Art show report — sold…

Art show report -- sold all four glass collages (two of which I didn't photograph before selling them, oops), one glass spinny-thing, and a few little books. The only blank book that sold was the laughing cat book, which might indicate that I need to price the blank books even cheaper if I want to sell them -- which I'm disinclined to do, since they're pretty cheap already, and dropping the price more will make them not worth bothering. They *were* placed on the absolute farthest table, so it's possible that a lot of people just didn't make it all the way out there. I'll probably try them at these prices at one more con before giving up on them and handing them out to friends. :-)

Overall, sold $273.50 worth of stuff; if you deduct the $100 hanging fees, that's $173.50 profit; if you deduct the materials expense for everything I had hanging, that's probably about $50 of profit, and if you deducted my time...well, that would be just silly, wouldn't it? Because the whole thing isn't work, it's a lot of fun.

I didn't sell "Fringes", so I think I will try taking it off the frame, removing the glued-on backing paper if possible, and quilting it, so that it can hang freely from a silver bar. I think that'll look a lot better. Since I did sell all the glass collages, I think I can say again that they're a pretty good deal for me -- they're not really like anything else that shows up in art shows, and people seem to like that. If only they weren't so heavy! Layers of glass get heavy really fast. I don't know if I'll be accepted to World Fantasy's juried art show, but since I'll be driving to both that and WindyCon, I at least won't have to worry about lugging the collages across airports. I'm a little burned out on art at the moment, but I'll probably make some more collages before the conventions.

As for little books, in addition to the one blank book, I sold one book of my poems and one copy of "Minal in Winter" -- I suspect what I ought to do is a few more of that kind of thing. The fancier ones (with embedded jewelry and rich sari fabrics) seem to sell better than the simple ones.

Karen, if you actually want the red silk butterfly album, it's yours. The back binding really is kind of messed up, sadly -- I don't think it's likely to ever sell. (See, it's *good* to tell me if you really like something. :-)

As many of you doubtless…

As many of you doubtless already know, Locus Online won the Hugo this year. Strange Horizons just barely made the nominating ballot -- a few fewer votes and we wouldn't have, so huge thanks to all of you who nominated! Just being on the ballot was great publicity for the magazine, and we were getting all kinds of praise during WorldCon from all sorts of people (including pros who haven't looked twice at me at previous conventions :-).

We ended up fourth in the final voting (ahead of Tangent Online), which indicates to me that just in the time period between nomination and voting, the added visibility helped raise our reputation among readers. 111 people voted for us as their first choice -- I can't tell you how warm and fuzzy that makes me feel, so again, I'll just say thank you. Thanks lots.

WorldCon itself was a dizzying whirl, with lots of great people and interesting conversations. We had a fabulous time at our second-anniversary / Hugo-nominee SH tea party, and just masses of our authors showed up (Jed counted 17 fiction authors alone at the convention)! The party was held out in the midst of Fan Space, right next to registration, with tons of new people walking by, asking what the party was for, being fed cookies and tea, handed guidelines, and shown the magazine on Jed's handy titanium powerbook (so sleek and lovely). One of my favorite moments of the convention was when I stood up on a chair halfway through the party, thanked everyone for coming and announced that we were Hugo nominees -- we got a massive cheer from the party attendees, which undoubtedly attracted lots of attention from other con-goers.

I think my absolute favorite moment came during the Hugo ceremony itself. It came after dressing up in a green and gold sari (a gift from my mother), attending the Hugo reception with Jed (dignified in dark suit) and Susan (oh-so-elegant in a black satin Chinese brocade pantsuit), and being paraded to our reserved seats. (Staff members Fred, Michael, Beth, Samantha and Alex were also in attendance at the convention, but we could only persuade the Hugo committee to let us have three tickets for the reception-- they're just not used to such a group endeavor as Strange Horizons, I guess.)

We sat through all the early awards, cheering dutifully. As it got close to the time for Best Website, I suddenly realized that we might actually win, and that I might have to teeter up there on my high heels and give a speech -- I went into a screaming panic (inside my head) and frantically started composing a speech and jotting down names to thank. My heart was pounding.

They started announcing our category. They listed the nominees -- Locus Online, SciFi.com, Tangent Online, SF Site, Strange Horizons. There was polite clapping for every name, but when they called out Strange Horizons, there was a massive wave of applause and cheers from the crowd. Jed and Susan and I just started grinning -- and I was still grinning when they tore open the envelope and announced Locus Online as the winner. I was delighted, and thrilled, and deeply honored to be there, hearing how much Strange Horizons has become loved, in just two years.

Gosh, I'm getting mushy, aren't I? Blame it on the lack of sleep, the emotional highs, and the incredible experience that is WorldCon as a Hugo nominee. We don't know if there'll be a Best Website Hugo again (if not, we'll be asking for you to vote for me as Best Professional Editor next year), but we sure got a lot out of it this time around. It was a terrific ride for all of us. Thanks!

