Valentine’s Day I…

Valentine's Day

I admit it...I'm actually doing something romantic today. What the heck -- maybe once a decade I'll actually celebrate Valentine's Day. If I had time, I would have gotten little presents for my friends too, but I forgot. Ditto candy for students. Ah well...

Karen notes for the record that she thinks I'm much more of a femme than an androgyne. Hmph. She just hasn't seen me pouring concrete and putting outdoor swing sets together (I was the only one in my family ready to take that job on), or splitting timber (which I love), or going cheerfully grubby for a week while camping. I have plenty of butch characteristics to counter my femme-y pleasure in long hair and long skirts...they're just not quite as visible most of the time. So there. :-)

I did have a fairly relaxing weekend, though. Did manage to do a last revision (hopefully last) of "The Silence and the Word", and I think I'm happy with it -- we'll see what the editor thinks. I decided my 3400 students could wait one more class for their last homework back, and I have a few leftover papers that I need to grade tomorrow, but I'm not actually behind on them, which is good. In fact, if I get in a good day of work tomorrow (I teach Mondays, so little time for other work -- Tuesday I stay home all day), then I may actually be caught up. Terrifying thought. What will I do with myself?

I need to go jump in the shower and then drink my tea. I hope y'all had a pleasant weekend; I'll talk to you soon.

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Dare I hope that the…

Dare I hope that the month of frantic running in place is finally coming to an end? Perhaps it's foolish of me, but I actually have a relaxed weekend planned. Only about eight hours of work, which for two days, isn't bad at all. And my apartment is already clean from all the grading-avoidance I was doing on Thursday...

Among other things (though I think it might have been Wednesday night), I occupied myself taking personality tests. So if you're interested in my Myers-Briggs or whether I'm Butch or Femme, feel free to take a look. I actually think they got me pretty much right on for both test -- I'm also a classic Leo, so if you add all those together, you get a fair idea of my personality.

Although nowhere in those tests does it talk about liking rain, and at least part of the reason I'm in a good mood this morning is the rain. It's just drizzling lightly -- the sky is white and clear, and the bare branches of the trees stand out so beautifully against it. I work in the sunroom, so I'm surrounded by windows looking out onto the sky and the tops of trees and houses. There's Celtic music playing, and it reminds me of mornings in Edinburgh -- it's just too bad there isn't a friendly pub down the street. I hope they appreciate their pubs.

Still, I do have a nice cafe next door, and an art/flower store. I went out this morning and got an assortment of danishes, and fresh flowers (red snapdragons, white astromenia, blue delphiniums, tall and thin)...perfect for such a peaceful morning. Susan is reading in the papasan and Karina should be getting back soon...just nice.

I have a keychain that's shaped like a little pewter book. The spine says Virginia Woolf, the cover has a picture of a lighthouse, and the back has a quote -- "If you are losing your leisure, look out! -- it may be you are losing your soul."

I need to remind myself of that fairly often.

Have a lovely, leisurely weekend...

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Need to be working, so…

Need to be working, so I'll just leave you a poem from this weekend...

in the dark, alone

every night she spends with me, I trace the lines of bone
with my eyes or with my lips, know that I'm undone;
what is beauty that it hurts so much? and will she ever know
how I breathe and burn for her, though I rise and go...

oh the wind is rising now -- hear its shivering moan;
across the surface of the lake, you can see it run
with its fingers reaching down and deep, disturbing slow desire;
is there water in the lake enough, to drown the rising fire...

let me pull the curtains, love; see how the light has grown --
such pale perfection of your lips, in the morning sun;
perhaps you're right -- pull them close, against the growing light.
is it safer in the midnight hours, in the shadowed night...

I wish that I could keep her close, hold her for my own;
isn't that the way it goes? see the princess, won...
and yet she knows my tangled heart, know its curving road.
how can I ask to add that weight to her heavy load...

there is no moon to light this road; we're in the dark alone.
the trees are bare, the winter's ice coats each single, lonely one;
and still I want to hear her laugh, see her flush, and smile --
is it so wrong or foolish, for just a little while...

every night she spends with me, I trace the lines of bone --
oh the wind is rising now -- hear its shivering moan...
let me pull the curtains, love; see how the light has grown.
I wish that I could keep her close, keep her for my own;
there is no moon to light this road, we're in the dark alone...

