Dream of the Dolphin
a.k.a.
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore

Free Story!

Thursday, February 28, 2002
 

Oops, I did it again...

For all those who've read Jory's Song, there was an interesting article posted on Julie Czerneda's newsgroup today.

I swear, I thought I was making this stuff up.


( 8:32 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, February 25, 2002
 
You know what I hate? Fevers. Especially when you can't take tylenol without risking liver damage. Especially when you haven't been feeling so hot for... oh... six months now. Especially when they hit 100.

Why can't I just be healthy for a change?

(/whine)


( 11:07 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Abandon All Hope...

This is Sarah Jane Elliott, broadcasting live from computer hell.

Thank god for my internet access at work (which I technically shouldn't be using to update my blog). So for those of you keeping score, here's how things stand:

My new computer arrived Friday, but of course I had to wait until Sunday to get it because my parents were driving my brother home from Newmarket and thus would have a car in the city, and there was no way in hell I was going to try lugging a computer all the way home.

Simon came over Sunday at 2 to help hook up the new drive.

Bessie, sensing danger, kicked into self-preservation mode. The monitor died and refused to work ever again.

Adrian lent us a spare monitor, which turned out to be really blurry, and we started backing things up.

Simon, sick of the monitor, took us out to buy a new one. We ended up at College and Spadina before we found some decent computer stores, and by that time, everything had closed for the day (5pm).

Got back, tried to upload the backup to online storage, only to find that Bessie wouldn't be parted with it.

Tried to ICQ it to Adrian, with less than spectacular results.

Several hours later, Adrian finally managed to get Bessie registered on the household network, and the backup file was put into storage. The new computer was hooked up and turned on.

Nothing happened.

Several hours and disassemblings later, we figured out it would help if the monitor was turned on.

The drive hadn't been formatted, and I lost the printer disks, meaning I can't hook Gunter into the new computer and probably have to buy a new printer along with the monitor (which I SO cannot afford), and the RAM is ridiculously small, meaning I have to go out with Simon later and buy stuff for him to install (this is how I handle computer issues -- buy stuff and hand it over to my sib).

We tried to get the backup off the network, only to find that the network isn't registering on the new computer. In fact, the network drivers aren't registering at all. Meaning more dissasembling required, and my sib had to go home to work on a project. So all the connections were transferred back to Bessie and the new computer set aside. By this time, it was 1 am.

So, to sum up, I'm still stuck on Bessie, only now she's even slower, my monitor is blurry, my printer won't work, I have to spend a crapload of money I DON'T have, and we're not sure at the moment whether we'll actually be able to hook the new computer up to the Internet, assuming it'll run fast enough to begin with.

Some days, I really regret getting out of bed.


( 10:20 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Thursday, February 21, 2002
 

And finally, thanks Ellen

Got a very nice rejection from Ellen Datlow today:

"Thank you for sending me "To Soothe the Savage Beast" for SCI FICTION. I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you -- my reader gave the story a positive reading and just passed it on to me.

It's a nicely told fantasy but I'm afraid that it isn't something I can use for our site. Good luck selling it elsewhere and I look forward to your next story."

And Sarah jumps up and down because she's finally making it past the readers...


( 1:08 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

And thanks Sealach

Assignment of the month over at HL.com is to write a story in which two characters with an unlikely romantic history find themselves trapped in a room together (the example given was Hannibal Lecter and Scarlett O'Hara).

Now, there's a character in the Fionaverse (my urban fantasies tend to be linked by a Goth/Wicca/Gatekeeper named Fiona, who likes to wander in and out of the background) who ended up becoming a mentor to Fiona. She runs a new-age bookstore in Toronto and seems perfectly normal (except that, save her white hair, no one has any idea how old she is), but occasionally she comes out with something to indicate she has a LOT more power than anyone ever expected. But she remains largely an enigma to Fiona. And she remains an enigma to me. She's one of those really REAL characters who rise up off the page and start writing themselves, but she steadfastly refuses to tell me much about herself.

And then I started thinking about what to write for that assignment, and BOOM! There's Sheila (who's actually called Sealach (shaaay-luh), but doesn't use that name because she got sick of people calling her See-latch).

Here's a bit:

********************************************

Sheila groaned and pressed a hand to her head. One of the disadvantages of making a cure for headaches is forgetting what a pain in the ass they can be. Wincing, she looked around. The shop was gone. The books, shelves, crystals, and candles were gone. The adorable Goth couple was gone. Fiona was gone. All that remained were six featureless white walls.

Which probably means that I'm the one who's gone. She sighed and ran a hand over the creases in her broomstick skirt. Not a problem. I've dealt with worse.

