So Many Things, I Just Don't Know What To Call It

2 April 2002

Okay, it's me again. I feel nasty. Just low-grade run-down nasty, I think, not any major illness. I hope. I was up late being sick last night and up early (5:00 a.m., hurrah!) being sick this morning. Yay. I'm working up to the idea of toast and tea. My dad has informed me that this may be in part the fault of my favorite restaurant in Omaha, as he ate my leftovers and promptly became ill. I don't know, but it's lasted awhile.

This would not have happened if they'd still had the gorgonzola sauce. Hell in a handbasket, I'm telling you.

Yesterday I read eleven books or book-length items. Eleven. I don't know if this is a personal record, but it's got to be close if it isn't. I worked a bit, but not much -- just not a very conducive day to work. Here's what I read: Sarah Zettel's A Sorcerer's Treason (which I will be reviewing for Speculon with all due haste), this month's F&SF, Ursula LeGuin's Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences, Robert Reed's The Hormone Jungle, Robert Sheckley's Can You Feel Anything When I Do This? And Other Stories, Stanley Schmidt's The Sins of the Fathers, Robert Sheckley's Journey Beyond Tomorrow, James Gunn's The Immortals and The Joy Makers, Kate Wilhelm's The Killer Thing, and Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light. The theme could have been "lesser works by good authors," I suppose. I bought most of those at the closing sale for Merchant of Venus, and I had planned to spread them out, interspersing them with different eras or genres, or with more "sure things." But they were what I had on the plane, so they were what I read. (Lord of Light was actually not in my backpack. I had to start cannibalizing Mark's backpack.) Some were entertaining, some were readable, and some were...well, not. When I read Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, I was frustrated that so much Wilhelm is out of print. I read a couple of others and my frustration grew. But now I've read The Killer Thing, and...hoo boy. Yeah. That makes Nancy Kress' early novels look like art. Sometimes being out of print is not such a bad thing.

However, it kept me busy for about 16 hours of travel, which is no small feat.

So, the trip was great. Really, really good. Some parts of it were entirely beyond anything I could "reasonably" expect. In a good way. Definitely in a good way. I didn't take nearly as many pictures this time -- mostly because I was just there in October and took pictures then. I had my camera in my purse most of the time, but I just didn't remember to take it out very much. I have no pictures of Miss Siri from this trip, for example, because when she was awake, she was keeping me occupied paying attention to her. Or trying to pay attention to her momma around her. Either way, it didn't occur to me until I was leaving and she was already in bed. Anyway, when I get pictures cropped and posted, they'll be here. They include Siri's baby brother Gavin, some time at the Science Museum with Rebecca and Matthew (my cousins, aged 9 and 7 respectively), lots of Como Park Conservatory visit pictures, and maybe one of me on the boingy thing at Walnut Grove Park (childhood hangout in Omaha), depending on how it turned out. I should have taken some when Cal and Bobbie took me to the Dayton's-I-mean-Marshall-Field's 8th floor auditorium flower show, but I just didn't. (I did get pickled herring on the salad bar there. How cool is that.)

I don't know how to say what it was like to be in Minneapolis. It was so hard not to fall into thinking of it as "how my life should be" in some particulars -- stopping through Lund's on the way back from church for wild rice soup, for example. That is so my life. Sharing bars with the Coopers and Uncle Phil. Definitely my life. Sitting at Caribou with C.J. until later than we'd intended. No question: my life. And so on, and so on. The hardest thing about flying through Minneapolis -- well. There are a couple of hard ones. Not just grabbing my carry-on and walking out the door is right up there on the list. Seeing C.J.'s house -- his actual house, you can see his house from there -- upon landing and (this is the hard part) upon takeoff. Knowing that if only it snowed a little bit harder....

Right. Well. I'm homesick for Minneapolis. This is not news. But I was able to relax some and enjoy it while I was there, and that was Good. Omaha was also Good. I didn't call most of the people I know and like in Omaha. I spent most of my time there with the folks. We went out with Kev a couple of times, and I met Tom and had coffee and then supper with him and Michael. And the Wiley side of the family was there for Easter, so that was good. Mostly, though, I tried not to run around like a headless chicken. Which was a good thing, because by then I was exhausted.

