Heya. Feeling better,…

Heya. Feeling better, though still a bit overwhelmed. I've been asking my writer groups for advice and they've been giving me publishers, so I guess the next step is to put the names in a list and draft a proposal. It just feels so arrogant -- saying, "I think you should publish my stories and poems 'cause I think they're good and I think they'd sell." I guess it's no more than what I've done sending stories to magazines, but it just feels so much bigger...

I was feeling so down yesterday that I not only skipped dance class but had dinner at MacDonald's. Paying for it now, as I don't feel nearly as healthy as I should. I should know better. Oh well -- everyone slides sometimes.

Found some inspirational reading at Border's yesterday, from a book by Bonnie Friedman called Writing Past Dark. (Also sat there and read the new Tanya Huff book, No Quarter -- much fun. :-) Here's a sample:


"'Why do we seek fame?' a student asks the spiritual teacher Krishnamurti, according to a book entitled Think on These Things.

'Have you ever thought about it?' he responds. "We want to be famous as a writer, as a poet, as a painter, as a politician, as a singer, or what you will. Why? Because we really don't love what we are doing. If you loved to sing, or to paint, or to write poems -- if you really loved it -- you would not be concerned with whether you are famous or not...Our present education is rotten because it teaches us to love success and not what we are doing. The result has become more important than the action.

'You know,' he continues, 'It is good to hide your brilliance under a bushel, to be anonymous, to love what you are doing and not to show off. It is good to be kind without a name. That does not make you famous, it does not cause your photograph to appear in the newspapers. Politicians do not come to your door. You are just a creative human being living anonymously, and in that there is richness and great beauty.'

"Just one thing saves me from envy: returning to my work. My desk is a quiet place. My hours there are like panes of clear glass. I sit down and try to hear my characters....Theirs is a separate world that waits while I rush about, fixing meals, making beds, getting jealous and unjealous and maybe jealous again....

"Envy is a con man, a tugger at your sleeve, a knocker at your door. Let me in for just a moment, it says, for just one moment of your time. It claims to tell the truth; it craves attention. The more you listen to it, the more you believe, the more you think you must listen. You must get the info on who is out there, how young the competition is, where they've been reviewed, what they've won, and what that means about you. The antidote to envy is one's own work. Always one's own work. Not the thinking about it. Not the assessing of it. But the doing of it. The answers you want can come only from the work itself. It drives the spooks away."


Long, I know, but worth reading. Reminding me of uncomfortable truths. I am too fond of the spotlight, I think, and excuse myself by saying it's my nature. The lights are fine, as long as they don't get in the way of your work.

Morning, everyone. Tired…

Morning, everyone. Tired today. Generally the weekend is restful, but somehow it didn't work out that way. Kind of a blah weekend -- I was in a funny mood. Oh well, mostly feeling okay now -- back to work. So I was all set to try to self-publish the collection, right? But now a couple of people have expressed interest in maybe publishing it, maybe distributing it, and I'm not quite sure how one goes about handling this. Talked to Kirsten last night, and she thinks I should really put the manuscript together and shop it around some first. Which I guess makes me nervous for a bunch of reasons -- partly that I'd be venturing into this new world, and have no idea how much I should be expecting to charge, etc....and partly because I'm nervous about trusting my work to some stranger -- the last guy who seemed interested in working with me on this totally flaked...and partly, I guess, because I feel that the work has to be really good if I'm going to get it published by a real publisher. Which is silly, I know, since if it's good enough for me to publish, it should be good enough for them, but...

..argh. I'm just in a bit of a bleak mood, I guess. I'm going to go and try to drown myself in work for a bit, and hope that cheers me up. Hope you all had better weekends than I did.

Okay, I messed up! Good…

Okay, I messed up! Good thing you guys are keeping an eye on me. :-) But now the last two entries are firmly in May where they belong, so if you missed them hiding in April, just take a look below. Sorry about that, but as you know, things have been crazy.

Spent a couple hours working on the manuscript. Tentative contents: Poetry: Confession, Hymn, Mango, Renewal, Sleeping with His Best Friend, Turning Bodies, Memory's a Traitor, Dreams of a Lover, Letter, Summer, and Orange After Midnight. Stories: Attraction, Blind, Chantal, Diana, Feather, Gorgeous Gracie, Hope of the Lord, Lady, Fleeing Gods, Letter Found Near a Suicide, Meditation on Human Relations, A More Congenial Spot, Morningsong, Paint, The Queen of Fairies, Radhika and Matthew, Reunion, Season of Marriage, Would You Live For Me. If anyone's got any favorites that I missed and that they simply MUST have in there, drop me a line, and I'll think about it. It's hardly fixed in stone, and I hope to write one or two new stories and poems as well, in addition to the ones in there.