Humming quietly to herself, she skimmed off a little of her power, reached out for the shop, and tugged... and felt herself turning red when nothing happened. Her brow furrowed a little, and this time pulling up about half her power, she performed that special twist that had once moved mountains and caused the sea to rise up from its bed...

And still nothing.

All right then, walls. You asked for it.

Abandoning all restraint, she pulled everything she had, everything she was, and let the room have it.

When the smoke cleared, half the walls had been scorched a cracked and crystallized black, but she was still stuck in the room.

Huh. She scratched her nose, absently flicking a lock of white hair out of her eyes. This is going to be a long night.

"By the crack of the Hell Shadowed Mountain! I never thought to see you again in this plane of existence."

If fingernails scraping down a blackboard could have found a way to make themselves loud and booming, they might have sounded something like that all-too-familiar voice. Supressing a shudder, Sheila turned slowly. "Granthxx."

The creature standing at the other end of the room scratched itself with a tentacle, dislodging a small spray of mucous from the obsidian scales it covered. "Sealach." He eyed her speculatively. "Your nipples have decreased in mass." A fourth and fifth eye popped open. "And number."

This is going to be a very long night.



( 12:33 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, February 20, 2002
 

Thanks, Sheila

A certain blog prompted me to go play with online tests, and here's what I got:


BLUE



You give your love and friendship unconditionaly. You enjoy long, thoughful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.




Find out your color at Stvlive.com!




Of the 52,674 people who'd taken the quiz at the time, 12,235 got blue like me. Not too sure about the philosophy (YOU try living with a vocal poli-sci major and see how fast it kills any desire for philosophical conversation), but the rest sounds about right.


( 1:54 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, February 19, 2002
 

Oh, give me a BREAK!

If I ever doubted the existence of something larger out there, that doubt is put to rest by months like this. I just wish the Universe would give me a break already.

It has not been a good couple of weeks, and today I not only reached the snapping point, I vaulted right past it.

Let me backtrack. I've not quite hit rock bottom, thanks to a wonderful bunch of people who went out of their way to say or do things that kept me from falling too far (thank you Tami, Sheila, and Simon), but I'm down there. I keep looking for the good things to cling to, but it's hard, so I'm going to organize. So first the bad stuff.

  • Jory's Song didn't win an Asimov Award. I plan on going to the ICFA anyway, but that is complicated by --
  • Work. My boss, the one I need to consult for the three days off (wed to friday) for the ICFA, is away on vacation until March 11 (ironically enough, in Florida). There's no way in hell I can wait that long to buy tickets, so I went ahead and bought them anyway (good thing -- there were only 8 seats left on the flight). But when I went to the house manager and told him that I needed three days off starting March 20, his exact words were "well that's no f***ing good." I answer phones and do project work. The phones do not ring that often. There's not that much project work to do. I know they're perfectly capable of getting along without me for three days because when I returned after my 2-week mono absence, the response was "oh, we were fine, don't you worry", and I was only working 3-hour days for a couple months after that. So, what this boils down to, is my job may be in danger over this, because I can't afford to let the $700 tickets go to waste.
  • More work. My other boss (my second job of three) sent me an e-mail today. I've been so stressed out these past couple weeks that I completely forgot I was supposed to work for an hour yesterday. I also screwed up one of the trials and left on lights I shouldn't have. She says she's concerned that I seem discontented with my job, and wants to address it. THAT was what pushed me completely over the edge today.
  • Physical stuff. This is where the universe gets cute. I've been cut, lacerated, drenched, hit with projectile pretty much everything, and struck by alternating narcolepsy and insomnia, in what appear to be extremely unlikely accidents (the worst was getting hit by the squirrel that fell from the sky).
  • The Things That Shall Not Be Mentioned. Three very Big Bad Things happening to me and two people I care about that I can't talk about to anyone, which is driving me absolutely crazy, as I'm the kind of person who needs to share EVERYTHING.
  • Solitude. The people I care about most in the world I never get to see anymore, and e-mail goes only so far.
  • Money sucks. So far this month, one paycheque goes to rent, the other goes to my loan payments, and the residual I usually have is going to the $350 it takes to replace my orthotics (which is actually a bargain -- they usually cost $550). Fridge scrounging for meals for over a week does not do good things for the self-esteem.


