2001: A Moose Odyssey

17 November 2001

I got the coolest rejection letter last night. No, really, it was quite amusing. I had sent a story to a children's magazine I hadn't sent to before, figuring that if the editor didn't like the story, I'd revise it for the adult markets (mostly to be longer in some key ways) and all would be well. So the rejection said, "I'd like to see you do This, This, and This with it." "This, This, and This" were a neat encapsulation of my plans to revise it for the adult markets. So while I'd rather have had an acceptance, an affirmation that the editor's and my taste are pretty congruent is also cool.

(I also learned that Strange Horizons is not the only magazine competent enough to reply to e-subs at the requested address, not the one you sent from. It's okay; SH can still have other distinctions.)

That was my second e-rejection of yesterday. I have no idea what might have come in the mail because -- oddly enough -- we didn't get the mail yesterday. By the time I realized our lapse, Timprov was in bed, I was in my jammies, and Mark was not in any mood to go traipsing around the apartment complex. So I figured that anyone who wanted to reject my stories could do it this morning, once I have clothes on. Mark would have gone and gotten me the mail had I insisted. I just figured that would be a tiny bit anal-retentive, yes with the hyphen, since I wasn't going to do anything about the mail until morning, anyway.

Mark's sister, Sarah, is coming to visit this week, and so I wrote and asked her if she liked mint brownies. She said she liked chocolate and mint but had never once liked them together. I relayed this information to her brother, who looked alarmed. "She ought to like them," he said. "They're good." For a minute I was going to reassure him that I wasn't insulted that Sarah didn't think she'd like my brownies. Then I saw the real problem. "So I thought," I continued, "that I'd make the mint brownies tomorrow and then maybe some bomber bars later in the week for Sarah. Assuming she likes bombers." Mark, realizing that he was not about to be deprived of his mint brownies, breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, we could have bombers, too."

My uncle Phil has explained to me that "forever" is officially defined as either "the time between the disappearance of the last bomber bar and the baking of a new pan" or "the time between clicking on a link and getting the page to download." Wise man, Uncle Phil.

So I've been reading Tomato Nation. Oh, good Lord. This woman is funny. Clever and funny and very often right. Read this woman. She is good. Her bra-shopping rant is a thing of beauty to behold. Also she's funny about baseball. And whatever else. Really. Go read her.

I also have been reading Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends. If someone had said to me, "So, are you interested in a vampire novel?", um, that would have been a no. I figured if the Kim Newman Tim lent me left me lukewarm, then less highly recommended vampire novels would not be worth bothering with. But. Christopher Moore had come highly recommended, so when I saw Bloodsucking Fiends used, the price was right.

And it's good! I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm glad he's not writing lots of other vampire novels, because I feel like this is His Vampire Novel. But for that, it's fun and worth reading. And there are other categories I would have said didn't interest me, too -- cop novels, for example, with or without lesbian sex, and yet The Blue Place was fabulous. (They otherwise don't have much in common.)

One of my favorite lines from it is about San Francisco, and it's purely right. "No matter where he went in the City, there was an odoriferous mix of food and vehicles, like the alchemic concoctions of some mad gourmet mechanic: Kung Pao Saab Turbo, Buick Skylark Carbonara, Sweet-and-Sour Metro Bus, Honda Bolognese with Burning Clutch Sauce."

Other than that, I'm working, working. I was saying to Timprov earlier in the week that I don't like the idea of a masterpiece, I don't like one thing that is Your Best Work. I want to do a variety of things that are good in different ways, so that it's hard to pick out one masterpiece. Timprov said, "Maybe you should think of it more traditionally."

Traditionally, as I'm sure most of you know, the master piece was the piece the journeyman did to demonstrate that he'd acquired the skills of a master. I think I'm doing that just now, with the Not The Moose Book. There was nothing wrong with journeymen's work -- in fact, without it the shops would all have closed down. It was solid stuff, stuff you could be proud of. But a master piece was supposed to have more range, more depth, more...well, just more.

I don't mean to denigrate my previous books. I like them all. I think they're good books, publishable books. Just ask me, I'll tell you. (Come on, you have to believe in your books, if you're going to try to sell them. You get enough of other people who don't believe in them.) But, as I've said before and will say again, this is better. Look. It has a zany road trip through Finland. How many books have a zany road trip through Finland with a programmer-entrepreneur who flies airplanes (earlier in the book) and is a skald on the side? Not many, right? (I just love that character. She's so cool.)

Oh, I understand now sort of why some people like Buffy and Dark Angel. Other people have other reasons, I'm sure, so if I'm not describing you, it's okay, this is not a universal theory. I think that some people like those shows because they don't have my grandma. My grandma, you see, kicks butt. Some people seem to watch those shows because there are Women Kicking Butt. (As I said, some people have other reasons.) But I always think, heck my Grandma could do that, and more efficiently, too. My Onie could do that, and she's 89 and 5-foot-mumble. And the bad guys wouldn't be writhing with stakes through their hearts at the end, they'd be meekly helping Grandma set up chairs for her church social or cleaning out the basement for her. Women Kicking Butt? Not enough to carry a show for me.

(I recognize that there are other facets to these shows that might be enough to carry them from me. Please, no lengthy defenses of Buffy or Dark Angel -- or, while we're at it, E.R. or The West Wing. I may decide that I don't have "enough" good TV programs in my life, and then I may try watching these shows. Right now, I just don't know enough about them. Most of my friends who watch them don't try to justify an entire TV show in a one-point argument; most of my friends who watch them know that they can watch whatever they please without justifying it to me. I have, however, run into the subset of people who think that Women Kick Butt is a reason for other women to Support The Show. Nope. Sorry. That's just life.)

Mark is going in to Stanford to work some more today, and Timprov has expressed his intent to write lots of HTML. So, to the shock of all and sundry, I'm going to be doing some working myself. I hope you had a soft surface upon which to faint.

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