“I mean, if you were…

"I mean, if you were just the product of electrons smashing together randomly, why should you give a damn about your existence or anybody else's for that matter?" -- Columbine

Honestly, I find this position bewildering. Why give a damn? Because you are, and you exist in the world, and you know joy and suffering. And if you do, then odds are, so do the people around you. There may not be logic compelling you to be kind to them, to attempt to ease their pain...but there is kindness. Which, I suppose, is the basis of my morality in the end. Which makes it not so much morality as compassion? Maybe. The impetus is compassion; the overall structure for best implementing compassion is what I would normally call ethics. And the pagan creed, "do as ye will, an' it hurt none", comes pretty darn close to being a decent general guideline, though I guess I add in something like, "if you can afford to, help." Where the exact value of 'afford to' is left up to the individual, their own needs, and their own ethics.

I also feel like Columbine missed a big part of religion/faith -- praise. Praise for the glory of the universe. And maybe some thanks. I'm not religious, and I don't actually possess any faith in a Higher Power. But I won't rule out the idea that there might be Someone out there looking in -- and if there is, I don't need Them for my morality, but I wouldn't mind a chance to say "thank you" someday. "Thank you, and nice job. Great ride. Can I go again, please?"

"Or, if you need a hand in the kitchen..."

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Gods, it’s amazing how…

Gods, it's amazing how happy sunlight makes me. I've gotten a bit of a slow start this morning -- slept an hour later than I meant to. I'm sitting at David's dining table now, with sunlight falling on me and my computer (and yes, it makes the screen a little harder to read, but I don't care), drinking tea and chatting with y'all. I feel moderately blissful, in a small and quiet way.

I'm not sure what I'll be working on today -- I figure I'll stop by Other Change and pick up some Tananarive Due, get started on that whole bio-bibliography thing. Although now that I think about it, I still haven't received a contract from the publisher. Still, I'm sure I will, and for all I know, it may be sitting in Utah at the moment. I also have revisions to do -- I'm not quite ready to work on "Bodies in Motion" and "Lakshmi's Diary", but I *am* ready to start revising the next two stories I'll be submitting to workshop. Which I think will be "Pieces of the Heart" and "The Student", both of which need serious work -- I haven't even finished drafting "The Student". Those stories are my main project for February. Not too painful, eh? Also catching up on reading -- I'm going to borrow David's copy of Lorrie Moore's Birds of America (I think that's the title) and take it up to Berkeley with me. There's a lot of current American fiction that I'm really not as up on as I should be. But boy, I'm feeling quite current with F/SF these days. :-)

Oh, and dangit, I need to work on the Melcher thing. Told Duncan I'd try to have a revised draft to him by the middle of this week. Forgot entirely until just now. I'm a big goof, y'know that? Okay, so everything else will have to wait until after that. Still..shouldn't take more than an hour or two to do the revision. Should still be able to get some stuff done.

Also planning on wandering around a bit while I'm in Berkeley, of course. I need to go to the Indian grocery store and get some chilies and chili powder. That's a longish walk (and it's no longer possible to stop at Karen's on the way, which is really rather sad. :-( Hmmm...it might make more sense to do that first, getting off at the North Berkeley BART stop. Not my usual approach, but now that I think about it, I suspect that's what I ought to do. Also want to stop at the art store, and possibly pick up a mat and a frame -- David has this rather astonishingly lovely photo of his grandparents when they were young; his grandmother looks like a movie star, I swear. Since I'm going by the art store, I figure I'll try to frame it. If he doesn't like the effect, he can always return the frame.

Mostly, I just want to be in Berkeley. :-) It makes me happy.

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Hey. So, pleasant day,…

Hey. So, pleasant day, with not much of anything. Cooked some tasty curries, read some good comics (Castle Waiting and Finder). The comics are in preparation for the Alternative Press Expo this weekend; Susan and Jed and I are having brunch with some of the authors whom Jed knows (is 'whom' correct there? Should it be 'that'? I get so confused -- I can't believe they let me teach English...). Should be fun. Nice long conversation with David. We're going to watch Angel now, and then I'll probably go to bed. Fighting a bit of a cold, I suspect -- tired! Also, Jasmine (David's cat) woke me up at 6:30 this morning. Nice kitty, but no sense of timing. I would've been happy to pet her an hour later...

