Oh, munchkins. Rough…

Oh, munchkins. Rough morning. I slept badly again (when will I learn to turn the heat down at night?? -- the problem is that it often isn't warm when I go to bed, but it kicks into high gear around 4 a.m. or something and I roast), and dreamed sad dreams. There was one dream as I was waking up that was every sad conversation I've had with Kevin, plus a couple extras that couldn't possibly even apply to us, rolled up together. I almost called him when I got up, but he's sick; I decided to let him sleep. I'm a grown-up, right? I can cope with a mopey dream...

It's snowing. Big fat flakes of snow; my students are going to be delighted -- I'm assuming quite a few of them won't show up. You have to expect that during ski season in Utah. I'm not feeling so happy about it. The tree in front of my window, that gorgeous yellow tree, has lost almost all of its leaves, and the few that still cling are not happy -- they're picking up a crust of snow, and you can just tell that they should have given up and gone to their rest days ago. Stupid leaves.

I want to take a pile of children's books, a mug of hot chocolate, and go curl up under blankets with happy music on and the curtains closed. What's scary is that I could do it -- I'd just have to tell my students tomorrow that they'll have to wait another week for their papers, and I'd have to hand in something to grad workshop that's old, not new work. It would be so easy. Paul was saying yesterday that the terrible thing about graduate school is that it doesn't really matter if you don't do things on time -- that the world doesn't end if you hand in a paper late. That sounds like a positive thing, doesn't it? Nobody freaking out about buy kamagra online minor latenesses? And it does reduce stress, but it also makes it very very very easy to get behind. It's all about the self-discipline, and some days, I really don't want to have any.

But I will. It's too early to go to Borders, so I'm going to make some tea and do some post-colonial reading here. I have one more response paper to write, so I'll do that too. Then I'm going to shower, and get dressed, and pack up my bag and trudge out into the snow -- oh, don't I sound pitiful? I'm going to go to Borders and get some more tea and put my headphones on and watch the Temple through the snow until I'm ready to write -- and then I'm going to finish a draft of "Riddhi", if it kills me. That's the critical thing -- the students can wait, if they need to. I'll take the grading along too, though, just in case.

I might even enjoy walking through the fresh-fallen snow, a teeny tiny bit. Getting snow caught in my hair. Having it melt when I go inside, into a brief lattice of sparkling water. There are things to appreciate about snow, I know. I wish Karina were here, though; she loves it so, and it's much easier to appreciate it in her company. 11:00 p.m. The day improved. I did finish my draft, and got a few other things done too. I just sent Riddhi's story, "The Emigrant", out to the readers' list; lemme know what you think. I'm a little too tired to feel the usual high I get from a story, but I am satisfied to have it done. I'm afraid I'm going to be a little behind tomorrow, but such is life, eh? Class was good; now I'm tired. But hey -- go check out the new Strange Horizons -- it's not just Monday, it's the first Monday of the month, so the issue is extra-jam-packed with cool stuff in every department.

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I sort of meant to do my…

I sort of meant to do my journal entry earlier, but the day got away from me somehow. It's almost four now; I've done a little work, but not as much as I would have liked. Common refrain, I know. I did stop for a few hours to have brunch, and I have no regrets about that. I made crepes with fillings and a vegetable soup; Paul and Marcia brought rum cake (and Paul's grandmother :-), Doug and Beth brought apple crisp, Samantha brought bagels, Steven brought fruit salad, and Prakash brought sugar (because I was out and had asked him to pick some up :-). We only hung out for about an hour and a half, but it was a really nice break to the day. The dishwasher is doing the last load of dishes now, and you'd never know anyone had been here (except for the bag of bagels on the microwave, the quarter bowl of fruit salad in the fridge, and the slice of rum cake wrapped in foil...mmm....). Pleasant.

I think yesterday's entry may have given some of y'all the wrong idea about me. Shmuel called, a little concerned that I was taking on yet another project. 3-4 new books? Isn't that a bit much? But the thing is, that almost certainly one of those books won't happen...possibly more than one. It's not exactly that I'm juggling so much -- it's that instead of throwing up one ball when I catch another, I throw up three or four -- and two of them dissolve and never come back down to be caught. I think I'm getting lost in metaphor. Just think of all these projects as little feelers, things that may or may not happen. And if by some chance all of them do happen, I'll take a leave of absence next fall and work on the extras then. Not a problem. Grad school is flexible that way, and the Asian book especially connects nicely to my research.