Tom said in his journal that I was simultaneously exactly as he pictured me and not at all what he expected, and he chalked it up to the "literary intimacy of online journaling." I think that's definitely part of it. But another part is that for the first part of dealing with Tom, I essentially wasn't dealing with Tom -- I was dealing with Michael, who is one of my longest-term friends. So all kinds of things came up in the first five minutes in the car that I wouldn't have said in my journal, just in a rush of not having seen Mike in a couple of months. We tend to do that to each other. Some of the stuff wouldn't appear in the journal because it's "too personal," that is, personal and not just about me. Some of it just wouldn't seem to be of general interest. So a lot of totally un-Morphism stuff came out right away.

Hmm. I have a lot of un-Morphism stuff to talk about from the last couple of weeks, which is very strange. Come on ahead and write to me if you want to hear it. Some of it is funny, but it involves some External Forces about which I don't feel comfortable making public statements. Feel free. Write. Really. I'm feeling yucky and could use the virtual company.

Anyway...we discovered that my extended family has a hard time with the concept of adjectives. My aunt Kathy brought "CatchPhrase" to Easter, and we played. Oof. It's kind of a cross between hot potato and charades and something can talk or gesture to get your word/phrase across to your teammates, but you can't say "sounds like" or "begins with," and you can't use part of the word/phrase in the clue. You sit in a circle with alternating team members and pass the mechanical dealie along when your teammates guess correctly. If you get stuck with it when time runs out, the other team gets a point. Well. I had "voluptuous," and I had given several synonyms and even done a charming little shoulder shake for emphasis (which the family found quite amusing and wanted to see again), and they guessed "femme fatale." I said, "No, adjective." Kath said, "Slut, prostitute!" "Adjective, adjective!" "Slutty?" This was in the category of "Entertainment." I knew they used broad definitions, but...anyway, Mark and my mom had the same problem with the idea of adjectives.

Also my mom and I had the same problem with laughing ourselves scarlet, but I think that's an ongoing thing.

I got a ton of rejections while I was gone. One metric ton o' rejections. Hoo boy, am I rejectable. The big one was from Datlow and Windling's second children's fairy tale anthology, but since I didn't even submit that story to the anthology originally, I'm pretty okay. (Datlow asked for a tweak on the ending, which improves it, and a resubmit to the anthology -- I originally sent it to Scifi.Com, since it's child-suitable but not exclusively so.) But there were others. My oh my. I used Cal and Bobbie's printer to print out some of the rejected stories and resend them, and I did the same with my folks', but I still have many to send. Sigh.

I've been working on the Not The Moose Book since I've been gone, and not much else. As I told David, I feel like I'm trying to melt a glacier with this, but so far the melt-water tastes really good. I've agreed with myself that I don't have to write any more short stories unless I am 1) really, really, really inspired, or 2) somewhat inspired and they're for submission to an upcoming theme issue or anthology. I have done Enough for the time being on short stories -- I don't need more out there for the sake of having more out there. What I do need is to work on this book. I love this book. It's so cool. I know I've said that before, but I've meant it before, too.

Ah well. I particularly liked the April Fools' Day letters at Locus online.

R.A. Lafferty died while I was gone, and that's a shame. Some good short stories there.

It was also David's birthday, and I missed it. It's not like David is Mr. Birthday, but in many ways I am Ms. Birthday, so I feel the obligation to share my Birthdayness with other people. I usually try to make it be in ways that they would appreciate, not in ways that I'd appreciate.

Actually, I think My Birthdayness should be my title. You may all refer to me as Her Birthdayness, and I'm available for Birthday Consultations if you feel you're getting insufficient celebratory value out of your birthday, because I never get insufficient celebratory value out of my birthday. Ever. And I'm willing to share.

Right...well, I'm going to type something more productive now, like a book review. And maybe I'll have some more tea. If I get really adventurous, I may run to the grocery store for bare essentials like milk and carrots. Or I may not. I do like to keep you guessing....

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