Hey, munchkins. So, I…

Hey, munchkins. So, I have another poll for you (I hope you don't mind doing these). I'm still thinking it would be fun to do a mug, but I'm having a terrible time trying to decide what text to use for it. I went through my poems and came up with a few possibilities (some of my favorites are much too long, and I think some of these may be pushing it, but we'll see), plus there's the option of using the fragmentary section near the end of "Esthely Blue". I'd really appreciate your input -- what do you think? (You can vote for more than one, but please only vote for ones you'd actually like. Sorry if the link color is hard to read; they didn't give me any option on that, and I wanted you to be easily able to review the poem in question).

Text for Graphic

Which of these poems would you prefer to see on a mug?

Sitting Under a Tree, In the Rain
commuting
Listening to My Daughter
Spinning Down
Fringes
Last Night
Return Visit
Dreams of a Lover
Text from end of "Esthely Blue"


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In other news...hmmm...is there any other news? I guess I woke up really cranky, but that's passing off now. I forgot to take my Synthroid yesterday until almost 6 p.m., and I really wonder whether it's worth taking at that point -- the excess thyroid hormone coursing through my body invariably gives me anxiety dreams and I sleep really poorly. I don't remember what the dreams were about, but they sucked. I woke up in such a foul mood I almost just plopped in front of the tv and watched stupid cartoons for hours...luckily, I wanted to read journals and that saved me. I cheered up slowly while reading them, and am now drinking tea and feeling pretty close to just fine. And I have very little to do before brunch -- cook for an hour and mop the kitchen floor -- so I'm feeling moderately in control. I might even watch some cartoons, but I won't be in a foul mood while doing it, and that will make all the difference. :-)

Oh, and Jen? I must admit that I also love logic problems, and standardized tests in general -- let me dispense a little unasked-for advice. The single best thing you can do to prepare is to take a few practice tests -- you've already started on that, which is great. If you're having trouble in an area (I had some trouble with the pure math), the best thing you can do is find someone who easily does well in that area (like Kevin) and have them go over the problems with you. He reviewed them with me for about an hour and my score went up 80 points in that section. I think the key is seeing/understanding how they approach each kind of problem in that section; it can be immensely helpful.

Oh, and if you have to take the English subject test -- well, there's just no hope. It sucks. It's a poorly designed test and I hate it lots. The only advice I have is to take the most recent practice test, see which areas you've read nothing in, and then try to read some books from those areas before you take the subject test, in the faint hope that they'll stick with the same areas. But really, it's just a dumb test. I hope you can skip taking it. I gather that even among those that require it, only a few schools actually take it seriously.

Good morning! Been kind…

Good morning! Been kind of a lazy morning, watching Sat. morning cartoons (Batman, Sailor Moon) in between chatting with Kirsten and David. Did I mention that my friend Kirsten is moving to Seattle? I'll probably be going out for a weekend to help her get settled sometime in Sept -- I'm having a hard time remembering who I know in Seattle. Elf and Omaha, Steve S., Nisi -- I'm not sure who else lives there, or even if I know how to get in touch with those people. A bit annoying; I should keep better track of this sort of thing. Do any of you live in Seattle?

I did spend some time researching graduate fellowships. I really should have applied for a Mellon fellowship, which applies for the first year of Ph.D. studies, but I didn't think of it. Oh well. There seem to be quite a few dissertation support fellowships out there, but I'm not sure that there's so much for the first couple of years. The U of Utah has a scholarship called the Steffenson-Canon that I'll be applying for for next year, but I'm not sure what else is available. We'll see. I'd really like a Fullbright to help me go research in India/Sri Lanka for a semester -- that would be great for the current series. I'll have to ask my advisor if that seems at all plausible. I wonder how hot it'll be in India next summer...

Today I really really really need to put the CS Book proposal together. Crown may be interested. Fingers crossed. That's the big project for this afternoon. Then tonight, there's a party. Not sure what to wear. Flowing hippy stuff? Cool hip things (or as hip as I get, anyway)? I have no idea what other people will be wearing, which is the real indicator. I'm tempted to call up the hostess and ask, but she's so hip herself I'm intimidated. Sigh...it's just a party. I'll figure something out.

It looks like we'll be doing a Strange Horizons tea on Sunday at 4 at ChiCon. Any of you planning on attending the Con? Would be great to meet you!

