Heading back to Salt…

Heading back to Salt Lake, finally. We will not dwell on the travel difficulties; I will just say that I am relieved to be on the last leg. As long as I don't crash, I'm unlikely to be delayed any more (though I supposed they could keep me circling over Salt Lake until we ran out of fuel...or divert me to another airport. That's happened before).

Meant to do some writing on the Chicago/St. Paul leg, but got somehow embroiled in a religious debate instead. Sheesh. I have no trouble with people believing pretty much anything they want to, but I purely cannot stand the ones who are utterly convinced of the truth of their particular belief and who feel compelled to share it with me. At length. Did you know that there's more evidence for the resurrection of Christ than for evolution? No, do you? Do you really? More importantly, do you care?

Sorry sorry. I really have no trouble with the leap of faith; some of my best friends are religious. But the pseudo-scientific prosletyzing types you meet in airports and coffee shops drive me up the bloody wall.

Calm. It's actually been a rather nice day. Woke up next to Kevin. Mushy thoughts. It's been a really lovely visit. Meals with Roshani and Tom, with Todd (mathematician friend), lots of wandering through bookstores, reading, snuggling. Watched The Way We Were yesterday, which was sad but good. Kevin felt the need to tell me at the beginning of the movie, "Now, this couple is nothing like us. Don't start believing they are." Yes, dear. (I shouldn't say yes dear -- I fully deserved that reminder.)

I got up, checked e-mail, ran down to Medici and got a croissant, made tea. Pleasant. Some nice news in e-mail; someone's offered to hire me to teach an on-line class in writing erotica. Kinda cool, huh? It would be a six week course this fall, and I believe the cost is $95. More details if it happens. I think I'm going to cap it at 30; I think that's as many students as I can do justice to. I'm excited about the possibility; I started talking about lesson plans with Kevin in the car on the way to the airport. My current thought is to do two weeks of craft exercises (POV, style, etc.) and then start them working on a short story. I'd give a detailed critique of their first draft, then have them revise, get feedback from the group, and then do a third draft. That process would take three weeks, though if people wanted to just do two or three different stories instead of revising one, that would probably be okay. And then I think I'd spend the last week talking about marketing -- erotica vs. porn, magazine vs. anthologies, etc. Would be fun! We'll see if it happens.

I have to take a moment to gush a little about my birthday present from Kev. It's nice having a boyfriend who isn't poor. He got me a Handspring Visor (like a Palm Pilot), which will be handy for keeping track of my nutso scheduling. But more exciting is the little fold-up keyboard that comes with it. I can type journal entries on the plane without dragging out and booting up my laptop; I can carry the whole thing around in a little purse (I don't actually carry a purse, but I do have a teeny tiny little backpack that I use when I'm just running out somewhere). So if I get a poem idea, it's really easy to jot it down; ditto a short story. It's not an actual computer, of course -- if I were going to write anything long, the laptop would be better. But still, I think it's going to help a lot with my efficiency and ease of work. And it's something that I didn't need badly enough to be able to justify buying it for myself. Great present! :-)

Have gotten several good presents actually; Jed got me a cool book by Phillip Pullman (author of The Golden Compass), very surreal. Roshani brought me back a shirt and paper bookmark from her Japan trip. My sister has promised me something fabulous from Malaysia when she gets back to the States. My other sister says that since she's so late, she'll be getting me an extra-cool present :-). It's been a lovely birthday, and I really like the way it gets extended over time. Not just a birthday week -- an ongoing birthday. Who knows when it will end?

I'm feeling better about finances too. This on-line class would help a fair bit (assuming anyone takes it :-), and I spent some time reviewing my finances with Kevin. If I'm careful, I ought to be okay. That's good to know. I get unreasonably anxious about money matters (one of the real downsides to running the magazines is that I have to think about money matters for them all the time). I think it all goes back to that awful summer after college when I couldn't find work, even temp work -- there were just no jobs to be had in Chicago for a few months. I lived on ramen (good when boiled, drained, and mixed with half the flavor packet and some Szechuan Stir-Fry Sauce) and dodged my landlord for two months. Frightening. What's odd is that it didn't even occur to me to go on unemployment or get food stamps. Class assumptions, I suppose. Somehow those were for people more in need than I was...or at least that's what the back of my brain believed.

Mmm...hungry. They're going to be serving lunch soon. Turkey Italian sandwich, salad, and a cookie. Not great, but unlikely to be too badly messed up. I think they made a good move when they switched to sandwiches on airplanes.

That's it for now, I think. But here's a poem I just wrote -- I joined the Erotic Readers Association, and the theme was erotic fantasy -- the magic kind of fantasy. I was going to do something with a knight, but came up with this instead.

Stone Flight

I climb up the seventy stone
steps, seven flights to the summit
where you crouch, half-hidden
by a curve of rain gutter, your face
only peeking out through ivy
and the prospective students look up
at the tour guide's prompting --
"One of our finest specimens!"
-- if only he knew. The wind against
your face has smoothed and polished,
planed the edges, and you might
look quite kindly, from far below.
I know better. Your back is harsh,
your folded wings, sharp-edged.
Talons curve from hands and feet,
and the sheer muscled power of you
leaves me short of breath. It is not
just the seven flights. My face is
flushed, my breath is hot against
your back, my hands trace the
ripples of stone. Only the top of
your head is sun-warmed; the rest
is cold as graves, as ocean, as night.
The sun is setting. The students
have gone back to the dorms, the
professors walk away, still talking.
They don't look up. They never
look up. If they did, might some
geologist, philosopher, medievalist
notice? Unlikely. That smooth face
gives away nothing. Even when I slip
around to your front, leaning back
in the rain gutter, lifting up my skirt,
up from my ankles to my calves to
knees to thighs to hips to waist,
sliding forward and down so that the cold
hidden stone slowly, roughly
makes its way to warmth, scratching
me a little. I do not care. I wrap
my arms around your waist, I press
my cheek against your broad cold
chest, I wrap my legs around your
crouching thighs, I pull myself up
and down, as the sun sets, as the last
light slips below the horizon; I slide up
and down, stone thick and rigid inside me,
until finally stone shivers, I fall,
we fly.

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