Added a recording of me…

Added a recording of me singing a few verses of "If I Could" to the 1997 poems, removed "And If" from 1998 (will try re-recording, since it doesn't seem to ftp properly as is), added "Evensong" from 1995, confirmed that "Even Arthur" from 1994 appears to be complete, if file size is anything to go by.

*sigh* Tested a few on Ian's computer. While "Do You Know" from 1997 appears to be fine, "If I Could" totally bombed. Guess you don't get to hear me sing yet. I'm sure you're relieved. :-) Got to go do some real work, but I'll try to get back to these later.

Plan for today; hit World Ground cafe for an hour or so; come back and help a student with a paper; do more work in the evening; call Kevin. Nothing too exciting. :-) Hope y'all are having a pleasant weekend.

Oh, almost forgot to recommend to you a site that Jim sent me:

Zen Stories -- I think I'm going to bookmark it and keep dipping back into it when necessary. My favorite so far is "Empty Your Cup".

11:30 p.m. I've gotten very off my normal schedule -- I find it a little hard to believe that I'm still writing this late at night. Just finished revising "Leek Soup" for MZB's Sword and Sorcery series -- wish me luck! She has a very fast turnaround time, so if I mail it off tomorrow, I should hear back soon.

I'm still awake, so I'm going to try to do some revisions on "Deep with Sea" as well (which my teacher has talked me into including in my thesis). I think I'll be sending it off to Realms of Fantasy next. And in between, I've written a poem. Have a good week, everyone. Enjoy the budding spring. Our roses are going crazy, the chives have doubled in size, the red poppies are lovely, and the alyssum has started to sprout. The garden is full of ladybugs (on Jennifer's advice, to eat pests that were munching my basil. Thanks again, Jennifer!)


And You

I am finding it hard
writing poetry
these days.

Often I take small refuge
in formalism,
in pattern.

When I think of you,
of us,
I'm dizzy.

I am puzzles and confusion,
and you
are poetry.

There are so many choices
and so
few words.


1:05 a.m. and I have revised and printed "Deep with Sea". I actually made fairly minor changes, as while some of the suggested changes would probably make the story more gripping (such as more dialogue/scenes at the beginning, which I know is rather slow), I think they would interfere with the style. Or maybe that's just me being too protective of my words. Whichever -- out it goes tomorrow into the world and the tender hands of Shawna McCarthy at Realms of Fantasy. Think good thoughts about my baby...

I really ought to go to sleep now.

Jim tells me that “And…

Jim tells me that "And if" got cut off halfway through, meep. Hopefully that's a simple ftp problem and not a recording problem. I'll try to send it over again tonight before I go to bed.

Gods, I'm tired. It's 10:20, and I just got home from a marathon shopping session. One of my friends, Thida, decided that she needed to look more professional for work, and since she claims that she can't match anything, I became fashion consultant. It *was* fun deciding to spend hundreds of dollars of someone else's money (okay, advising her to spend it), and dressing her up like a lovely Thida-doll. It's interesting dressing her, because although she's not much taller than me (some), her figure is pretty much entirely different, and so I ended up choosing clothes for her that I would never wear. She looks great in those teensy skin-tight tops that are all the rage now, for example, whereas flowy things generally work better for me. Anyway, it was fun and tiring. When we finished shopping, I made her a list of what went with what, and then she took me out to dinner (with Doug) at Tropix, a really excellent Caribbean restaurant on Piedmont (near MacArthur). They've got this sweet/spicy sauce for the cornbread that was just killer.

We also talked for hours. I haven't talked to her in too long.

Let's see -- what else should I update y'all on? Oh, there's the capsizing, right.

So yesterday we finally had the capsize class. I'd been looking forward to it, mostly because I was a little nervous and wanted to get past that. Well, I'm not nervous anymore, but I *am* frustrated. So, we went out alone in these little boats, Sunfishes. Very cute. And when we'd gotten out a goodly way from the dock (in Lake Merritt, very safe), we tipped our boats over. This took a little work, since it wasn't very windy, but I didn't have much trouble here. This was my favorite part, as it turned out; the boat went over pretty slowly, and it wasn't scary at all, and since it was a hot day, it was kind of nice being dumped into the water. I do wish I'd kept my mouth closed as I swallowed some very salty and rather gross lake water.

Okay, so the next thing you're supposed to do is swim around quick to the bottom of the boat (now lying on its side), turn it so the bow is facing into the wind (which I forgot to do, but I think it was pretty irrelevent as it turned out), and then grab hold of the centerboard. Depending on how strong/big you are, you have a couple of options at this point, but given my size, it was pretty clear that I was going to have to go with the hang on the end of the centerboard and rock method, as opposed to the pull yourself up onto it and jump method. Which went okay at first -- with a few tugs, the boat started rising. Amazing. But then I made the mistake of pausing for just a sec...and it sank again. Further. And it got heavier (as water filled the sail). And the time that followed, as I exhausted my arms and lungs trying to right the damned thing was tremendously unpleasant. I wasn't in any danger, of course, with my life preserver and a teacher standing by (one who eventually came out and helped, though only as much as she had to, thank the gods for small blessings), but it was incredibly tiring, and perhaps the most frustrating experience I've been through in a long time. I *hate* not being able to do things. It turned out later that there was a hole in my mast, so the metal mast had *also* filled with water, but that was really small comfort. If I'd been a little faster, a little stronger, hadn't paused at that crucial second...dammit.

