Archive for May, 2005

short stories, and hell

I read “Time Gypsy” and “A Flock of Lawn Flamingos” today – really fun. And then I don’t know what came over me but last night in order to calm down and sleep I started what I thought would be an innocuously dull Pollyanna book I got for free in the library free box. This morning I finished it out of some masochistic impulse because it wasn’t just soothingly awful – it was stomach-churningly awful and all about Pollyanna teaching everyone that women need babies and moms shouldn’t work or go to school or do anything other than be glad about having babies. Jesus Barfarama Stepford Popsicle Hemorrhoids, Batman! why did I keep reading it? Now I shall turn to something more cheering.

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Speaking of motherhood – I had a nice afternoon with Moomin despite the cramps. We filled up the plastic pool. When he jumped in, slipped, and fell on his ass, I have to say… he coldly screamed at the universe, “This is NOT GOOD! This is NOT RIGHT!” Someone teach that kid how to a) use contractions b) swear. For fuck’s sake! I didn’t do it! But then we had a lovely time lying on the blanket feeding the birds and reading “What’s Michael” cat comics. He rode his bike, I weeded the garden. We ate cookies and had juice.

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Chula nicely compliments me by saying that I put the sin in Wisconsin. Well, she will see next year that it is plenty full of its very own lovely sin already!

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the cramps, and I don’t mean punk

Oh my god the cramps. I’ve been bleeding a little on and off for days and days, and now suddenly wham, I can barely sit down and blood pours out of me. It even hurts to walk, like it’s jarring my cervix horribly. It’s mega-advil time! Could the super-heavy IUD-induced bleeding be why I am craving red meat all the time? I guess I should take iron pills or eat a lot of liver or something. I forgot to say about the plane ride – I had to keep ramming in the super-megalodon-googleplexia-hoover-dam-tampax every 45 minutes. You’d think that bleeding heavier would mean it would be over more quickly, wouldn’t you? At this rate my whole period should be over in 2 days. GRRRRR.

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bird, confused

There’s a tiny grey bird on the potato-vine bush outside my window and for the last 10 minutes it’s been flitting from branch to branch. It flits, then swivels its head two or three times to look all around at the bush’s branches, then flits again. Is it looking for a nest? What the hell is it doing? Could it be a very young bird practicing its flying? Why do I keep watching it? Which of us is more confused?

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from the airport

It occurred to me slightly too late in the airport last night that an airport is not a good place to lie on the floor with purple hair, reading an oversized edition of “Hothead Paisan, Homocidal Lesbian Terrorist.” Fortunately no one noticed.

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creaky but calmed and inspired

I did manage to push right up against the boundaries of my physical endurance this weekend. I’m aching all over – from lack of sleep, probably, and I suspect the plane ride makes all my joints-that-ache-in-the-cold ache more. So my finger joints, toes, and left knee feel sore. Years from now that will be where the arthritis hits. I’m taking it easy today. Unpacking… I’ll get the oil changed in my truck… Maybe I’ll water the garden in the sun (though because my feet and hands are so sore I don’t want to get them wet.)

I’m left, post-WisCon, with lots of inspiration and the resolve to write lots of cool stuff.

On the side of regrets: I wish I’d pushed to keep my translation reading in the programming, because I’d like it out there, and I know people would like it and think it’s rad. I felt a deeper realization of just how much cool stuff I’ve been doing that is not out in the world and no one knows about it – because I don’t do anything with it. I’m not sure what I’m waiting for. Little things are published here and there, but why not more? Because I haven’t really tried. So, like, 1% of what I do is visible. That’s just… I will endeavor to correct that.

The other result of WisCon is that I feel firmed up in my thinking that getting a PhD is not the thing for me. I’m already doing good work; I need to finish it and send it out. The wonderful feeling of WisCon is not having to explain yourself and your entire worldview in baby-talk. And what I think academia would require of me is so much of that, that I’d be frustrated. I admire, for example, Professor Steed’s book on Utopias, but it’s so simplified, well, simple is not the word, but it’s like the foundations have to be so carefully constructed to fit the specifications of the Code, that the wonderful buildilng never quite gets built. And I want to build wonderful buildings, so byzantine and complex – not the foundations. I’m not suited. And the “discipline” academia is offering (through Prof. Steed and Prof. F. ) would train me to pour concrete foundations onto the bedrock. When I’d rather be perching elaborate gargoyles on my flying buttresses made of mist. They want to convince me I need both, but I’m unconvinced. I want to go way further than the academic papers I heard and (just as in translator-world) when I look at the people I admire most, they are intellectual-critic-novelists on the fringes of academia or completely outside of it (yet not unfamiliar with it). (T.D., G.J., U.L, J.R.) That’s where I want to be. (And frankly – without being arrogant I hope – that is where I belong, with the wide strange range of my inner library, of what I’ve read and have to draw upon.)

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heard with excitement

One of the books I heard about but didn’t find to buy – Andrea Hairston’s Mindscape. She was incredibly sparkly and interesting and the book, from her description, sounded like just my sort of Thing. Dense, identity-boundary-weird, and smart as hell. I wish I’d gotten to talk with her more!

