January 3rd, 2006

alias

Giving Oneself a Headache

She sits down to write a short story, one she thought of while staring at the now terribly familiar stretch of highway between Ohio and Virginia.

She writes about 200 words, then checks her friends' list, makes dinner, watches a bit of Star Wars.

She then looks back at her 200 words and realizes that this sounds nothing like a CMV story, that it is plain ol' fiction without any kind of Byzantine linguistic calisthenics. And that, of course, there is a way to write this story in her usual style, with the usual bang and smash. But maybe she shouldn't, maybe she should barrel through the neat little subjects and predicates and make something more normal.

But then, every time I try that, I get my ass rejected on grounds of not sounding like myself, and not experimenting on the level that is now expected. But I have no faith in my instincts when it comes to short stories: I don't like writing them, and I don't think I'm very good at them. But I know that I should, because that is what one does between novels. Although "between novels" would be a hilarious and ironic--for some values of ironic--way to describe my literary locale at the moment.

What to do?
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    awake awake
c is for cat

Stuck, So.

So I bring poor Heloise in for a change of oil and to fix her radio--body work to follow when we have the money for the deductible--and am told they'll have her ready by 5. It is now 8 am. Looks like the day of accomplishing things like picking up my dogs' medicine, packages at the post office, and writing a short story is right out. Also, I haven't slept since sometime yesterday. And there is no way to get anything to eat. This is what comes of having no local friends to pick one up. Can I get a hearty "god dammit"?

But it does give me time to fill you in on my New Year. Unsurprisingly, I went to Cleveland. I know! Wonders never cease! Sam had duty for the second year in a row, and funny thing about actually being in contact with humans is that it sort of lowers one's tolerance for being left alone over and over. I just couldn't bear to sit on my couch by myself and stare at the fuzzy picture on my one TV channel, especially as my New Years have gotten steadily more depressing as the post-collegiate years stream by. So I jumped in the car and drove and drove until I couldn't drive no more, and spent the weekend with grailquestion , justbeast , and justbeast 's Big Fat Russian Family, who were all lovely and tolerant of my clear barbarity. So there was a very late dinner at an aunt's (I think) house, along with the usual "yay, I'm in Cleveland" festivities.

First of all, chicken jello. WTF, mate? Solid lump of fat and congealed bone with bits of meat suspended within. Mmm. Or not. I thought it was soup until grailquestion  tipped the bowl at an unnatural angle and nothing came out. I'm a pretty open-minded girl when it comes to food--witness my living in Japan, where Eyeball is one of the food groups--but I had to decline. Now, if you combine Russian and American jello, you might have the world's most evil food. All that thing needed to acheive sentience was some pineapple chunks and mini-marshmallows floating in it.

Second, Russian TV. I guess there is some kind of Russian channel on satellite TV, because justbeast 's entire family seems to get it. Needless to say, Russian pop entertainment is alarming, to say the least. The usual compliment of stupidly-attired girls bounced around the New Year special, introduced by a large, overly-surgeried blonde woman swathed in a pink muumuu, her hair teased to epic proportions. I wondered how old she was under the silicone. And then the camera panned down.

Look, with the incredible number of makeover shows currently on the air, there is no reason for a 58-year old woman--or a 28-year-old one, for that matter--to ever appear in public in a mini-skirted muumuu and silver go-go boots. I am informed, however, that this particular 58-year-old woman is the Russian Madonna, and everyone worships her. Appropriate, considering her name is...well, hopefully it's spelled differently when not typed by an American girl who's never heard of her, but her name is Allah. Which actually means she trumps Madonna for blasphemous names, and certainly for blasphemous clothes. She does, however, have a lovely voice, which is more than I can say for some blasphemers. Hat's off to you, chica. You give hope to those who have none.

