Hey, munchkins. M’ris…

Hey, munchkins. M'ris has just chastised me for not posting with the news that I am all better (thus relieving the anxiety of all the worriers amongst you (see, "amongst" -- that's another good word. Not that I really know that it means anything more than "among"...but if not, that's okay -- it's why I like "thusly", despite Shmuel's objections to the silliness of it...)). I am somewhat better; I fell asleep around 10:30 last night, I think, and slept until 8. Sleep is a great restoration. I forget that sometimes. I'm still coughing and sore-throated, but my muscles are only slightly wobbly today. I probably would even go out and do errands, except that I'm managing a complicated e-mail discussion, and I'm a bit worried to leave it quite yet.

We (the SH authors and staff) are talking over the proposed POD offer from Wildside. They're not offering much -- minimal royalties and no contributor's copies. But it's not a money-making venture that we're discussing either -- it's really just a fun publicity thing that doesn't cost us any money (though it does take a fair bit of my time). It'd be nice to have a big hardcover to put out on tables at conventions -- especially if Wildside has it sitting at their table in the dealer's room too... Anyway, I think it'll happen; it's just a matter of negotiating details and seeing which authors wish to participate. Lots of discussion, though -- I think all of us are learning a lot about Print-On-Demand in the process...

In between answering e-mails, I'm reading Carol Emshwiller's Ledoyt. It's really really good; told in part from the point of view of a young girl who's in love with the man her mother is marrying, Mr. Ledoyt. It's a Western, which is not a genre I normally read, but it's far more an Emshwiller-novel than anything else, and that is a great and glorious thing. I'm only about 60 pages in so far, but right now, I'd consider this highly recommended.

I may check back in later...but I may not. Right now, it doesn't look like my day has so much exciting planned. If I get tired of reading, I'll start doing SH checks and contracts; that's nice mindless work, and though I need stamps before I can send anything out, I can do all the other parts of it while I'm waiting to feel healthy enough to go get stamps. Probably tomorrow.

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Ooh…not feeling…

Ooh...not feeling good today, my dears. Couldn't sleep last night, for hours and hours, and ended up not getting out of bed until 11 today, still feeling icky. I'm staying home today, and once I finish this journal entry, I may just stumble back into bed. I'm not hungover -- I didn't actually drink much last night. But I'm beginning to suspect that until I'm well again, I just should avoid alcohol entirely; it probably depresses my system just enough that my low-lying cold can rise up and overwhelm me. Most annoying, especially as we enter the holiday party season...

I did have a good time for most of yesterday. Paul and Marcia did come by for dinner, and Peter joined us unexpectedly about halfway through Star Trek. If I'd known he was coming I would have made another dish; we were eating pretty simply, with just some biryani rice and a potato/green bean curry. Oh, and a bit of chutney. He didn't seem to mind, though. We ate and watched tv (I was a bit distracted, but I actually think this was the first good Enterprise episode, though they're definitely taking some liberties with canonical Vulcanness -- and wasn't Spock supposed to be the first Vulcan serving in Starfleet? Wasn't that part of the whole point of Sarek's anger (see "Journey to Babel") at his son? But anyway...) and drank a nice tangy riesling and Paul pulled out the guitar and we actually sang a bit. So pleasant.

Around nine we headed off to the party; I ended up not being a pirate after all. All the pirate garb was just too bulky -- it was annoying me. So I put on my little brown silk tango dress, stuck a white rose in my hair, and became Billie Holiday for the night (Marcia's idea -- she's good with costumes). People actually guessed who I was, on the first guess, even. Though I should've figured out a way to put my hair up...

Marcia had the best costume -- she was a fabulous Hermione. And apparently, she already had all the clothes -- all she needed to do was assemble them and sew on the Hogwarts patch. Very cool.

Had some good conversations at the party, but at some point a conversation about sex turned into one about marriage and parternship and children and I just got depressed. Luckily, things broke up not so long after and I was able to catch a ride home -- not so luckily, my gloomy thoughts continued in that vein for quite a while, which probably had more than a little to do with my sleeplessness. Feh.

Anyway. Gonna go curl up with a kids' book for a while, I think. Oh, and I should probably eat something. Right. Talk to y'all later...

