Hello, my dears. I hope…

Hello, my dears. I hope you're all doing well; I'm feeling content. Clothes are tumbling in the dryer, and on top of the dryer sits a bowl of rising bread (for Christmas stollen, recipe from Fannie Farmer). I've gone through my e-mail for the morning, responded to notes generally pleasant, had a nice breakfast, and am getting ready to make pumpkin pies. (I'm going perhaps a little overboard on the baking (two batches of cookies on Thursday, deep dish apple pie and Dutch apple cake on Friday, pumpkin pies and stollen and maybe a rum cake today) for this party, but it's fun, so who cares? I'll let my housemates handle the decorating). I finally Fed Ex'd that article to Jeff, and all here is calm.

I just added a lovely new poem that one of you sent me some time ago to the Yeats page, "When You Are Old". I'm not sure I understand the third stanza, but it's so lovely, that I don't mind. Especially the second stanza, last line.

Last night was odd. Jed came by and we watched Shadowlands. I don't know if you're familiar with that movie; it's about C.S. Lewis's life; a true story. That was all I had known about it beforehand; Jed had heard that it was about Lewis falling in love. Which it is, but more immediately, it is about pain and cancer and God and faith and doubt and joy. We talked for a long time afterwards, about some of the ideas the movie brought up. I recommend it highly.

If we take as a given that we can move through pain to strength, the question still remains of whether that is the only way. Is the sorrow necessary to the joy? Is true beauty only to be found in the ephemeral? I don't know. I find myself thinking of a scene in a Diane Duane Star Trek novel (I don't know if I've discussed this here before, so if I have forgive me, and if you haven't read _The Wounded Sky_ you may want to skip the rest of this paragraph), where they're in the process of basically awakening/creating a universe. McCoy asks K't'lk (the channel, I suppose would be the best word; the shaper), "Do we have to give them death?" And she answers that death is the only way that we know to potentially step out of the box, the game, to join with a larger Self. And then he asks, "Well, can we at least spare them pain?" He's a doctor, you know. Kirk is thinking at this moment that all McCoy wants is to know that some place in all the universes he'll be forever out of a job. And she shakes her crystal head sorrowfully, and says that she doesn't know that it's safe to meddle with that process either.

I find myself aching for McCoy (and yes, I know he's just a character in a book, but that's never stopped me before; I've wept buckets for characters in books, and fallen in love with them...), yet I know what she means. What would we replace it with, after all? What mechanism for learning would we put in? If it were all effortless, easy, joyous even -- would it still have such value? I don't know.

Heavy thoughts for a light and lovely morning. I think I'd best get back to my pies. Have a good weekend, everyone.

Please follow and like us:

Well, the cookies and…

Well, the cookies and the anthology submissions are done. Pies today, I think, and perhaps Christmas stollen. I unfortunately didn't keep a copy of the URL where I found my cookie recipes, but you could try searching for 'molasses crinkles' and see what you turn up. Those came out yummy, and were pretty easy.

One of my Clarion classmates has a new book out! If you like the hard-core sf stuff, you might want to check out Bill Burkett's new novel, Blood Sport. It's not out in bookstores yet, but it's easily available on-line.

Anyone know what the postage is for a Christmas card to England from the U.S.? How about France? And here's an interesting factoid. If you want to know what gets me *really* excited...

PHYSICS NEWS UPDATE The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News Number 350 December 10, 1997 by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein

