Saturday, November 03, 2007

Equisetum Hyemale

I didn't post anything last week, and this week I'd like to make up for it by posting something twice as interesting as one of my usual posts, but unfortunately, I don't have anything that interesting to tell you.

I didn't write anything last week because I've been too busy proof-reading a collection of short stories I wrote in the '80s and '90s. I finished earlier this week, and I submitted the manuscript to iUniverse just a few days ago. I'm going to have to proof the manuscript again when they send me the galleys, and even though these are stories that you can read over and over again without ever getting tired of, I'm actually starting to get a little tired of reading them. But that's only because I'm reading them word by word, looking for typos. That can sort of drain you after a while. But reading them for purely for enjoyment is a completely different activity which not only will not drain you, it will actually elevate your mood.

If you've ever looked at my web site, you'll know that I was originally planning on publishing this collection of stories in two volumes, but I decided I'd rather publish one big volume than two little ones. I think the book will have around 70 stories or so. That sounds like a lot, but they're all pretty short (which is why they're called short stories). I put what I consider my best stories in the collection, but I also decided to include some of the not-so-great ones. Maybe that wasn't the smartest thing to do, but I did it to give the book a sort of balance. I mean, if you read 70 absolutely great stories in a row, you might be overwhelmed to the point of madness, but if every now and then you read a few that aren't so great, it might prevent you from experiencing any sort of unwanted delirium.

And with that, I end the shameless self-promotion portion of this post. Unfortunately, I haven't got much else to say this week. If I sat here long enough, I could probably think of something, but the truth is, I've got other things to do today. For example, I have to plant some horsetail reed. I bought some last weekend but I didn't have time to plant it. So that's one of the things I'm planning on doing today.

If you don't know what horsetail reed is, don't feel bad, since you've probably seen it without knowing what it's called. I've seen a lot of it over the past few months without knowing what it was called. It looks like thin green bamboo stalks, except it isn't bamboo. I don't even know if it's related to bamboo. I don't know why it's called horsetail reed either, since it doesn't look like a horse's tail. I'm not crazy about horses, and I never really have been, but I've seen enough of them to know that their tails don't look like thin green stalks of bamboo. So whatever else you can say about horsetail reed, you can't say it's particularly aptly named.

It's not exactly unique in that respect, of course. You're probably familiar with the plant commonly known as the cattail, which doesn't particularly look like a cat's tail. If you use your imagination, however, I suppose you might see some kind of similarity between cattail and a cat's tail. Especially if your vision isn't that great. But no matter how bad your vision, or how great your imagination, you would never confuse horsetail reed with a horse's tail.

But I am planting some nonetheless. The tag says it should be planted in areas that get full sun, but I'm going to plant it where it will only get partial sun. That ought to be enough, the way I figure it, but the horsetail reed might figure otherwise, so I hope it doesn't die on me after a few months. It seems like pretty resilient stuff, though, so I'm not too worried, but time will tell, as it always does.

I think I'll be okay, since I don't necessarily believe everything I read, especially when it's directly contradicted by something else I read. On one web site, for example, it says that horsetail reed will turn yellow in full sun and that it does best in half-day sun. So that's what I choose to believe, because it's more in line with what I want to believe.

This same web site, by the way, mentions that horsetail reed was eaten by dinosaurs, and that it contains ingredients that are used in cholesterol-lowering drugs. It gives a few other interesting facts as well -- for example, that horsetail reed has been used throughout human history for scrubbing kitchen utensils. That's sort of interesting, but I'm not sure I believe it, since I'm not sure I believe that kitchens and kitchen utensils have been with us since the dawn of human history. If I can speculate, however, I think it's pretty safe to say that whatever killed the dinosaurs, it probably wasn't clogged arteries due to high cholesterol levels.

And that brings us to the end of this week's post. I hope you found it interesting. But if you didn't, let me know, and maybe I'll make up for it next week by writing something that's three times as good as one of my usual posts.