The procedure was fine,…

The procedure was fine, but the prognosis is uncertain.

Our heroine (I'm your heroine, aren't I? :-) was last seen waiting patiently for Kevin to wake up. Around 3, she got cold (because she cleverly had forgotten that to turn up the heat in his apartment it was necessary to turn a little switch as well as raising the dial on the thermostat) and tried to sneak into the bedroom closet quietly to borrow a sweater. Our heroine is not very good at sneaking. Kev woke up, and she ended up climbing into bed with him (much warmer) and having the impending conversation o' doom. No longer impending. Not so doomful either, as it turned out.

I'm not sure exactly what to say about that conversation. I guess the key points were that a) a couple of issues that I had thought relatively immovable have somehow dissolved into mist and sunlight, which is a cause of a remarkable amount of happiness, even though b) there remains one issue which has so far continued to prove immovable. Well, it moved, but it's still blocking the road. It's a double-wide issue with a big fat ass, and we're going to need a crane, at least, to get it out of there.

So we're still broken up. Which is a bit...bewildering, I suppose, considering how we feel about each other. But we can't think of a way around this. Pretty much the only solution is for one of us to change our mind on this particular fat issue...and the thing is, one of us might. We really might. But we can't predict it and we can't force it and we really ought not to hang around waiting for that change to happen. I know that. He knows that. It's a little hard to feel that at the moment.

I'm going to get on a plane and go back to Salt Lake and try to get a little of the work done that I slacked on all weekend (I think I really needed a vacation -- three days of tv-watching and eating good food has made my body and temperament a lot more stable, aside from everything else). Then I'll get on another plane and go to New Orleans on Wednesday. Then I'll do conference stuff all weekend, and mostly try not to think about this relationship thing. I'll let you know if anything changes.

Kevin and I were in his…

Kevin and I were in his hometown a few years ago. I'd been having a bad day -- I don't remember why. We were walking around a little yuppie shopping area, after spending some hours working in a cafe. Restless. We stopped at one of those little shops where you can purchase white unfinished ceramic, paint it with colored glazes, and have them fire it. I hadn't encountered such stores before at that point; I was charmed. Excited. Delighted. I dragged Kevin in, and we then spent about forty-five minutes picking out something to paint. He was just keeping me company; he didn't have any interest in painting anything himself. I was tempted by various fanciful critters -- dragons and such, but they all seemed fairly expensive, and I decided I really ought to do something practical. I decided on a sugar bowl; it was going to be a gift for a friend. (In retrospect, it would have been a bad gift for him at that point, but it might not be a bad gift now. Hmm...) All good so far, right?

So I picked out my sugar bowl, and I went up to the counter to get my colors, and the girl (seventeen or so?) told me that I couldn't paint it. Because they didn't have any tables left. And all those empty tables? Those were for a big group that had reserved the place for 5 p.m. But it was only 4:30. It would take me longer than that, she was sure. I really didn't think it would. She was insistent -- she knew how long it took the paints to dry. I should come back tomorrow, she said. But I was leaving town tomorrow. She was very sorry. Before I could completely lose it and start yelling at her, asking her why she hadn't bothered to move her ass over and tell me that I wouldn't be able to do anything in the forty-five minutes I'd spent looking at white ceramic in her empty store, Kevin had gently steered me out. I was ready to cry. Not for any good reason -- just 'cause I couldn't stand the frustration of the whole experience. He gave me a hug. He fed me dinner and took me to a movie. I had cheered up by the end of the evening, but I held a grudge against those stores.

Several months later, it was my birthday. Or perhaps Christmas? My birthday, I think. Among other things, Kevin gave me a little box. Inside it was one of the ceramic dragons, the ones I'd thought were too expensive, that I'd reluctantly put aside in favor of a practical sugar bowl to give to someone else -- he'd gone back and gotten it for me, and painted it himself, green skin and yellow spots. I could imagine him in that little store, ignoring the snide sales clerk, carefully painting one layer of color, waiting for it to dry, adding little yellow spots. I was totally charmed.

