5 April 2002

We've had another sign of the coming Apocalypse. I was listening to "Whose Line" last night while I typed work I'd written out longhand while we were gone, and I heard a commercial for Mint Skittles. Mint. Skittles. Mint. .... Skittles.

Coming Apocalypse, I'm telling you.

I don't know if they have Skittles in, say, Estonia. So, for Aet and anyone else who doesn't know but might be reading this, Skittles are essentially fruit-flavored sugar in the shape of M&Ms (which I hope are a bit more universal?). They've got a chewy inside and are hard and are kind of the shape of miniature flying saucers. Only now they're making a mint version instead of a fruit version.

I do not approve.

But I do approve of one of the Merc headlines yesterday: "Warning Issued on Illegal Cheese." Take that, illegal cheesemakers! You have been warned! We will have zero tolerance for illegal cheese trafficking from Columbian cheeselords!

Ahem. So yesterday's discoveries included: typing is easier on my back than transcribing. I already knew that -- my computer desk is really small (barely counts as a desk), so I have nowhere to put the journal or notebook but in my lap. Which means that it's bad for my neck and shoulders. No surprise there.

Also I discovered that Westmark holds up quite well to reading by an adult M'ris, especially compared with The Book of Three. I enjoyed The Book of Three, but I remember liking it better than Westmark on the first read-through. Now the positions are reversed. Good stuff. I'm saving The Kestrel and The Beggar Queen and the entire Vesper Holly series a bit longer, so that I can intersperse them with the stack of Middling-Old SF I have waiting for me. Of that stack, I read International Relations Through Science Fiction yesterday. Didn't much care for it. It grated on me. The tone of all of the stories was very smug, even though not one of them suggested any kind of solution for anything. Bah. Now I've started The Wooden Sea, which should get the smugness out of my head. Heh. Maybe. Jonathan Carroll can be pretty smug sometimes, or at least pretty pat. But I've got a taste for him anyway. You know what was great about Outside the Dog Museum? I didn't wish it was Land of Laughs while I was reading it. I enjoyed it for what it was and didn't get frustrated over what it wasn't. That's good.

"...think about my friends -- sometimes I wish they lived out here, but they wouldn't dig this town...." I'm listening to Ben Folds Five again, trying to figure out what to put on a mix-tape for my dad, and in what order. Some people are really, er, "particular" about mix-tapes. They spend hours getting the exact right order of songs. Me, I know I'm going to start with "Philosophy" and end with "Uncle Richard, Me, and James Earl Jones" (which I will sing for anyone who wants to hear it -- I love that song). The middle is a mystery. I don't even know if it's going to be an all Ben Folds tape or if I'm going to throw in a few other things Dad might like but might not have heard. The only thing is that I'm trying to make it stuff Dad might like, not stuff I really like. Which in this case means less "Reinhold Messner," for those of you who know Ben Folds stuff. Usually the stuff I like and the stuff Dad likes are pretty close, but I have a feeling that much of "The Battle of Who Could Care Less" would jar him, or else just be "generational," even though it's one of my favorites. So. Lots of Ben Folds for me, and I'm learning why we don't listen to half of "Naked Baby Pictures" very often and prefer some live versions of the other half.

Also Karina got almost all of "Jagged Little Pill" in my head, so I've been wandering around singing, "What's the matter, Mary Jane?" Timprov convinced me that it's a song meant for a bass voice. I was a bit skeptical, and then he sung it for me that way. I am convinced. Alanis Morisette should write for the bass voice more often.

I think that the difference between a good band and an excellent band is this: if you listen to the songs of a good band separately, they're all pretty good, but if you listen to them together, in a big binge, they get worse. If you listen to the songs of an excellent band together, in a big binge, they get better. They play into each other without pointing out that they're repetitive -- they can deal with the same themes without sounding like the same song, and in fact the recurrence of themes enhances the experience. Context, context, context.

I'm a bit worried about context with my stories. A lot of them seem to deal with memory pretty directly. So far, I've done "In the Gardens and the Graves," "The Flask of Today," "From the Hip Flask" (unrelated to "The Flask of Today"), "The Handmade's Tale," "Taste of Blood, Scent of Bubble-Gum" (whose title has never satisfied me), "Loki's Net," and "Drops of Yesterday" that deal with memory directly. Seven. That's not that big a percentage of my total work, but it's enough for me to notice. And I've got at least seven more on my short story "to do" list, which has fifty-three items on it. Still not a huge percentage, but kind of a large word count, and that's not counting novels. Mary Anne told me, when I was worried about ankles, that it's not an obsession, it's a trope. Maybe in this case a theme. It crosses genres. It's better than ankles and suicides, I guess, and I don't want to avoid writing these stories because I've written other stories that deal with memory directly. Seems like a poor reason. But I'm glad my novels so far haven't been obsessively memory-focused -- I'm glad to know I have other tricks in this pony.

I'm heading up to David's later this morning, and Mark and I are going out tonight. In the meantime, there's stuff I ought to finish. Including an introduction for WIHA. Problem is, I don't know how to write an anthology introduction. It's not much comfort that it looks like a lot of other people who edit anthologies don't know how, either. I think "Here's some stories. Read them. -- The Editor" is probably not going to work, but I'm not sure what is going to work. I do know that I will try to refrain from using the words "unusual twist," and I think Gordon Van Gelder should, too. I also intend to make a good stab at finishing the transcription of work from when I was gone. And I'll work on the NTMB, and write a letter or two -- I've started the letter I owe Liz, but it just didn't go anywhere on the road, so now I need to get it wrapped up and sent off before she chides me. I hate being chidden, even by Liz. I also don't like being chode. And chided? That just doesn't sound like a word, it sounds like a head cold. Of course, so do the other two.

Have a good Friday.

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