Okay, so that's the worst of the bad stuff off my chest. So now, to counter that, here's the good stuff.
  • Tami, Sheila, and Simon. They were there with an unprompted word, gesture, or hug when I really needed it, and I know I can count on them to make me laugh. Each of them has snapped me out of at least one really bad spell over the past two weeks.
  • More work -- apparently the dissatisfaction my boss noticed was just my funk from the rest of my life bleeding over into that job, she understands that I was having a bad day yesterday and doesn't hold it against me, and she's happy I'm not upset with the job.
  • Jory's Song did make it to the final 15, but it "didn't ring enough bells with enough judges to make the final cut". I still stand by it as the best short story I've written yet.
  • The Tensors have been absolutely wonderful, and I AM going back to the ICFA. The tickets arrived today, everyone wants me there, Lena's rooming with me, and I finally get to meet Sheila, which is pretty darn cool.
  • Ad Astra -- was a lot of fun, and Julie Czerneda thinks I'm talented and professional. Tami made it, so I got to see her for the first time since Christmas, and she gave me one of the aforementioned gestures that I'm clinging to when it gets really bad.
  • ROM -- I got my ROM security ID so now I can look all official and play X-files with it, not to mention all the places I can get into free with a guest because of it, the Gallery is getting a snake, and Amanda has promised to take me down to the live room to see the animals and talk to the herpetologists about taking one of the bigger constrictors into the gallery.
  • Jen gave me a season and a half of Farscape I haven't seen yet.
  • Mark is giving me a computer I can use to watch the aforementioned Farscape.
  • My grant money is covering ICFA.
  • I found the MIsts of Avalon Soundtrack, which is one of the most inspirational writing CDs yet and it has kicked Elysium into overdrive.
  • I went back to the podiatrist today, and didn't have anyone like Dr. Patronizing or Dr. Obvious -- I actually had a Dr. Really Nice and Cares About How You're Doing And Isn't Trying To Sell You The Most Expensive Orthotic Or The Big Ugly Expensive Shoes, which actually saved me several hundred dollars.


So that's it. Looking at it, it seems that most stuff cancels each other out -- if it weren't for the Big Bad Three, I'd be in pretty much a balanced state. I wonder if this means I have a Big Good Three coming my way... (Hey, getting Jory published would be a step up from the Asimov Award. Universe? Are you listening?)



( 11:00 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, February 15, 2002
 

Huh...

So far, everyone who's read it has told me that Jory's Song is superior to To Soothe the Savage Beast, which won the Asimov Award last year.

Now I'm dying to read the stories that did place.

Still clinging to hope, but I AM going to the ICFA no matter what happens (got my tickets already), and that certain Floridian writer has promised to appear at the proposed Tensor reading, which is just cool. :o)


( 11:49 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

And yet more insomnia goodies...

Major spoilers ahead, so for those of you who haven't read Jory's Song and want to be surprised, do NOT read this blog entry.





Edgar and Judy






For the folks who've read Jory's Song -- Ellena's library does and does not exist. The Rat Man does and does not exist. I got the idea for the story when I was walking down Huron to the library and heard the high, clear sound of a flute coming from nowhere. When I got closer, I realized it was coming from a man beside the library. I don't think the flute was bone or the man was Native -- making Joe what he is came later and made the story. He wasn't originally Native.

Things I know that are not and never will be in the story: The City is actually called Hamlin, but nobody calls it anymore. It was built slowly, one building at a time, over the streets of an existing city, but it is not actually Toronto, for all that certain buildings are common to both. The City just is. It could be anywhere. They pulled a lot of artistic types in from countries that were going through an artistic renaissance at the time, so a large portion of the population came from Germany, which is where Ellena lived, and met and married David, who was from the City. (Yes, I did it to transplant the fairy tale, so Ellena's origin was intentional. So was the assignment of a German Jewish name to Ellena, though I didn't know it at the time.) They wanted the city to be a beacon of purity and culture, populated by the best artists in the world.

So there. Now you have the inside scoop. :o)


( 1:14 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Can't sleep...

So I went surfing, and hey, look at that, 8 out of 11 people find my Amazon.com Shockball review helpful. Only Harriet Klausner has more votes, and only 7 of 13 liked hers. Next highest is something like 1 of 4. Yay me. At least I do good reviews.

Oh and look at that, people who bought this book also bought stuff by Julie Czerneda. Why does that not surprise me? (Until I got Calculating God, those were the only two SF writers on my shelf)

( 12:41 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

And the universe gives me a break

The universe has stopped kicking me in the kidneys long enough to do something nice. Tami's CD is working again.

