Okay, snow report. So…

Okay, snow report. So far, USAir claims that my 4:00 flight will go to Boston. Cross your fingers, send me good thoughts, pray if that's your thing. I'd really like to go to this convention.

Otherwise, a good day. Was a little cold walking half an hour through the snow to work, but it's kind of fun too. Reminds me of growing up in Connecticut -- when I was little, we lived far from the nearest bus stop and so we had to tromp through the woods for a bit every day. The snow came up to our hips (we were short, remember?) and the biggest kids would break a path through the snow. Great fun in a lot of ways, even if our toes did freeze.

Just got a call from home. Roof is leaking again. Our landlord is such a horrible slumlord -- arrgh! If you're ever living in Philadelphia, avoid renting from PA Residential Real Estate, run by Leonard Stolker, 13th and Lombard.

12:30 -- plane still scheduled.

2:20 -- plane still scheduled -- about to leave for train to plane as soon as boss lady finishes with patient. Wish me luck! In case I don't have access at the con, have a good weekend everyone!

Argh! Rotten day so far….

Argh! Rotten day so far. I messed up something at work, so my boss was slightly irritated (luckily she's a reasonable person and is no longer upset) and the patients are grouching at me, and it's mostly not even my fault, it's the fault of this damned snow (even more than the snow, it's the fault of Philly's utterly inadequate snow-removal which is just making everyone's lives miserable). Damn damn damn.

Okay, I needed to vent a bit. Slightly better now. And I still don't know if I'm going to be able to go to this convention this weekend, and I really do want to go. If it snows again I'll have to strangle someone.

On the bright side, it's actually kind of pleasant tromping to work through the snow (I walk about twelve blocks each way). On the way today I passed this enormous snowbank on which boxes of fruits and vegetables had been scattered. One box had broken open, and bright red and green peppers cascaded over the white snow -- if I had only had a camera! As I paused there, a man stepped out of a restaurant next door. Turns out that he hadn't wanted to block the street with his truck while unloading, so he had just tossed all his boxes of produce out onto the snowbank. :-)

Kevin called last night -- apparently he got his flights confused and isn't coming back till Sunday. I would be bummed, except that hopefully I'll be in Boston Friday - Sunday anyway. If there's a net connection at the convention I'll try to keep updating this diary.

You might want to check out the new Clarion Diary I just added to these pages.

Another mostly quiet day…

Another mostly quiet day so far -- the snow has stopped falling, but it still blocks most of the roads in Philly (we have entirely inadequate snow removal facilities) and so life is still very muffled and relaxed here. Relaxed for the workers, that is, most of whom had the previous two days off and are still going slow today -- the bosses are going around looked stressed and frazzled due to loss of business. Sometimes it's nice being a peon.

I was very good today! I did my approximately bimonthly update of the Alternative Sexualities in SF/Fantasy Booklist. The list has gotten long enough that it's rather a chore maintaining it, but I suppose it's worthwhile. Someone should do it.

I have a friend, Kathryn, visiting me for the next week. She's an undergraduate with a long holiday break and her parents were driving her crazy so I said she could come stay with me for a week till the dorm reopened. And I'm happy to see her, but I'm feeling so tired and antisocial that I wasn't quite up to being enthusiastic, which probably disappointed her a bit. Well, I'm going over to Dave's after work, so I guess I'll make it up to her tomorrow. Cook something fabulous or something. (Speaking of fabulous food, I had lunch at Baricci's today, and if you're ever in Philly, they do a terrific tangerine sorbet. Yum!)

Someone asked me in e-mail if I found it difficult dealing with multiple relationships, dealing with the needs of more than one person. My quick, flip answer was 'nope.' A more honest answer is that of course I do, but I think it's not much more difficult than multiple friends or multiple family members. Sure, sometimes my partners have conflicting needs, and choices must be made -- but that would be just as true of my father versus my best friend, or my mother versus my child (I don't actually have any kids, but you get the idea). In some ways it's easier -- you can explain a situation to an adult and work on compromise -- there's no real way to do that with a young child. Of course, in some ways it's harder too, but I think the rewards are worth it. An interesting question, at any rate.

Yesterday I finished rereading Anne of Green Gables, skimming the final chapter because it was much too depressing, and got partway through Anne of Avonlea before I fell asleep. If you're not familiar with them, the Anne books (I think there are six of them) by L.M. Montgomery are a delightful series of children's books about a very sensitive and intelligent and romantic child who grows up and gets herself into a series of adventures. The books are a little sticky sweet, but Anne herself is engaging, and was definitely someone I considered a kindred spirit back when I was a shy child who spent most of her time hidden behind bookshelves at the library. If you read the rain poem I referred to a few entries ago, you'll already know that libraries are important to me.

One of my readers sent me the address of his diary as well the address of a page listing some other diaries. Thought I'd pass them along for the diary addicts among you.