What I really want to do is take a nap, but that's just 'cause it's warm today. I'm going to go have some tea, give Roshani a call, do some dishes, and then get back to work. That's the plan, anyway -- it's amazing how often the plan falls through. This is the fourth day in a row that I've planned to deal with this book proposal... :-)

11:20. Well, in between a lot of Animaniacs, I did manage to review the rest of the manuscripts for the CS book proposal, and selected some excellent stories -- I got more than I could use, which is always a pleasure. I've sent out mail letting the authors know; now I'm waiting for confirmation that they're definitely still interested, at which point I'll suggest edits for the pieces before finalizing them in the proposal. I'm hoping to present to Crown next week; we'll see.

I'm having a little trouble focusing on the screen; I think I'm still slightly tipsy from the party. (I ended up just wearing a short white summer dress, for those who are curious. And my silver anklet and toe ring. :-) I've had some water, but I think I'd best have some more before bed; I'd hate to have a hangover tomorrow, given that people are coming to brunch. Fun party -- too many people. More than a hundred; I managed to stay for three hours (it helped that a bunch of department people I knew were there), but I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. I used to be pretty good at this socializing thing; I think all the Utah isolation is affecting my personality. Weird.

*big yawn* Okay, that's a sign. Time for bed. G'night, my dears.

Odd morning. I woke up…

Odd morning. I woke up around 6, got up and worked for an hour -- then felt tired and went back to bed. Didn't get up again 'til 8:30. Since then, it's been going okay, though. Roshani called and I chatted with her while drinking tea, watering plants, clearing things off my desk. It's good to have company while doing minor chores. When I got off the phone with her, I finished reading a collection of stories by Ha Jin, Under the Red Flag, for my fiction workshop class. Not sure what I think of them; some are undeniably powerful, but...not my style, I think. Yesterday I read The Matisse Stories by A.S. Byatt -- those were fabulous. Just three stories, but each one was pretty substantial; I haven't written any stories that long. And just beautiful. Sharp and intense and saturated with color.

I'm trying to get a head start on my reading for the semester. I'm going to go to campus today, apply for student loans and pick up some of the books for my post-colonialism class. Should be interesting. If I read a couple more before classes start Wednesday, that'll help. I'm expecting the fall to be rather busy, as you may have gathered. :-)

Had rehearsal last night, which was wonderful. I'm so glad I decided to go back to playing; I was really jazzed after we stopped playing, really until I went to sleep. In retrospect, I'm amazed that I let myself go years without playing music, given that I enjoy it so much. There are some SCA events coming up that I'll be playing at -- if you're local, I hope to see you there. I think there's one on October 23rd...

We've started to see some good publicity for AE, btw. I've heard it described as "the perfect marriage of form and content, taking the traditional pillow book from the bed to the bath and beyond", and there's some kind of funny commentary here on various books, including AE. It'll be out Aug 22, for those of you waiting...soon! Anyone want to review it for a local publicatin? I think I can get a review copy sent to you -- just let me know.

Well, I could chitchat here all day but that doesn't get my kitchen cleaned, unfortunately. So I will talk to y'all later...

10:30. Hey, munchkins. Good evening. I went to campus in the afternoon, applied for financial aid, bought some textbooks. Got home and vegged for a bit, and then met up with Newton Ewell for dinner. Newton is an artist I met at ConDuit and we've been meaning to get together forever. Had a really good dinner at Bombay House, drove home in a rising thunderstorm (pausing in the parking lot of the Red Butte Garden for a while to watch the spectacular sunset), and then hung out at my place eating sorbet, drinking tea and talking about writing and art. Really cool and inspiring; there's something really energizing about hanging out with other creative types. We're going to think about maybe putting some of our work together; if I do that CD, I may get him to do the cover. We'll see.

I did realize something a bit negative, though. You know how I was thinking of doing a kids' CD as well as an adults' one? Well, the main item on the kids' CD was going to be this story I wrote -- and I realized that I really did want to try to sell it to a children's book publisher, which meant that it probably wasn't the best idea to put it on a CD first. :-( Sorry 'bout that. So I'm going to (at some point) try to sell it -- if I fail, then you can have it on CD, okay? So you can hope for that... :-)

Anyway, Karina's about to call, so I should probably get going. Just wanted to comment briefly on what a nice evening it was, and how I wish I weren't tired, so I could write!

