Dream of the Dolphin
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore
ExpansinationsMy head is seriously messed up.
I expansinate. A lot. But what a lot of people don't realize is that, though my stories (which come out of my expansinations) tend to be happy and light, and my nature as a rule is sunshine and roses, there's a lot of twisted shit up here too. Expansinations aren't always good. Sometimes, when you expansinate (i.e. allow your imagination to get the best of you), it can scare the crap out of you.
My sibling and I watched Donnie Darko tonight, and all I could think was that rabbit is the sort of thing I see in my head when expansinations go bad. Most of the time, when one of my characters has a really twisted vision dream (like the thing eating the child's hand in Kichani), it's a vision from one of my nightmares. Frank the rabbit is the kind of thing I expect to see late at night when I'm alone. Like now, coming down to the basement to type this, I expected to see Frank when I turned the corner into Dad's office. And I can't look at the sliding glass doors to the deck when I go upstairs, because I expect to see Frank standing there, just outside the doors, illuminated by the light from the house, waiting. Not trying to get in or anything. Just standing there. Patiently. Waiting.
Just goes to show you, some people go deeper than you think.
Tell Me All Your Thoughts On Godor
Godkey Varland, Canadian PatriotMy sibling and I got to talking about the whole God in the pledge of allegiance debate that's going on in the states right now. I have to admit that some people's reactions surprised me. Some people use it as a forum for completely unrelated topics (like the rather poisonous gay-bashing that someone posted as a comment in Sheila's blog), some people get really worked up, and some people... well, surprise me.
Thomas often thinks the same way I do. My simple Canadian quasi-pagan view of the whole thing is that the line between church and state is getting a little blurred. Public schools are there so that anyone, not just Christians, can get an education, ne? The way it appears to me, including God in the Pledge of Allegiance implies that only one religion is "the right one". IIRC, the bit about God was put in during the McCarthy era to separate America from the "godless communists", which is, I think, inappropriate today. And outdated. Not everybody is Christian anymore. What it says to me is that "the US is Christian, but you can live here too if you want." Which may or may not be what it feels like to Americans, I wouldn't know. I'm not American.
We used to say the Lord's Prayer in school. I remember how odd it was picking it up, because my parents didn't really take me to church. I went with Mum and Donna occasionally, but Mum stopped taking me when the sunday school leaders gave out fruit roll-ups to the kids who knew the answers to all the questions (so of course I went without every week, since nobody actually bothered teaching the answers, which made me cry). Mum decided that if I needed religion, I could find it myself. Which I did. It's not quite Christianity, but it works for me.
Don't get me wrong, I am not atheistic, agnostic, or anti-Christian. I just have my own spiritual beliefs. Most of the Christians I know are wonderful people, too (Jenny, for example, is the kind of Christian I think God would want people to be. The kind that doesn't look down on you for not being Christian). But I get uncomfortable -- really uncomfortable -- with situations like being forced to say the Lord's Prayer in school (the moment of silent meditation that replaced it in grade three let you pray to whatever deity you worshipped -- or in my case, retreat to the little world in my head and play). I really dislike having religion forced upon me. Talk to me about your faith all you want, but don't tell me how I should practice mine. It really, really bothers me. Perhaps because I've been told I'm going to hell for all the things I hold dear and true so many times I've lost count. Being told that I'm wrong for the spirituality I've found really gets my hackles up, and I dislike the implication that someone else's idea of God is the one to whom I must answer. I believe in God. I just don't believe ONLY in God, and the God I believe in is a lot more compassionate that the God who, according to many, MANY people, will condemn me to hell for accepting the love of my gay friends, writing Fantasy, and practicing the healing touch, etc.
I've grown up near Toronto and lived here for the past five years, and Toronto is an incredibly Cosmopolitan city. I'm used to being in the minority. I'm used to seeing a new religious iconography displayed in windows depending on what neighbourhood I've wandered into. Very rarely do I see church and state getting mixed up here, whereas I see it in the US news all the time (like the stuff about removing evolution from the textbooks in Arkansas, which is a whole other rant -- don't get me started). We don't have God mentioned on our money -- we have the queen and some animals. Though the new money doesn't have animals, which pisses me off. But I digress.
Maybe it's the fact that I was raised with two official languages, which kind of tends to instill in one the idea that there is more than one right way. Religion tends to be a very personal thing. It's up to you to practice religion, not the state. I think we swear in on Bibles, but I seem to recall an alternative option available (I may be totally expansinating that though). That's one thing I don't see the point of fussing over, either. If you don't believe in God, what's the point of swearing in on a Bible? But I'm digressing again. What I meant to say is that I don't see religious issues being quite so thorny when it comes to governmental policy here in Canada. Which just leaves me scratching my head over some of the reactions I'm seeing to the pledge of allegiance debate. It's just one of those things that further emphasizes that, while we may have much in common, Canadians are NOT American.
There is a line about God in the national anthem, but honestly, I can't see much of a fuss kicked up if they decided to change it, provided it still scans. Of course, the way I learned the national anthem, it didn't have God in it anyway. I learned it by rote, and up until the seventh grade, I would always sing, proudly,
"Godkey Varland, glorious and free,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!"
I think, in this time of clashes and controversy, we should turn to Godkey Varland, that great Canadian patriot.
( 3:33 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Friday, June 28, 2002
Libera MeComing at you live from my parents' house in Newmarket, and damn am I in a Mood today.
Which is made worse by the fact I just lost a huge post because my Dad's computer sucks, and now I'm trying to retype it.
The whole trip home thing turned into a production last night, after a seemingly innocent offer from Dad of a ride home. It quickly turned into a whole bunch of ultimatums for me to be at the Ellesmere RT station at 2pm OR ELSE (I leave work at one) and got increasingly nasty from there. :::sigh:::: The ride home actually turned out to be really pleasant -- Dad and I talked, laughed at stuff on the radio, and when I tentatively asked him if we could stop somewhere for food (what with the having to get out the door to be at the RT station, I hadn't eaten all day), he blew me away by saying yes. For those of you who don't know my father, asking to stop for food on a car trip is usually the precursor of an explosive tirade, so I was quite pleased with my little Mary Brown's sandwich.
I called Tami as soon as I got in the door, who was out (I brought the end of Elysium for her -- now all I have to do is figure out how to get it to her), and went for a nap. Wouldn't you know it, they've discovered that 6 hours of sleep a night is not enough (HA! I've been saying that for years!), so I needed the sleep. When I woke up, the cat had plunked herself on my bed (fresh from her $120 grooming -- she's such a beast they had to anesthetize her), so rather than moving, I thought about stuff.
The reason I'm in such an awful mood is because of all the "but"s I've been getting.
I talked to Karin about the fish job yesterday. Dr. Gross appreciates all the work I've done, BUT the workload is getting smaller and Johnston is taking on more of it, so I probably won't be needed in a couple weeks. No more secondary source of income -- BUT they'll probably still call me if they need someone in emergiencies (like holidays).
I heard back from the children's book publisher. She loves my CV BUT she's already commissioned all the titles in this series, BUT she'll consider me next time something appropriate comes along.
Heidi from the ROM called, which had me hyperventillating (they don't call you for a rejection). When I called her back, she told me that she and Amanda had been really impressed by my interview, BUT they were giving the position to someone with more experience in the gallery (insert whimpering, soul-crushing noise). BUT she was so impressed by my interview, in particular the bits where I confessed that in moments of extreme boredom at the Cancer Society I created powerpoint presentations for incoming volunteers and a training manual for the new Bridging Tools software that is in provincial use, that she was reminded of herself when she started her small business doing data presentations for museum researchers, doctors, etc. She wants to meet with me Monday to discuss it.
Which is good, I know that. Foot-in-the-door and all that. And I DO appreciate it. But IT'S THE WRONG DOOR! The immediate disappointment is so crushing that it still really, really hurts. It was just too much "almost but not quite" letdowns too fast, leaving me drained and really depressed.
I'm applying for a job at the Huntsman Marine Research station in New Brunswick. I really don't think I'll get it, but I need a change in my life so bad right now that I need to get out of here, need to shake things up. My dad is now hanging over my shoulder complaining loudly that we need to start the movie RIGHT NOW AND I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU'RE DOING YOU CAN STOP RIGHT NOW WHY ARE YOU STILL TYPING C'MON LET'S GO,LET'S GO, so I have to cut this short.
See why moving halfway across the country is so appealing?
( 8:27 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Thursday, June 27, 2002
To Infinity... And Beyond!So I'm now taking my carreer goals up a notch.
I have just e-mailed off a resume which, if it makes the proper impression, will land me a paid gig ($600 for 1000 words) writing an educational children's book for a library series. Wish me copious amounts of luck.
I am also interviewing tomorrow for a full-time position in the Biodiversity and Discovery Galleries at the ROM. Again, wish me copious amounts of luck.
It's time for a change. I know this now. I only hope that when opportunity knocks I'm not cowering in a terrified ball behind the couch, too scared to open the door.
Life is a scary thing. It's about choices and decisions and not being afraid to jump in the deep end when you can't see the bottom. It's about finding the right people who are taking a genuine interest in your career because they actually want you to succeed (I have been fortunate enough to find not one, not two, but THREE fairly successful published authors who have taken such an interest in me). It's about trusting and believing in yourself, because if you don't nobody else will. It's about pain, and fear, and uncertainty, and taking risks in order to achieve something you love, rather than settling for something you can tolerate.
I know this. But it still scares me.
