Thursday, May 22, 2003

I'm packing for Wiscon and listening to Sean Paul sing his incoherent lyrics to "Hot, Sexy, Punky" once again, and am in a good mood, listening to his nonsense lyrics, or the nonsense that I make of them. My friend Cathy Morrison, who was at the Blue Heaven Novel Writing Workshop with me, has posted pictures from our time on the island in Ohio. You can find them here.

There's some really good ones in there, and as soon as Cathy emailed the link to me, I looked at them and was missing everyone from the workshop again. What a bunch of great people. I feel really lucky to have been asked to attend. Thanks again, Charlie.

Off to Wiscon for the weekend, then back home again to search for work. I've been hired at the university to teach part time next year, but I'm needing to find work for the summer now, and the job market is pretty thin, as I hear it is nearly everywhere at the moment.

Have a good weekend everyone. I'll see some of you tomorrow!

Friday, May 09, 2003

I've been working on the final drafts of designing the new edition to the line of chapbooks we Ratbastards call Rabid Transit. If you haven't read the first one we published last spring, go and order it already!

I think I like this year's chapbook better than last year's. Last year we published four stories. This year, there will be five, and they're all really wonderful, and I'm jealous I didn't write them. The chapbook should be ready for debuting at Wiscon in a couple of weeks, unless something bad happens, like a smiley face in Nick Mamatas' story keeps changing into the letter "J". I'll have it fixed by tomorrow, Nick, so don't sweat it. ;-)

I'm done with school now, so that's why the chapbook design is nearly done and Alan and Kristin, fellow Ratbastards, will be taking it to the printers. It's really a difficult process to break down a desktop publishing process and split it up between several people in two different states. We had to decide on stories together, which is hard to do among four people, all of whom have different tastes in fiction, but the same desire for good fiction, and so you have to really talk about stories alot (at least Alan and I find ourselves going on, probably at too much length sometimes, during the selection process), and then you have to find a cover image (thank you, Kristin, for finding this year's cover image, I love it) and then I have to page the stories into pagemaker and design font styles and borders, and figure out how to make a really strangely structured story fit on a tiny page (I hope it turns out ok) and then I send the chapbook to Alan for copyediting, and then I revise the mistakes we can find, and then it's off to the printer, and then in your hands at Wiscon, where we will of course be throwing another kick ass dance party, and Barth will be decorating the room in an appropriately festive manner. And hopefully, out of all this, people will like what we've selected and tell their friend's, "Wow, what a bunch of Ratbastards!"

Now that school's done, and I'm officially degreed (with the Masters, that is) and my part in the chapbook process is nearly completed and the baton ready to be handed off, I'm feeling something a little what I imagine empty-nest syndrome must feel like. I have no students to teach, no essays to write, no chapbook to noodle over. I'm working on my novel, so that takes up a good amount of my day, and looking for part time work for the rest of summer, but other than that, just a few days into my new non-routine schedule, my un-schedule, I'm feeling a little at sea. It's the kind of feeling that makes me want to dive headlong into a bunch of trouble, but I declared my retirement from drama when I first started this journal and, for the most part, the past school year has been decidedly stable. And I've been pretty productive in lots of ways in the midst of all that stability. What a novel concept.

I haven't been remembering my dreams as much as I had been for the past couple of years. It's as if suddenly my unconscious was able to stop shouting, "Get out the way!" every time I nearly walked, metaphorically, into traffic.

I guess this means I'm on the other side of a period where I had to let part of my old life go, so very reluctantly, and onto the beginning of a new phase. I understand now that things don't last, no matter how hard you try to make them stay the same forever, and I'm sure that at some point in the future, something similar will happen, but next time I'll know how to handle myself better in the midst of upheaval and huge life changes.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Ah. It's summertime in the disintegrating city. And I'm really blissful. I used to love winter when I was younger, but the older I get, the more I want heat and light. This is probably a sad recognition. And yet I'm not sad. Instead, the world is coming alive around me. It's so nice to wear shorts again, and t-shirts, and sandals, and walk down the broken sidewalks with the grass growing in the cracks and fissures, to say hello to complete strangers and be said hello to, to walk to the Red and White with its broken tiled floor and toothless loiterers standing outside, or even inside, chatting up the cashier, and buy a six pack of Corona and stop by the park on the way home and watch kids and moms playing on the jungle gym. Across the street, the crazy people (I live across the street from halfway houses and homes for people who have had major nervous breakdowns) are dancing to music. The other morning, my downstairs neighbor had his birthday, and Jackie left the apartment and sang Happy Birthday to him from outside, below his window, and all the crazy people started singing with her. What a serenade for George to wake up to! I was jealous! I stopped at Altha Jane's today. The first time I walked into her bakery she looked me up and down as if to say, "What on earth is this white boy doing in my bakery", and she asked if I needed directions. I said I heard she made a wonderful sweet potatoe pie and she melted and said, "Well that I do, sugar." I bought a sweet potatoe pie from her husband, Porgie, today, and drank some corona and wrote a little more of the essay I need to finish to graduate. I can't wait until I can spend this same day without the essay being involved in it.