On the minus side, I’ve…

On the minus side, I've been having a lot of nightmares lately. Last night and the night before -- similar dreams. Anxiety dreams, really...it's pretty clear that they're just playing out scenarios I'm worried about, but it's a bit unnerving how real they are. I tend to dream in full story and dialogue, so that I can remember whole conversations (sometimes) when I wake up, and they're so damn plausible that they start me worrying again... it took a good couple of hours to shake that off this morning. There's just too much in my life that's up in the air, y'know? I'll feel a lot better once things start getting settled, that's for certain. Soon, hopefully.

On the plus side, my new disk drive is working fine, System 7.5.3 appears quite functional (David had the disks, as it turned out), and I bought more memory yesterday, so now Mordecai (my desktop) has a sexy 40 MEG of RAM, and has run all morning without crashing once. He's feeling fit and lean and young again -- quite rejuvenated! Tomorrow Sarah drops of a copy of FrameMaker for me, and I spend the rest of the week learning it. Looks like Kevin won't make it up here until Sunday or Monday, as it turns out, which I suppose gives me more time to work uninterrupted.

I did get some writing done yesterday, 2500 words of a new Puritan novella (they generally run about 9000). It's actually probably the best one I've written for them...well, if it holds on as strong as it started. We'll see. On the dark side. I'm going to try to get another 3000 done today (at least). We'll see how it goes. Oh, and do my laundry. Laundry is very important. :-)

Took a minute to do some revisions of the poly pages.

I'm going to get back to work, but here's a joke Lisette sent me -- only mildly offensive, I hope. :-)

Men are like a fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it's our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you'd want to have dinner with.

*yawn* Hello,…

*yawn* Hello, munchkins. Gods, I'm tired.

Yesterday..well, yesterday was strange. I could go into a long explanation and complaint, but what it sums up to is that I got up at 4 a.m. and spent way too many hours working for an insufficient amount of money. My own damn fault, really. Live and learn... I did attend my first NASCAR race. Very loud. Vaguely interesting, but more interesting watching the crowd, and noticing how they only got animated when it looked like a driver might get hurt. Heather said that they come here to watch someone die, and I think that's probably too true...

Today, I go up and work in Berkely for the day, which'll be nice. Lunch with Jason, dancing at the Plough tonight (hope I'm not too wiped!), and working in a cafe in the afternoon. Should be pleasant.

Hmm...is there other news? My uchicago account is still down, so I've started redirecting mail to lanminds (maryanne@mamohanraj.com). If you've sent mail to uchicago since Thursday or so, I haven't gotten it. I sent a query to a friend there, but if I don't hear from her in a day or so, I'm going to start a serious redirection (will be a big pain, which is why I'm putting it off).

Oh, and Kevin should be arriving in town at the end of the week, assuming flights and all work out. That'll be very good -- it's been way too long since I saw the boy this time.

Okay, I'd better go have my tea. I hope y'all are having a good Monday, and that the rest of the week goes well...

9:40 a.m. -- Hey, the uchicago account is back up! Took a while to go through and handle the urgent mail that had piled up, but looks like I'm back on track, huzzah. They had a security problem and had to shut down for a few days. I'd still like personal mail to go to lanminds.com -- I'm going to try to keep the uchicago account for mailing lists...

I want to say a public thank you to all the kind people who wrote me about the new poly section. I'm still nervous, but it definitely helps hearing such supportive things from you all. No nasty fall-out yet, fingers crossed. I'll reply personally as soon as I get a chance...be patient with me, please.

Well, rainbow has been…

Well, rainbow has been down since last night, so if you're trying to mail me there, no go. Please resend any urgent mail to maryanne@mamohanraj.com.

Had a lovely dinner last night, with a totally luscious Malaysian chicken curry (mmm...leftover curry for breakfast...) the focus of the evening. Jed had had a rotten day, but I think we managed to cheer him up a little...