Looks definite the John is stepping down for a while from the erotica list. Luckily Brian and another are stepping in to pick up the slack. Three cheers for helpful souls! :-)

All sore from dance class last night, but was a good class. Easier than usual, 'cause the best people weren't there, and we had some new people, so we went slow, and nothing was new to me. Nice to relax for a change. Usually I feel as if I'm just barely keeping up in that class -- and I still get hopelessly dizzy on turns. But I can touch my head to my knee in stretches now. :-)

Good morning, my dears!…

Good morning, my dears! It's beautiful today, and Martha brought in a bunch of lilacs to the office, so it smells a little like spring even inside. Life is good with me -- two people have expressed interest in possibly publishing and/or distributing the collection of my work, so I have to get the manuscript together in a hurry. Could be very good. :-)

Lilac Dawn (remember them? They gave me a literary excellence award?) finally has their second issue up, with a poem by me -- you may want to go take a look, though it's not a new poem...(10/24/96 note: Lilac Dawn appears to have disappeared.)

The only distressing news is that my chief co-conspirator in the erotica workshop may have to give up his duties for a while, which would be very very sad. I'd have to draft a new co-conspirator. We'll see what happens.

Dance class tonight! :-) I hope all's well with you guys...

Happy May Day,…

Happy May Day, everyone!

Dogwood Drift

White truck rattles down
dawn streets. Slips beneath a tree,
trailing pink blossoms.

Saw that this morning, as I was biking to work (in a clear, crisp beauty of a morning). And was hit with joy, sudden and unexpected. It wasn't a clean truck, but something about the flowers surrounding it and slowly falling away -- aw, it was just beautiful. Great way to start the month.

It's going to be a busy month too. Tonight I have off, but tomorrow is dance class, Friday is folksing night, Saturday is my friend Cappy's revert-to- childhood party (she has the Schoolhouse Rock videos! and finger paints! :-), and Sunday I get to see Aiko, a friend I somehow missed all winter. Social life kicking in with a vengeance. :-) Just better not start slacking on my work...

Huh. I hadn’t realized…

Huh. I hadn't realized it had been quite so long since I'd written until I got little concerned notes from a few of you. Sorry for the delay, but been very swamped (and got horrendously sick with some bug Sunday night, but am all better now) with work. I am currently:

1. Holding down the day job
2. Trying to figure out housing for grad school
3. Writing little porn letters for a web site on commission
4. Working on the novella for Puritan
5. Trying to assemble the manuscript for the anthology (which I finally have the money for)
6. And most time-consuming, moderating the erotica workshop (30- 50 mail messages/day alone!)

Do I sound like I'm whining? A bit, perhaps. It's been an exhausting couple of days. On the good side, I'm healthy (again), fairly happy, and very satisfied with all the work I'm getting done. Had to come up with a working title for the manuscript. Was waffling between Dreams of a Lover, Turning Bodies, and Torn Shapes of Desire (all titles of old poems of mine). Went with the last, but may change my mind. David suggested just Shapes of Desire, but somehow I feel like that lacks oomph! I don't know...:-)

Otherwise, the list is humming along nicely, with some lovely stories, and useful crits. We could use some more market info, but that will hopefully come in time.

Tonight two editor friends of mine, Gary Bowen and Cecelia Tan, will be reading from their erotica at Borders. I encourage any of you around Philly to come -- I'll be there, and would be happy to meet you. :-)

Hey, sorry for…

Hey, sorry for yesterday. The list is finally starting to run smoothly, so hopefully I'll start having time again. I think we're ready to tentatively open it to the public, so if any of you write erotica and are interested in a mailing list of submissions, crits, and exchange of market info, send me mail at maryanne@mamohanraj.com with a note requesting info. Keep in mind that this is not a list for people to simply get their jollies -- all list members are expected to submit and crit fairly often. :-)

Other exciting news -- I found an artist to illustrate my book (yup, it looks like I'm really doing it -- I will soon be able to afford the $2000 it'll take (though I had a terrible dream last night where a bill for $2500 arrived for something else entirely)). I offered a link to her journal a while back, but here's the link to her main page -- Tracy Lee. The one of her and her partner is rather nice, and I also like the chick in the stockings. Feel free to drop me a note and let me know what you think of her work.

