lenora_rose: (Default)
The other day I got a call from Conner Cochran of Conlan Press, mentioning that I had won his monthly draw from all the fans who were at the Last Unicorn tour; any one item from the tour page including expensive prints, etc.

Some of the stuff is really pretty, as I recall from buying during the tour.

I said no thanks. And that was that.

It's notable that he basically said Ok and that he'd draw another name until someone said yes. Notable because it means he gets a lot of people saying No, with or without thanks.

An honest business doesn't get a lot of people who went out of their way to get to a special event, purchased stuff there, and squeed all over a longtime favourite author, to later end up turning down lovely and sometimes fairly costly free stuff.

I wish I'd known about just how skeevy his operation was then; it's soured an event I quite enjoyed at the time, and a meeting with Beagle that I felt was nice.

Some people said they found the way Cochran pushed himself forward creepy and felt like Beagle was squished a bit out of his own event. I have to say I was not one of them.

I was clueless. I thought it was the natural way things fall in the teamwork of a born salesman and an introvert, and Cochran didn't give me quite the crawly feeling some aggressive salespeople do. I could see myself and someone with a bit of showmanship striking a similar balance. Beagle was charming and erudite and talked to fans with some pleasure.

I had no idea Beagle was basically being pushed to exhaustion, all the money from the lovely things there filtered away from him and into Cochran's pocket, and that anyone Beagle tried to talk to alone would get Cochran telling them how old and confused he was -- including cutting Beagle off from his own family.

That Cochran, after getting Beagle out from under a predatory contract, turned around and preyed on him all over again.

I had no idea, since I wasn't planning to buy anything that wasn't on the table at the time, that many, if not all, of the people who did sign up to pre-pay for special packages have never received them, that Cochran keeps promising late and later dates. Up to 12 years. (I did sign up to be notified when the tour book comes out, but wasn't going to pre-pay.)

I did find it unfortunate that the e-mail I sent requesting a copy of the photo taken with me and Beagle never got a reply, but I assumed it was because the tour was busy.

Not until the lawsuit against Cochran and Conlan Press was filed last year, alleging fraud and elder abuse.

It's soured me also on some of the stuff I bought there - not that I would lose one word of the books, and the art is lovely. But now I know Beagle, who was right in front of me, never saw a dime. I'd almost like to pay again, cash straight into his hand - and my only hesitation would be the awkwardness of it. (I wonder if the artists get their payments on time, or demand payment upfront before releasing stock? I hope so, but I have no idea. Fans Against Fraud has a reference to one of the artists not having been paid in full, but it's not one of the ones whose work I paid for.)

This isn't hearsay:

Beagle's legal Complaint

Another legal complaint, from a company that invested in the tour.

Fans Against Fraud (Collects a LOT of pull quotes. gets repetitive, but lays it all out.)

________________


One of the things I got, and it wasn't purchased but won, was a shirt that reads "Damn you, Peter S. Beagle, it's all your fault". It's meant to be referring to the Last Unicorn, and the fact that she's supposedly the first known reference to a female unicorn and unicorns as a feminine thing.

It feels a bit sour now, and I can't wear it.

I have considered marking it with editor's corrections in some form, some red pen to make it better. (The only one I am completely certain about, though, is to strike "damn" and put in "Thank".)

Even then, though, I'm still not positive I could wear it in comfort, and not ever in front of Beagle.

I still like my unicorn wand. I just really wish I knew for sure that THAT artist got her payment.
lenora_rose: (Wheeeeee!)
Further to the last post: Not broken. Bone-bruise, so he's taking a break tonight.

______

In other news:

The agent who asked for a full MS for the Serpent Prince passed ("High fantasy not a very good sell, not enthused enough"), and I've found out for sure that not one, but TWO of my prior submissions went to incorrect e-mail addresses in spite of me checking IMMEDIATELY before mailing as to guidelines. (One was definitely a case of multiple web sites, where Agentquery and Publisher's Marketplace had different info from the agency's own site. One MIGHT have been me going by my own spreadsheet instead of triple-checking.) In the latter case, I can hope this only meant I got auto-deleted and delayed a few weeks, not that they'll notice and think me a clueless Dip. In the former, I did a follow-up e-mail, so they know I was a clueless Dip. But they still told me to send it to the correct address.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Hmm. A while since I posted. Colin and I did our little run out of town, I went to Keycon, we watched a verra good concert with S. J. Tucker and Heather Dale and their musical teams, we've been making lots or prep work for house renovations with my father-in-law, and am now at 17 1/2 weeks, or over 4 months. Yow.

I'll try not to blather too long about any of the above, but I do have a few things I thought were interesting and/or cool.
_____________

On a writing-related note, there is *nothing* more frustrating than waiting for an answer from an agent.

To be specific, during Keycon, I got an e-mail from one agent that she'd like to see my full MS (Dance! Dance!).

So I e-mailed the agent who's had the partial for a while and might want the full -- in hopes of speeding up the response now she knows there's other interest. I thought sicne she requested the partial first, this was the appropriate order. No reply yet.

Of course, to me, this is *TWO WEEKS AUGH EEK!* but for her, I presume she's swamped with work for her current clients. (Not least because she replied to my earlier "You've had that 4 months now" with "Sorry. Swamped. I still have it, but haven't had a chance to read." (In more professional words on both sides, of course).

But really. NOW would be nice, says the writer-anxiety brain. I don't suppose anyone knows how much longer before I should push again? I really would like to be able to say something to the one who requested the full.

____________

Keycon was fun, I missed a lot of panels, and did a lot more singing. A good year, and good to catch up with a number of people I hadn't seen, especially among the filkers. I danced a bit at the social, spent a lot less time than you'd expect in the Consuites, and listened to yet more music. I was completely floored by Lanna (I THINK that's the right spelling) and Wolfgang's costume pairing of a young Steampunk scientist and his Igor, who was complaining about this newfangled steam tech and how the old days, and the lightning, were so much better. (Lanna was inside the Igor puppet, melting to death and Not Dropping character.) Also cheered Suninherhair's gorgeous dress , and a highly impressive Red Queen who used an amazing wig and makeup job to make her head look genuinely big. Did catch a good panel with Robert Sawyer, Derryl Murphy and Craig Russel (Not to be confused with P. Craig...) on writing, which was entertaining but mostly 101 level writing advice. I didn't get into the writing pitch and advice session as it was full.

More interesting, though not necessarily to his benefit, was the talk I heard by the author GoH, L.E. Modesitt. The first thing that annoyed me was how he interspersed interesting remarks with things that struck me as painfully over-generalized, especially as regards gender (Your examples of humans as a tool-using species are "Look at any man's garage and any woman's kitchen"? Really, if you'd dropped the "any", I might not have gnashed my teeth).