So many years later, just the thought of that little dragon still makes me smile.

Hey, munchkins. So, I…

Hey, munchkins. So, I put on some clothes and picked up a book I've been meaning to read for a while, Michael Ondaatje's memoir, Running in the Family, and went to Artopolis for lunch. They have wonderful lemon rice soup (avgolemono? something like that). I read over the soup, half a portobello mushroom sandwich (with roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and goat cheese on foccacia), and half a cafe mocha (about as much coffee as I can take at one time). Got most of the way through the book, got restless, and decided to come back here. At which point I realized that that was a really inadequate journal entry that I posted earlier. It doesn't come close to giving you a sense of what the last couple of days have been like. Not that I necessarily always feel a responsibility to do that here, but every once in a while, at least...

I probably never really made clear why I decided to come visit. About two weeks ago, Kevin called and we were talking (while I was staying at Jed's). The topic of my getting seriously involved with someone else came up (fairly hypothetically). He got kind of stressed; of course, he knew it would happen eventually, that that was part of the deal when you broke up with someone. Not that we've been so strict about the break-up...which is part of the problem, of course. Oof -- it's difficult talking about this without needing to backtrack over and over and over again, because most of you know almost nothing about the break-up. Quick recap with relevant details:

We dated for nine years. In that time, we lived together for three years, here and there. We lived down the street from each other for about two years, off and on. We were long-distance the rest of the time...sometimes very long distance. We saw each other pretty often even then. We talked erratically -- sometimes almost every night, sometimes not at all for a week or two. Some of those conversations lasted all night. Our record phone conversation was somewhere around eleven hours. We love(d) each other lots. We had all the big conversations -- marriage, kids, work, time, etc. A little conflict here and there about poly stuff...but mostly not. The last couple of years of our relationship were marked with growing stress due to some pretty different plans for our separate futures. We couldn't seem to find a way to make them mesh, despite the best will in the world. I spent May of 2001 living with him in Chicago; he'd bought a condo, and I helped him pick new flooring, buy furniture. I was planning on doing one more year in Utah, finishing up my classes, and then moving in with him. In June I went to California -- he was about to head to France for six weeks to do math. In early June, we had another long conversation on the phone...and realized that both of us had serious doubts about the wisdom of my moving in with him with all the long-term stuff unresolved. By the end of the conversation, we'd decided we really ought to break up.

Oof. It's funny, I can recap nine years in a paragraph, but it gives you no real sense of us, of him, of our relationship. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was something. Something worth fighting for. You know that line in The Princess Bride, about true love? Like that.

If you've been reading my poetry over the years, you probably have some idea.

I spent most of June and July alternately crying and coping. I found that I didn't really want to talk to anyone about it -- and that I couldn't, that when I tried, I just fell apart. I've never been so purely sad. By August, I was talking to people, and when school started in September, I threw myself into work. Or tried to. I didn't do so well at it; by the end of the semester, I was losing it again. Kev came out to visit twice -- the first time, we came *this* close to getting back together...just because it hurt so much being apart. The second time, we only discussed it briefly -- just long enough for each of us to make sure that the other person hadn't figured out a solution for the long-term stuff. (I'm sorry to be vague about the long-term stuff, but I'm already skirting the edges of feeling like this is an invasion of Kev's privacy -- just take it that there are a couple of big issues.) They were both wonderful visits; I was intensely happy when with him -- and wrecked when he had to leave.

The holidays were horrible. I kept myself as busy as I could with relatives and friends, and I survived, barely. My sisters were great.

