5 February 2003

Mark says that it was the upstairs neighbors going "thumpthumpthump [pause] thumpthumpthump" all night. And again just now. Now that I'm out here in the living room, I can hear that it's upstairs. It sounded like outside, though, at 4:45 this morning.

"So how did you sleep, M'ris?" Uh, yeah. Thumpthumpthump, indeed. Also the presence of an evil person in my dreams who was mostly like Sauron except for seeming to have been dressed by the creators of "Batman Beyond"...not what I call soothing, is what I'm saying here. And I still have a sore throat and a little bit of sore mouth. Bleah.

Yesterday was pretty good, though. We got our backs fixed (yay, Dr. Bill!) and got chowdah and then went and got chairs. We picked out three chairs and brought two of them home -- one for Timprov's bedroom and one for the living room. T already assembled the one that goes in his bedroom, and he immediately sat on it to reread Teckla. We haven't put together the one for the living room yet, though. We need to get rid of the couch first, and to do that, we need to determine whether we can just put it down by the dumpster, or whether we need to call someone to haul it away or rent a U-Haul truck to haul it away ourselves. (David suggested giving it to Goodwill. I guarantee they have no use for it with the spring sticking up and all.)

Anyway, now we know what style and color of chair we want the third one to be, so we can pick it up when T's parents are in town (Ikea seems like Bobbie's kind of place, and they most likely will have a slightly bigger rental car) and not have to take Mark away from work again. I'm pretty happy with the chairs. It went well. Also I got a new set of Tupperware for $2, and some pearl sugar for authentic Scandinavian recipes, and two other cheap little Swedish treats (orange chocolate and raspberry cookies). Also, there was at least one couch there we liked, so we can keep that in mind for later, maybe. I like Ikea.

Came home and reworked the ending to the essay I'm tentatively calling "Telling the Future" -- I've learned not to get too attached to titles when I sell to Skirt!, which is fine. Sarah thought that part of my journal entry from Monday would make a good essay, and evidently Nikki at Skirt! thought it would, too, because the second rewrite of it will run in either May or November, don't know which yet. So that was good. Did fiddly little stuff around here and worked on Dwarf's Blood Mead and "Big Sister."

There's an anthology listed on Ralan's page as looking for magical realism. I'd take a break from this YA stuff and write them a short story, if I had any ability to tell what's magical realism and what isn't. I have no such ability. When I read things that other people have labeled magical realism, I tend to be able to classify them as "fantasy" or "mainstream" (or, occasionally, "pretentious crap, who cares"). But I don't have the magical realism sensor in my brain to let me know when the fantasy or mainstream work I've been reading has been magical realism, and I don't really want to send these anthology folks a story and have them say, "What is this fantasy story? We wanted magical realism!" or "What is this mainstream story? We wanted magical realism!"

Slipstream is kind of like that for me, too. I read things that other people label slipstream, and I think, "Um, that's [genre here]." Or else, "Pretentious crap, who cares." (This category doesn't pop up all that often in my reading materials, but when someone has apparently written a story to a) make a point about literary theory or b) see how convoluted and pointless his/her prose can be before I stop reading, then we have a problem. Or rather, someone else a problem. I have no problem: I stop reading the piece.)

I think part of my problem is that there's a corner of my brain that feels like "magical realism" is a weasel labels, for when someone is writing fantasy and doesn't want to be associated with Tolkien. And my advice for such folks is to suck it up and not be such pansies. When you're a physicist, you have to be associated with Oppenheimer and Teller regardless of your stance on nuclear weapons, and that's a much more serious thing than having a personal horror of elfsies and dwarfsies.

I know, though, that there must be people who have a sense of what magical realism is other than an escape from the fantasy label. If you do know, please share. I'm curious. I have a Clute. I looked it up. I'm just not all that enlightened by his definition.

So. I've been reading E.M. Forster's Two Cheers for Democracy, which has so far been essays he wrote during the early years of the Second World War. I'm not sure how late the essays will go. In tone, they're good for my mood; in content not so much. I'm glad I dug them up at the library after all this time, but I think I'll be glad to get back to some fiction.

But that'll be much later, I think, as I have several things I'd like to do today, and I may feel decent after lunch, but I'm not counting on it, so I'm going to get the running-about things done first. Seems like there are always running-about things to get done. So I guess I'm going to do them.

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