Weekly Ramble Three: Return from Alaska

Alright people, I'm exhausted. I went to Juneau, Alaska and back between Saturday and Tuesday, and started a new role at my day job on Wednesday. Needless to say, things have been a liiittle hectic around here, so I apologize in advance if this week's ramble is a little ramblier than usual. With that out of the way, lets get started.

Alaska

Juneau was both exactly as magnificent as I'd hoped while also having a very different effect on me than I had expected. I had definitely romanticized it in the weeks leading up to the trip. Wilderness! I thought. Isolation! Culture! Seafood! And while there were all of those things in abundance, I'd forgotten to factor in two things: Juneau is a small town American city, and a good portion of it's economy is based in tourism. I knew, of course, that the end of October was in the "off season" where there wouldn't be many tourists. I planned it that way, because I wanted to get a feel for the 'real' city, the city that people live in instead of visiting for a day, or a week.

Juneau was deserted. I was the only person in most shops that I entered, and 3/4 of the shops were closed for the season. I would walk down empty streets and only occasionally see someone else in the distance. I saw more ravens than I did people, most days, and this was in downtown Juneau. While that certainly isn't bad considering the fact that I was doing research for a post-apocalyptic project, it was eerie. I had come to Juneau expecting to fall in love with its charm, mountains, and people, and instead I fell in love with the mountains, and grew increasingly uncomfortable in the city itself. Even thought there was a possibility of encountering a bear out in the 'wilderness' of the trails both above downtown and by the Mendenhall Glacier, I enjoyed my time hiking more than I did my time in town. I don't regret going at all; it was an odd but incredibly informative experience.

One thing that I definitely learned from visiting Juneau is how important the area's native cultures are to the city. I hadn't included them in the first draft of the novel at all because of some early research that I did that indicated that they had some very particular views about the ownership of stories, and that it might not be respectful for an outsider to tell their stories. You just can't write about Juneau without writing about the native peoples that still live there, though; it's a vital part of what the city is. So I've got a lot of research to do before I can start draft two; I need to understand the Tlingit and the Haida much better than I do now before I can write this book.

Writing

I had a really hard time convincing myself not to jump right into revisions for Mendenhall right after getting back from Alaska, but I have a lot of research to do, and Sea Witch needs to get finished, so I buckled down and got myself back on track with Sea Witch. The story for after Ursula and Ariel meet is starting to shape up, which is good, but it's getting complicated, which makes me despair of whether or not I'm going to get it done in under novella length. Though now that the two have met, it feels like I'm starting the actual story, so I can probably cut or shorten a lot of stuff that's just Ursula from the front.

I missed working on the book Sunday-Wednesday, so only added 2,831 to Sea Witch, for a total word count of 19,417.

Book Reviews

I only have one book review for you this week and it's super short. Sorry.

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

If you liked the first Murderbot book, you're sure to like this one. Murderbot only gets more lovable as they have to make more moral decisions for themself, and it's nice to see a little bit of Murderbot's backstory, as well as more of the world that created them. ART, also, is pretty damn great.