Month:

March, 2007

  • Bus lines ridden : 3 (86,5,92, plus the subte)
  • Number of empanadas eaten: 16 (6 fried, 10 baked)
  • Museums visited: 2 (de los ninyos, MNBA, plus the Centro Cultural Borges)
  • Goya paintings observed: 8
  • Of the eight, number that were from his dark period: 6
  • Parks strolled through: 3 (Dorrego, Ernesto-Guevara-formerly-Ramon-Falcon, Recoleta)
  • Days it has rained: 6
  • Fiction words written: 0
  • Ice cream flavors eaten: 15 (unless I miss my count, which is possible, there could have been more)
  • Loads of laundry done: 4 (2 myself, and two at the laundry place)
  • Real estate offices I stop in front of to browse listings: all of them

These represent, where applicable, family totals. I discovered long ago that my RSS formatting hacks up at accent marks, so you’ll forgive the absence of those and of enyes, I hope.

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Did I mention I was leaving? Unlikely updates for a while. But I’ll take pictures and send postcards. Smoochies. Bye!

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20 Mar 2007, by

Random Thought

Maybe if I thought of revisions as translations I wouldn’t hate them so much.

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The Year’s Best Science Fiction Twenty-third Annual Collection (Year’s Best Science Fiction) edited by Gardner Dozois. (3) [anthology, specfic]. I checked this out of the library. Technically didn’t finish the James Patrick Kelly novella that was the closer for this volume. Ehhh, I count it read, and book was due. I continue to enjoy every Paolo Bacigalupi story I encounter. I’m going to give myself a pass on reading any more Stephen Baxter, as what he writes is obviously not for me. Hated every second of the Harry Turtledove story, despite it being well-written and having moments, so I’m officially swearing off him as well. The Vonda McIntyre story “Little Faces” got completely inside my head. Unexpectedly, got tons more out of Bear’s story “Two Dreams on Trains” on a second reading, and I guess I’d done some kind of good parts transformation on “La Malcontenta” because it wasn’t quite like I remembered it. Still liked both. Was deeply uncomfortable with some of the characterizations of Africa and Africans in the “Clockwork Atom Bomb” because it seemed to play into lots of preconceived notions of racism, specifically how hopelessly backward Africans are, as though this “backwardness” had risen up in a vaccuum and were a character trait instead of a result of European imperialism. I’m pretty sure I felt that way because of how closely this story followed my reading of the genocide book. I didn’t think the author played fair with one of the African characters (or the reader) either, giving him lines that were painfully naive, and later having him say “Aha! but I’m a physicist!”. Finished on 02/19/07.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters. (4) [novel, YA]. Loaned to me by Sarah. Trying to get through the pile of loaner books. This was a good book, solid, deftly exploring the delicate topic of transgenderism. I imagine there’s a paucity of such books, especially aimed at teens, which explains why this gutsy, angsty narrative was nominated for the National Book Award. While easy to read and written from the POV of a very sympathetic character, I still found the writing itself to be sub-par. There were distracting author tics, and what I often hear called the “sentence level” work could have been better. I note this because while she tackles important and relevant issues that will interest teens, I don’t feel that kids should have a quality of material to read lesser than that available to adults. Finished on 02/23/07.

The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell. (5) [novel, childrens]. Given to me by Beverly, from yoga. Sweet little story of a man who builds himself a family from available materials: mermaids, wild animals and foundlings. Finished on 02/25/07.

The Sharing Knife Volume One: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold. (6) [novel, specfic, romance]. Given to me by Peter, who was too disgusted with it to finish it. Love Lois McMaster Bujold. Girl runs away from home and falls into a group of mysterious “Lakewalkers”, a formerly noble, ruling class who now patrols the land, getting rid of supernatural beasties. Delightful to read. Can’t say this is my favorite book of hers, though, not by a long shot. This seems like fluffier fluff than the rest of her books. Maybe I’m biased against romance? Finished on 02/27/07.

Squat by Taylor Field. (7) [novel]. Nabbed this book from my brother’s stack because the back cover sounded interesting. Pretty standard conversion story of a homeless OCD guy scraping by in New York. Had some moments, but the beauty of the story was defeated at almost every turn by the awfulness of the prose. My mental editor would not shut up. Finished on 03/08/07.

Additionally, quite a bit of online reading:

  1. a whole heaping stack of the flash contest stories on Escape Pod (I didn’t read all 321, but I did read something like 60 or so, and several of them more than once). Some real gems there, and I’ll be sure to link them when they show up on the podcast, as most of my favorites will.
  2. just finished going over the 2006 Nebula short story nominees (links to online versions here). Man, seriously underwhelmed. Afraid to read the novellas and novelettes for further disappointments (though I know at least the Vonda McIntyre story rocks).
  3. the Cat Rambo and Jeff Vandermeer collaboration “The Surgeon’s Tale” from Subterranean online. Overall thumbs up on the story, deep and resonant and well-constructed. Better than all the Nebula nominees combined.