I came back to Utah, and started this new semester on fellowship. I had lots of time to read, to write, to catch up on old projects. I started feeling a little saner, a little more in control. I went on a few dates. The idea of having Kevin as just my best wasn't what I wanted, but it sounded manageable. I still wasn't happy about how things had worked out, but I suppose I was becoming reconciled. That's where I was two weeks ago, when we talked, when he got upset, when he said that he'd really rather finish discussing it in person. So I agreed to come out.

I was worried about what it would be like, being here. I thought being in this condo, where I'd planned to live with him, might be too upsetting. But it's been okay -- I hadn't really made so much impact on the place last May; it doesn't feel like it had started becoming my home. I do envy him the high ceilings and the hardwood floors. Kinda miss those. Chicago's been fine too -- kind of miserably cold, but Utah was too, so it's not so bad. Mostly we've been staying in, getting used to being around each other again. Putting off the conversation we're supposed to have. Enjoying each other's company, maybe pretending a little that we're a couple again, maybe fantasizing a little about the way things could have gone... It's insanely good being with him. It makes me so blissful that I can't think straight.

We figured we'd wait 'til today to talk; I did want to spend some time with Roshani and her family (and wanted to do it while I was still relatively mellow, so *before* I talked to Kev, rather than after). Most of yesterday was given over to that. It would have been a good plan, but it got waylaid by some bad luck. Kevin sometimes has trouble sleeping; last night I went to bed at 3 a.m., which was bad enough, but he ended up not being able to sleep at all. I woke up tired and cranky at 8 a.m., and came into the tv room to find him sitting up, watching old MASH episodes. I finished that mystery I'd been reading, and then we watched an old Next Gen double-episode together, Time's Arrow. Good episode. By that point, I was getting hungry, and he was finally a little sleepy. He put himself to bed (around noon) and I headed off to Artopolis for lunch.

I suppose we could have tried to talk this morning, but he would have been exhausted -- didn't seem like a good plan. And now I'm not quite sure how things will work; we usually try to avoid serious relationship conversations at night, because my thyroid levels are usually dipping by then and I'm much more prone to irrationality and weepiness. Maybe we'll put it off 'til tomorrow morning -- I'm not flying out until dinnertime. But that seems a bit chancy. We'll probably just talk when he wakes up, and risk the weepiness.

I'm not actually expecting our talk to change anything. I haven't changed my mind about the things I want long-term, so unless he's changed his mind, I don't really see any solution other than staying broken up and working on being best friends. In poly terms, we could theoretically try to have a secondary relationship -- romantic, but clearly non-serious. But in practical terms, I'm nowhere near emotionally ready for that. There's no way I can be romantically involved right now without being head-over-heels for him...and I appear to be constitutionally incapable of feeling that way without needing a sense that we have a viable future together. It just drives me too crazy otherwise. Maybe someday, years from now.

Right now, it still feels like it would take years. But then again, last July I couldn't imagine what it would feel like to not be constantly miserable. And here I am. Still often sad, but it's no longer a constant tearing at the heart.

I guess I've been wanting to lay all this out for a while now -- I couldn't talk about it for a while, that's all. Thanks for all of you who listened when I called you up -- and thanks also to those of you reading this who respected my request to just leave it alone for a while. I really appreciated it. Some things don't heal if you keep poking at them. This visit -- it's probably mostly a form of poking at it. What can I say? Sometimes the temptation is just irresistible. But eventually, you learn better. Right? So I'm told, anyway...

Ain't love grand?

Quick note –…

Quick note -- interesting discussion among a bunch of writers of race in sf/f. Have been meaning to post there for a while, but just got to it. Imagine will be posting a fair bit more as the discussion progresses.

Have started work on Tiptree committee! Woohoo! I'll be covering SciFiction for them, which means that I will be reading the whole magazine from now on. It'll be good for me, and for SH.