I'm still working on that fellowship application. I finished one essay draft this morning; I have another one to write. This one I'm really not sure what to write on -- listen, here's the topic:

"Please write in essay form about your experience as a New American. Indicate, if appropriate, the role of family and other institutions in bringing you to the position you now hold. Also indicate what activities you have undertaken that mnight give evidence of creativity, accomplishment, and commitment to the values expressed in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights."

Meep. The dilemma, of course, is that I could easily write about porn, and freedom of speech, and the Telecommunications Decency Act -- and all it would take would be one kneejerk conservative on the judging panel to shoot my application out of the water. Dammit. I'm just not sure what to do. I spent an hour on the phone with Kevin last night, trying to sort it out; I'm guessing that I'll probably end up being oblique, and focusing on multiculturalism and diversity of voice instead. But it feels weird.

Anyway, rather than angsting about what I'm going to write, I suspect I should just write. I'm going to go put a load of laundry in, crank up some music, and then bang my head against this some more. If I can just finish a draft of this application today, then I won't feel quite so distressed about still having a story to finish and ten research papers to grade tomorrow...

8:45. In case you were waiting with baited breath, I finished that draft at 5:30. I'm not sure what I've done for the last three hours. Watched Drew Carey. Talked to Karina, then Kevin. Stared into space. My brain is totally fried, y'know? I had vague dreams of finishing the draft of my story tonight, so I could actually revise it before handing it to the group tomorrow. Hah, I say, hah! I shoulda known better. I'm going to go watch the end of The Invisible Man, followed by Voyager, and then I'm going to sleep. There's ambition for you. What was all that nonsense I wrote in that essay about creativity, accomplishment and commitment? Bah, humbug.

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Hey, guys. Having a…

Hey, guys. Having a good weekend? I'm drowning in work, I'm afraid. It's satisfying to get things done, but there's always more, waiting, lurking, ready to jump up on the back of your neck, grab your throat, shrieking, "Aha! Now I've got you my pretty! You'll never be free of me, never, never..." and then drag you down to the basement where all the books you've never read but always meant to read, wait patiently, with slavering jaws and a fierce bright hunger in their ancient eyes...

Well, you get the idea. I have intense book guilt right now. Every room in my house seems to have books waiting in it that I was supposed to read three years ago -- what did I think I was doing, stopping to bake a pumpkin cake, have dinner with friends, eat pizza, play cards, eat cake...which is what I did last night. Paul's grandmother is visiting, and we played a game she taught us, Manipulation, a variant of rummy. Was much fun, and for three hours I didn't think about work at all.

So far this morning I've cleared my desk, line edited Marcy's story for Herotica (which has been sitting on my desk for, oh, a month or so), written some e-mail, and started putting together that Asian Spec Fic Booklist. I think I'm going to end up making a booklist and putting it up on the web with my other booklists, but for now it's just a table in Word.

I'm not sure if I've explained this project. Briefly, there's a good book that came out recently, Dark Matter, that explores spec fic from the African diaspora. Good stufff, and it's selling well -- a sequel is in the works. I was thinking about this, realized I didn't have much idea of how much Asian presence there was in sf, or of how many mainstream Asian authors incorporate fantastic elements in their work, and that I'd like to read such a book. Then I realized I might be able to edit such a book. So I contacted Warner, the people who published Dark Matter, and asked them if they'd be interested in an Asian version. They said they might -- which meant that the next stage was to do a book proposal.

I'd really appreciate any help you can give with this. The problem I have right now is that to sell it to the publisher, I need about 25 names, and about a third of them need to be well-known mainstream authors, not people from the sf/f ghetto. So if you can think a bit, and tell me if you know of any mainstream Asian authors, writing in English, work that has fantastic/speculative elements -- it would be muchly appreciated. Or any sf/f authors I've missed. Here are the authors I have so far, just so we don't duplicate effort:

  • Abe, Kobo
  • Aitmatov, Chingiz
  • Attanasio, A.A.
  • Chiang, Ted
  • Chiu, Tony
  • Clough, Brenda
  • Divakaruni, Chitra
  • Ghosh, Amitav
  • Johnson, Kij
  • Komatsu, Sakyo
  • Kotani, Eric (Yoji Kondo)
  • Lee, Mary Soon
  • Ling, Samantha
  • Mohanraj, Mary Anne
  • Mukherjee, Bharati
  • Murakami, Haruki
  • Nagata Linda
  • Rushdie, Salman
  • Somtow, S.P. (Somtow Sucharitkul)
  • Suga, Hiroe
  • Takei, George
  • Tan, Cecilia
  • Wu, William F.
  • Yamauchi, Brian
I may end up narrowing down the topic, 'cause it's starting to feel really huge. The list has everything from hard sf to vaguely magical realist stuff, and everything from translated native authors to native authors writing in English to immigrants/expatriates to second or third generation authors. Which is just huge. But until I get an idea of the shape of what's out there, I think it's a mistake to try to narrow the focus. I also need a title, preferably one as cool as Dark Matter. Any ideas?

