had a child's room to decorate, I would definitely buy and dismantle a second copy, and hang these up everywhere...

Recommendation: You could get by with tea and toast, but why not do it right? Pack up a picnic lunch and read this by a river, or a lake, or--heck, even a puddle.

But in any case, you owe it to yourself to read it outside. Especially if this is your first read.


writer in progress: it's not about fast

We live in a world where it's become a talent, a lost art, something we have to relearn: Slow down. -- Heather Sellers

This is one of those lessons that I have to learn over and over again.

No, that's not exactly right. Here's how it really is: I absolutely did not believe that working slowly was working better. I first heard this concept in a chapter titled "Slow Is Fearless," in a book by Heather Sellers.

Slow? I should write slow? And that somehow means I'm more courageous (and will wind up with a better novel) than if I try to write fast?

For some reason, I decided I was exempt. Somehow, I would learn how to write a novel really quickly.

Now I wince. I wish, I wish I would have taken more time crafting this novel.

My first two drafts, especially, of my main novel... oh, the first two drafts. I wrote them as quickly and steadily as I knew how, without taking the time to really consider all the elements of the story. I wasn't super concerned about it. After all, I knew how to write. And I was pretty quick.

How much of a leap is it, then, to just ... go write a novel?

A pretty big one, actually. I think that saying "hey, I can write, so obviously I can just whip out a novel" is like saying, "hey, I know how to walk, so I can probably go run a marathon tomorrow. No problem."

I've seen people at the end of a marathon. They've trained like crazy people, and it still is a problem.

I wish I could go back and tell myself to take more time. Really. Just dig in deep and don't be afraid to move as slowly as you have to.

No one was rushing me. Except for me.

I didn't want to move slowly. Looking back, I don't think my problem was (is) impatience so much as it was terror. Just like Heather Sellers was saying.

This whole concept of telling people after graduation, Nope, I don't have a real job, but I think I'll write a novel. And maybe people will fling money at me some day. We'll see how it shakes out.

That? It scared me stiff. Still scares me stiff. Sometimes it's a minute-by-minute thing. (Yeah, still there. I'm still terrified about the money thing.)

And when the future stayed stubbornly uncertain, and all my dreamed up scenes read like an abandoned Dick and Jane book, I tried to move forward as fast as possible. The next draft will be better, and the next draft will be better, and the next draft, hey, that might be the best yet.

So now, I've been working on Draft Four of my main novel. ... Actually, for nine months, I've been trying to start draft four. Trying to start. And every time I choose a tactic, a way into the next draft, something else in the story falls apart.

It feels like fixing a house, and just as you're focusing on a plumbing problem, a wall falls on top of you. And when you turn your attention to the wall (after your concussion wears off), half the foundation falls in. And as you're hobbling around (you sort of broke your leg, because you fell with it of course), squinting down at the damage, a plague of malaria-ridden mosquitoes descend.

For about nine months.

And you kind of wish you could turn back time, and go find the younger, terrified person that was you, and whisper, Take a very long time planning and building this house. Dream up every thing, and test it out in your mind, step by step. Spend a whole year staring into space and muttering and jotting down notes.

You won't regret it.

(PS: This novel's sequel? I started it today. And it's been dreamed up for a while. A good long while. I think it's ready to be turned loose. I'm going to take my sweet time drafting it, too.)


It's been a busy, crazy, nonstop day.

1) The big news: I kicked off the first draft of my sequel. Second massive novel, under way! I managed to begin before 8:30 in the morning, without coffee.

2) 11:00 a.m., received coffee. My entire perspective on life did a 180, and I finished writing Chapter One in a fit of glee and caffeine. Over two thousand words, not bad for the first day.

3) In the afternoon, I switched insurance companies, which means answering all those great questions about yourself, your health, etc. But it's the only time I've been asked, in rapid succession:
  • what's your date of birth?
  • what's your social security number?
  • what's your novel about?

