So on the whole it was worth leaving my twins and their parents to fend for themselves for ten days- eight of which were Hanukkah, so it's not as if they were unoccupied- while I stayed home, wasted time, got almost nothing read, did crossword puzzles till I was sick of them, ate too much stuff that disagreed with me, and in my desultory oh hell why not fashion, got enough of the story written that I now *feel* that it's a story and one with very little left to do on it. One or two impossibilities, she says lightly, like a stunning threnody and some convincing dialogue from Hakkai- who feels like a stranger practically, it's been so long since I wrote him. But compared with the simple blank cluelessness I had from August to December, threnodies and IC Hakkai are a piece of cake.
The more so in that I did something I almost never do because it's always worked so badly in the past- skipped over the stalled bit to the next scene. And then skipped over the stalled bit in that to the next scene. And then skipped over *that* stalled bit to the next scene: at which point my lines of supply were getting just a tad overextended. The third sex scene had to be excised entirely, though at one point I thought it was the second one that would have to go, and the last scene needs to be rewritten completely because it's an embarrassment as it stands, but that's the kind of mopping up I can do even when I'm working. The threnody- mmh. The problem is that Gouen becomes dazzled by the possibilities inherent in western forms- abab rhymes and sonnet forms and what have you, that appeal to his romanticism. Not that Chinese poetry doesn't rhyme, because it does, even if not abab as far as I know, and can't be personal and romantic, because Li Bo is quite a lot of the time: but that's not how it translates best. So Housman pastiche it is, again; but the trouble is that I don't want to borrow from Housman, I want to steal from him directly, because no one else got it so exactly right:
Ask me no more for fear I should reply;
Others have held their tongues, and so can I;
Hundreds have died, and told no tale before:
Ask me no more, for fear I should reply -
How one was true and one was clean of stain
And one was braver than the heavens are high,
And one was fond of me: and all are slain.
Ask me no more, for fear I should reply.