The pangs of post-Clarion are somewhat assuaged by the coalescing e-mail group. Soon we will have a Clarion web page too, hooray! The group lives...
Life still proceeds moderately quiet. I find myself cooking whatever random things I find in the fridge (last night I fried some onions, added chopped chicken, basil and a red chili. Don't ask me why. It wasn't bad over pasta) rather than planning enough to go to the grocery store. Maybe tomorrow. (I will have probably run out of fridge things by then.) I'm running out of ways to procrastinate -- soon I will have to actually work.
They told us at Clarion not to be surprised if we couldn't write for weeks or months after Clarion. They said that was common, as our brains attempted to integrate everything we'd learned. Fair enough, but unfortunately I have deadlines. Not just the Puritan and Sizzle ones, which don't thankfully require my best writing, but I'd like to get Deep in Sea revised (majorly so) and send it out for the last Windling/Datlow Fairy Tales anthology (must remember to get the address from Leah, and the deadline). I have a definite love/hate relationship with deadlines. On the one hand, I generally feel as if I could have done a better job with a piece if I'd had more time -- on the other, undoubtedly many pieces wouldn't get finished without a looming deadline.
Especially now. I feel paralyzed, almost scared to write. I want my work to be different, better -- and of course, it won't be yet. I know that in my head, but still...
It's not writer's block. I know I can sit down and write. It's simply insecurity, fear. I'm a person who likes immediate small goals and rewards -- and I like them clear-cut. Why did I pick a life where that just doesn't happen, where both goals and rewards and even process are rather vague and ill-defined? Eh. No need to answer that -- I do know the answers. I'm just whinging (did I spell that right, Brits?), don't mind me. I'll feel a lot better once I get up off my ass and actually write something.
12:45 - Well, I did go to the grocery store. Picked up a lot of fruit, to hopefully help me lose the 5 pounds I put on at Clarion (sitting and writing and only walking to and from class is not conducive to a fit body). Procrastinated further by starting an old Phyllis Ann Karr novel and by putting together a list of important people mentioned in this journal for your amusement and edification. Hopefully none of them will mind. Am rapidly running out of things to procrastinate on. Down to less than 15 old mail messages to deal with. Clothes almost all put away. Dishes done. Have figured out how to keep the house cool with curtains closed so that while the place is dimly lit, it is no longer painfully warm so I don't have that excuse anymore. Meep. (Have I explained meep to you? It is the sound a small animal makes when it is run over by something very big. General pathetic distress.) Maybe I can dust.
Who am I kidding? I never dust. (Truly, the rest of my housekeeping is generally quite good, even compulsive. Somehow I never got into dusting.) I could procrastinate simply by writing exceedingly long journal entries, thereby enlisting all of you unwittingly in aiding my writing avoidance behavior. Enablers is the term, I believe.
But no. Sadly, I cannot be quite that self-deceptive. I will not write more in this journal today. So there.
8:50 -- All right. I lied. I'm back again when I said I wouldn't be today. It was this or the television, and considering that we don't even have a television, that I would have to figure out exactly how it is that Ian hooked up his speakers to the vcr to the computer monitor (and where is he, you ask? he's off with his SO, who's been gone for a week, and I'm sure they're being delightfully mushy together (what, is that a hint of annoyance in your virtual voice? Oh, maybe. Dammit, I wouldn't mind spending this evening being mushy myself, except for this little problem of thousands of miles....okay, okay. Enough self pity. I should know better than to write in here this late at night. I did decide to go away to grad school, right? My choice. Argh.)) -- I'm not going to watch tv. I've spent the last hour reading newsgroups which has reminded me mostly why I stopped reading newsgroups several months ago. What an amazing time sink. Not that this is necessarily much better, but at least I'm writing instead of reading -- especially instead of reading amazingly inane arguments (on misc.writing even! I expected better. And that damn To Angi thread is still going and going and going on alt.poly...) that I really have no interest in. It's sad and frustrating to watch intelligent people trying really really hard to get through to people who have no interest in being got through to. Especially frustrating when your own fingers are just itching to leap into the fray. Which has gotten me in much trouble in the past, let me tell you.
Here, let me break up my little rant with a paragraph break before I dissolve into utter incoherence and illegibility. *deep breath*
I'm not going to tell you exactly where I got into such trouble because it's really bad enough that my teenage idiocies are permanently archived without my going around telling people exactly where.
