It's been quite a while since I've posted about how my life is going. The overall summary is that the past few weeks have been very productive but very tiring. I've been more or less flat chat (as they apparently say in Australia), leaving me with not much time or social energy.

Some assorted specifics:

  • Signing up for WisCon panels a couple weeks ago resulted in a week of email flurries with Aaron L, who I'm glad to be back in touch with. (He and I did a sex-and-gender panel together a couple years ago that ended up going quite well.) We've been discussing the panel he proposed for this year; it got me all excited about WisCon. For a few days there I kept being surprised that the con is still nearly three months away. But that'll give me time to acquire and read Shadow Man in preparation for the panel. Don't know yet whether I'll be on the panel, but I'll certainly attend it one way or another.
  • I've been working late, often 'til 9 or 10 or later--but before you get too much sympathy for me, I should note that I've therefore been going to bed way too late, getting up late after not enough sleep, and going to work late, sometimes not arriving until noon. Still, I did have a twelve-and-a-half-hour work day last week. All this in service of trying to finish both of my projects, which are both somewhere between imminently due and long past due. With luck, things will calm down a lot in about two weeks.
  • The plus side of that is that I'm learning a lot. In the past three weeks, I've vastly expanded my (previously minimal) knowledge of Java and Javadoc, and significantly expanded my understanding of various programming concepts (especially exceptions). Over the past week, I've written some Java code (and consulted some of my own documentation to do so), and compiled it (which required learning a lot about classpaths), and then finally ran it (which required learning still more about classpaths)--and it did the thing it was supposed to do! Very exciting. ...I'm obliquely reminded that my first experience with Java was translating the JavaScript examples in the VRML 2.0 Handbook into Java, ten years ago. Even though (a) I didn't know Java, and (b) I couldn't compile or run the examples in time for publication, it later turned out that they worked perfectly. I was very pleased with myself. However, I didn't really learn much Java from that experience.
  • A couple weeks ago, I suddenly had the urge to write some fiction. I haven't written any fiction since last March or April; the story that I took to last year's Hidden City (which was sparked by a WisCon panel in 2000, and had gone through several unworkable drafts before 2005) has been on my mind a lot, and I had worked out in my head various things I wanted to do with it, but I hadn't sat down and worked on it. So I wanted to work on that, and I also had an unrelated idea for a series of adventure stories--one of which would be a novel, really only the second plausibly novel-length idea I've ever had. So I decided to have a writing day. Those of you who regularly put in six- or eight-hour writing days, feel free to roll your eyes at the idea of setting aside three or four hours to write every month or two.... But I've found it helpful in my very slow process. Anyway, I didn't tell people about it soon enough, and various folks were out of town, so the only other person who came was Arthur E, and he could only spare an hour or so. But I think he found it useful anyway, and I spent all afternoon writing, which was definitely useful. Made a lot of progress on the old story, though I still have a ways to go. Didn't work on the new stories, but I had spent a few hours earlier in the week going through some notes and thinking about those stories.
  • Haven't been sleeping well. A mix, at various times, of having a hard time getting to sleep, waking up too many times during the night, and waking up too early. This is really nothing new, just an unfortunate return to old patterns. (For those who haven't been hanging around my journal for long, no need to supply me with your favorite insomnia cures; I've tried many many things over the years, and I have a pretty good idea of what works for me when anything works.)
  • Been having lots of vivid dreams. One in which I looked in the mirror and discovered that someone had shaved off my beard during the night; another that was a minor test-anxiety dream, only the test was at work. Last night, there was one that involved reading and living through a great new Narnia-related story (sadly nonexistent in the waking world) written by David M. Thanks, David!
  • Made a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond a couple weeks ago. Got additional curtains, various household stuff (dishes, mop, iron and ironing board), supplies for child guests (plastic cups, straws--the latter of which will also be useful in case of future visits by Waterowl), etc. One particularly good purchase: an automated back-massage unit that you can attach to a chair. Not as good as a real back rub, but not bad.
  • Received my 2004 tax refunds. (After filing last year's tax forms only about a month ago. Onward to this year's!)
  • Used the treadmill more than usual last week. Then on Saturday or so I spent a few minutes actually running on it, instead of just walking fast. And on Monday, my legs were so sore that I could barely walk. Sigh. I guess the answer is more exercise more regularly.
  • Will Q. and his sweetie L. are visiting for a few days--they're really visiting a friend of L's, but I offered them my guest room with the understanding that I'm not likely to be around much or to be very interactive when I am. Had a nice chat with them last night about linguistics and psychology and autism and things.
  • Spent a little time cleaning up the house in preparation for their visit, though not as much time as I'd hoped to spend. No good housekeeping awards for Jed this year, but that's nothing new.
  • Also been spending a lot of time editing, after some SH schedule rearrangement. Continued apologies to all of you who've returned edits and haven't heard back from me, a growing number. I hope to get that under control soon.
  • As background for editing one story, rented and watched The Battle of Britain, which turned out to be pretty good. A little hard to follow the characters, though. I found several of them hard to tell apart in the first place (kind of generic-looking white guys, most of whom have basically the same job), and many of them spend much of their screen time in planes, with almost all of the face covered in a way just like the way everyone else's face is covered. And it turns out I'm not that good at telling people's eyes apart in the absence of other cues.
  • My brother Jay's birthday was Tuesday. Happy birthday again!
  • Next Tuesday will be the first anniversary of Peter's death.
  • I've been generally grumpy and out of sorts a lot lately. Not sure why. Partly weather (though I know I have nothing to complain about, and to be fair the weather has been often glorious lately), partly tiredness, partly I don't know what. Had a difficult V-Day week. Been kind of generally tense and easily distressed (yes, even more so than usual).
  • Keep expecting to get sick, but thankfully it keeps not happening. Had a runny nose and sneezes for about an hour on Sunday (?) morning, but then it went away. No objections from me; just still a little surprised that my traditional winter cold never showed up.

'kay, that's all from me. Off I go to face the day! (Cue Mighty Mouse music.)

2 Responses to “Updates”

  1. Steph Burgis

    Congrats on getting the writing done! If you’re tired, stressed, overloaded and working late–and yet you still manage to fit in a couple of good writing hours–that’s just cool. (Whenever I have to overload on work, whether it’s academic or day-job, my brain tends to short out and I just flop around feeling sorry for myself in my free time, instead of actually writing, which would make me feel better…)

    Can’t wait for Wiscon!

  2. Greg van Eekhout

    I love having little writing holidays, even if they’re only a couple of hours long. Sounds like you’ve got a lot going on in your life, and I think it’s great that you managed to get some writing done in the middle of it.


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