Woke up earlier than expected this morning, surprisingly not really tired. It seems too soon for the exercise to be having this effect...maybe it's just a fluke. Glad I'm up early, though, because tomorrow I'm getting up at 4 a.m. (for a catering job that Ellie and Heather are going to as well; pays well, but oof!). Roundsing at the house this afternoon, and I'm going to try to go to sleep early (though if I go to bed at 8 p.m., the sun will still be up...)

I think I may spend some time revising bits and pieces of the web page today. I've been meaning to add a section on why I keep a journal at all, for example, and to redo the bio, and streamline some other bits. Anyway, hope you're having a good weekend so far -- talk to y'all later...

7:25 a.m. -- Added an introduction.

9:35 a.m. -- Finished _Skin_, talked briefly to Roshani, updated bio, including a new section on polyamory, about which I am very nervous. More tea now...(I don't know what I'd do without tea...)

Hey, munchkins. Well, I…

Hey, munchkins. Well, I got a little accomplished yesterday -- I bought a new disk drive (mine was broken), and installed system 7.5.3, huzzah. Now all I need to do is buy some more memory (Monday), and I'll be all set to install FrameMaker and start learning it. Behind schedule, but at least things are progressing.

The poetry slam up in Berkeley was a blast! I didn't win, but people liked my poems (read "Confessions" and "Pre-Med") and there was just a ton of great material that night. It would take too long to list all the poems that impressed me, but if the Berkeley people keep this up, San Francisco is going to be in trouble.

Met Jason beforehand for dinner (yummy crepes at Crepes-a-Go-Go) and he ended up coming to the slam. Met up there with Lydia and her friend Shane, who were crashing at our place afterwards, and ended up letting Garland, a visiting Monterey poet, crash there as well. All stayed up late talking; much fun! Didn't get nearly enough sleep, but it was well worth it...

Very tired and sluggish; I think I have a mild cold, though it appears to be getting better. Exercising semi-regularly again, hurrah! And even if nothing else is progressing, work on the webzine is -- we have a name! After much discussion and check of what was available, we're going with:

Clean Sheets

Now we just need to design a logo... :-)

Hmm...well, perhaps I should go pretend to work. Talk to y'all later...

8:30 p.m. -- Well, I wrote something. Not fiction, not for anyone who is going to pay me, but an essay that I'm pretty happy with, on growing up in the AIDS era. Got to check a few things on it, and then I'll send it out to the readers list and the erotica workshop for critique.

Jed's coming to dinner, and we're just finishing up cooking, so I'm going to go give the sauce one more stir...

Well, I did try to do an…

Well, I did try to do an entry for yesterday, but the computer kept crashing and losing it. Just as well, I think -- I had typed in about 9/10's of a poem that I'm now not sure I'd want posted. Maybe Somebody was trying to tell me something.

I didn't get as much done yesterday as I'd hoped to. Perhaps today will be better. I *am* almost caught up on e-mail, which is something, I suppose.

Grey day. Hard time motivating. My tea is steeping, which may help. I'm feeling an almost irresistible desire to scrub the bathroom, but I think that desire is highly suspicious. Resistance at play. I do know that part of the reason I'm feeling so lack-a-daisical (are those dashes supposed to be there?) is 'cause I exercised and gardened yesterday, for the first time in a while. Body tired! Body is almost entirely lacking in muscles! Very sad!

Gardening update: Well, the herbs are generally lovely. Rosemary doing fine; I've used it several times. Ditto parsley. Chives and dill a little less enthusiastic but strong enough to use some. Basil finally starting to shoot up -- they've been missing the sun, I think. Ellie cut back the rose bush that overhangs them, and that helped, I think. Cilantro totally out of control; trimmed it back severely yesterday; I just don't use that much cilantro, I'm afraid. Thai basil struggling along bravely. Thyme growing happily, very pretty.

Early girl tomato plants are *huge*, with many green tomatoes right now. Very exciting. The report from the actual vegetable garden is less exciting -- just not enough sun. Poor peppers were barely alive, and I lost the Sicilian tomatoes to rot. And my spinach had been horribly infected with leaf miners -- evil evil. All those beautiful big green leaves turning white and withered as these little slugs burrowed through them...

