Saturday, October 29, 2005


My friend Jody had a Halloween party. I'm sure she will post pictures on her blog and when she does, I'll point you to them, but here is the one Kevin got of me and Jody. I am wearing the lighbulb over my head because I went as "a man with an idea". The Japanese people at the party didn't understand this because they understood Halloween to be all about ghosts and monster costumes. Jody kept trying to explain, but her voice kept rising as if they were deaf and she kept saying, "Smart man's costume! Smart man's costume!" I don't think this helped in the explanation of it really, but it was amusing to watch her try to explain.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Phoning Home

Even though I live in a suburb of Tokyo and work in a rural school district, I don't feel so cut off from a "larger" world as I did when I grew up in a rural town in Ohio, and went to college in a disintegrating working class city of Ohio either. I'm forty five minutes by train from Tokyo. This December, I'm going to visit Bangkok, Thailand. I take trains around Japan all the time, to visit different areas of the country. There is greater access to movement here than there was in Ohio. America is not a railway country. But I've come to love living in a country where the train is the dominant form of travel. It's given me a different perspective on time and space and what is reachable. So much so that I sometimes forget the smallness of the town where I grew up in Ohio. Don't get me wrong. I loved growing up there and wouldn't change it for anything. It had as many rewards to balance each negative aspect I encountered. But it is night here in Japan and I just had to contact my mother about some contractual things she is taking care of for me back in the states, and I had to reach her at the school where she teaches, so I called to the junior high, the same junior high I went to, and found out she wasn't at that building today, but at a meeting at the high school. Before I got off the phone with the secretary, the same secretary who was there since I was in kindergarten, she wanted to speak with me a bit. Then I called to the high school and first talked to the secretary who was the same secretary who was there when I was in high school, and talked to her for a bit before she patched me through to the library, where the librarian, who is the mother of a friend of mine from high school, also then wanted a bit of a chat before she went to get my mom. I'd forgotten how much everyone really does know everyone in places like my hometown, and I was also surprised to find myself genuinely delighted to have a chance to speak to all those great ladies from my childhood and youth. It's been a while since I heard the voices of people from home other than my mom or dad. It was good to hear Ohio for a few moments.

A New World (I stand corrected)

It seems that, these days, our heroes are dying and no one is replacing them. Instead we allow those whose names cannot be spoken to twist the world to their own, dark ends. Not to mention that, while all the political turmoil of America is roiling, there are other enemies of human decency plotting their next moves as well.

It is no wonder that the fantasy epic style has become so popular. I think it is resonating with the events of the past five years more than it has since the sixties, when Tolkein apparently became hugely popular. There really is a war occurring, and it's not just the one in the Middle East. It's in our own streets and within our own families, between neighbors and employers and between our churches. I pray that the next Rosa Parks is as willful and strong as the last. We really need her, someone, to do something right now.

If only one knew what to do, though.

I stand corrected. Go here to find out. And I hope he keeps going to that class and won't let them move him.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Best Fantasy of 2005

More happy news! "The Language of Moths" (link on the sidebar) will be reprinted in The Best Fantasy of 2005, edited by (Haber and Strahan, I think, publisher, Martin H. Greenberg.) Just found out today. Am really happy, as I like that story quite a bit.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Lord God Bird

And here's a song Sufjan wrote about the "Great God" bird or "Lord God" bird of Arkansas, previously thought to be extinct, which has been spotted by members of the community of the town Brinkley. I cannot get enough of this guy's songs right now.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sufjan Stevens

I'm crushing hard on Sufjan Stevens' music right now. He's got three or four albums out already, but I just came across him. I've been listening to Michigan and Illinois, the first two albums out of a project where he plans to make an album for each state in the union. Also listening to a cd of philosophical/religious hymns he wrote called Seven Swans. His music is the sort that goes directly to my center without any process or transmission. He grew up in Michigan, and his songs from the Michigan album describe the Midwestern steel factory small town Christian trailer park and industrial park land I come from. Here's a video from the Michigan album called "Romulus". His music isn't probably up everyone's alley, but I think it's the most beautiful music I've heard in ages. It's really inside me right now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Go! Support! Read!

You should go give Strange Horizons money to help keep the magazine running.

Because I said so.

Also because you'll probably get a prize or something for donating even paltry sums of money, so it's worth it!!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The New America

You should read this. It's the first of several essays and poems etc. that the Mississippi Review Online has published for their issue on the New America.

And this essay, too. Good good stuff.

