One of the Songs I was Raised On

There’s a song that is partially quoted in The Skill of Our Hands, the most recent book by Skyler White and me.  It’s to the same tune as the haunting Irish ballad, “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye” (my favorite version is by Odetta), and its US Civil War update, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

The version quoted in the book was one of songs we’d sing in the car when I was a kid, along with “Solidarity Forever,” and, “Avant di Popolo” and “Hold the Fort” and so on.  When using the song in the book, I changed the word “Fools” to “Fooled” in the tag line because the former strikes me as slightly offensive.  So, with that change, here are the full lyrics as I learned them, in case anyone is interested.

The battle is on that none can shirk
—-In field and street.
The lines are drawn twixt those who work
—-And those who eat.
We are the many, they are the few
But we’ve always done what they told us to
Now the time has come when we’ll not be fooled anymore.

How do they hold the upper hand?
—-The answer runs.
They’ve got the gold, they’ve got the land
—-They’ve got the guns.
Divide and conquer has been the trick
With the gift of gab and the hired dick
But the time has come when we’ll not be fooled anymore.

Mighty the engine, vast the field
—-From coast to coast.
The skill of our hands, the wealth they yield
—-Is all Earth’s boast.
For ours are the hands on those machines.
Just think for a minute of what that means.
And the time has come when we’ll not be fooled anymore.
The time has come when we’ll not be fooled anymore.

Current Progress

Skyler and I are fighting through revisions on the next Incrementalists novel (still not sure what the title will be), and I’m working on Vallista.  Vallista (set immediately before Hawk, which moves the story forward) is going slowly, but not badly.  On chapter 3 right now.

So, just for shits and giggles, if I were to write something not set in the Incrementalists world or Dragaera, what should I write?  I mean, what thing haven’t I done would you like to see me trying to do, so I can fall flat on my face and you can laugh pitilessly at my ineptitude?




WTF Open Office?

I write my books in emacs, then convert them (thanks to a macro by the lovely Anne) to .rtf format and do the final editing in OpenOffice. With my current project (Incrementalists #2) things were a bit more complex, because of working with a collaborator.  I now have the book on my Windows box instead of the Linux machine.  There is a reason I reserve Windows for things that don’t really matter.

But anyway, here I am.  Every time I close the file and open it again, formatting changes have been lost.  To wit: line spacing, paragraph indenting, centering, underlining.  This didn’t happen on the OO version for linux, but, as I said, here I am.

Does anyone who knows Open Office have any suggestions?  I tried OpenOffice help, but I’m having trouble phrasing the question in such a way that their automated help knows what I’m talking about.

Replies that take the form, “You should be using X application or Y operating system” will not be appreciated even a little.

ETA: Attempting to duplicate the problem with another file led to another symptom: I am able to use the “Format–> paragraph”, but not “Format–> Paragraph Style.”  The latter is not grayed out, but it won’t come up when I click it (in both cases, after selecting the entire document).



Our Girl

Skyler and I finished a first draft of Incrementalists #2 last night. Working title: The Backmeddle.  That may change, as may everything else, during revisions.  The next step will be to chop scenes, or parts of scenes, that we don’t need.  But even after we do that, this book is going to be big.  By One True Word Count, she comes in at 135,000 words.

But our girl is tall; she was never meant to weigh 100 lbs.  And, more important, she has a healthy body-image.  When critics tell her, “You can never be too thin,” she rolls her eyes and just gets on with her life.  She is a strong girl, and likes it that way.  She chooses not to carry any fat–she wants everything to be there for a reason–but she will certainly not listen to those who tell her what she is supposed to look like.  She runs the hurdles of intertwining plots, she swims through complex themes, she lifts the weight of being a sequel, and she climbs rocks of multi-layered character.  She’ll look like she can do all of those things, and she sees no reason to pretend otherwise.   When we have finished her training, she will be exactly as big as she wants to be, and anyone who thinks she should be smaller can go fuck himself.

Skyler and I are not done helping our girl train, and become everything she is able to be, but she already knows herself, and we’re very proud of her.