I love quiet mornings. …

I love quiet mornings. They give me a chance to recharge, take in a breath before facing the day. I think Kevin likes late nights for the same reason, a few quiet hours to calm himself down. It's almost like meditation. I woke up at five-thirty this morning -- a little tired, but happy to have some time to myself before the running around starts.

Last night I had another melt-down, and in the middle of it, my mother called. She isn't used to hearing me upset -- she told me to "not let myself get so stressed" not two breaths after she gave me twenty different phone numbers of relatives and friends in Sri Lanka, in almost every city we're travelling to, just in case something happens. I have been instructed to buy a cell phone when I get there, so they can reach me, and so I can check in regularly with them. I have been warned, repeatedly, to go nowhere alone, to always be with Karina who is so obviously a white tourist (with blonde hair and blue eyes, no less), or with a driver from the hotel. To never just hire a car on the street. To not walk around the city. She worries that people will hate me because of the books I write, and I cannot seem to convince her that even if they would hate me, they will have absolutely no way of telling by looking at me that I am a writer of naughty books. She says Sri Lanka isn't the same as it was the last time we went, nine years ago. I know this, but I don't know what it is going to be like. I try to reassure her, but I have very few specifics to reassure her with. Yes, I will be a good little, safe little tourist. I will not wander around on my own (very much). I will not wear a t-shirt that says "pornographer." I will not wear short shorts, or sleeveless tops. I will be as careful as I know how.

Somehow, by the end of the call, I was in a much better mood. Maybe hearing how extreme her fears were made my own anxieties seem smaller, and equally unreasonable. Later, Karina called, and we settled some logistics and chatted a bit about what we were looking forward to. Elephants. Shopping. Striped squirrels. Ruins. Monkeys. Beaches and swimming pools.

This morning, I'm working on my student materials until 10, then running a few errands downtown. Early afternoon, look at houses. Late afternoon, more student stuff. Evening, more student stuff. Intermittently, read travel books, practice with new camera (which is, by the way, gorgeous and marvellous and so far, exactly what a digital camera should be). Try to look forward to this trip. Remember to breathe.

Hey, one request -- if you can recommend a good epic fantasy series, let me know. I need plane reading. Among newer series, I like Michelle West, Kate Elliott, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin. I've also enjoyed Raymond Feist, Janny Wurts, Terry Goodkind, Jacqueline Carey, Jennifer Roberson, and even Terry Brooks, along with a bunch of others I'm forgetting. I'm not that picky on this subject -- solid prose, strong plotting, sense of wonder, and ideally dragons, kingdoms colliding, good vs. evil. That's what I want. And if we can't come up with big fat epic fantasies, any strong fantasy will do. I've loved Guy Gavriel Kay, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Laurell K. Hamilton, Terry Pratchett, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Ursula K. LeGuin. Maybe even sf, but if so, more space opera than techno-geekery. I've read all of Bujold a dozen times.

10 thoughts on “I love quiet mornings. …”

  1. Darn, I was just thinking “say, she hasn’t mentioned Bujold”, anyway have fun and be safe, the productivity will take care of itself.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Good try, but I’ve read all of hers. You can pretty much assume that most kids’ genre stuff I’ve already consumed. Although I do keep meaning to try Scott Westerfield’s stuff — maybe I’ll get that.

  3. Lynn Flewelling? really good fantasy (with complex characters of non-traditional sexuality to boot) not unlike Thieves World but better written and more complex.

    Mary Gentle – decidedly non-serious fantasy (but lots of fun)

    Have a great trip!

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Good to know, A — I’ve seen that book a few times and almost picked it up, but hesitated. Shannon, I think I’ve read all of Flewelling, and Gentle’s Ash books, but maybe something else of hers would work. Thanks!

  5. I strongly recommend Michelle West. Her Sun Sword series is very good, with a nice blend of serious and not so serious.

  6. Peter F. Hamilton, the 6 book series (in the US, 3 in UK) called the Dying God or something like that. Very good, Space Opera with some heavy themes and a little fantasy.

  7. arrgghh .. emailed a comment to you before i saw the “post a comment” link .. caffeine.. i must have caffeine..

    but for the delectation of everyone..

    Books to read while travelling:

    The Baroque Trilogy – Neal Stephenson (3 books, 900 pages each and he wrote them with a fountain pen – strewth)
    Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
    (i ALWAYS take them on plane rides, long read, interesting stuff, and almost impossible to forget)

    Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
    (shortish book, but a fun read, what do you expect of a book where the main character is called “Hiro Protagonist”)

    The Uplift Saga – David Brin
    Earth – David Brin
    (hard sci-fi written well, and the uplift saga is more about the story than the science)

    Perdido Street Station – China Mieville
    (steam punk, angsty (almost too angsty) characters, and an author who imagines a city that i usually describe as Ankh-Morpork by way of Geiger and Hieronymous Bosch)

    Scifi books by Iain Banks (he also writes more “conventional” fiction as Iain M Banks (or was that the other way round), stories where the tech is SO advanced he doesn’t even bother to explain it, and deals with the people involved instead)

    happy reading to all

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