New Day Yesterday

8 November 2002

It's raining where Blunt is, and it's raining here, too. It's actually coming down pretty good out there. What we'd call a gullywasher, back home. Raining pitchforks and hammerhandles. Well, not quite pitchforks and hammerhandles, but cats and dogs, at least. We have little green awnings above most of our windows, and the drumming on them is very pleasant. Soothing-like.

At home, we have storms in every season, rains and snows and sleets, and it takes care of the debris gradually. Some of the branches get knocked down at one time and some at another, and all of that. Here, this is the first big storm since March or so, and all of the accumulated crud is getting knocked around. There were delays on BART last night due to debris on the tracks, and there were power outages all over the area, though thankfully not here. (Mark didn't get home until late, and while I could have and would have sat and entertained myself by candlelight, it would not have been my first choice.)

I washed this nightgown at Cal and Bobbie's, and it still smells like their detergent. It smells like I slept in their sheets, not mine, or like I got a hug from one of them a few minutes ago. Add that to the lotion that I put on my face, which I only use when I'm in the Midwest (because it's not that dry here) and which smells like my mom (because she's the one who gave it to me), and it smells like my mom and I just rubbed cheeks. Sometimes in an olfactory sense I've got a veritable cloud of people around me, mentally. Every movement a parade.

There's a leak above the kitchen sink. It's in the window well. I think it's leaking down the window, mostly, because the glass I put there to catch it seems to be doing very little. I'll call the maintenance people when I get back from David's. I love the rain. The season is worth a little leak. I kept telling people in Minnesota that there are two days here -- there's one of the same day from April or May to November, and then we have a different day from November to April or May, repeat. Some of them laughed, but the weather here does get remarkably monotonous. ("It's beautiful!" said Mary Kay At The Con defensively. "It is. It's beautiful in the same way every day," I said. Nearly every day, at least.)

Scott and I had a biiiiiiig long discussion about the meaning of a Barenaked Ladies song yesterday, and he said he thought he'd read that the BNL guys supported his interpretation. But my problem was that I didn't think that the lyrics supported his interpretation, which reminded me of a great revelation I evidently have to keep having: don't trust the writer. You just can't. Writers really don't have a clue. Sometimes we manage to say interesting things about our own work, but we miss stuff half the time. And all the fortuitous stuff that works on our side, that makes us sit up and go, "Hey, I didn't know that I was doing that, that's awesome!"? It can also bite us in the butt like a stoner in biology class. (If anyone but Scott gets that metaphor, I will be stunned. And amused.) Because if the work -- the book, the song, the poem whatever -- supports a given reading and doesn't give indicators to the contrary, that reading is valid, regardless of whether the author intended it or not. Authorial intent? Who cares? I mean, if you're buddies with the author, sure, or if you're trying to critique a piece to get it closer to what the author intended, great, but once the book is out there, forget it. Nobody cares what you meant. They care what you said.

Anyway. I've been working longhand some more -- somehow I'm not willing to give it up quite yet. It was working on the trip, and if it stops working, well, here's the computer, right here. It adds an extra step to the process, writing and then typing, but I can edit some in the typing step. It just feels right. I don't really care why.

I finished The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm yesterday, and I found the ending less satisfying than the rest of the book, but it was still pretty okay. I also read a book of interviews with Chinese immigrant teens. Mark is picking up some stuff from the Stanford library for me for my book projects. My big decision is whether the December Analog will be enough for me to read on the train or whether I need to bring something bigger.

The rain is coming down at a nearly 45 degree slant. If I didn't really want to see David and the Jasmine kitty, I'd be locking myself up here with a cup of cocoa and a book and some jazz on the CD player. As it is, I may do that this afternoon, if it's still raining. I have a cover letter to write before I get ready to go, and it wouldn't hurt if I took care of a few more things around here. Or wrote a bit of the Not The Moose. Or something. The list remains long, and it will continue so. It's just that when Mark leaves for work more than an hour earlier than he usually does, I feel like I'm falling behind my schedule, when really I'm not.

So. Have a good Friday and stuff.

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