Anniversary of Arrival…

Anniversary of Arrival in California

David brought me orchids today, to commemorate my arrival here in California. Sweet. It's hard to believe I've been here a year -- you've surely noticed how the time moves faster every year as you get older? I think I read an sf story once that was based on the premise that the phenomenon wasn't merely subjective -- that time really was speeding up. Unfortunately, I don't think it was a very good story. Don't really remember. Inversely proportional to the rate of speedup is my ability to remember things. (Did I do that sentence right? Ah well -- you know what I mean.)

(Before I forget, two interesting things happened yesterday. I had a big fight with one of my housemates (swiftly resolved, since neither of us is the type to hold grudges). This is notable because it's the first time I've really lost my temper and said things I didn't mean in at least three years. Undoubtedly I'm under more stress than I thought. The other thing that happened was very good -- my files are back! What is the first thing I'm going to do? Make a backup! Make several, in fact, because now I'm not just paranoid, I'm really paranoid. (I thought it was good enough to have two on-line copies of all my stories and one copy on my hard drive. I was wrong. On to today...)

A fairly mellow day. I finally finished the work that I had planned to finish by Friday. I love having houseguests, but even really unobtrusive ones like David somehow tend to throw off my schedule. Ah well. Most of the fault is undoubtedly mine. Spent a couple of hours playing Warcraft again, working through a level that David was having problems with. Great fun. Required intense concentration and precision. I'm having to fight the urge to open up the program again and do the next level. Keep in mind that I've done all these once already, some months ago. Really good game.

Also a good game is Scrabble -- while I haven't played today, I've been playing a lot lately. Mostly with David, a little with Ian. It was perhaps a little extravagant of me to buy the game since I now have roughly $20 to feed me 'til mid-September...but it was worth it. And don't worry -- I'm sure my housemates won't actually let me starve. If I'm lucky, either the student loan check or the Puritan check will arrive soon. I need to learn to balance my cash flow better.

Should I be doing an anniversary entry? Contemplating what this year in California has done for me? I'm not sure I can, really...but here are a few notes, in no particular order.

  • The weather here has greatly improved my moods.
  • I miss Kevin fiercely.
  • I love my house -- it's too nice for the amount I'm paying, but I'm not complaining.
  • A vegetable garden, or the beginnings of one.
  • Mills is good. Relaxing, offering me a space to work and credentials I'll need to teach.
  • I've started worrying a little about the $30K I'll have to pay back after I get out.
  • There are far fewer mosquitoes here than in Philly.
  • Having all these different areas/cities is really interesting. Diversity is good.
  • Favorite restaurants - Hanabi and the cheap Ethiopian place in San Francisco. Cafe Boulangerie in Berkeley. The pizza place at High and MacArthur in Oakland.
  • It's been interesting seeing so much more of Kevin's family now that I live nearby.
  • New friends -- Lydia, Ian and El, Carol and Jody, the poly crowd, the Greyhaven crowd, various of Sherman's friends, Ceej and Leah, etc.
  • Old friends who live here - Sherman, Cliff, Steve and Lori, Peter, Owen, etc.
  • Clarion!
  • Being on radio and tv
  • My first signings, readings
  • Starting a column
  • It was crushing -- the work I'd done on my novel and the feeling that I would probably put it aside. But it's taught me quite a lot. The next attempt will be better.
  • Favorite places -- the Mills campus. My house. The Other Change of Hobbit and Games of Berkeley. Haight street. Los Gatos. The redwoods. The beaches in Santa Cruz. Golden Gate Park. The Exploratorium.
  • The subway is cleaner than in Philly or Chicago.
  • The buses in Oakland are definitely worse. Not enough of them.
  • When will they get BART going all around the Bay?!
  • I miss summer thunderstorms.
  • I miss Philly and Chicago people (some of whom will hopefully be moving out here at some point (David, Roshani, Bryan and Elissa)
  • I have raised my stakes, writing-wise -- raised my goals and expectations.
  • Do not yet know if I can fulfill those expectations.
  • BookExpo was fascinating.
  • I am definitely less interested in writing erotica than I used to be. While I still think it can illuminate human relationships and aspects of self in ways that aren't accessible otherwise -- I want to explore more of the otherwise. More of age and death. More of childhood. More of society outside the romantic relationship. More, perhaps, of spirituality. Romantic love is one of the great human motivators -- but there are others. I've spent a lot of time with love and hope and despair and friendship -- there are other emotions I've neglected writing about.
That's probably enough for now, though it doesn't come close to really expressing this last year. I feel like I've grown, gotten more solid in myself alone. This is good. I think I've got a strong toehold in my career, with a long ways to go, which is fine. I'm nervous and excited about what the upcoming year will hold -- I start teaching duties tomorrow (administrative until Monday, but I'm still nervous). It's been a good year -- I'm in a good place. Coming to California was the right decision. I'm happy here.

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