Notes to People (and random commenting on stuff in general that interests me)
( 1:15 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Monday, June 24, 2002
And a really cool blogSensei and Sensibility is the journal of a young woman teaching ESL in Japan. She hasn't updated since May, though there appears to be some activity, but it's really neat to go poke around her pictures (she's an excellent photographer) and archives (she can also write). If she starts updating again, she's going in my links.
( 11:39 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Irritants and IlluminationSo I started off the day annoyed. As usual.
Part of it was the fact that I didn't get much sleep (hot, and the windows were closed, plus with the copious amounts of water I drank to stay hydrated, I was up every two hours to pee). Part of it was the REALLY condescending note Nick left before buggering off to camp for the summer -- telling me and Emily to work out our finacial things (we did, and he still owes me $70 for the cable), telling us it'd be nice to have the house clean before the landlords come home (I keep telling him I can't clean the kitchen until we have a new mop, and it's mostly his mess anyway -- I'M the neat one). Grrr.... All I can say is Zeeky boogy doog! But I digress.
Work wasn't much good for making me feel better, but the museum was. I had some great kids in, who were genuinely interested in things. There was also a bunch of teeny/tweeny girls who irritated me -- they came in going "eew, poor beaver! eeew, poor fox! Eeeew! Snake! Eeeeww! My God! You touched it! Eeew! Eeeewww! EEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWW!", and then they leaned over the glass wall clearly labelled "please do not touch" so they could pat the wolf. Wherepon I pounced and told them they should wash their hands as soon as possible, because everything PLACED BEHIND GLASS hasn't been treated to remove the extremely toxic preservative chemicals from the taxidermy. Which, of course, led to another round of EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!! :::sigh::: I'm all for socializing, but you'd think people in a museum would come to use their brains, and there was clearly an abundance of space between these girls' ears. The stuff is behind glass for a reason! ::whack!:: I would have despaired had it not been for the girl visiting from Florida who took a look at the photo strip above the skeleton touch table and asked "where's the horseshoe crab?" and proceeded to figure things out for herself (she's the first person I've had in months who knew that the deer skull was a female without needing a prompt). Which just goes to show that for all the vapid twits in the world, there are still some wonderful, bright kids.
And then there was my lost kid. We all get the training at orientation on what to do if we find a lost kid, but this was the first time I'd actually had one. He was older (11 or 12) so he wasn't panicking, but he'd been separated from his Mum and Grandma and couldn't find his way back to the elevator by the dinosaur gallery where they had arranged to meet. I'd always thought I'd be a little freaked by having to deal with a lost kid (rule 1 -- you're on your own with the kid, because the fewer people who get involved, the better it is for the kid). But I was totally calm. It may be because I didn't realize he was lost at first -- he asked me how to get out, I started telling him, and he interrupted with a "can you show me?" It was the look in his eyes that got me. He was scared, and trying not to show it. So I walked him back to the dinosaur gallery, bantering all the way about how we still get lost sometimes, and it's a big museum, and getting all the information out of him that I could. We made it back to the dinosaur gallery, and he insisted he was fine and told me I should go. But still no mum or grandma, and he started calling for his mom. So I calmly walked over to the girl manning Discovery (our sister gallery) and asked her to keep a surreptitious eye on him. Whereupon he found Grandma, and everything was fine. But it was an interesting experience -- I was totally calm the whole time. Granted, it wasn't the biggest of deals, but it proved to me that I can handle myself in a crisis. Which is a really great feeling. It's one of my proudest accomplishments -- and yet another indication that I could stand to work as a Facilitator at the ROM.
So I got home without much incident, and settled down to treat my foot (yes, still going in for cryosurgery, only now I have aftercare -- it's been almost 7 months). As the aftercare requires fifteen minutes of sitting with my feet in the bathtub, I finally broke down and picked up the J. Michael Straczynski Screenwriting book to while away the time. Only to be completely and utterly blown away. This bit, in particular, got to me:
"So this book is geared toward a certain kind of writer, the type best described by Mignon McLaughlin when she said, "Anyone can write. The trouble with writers is that they can't do anything else."
Which is not to say that writers are incapable of doing anything else, like changing tires or extracting troublesome molars. It's just that writing is the only thing they can do for an extended period of time without chewing on the furniture or checking in for therapy. It makes them happy. It fills a need, whether that need is a longing for self-expression or a quest for immortality through the written word.
Dilettantes, curiosity seekers and literary sightseers are encouraged to apply elsewhere. I am of the personal belief that there is something unique about writers that prepares them from birth and propels them throughout their lives toward this most remarkable of professions. Most of these writers are unstoppable. Throw as many obstacles in their way as you like, and still they persevere toward their goal, aften with nothing more than a vague idea of what that goal might be. Nothing, not even the most severe rejection, can impede the progress of such a writer."
And that's it. The first two paragraphs are exactly what is wrong with my life right now. I can't stop writing, and when I do anything else (like reception) for too long, I actually get to the point where I feel that the job is a trap that I would gnaw my own leg off to escape. The only thing that makes me really content is writing. And that last paragraph gives me hope. I've been through a lot. I've been told a lot. And I haven't backed down yet.
Nor do I intend to.
( 11:18 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Sunday, June 23, 2002
Baubles, bangles, and BeadsAnybody into beading and jewelry-making might want to check out Tami's e-bay auction.
( 10:54 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Aloha!It's hot. Reeeeeally hot. It's hot enough to boil a monkey's bum, Yer Majesty.
It's times like this that we throw our dignity to the winds in order to survive. I figured out in second year university that I could wear tank tops, which are now my choice of summer attire. But I've taken to tucking the bottom of the tank top into my bra, adopting a kind of pudgy island girl look (which is even more complete if I'm wearing one of my wrap skirts). Not in polite company of course -- I won't be caught dead in it outside of my room. I'm not exactly obese, but there's a reason my stomach never sees the light of day. I know, I know, how very image-conscious of me. And I wouldn't think twice about it if I was just a little smaller (there was a time when I would actually have worn a bikini if I had anywhere to wear it), but I stick out just a bit too much right now to be comfortable.
And I don't know if it's the heat or the fact that they're annoying, but I'm REALLY irritated with my roommates right now. Not so much Adrian, but he and Nick are wandering around (shirtless, usually) on the second floor. Now, our house is three stories. The first floor is relatively cool, despite the fact that we're living without A/C. The second floor is still comfortable. No problems there. The third floor (where me and Emily live) is hot. There are also skylights in the roof, which turn the third floor into a kind of greenhouse/terraruim. So Emily and I throw open the windows in our rooms, Stephen's empty room (which has now been unofficially commandeered as my library), and the hall, turn on the fans, and drink lots of water.
Nick has been coming upstairs and closing the windows every time we're not looking.
Okay, so we played this game in the winter -- he'd turn off the heater in the bathroom (which he used only for the shower), I'd turn it on (I used it for everything). That I could understand, with utility bills and such. I get that. But WHY IS HE CLOSING THE WINDOWS? Second floor, yes, the windows should be closed since it's hotter outsite than in, but it's hotter on the third floor than it is outside! We bake without a draft!
The only reason I can think of is that the air circulating on the third floor might blow warmer air down to the second floor, but there's a reason I'm a biologist and not a physicist. So help me out, readers. Is there a reason I'm just not seeing for closing all the third floor windows, or is he just concerned with his own comfort?
( 7:35 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
A Strange and Wonderful DayToday was a good, good day.
The night was actually a strange one -- I was just drifting off around 3 am when two raccoons started fighting outside. Now, if you've never heard raccoons fighting before, they sound like babies screaming. So I'm lying there in the dark, listening to this, eyes wide, adrenaline racing through my system. Not a restful night.
So I was not impressed when I woke up early. But I hauled myself out of bed and went down to the Eaton Centre to meet with Wen, Mindy, Mark, Nathan, Ross, Dan, and Karina for lunch. Which was so much fun! I'm really thankful that I get to meet all these authors in person, because not only does it bring them down to earth for me, it reminds me that they're people, like me, so there's no reason I can't be one of them. And Mindy is almost as good at schmoozing as Lena is.
So then we went to Bakka (though I forgot that most people aren't accustomed to trekking across the city as a matter of course -- sorry Wen!) for the reading/signing, and when we got there, Julie gave me a big hug. Which was just cool -- I LOVE knowing people! I feel so -- networked. I managed to pick up Shannon's birthday present too, added bonus, and got a ridiculous number of books signed (10, amongst three authors). Hurrah!
So after much schmoozing and carrying on, Ruth, Dan, Nathan, Lara and I went to Timmies and talked for a ridiculous amount of time. I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time. After living with what happened in high school, it was wonderful to discover that there are people like me out there. I am SO happy that everything has happened the way it has, because I never would have met these wonderful people otherwise. Nathan and I went out for dinner to Ginger (mmm.... springrolls.....) and ran into a mob when we left.
Turkey won, as anyone with ears would have discovered earlier tonight. We saw the motorcade of Turkish soccer fans (ie fans of Turkish soccer) when we left Timmies, but when Nathan and I left Ginger, they were back (it's the Turks again!). Marching in a mob down the street. With flags. And torches.
I felt a sudden overwhelming pity for the characters in my books who are standing on the field watching the invading army advance toward them. They were funneled down Yonge Street, there was no way to avoid them, so we ran to keep ahead of them, get across the street, and into Shoppers Drug Mart before the mob reached us. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life yet. But cool, in an odd sort of way.
But I think the best part of tonight was discovering in Timmies that people really want to read my book.
