Karen and Par had their son, and my only actual regret about leaving the Bay Area for Kevin and then for grad school is not being there to get to know them better -- them and the new member of their family. There are other people I miss, of course, but those relationships are old and strong and generally pretty stable. Karen and Par and I were still pretty close to the beginning of ours, and I do wish that the timing had been better on this whole Utah thing.
At any rate, I don't want to have a lot of mopey wistful thoughts distracting from the joy. This news made my day and probably my week. I want to call and burble at them, but they're probably exhausted. I'm pretty sure the civilized thing to do is send a card. I'll send a card, but I'll probably break down and call too. Par can fend me off if Karen's too tired to talk.
Will probably check back in later -- have some things I need to do this morning. In the meantime, go read this week's issue of Strange Horizons -- I forgot to remind you Monday. David's got a Top 5 books in sf which I know you could argue with (he wants you to! :-), there's a new story by Jo Walton (who did "Relentlessly Mundane" some months back, which I do think is one of the best fiction pieces we've published), a new poem by Kurt Newton (we're moving to twice monthly on poetry, remember), and a review of The Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? -- the film sounds interesting.
12:15 a.m. -- so technically tomorrow, but we'll leave it here. I should be asleep, and probably will be soon, but at the moment am feeling wide awake; I've been reading for a couple of hours (Elizabeth Moon's Liar's Oath) and am all full of the book and not sleepiness. I'm writing because I'm pretty sure that I had a whole bunch of things I've been wanting to mention in the journal but haven't because I've been distracted by other things (like Heroes of Might and Magic III). And now I can't remember what they are. I think I sort of vaguely wanted to address the productivity thing -- both Tim and Todd wrote me protesting responses regarding how productive I was, and how I managed to do so much...and, and, and....I dunno.
I know I accomplish a lot. It's true. But I also know that I don't *feel* like I'm working nearly as hard as I felt I was working when I was dragging myself to a secretarial job every morning. Yes, I read several books over break, getting a head start on the semester, when I could have been goofing off. But I enjoyed them. It wasn't a matter of doing work I didn't like -- it was just letting my awareness of what would be quickly productive help select the kind of work/play that I would be doing. And I get really frustrated when I play computer games these days -- I enjoy them when I'm playing (and I have great trouble stopping), but I feel almost sick afterwards with all the time that has just been used up on what is basically distraction -- no added learning, and making my body feel awful in the process (though I don't notice that until I stop).
I just figured out at some point that I really had more fun doing the productive work. I think it's like those exercise junkies -- the ones that get a high from exercising. Yes, it's sometimes difficult getting over the initial hump -- sitting down to write the paper, or the story, or even start reading the dense book (or face a new class of students). But the pleasure I get from that is just so much better than the pleasure of watching tv or reading a string of fluffy novels (which I did a lot of over break, if you remember) or playing computer games. It's not virtuous. It's not even all that hard. So I feel very weird when people try to give me credit for it.
(I sort of want to make a parallel claiming it's like sex with a partner(s) instead of masturbating. But I'm not sure that really holds up very well. And I'd have to tell you far too many personal details to do the comparison justice, so we'll leave it for now.)
I was talking to Kirstie a little while ago and she mentioned something about my living below the poverty line these days. That's not quite true, since I have some writing income to add to the measly grad student salary. But close enough. You'd think that I'd be frustrated by that -- but it feels right. I'm having much more fun than I would in a secretarial job; it makes sense that I would be paid much less, right? What's going to be strange will be when I finish, become a professor, and do work that I suspect will be even more fun -- but for much more money. That's just strange. It makes me think about becoming a communist all over again.
I do understand how hard it is getting over that initial hump, though. I haven't exercised in weeks. So much for my good resolutions.
Image NotebookSmall magnets at the base
of the shower curtain have disappeared
over the last year; as the hot water
pounds down, the curtain billows up.
Mostly a minor nuisance, except
for yesterday, when it slid up
against my slick body and I
stepped into the curtain,
instead of pushing it away --
stepped into it and was enveloped
within it. Thin wet plastic
held me like a ghost of a caress;
imagined skin, against my loneliness.