Tomorrow will be a sane day. Tomorrow I will get up and write. I damn well have to, 'cause I have 9000 words due for Puritan that I have to ship by Saturday and the 2400 words I have thus far are just not going to cut it on their ownsome. I will write from 6:30 until 9:30, and then, having calmly and professionally finished 3000 words (hah!), I will get a ride from my kind roommate Cliff over into the city to meet my friend Elissa who is in town visiting her in-laws. I will take her away for lunch and a nice walk through around the de Young or possibly the Asian Arts Museum. Then we will come back to my place, visually and spiritually refreshed. We will consider whether will join Brian (not her Bryan. Another Brian. With an I.) at a pub for conversation and relaxation. Eventually we will sleep, having spent much time in catching up and friendly gossiping. Doesn't that sound nice?
*sigh* The plans always sound so nice. So orderly. So efficient. If only life actually worked that way.
I started writing a poem called "Inertia Blues" -- but it was too much work. You think I'm kidding. I had a whole verse before I gave up.
I ought to read. Or put away the laundry. I could call someone, but almost everyone's in the wrong damn time zone. I am *not* going to go turn on the tv. Y'all can just listen to me whine instead.
Okay, no whining. Surely there's something interesting I can tell you? Something interesting I can do? How 'bout a writing exercise, hot off the presses, just for you. No editing, I promise. Limited timeframe. Maybe that'll turn up something worthwhile, and the no editing adds a certain frisson, a slice of danger to the work.
Paging through the idea generation Clarion sheets, I find one that I ought to be good at by now. We'll see. The assignment: describe a character through the eyes of a point of view character (any person) who lusts after that character. No cliches.)
It's the skin. So coarse. Like sand on the strand. What would it be like to run your smoothness up against that skin. Dark; not dirt-dark or tree trunk-dark but dark where my Lady is pale, rough where she is smooth, solid. There. What would it be like to pull that smock from her body? My Lady has called her 'cow', and so she is in comparison to that perfect Her. Breasts that hang full and heavy, built for nursing squalling human babes. Wide hips, so unlike my Lady's slenderness. If She had a child, it might tear Her in two -- yet another reason there are so few of us. But this one, this human woman, she would have no trouble. They would slip out of her, while she laughed, as she is laughing now, her head tipped back and black hair fluttering in Puck's breeze. I could put out a hand now and stay his mischief. I could take her to me, maze this human woman, barely more than a girl, with love and lust and faerie dreams.
She would come to me at dusk, her brown eyes wide and simple. I would lift that ugly smock from her body, her vibrant, aging mortal body. In the darkness of the woods, our limbs entwined amidst the death and decay of the forest floor, musty mushrooms and tattered autumn leaves -- ah, but it is summer now. The leaves are green, green as her body in this blush of youth, in this blinding temporary mortal beauty that my Lady pales beside. The stars are always there, but the sun outshines them all, for a little while. Only a little while. Until then, let the ripe rutting scent rise through the woods; let me join my body with this wide-hipped, cow-breasted girl; let me plunge into her dark and steaming depths and forget that I am ever immortal, ever lost.
Sadly interrupted by a phone call on the other line but I tried not to think about it until I got back to the computer. Not bad. I'm afraid I worked in two other assignments while I was at it -- one from the Clarion sheets which says: write from the viewpoint of somebody or something not human, conveying to the reader what sort of being or thing this is, without using its own name or describing itself. I cheated a bit on that, but that's okay as far as I'm concerned 'cause it was a secondary exercise. And the third overlap is that M. Christian is reading for an erotic Midsummer Nights' Dream anthology right now, and I've been vaguely thinking of submitting something to that. Perhaps this will be a seed.
It's funny how I work much better with restraints. (Stop laughing, you.) Seriously -- whether it's poetic formalistm or anthology requests or deadlines, it seems like the more restraints on the story, the easier it is for me to write. Fewer decisions to be made, I suppose. There's such a universe of possibilities.
Ah, it is now 9:45, and I have sufficiently whiled away the time that I think I can safely brush my teeth and go to bed. I do believe I hear a roommate at the door as well.
Thank you for keeping me company, my invisible readers, my silent (mostly) horde. I do wonder again how many of you there are. Perhaps I will ask Dale to check the stats again for me. I hope I haven't annoyed you too much with the multiple updates today...you have certainly helped me, rescuing me from the evil tv spectre. Thank you and good night.
(Oh, will I regret this entry in the morning?)