Okay, I know this matters basically naught in the grand scheme of things, and as the teacher said, it's good to know your limitations -- but dammit, I don't want to admit that I *have* limitations. (and yes, David, I can just see the gears turning in your head and I'm sure you're not surprised...psychoanalyze me later, please, dear. :-) Okay, deep breath. Not a big deal. Not a Big Deal.

More sit-ups. More push-ups. It is certainly within my power to get strong enough to right a small boat. Maybe this summer I can convince David to come out with me on the water and let me try this again.

I can’t explain to you…

I can't explain to you why I felt the need to tape some of my poems for you guys tonight (or why I stayed up hours to do it). If you have a chance to check out "Even Arthur Would Forgive" in 1994 and "Do You Know" in 1997 and "and if, in some strange country" in 1998, I would appreciate it. I'm not going to bring over the others until I know these are working.

I was going to write a big long post in response to Heather's last journal entry but I'm too tired and it's 12:10 a.m. and I'm going to sleep.

Still frantically busy,…

Still frantically busy, my dears. Sorry! The good news is that Heather has started keeping an on-line journal. Why am I telling you this? Because not only is she a good writer (of course she's a good writer, why else would I buy her story, eh?), but she will probably be at least occasionally mentioning me in her journals, and things we're doing, so it may be interesting for you to get events from her perspective as well as mine. Or rather than mine, these days, since I'm so swamped.

Almost done putting Maiden Voyage together, huzzah! And it looks like the stressful academic stuff may work out. Maybe. We'll see.

Good recent reads: Joanna Russ's _Picnic on Paradise_ and _And Chaos Died_. Fascinating writing style, short, really twisted way of looking at the world. Been quite a relief for me. Good recent movie watching: Impromptu (which Jed recommended and I *had* it turned out seen before but it was well worth watching again; the scandalous life of George Sand and Chopin and Liszt (sp?) and others) and Kama Sutra (which David tells me he didn't like when he watched it, but I think he missed the point. I think he was watching it as a conventional movie, when in fact you have to watch it as a dark fairy tale instead, with princesses and servant girls and wicked kings and lots of beautiful Indian women and lots of amazingly hot scenes. You might even want to turn the sound off for most of it. :-)

As expected, I feel…

As expected, I feel better this morning. Had a really nice evening with David (he made fried rice, new dish, woohoo! :-) (he's a very good cook, but occasionally gets in just a little bit of a rut :-) and just didn't think about work for a while. He tromped me at Scrabble again, too. I'm finding it harder and harder to believe that I've actually beaten him once. Lately he's been winning by a good hundred points every game. I think he ought to let me and Heather team up against him. (I suggested this, and he claimed that he would *still* stomp us. What was that saying about pride and falls?)

I spent some time reading mouthorgan again this morning. An interesting discussion of the porn/erotica distinction, which I, with effort, refrained from jumping into again, and a neat piece on on-line chats, with the question of why so often they are composed of silence. I couldn't resist a long answer to that one, so stop over to their comments page if you're interested. I mostly talked about the game, truth or dare.

There's a fabulous reading coming up at Mills next week, that I encourage any Bay Area people to attend. It's the AWP (Associated Writing Programs) Spring Reading, a benefit that is featuring Chitra Divakaruni and Bharati Mukherjee. Two South Asian writers who have both written work I enjoyed, especially Mukherjee's _Holder of the World_. It's $5 for students, $10 for others, and it's for a good cause. Wednesday, April 22nd, 7 p.m., call 510-430-2236 for more details.

Well, I'm going to see if I can squeeze in a little more e-mail handling (still very behind) before sailing class. Today we capsize! The lake is very very cold, but at least the sun is out. Think good thoughts at me around 2-ish (non-getting-fouled-up-in-the-sail thoughts, and not-having-the-boat-turn-turtle thoughts, and especially not-having-a-defective-life-preserver thoughts :-).

Tonight, dinner with Arthur, tomorrow morning and afternoon work, tomorrow night, Becca's birthday, Sunday morning and afternoon work. That's as far as I have planned out...let's see if I stick to it.

A brief stop by to tell…

A brief stop by to tell you guys about the most un-put-downable book I've read in quite a while, James Tiptree's _Brightness Falls From the Air_. Stellar. Not only some interesting ideas and complex characterization, but really gripping plot. As the New York Times Book Review says, "The core of the story is a nonstop scene of terror that pits interspecies empathy against greed and sadism, and plays astonishing yet persuasive tricks with time" and I'm totally with the Baltimore Sun when they say that this novel "will leave you crying, hoping, jubilant, and in awe. This is surely a book that must not be missed."

