Monday, February 28, 2011

Finding The John Market

A typical science fiction or fantasy plot goes something like this.
  1. A sympathetic protagonist experiences a precipitating event which threatens everything he (in this case) loves.
  2. He tries to fix things the way he's fixed them before but it makes the problem worse.
  3. He tries something new and digs himself in deeper.
  4. Thinking out of the box, and risking all...
    • He either triumphs (The Enterprise Crew all laugh) or
    • he becomes a tragic hero (A Greek Chorus sings )
  5. The End
I'm somewhere at step four with my writing.  I've been doing what writers do, which is writing and submitting stories.  This means that I've been receiving rejection letters.

A lot of rejection letters.  (Yeah, yeah; welcome to the club....)

At some point it has crossed my mind that maybe I'm doing something wrong, like writing stories then submitting them to the wrong markets.  So I'm trying to think out of the box.

Could it be that somewhere out there there is a professional market that is a "John Market" and I don't know about it -- either because I'm not recognizing an essential difference between a John Story and a science fiction or fantasy story, or else because there's a market I haven't heard of.  (Okay, it's also crossed my mind that my fiction is mediocre, or that I'm Einstein's fish trying to climb a tree.)

So here's where I'm going to use Social Networking and The Power of The Internet.  For those of you familiar with my fiction, can you think of the Ultimate John Market?  For those of you unfamiliar with my fiction here are some links:

Briallan Dreaming of Myrmidons (

≟Love (

The View from the Top (

Up (written before the movie of the same name -- -- Unfortunately, this archive has no internal links, so you'll have to search for "Burridge" to get to my story.)

Micro Fiction / "Twitterature" at Thaumatrope (

To avoid duplicates here's the markets I've been working with:

Abyss & Apex
Analog Science Fiction & Fact
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine
Asimov's Science Fiction
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Clarkesworld Magazine Delete
Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness
Daily Science Fiction
Electric Velocipede
Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF)
Fantasy Magazine
GUD: Greatest Uncommon Denominator
Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine
Pedestal Magazine
Realms of Fantasy
Strange Horizons
Whidbey Writers Workshop

So what do you think? Is there a market you think is a good match that is not in the above list? Should I just direct-release to EPUB format? Should I hang onto that day... job...?

...and, back to writing fiction.

Feb 28 2011

The snow is gone and the rain at 40F is back.  It's very gray, so I've got a halogen light on.   I managed to get some writing in.  When I wasn't writing I was thinking about an old ceramic tile design that has ten-fold symmetry.  I like it because the lines make repeating star shapes.  It's NOT old lady.  You can see it at, at the very bottom:  Tokat, Gök Medrese, 1277.

I spoke with Mark, and he's not adverse to having a panel (or maybe two) of it in the house. We'll see if I can reconstruct it. I've made several attempts with paper, straight edge and compass, but getting just one line a little bit off results in multiplied errors later on. As soon as I get the hang of it, I'll see about making a block print of it or something.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Winter Shadows

We thought this photo-collage would be instructive and demonstrate the power of the sun. The border between the snow and the lawn moss shows where the sun shines when it passes through the local meridian.

In about a month, around the Spring Equinox, the snow shadow would bisect the block circle around the cherry tree.

If the snow had fallen on the Winter Solstice, there would be no green in this collage.... well, maybe some from the sunlight reflecting off of our house.

By the time Summer Solstice rolls around, the sun will shine on the entire yard, except where the back fence casts its shadow.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

February Snow Day

Snow is falling on the floor of the Willamette Valley. Right now there is less than an inch; Mark made it to work and he said the roads were pretty clear. I think I won't drive anywhere today though, just because the snow freaks out the local drivers. The neighbor's construction project makes the snow on the trees stand out.

The camellia must be slightly confused by the snow, as it has started to bloom. Mark likes the camellia; I wish the blooms were white, and it looks like today's snow may grant my wish.

While I was at it, I took a photo of one of the origami doves in our window. Mark made them a few years ago to catch the rising heat from the baseboard and make the leaded crystals spin.  There's no sun as I type this, but the white snow mantling everything has filled the house with tissue white light.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More Fish Quilts

Okay; I couldn't resist.

One of the previous fish designs wasn't quite right. So I had to re-do it.

And then expand it.

