Icy Death Potential
8 February 2002
Good morning! It's a clear, bright day here, quite unlike yesterday's rain. The Olympics begin tonight. Woohoo! I love the Olympics. I especially love the Winter Olympics. They are So Cool. There are lots of events in the Summer Olympics that interest me not at all, and several more that I only want to watch at the Olympics. (Swimming, for example, and -- sorry, Sarah -- track.) Oh, here's your Morphism Trivia Question of the Week: What sport would I most like to be able to do, out of the ones they have in the Winter Olympics? Send me your guesses. I don't do the friend test thing, but I'll be curious to see if anyone gets this one. (David, Timprov -- I just talked to you about this, so no bonus points for knowing.)
The Olympics make me grateful to be a writer. Not just because very few writing jobs have icy death potential (icy death potential! I love the Winter Olympics!), but also for the nature of it. They train and train and train, and then if they do their best vault ever in practice, it doesn't matter. They have to hit it for the "real thing." Whereas in writing, if I'm just goofing around and write my best story ever, off it goes, and it "counts." And if I send a dozen "missed" stories to an editor but the thirteenth is good, they don't average the scores. I can pretty much keep going until the judges like what they see.
I watched "Rear Window" for the first time yesterday. It was visually interesting in ways that most movies I've seen lately are not. Many of them are visually spectacular, but that's not the same thing at all. I was frustrated, though, that the romantic conflict between Stewart and Kelly was left hanging. Sigh. David says it's a free country and I can make up my own resolution. Three guesses how much I find that solution satisfying. Sure, I'm a writer, but I wouldn't have written "Rear Window" at all, so I don't see why I should be expected to write the ending to part of it.
I told you about going to City Lights on Tuesday, I think, but I didn't tell you how it was ruined for me. Not really "ruined," I guess, but I had a really hard time taking it seriously. Communing with the spirit of the Beats and all that? Oh yeah, whatever. Those people took themselves way too seriously. First of all, when I see the words, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness starving hysterical," my brain doesn't jump to influential Beatnik poem. It immediately starts singing, "I should be allowed to glue my poster, I should be allowed to think...." Yes. Ginsberg maps to They Might Be Giants in my head. And they had a poster of William Blake, which (as everybody who knows me should know by now) will invariably prompt a giggle fit as Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner bicker about William Blake in my head. And then there was a Keats poster that quoted him as saying, "I think I shall be among the English poets when I die." Which, I immediately decided, was better than being among them when he was alive. I guess all of this shows you that I should not be allowed near Serious Historical Landmarks. I had a good time, but I had the feeling that I was laughing in other people's cathedral.
Which I've been known to do in a more literal sense in my own, so I don't feel too badly about it as long as I'm discreet.
Ah well. In addition to my normal work and anthology stuff, I've been trying to figure out nominations for the awards this year. I voted in SF Site's Best Read of the Year poll, which prompted me to put my top ten of the year's novels in order. From there, it was easy to select which ones to put on the Hugo and World Fantasy Award nomination forms. The Best Professional Editor and Campbell Award categories were also fairly easy to work out, especially since they both have fairly restrictive criteria. There just aren't many editors whose magazines have circulation above 10,000, and I won't nominate anyone who doesn't fit those rules no matter how good a job I think he (or she) is doing. There's also a handy-dandy Campbell Award eligibility website, so I could just go down the list and say, "Hmm, I like you, you, you, you, and...you." I won't tell you which Ken Whartons I nominate, but it's very important to make sure that the new Mike Jaspers you think are talented get the recognition they deserve, and I'm sure most Wen Spencers would agree with me.
The rest of it is hard. What were the top five short stories you read last year? If you read more than ten, it's probably a hard choice. I hauled down all of our '01 magazines from the shelf and went through them, making a list. I'm going to be short on novellas for the World Fantasy Award ballot, even though The Last Hero also counts. The short story category is just going to kill me to have to pick, too. Sigh. I'm spending a lot more time on this than I do on political voting, let me tell you. (Of course, I take the time to keep up on politics on a roughly daily basis...I think I'm going to get organized and start my "2002 Award Picks" soon, so that it's not such a big deal at the end of the year. I'll put it as a link from my recommendations page...yeah, that's a good idea.)
There are also categories in which I have no clue (and thus will probably make no nomination). Best Non-Professional, on the World Fantasy Award ballot? How should I know? Mark is practically the only person I know who attends cons etc. and yet has no desire to go pro, and I don't think that's quite the kind of award they mean. Best Dramatic Performance? Well, I know what I'm not nominating...but I may end up nominating nothing. I keep thinking there ought to be something....
Ah well. This is one of those things that matters a great deal to the participants and very little to just about everybody else. That's okay with me. I don't need everyone to be waiting with baited breath to hear who won the Hugo for Best Fan Artist. But I do need to make the best nominations I can.
I finally have grandparental plans! They'll be here from Timprov's birthday to Heathah's. Which is nearly ideal timing. Also, their doings of yesterday morning got me the short story idea I want to write up for Spellbound before next week: "Grandma Disappears." Also, Timprov has convinced me that the Things That Go Bump In The Night theme is not entirely out of my range. Stuff to do, stuff to do. Have a good day.
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