14 May 2002

Well! We've had earthquakes before. They were really tiny, though. Last night's was a 5.2 centered in Gilroy, so we got some decent shaking here, more confusing than scary. After a moment it was kind of an "Oh, right, earthquake" feeling, and we got up to go crouch in doorframes (luckily, we have several inner doorframes). We didn't get there. The quake was over with. None of our books fell off the shelves. None of our crockery broke. I can see why Evan told me, clear back when he was helping us move, that thunderstorms were scarier.

He was wrong, of course, but I understand why he thought so now. And one of the less-scary things is, once you've had a thunderstorm, you're no less likely to have a tornado that week. But once you've had a small earthquake, you're less likely to have The Big One near you soon. Scott Heath (who has a Master's in geology and oughta know) told us this. When you need to worry is when all the places around you have little quakes to relieve the tension on the fault and you don't have one in your area. That's when it's bad.

So we're fine, right? Of course right.

I read Phoenix Café yesterday, and it was good enough that I'll probably look for some more Gwyneth Jones at the library, but not good enough that I'll be crushed if I don't find some. Also read most of Cloak Without Dagger, the memoirs of former MI5 head Sir Percy Sillitoe. Yes. Sillitoe, Percy Sillitoe. It was like he was invented to be in some middle-grade children's books. So far, there's not much about MI5, but this amused me: "Since its earliest beginnings, M.I.5 has alternately intrigued and infuriated the public by the aura of 'hush-hush' with which it has seemed to be surrounded, and when I joined it I found it so extremely difficult to find out precisely what everyone was doing that I began to feel that its popular reputation was in no way exaggerated." They asked this guy to come run MI5, and then they didn't give him a very thorough briefing on what was going on? As Timprov said last night, say what you like for J. Edgar Hoover, but at least he had a fair idea of what he was getting into. Heaven's sake. The book is also amusing in its very tone, pompous, early 20cen middle to upper class British policebeing. But in some ways you can tell that Sir Percy was a very nice old guy -- he goes out of his way to praise the competence and composure of the police "girls," for example. I'll finish reading that today, probably.

I had a rejection yesterday, and now I feel much better. I think this is the hardest part about focusing on the novel: I'm not sending stuff out to F&SF nearly so regularly. Which means that I'm not guaranteed a response nearly so regularly, since no one else has that amazing rapport with the post office, to say nothing of their manuscript reading times. When I'm writing a lot of new stories, I get to see movement in my stories. It's all outward movement, but that's all right -- it still feels like movement. Whereas when I'm focusing on a novel and not sending out a lot of new stuff in a given month, it gets to look more like the tides. You know, what goes out must come in, but at what height and what time varies throughout a month. Sometimes it's hard to deal with either extreme of tides, when it comes to rejection letters. When I get too many rejections at once, I feel like Everyone Hates My Work, and when I get too few, I feel like Nothing Will Ever Happen. But if I get one or two, then I can do something about them, that is, send out the stories again, but I don't feel too deluged.

On the down side, I read the story before deciding where to send it. That wasn't really the down side, because I still liked the story. But what I got out of it was a lot of related questions. You know the kind, the ones that don't ruin the story, they just...expand it. A bit. And then a bit further. And then....

Yeah, you guessed it. Another novel idea. When I wrote about this less than a month ago, I had twenty-one of them. This brings the total to twenty-five. (Yes, only one today. The other three were other days.) Let me tell you the word for that: daunting. Twenty-five novel ideas that I could sit down and start writing tomorrow. That's just alarming. On the other hand, in some ways it keeps me sending stuff out when I'm feeling cruddy about sending stuff out. Because I know I'm going to write them anyway, and 28 unpublished novel manuscripts sitting around the house, to say nothing of short stories? That's just untidy, is what. Cluttered. Hard to keep straightened up. Might as well send some of them out, since they're going to be here anyway.

We do not even consider the possibility of being the author of 28 unpublished novels. No, no, not on our radar.

Congrats to Kev, who is going to grad school! Yay, Kev!

And, say: hellooooo out there? Who's out there? I'm just wondering, as I periodically wonder, who are you people? Who's reading this? If you're reading my journal and have never dropped me a line (or have never told me you're reading my journal, in the case of people who already know me), let me know. Say hi. I'm friendly, I don't bite. I just want to know who reads.

Hmmm. Okay, family story time. When my cousin Kayla was a very small child, she went bumping down her family's steps towards the garage with her suitcase. "Where are you going?" her mom asked her. "Camping," said Kayla. "We can't go camping," Cindy (her mom) told her. "It's too cold now." And Kayla looked up at her in disgust: "Are we too poor to buy a heater?"

She pulled out this line fairly often. She would tell people in the grocery store that her mom was too poor to buy her candy, if they were in line and she wanted some. Too poor to buy her cereal. Too poor! So sad. And while my cousins are not raking in millions and sitting by the pool, they really weren't too poor to buy the kid candy -- she just didn't get candy every time she wanted it. (And South Dakota in the middle of the winter is no place to go camping, heater or no heater. Hmm. I guess that admits to the possibility that there are places to go camping. Well, I guess there are, for people who aren't me.)

Anyway, I've thought of Kayla a lot lately. I try to pressure myself into doing things that way: "Are we too poor to buy Mark shoes? Are we too poor to buy me jeans?" And we're not. We're really not. But -- I don't waaaaanna. I really don't. I've shared my jeans woes with you, and frankly, I don't wear the new jeans. They're just too big. Now, I had already washed them (in hopes of shrinking them), so I couldn't return them to the store, and I figure, I have room in the closet, I intend to be bigger than this at some point (when I get pregnant), so there's no reason not to keep these jeans. But I can't actually wear them comfortably. I need new jeans. I would rather be beaten severely than go get them. I keep thinking, "Well, it's only two and a half months to my birthday!" But that doesn't help with the jeans, because there is no brand of jeans that is known to fit me (now that Macy's screwed up, as discussed in the link above), so if I do want some for my birthday, I have to go shopping anyway.

Argh. So the little excuse voice in my head says, "Oh, no, we can't afford to buy you any new clothes right now, and summer is coming, you can do without new jeans." I'm not sure I can, so the excuse voice may be wrong on both counts. But last time we went, they had one brand that was both small enough and curvy enough for me ("they" being all the stores at our local mall), and that's the brand they screwed up, so I know it's going to be a long, harrowing experience. So. We're not too poor to buy me a pair of jeans. I just wish we were.

They are not, however, on the errand list for today. I just don't have that much emotional energy at this time. But there is an extensive errand list today, so I'm going to get on it.

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