QUANTUM TELEPORTATION has been experimentally demonstrated by physicists at the University of Innsbruck (Anton Zeilinger, 011-43-676-305-8608, anton.zeilinger@ uibk.ac.at; Dik Bouwmeester, Dik.Bouwmeester@uibk.ac.at). First proposed in 1993 by Charles Bennett of IBM (914-945-3118), quantum teleportation allow physicists to take a photon (or any other quantum-scale particle, such as an atom), and transfer its properties (such as its polarization) to another photon--even if the two photons are on opposite sides of the galaxy. Note that this scheme transports the particle's properties to the remote location and not the particle itself. And as with Star Trek's Captain Kirk, whose body is destroyed at the teleporter and reconstructed at his destination, the state of the original photon must be destroyed to create an exact reconstruction at the other end. In the Innsbruck experiment, the researchers create a pair of photons A and B that are quantum mechanically "entangled": the polarization of each photon is in a fuzzy, undetermined state, yet the two photons have a precisely defined interrelationship. If one photon is later measured to have, say, a horizontal polarization, then the other photon must "collapse" into the complementary state of vertical polarization. In the experiment, one of the entangled photons A arrives at an optical device at the exact time as a "message" photon M whose polarization state is to be teleported. These two photons enter a device where they become indistinguishable, thus effacing our knowledge of M's polarization (the equivalent of destroying Kirk).What the researchers have verified is that by ensuring that M's polarization is complementary to A's, then B's polarization would now have to assume the same value as M's. In other words, although M and B have never been in contact, B has been imprinted with M's polarization value, across the whole galaxy, instantaneously. This does not mean that faster-than-light information transfer has occurred. The people at the sending station must still convey the fact that teleportation had been successful by making a phone call or using some other light-speed or sub-light-speed means of communication. While physicists don't foresee the possibility of teleporting large-scale objects like humans, this scheme will have uses in quantum computing and cryptography. (D. Bouwmeester et al., Nature, 11 Dec 1997; see also www.aip.org/physnews/graphics)

(Okay, as they say, it's not quite Star Trek, but it's still way cool...)

Please follow and like us:

Hey, kiddos. Hope…

Hey, kiddos. Hope you're having a good week. Mine is finally calming down; the most exciting thing I did today was make gingerbread cookie ornaments to hang on the tree. (Had a horrible time with it too, actually; I'm just not doing something right with refrigerator cookies; despite chilling, they stay goopy unless I add a whole bunch more flour. Took me forever to get usable cookies out of that batch of dough. Hopefully the molasses crisps I'm making tomorrow will be easier.)

I did watch a surprisingly charming movie, "My Best Friend's Wedding". I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about it -- it really surprised me. I don't want to say too much, in case some of you haven't seen it yet and wanted to, so I'll just say that I'm a bit surprised Hollywood got away with it. Oh, and it's got one of the best editors in the world in this movie. All editors should watch it and take notes. Publishers too. Hear that, Cecelia? Dale?

By the way, for those who were worried about me after the rather downer of an entry last week, I'm doing a fair bit better. Academics being done for a month and a half is a big help. :-) And I'm slowly getting my other work done. Still to do, hopefully before I leave for Xmas:

  • finish transcribing Carol interview
  • push on book to 20K words
  • revise "Amanda Means Love"
  • finish reading through submissions
  • finish decorating house for party
  • get rum cake recipe from Roshani
  • bake cookies, cakes and pies
  • Fed Ex article to Puritan
It looks like a lot, but I've got some time to do it in. I think it'll be okay. I'm going to run (I owe 'shani a phone call), but I'll leave you with this bit of interesting semi-factoid. Don't ask me whether it's a true story or not; it just got passed on to me...

"Had the most interesting conversation with the top sales weasel at our company today. She came into my office and noticed I had a box of Altoids on my desk.(Have you had them? They are these obnoxiously strong peppermints made in England.) As soon as she saw them, she burst into laughter. Turns out she had recently had an affair with a guy who called her and left her an incredibly steamy voice mail message after an encounter. He went on and on about what a blow job goddess she was, how amazing she was, how he'd never be the same, etc. She was kind of puzzled, thinking: what did I do to this guy that was so different from my regular technique?

She finally figured it out: she's a smoker, and before getting intimate with him, she had gone to the bathroom to "freshen up." Not having a toothbrush, she crunched on about four Altoids and then got busy. Apparently things went amazingly.

So she passed this little tidbit on to another female sales weasel, who immediately tried it out on *her* fiance. Apparently this guy has never, ever been into oral sex, but liked the mint sensation so much that he asked her to stop and chew another Altoid mid-blow job. He is now a fellatio gourmand.

This news has been going around our office. Having a box of Altoids on your desk is now like being part of the Secret Blowjob Goddess Society [SBJGS]. It's the equivalent of having the hottest car or coolest computer. News spread like crazy among the females, who all went out at lunch to Walgreens to buy a box of Altoids (about $2 for 100 or so), and their partners across the city tonight are getting one hell of a corporate blow job. As far as company-wide morale boosting events, it doesn't get much better.

Some of the men found out, too -- they went out after work to buy them for their wives. They strategized on how to get their wives to eat them. And people wonder why I work in technology.

