Cabbies and Rednecks
2 February 2002
Well, good morning. I feel like death on toast, and how are you? I went to bed early last night, hoping that would help things. Slept "late" (7:00 -- for me, that's late), and I still don't feel so good. Last night at dinner, my body just quit halfway through: no, it decided, we won't be eating any more tonight, thanks anyway. Sigh. I've had my Nutella tortilla this morning, but the body isn't so sure of that one, either. I don't know what it is. For awhile this week, I assumed that the Pill and my body were having a grudge match again. That could be, but I just don't know at this point. Yuck. I have had enough sickness now, body! Do you hear me? We can feel good now. It's allowed.
On a much more pleasant note, my short story "Cassie's Deal" is up at Paradox 12 in their first issue. Go read it. I had a good time with it, and it's short. (I had originally written it for a children's market and then edited it up for adults instead.) The formatting is a little odd, but that's okay, it's my story, and I was paid pro rates for it. So go. Read.
So. The anthology reading period is closed, and some of the things people were absolutely sure would happen didn't happen. Everybody I talked to was sure that I'd get a big spike in submissions yesterday. I was pretty sure of it myself. Didn't happen. I got four. I guess people are either less procrastination-prone than we all assumed, or less successful at their procrastination. I'd be inclined to be lenient if a good story or two trickled in today, or even a request for an extension or two, but I have enough good stories that I've already had to reject some of them. I won't be begging for more. I'm waiting on two stories from writers I've enjoyed in the past. We shall see.
I've learned a lot from doing this anthology. Some of it was trivial stuff. I learned that putting the word count clearly in the cover letter or at the top of the submission, preferably both, is really helpful. I've learned that there are people who think the rules don't apply to them, whether those rules are comma usage or word limit or anthology topic.
I've also learned that our most hateful groups of people, as perceived by 110 writers, are rednecks and cabbies. Also that human beings are barbarians. A really large percentage of these stories featured that assumption -- sometimes the aliens were worse barbarians, but the human beings were still barbarians. I'm a little alarmed by the amount of chest-thumping woe-is-us attitude. I'm also alarmed, in an amused fashion, that "I hate aliens because they're crazy about stuff I don't like" popped up rather often. I mean, I'm not fond of Britney Spears or any other sex-selling girly-pop singer, but that doesn't mean I hate pre-teen girls, even when I'm forced to listen to "Hit me baby, one more time!" in the grocery store. I did not, thankfully, get any Britney Spears stories. That doesn't really make up for Michael Jackson Day, but it's comforting in its own way.
I feel like the hardest part is ahead of me, but it's not, really. Most of the work is behind me now. I have 27,600 words accepted now, out of about 60,000 planned. So I need to pick 32,400 words worth of story, out of the 53,500 I have here on my maybe pile, plus the two that are coming in yet. That's not so bad, right...? Hmm. Well, in a sense. I don't have to deal with any more irredeemably bad stories. But I didn't get that many of those to begin with, so...well. It'll be interesting, that's for sure.
Oh, for those of you who are curious after my comment about it earlier, women ended up being 28% of the authors from whom I received at least one story. I'm not sure what I expected, but it probably wasn't that. I guess I know a decent number of women in the field and I read a decent number of women in the field, so I just kind of assumed it'd be about even.
So. On totally unrelated fronts...I worked on the Not The Moose Book some more yesterday, and it was a happy thing. For me, that is. The characters were not so happy, but that's all right. I read some more of Coming of Age in the Milky Way and started Smilla's Sense of Snow as a break from Coming of Age. So far, Coming of Age is really good at what it's doing, but not particularly good at what I wanted it to do. Also, the title reminds me too much of John M. Ford's Growing Up Weightless for as dissimilar as the two books are. I'm liking Smilla. So far it feels pretty relentlessly plotted. Focused without being so single-minded as to annoy. I like that. It fits into my brain nicely. If I continue to like it this much, I'm going to look for other Peter Høeg books. (Amazon and B&N both list him as Peter Hoeg and Peter Heg. Not his name. Argh.)
Mark and I went out to "The Count of Monte Cristo" (before supper, so I still felt decent). Happy endings, bah. I haven't reread the Dumas for ages, and I deliberately didn't reread it this winter because I knew that it would just heighten my sense of outrage at the movie. I ruined "The Three Musketeers" for myself that way, and I had to wait until it had been three years, I think, since I'd read the book, to appreciate the movie for what it is. Which is something almost entirely different from what the book is, but that's all right. I can like The Phoenix Guards. The movie of "The Count" left many things unexplained which would have been better explained, and I had a sense that they'd cut some of the best stuff. (Mark, who reread the book last fall, is certain that they did.) Also, the movie highlighted for me the folly of the empire waist. Very few women look at all presentable in that style, although perhaps Kate Greenaway and an endless parade of Jane Austen adaptations and imitators have prejudiced me against it unnecessarily. Anyway, we had fun picking at the movie together afterwards.
Before the movie, we were subjected to a Tribute to The American Spirit. Which is evidently largely composed of Jack Nicholson/Ken Kesey projects, also of Shirley Temple...sometimes Hollywood is just unbearable. Also, three different people around us had ringing cell phones during the show. One of them just let hers ring, or else didn't know how to turn off the ringer. Gah.
I have to wonder what the point is of Groundhog's Day for Northern Californians. Will it be longer cool and rainy winter? Or will we start into a cool and rainy spring? Who knows? The suspense, though, is killing me. I'm going to fetch the paper and check CNN online to see.
I'm also going to drink juice and tea and hope for the best. I hope for the best for you, too.
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