It completely threw me! I think she was being chatty, but still, in the midst of all those official questions, I started sweating. What, do you want it in a single sentence? Will a broad description work? Should I have brought an outline?

4) After running errands and enjoying dinner with the family, I made a cherry clafoutis for the first time. My hands were covered with cherry gore, this being my first pitting experience.

And no, I don't know how to pronounce "clafoutis." We're rhyming it with "kablooie," and though we're sure it's wrong, it's psychologically satisfying.

(Okay. I'll confess. We're actually calling it Cherry Kablooie, completely ruining the chic French vibe. But it still tastes amazing.)

5) And... just to round out day one of book two, I dyed my hair to match my new protagonist's.


I've had red hair for a year, so it's a bit of a switch... I'll post a picture in a day or two. (And yes, I was quoting Anne Shirley... he told me it would dye my hair a beautiful raven black... I was just a little nervous it would come out green. Whew. It didn't.)

I'm still startling myself a little when I look into the mirror, but maybe I can see more of my protagonist now. I don't know why hair color feels like an important link this time around, but we'll see.

And since it's Monday night, I'll be right back with the second Writer In Progress post... (Did you think I forgot? I didn't. Not really.)


book crush thursday: French Women Don't Get Fat

At least half our bad eating and drinking habits are careless; they grow out of inattention to our true needs and delights. We don't notice what we are consuming, we are not alert to flavors--we are not really enjoying our indulgences. -- Mireille Guiliano

Deprivation is the mother of failure. -- Mireille Guiliano

Okay. French Women Don't Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano. ... I know that this isn't some juicy fabulous fiction, or your new favoritest children's book. It's a book on food. Probably in the "weight loss" section of the bookstore.

But bear with me! This isn't a goofy diet book, I promise. Instead, it's about

1) being French, and

2) darn good eating.

And that's reason enough to stick around, I hope. They're two of my favorite subjects, at least!

If I could do college over, I would be an apostle of this book. Probably shouting its virtues from a street corner. Why? Because I'm sick and tired of all the weird, unnatural beliefs we Americans--and especially American women--have about food.

We're scared to eat fat, scared to eat carbs, scared to eat anything, until the day comes when my roommate comes back at six in the evening, and says she's hungry. "Have dinner," I said. She blinked at me a moment, then said, "Nooo, I'd better just have a cup of tea instead."

Tea instead of dinner. This is how we eat now? She wasn't the only one, either. So many of my good friends would skip meals all the time, as a way to control weight.

(Though, admittedly, sometimes the dining halls left a lot to be desired. I love my alma mater, but I didn't go there for the food. ... Making a habit of eating tasteless food is also something this book addresses. Yeah. So, buckle up.)

Mireille Guiliano throws all that meal-skipping out. Eat bread. Eat pasta. Eat chocolate. And don't just eat it, but enjoy it. Relish it. She talks about slowing down, savoring every single bite. Her book is about a much fuller food experience than we're used to having.

No more eating on autopilot. No more eating at random, on the fly.

Much more about loving your food, embracing your life, and living well. Eating is an art, and Mireille describes exactly how to get back to practicing that art every single day. She strips away all the funky, strange lies we tell each other about food, and replaces it with real enjoyment.

The great thing about living well the French way? You lose your excess. Excessive desserts, excess pounds, the lies that weighed you down. Her book refreshes my whole outlook on life. Truly.

Plus, there are recipes. Fabulous recipes. ... And one of these days, that croissant recipe and I will get together, and it will be magic.

Anyway, if you've struggled with food--either eating mindlessly, or calling tea your dinner--then read this book.

Read it with an open mind, enjoy Mireille's stories of France, her description of fantastic food and fantastic living, and make some changes.

I promise you won't regret it.

Recommendation: ummmm, she says not to read while you eat. Which pretty well convicts me for every time I offer a little something with a book, eh? But read a few chapters of Mireille's book and then muse over them while eating something extraordinary, like a buckwheat crepe with warm blackberries. And a strong coffee.