(No, Julie -- it's a lot of work -- you don't have to make this pattern for me.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why John Doesn't Quilt

My sister, Julie, likes to make quilts. Like this one:

She received a brand new sewing machine for her Birthday (today! Happy Birthday!) and offered to make a smaller version of the quilt for me. The pattern is made up of tessellated triangles.

 And because the pattern is a tessellation, I kind of went a little crazy.

The next thing I knew I was making all sorts of solar-theme designs, mostly because it's hard not to make solar-theme designs when working with squares and right-triangles.

I thought maybe if I could work with some of the triangles the top of the quilt could look like frothing water. And then I stepped back.

There's probably waaaaaay too many fish.

Oh well.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mary's Peak Butterflies in July

Every now and then I go through my old photographs. One mid-July we escaped the oppressive heat of the valley and enjoyed a picnic on top of Mary's Peak, a coastal range mountain in Oregon. On a very clear day the ocean is visible, but I don't recall if we saw it or not during our visit. The reason we'd gone was not to lunch some cool place with a great view, but to see the butterflies. The peak was their oasis.

By moving with the speed of a heliotrope, I was able to create happy accidents like this photograph.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Invoking with Akhnaten

"Exploring Music," is one of the radio shows I listen to in the mornings.  Right now the theme is music for valentine's day (yes, it's taken them two weeks).  One piece I haven't heard them play is a love duet from Philip Glass's opera Akhnaten

The line that resonates with me is, "Call thou my name, unto eternity, and it shall never fail."  I once saw a French translation, which appeared to use the word for "give voice to" or "invoke."   So now I have an image of a lover, kneeling in candle light and making invocations.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Husband Out-Law

Once upon a Winter's time, Mark and I went to The Cloisters. We saw lots of fun Medieval Art.  It lead to dancing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Using Craft Powers for Good

Just to show you that I'm not a complete cynic when it comes to Valentine's Day, here's some photos of my craft efforts to make a Valentine's Day card for Mark.

One of my recent discoveries is a radial blade. I'm learning how to use it properly, but one of the things it's good for is making straight cuts in the middle of a piece of paper. I used that quality to cut out a picture of a banner from when Mark and I got "married."

I used an empty (sadly) chocolate box as the base for the "card." I envisioned one of those pop-up types of cards that uses 3-D effects. My vision was that the banner would hang just inside a garden gate. I used a different picture from our "wedding" for the gate.

I made two paper columns to hold up the front. Paper has a lot of tensile strength, and when it is folded, that strength can be used to make the paper accept a light compressive force (see what happens when you live with architects for four and a half years?).

The banner was a little too big, I think; next time I'd scale it down. But I did like the effect of seeing the "yard" through the gate.

The best part about this is the whole thing folds down to fit inside the chocolate box. When it's opened, the scent of chocolate ghosts through the room. As my friend Cathy Fylling would say, "La; love; true love; ha ha!"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The AntiValentine Gallery

OKAY. I took a bunch of pictures of various Anti-Valentines created by friends and family over a time period spanning from about 2002 to 2007.   And now you can see some of them.

The idea behind an Anti-Valentine is to use irony as a tool to point out how our society forces us to couple.  The very first AntiValentine I made, sometime around 1987, was a spade-shaped sugar cookie with icing spelling out, "Be My Socially Expected Obsession."  

So here they are, a sample of when Craft pauses to portray when Romance says, "You aren't a real adult until you've proven your true love by buying expensive, fashionable gifts.  Because, goodness knows, the unhappiest, most unfulfilled, delinquent and socially damaged people are single."  

I think the best Anti-Valentines in this collection have a narrative and use images from popular magazines.  Some times we strayed into just plain mean (sorry).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Characters and Plot

Today's writing challenge is writing a scene where an ordinary person's reaction to a magical disturbance is to do something illogical and make it seem natural instead of like "something the author needed the character to do to advance the plot."  