Highlights of the trip so far: Saw A Long Day's Journey Into Night with Kevin at the Goodman. Can't remember the last time I saw a play. Ate lots of yummy Greek food. Finished reading Connie Willis's Passage -- pretty good, but had trouble with medical errata in story; plausibility issues. Nice day yesterday with Roshani and Tom and Zoe -- who has grown so much it's just astonishing. She runs very well now! Yummy mushroom quiche and tomato salad. Came home, walked through snowstorm to Thai food. Watched lots of tv -- Kev has Tivo, which means he gets way too many shows. Borrowed Nancy Atherton's mystery-ghost story-romance-coming of age charming novel, Aunt Dimity's Death. Liked it immensely -- must recommend to all 20 and 30-something women I know. Watched classic movie Gilda last night; got very annoyed with male protagonist, who was way completely out of line. Made it impossible to have any sympathy with big sexist abusive jerk. Couldn't buy romantic happy ending pasted onto abuse story. Actively offensive.

Much pleasant time with Kev. Have managed to not discuss old relationship pretty much at all. Will see if that continues.

There are now 74 people…

There are now 74 people on my readers' list. It had held steady around 60 for a long time, but once I moved it to Yahoogroups and added a link from my stories page, an average of two people have joined every day. If I had started the group that way, years and years ago, and if it had held steady -- well, I don't think Yahoogroups was around 6 years ago, when I started this journal, but just as a thought experiment -- that 6 years * 365 days * 2 people = 4380. That's a lot of potential critiquers. :-)

Of course, most people just read, which is fine. That's the main reason it's there...

Slightly harried morning, but hopefully not too bad. I had to get up early to wash my hair. This sounds like such a girl-y thing that I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it's true, but what can you do? Because I have long hair (which I admit, is somewhat girl-y, but I know studly guys with long hair too), it takes a while to dry. Because hair dryers tend to turn your hair to straw (okay, vanity), I usually just let my hair air-dry...and in fact, I don't own a hair dryer. Which means that if I want to go outside without a wet head (advisable), I need to allow at least a couple of hours after the time I wash my hair. And if I wash my hair before I go to bed, I tend to wake up with a cold. Don't ask me why. Since I need to go to campus at 9 to pick up Susan's fax with her ID info and take it to Wells Fargo to establish her as a signer on the SH account -- and be back home by 11, when my cab arrives to take me to the airport...I needed to get up at 7 to wash my hair. There you go. More than you ever wanted to know about my personal bathing rituals. (Not the fun stuff, either. :-)

After all this hurrying, I'll probably whiz through the airport and have two hours of just sitting there. But I can't be sure of that, especially since the place was flooded with departing olympians and arriving paraolympians on Monday. Is okay -- I have a recommendation to write today and a POD book to edit, and those can both be worked on at the airport. I also have a survey editorial to write, but for that, I need the net. I suspect I'll be pushing that off to tomorrow.

I should go pack, but I wanted to tell you about one cool thing from workshop last night. We were talking about various literary styles -- specifically, the Naturalist style (very bare bones) and a more ornate style (think Dreiser vs. Nabokov). And Francois (teacher) was saying that one of the problems of reading/critiquing was that if a reader is familiar with/expecting one style, they may find the other approach incomprehensible -- and specifically, that they'll often think it's not doing as much. He compared it to taking a basketball fan to a baseball game -- that the basketball dude will be sitting there saying, "What's going on? When's something going to *happen*? It's been ten minutes, and nothing's happened!" Whereas in fact, something *is* happening -- lots is happening. The baseball game is just as densely packed with activity as the basketball game; it's just a radically different kind of activity, and a lot of it is going to be invisible to someone who isn't trained in reading it. (Just as if you took a baseball fan to a basketball game, she might say something like, "Okay, you're running back and forth and back and forth, but there's not much actually *happening*." Though maybe it doesn't happen so often in that direction. Maybe baseball is a little harder for people to grasp as an exciting sport, just as naturalistic writing is a little harder to see as a deliberately and skillfully constructed art.)

