Inquiring Grandmas Want To Know

18 September 2001

The good thing about migraines is that everything feels sparkly and clear afterwards. The bad thing is that you have to get through the migraine to get there.

They're supposed to go away when I go to sleep, and the sparkly clarity is supposed to be there when I wake up. Not this time, no. So I made myself lie down in dark and quiet, and all is in the process of becoming well.

I must be feeling better, because I was singing Donovan in the shower just now. Or else I'm feeling much, much worse. I don't actually like Donovan...mostly...I just get in the mood to hear "Jennifer Juniper" from time to time, so then I sing it to myself, and then somehow my brain goes bouncing on to either "Sunshine Superman" or "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is...."

Right, then. I'm going to put on the Wallflowers, because it got to be good Reprogramming music towards the end there. And I'm going to be editing Reprogramming, and the last thing I want is to be humming, "I'm just mad about saffron...." The other place books are Tori Amos, and I think the Not The Moose Book is going to be a Counting Crows book. Maybe. Although I should get me some Finnish tango music for the first section...or maybe we can skip the authenticity there.

I got up to find another rejection in my inbox -- yay, normalcy! And why is it that Strange Horizons is the only magazine I submit to that will respond to e-subs to the address I specify rather than hitting reply? I mean, it's not a big deal, it just seems like...well. Anyway. I sent them another story, an old one. That'll show them!

What it'll show them is that they're running a fiction magazine. Which they already knew. Hmm. Maybe my object lessons should be more interesting in the future.

This last weekend my folks got to see my great-grandma Lingen. She's doing better than she could be -- living at home again -- but her health is not good, and she forgets more than she used to. She keeps a notebook wherein she writes what's going to happen and what's already happened. (This sounds somewhat familiar to me...but hers has stuff like, "Dan and Deb will come at noon," not "The US will regret running the Academy of the Americas.") She's having enough trouble to need the notebook, but is doing well enough that she remembers to consult it. She's having enough trouble that she joked that she could be surprised by the same Christmas present over and over again, but is doing well enough that she was joking about it.

And she kept asking if I was happy. Four different times, my mom said, she wanted to know, "Is Marissa happy?" She didn't want to know what I was working on or where I was; she had completely forgotten that I'd gotten married. But she was very, very concerned about whether I'm happy.

And you know what? I am. I'm worried, I'm nervous, there are lots of things in my world, ranging from migraines to impending war, that upset me. But I am. I'm happy. I have people I love who love me, and people I like who like me, I'm doing the work I love on a daily basis, and it's good. I'm happy. I get chocolate when I want it and my back scratched when it itches, and sometimes even fresh tomatoes from various sources. The kitchen is big enough to work in, the sofa is comfortable enough to sit on, the shower produces hot water, and me, I produce books.

I'm not content, of course -- there's a lot of stuff I want to do yet, a lot of stuff in the world that needs fixing and a lot of stuff in the world that just isn't there yet. And more, I want kids, a dog, a house and yard, some seasons around me, Dan's Chocolates, publishers begging for my work...but it's not time for that stuff yet. (Well, maybe except for the Dan's Chocolates. It's always time for those.)

Earlier this month, I was talking to David about feeling impatient, about how I wished some editors would get on with it and let me get on with it, too. And he said, "You're 23, you've got time." Time? I've got so much to do. I don't mean this week. I mean this life. It's a good thing I'm 23, because I need that time. I've talked to a lot of people who didn't know what they were doing when they were 23. Me, I know what I'm up to, it's a matter of getting it done and enjoying it along the way. Because that sense of urgency doesn't make me any less happy.

So, thanks for the hordes of you who wrote in with reams of opinions on whether I should send the book chapters out before the later edits are finished. Er. Not precisely hordes. Nor reams, either, really. So, thanks, Zed, for your concise and cogent opinion. (The rest of you: Hmph!) I'm not seeing any reason why I shouldn't do so, so I'll be celebrating getting it in the mail soon. So all-you-all in the Bay Area, help me think of what I should do to celebrate. Start thinking about it now, so that when I get the chapters ready to go, you're not left sitting around going, "I dunno...." I rely upon you. At least upon some of you.

Ah well. One last piece of advice before I curl up on the couch with a fresh ink cartridge in my pen: if you are fortunate enough to have a Mark, and he tells you about books in your possession that he dislikes, do not read two of them at once. Bad idea. Sometimes he's really right. Anyone in the Bay Area (or Minneapolis, I suppose -- we're going there soon if they'll let us) want a copy of Michael Bishop's A Little Knowledge? Just e-mail me....

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