And hey, while we're doing sf/f promotional stuff, let me tell you about a group I've recently joined. BROAD UNIVERSE is a new group celebrating women's writing and artwork within science fiction, fantasy, horror, and speculative fiction. It's basically meant to help women authors promote their work, and help fans find and keep track of the authors. I'm on the steering committee, and it's a lot of fun helping to set it up -- if you're interested, there's info on the website about signing up to help. Men welcome. :-) They just sent out a call for catalog listings -- if you're a female sf/f/h author, take a look and send them a note:


Our website -- WWW.BROADUNIVERSE.ORG -- is still in development, but will soon feature a books catalog to help readers find more great books by the broads they love.

We are now collecting book titles for that catalog. Titles can be in-print, out-of-print, or ebooks.

What we'd like women authors to send us is simple:

Category
Author, TITLE
ISBN number, publisher, copyright date/reissue date
(out of print? due Nov. 2001?)
30-word blurb
www.yourwebsite

Like this:

Fantasy
Delia Sherman, THROUGH A BRAZEN MIRROR
ISBN 1-885865-24-4, Circlet Press, 1999
In the medieval Kingdom of Albia, a vagabond is taken into the king's kitchen and given work. He rises to the position of king's steward, but all is not as it seems.
www.endicott-studio.com/bioed.html

If you're the illustrator, send us:
Category
Artist's Name, BOOK TITLE by Author
ISBN number, Publisher, Copyright date/reissue date
(out of print? due Nov. 2001?)
30-word blurb
www.yourwebsite

Categories are:

  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Comics/Graphic Novels
  • Young Adult
  • Children
  • Poetry
  • Cookbooks
  • Anthologies/Collections
  • SF/F/H Nonfiction
Young Adult books can be double-listed in any other category. The YA category is intended to assure bookbuying relatives that there's no objectionable content.

What? Only 30 words to describe my whole book? Right. If readers want more information, they can jump to your website off your blurb.

Send blurbs to: info@broaduniverse.org.

There is no charge to list your books. We only ask that you put a link to us on your website.

Notice that we're not including book prices. We aren't selling books here; Broad Universe exists only as an informational group. But we will make it easy for folks to impulse shop and will link to sites that do sell books. (For example, Booksense and used-book sites.)

For more information, please contact us at info@broaduniverse.org.


So that's the spiel. I suspect that I should get to my booklisting, and then after that to my bill-paying, and then after that to my bedroom-cleaning, doing everything possible to ignore the huge stacks of slavering books lurking around every corner...

8:30. [yawn] Tired. I got a fair bit of work done today (but no reading) and then around 4:30 walked over to Susan's new apartment to help her unload her truck. Three flights of stairs. Four heavy bookcases. Many boxes of books. Lots of other furniture. Luckily there were seven of us, so it only took about two hours, but my legs got really wobbly (and my throat's sore again from gasping all that cold night air). I'm such a wimp. Afterwards I came home, and just as I came in Jed called, so I actually haven't gotten much else done. Chatted with him, checked to see if Voyager was on (nope. Stupid basketball game. It better be done soon. I wish the Jazz would stop winning games so that they wouldn't show them anymore!), took a hot bath 'cause I was drenched in sweat and my skin felt gross and clammy. Feeling mostly better now, and I'm debating whether or not I want to eat anything more. Had two slices of pizza at Susan's but I'm still a little munchy, I think. Though maybe I just want tea...