Well, transplanted some of the chili peppers; not sure they'll survive the trip, but they're in a sunnier spot now. And cut back the infected areas on the spinach; cross your fingers and hope the miners don't come back. Arthur tells me the spinach has started bolting, however, whatever that means, which does not bode well for the spinach. The corn is quite beautiful, and about half the bean plants are getting quite long. I staked them to some tomato frames in the hopes that they'd grow *up* instead of getting thoroughly tangled among the corn; not sure that was the right decision, but they *look* better now. And the squash is quietly doing fine, flowering beautifully. The real excitement was the several potato plants that have popped up; I had forgotten that Gwen, prior housemate, had planted potatoes. Not at all sure when to harvest them, but they're looking nice and healthy. Ditto single leftover artichoke plant.

Not much to report on the flowers; doing fine on the poppies, pansies, etc. The blue lobelia is utterly stunning -- I'm so glad Arthur talked me into getting some. Snapdragons are shooting up finally and should be flowering soon. And the white alyssum has finally come up from seed and is filling in the bare patches of soil in the flower beds. I look out my cobalt-blue edged kitchen window at the lemon tree and the bright flower beds in the morning, and I wonder why I'd even consider leaving this house...

Well. I know the answer to that one.

Off to work, my chickadees. Have a lovely day.

12:45 -- Well, haven't accomplished as much as I'd like so far, but I *have* finished another book review, this time of Dorothy Allison's _Skin: Talking about Sex, Class and Literature_. Mailed it out to those of you on the readers list, so you should be getting it shortly if you haven't already. I'll be publishing it in the new webzine, which should be named very shortly, huzzah! So soon it'll have a web page, and some calls for submissions, etc. and so on. You'll probably be hearing a lot about it in upcoming weeks...

Okay, going to shower (yes, it *has* been a slow morning) and then I'm not logging on again until 2. So there. I'm going to *make* myself do some actual work...which means this computer is going to be turned off until then and I'll work on the laptop. It's a bit ridiculous that I have to go to these lengths to make myself work, but so be it...

Oh, and if anyone knows how I'd go about updating my system software from Mac 7.1 to 7.5, that'd be appreciated. Is there a free download somewhere?

Hey, munchkins. Tired,…

Hey, munchkins. Tired, and feeling a bit ill, so I'll skip the profuse apologies for not writing in so long...you've all heard them before.

Gosh, I don't know if I *can* reconstruct what's happened since last Wendesday. Hmm...well, finished off at the temp job on Friday. Work went fine, and at Friday lunch I got to meet one of *you* who was coincidentally working at Chiron. Very nice meeting you, Louise -- hope you enjoyed it too! :-)

Hmm..backtracking to Thursday, had a pleasant dinner at Breads of India with an Irish dance friend, Chris. Conversation became way too introspective later, but we survived intact, I think. Hopefully he'll forgive me for not meeting him at dancing tonight -- too tired!

Oh, and Wednesday was the Sex Toy Tales reading at Barnes and Noble. David and Heather both came in support, which was very nice of them, and the reading was a lot of fun. David hadn't really seen me read before, and claims that my onstage personality is intriguingly different from normal life. Dunno. Talked to the B&N people about a reading for Maiden Voyage (gotta contact Marti tomorrow and find out what's up with that), chatted a fair bit with Francisco, author of "Tea for Three", which was delightful, and got to meet Meg, reader in town to visit her sister, I believe. That was great fun! Hi, Meg!

Okay, skipping forward again; dinner with David on Friday, followed by prep on Saturday for his sister's visit. Great excuse to pick up some kitchenwares we'd been lacking, like trivets! :-) El's refinished the table, and it's gorgeous, so I'd hate to mark it up with hot plates accidentally...