I've been considering the pros and cons of going to the ICFA if I don't win the Asimov Award. On the one hand, it'd be hard as hell. Coming back when you've won and moved on is one thing, but coming back when you entered but didn't win is another. Especially when you won the year before with a story you consider inferior. It's like, instead of the returning graduate, I'd be the one who flunked out. It would be really hard on me. Last year I got to introduce myself as one of the Asimov winners, but what would I do this year? Right, almost nobody would know I entered and lost if I didn't say anything, but Rick and Sheila and the Tensors would. Which is enough to bother me.

But then again, I had fun last year, and not just because of the award. So there's that. And I miss the Tensors terribly. There's another thing. And I have my Lightner grant (and new monitors aren't that expensive, so I could probably afford both...).

I proposed to the Tensors doing a Tensor reading. Only the grand prize winner gets to read her story (and Beth, who's back as an attending author), but I thought, what if the other attending Tensors scheduled a time and place (informally, e.g. by the pool after lunch) to get together, invite whoever felt like coming, to read some of our work to each other? It might be fun. And I wonder if I could convince a certain Floridian writer to show up for it....

I'm holding off on any concrete decisions until I find out one way or another what's happening. But since the other winners have found out already, my hopes are not high. Stranger things have happened (and the universe seems to like to hold off on stuff like this until I'm at the jumping-off-the-roof point).

And if I don't win, I intend to workshop Jory's Song for two weeks and then start it on the submission circuit.

And watch more Farscape. Nothing to fight depression like good stories, deep characters, and Ben Browder in leather....


( 12:16 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Thursday, February 14, 2002
 

Always look on the bright side..

Is something I try to live by, but sometimes it's damn hard to find the bright side.

Lena won the Asimov Award and first runner up, and the second runner up has already been notified. This happened yesterday. With every day that passes, it bodes worse and worse for Jory's Song. I'm not giving up hope until I get the rejection, but it's really, really hard to keep going.

Add that to the day I've had today -- my Valentine's plans got cancelled, I got drenched in the lab and had to walk home dripping in sub-zero weather, and when I went to listen to Tami's amazing song she wrote about me, I discovered that somehow the CD's become all garbled and digitized -- and saying that I'm sad is an understatement.

So I'm settling in with my ice-cream, chocolate, and Farscape tapes. I'd say at least it can't get worse, but that's what I said just before the hose turned on me in the lab and soaked me. (sigh)


Oh....

And here's something creepy for those who've read Jory's Song: The idiot who's running for Premier of Ontario just said he wants to make being homeless illegal, and hire special constables to arrest anyone who won't go to a shelter. (shudders)


( 8:05 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, February 12, 2002
 

FARSCAPE!!!

Okay, so Rick hasn't called, and I found out that Lena's also climbing walls and ceilings with anxiety (hey, waiting for a call turns you into spider-people!), and I'm about ready to start throwing things (possibly me) into walls...

BUT....

Anime Jen is giving me the FIRST THREE SEASONS of Farscape on VCD!!!!! YAY!!!!! If Emily's computer will play them, I'll actually have something to keep me distracted while I wait for the IAA response!

Yes, I admit, I'm a Scapeaholic. But it's the best show EVER!!!! And I've been waiting over a YEAR to see what happens after Look at the Princess!!!

FAAAAARSCAAAAPE! (bouncing away) FarscapeFarscapeFarscapeFarscapeFarscapeFarscape...


( 12:30 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, February 11, 2002
 

Wonder Zone Retrieval

It's getting swamped on the discussion board, so for the curious (or those who, like me, think it's a brilliant idea), here is my post on Tales from the Wonder Zone. Talk to your kids' schools and try to get this on the curriculum if you, like me, agree that this is such a brilliant idea.


( 11:51 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sunday, February 10, 2002
 

The Best Gifts

Are from the heart.

This post comes separately from Ad Astra because it must. Today, Tami gave me a CD. It's rough, recorded in her basement studio immediately after the song was written. It's a song about me. And it makes me weep every time I hear it.

It really is one of the most incredible gifts I've ever received. It's beautiful, a little bittersweet, and I'm going to cherish this thing forever.


( 10:18 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Ad Astra Report

So today was the last day of Ad Astra, and man, was it a fun weekend.

No, the ICFA did not prepare me for Ad Astra. But it wasn't what I expected either. The only real image of cons I had was Galaxy Quest, but this was nothing like that. I was amazed by how friendly everyone was. Apparently Ad Astra is different that way. I had a really, really great time.

Guests of Honour: The Guests of Honour (yes, with a 'u' -- we're Canadian) were all Canadians this year. Guy Gavriel Kay, Julie Czerneda, John Howe, and Ted Nasmith. John was nice enough to sign my Tolkien books on his way out to his flight, but when he actually had time, he'd draw sketches in the books he was signing.

