Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I've spent the day cleaning the professor's house, packing my things up and moving them back to my apartment, running errands in general, and now I'm all tuckered out, waiting for my second wind. I'll miss this house, with all its plants and African masks and Irish paraphenilia. I'll miss the space it gave me to work in for a few months. And I got a lot of work done. More than I'd even realized until this morning, when I printed out a short story collection and my novel-in-progress to send to an agent. The collection is seventy-thousand words, and so is the novel-in-progress. I had about six hundred pages in front of me, and I realized I'd actually accomplished a few things in the past few years. I guess I hadn't realized it all added up to something.

The novel is about two-thirds done. I've started the third and last section of it finally. Kind of scary to be in the last part of it, especially since it will be the most difficult section to write in many ways for me, both emotionally and imaginatively. But I'll keep at it till it's finished, hopefully some time in the next few months.

School starts next Monday and I'll be teaching three classes. Money, thankfully, will begin to come to me again at the end of next month, and I will no longer be emptying my savings and living on credit. Bleah! But I keep telling myself it was worth it, in order to write the two hundred pages I wrote this summer. I keep wishing the book was smaller and more elegant, so that I could selfishly be done with it, but it's turned into something a bit more epic and rollicking, and it feels right, the direction it's going, so I have to trust that instinct, rather than trying to make it something it isn't. I still feel weird, writing this much. I've always been suspicious of books longer than three hundred pages, and here I am writing one of those books I've always been suspicious of. Hmmph.

Hopefully my progress won't be slowed too too much by going back to teaching next week. I've been enjoying being with the book all summer, with not many distractions other than friends and family and loved ones, etc. which are good distractions.

I'm off to do more cleaning. Everyone have a good end of summer!

Which Family Guy Character are you? Take the Quiz!

Monday, August 11, 2003

Last Thursday, Jackie and I drove six hours south to Lexington, Kentucky, where Christopher Rowe and myself did a reading for the Trampoline anthology that Kelly Link edited for Small Beer Press. Kelly and Gavin were there for the reading as well. On the way down, there was much unanticipated road construction that bottled-necked our progress on several occasions, and then a massive storm slowed us to a crawl, because I couldn't see two feet in front of the car, and it felt like we were going to float right off the highway. But we made it, and were greeted with wine and everyone's smiling faces, and it felt like I'd just come home, instead of having driven away from it.

The bookstore where we read was two stories tall, in a mall-ish sort of plaza. We read on the first floor with microphones. There was a seated audience in front of us, but also there were people coming down escalators who peered our way, and some who stopped to lean over the balcony above to look and listen. It was strange, because I've only given readings at conventions, which are always in small settings with intimate groups of listeners. The only other time I've read somewhere more public was at a pub here in town.

The reading went well, though, I think. Next month I'll do another one (this time with Maureen McHugh) at Mac's Paperbacks in Coventry Heights (Cleveland). If you're in the area, please come out! Or, if you're not in the area, check out the Trampoline readings page at Small Beer Press, and see if a reading will be near you, and go to that one.

After the reading, we ate good food and drank good beer, and had a good, merry-making time in general. I think Jackie is considering pitching a new reality tv series to the networks called Latina Eye for the Straight White Guy, after giving a friend of Christopher's lessons on hip movement and finger shaking while telling someone off.

Then it was the next morning, and brunch at a nice vegetarian place called Alfalfa's, and then shopping at a couple of cool stores. I got a Japanese lamp shade and a bar of sandalwood soap. Jackie got a bracelet. We are made happy very easily sometimes.

Then it was six more hours on the road, after saying goodbyes to the good people mentioned above, and home again, where we watched Bridget Jone's Diary to cheer us up after leaving such a fun time.