2:45. I suck at resting. I did have lunch and spend an hour re-reading Patricia Wrede's Dealing with Dragons -- that's such a delightful book. But I got restless after that, and ended up spending a while working on the SH POD book possibilities. Much thinking about numbers and money and such. Makes Mary Anne's head hurt. One of these days, I'd really love to find someone to take over the financial end of the magazine -- writing checks and contracts and watching the budget. But really, that's most of what I do, and I don't know that it's a job that anyone finds fun, so I feel guilty at the thought of shuffling it off on someone else. Eh. It's not so bad. Normally it's just a couple of hours once a month. Small price to pay for such a fabulous magazine, eh? :-)

But now I'm really going to rest some more. I am having to stifle the part of me that is noting that I have all this free time and I could be running around getting errands done -- there's a poster I need framed, and I need stamps so I can *do* checks and contracts, and there's a huge sale at the mall (not that I actually need clothes, but at 70% off, you ought to go look, no?)...but it's like momma says -- if you're too sick to go to school, you're too sick to play. So there. Back to bed for me...

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Halloween! Hey,…


Hey, munchkins. So, a bit of sad news -- Thought Experiment is going on hiatus, for an indeterminate length of time. I can't really object; I can imagine that novel + baby takes a fair bit of time (especially with such an active baby as Tot)! But I'll miss it. I'm hoping Karen checks in occasionally and lets us know how she's doing. And if she doesn't choose to talk to the world, she'd better write to me. :-)

So, Halloween today; I'm fond of this holiday. It's one of the lowest-stress holidays, with no family or romantic expectations. It's a holiday that invites you to be goofy. I think I'm going to be Grania O'Malley, the pirate queen. Aarghhh! Of course, I can't do an Irish accent to save my life, so I'll actually be a girl in a bunch of skirts, wearing a dagger, and vaguely looking like she might be a pirate or a gypsy. I still have the buckled shoes that Ellie made me the last time I was a pirate (for Bucconeer), but she also loaned me fabulous striped socks -- I could probably find a similar pair if I went on a sock hunt at the mall, but I don't really think I can justify taking a couple of hours of the workday today to do that. I'll just have to manage with black knee-high socks. I'll be a very unfashionable pirate...at least I have gold hoop earrings, though they're a bit small for the purpose.

Hmmm...how else can I signal 'pirate'? I'm not skilled enough to whip up a fake hook or a treasure chest. I suppose I could do an eyepatch, but I'm not sure I want to bother... really, I'm just too lazy to do a good Halloween costume. That's what it comes down to. :-)

The plan for today: run to grocery store fairly soon, followed by a fair bit of work, then make dinner for Paul and Marcia (possibly others), followed by Star Trek and then Kate's Halloween party. Try to only get mildly toasted, as tonight's a school night...

The work for today: start putting my booklist together. That's the main task. In my third year, I'll have to take an exam on 120 books -- 40 criticism, 40 historical novels, 40 contemporary novels. The plus side is that I get to pick the books; the minus side is that I have to please all five members of my committee as to what'll end up on it. So today I'm planning to put together a very preliminary booklist; Paul recommended that I just put down all the literary fiction I've read, all the criticism, etc. That'll take a little while. He'll help me later with refining it a bit -- then I start taking it to the professors for their individual input. When I think I have a solid set, I hold a formal list meeting, with as many of the professors as I can -- that's when the list gets set in stone. Then I read and read and read. That's pretty much all you do in your third year. Fun, huh? :-) At the end of the year (or hopefully earlier; I'm actually aiming for January 2003), I get to sit in a three-hour oral exam with them on the books...and then do a 72-hr take-home written exam. Apparently some people don't sleep during the period, but I plan to. :-)

I got a nasty piece of hate mail this morning, couched in pleasant language, so that it took me a little while to realize just how hateful it was. It wandered all over the place, but among other things spent a while ranting about literary writing, and how he was glad that graduate school hadn't ruined his writing the way it had clearly ruined mine. This was the nicest part of the letter. The rest was frankly disgusting. But that's not the point -- the point is that I'm a little bewildered by all the fear that I do see among writers that classes or workshops or graduate school will ruin their writing. I guess it's possible that too much of any of the above might drown out your individual voice...and that 'too much' is a very subjective term in this respect. But it seems that the cure should be obvious, and not something that's too hard to implement -- take yourself away from it all for a while and just write. Don't show it to anyone; write to please yourself and only yourself. I think this must be tougher than it seems to me -- I feel like I'm missing something in some writers' anxiety...