The dinner itself, with Beth (David's sister), Jay (Beth's spouse), David, Heather and Josh (David's brother), went well, I think. I discovered some new recipes (antipasto and spinach gnocchi), which I'm afraid I'm too tired to bother putting up here unless someone begs, which went over quite well. And it was neat watching the three siblings interact; I nobly resisted the urge to beg Beth for embarrassing Young David stories. :-) I settled for teasing him with the rest of the table instead. I bet Beth is really good at teasing him when she wants to...

Yesterday got back to work. Called up Arthur and talked him into coming up and working with me at World Ground cafe; that was very pleasant. Much more fun than working alone, even if (possibly) less productive. (The possibly is 'cause even if you do less 'cause you're talking more, you're less likely to just blow everything off completely). Then went back and watched The Tall Guy, which he hadn't seen, despite being a big Four Weddings and a Funeral fan (same author, Emma Thompson being utterly charming). It's not quite as strong a movie, but fun, and we enjoyed it.

Today, worked some more, mostly on a mysterious project. I'll tell you more about it if it looks like it's actually happening, but right now I'm excited and enthused (wrote three pages yesterday and nine today). David came and kept me company in the coffeehouse today for a couple of hours. So kind... Tonight I watched the first tape of Short Cuts, but it got too long and depressing to keep watching. I'll finish it tomorrow.

Okay, eyes closing. Sorry for the rather dry summary...sleep well. I promise you something creative soon, really.

Hey, darlings. Can’t…

Hey, darlings. Can't talk long, as I've gotta get to work. Did have a lovely dinner with Sarah H. last night, and it looks like the plan is to spend next week working from home on some Puritan contracts I have and learning Framemaker, and that she'll definitely have some tech writing work for me the week after that, and for a couple of months. Sounds very good.

Best run, but I do want to stick up here a poem I wrote last week for my sister. Needed to hear it was okay with her first, but she says no problems...


I was talking to my sister on the phone,
the little one,
and she said,
        "I don't think I want to be a doctor."

And I thought,
        "Oh, no."

Now, you gotta understand,
        we're Asian.
        South Asian, actually.
        Sri Lankan, specifically.
And the thing about Asians is,
        we're *all* supposed to be doctors.
        We all *are* doctors.

My dad's friends are doctors.
        my mom's friends are doctors,
        my dad's *friends'* friends are doctors.
        and all of their kids
                are in med school right now,
                planning to be doctors.

My middle sister is planning to be a doctor,
        fourth year Johns Hopkins, pre-med,
        volunteering at a local hospital,
        studying for the MCAT's.

And I had thought the youngest was safely on the track,
        a few years behind,
        a freshman in college, pre-med,
        taking Biology, Chemistry,
        studying all the damned time,
        going to be just what the world needs,
        another Asian doctor.

And you gotta understand -- I was happy about this.
        They'll be successful.
        They'll have money; they won't have to worry,
        They'll be able to pay the rent on time unlike their big sister
        who's dumb enough to try to make a living as a writer,

                but best of all
                it'll make the parents happy.

After all -- *someone* had to to do it.
        Someone had to make the parents happy,
        and it certainly wasn't going to be me:
                black sheep,
                dater of white boys
                writer of pornography,
                destroyer of her parents' happiness.

So the little one says to me,
        "I don't think I want to be a doctor."

And I panic.

And I ask why.
And she says,
        this sweet kid says
        that she wants to make a difference in the world,
                do something good, unselfish,
                help people.

                I get the impression that she has vague ideas
                of working in a soup kitchen somewhere.

She's eighteen, remember?
Remember eighteen?

And I want to cheer
I want to stand up and say,
        "You go, girl!"
I want to start telling her about activism,
        about civil rights
        and queer rights
        and human rights
I want to tell her to do whatever the hell she wants,
                'cause there is a whole big beautiful world out there,
                and it doesn't need *her* to be a doctor.

But I do not say this.
I do not say any of this.

Instead, I tell her,
        "Well, doctors can do good, too."
        "Well, you don't have to make piles of money."
        "You could work in an inner city clinic."
        "You could even go work in a third-world country;
                risk your life among dangerous diseases,
                working with inadequate facilities, equipment,
                for people who can't afford to pay you."

