Just Short of Loony

Sent a quick note to my department chair updating her on my book publications, because I’m going up for promotion (to full clinical professor) this spring. I was having a bad writing day yesterday, sort of frustrating on various fronts, but then this morning, got some good writing news, and was reminded that overall, this is all going just fine. There will be some bad writing days. It’s okay.

I’ve been writing a long time — about 25 years now, since I first started seriously trying to publish my work. Not bad, not bad. I don’t usually count them all up like this — I feel a little like Miles Vorkosigan in that moment when he’s going to talk to Emperor Gregor in Memory, and pulls out ALL his medals to put them on. “The effect was just short of loony,” or something like that. 🙂 (Gosh, that was a great book.)

Oh, Wikipedia editors, can I get a correction? I was cross-referencing against that page, and someone put Kathryn in the City and The Classics Professor in the Edited Books section, but those aren’t anthologies — they’re choose-your-own-adventure novels, written by me, so they should just be under the top category of Fiction, I think. [Editing to note, I just got this wrong, it’s in the right section, I’m super-confused, but never mind.]

Wikipedia also doesn’t list Three Kings, which I would put as a co-written book (mosaic novel with several authors), but that’s more of a judgement call.

*****

Fiction & Nonfiction Books:

Jump Space (short stories), forthcoming 2021, Riverdale Avenue Press & Constellation Press
Three Kings (co-author), 2020, Tor Books
Perennial, 2018, Lethe Press
The Stars Change, 2013, Circlet Press
Without a Map (co-authored with Nnedi Okorafor), June 2010, Aqueduct Press
Bodies in Motion, July 2005 hardcover, HarperCollins (also translated editions in France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Germany, and Serbia), July 2006 paperback
Silence and the Word, 2004
Kathryn in the City, 2003
The Classics Professor, 2003

Torn Shapes of Desire, 1997, Intangible Assets Manufacturing

Edited Books:

Sri Lankan Speculative Fiction anthology, forthcoming 2021, Serendib Press (publisher)
Survivor, ed., 2018, Lethe Press
Invisible 3 (co-edited with Jim Hines), 2017, Amazon
WisCon Chronicles: Volume 9, 2015, Aqueduct Press
The Best of Strange Horizons: Year One, 2003, Lethe Press
Wet, 2002, Three Rivers Press

Aqua Erotica, 2000, Three Rivers Press

Nonfiction:

Vegan Serendib, forthcoming 2021, Mascot Books
A Feast of Serendib, 2019, Mascot Books

A Taste of Serendib, 2003, Lethe Press

Childrens’ Books:

Fingers and Spoons (picture book), forthcoming 2021, Mango and Marigold Press
The Poet’s Journey (picture book), 2008, Serendib Press

A New Goal for Patreon

I am trying to get myself to write a little more (making sweets is distracting), and to help with that, have set a new goal on Patreon.

Now, I feel a little bad because the last goal, I promised to write another scene of a particular story, but instead, as I was writing, that story morphed into the Jump Space RPG, which is not quite the same thing, but hopefully my patrons enjoy that too?

But for this goal, I am only promising something I’ve already written, so there will be no opportunity for it to sneakily morph into something else. Did you know that I drafted 30K words of a Jump Space novel at one point, following on directly from the “Jump Space” short story? I did! And then I got distracted, and started working on something else (probably a cookbook).

So if I get sufficient patrons to get me to $500 / month (we’re actually pretty close right now), I will send all the patrons those 30K words, and they can tell me what they think. Maybe they’ll love it so much they’ll convince me to start working on it again? 🙂

• If people join at the $1 / month level, they get the knowledge that they are helping to motivate me, and I appreciate them greatly! You too can be a patron of the arts!

• If people join at the $2 / month level, they get new recipes e-mailed to them pretty close to weekly

• If people join at the $3 / month level, they get the recipes + “Story Bits” — various writerly things sent pretty regularly, including new adventure scenarios for the RPG

The “Jump Space” short story is here, if you want to read it before deciding if you want more: http://maryannemohanraj.com/science-fiction…/jump-space/

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Currently at $457.83 of $500 per month: If we make this goal, not only will I get a load of serotonin from accomplishing a goal, BUT I’ll post 30K words of a Jump Space novel-in-progress. Not yet titled (would love feedback).