Anyway, I'm going to get to work. It'll take me a while to type in the titles and authors of all my lit fic. I feel like I ought to do it in some format that'll easily convert to my Visor, so I can always have it with me. That's what David would do, and probably Jed. :-) But in practice, I know that I'd never keep it updated, so it would lose utility very very quickly.

It's raining off and on -- there's a candle burning cheerfully on my desk, and a cup of tea beside me. Indigo Girls playing on the headphones, steady work before me. I am feeling very grateful for my work these days...if this break-up with Kevin had happened while I was still doing temp secretarial drudgework, I think I'd be in much worse shape than I actually am.

11:00. Okay, so I've finished the first stage -- this is where I can use a hand. The critical and contemporary booklists aren't so tricky; I think I can manage those. What's more difficult is the historical booklist -- which really ought to be renamed the canonical booklist. It's supposed to list the canonical fiction that is a) related to your topic, and b) covers a wide historical time period. Basically, these should all be books at least one of my professors will have already read.

So, with that in mind, here are my current topics of interest: Intersection of cultures; confessional narratives; problems in truth-telling; identity formation; sexuality. They may make me narrow that down later, but we'll let it stand for the moment.

Here's the potential booklist I have so far. At the moment, I'm not trying to narrow it down -- these are just all possibilities. What am I missing? What Literary Authors should be on here? It's remarkably difficult to try to remember what books you've read! Help, please? Please note that where an author has written multiple books, I've tried to pick the one most relevant to my topics -- but it's possible that I haven't read another book of theirs that is more relevant; if so, enlighten me!


  • The Mahabharata
  • The Ramayana
  • Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
  • Austen, Jane - Sense and Sensibility
  • Barnes, Djuna - Nightwood
  • Boccacio - The Decameron
  • Bronte, Charlotte - Villette
  • Brown, Charles Brockden - Wieland
  • Cather, Willa - The Professor's House
  • Cervantes - Don Quixote
  • Chateaubriand - Atala / Rene
  • Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde
  • Chesnutt, Charles - The Conjure Woman and Other Conjure Tales
  • Child, Julia Maria - Hobomok
  • Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
  • Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
  • Cooper, James Fenimore - The Pioneers
  • Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
  • Dante
  • Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
  • Douglass, Frederick Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass...
  • Dunbar-Nelson, Alice - The Works of Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  • Duras, Marguerite - The War
  • Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
  • Emecheta, Buchi - The Slave Girl
  • Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
  • Fielding, Henry
  • Franklin, Benjamin - The Autobiography and Other Writings
  • Forster, E.M. - A Passage to India
  • Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins (ed. Pryse) - Selected Stories
  • Genet, Jean Querelle
  • Gilman, Charlotte Perkins - The Yellow Wallpaper
  • Goethe - The Sorrows of Young Werther
  • Guare, John - Six Degrees of Separation
  • Haggard, H. Rider - She, King Solomon's Mines
  • Hall, Radcliffe - The Well of Loneliness
  • Hemingway, Ernest - The Sun Also Rises
  • Howells, William Dean - A Modern Instance
  • James, Henry - Great Short Works, The Turn of the Screw
  • Jewett, Sarah Orne - The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories
  • Joyce, James - Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses
  • Kafka, Franz - Metamorphosis
  • Kaye, M.M. - The Far Pavilions
  • Kincaid, Jamaica - Lucy
  • Kipling, Rudyard - The Man Who Would be King and Other Stories, Kim
  • Larsen, Nella - An Intimation of Things Distant, Passing
  • Lawrence, D.H. - Sons and Lovers
  • Lessing, Doris - The Golden Notebook
  • Lewis, Wyndham - Tarr
  • Lispector, Clarice - The Hour of the Star
  • Lorde, Audre - Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
  • Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
  • Miller, Henry - Tropic of Capricorn, Tropic of Cancer, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare
  • Milton
  • Morrison, Toni - The Bluest Eye, Beloved
  • Nabokov, Vladimir - Ada, Lolita
  • Rowson, Susanna - Charlotte Temple and Lucy Temple
  • Scott, Paul - The Jewel in the Crown
  • Seth, Vikram - A Suitable Boy
  • Shakespeare, William - Othello, Romeo and Juliet
  • Spenser, Edmund - The Faerie Queen
  • Stein, Gertrude - Three Lives
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
  • Tolstoy
  • Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
  • Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Winterson, Jeanette - Art & Lies, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit
  • Woolf, Virginia - Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando
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Sheesh, I just went on…

Sheesh, I just went on and on last night, didn't I? This is what happens when you let me stay up too late; I start babbling. Also sometimes weeping, but luckily not last night. I was probably in the perfect mood to read Emerson; I was entirely willing to be carried away with him in his raptures about scholarship. I'm not sure I'd be so enthused if I went back to it in the cold light of morning.

