Crossfire, Heroes, and Tidbits

8 September 2002

I would like to tell you all something: it is not impordant. Not impordant at all. Important. Important has, you will note, two t's in it. I don't ask that you spit each one of them at people. I just ask that you refrain from clearly enunciating a d where there is not one. Thank you.

I'm still tired, but not quite as bad as yesterday. Not quite. I did the mending and cooked and basically did very little else yesterday. Mark went to Blockbuster and rented a couple of movies, and we watched one. "Highlander: Endgame." It was on our "to watch" list for a very, very long time (it was the only thing on the whiteboard in blue marker, so you can tell it had been there forever), and now I can't for the life of me figure out why. It was just a horrible, horrible movie. Bad special effects, bad writing, bad acting...just Not Good. It had to have been a great move for Adrian Paul, though, because co-starring with Christopher Lambert in anything has to make you look like Academy Award material next to him. Mark also got "Memento," which has also been on our list for a good while. I have hopes that it'll be better. A lot better, actually.

So I wrote e-mails to people, and I read some more of Royal Assassin, and I...didn't work. Didn't work at all. I wrote in my paper journal, but I didn't work on anything serious. No story idea developments, no new scenes, no revisions. Nothing. Timprov was glad that I took the day off, and I think my body was, too, but I'm kind of ready to get going again now.

I'm in the post-WorldCon lull, when it comes to story responses. I have 54 things out: 2 picture book texts, three novels, 49 short stories. Can that be right? 49 short stories? Ah. 48 short stories. "Another Hollywood Miracle" has yet to go back out again, and that's what I'd really like to work on. I told the writing group I'd do something for them if they needed it, but if they absolutely need something, I think I'd rather ask for advice on something I've finished already than wear myself out staying up and working on something new. Anyway, it's been a slow time for rejection letters for me. (Even slower for acceptance letters, but who's counting?)

I've been thinking a lot about crossfire lately. Not the news show. Hitting people you don't mean to hit, argumentatively speaking. It came up earlier in the week, and I've been trying to think of good examples of what I'm avoiding without saying to any of my friends with whom I've discussed it, "You know, if I was angry about this, I could accidentally insult you in the following ways...but of course I wouldn't mean to, so I wouldn't do that." Because there's really no getting out of that one. "You think I'm a what?" "No, no, that's the point, I wouldn't mean you!" "But you think people like me are [insert insult here], and I'm the exception?" "No, no, that's what I'm saying, I don't think that...." Sigh. But I think I've finally got the right example: Ted Chiang.

See, I like Ted Chiang's fiction. I really do. I respect it. I think he's very talented, and some of his individual stories are really cool. But I think that nobody in the world is as talented as people try to say Ted Chiang is. He does not stretch forth his hands and type streams of molten silver literary beauty into the keyboard. In fact, only some of the words he writes turn to pure gold. Not all of them, actually. But if I get annoyed with the people who fawn, I have to be very careful to say that I think their reactions are disproportionate, not to say, "Oh, that guy's not that great." It's not Chiang's fault that people idolize him and idealize his work beyond what any writer could support. And he does do good work, and I don't want to say he doesn't.

But really, the hero-worship thing is kind of confusing to me. I know, I know, I hero-worship both Haldemans a bit. But I recognize that Joe sometimes writes books and stories that are merely competent entertainment, in addition to having moments of really awesome stuff. And it wasn't that I went into the ICFA where I met them all nervous and filled with awe that they would be there. It's that I met them and they were really cool in person. They were admirable in their treatment of other people around them, and so I admire both of them. But I attempt not to gush, and I attempt to assess each work realistically.

I'm kind of worried about the people who get hero-worshipped and idealized early on. Timprov reminded me that Jayge Carr was one such, and she's not publishing very much these days. He had another name I can't even remember, who was The Hot Young Writer -- but that point that I can't even remember his name is pretty clear. And I wonder about how much of a negative effect the over-hyping had on those careers. Reasonable praise is good. The rest, I just don't know.

Anyway. So. On a totally different note, Caroline has been planning a trip to Ireland, and it got me thinking about my grant proposal again. I need to have a trip outlined and budgeted. Does anybody have advice on how to go about that, or how to do a grant application in general? It's not coming up for awhile -- I don't have to have it done until November 1 -- but I'll be in Minneapolis on November 1, and I have two books to be working hard on in the meantime. So I could use whatever advice people can give me about what works and what doesn't. I doubt that many of you would have applied specifically for ASF Artists' Grants. But still.

And finally someone was willing to tell me how I looked different than they expected at WorldCon! Several people had said that I looked "roughly" like my picture or "more or less" like it, but hadn't been willing or able to elaborate as to what was different. So I said to Dave Kirtley that I thought it was that my butt was bigger or something like that, so that they didn't want to say. So Dave kindly told me what he thought was different: I was more slender than he'd expected, and my eyes were darker and more intense. All right then.

Bad Roadside Art eyes strike again.

Seriously, when I'm really tired or excited, I do feel like those big-eyed child pictures you see in anime or bad roadside art, where the eyes take up half the face. So it's good to know someone else thinks I look like that, too.

No, I know, that's not really what he said. What, now I'm expected to respond to what people said? I thought that was off limits.

Ooh, uh, sorry. I've just gotten enough "deal with what I mean now that I've thought about it and not with what I actually said" to last me for awhile, lately. People are allowed to change their minds, or say that they put something poorly and it wasn't what they meant. But when they consistently put it that way for weeks or months, and then tell me I'm wrong to assume they meant what they kept saying, it's hard to assume they meant something else.

Half the newspaper today is centered around 9/11/01 retrospectives. Can I take that to mean that we won't get such retrospectives on Wednesday? I can't?

Royal Assassin is still entertaining me, but the said-bookisms are really starting to grate. I hadn't noticed them before. Maybe they weren't there before. Maybe it's hard to edit six-hundred-some-odd pages for said-bookisms and the ones in the middle slipped through the cracks. And there are some bits of phrasing that are annoying me more than they deserve -- people who were "born twins," for example, make me want to ask, "Did they become un-twins later?" And some of the characters are just making me want to take them by their shoulders and shake them. It's all consistent, though, so it's not the author I want to shake.

Janis Ian has some articles on her website, and I've been reading them off and on. Interesting lady. Some good stuff in there.

There was going to be something else, but I can't for the life of me think what it was. So. Hot beverage, shower, yoga, and another hot beverage. That's my schedule for the morning. I'm hoping that it will reduce the chill and the back pain. I guess we'll find out. Well, I will. I'll probably tell you, too. Lucky you.

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