2003 Story Stats
New Stories 4
In Circulation 4
Rejections 14
Rewrites 2
Sales 1
June 30

New words this month: 5200

Words Today:0


Week two has begun.

We met Kathleen Goonan last night, and I felt comfortable the second she mentioned her Montessori experience, so much so that I was able to ask, "AMI or AMS?" over dinner when there was a pause.

Turns out she's AMI, which is the American branch of Montessori International, while I'm AMS--trained within a university system. Still, I'd say there are far more commonalities than differences between the two forms, and it was fun to talk about the math manipulatives and the pink tower.

Twenty-plus years later, I still crave my Montessori materials, but I have no money to buy them. I do use a lot of practical life stuff, but that's always been something I could throw together for myself, as opposed to having to purchase it. You're just not going to see me stringing golden beads on wires. Ever.

Okay, so I have strung multi-colored beads together on wires, but I wasn't insane enough to make a hundreds square or, heaven forbid, a thousands cube.

But she assigned us a story. She pulled a few magazine articles and asked us to write a short-short this week based on the information.

I got the one on the developing use of contact lenses to dispense drugs in a controlled manner.

So I completely dropped the story I'd tried to plot all afternoon, and research ensued. Two hours worth.

I still don't have a story, but I'm getting close to the science I need to write one when I find it.

I just don't see it being a short-short. Short-shorts for me have always had to snap and sizzle with the ending--perhaps leading the reader to a surprising conclusion, perhaps evoking emotions. They don't use all the traditional story narrative elements because there's simply no space to do so. It's a truncated form of the short story, in a good way.

I have nothing to go on here.

So my goal is to find characters and a plot sometime today and start writing the darn thing. I might be able to pull off another 4K story out of this, but a short-short?

No way.

I'm sure it's due to a gap in my imaginative capabilities. If I had to write a fantastical short-short, I'd be more inclined to believe that I could.

And now I'm trying to remember if I ever have read a SFnal short-short.

If you know of one, let me know. I'm going to have to fill that gap.



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Continue reading about Clarion.




June 1/500 words

Goal!

I hit 500 words, but I had to go back to one of the stories I hadn't worked on in a while--the bottletree one. Knowing that I didn't have the accent quite down really bothered me at first, which is why I walked away. Now however, I decided that I'd write the damn voice I have and worry about the rest later. So far, I've worked in some back history and introduced another character. I had no idea I was getting that old man, but you know? Dot likes him. A lot. And having a kitten purring around your feet like you're catnip has got to count for something.

In other news, I took the laptop out for the first time to the concert and managed to not only listen to some great music but got two crits done and two slush stories handled. Amazing.

After that, I felt as if I could do nothing and just watch the shows, and not feel guilty that I had other stuff to do and I wasn't getting to it.

Dinner out was a nice end to the day, and then words!

Yay!

Today is pretty much all chores, but it's manageable, and I'll be done with all that by evening, and available to write some more.

Color me contented.

Okay, contented and terrified.

Two and a half weeks before I leave. Kill me now.

June 2/0 words

Run, run, run as fast as you can, you can't get everything done even if you're the gingerbread man.

And I'm no gingerbread man.

Oh, well. They usually end up eaten.

I'm feeling like a failure today--no writing. Not even something writing-related. I crashed to a stop last night as soon as I opened the bottletree story and read the first line.

I had no idea where I was going with it next other than what I already knew: that the kitten and the old man (or, the spirits of her sister and mother) are back to protect her from the vengeful spirit of her father, which was set loose when his bottle on the bottletree broke.

This morning, it's a different story. I know where the next scene starts, at least, and have a vague idea of where it's going, so I could write--if I didn't have to face the puppets of doom this morning.

Damn I hate puppet hair.

However, by evening, I should be able to take the ideas that are churning in my head and whip them into something resembling cohesiveness (or butter, YMMV).

Ten more days of school. Nine with children. One room to pack. Billions of things in room. Multiply by twenty wanting-to-be-helpful children. Stir. Throw in some slightly more helpful fifth graders and one high school aide. Add two scattered teachers. Don't forget twenty report cards.

How crazy am I?

Don't answer that. You might be right, and then I'd have to send Steve Perry to kill you. (Hmm. Does slaying through the unorthodox use of humor count? I wonder if you need a license for that. Maybe only in California, where they seem to want to license everything.)

Sigh.

But there are days when the chance to be a head shot has some appeal.

June 3/500 words

Amazing--I managed word count last night. All it took was some dedicated time to sink myself into the story, and fifty minutes later I had them.

Of course, I don't know where the story is going now, and wherever it's going, it seems to be slightly lagging--interestingly, I hope, but lagging nonetheless.

I'm spending a hell of a lot of time reminding myself this is a draft. It's only a draft.

I don't like that feeling. I'd rather write it perfectly once and then move on, rather than writing it a bazillion times over and over. Naturally, this means that I don't write as much as I could, but I also think it comes down to my natural laziness and inclination to do as little as possible.