Luckily for Emerson, that is not to be -- I did manage to finish my paper intro last night (around 1 a.m.?), but now have several more pages to write, in theory, in the next 2.5 hrs. Heh. We'll see what happens -- I'm not going to stress too much if I run over time; I may just show up late to class.

But whether or not the paper is completed, something else is -- I just sent off the final manuscript of Wet, revised, proofed, and with only one author bio missing. There *is* one story that we may work on a bit further...but we might not, and if not, then it just goes directly to the copyeditor now, so that galleys may be produced. Ah, galleys. How I do love thee...

How long ago did I start this project? I can't quite believe that it's done; it's out of my hands and in someone else's -- there's be no more major changes. It's just fine-tuning at this point. I'm exhausted; I don't know how people write a book a year, because just editing one has pretty much done me in. I think I'm going to have to limit my editing to no more than every other year, and possibly less frequently than that...I hardly did any writing this summer, and in theory, I could have done lots. Although heartbreak may have intervened in any case, editing or no.

We're more than halfway through the semester, and I'm starting to look forward to the end of it. A month and a half to go -- and then it'll be break, and then it'll be spring, and spring semester should be very nice this year. I *think* I only have to take two classes, a workshop and a lit. class. No teaching, due to my fellowship. Which means in theory, lots of time to write -- that was why they gave me the fellowship, after all. Am I being overly ambitious, to think that I'll have my book drafted by the end of the summer. Maybe...but one needs goals, right? I'm all about goals, these days. When did I become so amazingly achievement-oriented? I remember all those high school credit cards: Does Not Live Up to Her Full Potential. Over and over and over again. I wonder if those teachers would think I was doing so now, or if they would think I still had a ways to go.

Heh. If they could see me procrastinating like this, they would mock me severely. Off to my paper I go!

8:15. 2.5 pages down, 2 to go. Not bad. This is a very straightforward little paper, to the point that I admit a bit of resentment for needing to bother. I've written papers for this professor already; he knows that I can competently trace out the course of such a simple question as he's asked us. On the other hand, it's not bad practice, and really, not so much effort that I should bother being annoyed. It's even kind of fun -- my biggest difficulty is restraining myself from falling into the kind of archaic phrasing that the text uses; I did that with my Franklin paper, and he called me on it. It's very hard to resist, though. How can you not love language like this: "I cannot suppose any thing but attachment to the daughter could carry you such imprudent lengths for the father..." Isn't that charming? It makes me want to write in calm convolutions. "I cannot suppose any thing" -- oh, that's good.

There was a bit in the Emerson I was reading last night where he stuck another word in the midst of 'whatsoever' -- i.e., "what difficulty soever" or "what pleasure soever" -- I didn't know you could do that! I miss words like whatsoever. And thus. I use thus, but not so much as I would like to. And what about thusly? It's a poor, impoverished language we are left to fumble with, is what it is...

4:15. The good news is that Fictionwise now has the September issue of SH up! Go get it! Collect the whole set!

I did also finish my paper and all the reading I needed to do for today, as well as class prep -- I ended up teaching them a rather eclectic mix: flashbacks and other non-sequential narratives, framing devices / voiceovers, unreliable narrators, metafiction. Probably enough to hold them for a bit.

The bad news is that I'm utterly exhausted, coughed my way through my last class, and just cannot face going back to school tonight. I'm going to skip workshop, curl up in my rocking chair with my afghan, eat soup, and watch tv. So there.

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Well, two quick rejects…

Well, two quick rejects from Glimmer Train -- ah well. I think I'm going to hold onto "Beth and Julie's Wedding" for now; it's really more erotica than literary fiction, and I don't know of any open anthologies that it'd be appropriate for at the moment. But I'm sending "Sister Mary" out to the New Yorker -- we'll see what they think. At least, I hope we will; they still have "Monsoon Day", that I sent them back in June. Normally I wouldn't send two pieces to the same publication at the same time, but I figure they'll be sufficiently far apart in the stack that they won't even notice.

