Cathedral spires jut out…

Cathedral spires jut out into the ice sky.
Three days of snow are ended;
fragile clouds scatter across a clear glowing blue.

Hard edges are softened, and a muffled stillness
has surrounded this corner of the world.

Peace walks the chambers of the heart,
and a quiet joy rises. There is something to be said
for moments alone.

I will gladly relinquish
it all -- when you return.

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I’ve just been chosen…

I've just been chosen Australia's Cool Site of the Day! Exciting!

It's a stunningly beautiful morning, though I suppose not everyone would think so. The snow has been coming down for many hours now, steadily, and all the trees and fenceposts and bushes and porch chairs that I can see from my back window are covered in powdery layers. Like ice cream, or magic. Very still and quiet -- all the normal street noises are muffled or gone (many people staying in today), and since Karina's still asleep, I can almost pretend that the world has gone away and it's just me and the snow. Some of the strongest moments of my life have been encased in snow and rain.

I wanted to tell you a little more about that LeGuin book I mentioned yesterday. I was so caught up in my own reactions to it that I didn't tell you about it, and I have a feeling that many of you may enjoy it as much as I did. See, it's the story of a geek. An intellectual. A smart guy who is caving in under the pressure to confirm. A teenager in love/lust/etc. And I liked it a lot. Even her fluffier books, (like Rocannon's World which I read this morning) has something to them that makes me think. I'm going to quote you the bit they have on the inside front cover (the flyleaf?) of Very Far Away...:

"I've had high points before. Once at night walking in the park in the rain in autumn. Once out in the desert, under the stars, when I turned into the earth turning on its axis. Sometimes thinking, just thinking things through. But always alone. By myself. This time I was not alone. I was on the high mountain with a friend. There is nothing, there is nothing that beats that. If it never happens again in my life, still I can say I was there once."

So go read it. It's a very short book.

Funny how important old lovers stay in your life. Looking back now, most of my best friends are people I once dated -- maybe it's just that they know you better than anyone else does.

Going back two nights to something I missed -- the folk gathering was fantastic. My friend Abby drove me up, and we sang from about 9:30 to 2:00 am. There's a certain high you get when you're singing well in a group -- it's like a writing high, or dancing, but the collaboration adds something to it -- each time you think you've plateaued and you're as happy as you're going to get, someone else starts singing an old song you'd forgotten you knew or teaches you a variant or extra verses to one of your favorites or you just listen to some really fantastic playing on an instrument you can't play and it just lifts you higher and higher.

The next morning I spent at Abby's bookstore (am I jealous she owns her own bookstore? naaahhh...) spending too much money and not regretting it at all. Picked up a silly/cool button too - "If you've never said 'excuse me' to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you're probably wasting too much valuable reading time." My friends tell me that some day I'm going to get killed because I cross streets with a book in front of my face. I think I have radar. :-)

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I’m going to skip past…

I'm going to skip past all the day-to-day stuff because I want to talk about a book. I just finished LeGuin's Very Far Away From Anywhere Else, and it makes me want to cry. Not because it's sad. It's not sad, though it is very intense, and that's part of why it hit me. Mostly it's because she's so damn good a writer, and while I know I'm competent and more than competent, I don't want to be just that -- I want to be really good. I want to make people laugh and cry and be silent and want to write. And I don't know any real way to become a good writer (you can't go to school for it or serve an apprenticeship) except to write and write and pay attention to people and the world. And I'm doing that, but even when I'm not being lazy or distracted or scared or earning a living doing something that requires far less than half a brain, I have no idea whether I'll ever be as good as I want to be, even if I work as hard as I should. Which is terrifying, because of course I don't work as hard as I should...certainly not even as hard as I can, and I never have, which is why I've been an underachiever all my life except for odd flashes. So I'm shaken, and scared, but you shouldn't worry about me, because this too will pass and soon I'll be back to my normal complacent (vaguely worried in the back of my head) self, and that's perhaps the worst of it. If I could just hold on to this intensity and fear and courage, maybe I could be a writer someday.

I'll tell you tomorrow about the humdrums of today. I want to hold onto this energy as long as I can. Perhaps I can drag a story or a poem out of it.

My Friends Call Me a Fool

I'm staying with him
not because I love him (I do.)
or because he loves me (He does.)
or because we have a joint lease.

I'm staying with him
because in July of 1995
I decided I would
dare to.

That is all my current wisdom.

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Well, the responses have…

Well, the responses have been pouring in! (ok, not quite, but 5 affirmatives in one night is a very good sign). I wouldn't be able to afford this myself until around March/April sometime. In the meantime, I'll be talking to some publishers (Gary Bowen at Obelesk and Cecelia Tan) to see if I can talk them into doing it for me. It's kind of a scary project to undertake all on my own...

Yesterday was pleasant -- made crepes again for dinner (they're great with sliced apples sauteed in butter and cinnamon and some shredded sharp cheddar) and hung out at David's place. He's a musician, and plays bass guitar with a young band. He seems to think that I have some potential for singing backup vocals or somesuch -- makes me highly nervous, but it might be fun to try. A neat hobby, anyway -- I can't imagine giving up writing for it. :-) It's amazing how much more nerve-wracking it is to sing in front of people than to play an instrument; the voice is just much more personal, I suppose.