Hope y’all don’t mind…

Hope y'all don't mind just getting a poem yesterday. It was a quiet day at home (work cancelled due to weather) and I just didn't have much to say. Dinner came out really well, though:

Spicy Chicken and Peppers Over Angelhair

1/2 lb chicken breast, in small chunks
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 serrano peppers, minced (careful about pepper oil on your fingers)
1 small onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, diced
2 T. butter
1 1/2 c. hot milk
3 T. fine cornmeal

1. Fry onion and garlic in a little vegetable oil on high. When onions are translucent, add chicken, peppers, and herbs to taste (some basil and rosemary work very well with a dash of black pepper and 1/2 t. - 1 t. of salt.) Cook 5 minutes.

2. Lower heat to medium low. Add butter and hot milk 1/2 c. at a time, alternating with a T. of cornmeal each time and stirring constantly. Cook 5-10 minutes till sauce is creamy. Do not burn!

3. Serve over fresh angelhair pasta. For a veggie version, skip the chicken and add some sliced plum tomatoes in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

Not much to say today either. Getting off work early and have to race to the bank to deposit a pay check before my rent check arrives there -- wish me luck! Hoping weather clears up before Friday -- I'm going to be really annoyed if anything interferes with our trip to Arisia (sf convention in Boston - January 12-14). If any of you will be there, please feel free to say hi. I should be easy to recognize - though this picture is about 4 years old, I look pretty much the same now -- a couple more wrinkles, a couple fewer pounds.

Cathedral spires jut out…

Cathedral spires jut out into the ice sky.
Three days of snow are ended;
fragile clouds scatter across a clear glowing blue.

Hard edges are softened, and a muffled stillness
has surrounded this corner of the world.

Peace walks the chambers of the heart,
and a quiet joy rises. There is something to be said
for moments alone.

I will gladly relinquish
it all -- when you return.

I’ve just been chosen…

I've just been chosen Australia's Cool Site of the Day! Exciting!

It's a stunningly beautiful morning, though I suppose not everyone would think so. The snow has been coming down for many hours now, steadily, and all the trees and fenceposts and bushes and porch chairs that I can see from my back window are covered in powdery layers. Like ice cream, or magic. Very still and quiet -- all the normal street noises are muffled or gone (many people staying in today), and since Karina's still asleep, I can almost pretend that the world has gone away and it's just me and the snow. Some of the strongest moments of my life have been encased in snow and rain.

I wanted to tell you a little more about that LeGuin book I mentioned yesterday. I was so caught up in my own reactions to it that I didn't tell you about it, and I have a feeling that many of you may enjoy it as much as I did. See, it's the story of a geek. An intellectual. A smart guy who is caving in under the pressure to confirm. A teenager in love/lust/etc. And I liked it a lot. Even her fluffier books, (like Rocannon's World which I read this morning) has something to them that makes me think. I'm going to quote you the bit they have on the inside front cover (the flyleaf?) of Very Far Away...:

"I've had high points before. Once at night walking in the park in the rain in autumn. Once out in the desert, under the stars, when I turned into the earth turning on its axis. Sometimes thinking, just thinking things through. But always alone. By myself. This time I was not alone. I was on the high mountain with a friend. There is nothing, there is nothing that beats that. If it never happens again in my life, still I can say I was there once."

So go read it. It's a very short book.

Funny how important old lovers stay in your life. Looking back now, most of my best friends are people I once dated -- maybe it's just that they know you better than anyone else does.

Going back two nights to something I missed -- the folk gathering was fantastic. My friend Abby drove me up, and we sang from about 9:30 to 2:00 am. There's a certain high you get when you're singing well in a group -- it's like a writing high, or dancing, but the collaboration adds something to it -- each time you think you've plateaued and you're as happy as you're going to get, someone else starts singing an old song you'd forgotten you knew or teaches you a variant or extra verses to one of your favorites or you just listen to some really fantastic playing on an instrument you can't play and it just lifts you higher and higher.

The next morning I spent at Abby's bookstore (am I jealous she owns her own bookstore? naaahhh...) spending too much money and not regretting it at all. Picked up a silly/cool button too - "If you've never said 'excuse me' to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you're probably wasting too much valuable reading time." My friends tell me that some day I'm going to get killed because I cross streets with a book in front of my face. I think I have radar. :-)

I’m going to skip past…

I'm going to skip past all the day-to-day stuff because I want to talk about a book. I just finished LeGuin's Very Far Away From Anywhere Else, and it makes me want to cry. Not because it's sad. It's not sad, though it is very intense, and that's part of why it hit me. Mostly it's because she's so damn good a writer, and while I know I'm competent and more than competent, I don't want to be just that -- I want to be really good. I want to make people laugh and cry and be silent and want to write. And I don't know any real way to become a good writer (you can't go to school for it or serve an apprenticeship) except to write and write and pay attention to people and the world. And I'm doing that, but even when I'm not being lazy or distracted or scared or earning a living doing something that requires far less than half a brain, I have no idea whether I'll ever be as good as I want to be, even if I work as hard as I should. Which is terrifying, because of course I don't work as hard as I should...certainly not even as hard as I can, and I never have, which is why I've been an underachiever all my life except for odd flashes. So I'm shaken, and scared, but you shouldn't worry about me, because this too will pass and soon I'll be back to my normal complacent (vaguely worried in the back of my head) self, and that's perhaps the worst of it. If I could just hold on to this intensity and fear and courage, maybe I could be a writer someday.

