When Floridians wander around in winter coats at 34 degrees, all I can do is laugh and laugh.

We are back in Iowa, and we had a good time. Disney could benefit from selling packs of Mickey epsom salts after a day in the parks, but they haven’t caught on yet. We spent a great deal of last night scooping, and yes, soon, we’ll have that privilege again, as we’ve just gotten another two inches.

Is it karma for laughing at Floridians? Always a question.

As I mentioned, we had a good time. It’s always nice to remember that there is more to life than work and writing.

Back soon. I have a party to plan.


Mahabharata: The End of the Pandavas

The Mahabharata ends with the Hindu focus on impermanence and continuity. After the battle, the Pandavas are a little shell-shocked by all the pointless destruction, and they and Draupadi decide they have to leave the world.

Ghandari, whose sons have been destroyed in the battle, curses Krishna to endure her fate of being unable to stop a battle in spite of his power. Krishna accepts this fate as fair, given that he instigated most of the martial activity, and it comes to fruition in 36 years.

The Pandavas climb Himalaya. A dog follows them. One by one, everyone but Yudhisthira falls on the mountain. The dog turns out to be the god Yama in disguise. He takes Yudhisthira to the underworld. The Pandavas will be reunited in heaven once they have done penance for their vices.

And that’s pretty much the end of the epic. It’s a much darker poem than its counterpart, the Ramayana, and focuses on the darker side of human nature.


A Good Cause and A Couple of Books

I know there are a lot of worthy causes right now, especially with the economy as problematic as it is. Here, however, is D’argo’s case, and if you are an animal lover, please help if you can.


As you can see from the currently reading graphic, I’m enjoying Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind, the zen journal of Maureen O’Halloran. It reminds me to be patient, which as we all know is my biggest struggle. Solid reading for creative and spiritual types alike.


Last night, the book group discussed Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Are any of you familiar with it? Romance isn’t usually a read for our group, and we wondered about the conventions of writing this kind of romance. Our thoughts seemed to be that this book had a plot that existed mostly to knit sexual threats together. Is this the case with your usual “bodice ripper?” (Is that term even used anymore?)

Another question we had is whether or not, among romance writers, what something like Outlander might be labeled. I understand there are different terms, and we weren’t aware of the conventions.

Diana Gabaldon seems to be doing very well. What is the reputation of the Outlander series? Why is it so popular?

I thought I’d ask the people who knew.


I have the gift of time this morning. I’m going to check on some classes and write a couple of recommendation letters before disappearing to write. Stay safe out there!


How Things Turn Out

Hmmm…looks like we’ve got another growth surge on our hands, and we have to split part of the only unsplit level of the program. I feel more interviews and scrambling in the offing.

However, today hasn’t all been work. A former student came back to visit. Okay, Leah wasn’t actually ever my student, but she ran the anime club I sponsored for a long time. She was Bryon’s student, and she took a few Japanese lessons from me. Essentially I’ve known about her antics since she was around sixteen.

A year and a half ago, she went off to art school in sunny Florida, and she came back today, loving what she’s doing. She glowed. I loved talking to her and sharing her enthusiasm.

I think we feel really good when we realize that we’ve influenced someone in a good way. I’m not responsible for Leah going to design school, but I’ve sat through a lot of uncertainty as she’s tried to figure out her niche. I’ve always wanted her to live up to her potential, and I’m as proud as any parent now that she is.

Never underestimate the human factor in helping you get to where you want to go.


Starting tomorrow at noon, I’m going on a writing bender. Lots of two-hour blocks of writing punctuated by brain unscrambling breaks. Looking forward to it.

Are you all ready for the holiday yet? I think we’re going to get WEATHER. If it keeps me from getting to Mickey, I’ll be unhappy.


Christmas Part 1

Today is all about our gaming group’s Christmas party. I made experimental cookies. It was much neater when Mr. Food created them on tv, but my effect is more or less the same, although I had to hose down the kitchen. I’ve also got chili, oyster stew, scalloped corn, and sandwiches ready to go.

Bryon and I had our gift exchange this morning, as we’ll be away on the day next week. He bought me a beautiful Mouse Guard statue, as well as the role playing book, which has some new art from creator David Petersen. Also appreciated were Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, a more authentic Man from U.N.C.L.E. soundtrack, and candies that will be rationed so Weight Watcher girl can actually have them.

Back to prepping. Tomorrow will be the visit to the in-laws and an old friend. Monday is my last full day at work until next year. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday there should be a lot of writing, and Thursday night we take off for Disney, at which point I’ll be quiet for a number of days.

Hope you’re all having great weekends out there.


Built for Distance, Not Speed

And then, the right side of my face slid off. Like a mudslide. Honestly.

I have an interviewee coming today, and a few lit finals trickling in, so I’m here. Don’t expect much, because. Later, Bryon and I have party errands to run, although I have bought my computer in case there is time and nothing changes.

I’m sure this is the Widow banging on my skull.

I hope you all have lovely, pain free days.


ETA: On the plus side, I wonder if this means I’m going to get good publishing news? I always get the best news when I’m physically disabled about stories.

My Winter Pep Talk

During the first week of October, a bunch of writers I didn’t know and I got together with a bunch of pro writers who thought we could amount to something in the publishing world of SF/F. These nice people gathered us all together and fired us all up. They gave us the ability to believe in ourselves and yawp barbarically. And we went home, and we were pretty fired up. And we thought our real estate had gone up.

Then, we settled back into our usual lives. We worked and wore ourselves out. We nursed sick children. We allowed ourselves to get distracted. Even though we had more faith in ourselves, and were more fired up about our writing, we discovered that the worlds we returned to were more or less the same as the ones we left. We had to keep working in them. I think most of us are still writing, and some of us have had some strong success. However, it’s hard to keep believing, because writers are crazy like that.

I don’t mean to be disparaging. I’m still writing, as are many of you, whether you went to the workshop or not. But it’s a hard old slog alone, isn’t it?

Some of you are blessed with other artists you stay in touch with, who fire you up about your work, and make you excited to do it. Others of you, like me, are kind of isolated out there doing your thing. It tends to cool your yawp down considerably.

I like having an audience. I like having critique. I also make the choice to write rather than do a face-to-face group, because my time is slim. I know that if I need help, I can contact any number of people for it.

What I miss is that fire in my belly. Being around others who are really fired up about their writing, and are good at it. Hanging out with writers of kind of the same level. Knowing that someone wants my work.

It must be similar for many writers out there. All the computing helps, but I guess what I need is revival.

I’ll see some of my writer friends in May at Wiscon, and others in July at Readercon. What do I do in the mean time?

How do you guys keep yourselves excited, rather than disparaged, as you work your way to super stardom? Because depression and discouragement both aren’t sexy.

Maybe we need to have some sort of midwinter writer get together? I’ll think on it.


Make It Work

Bryon gave me Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style as an early present, and it’s a great book. It’s also a book that isn’t about writing that really is about writing. For example, from page 16

“Make it work!” is an enormously useful expression. I remember the first time I used it. It was roughly six years ago in one of my classes at Parsons. I find that often students who struggle with an assignment are inclined to abandon the struggle and begin again. This practice unnerves me, because it’s like playing roulette with one’s work. What assurance does one have that the next spin of the wheel will be successful? Important learning occurs when a struggle is examined and analyzed, diagnosed, and a prescription offered. Ergo, make it work. I believe that we all benefit from the make-it-work practice.

I can see the implications for writing.

You rock my world, Tim.