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Meep! Overslept! Must…

Meep! Overslept! Must run out the door in about two minutes, but just wanted to note that I am back safe and sound and had quite a good time at the convention -- more details will follow. Did get very little sleep which undoubtedly explains why I overslept.

And if you're wondering why you haven't heard the final details on Aqua Erotica, that's because we've sent the manuscript over to Crown, but until they give us final approval, we can't send any acceptances and need to hold a few of the maybe pieces in reserve. Very sorry about this -- I've never worked with so many levels of approval before, and it's a more complex process than I'd realized. I'll do better next time at keeping people appropriately informed, though I realize that's small consolation for those hanging in the lurch right now.

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Hey, munchkins! So,…

Hey, munchkins! So, it's a little before 6 a.m., and I think I'm basically packed, cleaned up and ready to go to Atlanta today. I'll be spending most of the day travelling (ah, student conference budgets :-), so I've got a copy of BAE 2000 with me to read and review, my computer of course, and materials to prep for the conference. I'll be giving a erotica writing workshop, which I think I'll model along the lines of some exercises from LeGuin's _Steering the Craft_, and a reading/discussion. Not sure what to read -- it's easiest to just bring my book, but that's mostly fairly old material. On the other hand, those pieces have the advantage of being short -- reading "Minal" would take a good half hour. I probably will just take the book.

I'm feeling a bit unsettled this morning, but I think it's just because of the interview I just read with Orson Scott Card. I'm not sure how I feel about it -- I do reverence _Ender's Game_, and I wonder to what extent the interviewer misunderstood Card. It's awfully easy to do in interviews, especially when you bounce from subject to subject as she did. At the same's hard to reinterpret some of his quoted words about homosexuality in any kind of positive or even neutral light. Ick.

I need to run (still have to grade a few papers and do up a newsletter before I leave for campus), so I hope you guys have a good weekend...I'll be back on Sunday!

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I’m back! Well, briefly…

I'm back! Well, briefly back for the moment, since I need to go jump in the shower imminently. But I wanted to let y'all know that I'm feeling sane again, having had a hellacious first three days of the week for a multitude of reasons. I've been so nutso busy that I have basically not answered any e-mail for three days unless I absolutely had to, but I should be catching up today...I have to, since tomorrow through Sunday I'll be away in Atlanta! I thought I'd be able to do it yesterday afternoon, but I got hit with the worst cramps I've ever experienced -- in fact, the worst pain I've ever experienced, and boy, was I glad that Karina and Kevin were there to cosset me and run out for medicine and improvise hot water bottles and later bring videos and flowers. :-) I'm all better today, but that was actually pretty scary.

I'll try to write again this evening, but I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm returning to the world of the living...

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Hey, munchkins. Sorry…

Hey, munchkins. Sorry for the silence -- well, not all that sorry, really. I think I needed to just focus on getting better, watching tv, and working when I could for a while. I'm almost caught up on my work, which is amazing, and I'm feeling more peaceful than I have in a while. Crocheting helps. :-)

It also helps that I wrote something today (essay, not story) and am only a little nervous as I sit on my hands and wait for the early returns to come in on whether it's readable or not. It's funny -- once I get one positive review, then I get generally take all the criticism, but if nobody says they liked it, then I start feeling like the piece was a complete waste of time, energy, space in your mailboxes, etc...

I'm a little worried too that this piece might be too self-revelatory...but I'm not sure what that really means, at this point. Are there things that are difficult for me to talk buy kamagra with paypal about? -- sure. Lots. (Which was the point of this particular essay). Are there things which I don't WANT to talk about? Hmm...not nearly as many. Most of them are things where I feel I need to protect other people's privacy. It's a little scary, realizing that a big part of me wants to live completely transparently. Open to the wind passing through.