Sitting Under a Tree, In the Rain

reading a book of poetry
or maybe short stories, or
both -- it's hard to tell
with this author; rich wet air,
occasional drops falling into
my hair, onto the pages, and I
am purely happy, in a way
that is like riding your bike
down a very steep hill, or
wading in a stony brook --
it is a way that I knew
how to follow once, but
for a long time, I
have been too scared --
to read a book,
under a tree,
in light rain.

Hey, munchkins. Having…

Hey, munchkins. Having a good week? Mine has been nicely relaxed; I'm being productive, but in a remarkably unstressed and steady way. I think it's because I have so few outside commitments to plan around; I don't have to rush off to teach or anything, so I can just work smoothly at my own pace.

One interesting thing I discovered this morning is a new story -- or rather, an old story from Torn Shapes that somehow never made it onto these pages, "Feather". So, if you haven't already read it in the book, enjoy! I find it fascinating that it's so short. I wrote these teeny tiny pieces when I started. 2000 words was a challenge. These days, I'm lucky if I can keep it under 5000. Funny, huh? Maybe at this rate I may actually write a novel someday.

(Actually, I'm scheduled to take a novel-writing workshop in the Spring. Meep!)

Anyway, I should probably go back to being productive. I'm curious, though -- are any of you coming to ChiCon? It would be great to see/meet some of you there. Jed and I will be throwing a small Strange Horizons party at some point during the Con, so if you're coming, you'd better attend. Or I'll do something nasty to you. And no, you won't like it. :-)

Sleepy baby. It’s…

Sleepy baby.

It's almost eleven, and I'm about to toddle off to bed. But I thought I'd just check in with y'all first.

What did I do today? Hmmm...read a bunch of manuscripts. Wrote comments. That took about three hours this morning. Worked through some stuff on my desk. Did dishes and cleaned the bedroom. Puttered a bit, then went downtown to the Social Security card. Finally got around to filling out an application for a replacement card (mine dissolved the last time I let my wallet go through the washer). Felt virtuous. Went to the mall, intending to buy one long skirt. Actually bought a few things, because there were major end-of-summer clearance sales. I'm usually not the sort to get excited about sales, but when you buy a $90 dress for $25, that's rather satisfying. Went to Borders. Looked up copy of Mademoiselle and found that indeed, there is a blurb on Aqua Erotica, as reported. :-) Very short, but it's there. Look near the back. Re-read part of Bujold's A Civil Campaign, as satisfying as ever. It's now in paperback, so I bought it. Read manuscripts for workshop tonight. Wandered around mall for half an hour 'cause I couldn't concentrate. Didn't write anything. Went to workshop; had fun. Came home, checked e-mail (we're very close to a final SH design!) and watched Star Trek. And now, it's bedtime.

Boy, that was exciting, wasn't it? :-)

Hey, munchkins. So,…

Hey, munchkins. So, today I'm nervous. It's the first day of orientation before the new semester starts (but it doesn't start until 2:15, so I have plenty of time to fret beforehand). If I think about everything coming up in the next few months, I have a mild tendency to panic. Here's the list of major things:

  • Start a Ph.D. (8/14)
  • Put together the CS book proposal (8/15)
  • Finish writing that novella (8/18)
  • Start autumn teaching (8/21)
  • Launch Strange Horizons (9/1)
  • Start online erotica class (mid-October)
See, it's a short list. What's to be scared of? (Short, but terrifying...)

I spent a while throwing anxieties at Kevin last night. I'm not going to be a good enough academic. I'm not a good enough writer. I'm not going to have enough time to do Strange Horizons properly. I'm going to neglect Clean Sheets. I'm going to neglect my students. I'm going to try to do everything really well, go into a panic and burn out completely by December. Aaaaiiiggghhhh....

Heh. I didn't actually get upset; I just thought about all the things I could get upset about. Poor boy.

He did help me figure out what's wrong with "Pieces of the Heart" (aside from the title, which I think has to go). The surprise at the end really shouldn't be a surprise -- it feels like a cheat. So I need to ditch the foreboding beginning and the surprise end, move them into the middle, do that section properly in scene, and then re-write my ending. I think I sort of knew that; I was just a lazy bugger about writing it. Laziness will be my doom.

I sort of want to go downtown, sit in Borders and write. But what I ought to do is return old videos, buy some groceries so I'm not just living on cold pizza, send out checks and contracts (I'm sending the first ones for Strange Horizons! Woohoo!), do laundry so I have something to wear to orientation, etc. Maybe I'll just put on the headphones and pretend I'm at Borders for a few hours. It's not like I need to write a whole story; I just need to re-write a section. (And then maybe come up with a new section, but I can worry about that later).

