Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Where is the Love? It's at Wiscon, is Where.

I am home. I am so happy. Wiscon was a total blast. I miss you guys already. I want to do it again real soon (okay not as much drinking, though that was fun too!) and so many good books and so many good karaoke performances, and and and. But the best part of all was seeing all of my dear friends for the first time in two years again, and meeting and making new ones, and I have some great pictures, but I'm not going to download and upload and put them on here just yet, because I have a certain someone I've been missing for the past week that I need to visit. So if you are not adept at reading between the lines, I will be away and not posting a con report and pictures for like, you know, a couple of days. Muah, all my love.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Off to Wisconsin

I'm off to Madison, Wisconsin tomorrow evening for the next six days. I can't wait to see all of my friends. It's been two years this month since I saw most of them. I may just possibly spontaneously combust after running into three or four of them. Remember if you're going to Wiscon this weekend to hit the Ratbastard's Karaoke and Dance Party Extravaganza, which is going to be rocking. I'm on a panel called "Death of the Panel" too. And on Sunday myself, Theodora Goss, Alan Deniro and M. Rickert will give a reading of our work together, themed: Strange Journeys. I'll be reading something from my second novel, set in Japan. Hope to see you all there.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Rabid Transit

The newest edition of Rabid Transit, which Kristin Livdahl so lovingly designed again this year, has been sent to the printers. I'm really excited about this year's group of stories that Alan and Kristin and I selected. They are wild, weird, and wonderful. I hope everyone who buys this year's book loves them as much as we did.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dead Boy Found in Japanese

My adopted mother in Sapporo sent me this picture today. It's of the page where my story "Dead Boy Found" begins in the new issue of Hayakawa SF. She also sent a picture of the cover of the magazine too, and it seems like it's a YA oriented issue, including stories by Tim Pratt, Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link as well. I can't wait to hold the issue in my hands and read something I wrote in Japanese for the first time.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hot Pink Is My Power Color. Tell Me Something I Didn't Already Know.

Your Birthdate: July 21

You're a restless rebel with an unpredictable nature.
Bright but unbridled, you tend to seek out wild experiences over new ideas.
People are frustrated by your great potential, but you love your unconventional life.
You're a heartbreaker. People get attached to you, and then you're gone.

Your strength: Your thirst for adventure

Your weakness: Not taking time for slow pleasures

Your power color: Hot pink

Your power symbol: Figure eight

Your power month: March

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Nebula winners have been announced. Congratulations all around. It was a particularly special ceremony as Kelly Link won *two* awards, Best Short Story and Best Novelette. There was some fear she wouldn't make it to the ceremony, but you can see from this photo that she was able to get there in time after quickly finishing her spot in the latest Mary J. Blige video.

Sorry, Kelly, couldn't resist. That jacket is SWANK, baby, SWANK!

(Picture borrowed from Locus)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

This Week

Wednesday night I went with Brooke to a Japanese restaurant that opened while I was away in Japan. I was skeptical, but once I saw the menu and after I tasted the sushi, I was a believer. Good Japanese can actually be had in Youngstown. Who knew? And not only do they make sushi, but katsudon bowls and tonkatsu and lots of other stuff that became my favorite foods in Japan. I will probably keep that restaurant in business all by myself.

Friday was surprise visited by Ben Rosenbaum and family, who were en route to a relative's birthday party in Cleveland. Was nice to catch up a bit and see how big the kids have got in such a short time. Later I went out to Cancun, my favorite Mexican restaurant, with Angela and her friend Mandy. Had wonderful margaritas and afterwards went dancing at the club where George, another old grad school friend, is now DJing.

The mystery gift giver was revealed to be my editor Juliet, who was thoughtful and sweet and knew of my Totoro addiction so sent it to me to welcome me home and welcome me to Bantam. The company forgot to put her message in the box. But luckily they didn't forget the music box!

My laptop is in Texas being fixed. I probably won't have it for another week or so. All of my Miyazaki films were downloaded onto its hard drive. I'm fiending to watch them, so I am probably going to go to the store in a few minutes and throw down some cash to get my fix.

