In Which Our Heroine Attempts Not To Write What She Doesn't Mean

8 September 2003

Finished "Silent Teraphim" yesterday in plenty of time to go up to Marin. Yay. It ended up a weird length: 6500 words. I checked my list, and I do have two stories at 6000 words each, "Making It Home" and the unpublished "A Six-Letter Word for Mom." So I don't know why 6500 feels so weird to me. There are short story markets that won't take it, but it's not a novelette -- that might be part of the strangeness. Dunno. Anyway, I may go back and poke at it later, but right now it does what I wanted it to do and doesn't do what I didn't want it to do. I think. I hope.

I picked up work on another one like that, my male Beauty and the Beast story, last night: I have to try to get it to do what I want it to, but also not what I don't want it to. I decided that the Beast is female. I'm not entirely sure where I'm taking it from there, but I'm starting a list of Bad Gender War Messages I don't want to be sending with this story.

And speaking of Bad Gender War Messages, I finished reading Margaret Wertheim's Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars. What a stupid book. The author gathers up the things she thinks are wrong with physics and decides that they all have to do with each other. She can't even keep track of her own arguments. She makes a big fuss about how there are more women mathematicians, proportionately and in absolute terms, than women physicists, and how it's been like that for a long time. Then on she goes to the argument that women are more numerous in the life sciences than in physics because the life sciences are more "grounded" and "material." about this math thing? Not grounded. Not material. Doesn't bother to consult with any kind of material reality a good three-quarters of the time. And women do it in much greater numbers than they do physics. She just didn't make any sense, and also I must say I get very, very nervous whenever people talk about directing science research to be more socially relevant and being in more social control of science research.

Ah well; it's over now, and I read the most recent issue of Analog as well, to cleanse my mental palate, and now I've just started the first volume of Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies, borrowed from David.

We spent much of the day in Marin, or going to and from there. Stan and Judy took us on the walk from Muir Beach to Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center, which was really nice. We all enjoyed the gardens there, I think. Mark took a bunch of pictures. We haven't gotten them off the camera yet. In a bit. We also got to eat at Fukusuke in Sausalito one more time, and introduced Stan and Judy to their gyoza, and a culinarily happy time was had by all. An otherwise happy time, too.

Ackack! Natalie gave her entry the title "The best thing about New York City is you and me," and now I'm singing that song, halfway the right They Might Be Giants version and halfway my own Minneapolis version. "And ev'rything looks beautiful when you're young and hapless...."

I really do like that song, though.

The new week's list has plenty of things on it that don't require a lot of emotional investment of me. Which is good: I still have to do a few mortgage-related things, mostly checking up on people who have various records, making sure they've done what they're supposed to be doing in terms of sending them out. And that makes me a bit...twitchy. In need of deep breaths. I don't have a lot in the way of writing goals on the list, but I've been working on things that aren't on the list, and we'll see where I can take them, if anywhere. The balance of enough and not too much is a hard one. I've been leaning towards not putting too much on the list. This only works if I don't spend a lot of time doing non-list work and then have to scramble to get done the stuff I actually intended to do.

On the other hand, if I really want to write a short story, and I'm not neglecting time-sensitive mortgage things, what harm?

My folks know a guy who made a fair chunk of money by buying homes at the top of his price range, waiting for the market to go up, and then selling them, only to buy another home at the new top of his price range, etc. I think he is insane. Of course, he might think the same of someone with as many short stories in circulation as I have, ripe for rejection. And he might be right. We all have areas of our life in which we're willing to put things on the line and areas in which we just won't. One of my friends is in the Foreign Service, and she finds out in a couple of months what country she and her husband (and, by then, new baby) will be living in next. I was a bit edgy not knowing which neighborhood I would be living in next. The life of the Foreign Service is not cut out for everyone. But Jen has bosses, who pay her regularly; she has deadlines, and she has a sense of how much things will conform to those deadlines. She doesn't get questions like, "Hey, have you heard from that editor of yours?" or "Weren't you supposed to have another immigration textbook? When is that coming out?" She doesn't have to check Amazon to get information on her own book, or explain that she really doesn't know and probably won't know for awhile. So...the uncertainty is different. Different tolerances. I like mine. It sounds like she likes hers. So...good, then. I guess.

So. I did the verification call on the letter of credit, which should go out today, and I think that's the only mortgage thing that's on my plate right now. Other than 1) worry and 2) try not to worry. So I can do other things that are also important. Basic personal maintenance, household tasks, work. Work is good, right? Work and reading. And maybe the packing of another book box. Couldn't hurt....

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