Hey, guys. Not so much…

Hey, guys. Not so much to report -- I did manage to finish that Sizzle piece, finally, and it looks like I might be getting some more work from them, which is good, 'cause my finances are somewhat tight this year. I've had a lot of trouble getting the interviews in place for the Puritan piece -- not sure yet if that's going to happen or not. We'll see.

Finished In Our Time, the Hemingway collection of short stories. Interesting, and I really liked a few of the stories. It was a bit confusing though, since at times he seemed to be following one character, and other times diverged wildly, so it was always unclear whether Nick was in fact the same Nick (for instance). I'll go into more detail on this in my journal once I talk to Tom (professor) about how he wants them done.

A slow day today, mostly cleaning my room and getting my finances back in order (the delay on the government check caused an unholy mess). All fixed now, I think. In a couple of days I should know whether I can afford to take some time in late February to visit Kevin in Chicago. I'd also like to spend some time with Lisette -- her mother died recently, and I've been feeling guilty that I couldn't be with her. She's coping, but still. Also reading chapters of Eddings' Belgarath, the Sorcerer in between work -- a very light, pleasant read. Nothing actually new, since he told us all of this in history form before, but it's interesting reading it in narrative (and interesting seeing how he can milk an entire other book out of it :-). Glad Sherman lent it to me, since I probably won't buy a copy.

My schedule's going to be a bit funny this semester, since if I take this Writing Poetry class, I won't have class on Wednesday's until 4:00. Feels a bit odd, but it's probably good for me. Since I have 9:30 classes Tuesday and Thursday, I'll stay in the habit of getting up early, which means that Wednesday will be a good day to do things around the house. Anyway, I'm just babbling, since I have nothing exciting to say, so I should probably go back to reading, or maybe head in to campus a little early. Talk to y'all later...

3:55 - Got to run to class -- just wanted you to know that I've added a new story and some reviews to the stories page.

Yikes. Sorry for the…

Yikes. Sorry for the long delay -- I knew it had been a while, but hadn't realized how long! I didn't write much at the beginning of last week, because there really wasn't much to say -- after Kevin left to go back to Chicago (his advisor decided to move *back* to Chicago, argh!), I spent a while moping, cleaning my house, and reading a lot. Basically settling back in at home after being away for so long.

Then I was gone over the weekend down in L.A. (Buena Park, actually) for ConFurence. Lots of fun (I generally enjoy cons), and I sold five copies of my book, got to spend a fair bit of time with old friends (Peter and Steve) and finally met Elf Sternberg (ref: recommended erotica page). He's much as I pictured him -- cute and friendly and extremely vivacious. We ran a couple of panels on writing erotica, which went quite well, and I attended some other panels (the one on children's writing had some useful marketing tips (eg., you have to write your story in sets of four pages -- but keep in mind that you may lose a couple at the beginning for credits, title page, end sheets)).

Perhaps the most fun at a panel was when Elf started us brainstorming on a plot line. We ended up with a generation ship, a young female avian protagonist, her family lost in a major accident along with many other crewmembers, second generation, she's a navigator (just finished schooling/training) and one of the few left after the accident so there's pressure on her to mate and reproduce, she's fostered out to a feline family, and possibly falls in love with their female daughter (bringing up all sorts of lovely issues :-). She may also be indirectly responsible for the accident -- or at least blame herself for not being there. We agreed that we'd each write the first chapter of a novel based on this plotline, and they'd all send them to me and I'd put them up here -- we'll see if anyone follows through on this. :-)

Classes started today -- not sure what I'm taking, but probably at least Modern American Fiction, Writing Poetry and Early Music Ensemble. I'm also tempted by Writing Fiction and Asian American Lit (both meeting at the same time!) and auditions tonight for Midsummer Night's Dream (a Noh production, which should be interesting). I don't really act, but I do love Shakespeare, so maybe I can fake it... If I do try out, I need to prepare a comic monologue by rehearsal time -- or do a cold reading. Short on time, so I'll probably go with the cold reading. Or I may just go home after class -- still pretty tired from the Con, and I really probably don't need to commit to another major activity, much as I enjoy theatre.

