Mrs. Sisyphus

7 November 2001

Bud Selig is a bad, bad man.

I know many of you don't care about baseball. But I won't talk about it long, so stay with me a minute. They've decided to contract two teams -- and they aren't saying which two. That's Just Not Right. Not Okay. Mean, mean, mean. So. We keep waiting. Sigh.

Right, no more baseball. Well, on a perkier note, it's Camus' birthday. Gosh, I do feel much more cheerful now. Camus is such a party guy. We had to read The Myth of Sisyphus in Academic Decathlon in high school. Some people have no problem with this title and can repeat it as many times as necessary, trippingly on the tongue. But most of those people were not on my AcaDec team. Poor Kent couldn't even say Kierkegaard, much less Myth of Sisyphus. Called him "Kindergarten," and he wasn't trying to be funny. (For those of you unfamiliar with the AcaDec system, you need three A students, three B students, and three C students, all of whom are willing to hang out for several hours a week talking about books they've read and art they're looking at and science they've studied and so on. Not easy. Hence Kent.)

So. Missus Sisyphus was how it worked for most of that year. And I think of Mrs. Sisyphus and Kent and AcaDec whenever I think of Camus.

Sometimes I think other people's minds would be safer places to live, where Camus doesn't associate with "Dead Poets' Society" and the card games Bullshit and Egyptian Rat Screw. Then I talk to actual other people, and I think perhaps not.

The reason I have all these authors' birthdays at my fingertips, by the way, is that my aunt Mary (my godmother) makes calendars for Christmas presents every year. She picks a theme and makes bad puns and art for it, and then she puts birthdays on. There have been dinosaur artist years. One year was "A Cold-Blooded Musical." This year is The Wordy Birdy, so we have bird-and-author puns and authors' birthdays. There you have it.

Michelle wants you all to know that it was Theodor Adorno who thought it was a terrible idea to write poetry after the Holocaust. But she was really sleepy when she wrote that e-mail, so if I have to correct it again, I will.

In my search for journals that update (curse you, John Sullivan, for your perceptive words and deceptive frequency in your honeymoon posts! You hooked me and now you don't post!), I've been reading some of the Not-A-Webring folks, including Vera Nazarian. And today she was talking about only writing the fiction you want to write. And I sat here thinking, "Uh huh, yeah, that's what's the problem?" Am I just lucky here? (If the answer is yes, that's fine. I've been Just Lucky before.) Because if I'm looking at an anthology listing, here's what happens. Either I look at the topic and think, "Yeah, whatever" and move on, or I can come up with a story idea. But if I can come up with a story idea, I want to write it. My choices in my fiction are among stories I really want to write, not between stories I want to write and stories I think I should write. Am I alone in this? Am I just lucky? I mean, I really, really, really want to write the Not The Moose Book. And so I'm writing it -- because my other novel ideas only have about two really's in front of them.

Yesterday I finished a very silly Rumplestiltskin story. At the end, Rumplestiltskin and Asta (the woman in question) ran off to Finland together on flying goats. I wrote this story purely for the fun of it. Timprov thinks it's funny and cool. I hope editors agree with him. But I wrote the story because, well, it was what I wanted to write. It was there, I wanted to write it, so I did. And I don't really understand writing fiction for any other reason. It doesn't come with contracts in advance, for the most part, and why would you sign a contract for fiction you didn't want to write? Am I just zany here? Help me out. Seriously, I mean it. I know there are people with opinions out there.

Ah well. Last night we were hanging around talking after Mark (finally) got home. And the TV had something with a car on it and the people were misbehaving, so I said, "You know what happens if I have to stop this car!" They didn't. I guess most people don't. My mom's best friend when she was in junior high had three older brothers. So when the family went and did things, Cheri was allowed to ask a friend to come along, and it was often Mom. And the boys would get to misbehaving in the back of the van. (This is how Mom tells it. I'm sure she and Cheri were never involved.) And their father would get more and more frustrated, until finally he'd holler, "You know what happens if I have to stop this car!" And the boys would shout, in unison, "We all get ice cream!"

So we were riding along on one of our very first Girl Scout outings. We were six-year-old Brownies. And we got to giggling and poking each other in the back seat and then things escalated a little bit, and then my mother growled, "You know what happens if I have to stop this car!" Silence. Fear. They didn't know. They were six, and Mom had never been The Stern Leader before. I knew my cue. I shrieked gleefully, "We all get ice cream!"

Well, really, what other good reason to stop the car is there?

We did settle down in the back seat, though. Odd tricks of kid management. It was right up there with the Whine Break in Mother's Brilliant Child Herding techniques -- this is definitely stuff to remember down the line.

Ah well. I did make it to the bookstore yesterday and got a nice assortment of books. Added to the ones David brought for me to borrow, I can be a happy homebody for awhile yet. And then That Darn Mary Anne mentioned an intriguing and free e-book on Fictionwise, so I went and ordered it. Intriguing and free, we like. And I have short stories to read for the crit group on Sunday. Oh, and A Year in Lapland arrived from Amazon yesterday, woohoo! So I'll have a lot of reading to do. Darn.

Otherwise on the schedule, working on the Not The Moose Book, writing queries on stories that have been out way too long, working on the golem story, and making double mushroom chili and cornbread. Sounds like a good day to me. If I feel really adventurous, I might try to drive myself to the post office and the bank. We'll see how crazy I feel.

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