My original plan was that I would spend most of this week working on stuff, mostly magazine stuff. I had been thinking that Mary Anne was going to be busy and unavailable for most of the week, that she wouldn't have much time to see me 'til this weekend; I'd figured I would spend most of my time in my hotel room and/or cafes, and see her briefly one or two evenings. I was going to catch up on reading and editing stories, and try to work on various pieces of magazine-related software that could use improvement. And I figured there would be so much extra time that I might get to catch up on some of my huge email backlog (including dealing with three or four email discussions (mostly on mailing lists) that I've started in the past month and then have failed to follow up on), and some of my huge journal-entries-to-be-written backlog, and so on. And I was also going to make detailed travel plans for the rest of the summer, and buy plane tickets to various places. And finish the long-delayed anniversary present I promised Mary Anne at least six months ago. And do some reading (including the Hugo-nominated novellas), and write some SWAPA comments. And try to catch up on friends' blogs. And watch V for Vendetta.
Well, okay, my original plan was that I would work remotely, on work stuff, during the days. But I reminded myself that I always try to do too much while traveling, and that I was feeling a little burned out on work stuff, and decided that I needed to take some time off and relax--even though all of the above to-do-list stuff was going to make it a little difficult to really relax.
As it's turned out, I've done very little of that to-do list. I read a bunch of stories, but I'm still a week behind on reading. I haven't done any editing. I posted a flurry of blog entries, but one of them that I expected to be a minor/brief discussion has turned into by far the most-commented entry I've ever posted, which (along with associated emails) has ended up taking up quite a bit of my time.
On the plus side, it's turned out that Mary Anne's been available a lot more than I'd originally expected. Except for the times when she's been in class, I've spent much of the week hanging out with her, and sometimes with her and Kevin and their dog Ellie. I went to M's workshop class as a guest editor and answered students' questions about submitting stories and what editors do; I've gone to a couple of gardening stores with her (and helped her plant a bunch of plants); I've helped her clean the house; I finally got the babywarming presents I've been promising for several months now; we all went to the dog park and watched Ellie play with a bunch of other dogs.
I haven't watched V for Vendetta (or the Fawlty Towers disc I also brought along--I've seen almost all of FT, but I think I missed a couple here and there), but I've seen episodes of a couple of TV shows that I've occasionally wondered about. I've determined that although Scrubs and King of Queens have their moments, based on what I've seen so far they're not my cup of tea. I continue to not love The Daily Show or The Colbert Report overall, but to enjoy them a lot in the episodes when they're really on. And I continue to like and be intrigued by Smallville, though not enough to watch it regularly. We also watched the first two episodes of Big Love, the show about the polygamous family; I may have liked it enough to go watch the rest.
Speaking of watching performances, last night I went to see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, as I usually try to do when I'm in Chicago. Sadly, this was the first time (of the half-dozen times I've seen it over the past 15+ years) that I didn't really enjoy it. There was one nice (though somewhat rambly) meditation on virginity, and a nifty piece featuring six brief stories about the writer's mother being shown to different parts of the audience simultaneously (which description doesn't nearly do it justice, but I'm in the middle of a sentence here), but most of the funny bits didn't make me laugh, and most of the serious bits didn't really do much for me. Alas. I'll still go again, though; by a month from now, almost the entire show will be different material, and by six months from now half the cast will probably be different. [Added later: Also, I forgot to mention here that I heard a cast member talking with an audience member after the show, and the cast member indicated that she felt the show hadn't gone so well. But on the other hand, most of the audience did seem to enjoy it; there was plenty of laughter and applause and other appreciative audiencing.]
The live-theatrical highlight of the week for me was at Kriti last weekend: I saw the second half of the Rasaka Theatre Company's performance Desi Women of the Diaspora, a collection of short pieces by various South Asian women. I liked what they did with Mary Anne's "The Princess in the Forest," but what I really loved was "Desi Trek Girl," by Angeli P., a monologue featuring a young South Asian woman who's more into Star Trek than her family would like. (Amusingly to me, the short-short theatrical performance form has become so tied in my head to Too Much Light that I kept expecting the group to yell "Go!" at the start of the playlets and "Curtain!" at the end.)
I think that covers most of the week. Except that I haven't yet mentioned my secret goal.
There was one thing on my to-do list that I was nervous about, because it's been so long: I wanted to try and get some fiction writing done. In the past year or so, I've only sat down to write fiction two or three times; I've started a new story a couple of times, but it's not really working yet, and I've done a little bit of polishing to the Folkdance story that I've been working on intermittently for years and years now, but couldn't quite bring myself to perform the piece of surgery on it that M had recommended last time she looked at it. It was really the only thing left to do on that story before I was willing to call it done, but I couldn't do it.
So yesterday, M and I ran some errands and then went to a cafe. I re-read the story and fixed bits and pieces here and there, and did some general cleanup, and then spent half an hour whining to M about how hard it was to do the thing she'd wanted me to do to it. And she said I didn't have to actually do it. And I said it was probably the right thing to do. And I whined about it some more, and explained how nobody really appreciates my genius, and then I did the thing she'd suggested. And I think it works. And so I'm calling the story done.
So even though I haven't accomplished most of my to-do list for the week, I did do one important thing that I hadn't been sure I would manage to do. And I'm hoping that this'll get me writing again more often, now that I don't have this one thing hanging over my head. Obviously that's not the only reason I haven't been writing--the simple truth is that I haven't made the time to write. But now that my yard is in pretty good shape, and the weather's getting better, I'm hoping to start having writing days at home again, and with luck maybe that'll help get me back into the habit of writing semi-regularly once again. We'll see.