Farewell Project Update and More Young City


While working on the Trenchcoat Farewell Project, I've decided to rewrite (with Dan Kukwa's blessing) the Trenchcoat 4 story Distractions. I mostly feel that more can be done, here. In a story that pits the Doctor against the Celestial Toymaker (an immortal being who is so bored with life, his only interest is in playing high-stakes games), there is precious little game playing to be done. That's fairly easily fixed.

It feels good to be getting back into a little Doctor Who fan fiction. It's like slipping my hand into a comfortable old glove.

Pat Degan has been kind enough to submit an additional nine pieces of art, for the Ninth Aspect 2 story, The Steel Nursery. They're great, as always, and it makes me feel good about the end of the project. I had worried that the fanzine would be bookended with incomplete and cobbled-together works, but now we have four complete stories to finish the fanzine, and all of them will be illustrated.

Despite all of this progress, I'm anxious to get the thing completed. It was early in the year 2000 that Dan Kukwa convinced me to finish off what we could of Trenchcoat 0 and Ninth Aspect 2 and put the whole thing out in a remastered hardcover coffee-table fanzine and, now, three years later, we may actually do this. The forty-or-so people who have preordered copies have been very patient with me, but I can still feel their eyes on my back as this project drags on and on...

Here's some rough new material for The Young City. Edmund Watson shows Rosemary the ropes on her first day of work in his store

"All right, Rosemary, let me show you how this place operates," said Edmund, leading Rosemary down into the front section of the store. He pulled a pair of leather-bound books from the desk. "This is the inventory. Everything that we have in this store is here. When we buy goods, we write them down in the inventory, including when we bought it and how much we paid. When we sell goods, we write down when it was sold, and how much for. Understand?"

Rosemary nodded vigorously.

"Now this..." Edmund set the book aside and picked up a sheet of rough paper. "This is where you write down the day's sales. At the end of the day I take this and add the numbers to the business ledger. Don't you worry about the business ledger, that's my duty, but I'll take the day's receipts from you. You do know how to work with figures, don't you?"

Rosemary just kept herself from rolling her eyes. She smiled and nodded.

"Good!" said Edmund. He handed her a pen and a receipt. "Now try it."

Taking a deep breath, Rosemary bent over the page and peered at the line of numbers. She glanced at the receipt. She put the pen to paper and dragged it, but nothing came out. She dragged it again, then stared at it. "You're out of ink."

"The ink bottle is right there!" Edmund pointed to a corner of the desk.

"Ink bottle," said Rosemary, blinking. "Quill pen. I have to fill this pen." She took another deep breath. "All right." She dipped the pen in the bottle and brought it back to the page. A line of black drips followed her. "Oh! I'm sorry!" She tried to wipe the splotches away, but only smeared them and the sleeve of her dress.

Edmund sucked in his breath.

Rosemary bent over the page and found the right line. She pressed the pen to the paper. A pool of ink swept out over the numbers. She squawked in alarm.

"Here," Edmund's voice was strained as he snatched back the pen. "Perhaps I should enter in the day's purchases."

"All right." Rosemary bit her lip and stared at the floor. "But if you do, you should know that you made a few mistakes."

Edmund froze. "I have?"

She looked up and nodded. "Yes, have a look." She and Edmund bent over the paper and she pointed to four different places. "You forgot to carry the four, and twelve nines is one hundred and eight, not ninety-six, and here I think you forgot a decimal point."

They stood up, Edmund staring at her, his mouth agape.

"They're perfectly easy errors to make," Rosemary began, but Edmund cut her off.

"Let me see that!" He turned back to the ledger and recounted, mumbling the numbers on his lips and tapping occasionally on his fingers. Then he pulled a paper from the desk and did the numbers again. And a third time. Finally, he stood up and stared for a moment. Then he handed over the pen. "From now on, you do it."

"Great," said Rosemary. "Do you have a pencil?"

JCF in his comments asks 'As far as the hyphenations go, I'm glad people are proud of their culture and heritage. But what's wrong with just being "Canadians" and "Americans?"'

And the answer is: probably nothing. My point was, for a small handful of people (who may or may not have objected to hyphenation), it wasn't possible for Americans to become Canadians, hyphenated or otherwise. Personally, I disagree.

Maybe we do get too worked up in our hyphenations, but we are who we are, and who we define ourselves to be. I have a touch of the Irish, English, Scottish and Chinese in me, and I'm pleased as punch about that. Erin's mother's family are very Irish.

I think it should be up to us to decide whether or not we can or should hyphenate ourselves, because it's our identity. It shows that we contain multitudes. It plants us in our country of residence, but it shows us where we come from. And so long as we express our identity in positive ways, the privilege of hyphenation is something that all Americans and Canadians who want to do so, should enjoy.

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