Imagine yourself in Paris, about to embark on a whole new way of eating, a new way of life. Because that's what you're about to do.


today i (hopefully) will:

1, get some serious writing time in, rethinking the themes in my novel

2, work on a cozy new hat for our store, while either catching up on Lie To Me (a favorite show) or watching Amelie... though the subtitle thing... that might be a problem.

3, also, planning our back-to-school/fall photo shoot for the store. We have some awesome ideas, and great new products! We're super excited!

4, sort through fantastic photos of my niece

5, clean my room! yikes! how did I get so much clutter? ack!!

6, and maybe, with a little brain left at the very end of the day, do a bit of reading. I'm convinced that reading is a lost art, at least in my own life. Weird, huh? But I feel like I rarely get to it, or read in a rush, when I'd really rather sit still and savor it. Anyway... I'm starting The Dust of 100 Dogs. (So jealous of that title! Brilliant titles make me shiver.)

7, sleep, sleep, sleep.
I hope you have a fabulous day!


writer in progress: you can't write everything.

Writing is like getting married. One should never commit until one is amazed at one's luck. -- Dame Iris Murdoch
The artist--the successful artist--wants to play, wants to wallow in the piece, wander, go off track, marry purple to orange, turn up the volume, introduce lions. -- Heather Sellers, Chapter after Chapter

I got my English major at a private liberal arts college, and secretly or not-so-secretly, most of my pals and I expected to graduate with 1) a degree, and 2) an engagement ring.

For those of you who missed out on this experience--or have yet to be part of it--it can lead to funny frames of mind. Sleep-deprived and coffee-animated, a few of us began to see every boy that crossed our path as potential husband material. (This doesn't help you study, just in case you're wondering.)
And then one of my pals said, in a matter-of-fact voice, You can't marry everyone.
This made me laugh uproariously at the time, since it's a pretty obvious fact. But at the same time, it lifted that weird urgency that was already dancing around our last year of college.
You can't marry everyone.
Fast forward through graduation (degree yes, ring no), my huge outrageous decision to not be an editor but to write from home instead, my move home... click forward to the image of me, sitting at my desk, quiet, terrified.

Write from home? What was I thinking? What was I thinking?
There is no syllabus, no guide, no DIY plan for "hey I think I'll learn how to write my own stuff."
All I had was the framework of my Creative Writing minor. I had classes in creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and my 60-page honors thesis. That's what I knew how to do. So, I made a plan. (This is a theme, by the way. If I ever write a memoir, I could just index all my plans and there you have it: my life as a list.)
A plan that, shockingly enough, I thought was reasonable. In my first three months at home, I would:

  • send out fifty poems. Fifty. I had about twenty written during my poetry semester, so I'd need to, um, write a few more.
  • send out five essays. I had a handful from class, and they could be tweaked for whichever market I decided on.
  • send out three short stories. I had written three in class, so, that was pretty straightforward.
  • oh, and then get started on a novel: research, draft an outline, come up with a scene list, and get 50,000 words toward the rough draft.
  • also, apply at bookstores for a part time job, aiming for about twenty hours a week.
Should I laugh or cry, looking at a list like that? (My college advisor had a little sandy Zen garden on his desk, just for crazy students like me.)
You can practically hear me hyperventilating, trying to keep the insane pace of my senior year. Basically, I thought I was a machine. I'd written on command for the last four years, so why not stick with what worked?
But what I needed most was time to explore with my writing, not work through a thousand more assignments. I'm glad to say, I threw out most of those goals by midsummer. I can write poetry, but I'm not a poet by heart or inclination. Same goes for essays, short stories... I think that, truly, I'm a novelist.
So this was one of my very first, steep writing lessons: You can't write everything.
You can't use a million projects and dozens of publishing credits to prove to yourself that you're allowed to write. You can't just make enough noise at your desk, in the hopes that you'll stop worrying about your work.
The biggest gift I gave myself and my work was this: focusing on one main project--the novel--and giving it my energy and time. Soaking into it, studying it from the inside out, puzzling through its particular problems.
All the writerly attention that could fly toward a dozen different projects, making me absolutely batty in the process, is focused instead on one, my main squeeze, my longtime friend.
Nope, I can't write everything. And after all the fun I've had with my novel, I'm not even tempted to.

