ljdaly: (Schiele)
Dear Door-Knocking Shoveling Dude,

Yes, it's snowing like hell. It's been snowing like hell since sometime before 3 AM, and it will continue to snow like hell for another three or four hours, followed by several hours of snowing like not-hell.

When I thank you and tell you that no, I don't need you to shovel me out (for the price of some amount of cash I don't have), don't eyeball my sidewalk then eyeball me, as though I'm a) lying or b) putting you out.

Besides, any shoveling done now will have been eradicated by 3 this afternoon. Are you planning to come back, do it again, and collect yet more money that I don't have?

Keep your hairy eyeballs to yourself, mister!

Cordially,
Shovelicious
ljdaly: (Schiele)
"Among those injured that are in guarded condition include a 20-year-old man who was shot to the abdomen and another 20-year-old man who was also shot to the abdomen."

Sheesh. I guess the butchery that inspired the story wasn't enough.
ljdaly: (Lazy Molly)
I woke up all sluggish, and dropping things, and such. But I made my coffee and started answering email... and then realized it was only 2:17! Why didn't the dog say something? (Oh, right. Because as soon as I rolled out of bed, I fed her.) And what are the implications of answering business email at 2 AM?

At that point, I was sitting here with 16 ounces of coffee, so I thought, what the heck. Might as well just stay up.

I was going to put this into a limerick of woe, but my brain is too fuzzy.



ljdaly: (Schiele)
Why, oh why, did I not write this?
ljdaly: (Default)
Hey, I bought a bunch of 2-cent stamps online, with my other stamps. And guess what? I meant to order 200, and I accidentally ordered 2000! Yes! Two thousand 2-cent stamps!

The package came, and it was much bigger than usual, and I thought, "What? Do I get a free gift for being a good customer?" 

But alas, it was the gift they give to the stupid customer! Two thousand 2-cent stamps!

That should last me... oh... a year. Given the way they keep increasing postal rates.

ljdaly: (Default)
I'm a little confused. I need Canadian stamps for an SASE for a dead-tree submission, and Canadapost won't ship postage to a US address. The USPS has a deeply buried entry saying IRCs can still be used, but I don't see any way to order them online, and the clerks at my post office have never heard of them. My google-fu, usually pretty good, is failing me. I can't find any way to buy regular old Canadian stamps in the US. Collectibles, special issues, sure. Regular stamps? I'm not seeing it.

Am I missing something obvious? For anybody that submits on hard copy to Canada, how do you do it?

If you live in Canada, would you like to send me some stamps if I send you some stamps?

I've decided that I hate stamps. They are... well... the devil. In a nerdy, philatelic kind of way.

Verbiage!

Feb. 6th, 2009 08:41 am
ljdaly: (Default)
What is it with 11K-word stories that will never, ever sell? What? What, I ask you!

I'm at the tail end of a story I'm in love with. I'm desperately trying to keep it under 7500 words, but I'm thinking I won't make it. And just this morning I finished up a late draft of a fantasy novelette that I want to get into circulation. Word count? 13K. So sad for me! That's a decent story that happens to have a word count way too high for most of my usual places. And a fantasy, to boot, which means the choices are even more limited.  (The working title was "Posterity," for anybody who beta-read it and might be curious about what the heck I'm talking about.) At least that one will be going to Jim on Tuesday. I'm sticking it in my thesis while I send it to the one pro market it suits. After that market, I'm not sure. I'll have to look around.

I'm developing this backlog of stories that are likely too long to be early sales. ARGH, I say. On the other hand, they feel like good stories even after they sit for a while. Inventory seems like a good problem to have.

ljdaly: (Default)
This morning:








And the native fauna prowl the mean streets, hunting the wild kibble:





ljdaly: (Default)
Magazines are closing. Despair abounds -- and reasonably so.

On the other hand, a couple of weeks ago I was chatting with an agent. (Stonecoast brings an agent in to talk to the graduating students. I'm not graduating until July, but I found myself sitting with her at lunch one day with a couple of other students, and we had a nice conversation.) One of the things we talked about was the shrinking market. So I asked her, point blank, "Can somebody still make a living at this? Is it still possible at all, assuming one's writing good books?" And I tell you, her eyes lit up. She said, "Absolutely." It wasn't the answer so much as her clear enthusiasm--and not forced enthusiasm, or enthusiasm tinged with regret or hesitation. She loves her job. She believes in it.

Sure, the whole thing is a pipedream. You have to write good books that are the right books at the right time. You have to write enough of them that you develop some momentum. Those are all factors. Are we worse off than people dreaming this dream a hundred years ago? Sure -- but the measurement is "snowball's chance" versus "even smaller snowball's chance." And what's the point in dreaming that you're going to write not-good books, or the wrong books at the wrong time?

I think I'll continue to dream big. Frankly, it doesn't affect the day-to-day one whit. I'll stlil get up at 3 or 4 and work very hard every day at trying to get better. Right now, I'm doing that with short fiction. Whether it sells or not, at some point in the future, I'll make the decision that I have more to learn by switching back to novels. Whether those sell or not, I'll continue to get up early and examine what I'd like to do better and figure out methods that will help me get there, and I'll work at them. Because the goal is to write better (more entertaining/more interesting/more thought-provoking/more resonant) stories.

