Tired. Still a little…

Tired. Still a little tired and ill, but a good day. Sherman did his best to give me a little vacation from my work, and it helped (though in the back of my mind I was keeping track of all the things I still had toodo). Still, we had a pleasant time; watched The Thin Man today, which is a great great film, and I highly recommend you all go out and rent it. An old classic murder mystery, with an utterly charming couple as the protagonists. I'm told there's a drinking game that goes along with watching this movie -- that you're supposed to take a drink every time they do. If you did, I'm afraid you'd never make it to the end of the movie; you'd be in the hospital having your guts pumped out long before that. Nonetheless, terrific flick, very funny.

Also got new glasses today! I'm very rough on my glasses, even though I don't wear them very often, and the old pair was being held together mostly by hope. Very pleased with new pair. I think they're cute. :-)

Another mess on the mailing list. I don't know if I'm really a very good administrator; I'm not very good at disciplining people. I may actually have to kick some people off the list, which I've never done before. :( Will think about it.

Anyway, back to work, I'm afraid. A little more work, then sleep, then up early to finish the work.

The most notable thing…

The most notable thing about today is that it is my little sister's birthday! (All of the Mohanraj clan are now old enough to read my work legally :-).

Otherwise, not much to report. Relaxing weekend. David headed home this morning. Wandered around Tilden Park with Sherman buy kamagra oral jelly online for australia this afternoon, and watched Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid just now, which was a hilarious homage to the old detective films (Big Sleep style), and highly recommended, though I know I got less than half the jokes.

Too tired to write more. Sleep now. Write in the morning...

Hey, munchkins. Lazy…

Hey, munchkins. Lazy Friday, still recovering, but feeling much better than yesterday. Picked up some books in Berkeley and spices; Ethiopian cookbook, David Lodge's Changing Places, Calvin and Hobbes's Weirdos from Another Planet. Read and enjoyed the C&H, almost ruptured myself laughing at the Lodge. Have you guys read his stuff? He also wrote a novel Small World -- both are hilarious, totally evil takes on academia, love, sex, marriage, etc. Must-read for academics, though I'm not sure that you should take them as models for real life. In Changing Places, an exchange takes place between two professors -- one from miserably Rummidge, in England, and Euphoria, a very thinly disguised Berkeley (one can view the Silver Span on a clear day, for example, and it lies near the cities of Ashland and St. Gabriel). Funny funny funny. Occasionally touching.

Today I'm reading a book for class, Carol Maso's Ghost Dance. Since I'm only about 40 pages into it, I'll just quote to you from the back cover. 'Like the poet-mother in this debut novel, Maso works to ensure her readers understand and come to accept sorrow as a knowable and tactile presence. Narrating a family story through the voice of a young writer whose mother has recently been killed, Maso invites readers to experience firsthand both womens' love and courage, capabilities of imagination, their persistence of memory, and generosity of spirit.' Sounds good so far, yes? Reads pretty well too...we'll see how it goes. My teacher really loved it.

Not much else to report, except that I bought an idli maker yesterday, and made idli and sambar for breakfast this morning. Yum! (David was less impressed. Spicy food for breakfast is a bit much for him. :-) I'm trying to think how to explain idli. If they taste like anything, it's a little bit like Ethiopian injera; they're slightly sour. I *think* they're made from ground rice, but I honestly don't know -- I used a packet. Add water, let sit for fifteen minutes, stir. Spoon into idle stand, place in pot with 3-4 cups water, steam until done. They come out like slightly sticky little white round cakes, almost. Very hard to describe. Serve with sambar (a sauce with onion and tomato and spices) and hot chutney.