I miss my mathematician (he's home in California visiting the folks). 9 days and counting.

..afternoon....Just a quick note --feeling exhausted (didn't sleep well last night) and so I'm going to head home a little early and try to catch a nap. I'm supposed to have dinner with my friend Abby (she owns a used bookstore out in the 'burbs) and then we're driving up to First Friday (the monthly meeting of the Philadelphia Folk group. Should be fun, if I don't fall asleep.

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Let me not to the…

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds...

Hmmm. Reading poetry this morning. I'm rather fond of Shakespeare. His sonnets often leave something to be desired, but I do like this one. I come back to it ever so often to remind myself that I should curb those impulses to shape and change and mold my partner(s) into more comfortable forms. Rough edges can be useful.

Spend two hours on the phone with my friend Kirsten (she's the successful one, an actuary in St. Paul (side note: St. Paul has a fantastic Sri Lankan restaurant. Don't remember the name, but it was really good, and the second hottest food was too hot for *me* to eat. There are also supposedly 3 Sri Lankan restaurants in NY). Makes heaps of money but I wouldn't want her job. She says she likes it.) last night, talking over the new David thing, and lots of old stuff. She's stranded in the middle of Minnesota with a boyfriend and some other casual friends but no real girlfriends, nobody to go shopping with or dye her hair with or bitch about men with. Sad. We're considering taking a weekend at the end of February to go down to Disney World -- I haven't been there in years, and it would be nice to be warm for a long weekend. Have to see if my finances are up to it.

I took a break from the Twain (some fascinating descriptions of just how hard it was to be a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi) to speed through a re-reading of Sayers' The Nine Tailors. A good mystery, but one with massive amounts of campanology (bell-ringing) lore, which went right over my head. I also missed Harriet Vane in it -- guess I indulged myself a little too much with Busman's Honeymoon. I had also planned to watch Party of Five last night (I admit it, I'm an addict), but Kirstie's call interrupted. Anyone want to fill me in on what happened?


A Question for my Readers

I'm considering self-publishing an anthology of my erotic poetry and stories, of a quality similar to what you'd find in a good bookstore. I'd include a few old favorites and some new works. However, to make it cost effective, I'd have to order about 500 copies, and charge you guys $10.00/book. So I need to get a feel for a) whether you'd buy such a book (about 120 pgs of text), and b) whether $10 is a reasonable price for it. So I'm asking ALL of you to please drop me a quick note answering those questions. Thanks!

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Okay. So I thought about…

Okay. So I thought about it some, and talked it over with my friends, so here's the deal. They're okay with me mentioning them by first name, which makes life a little simpler. So I get to do that, and I'll tell you a little more about them, so you have some context. On the other hand, I'm not really interested in turning this diary into some form of soap opera, so you probably won't get the ins and outs of my emotional life. More philosophical/practical sort of. Of course, all this (and everything) is always subject to change.

Not much more to report lately. Finally started submitting stories again today -- sent a short piece called "Send in the Clown" to Terra Incognita, a new sf magazine with a cool premise -- we'll see if they like it. Also got a check from CyberPorn Magazine for a reprint -- checks are always nice. One of these days I'll get to quit the day job.

Hmmm...guess I'll wait and see what response this gets. If the crazies start coming out in droves, I'll have to just delete this info. I do want to note -- several people have written and expressed concern that I put my address on the web. I appreciate the thought, but keep in mind that since it's clear to any moderately competent hacker that I log in from Philly, a quick phone call to information is all they need to get my home phone and address. I don't want to live in fear. So far, perhaps I've just been lucky, but I plan to live my life as openly as is reasonable. And 'reasonable' is, of course, a very subjective judgement.

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I’m troubled. I spent…

I'm troubled. I spent much of this morning paging through some of the other diaries on-line, all of which are much more personal and specific than my own. And I'm considering whether I can/should keep this diary up without mentioning the names of people who are important in my life, or without talking about personal events. I'm not sure where or if I should draw the line between total disclosure/honesty and safety/privacy. I already (as a result of being a woman who writes erotica and admits it) get occasional disturbing e-mail, most of which I can ignore, but it's stressful sometimes (like the guy who kept sending me one-sentences messages, like 'you're a whore.') I don't know if it's fair to expose my friends to that. Or even to discuss their private lives in a public forum. They're already used to my fictionalizing their lives in stories and poems, but that somehow seems slightly less intrusive than saying 'X and I had a terrible fight', or 'I had the best sex of my life with Y last night.' Even if I just use first names, I have a link to at least one of my partners in my 'friends link' section, and so it would be easy for someone to start sending harassing e-mail to that person.

It really makes me angry sometime that my words and life can be so constrained by danger from idiots.

I suppose the best thing to do is ask each of the people I'd like to mention if they'd mind. And then think about exactly what I want to say to you all. Oof.

