Well, today’s the day my…

Well, today's the day my Chicago account goes away. :( I feel as if I should call and complain or something, but oh well. Too busy to waste time on those idjits.

Yesterday was an interesting day. Sorry I didn't write anything, but I was busy working from noon to almost midnight. See, Mills hosted a branch of the annual Writers' Harvest last night (a fundraiser by writers for hunger relief across the U.S.). I had planned to help them out a lot more, but kind of forgot, so my guilt kicked in yesterday, and I spent the day helping run errands, set up food, clean up, sell books, etc. I'm not sure how much we raised, but a goodly amount, I think, and the readers were fabulous. Floyd Salas, Sesshu Foster, April Sinclair and Beth Lisick -- all writers I wasn't familiar with because I'm so out of the loop regarding contemporary writers, and it's clear I've been missing out. Sesshu was up from L.A., but I think the others are all Bay Area folks, so if you're in the area and hear they're doing a reading, you should definitely check them out. Beth Lisick in particular is a performance poet and amazingly funny -- she tells me she performs regularly at Cafe du Nord in S.F. I'm going to go hear her again next week if I can squeeze in the time.

So today I had a good ensemble class, as usual (only two more classes until we perform, argh! (you are, of course, all cordially invited to hear me play, Friday December 6th, 12 noon, Mills campus chapel). Just finishing up e-mail and then I'm running up to Berkeley to get a decent lunch and do some research at the library. (I had a donut for breakfast. Very bad. The food options on the Mills campus are most unappealing).

I think I may hang out up there for a while, in a coffeeshop or outside on the grass, reading Crowley's Little, Big. It's excellent, which I should have expected, considering that LeGuin said of it, "A book that all by itself calls for a redefinition of fantasy." It's certainly making me think of new ways of structuring my novel (what, again?? :-). This poor novel.

Okay, I think that's all for now. I had two ideas for poems last night, but don't think they've jelled quite yet. Perhaps later today...

--Wrote one of the poems. Rather different from what I've been writing lately. Here is:

SNAKE SWALLOWING ITS TAIL

A petty poem.

___

I imagined her smooth,
soft skin turned dry and scaled
with age and neglect;
the whitening of her lush hair,
the souring of her body.

Time would shake beauty from her,
if beauty exists, until she became
a bare and scrawny trunk
surrounded by wisps of past glory.

Her muffled cries would fade
into the years, and the shine
love lent her eyes would
dissolve into a tired dream --

or so I thought;
I thought that love was
nothing so important after all,
and I could shrug, indifferent,
and let her walk away
with her wet cheeks
and anger --

and oh, if I could take back that day!

___

That is what you'll say
the day after I leave you.

___

You were warned.

*****
M.A. Mohanraj
November 15, 1996

<grin>A little silly, I know, but I think I like it.

Well, I received a…

Well, I received a lovely present this morning. While looking under my bed (trying to find a copy of The Stainless Steel Rat for President, which I was re-reading last night -- no luck finding it, btw), I stumbled across two books I had bought and forgotten! It's like getting two books for free! So today I get to read Susan Cooper's The Boggart, which will be a real treat, 'cause she's one of my favorite authors, and tomorrow I get to read Crowley's Little, Big. Hooray, hoorah!

I spent the morning up at Berkeley, doing various and sundry. I was primarily there to research my poetry/music paper (our library is pitiful), which was partly successful (the primary source material I needed was in archives and I have to go back up Friday or Saturday morning to get it). I also looked into taking classes there in the spring (Mills has an exchange program for its graduate students -- we can take two classes at Berkeley during our time here and have them count for Mills credit). Unfortunately, it looks like I missed the deadline to take a fiction class with Mukherjee (I find her work fascinating), but they have several classes that look interesting, especially Asian-American Literature, Gothic Women, and Victorian Sexuality. Will think about it and see. There's a shuttle that runs back and forth on the hour, which is highly convenient and only $1 each way.

It was a little weird being up there. It's *so* much bigger than Mills (40,000 to 3000, I think), and even about 4 times bigger than Chicago. Also, it's kind of strange going to take classes at a school from which one has been rejected. I mean, I felt a bit like I didn't belong on the Penn campus when I came by to visit Kevin...but at least I wasn't pretending to be a student. Aw, I'm being silly, I know. I'll get over it. Just felt very self-conscious. At least I'm finally settling in at Mills -- it's a very comforting place in some ways. A function of the size, I suppose. I think it may also turn out to be a better place in which to work -- there's nothing else to do here! No coffeeshops, no bookstores, no shopping. Just plain nothing. Berkeley is much more distracting. :-)