Julie: Julie was amazing. She's one of the nicest and most supportive authors I've met yet, and she's hilarious! I hung out at a lot of her panels/readings because she has this amazing ability to set you at ease. Plus she thinks the way I do -- she had her start in Biology, like me. (FYI -- Huido's head is a scallop, and scallops flee in terror...but cutely). She signed a bunch of stuff for me -- and she knows who I am. They include "For Sarah -- Good luck with Asimov's!", "To Sarah -- Yeah Farscape!", "To Sarah, The Talented!", and "To Sarah, who could be Emily's fridge". I mean, the woman is just nice. And then there's Tales from the Wonder Zone.

Julie, to fight declining scientific literacy, took the Science curricula for grades 4, 5, and 6 (apparently 7 and 8 are coming if the first three do well) and took topics (e.g. Weather, Biodiversity, Pulleys and Gears, Energy, etc.) from each. Then she gave them to pro writers (though she makes an effort to include one unpublished writer in each anthology) and asked them to write stories about the topics, collected them into anthologies, and then wrote teachers references which include notes on the stories, Language Arts and Science notes and activities, and notes on the integration of the two subjects. How cool is that? It was damn near impossible to get my teachers to let me do SF&F books for ISU's, and here's Julie working them into the curriculum! You can check it out in the links to the left.

Farscape rocks!: Was one of Julie's panels. To say that Julie likes Farscape is like saying the sun is kinda hot. Julie was one of the people responsible for getting it back to Canada, and she's a bigger groupie than I am, if that's at all possible. But the neat thing that came up was how many authors were in the room who adored the series (Josepha Sherman crashed the panel, she loves it so much). We noticed that most of the pro authors love two shows: Buffy and Farscape. Why?

1. They feature continuous storylines. Every episode counts, so you can't watch them out of sequence.

2. The characters are REAL PEOPLE who grow and change. They don't act the same way in Season Two as they did in Season One. The series' creators remain in control of every episode that airs, so they keep this grounded and consistent. Things that happen have an effect on their lives.

3. The shows have a sense of humour.

4. They have the ability to make you fall down laughing and bawl your eyes out in the same ten minutes.

It's nice to be with people who think like you (and Jen is giving me the first three seasons on CD! Yay!)

Jason Taniguchi: To whom I apologize profusely if I got the name wrong -- I can't find my program book at the moment (also very cool -- front cover done by John Howe, back by Ted Nasmith). He does a one man show -- warm-up was Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of George Lucas, and the feature presentation was Lord of the Rings (featuring much of the same bits as SWE2 ) -- which was one of the funniest things I've seen in ages! I can't wait for next year.

Ego Boosting: Julie kept introducing me as a talented writer , and when I talked to Josepha Sherman about credentials in cover letters, she told me that the Asimov Award was a great one (which is wonderful, as it's currently my only one). And then there was my panel....

My Panel: For those of you who didn't hear the long and incomprehensible description of my panel, suffice it to say I showed up at the door with no idea what we were going to be talking about. But my co-panelists (Ed Covannon, Rob Sawyer, and Mark Dawson) were amazing and set me right at ease (they teased me a lot, but no one on this panel was safe from each other). They made an effort to involve me. Rob actually made the audience applaud me cause it was my first panel (ooh, man, did I ever blush). The whole thing was really relaxed and fun. What we ended up talking about was not just SF fandom, but about the strange corellations between intense fans, autism, and intelligence (inspired by an article in Wired), which was pretty cool and I pulled a LOT from my behaviour seminars last year.

And my fans were amazing. The topic somehow got turned to my experience with my fans, and I blushed and admitted that I hadn't had anything published, so I didn't have fans, whereupon there came a shout of "yes you do!" and cheering from the audience, and Tami, Simon, Emily, and Ariella started waving. Rob said "oh, there you go, see," and I turned several shades of red, but felt a lot better. I love you guys!

Mark told me I was a great panelist (Tami confirmed, and said lovely things like "you sounded so intelligent holding your own against those think-tank guys (Mark & Ed)") and Rob and Ed were similarly congratulatory, which sort of dispelled the last of the inhibitions. I sincerely hope that Russell asks me back last year (you can bet I'm e-mailing him), because now that I know what goes on and the jitters are dispelled, I'll actually be able to look forward to it!

And who knows -- maybe next year I'll have a publishing contract and be able to read something! I did overhear Russell talking about how he wanted to change it from three panelists an hour to two panelists an hour and add a second hour of readings -- taking it from 15 readings to 20. You never know!