Anyway, was mostly stopping in to remind y'all to swing by Strange Horizons. That Firebird review I was stressing about got finished and is up! Yay! Pretty readable, I think, and some good books in the batch. There's a totally charming story by Heather's Tim (Pratt), and some stunning artwork, both in the gallery, and in an interview. Also poetry. It's Monday at SH -- Monday's a good day. :-)

Later, my dears. I'll be in Berkeley all day tomorrow, so I probably won't get to backlogged e-mail until Wednesday. Just so you know.

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Hey, munchkins. I’m…

Hey, munchkins. I'm soaking up California sunshine (it's sweater and jeans weather here, mmm....) and not so inclined to sit and write journal entries (or e-mail, for that matter, so if you're waiting on something, you may need to wait another day or two). I'm at David's now, and will be here all week. Had a lovely weekend; lots of Jed, plus a bunch of SH writers and staff and affiliated others at Au Coquelet, and then at Thai food. Mmmm...Thai food.

Perhaps more later. Perhaps not. The sunshine on the steps is calling me...

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Salt Lake was getting…

Salt Lake was getting even weirder the day I left. When I ran downtown, I saw all sorts of bemused strangers wandering around, being greeted by everyone they passed. Everyone. Really. It may have had something to do with the Olympic jackets the strangers were wearing. The athletes had come to town. I admit to succumbing to the coolness myself, though I refrained from pestering the poor people. Typical conversation overheard on bus:

"So, you're here for the Olympics?"
"Yes." [as we might have guessed from the big Olympic badge and the Italia jacket he's wearing]
"Welcome!" [SLC denizen clearly restraining impulse to tell them all about their religion]
"Thank you."

[uncomfortable silence ensues, punctuated by big smiles from all the Salt Lake folks, followed by Olympic people getting off bus at next stop]

But I did manage to get the vast majority of my stuff done (and what didn't get done, got packed), and even washed dishes before the cab arrived. That's always an accomplishment. It'll be nice not to come back to rotting food in the sink. Arrived two hours early to a nearly empty airport, got through check-in in about fifteen minutes (though my tall boots set off the metal detector again -- next time I'm just going to take 'em off *before* I go through and put 'em on the rollers...), got a decaf latte and some lemon poppyseed bread at Starbucks and had a nice long read. Lovely. There are these small civilized pleasures in life that just make life so much better. The sort of thing that makes me glad I'm an adult and can just *do* them when I feel like it, rather than asking someone else if I can please have some coffee...pretty please? Yay, adulthood.

And then there was a smooth flight with more reading, and then, of course, was lovely Jed waiting for me, and then there was a huge bunch of flowers, which even now is bringing a smile to my face (and he's sitting typing next to me, and doesn't know why I'm smiling yet, although he will when he reads this, although who knows what I'll be doing by then), and then there was ravioli, mmm.... And much snuggling. I haven't seen him in too long; I feel like a whole level of tension I didn't know was there has just evaporated. Very nice.

This morning I finished reading the last of the Firebird books, then had lunch, then wrote the review and just now sent it off to Chris. We'll see if he wants revisions. Until he responds, I plan to just goof off, I think. Jed loaned me a Tiptree collection, Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, which is very good, if a bit grim. I particularly liked the story about the humans getting obsessed with aliens for sex. Weird and almost plausible. More now -- perhaps chat again later.

Gods, I love California.

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Thanks goodness –…

Thanks goodness -- feeling better. I think it must just have been the pizza I had late last night disagreeing with me. Perhaps I shall declare a one-month moratorium on pizza...there's so much other good stuff to eat in the Bay Area...

Had to go downtown to do various bank/post office/etc. stuff before leaving. Was amazingly efficient, completing six errands in 1.5 hrs. Yay, me!

Only finished three of four kids' books. Currently plan is to read final book in airport and on plane, finishing review tonight. But ideally, I'd at least draft a chunk of the review here, so I don't have to lug the other books with me. That's last on the list, though -- only if I'm done with everything else by 3:30.

Things left to do:

  • write four interview reports for Chicago
  • clear desk
  • pay bills
  • Fed Ex Murnighan contract back to Melcher
  • mail Karina's Valentine's Day present
  • mail Kirsten's Christmas present
  • do SH checks and contracts
  • backup computer
  • finish packing
  • feed fish, water plants
  • finish reading kids' books
  • write kids' book review, send to Chris
This is looking a bit dubious.