(For what it's worth -- it really does work! It leaves a lasting tingle that is apparently quite exquisite.)"

Please follow and like us:

Done, done, done, my…

Done, done, done, my darlings! Well, done with the academic semester, at any rate. I still need to put together a tentative third of the new anthology for Masquerade; write another 9000 words of my new book for them; send off the silly SF article to Puritan (all written; just need to pick up a toner cartridge so I can print), revise "Amanda Means Love" for my new writer's group (Clarion X, composed currently of ex-Clarionites Leah and Cliff and me and Mike and Ojvind and selected other Wolf) and finish Christmas shopping. Still, I have lots of time to do it in, and I'm rather looking forward to it. I'm going to go for now, but here's a funny little snippet, another anonymous contribution from the net...:

Energizer Bunny Death Notice

I'm saddened to announce the passing of The Energizer Bunny.

AP JAN 25, 1996 - The Energizer Bunny, known best for "going and going and going..." passed away last evening at 12:42am.

Upon completion of the autopsy early this morning, the chief medical examiner ruled that the death was caused by acute cardiac arrest, induced by sexual over-stimulation.

Apparently, someone put the battery in backwards and the bunny kept coming and coming and coming...

Foul play has not been ruled out.

Please follow and like us:

Sorry for the break –…

Sorry for the break -- end of semester business. All over tomorrow.

I had to write a self-evaluation for my Fiction class; in lieu of a real journal entry, I offer it to you. I've also sent out two new stories, "Alan's Story" and "Minh-Ha's Story" (totally different from the version you saw before) to the first readers list.

Well, work on the book progresses apace. I've done some revisions on the interludes and on Johnny's Story and Steve's Story. I think they're pretty finished, which is satisfying. I decided to take out the original Minh-Ha's Story, which was a scary decision, but I think the right one. I'm not sure if I can explain it properly, but the best I can do is that the interludes so far have been mostly autobiographical, whereas the actual stories have been pretty much purely fictional, and somehow that feels right. The original Minh-Ha's Story (the one with the girl talking at her mother) felt too argumentative, too personal, too autobiographical. It was distracting, and unbalanced the rest of the work. Taking it out felt much better. I also decided to remove the Mickey interlude -- that whole section had the wrong tone for this part of the book. Perhaps I'll use those two pieces elsewhere -- I'm not unhappy with them as pieces; they just didn't balance right. I recently managed to write two new stories; one is the replacement Minh-Ha's Story, which I'm much happier with. It feels right. Another is Alan's Story, which along with the now-finished Ramesh's Story makes five. Something aesthetic in me is calling out for seven total, but right now I only have one more, Laney's Story, left to write, and maybe I'll stop there. I'm guessing Part I will then be about 40 pages. I've been having trouble coming up with something for Laney's Story -- maybe because it's the last one, I feel like it needs to be really perfect, really complete. A synthesis, perhaps, of Part I? I'm not sure. I'm hesitant, but hopeful that I can finish it over the break.

Listening to Carole Maso gave me some ideas for Part II. For some reason, I've recently started envisioning the book in three parts, though at 11000 words currently, it's more like a fifth done. The first section feels to me as if it deals with really pivotal moments in the stories. Pivotal moments for the characters, that is -- moments where perhaps they realized something important about themselves and their desires. Those moments have been largely joyful, although Steve's was more bittersweet. (I'm concerned about Steve's section, actually; some people find it romantic/touching/powerful, but others find him merely pathetic. I'm not aiming for pathetic. I don't think he's pathetic. I'm not sure what to do about that.) I think in Part II we'll move more towards pain. I'm also interested in dialogue here. At times I think I'll have a series of dialogues between the narrator and these others -- yet that seems difficult to maintain for an entire section. Perhaps more alternations; dialogue/story/dialogue/story and so on. I'm thinking now about what the dialogues should be about; sexuality? desire? love? Should they be about anything? Not sure. This is all feeling still somewhat amorphous, yet I'm not panicked anymore. I think somewhere in the back of my head this is all jelling.

I have written various other bobbles and snippets in the second part of this semester, but nothing important. The only really significant thing I've done otherwise is revise "Interruptions" (motivated by application for the Stegner Fellowship). I'm happy with it, or happier, I think. Sometimes I feel that I won't be finished with that story for another fifteen or twenty years. Perspective lacking. The mother is still not sympathetic enough, or the boyfriend character, though I think both are better. The class's advice to cut the conference scene was right on target, I think, and I'm pretty sure the new dispersal of that information works much better.