Otherwise, life is pretty good for me right now. Getting used to my bike, the weather is generally beautiful (though the other night I managed to get myself locked out on my porch in a thunderstorm for an hour, sigh...), my boss got me a lovely flowering plant and some chocolate-covered pretzels for Secretaries' Day yesterday, and I made a yummy dinner last night. Turkey roulades (though we happened to have chicken, which worked fine, with corn bread, jalapeno and Monterey Jack filling -- here's the recipe for your perusal. This page has a lot of great recipes, if you haven't taken a look at it before, though some have slightly expensive ingredients. If I make the roulades again, I'll probably put in a little more jalapeno and cheese -- I may even substitute Cheddar, which I think will work better with chicken. I'd also make a little more of the sauce -- very simple chicken broth and wine vinegar, but it was yummy.

Oh, and I added a new little funny thing to my home page, on stupid criminals.

Still swamped under mail…

Still swamped under mail for the new list. Oof. Otherwise life is very good -- great dance class last night, all my muscles are sore today. David made hummus yesterday -- yum! :-)

Having received 3 letters from people about this, I just want to reassure you all that yes, Kevin loaned me his bicycle helmet.

New addition to the page - Old Writers Never Die... - a funny compilation. Funny to writers, anyway.

Got mail from my little sister yesterday, saying she'd stumbled across my web page. Good thing she's a smart kid...Back to my overflowing mailbox.

noon - The page proofs for "Fleeing Gods" have arrived! Turns out it's coming much sooner than I expected -- I thought the Sex Magick II anthology was coming out in 1997, but it turns out to be July 1996. I'll give y'all all the details when it comes out, so if you'd like a print copy of my story (and a bunch of other good stories), you can purchase it. Circlet Press does lovely work.

Morning! God, I’m…

Morning! God, I'm swamped in mail right now, trying to get the erotica writers' mailing list started (once it's established, I'll post info on my home page about how to join). My fingers are sore from typing, and it's only noon.

Only other exciting news is that I've decided on Mills for grad school, so come September, I'll be off to Oakland. Dave sent me this list, and I thought I'd pass it on to you. No clue who wrote it originally.

TOP 10 SUBTLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GRAD SCHOOL AND HELL:


10. It doesn't rain in Hell.
9. Everyone has heard of Hell.
8. It's a lot more fun getting into Hell.
7. You can't fail out of Hell.
6. At least you can sleep in Hell.
5. Hell is forever; Grad School just seems like it.
4. People smile in Hell.
3. You only have to sell your soul to go to Hell.
2. There are hot men and women in Hell.
** And the #1 Subtle Difference between Grad School and Hell: ** (drum roll)
1. You would never tell a friend to go to Grad school!

Despite the list above, I've very much looking forward to grad school. :-)

Yes, not only a Saturday…

Yes, not only a Saturday entry, but a Sunday one too. And would you believe I'm here at the office, on a Sunday, at 8:40 a.m.? Shows you what an addict I am to the net...

Biked in to work -- the bones in my pelvis hurt like anything, but otherwise it was a delightful ride. Hardly any traffic, the weather is stunningly beautiful right now (cool and sunny, comfortable T-shirt weather), and biking makes a great breeze. I had forgotten how much fun it is being on a bike -- I can see what some people get really into it.

Not much else to say right now -- my regular system won't be up for another fifteen minutes, so I'll probably go back to my book for a while. Finished my Tanya Huff kick yesterday by reading the last of her books the local Border's had. The Lions of al'Rassan is out in paperback! Finally! I confess, I was so desperate to read it when it came out (I have an unwholesome passion for Guy Gavriel Kay's work) that I sat in Border's and read the whole hardcover. In guilt, I bought two copies of the paperback (and the new de Lint anthology The Ivory and the Horn), one for me and one as a belated Christmas present for Lisette (to be sent along with her not-so-belated birthday present :-). If you like fantasy and haven't read de Lint or Kay, do so! Along with Le Guin, they're my biggest influences, and I've been told more than once that my fantasy is perhaps a bit too much like theirs. :-) I'll undoubtedly get over it.

11:00 - Cleared out an amazing amount of e-mail and sent off "Caught Between Two Women" and "Fleeing Gods" to Susie Bright for consideration for her Best American Erotica anthology. Not sure that I think either of those really qualify, but unfortunately the stuff of mine I like better hasn't been published yet. Oh well. :-)