Ugh, what a morning. The toilet's stopped up; I missed my bus by 20 seconds and had to walk in (pleasant some days, but I was/am cold today); and I'm feeling sick. On the plus side, yesterday I managed to make two batches of baking powder biscuits (yum!) and ate the soup I made Saturday morning with salad that our friend Sarah brought over and chocolate pudding pie (very very easy -- just add milk to Jello chocolate pudding mix and pour into graham cracker crust -- chill 2 hours). Also made and hung curtains (well, I still have to hang one of them, but I'll do it tonight), dark green, for the bedroom. I've been in a domestic mood lately, can you tell? :-)
So the workshop Saturday. Well, I did get a bunch of useful crits of my story "Worse than Dragons" (wish I could share it with you, but I'm trying to sell this one, so I need to keep it quiet) which is a fun little fairytale. Basically they liked it, but thought I spent too much lead time on it and was weak on plot. Loved the voice/characters. Pretty typical of my writing, I'm afraid -- I can do style and character and voice -- plot is tough. If I'm not careful, I'll spend all my time doing little character vignettes which are fun but don't sell!
On the negative side, the group (largish - 20 people?) seems to socialize a lot and work little. We spent about 9 hours doing work that could easily have been done in 4-5. I'm not sure what to do about that in the future except bring a book.
Last night I hosted the local Poly Support Group meeting -- usually a fun thing and useful, but this one was frustrating because I wasn't in the mood to be social and hostess-y (usually I enjoy it) and because a couple of rather loud people dominated the discussion and sort of overpowered the quieter ones. Which I guess happens a lot in meetings, but I'm not an experienced enough moderator to know how to fix it. Yick.
Oops. Missed a day. Will come back and insert a story I wrote today to make it up to you.
Here you go -- hope you enjoy Charlie.
Got up, did dishes, made soup, bread baking. Going to shower soon and head out to a writing workshop -- will be there all day. Talk to y'all later or tomorrow...
Got a very nice rejection from Terra Incognita -- the 'we like your work, but don't feel this piece is suitable for us, please send us more' rejection. If you can't get something accepted, this is the next best thing.
The weather is gorgeous. Not everyone would agree with me, but it's raining buckets and it's warm! Warm enough to throw on a warm shirt and go dance in the rain! I happened to be wearing a bright red shirt and black leggings today, and when I threw on my blue/green plaid highlander cloak and went walking off to work (singing, no less), I felt like a character out of a fairy tale (and the people who saw me no doubt thought I was insane. Which is fine -- poets are allowed a divine madness. :-)
So far two of my interviewees have responded -- it looks like this has a potential to be a really good article. If only the editor (very nice guy) would let me do a longer one -- but I guess he has his own constraints. I should be grateful that a hard-core mag even prints articles.
I managed to kick everyone out of the house last night and got to spend some quality time with my cat (black, originally named Chandi (another name for Kali, Hindu goddess of death and destruction), but renamed Kitten, because Kevin seems incapable of calling cats anything but Cat or Kitten (sigh)) and myself. Also did some dishes. :-) Good for me.
I've got a song stuck in my head. Ever heard Four Strong Winds? It's a lovely piece.
Red letter day! Not only am I going to be interviewed for Forum Magazine, but my editor ok'd my article on erotica writers of the internet! Hooray hoorah! Nice addition to my rent money, and it should be a fun piece to write. I'm starting to feel like a writer again...
On the other hand, feeling like a writer also sort of involves making me want to go hide a closet with my computer, and so all the lovely people in my life are irritating the heck out of me. Isn't it too bad that you can't just tell a love that now isn't a good time for them to have a crisis because you have to finish writing this chapter (reading this book, making dinner, watching television, playing Might and Magic...)? Well, you can, but if you pull it too often or for inconsequential reasons, you'll almost certainly have trouble on your hands. Maybe I should date more people like Kevin (the semi-perfect stoic, he hardly ever has crises. Like 2 in 4 years). Of course, you can't exactly choose the people you fall in love with. And if you could, you'd probably make bad choices (though there are days when I wish I could combine the good qualities of people into one perfect person -- Kevin's patience, David's neatness, Karina's affection, etc. and so on (and delete the bad qualities, which of course I'm not going to list here :-)).
