Life, and What You Make It

The thing I always forget about Virginia is that I’m completely allergic to everything here. So I plan to stay here and work hard in solitude and then can’t because my face, in general, asplodes. Gah.

Weekend was spent with the long-lost brother, who went and grew up. We spent several hours cruising car dealerships for me (long story) and I thought many times that it as odd to look to the kid who used to eat caterpillars in the back yard to authoritate with the Volkswagen brass. I miss that kid, both the bug-eater and the car-haggler. I don’t think I’m very good at growing up.

While I was away from the computer, the new Lone Star Stories went up, which has a short story of mine, Thread: A Triptych (this was read at the Maryland reading, and is in part based on the life of my husband’s great-grandmother) and a poem, The Frog-Wife (might want to freshen your Russian folklore before reading that one).

Also, time_shark reviewed my poetry volumes, Apocrypha and Oracles. He thought I would disagree with some of it–I imagine the part where he says he has a hard time calling much of my work speculative, but really I’ve always been nonplussed by that designation. Much of my poetry is, but much is not, and of that which is not, at least the set of themes and metaphors used are almost always mythological or folkloric in origin. For this very reason, mainstream realism says “well, she’s not ours, since she doesn’t write about farmer’s markets and Michigan and cancer” so it all depends on how you define speculative, which is a conversation not as often had in poetry as it is in fiction. People are not nearly so divided into camps. In my poetry I’m probably more of a magic realist, though I hate that term and most of its practitioners mandate a stylistic tone I never use (journalistic). But since I fall between realism and speculative, or at least Apocrypha did, there’s no real word for me, and it gets difficult to sell work. Contrary to popular belief, the SFF community is much more open to experimentation than the mainstream, so I found a home there, and as I’ve developed (some of the pieces in Apocrypha are quite old) I’ve become more, well, mythpunk than I was. But I agree that it is difficult work to categorize, which is why words like interstitial were invented. All I can say is that for the same reasons, the realist poetry crowd won’t have me, either. But I think it’s a fair critique. I would have loved to publish Z in a chapbook–it wasn’t to be. As you know, Bob, long poetry is next to impossible to publish, and Z is very, very long. But it did get an honorable mention in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, so I feel a little vindicated for all the trouble it took to get it into any kind of print.

As I’m enroute between Virginia and Ohio, the signed Inanna books/audio CD will go out at the end of the week, and I apologize for the delay.

I haven’t decided whether to head back today or not. Depends on how my face feels. And the VW people are calling me again (in short: I’m trying to trade in for a diesel model without paying through the nose for it) so we’ll see if anything comes of that. The brother is gone, so hopefully they don’t treat me like crap now that I’m minus one Y chromosome.

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