now serving: writer in progress

As of today, here is almost every single thing I know about writing. -- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Fact: I have a hard time talking about writing. Funny, isn't it? Nevertheless: mention that someone wants to talk about what it's like to write, and you'll usually see me scuttling toward the corner.

I don't know why this is exactly. Maybe it's hard to have a clear, intelligent perspective on what you do every day? I'm too close to it? Whatever it is, I can't comment immediately on my writing, whatever's going on in my writing life right now... as a lot of people have found out, when they ask Hey, how's the novel?

Usually I look a little blank and stammer something out (I've been saying we'll see a lot) ... and probably convince everyone that I actually spend the week getting whooped by the computer at spider solitaire.

(Honestly, my acquaintance is super kind. Even when I don't have any answers to give them.)

So. When it comes to my daily work, I don't know how to talk.

The other thing I can't do? Teach. Teach anything.

Even with a new knitting convert, I squinch my face up and try to remember if you knit from right to left or left to right, and how you hold the needles. No doubt imparting a lot of confidence as I eventually pick up their work and try to remember how to do it.

For a little while, I was semi-convinced that I could get an MFA degree and teach writing. (I blame Seattle Pacific's awesome program. If I spend five minutes on that website, I get convinced all over again. Swoon.)

But the fact is, the only person I have had any success in teaching is ... myself. I am slowly learning, inch by inch, how to write, how to write a novel, and a sprawling novel at that.

Hence, this new blog feature! (I really was going to tell you about it...)

I've now been at this novel-writing life for over four years. (Whew... just saw stars. Ahem.) Four years!
And with four years of my nose against this particular grindstone, I've learned enough and covered enough ground that I might actually have something to say about writing and the creative life in general.

This is my answer, then, to talking about the novel and the writing life, my answer to that tiny little impulse to teach writing.

Every Monday, I'll have a little Writer in Progress post. I see it as writing notes to myself, things I wish I could have learned sooner, things I'll probably have to learn again tomorrow. How do you reconcile an impatient, left-brained girl to a slow paced, creative life? How do you write a novel, anyway?

I haven't learned everything, not by a long shot. But I have learned some. And this is it.

did you think i was kidding?

Besides, I never joke about pie. Ever.


for the love of goodness.

If you've somehow ignored my pleading and begging about this recipe, it's time to come to your senses. Peach season is going oh-so fast, and this Honey Caramel Peach Pie is its highest and best purpose.

I'm very very serious. And I'm making one on Sunday.

So come on, get in the game, and pull out your rolling pin.

All the cool kids are doing it.

(Note: the picture belongs to Gourmet, not me. But the pie, my friends... the pie is yours for the making. And you won't regret it.)


book crush thursday: The Eyre Affair

"And what would you prefer? The forces of good and evil fighting to the death in the corridors of Thornfield Hall?" -- The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde

"Words are like leaves, Thursday. Like people, really, fond of their own society." -- The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde

I first picked up The Eyre Affair in a bookstore near Covent Garden. My semester in London was ending, and I was desperate for something to read on the plane. Something distracting, because I hated leaving England. Possibly literary. Hopefully British--just to keep my mind there as long as possible. But above all, I needed something really really distracting.

Enter The Eyre Affair, the first of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels. It had everything I wanted: Thursday Next is part of the Literary Detectives, which means she's investigating crimes against Dickens, Shakespeare, Bronte, Wordsworth... it's an English major's dream come true.