I know I should know better. I've had enough feedback, including stuff from a certain fairy godmother who doesn't pull her punches and never says what she doesn't mean, that I can write. But it's a lot easier to believe the negative than the positive, and the shadow of Grandpa still hangs over me. But there is definite interest there, from people who have no reason to cushion my feelings. I still have these moments of astounding self-doubt, but they're getting fewer and far between. And Nathan said some things in Ginger that were so sweet they almost made me cry. People believe in me. It's a wonderful feeling.
And now I'm for bed, before I pass out over the keys.
( 1:14 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Good OmensSo, I posted the last entry at work on Friday. Well, when I got home, there were two things waiting for me. One was an e-mail from a very famous author, letting me know she'd recommended me as a possible writer for one of a series of educational books. The other was from the Discovery Gallery, asking me to come in for an interview on Thursday at 3.
I'm taking it as a sign.
( 12:47 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Friday, June 21, 2002
Dear God, get me out of hereI've had enough. I can't do this anymore. Somebody save me from reception! ("Somebody save me, someone take me AWAY from this awful place!!!")
I'm still working PT (26 hours/week). I get no sick days or vacation, so I'm at this every day with no break. I paid a LOT, I'm not debating that, but a lot at half the normal working hours is only about average. I'm not making enough to get by. I've buckled down and paid my bills, and my account is in the red. WAY into the red. I'm in trouble. I'm gonna be on KD and ramen noodles for the next couple weeks. Thank God for overdraft (and next week's pay).
But more than that, my spirit is being slowly trampled. I was just saying to Ahmed, this is why we need to find jobs that we love. We spend so much time at them, give up so much for them, that if it's not what we love doing, we're in big big trouble.
I realized this today as I was listening to Sarah Brightman's "Winter in July" and realized I was crying. This is not what I want out of my life. And I know I'm just starting out, but I can't do this for another year. Because if I do it for another year, that's going to turn into one more year, and one more year, and before you know it I'll be too old to turn back.
And as much as it pisses people off (and violates copyright), here's the song that set me off so badly:
Winter in July
Lyrics: Loretta Heywood
Look around, wonder why
We can live a life that’s never satisfied.
Lonely hearts, troubled minds
Looking for a way that we can never find.
Many roads are ahead of us
With choices to be made.
But life's just one of the games we play.
There is no special way.
Make the best of what's given you
Everything will come in time
Why deny yourself
Don't just let life pass you by
Like winter in July.
Future dreams can never last
When you find yourself still living in the past.
Keep moving on to higher ground
Looking for the way you thought could not be found.
We may not know the reason why
We're born into this world
Where a man only lives to die
His story left untold.
Make the best of what's given you
Everything will come in time
Why deny yourself
Don't just let life pass you by
Like winter in July
( 10:21 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Thursday, June 20, 2002
Keeping HouseDinking with my template again. I'm thinking of changing that plummy sidebar colour to some shade of blue. I wish I could get some nice dolphin graphics somewhere, but knowing me, I'd either render my blog completely unloadable to anyone without a sentient supercomputer, or dink up my template entirely with no hope of going back without purging the whole thing.
So I've added some links. Ooh, see the lovely links?
Yes, I'm aware there are a lot of books under "I am reading." Truthfully, I'm only reading Screenplay (yes, still. It's a wonderful book, but I'm a fiction girl through-and-through, nonfiction is hard for me) and Vincalis at the moment. The other three I picked up at Bakka and zoomed through in about four days.
I love Wen and Julie's writing. They have the same appeal that Sheila does -- really well-crafted SF that doesn't take itself too seriously. There's a wink at the reader (though in Julie's case the winking is fast and furious enough to create gale-force winds) that really brings the book down to earth and makes it accessible. And they don't neglect story or characters to focus on tech.
Mindy's book was wonderful too, but it's Fantasy, so didn't belong in the above paragraph. :o) Though she's frustrating the hell out of me. It's just that she's frustrating me the same way I'm going to be frustrating people with Elysium, so I don't really have cause to complain.
And now I'm sitting here arranging lunch plans for Wen and Mindy on Saturday, when they're doing their signing. Just a casual lunch with two of my favourite authors. It's another one of those "whoa, is this my life?" moments. As lives go, there are worse to be had. :o)
( 10:35 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Why I really like the preceeding sceneI love that scene. Yeah, it's really dark underneath the love between the two of them, but it's one of those revelation scenes about a character. Pre-Allison, Fiona was an extremely bitter person. She dressed way more goth, she was sarcastic to the point of nastiness sometimes, and she never, ever let anyone close to her. I had no idea why she had all this bitterness and rage until I wrote this scene and it came out. Fiona is one of the strongest gatekeepers practicing, and her other powers are extremely strong too. After this scene, I understood her. Fiona may have to do (and probably has done) some awful things in order to keep life as we know it from falling apart. She's regularly forced to choose the lesser of two evils, even if it breaks her heart. Because nobody else can. And until Allison, she had no one to ease that burden, no one with whom she could share that pain. And then along came Allison. Fiona's joy at Alli's innocence and gentleness begin to break through the white-faced mask she has painted on herself, and the true Fiona emerges.
Yet another reason why I love my Fiona/Alli moments.
( 2:21 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Not that there's anything wrong with that!The subject of homosexuality has come up eerily often in the various facets of my life, which makes me really glad for this little soapbox I have. And now I'm building myself a wee flame-retardant shield, because I know what I'm about to say is going to piss somebody off (there's very little you can say about this subject that doesn't piss somebody off). If this is the sort of thing that offends you, you should probably stop reading.
One of the newsgroups on which the subject is being discussed has delved into the area of social environment versus genetics. And if there's one thing we learned in behaviour, it's that there's no such thing as nature versus nurture. It's not like a light switch, either-or. It's like a dimmer switch. Social environment influences gender identity and sexual preference. So does genetics. It's just a question of how much of each does the defining, and it's not a question that can be easily answered. (We struggled with it for a year, and the best we could come up with is "it's complicated")
What some of the people in the debate are pressing is that people have a choice in whether or not they're gay, often coupled with "the gay people I know were sexually molested, so now they're gay." Okay. But there are a lot of straight people out there who were sexually molested too, and they're still straight. This annoys me almost as much as the "there was this pedophile, and he was gay" argument about why homosexuality is bad. There are a lot of straight pedophiles, too. But I digress.
In my experience, anyway, everyone I know who is "not straight" (and I'm encompassing BROAD territory there), didn't have a choice. They were what they were. The choice they made was to stop living a lie. Okay, there are one or two people I know who may perhaps have "decided" they were gay, but I think there's as much discovery there as decision. "My friend had girlfriends for years, and couldn't stay with any of them, so he decided he was gay." Maybe your friend couldn't keep the girlfriends because he knew something was wrong, but couldn't figure out what. With everyone I know, there was a lot of pain emerging from that closet, because very few people can completly accept it. Even those otherwise open-minded people can become uncomfortable when someone very close to them comes out. But ultimately, the people I know are much happier that they're not living a lie anymore, despite the hell some of them are being put through. If you go against your gender identity or sexual preference because you think "it's the right thing to do", you're never going to be happy.
It's possible that certain people can be "made" gay if they were molested. Certain people can be made blind by poking their eyes out with a stick. Others are born that way. The brain is a weird and complicated thing we don't really understand yet. People who are legally blind can still identify dots in their blind spots with blindsight. There are some strange twisty pathways up there, and sometimes people are just wired differently. If someone who was born male tells me "I've been like this all my life, I just know I'm a woman attracted to women", I believe them. After all, I've only ever held hands with guys before, and I know I'm a straight female. I find lesbian relationships as cute as hetero ones, but girls don't do anything for me.
I've been mistaken for gay or bi a lot. I'm not. I'm just not offended at all by that sort of thing. I think the thing that best sums up my opinion on the matter is a quote from Hamish Macbeth. They asked the minister what his opinion on an unmarried couple living together was, and his answer stuck with me.
"God is love. So where there is love, there is God."
Yeah, I'm in my happy fluffy kitten world again. But I really do think true love in any form should be cherished.
Here's a bit from one of my stories that proves that (and ironically, one of those bits that makes people think I'm gay). Fiona has been unashamedly gay all her life (and a witch, not that either has anything to do with the other). Allison is bi, but didn't realize that until she met Fiona. They're talking about how the world isn't always the happy fuzzy place we want it to be. I'll climb off my soapbox now and let you read it.
Allison watched the long coppery coils flow through Fiona's fingers as she brushed. Her own thoughts were so tangled and knotted; she wished Fiona could work the same magic on her mind as she did on her hair.
"But I thought that if your intentions are pure, magic doesn't hurt you."
Fiona stared at her, incredulous. Then she laughed, tossed the brush aside, and jumped onto the bed.
"That's what I love about you," she purred against Alli's mouth, and kissed her. "You actually think that way."
Allison scowled and pushed Fiona off. "I'm glad you find me so amusing."
"Oh, Alli, no." Fiona propped herself up on an elbow, her hair cascading over her shoulder to cover Allison's arm. "I want you to keep thinking that way." She traced an affectionate finger along Allison's jaw. "There's a certain power in belief."
"But you don't believe it."
It never ceased to amaze Allison how expressive Fiona's face could be when the pale base and dark eyeliner came off. She smiled down at Allison with a wistful regret. "No, kitten. I know the truth."
She lay down, resting her head against Allison's breast. "What the crystal and candle set don't want to let themselves believe is that magic isn't all sparkles and light. There's darkness, too. Both sides of the coin."
"But you don't have to use it." Allison tangled her fingers in Fiona's auburn hair.