  • Strategy one: The character is in shock and is jolted into following the advice he's previously discounted.  Pros:  The plot moves forward.  Cons: Removes some agency from the character since he's not in his normal mind.
  • Strategy two: The character just does it and the author will fix the problem later.  Pros:  Yay! Story!  Cons:  "Seat-of-the-pants Writing, which I'm trying to get away from.  Pluse, I can hear the critiques at Wordos now....
  • Strategy Three:  The plot as written is broken; go back and re-write it so the character's emotional calculus is in sync with their actions and the plot.  Pros:  Probably a better story, at least plot-wise.  Cons:  But the bad guys have to do what they've done.  Arg.  This was supposed to be the protagonist's Precipitating Moment.
  • Strategy Four:  Think out loud on the blog until I've re-shuffled the story enough to get to The Writing Place.  Pros: Wildly Creative.  Cons:  Uh, I'm supposed to be writing, remember?

...and... GO!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


For a variety of reasons, writing is hard today. I hate it when that happens. However, as several folks have pointed out, the muse doesn't always come with kisses and smiles; sometimes the muse doesn't come at all, but it's nice to be able to say you were ready and waiting.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Turban Day!

I don't know why, but this morning I was filled with malaise. Or eunui. Or something that was not quite black despair.  Mundanitude.  The sort of feeling that makes you waste a day in front of the internet, endlessly searching for something fabulous and amusing or different, anything to get kicked out out a funk. 

It was the sort of day that required action. I made sure the halogen torchiere was on. Nope, that yawning chasm was simply well-lit. I brewed a third mondo cup of tea. Still blase; and I was rehearsing lines like "and the world was darkened in my eyes and my meals tasted of ashes."  It was too early in the morning for a Pepsi, so I had to turn to The Big Guns: Turning a Blue-With-Stars-and-Moons Polar Fleece Blanket into a Turban.

It seems to be working. And my head is now very warm.

OKAY.  And Mark would add: "And taking a picture of yourself."

Monday, February 07, 2011

Centenial Logo

Here's another sketch from my previous art book. This was an entry to a design contest. The local UU church was celebrating its 100 year anniversary and wanted a logo. They have a custom of lighting a bird shaped candle in their chalice, so I worked that concept into the design. In the final design I submitted, I made the dove's tail extend out to the top of the zero -- I may have extended the chalice a little, too (digs through old computer files...). In retrospect, I suppose that this design was a little too pentecostal looking.  Mark said that it looked like some sort of tattoo. 

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Five-Fold Symetry

I'm not feeling so well today, so here's some pictures from my recently-retired Art Book.  This is a based on a photo of a c. 1420 CE floor marble tile design from a church, attributed to Uccello

Here's another way to make pentagons. It can be adapted to inscribe any regular polygon within a circle; make n equal to the number of segments in line AB, draw a line from point C through the second point on line AB.

I should finish this... I thought it would be fun to make a design with a Middle-Eastern feel to it, the sort of design found in Islamic mosaic tile work.

Not a pentagon, but it is based on constructing squares within golden rectangles. I can't decide if this design would make a good alb or not.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Geometry of Life

I recently read some advice connected with the Clarion West Writers' Workshop:  Practice writing endings so you get as good at writing them as you do beginnings. So I worked on the ending for this story and I wrote and wrote into the night. I came up with a bunch of stuff that sounded preachy.

Then it was time for sleep.

Words crashed around in my head like waves against cliffs as I slid between the cold sheets of bed. Images and phrases surfaced in the whirlpool of thoughts and I sat up and jotted a few down on the pad next to the nightstand. I thought, "If I don't do something, I'm going to be kept up half the night." I've learned that the best way to quiet my lexical mind is to use my iconic one. So I drew: A quartered globe. Two dots connected by a line. A telescope and a microscope; an Eye of Horus. A branching tree. A drafting compass; a paint brush. A book. A throne; a seat. A mask.

I was still thinking about the ending of my trip, but at least my mind was quiet enough to sleep.

The next morning, I tried to use story critique as a tool to figure out this story's ending:
In the manuscript of Pegasus Ranger in Portland, I see someone using artifice as a tool to search for an axis mundi. He dons a costume and begins his search with a train ride; he discovers that the meridians and parallels of the world are blurred. He thinks he's discovered an axis mundi in a temple of art, but his vision of artistic logos overwhelms him and he retreats. A fellow writer, a kind of shadow-shelf of the searcher, turns his attention to Death. Each of the searcher's encounters contrasts and compares chaos and order; control and surrender; expectations, fantasy, and reality. At the end, he tries to connect the dots into a paradigm, but they don't mesh perfectly. The story ends with the searcher almost home, passing a shadowed milestone.

