Dammit, I thought only…

Dammit, I thought only two days had gone by...sorry, guys. Time flies, etc.

Life is going moderately well. Kinda freaked out again in the middle of the week -- had a rough critique of "Slow Illuminations", had big novel plotting problems, had Lucius tell me that he thought I should be writing mainstream stuff instead of sf/f, made four false starts at stories, about 1000 words each, all of which died. Bad day.

On the good side, the novel plotting appears to have been ironed out, with a lot of help from Kate, Kevin and Alex. I wrote a short funny piece yesterday which I think I rather like, "On the Rocks". I decided that Lucius is occasionally full of shit. :-) And it's Friday. Party tonight, party at Greg Bear's tomorrow. And no time to stress, since I have to write a novel synopsis by Monday and cook dinner tonight for the group. (Chicken and mushroom crepes in a white wine sauce, steamed broccoli, crepes with fruit and chocolate syrup and ice cream for dessert). They will say about us in later years -- 'Ah yes, they may not have been able to write, but that was the Clarion that ate well.'

We're also thinking of nicknaming ourselves the "Sensible Clarion". There are all sorts of stories about past Clarions -- multiple affairs, suicide threats, pregnancies (planned and unplanned), and generally dire straits. We're at the end of third week now, and as far as we can tell, nobody's suicidal, nobody's pregnant, and nobody's sleeping with anybody else here. We're actually generally getting our work done, on time, and doing some extra work as well. And we still like each other!

Anyway, I should probably go answer a little more e-mail (I'm getting very behind, so apologies if you're waiting on a response from me -- I *will* get to it at some point) and then get my laundry out of the dryer. And then chop mushrooms. Lots and lots of mushrooms.

Have a good weekend, everyone. And while you're relaxing, think of me, hunched over my laptop, typing madly.

3:15 - Note: I've collected the interviews (and will soon have the columns) here.

Well, today was an…

Well, today was an exciting day. I dragged Kate into my room and made her listen to me plot my novel for a good two hours -- she was extremely helpful. Now I just need to figure out my climax scene (the ending is set), and I will have a coherent plot. Then I run that by Rick and Alex, and if they pass it, then I call up Kevin and run it by him. That should all be done by Wednesday. Then I spend the next couple of days writing up a 1-15 page novel synopsis to hand in Monday for Beth Meacham and Tappan King, Tor Books editors. It is not unheard of (though uncommon) for them to buy books from Clarion students on the strength of these novel synopses. I'm a little nervous. I should probably just relax and write the damn thing.

Plotting is amazing. I've axed a major and a minor character, and turned two good characters into bad ones (one through political gain, one through a mercenary nature and self-delusion). Fascinating. Another minor character has gained much prominence. And I think (though no promises), that I may even see a happy ending at the end of the road. That won't be set in stone until I write it, though....and there's a damn long way to go before that. I wish I'd done this four years ago.

Lucius seems like a very laid back guy, who gives thorough critiques. He's doing a new piece of mine, "Slow Illuminations", tomorrow. Again, if you want a look at it, holler. I think I'm going to send "Amanda Means Love" to Asimov's once I finish the rewrite (which should also happen this week). We'll see what the group thinks of "Slow Illuminations" (another sf piece).

Dinner's almost ready, so I'm going to head back up. Baked potatoes today, yumm... Hope y'all are doing well -- I'm tired, but pretty happy. Feel like I accomplished a lot this afternoon.

Yes, it’s two, count…

Yes, it's two, count 'em, two diary entries in a row. Maybe I'm getting better at this. Maybe now that Chip Delany's week is over, I'm not quite so panicked. I haven't told you guys much about the instructors, have I? Michael Bishop was an absolute sweetheart -- very gentle, and a good introduction to the show. I highly recommend his Ancient of Days, and I'm told that if you like baseball, his new Brittle Innings is very good. I will never read it. :-) Chip Delany is a god among men (though fairly tough on the class). If you haven't read Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, Babel-17, or "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones", boy are you missing out. I may be a bit biased in this regard -- I did my bachelor's thesis on him, basically. I even read Dhalgren twice. I wouldn't recommend starting with that one. I learned a *lot* last week.