Fiona snorted. "No, I don't have to. But I'd get dick-all done if I didn't."
Allison's hand stilled. Fiona immediately pushed herself up so she could look into Allison's eyes. "We don't have to talk about this."
"No." Allison bit her lip. "I think we do."
Fiona's eyes searched deep into hers for a moment, and she sighed. She pulled up her knees, wrapping her arms around them, and laced her fingers together. "What do you want to know?"
"Have you ever done anything bad?"
The corner of her mouth lifted. "Define 'bad'."
"Have you ever--" the words caught in Allison's throat. When she finally managed to force them out, they emerged in a choked whisper. "Have you ever hurt anybody?"
Solemn green eyes regarded her. "I try not to." Fiona sighed, pushing a copper tendril out of her eyes. "Look, there's truth in it that what goes around comes around. I can't do anything bad, not even with the best of intentions, without it sticking to me. And there's some truth that blood willingly given is way stronger than blood taken by force."
"But?" Allison could feel herself shaking.
"Sometimes there's no other way." Fiona fingered one black-painted nail. "If something was coming that would destroy half people of the city unless I sacrificed the life of a child, I'd do it. I'd hate a part of myself for the rest of my life, but I'd do it. Because if I didn't, chances are he and everyone he loved would be killed anyway. It sucks, but sometimes those of us on the fringe have to make decisions like that so that the oblivious little peons can go about their happy little lives. We do what we have to do, and hope nobody gets hurt in the process."
"God." Allison wrapped her arms around herself. "Fiona…"
"Yeah, I know." She dropped her knees and stretched. "Most of us get through the day praying that the next one won't be our problem."
"Can't you just say 'heck, no, Alli, good magic never hurts anybody'?"
Fiona laughed. "Do you want me to tell you what you want to hear, or do you want me to tell you the truth?"
Allison caught the edge of panic tightening Fiona's features. "You've never told this to anyone before, have you?"
Fiona looked away. "No. I've never loved anyone enough to let them know that part of me." Her mouth twisted. "Hell, as long as we're not pulling punches…" she paused. "I've never loved anyone. Ever. Not till you."
Allison's eyes widened. "But you--"
"Lusted, yeah." She snickered. "Man, did I do some seriously wild lusting." She sobered again. "But not loved."
Allison said nothing, and Fiona slumped back against the pillows. "Darker magic's like any weapon, Alli. Like any mega-powered, world-destroying, flesh-dissolving weapon. It can be capable of saving a lot of people or destroying them, and the people who get a hold of it tend to be homicidal lunatics most of the time because they're the only ones crazy enough to use it, but sometimes you gotta have faith in the one doing the wielding."
Allison thought about that for a while. "Would you ever hurt me to save all those people?"
Fiona rolled over on her elbow again so she could look down on Allison. The coils of Fiona's hair wrapped them in a shimmering red curtain. "Yes." She reached down and traced Allison's bottom lip with her index finger. "And I'd kill myself after. No world I save could mean anything to me if you weren't in it."
Her hand brushed across Allison's breast, making her gasp. Allison saw the flicker of amusement play across Fiona's face. Even now, through her worry and near panic as she anticipated Allison's response, Fiona was still amused by Allison's reaction to her. There was really only one thing Allison could think of to say.
"I have faith in you."
Joy and wonder flashed across Fiona's face before she laced her fingers through Allison's hair and kissed her so deeply and desperately that it left Allison wrung out and exhausted.
"Never change," Fiona murmured against her lips. "God, promise me you'll never change, Alli."
"We all change, Fiona." Allison reached up and cupped Fiona's cheek with her hand, stunned to feel the dampness of tears beneath her fingers. "But I'll never stop believing."
Fiona's mouth claimed hers once more, and they met in a tangle of limbs. By the time the night was over, Fiona had given her a thousand more reasons to keep believing.
( 9:26 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Sunday, June 16, 2002
Trapped in the Land of Stick PeopleI decided to celebrate the timely (snicker) completion of Elysium One by toddling down to the Eaton Centre to see if I could find some nice summer duds, seeing as my closet is woefully short of them.
I'm a renfaire girl. I love renaissance-type clothes. I stifled that through high school, when I still thought that fitting in was important, and tried to make myself look as much like a gap clone as I could, with underwhelming success. When I got to university I started dressing more like... well, me. But not often, because flowy materials are hard to find. Which is why this trip to the mall was so disappointing.
Not that I couldn't find anything. Hoooo, no. The "colours so loud they deafen you" trend seems to be over. I'm in LOVE with the new style! Course, it's MY style and I'm pissed off at them for ripping it off from me, but when I walked past the "in" stores, I couldn't believe it! Lots of light, flowy cotton in empire waists with big flowy sleeves (I have a HUGE sleeve fetish -- snug to the upper arm or elbow and then fountaining out in enough fabric to house a small circus, with lots of ribbons and lace.... drool....), and I adore the new belts -- the ones that tie and then have lots of dangly leather strips. So what's the problem?
They're all made for stick people.
Yup. I walked into Suzy Shier and pulled hanger upon hanger off the racks, each time falling deeper in love and thanking God for making the fashion world come to their senses. And then I started trying things on.
Mistake number two.
It was hugely depressing. The worst was this gorgeous, machine-washable (BIG plus) blue cotton thing with a drawstring neck and two rows of elastic below the empire waist. In high school, It would have looked great. But it looked like I'd tried to squeeze into an extra-small. And it was a large. A LARGE! Yeah, right, on what planet? Oh, right, Stick World. Grrr....
You'd think they couldn't screw up an empire waist. Empire waists are the haven of big girls everywhere. But no. All of the sleeves in the larges were trying to cut off my arms, and were made for women with breasts the size of kiwis. As I'm carting around the large grapefruit variety, it was, needless to say, a resounding failure. I was so frustrated I wanted to cry. It's like locking a starving man with a peanut allergy inside the Reese's factory. To be so close and yet utterly denied! Curse you, universe! Cuuuuuurse yooooooooouuuu!
The belts were tempting, but ultimately were the kind made exclusively as fashion accessories and useless for keeping one's pants up, so I'm not touching them until I find something I can wear them with.
I did manage to pick up two Gap-y shirts from Rietmans and a pair of overall shorts. And one flowy empire waisty sleevey deal from one of the teen skank stores. It doesn't QUITE fit, the sleeves aren't QUITE as flowy as I'd like, and it's pretty see through, but it was $20 and I've been looking for something to wear under my bodice, and for that, at least, it looks great. And then I was so depressed that I splurged on jewelry and bought a really nice bracelet -- beads of turquoise interspersed with rows of what look like silver ball bearings, with a big cluster on the top that looks almost like a flower, with four little sparkly blue stones in it. Course, I have no necklace to match (the one they had was $50), but it's still really pretty.
But sigh. They finally rip off my style and mass produce it, but you have to be anorexic to be able to wear the clothes.
I actually felt kinda twilight zone-y. I can tell right off if it's going to be one of THOSE stores if the music causes this need to run screaming from the store and puncture my eardrums with a big stick. But when I walk into those stores, I'm immediately surrounded by girls with chicken legs and arms that look like they should be snapping under the weight of the bags. And I'm thinking, dear God, where do all these stick people come from? Oh, there are the occasional normal sized people pretending to be stick people, which really doesn't work -- they just look like big girls wearing clothes that are too small for them. But it's eerie. It's like you've been transported to some alternate reality where there's some virus rampant that kills anyone with more than 1% body fat.
Someday I'm going to write a script for an artsy film called Welcome to Stick World, in which two normal-sized friends are transported to a world where everyone is a size 2 or smaller, and proceed to save the day in a way only big girls can, and attract the attention of all the hot guys who've never seen a woman with actual breasts before. Oh, it'll be beautiful.....
( 9:39 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
DoneElysium Book One is finished, clocking in at about 150,000 words. And I'm going to go collapse in a heap. Scuse me.
( 2:00 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Saturday, June 15, 2002
Mwa-ha-ha!Okay, I think Tami would agree:
What Type of Villain are You?
Actually, there was one question I just couldn't decide over, and when I picked the other alternative, I got this, which is not as fun, but a little more me:
What Type of Villain are You?
And now I'm really gonna go write...
( 10:54 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Whoa...Nailed, once again. Scarily, too.
find your element
And then there's this one, which actually looks kinda like me...
Take the What Type of Friend are
You? quiz, and visit mutedfaith.com.
Hookay, confession time. I've been scarce with... pretty much everyone I know recently. This blog included. There are two reasons for that. The first is Elysium. That story has me completely under its thrall, and I can't stop thinking about it long enough to make sense to anybody, so I've pretty much coccooned until it's finished.
The other reason? I'm depressed.
It happens on kind of a 6-month rotation. Usually around summer and Christmas/birthday, the two times I start really thinking about where my life is going and end up scared to death. I'm okay. I mean, I haven't been lying about the uber-perkiness of me. Case in point: yesterday I was skipping around the lab when Johnston went upstairs, singing "My Favourite Things" because I've discovered the inner Julie Andrews. But under that is a deep, aching something. Don't ask what, cause I don't know.
Times like this, I get a little manic. I can't stop, because stopping this momentum I've built gives me time to think about that underneath thing. As it's triggered at summer and Christmas, I'm pretty sure it's a fear about the future, or lack thereof. A need to figure out what I'm doing, and an inability to do so.