Honestly, I kind of prefer Thursday's reality to our own. People are jumping in and out of books, and I'm always a sucker for literary travel. But even better are the Will-Speak machines, which, for ten pence, recite Shakespearean verse.

Could I please have one of those? Seriously now, could I have one?

It is also wacky--one of those books that is both brainless and intelligent at the same time. Or, as one of the endorsements say on the back: "A silly book for smart people." Completely true. I mean--that is a dodo on a scooter:

It's full of nonsense, humor, hilarity, wordplay. And suspense: after all, the ending of Jane Eyre is at stake... once Jane herself is kidnapped right out of her own book, what else might happen?

If you have room in your summer for one more book, and you're in the mood for an intelligent, outrageous getaway, this is it.

Recommendation: I read this with airplane food my first time... that's not recommended. A good orange scone, that's what I'm thinking. And some strong coffee, or an espresso. Dive in immediately, and let me know what you think.


introducing the monocle menagerie...

A few weeks ago, I fell in love with an owl. This owl.

When Kristen said that she was going to sell it, I had a minor attack of separation anxiety and begged her to paint me a copy first. Ta da, an early birthday present hangs on my wall, and Lord Whitmore is now for sale at our shop.

Lord Whitmore is part of the Monocle Menagerie, one of Kristen's recent projects for the store. Seriously, these are some of my favorite faces in the world. I always love what Kristen makes, but these are extra-brilliant. I mean, look at the fox. And the badger. And the squirrel, for crying out loud!

I'm just so impressed. I tried painting for, oh, about three days this summer, only to dash back down the hall to my knitting stash. I'm safely absorbed in knitting scarves for our next store update, and leaving painting where it belongs.

Which is right here.


book crush thursday: The Complete Sherlock Holmes

"There are always some lunatics about. It would be a dull world without them." -- Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Three Gables," by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"We are before our time, and suffer the usual penalties." -- Sherlock Holmes, The Valley of Fear

"It is my business to know things. That is my trade." -- Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier."

"How often is imagination the mother of truth?" -- Sherlock Holmes, The Valley of Fear

Whew! It's been a long and a busy day, but it's still Thursday for a couple of hours yet, so here I am with this week's book crush. Sherlock Holmes! Absolutely! One of the great literary icons, and totally worth his own little slice of fame.

I recently finished reading the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels, and I thought they were complete fun. Really. The short stories get downright addictive, each with its portion of weirdness (grinning murder victims, cryptic last words, dwarves and giants, religious rites), each with its essential details (the scratched stone, the dog's walk, the behavior of the child, the unlocked door).

As each finishes, it's all too easy to start the next, to stay in 221B a bit longer, until by the end I can recite the familiar lines alongside Holmes: Ah, Watson, we both saw it, but only I observed it...

(The novels are great as well, though a few of them get a bit longwinded. Hound of the Baskervilles was probably my favorite.)

As these summer weeks continue to bake, I'm eager enough to be transported to London, to read about autumnal or wintry mysteries--it's like literary air-conditioning. Or, to be sympathized with, as Holmes and Watson swelter in their stuffy apartment.

Yes, it's perfect getaway reading. Do a bit of traveling this August, to the dreary side of London in the 1890s, to spend some time with the perpetually surprised, loyal Watson, and the quick and snarky Holmes.

About the movie? I totally loved it. I think it captures a side of Holmes that's less often clear in the stories, yet it's there all the same. It certainly has the same amount of weird and the same amount of clear logic as the stories. And heck, I just love the idea of Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock. This too: Jude Law is a better Watson than Watson. So yes--see the movie.

Meanwhile, short stories to pass the time, eh? This one's fun. Oooh, and this one. And with a title like this, how could you go wrong?

And a recommendation: For some reason, sticky pecan rolls are on my mind. Is that Holmes-y? Not sure. Whatever would suit your teatime. Tea & Holmes. Not a bad combination.