25 Random Things
1. When I was three, I got into an argument with another kid and he cracked a ceramic ashtray on my head, splitting it open. I had to go to the hospital and get stitches. I still don't know what the argument was about.
2. I spent four years learning Polish in grammar school, and was fluent. I've now forgotten almost all of it, but can still do the sign of the cross and count to a hundred and say thank you.
3. My grammar school also gave us two years of typing classes, which I think has been more useful than my math classes. I finished eighth grade able to type 40 words a minute (fast enough to get hired as a secretary), and now type over 100 words a minute. No, I will not type (or write) your paper for you.
4. Although I had left the Church by seventh grade, my parents forced me to get confirmed in eighth grade anyway. I picked Kateri Tekakwitha for my saint, the first Native American martyr, who wore a hair shirt and refused to marry the man her father chose for her. When I discovered the internet years later, I went by Kateri. Kate is still one of my absolutely favorite names, and I have to fight the urge to name all of my female characters Kate.
5. I met my best friend in high school over a Star Trek novel, Diane Duane's The Wounded Sky.
6. Also in high school, my music teacher took us all to his house one day because he was appalled to discover that none of us had ever heard of Monty Python. We listened to Monty Python tapes for over an hour, and I think this shaped a good part of the kind of teacher I am today, for better or worse.
7. I have a memory of missing a flight from India to America and then finding out that the plane we were scheduled to be on had been blown up. My parents tell me this never actually happened.
8. On the first day in the Shoreland dorm at the U of C, about six people had wandered into my room. For some reason, the Canterbury Tales came up in conversation, and I started reciting, in my inimitably geeky way, the prologue. In Middle English, of course. That's not the great part. The great part was when everyone else in the room started chanting along with me, loudly and accurately. That's when I knew I'd come home.
9. In college, I slept with a boy. And then another boy. And then a girl. And then some more boys. And then a boy and a girl at the same time. That was the best.
10. By the time I finished college, I had forgotten almost all the Spanish I'd learned in high school. Tamil, Polish, Spanish -- I've now learned and forgotten three languages. English is next.
11. My blog, started in 1995, is one of the five oldest on the internet, according to the Online Diary History Project. Mostly, that just means I'm old.
12. I've gotten fan mail from Antarctic scientists, soldiers stationed abroad during Desert Storm, closeted South Asian-Americans, and lonely men who are afraid to talk about sex with their wives.
13. When I published my first book, Torn Shapes of Desire, my publisher sent me a copy of the letter from the Library of Congress. That was the best part of what was overall an incredible experience.
14. If I had had enough sense to get an agent before agreeing to edit Aqua Erotica, instead of being paid a piddly $6000 for my time and effort, I would have gotten a standard percentage contract, and made oh, at least $300,000 by now. Probably more. Yes, I'm bitter. Also, I want a bigger house.
15. Kevin and I have broken up four times, the last time for almost a full year. It was the worst period in my life. I think we're done with that now, thank the gods.
16. I don't understand anything he does. (He's a theoretical mathematician, a topologist working in 4-5 dimensional spaces. I think.) Yes, that's weird. I console myself with the thought that he's not so great in social situations with strangers.
17. We're not monogamous. Neither are we married. Nor do we intend to be. My other long-term partner is Jedediah, who lives in California.
18. The process of selling Bodies in Motion to HarperCollins was astonishing -- every writer's dream, just as glorious as I could have hoped. The crash when they rejected the follow-up novel was far worse than I could have imagined. I was severely depressed for close to a year.
19. It was also during this time that I finally agreed, and finally believed, that Kevin and I really weren't going to have kids. And then spent three months unable to stop crying. Until the poor man gave in and said if it meant that much to me...
20. The first three months of our daughter's life was the worst hell I've ever encountered. Without sleep, I can't function. People said it would be bad, but I had no idea it would be that brutal.
21. I love teaching. Love love love it. But also hate grading. Hate hate it. The love just barely outweighs the hate.
22. Which is also how I feel about my daughter. Okay, not hate, exactly. But for much of the first year, the love just barely outweighed the misery, the exhaustion, the bitterness, the utter inability to cope. Thankfully, she got older, and now most days she is sheerly delightful.
23. But still, Kevin is far more patient with her than I am. It embarrasses me that I am so incapable of caring for my own child. Apparently, I was meant to be a classic 50's dad; I'm happiest when I'm mostly working, but get to spend some time with her at the beginning and end of the day. She is not so thrilled with this arrangement.
24. I've gone through a series of artistic endeavors, everything from collage to painting to photography to candle-making to stenciling to etching to stained glass painting to glass cutting to...I can't even remember what. I am an artistic dilettante. But I think the most recent passion, knitting and crocheting, may stick.
25. Even when I am most miserable these days -- exhausted and overworked and stressed out and snapping at Kevin for no good reason -- on a deep level, I feel tremendously lucky. I have a loving partner, a beautiful daughter, work I adore, other lovers, good friends, and a sweet dog. It doesn't get better than that.