I do want to go back though. It was such a wonderful, welcoming feeling, and I heard quite a few American fen (see, con lingo!) talking about how nice Canadian authors and fen are. I think part of the reason is that Ad Astra is entirely fan-run (and one of the biggest of its kind), so they're not out for profit. They're there to celebrate the stuff they love.

I am SO going back!


( 9:33 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, February 08, 2002
 

Two for Two

The other surprise I winged off into the mail last week arrived at its destination today.

It did exactly what it was supposed to do to the person receiving it, and in return, I got an e-mail that made me cry. In a good way.

All said and done, it's been a very good day.


( 1:17 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Thursday, February 07, 2002
 

Ya Gotta Give A Little

Had a nice e-mail waiting for me when I got home. Tami received her package of the StarDoc books today.

So I can finally talk about it. Tami's been under the weather lately -- really under the weather -- so I decided to send her copies of StarDoc, Beyond Varallan, Endurance, and Shockball, because they cheered me up when I was really sick. And it worked. They cheered her right up. I just can't wait to hear her reaction when she's well enough to read them.

It's funny -- I did something nice for her, and I'm the one who feels better. Random acts of kindness really do benefit the people on both ends.

Now if only Rick would call so he could feel better too...


( 10:01 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Deja Vu All Over Again...

Whoa!

Just turned on the TV, which happened to be tuned to TVO, and it was right smack in the middle of one of the Discovery Gallery videos! It was really weird to hear Julian talking about wasp larvae and NOT be sitting on a touch-table...


( 9:56 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Expansinations

Was reading Jenny's blog today, and she thinks of directing the way I think of writing. It's not a question of if. It's a question of when. It's something we both want badly enough that there is no room in our minds for "what if it doesn't happen?" When you want something this badly, it will. Eventually.

I've started a new blog keeping track of what's active and out there for submission. There's not much in it right now (my nerves are absolutely shot from hoping for an Asimov call -- I'm not sure how much longer my heart can take jumping like that), but I hope to change that. Things are really strange in my life right now, and clinging to the good things and the messages of hope that have come to me in the past few months (one person in particular had a disproportionately large role in that, and I still can't express enough how much her kindness means to me) is all that keeps me going some days.

Getting published would go a LOOOOOONG way toward permantly fixing my head above water. So I'm just gonna have to finish this book and do it. Period.


( 12:04 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, February 06, 2002
 

Come to think of it...

I think that's also the reason I love Farscape so much. Because the writers/actors/etc. actually care about the characters and strive to make them real, even in these bizarre situations, and the characters change in response to things that happen, rather than remaining static and two-dimensional.

Plus, Pilot rocks.


( 11:56 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

The thing about Buffy...

and why I like it so much, is that it's a continuous storyline.

It's not like many kids shows, where the episodes come in neat little pre-packaged bundles where the heroes fight the monster-of-the-week and never age or change in any way. The characters in Buffy change, and grow, and actually remember and talk about what happened to them (i.e. when a character gets written out, dies, etc., they don't seem to vanish from everyone's memory and do get referred to occasionally). They deal with things that other shows won't touch (you should have heard me and Becca cheering when Joss mowed down the censors and had Willow and Tara kiss onscreen for the first time) and take great care to give the characters human reactions. I love the characters, and became attached to the series for reasons similar to those I had for falling in love with books by Emma Bull, S.L. Viehl, Sharon Shinn, or Tanya Huff. They star people. Not cutouts. People.

The down side to this is you can't watch the shows out of order, and have four-and-a-half seasons to watch before you can understand why the characters act the way they do. Way back in season one, they were all cheerful and happy, and much revolved around the core of Willow likes Xander, Xander likes Buffy, Buffy likes Angel but can't quite get the knack of saving the world while keeping her grades up and trying to keep her Mom from finding out she fights the legions of Hell at night.

Cool characters left -- still miss Oz and Giles. Evil characters became good (or at least no longer homicidal psychopaths) and good characters went bad. Major s*** happened, and this season is a lot darker because of it. The producers admitted that season five is the dark, serious, coming to terms with being an adult season. Buffy went through losing her mother (an episode that had me and Becca in wracking sobs) and dying herself, then getting yanked out of heaven where she was truly happy (but as Joss said, you don't get resurrected and not be affected by it -- that's just cheating), and then got abandoned by the person who had come to be her surrogate father when she needed him the most. So yeah, she's depressed. But I'd be really disappointed in the writers if she wasn't. And it's not many shows that like to admit that sometimes life sucks, but that's the way it is.

And Joss Whedon is still the only person I know who pulled off a musical episode that a) made sense, and b) actually advanced the plot. You have to admire a guy for that.