Year of the Ox

Well, I was up working ’til 2 a.m., so unsurprisingly, slept ’til 10 a.m. I sent a note at 10:30 to my SLF team to let them know that I wouldn’t make it to the 11 a.m. meeting, and they wrote back to tell me the meeting was actually at 10, and they’d met without me. Oops. In my defense, it was wrong in my calendar — now fixed. (I mean, I had put it in wrong, so it was still my mistake, but a different KIND of mistake than just sleeping through the meeting…)

I managed to get myself coffee, meds, and breakfast (Sri Lankan fish curry on a hamburger bun, yum, not quite malu paan, but not a bad substitute), and then went to finish the last bits of the writing project that was due yesterday. Finished now and sent in, whew.

In theory, I’d now spend the next two hours frantically drawing to try to get a design in for the next Spoonflower challenge before the 2 p.m. deadline, but we have Anand’s annual IEP meeting at 1:15, so that seems a little implausible. Well, we’ll see what I can do in an hour — maybe I can submit something, even if it’s far from the version in my head? Year of the Ox, hm. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to draw an ox before…

A Cat for Company

When you realize the 1 hour of writing you thought you had left on today’s project deadline is actually more like 6-8 hours of writing (what was I thinking???), and it’s 6:30 p.m. when you realize it, well, you’re glad you have a cat to keep you company in the basement, where you have shut yourself away to try to concentrate.

(Arya thinks my little plug-in heated blanket I have down there is the best thing ever. The purring was LOUD.)

Most of it is done now (12:30 p.m.) and sent. There’s two more little bits to do, but I have sent my editors an apologetic note, and will do them first thing in the morning. They have work from several other writers coming in, and they can’t possibly read all of them before noon tomorrow, so I think it’ll be okay. I do hate missing deadlines, though, even by a little. Boo.

This is for the sekrit project, codename Garuda, so I can’t give you an excerpt, alas! Oh, wait, maybe I can. This doesn’t really give anything significant away.

“The sea and its rich trade routes lie less than a day away, the jungle is full of spirit creatures, and winged garudas frequently fly overhead.”

There. Now you know as much as I do.

🙂

Mommy-Proofing

After most of a day mostly procrastinating (after the podcast recording, re-reading an old Bujold favorite novel, with some sweet-making mixed in), I finally settled down at 7:30 for a story revision. Last pass, which involves reading the thing out loud and fine-tuning language, which is much less onerous with a 4699-word story than with a novel, but my voice still got dry and tired; I’m out of practice with this kind of thing. Talking is hard.

But I finished, even in time to play a promised 45 minutes of Terraria with Anand, where we managed to do pretty well with an event, but in our attempts to get to a big boss battle, I managed to die over and over and over again before we even got to the battle, so I guess I was a little tired. Anand tries very hard to “Mommy-proof” (his term) the world before I play with him, doing things like building bridges over the lava so I don’t accidentally burn up, directing pools of water to the bottom of mineshafts, so if I fall down, I don’t smash myself to pieces on the rocks, but there’s only so much he can do, poor kid. Anand kindly let me beg off after the third death in five minutes, possibly only since it was basically his bedtime by then anyway.

Then I left Kevin to put Anand to bed (generally his job), came back to the computer, took a deep breath, and submitted the story. It’s been a while since I did that kind of thing. We’ll see what the editor thinks. Eep. (Not as nerve-wracking as it might be, though, because Jed already said he wants to include it in the Jump Space book Constellation Press is putting out. It’d be nice to have a magazine publication for it first, though.)

*****

Her implant was feeding Jenny local news – there’d been an incident at a nearby school, an active shooter, which had spiraled out into a series of attacks, protests, riots that now weren’t about the shooter at all, who was apparently some lovesick teen. Now there were adults involved, street fighting and store looting, old tensions flaring up into new battles. The settlers of Antira had imagined they were leaving all that behind, on old Earth. Not so much.

