So today I’m annotating…

So today I'm annotating my children's sf/f list with descriptions of the stories...I decided the list had gotten big enough that it would be difficult for people to decide where to start. The revised version is now up. I also added a pointer to the online writer's workshop -- I get a lot of mail from people wanting crits, and I just don't have the time -- this is a great place to get that desperately needed commentary.

The weather today is beautiful -- cool and rainy. If you've been reading this diary, you'll already know how much I love that kind of weather. Last night another mathematician came by to work with Kevin on a lecture, so I decided to get out of their way and leave the apartment a bit quieter. Jason and I wandered around visiting various coffeeshops (we recommend Macam's and Crimson Moon) and walking in the light rain. It cleared up towards the end of the evening, and if I (and he) hadn't had to go to work in the morning, we could have easily walked in the crisp, clear air for hours more. It was one of those long, meandering discussions, spiced with gossip and politics and philosophy -- one of the things I miss most about college was how frequent those conversations were (though perhaps we took ourselves a bit too seriously then).

Polenta with basil and tomatoes last night; vegetable sushi tonight, I think. I have to remember to stop by 16th and Spruce and pick up pickled ginger. Working hard, weather is good, I'm happy and all's well with the world. :-) Hope the same is true of all of you...

12:45 -- I picked up a copy of the New Yorker to take to lunch with me (the fun of working in a doctor's office -- lots of magazines around), and stumbled onto a fun article about the Bloomsbury group, focusing on Vanessa Bell (New Yorker, June 5, 1995, "A House of One's Own"). I'm still in the midst of it, but enjoying it immensely. Their lives remind me of my own, though so far I've been much more fortunate -- the people I love are still around (though some are much too far away). So many of the Bloomsbury group (and its related people) died young.

It made me think (once again) of how tremendously important old lovers (and loves) have stayed in my life. Somehow the experience of having loved someone (even if you no longer do) seems to...hmm....I can't think of a better way of saying it than Vanessa did, so I'll just quote:

"finding for the first time someone whose opinion one cared for, who sympathised with and encouraged one, you know I really was in love with you and felt very intimate with you, and it is one of the most exciting things one can do to get to know another person really well. One can only do so, I think, if one's in love with them, even though it may be true that one's also then deluded about them -- as I daresay you were about me. But I really loved and admired your character and I still do and I expect that having been in love with you will always make me have a different feeling about you from what I could have had otherwise, in spite of all the difficulties that have happened since."

It's not just about sex, of course, though sex does accelerate intimacy among other things. But sometimes I think I've been most deeply in love with people whom I not only never had sex with, but whom I never really wanted to have sex with. You know? There are just some people (kindred spirits, as Anne of Green Gables says) with whom you realize when you meet them that your life would have been so much poorer without them, and theirs without you...people whose minds/hearts set off sparks with your own.

I once read someone saying that who you are is defined by who you love. Part of the truth, at any rate.

1:00 - quiet day at the office, so you're getting a very long entry today. Consider it payment in advance for Friday - Monday when I'll be gone. I was just skimming misc.writing, and happened onto a discussion of the disadvantages of going into a profession you don't love (especially the ones with large monetary compensations, which make it easy to become accustomed to a lifestyle that is difficult to leave). This is something my parents are having trouble understanding (immigrants who worked hard and succeeded and desperately want their oldest daughter to have a more secure profession). But when the I'm writing well, there is nothing in this world that compares to that feeling. (We won't talk about what it feels like when it's going badly...) As someone said on the newsgroup, "better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." Gotta love those folk sayings.

Someone sent me some…

Someone sent me some hilarious mail today -- if you like Calvin & Hobbes and Shakespeare, you have to check out this. Speaking of Shakespeare, I'm sometimes amazed by how nice people are. So I was reading my alumni magazine, and there was an article on this new adaption of Henry IV, a two hour (instead of seven hour) version, designed for an intimate theater space (Court Theater specifically, where I saw many a marvelous play in my college days) by an old and favorite professor of mine. Intrigued, I called him up, and asked whether there was a copy in print, thinking perhaps they'd published a limited edition run. He says no, but he'd be happy to mail me a copy. Sweet, huh? I agree, thanking him, and give him my address. So far so good.

As we're about to hang up he says, 'Oh, would you mind sending it back to me? It's my only copy...' Is this nice or what? Product of months of work, only copy, and he trusts me, a student he had five years ago in a few classes (admittedly, I did well in them, but still :-) to copy it and send it back to him. Is this guy a prince, or what? If you ever consider taking a Shakespeare class in Chicago, look for Professor David Bevington. Not only is he one of the foremost Shakespearean scholars in the world, but he's a genuinely nice guy. (Though I did wonder if I'd trust such an package to the U.S. mail).