Saw Jumanji last night. Loved it. I don't want to hear any critique of it, 'cause I enjoyed it immensely and don't want anything to detract from that enjoyment. I got to revert to being a terrified 10-yr-old + I got Robin Williams, whom I adore (want to hear strange? Here's a list of my favorite actors: Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Emma Thompson, Matthew Broderick, Sean Connery, and Anthony Hopkins). We had planned to see Toy Story, but it wasn't playing downtown (Philly has not enough movie theatres!) and I can't say I regret the result. Serendipitous! (Did you know that that word comes from Serendip, which used to be a name of Sri Lanka?)
I've definitely decided to start the porn/erotica market list/newsletter/ gossip column thingie. So if you're a professional writer, artist, model, photographer in the field (or want to be) drop me a note and I'll add you to my list of interested people.
Sleep, glorious sleep...:-) Feel much better. Bright and chipper and cheery and ready to roll up the sleeves and do some actual work (so what am I doing instead? Writing this diary. :-)
Someone wrote and asked for more details on the Con. Well, I found Arisia very helpful -- I spent some time talking to Will Shetterly (who pretty regularly posts to rec.arts.sf.written) and his wife, Emma Bull (who wrote the fabulous novel, War for the Oaks which they've apparently recently done a screenplay for and are about to start shipping around to filmmakers -- cross your fingers -- it could be an amazing film!) They were both very nice and friendly and helpful (strongly recommended that I attend ReaderCon and the summer con in Minnesota (where they live)) and I also got to hear Emma open for Boiled in Lead (go get their CD's if you like Celtic rock!) as half of the duo Flashgirls (I did buy their CD, and am very happy with it. They were a little rocky at the live concert but sound terrific on the CD). I don't think Firebird Arts and Music carries it, so contact them directly if you're interested.
I attended many many panels, as I said before, and in fact got drafted to be on the Asian folklore panel (not just 'cause I'm Sri Lankan, but because I studied a lot of that stuff in college). My favorites were probably the Retelling Fairytales panel (very popular), the net culture panels (though we ended up arguing a lot, and they probably should be broken up into smaller panels next year), the Plotting a Novel panel (we continued with the material from the earlier Build a World panel, and plotted the first third of a novel -- definitely could have used another hour or three, and it was great fun), and the various genre panels (I'm starting to learn a little bit about horror -- there appears to be a wealth of quality material out there that I just knew nothing about). I also got to meet Jane Yolen, which was an honor and a pleasure (she's an amazing storyteller), and it was a shame she had to go home sick midway through Saturday.
Life has now returned mostly to its regularly scheduled programming. More specifically, I watched two hours of figure skating last night (the Rock and Roll Figure Skating Competition), which was a lot of fun. Chris Hamilton is adorable, and Katarina Witt is lovely. I'm very fond of athletes. :-) Had French bread pizza for dinner - great if you're feeling lazy or feeding a bunch of people with different tastes. Just buy or make tomato sauce and chop up a bunch of toppings and chunks of French bread and let everyone make and bake their own pizzas.
Am spending much too much time playing Might and Magic (though not as much as poor David, (first I addicted him to Warlords, now Might and Magic :-) who is going to be ahead of me soon, since he neither works nor studies (must be nice!). As for the other people in my life, Karina is not sleeping well, and so is cranky -- she also is not fond of Kevin's new attempt at a beard. I'm reserving judgement for a few weeks until it grows out more, though I suspect I won't like it either. Looks odd on him, but it's very nice to have him home regardless. We're balanced again and all's well with the world. (Now if my editor would just get back to town...)
Good morning! I'm in a good mood today -- finally started to catch up on sleep last night. It's amazing what a difference that makes in mood. I should write an ode to sleep...
Yesterday I was lazy cooking dinner and bought a premade sauce for stirfry. I may be lazy more often, because it turned out delicious, though not at all what I expected. Chop up vegetables (I used broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, fresh ginger, garlic, scallions, onions, and green and yellow peppers, bamboo shoots. I'd also recommend trying sprouts and snow peas and water chestnuts). Scramble a few eggs in peanut oil. Remove eggs to the side. Fry vegetables in peanut oil and hot oil and black pepper and a little soy for two minutes. Return eggs to pan and remove from heat. Stir in one bottle of Singapore Peanut Satay Sauce. The resulting dish will taste much more curry-like than peanutty (don't know why), but is yummy over rice. Note that I used approximately 2-3 times the amount of vegetables recommended on the bottle.