(Okay, okay. My mother just curled over in her grave (or she would have had she had one...). She thinks of me as a whirling dervish. I'm not sure I qualify any more: I'm old; I'm tired.

You don't believe me, either?

Squint and try harder. My kinders believe it without any trouble.)

Today is a whole day of rushing around. This is my week to finish everything up--assessment, Father's Day handprints and the packing of those so that they get home intact, and just the normal boxes of stuff that need to get packed up. Oh, and the unpacking of some stuff that got packed by a very helpful packing helper, that I will need for the first thing in the fall. None of the first quarter boxes will be going into the huge storage bins if I can help it--there's no guarantee that they'll have them out that first week, or, the ultimate nightmare, that the room will even be finished. ("Here's your area, Mrs. Sisolak. Try to keep them all under this tree.")

Oh, and the puppets of doom are haired now. Today, they break out and go on little hands.

Save me.

June 4/200 words

My subconscious does not want to admit that it's June already, and I only have two and a half weeks left. For evidence, I give you my dates at the bottom (now changed to June) that up until this morning when I woke up said that it was May.

Picture me sobbing wildly and clinging to last month. It was a good month, really. Plus it had some hidden advantages--like I could pretend Clarion wasn't coming.

That's all over now, though.

It's so sad when delusions die, and this one was knifed through the heart.

Writing ensued. I rewrote the tail end of that last scene, adding a bit and raising the level of tension for Caro. I felt like I'd accomplished a little something by the time it was over, although I'm still not sure where it goes after this. I do know, vaguely, the end result, so at least it's headed in a direction.

Well, yeah, toward the end. D'oh.

Spent more money ordering books from Amazon that I need to read, somehow, in the next two weeks. Maybe I'll give up sleeping and just be my natural cantankerous self.

(Yes, that piece of my personality is disguised by rest and by avoiding my own children. I can't imagine why.)

I'm playing one of the seven dwarves again today. Yep. Sneezy, my favorite, but I'm an alternate for Grumpy. I'm the tall one, if you can't tell.

Puppets of Doom, for the most part, were well-behaved yesterday. The transformation that occurs in a child when one of these monsters is placed over the owner's hand is astounding. You wouldn't even recognize the child, for each one does something truly outside the range of normal conduct. Yesterday, the Puppets of Doom had their little darlings build book structures and knock them down. Then there were the ones that wanted to explore the entire classroom and annoy other children. Several chose flying as their preferred mode of transportation.

But very few lost their hair, ("If your puppet is bald, everyone will know it's been fighting or kissing." Class response: "Ewwwww." They sound good, don't they?) and this year I managed to remember to teach them that hair fluff is theirs to throw in the trash. Yay me!

Only until Friday, though, and then the Puppets of Doom head home to wreak havoc around the house.

Of course, by then it will be June 6th.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

June 5/0 words

Overslept. This does not bode well.

The puppet police arrested the puppets of doom yesterday--for disturbing the peace. Mostly my peace of mind, but hey, that counts.

No writing last night. No, I had the dang computer apart trying to figure out why I was getting that CD-Rom failure message as the OS loaded. I still don't know. Everything looks all right. Everything's anchored just fine. And the damn thing works! CDs play. The non-music ones do what they're supposed to do. I just can't get the sound card to cooperate.

Frustration all around.

And, since this was a new-to-me box, I spent forever (it seemed) trying to get the case off. Talk about stupid designs on the inside, too. Holes for your hands, but no real space to work. Who designs these things?

On the other hand, I did get the keyboard and the printer and the mouse all handled by the laptop during this experience, and it was rather nice being able to say that was done.

Plus I felt way geekier than my score on that geek test indicated. I only got a 28.879__%, and I know it should have been higher.

And now I must run--school is expecting me at some point.

June 6/0 words

No writing--I was too busy trying to get the dratted CD player to fulfill its function and actually play music that I could hear.

Well, that and trying to remember if I saw The Moody Blues in concert in the early 70's or Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

I can still hear "Knights in White Satin" but I may be imagining that bit. I sure as heck don't remember seeing them at the Cow Palace.

Morning conversation: (Me, with one foot in a pair of jeans, the remainder part of the jeans puddled on the floor.)

Tom: You have to put the other foot in, you know.
Me: I'm trying to remember if these jeans fit.
Pause ensues.
Tom: That's the difference between you and me. I'd try the experiment and see if they'd fit; you approach it from a philosophical angle.

Well, yeah. Otherwise I would have been a bio major, too.

Besides, as long as those pants are on the floor, both options, (fitting and not fitting) are possible. Obviously, these pants belong to Shröedinger. (Not to Charlie, sad to say. I'm still searching for the pair that went on the world tour.)

And doom continues at school: Lisa is gone for two days. We have a good sub, but still.

How many more days?

June 7/0 words

Brain death is not pretty.

It leaves you completely unable to remember anything, except small things of such little note that no one is interested.

Okay, kinders are, but heck, they are not the audience you necessarily want for validation.