I thought about the critique. Endings are supposed to be where you connect the dots. And as a writer I'm expected to connect them with a flourish and a twist. But then I thought about Georges-Pierre Seurat, who painted A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte -- he didn't connect the dots. And so I think I've found the ending to this story.

The Geometry of Life is always Deconstructed by Entropy.  But Life -- which includes its terminus, Death -- is not about seeing, it's about how one looks. The act of observation not only changes the observed, it changes the observer. Look well.  Bring outfits.  Look good.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Homeward Bound

Jay gave me a lift to the train station in his GENRE-mobile. We hugged good-bye as well as possible from the front seat of a car, and I thanked him for the visit and ride.

As I entered the Union Station Amtrak Depot, a voice made some sort of announcement over the station's speakers. I had a feeling I didn't want to know what the announcement was about, as the only words I heard clearly were "delayed over four hours." I sauntered to the boarding podium hoping that if I believed hard enough I could hop onto the homeward-bound train. But denial isn't a Pegasus Ranger tool, or at least it doesn't work with Amtrak, and I had a choice between waiting for a much later train or taking a bus back home. If the restaurant attached to the station had been open and if it hadn't meant getting home around 1 AM, I would have waited.

Most of the passengers in line to board had a resigned look, but no one appeared to be especially cranky. The Amtrak bus wasn't so bad, but it didn't have a table to work on and it didn't have a whole lot of space in which to stretch. Still, everyone found seats. The bus was not as crowded as I feared it would be, and I had the luxury of storing my heavy bag on the seat next to me.

The bus launched into Interstate traffic. In front of us, a river of red lights. On the driver's side, a river of white lights. It was dark, and I wasn't expecting to see much anyway, but the trip on the interstate seemed more ordinary than the morning's interstitial journey along feral yards, pastures, and building posteriors.

The bus driver announced the reason we were "riding wheels of rubber instead of steel" was that someone in Seattle had been struck by a freight train and the authorities had shut down the rails. I hoped the person was okay and wondered how many people's lives had taken a different branch as a result of one person's encounter with one coal train.

I pulled out my blank sketch book, compass, and straight edge. I wanted to inaugurate the book during the trip, and how better than to construct a pentagon using Euclid's Method. The dim light inside the bus made accurate placement of the compass difficult. Also, I made my initial circle too wide, and when I tried to bisect it, the top point for the bisecting line was off the page; so I had to use the hole in the circle's center from where the compass point had poked through the paper instead. Because of the missing referent, little errors added up. The resulting pentagon was a little off -- the bottom points in its base were too close to each other, and the inscribed pentagram was skewed a bit to the right.

I consoled myself with the knowledge that I've used the method successfully before. And maybe Art could rescue Craft. It wasn't something that a little color and some creative pencil use couldn't mask: I constructed a Penrose Dart and Kite using the pentagon, shaded them with red and blue colored pencils, and labeled one of the ratios for one to phi.

The bus pulled in front of the Salem Train station. I noticed two white, humongous, Beaux-Arts globes suspended from the ceiling and illuminating the station's interior. The spheres were sectored into meridians and latitudes by a metal frame. I couldn't tell if they were made up of little flat rectangles of white glass, or if the glass was curved. Outside, flanking the station's entrance, were two electric, low-energy fluorescent bulbs; the glass globes around these lights were one piece, sandblasted to mimic the grids on the larger lights inside. I wondered if the outside lights used to be miniature versions of the larger globes within -- they seemed to be a retrofit, and I sensed a story.

I wished there had been time to get out and snap photos as the bus pulled out of the parking lot; but traveling by bus was slower than by train, and getting out at every stop would have made the journey about an hour longer.

At last I saw the familiar lights of Eugene, the most prominent being a red neon 5 inside a circle by the fifth street market. The bus made a few zig-zags around a mostly empty downtown, through a dark restaurant parking lot (the restaurant features meals served in decommissioned railway dining cars) and stopped in front of the Eugene Station.

We dispersed. Some of us walked up Willamette Street and were lost in shadows. Some of us climbed aboard taxis. I walked through a round-about and past its milliarium, an octagonal stack of spiraling black and white tiles. It's too dark to clearly see the curled bars of the directional vane on top of the column, which looks like a sleeping cast-iron flower.

