Hey, munchkins. I’m…

Hey, munchkins. I'm feeling much better today; sorry for the grumpiness yesterday. By the time I finished teaching my first class I was feeling fine. By the end of the day I was feeling exhausted, but still reasonably happy. Tuesdays are going to be long. This is a pretty heavy semester for me; I decided to actually take Kathryn's class, rather than just auditing it, which makes four courses I'm taking, plus one I'm teaching. Big load. I think I'll be okay, though -- I read several of Kathryn's books over break, and I do read fast in general. That's an immense advantage in grad school. Today I need to read about a fifth of a book on semiotics (for narrative theory), Jean Genet's Querelle (for canonical perversions), and the rest of that Sri Lankan history book (for my independent study; I'm meeting with the professor at 10 a.m. tomorrow). By Tuesday I need to do some fiction writing for workshop -- I think I know what I'm doing there, so that's not so bad. And I'm going to have daily writing for that class as well -- she wants us to keep an 'image notebook', where we record (in text, photography, sketches, whatever) a sensory image every single day. I know from past experience that I'm not terribly good at keeping this kind of thing regularly, so I think I'm going to try to put it in here. I'm hoping that'll make it more likely that I'll be consistent about it. They're likely to be very random -- just whatever image struck me the most that day. Things I see, memories, dreams, etc... Feel free to ignore them if you like. Or, if you're a writer, you could try joining in.

In other news, "A Gentle Man" was rejected by The Southern Review, Harper's, and Atlantic Monthly -- but Atlantic Monthly sent a nice personalized encouraging rejection, which thus shoots them to the top of my lit market submission list, along with Glimmer Train. I've just sent the story out to Glimmer Train, Agni and Black Warrior Review, and updated my literary markets list with some new info that came in over the holidays. Interestingly, at least one of those magazines actually takes sf/f as well -- mostly no, though.

2:30. Finished semiotics, fell asleep for a bit; still sick, and my cough got a little worse yesterday, so I'm inclined to let my body rest when it wants to. Genet and history left to read today. Also a bunch of e-mail I should answer, though that may get put off to tomorrow or Friday. We'll see. And I should at least look over the chapter I'm teaching tomorrow, though, since this marks the fourth time I'm teaching it, I'm not too concerned.

11:45. Well, I've read half of Querelle, but I got so grossed out that I just had to put the book down. We're inside the head of a murderer for part of it, and a lot of other men for the rest of it, and it's a really unpleasant place to be. It gives me much the same feeling that Fight Club did -- that if this is what men are really like on the inside, I don't want to know about it. I turned off the movie, but I have to finish the book for school. Ick. Yuck. The language is gorgeous, but that doesn't redeem it for me. Neither do all the sex scenes.

I called Alex back instead (he'd called yesterday when I was in class), and we had a really nice talk. And then I talked to Jed for a couple of hours. And I talked to Bryan earlier today (I wanted to tell him how much I enjoyed his article at SH), and between the three of them, I now feel reassured that not all men are as gross as the ones in that book. I decided not to even attempt anymore tonight; I'm setting my alarm for seven, and I'll try to finish it in the morning.

I've just spent half an hour reading history, which is remarkably soothing. I'm starting to suspect this author of having something of an anti-Tamil bias, which is a little distressing, but even if he does, it's showing up in such a mild way that I can easily live with it. And it's surprisingly peaceful reading about this invasion in the 13th century, and that war in the 14th century...who woulda thunk it? I'm being to suspect that I missed out, not reading any history between high school and now.

Before I go back to it, a quick note -- one of you asked what the image notebook was *for*. :-) If I understand the teacher correctly, it's not exactly for anything -- it's a space for free play, brainstorming, experiment, in a somewhat focused fashion. It's certainly possible that some of these bits will turn into stories sooner or later, but it's not required. They're experiments meant to keep your mind limber. We'll see how they go.

I'm thinking that I'll keep them at the bottom of the day's entry, so you can easily ignore them -- but maybe that's going to be confusing on days when I update multiple times? Tell me if you'd rather I just put it in at whatever point I wrote it that day -- I have no strong feelings on the matter.

G'night; sleep well.


Image Notebook

A few days ago I bought a family pack of chicken - eleven legs and thighs. I live alone, but it was cheap, and all I would need to do was break it up into two packages and freeze it. Later I would thaw it, and with some onions and spices, I would make two curries, enough to feed me dinner for at least a week, for less than five dollars. But I was tired when I got home, so I ended up just sticking it in the fridge. Sunday I got hooked on a computer game and ate mac and cheese for lunch and dinner because I didn't want to leave the game for longer than that. So that by the time I finally opened the package on Monday, it had started to go bad. It looked okay, but it smelled just slightly off, a whiff of foulness that I wouldn't have even caught without leaning close and sniffing. But if I'd thought about it, the smell alone would probably have made me sick. I remembered that in medieval times, lacking the benefits of refrigeration, they'd often used strong spices to disguise the taste of meat gone bad. So I cleaned and curried half of it, putting in plenty of chili powder and salt; I froze the other half, as originally planned. It seemed fine at dinner last night, but if I look at the curry and think about what's in it, I start to feel queasy. I spent twenty dollars that same day, on fish - the decorative kind, not meant for eating. I think my priorities are messed up.

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