I'm waiting for the boy child to arise; supposedly we're leaving in twenty-five minutes. It may be a Saturday, but he's taking the SAT again in Fillmore, and I'm packing boxes. One of my moms said she'd help, so I'm hoping she shows up. Well, that and I'm hoping we have enough boxes! There weren't any more, and I had to beg for tape. I don't know what I do if there aren't enough boxes.

My crates of books are coming home with me today. That's eleven or twelve crates filling up my office floor. It's going to be a little difficult to move around. There will be other things that are being stored here, too... I just hope I can get to what I need to get to. I may pack for Clarion simply to make room for me to move around here.

No writing last night, but one of my Amazon orders arrived, so I started Dhalgren by Samuel Delany. Big mistake. One hundred pages or so later, I finally fell asleep. Then the girl-child arrived home, and true to her word, walked over to my sound asleep body and announced she was home in ringing tones. She repeated the experience a bit later to tell me the boy-child was home, but since she wasn't standing right next to me, but by the door, the message was garbled, and I tried fumbling for the phone.

She has a low threshold for stupidity. Being asleep doesn't excuse you, either.

And we're off. Like a herd of turtles, I'm afraid. At least it's foggy and cool, so I can actually work without dying of heat prostration.

Twenty-two empty boxes to fill, twenty-two left to go. Take one down and pass it around, twenty-one empty boxes to fill...

June 8/tweaking on a bounce

I forgot to record my bounce from Alchemy on Friday, but it's there now, and, true to my latest challenge to myself--turn those rejects around in less than two days--it's going out again this morning.

Yay, me!

I may be getting the hang of this thing called 'submission'.

I have one more story I want to throw out back into the market wilderness before I leave, and with any luck, I'll get that one to the point where I can.

The packing went... I hesitate to use the word 'well', but what else can I say? I came home with the back of the van loaded down with boxes and all my crates of books. There's still a hell of a lot left to go, and I want as much done as possible by Wednesday.

Today I have slush and report cards; two evils that should never be paired. Then there's the housework. At least the grocery shopping is pretty well done, and I found a new time of day to shop at Costco: an hour before closing. There's hardly anyone there, and the gas lines (which are forever long during the day) were non-existant.

First thing on my list, however, is my walk. And coffee.

Isn't it nice to have a plan?

(Shh! Don't remind me those things have a tendency to blow up in my face. Let me cling to my illusions.)

June 9/brainstorming

A new story possibility jumped out and bit me on the ankle. Not content with that, it lunged at my elbow and then, lodged in my brain.

God, I hate being harassed like that. Based on their persistence, some of these things know Alix quite well.

So I ended up typing about two pages, asking myself questions and trying to figure out what the dang plot is before I write. Those middles are so much easier that way. Meanwhile, I have the beginning and what I want for the end; now I just have to find the path from one to the other.

Well, that and motivations.

True horror: "Mom, if I get my permit this summer, then I won't need to look for a ride my junior year."

The daughter is determined not to make the same error her brothers made--waiting until their senior year to get a license. This particular child has never been the clingy type, as evidenced by the fact that we had to tie a rope around her waist at the Monterey Aquarium when she was five. (You try holding onto a child who is part eel.)

She's just as slippery at this age, so I know my days of peaceful non-worry aren't over by a long shot.

It's Monday. Lisa has a sub, again. I'm hoping this one remembers to return from lunch. I have three full days of packing and teaching.

My stomach just twisted.

And eight days before I leave for Clarion. Eeeeeeeeee.

Oh, and a word of warning. Never simsub to Ideomancer and Fortean Bureau.

It's a terrible shock to realize that editors actually talk to each other.

June 10/0 words

No couldas, wouldas, shouldas for me last night touched my exhausted won'ts. So I went to bed, early early early and just gave up. I didn't even look at the report cards.

Which means everything hits hard tonight.

However, after some sleep, somehow that sounds better. I don't know about writing--heck, I'm behind on my last batch of slush and a crit that I need to write for Lisa's latest chapter. I haven't even read the latest chapter!

Time? What's that?

But Lisa's back at school today, and that's a good thing, 'cause I was to the point that I dreamt about her last night. (Starring roles in my dreams do not necessarily signify 'good'.)

I'm still not thinking too much about Clarion--that will probably hit on Saturday when I realize that I now have time to pack. I still don't have my network card, but that's because I don't know what to look for. So any of you laptop aficionados, feel free to tell me soon.

That and if anyone knows of a free ftp client for WinXP, I'd love to know what it is.

Time to blow this joint. Already. I swear there's coffee time and non-coffee time in the mornings, and the non-coffee time just dissolves in a groggy haze. On coffee time, I seem to track normal PST just fine.

Off to the kinder mines! (Note: Kinder mines are closely related to diamond mines in that you spend most of your time trying to find the right rock in a sea of pebbles, then polish the hell out of it. And then you send them to first grade. Phooey.)