I was almost home.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Optics of Thánatos

As I left the museum and library, it began to rain. This was probably a good thing, as it kept me from stopping every five seconds to photograph random building details.

I made my way to 6th street. As I neared the corner, I noticed a MAX train. It was yellow. If I missed it, I'd have to wait about 15 minutes for the next one. I ran. I think the engineer saw me. In any case, just as I neared, I saw the amber lights by the doors flash. I jumped through them as they began to slide closed and landed in the relatively empty coach. Yay! Pegasus Rangers Ride the Rails Again!

Karma-girl was not on this train. Nor were there knots of disheveled youth looking like they were creeping home before it got too light. No, behind me was a clean cut young man having a cell phone discussion about two strung-out friends, and across the way was a scruffier looking guy who decided he needed to comb his wavy dark hair with a brush that was attached to a ring of keys. He seemed agitated, and whisked the brush over his head with a jingly rattle.

It turned out we were exiting the train at the same stop. I made sure to give him enough personal space, as he continued to jingle-rattle-brush his hair. He was impatient for the doors to open even though the train was still in motion, and he beat on them with the handle of his comb like a rat deprived of food pellets in an extinction phase of a random reinforcement experiment.

I stepped out at 6th and Davis. Although it was only something like ten to five in the afternoon, I scanned the parking lots and sidewalks around me, half-expecting to see roving gangs of strung-out Xanax abusers searching for easy prey. I squared my shoulders; asked myself, "What would a Pegasus Ranger do?" and heaved a huge sigh of relief when I noticed various touristy types clambering into their SUVs.

I met Jay Lake for pizza. Jay and I are the same age. We are both writers. I haven't had time much to see Jay since he (understandably) stopped making the commute from Portland to visit the Wordos table in Eugene. We did real-life catching up. I think the images from our visit which stick with me the most are the stream of people coming up out of the pizza parlor's basement on a haunted underground tour; how large children transform into small adults in sudden, startling ways; and how Jay is sitting with Death hovering over his shoulder.

He has stage IV colon cancer, and has come through a chemotherapy session. His oncologist recently "upgraded" his chances for survival to 50 percent over the next five years (which is good news). Jay's hair has recovered from the chemo and is longer than mine; he doesn't look frail or sick. But how he looks and feels in this moment is only for this moment. Blood-work or some other medical screening may signal the beginning of another ride on the cancer roller-coaster. Or not.

Sometimes we look at Death with a magnifying glass; other times, opera glasses; sometimes a telescope. Mostly I think we don't look. Jay is certainly looking. I wanted to say something helpful, but I wasn't sure what or how. My head was too full of images from art history. Maybe those French and medieval miniatures of Death and the Dance Macabre did have a useful social role. Maybe the Greeks had something going when they made Eros, Thánatos and Hypnos so alike.

[Editor's note:  Jay Lake died June 1, 2014.  I only saw him once or twice after this.]

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Crumpacker Family Library

11:40 AM Sunday.  Portland. I'll let you in on a secret. I'm not the world's most assertive person. Even less so when I'm traveling on my own to a city larger than the one I live in. To get around this I rely on costume to either distract myself or fool myself into being more direct. Hence, the Pegasus Ranger outfit. Yes, I like dressing up; yes, Boys Don't Cry was singing "I Wanna Be a Cowboy" in my head; and yes, there were a couple of moments when I squared my shoulders, shifted my body language, and thought, "Don't mess with me, I'm a Pegasus Ranger." And then I smiled; Pegasus Ranger is right up there with Laser Unicorns in terms of seriousness.

I walked a short distance and then found a yellow-line MAX. The disadvantage to having a laptop and a camera in my bag was the weight. And, alas, I'm getting old. Mark would tell me that I should walk more to build up endurance, but I kind of didn't want the balls of my feet to be sore from walking sixteen blocks. And besides, the Museum was opening real soon now and MAX would be faster.

The MAX train pulled into the stop and I boarded. Just before the doors closed, a young woman with a cardboard sign hopped on. "Whoo," she said, "I almost didn't make it." A few minutes later she strolled through the train, saying in a much tireder-sounding voice, "Spare change?" Her sign said something about karma.

"Hey, Joe," she said to a young bearded man who smelled strongly of urine and amonia. "How you doing? I heard you and your old lady broke up." Joe related his woes: a story involving abandoned dogs, Xanax abuse, and wanting to avoid cops. Karma-girl and Joe got off at Pioneer Square; she was giving him advice about lawyers.

I got off two stops later and walked a few blocks to the Portland Art Museum. The great coat received adulation from the check-clerk. But it turned out that my coat spent more time in the Museum than I did, because the Crumpacker Family Library -- although sharing some space with the Museum in the Mark Building next door -- was a seperate entity with its own entrance. So, abandoning my coat to PAM, I toted my bag next door. Past a curt security guard, past a plaster reproduction of two naked Greek wrestlers, through a book security grid, and into... Paradise!

I'll say it again, in my best imitation of Brenda Vaccaro climbing the ladder to George Hamilton's bedroom in "Zorro, the Gay Blade." Paradise!

Imagine the art history room at Powell's books. Add burgundy carpeting to the bare concrete. Now make the bookshelves 1920's library shelves. Add a stage, high vaulted ceilings and carved, wooden beams; an Euro-ecclectic vibe with pillars and red drapes. Now imagine being told by the librarian that the room was once a Masonic Temple. Realize the four thrones arranged in a circle in the middle of this gigantic, vaulted, lofty, sumptuous, quiet, book-filled room are very likely the ceremonial thrones for the masters of the cardinal directions. Restrain yourself from squealing at the top of your lungs like a five-year-old at 4:30 AM Christmas day and running a victory lap around the stacks before collapsing in an ecstatic heap!! It was like being Scrooge McDuck in a bathtub of gold coins. It was like being a cat on catnip. It was like being St. Agnes pierced by arrows. I was in bibliophile heaven.

I'd seen a picture of the thrones on the library's web page, and they were everything I hoped they could be. Sitting in one was a comfortable pleasure, with excellent lumbar support; although I did wish I wasn't looking at a reproduction of a small boy picking a thorn out of his foot. I walked, or rather, skipped, in a daze and found a gigantic, full color illustrated, coffee-table book of paleolithic art. Translated from the French. (gasp) Critiquing the methodology of Abbé Henri Breui. (gasp) With sub-headings like, "The Ideal Paleolithic Sanctuary." (gasp) And that was before I found the old electric magic lantern. (gasp) In the little niche room. (gasp) Hidden behind a half-curtain.

I set out to immerse myself in Every Single Tome in this TEMPLE. A short time later, I was back at a throne, reading a catalog of "The Stuff of Dreams," a Portland Art Museum show Mark and I visited many years ago. I made some photocopies. I learned that squinch is a real term describing multiple layers of arches holding up a dome.

Several books on Burne-Jones, the Pre-Raphaelites, woodcuts, angels, and a book called "The Quest for Odysseus" later, I had a Mr. Spock in the City on the Edge of Forever moment. "I am a fool!" I thought. "They've got to have something on the Cult Wagon of Strettweg!" They didn't, or more precisely there wasn't monogram focusing solely on the Cult Wagon. The Librarian pointed me to a survey of world history, and pointed out how the shelves were arranged chronologically.

And this is where I nearly wept on my hands and knees as I searched: Because I found a book on Islamic Art, and another book on Roman art, and then another on Greek art, and shelves and shelves of Egyptian art. Being in the library was like being the proverbial moth consumed by the flame, the guest at the worldly feast or other metaphors from C.S. Lewis's  The Discarded Image: The problem was that I couldn't sit down and just read a book -- every book led to at least three others and I had to read all the other books. In less than four hours. Even if I had four days, or four years, or four decades -- well, maybe four decades -- there would be no way I could read all the books enshrined around me.

And I very much wanted to read them all.

I'd been wrong; I wasn't in Heaven, exactly. I was in a retelling of the Greek myth of Tantalus. I was Moses, stranded on Mount Pisgah, gazing at the Holy Land in the distance -- a Holy Land I would never reach.

After only three and a half hours, I was simply overwhelmed by all the books.  I didn't have a clear research plan (I hadn't been able to connect to the on-line catalog earlier in the week).  And being a Pegasus Ranger -- while probably charming the librarian -- wasn't going to help me. I packed up my photocopies and camera, thanked the librarian for all of her help, and strolled back to PAM, where I looked at actual works of art (silver chocolate pots, and tea sets mostly).