As I've said before, Tami knows me. I don't let it on to people, because I want to be there if they should need me, which I can't be if I'm falling to pieces. I'm supposed to be the shoulder available for crying on. I like being the shoulder people cry on. First, because I'm making the people I care about feel better (or at least not alone), and second, because it gives me some purpose, some validation. It lets me know I'm needed. At a times when the depression hits, times when I'm starting to feel that my life lacks purpose and definition and I'll be stuck answering "Good afternoon, Sarah speaking, how may I help you?" for the rest of my life, this aspect of my personality starts making a bit more sense.
This depression tends to manifest itself in anxiety and paranoia, even when logical me (i.e. Variel) knows better. I get that "everybody hates me" feeling. I'm convinced people are talking about me behind my back. That people who are outwardly nice to me are inwardly waiting for me to fall on my face. That people I look up to and count on for guidance are at best ignoring me or at worst wishing that I'd fall down a well so I'd shut up and leave them alone. Or just thinking I'm an idiot. The depression isn't an end-product of the "where is my life going" dread. It's a by-product.
And I know (or at least strongly hope) that this isn't the case. That my best friends are there if I need them. But you can't argue with raw emotion. It sucks that way.
Anyway, I'll be okay. I always am. That's the thing -- the depression never gets the best of me. I'm way too easy to please for that to happen. One good shop and I'm on cloud nine. :o) I just wanted to explain, especially to those who've sent e-mails asking if I'm okay (damn, you guys are perceptive!), why I'm scarce, and to let you know that I'll be fine. Just give me a couple days to finish this damn book.
Oh, and thanks to everyone who e-mailed me about the job. I just got an e-mail from the museum saying the compensation was wrong, and it actually pays $14 and chage per hour. Which means I'd only be making about $50-$75 more per week. Not quite enough to cushion me if I can't find a job in September. So I've decided to interview if they ask me to, and then if they want me, to ask the hostel for a leave-of-absence, explaining how this will be a wonderful opportunity that may expand my future career opportunities (nobody there is under any illusions that I'm looking for a career in social work). But hearing you guys voice the arguments that were in my head but were not quite coming clear helped a lot. Thanks. You guys rock!
Well, back into my coccoon...
( 4:15 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Bad JujuI'm sitting at my desk, frantically working away, and trying to ignore the incessant tickle in my lungs that has gotten worse since it got damp. Failing miserably at it, I raise my hand to cover my mouth as I cough (being raised polite and all that), and in my hacking fit, the little Chinese "good health" symbol hanging from my medic alert bracelet snags on the chain of the celtic knot around my neck, and I feel this snap-and-ping.
Oh, brilliant, I think, quite upset because the Celtic Knot was a museum reproduction piece my parents ordered ages ago and probably very expensive to replace. But no, the celtic knot is fine.
The good health symbol, on the other hand, is not. The arm that snagged on the chain ripped clean off. I don't know what the character means without one of the arms at the bottom, but knowing my obscene karmic luck, it probably now means something like "doomed to an ironic cartoon death, like being hit by a falling piano." Or something much simpler. Like "bad health".
And wouldn't you know it, no sooner do I break the damn thing than my back starts twinging every time I breathe, that "ow ow ow" ache that spreads across the back and down the spine and means it's this far away from going into spasm and giving out entirely.
I don't have bad health. I have perverse health.
( 11:07 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Girly FluffYes, Elysium is still going. But I'm taking a brief interlude to be girly.
I am Marchioness White Thunder -- took a trip over to Tami's blog to try out the Ya-Ya Name Generator. Tried it out on a few of my friends' names too. Shannon's name made me fall out of my chair laughing.
And as I fired up the internet at work this morning, they had another one of those "hottest bachelor" photo galleries on the AOL start page, and the entry on Prince William just made me laugh. Hey, when you're right, you're right. And I am a Marchioness now.
Why we love him: boyish good looks, equally sexy in a tailored suit or a polo uniform, marrying him would make you the Queen of England.
( 9:36 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
"I'm Not Dead!"Still here. Still writing. Everyone loves a good ironic flashback.
I sobbed quietly into the thick folds of my skirts, safely hidden in the white clouds of blossoms. I pressed harder against the trunk of the apple tree, letting the bark dig into my back, letting the branch beneath my bare foot abrade my skin. That physical pain made the other seem less important somehow.
I looked up with a gasp as the tree shook, and shivered as the clusters of blossoms parted. A nose dusted with freckles poked through first, followed shortly by the rest of Kit. He looked at me, contented satisfaction brightening his nine-year-old eyes, and nodded. "I thought it was you."
"Go 'way." I muttered.
He pulled himself up on the branch. "Not until you tell me why you were crying."
"I was not crying, you addlepated miscreant!" He continued to stare at me, and eventually I sighed. "Pons called me a six-toed freak. And then he pulled my hair."
Kit nodded. "I think I can fix that." He pulled my shoe out from under his belt, still somewhat damp from its lodging in the duck pond. I let out a cry of glee as he placed in on my foot, and he smiled at me. "Better?"
I looked up at him, and shrugged. "My head still hurts."
"I can fix that, too." He leaned over and kissed the top of my head, and then kissed my mouth for good measure before he wrapped his arms around me and hugged the breath out of me.
I sighed and wrapped my arms around his waist. "Thank you."
His voice rang with the kind of certainty only a child can impart. "Kissing hurts always makes them better."
( 9:00 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Monday, June 10, 2002
Living on the EdgeI'm on the edge again, looking down over the edge of the cliff and wondering if I should jump. Maybe I'll land safely, and maybe I'll be smashed into itty-bitty pieces on the rocks below...
There was a job posting at the ROM today for a facilitator at the Biodiversity Gallery (it's what I do now volunteering, but it's 40 hours a week at $17/hour). I've said before that I would love to have a job doing what I do at the ROM. So what, you ask, is my problem?
The job only lasts till September.
So, the question now is do I jump and hope I can find gainful employment in the autumn months, or stay with my 26 hour a week, $17 an hour job plus the fish stuff on the side?
It seems like the choice is obvious. But I went through a frantic panic last September trying to find work. I don't want to go through that again. I'm at such a tenuous point in my life right now that not knowing where I'm going is dangerous, stomach churning stuff, and being kicked out into the ether in September is an idea that terrifies me.
On the other hand, I'd be going from mind-numbing admin stuff to working with kids, doing whacks of Science research, and doing stuff that I volunteer my time to do now.
There's no guarantee I'd even get an interview, let alone a job, and I only have a week to decide.
Gak. What would you do? Help me out. Drop me a line and give me an opinion.
It's a long way down...
( 11:58 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
This Is the Book That Never Ends...Nope, not done yet. 125,000 words and still going, but it's CLOSE! Really, reallly CLOSE! And here's some proof that bugging me for snippets actually works.
From Gavin's letter to Mari while Sirellia, Jen and Evie are visiting Castle Andarin:
We must find a way to get you here next summer, Mari. I shall go mad without a good healthy dose of common sense. I swear, I'd think that women were born without brains were it not for you and my mother proving otherwise. And if I don't get pricked by one of your barbs soon, I shall never get my head through a door again. Did you know that I am the epitome of grace and dignity, that I am so handsome that the stars are afraid to shine when I'm about, and that no beast alive stands a chance against my bow, not even the nastiest of wild boars? Come, Mari, you must save me from my own wonderfulness.
I'll let you know when it's done. :o)
( 10:32 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Sunday, June 09, 2002
Dream A Little Dream...You know which dreams I hate? The ones where you wake up and are sure you're awake, only to find out you're still dreaming.
I had one of those last night. I had flown down to Florida to take some writing course with Karina, Lena, and a few other people, which was taught by some nameless amalgamation of several ICFA regulars. Only, two days into the course (on a Sunday), I realized I hadn't told work that I wouldn't be in the next day. (This is the point at which I "woke up" and became convinced the dream was real). Of course, I couldn't call work to tell them I wouldn't be in, because it was long-distance. So I'm running around in a panic trying to figure out what to do, terrified that I'm going to get fired (which should have told me it was a dream -- I really wouldn't be as upset as I was to find out I had to find a new job). The horror and despair were almost overwhelming. In desperation, I called Sheila. At this point, I did wake up for real, found myself in my bed in my parents' house, convinced myself that was the dream, and went back to sleep, straight back into the "work's gonna fire me, I have to get out of here" panic.
So I get Sheila on the phone, and at first she doesn't see the problem and tells me to come move in with her, offering some really nice chocolate and a fruit basket as incentive. When I explain about the losing my job part (I think I was supposed to commute to work from Florida), she agrees to help, and sets about trying to borrow a plane from her ex-husband so she can fly me back home. In the meantime, I'm at the airport (which was the St. John airport in New Brunswick -- about the size of a bus terminal) trying to get on standby in case Sheila can't borrow the plane, but it's going to cost me another $1000 to switch to standby, and Sheila's talking about giving up on the ex and building us a spaceship.
At this point the phone rang and really woke me up for good. Which is a shame, in a way. I would have liked to find out what Sheila and I would have done with an intergalactic space vessel...
( 10:21 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Why I won't be reading Passage again anytime soon.......the post otherwise known as "oh, you b****!" (Yeah, this is something I hear a lot, too)
I just finished reading Connie Willis's "Passage".
It was an incredible book, and I can see why it was nominated for all manner of awards. The plot was intricate and, quite frankly, brilliant, the pacing was non-stop page turning, and the characters... oh, the characters! Brilliant, vibrant, fully realized people. I was in love with Joanna and Richard by the end of the first scene.
