Boy Next Door

29 September 2001

Sometimes I think I just shouldn't read the newspaper. On Thursday the Merc had a headline: "Terrorism lends meaning to Yom Kippur." Excuse me? Yom Kippur doesn't need to be lent meaning. It has its own already. And I know if someone had written, "Easter more meaningful with war" or something like that in a similar situation, I'd be deeply offended. I sigh. So then. This morning there's an article about Halloween: how, if it's handled properly, Halloween can give your kids a chance to work through the fear left over from the crashes of 9/11.

What? Hey, how about this: if it's handled properly, Halloween can give your kids a chance to have a good time. I believe that a good parent will be open and honest with their kids about current events and be ready to talk when the kids need to -- but that doesn't include psychobabbling their Halloween into oblivion! Not everything is about international politics. Not everything is about terrorism. And not everything has to be therapeutic. Sheesh.

So. Everyone around here is at least a little yucky-feeling, but I'm not doing too badly. Mark seems to have it the worst, or maybe it's just the cold medication he's taking. Mark and cold medication combine in interesting ways. He's been wandering around with huge pupils for the last couple of days, and he's not quite in synch with the rest of the world. I was reading a Scientific American article about saving New Orleans from the encroaching ocean, and they had a bullet-point list of why we should do so. The first one had something to do with New Orleans being the source of "a unique part of America's national psyche." "Yeah," said Mark pensively, "we must protect our breast-baring heritage."

I won't even tell you what horrible puns have followed from that. I will tell you that most of them are not my fault.

I figured that the capper to this week, in yesterday's mail, would be a letter from Diana at Delacorte saying, no, no, we don't want Fortress after all, go away now. Instead, I got the contracts from Analog for "Irena's Roses." Woohoo! After Rick accepted it for Galaxy and then couldn't follow through because Galaxy wasn't paying him, much less authors, I was a little nervous about this story. I trust Stan Schmidt as an editor, but I also trust Rick -- some things are beyond an editor's control. So having the contracts in my hands and being able to stick them in this morning's mail makes me very happy.

I also got "Half Cover Price" out in time for the Dreamhaven antho deadline, which is good. Tim and I have been saying to each other "I know I should try to write for more anthologies..." ever since we met. This time I really mean it, off it goes. Not my most brilliant story ever, but that doesn't mean no one else will like it. We shall see. That's all we ever can do. Strange and inscrutable are the ways of editors. And of my main character in this story, oddly enough.

Anyway, we're aiming at relaxing around here this weekend, getting better to get on the plane on Wednesday. Of course, my version of relaxing is going to include work on Reprogramming and probably the Not The Moose Book and maybe "Letters to the Ancient Living" if I can get my head wrapped around it further. But that's okay. I'm taking some of that stuff on the plane and intend to get work done in Minnesota. It will be fall there. For real.

I feel like Minnesota is the boy next door to my grandparents' house, you know? All my childhood, it was just there, it was just how things were. And then I went away to college, and bam! fell in love. With Minnesota. After four years, I was not going to be okay with living outside the upper Midwest again. I understood, finally, why my parents could love Omaha and choose to live in Omaha -- and still refer to it as life in exile, not just when the Twins were playing but all the time. Some aspects of it drive me nuts and probably always will. But I can say the same thing for people I love, and I still love them. In this case, it's the weather, the Minnesota Nice, the occasional smugness, the mosquitoes. But hot coffee tastes better in a Minnesota winter. There's no getting around it. Warm sweaters feel snugglier. Snug houses offer more comfort.

You can gloat now, Mom. I get it.

Well. Anyway. I'm going to call my folks and Aunt Ellen and Uncle Phil and see what I can get done around here before lunch. Somehow I folded a mountain of laundry yesterday and still have laundry to fold today. And sometimes people claim they don't e-mail me because nothing interesting happens in their lives....

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