Scattered and Cranky and Thinking of WorldCon

23 August 2002

Days left to deadline: 8.

Days left to final draft goal date: 6.

Pages of The World Builders written (total): 132. (Many edits handwritten, typing just started.)

Good morning. Well, I'm trying to decide. I can either try not to be cranky today, or I can just not try. Hmm. (I feel like I'm going to need a down/cranky time soon to make up for all the manic time, and it would be best if that down/cranky period was not next weekend during WorldCon. So.)

I heard from Jim-my-nonfiction-book-editor. His publisher decided not to do the Soviet book in the series, so now I'm waiting to see if I'll be doing another book on a different topic, or if I'll just do the Chinese book and be done with it. Either way would work out: the one would be more lucrative, the other would be easier. I'm hoping for more lucrative, as I'm not particularly fond of easy, but I'll deal either way.

(I'm kind of confused about the publisher's decision. It looks like they also decided not to do a book on Mexico and/or Latin America. In a series about immigration to the US and Canada since 1965. Huh? That just makes no sense to me.)

I also got three rejections yesterday, one from Abs Mag and two from Asimov's. Looked like Dozois was cleaning out his pile before WorldCon. They were really nice personal rejections, happy rejections if there is such a thing, positive and encouraging. But rejections still. Ah well. And then I discovered that I'm out of printer cartridges, so I have an errand to do today sometime so that I can get those stories back out.

Yesterday Avi asked if I wanted to talk over crits in person, so I said sure and took the train up to 16th St. (in the Mission) and met him for lunch, and then we sat at Borderlands and talked about my book. I came home to Nye's comments, too, so it was a critful day. The power to the switches near San Leandro and Bayfair had gone out, though, so the ride home was exceedingly slow, and I had time to read almost all of Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice. Which was good! A very definite spot of uncrankiness, this paragraph: I haven't enjoyed a grown-up high fantasy that much in years. Often they've been making me either roll my eyes incessantly or say, "Hmm, I'd have liked that when I was 15." But this one I liked right now. Of course, if I have the right idea of whose pseudonym Robin Hobb is, she's buddies with Steven Brust, and that is a man who knows his stuff, when it comes to writing, so I shouldn't be surprised that he picks good writing buddies, too. (I'm really fond of all the Scribblies, even though they are -- like the rest of us -- flawed.) Anyway, I'm quite grateful to Alec for recommending Robin Hobb, and I'm going to try to find the next book in the series at the library next time I go.

Which will be fairly soon, of course. Julie gave her reading shelf list, and she's got some pretty good stuff on it. Here's my pile:

borrowed from David:
two volumes of Gogol short stories
Kate Wilhelm's Margaret and I
Kate Wilhelm's The Abyss
borrowed from the library:
Richard M. Dorson's The British Folklorists: A History (which I'm reading right now as research on the Not The Moose Book)
Claude LÚvi-Strauss' The Elementary Structures of Kinship
Richard Deacon's Kempei Tai: A History of the Japanese Secret Service
our own books:
Jack McDevitt's Chindi
October 2002 Analog SF & Fact
Kristine Kathryn Rusch's The Disappeared
Paul McAuley's The Secret of Life
Nicholas L. Fr.-Chirovsky's An Introduction to Ukrainian History Volume I: Ancient and Kievan-Galician Ukraine-Rus'
Ralph Rosenblum and Robert Karen's When the Shooting Stops: A Film Editor's Story, which was in a free books pile, so Timprov picked it up, and one of us might as well read it, and it might as well be me

So, you see, for me, that's really not that many books to have on the pile. I mean, some of them will take me awhile. And I still have to make a bunch of notes from some of my book-darted spots in MI6, so that's a book-related activity, but it doesn't really count as reading. So. Back to the library I go. Possibly not today. We shall see.

Also, I think our answering machine may be broken. When I went to clean it, I bumped the button that's supposed to play our message back for the listener. No message played back. I smacked it harder with my finger. It told me what time it isn't. (The time has been very, very wrong for a very, very long time.) I pushed the button that was supposed to let me set the time. Nothing happened. So...we'll see about this answering machine. Very few of you even have my phone number, much less use it. But if you attempt to leave a message and it doesn't work, well, now you know why.

