Books, the Universe, and Cosmic Oddities
Written by Linda Grimes
Sometimes the stars and planets align, and you find out something you’ve written isn’t as batshi—er, batpoop crazy as you originally feared it might be.
I love it when that happens. It’s validating. And when you can email your agent and editor about it, and crack them up long-distance, it can downright warm the cockles of your heart. (Whatever the heck “cockles” are. All I know is, warming them is apparently a good thing.)
A few months ago, shortly after my sister-in-law read a bound galley of In a Fix, she heard something that made her laugh out loud while she was listening to the radio in her car. Came close to making her run off the road, actually. Though, she admitted later, that part could have been caused by an unexpected thrill when her cell phone started vibrating in her pocket. But still. The point is, it was funny.
A little background info about a certain plot point in my book might be useful at this juncture: the bad guys are members of a neo-Viking group promoting an uber-macho ideal in Sweden. They’re tired of being told by society to “pee sitting down.” Metaphorically speaking. Or so I thought.
(I know! Wacky, huh? I was kind of going for the laugh there. But trust me, it all makes sense in the context of the book.)
Anyway, when my sister-in-law got home, she Googled the reference that cracked her up, and found an article from The Local: Sweden’s News in English.
The gist of the article is that the Left Party in Sörmland, Sweden, wants to force … um, I mean, strongly encourage… men to sit down to empty their bladders in the county council’s restrooms. Not only for hygiene reasons, they stress, but because it’s good for their prostates.
Um, yeah. Being able to pee standing up is about the only thing that makes me envy men. No offense to men. I love men—just ask my husband. He’ll tell you flat out, other than chocolate and a good martini, there’s nothing Linda loves more than men.
But I don’t want to be one.
Okay, when I was a kid, I also used to envy men their ability to grow facial hair, but I’ve since evolved beyond thinking it would be cool to do it myself. Not that I don’t still appreciate a good set of sideburns or a fine mustache. Only I don’t particularly want to see it in the mirror. (Ironic that I lose the desire as I approach the age when, according to ads for female facial hair removal products, I might finally be able to achieve it. My timing sucks.)
But back to the point. The article about Sörmland’s fastidious city council, and their truly touching concern for Swedish prostates, was of course published long after I wrote In a Fix. And yet, silly as the subject matter seems, it applies. It relates. It connects.
It’s the kind of coincidence I suspect happens a lot with writers. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? (Well, it makes me wonder. You might not give two toots on a penny whistle.)
Not that I’m implying there’s any New Age stuff going on. I don’t light incense before a writing session, calling on my muse to bring real-world relevance to my fiction or anything. But a little cosmic oddity here and there? Yeah, I can enjoy the wonder of it.
From the Tor/Forge September newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.
More from the September Tor/Forge newsletter:
- A Conversation with Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross
- Me Jane by Robin Maxwell
- Blood Sucking Lawyers (For Real) by Phillipa Bornikova
- The Clockwork Sky Sneak Peek by Madeleine Rosca
- Graphic Novel Sweepstakes
- An Editor’s Dirty Little Secret
- On a Bus to New York
- Sister, Healer, Soldier, Spy
- Tor/Forge Blog is Moving to a New Domain
- The Week in Review
- Not at New York Comic-Con Sweepstakes
- Starred Review: Ask Not by Max Allan Collins
- New Releases: 10/8/2013
- Goodreads Sweepstakes: Watcher of the Dark by Joseph Nasisse
- Tor Books Announces Programming for New York Comic-Con 2013
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