I made the mistake of starting it yesterday morning, and it was only by forcing David to drag me away to a coffeeshop (found a great new coffeeshop at 38th and MacArthur, World Ground -- think it may become my new haunt) that I and my laptop managed to write twelve pages of my academic paper instead of finishg the book. Darn good thing I left it at home, because if I'd taken it with me, I doubt I would have written the paper. (On Mary Wilkins Freeman, a fascinating writer from the American Realist period, who I could rave about in very different ways; delicate irony most beautiful...)

I've been retreating to books a lot lately, both textbooks and pleasure reading. I shouldn't be doing pleasure reading, in some sense, since I have so much work and so little time to do it in...but I don't think I could have coped with the last weeks otherwise. I was reading parts of William Styron's (author of _Sophie's Choice_) memoir of his depression, _Darkness Visible_ just now (for class), and was struck by lines he quoted from Dante:

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
Che la diritta via era smarrita.

In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood,
For I had lost the right path.

Of course, I am not coping with anything like as dire as Styron's deep depression, and in a few weeks, it'll all be settled, one way or another, but I have certainly been feeling quite grim lately (or at least, grim for me, who am accustomed to a generally cheerful disposition, sanguinary, rather than melancholic) and also lost. Partly because quite a bit is out of my hands; certainly I have to work very hard now, and will, but even that may not be good enough.

There are bright moments. A bubbly e-mail from my little sister this morning brightened a good hour, and the chatter from my anthology authors (who are now busily corresponding to and fro) has brought me smiles at odd moments for the last few days. I know it's not nearly so bad as it seems.

I can't even call Kevin; he's away at his grandmother's memorial. Sigh -- now I'm just feeling sorry for myself, when he has something much harder to deal with. She was a lovely lady, from what little I saw of her.

Dinna worry, my dearies. Soon May 1st will come and go, and May 11th, and May 16th as well (all dire days, for one reason or another), and all will be settled.

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.

And so we came forth, and once again beheld the stars.

Guys, I’m sorry I…

Guys, I'm sorry I haven't written in so long. If any of my RL friends are reading this and wondering why I haven't written/called you back, it's 'cause I am more swamped/stressed with work than I have ever been. The next month will be rather hellacious, I'm afraid, and communication will undoubtedly be spotty. Apologies.

Remember to file those tax forms or extensions, Americans! :-)

Heh. I was e-mailing…

Heh. I was e-mailing Marti (editor) this morning about an anthology and was asking her if there were any particular kind of stories she wanted for it (funny, surreal, bitchy, whatever), and notedthat "I do better with constraints." *grin* Wonder how she'll take that...

I suspect it won't do any good to protest that I was just talking about stories...

In other news, two interesting pieces of information in sf these days. One is the demise of OMNI magazine's internet version, laying off Ellen Datlow and several other editors (first heard from the Market Maven, confirmed by Ellen). Ick yuck. This is bad, because I had great hopes for on-line magazines based partly on this one -- it went on-line and continued paying its authors top rates. The parent company, General Media, plans to do a print version, but who knows when and how regularly? Ellen was not encouraging.

The other interesting piece of news is that over in Britain, in response to really ridiculous charges of pedophilia (or paedophilia, as they appear to spell it), Sir Arthur C. Clarke announced that not only had he not had sex for many years (the man is 80), but that he was also quite gay, and had no interest in molesting little girls (the charge brought against him in the newspapers). Clarke's queerness had been long quietly suspected, as he lives with a male companion in Sri Lanka and has for many years, but we now have definitive proof. He said that he might write a new book incorporating it. The response I've seen so far in the sf community has been neither shock nor dismay at the revelation, but rather matter-of-factness and a hope that he'll actually write the new book himself... If you haven't read Clarke, _Childhood's End_ is a stunning book, one of the best of classic sf.

Yesterday I had dinner with Jed at New Delhi Junction in Berkeley (the curries were tasty, but the naan and samosas and rice were all overly oily, ick). Afterwards we stopped at Cody's and he bought me a book! :-) Isabel Allende's new _Aphrodite_, a book on eroticism and food. "Appetite and sex are the great motivators of history. They preserve and propagate the species, they provoke wars and songs, they influence religions, law and art. All of creation is one long uninterrupted cycle of digestion and fertility." The book appears to be a combination of personal reminiscence, folklore, historical legends, bits of literature, and recipes. Perhaps more -- I haven't read it yet. I love the way it starts..."The fiftieth year of our life is like the last hour of dusk, when the sun has set and one turns naturally toward reflection. In my case, however, dusk incites me to sin, and perhaps for that reason, in my fiftieth year I find myself reflecting on my relationship with food and eroticism; the weaknesses of the flesh that most tempt me are not, alas, those I have practiced most." The back cover has a totally succulent picture of the author, topless, shielded by a bowl of fruit. You go, girl! Even if the book turns out to be as light and frothy as I suspect, it'll make a lovely coffee table piece, and it's always nice to see a serious literary author dipping into open eroticism.

Shmuel, I managed to accidentally delete your mail before replying. Thanks for the comments on the stories, and on the broken link in yesterday's journal. Fixed.

Back to work, my dears. Talk to y'all later...