(I have a list of house stuff we should get when we have money and space for it. I don't know if "answering machine" will get added to that if it really is broken, or if we'll just go buy one right away.)

(It's a list. Of course I have one. Honestly.)

I am feeling pretty totally random here, people. I have a feeling I'm going to be darting around fixing a typo on page 27, then changing a verb on page 83, then writing several new paragraphs on page 131, and then dusting the white bookshelves, then unloading only the silverware component of the dishwasher, then....

But you can't really complain, because if you get sick of me, you can always go see what Chinese name these folks think your name and a few other traits would inspire. Isn't that entertaining? I kind of like being Li Mengrui, especially since "Mengrui" is "sharp dream," and I like that, sharp dream. I also wouldn't mind being Liu Maorong, Liu "talented glory."

I'm not the only one who's cranky, by the way. Trey had an entry about how little he likes umbrellas and the new flavors of brightly-colored soda. I was amused at that. Trey also complimented me on my hard work and confidence when I finished The World Builders. Heh. Confidence. Some manifestations of what looks like confidence are what I consider sheer spite: "Didn't like that story, huh? Well, see how much you hate this one! So there!"

I'm amazed at some other people's confidence, but not so much at my own. For example, some people whose publication credit list is not much longer than my own, or even shorter, are doing panels and readings at WorldCon. To me, that looks like amazing amounts of confidence. It will be years until I do something like that, I assure you, because I would always rather hear, "Oh, hey, why didn't you do that?" than "Why did you do that?" If there's a good chance that people will be thinking, "She doesn't belong there!" or "Who does she think she's supposed to be?", I will tend to back off, smile, ask questions, maybe argue afterwards and introduce myself to people, but not put myself forward. I don't think there's anything wrong with it -- I just wouldn't be comfortable.

And speaking of WorldCon again, I went through and picked out some panels and readings and such that I'd really like to hear/see/do. And I'm pondering. So where are you going to be, if you're going to WorldCon? And what do you think is underrated and not to be missed? And -- I'm going to get kind of girly for a minute -- what are you weaaaaaaaring? I'm worried that it is not particularly warm here. It's supposed to be warmer at the beginning of next week, and San Jose is one of the warmer parts of the Bay Area, so maybe it'll be fine, but I have this horror of wearing skirts and freezing my lily-white butt off, either outside or in cranked-up AC. I guess on that score there's no way to find out except to go. I just hate being cold. And I haven't met a lot of these people, and I don't really want Stan Schmidt going back to New York thinking, "Oh, yeah, Marissa Lingen, I published that novelette of hers. She's the one with the blue lips, the one who shakes." I want my eccentricities to be deliberate.

Or at least not fixable-but-unfixed.

At least they'll stop asking those stupid airport questions soon. Yesterday's Merc had FAA officials admitting that no terrorist had ever been thwarted by someone asking, "Has anyone unknown to you asked you to carry something on this flight? Have your bags been in your control since you packed them?" It's not a major deal to have to answer those questions, but it's kind of a relief not to. A triumph of common sense, as it were.

I've been doing yoga tapes for nine days now, and my lower back feels much better than it did. Which is all for the best etc. Problem is, my upper back is still a mess. Anybody know of any good yoga or other stretches for the upper back? I like being able to spend 20-30 minutes a day on not hurting. I would gladly spend another several. Also, the tape tells me not to do some of the stuff during my period. Should I listen to it? Is it a legitimate physiological deal, or is it a superstition, or what's going on with that? I did a little internet research, and all it could tell me was that I'm not going to get horrible diseases from it, but some people don't think it's a good idea. Not entirely useful.

(I did like that some of these people were recognizing that one's physical strength may not be at peak during one's period. My gym teachers were morally opposed to that point. There was to be no getting out of gym just because you had cramps, even if they made you dizzy with the pain. I know that not everyone gets that level of cramps, but I think it's worth recognizing that if one does, one should slow up a bit.)

(Let's see a show of hands: how many of you think that means I actually do slow up a bit if I can help it?)

Okay, well. It's time for me to edit some more, and unload the rest of the dishwasher, and all of that. I declare it time. Come back tomorrow. Maybe I won't be cranky and scattered then.

I guarantee nothing.

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