For the Modern Fiction class, I'm supposed to keep a writing journal. I think I may keep it here to help motivate me to do it -- I get really lazy about such things. Feel free to ignore it entirely -- it probably won't interest most of you. If you are interested, the reading list for the course is:

  • Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time
  • Will Cather, The Professor's House
  • William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
  • Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
  • Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek
  • Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
I've read the Pynchon, and I've been meaning to read the Ellison for a while (a very long while -- I think Kev gave me a copy not last Christmas but the one before, eep). I've reading some Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises), but not In Our Time, and the rest of the reading list is new to me (also read Morrison's The Bluest Eye). We'll see how it goes. I'm a little nervous -- I've been devoted to the Renaissance and Medieval period for so long -- modern fiction is a big gap in my education.

Guess that's it for now -- I have some time this afternoon, so will finish In Our Time (read half of it over lunch -- very quick read), finish the collection of short stories I'm working on (Black Thorn, White Rose), and try to write that damn Sizzle story. Had a bunch of computer problems in my attempts to work on it -- not sure what's up with that. If I have time left before class, I'll probably do a bit more stuff on this web page -- I'm quite behind. Ditto e-mail. Have a good week, you guys...

12:40 - Well, I didn't win the Celestial Story Contest (3), but I thought I might as well show y'all my entry any way. I had a lot of trouble with voice, perhaps unsurprisingly, in Lady Distressed.

Also got a funny piece of mail directing me to a neat new scientific advance -- a quantum computer that runs on coffee! -- Very cute, but I bet it'd be even better in tea....

1:05 - Added Course Evaluations of the Damned; Why Engineers Don't Write Recipe Books; What Engineers Do With Time on Their Hands; and If I Ever Become an Evil Overlord:.

Hey, everyone. Hope…

Hey, everyone. Hope your Monday's aren't *too* awful. I'm still on break, so it can't be that bad. Had a pretty good weekend - after Kev left, Karina stayed and visited a few more days, which was nice. She left yesterday, and I have to admit, it's kind of nice to settle back into real life again after the holidays. I had been feeling very itchy to start working and rather antisocial. I did catch up on some phone calls last night -- talked to David for a couple of hours, and hope to reach Lisette and Kirsten tonight.

Trying to deal with backlogged e-mail today, and finish the Sizzle story. I'm writing a little piece to go with the photos they have on file, and it's frustrating, because the photos are so obviously unrealistic, and very difficult to make into a coherent story. Oh well. Also need to try to reach some more people for the dominatrix article -- way behind on that. At least theoretically. Don't think I ever set a date with the editor.

Better et to work, but I thought I'd repost something here I just sent to the erotica workshop list, in case any of you were interested.

A challenge, a challenge! I'm going to try this, I think -- anyone else up for it? If you do, then mail your subs to Celeste at the address below (if anyone isn't familiar with her, Celeste twice weekly reviews stories from alt.sex.stories on alt.sex.stories.d. A very nice lady). I'm a little unclear if we're supposed to fit in all 20 words or only 10 - so I'm shooting for 20. The deadline is in just a few days. - Mary Anne

From: celeste801@aol.com (Celeste801)
Newsgroups: alt.sex.stories.d
Date: 11 Jan 1997 22:22:37 GMT

Note: I want to remind you of my Third Annual Celestial Writing Contest. The story can be of any length, but students (say, in an English class) should reasonably be able (and eager) to read it three times in one week. The purpose of the story is to combine learning with pleasure - that is, to teach vocabulary in the context of a creative sex story. The story should use all of the words on the following list. Preferably, it should use them in creative ways that enable learners to see their meaning in context, and it should use the words more than once - in fact, as often as possible without becoming silly. The story should not be obviously didactic - that is, it should be a story about sex, not about learning these words.

