13 July 2001

An excerpt from my mom's last e-mail: "They are all rank amateurs in that category. We even have a line of Husker caskets that's been selling extremely well, compared to other college-logoed caskets!" Sometimes I really miss Nebraska. Sometimes. (We were talking about how no other state gets to claim rabid sports fans -- and yes, that includes you, Cheeseheads. For the record, my mother is not the sort of person who would even dream of wanting to be buried in a Husker casket.)

Timprov and I ran errands this morning. When we were dropping off books at the library, we saw a chicken that thought it was a duck. It was waddling along amidst all the ducks. We watched for a bit, but none of them went near the pond, so we couldn't tell whether the chicken also swam. And now I feel like all of my Midwestern cred is gone, because I can't tell you whether chickens can generally swim. (They don't have lakes in Nebraska! It's not my fault!)

Revising a book feels much different to me than writing the first draft. Even when I have to put new material in the revisions, the energy of it is different. I'm trying to relax for today and get some of the knots out of my back and celebrate a little. I probably won't start on another novel until my birthday at least, maybe afterwards. It's a little hard to restrain myself, because I'm so excited about my upcoming books. But I don't want to mess up my head too badly with no short, contained sorts of things. I mean, I've been writing short stories, and I'll continue to do so. But I think it's good for me to not be working on a novel for a week or so. (For those of you who are not keeping proper count, it is now a week and six days to my birthday. Thirteen days! Birthday greetings welcomed! Etc.!) (Around my birthday, even my Etc.s get excited.)

Last night, we opened up the jar of cloudberry preserves we got at Ikea clear back. Wow. Do you know what it's like to eat something you haven't had since you were ten years old? It was like they preserved my tenth birthday, put it in a jar, and sold it to me. (For $3, even!) Amazing. I didn't know they could do that. And I can pull it out and have my tenth birthday again and again, until the jar is gone. My tenth birthday was a good one. It's nice to have it back.

In our errands, Timprov and I went to Michael's, the craft store nearby. Those places are dangerous. I sighed over the colored pencils. I sighed over the paints. I sighed over the for-silk fabric paints. I sighed over all the ink cartridges that don't fit in my fountain pen -- I can live with blue and black, but I used to like having all kinds of Schaeffer colors. I wrote different things in different colors. Not on purpose, just worked that way. Green was more action scenes. Soft blue was for emotional encounters. Black worked well for world-building. Burgundy was totally unpredictable. And so on. But what I did get was charcoals and a frame for the picture we got in Hawaii, the one that keeps falling down when we put it up with poster putty. (Those of you who have visited our apartment have witnessed the four blue dots above the cereal caddy. This is not an artistic statement. It's a poster putty failure.)

The charcoals are so that I can sketch the underlying bits to my next journal cover, before I go in with acrylics and do the painting. The last three things I painted, I did freehand, and while that worked out tolerably well, what I want to do this time is a little more structured than most of what I did last time, so I'm going to get the idea down first before I start slopping paint everywhere. (Not quite everywhere. But close. My aunt Mary is a painter, and she gets paint all over everything. Evidently it's genetic. I had the One Best Pair of Jeans from just before fifth grade on, and I wore them for my Painting class. Oil paints. I no longer have the One Best Pair of Jeans. Sad.)

I keep coming up with what people must mean when they say I'm full of it. Theories, was my first theory. Now I think it's projects. They assume that "it" will be known to be "projects." (Why they don't say "full of them" is a total mystery to me. A colloquialism, I'm sure.) And the more I do, the more I come up with to do. It's almost sad, really. I've gotten short story, article, and essay ideas at a crazy rate this last week, and now I'm coming up with paintings I'd like to do and household projects that could use some work and....

I have been instructed to relax today, and I will comply. I will. No, really. Everybody always laughs at me....

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