Mmm…tired. Long…

Mmm...tired. Long day.

I don't know how clear it is what I'm actually doing these days -- it's a fairly chaotic mix of writing stuff for money, writing other things, trying to get better about sending stories out, temping, learning FrameMaker, waiting for this tech writing gig to happen, etc. So today, I had a one-day temp assignment...it was supposed to be two, but I finished the work in one, so no job tomorrow. :( Not much I could do about it; I *could* have stretched the work out to two days, but I would have been bored stiff. It was a weird assignment...instead of the moderately technical executive secretarial stuff I usually do (which is harder than it looks, and actually takes some skills), today I filled in on a clerical assignment. It was all they had, and was better than not working, since money is tight right now, but it's been a while since I did that kind of thing. I spent most of the day counting. The company (which makes magnets, of all things), needed several boxes inventoried, so it was a fair bit of pretty tedious unpacking, sorting, counting, repacking. And I caught myself reminding myself that I don't really do this for a living, and I have two degrees, dammit, and so on and so forth. I had to resist the urge to explain to my boss that I was really pretty overqualified for this job -- as if he cared! *sigh* I will be *so* happy when I am once again working close to full-time at something that I can take seriously. Today just felt so wasteful...

(On the other hand, part of me is re-reading the above and saying, boy, you sound arrogant. You were damn glad to get the work, after all...)

Anyway. It sounds worse than it was; I'm tired, and my neck and shoulders hurt from all the bending over, but it actually went pretty quickly. And I *am* glad I got it done and don't have to go back there tomorrow.

Read some Sharon Olds poems this morning; Jed had loaned me a book, and I read them on the train. Really good...so rich that I closed the book after three poems; I don't want to race through these. I'll pick my favorites once I have read through and put one or two up here for y'all.

Lessee -- other reading. Well, I'm quickly reading through Nancy Kress's new book on character (that Leah's Mike loaned me). Nothing tremendously new so far, though it's interesting to see laid out consciously some things that I've known subconsciously. That's a lot of what Clarion did, and it's clearly helped my writing, so I'm going to finish the book, and perhaps some stuff will seep in. I think it would be a very helpful book to a new writer.

Also reading through LeGuin's _Steering the Craft_, which I think would be more helpful to a writing teacher than to an individual writer, though it's a little hard to say. Also reading her essays in _Dancing on the Edge of the World_; I like those better. Interestingly, this year, both Kevin and I (independently) started reading a lot more nonfiction. Not that I don't still love fiction (I spent a while in the bookstore at lunch reading Pratchett's _Interesting Times_), but nonfiction interests me more these days. Not sure why, but the list of books I want to get and read are almost entirely nonfiction right now. Strange.

Okay, I can't resist, here's a Sharon Olds poem, a lovely one.


First Sex

(for J.)

I knew little, and what I knew
I did not believe -- they had lied to me
so many times, so I just took it as it
came, his naked body on the sheet,
the tiny hairs curling on his legs like
fine, gold shells, his sex
harder and harder under my palm
and yet not hard as a rock his face cocked
back as if in terror, the sweat
jumping out of his pores like sudden
trails from the tiny snails when his knees
locked with little clicks and under my
hand he gathered and shook and the actual
flood like milk came out of his body, I
saw it glow on his belly, all they had
said and more, I rubbed it into my
hands like lotion, I signed on for the duration.


She rocks, huh? That's from her book, _The Gold Cell_.

She makes me want to write. There are so few authors who pull that from me -- I don't know why. Anne Sexton is one; it was because of her Sleeping Beauty poem that I started writing as an adult. Sometimes Henry Miller. It's something about the way they use language, I think.

I paused, and wrote a first time poem. I'll post it below in a moment...but it made me think. I wonder if her poem, or mine, will evoke in any of you an urge to write. I would love to read first time poems from any of you reading this journal this week. Or any poem in response to hers or mine. If you write something, send it to me? And if you want, I'll gladly post them here, with or without your name, as you prefer. That would be very neat.

In any case, here's a poem, and I'm off to bed. Sleep well, my dears.

First Time

Was it when a neighborhood boy,
gangly and gawkish, asked if he could
kiss me, in the basement? It was summer,
thick and heavy, and I didn't know
what to say but 'yes'. And though it was
a terrible kiss, later I let him unbutton
my shirt; I let him touch my bra, my breasts.
They were so much larger than he'd expected,
and I didn't know whether to be pleased
or embarrassed. And when he asked me
to rub him through his jeans, I said 'yes',
and when he asked me to rub him naked,
I invented an imaginary boyfriend, so he
would go away. He did. When another
neighborhood boy, younger, asked me
to touch him, I was surprised, and then
this boy said, "But you did it with him..."
I think I was angry; it's hard to remember.
When he, the first one, died a few summers later,
I was angry, and sad, and wished I felt more
than I did. But, as my parents warned,
it could have been much worse.