Okay, babbling. I should go back to work; when Susan called, I was in the midst of an application essay for a fellowship. It's for immigrants, and among the things you need to address in your essay is your commitment to the Constitution of the United States. Meep. I mean, I'm committed and all, but I'm not sure that anything I've done in my life was focused on that commitment, y'know? Unless you count fighting for the freedom of porn on the internet, and somehow I don't think that's likely to go over that well with the judges. Honestly, I'm not sure if it's worth applying -- it's 750 applicants for 30 spots, and all it takes is one judge checking to see if I have a web page, and then deciding that anyone who writes about sex is clearly not someone they want to encourage...sigh. Frustrating. I had to cut my CV down from 5 pages to 2 for the application, and the easiest way to do that was to cut out all the erotica-related material, so I did...but now I feel kind of weird about it. Like I should leave it all in there and champion erotica, y'know? Am I compromising my principles by not mentioning it? Let me know -- I have until Nov. 30 to turn this thing in...

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I wrote this some years…

I wrote this some years ago, but I was thinking about it again today...

Last Night

I slept badly, tossing and
turning -- first too hot, then too
cold, twisting until I was tangled in
sheets. The mild claustrophobia
kicked in then, and the dreams
grew worse, mutating from vague
anxieties to full-blown nightmares.
When I finally woke it was to a
grey morning, tired limbs, and
sweaty, sticky skin. I so did not
want to get up; I felt cheated
of my sleep. When I rolled over,
your eyes were open, and you quietly
said, "I love you." The first thing
I heard that morning, falling into
a frustrated silence and shattering it
with surprised joy. I haven't woken
to you, and those words, in far too long.

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Happy belated birthday…

Happy belated birthday to Jen -- it was yesterday, and I should have remembered. Go say hi! :-)

I forgot to turn the heat down when I went to bed last night, which, as usual, ended in me sleeping strangely and feeling groggy today. But is okay; a little tea will wake me up, and I have to say, it's nice there actually being light outside at 7 a.m. Hooray for daylight savings.

Yesterday evening was kind of annoying. I got back from grocery shopping, made dinner (was tired, so skipped vegetable and skipped adding meat too; luckily had found a jar of premade sauce with mini-meatballs which wasn't too bad when I dumped in some crushed red pepper and oregano), read some more of Sex and Single Girls, and then turned on the tv at 8 for Voyager. No Voyager! Some weirdo basketball thing instead. I mostly ignored it for a while, puttering around the apartment, cleaning dining table, doing dishes...and forty-five minutes went by. No Voyager! So I actually listened to what was going on, and it turned out to be a pre-game show for a game that was about to start, in L.A., between the Utah Jazz and the L.A. Lakers. It was starting to look like the stupid thing would be on all night! What about my Voyager?

So I called Bryan. He's one of the mathematicians from Chicago and a big sports dude; I also needed to talk to his wife, Elissa, one of my old roommates who's coming to visit in early December. Bryan was not so helpful -- he couldn't tell me for certain whether Voyager would ever come on, or if I'd have to wait 'til next week. But I did coax him into writing a fun math column for Strange Horizons (I used to love those Martin Gardner columns in the print magazines), so the call was productive. And I talked to Elissa. When I finished up with them, I puttered around some more, with the tv still on but the sound turned to mute -- Bryan had held out hope that maybe UPN just had the pre-game so that at 9 Voyager might come on. But no such luck. :-( At 9:05, I turned off the tv.

Did some e-mail work, puttered some more, but I really didn't have the brains left to get anything useful done, and it was too close to bedtime to start a book. I was firmly committed to going to bed at 10, in the attempt to try to not get sicker. So at 9:30 I called Kevin, 1) to tell him how clever I'd been to coax Bryan into doing a math column and 2) to see if he had any thoughts on the Voyager/basketball debacle. He was not nearly as impressed as he should have been about coaxing Bryan (and gently pointed out that I could have asked him, oops, although he agreed that Bryan would probably do a better job). But he did remind me that Voyager would be on again on Sunday evening, so all was not lost. And then I somehow ended up turning on the tv again, muting the sound, and talking with him about the game until 10. When did he learn so much about sports? The guy I started dating back in 1992 didn't know anything about sports. I'm not going to say I want that guy back (he caused me such problems! :-), but I have to say that this guy is a little disconcerting sometimes. Anyway -- it was kind of fun. And that was my evening.

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Heyo. I know I had a…

Heyo. I know I had a bunch of things I wanted to mention in this journal entry, and I'll probably forget some, so don't be surprised if there are a bunch of small updates during the day.

I'm sick again, I'm afraid. I was a little worried that that might happen, since I wasn't feeling terrific when I left town, and travelling is tiring. I managed to hang in there through most of the weekend, but I was feeling awful by the time I got home Monday. So I missed class Monday, and cancelled yesterday, and spent most of that time curled up under a blanket on the papasan, reading children's books (Tamora Pierce's First Test, Eva Ibbotson's Which Witch) and essays from Sex and Single Girls.