More Good News

I'm having a fortunate month this October. Just received word that I've been awarded a Travel Research Grant from the Speculative Literature Foundation. I'll be using it to go to Kyoto and Nara before I leave Japan so I can gather some material in that area of the country for part of the novel-in-stories I'm working on here. I'm really grateful to SLF for this, as Kyoto is a ways to travel for me, and this will make it much more easier for me to visit the old capital of Japan this spring.

Other than this, Christopher Rowe's journal site has changed to here. Cool new online quiz via his new page, What D&D Class are you? You know you have to take this one!

Mystic Theurge
29% Combativeness, 33% Sneakiness, 94% Intellect, 63% Spirituality
Brilliant and spiritual! You are a Mystic Theurge!
Score! You have a prestige class. A prestige class can only be taken after you’ve fulfilled certain requirements. This may mean that you’re an exceptionally talented person, but it probably doesn't.
The Mystic Theurge is a combination of a cleric and a mage. They can cast both arcane and divine spells, and are good at both, making them pretty terrifying on the battlefield. They have more raw spellpower than just about any other class.
You're both intelligent and faithful, but not violent or deceitful. I guess that makes you a pretty good person.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 9% on Combativeness

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You scored higher than 40% on Sneakiness

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You scored higher than 93% on Intellect

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You scored higher than 83% on Spirituality
Link: The RPG Class Test written by MFlowers on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Friday, October 14, 2005

Learning to Leave

My story "Learning to Leave" will be in issue five of Flytrap, which will be available at the next Wiscon, which I will return to for the first time in two years. I'll feel a bit out of sorts, I'm sure, having been away for so long, but I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and partying, and karaokeing of course!

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Susan has discovered a gem here. You have got to go give Pandora a test run. I love it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

When Will It Stop

This is just utterly utterly ridiculous. I keep thinking that it's all a dream, that I'll wake up and all the stupid selfish manipulative moves W. and company have made thus far will have just been a nightmare. The sad thing is, even when they're one day gone, we'll still have their puppets to deal with.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Specimen Days

I just finished reading Michael Cunningham's new novel Specimen Days. It's a remarkable book, full of many layers and goregously crafted characters and beautiful writing, as is expected from the author of The Hours and A Home at The End of the World. The book is divided into three parts, three novellas really, one taking place during the Industrial Revolution, one in contemporary New York in the age of Terrorism, and one in the future. Cunningham has blended together three seperate storylines again, yet this narrative does not overlap in quite the same way that the characters of various timelines overlap in The Hours. Unlike those characters who are bound together by their gender, their inability to find a reason to live, and Virginia Woolf, the characters of Specimen Days are bound together through time and space, possibly reincarnation, poetry, poised upon the brink of world change, and Walt Whitman. The weakest of the storylines is the first one, unfortunately, a ghost story in which it seems Cunningham is not entirely comfortable in that it's pretty predictable for a ghost story, old fashioned in many ways, not taking any chances to use the ghost story form in a new way. But despite this, it's still well-written and enjoyable. The second section is a sort of thriller/suspense story set in a New York City where mysterious terrorist murders are occurring. The characters here leap off the page, the narrative is surprising at every turn of its plot, and by the end of this section I was left with my mouth hanging open, in shock and terror myself. The third section is science fiction set in an environmentally blasted future. There are moments when Cunningham feels awkward with science fiction as well, but he recovers more readily and quickly here than in the ghost story narrative, and eventually even settles in quite nicely to deliver a wonderful, satisfying ending. I recommend this book to literary and genre readers alike. It has wonder and strangeness and spin and fascinating characters and plots and beautiful structures and prose. Enough to satisfy almost any reader.

Friday, October 07, 2005

All Wrapped Up

Terri Windling asked me for a story for the Autumn issue of The Endicott Studio's Journal of Mythic Arts. The next issue should be released at the end of October and my story "The Boy Who Was Born Wrapped in Barbed Wire" will be a part of it.

Now go karaoke like you mean it!

In spite of everything

In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. (Didn't someone say something like this?? Anne Frank??) Hmm. I think so too, Anne. Well, most people.

So I will post a nice picture of me and my friends from a night of celebrating Kevin's birthday last month, after karaoke and eating and drinking at one of my favorite pubs, The Hub.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Is that a draft?

I'd say this would rank up there with one of the craziest things he's done so far, but he's done crazier, i.e. taking the war to Iraq, so I won't be surprised, to say the least, if this prediction comes to be.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Are You Human?

Sorry, I've been forced to change my blog so that if you want to comment you have to do a word verification test before your comment will be posted. I hope it won't deter any of you from posting. I love hearing from everyone. Sorry about this, but I'm tired of cleaning out the spam posts.