But I don't think I'm going to be reading it again. At least, not for a while. And this is because [SPOILER ALERT! If you really wanna see, highlight the blank spot] after going to all the trouble of making you fall in love with the characters, she kills the frelling main character three quarters of the way through the book!!! And yeah, I'll give you that the end was ultimately uplifting. But I didn't care by that point, because I was so damned pissed off. You don't set up this wonderful couple, and then kill off one half of it! There were noises about Kit getting Richard, but that's not right, he and Joanna are supposed to end up together, dammit! Joanna had been killed, autopsied, and buried, and I was STILL expecting her to come back somehow because that the way it was supposed to be.
I'm not even opposed to killing off main characters. Sheila did it, and though I bawled like a baby, I was forgiving because she'd already set up for Reever to take the stage (and quite frankly, I find him a lot cooler). Kao was wonderful, but somehow you knew this was not the man Cherijo was meant to be with, even though the reader (i.e. me) wasn't completely sold on Reever until near the end of BV. Other authors have done it in ways that were forgivable. Some others are not forgivable -- remember when they killed Catherine in Beauty and the Beast? Show tanked after that because you just couldn't separate that couple! If Sheila ever kills Reever in anything but a temporary way, I will be extremely angry. As I was with Passage. This one just pissed me off. And I think the key to this fury lies in the fact that the characters never reached the together stage. You waited and waited and hoped, seeing the relationship potential growing stronger, and then BAM! Dead. No fulfillment. Even Cherijo got a little time with Kao. But note that Catherine and Vincent never had that fulfillment either (okay, so they slept together, but we didn't get to see anything!), so the audience reacted violently. Catherine and Vincent, Joanna and Richard. These characters were supposed to end up together. End of story.
Those of you who are sending me threatening notes on the direction being taken by Elysium may want to keep this rant in mind.... :o)
( 1:10 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Friday, June 07, 2002
AAARGH!Once again, I was invited to a party at Rob Sawyer's house. Once again, I can't go because I'm rideless. Aargh, aargh, AAAARGH!!!!!
( 11:51 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
On the Road Again...I hate travelling. A lot. But I'm going back to Newmarket this weekend because it's my sibling's birthday on Monday, and I want to be there to give him stuff. And if any of my friends are reading, Sunday afternoon may be open... :o)
( 6:22 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Soul AsylumSeeing that Elysium is, actually, my soul asylum at the moment (that is, the place I retreat to whenever this world starts to suck too bad), it seems rather appropriate that Elysium has turned into a runaway train.
The end is in sight. How do I know? Because it's started to whoosh.
But wait, I'm getting technical. ;o)
It happened with Kichani, too, only not nearly this extreme because at the time, I didn't know I was ending the book. It happens with short stories, but not so extreme because they're... well, short. But with Elysium...
It feels like I have been pushing this beast up a big hill for the past 100,000 words. The beginning went pretty fast, but I hit molasses as I got into it. Think of it as a roller coaster. There's the initial vwwooooooom as the train pulls out of the station, and then the neck-snapping halt and laborious climb as you catch onto the track that pulls you up the hill.
Well, I just hit the top and the train is taking off. I can't stop working on this thing. It has consumed every waking hour of my day, and many of the sleeping ones. I have written almost 20,000 words in a week, and this is a big thing for me (bear in mind, I'm also working 2 jobs). I go to the wrong buildings because I'm stuck in Elysium. I showered with my watch on, because I was stuck in Elysium (and now need a new watch). I'm actually starting to speak with an accent because I'm stuck in Elysium. I'm eating, sleeping, and breathing Elysium.
Everything else has fallen by the wayside. Other projects, my life, everything. It seems odd -- I'm not working 11 hour days most of the time anymore, but it seems like I have less time than I ever did. Where the hell does it go? Oh, stupid me, into Elysium. It's actually exhausting when I write it now, not because it's hard, but because I'm pouring so much into it. It actually is like opening a vein. I get all dizzy and lightheaded afterward and need to be kept well stocked with sugar and juice.
So it's appropriate that I have Runaway Train stuck in my head. I'm sitting there, working on Elysium, and occasionally have my poor abandoned characters flashing into my head....
Runaway train never comin' back...
[YASHA PLATOV - Missing since December, 2001]
Runaway train tearin' up the track...
[VARIEL SHENARETH - Missing since July, 2001]
Runaway train burnin' in my veins...
[FIONA AND ALLISON - Missing since January, 2002, but probably very happy for the opportunity to be alone and are likely going at it like rabbits...]
Ah well. Back to Elysium...
( 12:40 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Wednesday, June 05, 2002
And Now For Something Completely Different...This is the most fun I've had procrastinating online in a long time.
Here's a family portrait of me and my sibling (I'm the one on the right -- note the family resemblance):
And here's one of Jen:
I really need to find something to do....
( 10:57 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
EmbellishmentsI'm so used to having to cut my stories down that it's become really difficult to add to them. But in order to submit to an anthology I really want to submit to, I found that I had to add 600 words to Jory's Song. It was incredibly difficult. I decided the best place to do it would be after Alex and Peter, but before Jory. It gave me a chance to address some issues that just didn't fit in the story before -- the complaints that Jory seems too perfect and never has temper tantrums, for one -- and show a little bit more of how badly off Ellena actually is. I'm not sure how well it came off. What do you think?
Ellena frowned, studying the sheet music displayed on her handheld. "Hmm?"
"Aren't you hungry?"
She looked across the table at the instant dinner set before her son. Even with the freezer-burned bits removed, it still looked a trifle on the wizened side. "Not right now sweetie. You go ahead."
He picked half-heartedly at the breaded meat. "Hey Mum?"
"One of the kids in my History class got turbo blades for his birthday." He added an upward lilt to the end of the sentence.
A tiny furrow ploughed between Ellena's brows as she scrolled to the next measure on the screen. "Jory, you already have a pair of roller blades."
"No, these are turbo blades!" He set down his fork, dinner forgotten. "They go really fast, and it feels like you're on ice, even though you're not, and--"
"Jory--" Ellena sighed. "They're perfectly good roller blades. We'll talk when they wear out, okay?"
"But Mum! Nobody uses roller blades anymore!"
"Well you're welcome to buy a pair with your own money."
His lips pursed and he glared at her. "That's not fair!"
"Nobody said life was fair, kiddo."
"But Barbara's mom bought her a pair, and--"
Ellena slammed the handheld down on the table. "Maybe Barbara's mom would like to write this song for me, huh?" Jory stared at her, wide-eyed, and her stomach twisted into knots. "Oh, baby, I'm sorry."
He looked away from her, hugging his arms to his chest. "I bed Dad would have bought me a pair."
Silence hit them both like a slap. Ellena picked up the handheld and turned away from him. "Eat your dinner, Jory."
Musical notation flowed in ribbons across the screen of the handheld, and she frowned at it. Something wasn't sitting right. She gnawed at her lip and called up the Matrimonial Suite she had written for her wedding. As the notes scrolled across the screen, her heart sank. No wonder the passages had seemed so familiar -- she had been plagiarizing herself.
With a strangled whimper of frustration, she deleted the contents of the annotation program and threw the handheld across the room. She dug her fingers into her hair and clenched her hands into fists, letting her hair fall in an isolating curtain around her until all she could see was the surface of the kitchen table, and the crack running across the white finish where Jory had dropped his baseball bat the week before.
"Oh, Jory, what?"
Slender arms wound around her neck, and soft lips brushed against her cheek. "I love you."
Ellena gathered him up into her arms and pulled him into her lap. "I love you too, kid." She rocked him gently. "You know that right?"
Her stomach chose that moment to growl. She stopped rocking, and Jory stared up at her with eyes too old for a face that young. "Are you sure you're not hungry, Mummy?"
"I'm sure." She pushed the hair back from his brow and kissed him, then set him back on his feet. "Finish up now. If you hurry, we'll have time for a game of chess before bed."
He beamed at her, the innocent, bright smile she saw too rarely these days. "Okay! I get to be white!" He bolted back as much of the dinner as he could fit in his mouth, and dashed into his room to find the chessboard.
Ellena laughed as she watched him go, and took his plate to the sink. She paused for a moment, staring down at the remains of the instant dinner. Sparing a quick glance at Jory's door, she ate the last of the breaded chicken and peas, and loaded the plate into the dishwasher.
Pausing only long enough to kick her handheld under the couch, she headed for Jory's room to get her butt thoroughly kicked by her rook-wielding son.
( 10:24 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
One last snippet before bedI've hit 115,103 words, bringing me to the last major plot point before the ending. Which begins with a scene in Mari's room. I love Mari's room. It's become the unofficial gathering place for Mari's friends, where class and ranking doesn't matter, and there's always several things going on at once.
The three months preceeding our departure passed far more smoothly than I had anticipated. I had braced myself for a confrontation with my stepmother, but she was actually civil to me. For the first time since Jen's presentation, I began to hope that we might yet set our differences behind us.
That new hope buoyed my spirits, and I passed that remaining week in a dream of eagerness and glee at the thought of finally working things out with Gavin, broken only by those moments of stomach-clenching dread as my expansinating imagination concocted terrible scenarios in which Gavin ignored me and showered his attentions on the Piglet.
"He won't, Mari," said Corrie when I confided my fears. "He's too good for that."
"Oh yes." Liana viciously stuffed a pair of slippers into my already brimming trunk and attempted to close it. "The good, wise, beautiful, perfect Gavin who's only been working Mari into a nervous wreck these past eight months." She grunted. "Here, Alia, come jump on this."
Corrie made a face at Liana and ignored her. "Nobody who could paint a picture like that could claim he doesn't like you."