Anyway, in the rest of Mary Anne news...well, rent is due today -- sent Kevin off with it. Plans proceeding apace for Florida on Friday. Spent last night eating curry, chocolates, watching television and reading a trashy romance novel (which I enjoyed thoroughly until the terrible awful horrible ending -- why do authors feel compelled to take a female protagonist who has been bright and capable throughout and then have her do something REALLY STUPID (oh, I'll go off with the bad guy to meet another bad guy who wants to kill me -- without a weapon, even!) just so the hero can rescue her??! It's worse than having a pathetic female throughout, 'cause it just doesn't make any sense! Argh!). Other than that, a thoroughly indulgent and pleasurable evening. Also read the February issue of Analog. Pretty good, but not stunning.

Ran across a great quote while reading news (rec.arts.books, I think):

"I have just said that I was attractive. Consequently one half of the road to temptation was already covered and it is only human in such situations that one should not stop half-way. For to tempt and to be tempted are closely allied; and in spite of all the finest moral maxims buried in the mind, when emotion interferes, when feeling makes its appearance, one is already much further involved than one realizes, and I have still not learnt how to prevent its appearance." -- Catherine the Great, from her memoirs

Hmm…I’ve really gotten…

Hmm...I've really gotten lazy about weekends, haven't I? Well, I'm going back to Sunday and sticking something in for you that I meant to post yesterday...

Okay, all done. Lots to say. So the counter for March is at 165 right now, of which about 8 are my own. Averaging around 50 a day, which is certainly enough that I think it's worth continuing this. :-) I might have in any case, but it's nice to know people are listening. My friend Axinar also suggested another reason for continuing this diary -- contributing to my own immortality. He claims that someday when I'm dead and famous, scholars will try to figure out what my life was like, and this will make the job immeasurably easier. :-) Nice thought, anyway.

So a server in Ireland has offered me a home -- assuming they get back to me (the last person who offered me a site didn't), I think I may go with them come May. The person who's hosting me currently is leaving his job, and doubts his replacement will be quite so open-minded (and/or willing to risk possible legal repercussions). My friend has promised that I can leave a link up at the old address so people can find my new page... If you'd like to take a look at the new server, it's with these people.

20 min. later -- just talked to the Ireland people again (Dave Walsh), and it looks like a definite go on the page move. I don't want to deal with the hassle right now, but sometime in the next month, I'm moving to Ireland. :-)

As for the weekend, well, Friday was First Friday, so after the service for Martha's daughter (very sad, unsurprisingly) I went to the folksing, then crashed at my friend Abby's for the night. Great fun, as always. Took a little longer than I would have liked getting back (missed my train by 2 minutes, then had to wait an hour for the next one!), but managed to pass the time pleasantly with first Terry Pratchett's Strata (a fantastic sf romp which will bend your mind in unexpected directions/dimensions), and then a copy of Penthouse Variations (both loaned by Abby), the latter read solely for the writing style, so I can sell them stuff (uh huh, tell us another one...:-). Stopped by Reading Terminal Market on the way home, and would have picked up a bunch of yummy food (they have so much good stuff there), but my bank was closed (argh!), and they still haven't sent me my new ATM card, so I had very little cash, so I picked up what piddling groceries I could and went home. Kev doesn't get paid till Monday, so he couldn't help much. Still managed to make some moderately yummy food (though if you don't like liver, you wouldn't have enjoyed the liver curry I made Saturday night), supplemented by a potluck brunch on Sunday. Good way to get some variety into your diet when living on a shoestring...:-)

Brunch was good fun -- made cottage cheese and apple pancakes, Cape Cod apple pudding, and hash browns. People brought fruit salad, juice, quiche, coffee cake, hummus, vegetables and dip, so all around good spread. :-) Hung out for several hours, then they all dispersed. Re-read some more of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, then watched Mad About You, then David stopped by, and we talked for a while. Made beef curry for dinner, read a bit more, went to sleep. Good weekend.

This was found in a…

This was found in a church, I believe. I don't agree with it all, but I've highlighted the parts that really touched me, and much of the rest has wisdom in it, I think. Hope you enjoy it.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

--Max Ehrmann

"Into this…

"Into this Universe, and Why not knowing,
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing."

-- Verse 29, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

New calendar page today, so new poem. That verse is somewhat painfully appropriate to my own life, it sometimes seems.

As you may have noted, I did in fact put a counter on this page. Should be interesting. I wonder to what extent I have to allow for people (other than myself) viewing the page multiple times/day.