So, terrifying jello and strange women. Also, the world's fattest yet sweetest dog, Roxy, who howled along with the Russian Spice Girls and the Russian Michael Jackson, as well as the world's most timid, and skinniest dog, Oscar, who let me scratch his belly when I stumbled out some broken Russian for him. And there was champagne and caviar, so despite the jello, it was probably the classiest menu I've partaken of on New Year's Eve. We also learned that after the Revolution, Lenin stole Christmas, just like the Grinch, and no Rus in Rusville got their Rus-pudding or their roast beast. Later, Stalin saved Christmas, just like a plucky, mustachioed elf. There's a fabulous Christmas special in that somewhere.

And at midnight, there was no ball, and no Dick Clark, and no Shakira shaking her ass to a techno remix of Auld Lang Syne. There were these beautiful, still shots of the moonless night over the Kremlin and St. Basil's and other landmarks I didn't know. No music, no voiceover. A great clock chimed, and we drank our champagne after the twelfth stroke. At which point, the Soviet anthem played, which caused raised eyebrows from us young'uns. It was explained that all the references to the Communist regime had been taken out and replaced with the old God-and-Tsar stuff, as the Tsar is currently all the rage in the old country. As someone who was once violently obsessed with all thing Romanov, allow me to simply say: awesome.

The whole proceeding was so quiet and solemn and beautiful, so different than the madcap "fun" televised from Times Square every year. I was actually very moved.

And I got to spend New Year with two people who have, out of the blue, become a very important part of my life, which was unexpected, but wonderful, and something of a balm for all the holidays the Navy regularly grinches away from me.

The next day I drove all the way back, as grailquestion  and justbeast  were off on a family trip to Wisconsin, and promptly collapsed in a heap on the leaf-strewn stoop of 2006.

  • Current Mood
    annoyed stuck at the VW shop
perfect girls

Loot

And the Volkswagen man takes pity on a poor girl in the waiting room, rushes her car through, and gets her out by 9:30. Yay for VW Man!

I came home to the following:

Christmas package from grailquestion and justbeast! Full of coffee, chocolate, pepper in a grinder (because I am addicted to black pepper. Don't ask.) and OMG they sent me an Edinburgh Uni scarf! *does the dance of legitimacy* Are these not the best people ever? And is it not slightly odd that Edinburgh has the same school colors as my hometown football team? (Points for those who can name that craptastic team.)

Confirmation from erzebet on just how I shall be earning my place on the masthead of Cabinet des Fees. Beginning with the next issue, which will incidentally be the first print issue, I will have a regular feature called Child's Play, which will be a dual academic/fictional dalliance in which I will plate up a Child Ballad for each issue: a brief analysis followed by a retelling, full of my usual baroque pomo goodness. I haven't yet decided which will be my first ballad, so if you have a favorite (besides Tam Lin--gotta wait for a Christmas issue or something to tackle that one) by all means, pipe up! I can't wait to do this--it will be a blast and a half.

My contributor's copy of Mythic Delirium--a marvelous little magazine of truly unique poetry and art. The illustration for my poem, The Queen of Hearts, tickles me everytime I look at it. There is also stellar work by sovay and yhlee. If you can, definitely pick up a copy, or even a subscription--it's a little jewel, and jewels rarely come so cheaply.

Author's copies of the corrected Apocrypha, so that I can finally send them to those people who ought to have a copy. Once we have money for postage. Oy. The dedication and acknowledgements, tragically misplaced in the flawed first run, are replaced in full, and a few of you should find your names there.

So, on the whole, w00t! All that remains is the dogs' medicine and I can spend the rest of the day cooking and writing. Sam has duty tonight so I am on my own. Can't decide whether that's good or bad. I'm just all addled.
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    bouncy bouncy
dante/translation

Silent Night

Ganked from douglain:

Make demands (false, misleading, binding, unreasonable or otherwise...)

What do you want from me in 2006?

(Also, Lost in Translation is not recommended viewing for a night alone when one is feeling sad. Especially if one is a former resident of Japan. The combination of homesickness and despair is just too much.)
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    blank blank