The deadline is January 15. I have already received one excellent entry and have the promise of another from a very good writer. Please feel free to take a shot at this. Here are the words (all taken from one of those SAT study lists): acerbic, adept, ameliorate, apocryphal, assuage, blithe, constrict, credulous, dilatory, egregious, fatuous, guile, hedonism, impervious, incipient, irascible, lethargy, mundane, prolific, redundant.

All 20 of these are words that intelligent people use when the context calls for them (Quite possibly I may have used them here in Celestial Reviews.), but most high school students have no idea what they mean. They are useful words; and if you write a story with them, at the very least YOU will probably learn some functional vocabulary words.

A few authors have commented that some of the words are difficult to work into a sex story. My advice is to consider the possibility of ironic usage. For example, my husband's irascible tongue has done some wonderful things to my clitoris; and we have spent some lethargic mornings in the sack. If you really cannot fit one or two words into the story, submit it anyway; a "10" story with only 8 words will fare better in my judgment than an "8" story with all 10 words forced into it. A couple of authors have told me that "acerbic" is not sexy. Don't tell that to the Ng sisters, whose banter in their stories is often pleasantly acerbic but still very sexy.

Okay, I’m much calmer…

Okay, I'm much calmer today. Mostly because my publisher, Dale Larson, is such a sweetie that he's wiring me a loan for the money I need. How many publishers would do that, huh? A big hand for Dale, everyone!

Otherwise, all is going pretty well. I finished two of the stories I had on contract for today (the ones for Jonathan which were appallingly overdue), and I should have the Sizzle one done by tomorrow morning. Was supposed to be done today, but I brought the wrong disk in -- oh well.

This morning was really funny - in retrospect. While doing dishes I managed to break one of Ellison's glasses, then later on I was so brilliant that I used a plastic colander to steam some potatoes (of course, the plastic melted all over the potatoes, the pan, the burner (and, of course, it was Ellison's colander)), and not long after that, I managed to burn a chunk of my hair. Yuck. Ever smelled burnt hair? Doesn't burn very fast, luckily, but it stinks horribly. Also managed to knock over a container of parmesan (very stale) while cleaning out the fridge. Decided that I really wasn't meant to be in the kitchen this morning. :-)

Anyway, best get going. Karina is waiting to drag me to the gym (yes, she actually exercises. And she's going to make me do it too. Help....) and then gotta go home and make dinner (probably leftovers, actually) and then get ready for a birthday party at Jodi's. Have a good weekend, everyone -- I'll try to check in. The plan for this weekend and the upcoming week I'm going to be trying to talk local stores in to carrying my book -- Valentine's day is coming up, after all.

Argh. Aaaarrrrggghhhh! …

Argh. Aaaarrrrggghhhh! Consider that repeated several times, please.

See, the people in the financial aid office (someone there, anyway) told me in Decemeber that I'd get my nice big student loan check on January 9th. Talked to them today, and it turns out that they won't give it to me 'til January 21st, first day of classes. Rent is due and I'm pretty close to broke, so I get to spend today hustling my friends for a loan. Argh argh argh.

*yawn* Morning,…

*yawn* Morning, everyone. It's too early. For some reason my body decided it only needed six hours of sleep, so I'm up at 7 again, and wanting to go back to bed. Oh well. Feeling a bit mopey. Kevin goes back to grad school today (Chicago, not Philly, because his advisor decided to move *back* -- it's a long story). Also, almost all the mail I got this morning was either routine or depressing. A list member (not one I knew well) on one of my mailing lists died, and it's only chance that we know about it at all. Wonder how many others just disappeared into the mist. Kind of a bummer.

Eh. Don't want to bring y'all down too, so I'd better go. Finished Pat's book, (excellent) and am now starting on an anthology of retold fairy tales by Datlow and Windling. Looks promising. We'll see.

On the good side, I'm finally getting around to making some updates in my pages that I've been meaning to do for a while. Watch for new things all over. I also wrote a couple more pages of Dreams yesterday -- first writing I've done over the holidays. I'm starting to itch to work -- enough lollygagging.