Plans for the poly novel (the collaborative one) are proceeding apace -- there's something really thrilling about this stage of creation, when the ideas are bubbling (And you haven't settled down to the sludging through the muck. :-)

> On other fronts, revision 3 of Interruptions is awaiting class review, as is The Devouring Night (a short story that is looking like it'll become part of Dreams). I'm also finishing up a dumb little porn piece that is paying me well - another ten minutes should do it. :-) Still need to do revisions on Endings (and probably another on Interruptions) and much more on Dreams. In non-writing news, Penn has implemented majordomo software on the erotica list, which is causing much confusion. It has me a little stressed, but hopefully will sort out the mechanics soon and all will settle down. New web authoring job for Mills is going okay -- kind of frustrating, very non-creative and pluggish, low pay -- but on the other hand, it's the sort of work that's good to do when my brain just refuses to be in writing mode and I'm stuck on campus anyway.

I'm feeling a little over-extended (really. more so than usual.) but sort of in a good way. I mean, everything is progressing, finally. Nothing's actually stuck. I was feeling very very stuck for a while, which was terrifying. Part of what got me out of that is Sherman and I spent a couple of hours talking over plotting for our respective novels, and I pointed out a couple holes in his work and he helped me work through some technical stuff I'd been avoiding thinking about (whether to have a war, for example, and the geographic structure of Ranek and Liella and the Eastern city-states). Really basic stuff, but important.

Some good news!…

Some good news! Sherman's parents had a spare keyboard that they've loaned me until I get a new one. :-) I'd chat more, but I have a bunch of work to do in the next hour.

I saw a hummingbird outside my window this morning -- amazing.

--3:15. Okay, so I'm feeling moderately virtuous, 'cause I've been productive today. I'm also feeling very very tired. I keep forgetting to take my meds. Bad girl. Ah well. Today's my long day -- stay on campus for 6:00 meeting, which hopefully won't run later than 7. Then I get to go home and crash. :-) Nothing else exciting to report (not that that was so exciting :-). Talk to y'all tomorrow....have a nice evening.

*yawn* G’morning,…

*yawn* G'morning, everyone. Gosh, I'm exhausted today -- and for no good reason that I can think of. Yesterday, Lydia dropped her kids off and Sherman came over to help me babysit them (her parents were taking her to Phantom), and I admit they were rather exhausting (we played jungle princesses (I have a *great* climbing tree outside) and pirate queens (Sherman played too :-) and made Mickey Mouse pancakes (with chocolate chip faces) and watched The Last Unicorn and made a total shambles of my closet playing dress-up and spent quite a while coloring, which was all more tiring than one would think, not to mention making dinner and cleaning up after), and I am reminded once more to have infinite respect for parents who do this EVERY DAY. Then Lydia came back and we chatted and had dinner and put the kids to bed (They were all staying over the night) and stayed up late-ish talking and drinking the absolutely delicious cream sherry Lydia brought, but it wasn't that late. And we got up this morning (at 7-ish, 'cause that's when the kids thought we should be up :-) and made biscuits with jam and honey and butter and took something like three hours to get them ready to go :-). But none of this really explains why I'm so tired today that I fell asleep for two hours at Sherman's (I came over to work here this afternoon 'cause there are fewer distractions (really! :-) and 'cause we're going dancing tonight; free swing lessons again tonight.

You can tell I'm tired, 'cause that was a really long and rambly paragraph. :-) Sorry...

It’s an absolutely…

It's an absolutely gorgeous day here today (y'all are going to get tired of hearing me say that, I think. :-). I'm in a very good mood, mostly beause I had a truly exhilarating instrumental ensemble class today. They're something thrilling about playing ensemble...like Menolly said, "it's like flying on a dragon". :-) When it goes well, that is, and even when it doesn't (and it can be very very frustrating at times...when you can't get a part and you know people are biting their tongues or vice versa, for example) it's still a real pleasure. I can't believe they're actually giving me credit (only half a credit, but still) for this class. :-)

I was actually pretty mopey for no good reason last night. Only for about an hour or so, but I was pretty down. Good thing Kevin is extremely patient about listening to me complain. I did have some reason -- I'm sort of stuck, both in my novel and in my Renaissance paper, which is making me feel both frustrated with school and guilty for not getting enough done. I'm also excited about a new project John and Brian and I are discussing -- a collaborative novel, and I really would rather be working on that...:-) Ah well. We'll see if I can get at least some synthesis and revision done on the novel today, though some new material would also be good.

Oh, some of you were asking about whether the book will be available through your local bookstore. It may be, though it's difficult to persuade bookstores to stock material. What'll definitely work is to take them the ISBN# and have them special order it. Or you can call or e-mail my publisher directly. All the info's on the Torn Shapes of Desire page.