I'll tell you tomorrow about the humdrums of today. I want to hold onto this energy as long as I can. Perhaps I can drag a story or a poem out of it.

My Friends Call Me a Fool

I'm staying with him
not because I love him (I do.)
or because he loves me (He does.)
or because we have a joint lease.

I'm staying with him
because in July of 1995
I decided I would
dare to.

That is all my current wisdom.

Well, the responses have…

Well, the responses have been pouring in! (ok, not quite, but 5 affirmatives in one night is a very good sign). I wouldn't be able to afford this myself until around March/April sometime. In the meantime, I'll be talking to some publishers (Gary Bowen at Obelesk and Cecelia Tan) to see if I can talk them into doing it for me. It's kind of a scary project to undertake all on my own...

Yesterday was pleasant -- made crepes again for dinner (they're great with sliced apples sauteed in butter and cinnamon and some shredded sharp cheddar) and hung out at David's place. He's a musician, and plays bass guitar with a young band. He seems to think that I have some potential for singing backup vocals or somesuch -- makes me highly nervous, but it might be fun to try. A neat hobby, anyway -- I can't imagine giving up writing for it. :-) It's amazing how much more nerve-wracking it is to sing in front of people than to play an instrument; the voice is just much more personal, I suppose.

I miss my mathematician (he's home in California visiting the folks). 9 days and counting.

..afternoon....Just a quick note --feeling exhausted (didn't sleep well last night) and so I'm going to head home a little early and try to catch a nap. I'm supposed to have dinner with my friend Abby (she owns a used bookstore out in the 'burbs) and then we're driving up to First Friday (the monthly meeting of the Philadelphia Folk group. Should be fun, if I don't fall asleep.

Let me not to the…

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds...

Hmmm. Reading poetry this morning. I'm rather fond of Shakespeare. His sonnets often leave something to be desired, but I do like this one. I come back to it ever so often to remind myself that I should curb those impulses to shape and change and mold my partner(s) into more comfortable forms. Rough edges can be useful.

Spend two hours on the phone with my friend Kirsten (she's the successful one, an actuary in St. Paul (side note: St. Paul has a fantastic Sri Lankan restaurant. Don't remember the name, but it was really good, and the second hottest food was too hot for *me* to eat. There are also supposedly 3 Sri Lankan restaurants in NY). Makes heaps of money but I wouldn't want her job. She says she likes it.) last night, talking over the new David thing, and lots of old stuff. She's stranded in the middle of Minnesota with a boyfriend and some other casual friends but no real girlfriends, nobody to go shopping with or dye her hair with or bitch about men with. Sad. We're considering taking a weekend at the end of February to go down to Disney World -- I haven't been there in years, and it would be nice to be warm for a long weekend. Have to see if my finances are up to it.

I took a break from the Twain (some fascinating descriptions of just how hard it was to be a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi) to speed through a re-reading of Sayers' The Nine Tailors. A good mystery, but one with massive amounts of campanology (bell-ringing) lore, which went right over my head. I also missed Harriet Vane in it -- guess I indulged myself a little too much with Busman's Honeymoon. I had also planned to watch Party of Five last night (I admit it, I'm an addict), but Kirstie's call interrupted. Anyone want to fill me in on what happened?

A Question for my Readers

I'm considering self-publishing an anthology of my erotic poetry and stories, of a quality similar to what you'd find in a good bookstore. I'd include a few old favorites and some new works. However, to make it cost effective, I'd have to order about 500 copies, and charge you guys $10.00/book. So I need to get a feel for a) whether you'd buy such a book (about 120 pgs of text), and b) whether $10 is a reasonable price for it. So I'm asking ALL of you to please drop me a quick note answering those questions. Thanks!

Okay. So I thought about…

Okay. So I thought about it some, and talked it over with my friends, so here's the deal. They're okay with me mentioning them by first name, which makes life a little simpler. So I get to do that, and I'll tell you a little more about them, so you have some context. On the other hand, I'm not really interested in turning this diary into some form of soap opera, so you probably won't get the ins and outs of my emotional life. More philosophical/practical sort of. Of course, all this (and everything) is always subject to change.

Not much more to report lately. Finally started submitting stories again today -- sent a short piece called "Send in the Clown" to Terra Incognita, a new sf magazine with a cool premise -- we'll see if they like it. Also got a check from CyberPorn Magazine for a reprint -- checks are always nice. One of these days I'll get to quit the day job.

Hmmm...guess I'll wait and see what response this gets. If the crazies start coming out in droves, I'll have to just delete this info. I do want to note -- several people have written and expressed concern that I put my address on the web. I appreciate the thought, but keep in mind that since it's clear to any moderately competent hacker that I log in from Philly, a quick phone call to information is all they need to get my home phone and address. I don't want to live in fear. So far, perhaps I've just been lucky, but I plan to live my life as openly as is reasonable. And 'reasonable' is, of course, a very subjective judgement.