"No use fussing about it now." Liana deftly flipped the catch on my trunk as Alia threw her weight upon it. "You'll know for better or worse in five days. Best spend the rest of them doing something productive."
I yawned. "Not tonight, though."
"No, not tonight." Liana grinned and kissed me. "I was so proud of you tonight, making all friendly with Her Ladyship."
I smiled back at her, rather proud of myself. Determined that nothing should go wrong before our departure in the morning, I had gone out of my way to be the perfect daughter for Sirellia at dinner. She had been so taken aback by my attentiveness that dinner was actually pleasant, and she had brought a special bottle of her peach wine to the retiring room after dinner for us. Even Cecy had been allowed some. I knew how much she treasured it -- the peace offering had not been lost on me. But maintaining civilites for that long had been exhausting. I yawned again.
"Right, into bed with you." Liana stripped the covers back from the bed and shoved me into them. "We've got a long four days' ride ahead of us, and knowing Her Ladyship, she'll have us up at the crack of dawn. Alia, where in God's name are the petticoats?"
"At the bottom of the trunk, right where you put them." Alia knotted off her thread and threw the last of the underclothes she was mending into my smaller trunk.
Corrie kissed me. "Goodnight Mari." She sighed. "God, but the summer will be lonely without you."
I smiled at her and took her hand. "You were invited."
She laughed. "And leave my stables in Alvi's care? Not likely." I yawned again, and she tucked my hand back under the covers. "Have a wonderful time."
Liana said something too, but it was lost in the blur of exhaustion. With one final, jaw-cracking yawn, I burrowed beneath the covers and slipped into darkness.
( 1:19 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Tuesday, June 04, 2002
Taunting the Snippet Houndsheh heh heh.
Not till I finish Mari's response, which is showing a longer life than the frelling Energizer Bunny.
I set down the letter with a shaking hand. Leaning my head against the cool glass of the window, I wiped the tears from my eyes.
"Well, Gavin," I whispered in a trembling voice. "You're half right."
It couldn't be put off. I went straight to my desk and gathered my things, and arranged myself in the window with my writing table. But when I went to set my pen to the page, the words wouldn't come. I couldn't think how to begin answering a letter so raw with honesty and emotion.
He deserved better.
I drew a slow, calming breath, focusing on my breathing techniques and running a few Allerikan verb conjugations for good measure. A ghost of words spoken to me drifted through my mind.
Sing what you feel.
I looked at the page. This was not so different than singing the requiem. All I had to do was substitute words for the melody.
Closing my eyes tightly, I drew a deep breath. Words may have served me well in the courtly dances, but when I needed them to pierce the barriers of form and propriety, they became awkward, fleeting, just out of reach.
Blindly, I stabbed the pen at the page.
( 12:40 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Feeding the Snippet HoundsOne, because I'm interested in finding out if any of them actually know about this blog, and two because I know there are non Czerneda-list hounds reading the blog, I'm dropping in a really short snippet of Gavin's really cool letter.
I have a confession to make, Mari. And it's not an easy one. It's one I've wrestled with for some time now, because I'm terrified you'll think less of me when you know. But after your last letter, I cannot put it off any longer.
Hmmm. Whatever could Gavin be confessing? Will it be what you think? Or will it be something completely different? Hmmm. You'll just have to wait and see. :o)
In other writing-related news, I'm thinking of turning Mirror, Mirror into a wee chapbook, since it seems a shame to let the lovely cover go to waste. I was thinking about having a contest to give away copies. Would anyone be interested in such a thing, on the off chance that my writing might actually be worth something someday? (and if I've given you a copy already, no, you won't be eligible for the contest. :oP )
( 10:16 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Walk Softly and Carry a Big StickWhen inspiration strikes me, it doesn't come up quietly behind me and whisper softly in my ear. It barges in dragging a huge honking club and proceeds to bash me around the head screaming, "HEY!!! WRITE THIS!!! NOW!!!!"
I'm exhausted, my eyes are bloodshot, and my head is pounding because I've only had five hours of sleep, but that's all right because there's a kick-ass letter from Gavin sitting on my screen.
( 8:43 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
New Harry Potter Pictures!Hurrah! They've posted pictures of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets online! (Yes, I am well aware that I need a life).
And in other movie news, I'm horribly disappointed that the MTV movie award went to those two guys in American Pie 2 rather than Renee and Colin in Bridget Jones's Diary. Darn, that just means I'm going to have to watch it again to reaffirm what a great kiss it is. Ooh. I like this plan...
( 12:18 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Monday, June 03, 2002
And once againI am nailed by an online quiz.
I am truly passionate.
Find your soul type at kelly.moranweb.com.
You're excited about life and in touch with yourself and nature. Tell me, do I have this straight?
Virtues: You appreciate humor like none other. Puns might even spark laughter in you (TEHY R FUNNI). You seek adventure and connection with your surroundings. You seek friends who will not only share laughs with you but actually form a deep bond of trust and empathy beneath the surface. You look for adventure and courage in people, and variation is necessary to keep you under control. You see yourself as multi-faceted, so you need people who can see you in your many lights. You're constantly trying to figure yourself out while analyzing the people around you. Silly, silly people.
Aspirations: You can't decide what you want to be yet, but you know you want it to be adventures and interesting, with constant changes. You don't know what love will do for you yet, but it's competing with adventure for a place in your heart. An internal conflict has begun: can you be a successful worker, lover, and parent all at once?
Quirks: Noise of any sort is irritating when you're in the mood. Smacking gum, loud chewing, humming- it's about as pleasing as bodily noises. You dislike emaciated people because of jealousy and just plain disgust. You're a procrastinator but a hard worker, too.
Factors: You need constant attention and support. You're high-maintnence, but a great, reliable friend. Nature needs you and you need nature; it's helped thus far, so keep in touch with the outside world.
Future: Who knows! You absolutely need constant change, so vacationing is surely in the cards. Will you settle down or not? Love will find you eventually, as it does to everyone. Will you choose the sweet home life or the rewarding busy-bee life?
( 12:25 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Ahh, the Swinging Single Life:::snicker:::
Somewhere along the line, movies and television have gotten the idea that young people in their early-to-mid twenties lead fairly glamorous lives in nice roomy flats with equally glamorous, quirky roommates and magical closets that never yield anything unfashionable, nor do they yield the same outfit twice.
I wish you could hear how hard I'm laughing.
For most of the young twenty-something people I know, we're either finishing our educations, starting out in the workforce, or desperately trying to save money for our next bout of schooling. In any case, we all have very little money, even less time, and more important things to worry about than how well coiffed we are. Now, this may not be true for everyone -- I know several people who lucked out with really good jobs, or who are supported by their parents, or would rather by the new GAP line than eat. But most of the people I know are in the same boat as me, and it's pretty crowded in here.
Take me, for example. I make a fairly good wage for my age bracket (excepting the lucky bastards who made breaks into management or computers), and I'm barely scraping by. Few of us really know how to budget yet, and we don't actually make that much to budget. It doesn't help that U of T still owes me a paycheque -- oh, they finally got the May 11 paycheque in, but they neglected to put in May 24. Grrr.
I'm not just talking about me, though. Many of my friends are in the same situations. Half of us still live with our parents. Those who don't are lucky if we can get a slumlord's apartment, especially in the big city. I lucked out in the house I'm in now -- my apartment last summer had tricky wiring, no air circulation, no support studs in the interior walls, my room was shaped like a frelling W, and it smelled constantly of pee. It was hot, cramped, and usually grimy. The kitchen/living room was a tiled hallway connecting the bedrooms and bathroom. 5 of us shared it (which went up to 7 when the two non-live-in boyfriends stayed over). I jumped at shadows every time I lugged my laundry down the glass-covered alley to the laundry room out back. And it was fairly good, as apartments went. Now, I'm in a really nice place, but we have limited hot water and virtually no water pressure, because the building is extremely old. And I'm moving on in September, because the nice family who really lives here is coming home. Where I'm moving or who I'm moving with, I don't know, and that is absolutely terrifying. Furniture? Ha. It is to laugh. Never underestimate the usefulness of cinder blocks and some plywood.
Most of us don't eat right, because we a) don't have the time, what with our two jobs and all, b) don't have the cooking skills, and c) don't have the money. Ramen noodles are a big dietary staple, as are Kraft Dinner and bagels. Especially when you can get cheap day-olds at the cheese dairy, or your roommates bring home the day-old stuff from Second Cup, where they work. For those healthy-minded among us, a head of iceberg lettuce can go a long way. McDonalds tends to figure more heavily than we'd like into our diets, because hey, 99 cents will buy you a cheeseburger. Lucky people like me can find the $2 falaffel places and subsist off of that, but those are few and far between. We drink milk that's only slighly off, eat cheese that's only slightly mouldy, take medication that's only slightly expired. We find strange and interesting things to do with those odd foods that always seem to be left in the fridge when all the real food is gone. That's how I discovered the apple-walnut-cheddar cheese-raspberry dressing wrap. We scrounge, we mooch, we get frozen care packages from our parents, we treat ourselves to real food when we get windfalls because we don't get to taste it very often.
Most of us shop secondhand or vintage. I'm fortunate -- I happen to like vintage. Kensington is great for jeans, and greater for jackets. We raid bargain bins. We sew up holes in clothes (especially socks) rather than going out and buying new ones. We usually have two-week wardrobes at the maximum, and often end up wearing the same thing twice before washing it, because scrounging up change for the laundry is difficult. We wear shoes until they're held on our feet by nothing but willpower.