Anyway, I thought the whole metaphor was interesting, and useful also as applied to something like spec fic readers vs. lit fic readers. There's just as much going on with good spec fic as good lit fic, and vice versa. But try convincing a die-hard fan of one (or the other) of that!

Just finished draft of…

Just finished draft of Kathryn -- took a lot longer than I expected. Got on a roll -- ah well. Can't really complain about getting on a writing roll. Before that, finished various and sundry tasks, but a fair more still to do before I leave town again tomorrow lunchtime. I foresee little sleep in my immediate future. S'okay. Gotta run to class now -- hopefully it won't go too late tonight. Already feeling kind of bushed.

Well, the list is…

Well, the list is shorter, but somehow, all the easy items got done, leaving me with the trickier ones for today. :-) Here's some of them:

  • finish interim CD selling page
  • read manuscripts for today and do crits
  • finish revising Kathryn story -- due!
  • write survey editorial -- due!
  • call AppleCare re: keyboard
  • send out pre-ordered CD's (when addresses arrive)
  • do Elissa and Bryan's recommendation
  • finish editing POD manuscript
  • do POD contracts
  • set up Enterprise tape
  • finish off old student stuff! a whole bunch of phone calls. I owe tons of people calls, and I suspect only half of them will get called. If that many. This is what happens when you leave town for almost a month and then come back only to go away again.

I'm drinking tea out of my SH mug! :-) It's very cool and sleek and black. I loves it.

I did manage to send out e-mails to staff and contributors letting them know that they could order t-shirts and mugs -- and yesterday I mailed out t-shirts and mugs to people who had been waiting patiently (yes, David, you too). Some of them not so patiently. It took a surprisingly long time to buy the packaging materials, pack them, and mail them -- at least an hour, I think. A bit annoying, but oh well. Now I know what the postage costs on them, so in theory, I can mail them from home if I pick up more supplies. Not sure it's worth the bother, though -- $4 is a lot of stamps.

Strange Horizons…

Strange Horizons t-shirts! SH mugs! The new t-shirts and mugs have arrived, and I think they look pretty darn cool. :-) (The planet on the t-shirt is the same color as that on the mug, mostly purplish -- my digital camera doesn't appear to understand that, though. Odd.) They're a little different than I expected; the planet sort of bleeds out to black as you go left, so that it's not a perfect globe. It looks a little more stylized than the planet on our site; closer to the one on our business cards. But still, spiffy, and very recognizable, I think. In some ways, it may be even better this way, because it's less of a generic planet, and looks more like a logo. Interesting. I'll be sending them out shortly to the people I owe them to. If you're a SH contributor, remember that you can buy them from us at cost + shipping. We encourage you to wear them at cons or use the mugs at work. :-) Details forthcoming on the contributors' mailing list.

Speaking of SH, I hadn't pointed you to this week's issue yet, had I? The conclusion of a two-part story, an article on making believable planets, new poetry, and a review of Steve Berman's queer sf collection. Much fun. Go read! :-)

Indigo Girls on the…

Indigo Girls on the stereo, tea in my dinosaur mug (very cool mug -- when you add hot liquids, the dinosaur's skin disappears, leaving his skeleton). Sunlight pouring into the sunroom, where my plants look reasonably happy after their watering and trim. The lemongrass fills a window.

Been puttering on various little things -- I have a long list of tiny tasks. Send out SH illo request letters (one done, one to go), call tons of people, consider doing a fellowship app. A whole host. I took a little time to organize my tupperware/baking dish cupboard (really, it needed organizing) and put a copy of And Baby Makes Four up on the published stories page. This is the piece I read last week, for the Best Bi Erotica 2 launch. It was a little awkward reading it -- it's not quite as sharp as I would have liked. Clunky in places. But still, I think it's kind of charming, and unusual. I find this threesome fascinating; part of me really wants to take some time and write their novel. I think it'll be a while before I get to that, though. I'm getting to know them pretty well, but I have no idea what their novel should look like.

Back to work.