Sorry for the day off,…

Sorry for the day off, guys. I've been busy and overtired and made myself a little ill. Thursday and Friday I ran around with Elissa a fair bit. Lots of walking and climbing up and down hills (we got sorta lost at points) and wandering around museum (nice India exhibit at the Asian Arts Museum in S.F. In particular enjoyed the textiles and the new interactive format. Nice to have bits of the museum that one is encouraged to touch! Some gorgeous 19th century saris. I don't know enough about art. Not even close to enough.).

Then Sherman wanted to go see the 1945 version of The Big Sleep at the Paramount last night, which was very good (though I must admit I *hate* that style of theater, and that appalling organ...), much better than the revised version in my opinion (subtler and clearer at once). If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it. Screenplay by William Faulkner, and the damn thing is *complicated*. The first time I saw it was on videotape with Kevin (he owns it 'cause he loves it so) and I gotta admit to being confused and tired enough that I fell asleep partway through. Don't feel bad if you're totally confused -- especially if you see the 1946 regular release, 'cause a really important clarifying scene in the D.A.'s office was cut from that version. Lauren Bacall is a babe and a half.

It was fun, but I stayed out much too late to see it, got very cranky, and was just truly exhausted. Have felt so all day today, and so gave myself permission to take it easy. Instead of trying to do the last 3K words on the mystery today, I'm going to attempt 2K tomorrow and finish it up Monday, e-mailing it to Jeff by lunchtime and Fed Ex'ing the next day if he likes it. That's the plan, at any rate. Today I read Ethan of Athos by Bujold, which was pure pleasure (fast-paced sf espionage with fun and wicked humor and sympathetic characters) and played Talisman with Sherman and Ian (which I won handily playing the Swashbuckler :-). Not sure what I'll do this evening -- trying to get through some backlogged e-mail, I suspect.

You may have noticed the new logos at the bottom of my main diary page -- I've joined the Open Pages and A Room of Her Own journal web rings. If you're looking for other journals to follow, they're the places to go. I've also heard the Archipelago is good (not enough graphic design on my pages to please them, though they liked the text content) and Often (I definitely don't update this often enough for them).

I wanted to talk a little about something a reader said in an e-mail to me yesterday. He was saying that he enjoyed my poems, and commented on the mixture of sweet vulnerability and cynicism, as if I were looking for something that I wasn't sure was there (I wish I had saved the exact words to quote them to you, 'cause I'm probably mangling them a bit). I can see how people can read my writing that way, but I don't think that's quite what's going on. If there's sometimes a cynical, bitter edge to the romance, it's not because I haven't found true love myself, or because I don't think that it's out there. It's more of a protective device, a way of handling it. Using lead-lined gloves to handle radioactive materials.

The beauty is so sharp, so strong...and so important. It seems the only way to approach it, to capture a part of it in words and reflect it back at the world is to layer a bit of distance into the treatment. Somehow it comes out *more* true that way, rather than less. Without the edge, it would be simply sentimental mush; it would be Hallmark. It's a constant danger when writing about love, or truth, or beauty -- when writing about anything that has a lot of 'trigger' words associated with it. How do you filter it so it can be seen more clearly? How do you avoid the mush factor? A pretty problem, at least. I imagine I'll be working on approaches to it for a long long time.

Dale recently sent me word of a new nice review of my book - Ed's Internet Book Review. I'm not sure what Ed means by saying that 'normal' adults will enjoy it, but I'm sure he meant well.

I'm relieved that Ceej has decided to keep her journal up. There was some interesting stuff going on over there recently. She had made a comment about Chip Delany in one of the Clarion entries that was fairly negative (although read in context, far less so). The Clarion East people had been following her journal, and two of the instructors felt that the comment could potentially hurt Ceej's career (which would be a shame, as she is a damn fine writer). She considered taking it down. She considered taking the whole journal down. I'm very glad that she decided not to do either.

There are a lot of interesting questions you run into as a journaler on-line -- things you never thought of before you started. If any of you are considering keeping on-line journals, I strongly encourage you to visit Open Pages and read some of the advice they have there. They cover everything from formatting issues to questions of ethics and openness.

How much do I tell you? How much can I tell you, without invading the privacy of my friends/partners/family? How much can I tell you without putting my safety at risk? My reputation? My career?

I feel like I'm walking a very fine line sometimes. Some of the late night entries are more open, and I worry that I will say something too exposed, or even something hurtful. I'm a pretty nice person, I think, but I have my bad days, like anyone else. Times when I'm not fair to the people around me. Times when I'm tempted to lash out. So far I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping this journal honest, open, and yet appropriately contained. My parents would undoubtedly disagree...yet you can honestly learn far more about me from my poems and stories than you ever will from this journal.

In the journal the truths are edited over and over, as I check for those questions asked above before sending this out into the world. In the fiction -- well, it's fiction. I can tell the whole truth, unvarnished, or I can make stuff up. I'm safe, in a sense, because you can't tell which is which. Oh, people will guess, and assume, and be right some of the time...but as long as I write stories like "Morningsong" and "Diana", I'm probably pretty safe. I doubt any of you think I'm a gay male, or that I've met any Greek gods.

Even the poetry, which has less of the fictional cloak around it, is utterly true and not true at the same time. With it I can take a moment's shred of emotion, even one that isn't mine, and blow it up, examine it, dissect it and illuminate it. Somewhere in there is me, if only in the choice I made to write that poem. In the question of why I wrote that particular poem. That's where you find the core.

I'm rambling, I know. Just thinking tonight about truth and fiction, honesty and boundaries. Someday I may say something here that I will truly regret, but I doubt it. Words have power, but they have the power we give them. I used to lie a lot, as a teenager -- I largely gave that up in college, and I'm glad of it. While I may sometimes choose not to speak, the true things I say I hope to always stand behind. We'll see. I am a raving idealist, after all. Maybe someday someone will make me eat these words.

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