Btw, I did feel a chunk of vague anxiety as the plane was landing in Salt Lake, and the homogeneity of the people in the airport did creep me out a little...but I'm glad to be home. Have I mentioned that I love my apartment? I absolutely love my apartment.

Hey, munchkins. Sorry…

Hey, munchkins. Sorry for the quiet; just didn't feel like updating, I guess.

Umm...can I remember what I did the last several days? Wednesday was another one of those great Berkeley days; take BART up, sit in Starbucks drinking chai, eating a scone, finishing the first draft of "Pieces of the Heart". (Starbucks has extensive outlets; otherwise I promise you I would have patronized a local business.) Walk up to Other Change of Hobbit, buy the rest of the Tamora Pierce series that I started last time I came out, plus the new James White Sector General novel. Walk to Panini and have a fabulous sandwich (their rolls are amazingly tasty) with Orangina at an outdoor table; weather about 70 degrees, vines and flowers climbing over trellises, lovely. Read White. Talk to Roshani for a bit on cell. Walk up Shattuck to University. Walk down University with vague idea of working at Anna's -- sadly, Anna's not open yet. Stop at Pier 1 and find expectant mom gift, pretty bottle with seaweed and blue sand and bath oil. Walk over to Karen's and leave it on her doorstep. Walk back to Au Coquelet and settle in with book. Read book. Finish book just as Karen arrives for chatter and tea. Don't actually drink any tea (had pear cider while reading), but steal bites of her chocolate mousse. Good gossip. Eventually Michael Harman arrives! Meeting for second time one of SH Reviews Editors. Karen toddles off home for a bit. Sherman eventually arrives. Three of us toddle up to Thai Delight on Shattuck for yummy meal and getting to know each other. Two Reviews Editors seem to be getting along. Good. Too bad third is in Nashville or someplace like that. Eventually finish dinner, goodbye to Michael, Sherman and I collect Karen and go down to Ian/El's. Much cooing over new baby, new house. Very grown-up. They look a little tired but very happy. :-) :-) :-) After midnight, go back to David's and fall asleep like a log.

Luckily, not all days are so eventful, or I'd be taking forever to catch you up. Thursday was basically working at David's day; I had the stack of Herotica manuscripts; we're just making final selections and I was adding my revision notes to them. Not many -- Marcy turns out to be an excellent line editor, with an amazing eye for detail. She says she's not good at the 'big picture' -- luckily, that's my specialty. Between the two of us, I think Herotica 7 is going to be a really excellent book. I'm pleased. Then watched some more Star Trek; I can now confirm that I have seen all the episodes with Tasha's daughter, which was satisfying. I had missed one and a half or so. Eventually made curry for dinner; good to cook, but I undersalted things. Oh well... In the late evening, spent some time recording. Did demo tapes for Ian/El and Roshani/Tom of lullabies for their babies. Leo's is very silly and boppy; Zoe's is rather quiet and melancholy. I like them both. :-) Also taped for myself three other songs I've written. Very satisfying having them on tape, and cool watching David deal with all the recording stuff. (He has a 4-track, so we lay down the keyboard and guitar first on separate track, then recorded the vocals, and then he mixed it all together. Cool.)

Friday worked in the morning, then David drove me around. We went up to Good Vibes very briefly to see if I could schedule something for AE with Charlie; unfortunately, he's only there on Wednesdays. Dangit -- should've called first. Then over to Telegraph for lunch at the Blue Nile; yummy. Have had Ethiopian twice now. Will have to last me for a bit. Then walked up Telegraph, looking at the little stalls. I love the little stalls. Bought a dragonfly pin for Marcia, two small stud earrings for Jed (one malachite, one blue opal), and a silver toe ring for me. :-) David ran into Cody's briefly to check on their representation of Sheckley (he's on a Sheckley kick). Back to the car, drove to the House and looked around. Oh.. slightly melancholy. The herbs are monstrous; the rosemary is going to take over. Should have put it in a pot to start out to contain it. Sage is a bush. My bougainvillea is finally doing wonderfully; I had such troubles getting it established, but it's starting to really get huge, then way bougainvillea ought. I hope the new owners leave it in, and take care of it. It should be trained along the kitchen windows, framing the blue with its crimson petals, and then up along the outdoor chimney. Fingers crossed. The morning glory El and Ian planted for the wedding are looking marvelous; a great addition to the backyard. I wish I could have bought that house...