June 11/200 words

Slushed and wrote last night. I feel so accomplished. Of course, that means nothing else got done. I have more report cards to finish, but those are going to be done at school today, if I possibly can get them finished there. Well, that depends on how much supervising I have to get done on the fifth graders who will be helping me pack.

I have to say that it's getting easier to let go of the process. Time's running out and packing is a requirement. As Friday approaches, I'm sure we're going to be tossing things into boxes with abandon, not even caring whether things are sorted by type or not.

I'm not sure what I'm running on, but it's not caffeine. I guess that makes it nervous energy. All I know is that I dropped into my bed again at 8:30 and had weird dreams.

Not a single one about packing though, so there is that.

As for the writing, of course, it's that new story. Not the one I wanted to work on really, but words started flowing and I've got a better feel for the little girl's personality now. Still I haven't quite made up my mind if this is a beginning I'd like to keep. I'm formulating details, and hoping that what I choose nails the characters I have down. I think persistance and stubbornness will stand my little girl in good stead.

If nothing else, starting all these stories has polished my ability to write decent beginnings. Maybe what I need is to write middles. Lots and lots of middles.

Now that's a writing nightmare. So maybe I was dreaming about writing last night--the part where I just wandered through this landscape which turned into a maze with tons of dead ends.

And feather dusters.

No, I don't know why I was dusting that grand piano. All I know is that those feather dusters kept falling apart on me.

June 12/0 words

You know your life is going downhill when the principal appears in your room to say that you have the entire room packed by noon the next day instead of 3P the day after that.

Why?

The asbestos people couldn't come any other day between now and September, and since we have asbestos glue holding down the floor tiles, voilá! Instant packing.

Unfortunately, instant packing is not where you add water and stir. Eight hours later we were still not done, but we'd made substantial progress. I'm hoping to finish everything by noon today, so that I don't have to breathe fumes tomorrow. Apparently that's what happened to the cafeteria people, and headaches and queasiness ensued for a week.

But I'm sure there's nothing lethal in those products, right?

Don't even get me started on the radon classroom, will you?

No writing, unless you count report cards, and by the time I got to them, there was no creativity involved, just the determination to get these suckers out of my hair and house.

Today's the play day and picnic. I have my entire morning mapped to within an inch of its life. I can't figure out how I'll pack and watch the kids. (Yesterday, it was the tv and a movie while I worked. The third time this year that television came out. Sigh.)

Clarion?

Who has time to think about something that doesn't happen until next week?

By tomorrow night, I should be limp, and then I can have all the pre-Clarion horrors. (Horrors? Sure. "What if Samuel Delaney reads my short story and laughs? And it's not a comedy?!" "What if I fall flat on my face and can't write to save my life?" "What if my arthritis sets into my left hand (I haven't had problems with that in years, but now that we've had three weeks of fog, it's back) and I can't type?" I could go on. But I have enough classroom-inspired horrors here. "What if I don't finish packing in time?")

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!

June 13/0 words

You people are letting me down. I specifically asked for someone to come kill me now a few days back, and Sperry has not showed.

What kind of a support group are you?

It's too late now; all I have left is the paperwork and supervising the dratted movers. If I had a box, I'd pack you all.

My kinders left yesterday. I'll miss this bunch--they've been a lot of fun when they weren't working on making me crazy. They all left as first graders, too. The promotion requirement for my classes is to give me a goodbye hug, and they all complied. Only one limp-armed kid in the whole bunch, but he was early on and I wiggled his arms and complained mightily, so the rest attempted to bring me to my knees.

One of the biggest nearly succeeded. He squirmed up, wrapping his legs around me, but that bit was after leaping at my neck and choking me. I hope his mom got a good picture.

And so ends another year. I'd gotten them all to sitting still and listening. a good three-quarters can read, with three more in the blending stage, and two not quite there yet.

Now I give them to the next year's teacher and hope like heck they continue their progress. I know which ones will have difficulty for the next twelve years, which ones which will fly with no trouble, and which ones whose little personality quirks will give them some pain.

The neat thing is that I will see most of these kids around through twelfth grade, and I might even get an invitation to a high school graduation like I did last year, when one boy in my first kinder class here sent me one.

I'm good for a few more years until they start getting married and having kids of their own. So far, I've only had my fourth-graders' kids, and I'd like to keep it that way a while longer. (My daughter thinks this is sick. I have to remind her this is called a 'small town' for a reason.)

Writing? Ha! Anything else around here? Haha!

But there's always tomorrow.

June 14/0 words

Kim is going, "Eight more days!" and I'm going "Eeeeeeeeee! Five!" because I have so much to do before then, that I just threw in a party for a couple of hours this afternoon.

Yes, I'm stupid.

Today's list: walk, shower, birthday present shop with Alix for a friend whose party is today, hair, party, take Alix to the birthday party, grocery shopping, pick her up, die.

You will note that no where in there was a mention of 'packing'. There is also no mention of writing, because I'm afraid that I won't be writing or doing much of anything that is even writing- related.

Oh. I'm mailing some forms out to Clarion on my walk.