Although the one that really stuck for me was when he was talking about his magic system, which seems to combine magic-as-engineering, IE, people will develop reproducible results where possible, and the "You need to HAVE the innate talent to do it at all" approach. But he did concede that not everyone who has the talent has the same amount -- but most of them, except the least talented, go to the big equivalent of Engineering school, if one had no choice but to go to engineering school if one had the aptitude. So I asked, "So nobody in your world ever does magic as a hobby? The way people who don't have or want the formal training still paint watercolours on Sunday?"

He answered very quickly, "Put it this way. You don't see very many ... surviving ... Sunday Electricians."

Which admittedly got a laugh, even from me. But also had me immediately think that Colin has done a fair bit of the wiring in our house, has done it safely, and up to Code (And no, I have no fear of out house ever showing up on those "worst mistakes" type renovation shows. Not, at least, for unsafe electricity.) By actually reading up on it of his own free will, and being shown things by other people who've done it at what is, effectively, a hobby level -- and at least a couple of times, by watching the mistakes people have made that might be dangerous and vowing not to repeat that. And knowing when (as with the reno coming up), he wants a real electrician to do the work, or look over it.

I didn't say so, but I was thinking it over ever since. Really. Is there no way to get a hobbyist magician in a world where magic has as strict and firm rules as physics and chemistry? No text for how to do it safely? And if not, then doesn't that make people with a smidgin of power MORE dangerous than hobbyists?

(It seems unlikely in my particular fictional world, but it really doesn't seem to contradict his stated rules for Recluse)

I have no idea right now if that's a plot kernel or merely a cool toy for my brain to play with. But there it is.

______________

Everyone in my local circle (Though not necessarily everyone on LJ/DW) has a pretty good idea who Heather Dale is. (Lookie, official video!) But I felt like I was about the only one outside the filkers who had heard of S.J. Tucker, and that was via the band Tricky Pixie.

I discovered the existence of Tricky Pixie because Alexander James Adams is one of the members, and I've been a fan of his since around 1992, but the very first song sample I heard din't impress me much; it was kind of rough around the edges (Plus Alec was obviously still getting used to a different vocal range, and was not singing terribly well). Later, someone (either aymaera or Greek_Amazon, I genuinely don't remember and don't really want to dig through OMG journal entries to figure out) linked to their version of Tam Lin, which was much smoother, much more impressive, and told me the band had really come together since the first sample (Also, that Alec's voice had settled nicely). Anyhow, once I registered that this was *that*( singer, I decided that Sooj solo would also be a pretty fair bet. Yay! I was right.

Turns out S.J. also brought fellow Pixie Betsy Tinney, the cellist, so I got to meet the other 2/3 of the band. And S.J., in spite of some of her banter being about how little sleep and how little brain she had, was also quite good at the between song banter and the overall performance, as well as writing interesting and enjoyable songs. (Sometimes in live concerts, the presentation itself is key. Loreena McKennitt, for instance, barely spoke in the concert I saw, which, from reports I hear from her being pretty boring when she does, via those who saw her at the folk fest, meant she gave exemplary concert by not doing banter. Where, with Heather, I think you'd lose a lot from the live show by *not* hearing her and Ben doing commentary.)

Sooj's style is a bit closer to the singer-songwriter folk, with an occasional gospel-like bit thrown in, but her lyrics are strongly fantastical. I especially liked Ravens in the Library myself (And the very silly Alligator In the House, which she blamed on Betsy songwriting wise, though the album credits them together). Of the two albums of hers, I found the current one, Mischief, mostly good, and the 2005 one, Tangles, rather more generic; had I bought it before hearing her, or the recent work, I'd have dismissed her as promising but not really interesting.

Anyhow, two superb acts. Lots of fun. Plus, of course, getting to see the Bhigg House crew and others of that ilk.

_____________

House reno plans are ... a lot bigger than they were when we started talking about it idly in march/April. Like, a whole extension. Colin has been toiling away at the computer on the plans (He has an amazing program for doing so, plus it's exactly the sort of thing he's skilled at.) We got the surveyor to confirm the actual property lines, he had an engineer in twice to look over Colin's drafts of the project (Ha approved them, confirmed this would be fairly easy, but also told him exactly what he'd need for the actual permit that he hadn't drawn out in detail yet) and a concrete guy to give is price estimates on foundations.

My Father in law was intending to return to BC on Friday, but had to cancel his flight due to illness. He seems a bit better, though far from well, and he has antibiotics. And I'm under firm orders not to go near him (My mother-in-law is exceedingly protective of her unborn grandchild, even if she has to call from BC to be so. I do want to remind her that I'm ALSO very interested in the fate of said little one and am indeed taking care of myself. But some things, like walking up or down a flight of stairs, don't exactly worry me yet. Not until the bump is much larger. And exercising is strongly in my interest. Though I agree that exposing myself to ill people, even ones I care a good deal about, is not. So I'm fretting at a distance.)
______________

Doctor Who this season seems to be aiming for cracktastically weird as its gold standard. Which the emphasis on the cracktastic, not the gold, or even the Who. It doesn't quite feel Whovian as I'm used to thinking of it, even less than last season, but whatever it is, it's having fun.
______________

The Sea Thy Mistress just cemented Bear's Edda of Burdens as my favourite of her series'. (Okay, I'd have to read all three and the two Stratford Man books in rapid succession to be sure, but I think if I tried that just now, my head might explode). Though it seemed to me for the first half of the book that there was a lot of not-much happening, most of it did turn out to have accomplished more than it first looked like, and the second half more than paid for the slow start. Wow.

______________

Similar wows for N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Kingdoms. (If you haven't read the first one, the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and you've ever wanted to read something a little different and a lot amazingly good in fantasy, FIND IT. NOW.)
lenora_rose: (Default)
Two job interviews so far this week - the first went quite well, the second didn't seem to be as good, to me.

I haven't, however, managed to get new resumes out this week. Someone needs to kick me in the arse. (I was looking at postings today, and some are flagged to go for tomorrow, because I do feel weird e-mailing past 10:00.)

Went to archery Monday and shot noticeably worse than I had Saturday. Tried to go on Tuesday after that interview, and the third time horrible pain shot up my stringside forearm, stopped and packed it in. The first was early on, and seemed isolated - I had a twinge or two between, but hard tot ell if that was the nerves settling down again or warning. The second and third were one shot right after the other, and I stopped immediately. (Though I couldn't exactly shoot well while clutching my forearm the way I was.)

