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).


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 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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Hello everyone! Did you…

Hello everyone! Did you have a good weekend? Mine was generally good, though rather odd -- I went on a reading binge. 4 books Saturday, 2 Sunday. Then I crashed and watched Star Trek 6 (playing on tv last night (cheesy, but it's ST :-)). The books were Tanya Huff -- she'd been recommended to me so many times I finally decided to read a bunch (borrowed from Abby mostly). Had great fun with her books (like the best of Lackey in a lot of ways). Thought it was nice the way her characters took the queer and poly stuff for granted. No big deal. :-)

Other than that, it's tax day, and while I did my '95 federal taxes (as some of you will remember :-), I still have state taxes from last year and estimated 1st quarter '96. Hope that isn't too hard. Think good thoughts at me. :-) I'd best get back to work, because Monday's are busy days here at the office, so I'm leaving you with a joke my friend Josh sent on to me, author unknown:

There was this male engineer, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for the first time. It was wonderful, the experience of his life. He was being waited on hand and foot. But it did not last. A hurricane came up unexpectedly. The ship went down almost instantly.

The man found himself swept up on the shore of an island. There was nothing else anywhere to be seen. No people, no supplies, nothing. There were some bananas and coconuts, but that was it. He was desperate and forlorn, but decided to make the best of it.

So for the next four months he ate bananas, drank coconut juice and mostly looked to the sea for a ship to come to his rescue. One day, as he was lying on the beech stroking his beard and looking for a ship, he spotted movement out of the corner of his eye. Could it be true, was it a ship? No, from around the corner of the island came this rowboat. In it was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen, or at least seen in 4 months. She was tall, tanned, and her blond hair flowing in the seabreeze made her seem almost ethereal. She spotted him as he was waving and yelling and screaming to get her attention, and rowed her boat towards him.

In disbelief, he asked, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"

She said, "I rowed from the other side of the island. I landed on this island when my cruise ship sank"

"Amazing", he said, "I didn't know anyone else had survived. How many of you are there? Where did you get the rowboat? You were lucky to have a rowboat wash up with you!"

"It's only me", she said, "and the rowboat didn't wash up, nothing did.

"Well then," said the man, "How did you get the rowboat?"

"I made it out of raw material that I found on the island," replied the woman. "The oars were whittled from gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm branches, and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree".

"But, but," asked the man, "What about tools and hardware, how did you do that?"

"Oh, no problem,": replied the woman. "On the south side of the island there is a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed. I found that if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for tools, and used the tools to make the hardware. But enough of that," she said. "Where do you live?" At this man was forced to confess that he had been sleeping on the beach.

"Well, let's row over to my place," she said. So they both got into the rowboat and left for her side of island.

The woman easily rowed them around to a wharf that led to the approach to her place. She tied up the rowboat with a beautifully woven hemp rope. They walked up a stone walk and around a palm tree, and there stood an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. "It's not much," she said, "But I call it home. Sit down please. Would you like to have a drink?"

"No," said the man, "One more coconut juice and I'll puke."

"It won't be coconut juice. I have a still, how about a Pina Colada?"

Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepted, and they sat down on her couch to talk.

After a while, and they had exchanged their stories, the woman asked, "Tell me, have you always had a beard?" "No," the man replied, "I was clean-shaven all of my life, and even on the cruise ship."

"Well, if you would like to shave, there is a man's razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom."

So, the man, no longer surprised at anything, went upstairs to the bathroom. There in the cabinet was a razor with a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge were fastened on to its end with a swivel mechanism. The man shaved, showered and went back down stairs.

"You look great," said the woman, "I think I'll slip into something more comfortable." So she did. The man continued to sip his Pina Colada. After a short time, the woman returned wearing strategically-positioned fig leafs and smelling faintly of gardenia.

"Tell me," she asked, "We have both been out here for a very long time with no companionship. You know what I mean. Have you been lonely. Is there anything that you really miss? Something that all men and woman need. Something that it would be really nice to have right now."