There. I'm doing something writing-related.

Good thing I have energy this morning. And while the weather is completely clear, and the sun is shining, I still have the touch of arthritis in my left thumb. I'm glad I don't use that thumb for much typing.

The day begins for me in about ten minutes. I get to finish my coffee first. That way I'll be awake when I start my hamsters-on-a-roller-coaster experience for today.

Never tried that?

It involves a lot of high-pitched squeals and scampering. You can call me 'Tootsie-Roll', (my famous kindergarten hamster who discovered she couldn't swim when she climbed up the paint easels in the bathroom and jumped into the toilet.)

Some other day, I'll tell you that very sad story. Right now, I'm off to jump onto the roller-coaster. Don't worry. I'll avoid the toilets.

June 16/0 words

I overslept yesterday until almost ten, something I never do unless I'm sick, and have been running to catch up ever since. Thankfully most of the chores are now done, and the kitchen is nice and sparkly. (Kids only get to the part where the surface appears clean to the cursory glance--now it's clean.)

No writing, though. I have done nothing writing-related for a while, and my punishment is having weird dreams.

On the other hand, I did sleep Saturday night and most of last night, so there's that.

Nervous? Me?

You betcha.

My angst always results in sleeplessness.

Today? Finish the laundry, walk, doctor's, cancel the dental appointment in July that I keep forgetting, get the van in for smogging, get new tires and an oil change for the little car I'm taking, pay bills, weed, and do some packing. Oh! And passport photos, I need those done. Someplace fast, mind you.

(Get my network card, transfer more files to the laptop...)

This is why I normally don't make lists. By the time I'm done I'm traumatized.

By Wednesday morning, I'll be ready for a break. Or a breakdown.

I'm still trying to beat into Tom's head what day I'm leaving. I finally managed to convince him that the 18th was not Thursday. So yesterday he switched to Tuesday. I've got Alix helping me now. He tried to tell her she's leaving Wednesday instead of Thursday.

Basically, I think he has a severe case of denial. Drew leaves Saturday (the day Alix returns) and he's watching his family unravel right before his eyes.

Good news is that he's told Alix she gets behind the wheel experience in a direct ratio to getting her chores done.

Yay!

I won't be the one to have to teach this time! Go, me! Running away for the summer does have a few benefits. ;)

June 17/0 words

Freak Alert!

Disclaimer: The ramblings that follow may or may not have been written by someone in or out (or a combination of both) of her right mind. As opposed to her left mind, which we never mention because it's never keeping the beat anyway. Go figure.

And if you made any sense out of that last bit, you are in worse shape than me. Go back to bed or load up on caffeine like I'm doing.

Checked everything off the list yesterday. Everything except The Packing. I managed to bribe the chat room into packing for me in exchange for beer, only to discover no filled suitcase this morning and no empties.

The good thing about a virtual life is the lack of having to pick up the mess. The bad thing is that it all occurs in your head, and reality doesn't pick up on the flow and accomplish the things you want to be done.

List for today: Drive to Fillmore and apply for my passport. (They take walkins. Yay!) PACK. PACK some more. PACK some more. But first empty the trunk. Freak a whole bunch. Worry about what I've forgotten to pack. Remind myself that I do have a checkbook to buy what I've forgotten to pack. Pick up from the packing. Try to sleep at some point tonight.

It's a slow day, really.

I think I will be happy to be on the road and driving, although even that bodes a few problems--all that time to think. And be paranoid!

I can't believe it's here, but I got all my maps and map books from AAA, so it must be.

The children have marching band practice again today, so they're off in a few minutes. We have to decide if we're sending Drew to Europe with the band kids next summer for a couple of weeks--it's less than 4K, but ouch. Couldn't he just get braces instead? Or a car?

Anything else you need freaking over? I have spare energy... I'm sure I can freak about something of yours as well.

But mostly what I need right now is a double shot of caffeine. I don't want to miss the fact that I'm freaking by not being awake.

Of course not!

Because then, I'd be freaking about not freaking.

Note: Ladies and gentlemen, send your freaking concerns to PO Box EZ123, Wefreakforyou, CA. Don't worry about the zip code. Give the post office something to freak over.

June 18/0 words

Freak Alert!

This is my last journal entry from home and I was doing just fine until I realized that.

I have to load the car, shower, leave.

Eeeeeeeeee.

There are a few more things than that, actually, but those are the basics. Mostly I'm spinning, and I've provided Tom lots of amusement this morning as I pack with one hand holding something that needs to go back in the cupboard with the other.

I tried to convince him that I only do this kind of thing for his amusement, but funny, he didn't believe me.

I'm still gathering photos. All I have is one of Alix.

A few more phone calls, packing up the printer in a box I don't have, and throwing the papers on the floor into something that remotely resembles a pile. I have three suitcases, one filled with the books I need, and pillows and bags of bedding and towels that are squishable.

I'm still in freak mode and I'm not sure it's going to be any better until tonight.