I didn't have a very good time on my last trip to Sri Lanka, for rather complicated personal reasons. I did, however, love the mornings. I never really switched over entirely to the time zone, and tended to wake around 4 a.m. We were staying in a 5 star hotel (easier if you're in a country with an exchange rate of 30:1), and so the very nice restaurant was open 24 hours. I'd come down with a book or pen and paper, sit down by the window overlooking the garden, and drink a cup of milked and sugared coffee (the only coffee I've ever enjoyed was in Sri Lanka, though I can drink Thai iced coffee (I prefer Thai iced tea)). Work for a couple of hours, and then have idli and sambar for breakfast, or perhaps some naan and curry. They had American breakfasts too, but they just weren't very tempting compared to spicy fish curry, passionfruit juice, fresh pineapple slices and fresh-baked naan. I highly recommend Sri Lanka for a holiday -- just don't go north to the war zone, and you'll be fine.

1:30 - Revamped a chunk of the home page. Moved the Amusing section so the top page is tighter. Added 15 Worst Opening Lines of Romance Novels.

Well, I was bad and now…

Well, I was bad and now I'm paying the price. Instead of going to bed at 9 like a good girl last night, I started talking to David (houseguest). He showed me a couple of guitar chords (I know now how to play C (extremely painful for my small hand), E minor and D (at least I knew last night. Not sure if I remember them now). Must build up calluses. Ouch ouch ouch. Somehow we started playing and singing, going through my sheet music and trying to find pieces we both knew (hard!); ending up with some Simon and Garfunkle. With the aid of a little piano (extremely badly tuned), we managed to eventually do creditable renditions of The Boxer and Cecilia (both of which I love). Ian came in somewhere along there and sang along; he has a nice voice, trained. My voice isn't bad, but I have a horrible tendency to just wander off key. It's not that I can't hear it...it's that I can hear too much? I'm okay with just a piano melody line accompanying me. But hearing chords on the guitar, I wander off into the other notes in the chord. Sigh. Practice and care, I suppose. At any rate, it was fun; it's been far too long since I've really sung. But I stayed up 'til at least 11:30 and now I know why that's a bad idea.

Woke up at 5 by Roshani's phone call exhausted and coughing. Stumbled back to bed, where I coughed my way back to sleep. Slept myself out until 8:30, and now I am no longer exhausted, but still have a very sore throat and pounding head (which I will soon go take some ibuprofen for). If I'm going to run myself ragged this semester, I clearly need to take care of myself in other ways. Lots of soup and vitamins and juice. That sort of thing.

So this morning, I think I start revising "Deep with Sea". Got to get through a bit of e-mail first, do some household things and so on. It's nice that I have no classes on Thursdays...I can shift the writing schedule down some without too much trouble. (To give you some idea on the crits so far: one really liked the characterization in the new revisions and had few line edits, one pointed out some minor but important thematic concerns which can probably be easily fixed, and one really preferred the earlier version. Meep. The earlier version did, in some sense, have more interesting characterization -- but they were characters that I didn't really understand, and I don't think I could write them properly, believably. I think I'm going to stick with this version. The great usefulness of crits is that they challenge your preconceptions about your work -- they make you look at a part and say, 'do I really want that there?' and if you do, then you get to figure out why. And if there's any way to fix all the ugly stuff around it. :-)

In any case. Off to work, my darlings. Have a lovely Thursday...

11:43 - David has not yet had a chance to read and crit "Deep", so I think I'll wait to do the second revision until I have his coments. In the meantime, I've cleaned my room, wrapped my sister's birthday present, cooked (if you can call it cooking to open a can and add a ton of pepper) some cream of chicken soup and a quarter turkey sandwich, written a three-word story for the Clarion group (no, it's not a story that's only three words long, it's a story using the three words that Ceej's random word generator came up with. Took about 20 minutes. Fun! Will send a copy to my list of e-mail readers; again, if you're not on that list and want to be, drop me a note) called "Leek Soup" (no, it's not erotica :-), and generally puttered around.

David is off dropping Cliff at the airport (Cliff is going to WorldCon in Texas, lucky dog). When David gets back, I'm going to drag him off to do some specialty food shopping; I want my Twinings Ceylon Breakfast tea (in the dark blue box) and some Indian groceries (Cliff informs us that there's good stuff at University and Tenth, so we'll try there).