( 11:52 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

He put the lime in the coconut..

So I had my big podiatrist appointment today (yes, my life is one non-stop thrill ride). I had to get my orthodics replaced -- I should have done it 2 years ago, but I can't stand Dr. Patronizing, and it took me a while to muster up interest to get a referral. So I waited an hour to see this doctor (I showed up right on time for my appointment, and after about 10 minutes, I was informed that I'm fat and flatfooted.

So Dr. Obvious set up an appointment for me with the podorthic guys, and he wants me to get some Big Ugly Shoes to go with the orthodics. This makes me wary. Orthodics already cost as much as one month worth of rent, and they helped me where years of Big Ugly Shoes didn't. Add that to the fact that the front of the clinic looks like a shoe store, and I get the sneaking suspicion he just wants to sell me some Big Ugly Shoes. Big Ugly Expensive Shoes.

And in completely unrelated news, I took an online IQ test today and scored 155. Not sure how accurate that is -- online tests usually range between 150 and 170 for me, depending on which I take, though there was one big long pattern recognition test on which I scored 179. Still, if they are in the ball park, it's nice to have it confirmed that I'm not supid.

Just wish I could have taught that to Dr. Patronizing.


( 8:37 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, February 05, 2002
 

The best thing about days like today

Is that they end. And tomorrow is another day.... (cue swelling music)


( 11:31 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Survey Says...

Took one of those online personality tests, and came up with the following:

The Idealist Portrait


All Idealists (NFs) share the following core characteristics:

  • Idealists are enthusiastic, they trust their intuition, yearn for romance, seek their true self, prize meaningful relationships, and dream of attaining wisdom.
  • Idealists pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic.
  • Idealists tend to be giving, trusting, spiritual, and they are focused on personal journeys and human potentials.
  • Idealists make intense mates, nurturing parents, and inspirational leaders.

Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self--always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey. Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials.

Idealists are rare, making up no more than 8 to 10 percent of the population. But their ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers.


Now, with the possible exception of the drive to work with people (I need a job where I can work with people but have my alone time, too), it's pretty darn accurate. Cool.

Take the test yourself.



( 12:37 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

All I Wanna Do Is Dream...

Apparently.

Last night the mono hit again. I crashed for about four hours after dinner, woke up, smoothed the creases out of the book upon which I'd fallen asleep, pottered around, wrote some e-mails, blogged, got a snack, went back to bed.

This morning, I slept through my alarm. This does not happen to me. I'm usually the world's lightest sleeper. But apparently Wallace hollered about walkies (yes, I have a Wallace & Gromit talking alarm clock) for 5 minutes before he gave up and went back to sleep too. My boss called at 10:30 to find out what was wrong. I started crying when I hung up the phone, I was that tired. Not upset. Just too tired to be rational. I figure, barring the interruption, I got about 12 hours of sleep last night. Aargh. First insomnia, now narcolepsy. (sigh)


( 12:19 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet...

That's me. Except for the lover part. Put in a "romantic" instead, and it's dead on.

I'm going insane. I want to go back to Florida so bad it hurts, but like most of the Tensors, I wouldn't really feel justified going to the ICFA if I don't win an Asimov Award this year (why, I don't know, since we did win last year... shrug...). So I REALLY want Rick to call. He didn't today. You should see me hit the roof every time the phone rings long distance.

So I've settled in with my Yogi tea (raspberry and ginger, with honey) and my 10th Kindgdom soundtrack to see if I can't get anything done on Elysium. I can't figure out if I want the big bathroom scene to be this summer or next, so I'm just going to have to write and find out.

The Zen of Elysium: I was walking with my sib yesterday coming back from the video store, and got sucked into the Inca craft place. (Literally, I think there's some kind of space warp thingy going on there). Wandered around for a bit, until I saw this amazing wind chime. The top is a dream-catcher with a sun/moon disk in the centre, and the chimes themselves are made of wood rather than metal, which give them a really pretty African wood-block (the name will come to me eventually) type sound. The dangly bit is another dream catcher.

Now, what with all the Pikiri mystic stuff Mari got into in my head the other night, the wind chime came as a sign. And it was only $16! So, of course, I bought it. And I know I'm gonig to have to incorporate it into the story somewhere.

My kingdom for a cookie: Ever get those really weird cravings at all odd hours? I would kill for a cookie right now. A really nice, chocolatey or peanut butter cookie. Or maybe one of the nice applesauce ones I used to make. I could go to the store, but it's 15 below, and I just can't seem to work up the guts. I really need to start baking.