        "Doesn't that sound great?"

And she agreed, hesitantly, that that might be okay.
She agreed, quietly, to not give up on medicine quite yet.
She agreed with her big sister, who she adored.

And all of those things I said to her were true.
This way, if she burns out on goodness,
she'll have a decent job to fall back on.
And I *am* tired of hurting my parents, and it would be so easy
        so easy
        to convince myself that I did all this
        for my sister's sake,
        and for them,
        so they wouldn't be hurt anymore.

But I don't buy it.

'Cause remember -- I panicked.
Remember -- I'm the black sheep.
Remember -- the black sheep always gets blamed for everything.

And if my little sister had left medicine,
had given up being a doctor,
I wanted to be absolutely sure;
I wanted them to be absolutely sure, that I
had nothing to do with it.

Which is a small
petty thing
to have to admit.

M.A. Mohanraj
June 7, 1998

Okay, I’m having real…

Okay, I'm having real trouble with this scheduling thing. I mean, I did my laundry Saturday night, right? (Well, part of it, anyway). And somehow, between then and now, I *still* haven't found time to put the washed sheets on my bed and make it up properly (time/energy, actually). I've been sleeping curled up in a blanket instead. This is getting silly.

And again, I should be asleep. I *ought* to get about seven hours tonight, which should help, at any rate, even if it doesn't catch me up. I'm really not certain how I managed living in the corporate world before and keeping these hours. Part of it is the 1 - 1.5 hr commute each way, of course. I'm getting some reading done (finished Kate Chopin's _The Awakening_, which somehow I didn't like as well as I'd expected, though it *was* good, working through _Exhibitionism for the Shy_, read a murder mystery by Sheri Tepper, name of which I'm blanking on, but which was actually really good) on public transit, but time just slips away...

Anyway, bed soon. I did want to tell you about something that made *me* happy today. So I've been surfing the web a fair bit at this job, right, since there isn't much work to do. (I think I'm going to take in my laptop tomorrow so it's easier to do some writing -- the office manager says it's okay). And I spent some time reading BronwenSM's erotica -- some great stories, and her British terms made me miss Alex... Anyway, I read her stuff, then moved through her links to some other erotica authors, read those for a while, and then found myself back at Yahoo, where they were listed, under Lit/Genres/Web-published fiction/Adult fiction. And oddly enough, glancing through the list, I noticed my site wasn't listed anymore! Which freaked me out, since I'm constantly pointing people to Yahoo as the easiest way of finding me...

So I do a search for my name, and lo and behold, they've apparently been doing some clean-up/updating, and have moved my site to what they consider a more suitable location. And now it's at Lit/Genres/Erotica. Listed with only about ten other authors, including such classics as Henry Miller and Anais Nin, such popular modern authors as Nicholson Baker and Anne Rice, and some of my personal favorite erotica authors: Susie Bright, Carol Queen, Pat Califia and Cecelia Tan. And I'm just floored. And I know it doesn't mean anything, really -- it's probably totally random, but there's minute there when I'm thinking, hey, *someone* at Yahoo thinks I rate. Thinks my work's good enough that it doesn't get shoved under the slightly dubious label of 'adult fiction'. Huzzah!

And I guess this is hitting me more strongly than normal because my relatives have been pretty stressed about my writing lately, applying some pressure to try to get me to write more innocuous material (or at least change my name). And I understand their concerns, and my main argument in the whole discussion of *why* I write this stuff is that it's important *and* that it's serious art. Or attempting to be serious art, to be more accurate. I've got a long way to go before I even meet *my* standards, much less my mother's...

Anyway, little things like this almost certainly totally random Yahoo listing make me feel better about the whole thing. :-)

Okay, eyes closing my dears. Remember, naming contest ends today (though I probably won't get to tabulating names 'til tomorrow night). Send in suggestions soon! Tomorrow work, then cooking dinner for Sarah H., tech writer extraordinaire (who has kindly offered to help me with my resume). Wednesday work, then meeting Guy (author) for some tea or some such before the reading at Barnes and Noble. I am now typing with my eyes closed. I know there's other stuff I meant to tell you, but maybe I can sneak it in in the morning. Sleep well...