Alas, one thing I did notice was that the twinges and the shooting pain happened when i was using better technique. So, lest I accidentally start committing aversion therapy on myself, I'm not going to shoot again until Saturday, though I will see if I can't do some strength building exercises meantime. And if one happens Saturday, call it until Monday.

Went to dance practice; alas, there ended up being only three of us for most of the evening, and a fourth showed up late enough that we shrugged and kept talking, even though four is usually the point at which we can be productive. OTOH, we made plans for making goodies on Pi Day (Monday) to use to supply as a dessert revel for next dance practice, and lure out dancers, non-dancers and anyone who likes pie.

So far, I got a fair bit of writing on a necessary plot summary done, but not much actual text. This two-pronged thing with Labyrinth is kind of strange; I wrote Heather's stretch to date as one steady sequence. Not that it lacked scene breaks, but one writes slightly differently if one knows there's a pause and cut to another locale coming up. Certainly, Laurel(formerly Holly)'s side is being written with me fully aware there are time gaps. But mostly the issue is that I know what the end result of the next big scene is, but not how to get there.

Tomorrow, I need to lock myself in the library or something. After I've put out some more resumes and done all the tax/financial stuff on my to-do list.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Why is it always so inevitable that in the process of cleaning and rearranging a room, one must make it MUCH messier first?

I'm so there. This place? a wreck. And now I haven't figured out where to put the printer/scanner. Since the USB turntable is now where it was. (And incidentally does not seem to be sending sound to the computer even though I'm sure I have the right things plugged in. Sigh. I'll RTFM again tomorrow, then ask the husband if I continue to fail)

On the plus side, I have put all my already-read books on shelves that make sense and are in order. Except the ones I'm thinking about taking off as "I won't reread this"

(I will Still run out of room, by the way, as soon as some of the to-read pile gets put away, so I am not, technically, at that mythical state of having Enough Shelf Space for all my books.)

(On an unrelated note, LJ has not been sending me comment notifications. Dammit.)
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
I find it slightly disturbing that when I'm feeling down, I find going to church rather harder than it ought to be. As in, I went to a friend's place Friday night specifically because I knew I'd feel better. Ditto with seeing mom today. Ditto with rereading DWJ (The Homeward Bounders in this case -- though there's something about using *that* one as comfort reading...) So it isn't the "Being social is hard" effect I sometimes have as a mild introvert. (Though I would like a great deal to have a few hours genuinely ALONE in the house, not just closed in another room).

Part of it is that neither Colin nor I are really deeply connected to the community. We're there, we do things with and for the church, but we don't have many deep close friends that way. Actually, depending on where your line is between friend and "acquaintance I like", some might argue we don't have many friends there. (I know a few people I would call friends, but I had the debate about where friend and acquaintance break off with at least one person whose definition was widely different from mine). So that while I like the community there as a whole when I'm down, they aren't the people I'd reach for for consolation or comfort or to forget.

Put it this way; NOBODY at church at this point knows about either miscarriage.

Doesn't help that the last non-Christmas service I attended made me burst into tears. Or that when the minister's wife actually noticed that fact, and checked on me, I promised that that I'd e-mail L. (the minister) and explain to her what was going on. And I didn't.

And now I'm bothered by an entirely different issue (It's work stuff, but since one of the problems I'm having right now is a total lack of information or communication, I can't explain further yet), and so I really don't want to be corralled about that incident.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
(ETA: I've gone back to add minor plot blurbs. These are sometimes just greater context for the quote, sometimes more like back cover copy)

The last several days, I seem to have ended up wandering from project to project a bit, doing a fragment of editing here, a piece of new scene there, notes on plot yet elsewhere. I need to make up my mind.

It's a given that I should finish the edit of the Serpent Prince, which I haven't touched since October 18. (And I pretty much hit the place where I suspect the editing will no longer be the easy line-by-line polish, but serious cutting, rearranging if needed, and scaffold-stripping. Coincidence? I think not.)

OTHER than that, I have to pick a project to spend the rest of my time on, and force myself to produce raw text. Samples below:

Read more... )
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
As a follow-on to a prior LJ post, this is the revised version of the aspirations thing.

My ambitions as of this moment:

- Within six months, I should be either working at least 30 hours/week steady, or have a damn good reason why not (such as pregnancy). At a place that I anticipate staying for a while.

- Within the next two years, I should acquire an agent, or else obtain a minimum of 50 rejections from agencies on various works, proving I tried. (Since I can try to sell Bird of Dusk and Serpent Prince, and possibly others as I go.)

- Within five years, I should have an offer on a novel, whether through an agency or otherwise, from a legitimate press. or enough rejections to prove I made a really damn good try.

- Within those same five years, I should have sold at least three more short stories (considering the number I don't write, this is a tougher goal than it sounds).

- Within three years, if physically possible*, I should have at least one child. While this and work goals might have trouble working together, I genuinely think this and writing goals should not.

- On each of the next few years, i will have completed at least two large-scale pottery projects, large scale being defined as either one object like Nessie, or a significant number of smaller objects. Failing this, five medium-sized projects. (I know what I would personally define as large or medium. The pendants for the event in January, for example, qualify as one for 2010.)

- Each year, I will endeavour to complete at least one drawing or illumination project from scratch, and to complete at least one of the partially finished ones in the queue.

- By December 2011, I will learn enough on the mandolin to actually succeed in playing the song Abacchus gave me as the next level up and which I've never yet managed, and to be able to play simple melodies as well as accompaniment. *

-I will have all of my current practice repertoire up to performable standard, and have added at least 10 new pieces to the practice or performance roster outside songs given me by Abacchus for teaching.

- I will get my driver's license, or at least have passed the driving portion of the test, before the snow falls.

- I will break 100 points in this upcoming winter shoot. (Archery-related.)

- To my already extant exercise, I will add at least one regular weekly swim, and at least 3 sessions of 20 minutes of heavier cardio (such as dancing), excluding that swim.

Should I be considering other goals? Throw me suggestions.

____________
* Weirdly, this will likely be easier when he moves out; I feel awkward practicing where my teacher can hear me when I know I haven't been practicing enough and I've lost technique. So I practice less. So I feel more awkward. So I practice less.... Honestly, I did more practice when we were travelling in BC and AB.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
(Note. At the bottom, I ask for suggestions. I'm not kidding.)

Once upon a time, in a job interview (Not this recent one - this was years ago), I was asked the dread question of where I wanted to be in five years. I gave what I thought was a reasonable answer; I'd like to still be working within that same business, at a higher eschelon from where I began - then I added the caveat. Not too high. Not a position like controller, or vice president. I wouldn't expect, or want, to have that much control over other employees that soon.