This week is Lucius Shepard. I'm not that familiar with his work, though I did read The Golden (apparently not his best), and his short story in Paragons. He has an interesting article on setting in there. We'll see how it goes -- he seems to be pretty laid back.

All right -- I'm going to attempt to use the disk drive from hell. Wish me luck.

8:25 - disk drive worked! Hooray. Those of you who requested copies of "Amanda Means Love" should have them on the way. My new column is in Intersmut. Eventually I will get copies of these on this site, but until then, you might want to swing by there. It's free. Two column entries so far, and the introductory interview.

By the way, thanks to those of you who stopped by the Tower books signing in Bellevue. It was nice chatting with you, and every little bit of presence helps convince them to carry lots of the darn book. Much appreciated.

Hope you all had a happy…

Hope you all had a happy Fourth of July! (In the U.S., at any rate) And I hope you all caught the CNN coverage of the Pathfinder Mars landing (our first in 20 years). Pretty gorgeous.

I'm doing fairly well -- busy with Westercon, primarily. I'm going to be at various writing panels today -- if you see me there, feel free to come up and say hello, please. Tomorrow I'll be on the Clarion panel. Last night I was on the SF Erotica panel, which went pretty well, I think.

I'm very tired. This is going to become a refrain.

I wrote what I think is one of the best stories I've written in a while -- so much so that I'd really like to perfect it. If you'd like to read a copy and e-mail back some comments, drop me a note, asking for "Amanda Means Love".

Off to eat and get to the Con...talk to y'all later.

So I’m frantically…

So I'm frantically printing out half the writing section of my web page so the nice Clarion people can copy it and have it for the talk I'm giving this evening on publishing erotica (and web publishing in general). Waiting to print. Waiting to go to class. Thought I'd stop by...

Life is still good. Still frantic. No longer very ahead, but not behind yet either, which I have to think is a good thing. There appears to be some confusion on whether I'm on the Westercon panel or not, but hopefully this will be sorted out soon.

One more thing to print...wait...wait...wait...

Okay, you don't need to hear this, and I'm still too sleepy to write anything more coherent. Talk to y'all later...

I know, I know. Bad…

I know, I know. Bad Mary Anne. Very bad Mary Anne. My only excuse is that in the last two weeks I've written four stories (two of which I really think are pretty good), read and critted an appalling number of other stories, and read several novels. Basically I get up at 5 a.m. and work until 10 p.m., with brief breaks for meals. It's like boot camp for writers.

I decided I needed a break today when a particularly innocuous conversation sent me into tears. Exhausted and overwrought. Time to rest. So I'm going to write a little here, do some e-mail, and then go read a very fluffy book.

I note here that if any of you are so inclined, I would adore a care package. :-) E-mail me for the address...

Despite my silliness, Clarion is actually going exceedingly well. Exhilarating and exhausting, surrounded by intelligent, talented people who are managing to be remarkably sane (so far) despite the grueling pace. I'm working slowly through the plotting of my novel (yes, I decided to go back and replot the damn thing). I'm fascinated and slightly disturbed by some of the stories coming out of my head. I'm narrowly avoiding a minor crush on one of my fellow Clarionites. I've met Delany. I adore Michael Bishop - go read Ancient of Days. Then read it again. Nicola Griffith is beautiful and sardonic as well as talented. I'm going to be at Westercon all day Friday and Saturday (and will be on the erotic sf panel at 10 p.m. on Friday) -- if you're in Seattle, stop by. I'm going to be on tv. (Seattle's KOMO-TV, on the show: Town Meeting). I don't sleep enough. I don't exercise enough. I think I'm eating enough, but it's really hard to keep track. I definitely am not getting enough hugs. The intensity of the writing makes it all utterly worthwhile.

