Soft Squooshy White Betoothed Heart of Darkness

21 September 2001

Good morning to you, journal-reading folks. It's kind of early, and any minute now Mark will be stumbling out of the bedroom to get a hug and read some e-mail and maybe Slashdot before he gets in the shower. And I am exhausted, my dears. Extremely, extremely tired. And my screen keeps turning purple. I will not give in! I must fight the purple monitor and find the Leopard Queen, for I am the M'ris!

Right. So, some of you could guess from that, we watched "The Maxx" last night. Tim and Heather came down, and at the last minute, Susan decided to come with. She was anticipating being in an cranky stompy political mood after the President's address, and while I assured her that we were always up for political arguing, she wasn't sure she was up for ice cream and a movie. But she was not at all angered by the President's address, so down she came, and we all watched the Iszes and their soft squooshy white betoothed heart of darkness, and it was angsty good fun. They did, however, miss out on the pizza, which Timprov made with sweet peppers, garlic, mushrooms, and sausage (but we made two of them, so Heather wouldn't have had to endure sausage). It was strange: it was good, but it was very California sausage. Chicken and turkey sausage with garlic and artichoke hearts. I chopped up the sweet peppers and the garlic, but didn't do more than that because I was feeling dizzy all afternoon.

I'm somewhat better now, which is actually surprising, because it was already Late (for M'rissas) when Heather, Tim, and Susan left. I put Mark to bed and stayed up awhile talking about nightmares and trust with Timprov, and then when he was ready to go to sleep, I stayed up some more, and worked on two different novels. The scene on the alien diplomacy novel is a good, solid scene, and the scene on the Not The Moose Book is better than that. I was just -- it was all right there to work on, and I wanted to catch it while it still felt right.

I don't only write when "inspiration" or "the Muse" strikes me. But I try to always write when I'm feeling particularly inspired or tuned in to whatever scene has showed up in my head.

One of the things that talking to Timprov clarified for me was a scene that has a lot to do with trust. I get frustrated with some fantasy authors who have played too many role-playing games and think "Oh, here we are, a bunch of merry adventurers who have never met before! Let us sally forth together, to adventure and occasional comic relief!" is as much of a motivation as you need to get characters together. Bleah.

Sometimes people have to trust each other because that's the only choice they have. In fact, that happens a lot -- it's part of life. But that doesn't mean they have to be happy about it. That doesn't mean it has to be deep trust, and it doesn't mean they have automatic relationships that work. And the best thing in that situation is to maintain awareness of everything you don't know about the other person, and not make assumptions -- but my characters, like the people in my real life, like me, don't always do the best thing.

On Wednesday I said to David, "Sometimes I think I'm not really an optimist, I just have to live like one." He laughed, not really in an amused way. "Sometimes I think I'm not really a pessimist," he said, "I just have to live like one."


Sometimes it just hits me that I really, truly live in the Bay Area. That while it isn't home in some permanent sense, it's home for now. Sometimes it's while I'm telling stories -- I'll be in the middle of a story that happened on the train, and I'll think, whoa, I take the train a lot. Like some Eastern city girl. Because they don't have The Train in Midwestern cities. They barely have The Bus, and the likes of me would be unlikely to take it anywhere. Or else I'll be in the car, like I was on Wednesday, coming back from Target with Timprov, and the Bay Area traffic report will come on. They'll report traffic in Berkeley, off Ashby Avenue, and I'll know where they mean. Or we'll be driving somewhere, and gosh, there's the San Francisco skyline as we cross the bridge. I really live here. I think we use more of the Bay Area than many people who live here, go to more festivals, museum exhibits, etc. But living in Hayward, it's sometimes easy to forget that it's The Bay Area, because it's, well, Hayward.

I can never forget that it's California, though. Fall is trying to come here. Some of the trees are halfheartedly losing their leaves, and I'm a little more comfortable in socks than I was. That's about it. California is not very good at fall. The sky stays tabula rasa grey for longer in the mornings, but we don't have cloud motion or rain like in winter. It's not fair. Fall is supposed to be my favorite season. It always was back in the Midwest. Here, it never smells like apples and wood-burning stoves and big piles of leaves. It smells like juniper and the ocean and pavement, all the time.

Rica just sent me a Yahoo greeting card, and I'm trying to figure out why! So I'm going to solve the mystery and find out. Have a good morning. And a good afternoon after that. Etc. You know how it goes. I'm planning to work, and read Birds of America, and maybe go to the library, if I'm not feeling dizzy and so on.

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