That was pretty cool, actually -- when I was in Seattle visiting Debby and John, she mentioned she had an essay in that book (under a pseudonym, so I'm not going to tell you which one), and I have an essay in that book, and we were both lamenting its non-arrival...and then I came home to find it on my doorstep. :-) It's a surprisingly good book. I'm not a huge fan of reading books of essays, even sex essays, but so far every essay I've read in this has been well-written, thought-provoking, and pretty well thought out. I know why, too -- it's because the editor, Lee Damsky, is just amazing. She did four hard revisions with me to get my essay, "Silence and the Word" to its best possible shape -- and it wasn't so bad to start out with. Debby reports a similar experience. If I'm ever a publisher looking for an editor, I'm going to track this woman down and hire her. So anyway, I'm enjoying the book, and I think you would too. It's going to take me a while to get through it, though -- it's thick!

I'm a little slow this morning; Kev called around 8 last night, and we ended up talking until 2. It didn't feel like six hours; it never does. This sort of long conversation is essential for me if I'm trying to maintain a long-distance relationship, but it does a) run up phone bills, which luckily he can afford to pay, and b) tend to leave you very tired or slow the next day. Ah well...small price to pay.

I know I had other things to tell you guys. *grumble* Well, later, I suppose. I'm going to go back to working -- I have a lot of reading to catch up on. But it's a nice day to be doing it; the tree outside my window is covered in yellow leaves; the rain is falling quietly outside. I'm going to make some more tea and then curl up in the papasan again and see if I can wrap my brain around some more post-colonial theory. Until later, munchkins.

3:00. Steadily churning through -- still a ways to go. I'm only about half a week behind on post-co at this point; about two more hours should catch me up. Maybe half an hour on fiction workshop stuff. I have some quizzes for my students, but I also am getting their group projects, so I think this is going to be grading weekend, and I'm not worrying about it 'til then. I'm going to spend about an hour running out to the grocery store, and about two hours watching Voyager, but I should still be able to be basically caught up on schoolwork after that.

Of course, I have other work. Chris Cobb and I have been having a long on-line conversation about Guy Gavriel Kay's work -- I was supposed to take time today to turn that into a semi-coherent form. It's due to SH by Monday, and the sooner I get the first draft done, the more time Chris and I will have to make the whole thing really sharp. I think that it'll take me about an hour, so I might be able to get that done today too. We'll see.

My desk and dining table and bedroom and kitchen all need cleaning. I'm spending most of my time in the living room because it's the only clean room in the house and the others distress me. *sigh*

I want to get started on reading Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai (and rereading his previous book); I'm hoping that I'll be able to get something cogent out of that that I can turn into my final paper for post-co, and possibly even into something publishable; there has been very little written about him in the Academy, and as a gay Sri Lankan author, he interests me.

I need to do up a book proposal for a collection of Asian speculative fiction. The publisher is interested in the collection, so now the job is to solidify it. I'll probably be asking for your help in coming up with names and titles shortly, but I need to do up a list of what I have first. That's not really due until the end of the year, but the sooner I get started, the better. It's itching at me.

By Monday, I need to have a story ready to turn in. That's Friday's assignment, I think -- take the laptop and the student papers and go to a cafe -- anytime I can't write, I must spend grading. Sometimes I can manage to be that disciplined, but not always.

I think I'm actually okay, as long as I don't get sicker again. Jenn is kindly coming to get me at 5:30 and run me to the store; I'm going to eat something nice and nourishing for dinner (not just hot dogs :-), but also something that doesn't require me to cook tonight. Or not cook much. Maybe I'll toss some ground meat into a readymade spaghetti sauce -- one of those 15-minute dinners that will end up feeding me for a few days. Hmm...a vegetable. Vegetables are good for you, right? But I'm not a huge fan of salad...what vegetable does one eat with spaghetti? (I'm pretty sure garlic bread isn't an actual vegetable)...

Okay, rambling because I don't want to face two more critical essays. But I can do it -- I'm tough. I'm gonna go have some cinnamon toast first, though. :-)

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It’s been a really nice…

It's been a really nice visit in Seattle, and while I didn't get as much work done as I might have liked, I didn't really get behind either. Let me see if I can remember what I've done...