The woman taking the interview wrote, flatly, "No ambition."

I knew I didn't have the job in that moment; if she could that drastically misunderstand my intent, I didn't really regret it. And I've tried to find other accurate ways to answer that which circumvent the question of how much command I want to have over other people.

Should I have said I wanted to be in charge of all of accounting in a mere five years? Not in five years - I think that fast a rise to that high either implies full specialized training or high-level experience elsewhere, not starting as an AP/administrative assistant. I thought I was showing realism.

I was sincere, too, that if I liked the business, I *would* want to keep at the same place for years. After three years being driven crazy there, I would go back to RCC, in any department, in a shot.

I was also sincere that staying there only in the bottom rung for forever would have been a problem. Had I continued at RCC, I would have wanted to start pressing for full-time work, different work with more training, a permanent contract. Something like J was doing, where the low end of her job was similar to mine, but the high end included far more complex work. Or, someday, replacing the person who was my official manager -- a job which K, the former front-end receptionist, took over partway through my stay.

But it's also true that I wouldn't feel need to *ever* be on the BoD. It wasn't my ambition. It never will be.

I've been thinking about ambition lately.

Mostly when I realised I don't know what Ketan's ultimate ambition in life is, or would be, if he didn't have X, Y, and Z to cope with meantime.

It hardly matters, in one sense: by the time Ketan gets to catch his breath, look around and decide what he wants to *do* with his life, I'll be done with the plot of four whole books. And certain obligations left from all that plot will force certain things from him, enough to have some kind of denouement. For instance, he's married, a state which carries a lot of its own obligations. For another, he's trained in two main things; Kinging, and soldiery, with other talents and possibilities coming apparent around the edges.

But by the end of the Serpent Prince, what he doesn't want is to be King, the job he was raised to. And through Soldier of the Road, Poisoned Tongue, and onwards, his chequered experience convinces him he was right. Even if it's a job he can do, and might take up for sheer need.

Except that it highlighted something for me. My characters tend to have modest ambitions. Even the ones born or pushed kicking and screaming to greatness.

Carl would like to be the archipelago's equivalent of a tavern singer, well enough known to draw local crowds, and a lover at his side - all unattainable objectives, once he's on the path the goddess asked of him. Gaitann wanted to be a composer/historian -- although he was pleased to find he also had the skill to make a decent ambassador. Patar would like to settle down with a nice family and a farm.

Finno wants to have enough money not to be worrying week to week. And he wants his friends to be happy. Jen wants to be an actress, but she's okay with modest roles; she just likes playing out stories. And she wants Finno to be okay.

Francesca, one of the few who actually wants glory, wants her family's approval, and to be known as someone who saves small children and fights blackguard villains (Saving a few scantily-clad young men would do nicely as an occasional change. There weren't enough scantily-clad men in peril in the adventure, dammit.) I think her ultimate goal is to have her grandchildren stare at her in open-mouthed awe.

But nobody wants to be President, or King. Nobody wants to be a General, or a rock star, or a CEO, or Bishop, or any other variants of rich and famous and powerful.

Heck, most of my D&D characters even only care for treasure as a means to get the equipment needed to defeat the enemy.

Some of this is that I don't write epic save-the-world fantasy. The most people seem to need or want to save is a country - and usually, they do so in the process of a smaller goal - save this person or these people, uphold this ideal against all pressure to yield. And those cases seem to be based around the littlest countries, in the corners of the world I invented. (Except in the Apocalyptic novels. But there, they're too late to save the world).

But another part is that somewhere along the way, I learned that done right, the jobs that most obviously bring wealth and glory and power really involve crushing responsibility and tedious effort and thanklessness. That done right, they should be the place where the buck stops; that in good times, the thanks should go to everyone working for them, but in bad times, they should take the burden of the blame. But also that, of necessity, they distance one from normalcy. That rock stardom dazzles, but exhausts, surrounds one with fakery, distances one from everyday pleasures, and from the ability to tell real friends from flatterers and entourage. That the rewards aren't actually so appealing as the cost, and so anyone who wants to be there for the rewards is at best mad.

Done wrong, of course, they each lead to vice, to indifference to others who have none. To excess reward for minimal real endeavour. To excess of profit or fame at the outright expense of others. Seeing ordinary people only as a mob to be manipulated, tools to be used and discarded. The separation from normalcy becomes permission to do all the things, violent of psychopathic, self-indulgent or self-destructive, that regular laws aim to prevent. Seeing one's own short term gain over long term annihilation.

I also learned that even in cases which are the exception, to people who hang onto their roots, who "keep it real" (A term I have issues with in its own way, but which seems most apt here), who took that level of fame and power but didn't forget their ideals, who do the job right for the right reason, the million-to-one chance really is million-to-one. Narrativium aside.

That in, say, the writing business, the majority of reasonably successful writers don't make enough to quit their day job. That the thousands of aspiring writers are blinded by the story of J. K. Rowling making enough to shame the Queen, and miss the stories of, say, Jim C. Hines' likely-permanent inability to quit his day job and its attendant health insurance. Of writers trying to make it without a day job working themselves to exhaustion and ceasing to have fun with writing. That this leaves them unable to take to correct pragmatic steps. Leads to cursing out editors for daring to stop their precious vision from reaching eyes. Leads them to believe the flattery of scamsters. Honing the craft takes time. Worse, publishing itself is a glacial business - most first novelists are in their 30s, and some in their 40s. And of course, there's all the things the writer has no control over; editorial or publishing trends and tastes, manuscripts lost to mail or e-mail vagaries. Changes in the business model that really are shaking the whole scene right now. The fading midlist and the rise of modest-selling e-books.

To learn how to navigate the business, a matter I have studied in some detail, I needed to have realistic aspirations.

But I feel like somewhere in the last while, being aware that the business is slow and that I should be modest has meant that I have slipped form even modest aspiration to no actual plan or expectation. To no actual ambition. That I want to be more published but lost grasp on the actual motions that need to be made to get there.

To that end.

My ambitions as of this moment:

- Within six months, I should be either working at least 30 hours/week steady, or have a damn good reason why not (such as pregnancy). At a place that I anticipate staying for a while.

- Within the next two years, I should acquire an agent, or else obtain a minimum of 50 rejections from agencies on various works, proving I tried. (Since I can try to sell Bird of Dusk and Serpent Prince, and possibly others as I go.)

- Within five years, I should have an offer on a novel, whether through an agency or otherwise, from a legitimate press.

- Within those same five years, I should have sold at least three more short stories (considering the number I don't write, this is a tougher goal than it sounds).

