Week 12: Somerville

Locations: Somerville, MA; Boston, MA


Dates: 11/3/96-11/9/96

Spent Sunday watching TV, playing Mah-Jongg, and talking with various folks. Played in the pile of dry leaves in the back yard for a while. Learned how to use the "analog" program to analyze WWW logs; discovered my anti-chain letter page is by far the most popular on my site, with about 20 hits per day for the past month. Saw the season finale of Babylon 5; looking forward to the new season.

Also read some in Carlson's Foundations of Physiological Psychology as research for a story I'm having trouble finishing. Fascinating stuff, but didn't provide quite the info I was looking for. Bhadrika later gave me enough info that I think I can fake it.

For the next couple days, pretty much just lazed around. Taught myself AppleScript by examining the sample scripts that came with it. Tried to catch up on email, but more of it keeps piling in all the time. Went food shopping. Attended Michael's election-eve party, but spent half of it playing cards. Slept a lot, read a lot.

Had dinner with Diana on Wednesday, and a nice long conversation (including some discussion of the philosophical underpinnings of morality, or "What do you tell a kid who asks why ta shouldn't steal gum?"). Talked with Michael for a while afterward, updated some Web pages (thanks to Lisa for pointing out I hadn't updated the "last modified" date on my main page for about a month), including adding some tips to my writing tips page. Also re-registered on the new Paly alums Web page. (I've been really lazy about incorporating links in the travelogue in the past couple weeks. Sometime soon I'll try and fill in some blanks.)

I've been having a lot of long detailed vivid dreams lately. Many mornings I wake up certain that the dream I just had would make a marvelous story, but something intervenes and I don't get a chance to write it down until most of the details are gone. Of course, most of the time when I do remember the details they turn out to make no sense; dream-logic is like that.

Reading bird by bird, unlike reading other books on writing, actually made me want to write. I stopped in the middle of the book on Thursday afternoon to go finish up a story I've been letting languish. Which prompted me to dig up a couple other stories which are all ready to be sent out, having been sitting around pointlessly since a year ago when they both got rejected by major magazines. And then my forwarded mail arrived, and it included a royalty check for sales of 100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories, the Barnes & Noble anthology my short-short vampire story was published in. I was thrilled; I never expected to see any more money from that after the original sale. I guess the anthology must have sold well. Anyway, Thursday was a good writing day.

Made plans to see Northampton friends in a couple weeks.

Friday I got more writing done, at long last finishing up a short-short story I've wanted to write since high school. Or a draft of it, anyway. Gotta show it to a couple of people for feedback before I try sending it anywhere. I also took a walk, because the weather was suddenly glorious—no direct sunlight, but California-warm, with blue sky showing between the clouds, and great gusts of wind. Most of the walk was in writer mode, trying to observe and describe details of everything I saw, but eventually I lay down on a park bench and spent ten or fifteen minutes watching clouds sail by. Then read SWAPA for a while until the cloud cover deepened and it got too dark to read, so I headed back to Bhadrika & Steve's. I gather it's likely to snow before Monday...

Had a yummy dinner of yellow Thai curry at Borgo. Service was better than last time.

Saturday I finally finished a draft outline for one of the screenplays I'm working on. Also went with Bhadrika to a new crunchy-granola supermarket (felt just like home). After another dinner that couldn't be beat (Bhadrika's stir-fry), I headed into Boston proper to hang out at Fran & Ed's. Talked, ate Fran's delicious homemade apple pie, played Oh Hell (which I haven't played in years and which I'm really bad at, but which I enjoy a great deal). Got a ride home from Ben. Stayed up well into Sunday, working on SWAPA and reading.

Movies, Books, etc.

Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy
A rich, painful book which mixes a blueprint for utopia (one of the few literary utopias that I'd like to live in) with the story of a Latina in a mental hospital circa 1976. A little too much speechifying to make for a good novel as such, but I can forgive a little polemic when it's this well done.
bird by bird, Anne Lamott
I don't normally like books on writing, but this one has the major advantage of being laugh-out-loud funny. Highly, highly recommended to anyone with any interest in writing whatsoever; even where I don't agree with what she says, she says it so well that I loved reading it.
The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Natalie Babbitt
I picked up a bunch of Babbitt books a couple years back and am finally reading them. This one is a fine, solid kids' book, but is nonetheless a little disappointing when inevitably compared to Babbitt's justifiably best-known book, Tuck Everlasting.

(Last updated: 10 November 1996.)

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