But maybe I don't need to worry about it, since the last week or two probably shows that I like to crawl into a cave and hide in the dark sometimes too. :-)

But maybe I do need to worry about both of those, especially if I'm alternating and not integrating them...

And maybe I've just spent too much time being introspective in the process of writing this essay and am jiggling with nervous energy and should go watch Star Trek for a while and calm down. Now THERE'S a thought...

Happy Friday!

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Sorry silent — been…

Sorry silent -- been sick. Spent much of last night throwing up in Kevin's toilet, yuck. Not sure whether it's flu bug or something I ate or too much time staring at the screen (I've hardly been off the computer for the last three days). Feeling weak but better today.

In the meantime, here's something that really cheered me up. Too tired to format, sorry:

>January 25, 2000
>`Millionaire' Quietly Breaks TV Barriers
>HOLLYWOOD, Jan. 24 -- On Sunday night a contestant on
>"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" embraced his gay
>companion onstage after winning $500,000. The audience
>cheered, Regis Philbin, the host, grinned, and the
>network was not flooded with protest calls.
>Maria Melin/ABC
>On "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" on Sunday, Rob
>Coughlin, second from right, with Mark Leahy, his
>companion, and Regis Philbin, right, the host of the
>In its own quirky way, the quiz show, which is a
>ratings juggernaut and the No. 1 show in the nation,
>has quietly and quite nonchalantly broken sexual and
>racial barriers on television. Not only do gay couples
>routinely appear on the show -- the word "gay" is
>never used -- but so do racially mixed couples, which
>in the past television has often avoided showing.
>By all accounts, the matter-of-fact presentation of
>these couples, without a comment from Mr. Philbin or
>anyone else, has altered the television landscape. The
>show, on ABC three nights a week, has an average
>audience of 28.5 million viewers and has
>single-handedly revived the network.
>Sunday night's show stirred nervousness among the
>"Millionaire" staff members because it was the first
>time in memory that two men -- a contestant and his
>companion in the audience -- embraced before
>television cameras. The contestant was Rob Coughlin of
>Shoreline, Wash., who works for a transit company.
>A matter-of-fact presentation of couples, without
>"We treat everyone the same way, and there's never
>been an issue about people's personal relationships,"
>said Michael Davies, executive producer of the show.
>"If a contestant is married 25 years and white and
>middle-class with 2.4 kids and brings his wife to the
>show, that's fine. Or whether somebody brings their
>college buddy or mother or sister or lover, we don't
>care. We don't care about ethnic things, we don't care
>about sexual things. We treat everybody the same. The
>show broadly reflects society."
>Mr. Davies admitted that he had been a bit anxious
>about Sunday night's show, which was taped late last
>week. When contestants win $250,000 or more, their
>partners, who until then are shown sitting and
>cheering them on, are taken onstage.
>While sitcoms and dramas about racially mixed couples
>are rare, there have been some comedies involving gay
>characters. Billy Crystal played a gay man as far back
>as 1977 in the ABC series "Soap," which was a satire
>on soap operas. Even before the show was broadcast,
>ABC received about 32,000 letters protesting it, and
>some network affiliates were picketed because of the
>show's sexual content. The uproar died down, and the
>series lasted four years.
>The NBC sitcom "Will and Grace," about a gay man and a
>straight woman living together, is one of the most
>successful shows on television. Max Mutchnick, who
>created the series with David Kohan, said he was
>surprised that there were no network "stop signs" for
>the series's writers. In fact, he said, the creators
>and writers can go quite far in terms of subject
>Shortly after the highly publicized decision by Ellen
>DeGeneres to announce that she was a lesbian, her
>show, "Ellen," started to fade. At the time network
>executives said that was in part because the show was
>aging and also because it had lost its sense of humor.
>"There are no flags, no one's underlining it or
>remarking on it," Mr. Mutchnick said. "It's been put
>on its feet and being filmed, and it's going out on
