Sunday, March 23, 2003

Lots of little tidbits.

I went to the Vagina Monologues tonight, in which my friend Brooke acted. She performed the first monologue, and did so beautifully and brilliantly and hilariously. I'd never seen the monologues before, and had only heard vague things about them, and I was so impressed. What's even more impressive is that Eve Ensler, the woman who wrote the monologues, has set things up so that when colleges put the monologues on, all the proceeds must go to a charity. The Youngstown State Theatre donated our proceeds to Sojourner House, the only women's shelter (specifically for battered women) in the area. They raised over fifteen thousand dollars. Go Brooke! Go ladies!

I'm jealous though. Eve Ensler asked all the women she interviewed what their vaginas would say if they could speak, and what they would wear. I want to answer those questions, but alas, I have no vagina. Sigh. Is there such a thing as vagina envy?

Next up in the news: For all you Academy Awards watchers out there, get this. My friend Kevin, who lives downstairs. His brother is a big time animator type person, and for the award for best animated film, Mickey Mouse comes out with someone (I forget who, Kevin told me) to present the award. Kevin's brother was the animator for this Mickey. Ain't that the coolest? I feel so close to fame.

Also: I received my contributor's copies of the new Realms of Fantasy, the June issue, in which my story, "The Drowned Mermaid" appears. I'm happy because the cover is "decent", and my mother can actually show her friends if she so wishes, which she couldn't do with the story I published in Nerve's Sex and Science Fiction special. Of course mom was proud of that publication, too. She just always seemed to forget to tell other people about that story. Silly her!

I'm afraid I won't be able to write funny anecdotes about my mother any longer, as she's discovered my webpage and found my description of our shopping trip at Christmas time. She said, "You're so bad! People will think I'm crazy!" Raising my eyebrows accusatorily, I said, "Well you're the one who said those things!" She huffed around a little without much of a retort. Then we went shopping and she bought me clothes and were great friends again, which is the way all my stories about my mom end.

And finally: I sometimes try alternative methods of teaching in my writing classroom. Um, not really. I just go in and act like myself in the classroom, and try to make it natural for everyone to be able to interact about normal everyday stuff and learn at the same time, so that thinking becomes normalized for the students, which is really important in an anti-intellectual climate like the one which envelops Youngstown and the surrounding areas. It took me a long time to "come out" with my intellectual side because if you flash your "learning" around here, you're probably gonna get told it don't mean a thing once you come down outta yer ivory tower. Har har. In any case, being myself in the classroom sometimes leads to moments of utter fun, which leads to interesting discussions sometimes. The most recent fun moment was starting off a workshop day, where the students workshop each other's writing, by allowing my student Cleo to play some music. He'd brought a bunch of his cds with him for some reason. In any case, we listened to some J-Lo, and then he put in 50 Cent, who has a great new release that I like to dance to. My body is so addicted to a certain brand of hip hop that it just starts moving around when it comes on. And as soon as Cleo put Fifty Cent in, I started dancing. The black students were all cheering and telling me to get my freak on, etc., and when we all settled down, Cleo and Thomas debated why 50 Cent is a poser. Cleo likes 50 Cent. Thomas says the music is fine, but that it's obvious that Eminem writes the lyrics for 50. Which led to a debate on the white appropriation of black hip hop culture. Our topic for this section of the course is popular culture. I had no clue a little burst of dancing would kindle such great discussion. I think allowing a classroom to grow organically, with just a limited set of parameters for what must be done in a given period, allows for lots more interesting discussions to flow. It's days like this one that makes me happy to be teaching.

I'm listening to Eve at the moment. But earlier I was listening to Madonna and thought of Ms. Bond and wondered, as all Friends In Madonna are probably wondering at this moment of crisis with the war and all, What would Madonna do?

Perhaps if we'd sent the Glove Monster over as our diplomat months ago, none of this war stuff would have happened. When will America learn that we should be governed by our celebrities? I mean, we already are, but we might as well make it official, right?

Friday, March 14, 2003

When I started this journal, I intended to make it a space for meditations, revelations, and a general signification of love for other people with whom I'm not in very good contact with on a daily basis. In the past few months, that's gone by the wayside and my journal entries aren't very meditative at all, are they? That's ok. But I'm starting to feel meditative again, so here are a few things I've learned because of the last few years of my life. I know, I know: they sound hokey and like something you'd find in affirmative literature, but that's only because the findings have been divorced from the details which provoked me to even discover what I think about some of these things. In any case, here they are:

1. I know now not to say or do anything, to commit to action, before knowing what the names of my feelings are and why I'm having them.

2. I know now to keep my own counsel, to trust my own instincts, and not to ask for the advice of too many people, except a few. Other people's ideas will only serve to distract me, in some cases. I don't want to find out I've messed up following someone else's idea of how to live life.

3. I know that however many good qualities a relationship between two people may exhibit, the relationship must exist for its own sake, and not for the sake of one of the partners needing a relationship to feel completed. With that in a relationship's foundation, it will not be able to grow in freedom.

4. I know I must be content with being alone.

5. I know I must think of myself now, not only for others. To ignore the self, even in charity, will only cause it to rebel and make demands later.

6. I know that love needn't be proved over and over. It will prove itself daily without any prompting.

More, lots more. But there are a few things I had to practically break my neck to figure out. (And some people think I'm intelligent. Why? I have no clue.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

It's Spring Break, and I'm really loving it for the most part. I'm not doing anything spectacularly decadent. Mainly sleeping in late and grading student essays, reading books I've been wanting to read but have not been able to read because of school readings, writing fiction more, which slows down a bit while school is in session and I have lots of essayistic stuff to write, and far too many essays to grade. So the break feels nice. I look forward to graduating in a couple of months and moving on to whatever happens to be the next move for me. There are a few moves being considered, but I'm keeping my options open, and learning to be a little more pragmatic and careful when making decisions that affect my life. What a novel idea!

Went to see "The Hours" again last night with Jackie. I saw it first in New York, with my friend Rick, when the film first opened. I really liked it then, and I liked it again, but this second viewing was a bit less thrilling. It's just so damned sad! And some of the themes and situations in the film, and some of the characters--some of these things touch nerves with me, which is a good thing, but difficult. In any case, I think it's a good movie. It's refreshing in many ways to watch a film that requires its viewer to basically watch other people have conversations the entire time. No big effects, a minor car speeding along the highway clip, some suicide, yes, but done fairly quickly and the character's handle it as best as possible.

I've been thinking a lot about friends lately--I haven't been in good contact with many of them for a while, and find myself becoming nostalgic and missing them a lot. I hope you're all doing wonderful (you know I'm talking about you, right?) and know that I miss you all. Hopefully this coming May, I'll get to see a lot of you again, at Wiscon. Much love...

Sunday, March 02, 2003

I've not really used this space for anything terribly related to the writing world, but I got a message today about the Campbell Award, about nominations, etc. If anyone is a fan of my writing and wants to nominate me for the award, there's a whole process to doing it, and here is some of the information:

In order to nominate for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer for the 2003 WorldCon in Toronto, you must have either been an attending or supporting member of the 2002 WorldCon in San Jose or be a supporting or attending member of the 2003 WorldCon in Toronto by Jan. 31, '03.

You can find the nominating ballot here.

So there it is, if you so desire.