- Within three years, if physically possible*, I should have at least one child. While this and work goals might have trouble working together, I genuinely think this and writing goals should not.

Should I be considering other goals? Throw me suggestions.

*After two miscarriages, the caveat is very real.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
(Note. At the bottom, I ask for suggestions. I'm not kidding.)

Once upon a time, in a job interview (Not this recent one - this was years ago), I was asked the dread question of where I wanted to be in five years. I gave what I thought was a reasonable answer; I'd like to still be working within that same business, at a higher eschelon from where I began - then I added the caveat. Not too high. Not a position like controller, or vice president. I wouldn't expect, or want, to have that much control over other employees that soon.

The woman taking the interview wrote, flatly, "No ambition."

I knew I didn't have the job in that moment; if she could that drastically misunderstand my intent, I didn't really regret it. And I've tried to find other accurate ways to answer that which circumvent the question of how much command I want to have over other people.

Should I have said I wanted to be in charge of all of accounting in a mere five years? Not in five years - I think that fast a rise to that high either implies full specialized training or high-level experience elsewhere, not starting as an AP/administrative assistant. I thought I was showing realism.

I was sincere, too, that if I liked the business, I *would* want to keep at the same place for years. After three years being driven crazy there, I would go back to RCC, in any department, in a shot.

I was also sincere that staying there only in the bottom rung for forever would have been a problem. Had I continued at RCC, I would have wanted to start pressing for full-time work, different work with more training, a permanent contract. Something like J was doing, where the low end of her job was similar to mine, but the high end included far more complex work. Or, someday, replacing the person who was my official manager -- a job which K, the former front-end receptionist, took over partway through my stay.

But it's also true that I wouldn't feel need to *ever* be on the BoD. It wasn't my ambition. It never will be.

I've been thinking about ambition lately.

Mostly when I realised I don't know what Ketan's ultimate ambition in life is, or would be, if he didn't have X, Y, and Z to cope with meantime.

It hardly matters, in one sense: by the time Ketan gets to catch his breath, look around and decide what he wants to *do* with his life, I'll be done with the plot of four whole books. And certain obligations left from all that plot will force certain things from him, enough to have some kind of denouement. For instance, he's married, a state which carries a lot of its own obligations. For another, he's trained in two main things; Kinging, and soldiery, with other talents and possibilities coming apparent around the edges.

But by the end of the Serpent Prince, what he doesn't want is to be King, the job he was raised to. And through Soldier of the Road, Poisoned Tongue, and onwards, his chequered experience convinces him he was right. Even if it's a job he can do, and might take up for sheer need.

Except that it highlighted something for me. My characters tend to have modest ambitions. Even the ones born or pushed kicking and screaming to greatness.

Carl would like to be the archipelago's equivalent of a tavern singer, well enough known to draw local crowds, and a lover at his side - all unattainable objectives, once he's on the path the goddess asked of him. Gaitann wanted to be a composer/historian -- although he was pleased to find he also had the skill to make a decent ambassador. Patar would like to settle down with a nice family and a farm.

Finno wants to have enough money not to be worrying week to week. And he wants his friends to be happy. Jen wants to be an actress, but she's okay with modest roles; she just likes playing out stories. And she wants Finno to be okay.

Francesca, one of the few who actually wants glory, wants her family's approval, and to be known as someone who saves small children and fights blackguard villains (Saving a few scantily-clad young men would do nicely as an occasional change. There weren't enough scantily-clad men in peril in the adventure, dammit.) I think her ultimate goal is to have her grandchildren stare at her in open-mouthed awe.

But nobody wants to be President, or King. Nobody wants to be a General, or a rock star, or a CEO, or Bishop, or any other variants of rich and famous and powerful.

Heck, most of my D&D characters even only care for treasure as a means to get the equipment needed to defeat the enemy.

Some of this is that I don't write epic save-the-world fantasy. The most people seem to need or want to save is a country - and usually, they do so in the process of a smaller goal - save this person or these people, uphold this ideal against all pressure to yield. And those cases seem to be based around the littlest countries, in the corners of the world I invented. (Except in the Apocalyptic novels. But there, they're too late to save the world).

But another part is that somewhere along the way, I learned that done right, the jobs that most obviously bring wealth and glory and power really involve crushing responsibility and tedious effort and thanklessness. That done right, they should be the place where the buck stops; that in good times, the thanks should go to everyone working for them, but in bad times, they should take the burden of the blame. But also that, of necessity, they distance one from normalcy. That rock stardom dazzles, but exhausts, surrounds one with fakery, distances one from everyday pleasures, and from the ability to tell real friends from flatterers and entourage. That the rewards aren't actually so appealing as the cost, and so anyone who wants to be there for the rewards is at best mad.

Done wrong, of course, they each lead to vice, to indifference to others who have none. To excess reward for minimal real endeavour. To excess of profit or fame at the outright expense of others. Seeing ordinary people only as a mob to be manipulated, tools to be used and discarded. The separation from normalcy becomes permission to do all the things, violent of psychopathic, self-indulgent or self-destructive, that regular laws aim to prevent. Seeing one's own short term gain over long term annihilation.

I also learned that even in cases which are the exception, to people who hang onto their roots, who "keep it real" (A term I have issues with in its own way, but which seems most apt here), who took that level of fame and power but didn't forget their ideals, who do the job right for the right reason, the million-to-one chance really is million-to-one. Narrativium aside.

That in, say, the writing business, the majority of reasonably successful writers don't make enough to quit their day job. That the thousands of aspiring writers are blinded by the story of J. K. Rowling making enough to shame the Queen, and miss the stories of, say, Jim C. Hines' likely-permanent inability to quit his day job and its attendant health insurance. Of writers trying to make it without a day job working themselves to exhaustion and ceasing to have fun with writing. That this leaves them unable to take to correct pragmatic steps. Leads to cursing out editors for daring to stop their precious vision from reaching eyes. Leads them to believe the flattery of scamsters. Honing the craft takes time. Worse, publishing itself is a glacial business - most first novelists are in their 30s, and some in their 40s. And of course, there's all the things the writer has no control over; editorial or publishing trends and tastes, manuscripts lost to mail or e-mail vagaries. Changes in the business model that really are shaking the whole scene right now. The fading midlist and the rise of modest-selling e-books.

To learn how to navigate the business, a matter I have studied in some detail, I needed to have realistic aspirations.

But I feel like somewhere in the last while, being aware that the business is slow and that I should be modest has meant that I have slipped form even modest aspiration to no actual plan or expectation. To no actual ambition. That I want to be more published but lost grasp on the actual motions that need to be made to get there.