Well, my schedule is…

Well, my schedule is entirely off, and y'all can blame Kevin. Though it was probably not entirely his fault that we ended up talking 'til 6:30 a.m. this morning -- the conversation was just too good to stop. What can you do? He finally told me to go to sleep when I started falling asleep on the phone and muttering bits of dreams when he tried to talk to me. So then I slept from 6:30 - 10:30 and have been surprisingly okay all day today, through puttering around the house and writing haiku for the slam and going to the slam with Heather and Lydia (small crowd, but they both did great nonetheless, winning cash prizes!) and meeting a friend for dinner afterwards (we went and had yummy non-healthy food at Cha Cha Cha's (Mexican place)) and getting slightly tipsy on sangria and coming back and having tea and talking 'til late. And now it's much much too late and I'm only getting 4 hours sleep tonight too, which is *not* a trend I should be continuing (but he's planning to leave town soon, so there was a lot to say before he went -- what can you do, right?).

And I know what at least some of you are thinking, which is "why the heck are you talking to *us*, woman, when you should be sleeping?" Which is a darn good question. So let me just enclose some of the haiku below and then toddle off. G'night, all. Pleasant dreams.

(Oh, and to save y'all unneeded effort, I'll note that only some of these poems really go together (and only a few of them are true. :-)).

Fifteen Haiku

I am not good at
talking about sex, yet I
want to tell you that...

I can fuck like a
bunny. But ask me to talk
about it -- I freeze.

Last night, I told you...
on the phone, told you -- my skin
ached for you, last night.

Close your eyes. Close them
and taste me, salt that lingers
on dry lips and tongue.

Can you smell me? There,
so far, in a room dust-dry,
salt waves are rising.

He said, wear green. You
look like a tree in springtime.
I said, climb me, boy...

He said, I love you.
I said, I couldn't care less.
But neither was true.

Isn't it a shame?
Poet's broken heart does not
guarantee good poems.

Tasty food, good friends.
Rent is paid; my book is done,
but you are not here.

You touch her, thinking
of how I would bite my lip
until it bled, for you.

I would take her in
our bed, smooth thighs and belly
if it brought you back.

I lay between you,
her soft breasts against my back,
my tears on your chest.

Her body comforts.
Slick thighs between my own, and
a handful of breast.

A handful of breast
smaller than mine. After love
we watch walls, silent.

You, I, she -- so tense.
Triangles are stable forms;
why is this so hard?

Morning, munchkins! …

Morning, munchkins! Well, as expected, pleasant dinner last night with El and Jed. Ian get back from business trip today, which will be nice -- on the other hand, El goes away on business tomorrow, which will be sad. :(

Got a neat award a few days ago, which I finally put up -- from the SFWA pages, actually, for having a Truly Useful Site. Considering I'm not even a SFWA member yet (Science Fiction Writers' Association), that was pretty exciting. Need to sell some more sf!

Not much to babble about today; going to clean my room and work through e-mail and putter about, I think. In compensation for this dull report, I offer you a silly joke I received in mail this morning -- made me laugh. Have a good day, dears...

Sherlock Holmes and Watson were on a camping and hiking trip. They had gone to bed and were lying there looking up at the sky. Holmes said, "Watson, look up. What do you see?

"Well, I see thousands of stars."

"And what does that mean to you?"

"Well, I suppose it means that of all the planets and suns and moons in the universe, that we are truly the one most blessed with the reason to deduce theorems to make our way in this world of criminal enterprises and blind greed. It means that we are truly small in the eyes of God but struggle each day to be worthy of the senses and spirit we have been blessed with. And, I suppose, at the very least, in the meteorological sense, it means that it is most likely that we will have another nice day tomorrow. What does it mean to you, Holmes?"

"To me, it means someone has stolen our tent."