Not much else to report today. Still eating leftovers from dinner Wednesday, so nothing exciting there. :-) I think when I decide I can't work anymore I'm going to go rent some movies and veg out tonight. Oh, finished Hyperion. I must kill Kevin for not loaning me the sequel. Argh. Currently re-reading Taran Wanderer, from my beloved Prydain Chronicles. Running a little low on books (well, I have a bunch of serious reading to do, but that's not quite what I want. :-)

2:15 - Okay, I know I said I was going to work on the novel, but I ended up doing the revisions for "Interruptions" instead. Which is fine, 'cause they needed to be done. :-) Now I'm waffling between the novel and revisions on "Endings". Hmmm...

. I'd also kinda like to eat lunch, but I'd have to go home for that, which would mean that I'd basically stop work for the day. I really have to plan ahead better -- I *knew* that I might be working on campus this afternoon. *sigh* Idjit.

Hey, everyone. I’m…

Hey, everyone. I'm having a good day so far. Went to a pleasant seminar on Shakespeare's Hamlet (the ghost scene -- my professor is contending that Hamlet's father wasn't in fact murdered :-), and had a good class on Ben Jonson. Am now looking at the schedule for Spring and trying to decide what I want to take. I think a Shakespeare and a writing course, but a) I'm not sure if I want to do fiction or poetry, b) I'm not sure if I want to stick with the same fiction teacher I had this semester or try a different one, if I do fiction, c) I'm not sure what to take for my third course, and d) I'm not sure if I want to go to the hassle of taking a class up at Berkeley. Would be a big nuisance transportation-wise, but might be worth it, since the credits transfer. Might wait 'til next year, but I can only do it next semester and the fall one the year after. Will think about it some more.

I'm also quite enjoying Hyperion, a sf book Kevin loaned me (and yes, Paul, I finally admit you were right), though I do have a big problem with the structural set-up of the book. See, it's organized modelled on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, a progress of pilgrims who tell their tales to each other during the course of the pilgrimage. Well and good, and I admit that in many places Simmons is brilliant both within the tales and in the framing story. However, the tales are just too darn long to be believable. They're too in-depth to make any structural sense as the sort of thing people would/could tell over a few hours after dinner. If you ignore that little quibble though, the book is delightful. I should be finishing it this afternoon.

It's a lovely day outside, and I must admit that I am very tempted to take the rest of the day off. Just go home and flake out for a while. Maybe watch The Princess Bride again or some such. :-)

HAve a good day, y'all. Get some sunshine. Hug a tree. :-)

Hey everyone. Wrote 8…

Hey everyone. Wrote 8 pages -- it'll have to do. It's only a rough draft due today -- the final is 15-20. God, my brain is fried. Well, mostly I'm just exhausted -- yesterday I got up at 6 a.m. and was basically working straight through until I got home at 9:30 p.m. I had forgotten that students do this (at least if they're the procrastinating kind :-). I was so wound up that I couldn't go to sleep then -- stayed up reading a dumb romance novel to turn my brain off (Catherine Coulter's The Duke, if you're interested :-). Worked beautifully -- I swear my brain had turned to fuzz by the time I finished after midnight. Then woke up at 7 this morning, tried to play a little Warcraft, and it turns out my CD ROM drive is now also jammed or something. Argh. Motivation to go get the darn disk drive fixed too. I invoiced Puritan today -- let's hope they pay me soon.

Lessee, what's been happening in my life that I haven't had a chance to tell you about...well, it's painfully cold here today. Not like Chicago, of course, but I wore five layers walking in to campus this morning. Didn't sleep very well 'cause I hadn't put enough blankets on the bed. (Y'know how it is when you're half asleep and cold, but you don't want to wake enough to actually get out of bed (where you know you'll be colder) and get more blankets so that you'll then be warm enough...so you just semi-sleep and suffer?)

On the plus side, I got a letter from Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges telling me that Mills had nominated me (1 of 12 chosen, out of 300 grad students :-) to be in the listing. Pretty neat -- I like honors that I don't have to do anything for. I'm not sure why they picked me, since at this point they barely know me. David and Sherman both think it's 'cause of the upcoming book -- I dunno. Who's Who at this stage is really supposed to be a sort of 'who's to watch' kind of thing -- the idea being that they think we're the people who will be making a splash in the world in upcoming years. Hope so. :-) Ah well, kind of silly.

Also finally did the search and replace in the web pages for the old address to the new. I think it went fine. We can hope, anyway.

I'm way behind on mail and such, plus I have a pile of revisions to do. I'd best get to it -- talk to y'all later...

