Yesterday was a very writerly day. It didn't start out that way -- it started out with waiting thirty minutes for the school bus, growing increasingly bewildered. The kids didn't care -- it wasn't too cold out, and they got a nice snowball fight going. (There are typically five to ten kids who wait together for the school bus on our corner, all older than mine, ranging from ages 6-10). Kavya and Anand were both a little hesitant at first, even a bit scared. But Kavi started laughing at the other kids, and then finally got up her courage to throw a tiny bit of snow, and when that went well, she followed up with another, and then Anand joined in, and then they had a total blast. My only concern was keeping Anand from running too close to the street in his excitement. She did accidentally hit him in the face once (the other kids were very sweet and careful to aim at people's coats), and he wailed for a minute, but I cleaned him up, reminded them of the rules of friendly snowball fights, and then they were off again. Good times -- at least until we gave up on the bus, and since I was working from home, I volunteered to run Kavya and two of the neighbor boys to school in the car. Apparently the bus did show up eventually, but we were gone by then.
Anyway, back to the writerliness. Julie and Dan and Laura all came by (hooray for flexible work schedules) to write with me today; I like a full house. Dan got there first, and we spent a while talking about the merits of various local MFA programs; he's thinking of getting one (and has a small daughter, so is space-limited). I don't think they're for every writer, but after talking to him, I think he's got a clear idea of what he might realistically get out of them, and what they'd cost him, and it seems like a good fit. I also told him about low-residency programs, which he wasn't aware of. I think he's probably better off with a local program, since there are so many good ones in the area, but many people don't have our wealth of choices.
When Julie arrived, I settled down to working on...still not writing. But writing-related; I filed my NEA fellowship application. I would really like one, and for some reason, I've only applied for it twice, though in theory, I could have applied at least nine times by now (since the time I started publishing sufficiently). You can't win if you don't play. The annual reminder is in my calendar now, so hopefully, I won't forget to apply again. The application took about two hours, mostly because it took a while to document my five supporting publications to their requirements, and also because grants.gov kept locking me out of their system and I had to fight with them about my password. All sorted in the end, but yes, there's a reason they tell you not to wait until the last minute to apply. Advice I completely ignored, oh well.
Dan and Julie headed off, but Laura had arrived by then, and we spent a while talking while I ate lunch, mostly about jobs and writer/artist websites. Laura is an awesome artist, and a burgeoning writer, but she has been totally slack about putting her website together, and as I said repeatedly, if she doesn't have a good website that I can point to, it's going to be much harder to convince my colleagues to bring her out to give a talk at UIC. My students would love her, and would learn so much from her. I think she'll get it together soon, though -- last time she was here, I just sat down with her and we set up a minimal WordPress site in about half an hour. Now she just has to upload all the photos and descriptions of her art. Writers / artists -- don't neglect your websites. This has been your public service message for the day.
Then I finally settled down to write. I didn't want to write. I wanted to chat. But I made myself open up "Monsters" and start the revision, because I had run out of time -- yesterday was the deadline for submissions. (Hm. We'd been planning on open subs for Jaggery, but there is something definitely motivating about have a one-month reading period -- that's it, get your butt in gear, writers, get it in. I think I'm going to open up a discussion with the staff about which way they want to go on that.)
So anyway, I worked for a while, and it got late, and I stopped periodically to complain to Laura about something or other in the story, and then it was time to meet Kavya at the bus stop, and Laura went home and I went and got Kavi and brought her in and told her to get herself a snack and I just needed maybe fifteen more minutes to do the last pass on the revision, and then Kevin came down and started talking to Kavi so I couldn't think and I snapped at him a couple of times and then he took her upstairs, and I started over on the bit I was trying to finish and I finally got it done and it only made me fifteen minutes late and I tried to submit it and the Submittable system rejected me and I panicked and posted on Facebook to the editors (which, conveniently, I knew), and went to take a shower and get dressed because so far, the entire day was in grubby sweats.
Then I was off, bag packed full of books, directions printed out, to pick up Angeli (birthday!) and take her to dinner (birthday!), which all took a bit longer than expected (traffic! crutches! ice!), but eventually we had an AWESOME if fast meal at Farmhouse Chicago, which I recommend highly, esp. the whitefish w/ pork belly and parsnips three ways, yum. And we were only a little late for the reading I was supposed to be reading at, seven speculative fiction authors at Open Books, right around the corner from Farmhouse. Great used bookstore, and now I'm trying to figure out how I can have an excuse to loiter in that area more often. We came in just as Richard Chwedyk was starting his reading (I always love Richard's work), followed by Wesley Chu (whom I have already bragged on this morning), and then it was my turn.
I read two short pieces from The Stars Change, pieces I hadn't read aloud before, and even though I looked up the pronunciation of 'eyrie' in advance, I still mangled it on the stage, argh, which made me stumble, double-argh, but oh well. I think I need to rework the first piece I read, the opening to the book -- it's a little slow, not as compelling as I want it to be. But the second piece was awesome. I really love that piece, and I'm not sure if anyone in the audience got that it was also a bit of an homage to Faullkner's Sound and the Fury, but it totally doesn't matter if they didn't. A good and satisfying reading, and boy, I do love being up on a stage, performing for a crowd. Funny stuff, serious stuff, sad stuff, smutty stuff; I love it all.
Three more readers, followed by a cupcake (yes, dear reader, I had a celebratory birthday cupcake with Angeli despite the no-white-sugar diet; I am weak), and a lot of fun conversation with other writers and readers. And then I took Angeli home, poor tired crutches munchkin (but she switches to a walking cast today, huzzah!), and then I took myself home, and then I was too wired to sleep for a while, so I puttered on Facebook until I crashed. A very writerly day, in a somewhat frantic and over-scheduled way. If all my days were like this, I would have a total meltdown, but every once in a while, it's rather splendid.