I got a charming e-mail this morning from the director of graduate studies in my department -- it went out to the whole department, and among other lovely things it said, "Those of you who attended last weekend's inaugural Humanities Graduate Conference won't need to be told how impressively well-organized and successful it was....the entire event should be a source of pride to the department, the college and the University of Utah as a whole."

Yay us! :-)

I'm still taking in the fact that it's over, it's really over. By the day of, there were so many tiny details coming together; it's a little astonishing to me that it all worked. Jenn was the one holding all the pieces together, and she just did an amazing job. She sounded rather frayed by the end, but didn't fall apart. I'm so impressed. I'm not sure I would have done so well, creating a conference from scratch, dealing with all sorts of people and their concerns, with tact and consideration. Although everyone pitching in helped, of course. Her fiance, David, (also in the program) was great on the day of, running all kinds of little errands and being one of the general fixers. I love this photo of him struggling with the recalcitrant patio table umbrellas...

Brenda and I spent a while trying to get those open, looking for a hidden latch, etc., until we finally decided it was just a matter of brute force -- and force neither of us possessed. David and his manly muscles came through for us, though. :-)

I should get back to work; today's a day for paper & intro-writing, and I can't really afford to slack off on it. Also a few student things to comment on, but not so much. If I work steadily all day, I should be fine for tomorrow. I have to spend a little time thinking about the class I'm teaching tomorrow -- we're doing structure this week, and I'm not quite sure what's an appropriate amount to give an intro-level class. Flashbacks, certainly, but what else? That's the question... gods, I love my job. I can't believe they pay me to think about this!

2:15. Well, it took a little longer to get to it than I expected -- I had quite a stack of e-mail piled up. But I've finished the first draft intro of W, and sent it out for comments to the Melcher editors and the readers' list. Feel free to hack at it, please -- it's very rough, and I'm afraid a little depressing/scary as it stands. I know it needs lots of work. Still, it's nice to have a draft done; that's sort of comforting.

I'd like to just dive right in and do my American Studies paper (a relatively straightforward reading of filial duty in Charlotte Temple), but I think I should give my arms a break, since I've been at the computer all day so far. I'll do some dishes and mop the kitchen floor, maybe work out a little. That should serve for a nice break from the computer.

And if you're looking for a nice break from your Monday work, stop by SH! We have an Author Focus issue this week, with the focus on the delightful Joan Aiken. If you've only read her famous Willoughby Chase novels, then you're in for a treat, becuase we have a great short piece of hers, "The Rented Swan", along with two poems, an interview and two reviews (one by my own Jedediah, who is a big fan of her short fiction). If you haven't read anything of hers...well, you should. Right now. She's just a terrific writer, and I've loved her novels since I was a little kid. I was always very impressed by the way she mixed politics in with kids' stories; only Lloyd Alexander did it so well, with his Westmark trilogy. Great stuff! Kudos to Susan for putting this issue together!

10:40 p.m. Long working day. I'm going to be underprepared for class tomorrow; I suppose it was to be expected. Still haven't written my paper either, although I have high hopes that if I write an intro tonight, I should be able to whip through the rest tomorrow morning before going in (it's only 4-5 pgs, ds, which is hardly anything)... In the meantime, I'm trying to get at least enough of the reading done as will keep me from being utterly lost tomorrow. I am presently being seduced by Emerson, and thought I would give you a taste:

"Books are the best of things, well used; abused, among the worst. What is the right use? What is the one end, which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire. I had better never see a book, than to be warped by its attraction clean out of my own orbit, and made a satellite instead of a system. The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul." -- from The American Scholar, an address given at Cambridge

I had him in college, over a decade ago; it's rather delightful returning to him again, after all these years...