I arrived Thursday evening, and that was a quiet one. Kirsten was making dinner, and we had a pleasant time eating, drinking wine, talking. We spent a lot of time talking about relationships -- she's just come out of a long-term one, and that's been difficult. It's also interesting getting her perspective on Kevin; they were friends before he and I met, though they had something of a falling out several years ago and haven't been close for a while. She's a little more conservative than most of my friends, but open-minded at the same time. I find her perspective valuable.

Friday I went in to downtown Seattle with her (she's temporarily living on Mercer Island, until she finds a house to buy), and worked in the Borders in her building during the day. We met up for lunch at a mall food court - okay Thai food -- but mostly I spent the day starting to draft a story and then finishing Dubliners for class. I thought I'd have to have the story done for today, which would have been hard, but a classmate called me and asked if we could switch weeks because she'll be out of town later in the month. That was great, since I didn't have to get any real work done the rest of the weekend.

I decided to go through what I'd written of Riddhi's story and put the punctuation in. Harder than I expected, and I'm still not sure what the real effect is of what Joyce did, without the punctuation. I suspect I may have to actually read all of Ulysses to find out -- though maybe I'll talk to Kev before making the attempt; it's one of his favorite books. Anyway, I'm not sure what I think of this story so far, but I'm going to try to finish a draft on Wednesday, I think. If I manage it, I'll send it out Wednesday night and you can tell me what you think. I'm definitely feeling a bit wobbly about it at this stage.

We had drinks with her colleagues after work at a nice place called the Art Bar; pear cider on tap! Oh, there are times when I really know I live in the wrong city. We had three pitchers among five of us, and I was pretty tipsy afterwards. We walked around for a while and ended up getting dinner at a restaurant called Dragonfish; pretty tasty, though out of my price range. Good thing she was paying!

I think we just went home and chatted after that in the evening. Don't quite remember, actually. I think that was tiredness, not cider. Saturday we had a very slow and leisurely morning, then went into the city and had tea with one of my Clarion teachers, Nicola Griffith, and her partner Kelly. That was really nice, and I think next time I'm in town we'll try to invite them to come have dinner with us. Then we drove south for a while to visit a friend of Kirsten's, Marianne (note different spelling and don't get us confused, please) -- she lives in a lovely house on the water. There's water everywhere.

Seattle is really beautiful, you know. I kept being struck by the beauty of the changing leaves, the surprising expanses of water. It's a city of bridges, and it made me a little homesick for the Bay Area. I know Salt Lake is beautiful too, but my heart just doesn't thump to its beauty, except for the mountains at sunrise and sunset. The rest of the time, it's just...sort of pretty, I guess. I was meant for more watery climes...

We came home and quickly cooked curry; John and Debby, friends of Jed's who I met a few years ago, came and ate with us. I find it really interesting talking with them -- John is a topologist; a few years further along than Kevin, and Debby is a poet, teaching composition. Some surprisingly strong parallels. I think Debby might be very happy in my program, actually, but John has just gotten a tenure-track job at Univ. of Washington, and she considers hersef lucky to have gotten a tenure-track job at the nearby community college. It's interesting talking to people who have made different choices...or choices I might make myself, later. We'll see.

A very pleasant evening, though. We had a lazy morning the next day; Kirsten made popovers, because I wasn't sure I'd ever had them. They were delicious, and she says all the things people say about making perfect popovers (you must start them in a hot oven, or a cold oven, or...) are nonsense -- that the only key is that you must have fresh eggs, milk, etc. We ate them with leftover chicken. Mmm...

Then we spent the day puttering around the city. An extra hour because of the time change gave us time to go to Elliot Bay Books (where I found a new Tamora Pierce, and other treasures), Lark in the Morning (where I bought myself my early Christmas present, a real wooden recorder with lovely tone), and Toys in Babeland (I'm afraid you'll have to guess what I may or may not have bought there :-).

One of the nicest parts of yesterday was having lunch at Sisters. In some sense, it wasn't all that pleasant -- my panini was good, but Kirsten's wasn't so much, and it was rather cold in the sunny upstairs balcony where we ate. But I have such lovely memories of the day during Clarion where Alex and I skipped class to celebrate our birthdays together; we wandered around in the Pike Street Market, had lunch at Sisters, spent a few hours talking about life and love and writing... I appreciated having the chance to relive those memories. Before heading home we drove up Capital Hill, and I showed Kirsten the dorm where I lived during Clarion, Campion Hall. I was getting tired, so we didn't try to hunt up all the little places where I spent time during Clarion, but it was still pleasantly, vaguely reminiscent.

