9 June 2002

Yesterday my body and The Pill had another of their fabulous knock-down drag-out fights. Everything from the top of my head to the middle of my thighs hurt, and everything from the top of my head to the middle of my back hurt a lot. Bleah. I'd try to get my new doctor to prescribe a different variety of it, but I had enough trouble getting settled into this one that I'd prefer to just live with it unless she has a specific idea as to what would work better.

My mom has noticed differences in social comfort levels with the Pill, between generations. For me, letting people know I'm on the Pill is somewhat akin to letting them see me walk into Victoria's Secret. When I was in high school, one of my friends refused to go into Victoria's Secret: someone might see us going in there, and what would they think? I told her they'd think I wore underwear, which was somewhat better than the alternative. Same deal with the Pill: they'll think I'm actually planning my family, which is better than the alternative.

Some things haven't changed though, and Mother was collapsed on the kitchen floor hysterical with laughter when she thought they had. It was the first day I'd gone to the doctor and gotten my prescription, and it was also the day that one of our first wedding presents arrived. The present was a fondue pot, and, as my parents had gotten married in the early 1970s, we'd joked about how many fondue pots they'd received. (We just got the one.) So I went racing to the top of the stairs when Dad got home from work: "Hey, Daddy, guess what I got?" Behind my back, my mother was giving me an incredulous look, but I went blithely on: "A fondue pot!" And Mom started laughing and laughing, could not stop laughing. When she finally got control of herself, she said, "I knew your generation has a different, more open relationship with their fathers, but -- 'Daddy, Daddy, guess what I got?'" And then she laughed some more. "I also got a prescription for the Pill," I told my dad. "That's nice," he said. We watched my mother laugh some more.

My whole family is pretty self-entertaining, on the whole.

Oh, and speaking of entertainment (nice segue, huh?), Timprov thinks I should add "Ghost in the Shell" to my list of good science fiction movies. All right: I hereby do so.

I'm not done reading the July/August issue of Analog yet, but I really liked the Adam-Troy Castro novella that opens it, "Unseen Demons." One of my favorite Analog stories in awhile (not counting mine, of course). I also don't hate the Kevin J. Anderson/Gregory Benford collab novelette nearly as much as I expected to -- it goes clunk clunk thwack sometimes, but it has nice bits about it, too.

I'm beginning to dislike novelettes, I think. Not reading them -- I can't really tell where the line goes, in reading them, between a long short story and a novelette. But since there's an anthology designed for them, I've been making a concerted effort to finish the ones I have here before it closes. Usually my short stories have a maximum of one problem for me to solve as the author. Maybe two. Novelettes multiply that, and the time involved in writing them, without providing the same kinds of rewards that novels do.

The novel I'm working on at a given time structures my months. This is the time I'm working on the Not The Moose Book. It's a much better indicator of what's going on in my head than what month it is, or what year. And with a novel, the delightful surprises in writing it seem to be much more numerous than with a novelette, out of proportion to the length of the piece.

Maybe if I wasn't working on more than one of them at once, it would help, or maybe if I wasn't working under a deadline when I want to be working on the NTMB. Hmm. Anthology deadlines help me a lot, living out here. Anthologies and theme issues. I can look at my "to do" list now and see anthology deadlines as handholds, almost. They give a shape to the months ahead, combined with the other things on my list. By the end of the month, I need to finish that Christian SF story if I'm going to, and then I need to find a seamstress to hem my dress. I have a note of what I'd like to get Scott (in D.C., not in Chicago) for his birthday in early July and a note that I should check on what I need to do for the Asimov Award winners' online chat, and so on and so on, until Raechel, bless her, has theme issue deadlines for November and February. That one little note on what story to write and submit for the Spellbound "dragons" issue February in February makes me think I can do this, this extra year out here, because I can see things that I'll be doing from now until Mark has started to see where and when he'll be interviewing for professorships. When it starts to feel like it goes on for ever and ever, I can look at the list of stuff I have to do between now and then, and it seems a good bit shorter. Because, well, I have a lot to do.

I'm beginning to see how people become "an Analog author" or "an Asimov's author" or whatever. It's not just that the editor gets to like them. It's that as I sit here and contemplate projects, if we're talking about short stories, I'd rather write one for which I have a good market than one for which I don't, all other things being equal. Anthologies are pretty good markets, because they give you one more place to send a given story than usual, but if you know an editor who likes some of your stories enough to buy them, well, that's even better. And I find myself thinking, maybe when I'm done with the NTMB, I'll take the time to sit down and write this or that before I dive into the next novel -- I'd like to do that, and they might be Stan Schmidt's sort of thing. And I've only sold the man one story so far!

All other things are rarely equal, of course, so I'm not thinking I'll become an exclusively hard SF writer any time soon. But when an editor has bought something from me, it's hard not to think that I should just keep sending them more, all the time.

So, yesterday I painted a bit more and handled the back cover such that I don't have to do a background for the front cover. Which makes me happy. Also I got to use phthalocyanine blue, and we remember how much I love to use the word "phthalocyanine." I keep remembering things I like about acrylics better than oils -- I can peel the paint out of the paint tray if it dries, for one thing, and for another, there are no mineral oils involved. None. I used to reek of paint mineral oils for several days straight. It's a wonder that Ceej and Jen ever wanted to be around me that semester.

Okay, see? This is what happens when you get a M'ris out of her routine. I didn't finish this journal entry before I went to church (which, by the way, was much, much better, and the pastor there reminded me of Uncle Phil, which is a good thing, for those of you who don't have good uncle/bad uncle scorecards made out). I then got groceries, made stuffed peppers, talked to my folks, and ate the stuffed peppers. And they did not suck. When I was a kid, eating stuffed green peppers always gave me the sense that the universe was a grim and possibly quite malicious place. (I didn't blame my mom, despite the fact that she actively collaborated with the grim, malicious universe in the creation of the stuffed peppers.) So when Timprov said that a stuffed pepper recipe from the newspaper looked good, my immediate thought was "ACK ACK ACK ACK!" followed immediately by "He and Mark can have it and I'll have tomato dill soup." But then I realized that it's highly unlikely that any food would be such clear evidence of evil in my adult world, so I decided to make and try stuffed green peppers again. They weren't so bad. Maybe it was the pine nuts, I don't know, maybe the allspice, but they were edible, and my sense of foreboding has not increased.

Right. So anyway, I also went for a walk. And that's pretty much eaten up the time today. I haven't finished reading the paper, haven't worked on anything, haven't read any more of Analog, haven't written to most of the people who've written to me, haven't cleaned up the dining room, finished painting my journal cover, taken the trash out, sent money to Raechel, made notes on one of my novel outlines, or any of a number of other things on my list. Well. Let it not be said that my day lacks an agenda, then. And I need to be at Au Coquelet by 6:00 for my writing group meeting. I'm hoping to swing through The Other Change first, just because I haven't been in awhile, and they might have the Asimov's with Lori's story in it. So. I'd better get going if I intend to do anything before that.

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