Oh...one more. Then I'll stop, I promise -- from the same essay:

"The office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances. He plies the slow, unhonored, and unpaid task of observation....In the long period of his preparation, he must betray often an ignorance and shiftlessness in popular arts, incurring the disdain of the able who shoulder him aside. Long he must stammer in his speech; often forego the living for the dead. Worse yet, he must accept, -- how often! poverty and solitude. For the ease and pleasure of treading the old road, accepting the fashions, the education, the religion of society, he takes the cross of making his own, and, of course, the self-accusation, the faint heart, the frequent uncertainty and loss of time, which are the nettles and tangling vines in the way of the self-relying and self-directed; and the state of virtual hostility in which he seems to stand to society, and especially to educated society. For all this loss and scorn, what offset? He is to find consolation in exercising the highest functions of human nature. He is one, who raises himself from private considerations, and breathes and lives on public and illustrious thoughts. He is the world's eye. He is the world's heart. He is to resist the vulgar prosperity that retrogrades ever to barbarism, by preserving and communicating heroic sentiments, noble biographies, melodious verse, and the conclusions of history. Whatsoever oracles the human heart, in all emergencies, in all solemn hours, has uttered as its commentary on the world of actions, -- these he shall receive and impart..."

I'm not really a scholar, not in this sense. I dabble in scholarship, but my real desires are elsewhere, in creating and building my own fabulous worlds. But I know a few true scholars, and I admire them -- even if they also sometimes drive me a bit mad. And like Harriet Vane at Oxford, I do occasionally feel a strange yearning for that directed life...

"If only one could come back to this quiet place, where only intellectual achievement counted; if one could work here steadily and obscurely at some close-knit piece of reasoning, undistracted and uncorrupted by agents, contracts, publishers, blurb-writers, interviewers, fan-mail, autograph-hunters, notoriety-hunters, and competitors; abolishing personal contacts, personal spites, personal jealousies; getting one's teeth into something dull and durable; maturing into solidity like the Shrewsbury beeches..." -- Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers

Crescat Scientia Vita Excolatur
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Hey, munchkins. So…

Hey, munchkins. So my conference is over, and it went swimmingly. I realilze that I haven't told you much about it up 'til now (I've talked to Kevin and David and Jed about it in the last two days, and none of them had heard much of anything about it, so apparently I have been uncharacteristically reticent on the subject). Just busy, I guess, and while I've been having weekly meetings about it for the last year, they've been of the sort where small things are done incrementally, at least up 'til the last few weeks. Didn't have much impact on my life until recently.

The conference was entitled "Expanding the Interdisciplinary Conversation", and was a joint humanities graduate conference. There were ten of us on the conference committee -- five or so from English (because it started in our department, and we're the largest of the humanities departments on campus) and a few from Communication, and one each from History, Philosophy, and Languages/Lit. No one from Linguistics this time around -- maybe next time. We had about a hundred people attending (possibly more, since there were seventy or so people at each keynote speech, and I'm not sure how much overlap there was), with a couple from Canada, and one from Australia! An international conference... (Karina, the Australian girl was from Melbourne, from Monash University. :-) She was here studying sexuality and gender in the LDS church...) Also people from Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, and elsewhere. Some of our long-distance people sadly cancelled due to fear-of-flying, but I suppose that was to be expected. A couple of academic conferences have had to just cancel recently because so many people were afraid to fly. I don't really understand it, but what can you do? Humans are irrational, and I certainly have my own neuroses.

The only real problem with it all is that for the last several days I've not gotten enough sleep, and I'm now moderately ill again. Very weak, sore throat, wobbly muscles, etc. Nuisance. I'm taking today off, doing no work whatsoever. But that really just means academic work; I can't stand how messy my place has gotten, so I've been doing small housekeeping tasks. The dining room, living room, bathroom, and sunroom are now back to civilized states. The bedroom shouldn't be too bad, but my kitchen -- oh, I'm scared of my kitchen. Massively overflowing trash, and gross stuff growing in my sink. Ick, yuck.

I may go back to reading again. The sunroom is such a pleasant place to read in; I have one of those viney green office plants that just grew enormously over the summer, so it had a big puddle of vines and leaves reaching down to the floor. I bought little hooks a few days ago, and have now got it trailed up along the ceiling and down the walls and bookshelf. I moved my papasan chair around so it's now facing the windows and books and plants, so the sunroom is more of a divided space; half a work-space, half a pleasant reading nook. Lovely. I sat there for hours this morning, finishing the last of the Michelle West big fantasy novels (quite good!) and drinking some new Stash tea. I had gotten David some of the Exotica line for Christmas a year or two ago, and when I tried them at his place, I really liked them. So I just ordered some Exotica Reserve and some Assam Breakfast -- only a little pricey, and oh, so tasty. :-) Shmuel, you might like the Reserve; it's a tasty blend of stalwart teas. I find that I really prefer the hearty teas -- even a Darjeeling is a little delicate for me, ditto Earl Grey, and as for all those frail little green teas -- well, maybe with sushi. Otherwise, give me a nice cuppa strong tea with milk and sugar, the way tea was meant to be drunk. I knew the Brits were good for something...