Yesterday evening was...a little odd, to tell the truth. Kirstie and I were hanging out, after renting and watching a movie over Thai takeout (I made her rent An Ideal Husband, and as I expected, she liked it :-). We started talking about Kev again (a frequent subject of conversation), and ended up calling him. Kirsten started teasing him about something, on my behalf, and then as time went by, their conversation got more serious. I was sort of dozing on the couch while they talked, half listening to her half of the conversation. I think it was the first real conversation they've had in a very long time -- I hope that it's a start to their becoming closer friends again. I think it would be good for both of them. Fingers crossed.

I only slept a few hours last night, so I'm more than a bit groggy now, sitting on the plane riding over stark snow-drenched mountains and valleys of white clouds. But I feel good too; I got lots and lots of cuddling in while visiting, and it helped; I feel less lonely than I have in a while. Kirstie is a little worried, I think, that I'm addicted to touch, to physical contact; she thinks it would be healthier to get along without it. I don't know if I agree with her -- sometimes I think this society trains us all to go through life in a starvation of touch mode, and pretend that it's okay, that that's the way it's supposed to be, except with possibly your spouse and kids. But that just seems wrong to me; we need touch, the way we need to talk to others, and while we can and should be able to get along without, I don't think that's the healthiest option. What do you think?

In any case, very glad I went. I should put the Visor away and perhaps nap a little now, I think; I need to finish Lydia Davis's Break It Down, a fair bit of post-co reading, two short stories to be read and two response pieces to be written between noon and six today, so unless I'm feeling quite horribly ill, I'm going to try not to nap this afternoon. It'll be good to be in my apartment again, to feed my fish and water my plants -- but it was also very good to get away.

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I am pleased, delighted,…

I am pleased, delighted, and overwhelmed to announce the birth of Zoe Ann Lalitha Edwards, daughter of Roshani and Tom, 8 pounds and several ounces, practically-my-niece and altogether perfect! Mother had a seven hour labor, which I am told is remarkably easy for a first child, though it doesn't sound easy at all to me, and while she's more than a little exhausted, she and Zoe are fine and healthy and wonderful. Tom is, of course, utterly thrilled. Me too! Please take a moment and join me in good wishes for the family, and celebration of a fabulous new little person in the world. (She seems to spend most of her time crying and eating and sleeping these days, but give her a couple decades. I predict great things...)

Dragons in the Mountains
(zoe's lullaby)

audio (1M)

There are dragons in the mountains, love
There are dragons in the trees;
There are dragons under silver stars
And sailing stormy seas.

    Close your eyes, my darling girl,
    Close your eyes, my weary child,
    For the world is more than you can see
    Oh, the world is strange and wild.

There are unicorns with silver feet
Walking 'cross the shining sands
There are unicorns with spiraled horn
In dark and hidden lands.

    Close your eyes, my darling girl,
    Close your eyes, my weary child,
    For the world is more than you can see
    Oh, the world is strange and wild.

There are rocket ships up on the moon,
There are ships that go to Mars.
Sweet ships that sail far from this Earth;
They search for distant stars.

    Close your eyes, my darling girl,
    Close your eyes, my weary child,
    For the world is more than you can see
    Oh, the world is strange and wild.

There are dragons in the mountains, love
There are dragons in the trees;
There are dragons under silver stars
And sailing stormy seas.

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[yawn] Good…

[yawn] Good morning.

Well, I didn't accomplish quite everything I wanted to yesterday, but I did get most of it done. The erotica class crits are done -- I just need to post their next assignment this morning. I'm packed and ready to go to Seattle (did I tell you why I was going? My college roommate, Kirsten, just moved there and I'm going out to introduce her to some friends of mine and show her my favorite Clarion-spots). I read half of the post-co stuff; the rest can wait. I didn't grade the quizzes, so they'll have to wait 'til Monday (I need to be careful, or I'll leave a ton of stuff to get done Monday afternoon, which is a bad plan). I didn't work anymore on Riddhi's story, but I think that'll happen Friday while Kirstie is at work. Oh, speaking of that -- thanks for the comments on yesterday's stream of consciousness experiment. I was working off of Joyce's Ulysses, specifically the Penelope chapter -- if you follow the link you'll find it; you may want to skip down to the bottom -- the last 300 words or so are just gorgeous. I know I'm not Joyce, but I do want to know why it is that what he did there works so well and what I did didn't. I'm not sure, though I do think that it doesn't work as well. Opinions?

