Well, another issue of…

Well, another issue of Clean Sheets up smoothly (barring a missing poetry piece). A couple of controversial pieces in this one -- one is a quite non-consensual fiction piece (I'm very curious as to whether anyone will be offended and bother to write and tell us). The other is a review by Jed of Chip Delany's _The Mad Man_. This is only controversial in that it's not entirely complimentary, and since Chip taught both me and Jed, we're hoping he won't get mad at us. Chip mad would be scary. Also a probably non-controversial review of electrical play (though I suppose someone could write in and say that we're encouraging dangerous practices, since if you do it wrong, you *can* kill yourself. Of course, that's true of most sex.

I still need to do the newsletter tonight, but I managed to review the proofreading stuff over lunch, so I think I'll also watch the new Voyager movie at 8! (Yes, they're doing a two-hour episode and calling it a movie. I don't know why. I'm watching it anyway. Seven of Nine returns to the collective... (that will make *absolutely* no sense to you if you aren't familiar with Voyager)).

Hey, great news! I just heard from Susie Bright that she will happily consider stories published in Clean Sheets for the Best American Erotica series. It would be *so* cool to have one of our stories in BAE 2000 -- that would *almost* be better than having one of my own in there. :-) Hey, and since we're doing an all-staff issue in October, that means that the staff will have a chance to submit something through there. Yet another step on the road to legitimacy. It's just too bad there isn't a BAE for poetry or articles or artwork or reviews...

Hmm...I suppose there *are* Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, Best American Essay series. It feels a bit arrogant to attempt them, but I suppose for the sake of my authors, I really ought to at least find out if they'd be willing to look at online publications...hmm...

***

I half-wrote this while riding the shuttle bus this morning, and finished it at lunch. I also read a fair number of stories over at Scarlet Letters during lunch. I'm not sure that was a good idea.

commuting

the waters of the bay
are like glass today, so still.
you are reflected in them,
the length of leg, the curve
of breast, his fingers on your
face, her arch beneath your
practiced hands -- i see you both,
even when i close my eyes;
that pale skin burns
slick with sweat and fragrant
juices. sunlight blazes across
the water; the bus shudders
on the ragged highway; i am
staggering, until a stranger
catches my arm, steadying.
i am counting the days
until i join you.

***

Shmuel's just starting _The Canterbury Tales_. Gosh, I hope he likes it; this was one of my favorite books in college. I even took a whole course on it. The key to getting into these stories is to read them out loud, in Middle English. It can be very confusing at first, but if you do the first thirty lines of the prologue side by side with a translation to modern English, somewhere in there it starts to click, and you start to think in Middle English. Hopefully, anyway. I love the sound of the language...

"Whan that April, with its showres soote,
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veine in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flow'r"

Remember when reading aloud that all the vowels are soft -- no long vowels. The 'A' in Whan and April and hath, etc. is like the 'a' in star. The 'o' sound in 'showres' is like the 'o' in soot. They pronounced their ending 'e's, softly. Gosh, I wish it weren't so slow to download audio, or I'd just record those four lines for you. The accents are different too -- April has the primary accent on the second syllable, as does licour, for example. That's less important, though.

And don't be too bewildered by the sense of it. The above translates to:

When that April, with its showers sweet,
The drought of March, has pierced to the root,
And bathed every vein in sweet liquid,
Of which truly engendered is the flower

or

When April's sweet showers have pierced the drought of March to the root, and bathed every vein in sweet liquid (of which, truly, flowers are born)...

See, not so hard. A good edition with words like 'vertu' translated, and you'll be fine. Chaucer wrote some of the finest bawdy tales in existence; I'd hate y'all to miss them...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *