20 October 2002
So! I sold another story yesterday. This Way Up is buying "Making It Home." (I got my choice of a check in pounds sterling -- no, excuse me, a cheque -- or British postage. I had to think about it good and hard, because I've been thinking about sending to a select few British publications that don't have U.S. addresses or e-subs, and the last post orifice I used didn't have IRCs. But it would probably take me a good while to use up that much British postage, so we're going to attempt the cheque.)
"Making It Home" is one of my oldest stories that I'd still show to anyone. I wrote the rough draft of it in the spring of '99, when Timprov and I were still looking for a good place to write on campus because we still lived on campus. I wrote scenes of this story behind the theatre building, in the theatre itself, in the back stairwell of Olin (on the little ledge where Dr. Henry wanted to put a plaque reading "Marissa's Corner"), on the couch on the third floor of Confer-or-was-it-Vickner (they're joined in the middle, and the couch is or was somewhere in the middle, too), and sprawled on the floor of my dorm room in the basement of Wahlly World. It's about a return from Mars, about finding somewhere that you can consider home, somewhere you can blossom and create and love the people around you, and then having to leave that place, possibly forever.
Yeah, my subconscious is real subtle, I know.
So anyway, I thought that the aftermath of great deeds was interesting in itself, but most of the editors I heard back from did not. The only sensible suggestion I got was to make it into a novel, and I don't want to, I have enough novel ideas without this one. Several other people said, "Why don't you show them on Mars more?" Because, you know, that's what this decade needs more of: stories about people landing on Mars for the first time or colonizing it for the first time. Stories about Mars itself. Sigh.
If I was to write this story again tomorrow, it would be significantly different, and in some ways probably better. I've learned some things about stories since '99. But I've moved on since then, and it's a nice little story. I don't need to obsess about rewriting it.
Scott and I had a conversation about this awhile ago, about whether I could just let things be once I have declared them finished. And I can, because while each piece could be endlessly tweaked, at a certain point you are not making improvements. And at another point, any improvements you make take substantially away from something more important you could be doing. (Editor-requested changes are something else entirely.)
So. Two sales this week. Yay! I didn't sell "Natural Limitations" until Tuesday, so I still have a few more days to try for a hat trick. But either way, two sales, I'm happy.
I put "Catfish Rising" on the CD player just a minute ago, because I can't get "Tall, Thin Girl" out of my head. And then the opening bars of "This Is Not Love" reminded me: oh yeah, I like this stuff a lot. I know that Ian Anderson's voice is not the nicest thing in the world, but it doesn't have to be, for me. I will forgive a lot of someone who writes that way, or flutes that way, much less both. (Although I now know, somewhat later, that I will be singing "Thinking 'Round Corners" all day.)
Mark and I ran an heroic number of errands yesterday. We got what I thought was going to be everything done. I plunged into a pit of yuckiness (metaphorically speaking) at the Trader Joe's cash register, so Mark finished the last of the heroism himself at the grocery store/pharmacy. But that was the entire list, leaving me with nowhere I had to go before the airport. (Not counting today's writing group meeting.) Hah. Well, close. I finished the ASF grant application, which required 15 collated copies of everything, application form, budget form, project statement, writing sample (19 pages). Only one copy of the application fee check required. The collated copies, by the way, could not be properly collated by printing out the file they gave you. That was the wrong order. So I finished all of that stupid stuff, checking the boxes on all the copies, signing and dating them, switching around the pages that were out of order. It won't fit in our largest envelopes. Grrrrrrr. So now I have to go to the post office on Monday. Not a huge deal, but an annoyance, certainly.
I read a bunch of Sandman yesterday. I'm up to Brief Lives. Still with the eye gouging. Sheesh.
Plans for today: I'm going to get cleaned up and put on some clothes I won't wear for World Fantasy, then head out to church with Mark. Home. Lunch. Train. Writers' group meeting. Two of the people who said they'd have stories did not, in fact, have stories. One of them said real life intervened. This is why I feel obligated to have stories all the time: because I don't have a day job, and if I had known, I could have finished up a story. But last time we talked about how it is not my personal responsibility to make sure there's sufficient critiquing material, and everyone agreed that it was not, so...I didn't this time. I've had a few other things to do. Still, I'm much better at making excuses for other people than for myself, so I have to keep reminding myself that I don't require any excuses in this case.
I dreamed that my aunt Kathy had gotten into avant garde photography and wanted to take surreal art nudes of me with pork chops. She kept questioning my commitment to art because I didn't want to actually fry the pork chops in the pictures (or out of them, as long as I was still naked) and didn't see what the piano bench should be doing on the counter.
For those of you who don't know Kath, she could not utter the sentence, "I'm not sure you're really committed to Art" -- or any other sentence involving Art as a capitalized quantity, unless it was, like, Art Dubcek, some old friend of her parents -- with a straight face.
If I was seriously into dream interpretation, I might say that my subconscious was telling me that Art has to be a little painful and a little ridiculous. Instead, I'm still giggling at myself: Kathy! And the pork chops!
The World Fantasy Con programming finally appeared online, so I went through and figured out which panels and readings interest me, and Timprov did the same. Now, she said in a voice totally devoid of nagging, it'll be Mark's turn, and then we can figure out what the plans are for that weekend. I wish the theme had been different, because I have very little interest in "Of Gods and Monsters" as a theme. It seems to be rather skewed to the horror end of the genre, and while I admit that the line between "dark fantasy" and "horror" is rather thin, I'd prefer that most of the explicitly horror stuff got handled at World Horror Con. But we'll still have a good time, I'm sure.
Much to do, little time. More tomorrow.
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