To that end.

My ambitions as of this moment:

- Within six months, I should be either working at least 30 hours/week steady, or have a damn good reason why not (such as pregnancy). At a place that I anticipate staying for a while.

- Within the next two years, I should acquire an agent, or else obtain a minimum of 50 rejections from agencies on various works, proving I tried. (Since I can try to sell Bird of Dusk and Serpent Prince, and possibly others as I go.)

- Within five years, I should have an offer on a novel, whether through an agency or otherwise, from a legitimate press.

- Within those same five years, I should have sold at least three more short stories (considering the number I don't write, this is a tougher goal than it sounds).

- Within three years, if physically possible*, I should have at least one child. While this and work goals might have trouble working together, I genuinely think this and writing goals should not.

Should I be considering other goals? Throw me suggestions.

*After two miscarriages, the caveat is very real.
lenora_rose: (Default)
I wasn't at my usual workplace today, but at the one where I need to catch buses to get home (for those who know the city, this workplace is Across the Street from Northwest Fabrics). I was later than I meant to be leaving, so I saw the bus pull up to the corner at a probably futile distance. I decided to run anyhow. And the bus started pulling away, so i sped up to near sprinting, and was watching bus not ground when I hit a patch of heavy gravel I *knew* was there. I hit the driveway beyond at full speed plus gravity. And landed primarily on my left hand, though my left knee took a fair bit of the brunt.

Anyhow, the driveway I fell on was that of a slightly seedy motel at the end of the street, and an old man who'd stepped out the bar's back door for a smoke held it open for me to go in and rinse off my hand in their washroom (all he saw was that it was bleeding). I noticed that the porch was half-full even in zero degrees, and not a person had done more than glance over. Thanks, assholes. You know, I DID hit my head, and while it proved beyond trivial, at least so far, it might not have been. And I was LIMPING. (Okay. So I do that a lot, in a much smaller subtle way. This wasn't subtle.)

Anyhow, I made it up the handful of stairs, spotted the bathrooms instantly, and ran the thing under cold water, with a feeble attempt to flush it with soap. Then clamped a paper towel and my hand over it and kept it that way, while I looked for the exit of the bar to get to the hotel courtesy phone. And, in the wake of a smattering of applause, noticed the stage with the two poles and the girl wearing a skirt that was mroe like a belt, and as far as I could tell with her back to me, nothing else.

Not so much just bar, I guess. Huh. Hadn't known that. It doesn't advertise like the ones a few blocks further down...

And maybe not so much slightly seedy.

So, a stop at Misericordia's Urgent Care later... (Arrive 10 to 6, depart about 10. Colin was allowed to buy and bring supper into the waiting room, and I got some reading done, and the two of us took the whole less-than-two-minutes to solve someone's half finished cryptogram puzzle. And learned definitively why we don't regret not having a tv, due to exposure to Law and Order SVU.)

The doctor was a nice petite lady not much past my own age. I think Filipino, but I didn't catch her name. The nurse was a grizzled middle-aged man with big heavy hands and mild callusses, sympathized because he'd recently managed to give himself a similar scrape going off his bike, and proved fairly deft and light of touch (considering that what he was doing to cut away the flaps of flesh and scour the thing cleaner was going to be horribly painful whoever did it).

The left hand was BAD; I tried to remove several layers off my palm. And I don't mean oops, scrape, I mean the nurse couldn't actually cut all the skin off in one spot because it went too deep - trying made me yelp, and flushing it with liquid was, shall we say, worse than the entire physical side of the damned miscarriage. (though not even a blip on the same scale for anxiety, grief, shame, and other emotional trauma). I wouldn't let him do it a third time, and I acknowledged the necessity, because I did pick up some gravel even that deep.

The left knee is scraped, but was protected by the fact that for once I was wearing pants (...instead of **skirts**, for those with dirty minds), and while I've lost some range of motion from the swelling, nothing's broken or twisted. Advil is the order of the doctor.

The other hand has some barely surface damage, not even enough for the hospital to need to clean out.

And technically, my head touched ground, as I said, but I showed not even one sign of head trauma as far as me, Colin, admitting staff, doctor, or nurse noticed. (Or for that matter, any scrapes, though the arm of my glasses got one). And I'm pretty sure at least three of those above were consciously watching for it (Me included).

I suppose it's better palm than fingers (If I typed properly in the first place, I might be suffering, but for my two fingers per hand (and right thumb) method, I'm fine. And it is my off hand. OTOH, no mandolin and no archery. (I could probably try for mandolin after I get the dressing changed; I don't think the pressure would be direct. But I do expect my practices to be brief.)

And no rollerskating for Abacchus' birthday party tomorrow.

We'll see about yoga Monday. I think I'll be fine for tai chi, but I'm not planning on trying tonight.

(And immensely grateful that my MP3 player now has a padded case. It was also on my right side, and wasn't really fallen on with any serious weight. And there's a reason these are the Earphones that Will Not Die, the ones I go back to whenever a more expensive pair goes kaput. They were swinging loose in my right hand, because there was no way they'd stay in while I was running.)
lenora_rose: (Default)
I wasn't at my usual workplace today, but at the one where I need to catch buses to get home (for those who know the city, this workplace is Across the Street from Northwest Fabrics). I was later than I meant to be leaving, so I saw the bus pull up to the corner at a probably futile distance. I decided to run anyhow. And the bus started pulling away, so i sped up to near sprinting, and was watching bus not ground when I hit a patch of heavy gravel I *knew* was there. I hit the driveway beyond at full speed plus gravity. And landed primarily on my left hand, though my left knee took a fair bit of the brunt.

Anyhow, the driveway I fell on was that of a slightly seedy motel at the end of the street, and an old man who'd stepped out the bar's back door for a smoke held it open for me to go in and rinse off my hand in their washroom (all he saw was that it was bleeding). I noticed that the porch was half-full even in zero degrees, and not a person had done more than glance over. Thanks, assholes. You know, I DID hit my head, and while it proved beyond trivial, at least so far, it might not have been. And I was LIMPING. (Okay. So I do that a lot, in a much smaller subtle way. This wasn't subtle.)

Anyhow, I made it up the handful of stairs, spotted the bathrooms instantly, and ran the thing under cold water, with a feeble attempt to flush it with soap. Then clamped a paper towel and my hand over it and kept it that way, while I looked for the exit of the bar to get to the hotel courtesy phone. And, in the wake of a smattering of applause, noticed the stage with the two poles and the girl wearing a skirt that was mroe like a belt, and as far as I could tell with her back to me, nothing else.