Citygov was telling everyone to stay home, especially those not native to this world. Stay in your homes until further notice – glaring red printed across her retinas, echoing in her head, until Jenny shut it off, shut it all down. *I didn’t vote for you.* It was too much, the clamor inside and out; she couldn’t do anything about the external noise, but at least she didn’t have to tolerate it in her own head.

She couldn’t do what the voice told her, anyway. Jenny had to actually get home before she could stay home. But that should be easy enough – she had a flyer waiting at the parking bay, and it was barely twenty blocks from the port to her condo complex. She was fully human, native Antiran, born and bred to this world for seven generations. Her ancestors had emigrated directly from Old Earth in the first wave of Jumpships. She wouldn’t have any trouble.

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To Wound the Autumnal City

I continue to have fun with the readings for the lit crit. class. This week, I’m teaching my undergrads about new criticism and formalism, and since the example in the textbook offers a description of a city (from Jon McGregor’s _If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things_), I decided to have them look at four other cities in their readings for the week (along with Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb,” a vision for a nation):

• the opening to Samuel Delany’s _Dhalgren_
• Italo Calvino, “Armilla” from Invisible Cities (https://thefunambulistdotnet.wordpress.com/…/litteratu…/)
• Benjamin Rosenbaum, “Ylla’s Choice” (http://strangehorizons.com/…/other-cities-5-of-12…/)

• Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (https://sites.asiasociety.org/…/3.-Le-Guin-Ursula-The…)

We’ll see what they make of them, and whether they end up feeling that a new critical or formalist approach does equal justice to all these pieces.

(I’m sure you can guess what my answer to that would be….)

As a bit of added optional delight for them, I found a recording of Calvino reading this piece, and a page collecting artwork inspired by Invisible Cities:

• Italo Calvino reads “Armilla” from Invisible Cities, https://www.openculture.com/…/hear-italo-calvino-read…) — 4 minutes starting in English at 8:40, going to 12:35 (original Italian beforehand)

• some of the illustrations inspired by Invisible Cities (https://rodcorp.typepad.com/…/2003/09/illustrated_inv.html)

*****

Opening to Dhalgren:

to wound the autumnal city.

So howled out for the world to give him a name.

The in-dark answered with wind.

All you know I know: careening astronauts and bank clerks glancing at the clock before lunch; actresses cowling at light-ringed mirrors and freight elevator operators grinding a thumbful of grease on a steel handle; student riots; know that dark women in bodegas shook their heads last week because in six months prices have risen outlandishly; how coffee tastes after you’ve held it in your mouth, cold, a whole minute.

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Actually… Fine?

Happened to run across the Ender’s Game movie, decided to watch it, even though I vaguely remembered hearing it wasn’t good. And it was actually…fine? I think, though, that it might only work for someone who already knew the book really well. The movie essentially was like a highlights reel of the book, hitting the big dramatic points, skimming over everything else.

(Possibly it would only really work for someone who loved the book, which I do, despite the homophobia problems with Card as a person.)

I’m not sure you could do that book as a 2 hour movie; it’s just too dense to get all the depth of characterization and relationships across. Interesting.

Mission Creep

Stephanie Bailey is hopefully not going to want to strangle me for this — I have a bit of a habit of mission creep that is undoubtedly somewhat… umm… challenging for my staff to deal with. (In my defense, if I ask them to do more, I do generally give them more time to do it in. That’s something, right?)

See I realized today, although I’d planned to just re-release Torn Shapes in a digital edition, which is very simple and hardly any work, I could ALSO expand it, including some of the other romantic & erotic poetry and fiction I’d written in the intervening 25 years. So now I’m kind of waffly.

It was a pretty short, thin book originally. We could release it as is, or we could do an expanded edition. If we did, I then face the question of:

a) do I just keep all the original material and then add in more, or

b) do I actually edit the thing, possibly taking out some of the original stories and poems that I might not like as well now…

…and now we’re in the realm of big decisions, and AIGH.

Maybe this is just Saturday night wittering. Feel free to weigh in!

So far:
1997: 1st edition
2013: Audible Studios audiobook (narrated by Sita Monroe)
2014: Book View Cafe digital edition

2017: Audible Studios MP3 CD edition

To come?

2021: Expanded digital addition with new material?

2022: 25th anniversary digital & print special edition (Best Of?)