Yeah, we're also frivolous, which is half the problem. We go to movies. We buy things we really, really want (CDs and movies are killers). We lament and regret doing it later, but we haven't yet developed the restraint that comes with experience. So we pay for it in food and clothing -- two things we know how to do, and do cheaply. We do develop radar for the places that sell cheap CDs, or movies, or books, or jewelry. But we do have our vices, and find it very hard to let go. Buying a new bracelet, even a $2 one, gives us this sense of security that "life can't be too bad, because I can still buy new jewelry" -- an illusion we can't let go yet.
But we're not miserable. This is our life. It's not a bad life. Most of us are able to avoid ending up in the streets on drugs. Most of us are pretty happy most of the time. But it's not an easy life, nor is it a glamorous one, and not one I want to endure in the long term. And I know, many people spend their lives living like this or worse. That's not my point. My point, is that the vast majority of my peers live like this. It's not the hip, trendy life you see portrayed in TV and movies. That's how we lived as teenagers, when we get money from after-school jobs and didn't have anything to funnel it into but shopping (few of realized how important a university fund was). These are the years we spend falling flat on our asses as we try to learn to be adults and usually fail spectacularly at one aspect or another. You may be an early-to-mid twenty-something just finished school, sitting there thinking, "wait, this doesn't sound like me", and if you are, cogratulations. There's a horde of people out there wishing they could be where you are now.
But, the thing is, despite everything, this is also a time of life we enjoy, because we have finally obtained the taste of freedom we have been craving for the last twenty years. Yeah, you're eating K.D. and watching stolen cable on the TV resting on a milk crate. But you're watching what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, and eating what YOU want to have for dinner. Which, to an early-to-mid twenty-something, is pretty cool.
And that's one thing the movies got right.
( 10:57 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Sunday, June 02, 2002
The Mind BogglesThe internet is soooo weird sometimes. Check out the girl three over and two down. No, that's not me. This is. But man... soooo weird. Personally, I find her kind of scary.
(I also think the girl at the top left is is the "vampire invitational" pose). "Bite me! I'm sexy!"
( 12:37 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Saturday, June 01, 2002
Sarah the MightyAhhh summer. Season of that odd compromise between wearing as little as possible and looking like a total skank. From the look of people on the street today, skank often wins out, though whether it's because they WANT to look that way or because they just can't stand the heat anymore is really an individual thing.
Summer. The season when I begin my yearly affirmation that "a woman's worth is not measured by the circumference of her thighs", while checking the mirror to make sure I'm not bulging in odd places. It's a sad thing, but as self-accepting and aloof as we try to be, as much as we protest that we're comfortable with our bodies the way they are, thank you, 90% of us secretly wish we could be just a few inches thinner. It's sad, but there you go. Now, there are extremes. I see those dinky stick-girls walking down the street on their skinny chicken legs, looking like their bones would snap if they stepped off the curb wrong, and just shake my head. That is not healthy. But there's only so far you can go in the other direction before you hit not healthy again, and I'm starting to walk that line. Finding that middle ground is actually not that difficult. Staying there is. We think about this more in summer, because the hotter it gets, the more we see of our bodies with which we're supposedly fine.
So with summer at last upon us, I pooled my earnings today and headed down to Honest Ed's to buy a fan. People think of Canada as the land of ice and snow, but it gets hot here. Really hot. Last summer, it topped 40 degrees, which went up another 10 degrees when you got into our apartment. When it gets that hot, all you can do is lounge around in your bathing suit and jump in the cold shower every half hour -- something our sole male roommate last summer probably enjoyed, but it wasn't that great for the four women. After enduring extreme temperatures last summer with NO air circulation, I vowed never to go through a summer without a fan again. Once the temperature passes 30 degrees, all the fans vanish from the stores, so I decided to get one early. Yay me.
I love Honest Eds. You can find so much cheap stuff there, if you can brave the kitsch. But you really have to have a high kitsch tolerance. There's only so many three-foot ceramic chickens you can face before losing your mind completely. So I wandered through the aisles of china dogs and ugly-shepherdess-in-billowing-petticoat lamps until I found the electronics section, where I bought a nice 16" oscillating fan, and lugged it home.
Whereupon I discovered something. A 16" oscillating fan is not light, and when you add the box to it, it's even more not light. But working in the lab for two years schlepping buckets and tanks around does things to you. I discovered to my great surprise when I got home that my arms were not in the least bit tired.
Wow, I thought to myself. I am MIGHTY!
So now I'm sitting here, trying to get my room clean and get some work done on Elysium before Tami comes after me with a baseball bat, and all I can think of is how much I want to go lift things to find out how very mighty I am.
Who needs a life? It's so pleasant here in this little world of mine.
( 9:04 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Curses!She's on to me.
Actually, I'm terribly, terribly pleased. :o)
( 12:24 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Brilliant as Breasts in the MoonlightYeah, my mind works in convoluted ways sometimes.
Jen's line about Harlequin Romances got me thinking (there's that t-word again). What Jen means is books like her first and last experience with a romance, which scarred her against them for life, as it was something of the calibre Marge Simpson reads:
Marge: "My, the seas are certianly HEAVING today."
Lars the Sailor: "No more than your bountiful bosoms, milady"
It was the kind of book which then, of course, degenerated into Lars plunging his glowing rod into the lushly forested mountain of Venus, which leaves one confused as to whether one is reading a really bad romance or an equally bad SF.
Which then reminded me of the Johnny and Nancy folk songs Prof. Wilson taught us about. The Johnny and Nancy songs are variations on a theme of two lovers, Johnny and Nancy, who are parted when Johnny (or occasionally Thomas) goes off to sea and never returns. In some versions, he is captured by pirates or shipwrecked, in others he's just a bastard and runs off with another woman. But regardless, poor bereft Nancy takes it into her head to go after her Johnny, cuts off her hair, dresses as a boy, and signs on a ship as a cabin boy. Things go well for Nancy until the Captain sends her up into the rigging and her breast slips out of her shirt, and proceeds to glow like a beacon in the moonlight.
At this point the songs diverge. Sometimes the Captain is disgusted and turns her off the ship. Sometimes he takes her off to find Johnny. Sometimes he is so impressed with her that he takes her as his wife. In one version, she turns him down, the captain is so impressed he makes her captain of her own ship, and she ends up forgetting all about Johnny.
But my favourite version was the one in which Nancy's breast glows in the moonlight, the Captain stares at it, rips open his shirt, and the Captain's breasts glow like beacons in the moonlight. And then the crew, who has gathered to gape at this spectacle, rip open their shirts, and their breasts all glow in the moonlight. The ship full of Nancys decide they have better things to do than go chasing after Johnny (it's never clear whether they're all after the same Johnny), and sail their ship off to fortune and glory.
I've never been able to find this version, but if anyone has it or knows where to find it, PLEASE e-mail me. And while we're at it, if anyone has a CD or .mp3 of the Flash Girls, e-mail me too. I'm fairly sure I want their CD, but I don't want to spend all that money buying the CD internationally without hearing something from it to be sure I like it.
So how come my breasts don't glow in the moonlight? Must be Nancy's superpower...
( 1:53 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Ooh, look, a superpower!Yup, I have the power to piss people off. I was hoping for flight or wicked healing powers, but there you go. :o)
I sent the current version of Elysium to Tami, and she is Not Happy With Me about the way things are going (I'm not being nice to the characters). She's gonna hate me when I give her the completed book...
This story is insane. Mari informed me last night (via dream) that she did, in fact, have a second Incredibly Disturbing Dream, and it is THAT dream to which Gavin is referring when they're in the gazebo together. So of course, I had to go BACK through the story today and figure out which letter it would fit in, which was not easy. Strangely enough, I didn't need to make a single change to the following gazebo scene (although I did opt for a sweet little bit when she shivers in response to a dream memory and Gavin rubs her arms to warm her up again), and it actually made the mausoleum bit a dozen times more powerful.
(Trust me, this will make sense when you read the book)
Had an interesting time spring-cleaning the blog today too. You may notice all the nifty reorganization of the links, and the reading section (I shall pause for a moment for you to ooh and ahh -- this is much more impressive if you heard the cursing coming from my room as I taught myself to code). To answer the questions I see coming, no, neither section is in any particular order. Granted the blogs and books nearest to the top of the lists are the ones I read most often, but that's really all the semblance of order there is. The ones at the bottom are there because that's where they go when I add things on. Also, I have not listed everything by an author even if I like all their stuff, because that would be a LOT of links. Rather, I usually listed book one of my favourite series (or books one, if I couldn't decide, or two really good standalones ) with the thought that if you like the first book, you'll go find the others. Also, the links are to Amazon to show what the books looks like and what it's about, but it's much better if you do what I do and take that info down to your friendly neighbourhood small bookstore and order it there.
Check out The Dairy. Jenny's at it again (but make sure you aren't drinking anything). God, I love her blog. :o)
And speaking of blogs, I learned today that Thomas Seay has me linked to his blog (for those of you who don't remember March, Thomas was one of the Asimov Winners I met in Florida). So of course, I had to return the favour. That's him at the bottom of the blog links.
I've been wrestling with myself, trying to decide whether or not I want to add comments to the blog. I have decided, after much deliberation, not to. I like having this as my own little corner of the web. However, that doesn't mean I don't want to hear from you! By all means, if you have something to say, e-mail me! (Look, I even taught myself to code an e-mail link). I'll probably even address it on the blog. If you don't insult me or call me names, I'll even be nice about it. :o) Really, I'd be thrilled to hear from you.
( 1:12 AM ) Sarah Jane ~