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Oh. Duh. I didn’t find it because it’s NOT OUT YET.

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And then, the juicy bits in which I reveal all that I am thinking no matter how foolish

I wandered around madly trying to find the Web panel which was scheduled somewhere else and the sign for it was somewhere ELSE but instead something else. I nearly gave up on it but then it turned out to be in one of the small conference rooms and I’m glad I went as it turned out that whump was on the panel. And H.W. who … I was only half paying attention I have to confess as I was still messing with that wiki. (Oh. I forgot to mention that. I’ll save it for its own post as it would be an enormous complicated digression and I’d like to get to the juicy part of the story.) … H.W. who made my ears perk up by some passing reference to alt.poly. Actually when I had first come into the room while someone was being a little bit tedious I had a funny moment where our eyes met and I felt we were having a mutual silent laughter over the silliness of whatever it was. This could have been just my imagination. Anyway then we were talking afterwards about having kids and she put out there that it was complex with poly and then boasted on her girlfriend and boyfriend and how awesome they were. (And in between I realized she was the sort of marvellous woman who talks boastfully of how she squirts breast milk across the room to discipline her cats, like a handy squirt gun.) “Oh, so who’s your boyfriend and girlfriend?” “B. and N.” “OMG not the incredibly fucking hot (*attempt at expressive hand gesture meant to convey sexy body and like, presence of giant brain*) woman I was in the hot tub with who just… *second speechless hand gesture meant to convey intellectual and physical lust*” “Why yes! And yes she is so very *more funny hand gestures* And oh, here they come now… you should…*expressive glance with eyebrow-waggling*” “Yes I most certainly SHOULD…” What, telepathy? It was hilarious. Wait – I just realized you might think I’m talking about H.W. the wondrous librarian but I mean the other one. Unless they’re both librarians.

*** continue for the long version if you like the details and overanalysis and will try not to laugh at me ***

(more…)

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Do you know the muffin men – who live on Wiscon Lane?

Men at WisCon are afraid to flirt with me. That is as it should be; they are correct in their perceptions that I am fearsome. Then – what is it about the loud strong asskicking feminist women who mate with reserved, rather shy, uber-logical, super-smart, sweet, noticing-things-quietly men who are surpised and pleased when women deign to speak with them? Has anyone else noticed this pattern? And they tend to be poly. I’m just saying. Natch there are plenty of dykely ones who don’t fit this pattern so don’t get up my nose for generalizing… But doesn’t it seem like we go for these sweet maidenly spock-like creatures fairly often? Isn’t that amusing? People have written reams about feminist-girlhood crushes on Spock and the conviction one has that underneath, Spock is a total muffin. Here we see a result of those feminist girlhoods 30 or 40 years later.

Whump was telling me about several notorious incidents of people (SF writers or fans) saying that men aren’t allowed at WisCon or that to get in the door you have to be gelded. How very Gate to Women’s Country! That feminist men – who don’t make themselves Big all the time – who could fearlessly face Hothead Paisan with a clear conscience and a shy smile – are considered by some to be “feminized” men. Of course it is a compliment for this to be so.

I noticed something like it in The Country of the Pointed Firs – the way the men were, especially William. The way he is restful, comforting, and perceptive for the narrator amid the intensity of the imaginary and social-imaginary life of the intensely verbal village women.




Some of Monday

Monday morning I had the nicest calm breakfast, just me and my computer. Mmmmm! I crave things like bacon and hamburgers lately – after so many years of being a vegetarian, then a chickentarian, it still weirds me out to eat a hamburger. They go better with guilt, I’m sure.

I wandered all over this morning. I can barely even remember what the heck I did. The Broad Universe meeting… I said I’d post something about how we should all review each other’s books on Am4zon and make those recommended lists. people had good ideas. I liked the idea of local chapters!

then – lunch with Amhar and Melisande from Sacramento who is fabulously full of enthusiasm and I hope she always comes to wiscon! I tried to bully Amhar into volunteering to start the B.U. local chapter; I was not sure if she was excited or appalled by the idea.

I listened to most of an academic paper by the Katydid, on gender and how fem sf uses it to … you know… to subvert the dominant paradise, I mean paradox, I mean paradigm… That Thing. Later she and I were taking the same shuttle to the airport and talked a lot about trying to do feminist work in academia. I complimented her boldness and bravery in doing that and told her that even the people trying to do it here had warned me it is difficult and would hurt me in an academic career. In her case (in G3rmany)- her department chair and advisor and someone else had called a special meeting to persuade her not to write about that topic because it was “not respectable.” Ouch! “But I just refused to listen. They gave me money to be in the program – what are they going to do, kick me out?” And she makes an excellent living as an interpreter so was not worried about jockeying for academic position. All hail the Katydid!

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false diffidence

A funny moment from Sun. night. D.N. saying “I forgot to mention 2 things in my speech. One, I didn’t promote the anthology. Two, I should have introduced you as the jury chair.” Me- Oh! I’m glad you didn’t put me on the spot, I would have been embarrassed. D: You wouldn’t have had any choice! It’s not your decision! Me: Well, yeah, plus, scratch that, I wouldn’t have been embarrassed. I would have suffered temporary false diffidence.”

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