Heya. Not much to say…

Heya. Not much to say today -- mostly doing a lot of reading. Read E. Nesbit's Five Children and It and Edward Eager's Half Magic yesterday, and Joan Aiken's Is Underground this morning (all children's books, and excellent). Currently reading Pat Murphy's The Falling Woman, a Nebula-winning novel revolving around an archaelogist who sees ghosts and her daughter. Enjoying it immensely so far - especially interesting by the fact that I met Pat this weekend. Very nice lady.

Will probably spend the afternoon reading as well. Possibly this evening as well. Maybe by tomorrow I'll be burned out and can get some writing done.

Hey, everyone. I’m…

Hey, everyone. I'm *finally* better, and am going to stop running around long enough to write you a decent entry. I had a wonderful Christmas, and a pretty decent New Year's (went snowboarding for the first time, ooh my aching back (would you believe I couldn't sit up in bed the next day without help!!!)) and now it's back to the old grind (though I wouldn't mind a day to recover from my vacation).

It's not quite back to normal yet, as Kev's still here (he leaves Wednesday), and that means I'm down in San Jose rather than up in Oakland. I kind of miss my house. But otherwise all's well, and I'm full of energy, which is good, as I have rather a lot of work to do. Got to finish the interviews for the Puritan article, and owe three other contracted stories, and one possibility, and I should really do them all by the end of the week. We'll see how it goes.

Saw The People verses Larry Flynt yesterday, btw -- quite good. If you're at all interested in censorship or sex, you should go see it. I especially liked the lawyer character.

That's it for now -- hope you all had a happy holiday and aren't too depressed at being back at work.

It’s about 4 a.m., which…

It's about 4 a.m., which means that it doesn't quite feel like yesterday, nor does it really feel like today. I went to bed at 11:00, and woke up with an awful nightmare about fifteen minutes ago. Didn't want to go back to sleep, so here I am, babbling at you. Usually I'm more in control of my brain when I talk to you, but I thought maybe you'd appreciate a look at the incoherent side of me. We'll probably regret this.

Shall I tell you my dream? I was spelunking, trying to find Kevin. When I did, he told me a story about how you had to be careful when lying to your mother. He had told her he couldn't go to something (school/church/etc) and she had known he liked spelunking and called the library to find out the good spots and came and found him and realized he was lying. After he told the story, we had a talk - sometimes calm, sometimes upsetting. I think I broke up with him, but it wasn't at all clear. Then I had to get out, and Kevin said the only way out of the cave was to climb up the rope that I had climbed down. That made me very nervous, but in the dream, I had much better upper arm strength than I do in real life, and so I easily pulled myself hand over hand up the rope -- there were some hairy bits, 'cause the rope was sliding down somewhat as I pulled it, but the very end *was* attached to something, and I suppose if I'd known that I could have just stayed in the cave and pulled until it was taut, but it was a dream, and none of this really makes sense. This doesn't sound like a nightmare, does it? But I woke from that with heart pounding and a sick feeling in my stomach. Probably gas. But I'm too awake now to go back to sleep.

Luckily, I expected to wake up early, though not this early, and borrowed a movie from Kev's sister last night, just in case. So I'm going to go watch it, and after that, if I still want to, I'll consider writing a story I was thinking about as I was falling asleep last night. I only have the beginning, which I think is very strong, and I'm not sure if the characters are people enough to simply carry the rest of the story, or if I need to suss it out a bit more in my brain first. Probably the latter -- it always helps to have some clue where you're going when you write a story. I tend to get bogged down in the midddle, else -- trying to get somewhere but I know not where. My language apparently gets extra convoluted and vaguely archaic when I'm tired - apologies, my dears. It is a weak flesh we deal with, and I must rely on your compassion.

Saw Clueless (finally) last night -- off to watch Speechless now. Wonder what comes next.