I've reassured myself that whatever I forget, I can buy--Seattle is not in the middle of some wasteland after all, but my subconscious appears untouched by any rational thought.

My next update here will be this weekend--in Seattle.

Eeeeeeeeee. How did I think I could do this?

June 22/0 words

Freak Alert status is now off.

I'm here; I'm here, and I'm ever so grateful. In one piece even, although I'm still in adjusting mode. The last bit was getting my wireless card working, and I've accomplished that, except for the fact that the room I picked is a dead zone. Not at the moment, mind you, but it's bound to go down soon.

The trip north wasn't bad at all, and the stop at Cath's and George's, a superb break and just what I needed to relax. Cath stuffed my hands with a bag of goodies for Kim and me as I left, and a frozen pan of dessert for all my new Clarionmates. I've made sure to give Cath credit--not to mention the fact that Kim has already flown one of those airplanes into the side of my head.

I forced Cath to take me to Multnomah Falls and then she twisted my arm and took me to Powell's. This was Not A Bad Thing, although I did leave with six more books to read, even though I have no time to read.

No writing yet, but that could stop as soon as tonight. I've walked a bunch, and I hope to continue this process, although I wouldn't mind doing with a few less stairs. (Women on the third floor, men on the second, and I want to know what the heck the men are going to do with all those ironing boards and irons, hmm?)

Seattle's hillier than I remember, just as green, and has way more coffee than it used to in the 60's. (Of course, that could be just my impression since I wasn't actually drinking coffee at age ten.) It's exciting, and clouded over, so I'm happy because alleluia! I'm not hot.

Yet.

Our first meeting is in about half an hour and I have yet to pay the tuition. That's in a few minutes.

But yay! I'm here, and I already feel as though I've been gone far longer than just a couple of days.

More later--when I have time.

June 23/0 words

The first three crits are done. Yay!

That's the good news. However, I know for sure I'll have another four today after our first session with Nancy. We don't know who, yet. She selected who she did for reasons based on what she wanted to teach. I'm caught between the 'I hope it's not me' mode vs. the 'I hope it's me!' seeing that if it's not me, I'm going to have to churn out a story. Nancy did say that Clarion favors the faster writer, and that if we don't belong in that group, then don't worry.

Okay.

I am Not Worrying. This is me Not Worrying. Do you see how Not Worrying I am?

Funny how Not Worrying has the same initials as Not Writing.

My time is all messed up. The first session starts at 9. I didn't get up until after 7, and here it is almost 8, and while I'm ready to leave my room, I'm not.

Leslie and Nancy both have suggested that blogging is a use of time that could be better spent writing. However, since these entries take me about twenty minutes usually, I'm going to try to keep up the daily schedule.

You, dear reader, will just have to avoid admiring my intelligent prose and pearls of wisdom, because heaven knows I'm going to be doing that.

Coffee calls. Actually, I can sense it perking away from two floors up and the opposite side of the house.

Who said my hearing was going?

What?

That coffee sure is loud. I'd better go check to see if it's all right.

June 24/200 words

Three more crits, one of which was quite difficult because I had a hard time coming up with what I wanted to say. And success, because after all, I started a new story with a minimum of fuss, prodded by my ever-so-helpful support group in chat, who promptly roasted me and stuck me on s'mores because I wasn't done.

You try writing squished between two graham crackers.

However, there's success, and for the moment Suitcase Full of Blues is happening. I just hope it continues. I have today and tomorrow and the next to get this story out. I'm already unhappy with it because it doesn't have the setting details I think I need and want.

But hey, it's a first draft, and so much for that: I have a character in an interesting situation, and that's what counts. For a moment, I thought I'd gone overboard with heaping abuse on this character, and then I read a short of Connie Willis' last night (Rialto is all that sticks in my head at the moment, and you're lucky you've even got that. Blame the no-coffee on it.) and decided that her character was even more frustrated by Tiffany, the model slash actress.

All is good.

Mostly I feel the need for copious amounts of coffee, and food. I ended up walking quite a bit yesterday, first to my workout place which is only a mile away, and then off on a later walk with Claude and Carl and Kim, where we discovered a lovely example of English Gothic Revival architecture in a Catholic church--highly unusual, actually, and I wasn't convinced it was a Catholic church even with the name Blessed Sacrament. We wandered around inside, but I wasn't able to find the date it was built.

Another three or four hours of working with Nancy this morning and critting. I'm not used to sitting still for so long, and my knee isn't appreciating it, although the six miles I put on yesterday has really helped.

The weather is still cloudy and overcast, and I'm grateful. I much prefer these temps to outright 'hot'.

Next on the agenda is to find a phone and call home. Tom got to deal with a disappointing shopping trip with Alix--the flip-flops she wanted didn't come in her size (but a size smaller worked, apparently) and a raincheck on the HP book. It took him two hours, and I'd say that was average.

Kim, meanwhile, is making sure I don't miss Alix. Last night she coerced me into carrying her little wallet because after all I had pockets and she didn't. I swear it was just like one of those discussions with Alix where we go on and on until I finally stuffed it in my pocket.

