Well. The Puritan story…

Well. The Puritan story is due today. Not much else to say about that except I need to finish writing the damn thing. Did I mention that I hate (love) deadlines?

Also need to work on the Sizzle stories this week, as cash flow will soon become a serious issue otherwise.

It's Monday. It's that time at which I sit around figuring out what I need to get done this week. Revisions on "Deep with Sea". Misc.writing party tomorrow. Stop by campus and fill out a form. Make food for potluck. Breakfast with Candace Thursday. Lydia comes by Tuesday night. I'm undoubtedly going to forget something. Call Kevin and find out if he'll be here for Kira's wedding.

7 a.m. and my brain appears functional. This shouldn't actually be that hard, right? Right. Make some tea, Mary Anne. And then get to work. Talk to these lovely people later.

9:30 a.m. 8200 words. 800 to go minimum, but I suspect it'll take another 2000 to wrap up the story properly. That's okay, because there's about a 1000 words earlier that I can probably cut, integrating the gangplank scene into the dinner scene. Cleaning up some files and I discovered this, that John had sent me when I was stressed. Y'all are so darn cute...

Three cheers for Mary Anne!
Who's the one we've all admired?
Whose articles don't get expired?
She can do it, we know she can,
The one -- the only -- Mary Anne!
Gimme an M!
Gimme an A!
Gimme another M!
Whatta ya got? MAM!

[Sudden Stan Freberg interlude:

Mam? What's that?

Well, like, it's her initials, man.

Her initials?

Well, yeah. We were gonna do Mohanraj but like, the guys with the letter cards got confused. In rehearsal we kept ketting Jarnahom.

End interlude.]

Silly people. :-)

10:50 a.m. Had breakfast, cleaned up some. Puttered. About to start work again, but wanted to procrastinate with one last thing. While the specifics don't quite match, this following list is something I can utterly emphathize with. Sent to me by Sherman, found somewhere on the net.


10. You're so tired you now answer the phone, "Hell"
9. Your friends call to ask how you've been and you immediately scream, "Get off my back!"
8. Your garbage can IS your "in" box.
7. You wake up to discover your bed is on fire, but go back to sleep because you don't care.
6. You have so much on your mind, you've forgotten how to pee.
5. Visions of the upcoming weekend help you make it through Monday.
4. You sleep more at work than at home.
3. You leave for a party and instinctively bring your briefcase.
2. Your Day-timer exploded a week ago.
1. You think about how relaxing it would be if you were in jail right now.

12:45. Done! Now here's hoping that Jeff likes it (I would really like our agreement to be clearer. I'm not sure whether once I'm contracted for a novella if he's definitely going to take it, or if he'll only take the ones he likes. He's bought 4 so far, without even any requests for changes, but each one still makes me nervous, since it's an investment of many hours. Ah well. I should probably be more aggressive in nailing this down, but I'm just not very good at business-related things.) and that it's in time for this issue. Once he says it's okay, that'll be a big load off my mind. One thing I do love about the business side of writing is filling out invoices. :-) Though contracts are better. :-)

Roshani and I have an agreement this week (she's studying for the MCAT to try and pump up her score). We're each going to harass each other to work hard. The phone calls are a fairly small investment, I think, in the larger goal of getting work done. Lots of work.

Major projects for the rest of the week: Write several pieces for Sizzle, if they want them (waiting to hear from Jason now). Revise "Deep with Sea" and send it off with "Beneath the Lemon Tree" to the Windling/Datlow anthologies. Re-read Midsummer Night's Dream and write something for the anthology.

Lots of little projects, of course...but those big ones should keep me occupied until Friday. :-)

I feel very virtuous right now. I wish this feeling would last.

5:50. Apologies to those of you on the notify list -- 4 e-mails in one day is a bit much, I know. Will try to make it worth your while.

I just finished reading Terri Windling's The Wood Wife. A beautiful de Lint-ish sort of tale; the kind of thing that makes me put it down sighing and wishing I'd written it. Of course, I wish that often, but this is the sort of tale I almost feel I *can* write...it's a genre, urban fantasy, that I adore. The place where myth and magic merge seamlessly in the 'real world'. The sort of book with clear moments of beauty. The sort of book in which you can put poetry, without it feeling out of place. (A poem in the book by Rilke has made it's way onto my main poets section, Evening.