"Yes, there is, the man replied, as he moved closer to the woman while fixing a winsome gaze upon her, "Tell me, do you happen to have an Internet connection?"

(grin) Happy Monday, everyone.

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Hello, my angels. (You…

Hello, my angels. (You know, I'm getting quite fond of you, my imaginary readers. I've exchanged e-mail with some of you (who have all been unfailingly nice/interesting) and I have this mental image of you all now. Quite a conglomerate. :-) So I've figured out a way around this keyboard/ connection problem. I will type to you in the early morning, before the rest of the hospital starts using the net and the connection slows down to a pitiful rate. (This may be slightly harder on days when we have patients first thing in the morning. We'll see). The keyboard at home seems sometimes better, sometimes worse. Think good thoughts at it. (I remember fondly from the Wizard In Spite of Himself series by Stasheff that he had a saint of mechanical devices (can't remember which one or his history right now, but it was funny. Something to do with TV reception for the Pope...).

The weather is beautiful. This thought is worth repeating. The weather is beautiful beautiful beautiful. It is amazing how much this impacts on the human soul -- here in my office the doctors are smiling and not as frantic, the secretaries look longingly at the door leading outside, the patients are more patient...it makes me wonder what it must be like to live in a climate like this all the time (to be specific, it's something like light sweater weather now, and will probably be long-sleeve or short-sleeve weather by lunchtime. I love my jeans, I do, but there's something so joyous in being able to wear a short skirt and t-shirt to work. (I suppose guys get approximately the same feeling from shorts, but it's not quite the same, believe me.)

Daily new crocuses push their way through the moist soil, and
A fall of ivory petals sheathes the swooping vine-like
Feathered branches of the old tree along the walk. Song
Fills my throat and aches to burst free; villanelles and
Odes dance in my brain, whispering, chanting spring.
Do you feel it, my dears? Do you feel the blood racing
Its sudden course? If you do, you will find a sweet body and
Lay yourselves down in the grass amid crushed daffodils,
Singing silently with every inch of sun-touched skin.

Have you thought how dull it would be, to live on a planet of perfect climate? While I could do without the worst of winter's dreariness, the dance of rain and sun and thunder and wind is so essential -- without it a chapter of poetry would disappear, vanish into sameness. IDIC -- all you Star Trek fans will recognize it -- what a perfect symbol (I wrote symblom and stared at it a long time before I realized I was merging symbol and emblem) for Vulcans and the Federation in general (did you all realize I was a Star Trek fan? I swear, I was in love with Spock for several months (still am, in a way -- it's embarrassing to admit to being in love with a fictional character -- on the other hand, I'm a bit in love with all my characters, even people like the unnamed narrator in my "Radhika and Matthew", who exist for little more than a page...)

I hope you don't mind this rambling of mine -- it's an apology in part for all those days of silence or scantiness. I'm finishing up my novella for Puritan right now -- having a desperate time trying to cram a ten thousand word story (condensed and butchered from a many many thousand word novel) into 8500 words, as requested by the editor. Arghhhh! (On the other hand, you know as well as I that I love this work, I do, even the butchering and the blank panic of staring at an empty screen and sometimes I count myself so fortunate, so blessed to have figured out what it is I love so early and life and have the luxury to be able to do it (not that I don't think that a lot more people couldn't do what they should be doing if they were a little braver (or foolhardy??), but some just can't and that's a terrible thing. There's a goal for a civilized world, if you like -- a place where everyone has the freedom to do the work they love -- and the guidance to find that work -- and the help with their other responsibilities (family, esp.) that they need. Is that so far out of our reach?)).

Missed dance class last night because my eye appt (getting contacts) ran longer than expected (2 hrs!). Very sad. I also seem to have mislaid my keys somewhere, so I had to impose on my poor upstairs neighbor to use her phone and drag Kevin home from the office to let me in. Watched a little too much television last night (I swear, when I go to grad school, I'm tempted to not have a tv at all), but otherwise everything is very well with me and I hope with all of you.