Not so much just bar, I guess. Huh. Hadn't known that. It doesn't advertise like the ones a few blocks further down...

And maybe not so much slightly seedy.

So, a stop at Misericordia's Urgent Care later... (Arrive 10 to 6, depart about 10. Colin was allowed to buy and bring supper into the waiting room, and I got some reading done, and the two of us took the whole less-than-two-minutes to solve someone's half finished cryptogram puzzle. And learned definitively why we don't regret not having a tv, due to exposure to Law and Order SVU.)

The doctor was a nice petite lady not much past my own age. I think Filipino, but I didn't catch her name. The nurse was a grizzled middle-aged man with big heavy hands and mild callusses, sympathized because he'd recently managed to give himself a similar scrape going off his bike, and proved fairly deft and light of touch (considering that what he was doing to cut away the flaps of flesh and scour the thing cleaner was going to be horribly painful whoever did it).

The left hand was BAD; I tried to remove several layers off my palm. And I don't mean oops, scrape, I mean the nurse couldn't actually cut all the skin off in one spot because it went too deep - trying made me yelp, and flushing it with liquid was, shall we say, worse than the entire physical side of the damned miscarriage. (though not even a blip on the same scale for anxiety, grief, shame, and other emotional trauma). I wouldn't let him do it a third time, and I acknowledged the necessity, because I did pick up some gravel even that deep.

The left knee is scraped, but was protected by the fact that for once I was wearing pants (...instead of **skirts**, for those with dirty minds), and while I've lost some range of motion from the swelling, nothing's broken or twisted. Advil is the order of the doctor.

The other hand has some barely surface damage, not even enough for the hospital to need to clean out.

And technically, my head touched ground, as I said, but I showed not even one sign of head trauma as far as me, Colin, admitting staff, doctor, or nurse noticed. (Or for that matter, any scrapes, though the arm of my glasses got one). And I'm pretty sure at least three of those above were consciously watching for it (Me included).

I suppose it's better palm than fingers (If I typed properly in the first place, I might be suffering, but for my two fingers per hand (and right thumb) method, I'm fine. And it is my off hand. OTOH, no mandolin and no archery. (I could probably try for mandolin after I get the dressing changed; I don't think the pressure would be direct. But I do expect my practices to be brief.)

And no rollerskating for Abacchus' birthday party tomorrow.

We'll see about yoga Monday. I think I'll be fine for tai chi, but I'm not planning on trying tonight.

(And immensely grateful that my MP3 player now has a padded case. It was also on my right side, and wasn't really fallen on with any serious weight. And there's a reason these are the Earphones that Will Not Die, the ones I go back to whenever a more expensive pair goes kaput. They were swinging loose in my right hand, because there was no way they'd stay in while I was running.)
lenora_rose: (Default)
This weekend (And follow-up) appear to have been made of Dumb.

Having recovered sufficiently (I thought) from the cold of the last week, Colin and I packed up to Moorhead, MN, for the event. First dumb: we get to the border, the guard asks where we're going, and Colin says Moorhead. I came *THIS* close to saying out loud, "Moorhead? But I thought you said the event was in Fargo."

(For those not familiar, Fargo and Moorhead are effectively the same town on opposite sides of the Red River and the MN/ND border. They *ARE* the same place - Korsvag - as far as SCA geography is concerned.)

Second dumb was being confused why they weren't having a Baronial court (Korsvag is a Shire, or a group too small to be a Barony...)

Third and best dumb was, while packing away our feast gear after the feast, I picked up a pillar candle, nestled the holder with its fellow, and then casually tipped the STILL LIT candle most of the way into the basket - the splash of wax only gave be brief pause. I would have probably put it away anyhow had Colin not suggested I blow it out first (This also left me in an extended case of the giggles)

Fourth dumb - wqell, wasn't so bad, as such; this is now officially the most drunk I have been in my life. (This is not suggestive of how much I had to drink, as I was walking straight and fairly coherent, if more than a mite dizzy and giddy. This is suggestive of how few times I have been drunk before; I've been giggly on three known occasions.) This did help me win a game of Munchkin for the first time ever (The more inebriated state and the convenient distraction of people outside the game were both much bigger factors. But I usually find Munchkin strategy hard, as it involves a genuine level of Screw Your Neighbour, not merely pragmatic competitiveness.) And I drank down two full glasses of water once I knew it (albeit with a bit more vodka between. Mmm, grape vodka). And I was sober enough to turn down a near constant offer of coffee-orange flavoured tequila, and thus not really mix drinks.

I never could decide if I had a headache the next day, and it was hard to weight the sleepiness of being up early versus the potential drag of hangover, but I think i escaped close enough to scot-free to be content.

Fifth dumb, and most potentially dangerous and self-damaging? I don't normally work Mondays. So last night I was up way late and COMPLETELY forgot I did have a shift today. So completely that even when the temp agency called me on an unrelated matter, I didn't twig. It wasn't until I got the call from work that I recalled that agreement. Thank everything, they were okay with me going in Friday instead (I'm not replacing or alternating with anyone else, so the only person normally responsible for my schedule is me.)

Still, all in all the weekend was fun. Got to hang out a fair bit with out of towners we like, (although our table at feast was all Castel Rougeans, by a sort of accident, a fact I still kind of regret.) There weren't a lot of planned activities unrelated to the fighting tournaments, so I danced some, and hung out a bit in the dance room, where between dances, musicians tried out unrelated music and people played board games. Enjoyed the post revel, too. Got to watch someone try to read cards while drunk (Admitting that the drunkenness was leading to a heavier quotient of BS even than usual).
lenora_rose: (Default)
This weekend (And follow-up) appear to have been made of Dumb.

Having recovered sufficiently (I thought) from the cold of the last week, Colin and I packed up to Moorhead, MN, for the event. First dumb: we get to the border, the guard asks where we're going, and Colin says Moorhead. I came *THIS* close to saying out loud, "Moorhead? But I thought you said the event was in Fargo."

(For those not familiar, Fargo and Moorhead are effectively the same town on opposite sides of the Red River and the MN/ND border. They *ARE* the same place - Korsvag - as far as SCA geography is concerned.)

Second dumb was being confused why they weren't having a Baronial court (Korsvag is a Shire, or a group too small to be a Barony...)

