Good morning, my dears!…

Good morning, my dears! It's beautiful today, and Martha brought in a bunch of lilacs to the office, so it smells a little like spring even inside. Life is good with me -- two people have expressed interest in possibly publishing and/or distributing the collection of my work, so I have to get the manuscript together in a hurry. Could be very good. :-)

Lilac Dawn (remember them? They gave me a literary excellence award?) finally has their second issue up, with a poem by me -- you may want to go take a look, though it's not a new poem...(10/24/96 note: Lilac Dawn appears to have disappeared.)

The only distressing news is that my chief co-conspirator in the erotica workshop may have to give up his duties for a while, which would be very very sad. I'd have to draft a new co-conspirator. We'll see what happens.

Dance class tonight! :-) I hope all's well with you guys...

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Happy May Day,…

Happy May Day, everyone!

Dogwood Drift

White truck rattles down
dawn streets. Slips beneath a tree,
trailing pink blossoms.

Saw that this morning, as I was biking to work (in a clear, crisp beauty of a morning). And was hit with joy, sudden and unexpected. It wasn't a clean truck, but something about the flowers surrounding it and slowly falling away -- aw, it was just beautiful. Great way to start the month.

It's going to be a busy month too. Tonight I have off, but tomorrow is dance class, Friday is folksing night, Saturday is my friend Cappy's revert-to- childhood party (she has the Schoolhouse Rock videos! and finger paints! :-), and Sunday I get to see Aiko, a friend I somehow missed all winter. Social life kicking in with a vengeance. :-) Just better not start slacking on my work...

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Huh. I hadn’t realized…

Huh. I hadn't realized it had been quite so long since I'd written until I got little concerned notes from a few of you. Sorry for the delay, but been very swamped (and got horrendously sick with some bug Sunday night, but am all better now) with work. I am currently:

1. Holding down the day job
2. Trying to figure out housing for grad school
3. Writing little porn letters for a web site on commission
4. Working on the novella for Puritan
5. Trying to assemble the manuscript for the anthology (which I finally have the money for)
6. And most time-consuming, moderating the erotica workshop (30- 50 mail messages/day alone!)

Do I sound like I'm whining? A bit, perhaps. It's been an exhausting couple of days. On the good side, I'm healthy (again), fairly happy, and very satisfied with all the work I'm getting done. Had to come up with a working title for the manuscript. Was waffling between Dreams of a Lover, Turning Bodies, and Torn Shapes of Desire (all titles of old poems of mine). Went with the last, but may change my mind. David suggested just Shapes of Desire, but somehow I feel like that lacks oomph! I don't know...:-)

Otherwise, the list is humming along nicely, with some lovely stories, and useful crits. We could use some more market info, but that will hopefully come in time.

Tonight two editor friends of mine, Gary Bowen and Cecelia Tan, will be reading from their erotica at Borders. I encourage any of you around Philly to come -- I'll be there, and would be happy to meet you. :-)

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Hey, sorry for…

Hey, sorry for yesterday. The list is finally starting to run smoothly, so hopefully I'll start having time again. I think we're ready to tentatively open it to the public, so if any of you write erotica and are interested in a mailing list of submissions, crits, and exchange of market info, send me mail at maryanne@mamohanraj.com with a note requesting info. Keep in mind that this is not a list for people to simply get their jollies -- all list members are expected to submit and crit fairly often. :-)

Other exciting news -- I found an artist to illustrate my book (yup, it looks like I'm really doing it -- I will soon be able to afford the $2000 it'll take (though I had a terrible dream last night where a bill for $2500 arrived for something else entirely)). I offered a link to her journal a while back, but here's the link to her main page -- Tracy Lee. The one of her and her partner is rather nice, and I also like the chick in the stockings. Feel free to drop me a note and let me know what you think of her work.