The work has nothing to do with the dreaming. The dreaming is just a little sugar, just an idea that makes 3 AM a little more bearable. But even without the dreaming, I'd be doing the work, because the work is the thing. It's valuable and self-contained and has nothing to do with the outcome. It's taken me a long time to get here.

So I'll dream a little, even when magazines are closing left and right. But usually, I'll do the dreaming later in the day, after my fingers are finished with the keys.

ljdaly: (Default)
You know, I love worldbuilding. I love it so much. I love it with a love that dare not speak its name. I love making every little piece of straw illuminate character. I love having murderous farmers in a society based on murder and farming. I love thinking through all the pesky little permutations to find just the right details that make the story able to happen only in that one place. I even have a name for it, scattered all over my scribbly notes: it's what I call the WHYHERE. Always in caps.

As I sit here at work, I suddenly became so overwhelmed with love for the worldbuilding, that I had to post it, dammit!

I love it. In a stalkerish way. I think I'm obsessed.

ljdaly: (Default)
Home! Home! I'm home!

That was one hairy ride. Getting out of Maine was difficult. Actually, getting up the hill out of the hotel was difficult. I was slip-sliding all over the place. It's not all the snow, per se; it's that my lightweight little car can't get any traction, so driving in snow is pretty close to just floating randomly all over the place until I run up against something heavier. Very scary! But south of Maine, the snow gradually became less of a problem. Then it was just the typical I-95 antics. For eight hours.

The semester and the residency were great. I finished my third-semester nonfiction thesis, I had two workshops with Jim Kelly (Kelly Link didn't make it up this time), and I read a lot of terrific fiction, including a good bit of fun speculative stuff. I learned a lot. I went to the usual bunch of amazing classes, and listened to the usual terrific readings. I ate a lot and slept not nearly enough, and made new friends and was sad to see old friends graduate. 

My fourth semester will be with Jim again. My creative thesis will be a collection (two novelettes and three short stories), and I'll be doing a presentation on exposition in July (entitled "As You Know, Bob..."). Hopefully, I'll also crank out another half dozen stories (I try to maintain a regular writing and submission schedule in addition to what I'm doing for the master's program. Which is why my posting has gone down the tubes lately.)

It's been a terrific experience, and I'm glad to have met the people I've met, but I'm so ready to be done!

For all my Stonecoast buddies, I hope your travel home was safe and smooth.



ljdaly: (Default)
It's the last day of classes, and... it's snowing like hell. Drama and angst will ensue! (I'm nervous about my eight-hour drive later today.)

I got the amazing Jim Kelly for my mentor for my final semester. Yay! (He's been my mentor since July, so this will add up to a consecutive year of Kelliness. It's like Christmas!)

I'd update further, but at this point I seem to have utterly lost the superpower of coherence.
ljdaly: (Default)
Happy New Year, everybody!

May 2009 fulfill your wildest dreams, even the ones you didn't know you had!
ljdaly: (Default)
I think I have a disease.

I've been aware on a sort of subliminal level that I've been singing in the shower lately. Yesterday, I listened. And realized that I've been singing Mellow Yellow. In retrospect, I think I've been singing Mellow Yellow in the shower for days now, if not weeks.

What does it mean? What heinous infection has me in its grip?

. o O (Quite rightly...)
ljdaly: (Default)
I'm reading The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips for a class in January.

Dear god. This is the most boring thing I've had to choke through in the whole two years. Am I missing something? It's not clever or funny, although it's trying hard. It's just... tedious. I'm ready to poke my eyes out with a knitting needle, and I'm only a hundred pages into it. I have to give myself a reward at the bottom of every page, just to force myself to read another one.

Am I out of my mind? Other people have liked it. A lot. Personally, I'd rather be dancing a polka barefoot on a bed of nails.



Philcon?

Nov. 19th, 2008 12:35 pm
ljdaly: (Default)
Will I see any of you at Philcon? Not including my flisters who are actually... you know... running it?
ljdaly: (Default)
Somewhere, wherever he is, my ex-husband owes me a dollar for a bet we made in... oh... I'm guessing 1988.

You lose!

Memory is long. Besides, I could use the buck.
ljdaly: (Default)
I miss exit polls! I miss curling up in front of the TV with a big bowl of popcorn and finding out who won hours and hours before the polls close! I miss that!

(I know, I know. Yet... I miss that!)
ljdaly: (Default)
Hey, I always forget. Is there mail today?
ljdaly: (Default)
So I go down to vote, and oh my god.

I usually don't have to wait in line to vote. In fact, usually the registration people are happy to see me because it breaks up their relentless yawning. There was one recent election (I think it was the last presidential election) where the crowds amazed me. Out the school door and halfway across the parking lot.

This morning, they were past the parking lot and all the way out to the street. Then somebody pointed out that there were actually two lines.

Off the hook, with the people! Go, us!

I couldn't stand there for two hours. I'll try again later. Of course, I realized afterward that I never switched my clock after daylight savings time, so I was actually trying to vote at 8:15 instead of 9:15. Stupid American!

UPDATE: 90 minutes from getting in line to pressing the "cast vote" button. And when I left, the lines were still just as long.