To go back to the standard fare of this journal -- yesterday I watched Flirting again, a classic Australian movie about high school and being an outsider and falling in love and a lot more. Thoroughly enjoyed it. After that, there occurred various and complex events in my love life, all of which have left me feeling slightly off-kilter today, and which spurred the rant above. In brief, I've started re-examining both a particular relationship in my life, and my views on relationships and polyamory in general. For those not familiar with polyamory, please ref. the newsgroup, alt.polyamory, especially the FAQ.

I also spent some time working on some old lyrics for a rather odd song I wrote many years ago, because a friend wants me to write lyrics to some of his music, and so I'm thinking much more about music than I have in a while. I used to play classical piano and flute -- now I futz around on a keyboard and pennywhistle and bodhran and wooden spoons and am much more interested in the folk tradition. I still have trouble 'jamming', so to speak -- I feel a need for written music that just doesn't fit in with the ethos or practice of folk or basement band.

noon -- I finally got back the last of the photos from my trip to Sri Lanka, in addition to some photos I thought I had lost of an old love. Interesting, and leaving me feeling somewhat wistful. I wouldn't mind a week on a tropical island right now.

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(New Year’s Day)Just…

(New Year's Day)

Just some quick notes, as I'm about to head out the door and go rent some movies -- a lazy day planned for today.

Yesterday evening was fun -- we splurged and ordered Indian food from New Delhi (chicken vindaloo, aloo paratha, samosas and more -- yum!). There are these little delivery companies in Philly that put out a menu from a selection of neighborhood restaurants, and will even deliver from multiple places for an extra $2, making it much too easy to order delivery. Nice service, and the restaurants are generally very good.

Not much exciting to say -- just spending a lot of time hanging out with friends, really. New Year's resolutions? Spend more time writing, and a lot more time marketing. I'll be at Arisia in Boston in mid-January (Arisia is a sf convention) for just that reason. Marketing is a pain.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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(New Year’s…

(New Year's Eve)

Mmmm. Having a little difficulty prying my eyes open to write this -- totally rockin' party last night. I had planned to just stop by for a bit and pay my respects (friend's friend's birthday) but it was such a fascinating bunch of people that we didn't get to sleep till 4:30 or so. 10 different nationalities at least, and a wide range of clothes and styles, from glamour to grunge, and the place was packed. I could have done with a little less smoke, but such is life...

Woke up this morning and finished rereading a collection of Sayers short stories (you remember her? the mystery writer I recommended a few days ago?), Lord Peter Views the Body. Great fun, with a couple true gems. Have now started some Twain short stories, beginning with his "Letter to the Earth", which is hilarious! If you like sardonic wit, seek this story out.

Been doing a lot of thinking lately, about life, and this page, and the net. I never really expected that these pages and my words would gain the tremendous success they have, and though undoubtedly part of the page's popularity is due to its being listed under erotica in various indexes, enough people have written to me (I get about 10 letters a day) that it seems clear people actually do read (and enjoy) the rest of my ramblings. Which makes me wonder why they read it and why I write it. I think that perhaps the world is a very lonely place, and growing lonelier. And even though my life is full and rich with friends and love, there is always an urge to reach out and speak to someone else -- to know that I am being heard. Perhaps it's just simple insecurity, or something more complex. Whichever, I'm glad and grateful that so many people are enjoying these pages.

It seems to have been a good year all around, with its share of ups and downs, but more ups than I've had in a few years. For a while after I left college I felt as if I were in limbo, just floating around trying to figure out what to do with my life, both personally and professionally. But then a year or so ago I made some choices and stuck by them, and they finally seem to be paying off. If I've collected any wisdom this year, I think it's this -- take chances. Be brave and do the thing that you are most afraid of. You know the quote I'm about to mangle..."Of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, 'it might have been.'"

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Good morning, everyone!…

Good morning, everyone! Funny, I'm already doing much better at this diary thing than I ever have before -- I guess because I feel like I'm actually talking to somebody...

I had a terrible night, actually -- woke up trembling and shaking in the grasp of some horrible flu, but swift application of various pills and fluids have brought me back to my regular cheerful self. So cheerful, in fact, that my morning music consists of the soundtrack to Beauty and the Beast. :-)

In another hour or two my houseguest will be getting up and I'll be making crepes for her (there's a fantastic, and very simple, recipe in the Fannie Farmer cookbook - basically 1 c. flour, 1 c. milk, 2 T. melted butter, 2 eggs, 1 flat t. salt -- mix well and pour batter in approx. 1/2 c. portions onto a nonstick griddle and swirl it around on high heat -- add a little more milk if crepes seem too thick) and then plan to spend most of today reading (read Zelazny's Doorways in the Sand this morning, a delightful interstellar romp in an interesting style) and possibly playing Warlords (silly computer game to which I'm addicted) if some friends make it over later. A relaxing, recovering from the flu kind of day.

Only exciting thing to happen so far is that I met my new upstairs neighbor; Karen, a law student at Temple U. She seems very nice, and I got to tell her all about our slumlord landlords. Maybe she can get some things done before she moves in, like getting them to put hot water in the washing machines. Oh, the travails of a student lifestyle! :-)

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