Will take the rest of the day easy, I think. Reading, mostly. Eating more soup. I haven't even started tutoring yet...we'll see if I fall over at the end of next week. I think it's a damn good thing I'll have Thursdays off.

Good morning, everyone! …

Good morning, everyone! I'm feeling pleased with myself 'cause I asked Roshani to call me at 5 a.m. (7 her time) and she did and I woke up and I'm staying awake. If I'm going to get everything done this semester that I want to get done, I don't get to be lazy anymore. Discipline discipline discipline! I'm stressing a little bit in nervousness; heavy class load (with two teaching classes, there's lots more actual work than last year), plus 12 hrs of tutoring job and unknown numbers of hours as s.s.g. moderator added to my schedule. If I get a little crazy, that's probably why. Right now the plan is to have writing time from 5:30 - 8:30, class, etc. time from 9 - 5 p.m., and then catch up on household things and whatever random stuff (including moderation, probably), in the evening. It's not so bad as it sounds, in that Thursday, Saturday and Sunday don't have any class or tutoring time, so I'll have some catch up time. We'll see how it goes.

Plan for this morning: critique Nancy's story, write a new story to hand in to Fiction class today, write a 500 word short short for class, revise "Deep with Sea" again (polish), make 15 copies of each thing for class. But before that, brush my teeth, make my bed, light a candle, make some tea. :-)

6:55 - Did a pile of paperwork and household stuff. About to start in on the actual work, but wanted to share with you something Kate sent to the Clarion list (she wasn't sure if this was the whole thing):


Oceans


          I have a feeling that my boat
          has struck, down there in the depths,
          against a great thing.
                                         And nothing
          happens! Nothing...Silence...Waves...
          --Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
          and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?

-- Juan Roman Jimenez
11:22 - So, did Nancy's crit, did the 500 word piece, did a quick clean-up of "Deep" and sent it off to Clarion group for final critique, and decided to use "Interruptions" for class today. I'd like more feedback on that piece, and it seemed to make more sense than trying to write an entire new story in the hour and a half remaining to me. Time is going to be my crucial issue this semester, I can tell. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, though...

Got a nice e-mail from an Indian woman thanking me for writing my book. :-) A nice change from the vituperative stuff I generally get from Indians who think I'm betraying their country or some such.

I did it! I did a major…

I did it! I did a major revision of "Deep with Sea". I printed it out and gave it to David and I'm going to get home at 5 and he'll tell me it's crap, but I'm still proud of myself for sitting down from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with only about an hour's worth of random distraction etc. in there and actually writing. Not just fiddling with little tiddly bits, but writing big whole new chunks. Cutting out pages and pages. This is really hard for me; I'm one of those writers who tends to write short and never puts down enough stuff and thus I HATE cutting more than a word here or a line there. On the other hand, I am finding there is something exhilarating in realizing that I don't need these two pages and going hack! to them. Head rush! I'm going to hate this piece by nightfall, I can tell.

In other news, I ironed out the little rights issues with Sex Toy Tales, and I am cheerfully looking forward to seeing my two stories in the anthology. (In case you're curious, they wanted to buy exclusive rights and pay me royalties on whatever they did with it, which is reasonable for most of their writers, who won't be actively trying to sell the story elsewhere or doing much else with it. I, on the other hand, already have an offer to reprint one of the pieces (paying about three times what Down There Press can afford for the initial payment). They were very reasonable about amending the contract accordingly, considering all the extra marketing etc. work I do, and I look forward to working with them again.)

Normally I would have Writing Center work at this time in the afternoon (my schedule is insane. Flat out insane. Booked solid from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week and that doesn't even include the net time. Or lunch most days.) but that doesn't start 'til next week. So I'm going to futz around a bit with the web page a bit, maybe clean some stuff up and add some things until 2:30, when I go off to class again.