Eventually back in the car, drove down to the South Bay, dropped me off at Jed's. Not enough time with David. :-( Sigh. Nice day with Jed, though; worked for a while in the afternoon, napped a little, went to Palo Alto for Thai food and movie - Road to Morocco. Amazingly, ran into Eugenie! (Mathematician from Chicago.) She's apparently at Stanford for the summer doing research. Was great seeing her again, and made plans to meet up Saturday. Went on to the movie, which was exceedingly silly and fun. Some slightly stressful conversations at home after, but got resolved. LDR's are sometimes difficult.

Oof. Almost caught up.

Saturday -- met up with Arthur, Pam, Maya, Eugenie for brunch. Very yummy. Great company. Arthur and Pam looking disgustingly cute together; very happy for them. Good catching up with Eugenie; she's nicely settled in Appleton, WI at her new university. Eventually went home, finished Connie Willis Fire Watch -- great stuff! Napped. Very lazy day. Around six, dragged Jed away from his work, met Eugenie for dinner at Janta, Indian restaurant. Good, though waitress was excessively solicitous about refilling water, and bread was a bit oily. Leisurely meal with much laughter, then walked to theater to see But I'm a Cheerleader!. Very silly. Not something to go out of your way to see, but amusing in a predictable sort of way. Had ice cream aftewards at Double Rainbow. Really nice evening. Came home and fell asleep.

So that's mostly it. Been a really nice couple of days, haven't gotten so much done. Well, some. Revised the CS toy store -- could really use someone to do a complete overhaul and make it look like the bookstore, but staff is busy. Just made a bit of a start on it. Any volunteers? Just takes some free time and the willingness to look at sex toys...

Going to make one more pass at "Pieces of the Heart" this morning, I think -- the middle section is still not really meshing, and I suspect it could use one or two more sections. Maybe more. Will send it out before I get on plane, though. Leaving here at 11:45, so I'd best get to work on it.

We're going to be needing a few more staff at SH, so watch for calls for that if you're interested. Getting close to launch -- very exciting! Also scary as heck. Lots happening in the next few weeks; orientation for new program starts tomorrow. On the 15th, I should have all the manuscripts for a CS book proposal and will have to go through them and choose the few best to represent us. Then send it to Crown! By September 1st, launch SH! Feeling rather overwhelmed, but I can do it. Sure I can. :-) I'll just give up sleeping for a while...

It was really nice getting a vacation. I did some work, but I did a lot of resting and reading and eating of good food and talking with friends and being in beautiful weather in familiar places. Rejuvenating. Nice.

Hey, guys. So, I’ve…

Hey, guys. So, I've actually signed up with PayPal; there's an open donate button at the bottom of my home page and my poems page, and a 25 cent button after each story. We'll see what happens with those. We *have* gotten a a few donations at CS -- not much yet, but enough to buy one or two stories. It's a step, and I'm glad people are enjoying the magazine enough to want to donate to keep it going.

As for those of you who wanted to send postcards and such, I promise to look into the P.O. Box when I get back to Salt Lake... It would be a lot of fun getting postcards again. I have some from soldiers in Desert Storm, from Antarctica, from all over the darn place, actually. They're very cool. I wish I could think of a good way to display them -- there are too many to hang them up on my walls. I could paste them in a big book, but I'd want to be able to see both sides. Maybe hole-punch them and thread ribbons through? Hmm...

Yesterday was a good quiet day; I mostly goofed off, though I did get a little bit of work done for the magazines. I read a good chunk of Connie Willis's short story collection, Fire Watch -- some great stuff in there. Not done yet, but I suspect I'm going to be highly recommending it when I'm finished. I also spent quite a while playing Deathground -- a computer game Kev got me last Christmas that I just now got around to playing. It's fun -- kind of like Risk, but with gangsters. So far, I'm pretty good at winning when there's only about four of us, but I haven't quite figured out the best approach when there are more players -- my slow and steady tactics tend to get me slaughtered then...usually by someone who goes on to get slaughtered himself, but that doesn't help me, does it?

Made dinner last night and had a nice meal with Jed. Got a backrub afterwards that relaxed me so completely that I just fell asleep. I think I slept about ten hours last night; I needed it.

Today David drove down and picked me up, and I'll be hanging out at his place for a few days, seeing East Bay people and such. Not sure what we're going to do the rest of today; probably work. We'll see...

Later, dears.