Well, I’ve just sipped…

Well, I've just sipped from my first cup of tea, and my hair is still dripping onto the towel I'm wearing -- things happen slower in Jed's apartment. But nicer, too. I need to get dressed pretty quick and then try and get some work done -- Zak and Sharon are coming by at noon to pick me up for some lunch. When we're done with lunch, I'll come back here and work for a bit more (trying to finish up two collages before the con, eep!), then we're planning on heading over around 3-ish. After that, Jed and I will be staying at the con 'til Monday; I imagine we'll have decent net access, but no time to post. :-)

High up in the sky…

High up in the sky again. Had a bit of a rush getting to the airport and getting settled, what with picking up the car and Karen's rug and all (I have a car! How strange is that?), but once I got on the plane it settled down. Settled down a little too much, truth be told -- some mechanical problem kept us sitting on the runway for an hour and a half. But I had a new copy of de Lint's The Onion Girl, which kept me happily occupied. Once we got airborne, I switched to watching a movie on my computer, The Philadelphia Story. Terrific -- I've caught bits of it on tv before, but I'd never seen the whole thing. Just a delightful film, even if it was rather Taming-of-the-Shrew-ish in theme.

I'm going to go back to the de Lint soon, but right now I'm just listening to some Bill Staines, looking out the window, talking to y'all. We're flying into...well, not quite a sunset yet, but the sun's low in the sky. There's a sort of clear gold glow coating the pale blueness of sky right now, and the clouds are huge and puffy below us. I love it when it's like this, big patches of puffy cloud, so you can see, far below, just an intimation of distant ground. The clouds look so solid, like you could just step off the plane and step out onto them, walking across. If I were de Lint, I'd probably be inventing a whole spirit community that lived up here, swooping through the clouds.

It's so calm. Maybe spirits wouldn't be a good thing. I'm not sure how much of its beauty lies in its emptiness, the vast spaces untouched. Sometimes I feel so crowded on this planet -- like every corner, every inch is getting filled up with people and our stuff. I love my stuff -- I just went out and bought a blue chenille throw this morning, to match my pillows. But the stuff can get a little overwhelming. It's comforting, then, to think about all the emptiness out there. In the sky, in space.

Am I feeling a little crowded at Kevin's? Heh. Maybe. It's been a little over three months now; not a bad time to pause and take stock. It's still Kevin's, you know. I'm very comfortably esconced in his place -- my bookshelves, my spices, my clothes in the main closet. But it still doesn't feel quite the way it did when we were living together back in Philly. I'm not sure why. It might in part be the simple fact that I'm not paying rent. Back then, we were splitting expenses pretty much evenly. These days -- well, I had pretty much no income over the summer, so I just lived off him. And while I'll have my fellowship money starting soon, plus the money from the new book, that's going to go to paying off my debts. I owe a sad amount of money to banks and things. He doesn't need my money anyway. But it may mean that it's a little hard for me to feel like it's actually our place, rather than his. I mean -- really, it's his, y'know?

But more than that...well, more than that, is that it's all still temporary. Up in the air. Next month we could decide it's not working out -- or in six months. I guess in some ways, that's true of any couple...but it's very clearly true of us. We still have some things to settle...and we're not quite ready to settle them yet.

I've been here three months -- but he was away for a month, and I've done a lot of travelling this summer, and not done yet. In mid-September I go back, and have no immediate plans to leave again. We're pretty done with house stuff -- unpacking and buying things and settling in. Maybe if we can just live together for a bit, we can figure out if this is going to work long-term.

I'm really not sure. Sometimes I'm so happy, I can't tell you. When it's good between us, it's remarkably good. Most of the time...it's fine. Pleasant. A little odd. Occasionally irritating. I think I'd gotten used to living alone, after three years. I'm having some trouble adjusting to thinking about someone else's needs. I was trying to explain this to Roshani the other day, how it bugs me a little, having to think about whether he might prefer quiet, when I'm wanting to put on loud music and dance around cleaning the apartment. And she just didn't get it -- she doesn't feel that kind of frustration. I don't know if it's just that she and Tom are better suited than me and Kev? Or that she does that kind of calculation so automatically that it doesn't even surface enough to be noticed as frustrating? Maybe she's more selfless than I am...I don't know. And it's not so bad, putting on headphones and a walkman and dancing around the apartment...but it's not quite the same, either.

Oof. I don't know. It all seems to go better when I don't obsess about it, so I think I'd probably better just put all this aside for now. I'll have a good, busy, exhausting time at the convention. I'll have fun visiting Jed and David and all my Bay Area friends. I'll run the Portland SH workshop and decide if I want to keep doing these. I'll go home, and kiss Kevin hello, and try to get some work done. That sounds like a good plan, doesn't it? It sounds good to me, anyway.

I'm looking forward to this trip...but I'm also looking forward to going home again, already. I miss his arms around me.

I of course, forgot…

I of course, forgot things in my list. Do the staff gallery for SH. Talk to Susannah about various things. Deal with more annoying car stuff. Water plants before leaving. I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting.