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Strawberries and Sophia.

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Right. So I realize I vanished for a long time (I use the metric of whether my brother in law asks me if I’m ever going to blog again to know whether it’s been a long time. This past weekend, he asked). But the crocuses are back, and the woodpecker too (even though the city cut down the tree he lived in last year and I thought I might not see him again) so why not me too? I have returned!

As of yesterday, I sold my first story. No kidding. It’s “The Way Before”, going to Escape Pod, which is a dream market for me because a – I love it and b – I think audio stories are the bomb and c – it has a wider listenership than F&SF has subscribers. Thousands of people could hear my story. Ha! And here’s the thing : I completely was not expecting it, because my story didn’t make it to the finals in the Contest. Now, all along Steve (editor) had said “top three get special prizes plus standard contracts to whichever other ones I like,” but I had just kind of assumed those would be culled from the other finalists. So imagine my surprise when he announced which stories he was going to buy (an additional nine, besides the winners) and my story was on the list. I thought it must be a typo, then found the email with the story contract in my inbox. Vertigo, shouting and dancing ensued in quick succession.

I’m going to be published, though probably not promptly. About six months, I think. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when my story is available for download. With any luck, it’ll be read by someone who doesn’t stumble over the pseudo-Quechua names.

Not only am I going to audio, I have three other things out in markets. I rock. Not as much as I could, as there should be way more stuff out trying to find homes, but still. Nolove from Fantasy magazine on “Stranger’s Child” so I sent it elsewhere, and turned around “Another Boot” on Flashquake’s rejection (the classic rejection for me: this story is about too many things at once). Though I’m sure they didn’t peg it as a Garden of Eden story. Those serial numbers well filed. “Hindsight” still out, too, and I’m going to trunk it when it gets 10 rejections. It’s done well for me as a thing I can stand to have rejected, but I’m not sure it’s really publishable.

So other than the obvious giddy inducing first sale, writing lately is a little…spotty. I seem to be beginning things just fine, but I don’t seem to be able to finish anything. So because I’m a listmaker, here’s a list of the things I’m currently working on. There’s a meme I’ve seen a lot of places lately that has writers posting the first lines of their published things, or their works in progress, or their unfinished things, or whatever. so I’m going to use the first line meme as a frame for my list. First lines is one of the things I’m terrible at, but working hard on, so this is good work for me in more ways than one. In fact, highly verbal and unselfconscious me totally shut down at Viable Paradise during the opening line exercise. I wrote them, but they were all so bad I refused to read them aloud. Which, you know, is not like me at all. But I’m working on it. Here are some fruits of my work, though you’d be wise to watch for worms and rot.

  • the glass ghost story, untitled, “Daisy stood as close to the tank as she could, watching the shark.” Here is the counterexample to my bad opening lines claim. I’m completely happy with that line: it sets tone, foreshadows, tells you about the world, and suggests the menace I want. I don’t think I can get much more work out of an opening line. I don’t know how hooky it is, which is my biggest weakness, but it’s about as hooky as I can come up with at this competence level. The only thing I’m not sure on is the protag’s name, but that’s just a placeholder.
  • the margins story, also untitled and which has two opening lines at the moment. 1 – “Millie was the sort of girl no one usually addressed.” or 2 – “Millie sat in her corner of the library, reading her book, knowing it would be up to her to observe when it was time to leave, because neither her classmates nor her teacher would notice her absence.” 1 is backstory, too much like telling and having an obvious narrator. 2 is clunky. Neither matters until I get this written to the end, of course, but they’re both pretty terrible as is.
  • This one might be called “Tattoo Code”, or it might be called something else, “‘Share with me,’ the man behind the counter said, when he saw the Mardi Gras colors shifting over my skin.” Does some good work but isn’t hooky enough.
  • the moving backward hard to plot one, no title,”Time is a luxury, they say. I miss my wine cellar, the fit of tailored clothing, and sailing. Those were the extravagances I sought before, and would gladly indulge in again, were I able.” Yech, there’s nice resonance with the luxuries there but I’m not sure I can afford to start with a cliche. Does a saying qualify as cliche? I don’t know, but this opening line doesn’t work as a standalone (I had to add the second line) and it’s certainly not hooky.
  • untitled, nursing home one, “‘What really counts is people.'” Not all that hooky, but it’s dialog, so I think I’m allowed some leeway.
  • Provisionally titled “The Genocide Hotel”, “Josh stood in the lobby with his tablet tucked under his arm and the guest card gripped tightly in his right hand”. Needs work, I believe.

These are only things I’ve started in the past few weeks, of course, not counting the reams of other unfinished things from the past two years. I’d like to get back to finishing things, and not just starting them.

In other news, my new favorite song is Gogol Bordellos “Not A Crime”, though I still love their “Start Wearing Purple” too.

iTunes says I was listening to Not A Crime from the album Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike by Gogol Bordello when I posted this. I have it rated 4 stars.

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