Hmm...I seem to have developed the hiccups while writing this entry. I think M'ris may be contagious, though mine don't seem as brutal as hers. Usually I can get rid of 'em by just sipping a big glass of water, as continuously as possible -- I think it changes my breathing patterns enough to interrupt the hiccups? Anyway, I'm going to go try it now, since this is annoying and is starting to make my stomach muscles (such as they are) hurt. I'll leave you with this fabulous little tree; I was walking to the conference to set up breakfast (they put me in charge of food -- clever people :-), and even though I was late, I just had to stop and take a couple photos of this tree, its leaves gone -- just bare branches and tiny crab-apples, reaching to the sky.

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I climbed into bed last…

I climbed into bed last night, had a nice long chat with Jed on the phone, tried to go to sleep -- and ended up climbing out of bed to go write the first two pages of a story. It was cold getting out of bed! The writer's life is a toilsome one, full of misery and woe. And cold toes.

It's kind of a cute story, though. Kids' story, fun to write. Vaguely Aiken-ish. I think I could write silly descriptions of houses for hours...

...They all lived together in a great big house. It was so big, that you might as well call it a castle, though it wasn't made of stone. It was made of good strong wood, and had nine stories. Each story had nine windows, and there were nine steps leading up to the next story. On the first story were the nine bedrooms (so that in the case of an emergency, they could get the babies out quickly), and each bedroom had its own window looking out into the wide wide world. On the second story, there was a kitchen, with a great big dining table with nine sides (a nonagonal table, as they say), and many many chairs, some soft, some hard, and all of them just right for the person sitting in them. On the third story, there were nine bathrooms -- some of the cousins thought it would have made life easier if there were a bathroom on every floor, but the house was built the way it was built, and there wasn't a thing they could do about it now. They were nice bathrooms, though -- each one a different shade of greeny-blue, with mermaid mosaics on the bottoms of the tubs, and fluffy white clouds painted on the ceilings.

On the fourth story, there were nine offices, for when the older cousins felt like getting some work done. On the fifth story, there were nine craft rooms, one each for: spinning, weaving, sewing, knitting, carpentry, leatherwork, glass-blowing, candle-making, and fun-things-you-can-do-with-glitter. The middle cousins were especially fond of these rooms. On the sixth story (safely away from the offices) was the playroom, with nine carpeted pits, each full of wonderful things: balloons, building blocks, balls, bubbles -- there were quite a few things that started with the letter 'b', though none of the cousins were sure why. On the seventh and eighth floors was the library, with ninety-nine shelves holding at least nine thousand books. And on the ninth floor, the very top floor -- there was a garden...

Heh. Fun. I'd better put some plot in soon, though. I think I might have a meteor crash through the glass roof of the garden room. Oh no! Whatever will they do?!

Anyway. I need to do some prep for classes today, and then go finish grading. Longish day today; classes 'til 4:30, then come home for dinner and then go back to campus for a reading; we're having a rapid-fire scary reading. I need to write something. I'll worry about that later. All the things which actually scare me do not seem like fit subjects for scary/funny poems. A little irritating. Ah well...

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It’s been a productive…

It's been a productive and reasonably cheerful morning so far. I woke up kind of tired and cold; I stayed up last night re-reading some of I Capture the Castle -- I love that book. (M'ris, you probably haven't read this, have you? It's marvelous, absolutely marvelous. Susan G., I think you'd really like it too.) Now I can't remember if I recommended it to both my sisters or just one; I think they'd both like it. I should check. Anyway, stayed up late, fell asleep wrapped in my afghan (I really don't understand why afghans are so warm and cozy, given that they're full of holes), woke up to a very chilly house. Checked e-mail and then turned on the heat (should've done it in reverse order to protect my hands, oh well) and made tea. Worked steadily all morning, on final details for the conference this weekend, which is going to be really spiffy -- there's a full program on that website, so if you're curious, you can go find out what I do when I'm being really academic. In retrospect, I wish I'd publicized this a bit more, and tried to really coax academic friends of mine to participate. Since it's an interdisciplinary conference, we would have been delighted to have Susan G. and Karina and Shmuel presenting papers; I don't *know* that their departments would have chipped in for airfare, but it would have been worth attempting. Ah well -- maybe next time, if they're still in school.