Have to revise my Statement of Purpose for grad school applications today, and choose 30-40 pages of prose to send out with the applications. I am not looking forward to the latter, as so much of my writing is either erotica or sf/f/h, neither of which seems to win the hearts of admissions committees. It almost tempts me to write a new, strictly mainstream, angstful story, just for the applications. Something nice and bleak, in which half the characters die and in which the other half lead either terribly boring or depressingly bleak lives. Not quite my style.

Also tonight is the funeral service for Martha's (co-worker mentioned several entries ago) daughter. And after that is folksing, which I have a feeling I'm really going to need. It has been a very stressful week.

later -- Paged through some more diaries on-line, and was thinking about something Kevin said to me last night. There have been some semi-heavy emotional things going on in my life lately, (don't worry, am coping okay), and he asked whether I was going to write about them in here. (Funny, he's never even read this diary -- if he kept one, you can be damn sure I'd be reading it. :-) Anyway, I told him that I didn't usually let the diary get that personal, and then he asked why I was keeping a diary, if I was editing so much out. So I gave him some answers (to talk back to my fans without writing individually daily to each one; to keep something new and changing on these pages to hold people's interest; to vent; to practice writing...).

And now I'm wondering whether that's enough for the people reading this. Whether you all really enjoy hearing about my stresses and frustrations, what I had for dinner and what books I've read, all without any of the really juicy stuff that you can find in some journals. I'm not asking for a bunch of responses saying, 'yes!' -- I already know that a lot of you are really sweet and would quickly/gladly reassure me. I'm just thinking out loud, wondering what a reader gets from a journal like this -- such a limited/slanted view into somebody else's life. I try to make it more interesting/worthwhile, with recipes and useful links to people and things I enjoy and occasional new poetry and stories...but you know, I don't think I'd bother reading this journal unless I knew me. :-) Of course, that should be taken with the knowledge that I don't read any on-line journals...

Heya everyone. Pleasant…

Heya everyone. Pleasant morning -- lots of nice mail from people who visited my home page (I really am wondering how many people actually get to this diary rather than just visiting the main page or the stories -- I think with March I'll institute a counter to indulge my curiosity. :-) Among the mail was a note from Brian telling me about some spiffy new stuff on his page -- not only did he manage to do something cool with a poem, it's a pretty damn cool poem in and of itself. Worth taking a look. Also among highly cool mail sent to me was a note from a woman named Denise, president of The University of D, a very neat web site....

In my own life, the Jackie Chan movie last night was absolutely fabulous. Who needs plot, characterization or believable dialogue when you have breathtaking, inventive, brilliant stunts and an oddly appealing, quite charming protagonist (with a gorgeous bod :-)? I'm told that the other Jackie Chan movies are in Cantonese and generally not subtitled, but I think I'll seek them out anyway -- the dialogue seems pretty inconsequential in terms of movie appreciation here. :-)

Today I have to fill out and submit the FAFSA, mail in my taxes, and do two grad school apps. Ick uck yuck. The next week or so I plan to complain a lot -- consider yourselves warned! Especially annoying 'cause the spring- like weather has evaporated, and we're back to the 30 degrees F again... oh well. Should make my trip to Florida more enjoyable, I suppose. (Oh, did I mention that? I'll be going to Orlando from March 8-11 with an old friend (well, she's not that old, but you know what I mean) to indulge in Walt Disney World, Epcot, warm weather and skimpy clothes. :-)

11:10 - FAFSA done and ready to mail. Easier than expected. New College of CA and Purdue apps to be done. Wish me luck -- I HATE the application process. Last year I applied to 7 schools and was rejected from all of them. Bad for the soul. Makes it difficult to get enthusiastic about all this...

2:00 - Finished paperwork part of apps for New College and Purdue. Still need to go home and write up personal statement, choose poems and stories, find printer (ours is dead) and mail off. My head hurts.

3:20 - Chose 10 poems. Not sure if they're my best ones -- it's hard finding a balance between work I really like and work that I think they'll like. Ended up choosing mostly poems from '92 -- most of my poems in recent years have been relationship-type things and I didn't want to give them the impression that I only wrote love poems or breakup poems.

Taxes taxes taxes. Put…

Taxes taxes taxes. Put them off for weeks -- finally did them today. Not so bad as I feared, actually -- the whole process took perhaps 45 mintues, though I do need to go pick up one more form to finish it off. If you need tax help, the IRS has kindly put all sorts of information on-line. Very useful.

Not feeling so well, so haven't done much else lately. Re-read some of Patricia Wrede's Searching for Dragons, a children's book I really enjoyed. Vague plans tonight to go out with David and friends to see new Jackie Chan movie, Rumble in the Bronx (confession: I've never seen a Jackie Chan movie. But lots and lots of my friends seem highly impressed by him. We'll see). I ought to go to dance class, but the only one offered today is beginning hip hop, and I'm not really feeling hip enough for that...