Off to do some office work and then I have piles of e-mail to answer...

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Driving me batty. Short entry. Got into New College of CA Poetics Program. Personal info/recommendations appreciated. Still waiting on others.

Almost 15 minutes to write above. More tomorrow, hopefully.

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Hey everyone. Sorry for…

Hey everyone. Sorry for the brief hiatus -- yesterday was crazy at the office and dance class and today isn't going to be much better. All's well here, though I'm going a little nuts waiting to hear from all the other grad schools. Interesting development -- Penthouse is going to run a story or two of mine from these pages in one of their columns. No pay, but possibly a foot in a well-paying door.

In partial payment, I offer to you my entry for my workshop's mini-Bulwer- Lytton contest. (For those unfamiliar, the contest is for the worst grammatically-correct prose...great fun. :-) Hope you're amused.

"His muscled thews clasped her heaving chain-mailed bosom to him, while with one mighty hand he wielded the famed sword, Dracoslayerdi, which in the High Elven means He Who Slays Seven Dragons Single-Handed, which was appropriate because the hero Viriligorani, which in the High Elven means He Who Clasps Chain-Mailed Virgins With Mighty Thews, was in fact one-handed due to a terrible choice he'd had to make in the slave mines five aeons previously, which would have otherwise resulted in the loss of his Big Richard, which in the High Elven means That Which Impregnates Thirty Chain-Mailed Virgins At a Single Spurt, to slay the seven-headed dragon above their heaving bodies."

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Quick note — I…

Quick note -- I apparently set up the telnet wrong Friday -- should be fixed now, so go back and try it. Hope I got it right. Would write more, but my 'u' key isn't working, so I have to paste it in every time, which is driving me nuts. 'm' and 'o' are also being erratic. Otherwise the keyboard seems to have recovered, but if I'm not careful, all the sentences look like this:

Had a good day yesterday helping Abby shelve boks at her bookstore p in the sbrbs. Had dinner at Appleby's (somemwhat ooverpriced American, bt not bad), and cae he and made frit tarts for dessert. Pleasant day. No foolk sing Friday becase of the hliday. Hope everyone's having a pleasant Easter...

6:00 - Wrote a new poem. Finished the Kingsolver essays inspired. Now listening to Yanni and rereading an old favorite, Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword.

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Brian just asked me…

Brian just asked me about Holomuck, so I thought I'd provide a link to it for you (hope I did it right). It's an interactive space, with a fun theme and built in large part by me. :-) If you visit, please stop by the nightclub -- free drinks on me and the strip show is quite tasteful. You might also enjoy the Narnian quest I just finished...or you could just go shopping at the bazaar on Deva; I have a weapons shop there. If you happen to be on at the same time as me, I go by Kateri there.

Other than that, great dance class, as usual, pleasant weather, gotten a little colder and a lot wetter today and the weekend is supposedly going to be horrible. If it's not too bad tonight, I'll go up to the First Friday folk sing...otherwise, it's curl up with a good book, hot chocolate and a fire for the weekend, I think. Am currently muchly enjoying a selection of essays by Barbara Kingsolver, one of the better contemporary mainstream writers around - her Pigs in Heaven is really good. A selection from the first essay in High Tide in Tucson:

"In my own worst seasons I've come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.

"It's not such a wide gulf to cross, then, from survival to poetry. We hold fast to the old passions of endurance that buckle and crack beneath us, dovetailed, tight as a good wooden boat to carry us onward. And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another--that is surely the basic instinct. Baser even than hate, the thing with teeth, which can be stilled with a tone of voice or stunned by beauty. If the whole world of the living has to turn on the single point of remaining alive, that pointed endurance is the poetry of hope. The thing with feathers."

It's better in context, of course. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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