Otherwise, life is pretty good for me right now. Getting used to my bike, the weather is generally beautiful (though the other night I managed to get myself locked out on my porch in a thunderstorm for an hour, sigh...), my boss got me a lovely flowering plant and some chocolate-covered pretzels for Secretaries' Day yesterday, and I made a yummy dinner last night. Turkey roulades (though we happened to have chicken, which worked fine, with corn bread, jalapeno and Monterey Jack filling -- here's the recipe for your perusal. This page has a lot of great recipes, if you haven't taken a look at it before, though some have slightly expensive ingredients. If I make the roulades again, I'll probably put in a little more jalapeno and cheese -- I may even substitute Cheddar, which I think will work better with chicken. I'd also make a little more of the sauce -- very simple chicken broth and wine vinegar, but it was yummy.

Oh, and I added a new little funny thing to my home page, on stupid criminals.

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Still swamped under mail…

Still swamped under mail for the new list. Oof. Otherwise life is very good -- great dance class last night, all my muscles are sore today. David made hummus yesterday -- yum! :-)

Having received 3 letters from people about this, I just want to reassure you all that yes, Kevin loaned me his bicycle helmet.

New addition to the page - Old Writers Never Die... - a funny compilation. Funny to writers, anyway.

Got mail from my little sister yesterday, saying she'd stumbled across my web page. Good thing she's a smart kid...Back to my overflowing mailbox.

noon - The page proofs for "Fleeing Gods" have arrived! Turns out it's coming much sooner than I expected -- I thought the Sex Magick II anthology was coming out in 1997, but it turns out to be July 1996. I'll give y'all all the details when it comes out, so if you'd like a print copy of my story (and a bunch of other good stories), you can purchase it. Circlet Press does lovely work.

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Morning! God, I’m…

Morning! God, I'm swamped in mail right now, trying to get the erotica writers' mailing list started (once it's established, I'll post info on my home page about how to join). My fingers are sore from typing, and it's only noon.

Only other exciting news is that I've decided on Mills for grad school, so come September, I'll be off to Oakland. Dave sent me this list, and I thought I'd pass it on to you. No clue who wrote it originally.

TOP 10 SUBTLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GRAD SCHOOL AND HELL:


10. It doesn't rain in Hell.
9. Everyone has heard of Hell.
8. It's a lot more fun getting into Hell.
7. You can't fail out of Hell.
6. At least you can sleep in Hell.
5. Hell is forever; Grad School just seems like it.
4. People smile in Hell.
3. You only have to sell your soul to go to Hell.
2. There are hot men and women in Hell.
** And the #1 Subtle Difference between Grad School and Hell: ** (drum roll)
1. You would never tell a friend to go to Grad school!

Despite the list above, I've very much looking forward to grad school. :-)

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Yes, not only a Saturday…

Yes, not only a Saturday entry, but a Sunday one too. And would you believe I'm here at the office, on a Sunday, at 8:40 a.m.? Shows you what an addict I am to the net...

Biked in to work -- the bones in my pelvis hurt like anything, but otherwise it was a delightful ride. Hardly any traffic, the weather is stunningly beautiful right now (cool and sunny, comfortable T-shirt weather), and biking makes a great breeze. I had forgotten how much fun it is being on a bike -- I can see what some people get really into it.

Not much else to say right now -- my regular system won't be up for another fifteen minutes, so I'll probably go back to my book for a while. Finished my Tanya Huff kick yesterday by reading the last of her books the local Border's had. The Lions of al'Rassan is out in paperback! Finally! I confess, I was so desperate to read it when it came out (I have an unwholesome passion for Guy Gavriel Kay's work) that I sat in Border's and read the whole hardcover. In guilt, I bought two copies of the paperback (and the new de Lint anthology The Ivory and the Horn), one for me and one as a belated Christmas present for Lisette (to be sent along with her not-so-belated birthday present :-). If you like fantasy and haven't read de Lint or Kay, do so! Along with Le Guin, they're my biggest influences, and I've been told more than once that my fantasy is perhaps a bit too much like theirs. :-) I'll undoubtedly get over it.

11:00 - Cleared out an amazing amount of e-mail and sent off "Caught Between Two Women" and "Fleeing Gods" to Susie Bright for consideration for her Best American Erotica anthology. Not sure that I think either of those really qualify, but unfortunately the stuff of mine I like better hasn't been published yet. Oh well. :-)

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Aha! I fooled you!…

Aha! I fooled you! Nothing yesterday and an entry today! (This wasn't actually planned, to be honest...)