Though I'm a bit tired (stayed up a few hours too late talking to Jed), I'm feeling cautiously pleased with my work this week. I'm mostly caught up, I'm going to see Kirstie and Seattle, I will hopefully be hooking up with some old friends while I'm there, there's a gorgeous sunrise outside my window, the trees are changing to their golden dresses and my tea is hot and strong. All's right with the world, or if not entirely, enough so. :-)

I may not check in much over the next few days. If I don't, have a good weekend, my dears. If you're in autumn country, take a half hour and walk under the trees. Shuffle through some leaves. Fall down and get some leaves in your hair. If you can find someone to fall down with, even better.

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Slept 12 hours; feel…

Slept 12 hours; feel much better. Knitting the ravelled sleeve of care and all that. Still sniffly and coughy but feeling able to deal with the world again. And if I work steadily today, I might even be caught up by tonight -- which is good, 'cause I'm leaving town tomorrow for Seattle.

Here's a question for you -- about how much of this kind of writing do you think you could stand to read?


Seven p.m. and stewardesses look lovely in their pink saris pink is the navy blue of India I look terrible in pink we are about to land Raji is still asleep drooling out of the corner of her mouth looking as much an idiot as she did when I was seven and she was nine she took off her dress so she wouldn't ruin it climbing the oak behind the garage when she fell and broke her arm I screamed for Amma and Amma and the neighbor lady Mrs. Stoneley came Raji was in just her underpants small naked breasts already with a bloody arm Amma was mortified but Raji never understood I wish she hadn't come why didn't she'd stay at home and start school on time it's her junior year and if she wants any chance at being a doctor she has to take biology now not later but she won't of course she couldn't care less that she's breaking their hearts I don't know what she thinks she's doing here where is my hairbrush dammit it's in here somewhere powder lipstick photo of Him toothbrush Cosmo I guess no Cosmo in Sri Lanka maybe there is it's the twentieth century it's 1981 how uncivilized can it be there's the hairbrush mmm Amma used to brush our hair at night every night knelt in front of her and she gathered it in her hands and brushed out all the tangles she told us not to cry it didn't hurt that badly don't act like babies she'd braid it tightly so that in the morning while she slept we could just brush it quickly once and go to school like that I hope He likes long hair landing now hold tight thanks Appa I'm fine I've got the bags don't worry oh he hasn't smiled like that in so long there He is at the gate with his parents they look so old so much older than Amma and Appa smile Hello what an accent but that's to be expected at least he speaks English Appa said he did but who could be sure maybe the parents lied I hear there's a lot of lying in this sort of thing he's very good-looking though


Could I write a whole story like this? Would it drive you crazy? Would it depend on how long a story? Opinions eagerly awaited...

Oh, and another question. I'm looking for information on East Asian and South Asian authors who write science fiction or fantasy. If you can send me any names/titles, that would be muchly appreciated. I'll put together a booklist when I'm done with my research...

Back to the mines, I'm afraid. Talk to you later!

Noon. -- followup question re: the above. If I put in punctuation but remained stream of consciousness, would that help? Would that be enough? Or should I just give it up and go back to first or third person?

5:20 p.m. Why are people so mean? Someone just went out of their way to slam Aqua Erotica in Amazon, and I just don't get it. They've been misleading about the content, and they were totally inaccurate about the ratio of sex to story -- if anything, I think the book is weighted a little more heavily towards story than necessary, and probably more than any other erotica collection I've read. Ugh. I'm sorry -- it's just pissed me off. There can't be that many disgruntled writers out there, can there? And if there are, don't they realize that if this book succeeds, it'll just making it easier for other erotica anthologies to happen, giving them more opportunities to be published? [bangs head against wall]

It doesn't help that the ranking is currently around 4000, as opposed to around 400 yesterday. I know Amazon rankings are kind of random, but it's still distressing. Until Crown makes its decision on the erotica anthologies, I've been hoping that AE will keep selling well on Amazon, because that will surely influence them in favor. Argh.

I'm sorry...I'm exhausted. Despite all my sleeping, I'm clearly still ill, and I can't stop working yet; too much left to do. One more class crit to write, an assignment to give. My dining room and bedroom to clean. Reading for post-co. Quizzes to grade. Laundry and packing. A little of this can wait 'til morning, but not much. I ordered dinner delivered, which was probably more than I should have spent, but I just couldn't face a can of potato, cheese and bacon soup (which Susan bought several months ago), which is about all there is to eat in the house. I had my last egg for lunch.

Want a hug.

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