Also worked on W (can I use that abbreviation for Wet? Y'all will remember what I mean, no? I still think of it as Bodies of Water in my head) -- we're down to two authors' line edits left, and then I just have to draft an intro (eep!) and send it all off to the copyeditor next week. I can't quite believe it's almost done. They'll send me a check and everything...

And now I really ought to stop procrasting and read/comment on student stories. Yes, I should have finished them Monday. I really have to finish them today, or the students will be justified in their revolution. I'll deserve to be the first one up against the wall... I don't know why it's so easy to put off grading. It's the most procrastinatingest thing in my life -- and yet, I don't really mind doing it. I even kind of enjoy it. But boy, I'd rather go do dishes right now, or even mop the kitchen floor. Very strange.

One very nice piece of news before I go. You remember that I told you about this charming book I was reading, Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, by Lawrence Weschler, about the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which is more of a meta-commentary about museums than it is an actual museum? I think I told you about it anyway. Wonderful book; much fun and terrific illustrations. Well, the MacArthur genius grants were announced today, and Mr. Wilson got one for the museum! How cool is that? Now I want to go back down to L.A. and visit the place before all the money turns it into something different (which I'm sure would be equally exciting, but not the same, y'know?). If you're in L.A., then just go!

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Hey, munchkins. Sleepy…

Hey, munchkins. Sleepy sleepy. Just thought I'd check in briefly before going to bed. Umm...Tuesday. Long work day. Came home to find that I'd accidentally taped Gilmore Girls instead of Buffy. Much sadness. But GG was pretty funny; Rory went to visit Harvard. Much geek humor.

Hmm...I thought I could do a coherent entry, but I keep yawning. Maybe not. Had workshop today; history piece got...well, not exactly trashed. They liked lots of it -- just not any of the history. Sigh...

S'okay. But this creative nonfiction stuff is harder than I thought! I'll be glad to get back to fiction in the spring.

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Done with line edits! …

Done with line edits! Exactly on-schedule; I think it's the only thing about this book that's been on-schedule thus far... I'm going to reward myself with a nice lunch at Cucina, I think. Soup and a roll, or perhaps a fresh mozzarella sandwich; nummy.

It's a nice counter to the sad little rejection I received from Asimov's, for "Savariian and the Aliens". Gardner said some nice things about my writing, but the story didn't work for him. This is actually not as bad as it sounds, as I'm pretty sure I want to do some drastic revisions on it before I send it out again. I think it may actually be three stories -- eep. Not likely to get to it anytime soon, I'm afraid.

In other news, the Australian woman whom I was supposed to host for the conference isn't going to be able to make it. I'm a little disappointed; it would have been interesting, I think. But on the whole, I think I'm more relieved not to have a houseguest to feed and chauffeur around this weekend. Would have been okay, but I think there'll be enough stuff to think about that I'll be happy not to have to spend the extra energy. Everyone's gearing up for the conference; I'm still finalizing catering decisions with Cucina (we're renting the place from them Friday night for dinner with the speakers, which I think will be just lovely), but the rest of the food planning is set, I think. Fingers crossed.

I didn't actually read any of my students' stories yesterday; I re-read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire instead, first curled up in my papasan, then in a nice hot bath, then in bed, under my lovely Karen-quilt. I've been feeling oddly stressed lately; a little panicky and weepy, for no reason that I can figure out. Aside from missing Kev, everything in my life is actually going really well; finances are slowly coming under control, I'm on schedule academically, even the writing isn't doing too bad. I've actually been working out; despite a lingering cough, I generally feel more fit than I have in a long time, and I've been taking my meds regularly. So why the stress? Most confusing. Anyway, I spent yesterday afternoon and evening just goofing off, which seemed to help a little. I did wake up stressed again this morning, but so far, I've managed to subsume it in work. Work good. :-)

I should get back to it too, so my students don't rise up against me tomorrow. I'll talk to y'all later; have a good week, my dears.

Oh -- and go read Strange Horizons! Very strong week, with an article on medieval clothing from the fabulous Rachel Hartman, a review from the very sharp Greg Beatty, a funny little Halloween poem, and a very interesting story from Justine Larbalestier, "The Cruel Brother". I'm very curious to see if we get any flak for publishing this story; it could be controversial. Let me know what you think of it...

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