Luckily I remembered to give it back.

Next time, she might not be so lucky. There's a reason Alix refers to me as Mean Mommy.

And now, coffee. Lots and lots of lovely, lovely coffee.

June 25/800 words

Running on tired.

It's always worse first thing in the morning. Luckily, no one really has to see me before I'm completely awake, and trust me, it's better this way. Besides, a shower will help immensely.

More crits, more writing, another mild freak when I realized I was writing fantasy, again, and the strangest thing--I got more writing done downstairs in a gathering room with sounds of peoples' voices drifting down the hall from the dining room than I did in my own room in dead silence.

Apparently, I've adapted to writing at home with all the various noises going on around me.

Laptops are wondrous things.

Today, since the sun is out and all is bright and shiny, I may even walk over to campus and try outdoors.

Of course, the operative word is 'may'.

Nancy's reading went well last night. The room was full and I really enjoyed the story she'd chosen to read--one that will be making an appearance in Asimov's at some point, which is great seeing that it was first published in French, then lost in contractual limbo for a few years when the American publisher changed its mind about publishing the anthology. I've only been to a few readings--World Cons are good for that bit of education--and the audience was quite attentive. I met a few people from the Seattle specfic scene/fan scene and a number of them should appear at the party this Friday night.

I'm also pleased with the fact that I seem to actually be writing, and mind you, writing to a deadline. This is a Good Thing. At some point, I'd like to be able to know I can do that, and it may as well be now.

On a completely other note, Jaime's box arrived for Kim and I loved the pop-up black hat. You would just have to see how it emerged from its flattened state to understand my desire to own my own. Not to wear. I just want to open and close it. Over and over again.

There's also a reason I teach small children. Let's not investigate that too closely.

I nominated, and my entire table voted, Kim in charge of Clarion shirts. I love nailing people in person.

I've also overcome, for the moment, my desire to change seats every time Gabriel moves in his effort to maintain a balance at the dinner table. I have a new evil plan in mind, but it's subtle. Time will tell if he picks up on it.

Shhh! It's a secret.

First Clarion challenge: write Eric, the chef, into a story. Damn, I'm going to have to write about food. This is Not Good.

Hannah: when your toes and nose are scant inches from the flames as you rotate on that stick, I can't emphasize enough that the distinction between 'toasting' and 'roasting' is all in the mind of the person controlling the stick. Besides, you can't get away from the fact that I ended up sandwiched between two graham crackers, and now, every time I go into the kitchen to put milk in my coffee, I remember that fact because Eric, the chef, has thoughtfully placed graham crackers on the counter for snacking.

::Sticks Hannah on a stick and holds her over an open flame.::

This will only take a minute. Pretend you're in Tahiti and slathered with oil.

June 26/2800 words

Yesterday when I thought I was tired? I wasn't really tired. Today I'm really tired.

I finished my first Clarion story, earlyish, actually, before dinner. Then I critted all the stories I had for today, while Amber was my first reader, and about 10P, I rewrote the thing for some depth.

I think I was successful. There's a climax scene now, and I laced more information and hints of who my character was throughout, so I think the transition feels natural. I also tied a character at the end to a character in the beginning, and I felt that worked.

I'm not sure about the last line. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

So I was done about 11:30 and then I couldn't sleep. I was too jazzed. So I dashed downstairs for water, mostly listened to a conversation about television shows and movies, because I'm so uninformed, and went to bed.

Where I tossed and turned.

If this is what it means to finish a story here, I'm going to have to start finishing them in the broad daylight, so I have a chance to rid myself of some of that excess energy.

Tonight? Early bedtime. That's for sure.

Well that and some more walking. I need the fresh air.

That'll have to wait until after the morning's session, however.

I wish that they had more than one pot of coffee brewing at a time around here. The guy in the kitchen who is not-Eric seemed surprised that we drink so much coffee, and that the milk disappears so quickly.

I could explain the latter. There wasn't a thing I could do except nod my head sympathetically about the first and pour myself another cup of coffee in the largest coffee mug I had found.

Too bad these thing don't come even larger. I wouldn't have to run back and forth so much.

Hugs to all my support group, and you people all know who you are. I wouldn't even be here if some of you hadn't badgered me into applying, and when I need the break, you're there to relax me.

Thanks a bunch.

June 27/0 words

Days off are good and that's pretty much what I did yesterday. Well, within reason. I did have those crits to do, and Daniel stunned us all with a 10K story that he stayed up all night writing.

All I can say is: you won't catch me pulling an all-nighter. I had way too many of those when the kids were little and sick.

So I went for a walk again, discovered a park under the bridge that I have to explore this weekend, and played poker for two hours.

I had no idea that there were so many variations of poker, but I did like Nancy's game at one point--Follow the Queen.

We also got a Harlan story, which was very typically, from what I've heard before, Harlan. Let's just say, should I ever meet the man face to face, I'll make sure not to compare shoe sizes.

