Santa Lucia

13 December 2001

The other night, I made a shocking discovery. I am, evidently, Pure 90's. Because a commercial for this compilation CD, "Pure 90's!" came on, and I knew all the songs on it. All of them. And I liked most of them. Ack. So. Pure 90's. Who'd have guessed. (Especially who'd have guessed around '93 or so, when I didn't listen to popular radio at all?) I think it's pretty silly to have a compilation album two years after the decade ended -- perspective seems minimal. But I loved the Onion's old Department of Retro article (we're running out of past!), so I may not be the one to ask.

I'm trying to keep the Pure 90s Songs in my head, though, because they will drive away other things. Like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer," for example. Timprov and I were in Borders making impulse Christmas buys for each other and Mark and Michelle (the "each other" bit was decided on the spot), and they played that song at least five times in a row. We talked about it to the clerk when we got to the register. As we were talking, the song ended. And started up again. The poor clerk looked like he was going to start crying or beg us to take him home with us or something like that. Then he made as resolute a face as a teenage elf can make. "Something will have to be done," he said. For his sake, I hope so.

Also, I decided that I really do hate Creed. They sound like Gary Puckett and the Union Gap kidnapped Eddie Vedder. Not what the world needed.

Timprov and I got each other the Atlas of World History and Past Worlds: Atlas of Archaeology. When we got home, Timprov curled up in the armchair with the World History one and kept popping up with tidbits about post-Revolutionary religious patterns in the US and the spread of revolution in China.

And that's what Christmas presents are all about.

So yesterday I finished "MacArthur Station" and sent it out. A little part of my brain breathed a sigh of relief. I know that the goal is to sell stories. But there's a little part of my brain that feels that the number of stories I have in circulation should never go down. Up! Always up! More, more, more! it says. So I have obliged it with more. I read If I Told You Once (which stayed good throughout) and Maria Tatar's The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales. (Tatar's work was recommended by Columbine; it was good but rather, er, list-y for me.) I started Wrapt in Crystal, which Mary Anne recommended ages ago. And she's right, the cover and title are totally misleading, it's not a squooshy fantasy novel at all.

I also finished the draft of "Shylock's Pound," and now I have a dilemma. I know that it's a decent story now, and one I wouldn't be ashamed of having in print. I know that the anthology for which I wrote it has a deadline such that I need to send it out before I go if I'm going to send it out at all. And I know that I can make it a much better story with a huge revision that would make it at least 1500 words longer -- and that I'd do so if this antho rejected it as is and I was to send it elsewhere. So the question is whether I spend time on it now, when I'm rather busy, or whether I decide to send it out as is and make it much better later. One of the problems is that the revision is a complete overhaul of the beginning of the story, so it's not like I can send it out partly revised. It's all or nothing.

I'm leaning towards doing the revision now, but if I get good momentum on the Not The Moose Book or "Loki's Fishnets," I'm going to go with it and work on those instead. I guess the decision is that I'll work on the revision, but only as long as it's not to the exclusion of good work on other projects that are ultimately more important to me.

So it looks like some magazines are trying to get a reputation for rejecting people on their birthdays. First me and now Tim. One might think they enjoyed it.

It's Lucia Day! What does that mean? It means that I'm glad I'm not at Gustavus any more! In a normal Swedish or ScanAm setting, the children wake the family singing and bring breakfast to them -- saffron buns if you're going for authenticity without regard to cost. (I have a powerful craving for saffron buns. Heathah's mom makes really good ones.) But at Gustavus, it's a holiday celebrated by six clones singing Christmas carols through the dorms at 5:00 a.m. Guess which method I prefer? Although the clone Christmas carols...well, they sound like a Connie Willis plot device, is what. I have the Lucia song they sometimes sing around the edges of my brain, but I never knew the Swedish words very well, and I never learned an English version. So mostly I'm humming.

It's also Scott's birthday! (Not Michelle's Scott. The other one. "The Real" Scott.) I don't know if his present arrived in time; I hope it did. I specifically shipped it so that he wouldn't have to deal with happybirthdaymerryChristmas when I see him in Omaha. Separate holidays. He's 25, folks. 25. That's old.

And do you know what it means that Scott is 25? (That he was born in 1976, yes, yes, and can now rent most cars with impunity.) It means that this is the 11th of his birthdays for which we've been friends. Next year will be my halfway point, and then after that, I'll have been friends with Scott for more of my life than not. I don't have a lot of friends like that, and Scott and I didn't really take breaks in the middle. The others -- Jimmer and Mindy and Hilary -- I didn't talk to for years in the middle. But even right after Scott and I broke up, my sophomore year of college, we were still friends. I don't think we know how not to be.

Robert was talking awhile ago about how only children miss out on having people who have pretty much always known them, unless they have close cousins (like the Wileys for me). I think that's true, but I plan to live long enough that the first twelve years, the ones where I didn't know Scott, become statistically negligible. I think that's a good plan, don't you? I think I can get Scott on board for that one. Even though he's got sibs.

He's the only person in the world who can invariably make me laugh with the same one word ("happy"). The only one for whom "It's like spaghetti sauce" is an instantly recognized conversational simile. The only one, in short, who is Scott. It's a good thing I'm going to see him in Omaha. Because a year is just too damn long to go.

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