>the air and no one's saying anything about it."
>Mr. Mutchnick said it was a far cry from the NBC
>sitcom "Love, Sidney," from 1981 to 1983, in which
>Tony Randall played a gay commercial artist. But his
>sexuality was inferred, never mentioned. "He was only
>shy," said Mr. Mutchnick with a laugh. "He went to shy
>Earle Marsh, co-author of The Complete Directory to
>Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows (Ballantine
>Books), said he could recall no previous quiz show in
>which either gay or multiracial couples were so
>evident. "Twenty years ago there would have been
>serious problems with network standards and practices,
>the censors," he said. "They might have worried about
>segments of the audience being homophobic or have
>other problems."
>"I'm sure at one point the choice of people to go on
>the air might have raised red flags," Mr. Marsh said.
>"In today's environment we've moved beyond that."
>He pointed out that interracial couples, while rare on
>television, are not unique. In "The Jeffersons,"
>Norman Lear's spinoff about Archie Bunker's former
>black neighbors, the son is married to a mixed-race
>woman. Her black mother and white father were also
>neighbors. "It was groundbreaking," said Mr. Marsh.
>On "Millionaire," Mr. Philbin introduced Mr.
>Coughlin's companion, Mark Leahy, as soon as the
>contestant walked onstage.
>"Your partner, Mark, is in the audience, hey, Mark,"
>said Mr. Philbin as the audience cheered.
>As Mr. Coughlin, began answering questions correctly,
>Mr. Philbin asked Mr. Leahy what his partner should do
>if he won $1 million. "Get a new wardrobe," replied
>Mr. Leahy.
>By the time Mr. Coughlin reached $500,000, he was
>stumped by the million-dollar question: In what
>country are all the United States major league
>baseballs manufactured? (The correct answer was Costa
>Rica.) Instead of risking the loss of most of the
>money to go for $1 million, Mr. Coughlin decided to
>halt the questioning and walk off with $500,000.
>At that point, Mr. Philbin said, "Hey, Mark, come
>Mr. Leahy bounded onto the stage and hugged Mr.
>Coughlin. "Hey, Mark, nice to see you," Mr. Philbin
>A winner's companion suggests buying a new wardrobe.
>ABC executives said there was no reaction from viewers
>to the episode.
>Mr. Davies said there had been other gay contestants
>with their companions sitting in the audience and
>introduced by Mr. Philbin. "The first time there were
>definitely some raised eyebrows by some members of my
>team," Mr. Davies said. "I said to Regis, 'Just refer
>to his partner in the audience.' And that was it."
>To be a contestant on "Millionaire" people apply by
>calling (800) 433-8321 from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Eastern
>Standard Time until Feb. 9. To qualify, they have to
>be 18 and over and a United States citizen. An
>elimination process follows, based on responses to
>questions as well as a random drawing. No personal
>questions are asked. About 240,000 people call daily.
>Mr. Davies said that what concerned him was that
>contestants were not a cross section of the nation.
>"We do not have enough minority contestants, we do not
>have enough female contestants and this bothers me,"
>he said. "I don't know what the reason is. There may
>be something about trivia and the amassing of
>knowledge of trivia that's essentially white and male.
>It really bothers me that we can't get more female and
>minority contestants."
>Lloyd Braun, co-chairman of the ABC Entertainment
>Group, said the show's potpourri of contestants was in
>some ways a breakthrough. "It's the most color-blind
>inclusive show you can ever have," said Mr. Braun.
>"It's fantastic that nothing's been made of it."
>Mr. Braun said that each contestant on the show was
>actually a "slice-of-life, a mini-drama." "You get to
>not only meet the contestant when he or she is in the
>hot seat, but you meet their spouse or partner or
>100-year-old grandmother," he said. "It's not
>judgmental. It's totally accepting."
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I keep typing 1999 and…

I keep typing 1999 and having to fix it. Someday I'll learn. I do think it's appalling that only one of you noticed that I'd been typing 1999 in these journals since the beginning of the year...and it took him until yesterday to tell me about it. Shame on the rest of you! (At least on the compulsive ones who write in to tell me about every teeny tiny typo...)

Tomorrow is Heather's birthday, btw. Everyone go say hi!