So far, I've mostly just done e-mail. On the plus side, I'm down to 12 (!) messages in my inbox. And about nine of them are regarding an essay I hope to work on again soon, and should probably be moved to another folder. I think I'll go do that now, in fact.

I totally cheated on the eating-right-thing last night, btw. Had a sudden desperate craving for a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich last night. My scale isn't happy with that, but I am. Sometimes you just have to give in to your cravings if you want to maintain your sanity, that's what I think. Of course, mostly you shouldn't. Or I shouldn't, anyway. :-)

Several of my…

Several of my draft-story readers are South Asian, unsurprisingly. But one of the newer ones just wrote to me to comment (favorably) on the latest story, and addressed the letter to "Mary Anne Akka". And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, of course -- "akka" or "acca" technically means big sister, but is generally used to any woman who is older than you but of your own generation (of your parents' generation would make her Aunty instead). I have scores of relatives and non-relatives who call me akka (since my mom's the oldest of nine children, I have literally something like thirty younger cousins on that side). But they always use my middle name, Amirthi, 'cause that's what I'm known as in the family; I'm very used to hearing Amirthi Akka. Generally when they want something out of me -- it's supposed to be a title of respect, and in these modern days it often gets dropped unless they're trying to wheedle me into taking them to a movie, or reading them a story, or cooking them pancakes for breakfast. "Pleeeease, Amirthi Akka..." is a common phrase when I'm home for Christmas.

All of this by way of indicating a brief shock of cognitive dissonance at reading "Mary Anne Akka" this morning, especially in regards to an erotica story. :-)

I'm still pleased at having written that story. In retrospect, I think it's probably a little clunkier than it needs to be -- I pretty much just wrote out everything, and I think it could've been more subtle. Also more beautiful in language. But the gist of the story is there, what I wanted to get across, and I do like the way the characters are sort of all going through the same thing, in really different ways. That was probably the core idea of the story -- that, and the experience of being in the ocean at Alex's.

I might work on it more today, but tomorrow I leave for three weeks (for WorldCon, visiting friends, and running the Oregon workshop). Which means that today is get-everything-done day. Which means a list:

  • finish all collages that are going to be finished in time
  • sign all the books and collages
  • try to attach business cards to all of them
  • be sure they're all entered, with prices, in the ConJose online control sheet
  • go downtown and return the duvet cover I decided I didn't like
  • buy a pair of gold sandals to wear with my sari (it's traditional)
  • if I'm very good at getting all that done promptly, maybe reward myself with a manicure at the beauty salon that's opened up downstairs
  • try on clothes, see what fits and looks good, pack them
  • pack everything else, except the electronics which'll be packed tomorrow
  • pack all the SH-related stuff, plus copies of Wet and promotional materials
  • pack some exam list reading
  • do a final clean-up, get the stuff Kev won't eat out of the fridge, etc.
  • snuggle with Kevin
That's everything that has to get done. There are some optional things too -- we have a couple DVD's from Netflix that I'd like to see before I go. One in particular, Following (the first movie from the guy who did Memento), I'm definitely going to try to find time to see. It's only an hour or so long, so that should be do-able. But mostly, art stuff, packing.

I was also supposed to go buy Karen a carpet today. But my damn car isn't ready yet, for reasons that are just too irritating to go into. Hopefully tomorrow. If it's not ready tomorrow, then I'll see if I can wheedle Kevin into helping me pick it up. I don't leave for the airport until 2:30, so there should be plenty of time for carpet-buying tomorrow (and whatever else I don't get done today, really).

Wrote a story, “It’s…

Wrote a story, "It's All About Being Naked", the first one I've written in months. Maybe sleeping horribly is good for my writing. Can't tell yet if the story is any good -- it's another one about Roshan and Shefali and Gabriel. It feels more and more like I'm working my way towards a novel about them. I like them. I'm a little in love with Shefali, I think, and probably Gabriel too. Roshan's still something of a cipher to me, but there's got to be something to him if they love him, right?

Sometimes my characters are more real to me than the people I know in real life.

I fell asleep three…

I fell asleep three times tonight. Each time, I was woken up about ten minutes after I'd fallen asleep. The first time, I was too cold, and was woken up when I reached for a sheet to cover myself (it was all the way at the bottom of the bed). The second time, Karina called. The third time, Kevin came home from the office. I'm tempted to just give up, but I feel like crap now, and if I don't sleep, I know I'll feel at least twice as bad tomorrow. Damn damn damn.

Finished the Mukherjee…

Finished the Mukherjee -- it was such a relief to read a book in two hours, rather than the four *days* it took me to get through the Malory. Granted, there were a lot of breaks in those four days. I'm not quite ready to face book 2 yet; I think next will be Marguerite Duras's The Lover. I really liker her The War -- terse and poignant. Looking forward to this one (and it's also short!)

Also drafted an editorial for SH about going to WorldCon. Not sure it's any good. We'll see.