On the whole, I'm really pleased with how my writing has progressed this semester. I'm falling in love with my new book, and the people who populate it.

Please follow and like us:

Hey, guys. Just a quick…

Hey, guys. Just a quick note to let you know that my publisher has gone nuts -- oh, in a good way. He's holding a big sale, so until this Sunday, my book's selling at a 3 for 1 price. If you were considering buying one as a Christmas present, you might want to stop by his site.

In other news, today I spend some time taking snapshots of San Francisco to go with a short article I wrote for Puritan (SF - Delightful, Debauched Days :-). I'm no photographer, but I warned him so it's okay. Then dinner with Jed, which should be pleasant.

Otherwise today and tomorrow are fairly devoted to writing more on the book. I'm setting a personal goal of at least 10,000 solid words (15K would be better) by Monday (when I have to hand in what I have for class). I definitely want 15K by the following Monday, when I send it off to Richard Kasak to see if he wants to publish it. Meep. I'm trying to convince myself not to get discouraged if Richard doesn't want it, especially if he doesn't want it 'cause it's too literary -- it's just barely possible that a mainstream publisher will want it, and maybe even pay me lots more money for it. We'll see.

Then this weekend I put together the survey on on-line workshops and write that paper which is due Tuesday. And I go Christmas shopping with Thida on Saturday. And host the monthly poly group on Sunday. I did finish my reading logs for Theories and Strategies of Teaching Writing -- I'm considering adding them to these pages. A bit of work -- we'll see.

All of this insanity should be done by Tuesday, and then it's just writing 'til Monday the 15th, and then Kevin is back in town again, and then I leave on the 18th for New York.

Rather than go on endlessly about the minutiae of my life, I'll share with you a delicious quote from Pat Califia:

"I do not believe that sex has an inherent power to transform the world. I do not believe that pleasure is always an anarchic force for good. I do not believe that we can fuck our way to freedom. But this is not what the discourse of sexual repression tells us. In that discourse, unleashed sex has enormous disruptive potential. Minority forms of sex have to be repressed or the social contract will hang in tatters. People will look to their friends and lovers for warmth instead of to their biological families. Women and children will have no protection from male violence. Work for the sake of work will cease to be valued. The nine-to-five, five-days-a-week wage labor that is the foundation of commerce will be disrupted by bored and frustrated workers who use any excuse to come in late, get high as often as possible to alleviate their tedium, rip off their employers, and spend their evenings trying to pick somebody up in a bar or going to political meetings organized by antisocial elements. Nobody will go to church. Children will be thoughtlessly conceived and carelessly reared, and venereal diseases will flourish.

"This is, of course, in wild opposition to our present system."

[Pat Califia, from the introduction to Macho Sluts

Please follow and like us:

Y’all probably gathered…

Y'all probably gathered from yesterday's entry that my life's a bit stressful these days. One of the primary conflicts involves difficulties with my parents/relatives. I'm not going to go into that, but something funny happened in relation to it yesterday.

So I had fifteen minutes or so to kill in the morning, and I picked up a book. I only have one bookshelf in my room; the rest are scattered around the house. The one in my room houses the writing books, the mysteries, and the children's books. I have rather a lot of children's books, primarily sf/f, and primarily of a young adolescent reading level. I find them comforting to reread. So it wasn't surprising that when I was feeling stressed yesterday, I reached out for one of them.

I picked up _Dragonsinger_. That's a novel by Anne McCaffrey, one of three in the Harper Hall of Pern series. It chronicles the adventures of Menolly, a young musician girl in a country where women generally aren't musicians. A girl from a family that is even more conservative than the rest of the land. A girl who runs away because her parents won't let her play music. A girl with an amazing talent. (You can see why I identified with her as a kid. :-)

So I read a little, and felt better, and put it down. Then last night, I got home, was too tired to work on academics, and picked up another book. Now, keep in mind that I have about seventy children's books on this bookshelf. The other book I picked up was Robin McKinley's _The Blue Sword_. A story about a young woman who cannot live by the conventions of her cultures. A young woman who has a greater, harder destiny. A woman whose family doesn't understand her. I'm about halfway through re-reading it again, and it's fully as wonderful as I remembered it. It's also intensely comforting.