2:28 - Added "A Jewel of a Woman", "Mistress Molly" and "Girl Behind the Fantasy" to stories page. Cleaned up broken links at end of stories.

I must admit that the…

I must admit that the main reason I didn't write an entry yesterday was embarassment. I have not yet attempted the revision. I have blown off huge chunks of Saturday and Sunday with Scrabble, Warcraft, finishing a jigsaw puzzle with Sherman, and Star Trek novels (currently re-reading Diane Carey's _The Great Starship Race_). Argh. Truly dreading reading the crits waiting for me on this piece. Okay, no more procrastinating. C'mon, idjit. Get to work.

6:45 -- Good news! (No, I didn't do the revisions yet. I did read the crits, though. A step.) The good news is that two of my stories, "Just Reading News" and "A Jewel of a Woman" have been accepted for the Good Vibrations Sex Toy Anthology. :-) :-) :-) Even better, got my first royalty check for _Torn Shapes_! Not a huge amount of money, but still very very exciting. I want more! Tell your friends to buy my book! Tell your local bookstore they must order 50 copies! :-)

I shall now enjoy the temporary high and leave off my worries until tomorrow. (If any of you want to read Jewel, just let me know).

A few of you have…

A few of you have requested copies of "Temptation" -- thanks for looking at it. Much appreciated. I'd already posted it to alt.sex.stories, so even if it's not on my web page, DejaNews will be archiving it for eternity. In some sense, I'm already stuck.

In other exciting news, soc.sexuality.general passed! If nothing untoward happens, the newsgroup will be created in 3 days and available to you all. (If I haven't mentioned this before, s.s.g. is the new, moderated version of alt.sex, which drowned in spam. Yours truly is one of the five initial moderators, along with a robomoderator. We won't be moderating for content -- simply appropriateness. If a post is appropriate to discussions of sexuality, it goes through. If it's pure spam, an ad, overly cross-posted, a story (which belongs in alt.sex.stories.moderated), etc., then it doesn't. Should be interesting -- I've never been a newsgroup moderator before.)

I have, of course, moderated other forums. Workshops at conventions, my mailing list...ah, my mailing list. The erotica list had another minor hubbub recently, a list member using rather coarse language in conversation (as opposed to in a story), which some members objected to. It's hopefully settled now. (If you're curious, I came down pretty much on his side, and reminded others that they could delete his posts if they chose.)

I have not repeated my 5-ish feat. Perhaps when I have money again I will buy an alarm clock. Nonetheless, there's a lot of work I want to do today, though I will take it slow -- I hope this will be a mellow, working weekend.

What, you ask, does she need to do? Well, very top of the list is revise "Deep with Sea". Remember that one? Yes, I don't get to put it off any longer. I've practically forgotten what the story is about...

So off to work, my darlings. Have a lovely weekend!

9 a.m. - No revisions yet, but my room is clean! :-) A little more leftover paperwork to get through and then I really do have to start working. Before that, though, I wanted to let y'all know what I'd been reading lately.

Star Trek. Lots and lots of old classic Trek novels. I'm thinking of writing a short story for a contest they're having -- that's my excuse, but in truth, it's pure indulgence reading these again. Here's a list of my favorite classic Trek novels -- these are the ones I recommend highly if you're going to read Star Trek. Many of the authors of these also write excellent non-Trek novels

