In Which My Brain Makes More Chocolates, Figuratively

15 August 2003

It's August, right? Mid-August. Definitely August. And that being the case, where are my response letters from magazine editors? Where's my deluge of rejections? Where's my trickle of acceptances? Don't these people have to catch up before they go traipsing off to Canada to hang out with Karina without me? Is Steve Nagy the only one who's going?

Sigh. Maybe it's not late enough in August yet. Maybe that's it. My personal timeline is that, for most magazines, I query at six months to make sure the story has not gotten lost along the way. (There are some notable exceptions from which I don't expect a response before nine months, and others from which I think something's gone awry if I don't hear in two.) I have a handful of six-month stories at this point, plus several hovering at five months, giggling at me, pointing out that just when I'm at my craziest, that's when they'll need attention. Three stories at six months or more. Six stories at five months. One at four months. Evidently I had good market judgment in April. Or bad market judgment, that people were able to send my stories back without angst.

It hit me at around 8:30 this morning that I didn't get enough sleep last night, where "it" was the proverbial "ton of bricks." Ah well. My night was not punctuated by screaming, and these days we take what we can get.

You know what my brain is like? I discovered this while writing e-mail to Scott last night: my brain is like that one chocolate factory scene from that stupid "I Love Lucy." I do not, in fact, love Lucy; I generally can't stand Lucy. But there's one scene that it seems like people will have seen if they've seen no other Lucy (and I would know), and that's where Lucy and Ethel are trying to keep up with a chocolate machine, and the more chocolates they box and eat, the faster the chocolates appear. My brain is like that. With ideas instead of chocolates, because if it was just chocolates, that might be useful somehow. The more I have to do, the more my brain suggests for me to do. You should write a proposal for more contract work, it says, and, Hey, have you talked to Mark's grandparents in awhile? Maybe you should call them and make sure everything is okay, and also, I'll bet that image would make a great beginning for a story. Here, I'll show you how to start. More and more chocolates, and I box them and stuff them in my mouth and they keep coming.

It's better than if they stopped, I suppose, but still a bit alarming to watch from the immediacy of this angle.

And then I just put two more ideas in the starters file. You see? Chocolate brain, is what.

It was the day for unexpected e-mail insights, I suppose, because I told David that I was working on another drat of a story. Er. You would think the "f" there would be important, but on second glance it really seemed more appropriate without.

I talked on the phone too much to finish Kara Dalkey's Ascension yesterday, but I finished it up this morning. Eh. I've liked pretty much everything else I've read of hers better than this "mermyd" story. It just reads too much like a series of check-boxes for children's fantasy to me. Jonathan Carroll's White Apples is up next.

I've been rearranging lists and trying to figure out schedules, with the main goal of not making myself crazy over the next two months. A lot of it is a matter of arranging mental priorities so that I'm not being totally unreasonable to myself. (Or to other people, I suppose.) I've also abandoned two of the last three big items on the list of stuff we'd like to do in the Bay Area before we go. We really don't have the time/money/inclination to run up to Tahoe for any length of time between now and then. It's just not a priority. And we also would happily go to the Exploratorium with visitors but aren't jazzed, energetic, or filled with free-time enough to want to go without any outside impetus. We'll likely also miss the Chagall exhibit at SF-MoMA, which is too bad (but is new, so it wasn't on the list). I think we still may consider making it to the lower areas of Mt. Tam for more hiking, but only if it's part of spending time with someone we want to see before we go. There are possibilities there. If we don't, well, we've already done the summit and driven around a bit on Mt. Tam, so that won't be a great loss, either.

Timprov has just informed me that we will be gone before Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Huck Jam comes to town. How very sad. But I already suggested the Burt Bacharach Tribute On Ice anyway. (Timprov has also suggested a quicksilver mining museum for before we leave. That one we might actually do. It sounds kind of cool, and it's free, which is a much better price than Burt or Tony is likely to offer.)

I'm full of contingency plans lately, and this weekend is no exception. Amber is coming over for dinner either tonight or tomorrow night. I'll work on either "Making Alex Frey" or the book, or both. If there is time after cleaning bathrooms, I will attack the deck closet. If A, then B, followed by C; else D. Just watch my symbolic paths go. Woo. I'll start with the xors any minute now. Just you wait.

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