Morning everyone! All’s…

Morning everyone! All's well here today -- the sun is shining, the air is warm, the birds are chirping, etc. and so on...:-) I went to dance class yesterday (Jazz) and had great fun, although by the end of the class I felt as if I would fall over and die if she said "Again!" one more time...which she did, of course. This morning my legs hurt, my back hurts, my ankles even hurt, but I feel just fine! :-) It's my own damn fault for being a lazy bum all winter -- I'm just paying the price now...

Went and picked up my tax forms yesterday as well -- the plan is to do them today, so that I can do the FAFSA tomorrow and file it all before March 1st, which is the deadline for some of the schools to which I'm applying. I wasn't sure exactly which forms I'd need (I used to do the 1040EZ, but now that I have a little story income from last year, and deductions, I'm afraid it's more complicated), so I picked up a bunch of different forms, and hope I can figure it out...ick. I'm hoping it's not as bad as it looks.

Reading Science Fiction Age today (a magazine I haven't actually started yet). I'll let you know how it is...hmm...not much else to say. Got lots of interesting mail from readers this morning -- always a nice way to start the day. Two interesting things recommended to me were a book called "Eat Me" by an Australian author about several women, one of whom writes erotica while the others live it :-), and "Bitter Moon," a movie recommended by a reader who liked the How to Fuck Up Relationships list (which I repeat, I did not write. I only wish I had...).

So, quick summary of the…

So, quick summary of the weekend:
I cleaned my apartment.

No, really, that's about all I did. And finished Nancy Kress's Beggars and Choosers (pretty good) and a Zelazny short story anthology (hard to believe he's really gone), especially enjoying "A Rose for Ecclesiastes", which I had read years and years ago and forgotten. Oh, and I reread the Fionavar Tapestry (a fantasy trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay, perhaps my favorite fantasy series of all time (though in many ways his subsequent novel Tigana is a better book) and one which continues to move me to tears on the 15th or 20th! re-reading.

Basically a very mellow weekend, with interludes of long overdue conversations with distant friends and occasional visits from local friends. A nice break. Found a yummy recipe (if you like asparagus). Remember those crepes I mentioned many entries ago? Boil asparagus for about a minute, break off tips and wrap stalks with a delicate melting cheese in the crepes. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees, serve with tips as garnish and an herb bechamel sauce (which you can skip if you're being vaguely health-conscious like I am). Very good even without the sauce, though could have used fresher asparagus than what I had available.

Dance class tonight, assuming I don't wimp out. Beginner jazz at Koresh Dance Center, 6:00. I used to be somewhat more competent, but since I've been out of practice all winter, I figure I'd best restart with beginner and then work my way up (hopefully quickly). Considering starting ballet as well, or street funk. :-)

Shapes of grief. The…

Shapes of grief. The small fluttering
Of a heart worn thin with worry and the
Raising of three small children. The
Race of sweating doctors, failing in an
Old, cold silence. Her husband huddles,
Weeping. Her mother cooks and cleans and
Fears to pause a moment, lest the
Ugly truth should slap her, and the poor
Little children are still laughing, unknowing.

One of my co-workers, Martha, lost her daughter today. 'lost.' What an impossible, utterly inadequate euphemism. It conveys some things while ignoring others. The lost can generally be found. But Martha's daughter died, five months pregnant, of a weak heart that just gave out. And what makes it terribly worse, is that she signed herself out of the hospital and went home, ignoring every warning from the doctors that her heart was racing dangerously. Nobody knows why she left. Maybe if she had stayed they could have saved her -- maybe not. But at least we/they could have said -- we did all we could. Everyone here is angry and frustrated and on the verge of tears. Most of us didn't even know her. But doctors don't seem to deal with death very well -- they take it too personally, and when you work with them, you tend to pick that attitude up, even when you know, rationally, that there was absolutely nothing you could have done.


Other than that, life is just grand. And I did go to the gym yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed both my Cardio Street Funk dance class and my introduction to Tai Chi. My calf muscles protest loudly, but I'll be back. Score one for life, I suppose.

Hmm...just called to try to sign up for the gym so I can keep going. Turns out that in addition to the $20/month fee, there's a $90 joining fee. Pretty standard, I know, but I hadn't realized it. So now I'm waffling between the gym and the dance studio, which costs $90 for two months, and I'd like the classes better (though I'd miss the Tai Chi). Ugh. Guess I'll just try to figure out which one fits into my schedule better and then flip a coin.