  • The Prometheus Design - Ethical dilemmas -- is the glory inseparable from the violence? Hell's kitchen. Can Kirk truly give up command?
  • Black Fire - Spock the pirate! With an earring and everything. Reciting poetry, no less.
  • Triangle - Star Trek meets poly. Well done.
  • Yesterday's Son - Remember Zarabeth? What if she got pregnant?
  • The Wounded Sky - A proto-deity, done right. A glass spider scientist -- and Scotty??
  • The Final Reflection - Klingons. Sexy Klingons. Strong contender for favorite.
  • My Enemy, My Ally - Remember the Romulan commander? She had an aunt...
  • The Tears of the Singers - Uhura falls in love with a very difficult man
  • The Vulcan Academy Murders - Amanda is dying, and a series of murders occurs on Vulcan
  • Uhura's Song - probably my favorite. Tail-Kinker-to-Ennien is an unforgettable character. Deadly plague. I've read this at least 20 times.
  • Ishmael - Okay, this one you'll only really appreciate if you've seen the tv show, "Here Comes the Brides". Spock in flannel, playing poker.
  • Dwellers in the Crucible - Another intense Human/Vulcan relationship
  • Pawns and Symbols - human pawn (or is she?) in Klingon space
  • The Romulan Way - undercover Federation agent -- McCoy goes to find out if she's 'gone native'
  • How Much for Just the Planet? - If you like Gilbert and Sullivan, you *must* read this. Funny funny funny. Helps to like old movies.
  • Time for Yesterday - Another story with Spock's son
  • Doctor's Orders - Our favorite doctor in command
  • Strangers from the Sky - The REAL story of Earth's first contact with Vulcans
  • Spock's World - Will Vulcan vote to leave the Federation?
  • Q-in-Law (Next Gen) - Okay, it's next gen, but it's so funny that I had to include it. Q and Lwaxana Troi...not to mention the girl that was given to young Wesley
Yes, now I'm revealed as a true Trekkie. And if you think this is scary, you should see the other 20-30 Star Trek books I own, many much worse than these. And I read them. Voraciously for a while. Good thing my money ran out.

Morning,…

Morning, everyone.

Well, I'm concerned. One of my readers sent me mail about "Temptation", fairly distressed. I'm wondering if I should take it down. In fact, I'm wondering if I should take down all three of the Puritan novellettes -- they're not really what I consider art, after all. They were written on contract, to fulfill very specific needs of the magazine (along with "Making the Sale"). Should they really be up there with my other work? Are they representative? Are they likely to turn people off, or send them away? Kevin's always thought I shouldn't have those up there at all, since they're basically purely commercial, even if I do have fun with some of them. Maybe I should just announce in the journal when I have one of them done, and send copies to those who want it. It's not as if I publish them in print with my name on them. Ick. I'm taking them down today, I think, and then I'll think about it. I may put them back. Please let me know what you think.

If you haven't read "Temptation" yet and want to, e-mail me.

In other news, yesterday's meetings and proctoring of placement exams went well, as did today's. I've been thinking about the ethics of discussing being a TA here in the journal, and I think after Monday, I will be trying not to mention it. There are multiple reasons for this, but the most important is that even if I don't mention a student's name, sie may still be able to figure out that it was hir I was discussing when I complained about what a rough session it had been. Heck, even if it wasn't hir, sie may well assume it was. That seems a breach of professional ethics, so I'm going to refrain from discussing it at all. At the end of the year, I may post a reflection on the process, and I may at times discuss teaching if I can sufficiently distance it from my specifics.

For now, I will just leave you with a short free write we did in training yesterday, a contemplation of what we were looking forward to in the next year.


I want to know if I'm a good teacher. Will I love teaching as much as I think I will? Will I give my students the energy and attention they deserve? I want to be patient with them, and aware of their needs. I want to watch understanding rise in their eyes. I hope to take a quiet pride in doing good, valuable work -- without becoming arrogant or condescending. I must remember that I am always learning too.

I'm curious about the way different people's minds work -- about what paths I can help my students walk to achieve their goals. I want to learn specifics, many different teaching methods.

Eventually, I want to teach both literature and writing. Lit so I can share books I love, and the reasons I love them, and find out what my students think of them. Creative writing so they can better share what is within them.

I want to help people, most of all. Writing is where I have the most expertise -- this is what I know. I hope to enjoy sharing it.