Those of you who are now panting for more info on this story, see me in chat.

Or get Nancy to tell it again.

Poker was fun and relaxing... or maybe the relaxing bit was due to the vanilla vodka, supplied by Jake, or the merlot, supplied by Bob.

I had both, but I can't tell which one pushed me over the edge into relaxation, although neither did a decent job of getting me to fall asleep quickly. I tossed and turned a while again, and I didn't even have a story to write!

No, this time it's due to my first critting session.

I think I'll be hugging the toad.

My goal today is sleep, but I'm not sure when that will happen since it's also our first party. Well, sleep and jumping into another story, gosh knows what. I'm afraid to think too much about the fact that I don't have a solid idea waiting for me simply because I could spook myself into not having any ideas.

Mostly I can't quite believe it's almost the end of the first week. In some ways, I feel like I've been gone forever from home, and here feels quite normal-- even if I have to go in search of overheard voices to provide counterpoint to the rattle of my laptop keyboard.

June 28/0 words

Here I am sitting in the doorway of my room, laptop on the floor, my legs acting as the radio antenna, so the signal comes in cleared and I can actually connect to the system. Charlie has threatened photos, but she's also been quite helpful with additions that would make the photo complete. Currently we're considering elfish shoes with wild curly tips and some sort of metal bits at the ends.

Works for me. Radio waves are magic as far as I'm concerned.

No writing yesterday, but three crits, and my own critique, which went well, considering this is a first draft and my intent was all over the map.

Vonda was our surprise guest at 5P, and that was fun. Gabriel did a great job of asking questions and keeping the conversational ball rolling.

Then it was on to dinner--a small Thai restaurant close to the party location-- and from there, to the party.

True to my normal state of affairs, I kept my back to the wall, which, in this case was glass windows, until I'd had most of my first beer. Two hours later and with two beers down my gullet, my initial party qualms dissolved.

Not that I managed to talk to anyone much, other than Carl and Robin and Wendy, but I did meet Greg Bear and Ted Chiang.

I actually think Ted is shyer than me by nature, but it was rather difficult to compare notes since neither one of us said much.

A good day, overall, even with the rather uncomfortable reaction that popped up in class about use of cultural symbols that promote stereotypical typing. Of course that engendered the entire discussion on do we, as writers, have a moral obligation to educate our potential audience and not perpetuate these stereotypes.

I think for the moment we've resolved it, but I'm sure it'll pop up, or some other sensitive issue will, in the future.

I say it's better to know people's hot spots. If nothing else, it adds to the information we need to write stories that will touch our readers and give our fiction a depth that we might now otherwise have had.

But I'm going to remind myself over and over that the works we'll be reading are first drafts--and with that in mind, a lot can be forgiven, and as a critter, I have to remain honest and point out what I see as difficulties, which may or may not be what someone else sees.

Seventeen different reactions is what will allow us to discover what we have yet to develop.

June 29/0 words

This is a quick update--Kim and I are off on a trip to Costco. We both want fans, for one thing; the windows on our side of the building don't seem to open on what appears to be the 'windy' side. I need to get more air into my room, and while I can deal with the humidity here, I'd prefer not to.

Nancy's send-off went quite well, with the end result that she was sorry to abandon us and many reminders to email her each week and let her know how it's going.

Just for that, I shall.

No words, although there's a niggling doubt growing in the back of my head that an idea will arrive in time for me to write it this week. So, I've been filling the well, so to speak. I ran over to wired.com and copied links to articles that 'grabbed' me in some fashion. I also strolled around salon.com communities and ended up finding a thread on snatches of overheard conversations.

One makes an excellent first line, and may nicely tie in with the tattoo story that I began, but never finished. Of course, I'd have to plot. I'm rapidly having it hit home that plot is my nemesis and that any insecurities I have regarding how the story is going or what my characters are like, immediately become visible.

No wonder there are so many stories I don't feel ready to write. I'm not. D'oh.

Still, trying to get the story out in some fashion is good, and knowing what I have left to refine is even better.

I think I'm going to miss Nancy, although I'm looking forward to what Kathleen Goonan is going to teach us. I love having multiple points of view on the writing process. It's akin to having one of those multifaceted lenses where each small segment builds to a whole.

Okay, so that's my metaphor for it, and I'm sticking to it.

Today, finishing the critting, and dammit, getting a story in process. Any story. I've given up on the SF concept, since that is in the early phobic stages for me, and I don't have time for phobias. At home, sure. Any time. Here? Un-huh.

But first, Costco for fans and food to feed Kathleen, and then I'll fret over fiction.






















The Other Sock Monkeys:
Caroline Heske
Charlie Finlay
Jan Corso
Jason Venter
Keri Arthur
Karin Lowachee
Lisa Deguchi
Steve Nagy
Steve Perry




















Other writer friends...
Angela Boord
Celia Marsh
Kimberley Bradford
Amber Van Dyk
Ruth Nestvold
James Stevens-Arce
Trey Thoelcke