That's probably enough babbling for today. Sorry again, my dears -- no promises as to when I'll write again. Perhaps the next time I fall apart. :-)

You know how you have…

You know how you have days when you really don't feel like doing what you ought to be doing? This is one of them. I've got these nice books I'd like to curl up with (Bishop's Ancient of Days and Griffith's Slow river), and instead I ought to clean the house, make dinner, stop by Mills and pick up financial aid forms, water the garden...nothing terribly onerous, you understand? I just don't feel like doing it. :-)

Yesterday was a pleasant day -- El (Ian's SO) and I went up to Berkeley, stopped at The Other Change of Hobbit, bought some books, sat in a coffeeshop (La Boulangerie) and had some truly yummy sandwiches and soup. Had an excellent talk with her about plotting problems in my novel - very helpful. She suggested collapsing two of the characters and changing the timeline drastically -- which I think will solve a lot of difficulties I've been having. Hooray! Actually started plotting the whole thing out properly, the way Kev recommended. Maybe I can fix this thing after all...

Came back, got groceries and read Pierce's third Immortals book (excellent children's series - the next one won't be out until January!!! :-( ) while El read some more of my novel, just to get a feel for it. Then we made dinner, Ian came home, Adam came by (I'd offered him dinner in exchange for him setting up my laptop for net capabilities for Seattle). Puttered around in the evening and packed some. Nothing too exciting, but it's very good to be home. Felt right, y'know? Did some minor revisions to the latest short story -- all in all, a satisfying day.

I haven't been doing much actual writing in the last few weeks, but I haven't worried about it, since I have a feeling I'll be doing plenty at Clarion. Just tidying up all the loose details of my life (and taking on new projects :-). We're thinking about setting up periodic meetings for those working in the erotica/sexuality field in the Bay Area - the first one will be at my house this Friday; e-mail me if you live in the area, work in the field, and are interested in attending either this one or later meetings.

In addition to actually packing, I should probably also clear my room of stuff so that the people subletting my room for July have a place to keep their things. Maybe I'll go do some of that now.

Morning, everyone. Home…

Morning, everyone. Home safe, as you can see...it's nice to be back in the old routine.

The weekend was very busy -- Saturday night dancing at Gaskell's (though I only danced one waltz, 'cause I was *so* tired (Sherman's getting much better at not stepping on my toes, and soon I hope that we won't look like total idiots as we cross the floor -- we both need more lessons, I think)); Sunday morning brunch with some friends; Sunday afternoon potluck barbecue at Thida's. Potato curry was popular as usual. :-) A lot of fun, but tiring!

It was very interesting going through my mail when I arrived; a combination of dread (bills and did I miss anything urgent) and anticipation (a huge pile of who knows what!). Especially nice were the Engdahl books that arrived (ordered out-of-print directly from her web page). Even better, though, was the notice that I've received a $400 scholarship to Clarion -- that's only partial, but it'll help a great deal. Basically takes care of my money worries for the next couple of months. Hooray!

Have a bunch of cleaning and sorting and unpacking and packing to do this week, so I'd best get started. I'll be renting my room out for July, so I need to go through and pack anything I can't stand to have broken, make space in the closet, etc. and so on. Should be interesting, actually.

Talk to y'all later...

10 p.m. or so -- Well, spent much of the day catching up on news and various paperwork-y things. Some news that may interest you -- Intersmut on-line magazine is publishing an interview with me here, and it looks like I'll be at least attempting a regular column with them. Sort of like this journal but a bit more focused. I'll have TOPICS. :-) Thought that might amuse you guys...

I also wrote a short story tonight, set in the world of my novel. Not sure if I like it. Still, it's better than being terrified of delving anywhere near the darn thing, which I must admit is where I've been for a few weeks. I just read Master of Earth and Fire, by Diana Paxson and someone whose name I'm blanking on -- a nice partial retelling of the Finn legend, and it made me itch to write, thank the gods.

I should be tired, but I'm not. Guess I'll putter around a bit more. Sleep tight, dears.