So today is a red-letter day in many ways. I am at work on a weekend. (This is a good thing, because I am clearing out a chunk of e-mail, which I can't do at home because of the broken keyboard. Am buying a new one, but it may take a bit before we get around to it). I bought a bicycle (secondhand -- would you believe the lock and basket cost more than the bike??). I rode the bicycle *to* the office (my first time on a bike in 11 years, and may I say, I performed brilliantly :-). But the most important thing about today is that it is Lisette's birthday. Who, you may ask, is Lisette? Well, I'm going to tell you, and if she ever sees this, she will no doubt kill me, but I will die happy, because she'd undoubtedly think of an inventive and interesting way to do it.

Lisette is not only a brilliant (still somewhat undiscovered, but brilliant) actress, and a passionate reader, and a woman with as yet mostly unplumbed comic writing talent, and stunningly beautiful (okay, so in the picture of her on my Univ. of Chicago pages this isn't entirely obvious, but that's due to my lack of skill with a camera, trust me) and killer at Paintball, BUT she is also a true-blue best friend, of the sort which no one should be without and so many of us so rarely find. So be happy with me, and celebrate her birthday, and be glad that she's around. (Well, she's in Chicago, but close enough). This poem always makes me think of her.

The autumn leaves are falling like rain.
Although my neighbors are all barbarians,
And you, you are a thousand miles away,
There are always two cups on my table.

-- Anon., T'ang Dynasty

(Btw, to the guy sending me all 12 of the cards from his greeting card box -- they're delightful. I wondered if you'd break down and ask me if I liked 'em. :-) Keep 'em coming... One of these days I'm going to live somewhere where I can plaster a wall with all the wonderful cards people send me.)

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Good morning everyone!…

Good morning everyone! Still sniffling, but feeling much better today. I hopefully will even make it to dance class today...

New and exciting -- I'm buying a bicycle today! :-) Just something to get around town in -- figure it'll be convenient and fast and good exercise. I'm a little nervous about riding it on city streets -- I haven't really ridden a bicycle since I was a little kid (though I was fearless back then -- there's this HUGE hill next to my parent's house in Connecticut, and I can't count the number of times we raced down it (it was a neighborhood of boys at that time, and I was a reckless tomboy and loved it), defying death (and collecting quite an assortment of scraped elbows and knees, which I bore manfully (hmmm...I could go off into a feminist rant on that, but I'm not in the mood right now :-)) to achieve that gorgeous adrenaline rush...)

It's a beautiful day today. A little cold, but sunny and I think it'll warm up. A great day for capture-the-flag....oh, I don't want to be inside the office today, even if it's a very nice office, which mine is. Here's a poem I've just added to the 1993 poems...writing this paragraph reminded me of it, and I thought I'd add it to the list. I spent a couple of months once working on a survey of high school students, and at one point was filling out piles of terrible forms at someone else's desk in Brookline, MA (which has an excellent high school, btw, with very socially-aware students).

Trapped.

New England spring comes calling
come sing
come dance
come lie in sunlight with your love on grassy hills; dogwood petals
fluttering down and wind teasing laughing calling
oh come!

Chained.

Chained to this desk with stacks of papers and hours more of meetings with
grumpy, angry people who yearn to drink in sunlight, chained to
their duty
their debts
their desk.

Then a careless wind comes calling
so my papers all go flying
and suddenly I am laughing
leaning back into my chair
smelling lilacs on the wind
as my officemates come peering
through the door, slightly smiling...

*****
M.A. Mohanraj
Brookline, Massachusetts
May 7, 1993

(btw, I finally finished Might and Magic III the other night. The answer to that riddle I asked a couple of weeks ago was 'secret'. I am resisting the temptation to go out and buy the next game in the series).

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Staggered in to work…

Staggered in to work today, but I'm afraid I'm still feeling pretty woozy. Going home soon. Not doing much except sleeping and drinking juice and playing Might and Magic (requires no real brain power, and no functional keyboard :-). Thanks for all the kind messages, and especially for the ASCII chicken soup! Nice to know people care...

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