The book is very firmly grounded in a place. Two places, really, though one is far more pervasive -- the Sonoran desert. The other place is the British wood. Now, I've always been happy among trees. My parents' house in Connecticut has trees behind it, which used to lead to a fairly dense patch of forest (much of which is now houses, sigh). I would cheerfully walk barefoot through those trees (until the day I found a baby rattler and was dumb enough to mention it to my mother -- no more barefoot woods-wandering for me! (well, not as much, anyway :-)), walk down to the stream, wade across, getting my jeans wet no matter how high I tried to roll up the legs. I'd climb a tree and watch the sunlight shafting through and the dust dancing. I built a ground-based tree fort there with my little sister and some neighborhood kids -- three plywood walls firmly braced against young saplings and the fourth open to the world. We hammered nails along the two long sides and strung twine in a web across the top. Then we layered green leaves through the twine, so we had a roof that wouldn't keep out rain but did change the sun to a very mottled, shifting creature. Painted clouds and blue sky on the walls. We played in it for about two days before it got destroyed by some neighborhood bullies -- oh, I can't tell you how angry we were. It was beautiful, just like the woods.

So now you understand that I've always thought of myself as a woods person. I even played a dryad in a role-playing game once. Yet when I read this Windling book, a book drenched in sunlight and saguaro and coyote and heat (and oh, I hate heat)...I found myself longing for deserts. I was remembering conversations with Alex or Susan at Clarion, when they were talking about Moab, Utah -- what a beautiful, isolated place it is. About vast expanses of sky and light. The clarity of the air. I found myself almost understanding why all those artists and poets moved out there -- and I've never even been in a desert. That's one thing I want to do with my writing, what Windling did for me with this book.

I will go to one someday. Maybe even someday soon. Susan has said her home is open to all of Us, the Clarion contingent. But of course, it's not just deserts. It's mountains too, where the air is thin and clear and cold. Where the world falls away from you. Or ocean. Someday I'll try to write about the ocean, really write. But I think I need to go live near it first.

There's so much to do, so many places to go. I've been so lucky to go as many places as I have, I know -- England and Scotland and India and Canada, with little tastes of Mexico and Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam. But I want more. I'm hoping to scrape together the money for Melbourne in 1999, for WorldCon and to visit Karina. I'd like to see a lot more of the U.S. I wish I'd gotten out to the rainforest in Seattle. I want to see Louisiana swamps and New Mexico desert. I want to drive through Iowa again (you laugh? I *loved* driving for hours through the corn. Call me weird.) I miss New England in the fall.

I'm not really complaining. This is more of a statement of desire. There are days when I'm tired and happy to rest in this home, in this pleasant climate, among friends. And there are other times when I want to pack up my life into a backpack and wander the world for a year or three. I think all the intensity of learning at Clarion and being so with those 16 other people has triggered an intense desire to be alone, wandering in an isolated place. Unfortunately, that's not an option, as classes start next week. It would be nice to be so isolated for a time, though. Would be difficult to maintain the diary, though. Maybe I'll wait until I can get a cheap wireless modem. :-)

Ah, you've found me out. I can take hardship, near poverty, strange food and dirt floors instead of beds. I can be perfectly happy alone in the rain in Edinburgh near Christmas. But take away my net connection, and I wither, I pine. I went to Sri Lanka for three weeks two years ago, and almost went mad, I tell you...:-)

Seriously, I want to get more of a sense of place in my writing. I want to give you my Edinburgh, with the staircases between the streets, and King Arthur's Seat by moonlight, and excellent Indian restaurants, and Freddy, who plays at the Ceilidh House pub, with his friends who sang at least 9 different Mary Anne songs for the crazy American writer who haunted their pub, scribbling and nursing a pint of Strongbow (just one, because as usual I was on a shoestring budget. Y'know how I paid for that trip? My parents had paid for my airfare to London for my cousin's wedding, so I went a week early, stayed with the ex-lover of a friend I'd met on my last trip to England, and lived on pub food. The British idea of a sandwich is ick, but I must admit to loving pub pies. And I even like haggis. Silly digression).

I was only there for a week, and so I can attempt to give you a taste in a paragraph. I don't know how to do Sri Lanka, or Chicago or Philly, or even New Britain. Slowly, I suspect. With great care.

My memory is terrible. I must write write and write it all so I can catch it and pin it to the page before it is gone and forgotten.

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