Third and best dumb was, while packing away our feast gear after the feast, I picked up a pillar candle, nestled the holder with its fellow, and then casually tipped the STILL LIT candle most of the way into the basket - the splash of wax only gave be brief pause. I would have probably put it away anyhow had Colin not suggested I blow it out first (This also left me in an extended case of the giggles)

Fourth dumb - wqell, wasn't so bad, as such; this is now officially the most drunk I have been in my life. (This is not suggestive of how much I had to drink, as I was walking straight and fairly coherent, if more than a mite dizzy and giddy. This is suggestive of how few times I have been drunk before; I've been giggly on three known occasions.) This did help me win a game of Munchkin for the first time ever (The more inebriated state and the convenient distraction of people outside the game were both much bigger factors. But I usually find Munchkin strategy hard, as it involves a genuine level of Screw Your Neighbour, not merely pragmatic competitiveness.) And I drank down two full glasses of water once I knew it (albeit with a bit more vodka between. Mmm, grape vodka). And I was sober enough to turn down a near constant offer of coffee-orange flavoured tequila, and thus not really mix drinks.

I never could decide if I had a headache the next day, and it was hard to weight the sleepiness of being up early versus the potential drag of hangover, but I think i escaped close enough to scot-free to be content.

Fifth dumb, and most potentially dangerous and self-damaging? I don't normally work Mondays. So last night I was up way late and COMPLETELY forgot I did have a shift today. So completely that even when the temp agency called me on an unrelated matter, I didn't twig. It wasn't until I got the call from work that I recalled that agreement. Thank everything, they were okay with me going in Friday instead (I'm not replacing or alternating with anyone else, so the only person normally responsible for my schedule is me.)

Still, all in all the weekend was fun. Got to hang out a fair bit with out of towners we like, (although our table at feast was all Castel Rougeans, by a sort of accident, a fact I still kind of regret.) There weren't a lot of planned activities unrelated to the fighting tournaments, so I danced some, and hung out a bit in the dance room, where between dances, musicians tried out unrelated music and people played board games. Enjoyed the post revel, too. Got to watch someone try to read cards while drunk (Admitting that the drunkenness was leading to a heavier quotient of BS even than usual).
lenora_rose: (Default)
I'm a little afraid to post this because

A) I feel like I'm crap at poetry, and this (Like the sonnet, which i may one day edit for this reason) is not even an hour old.
B) While the choice to *keep* the word girl was as deliberate as was the choice to drop the word "Oriental" (Because girl has a specific and valid meaning) it might be seen as problematic in itself.
C) Shweta_Naryan, as usual, started the theme (She also caused the sonnet that I did a while back, unwitting), and did a much better job in much less space.
(Read her lovely poem Here. ETA: oops. I failed to notice, in spite of her saying so explicitly, that she's locked it temporarily to give Star*line the chance to respond publicly to a complaint related to the poem she's responding to. I'll make sure to mention it and re-link if she opens it to the public. Because it's so much better than mine.)
D) Not sure if all the formatting will survive lj. (ETA: Yup. All the spacing within the lines went away. Oh, well.)

An Asian girl dances:

In hip-hop clubs
Laughing
Pony-tailed, among friends
Raises her hands in the air.
Like the music tells them all to do.

In the India School of Dance
On St. Mary's Road.
Urged by her mother when she was four,
Still struggling with the perfect precise shapes
her fingers will someday make.

All alone,
Hiding in the basement,
because she loves to wheel and twirl
But her big brother said she looks dumb.
So she hides
For now.
Maybe when she's six
She'll risk the living room again.

At the Ballet
For the first time
A minor part,
Toes taped,
Costumed to look like all the others
Hair bunned
Body aching
Forgetting the audience
Until the applause and the curtseys.
(In a few years,
when she thinks she'll feel like a grown woman,
a real member of the Ballet
Good Enough
Maybe she'll get the lead?)

At a multicultural festival
In the Korean Youth Troupe
Displaying months of effort for strangers
A display indeed,
But no more so (and no less)
than the green-skirted
White-cheeked
Irish girls
Both are watched with bemusement
Amusement
By visitors from Sierra Leone
Viet Nam
Germany
Across the street

Waiting for a bus, earphones on, barely moving.
(But you can guess the beat
if not the style
of the current song
from how she bounces)

At a rave.

On Broadway.

At her boyfriend's party.

In front of cameras.

With her father.

With your daughters.

In daylight.

Out of sight.

In Kyoto

New York

New Delhi

Melbourne

Amsterdam

Morocco

London

Rio de Janeiro

Half a block away,

And for sheer joy.
lenora_rose: (Default)
I'm a little afraid to post this because

A) I feel like I'm crap at poetry, and this (Like the sonnet, which i may one day edit for this reason) is not even an hour old.
B) While the choice to *keep* the word girl was as deliberate as was the choice to drop the word "Oriental" (Because girl has a specific and valid meaning) it might be seen as problematic in itself.
C) Shweta_Naryan, as usual, started the theme (She also caused the sonnet that I did a while back, unwitting), and did a much better job in much less space.
(Read her lovely poem Here. ETA: oops. I failed to notice, in spite of her saying so explicitly, that she's locked it temporarily to give Star*line the chance to respond publicly to a complaint related to the poem she's responding to. I'll make sure to mention it and re-link if she opens it to the public. Because it's so much better than mine.)
D) Not sure if all the formatting will survive lj. (ETA: Yup. All the spacing within the lines went away. Oh, well.)

An Asian girl dances:

In hip-hop clubs
Laughing
Pony-tailed, among friends
Raises her hands in the air.
Like the music tells them all to do.

In the India School of Dance
On St. Mary's Road.
Urged by her mother when she was four,
Still struggling with the perfect precise shapes
her fingers will someday make.

All alone,
Hiding in the basement,
because she loves to wheel and twirl
But her big brother said she looks dumb.
So she hides
For now.
Maybe when she's six
She'll risk the living room again.

At the Ballet
For the first time
A minor part,
Toes taped,
Costumed to look like all the others
Hair bunned
Body aching
Forgetting the audience
Until the applause and the curtseys.
(In a few years,
when she thinks she'll feel like a grown woman,
a real member of the Ballet
Good Enough
Maybe she'll get the lead?)

At a multicultural festival
In the Korean Youth Troupe
Displaying months of effort for strangers
A display indeed,
But no more so (and no less)
than the green-skirted
White-cheeked
Irish girls
Both are watched with bemusement
Amusement
By visitors from Sierra Leone
Viet Nam
Germany
Across the street

Waiting for a bus, earphones on, barely moving.
(But you can guess the beat
if not the style
of the current song
from how she bounces)

At a rave.

On Broadway.

At her boyfriend's party.

In front of cameras.

With her father.

With your daughters.

In daylight.

Out of sight.

In Kyoto

New York

New Delhi

Melbourne

Amsterdam

Morocco

London

Rio de Janeiro

Half a block away,

And for sheer joy.

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