Checking in

Been busy. Saturday was Kam's birthday party in the park; a bunch of cool people, sunshine after a morning of clouds, moments of minor nostalgia (the park was one we used to hang out in during high school, just a couple blocks from where David VS and David H lived) and surprise (behind the park there's a huge park-sized community garden area, hidden from both park and street by trees; either it wasn't there when I was a teenager or I just didn't know about it), a little juggling. One of the attendees was a guy I knew in high school who Kam knows from Mudd; I didn't recognize him or talk to him at all, though. And there were various other people who I haven't seen in months or (in at least one case) possibly a year or two; I talked a little with them, just enough to reconnect, but not in any real depth. I was being a little antisocial; spent much of the afternoon juggling, off by myself a little ways. Anyway, everyone seemed to be having fun (even me, in my antisocial way); I would say the event was a success.

I also spent some time playing with Kam's practice poi. Gerry was there, and he's been taking poi lessons, and he showed me some totally cool stuff, a little of which I started to get the idea of how to do. I still don't have any interest in playing with flaming poi, but I love watching people doing poi stuff, both with and without fire. It speaks to the same part of me, I think, that rope dancing and other modern circus-arts stuff does—juggling, too, to some degree, though at this point I know enough about juggling that watching it isn't quite so magical (but doing it still is; I'd like to get more friends up to speed on passing clubs so I could do that more often). But I think a lot of circus stuff has entered the awareness of the general culture by now, and I don't see that awareness of poi; the only people I know who know about firespinning are the hip geek Burning Man crowd. I wonder if it'll be the next Riverdance-level phenomenon. Unfortunately, it's hard to capture on video, 'cause the flame is bright and it's usually performed at night, in the dark, so there are contrast issues.

If I had a way to buy a set of practice poi in the next two days, I'd bring 'em to WisCon. But I don't know where/how to get them except online.

Anyway. Sunday morning Kate came over and we did some writing, and she made some gardening suggestions. (I think my strategy with my back yard will be to have friends who care about and like gardening come over and do whatever they want with it.) I got about 1500 words written on a story that I've been slowly trying to get a handle on since WisCon two (or maybe even three) years ago. I think the best strategy for this story will be to just dump words onto pages until I get to the end, and then go back and cut about two-thirds of it. It's a digressive, discursive narrative voice, and a slow story with not a lot of plot, and I worry that if the voice doesn't immediately make readers like the narrator, the story will be unreadable. We'll see.

Afterward, I headed down to Santa Cruz and spent the rest of the afternoon with Ananda & Sam, who are up here on a rare trip to the Greater Bay Area to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Yay! I approve of tenth anniversaries. And I've missed them; they're among the LA-area people who I keep saying I'll go visit, but I keep being paralyzed by having too many people I want to see down there to visit in one weekend.

Also present was Jessica E.; we hung out in Santa Cruz for a while, then had dinner with Jessica and Stewart and the twins, then attempted to go see the firespinners (see, it all fits together) out at Lighthouse Beach (at the lighthouse on West Cliff Ave.), the ones who apparently practice/perform there every Sunday night but who, alas, failed to show last night. (Kam noted that there was a big Burning Man-related event in San Francisco that night, and maybe all the firespinners were up there.)

But still, a nice day.

Today I've been exhausted all day, despite theoretically getting more sleep than usual last night. Couldn't keep my eyes open on the train on the way home. I'm gonna go read some subs until I can't stay awake any longer, then try to go to bed early.

Looking forward to WisCon in a few days, mostly—but also a little apprehensive, 'cause I'm only barely maintaining emotional equilibrium these days, and am still suffering a little social overload. So if I leave the fun events and go off by myself, don't take it personally.

I almost completely failed to sign up properly for panels, btw; I suspect there are several that I would've wanted to be on if I'd managed to be more on top of things. As it is, I'm on two panels, which is about the right number for me, but the second one is just two of us panelists on Monday afternoon, when (a) I suspect nobody will be going to panels, and (b) it would've been a great time for me to go see a local friend who doesn't do sf for a few hours before my flight, if only I'd managed to work out my schedule better. Sigh.

Anyway. Them's the news. More, no doubt, anon.

3 Responses to “Checking in”

  1. Tim Pratt

    I first saw firespinning at an arts festival in North Carolina many years ago, and was spellbound. I’ve seen it a few times since then, and like you, I’m an appreciative observer with little desire to learn it myself. I did put some firespinning in my novel, so I’m doing my part to spread awareness of the form!

  2. Jed

    Cool! Glad to hear it’s in the novel.

    I should note that I do have plenty of desire to do the spinning part, just not the fire part. I’m tempted to get the practice poi that are basically battery-operated glow sticks on the ends of strings….

  3. Heather Shaw

    Heh. The last story I wrote begins with firespinning. It still needs lots of work, not only because my first readers had a hard time visualizing what I was talking about.

    I love watching it (I’ve seen incredible displays at Burning Man) and wouldn’t mind learning it, though I do sometimes worry that I’ll drop something heavy and/or flaming on my head 🙂


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