--1:45. Ick. I feel awful. Tired and grouchy and both my professors (I think) think I should be further along at this point in the semester and they're certainly right (guess I was just hoping they wouldn't notice 'til I had time to catch up). And I misplaced the book I was reading (Lisa Goldstein's The Red Magician - excellent so far). grumblesnarl. I so totally do not want to be stuck on campus until my 6 p.m. meeting, though it'll probably be good for me, 'cause I'll have nothing to do but work. (and whine here :-) Okay, enough complaining. Back to it. Revisions today, I think.

5:00 - Okay, no revisions done, but I feel better. I had some lunch after that last posting -- I think I was partly just low on food and that made me grouchy. I did go through a hell of a lot of mail and have cut my waiting mail list down to 37 messages (from around a 100). :-) Hooray for me. I also managed to download a copy of tinyfugue from the net (okay, that doesn't sound so impressive, but it was a little triumph for me :-).

Sorry for all the grouching earlier. Now I just have an hour to kill until this meeting, and hopefully it won't be too bad. We'll see.

6:08 - argh! ARGH! Did you hear that? Okay, my boss is now 8 minutes late, only half of the meeting people are hear, none of us are sure if she's even coming, and I for one am just a little bit irritated. Maybe she's just late. Maybe. If she doesn't come soon I am going to go home *and* be pretty damn pissed. On the good side, I'm down to 30 messages.

Happy November,…

Happy November, everyone! :-) It's an absolutely gorgeous crisp fall day here, and there's actually a little color in the trees (not like New England, of course, but what can you do?) I'm in a much better mood than yesterday (partly 'cause I just had a very very pleasant early music ensemble class (I play flute, did I mention? We'll be giving a concert December 6th -- if you're in the area, you're welcome -- I think it's at noon. Mail me for details)), though I definitely don't feel like doing any real work. :-)

Last night I went to a very mellow Halloween shindig with Sherman at his friend Lydia's. She's way cool, and has two of the best behaved kids (Kira and Kaylie) that I've met in quite a while. Kira was a dragon and Kaylie was a princess, and I gotta say, the roles suited 'em both perfectly. Lydia is a costumer by profession (she does amazing leatherwork), and their costumes were gorgeous. Me, I did my standard gypsy bard thing -- pennywhistle, dagger and all. Sherman was an Elizabethan gentleman, complete with impossibly ruffled shirt -- he needs a monocle. :-)

Hmm...I think what I'll do today is futz around on these pages some more. If Kevin mails me the instructions again (I lost his first set), I need to do a search and replace through the web pages for my old address. University of Chicago has decided to delete alumni accounts, effective November 15th. Bad University. No biscuit. (Loss of lots of alumni money, more likley -- a dumb decision on their part, I think). So I'm switching it all to my Mills account, as noted in previous day's entry.

Tonight Lydia is coming up for dinner with me and Sherman, which should be fun. I think I'll make Thai green curry tofu (gosh, I can't remember if I gave you this recipe already. It's on the label of the little jars of Thai green curry paste though -- astonishingly easy. Basically mix and serve), and do something vaguely Indian with my leftover cooked chicken. I got rid of most of it yesterday with one of my own creations -- Sherman says I should name it after myself, so here's:

Chicken Pepper Crepes Mary Anne
_______________________________

(note, very approximate amounts 'cause this is a 'use up your leftovers' recipe).

Chicken Filling:
1-2 c. cooked chicken, finely diced
1-2 red or yellow peppers, finely diced (mushrooms work instead too)
1 medium onion
6 cloves garlic
random herbs (I used some oregano, basil, sage and thyme, but you might substitute in majoram or tarragon or Sherman thinks dill, but I think he's nuts).
salt and pepper to taste

crepes (to be made right after or just before chicken filling)

1/2 - 1 c. shredded cheese (I mixed mozarella and cheddar)

1. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil 'til golden. Add rest of filling ingredients. Cook 10 minutes or so, 'til it seems cooked. :-)

2. Put one or two spoonfuls inside each crepe and roll the crepes up. Line up crepes in a glass baking dish (actually, I'm sure metal would work too, but glass is prettier).

3. Sprinkle cheese over whole and bake in preheated 350 degree F oven 20 minutes or so ('til cheese is nicely melted). Serve hot!

I think I'm going to go now and add some more old poems to 92 and 93. There were a bunch I didn't put in at the beginning 'cause I was getting tired. :-)

2:30 - Added 18 poems to the 92 section. Enjoy. :-) (I feel I should warn you, it seems (looking over them) that I was in a pretty angry mood for much of that year.