Paid bills yesterday. Hooray. I feel virtuous, especially since (for a change) none of them are late. I'm trying to repair my ailing credit rating. Finally sent off the invoice to Puritan, so hopefully I'll be getting my nice fat check soon.
Speaking of Puritan, I'm going to pitch an idea to my editor for his CyberSex column. A round table interview with some of my favorite net erotica writers (so far The Flying Pen and Michael Kalen Smith have agreed to be interviewed :-). Hope he likes the idea -- I think it could be fun. If you want to recommend any good questions I could ask the group, I'd love to hear 'em. Just drop me a note.
I'm exhausted. Bone-weary, eyes propped open exhausted. But I have so much I want to record before I forget it, so I have to sit here typing. As you no doubt figured out, there was no net access at the convention, so I was unable to do diary entries for Saturday and Sunday. (Well, actually I got back last night, so I could have written one, but I just tumbled into bed instead -- didn't even pay the bills, and I really have to do that soon). Aside from the lack of net access, Arisia was pretty well run (turns out that the February convention in Boston, BosCon, may actually be more useful to me, since it's more writing-oriented, but oh well...)
I'm not going to go into great detail, but I spent almost the entire time I was there in panels (I skipped at least 2 meals because I didn't have time to eat). I slept a total of 8 hours in two nights (not unusual for a con) and joined an incredible jam session (singing, playing, dancing) for six hours one night. There's a certain thrill playing with people that you just can't get playing alone, no matter how brilliant your performance. We stumbled and sputtered occasionally (since we were both sight-reading and often playing unfamiliar instruments), but it was great fun regardless.
I'm glad to be home, tired and inspired (wrote a new poem and a song (which needs some work) on the plane last night, but forgot them at home so I'll try to type them in here tomorrow. In the meantime, (and I feel a little embarrassed doing this) I'd like to share with you a poem one of my readers sent in (posted here with his permission). I get some wonderful mail from you guys, and I enjoy it all (well, except for an occasional obnoxious one), but every once in a while I receive something so lovely in its own right that I want to share it. One of those, from Cecil Williams, turned into a story that we collaborated on, Jinsong. Here's another.
Okay, snow report. So far, USAir claims that my 4:00 flight will go to Boston. Cross your fingers, send me good thoughts, pray if that's your thing. I'd really like to go to this convention.
Otherwise, a good day. Was a little cold walking half an hour through the snow to work, but it's kind of fun too. Reminds me of growing up in Connecticut -- when I was little, we lived far from the nearest bus stop and so we had to tromp through the woods for a bit every day. The snow came up to our hips (we were short, remember?) and the biggest kids would break a path through the snow. Great fun in a lot of ways, even if our toes did freeze.
Just got a call from home. Roof is leaking again. Our landlord is such a horrible slumlord -- arrgh! If you're ever living in Philadelphia, avoid renting from PA Residential Real Estate, run by Leonard Stolker, 13th and Lombard.
12:30 -- plane still scheduled.
2:20 -- plane still scheduled -- about to leave for train to plane as soon as boss lady finishes with patient. Wish me luck! In case I don't have access at the con, have a good weekend everyone!
Argh! Rotten day so far. I messed up something at work, so my boss was slightly irritated (luckily she's a reasonable person and is no longer upset) and the patients are grouching at me, and it's mostly not even my fault, it's the fault of this damned snow (even more than the snow, it's the fault of Philly's utterly inadequate snow-removal which is just making everyone's lives miserable). Damn damn damn.
Okay, I needed to vent a bit. Slightly better now. And I still don't know if I'm going to be able to go to this convention this weekend, and I really do want to go. If it snows again I'll have to strangle someone.
On the bright side, it's actually kind of pleasant tromping to work through the snow (I walk about twelve blocks each way). On the way today I passed this enormous snowbank on which boxes of fruits and vegetables had been scattered. One box had broken open, and bright red and green peppers cascaded over the white snow -- if I had only had a camera! As I paused there, a man stepped out of a restaurant next door. Turns out that he hadn't wanted to block the street with his truck while unloading, so he had just tossed all his boxes of produce out onto the snowbank. :-)
Kevin called last night -- apparently he got his flights confused and isn't coming back till Sunday. I would be bummed, except that hopefully I'll be in Boston Friday - Sunday anyway. If there's a net connection at the convention I'll try to keep updating this diary.
You might want to check out the new Clarion Diary I just added to these pages.