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Sick. Queasy stomach,…

Sick. Queasy stomach, dizziness, want to stay in bed-sick. Argh! Not good for getting-on-a-plane day. I guess I'll just climb into bed with all the books I have to read today, and my laptop so that I can write my review, and hope I feel better by 4. Hope that's a good plan -- hard to think.

But to amuse you, here's the silly thing I wrote last night for the departmental reading. It went over well. The theme for the reading was 'decadence' -- I realized that sex no longer makes me feel decadent -- this does. Preferably accompanied by lots of pizza.

Guilty Pleasures

It started last September, and I blame a friend
who asked me, please, to tape an episode for her
just once. I pulled the blanket off the tv set,
learned to use the VCR, set it up to tape...and then
I thought it wouldn't hurt to turn the tv on
just for a moment, just to see what might be on --
it had been years, after all, and I had no idea what
I might be missing.

You have to understand, there was a time
when I would watch from six 'til eleven; back in Philly,
when Jean-Luc was on at six and ten, and once the tv
was on, it stayed on, through seven
and eight, and nine; there was nothing on at nine,
and yet we watched, every weekday, and on the weekends
we complained that there was nothing on;
five hours every weeknight, twenty-five hours a week,
twelve months of a year, at least -- more like sixteen months,
until you get sixteen hundred hours of mostly terrible tv.

And so I told myself that I would stop, I quit cold turkey.
It was better for my writing, and I actually read a few books --

Until last September, when I took the blanket off the tv set,
when I started watching Jean-Luc and Catherine and Jonathan,
the bold captains of Star Trek -- there was a new series, you see,
and I owed it to my childhood friendship with James T. Kirk...

But the reception -- god, the reception was killing me,
was destroying my eyes, and I need my eyes to read and write,
so you see, I had to get cable. It was a writing investment.
With cable came the X-Files, and HBO -- I didn't buy HBO; they
just included it for free, the sneaky bastards.

And since the tv was on, why not find out what had happened
in those intervening years to Joey and Monica and Chandler --
my god, they're getting married! Phoebe had triplets! Rachel
is pregnant with Ross's baby, but they're not together anymore...
Friends, Spin City, a little Frasier, and West Wing -- well,
that's just being a good citizen. You agree. And I had it under control.
It was only an hour or two some nights -- not every night. I didn't even turn
the tv on on Fridays. There were still nights when I might pull a little
Derrida off the shelf -- okay, not Derrida, but a novel, or at least
a short story, maybe by Alice Munro...

Then my friend, you remember her? She told me that Buffy was on
at seven and eight, every weekday night. All the episodes I'd missed,
the seasons that had gone by in my great drought. I had a priceless
opportunity here; I could finally catch them all.

And so you see, this is why I really need an extension
on my fellowship funding; at the rate I'm going there's no way
I'll be able to finish in four years -- probably not even five...
you understand, don't you? I know you do, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Dean.

For all your fluency with Derrida,
I know you do it too.

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Finished proofing the…

Finished proofing the final galleys for Wet. Yay! Now I just have to read a book and a half by 6:30 and write a review for Chris. With an hour-long student interview in the midst of it. Oh, and I need to write something brief to read tonight. All do-able, though. I think. It helped that Par ran me to the hardware store this morning to make copies of my house key; that saved at least half an hour...maybe more. Cars are not entirely evil...

...especially given that they brought Karen and Par and Tot here. Oh, we had such a nice time, even if it was brief. We watched some Buffy together. We chatted. We ordered Indian food. Mmmm....some of it's still in my fridge and will become dinner. We drank mango lassis. We collapsed into bed when we got too tired. We woke up and played with Tot. We took photos of him -- so darn cute. We giggled. We went up and down and up and down and up and down the stairs. He likes stairs. We went to Cucina for breakfast and had potatoes and quiche and fruit salad and blueberry scone and coffee and tomato/mozzarella salad and lasagne (that last one's Par's fault -- Karen and I were appropriately breakfasty). Tot made impressive food art on the floor, incorporating the lovely terra cotta tiles and the wrought iron table leg. We cleaned up. We sent Par up with the baby while I showed Karen the art gallery next door. Karen bought a tooth floss holder -- it's cute and blue and artsy. I think I may go back and get one for myself. We hugged and snuggled, and then said mopey goodbyes -- but reminded each other that we'd see each other in May, in Madison. They forgot their cell phone. Perhaps they will discover this in Illinois and come back for it. Probably not, though. It was a splendid little visit, all around. They looked so wonderful.

The next entry will be full of baby photos. In color, even. Be warned.

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