6:15 - Speechless was actually pretty good. Always fun watching a movie about writers (it's focused on two political speechwriters, of opposing campaigns, who fall in love. romantic comedy with Michael Keaton and Geena Davis), and it has one of the most satisfying last lines I've heard in a while. More than one plot hole (for example, why the heck weren't they caught when the tv screens started showing Tarzan???), but an enjoyable little piece nonetheless. I think Geena Davis is charming (though somewhat similar in all her roles :-), and Michael Keaton is really quite a good actor.

What to do now? I know, I know...go write that story. But you know, you can't write a story before it's done percolating -- it just stunts its growth. (see -- two coffee metapors in one sentence -- that's how you can tell I'm a writer...) Okay, I'm just getting silly now. What I'd really like to do is take a walk -- but it's cold and wet and dark. Maybe I'll go shower, and by the time I finish, it might be light. I could really use a cup of hot chocolate (they're out). Maybe I'll make tea. Hah. I know what I'm really going to do -- eat the leftovers from Italian dinner last night for breakfast. Have I grossed you out yet? Try this one -- my absolute favorite breakfast food is pancakes with curry. Any curry would probably do, but something boneless works best with pancakes. And very very spicy. I tend to be fairly ruttish (I just made that word up -- it doesn't mean I'm in rut; it means I get into ruts -- got it? good) (I almost used 'catholic' instead of ruttish, which would be totally wrong and untrue, but for some reason, I have the hardest time remembering that that word means something very different from what I think it means when you're talking about tastes or preferences) in my tastes -- I could eat bread(-type substance) and curry for days/weeks on end. Have done so. Don't really get bored with it either -- partly because I'm cheating by using curry -- curry is such a big broad general word that covers such a variety, a plethora (I love that word) of possibilities. (Good line, huh? 'plethora of possibilities'. Go ahead and borrow it -- I give it to you freely).

Ah, it's a good thing you guys don't have me rambling at you like this all the time. This journal would be a lot longer and my reputation as a sane individual would crumble into dust. As it is, hopefully the world (gosh, I sound like an egomaniac, don't I? I have to admit -- I take a fair bit of silly pleasure in the bits (bits - what a inane way of putting it -- but crumbs is somewhat cliche, and I'm tired, so bits will stand (and you thought you'd *like* getting a look into the mind of a writer -- it's dull, dull, dull, most of the time -- lots of perfectionist fiddling with words and if you don't love words -- love the roll and pitch and yaw of them (and yes, I'm undoubtedly mishandling the seaman metaphors mightily) and don't spend way too much time just enjoying words like scintillate and obfuscate (Susan (Kev's sister) and I spent a while yesterday discussing obfuscatory -- no, really) and labyrinthine, then you probably would find it all unimaginably tedious) of fame that appear to be sticking to me (like glitter, which always falls off eventually, even on the seashell box you spent at least twenty minutes designing when you were seven) and attacking me at odd moments (I still haven't figured out exactly what one says to a fan after 'Wow, I'm really glad you actually like my work.' It's not particularly dignified, is it?)) will pass all this off as a fever dream (though sadly not of the quality of Kubla Khan. I love those lines -- "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / a stately pleasure dome decree / where Alph the sacred river ran / through caverns measureless to man / down to a sunless sea." God, that's just brilliant. Doesn't it make your heart ache -- just a little?) or lack of sleep. You can blame all sorts of things on lack of sleep.

Hey, David? I know you read this periodically, and I can't remember if I told you this already. The placement of that poem -- that really was meant to be a present, 'cause I'm a sentimental sap. A momentary wistfulness -- something to show the grandchildren. :-) Sorry it made you sad.

Oh, boy. Better go -- oh, I have a feeling I'm going to regret this journal someday. Especially if I do become famous -- it's going to haunt me. I can just see the celebrity biographies -- "Who *was* the mysterious David -- and what poem does the 12/28 journal entry refer to?" Even better would be if it showed up in an academic paper.... -- okay, okay, don't laugh. A girl can dream, can't she?

Shower time.