Intellectual wanderings: Why I ought to give up and write pure fantasy

Things I have researched in the last few hours, on a Friday night, while making no writing progress at all: Chinese immigration to America, Italian immigration to the same, Charles R. Night, New York’s Chinatown, Henry Fairfield Osborn, anthopological racism, Permian fossil beds, Columbia University, Charles Doolittle Wallcott (abandoned), evolutionary alternatives to Darwinian natural selection, anti-miscegenation laws, Eurypterids (abandoned), the Peabody Natural History Museum, and the proper spelling of “batrachian.”

On this last subject, I was forced to excise the word “gibbous” from my current text. Both “gibbous” and “batrachian” are perfectly good words with useful connotations and they sound right for my vain, pretentious student/black magician POV. Little too much Lovecraft, though. I think I have to have one or the other and that’s just the way it is. I must say I admire a dead guy whose dreadful prose can make an otherwise ominous, clever little bit of verbose specificity giggle-inducing.

Gibbous. Hee.

(I’ve been listening to the Gypsy Nomads all along. That adds something, I think.  Even the bits in French that I don’t understand one little bit. My hero would probably appreciate them, though he’d pretend not to. He’s a little snot like that, is Raphael.)

Lovecraft aside, there’s another author who keeps coming to me as I work on this story. L. Frank Baum defined a lot of my childhood, and I never think of the turn of the century without thinking of him and of Oz. I wonder if I could possibly work a little of that in? The books and the life of the author have a tad bit in common with story themes. Populism juxtaposed with some appalling short-sightedness, mostly, though Oz was a place of challenged gender norms, whether Mr. Baum acknowledged it or not. Of course, the story is set in 1902, between The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz, and it’s only in the second book that the Ozma stuff gets going.  (This is something I could tweak again, but lining up my historical figures has been tricky enough so far. I can’t imagine what writing a details historical novel would have to be. Props to you, historical fiction mavens. Mad props indeed.) Oz is a lot darker than the damn movie and current interpretations would have it. I don’t think it’d be flat out of place.

Would an allusion or two to my childhood favorites be an illuminating comment on Raphael’s state of mind and the weird world he’s made for himself? Or just a confusing bit of detail no one would get? I shall have to ponder.

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~ by badandfierce on October 15, 2010.

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