Hey, munchkins. Sorry…

Hey, munchkins. Sorry for the long delay -- it was remarkably difficult to dial-in at my parents' place this time, for some unknown reason, and then I was in Canada for three days. I'm writing this from the train, leaving Connecticut and heading to Tasos's place in New Jersey, where I'll be meeting Kevin and Tasos and Alex and Jerome and possibly Greg (all U of C math grad students from the good old days) to celebrate New Year's Eve. Hopefully, I'll be able to upload this from there tonight; if not, you'll see it on Wednesday, when I get back to Chicago.

[clarifying note -- obviously, too tired to log in last night, but managed it this afternoon at Tasos's place.]

It's always interesting going to family events -- they're not like anything else I do. There's a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. I'm not sure why; maybe it's just that there's so many people to coordinate if you're travelling anywhere. My mother's the oldest of nine siblings -- they don't all live in Connecticut, but most holidays, most of them get together. And there are babies to play with (and diapers to change), kids to herd into cars, ruffled feathers to soothe (because all the women in our family are a trifle...umm...emotional (myself included, of course), and it's almost inevitable that someone will somehow get their feelings hurt in the course of several days in close quarters), and just lots and lots of organizing to do, especially when you're travelling to an event in Canada, after Christmas, when everyone is already tired and frazzled and when you really don't know where your passport is...

So the more organized among us (I'm the compulsive one who plans everything out so that I arrive places exactly ten minutes early (or ten minutes late if it's a dinner party, 'cause that's more polite)) tend to get ready at the time one would think one ought to get ready at...and then stand around, sometimes for hours, while everyone else is sorted out. And you'd think by now I'd have learned to just open a book and read, but it always seems like it's just going to be ten more minutes before they'll be ready, and somehow hours and hours go by.

Hmm...I'm going on and on about this, aren't I? I guess it bugged me more than I thought. I do try to cultivate a fatalistic attitude about it all, but I suppose I'm not really the fatalistic type.

Despite all of that annoyance, I did have a good time. The event was a massive engagement party, with not just our cousins, but our second cousins. My grandmother was one of six (I believe) siblings herself, and most of those siblings live in Canada, along with their children (my mom's cousins) and grandchildren (my second cousins). It was one of my second cousins, Rozanne, who was getting engaged, and it couldn't have happened to a sweeter girl; I'm really fond of Rosie. She looked blissful, and beautiful, and the engagement party went off with very few hitches, as these things go. Most everyone had a very good time. I was especially pleased to see this because Rosie's fiancee is... (dum da dum...) white. Half-British, half-Greek, in fact, and he seems quite sweet himself. He's the first non-brown-person to marry into our family, actually, and he handled it all with grace and aplomb. Yay! They're going to have a long engagement (2-3 years, until she finishes grad school), which should give everyone plenty of time to get used to the idea before the actual wedding. :-)

It's been a fun time, but I'm really rather tired now. I got very little work done over the break. I talked to my editor some about revisions to the new book (and I'm meeting him for a late breakfast tomorrow). I thought about revisions too, and have some good ideas, I think. The first draft was very rushed; I think it could stand a lot of slowing down and expanding. I also, oddly enough, ended up thinking some about Swati -- I spent some time Saturday morning in the hotel cafe, eating a croissant (they make utterly delectable croissants in Montreal -- all those lovely French people), drinking tea, and typing up the first half or so of the book outline. It's gotten quite detailed. I'm not entirely sure what happens next, though -- I think I might need to write the second and possibly third chapters in order to learn more in-depth stuff about these people before I can figure out even a tentative plot arc for the second half of the book. It's just all too open-ended right now. Sometimes it seems like plotting a book is all about cutting off choices, one after another, until the end, which has come to seem inevitable, based on the choices thus far...

When I get back, I'm going to have to dive into work for a little bit. My current deadline for the second draft is January 6th -- I'm not sure that's feasible, but I'll aim for it, I think, unless my editor tells me otherwise. I really want to wrap up this project quickly, because I really have to get cracking on both the exam stuff and the Tiptree stuff. I think the Tiptree decision needs to be made fairly soon, and there's a fair pile of stuff I need to read before that. So that's the second priority in the list.

I'd really like to get Swati three chapters and outline out in the mail before the end of January, if possible -- two solid days of work should do that. I'm not sure whether to send it directly to Sharyn November (who said she was interested) at Firebrand (YA fantasy from Penguin), or whether to send it to Shawna McCarthy (agent who said she was interested), or whether it might actually make more sense to try to sell it as a mainstream book (likely less money and fewer sales, but more of a respectable credit for my CV, which I could really use at this point, and it's possible that it could sell big in mainstream, though unlikely). Just not sure. It's certainly going to have enough magic in it that it probably ought to be a fantasy publisher that handles it...but I could see a mainstream press being interested, since it has a definite mainstream component, plus the ethnic interest.

Oh, I don't know. I'm just rambling. The fourth priority is the exam list, and once the other three are taken care of, I really ought to just give my life over to that. With a tiny break in February for Potlatch. And maybe one in March for AWP. But that's it. I swear.

Fingers are sore, and we're approaching New Haven, where we change trains, so I'll stop for now. I have an hour and a half between New Haven and New York; I'm hoping to actually work a little on Swati's second chapter then. We'll see how it goes.

Hope you're having a good holiday, my dears. Make tons of resolutions, and best wishes from me to you all, for the coming year. I hope it brings you lots and lots of good things.

Oh, and somewhere in this last week was my journal's seventh birthday. Happy birthday, journal, and thanks to all of you for reading, most especially those of you who have been here from the beginning!

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