Oh, and while we're talking about journallers, Karen is indeed still alive. I talked to her this morning, and while her wrists are still major trouble (hence the no typing), she seemed in cheerful enough spirits. She also has a birthday coming up, though not 'til February 9th. Mark your calendars...

Good day so far; didn't get up until late, but have been fairly productive since (with a break for game-playing in the afternoon). Kev and I worked at Starbucks, and then went to a new restaurant, Madison, for dinner. It's a steak and seafood place, and while these normally aren't my favorite restaurants, this one was particularly unimpressive. The broccoli was sitting in a pool of water; my red pepper-hollandaise sauce consisted of a few tiny pieces of red pepper in a buttery broth. My fish and Kevin's steak were okay, and the appetizer of spinach/artichoke dip over fresh soft bread was actually pretty good (if very cheesy), but overall, not someplace I have any desire to return to.

I've taken down almost all of the Christmas decorations -- I thought it would be depressing, but in fact, the apartment seems much lighter and airier and more pleasant. Since it was so much fun putting the decorations up in the first place, it really seems to be a win-win situation.

I'm having to restrain myself with the plants, though. I went to the garden store yesterday to buy a few ceramic saucers (I'd somehow been short a few and had been using normal eating-type-saucers), and came back with a new plant as well, a lovely big leafy thing that looks very hard to kill. It's cheered up the sunroom immensely, but I think my other plants are feeling a bit limp and fragile in comparison. Hopefully it'll inspire them to put out lots of new green shoots and perk up! I also got some fish-base-fertilizer, in case lack of nitrogen was the problem, and I gotta say, the stuff stinks. Good thing you don't use very much of it. Ugly thick brown goop. ( strict vegetarians refuse to use this stuff? Inquiring minds want to know...)

I really want to buy some African violets and primroses, but the garden store people said they'd have a much better selection next week, so Kevin talked me into restraining myself. Just as well -- I'm really pretty broke. I'm trying not to let myself buy new bookshelves, but my books in the closet are so sad. They are not loved nearly as much as the books on my shelves (or so they say, and who am I to say that lack of attention doesn't signal lack of love? They scoff). I get the AE check soon, soon, and it would be so easy to charge so many things in anticipation -- but I have enough credit card debt, really I do, and in a week or two my student loans come back into effect... I can afford my apartment, but only if I am at least a little careful about my expenditures, and I am just not good at being careful.

Let us not even discuss my little Bibliofind purchases this morning. They were used! I've been wanting copies for years! That makes it okay, right? If you wait long enough, surely you're supposed to have it...

The other piece of exciting news that I should convey before I go back to working (hopefully) is that Karina may be coming for a visit! It depends on whether she can get an extension on her thesis, but if she gets it, she'll be here by the beginning of February, staying for a month. Yippee! :-) :-) :-)

Hope your weekend is going well (and if you've been frustrated by CS's wonky behavior the last few days, please put it down to technical difficulties that should be all sorted out now). Until later...

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Various news…

Various news bulletins:

  • Still working AE stuff. Progress, but didn't get as much done yesterday as I'd hoped.
  • Writers' group last night liked _Seven Cups_, huzzah. Minor revisions and it's ready to go, I think. Over-writing is still my biggest problem on revised pieces (and skimpiness on first drafts -- someday I'll learn how to strike a balance)
  • Marcy Sheiner had to pull "Chantal" from Best Women's Erotica a few days ago (publisher concerns re: consensuality), but agreed yesterday to take "Kali" instead.
  • Also yesterday my copy of _Batteries Not Included_ arrived, which is where "Kali" was first published. Kindly sent to me by Kris Hawes of CS, who is also in it. There was never a U.S. edition published, since it came out around the time Masquerade was going out of business, but you can get the U.K. edition from Amazon, U.K.
  • I'll try to get a copy of "Kali" on-site soon.
  • Second week of classes survived! Woohoo! I'm starting to get the hang of the business/tech writing class, I think, and we're about to dive into the fairy tales for the composition class. Fun!
  • People coming over to play a game (Wise and Otherwise) tonight, and eat pizza and drink beer/cider.
  • Lots of work to do still, so I'd best go do it... :-)
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