Later, it would be. And much better.

Still, I remember him.

*****

(author's note: it was harder to be honest with that one than I expected. I suppose I still have mixed feelings there.)

Hello, munchkins. Back…

Hello, munchkins. Back from visiting Kevin again, and I'll be home all this week (he'll be gone for the greater part of it to a wedding). So the journal should be slightly less erratic, and I'll hopefully get some more work done (although to be honest, I got a fair bit of work done sitting in cafes with him).

Plan for today -- make money! More specifically, finish "The Fall" (latest novella for Puritan, about 3K to go); do RealDoll interview, and finish Penthouse story if I can. Work through some more FrameMaker stuff. Maybe write a story for an anthology or two (there seem to be lots of them calling for submissions right now). Ambitious plans, so I'd best get off to them (I already spent some time this morning updating a booklist and adding some information on first contracts), so I'll just leave you with this joke:


A writer dies and due to a bureaucratic snafu in the afterworld, he is allowed to choose his own fate: heaven or hell for all eternity. Being a very shrewd dead person, he asks St. Peter for a tour of both. The first stop is hell where he sees rows and rows of writers sitting chained to desks in a room as hot as a thousand suns. Fire licks the writers' fingers as they try to work, demons whip their backs with chains. Your general hell scene.

"Wow, this sucks" quoth the writer, "let's see some heaven."

In a moment, they were whisked to heaven and the writer saw rows and rows of writers chained to desks in a room as hot as a thousand suns. Fire licks the writers' fingers as they try to work, demons whip their backs with chains. It looks and smells even worse than hell.

"What gives, Pete?" the writer asked, "this is worse than hell!"

"Yes," St. Peter replied, "but here your work gets published."

Gosh, July is just…

Gosh, July is just racing along; having a hard time keeping up...

Woke up with a bit of a cold this morning, it seems like. Maybe Kevin made me sick; we had a tendency to pass colds back and forth. It's more fun if you can blame someone. :-)

Vast tracts of backlogged e-mail to handle, not to mention the pile of papers in my room. And there's a Clarion meeting tonight (not the usual scheduled time, due to conflicts), so a stack of stories to read and crit (including a good chunk of someone's novel). Should be a full day.

Had great fun last night with El working on my pirate costume (for an upcoming Pirate Ball and for WorldCon (BucConeer)) and watching an old Errol Flynn movie. Funny how different movie style was back then; lots of narrative voiceover that would surely be dramatized now. Interesting. Ellie got some costuming ideas, and we all (Ian too) enjoyed the movie. There are times when it's really nice to have housemates; Ian went out and picked up the movie and El made dinner (both of which I was too tired to do). And, of course, El has been a great help with the costume. I learned how to make a panelled skirt with a waistband yesterday. This morning I learn about modesty panels and hooks and eyes. Very exciting. :-) I am *so* glad I convinced my mum that I really did want a sewing machine for last Christmas (I don't think she really believed me, even after I got it). El's got a beautiful old Singer, but it works by treadle, and I'm just too lazy...

I'll be bopping up and down between here and Kev's parents' house for the rest of July, so if the journals get a bit scanty, that's why. They have e-mail, but the interface is a bit frustrating to work with (*and* it's not a Mac... :( ).

It's tremendously wonderful having Kev around again -- but you probably gathered that from the poem. :-)

Hope y'all are having a lovely week...talk to ya later.

With Ocean Waiting…

With Ocean Waiting Below

Two years gone.

Two years gone, except for moments
in the rain. Moments of days or
weekends or even weeks, but still
only moments. Always ending.
Always holding their breath,
waiting for the certain end.

Now you are here.

Now you are here and things
are different. Things are the same
-- I wake, eat, work, walk, sleep. But.

I wake with the slightly
musty, cinnamon and sesame
scent of you clinging to the sheets.
I eat breakfast -- the butter
on my toast brings cream to my
thighs, the jam dribbles juice
and I am biting my lip, leaning
against the kitchen counter with
hips pressed flat against cold tile,
aching. I have forgotten how
to walk. I am dancing while I walk.
I am swaying hips and letting my
breasts lead and seducing the air
against my throat as I walk.
When I sleep, the mattress is
jealous of intruding sheets that
cling to my curving body, pulsing
and whispering in the dark.

And the work?

Well, the work went well enough
with you away, after all. Some learning,
and a great deal of time for practice.
Progress was made, no doubt.
But it was, the critics admit, a touch
arid. Chilled. Overly restrained.
Three steps from the precipice,
close enough to lean over and feel
stomach churning, but not a step further.

Now you have returned,
my body is triumphant,
throat, skin, stomach, thighs...
and I am falling.

*yawn* Morning, kiddos….

*yawn* Morning, kiddos. Gods, didn't want to get up today. Don't know why...went to bed at a reasonable hour. Reasonablish, anyway.

Went to a pool party at Akien and Dawn's last night -- high point of the evening was meeting Debbie Notkin, who I've been vaguely aware of in many aspects for a while, I suspect, but couldn't quite pin down. Very cool. Funny how my separate circles are overlapping more and more; last I saw her was apparently at a Clarion party (though I was in such a daze at Clarion that I honestly don't remember)... Also neat was meeting Paul's friend Jennie, from U Michigan (and now Canada). She has a sweetie in the Bay, which explains what she was doing at this party. Hmm...meeting Paul's friend on Paul's birthday -- coincidence? I think so, but wouldn't it be neat if it weren't?

Okay, I'm feeling a mite silly. Perhaps it's because I still have a bunch of prep to do before the poly brunch, and only three hours to do it in (okay, so three hours is plenty o' time, but I'm allowed to fret about it, yes?). I should probably just go do it. Talk to y'all later...

Independence Day Had…

Independence Day

Had some fun yesterday with Lydia picking out some fabrics for my pirate costume (there's a pirate ball coming up, and this year's WorldCon theme is piratical, so I had a good excuse to make a costume). I think I'm going to be an elegant lady gone bad...so I've got a green silk dress that I made for Pennsic some years ago that I'm going to shred a little, and layer a bodice and some scarves over it. Fun. :-) David was around when I was planning things yesterday (like a thigh sheath for my dagger), and said I looked like a little kid at Halloween. He seemed a bit bemused. :-)

I hope everyone's having a pleasant holiday. I'm mostly working today, puttering around, working on the costume, cleaning out my files. Kevin arrives tonight, though we're not going to meet up 'til tomorrow or Monday -- he needs to help out his sister with some stuff, and I have to stay up here and host the poly brunch tomorrow. Soon.

Of course, this isn't a holiday for everyone (though it *is* Paul's birthday everywhere...happy birthday, Paul, if you happen to be reading this!), just the Americans. But hopefully the rest of the world is having a good day too, and maybe thinking kindly of us? Well, maybe not everywhere...

If I weren't in the midst of filing (a chore I've been putting off for far too long), I might write a long and meaningful passage on what it means to me to be an American. Of course, David would then point out that technically, I'm not really an American (I'm still a Sri Lankan citizen). But as soon as I have a $100 to spare, I'm going to fix that, and in the meantime, I must say that as much as I've enjoyed the other countries I've visited, and even though I might even go and live abroad for a few years, I think this is where I'd want to end up. This country has great problems, but great potential too. So everyone think good thoughts for her today, okay? And enjoy the fireworks...

Hmmm…tomorrow is…

Hmmm...tomorrow is Paul's birthday. I should send a card or something...

Well, my telnet has been flaky again. Someday I'd like to go a month with absolutely *no* computer problems. Just nothing. That's most of why you haven't heard from me in a few days.

The other reason is that I've had a hard time motivating to work. I'm hoping that once Kevin arrives, I'll get more done. That sounds a bit paradoxical, I know, but we do work well together, and if he drags me to a cafe and sits there scribbling over a yellow legal pad, writing his arcane math symbols, I may have an easier time motivating.

I *have* written about 4K of "The Fall", the newest novella for Puritan, which I'm surprisingly pleased with (9K total, so I'm almost halfway done), and worked through the first lessons in the FrameMaker tutorial. There are fifteen of them, and each one appears to be taking me about a half hour. I'm a little worried about how much I can really claim to know the program, even after I've been through them all once. I guess I *will* be able to look up anything I don't remember quickly, which is some comfort.

Jason and Lydia came by for dinner Wednesday night with me and Ian. That was a really wonderful night; great dinner guests and I had a chance to cook. My favortie new dish from that night was an Indonesian dish, "Gado-Gado". Not just for the name, either! It's lightly cooked vegetables (potatoes, carrots, green beans, cucumber slices, bean sprouts, cabbage) served on a bed of crisp watercress, to be dipped in peanut sauce. Yummy. I may never serve a standard crudite platter again.

Anyway, I hope you've all had a good week; hopefully, I'll talk to you again soon.

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...)