It’s 5:30 and I’m awake!…

It's 5:30 and I'm awake! Granted, it was a nasty nightmare that woke me up, the sky outside is still pitch black, and I'm yawning a bit -- but I'm actually feeling fairly well rested and eager to work. Maybe there's a hope of getting back into my Clarion schedule.

This morning I read through the TA handbook and critique one of Rob's stories that he e-mailed to the Clarion group. I'm looking forward to it. But first -- time to make some tea.

7:20. Read and critiqued Rob's story. Added "Temptation" to the stories page. Added reviews of "Jinsong" and "Japanese Garden". Feeling virtuous.

Also feeling nervous about "Temptation". The story is harsh. It's horror, it's nasty, it's blasphemous, it gave me nightmares when I was writing it and makes me feel guilty every time I look at it. Sister Agnes (one of my 5th grade Catholic nun schoolteachers) would definitely not approve. I hope it wouldn't upset her. I didn't mean to upset anyone with that story...I honestly do think it is at heart a *good* story, a parable even. But I think you have to read the story generously to get that. I'm a little afraid of what unsympathetic or careless readers will think of it.

Tell me I'm being silly -- tell me to stop worrying.

1:30. Mary Anne Triumphant! Okay, I'm being silly, but I'm on a bit of a high -- just read the comments of Tom (my Modern Fiction professor from last spring) on my Faulkner paper. Good, good, good. Re-reading the paper, I pretty much agree with his small points of criticism -- there was an area concerning Benjy that I didn't really analyze in as much depth as I should have (relying on the critics' interpretation, which was pretty silly considering my secondary focus was on the subjectivity of critical interpretation. :-) But on the whole, he really liked it, and I'm really happy because I thought Tom was just brilliant. One of the best classes I've ever had. *bounce!* If anyone wants to read the paper, e-mail me, and I'll put it up. It's a solid 20 pages of academics, be warned.

Okay, time to calm down. The morning went well -- lots of organizational stuff for TA'ing. It turns out that actual work doesn't start until Monday after next, which gives me plenty of time to get nervous.

This fall is going to be a bit odd -- there are two teaching classes I really want to take, and I want to do a workshop, which means that I'll have to take two academic classes and do my thesis in the spring. Not impossible, but not entirely easy either. Eh. I'm tough. I can handle it...

Gods, I'm *so* much happier with this paper than I was with the one I wrote for Stephen. Ick. Feh. What a terrible piece of writing. Goes to show what being out of school for 3 years will do to you...you forget how to think.

Got e-mail from Bob, Clarionite. Heart-twisting -- talking to these people is wonderful but only makes me miss them more. He was talking about that day we went hiking -- you remember my talking about it? Reminded me of details I'd forgotten: Rick's wry comments on Alex's poetry, an Indian couple we passed on the trail (which led to a conversation about my family, if I remember right), my sneakers, which were totally not up to the hike. Almost twisted my ankle more than once. Memory is so very weird. And fragile. I want to write it all down -- all of it. What the sun feels like today after three days of unseasonal cold.

The slight twisting at the pit of my stomach at the thought of teaching soon. (Actually, tutoring, this fall. Teaching isn't until the spring. But tutoring in the Writing Center is just as scary. Well, almost as scary.) The relief of getting this paper back from Tom -- makes me think that maybe they knew what they were doing when they hired me to teach composition after all. Maybe. The loneliness at Mills. While the other students in the program are all nice and friendly and good people, I haven't really clicked with any of them. Partly because my life outside is so busy, I suspect -- I haven't made it to a lot of group activities. Understandable, but difficult. Not to worry -- it's not nearly so bad as high school started out. :-)

Well, pick and choose, right? If I put down all the details of my life, you'd never have time to read them all. Hopefully, I'm making good choices. Maybe someday soon I'll run a survey -- ask you all to write me with your favorite journal entry, and tell me why you liked it. Hmm...I'll think about it. Don't send it to me yet -- this week is a little too full of stuff already.