Somehow phrases like "throw down some cash" and "get my fix" and "fiending" have already started to work their way back into my vocabulary, which changed to some extent while in Japan. Whenever I taught or tutored or spoke with a Japanese friend who was learning English, I would try not to use slang or metaphorical language (unless they were at a level where they had learned a bunch already, or had spent time overseas and learned a lot of this type of language, etc.) and I noticed it happening while I was there and wondered if I would stop using these sorts of expressions in general, lose the sense of them and the playfulness and invention of talking in metaphor or slang, but apparently after only a couple of weeks immersed in English again with no one to speak Japanese with, they are returning to my vocabulary quickly. This is fine, but I do worry about losing what Japanese I learned, too. Now I stand in line at the bank and translate what the bank teller is saying to her customer into Japanese, or what Oprah is saying to her audience while I'm running at the gym. This is really strange and distancing though. I'd rather have an actual conversation partner instead of changing other people's words into Japanese without them knowing.

Some days I feel like I never left the states and that my time in Japan was a dream I had, because so many things here seem to have stayed the same. This is a terrible feeling. Hopefully it won't continue to occur very often. I know dream is just the underside of memory, or vice versa, but I prefer my time in Japan to feel like memories, not dreams.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mystery Gift

Someone has sent me the coolest Totoro and Catbus musicbox, but the packaged arrived without a note to let me know who it's from. It came from Japan, and was sent by a company called J-List, which has all the coolest Japanese imports a person could want. I know of one or two other people who use this service and am wondering if it was sent by one of them, but it may not be one of them, so if you are the mystery gift giver, email me so I can adequately shower you with love, because it's wonderful, and I love it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Welcome Back

This past weekend, I went to the Oakland Theatre in Youngstown to see my friends Brooke and Elissa, who I went to graduate school with. They are two great ladies who I missed a whole bunch while I was in Japan. The reason why we went to the Oakland Theatre was because the theatre was holding a fundraiser, and Brooke is an actress (among many other things) and often acts at the Oakland, and was compelled by the directors to be there selling raffle tickets and also to help be the sound engineer for the fundraiser show. The fundraiser show was a drag queen show. As Brooke said that night, there's really no other way to be welcomed back to Youngstown than with drag queens.

The show was quite funny. I'd seen most of the queens years ago when I lived in Youngstown, so it was both fun to see them perform again, and also a bit unnerving. Like so many other things, I've noticed that not too many things have changed here in the past two years. For a lot of people, I think the unchanging quality of this area of the states is comforting. But for me, a life without change is equal to living death, zombification. My mother and father are fond of routines. I find routines are useful only for things that need to be done on a mostly daily or weekly basis. Everything else should be changeable. In any case, the drag show *was* a lot of fun, even if there was a bit of strangeness to see the same queens I'd seen years ago still performing. At least they do good performances.

Afterwards the audience members could meet the queens in a lounge and take pictures and talk with them, etc. As much as it was a fundraiser for the theatre, it was also aimed at educating the audience about drag queens and topics related to drag queens. Elissa and I had to wait for Brooke near the lounge because she still had many duties to do before she could leave, and at one point while we were waiting, someone shouted, "Make way for the queens!" and then the queens filed out of the changing rooms through the hall where Elissa and I waited. One of them stopped mid-walk as she passed me, put her hand on my chest and said, "Oh my, where did *you* come from?" She then also said a few more sentences that are a bit too embarrassing to write here, mostly about how sexy she found me, so I will leave that to your imagination. Drag queens are notoriously sharp-witted, and this particular queen definitely had the gift of flirting, though it was *really* forward. So forward, in fact, that I literally wilted at her comments about me and most likely turned red and laughed with embarrassment because I didn't know what to say back.

This is the real dilemma. Two years ago, I would have had a snappy comeback that would have made that drag queen take two steps back, both impressed and weary, but now I find myself hiding my mouth with my hand and giggling because I'm so embarrassed. Somehow my inner diva has been replaced with a delicate Japanese flower. My worry: how will I flourish in this brash American soil?!

And though brash as it was, it *was* a fitting welcome back to not just Youngstown, but America. I mean, really! Foul-mouthed drag queens! You don't run across that in Japan very often.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Two Good Things

Today I heard Neko Case's album "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood" for the first time and had an immediate sense of calm and centering, like a cone of light had switched on and seperated me from the hustle and bustle of the store I was standing in. And Neko's music is something you can't get anywhere but here in the states, so this was good to hear and be reminded of things here I love too.

The second good thing of the day was reading the first issue of the new literary journal, A Public Space, which has a new story by the lovely Kelly Link in it, and also a section of interviews with Japanese writers and translators talking about America and Japan, comparing and contrasting. The interviews were so insightful. Go read this journal! It's wonderful! And it was nice to have some reading material that bridged my two homes.

I'm still really behind with emails, though. Sorry!