I didn't plan this. I didn't say to myself, "I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing with my life; I'm not sure my family isn't right; I'll read some books that'll tell me it's all okay." And of course, the books aren't telling me it's all okay; the answers aren't that easy. But I think it's funny, and interesting, that subconsciously I knew that these were the books I needed to read to calm myself down, to get myself to a place where I could think rationally about all this again. Patterns laid down in childhood, I suppose; these were the books that held me up when I felt like I was drowning.

This is why I want to someday write at least one children's book. So I can give back a little of what authors like McCaffrey and McKinley and Alexander, and Cooper and Duane and Engdahl and LeGuin and L'Engle and Lewis and Norton and Tolkien and Yolen gave me. There are others too, that I didn't discover until I was older but who were undoubtedly brightening others' lives -- Aiken and Boston and Christopher and Eager and Ende and Jacques and Jones and Nesbit and Pierce and White. More than anything else, these writers seem to share a sense of the possibilities inherent in a child's life, of the potentials that need encouragement.

*smile* My parents sometimes wonder where I got this stubborn independent streak, this raving individuality. Well, it's undoubtedly mostly inborn, but the children's books certainly didn't hurt. A quiet subversion they practice, these authors. I almost feel guilty exposing them this way; perhaps some parent reading this will panic and keep their kids from reading at all. I rather doubt it, though. And perhaps some of you who haven't read these books will be inspired to go out and find them. They taught me so much about life and love and strength and honor and choices and responsibility and truth and beauty. Children's authors get dismissed so often, but they take on the big questions, the issues of real importance. I wish I could command a round of applause, right now.

Please follow and like us:

Let’s rate how I’m…

Let's rate how I'm feeling today. On a scale of -5 to +5, how do I feel about:

  • My homework (-3)
  • My writing (+1)
  • My city (+2)
  • My love life (-4)
  • My health (-1)
  • My family (-4)
  • My friends (+5)
  • My finances (-4)
  • My editors (+2)
Overall, a (-6). Which is all a complicated way of complaining that I'm having a rough week, I suppose. I'd complain in more detail, but that'd start crossing the line of discretion. Suffice it to say that I could use a hug or ten.

7:05. Well, feeling somewhat better. Would be hard not to, with all the nice e-mail I've been getting from y'all. You guys are wonderful, you know that? Really lifted my spirits for a little while...

I need to get back to work, but first I wanted to share buy kamagra australia this lovely tidbit that one of you sent me. There's hope in the home country after all...

...from the Columbus Dispatch newspaper

Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Women-only shows sold out for film on Indian sex manual.

Women packed a Sri Lankan theater after it barred men from certain shows of kama Sutra - a film based on the fourth centuary Indian sex manual.

"Since all of us were women, there was no embarrassment to watch some of the very sensual scenes," said one patron, Sujatha de Silva.

David Joseph, manager of the Savoy theater in Colombo, had to seek permission from the government to discriminate against men for one show a day last week.

Almost all of the Savoy's 948 seats were full for the women-only shows.

Please follow and like us:

A little catch-up today;…

A little catch-up today; I meant to give y'all Jim's pecan pie recipe, which he swears is the best one in the world, before Thanksgiving, but I didn't quite manage it. So I give it to you now, 'cause who says you can only make pecan pie at Thanksgiving? Unfortunately, all the fractional ingredients got their numbers gobbled by my computers, so I guessed on teh sugar, salt and butter. Jim, want to correct me?

Granny Annie's Pecan Pie


3 Eggs, Beaten
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Caro Dark Syrup
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Melted Butter
1 cup Pecans
1 Pie Shell

Cooking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix: Eggs, Sugar, Syrup, Salt, Vanilla, and Butter
Spread Pecans in bottom of Pie Shell
Pour in Mixed Ingredients
Bake 1 Hour @ 350 Degrees

Hint: Heat butter and Syrup in microwave prior to mixing (this helps melt the sugar).

In other good news, after a four day sort of hiatus (I did do about half of my exercises one day), I'm back to exercising. I even went up today, when I was afraid I'd have lost so much momentum/tone, that I'd have to ease up. And while I did gain back a pound over Thanksgiving, it could have been much, much worse. :-)

Also finished "Ramesh's Story", and am sending it out.

Please follow and like us: