Ashes, Ashes, We All Dive Down

13 February 2002

The good news is that I got two of the pieces on my "to do" list finished yesterday. The bad news is that they were both nonfiction. Ah well; progress is progress. And I did make some progress on fiction. Just not as much as I'd like. But really, it's never as much as I'd like. It's the nature of the beast.

I'm really excited about the stuff I have to work on: the Not The Moose Book, the edits on "Loki's" and "The Children's Village," and "Small Talk." Those are big, serious, exciting things, and I think they're going to be awesome. This, of course, does not stop me from being scared to death of all of it. It's much less scary to just mess around a bit and end up with some fun stories and some good stories that were more or less accidental. I can't do it that way indefinitely, though. And I feel like I'm diving into the work, with this batch. As soon as I'm done with this week's deadline material (two short fiction, one nonfiction), there won't be really anything between me and the big serious stuff.

I never learned to dive properly. I got a B in high school swimming for it and "ruined" my GPA, but I just never could dive off a diving board. Frankly, it seemed unnatural to me. You don't go headfirst. The head is where the important stuff is kept, and that little arm-triangle move doesn't look particularly protective to me. No, no. Feet first is the way to go. If you break your ankles, you'll live. Our family has had one diving accident already, and it was one too many.

But -- total cliche here -- I have to go headfirst into this kind of writing. If I want it to get where it needs to go, I can't be self-protective about it. So I'm diving. I'm allowed to be scared, though. That's perfectly all right. A little fear is healthy. Some of these things are truly scary to do.

Ah well. More Olympics yesterday. I was so upset at NBC's camera people and at the ones who edited the footage. When a guy blows his knee out, you do not attempt to get in his face with a camera while he is collapsed on the ground and screaming. You just don't. In fact, anything that makes someone collapse on the ground and scream also makes them off limits for having a camera shoved up their nose. And then they showed Picabo Street hugging her daddy after she lost -- and played the audio of their conversation. Excuse me, but she did interviews for you -- she was talking to her daddy.

He was saying what my daddy would have said, which is one of the reasons it made me so angry.

Oh, enough of you have guessed that I figure it's time to tell you my favorite Olympic sport. Ski-jumping! Woohoo! Nobody guessed it. My mom knew, but nobody guessed. I was surprised at that. The most popular guesses were biathlon and bobsled. Both nice, respectable events. They just don't go "Wheeee!" like a ski jump.

Liz and I are talking about Japanese food, and now I want gyoza. I finished breakfast half an hour ago. Gyoza totally would not go with my breakfast. But I'd like some anyway. Dang. I did this yesterday with Scott, too -- with gyoza, even, not just with some food.

Everybody likes gyoza.

Heading up to Oakland to hang out with David a bit today, and then coming home and finishing up work and probably going for another walk with Timprov. I don't know what to do about Ash Wednesday. I'd like to go to a service, but I don't know where to go that I can be sure it won't just get at me. (There is no point in going somewhere just to get mad at them for doing it "wrong.") I don't get ashed. I don't like having a symbol on my forehead of what a superior Christian I am because I went to church today. Seems like shouting on the street corner rather than whispering in a closet, to me. Also, the symbology bothers me: when do you handle the reminder of your mortality? And how? Are you allowed to wipe it off with a Kleenex when you leave? Do you wash it off in the bathroom next chance you get? Or are you supposed to leave it until you'd normally wash your face next? And what does it mean to wipe it off -- are you no longer reminded that you were dust, and to dust you shall return? In my particular case, I have to scrub and scrub, or I look like somebody wrote in pencil on my forehead and then erased it. You can tell Norwegians didn't come up with these things.

(I only know this because they ashed people at Gustavus Chapel. One of the teachers at my high school also tried to ash people as they came in the door to his classroom, but he was a Loony.)

This is one of my problems: I think about symbols. Hmm. Occupational hazard, I guess.

We pretty much missed Mardi Gras yesterday. Mark had a glass of wine with dinner. That was the extent of our mad partying. I read a bit of the book about Hungary but was not in a serious-minded concentration mood, so I started reading Kage Baker's The Graveyard Game instead. I don't know if I should be pleased or frustrated with this book. Pleased, because it's telling the story I've been interested in hearing. Frustrated, because it's the first of her series to really do so, and it's #4 in the series. (Also, so far the title has not seemed appropriate, and it seems fairly likely to get people thinking it's a horror novel.) I'm going to try to get a few things done around here. Have a good day.

Later. The server who handles both this journal and Speculon is not receiving FTP at all, so I'm waiting until they fix it. I hope it doesn't stay broken until the magazine is supposed to go up.

My plans for today are totally shot. I spent about two hours under the duvet (bless Ikea for making navy duvets that block out the light!) getting rid of my migraine, and I'm still shaky and woozy.

Cinquanta of the ISU is on the TV proving that he doesn't understand the concept of reputation. When reporters make suggestions of how he can protect what's left of figure skating's reputation, he insists that the allegations have not been proven. Is that the point? No, it is not. You need to be as aboveboard as possible when accusations have been made of underhanded behavior. And when he takes refuge in "That's a private document" or "That is an internal matter," I don't see how he expects anyone from North America to accept that. We're used to hearing exactly what kind of underwear the president's intern was wearing. We certainly aren't going to let a report go without hearing it.

We've had this on for half an hour, and the first interesting thing happened: the referee made some allegations of impropriety. We had already heard that the ISU was not going to let him talk to the press. Well, that makes it pretty obvious.

I think Germany should file an appeal. Why Germany? Because they voted "the right way," and because they aren't us -- that is, they aren't North American. They aren't particularly chummy with us and the Canadians. Cinquanta keeps trying to imply that it's just that we North Americans are tasting sour grapes. Well, I don't think it's "just us." (I do think that we're pretty clearly sibling nations, though: Karina can be out for American blood in women's hockey, and I have to say I'd love to see them beat the Canadians, in part because the Canadians are worth beating, unlike the team from Pago Pago -- but aside from all that digression, the response seems to generally be "Hey! You can't pick on them -- those are our Canadians!")

Still later. Still no FTP. Sigh. More reading about Hungary, and I've started Melissa Scott's The Jazz. Hope you're having a good day. I got Dan's Chocolates. Yum.

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