Sharing: Self-doubt is a terrible thing. I love Elysium. I think it may be the best thing I've written. Yet I keep getting these nagging moments of "what the heck do I think I'm doing" with it, because unlike every other novel I've written, I'm keeping this one mostly to myself. I want certain people to be surprised for a change. But I miss what I had with Kichani. There was a core group with whom I shared Kichani, as I finished each chapter. I'd sit up through the night with Alexandra talking about it. She knows pretty much everything that's going to happen throughout the series. It was wonderful to have someone with whom I could share my characters. They were like real people to both of us, and we could talk about them as if they were. But I don't have that with Elysium, because nobody (with one exception, and she hasn't had time to read what I sent her) has seen it. Nobody knows about Mari, or Gavin, or Cecy. With Kichani, I knew I was doing something right, because people kept threatening me with bodily harm when I wasn't producing the next chapter fast enough. But I don't have that with Elysium. I'm writing in a void for the first time, and it's scary.

Sometimes growing up is hard. But I think, I hope, that it's going to be worth it.


( 12:41 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, February 04, 2002
 

Darn...

Sheila, you caught me. :o)


( 1:52 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sunday, February 03, 2002
 

I Put A Spell On You...

Last night, I didn't get to sleep until 5am. Why, you ask? Because my stupid muse wouldn't leave me alone.

I rented Mists of Avalon last night (a very good movie I'm buying on DVD as soon as I have a) Time, and b) Money), and it triggered something. I tend to write to sounds or images a lot. It's not so much that the story incorporates it, as it acts as a key to unlock something that was hidden from me.

I've always thought it kind of funny that Elysium, though it started with a Fairy Tale, was the least "Fantastic" of all my fantasy works. If you were to take it out of my invented world (difficult to do, but not quite impossible) and re-set it in Medieval Europe, it would read almost like a historical fiction. There wasn't any actual magic in it.

Well, that all changed last night. Something about one particular scene in that movie, the combined image/sound unlocked something, and out poured this profoundly moving, powerful spiritual moment Mari has during her trial to become a Wisewoman. And every time I tried to go to sleep, another aspect of the scene would pop into my head and demand to be written down. I ended up settling in bed with my notebook and pen and scribbling notes and scraps of dialogue, and when I went back over it this morning, I was pleasantly surprised. It's not even really "magic", so much as an element of unexplainable wonder, which adds so much to the story without cheapening the harshness of Mari's reality.

It's still the same Elysium. But there's a spiritual, wonderful element to it that had been hidden before.

Now, the REALLY weird thing is that the handwriting doesn't look like mine...


( 9:06 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Saturday, February 02, 2002
 

And I thought I had problems...

Just fininshed reading the sheath cleaning almost-rant in Jenny's Blog and nearly hurt something laughing. Now THERE's something that'd make all the little girls out there stop asking for a pony...


( 12:55 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, February 01, 2002
 

Doro-THYYY!

So, first we had snow. Then we had freezing rain. Then we had wind. Lots and lots of wind.

It got up to 90 km/h at around 1:30 today, which happened to be the point at which I was heading to the lab. It was like being in the Wizard of Oz. I was thrown into snowbanks twice by the wind, and watched as a guy on a bicycle crossed the road -- sideways -- in front of me past the poor woman clinging to a tree. That was about the point I started watching for flying Munchkins. Then alarms started going off at Robarts, which was when the wind decided to get cute and fling debris at pedestrians. I got nailed in the face by a volley of projectile salt and showed up at the lab with blood streaking my cheek (and just when I'd gotten rid of the exploding-bottle scratch, too). Turns out all of it came from this dinky little scratch beneath the hair around my temple -- my face just ended up with several nasty-looking welts -- but I was understandably cautious walking home. The wind had died down (it's at about 54 now), but it looked like a disaster zone. There were branches and debris everywhere. One of the trees in the planters on Bloor Street had actually been ripped out by the roots.

Winter's back, and it's pissed.


( 7:28 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

I have just learned that the object of my unrequited affections (who I was sure would come round eventually, as we have so much in common it's actually scary, but as yet isn't really aware that I'm alive as we've only ever met at big parties) is moving to the States to do his Ph.D. work. Dammit.

Universe, you owe me big for this one.


( 1:24 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sarah Jane Elliott
The often frustrating progress of my life and writing...

(Once known as "The Mystic's Dream", now known as "Dream of the Dolphin", but inclined to change title depending on what's stuck in my head)

Okay, I liked "Confessions of a Post Graduate Pity Whore" a lot more than I thought I would. That line is still hilarious. But I've started writing again, so it's time to go back to before. :o)





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